(Orwell Corner Historic Village, PE. 17 September 2011). It was with great excitement that approximately 100 newcomers to PEI, along with about 4 or 5 staff members from the PEI Newcomers’ Association and a few EAL tutors gathered at the Kent St. entrance to the Confederation Court Mall on a sunny but very chilly windy Saturday. The group was unfazed by the cold, although several, who had expected a warm day, were starting to shiver as they waited for the buses that would ferry them to Orwell Corner Historic Village. Finally, the buses arrived–huge red and white behemoths that swallowed the people one by one. Sadly, a few newcomers have not yet learned common courtesy and etiquette. They have yet to learn that here, in Canada, we LINE UP and not rush for the door and cut into the line out of turn. Unfortunately, as well, they could barely understand English, so it was not something that could be easily explained. There was some head-shaking there, but that didn’t ruin the mood of the day.
The trip was a short one…not more than 40 minutes out of town taking the route through Stratford and somehow arriving at Orwell Corner after a series of pretty farmland scenes with corn fields and other fields, cows taking a noon nap, bales of hay rolled in white plastic wraps like gigantic white worms stretched across the fields, and gently rolling hills.
Once into the Orwell Corner turnoff, the road was slightly bumpy, as it was unpaved, unlike the highway. A bit of dust rose from the rear end of the red bus ahead of ours, but the buses were air conditioned, so that didn’t bother us at all. We pulled into a sharp turn that led into a parking lot, where our only view of the village was a dirt path bordered with log fences. Upon disembarking, we proceeded to follow the red dirt road to the museum and, of course, gift shop.
Inside the museum, we were greeted by shelves of souvenirs, curios and other PEI products (like lobster chips, which I have yet to try), hand-made soap and goat milk soap. Unfortunately, this was a cash-less field trip, so I could only appreciate what I saw. Besides, everything was priced for tourists! Well, pretty much.
Once past the gift shop counters, we encountered huge and varied farm equipment, transportation modes, mostly for winter, and all sorts of alien machines. There was also a miniature log cabin and a miniature setting of a house–pretty much like a playhouse, with child-sized furniture.
There was even a little potty chair!
Outside the museum, we strolled down the road to the village proper, where the first thing you see is the cemetery in front of the Presbyterian church.
It was a nice peaceful quiet spot, God’s little acre where the old denizens of Orwell sleep for eternity. If I’d had more time, I’d have looked at the gravestones to see what years they were put up. Not that I’d find any relatives there! The sleepers would be from England and Ireland and Scotland.
The church was a simple building, a bright shiny white in the September sun. It looked pretty much like most of the rural churches around PEI. Simple, unassuming. I wonder if that is a characteristic of non-Catholic churches, or of churches built by the English, Irish, and Scots. Back in the Philippines, hardly any two Catholic churches look alike!
As soon as you stepped into the door, you could smell the old pine and cedar and the very strong smell of must in the air. The archway in the foyer above the door to the interior of the church bears the year the church was built: 1861.
The pews were sitting there, facing the pulpit. Old, solid, shiny from wear and some polish, I suppose.
The pulpit stood dead center of the altar area, dark and imposing, as it probably meant to be.
To be continued.