Sunday, January 13, 2013

House Walkers

I first heard of house walking 
in the late winter of 1974-75
in Westport, on White Bay, Newfoundland.

A Warm Winter Day, Early 1975
Westport from Pound Hill
Long Range Mountains on the Great Northern Peninsula (in the distance)
Sops Island (in White Bay)

The winters were colder then.
White Bay was frozen solid between Westport and Sop's Arm,
a distance of about seven miles.
Some Westporters drove their vehicles to the other side and back,
over the rugged surface of the ice 
and around the pressure ridges of frozen seawater.

Some days it dipped to 30 below Fahrenheit,
and thin sheets of ice caked the walls in the unheated rooms 
of our neighbors' homes.
People slept burrowed under piles of blankets with hot rocks in their beds.

It was not a time for walking outdoors.

Wiseman's Cove (Adjacent to Westport)
From Pound Hill

One of our neighbors had a heart attack,
and his doctor ordered him to walk an hour a day,
no matter the temperature or the weather,
or die.

So he became a house walker,
and walked: 
from the kitchen to the living room, 
to the kitchen to the living room,
around and around,
an hour a day;
and he lived.

MacBeath and I
Walking on a Warm Winter Day, 
Westport on White Bay
Early 1975

So on the days when the weather is a blizzard,
or I'm under the weather and can't leave the house,
I, too, become a house walker,
around and around.
But, I'm walking,
and I'm going to make it 
to St. Anthony, Newfoundland!

I just passed 350 miles.
So what if I only walked 3.25 miles in the past 10 days?
If I have to house walk to get St. Anthony, 
then that's what I'll do.

Music helps when you're house walking.
Junior Wells, In the Wee Hours,
is as comforting as hot ginger tea to soothe your throat 
and a microwaved teddy bear to warm your chest.

Junior Wells - In the Wee Wee Hours


  1. Yes, THAT would be COLD!! Frozen salt water!! Things just don't freeze around here like they used to.....when I was a child.....yawn.
    My parents used to 'house walk' every day when it was too cold or hot outside.....must be an Atlantic Canada thing?!

  2. Maybe it is an Atlantic Canada thing, Jim. My trainer Julie has an elderly client who walks around his car in his garage when the weather is bad. I haven't resorted to that yet! My friend Red in Glovertown, Newfoundland told Terry and me that people are going through the ice (on their ski-doos) in Newfoundland and drowning because the ice is much thinner now than it used to be.

  3. Walking IS our regime ever since 2008....I wonder if we've made it to St. Anthony's yet? Someone said one should walk 10,000 steps a day for good health....yow....we might as well just walk into town and back...NOT! I prefer the beaches or the park and a Starbucks to complement the danish! LOL
    We have braved the icy winds blowing off the North Atlantic on Lawrencetown Beach many times...bundled up and then some. People think we are cray cray....hey maybe we are! At least I know my heart is still pumping.Sophie certainly has assisted and without her I don``t know where we would be.
    Now that Junior Wells is a smooth cat, ain`t he!?


  4. Yes he is smooth, Ron! And I so love a blue harp.
    I used to wear a pedometer my last couple of years of teaching. Most days I hit 15,000 steps, and on Fridays I would hit as many as 25,000 steps! No wonder I crawled into Parkway Grill on Friday nights looking like someone had put me through a wringer washer!
    You are not crazy for walking, walking, walking, Ron. I think it's super!
    It's a mile from here to a Starbucks, so sometimes I do a two mile walk with a cup of coffee and some newspaper puzzles between miles.
    Keep that heart pumping! Jim's too!
    Have a good week!

  5. Yikes, and I thought we had cold weather!
    Was MacBeath a Bouvier? That's my favorite breed of dog. I had a wonderful Bov named Lloyd, and I still miss him a decade later. Guess I always will.

    1. Hi Terry!
      I saw the picture of your Bouvier, Lloyd, and the Bouvier angel on your Christmas tree. I understand how you still miss him after a decade.
      I lost MacBeath in 1984, and I still miss him. MacBeath was a Scottie, and at this time he was very much in need of shearing! I'm not sure if there was such a thing as a dog groomer in Newfoundland at that time - maybe in St. John's but that was hundreds of miles away. Mac is standing, and there is a chunk of wood to his left which makes him look bigger.
      He definitely loved the snow and cold.
      Speaking of cold, I hope you are staying warm. I keep thinking of Boomer in his stall.
      Have a good one.

  6. Now that is really cold!! I've not heard of house walking but that makes perfect sense!!

    1. Hi Ivan!
      We've had your grey skies the last day or so in Colorado, but the sun is starting to peek through.
      I hope all is well in your part of the world!
      And yes it was REALLY cold: -30 F, wet, raw moisture, and a bitter wind blowing off the frozen bay. We lost our running water, and I spent time every day hauling water from a neighbor's home and disposing of sewage for at least six weeks!
      I like 2013 and all its comforts.

  7. Well, naturally since I am always in hurry, my first thought is: what a waste of time!
    But again, if the weather is very bad, walking outdoors seems difficult!
    So, to avoid wasting too much time, I 'run' up and down the stairs a few times, it does the job... but faster! LOL!!!!
    nice post Fundy, and since the weather is to rain or snow, I'll do just that... after blogging!! ;-)
    Keep well and warm!

    1. Trust me, you do not want to be outside in a Colorado blizzard, Noushka!
      And up and down the stairs is part of the routine, if I'm stuck house walking - unless I'm under the weather.
      Then it's around and around kitchen> living room> dining room> repeat, repeat, repeat!
      We're supposed to get a good warmup in a day or two, and I'm going to do some serious walking outside.
      I hope hope you had fun running up and down your stairs!
      Have a good one.

  8. I've never heard the term "house walking" but I guess I've never lived anywhere cold enough to necessitate walking indoors. I mean it's the middle of winter here and we have the air conditioning on. Pooh. I miss the snow and cold days of my youth! Love that bottom photo of you with the dog ~ so gorgeous! Hope you had a lovely weekend!

  9. Thanks Audrey!
    Air conditioning in January! I wish!
    Not really, I do like the winter.
    I hope your week got off to a good start!
    Stay cool!

  10. Hi Louise, it's Barb - I love the picture of you and MacBeath - he was a wonderful Dog! I love NFLD and Westport but I do not miss those awful winter gales!!

  11. Hi Barb! It's always good to hear from you. I miss Beaffer! He was a wonderful dog!
    I still haven't gotten over the sheets of ice in unheated rooms! Remember G.G.'s living room? I found Grog listed in a 1945 census on Westport.
    And did you know, barely 2 months after we were in Westport, that two huge icebergs came into Westport - well, a little way off shore! Can't wait to see you in March!

  12. I love walking. My dad and I shared this passion; he had me walking for miles from the todller years. Thankfully, hubby enjoys it, too, and we do it together. When it's really cold out, I find areas indoors to move around. A shopping mall usually does well for me, although it doesn't compare at all to the great outdoors! I've never heard of the term 'house walking', but I think it's a great idea. I tend to get restless indoors when it's too cold to be out, and end up pacing around the house, so perhaps I'm already doing this house walking bit without realizing it :)

    1. Yes you are house walking, Martha!
      House walking is what we called it in Newfoundland.
      I'm not sure how far away the nearest mall to Westport was at that time, but the closest community by land was Baie Verte some 42 miles distant mostly over a very bad dirt road.
      I love to walk, and I walking to St. Anthony, Newfoundland (metaphorically). Today I hit 213 days in a row. Even if I'm sick, I can usually get some laps in around the upstairs.
      Happy walking to you, Martha!

  13. Belas recordações...Espectacular....

    1. Obrigado, Fernando!
      Eu aprecio seu tempo levando para postar um comentário encorajador!

  14. I enjoyed your winter walk picture from years ago. What fun! I like your challenge of walking, and mapping it,

    1. Hi Dreaming! Are you up to the eyeballs in Thanksgiving fun? I've been baking, baking ~ cookies, pie, cheesecake ~ which I love. We've got the turkey brining, the vegetables prepped, stock underway, wine bottles uncorked! I hope you are looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends! I'm still open to Catching Fire early in December if you are still thinking about it! Take care!


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