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Free Falling…from an airplane (not to be confused with the Tom Petty song).

I’m not sure how many politicians can say this, but I certainly enjoyed free falling from an airplane in 2007

I just got off the telephone with my former room-mate while I was studying in Prague, Czech Republic. It is always nice to hear from old friends.

On a such a cold day on the Northern Peninsula, it gave me the opportunity to revisit some of my travels and adventures in the Fall of 2007. It’s always nice to take a stroll down memory lane…from the Nation2Nation celebrations, drinks at the Academic Club, $1 slices of pizza en route to the university, Tram #9, dancing at the 5 floor disco, Palac Flora shopping centre, booking one of the two washing machines in a building of 16 floors with no dryers to eating at “steakie”.

One of the biggest highlights was my experience “free falling” when I jumped from an airplane some 4,000+ metres over a rural village in Prague. A group of students from England, America, Canada and parts of Europe took the train and then piled into this little airplane to experience skydiving for the first time.

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After getting all suited up we were very enthusiastic about the thrill we would were about to get. I decided to capture the memory with a video. I’ve watched it a few times since. The words of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck plays in the background. From my last post, you know I’m a fan of The Beatles but I also like Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and also AC/DC.

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I can not describe the experience of just falling at over 130 KM per hour from the sky. I will say I do not think I’ve ever felt so alive. It’s also a great feeling when the parachute pops open and you gently float and make for a safe landing. :)

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My time in Prague had a significant impact on my life and I have returned three times since 2007 to this beautiful central European city that has a rich culture and history, that combines with modern flare.

Life is all about experiences. At 27 years old, I reflect on the times before me and look forward to my next random adventures – because life was made for living. If you have a “bucket” list you may want to add experiencing the Great Northern Peninsula where the Norse were the first Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago. It was a place where the Basque, French, English, Irish, recent Indians and Maritime Archaic Indians lived before us dating back more than 5,000 years. There is a rich legacy of co-operation and advancing health care under the leadership of Dr. Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, a natural landscape that includes the last of the Appalachian Mountains, unique lifestyle and incredible people you have yet to meet.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Water – A Necessity in My Life

Every morning when I awake from my bed, if the shade is up the first sight I see is the towering mounds of land we call Labrador. I get incredible views of Mainland Canada, as Labrador is within a short distance of 14 miles away.  I commute each day to work viewing the scenic Strait of Belle Isle on Route 430. As a proud islander, there is something rejuvenating of seeing the water and the economic value that drives our economy as the fishers work peacefully on the water.

A few days ago, I slowed my car and decided to pull over as the little boat had caught my attention. How wonderful it would feel to be on the water that day versus sitting at my desk in an enclosed office. Although I have a window, it can not compare to the open space and a sense of freedom you have while spending your day in  a boat. One can go wherever the waves take you.

For recreation purposes I enjoy canoeing and rowing. I remember fond memories with father during a few weeks when I spent fishing with him. I was only 13 when he passed, just getting a taste of the open water and being able to work with him. Although I am not a fisherman, the profession is very dear to my heart and runs quite deep in my family line to when the first Mitchelmore’s came from Devon County England in the 1800′s and prior. After living in Alberta for a few months, I found myself planning vacations near the ocean and frequented lakes. There is a yearning to be next to this substance that brings me much happiness. It is good for the body, mind and soul…

The Great Northern Peninsula has so much to offer as we live Rural NL.

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Celebrating 100…A walk through the Enchanted Forest

I bet this tree is more than 100 years old...

This post celebrates my 100th article on the Live Rural NL blog…which debuted in June 20, 2010.  It has been a wonderful opportunity to share with my readers my take on local culture, heritage, share recipes from grandma’s kitchen and provide some local photos of the scenic beauty of the breathtaking Great Northern Peninsula.

I have recently also began sharing some recent travel experiences to France and Ireland. During November 2010, my mom and I spent time connecting with the Irish culture, which for many rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians would have immigrated.

Dolmen (Methalithic Tomb)

We spent the rest of the morning on Tuesday, walking through the enchanted forest at Rock Close.

Rock Close is laid out on a pre-historic Druids site with the remains of huge
boulders, rocks, a dolmen (a megalithic tomb), a sacrificial altar and a witches kitchen. You will also find Japanese bamboo trees, magnolias, Siberian dogwood and weeping willows and a stream which can be crossed.

Druid's Cave

There was something magical about the place, as you made a wish after climbing the wishing steps. The ancient trees of the forests were something out of a storybook. It was quite interesting to see unique plants and pass a druid’s cave. I had the opportunity of visiting Stonehenge, England in 2007.

I enjoyed the druid’s cave and the witches kitchen. As well as the many photo opportunities with the old growth forest. I even got to practise framing.

Ireland, like this beautiful province has many outdoor attractions. Take some time to appreciate what is in your backyard.

Framing my Mum from Inside the Cave

Live Rural NL 0

Christopher Mitchelmore

A Last Will & Testament…

Three years ago, I was in Dartmouth, Devon County, England visiting Churches, Cemetaries and Archives in search of records from the past. My Aunt and I have taken an interest in digging into our family history and trying to map out our geneology. My great-great-great grandfather came from Europe to settle in the community I grew up and currently reside back in 1853. However, we knew nothing of his parents, extended family or reasons why he may have opted to leave.

While in Dartmouth, some of my questions were answered. However, in finding the answers certainly led to more questions. I did find tombstones with those bearing my last name as well met a person with the same last name as mine. I have been able to find the parents and siblings of my ggg-grandad bringing, extending the history to the 1720′s. Furthermore, I was told my relatives moved to a town just a few miles to the south. I will return again this November in search of more answers.

Today, I pulled out a copy of a document that was written more than 110 years ago. It is his last will & testament, which goes:

In the Name of God, AMEN:

I, T.M. being sound of mind do make this my Last Will and Testament.

I give bequeath to my two sons Austin and John, the two dwelling houses situated in G.I.C. together with the bed and bedding therein. (The house in which William Henry now lives to be his and his herein). My stores, stages, puncheons & all my fishing gear I give to my sons Austin, Henry & John:

To William I give my “Spare Bed”. I desire that my wearing apparel and all my books be equally divided among my six sons now residing in G.I.C.

I give bequeath to my three sons Austin, William Henry & John all my cattle to be equally divided between them. All my gardens & hay ground to be worked and owned by my (crossed out) the same three sons as at present. Nut should occasion arise for them to separate, then the ground in question to be equally divided between them.

I hereby revoke all former wills. Dated this 17th day of Match One thousand, eight hundred and ninety-nine.

Signed by the Testator in the presence of us, who thereupon our names in his and each others presence.

My great-great-great-grandfather left his mark, as well as another resident and a Clerk, who would be considered a Justice of the Peace today.

This is such a remarkable document to reflect upon, noting the structure of society. In the past, it is evident that the eldest children received the largest inheritance as they were to take over the family fishing enterprise of their father and continue to carry on a legacy. It is noteworthy, that consideration was given in the document to commonly share property, but if their was disagreement or separation of family members that land be equally divided. It certainly seems like a democratic way to do things. Additionally, this man had three daughters, but there is no mention of them in his will. This is not uncommon, a female living in rural Newfoundland during the 1,800′s were expected to marry and would receive an inheritance through her husband’s family. How times have certainly changed.

The house I now reside is on land used by my forefathers. The community has grown significantly as this man was the first permanent settler. There is limited land in the community for gardening and new housing developments, but new sub-divisions have been created. This man may be gone, but he has left his mark. The family tree continues to grow, with more than 1,200 names connected to its many branches. As we dig deeper, we will find additional roots and as time passes our tree will rapidly expand.

A lot can be understood about society from old letters, wills, church records and other documents. Take some time to think about where you have come from and if you too or your ancestors has experienced something truly rural.

CCM-

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