Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Different Prince or How I Spent 'The Wedding' Day

An early riser only in the most exceptional cases, I knew a 4 or 5 am wake–up was not going to happen last Friday. By the time I’d bathed and washed my hair the happy couple were leaving Westminster Abbey.

Besides I had other plans. By 10 am my friend Pauline Duguay and I were on the road to Prince Edward Island, a trip we had been planning for some time. The 12.9 km foot bridge soared ahead as we approached under cloudy skies.

Pauline owns one of my very favourite shops –Boutique Recycl’ Art & Antiques on John Street in Moncton. This shop is a visual delight, every space on two floors filled with furniture and useful and decorative items from past decades. I've written aboout the shop in a previous series 'My Favourite Places' ( and it was one of my choices in my feature 'Shops etc' for Style at Home, October 2010.
A 1930’s building, formerly a grocers and barbershop with an upstairs apartment, it is a perfect, creative and artistic example of today’s mantra: ‘Reuse, Restore, Recycle’. Whenever anyone asks her what’s new in the store, Pauline always says “Nothing; everything I have is old, some of it’s made new again.”

These days ‘useful’ pieces are eagerly sought. Armoires, cupboards, shelves, tables with drawers and shelves leave her store as fast as she can find them. Pauline spends hours stripping, sanding, and refinishing with stain or paint and says she loves it. She sources items from all over the Maritimes and New England, which is why we headed to the Island where she knows all the dealers and craftspeople.

As always on these trips Chester, a poodle-terrier mix and the shop’s welcoming mascot accompanied us. He loves an adventure, supervises well and wanders easily round all the shops, content while Pauline discovers old treasures big and small.

Friday is my only ‘free- for me day’  and we were lucky with the weather. It’s years since I had been to the Island and was amazed at the spring-greenness of it compared with gardens and fields in the Moncton area. We visited Victoria-by-the-Sea, a charming coastal village before heading to Summerside.

It was too early for most seasonal cafes to be open so we settled for a first-time-for-me lunch at Wendy’s. Being vegetarian fast food is not big on my menu but I was happy with a baked potato and a small salad.

Next stop was to see Wayne, a craftsman who builds custom cupboards from old wood. With Chester guiding we loaded a seven-foot entertainment centre into the trailer, plus another cupboard painted a soft blue and a small bench.

The sun was now shimmering on the water and a visit to Robert Coulson’s antiques shop unearthed some good finds. A deco glass fronted bookcase, a yellow glass water set, a pair of delicate wine glasses and assorted china and earthen ware. I found a large bowl painted with colourful fruit, just right for my yellow and green kitchen, and a decorative silver plated spoon.

With the back of the van almost full we made one more visit, stopping on the way to take in a typical PEI wide open landscape.

BC Antiques in Kensington yielded a lovely cabinet and a perfect-for-two love seat. But as we did not have room for them, they will be picked up on another trip to Prince Edward. Meanwhile back at the shop Chester was well-pleased with his day, as were Pauline and I.

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