In which a historic church joins the internet, and turkey is served

St. Andrew's on Facebook

This year, the 125th of its existence, St. Andrew’s United Church in Queensborough joined the internet age with its own Facebook page. If you use Facebook (and who doesn’t?) please seek us out (the page is called simply St. Andrew’s United Church, Queensborough) and like us. You’ll get regular updates on what’s going on at our pretty little church – such as the ever-popular church suppers. You wouldn’t want to miss those!

Welcome to Monday at the Manse! In this instalment, I’ll tell you all about how I’ve got you covered when it comes to dinner this coming Wednesday, and how this great meal comes with the added bonus of some fine music and a chance to rub elbows with the friendly folks of Queensborough and area.

But first, a little tale about (and plug for) a historic country church that as of 2015 has joined the digital age, or the “information superhighway,” or whatever your preferred term is for the internet. And how, thanks to the introduction of this wondrous technology, you can keep up with what’s doing at that church from the comfort and convenience of your own laptop, phone or desktop computer. Life is good, people!

St. Andrew's by Dave deLang

St. Andrew’s United Church, in a great picture by Queensborough photographer Dave deLang.

As regular readers will doubtless have guessed, the church I am referring to is St. Andrew’s United in Queensborough. Built in 1890, St. Andrew’s is the only one of the four churches our hamlet once boasted – the others being St. Peter’s Anglican, St. Henry’s Roman Catholic and the Queensborough (or Queensboro, as it was often spelled once upon a time) Methodist Church – that is still operating. St. Andrew’s has been a very important part of the community for 125 years, the place where generations of Queensborough and area residents have worshipped, have been baptized, have been married, and, yes, have been bid farewell at funerals. As in so many Canadian churches, our congregation is smaller now than it once was (like, back in the days of my Queensborough childhood in the 1960s and ’70s, when my father, The Rev. Wendell Sedgwick, was the minister there), but it is still active, and it has grown in recent years. St. Andrew’s is a friendly, pretty and welcoming church, one that I am proud to be a member of.

So as our church prepared to celebrate its 125th anniversary this past May, I decided it was time to get the word out about the good things happening at St. Andrew’s. How best to do that? Well, I thought, since everyone and his or her cat seems to be on Facebook, that’s probably the best place. I’d never created a Facebook page before, but how hard could it be?

Not hard at all, as it turned out. I had the Facebook page up about five minutes after I started. Oh, okay, maybe 10 minutes. But still – it’s ridiculously easy.

And now historic St. Andrew’s United Church is on Facebook, and if you go to our page, which is right here, and hit the Like button, you’ll get regular updates (one or two a week – don’t worry, we won’t flood you with quotations over images of cloudscapes or anything like that) about what’s doing at St. Andrew’s. The time of the service for the coming Sunday (it’s sometimes 9:30 and sometimes 11 a.m.), special events, etc. Pretty straightforward stuff, but how exciting it is for us to have this new tool to share our news!

Turkey Supper Facebook postAh – and speaking of sharing our news, let’s get back to that food thing I mentioned. If you click on the St. Andrew’s Facebook page right now, you’ll learn that this coming Wednesday, Sept. 30, is the day of the St. Andrew’s Turkey Supper. The supper is a tradition with deep, deep roots in Queensborough, and an event at which people have been gathering to enjoy a great meal and a visit with friends and neighbours (and the new folks who show up!) for many decades.

I’ve written about our church suppers before, and you can read those posts here and here and here. In this one I recounted a bit of the history of the suppers, throwing in my happy memories of them from my childhood. But all you really have to know is that if you beetle up to Queensborough, and specifically to St. Andrew’s (the address is 812 Bosley Rd., just up the hill from the Manse) between 4:30 and 7 p.m. this coming Wednesday (Sept. 30, 2015), for the very reasonable price of $12 for adults, $6 for children aged 6 to 12, and absolutely free for kids under six, you can enjoy turkey and mashed potatoes (some peeled by yours truly) and all the trimmings in a great country-church setting. And the icing on the cake (so to speak)? The huge selection of pieces of homemade pie that will await you for dessert! Take a look at this photo, taken at our Ham Supper this past spring:

Pies at the St. Andrew's supper

Raspberry, blueberry, apple, pumpkin, pecan, choccolate, lemon meringue, coconut cream… and all homemade! What are you waiting for?

Now if that doesn’t whet your appetite, I can’t image what would. I am fairly sure that for a significant number of the people who attend the suppers at St. Andrew’s, the pie is the best part.

(Yes, you are allowed seconds. I knew you were wondering.)

Finally, there’s this: something new and wonderful will be added to the Turkey Supper in this 125th year of the life and work of St. Andrew’s in the Queensborough community. As you sit in the old pews, nicely polished by a century and a quarter of occupation, waiting for your number to be called so you can go into the church hall and eat, you will be entertained by two members of our congregation, Katherine Fleming and Carol King, who have wonderful musical gifts. Both women are well-known throughout this area for their vocal abilities, and we are so blessed to have them at St. Andrew’s. On Wednesday, whether you’re a member of St. Andrew’s or not, you will get the chance to hear them in performance.

Good music, good food and good conversation, all in a beautiful little church in a beautiful little hamlet: if that’s not worth hitting the Like button on Facebook for, I don’t know what is!


With autumn closing in, time to say so long to sweet summertime

Going fishing

Looking a bit Norman Rockwell-esque, two young Queensborough people head “down’t street,” fishing poles in hand, to go fishing on a perfect summer day. That would be summer in Queensborough at its best.

Happy almost fall, readers!

Did you know that fall officially begins this coming Wednesday, Sept. 23? No? Well, neither did I – until CJBQ radio host Jim Wright dropped that fact during this past Saturday’s broadcast of ’60s and ’70s oldies, a show that (as you can imagine, knowing as you do my feelings for that era) I love.

In fact, one of the things I love about the era of the ’60s and the ’70s is that those were the days when fall started on Sept. 21 – every year. Just as summer started on June 21, winter on Dec. 21, and spring on March 21. There was a kind of reassuring certainty about those unchanging seasonal start dates, despite the fact that blizzards were known to dump several feet of snow on the first day of “spring,” and we’d often been suffering through a weeks-long heat wave by the time summer “started” on June 21. Now that science and technology and whatnot have got us all fancy about precision when it comes to the start of the seasons (as with everything else) – well, you just never know (unless Jim Wright tells you) when autumn might officially begin. And where’s the usefulness of that? Thank goodness for Jim.

Anyway. I’ve ranted about that topic before here at Meanwhile, at the Manse, and I probably will again. Had to get it out of my system. But let’s go back to where we started: Happy almost fall!

Boxes of books

Some of the many, many boxes of books that had to be moved from Montreal to Queensborough.

I hope your summer has been long and languorous and happy, filled with family times, and perhaps with travel to new places, and with some seriously good gardening. I am painfully aware that one thing your summer has not been filled with is reading posts from yours truly here at Meanwhile at the Manse. Raymond and I have spent our summer truly, finally and completely getting our stuff  – primarily books – moved from our former home in Montreal to our new home in Queensborough. This has involved many, many long trips between the two places, much packing, much stress, much expense. I’ll spare you the details, but I hope you’ll be understanding and excuse my absence from your internet space.

And hey, here I am again! I don’t think my busy schedule will allow a return to daily posting, but I think once a week is highly doable. What do you think: does “Monday at the Manse” have a bit of a ring to it? I shall aim for a post for you every Monday (with perhaps some occasional extra posts when I can manage it or feel particularly inspired) for the foreseeable future. And hey, this is the first one!

And so now, as the air turns crisp and cool, the leaves on the trees turn to scarlet and gold – autumn closing in, as Bob Seger once sang – I’d like to show you lots of pictures of what summer 2015 has been like for Raymond and for me and for Queensborough. It was great! If you weren’t here, you missed a lovely quiet rural old-fashioned summertime. Sweet, sweet summertime, to quote Bob Seger once more. Here it is – or at least, was:

Welcome to Queensborough planter

Welcome to Queensborough! The beautiful flowers and plants at one of the entrances to our hamlet, courtesy of the Queensborough Beautification Committee. Note the Canadian flags in honour of Dominion Day.

Helping a turtle on Barry Road

Summer isn’t summer without turtles crossing the road – something we all should try to help them with, to save their lives. Here’s Raymond helping a tiny one cross Barry Road between Queensborough and Cooper.

Bee balm

Beautiful bee balm in the Manse garden. Good for the bees and pretty to boot!

Wild parsnip

Wild parsnip – a problematic, invasive plant that is, unfortunately, taking over the roadsides in our area. Watch for a future post specifically on the subject. And in the meantime, avoid touching the wild parsnip!

Johnston's before move

The interior of Johnston’s Drugstore in Madoc just before the old store on the main street that’s been there for so many years finally closed and moved to a new, larger location. Johnston’s is a truly great local family business of many decades’ standing.

New Johnston's

An employee cleaning the windows of the new Johnston’s location, just before the opening. It’s a nice big store! But it’s still sad to lose the old one.

Historic sign planter

Another beautiful planter in Queensborough, this one around the sign by the Black River telling a bit of the history of our hamlet.

Bob Hudson Queensborough painting

A lovely painting of the bridge over the Black River in Queensborough by Bob Hudson, a talented artist with strong ties to the Madoc area. This original painting is now in the Sedgwick-Brassard collection: it was my gift to Raymond on his birthday this past July 30.

Toad before disappearance

This is a toad that showed up in the Manse garden one summer afternoon and commenced to doing something quite amazing: it disappeared into the ground! See next photo …

Toad after disappearance

Can you find the toad? Neither can I! it parked itself in a corner of the garden, and proceeded to bury itself and just … disappear! I looked into it on the internet and discovered that this is actually a thing with toads. Amazing!

New Queensborough sign front

The Queensborough Beautification Committee undertook an excellent project this summer: erection of a new sign at the northern entrance to town on Barry Road. The sign was designed and made right here in Queensborough at the Pronk Canada Queensborough Machine Shop.

New Queensborough sign back

Here’s the back side of the new sign. Beautiful! And – thank you for visiting!

Ray's Famous lobster and crab salad

Raymond and I did actually take a holiday this summer – two weeks in Maine, where we love to go. Here is one supper from that vacation, Ray’s Famous Lobster and Crab Salad (one scoop of each, on top of a bed of greens). It was inspired by a similar dish at the wonderful Kennebunkport restaurant Mabel’s Lobster Claw, and Raymond pulled it off smashingly.

Dominion Day planters

The lovely planters throughout the village (with Dominion Day windmills as of July 1), installed and tended to by hard-working volunteers with the Queensborough Beautification Committee.

Colourful carrots

Colourful (and delicious) carrots from the garden of our friends and neighbours Jen and Ed. Pretty as a picture!

Farm equipment at Jos's

Kind of a classic photo of summer in Queensborough: farm equipment in for repairs at the Pronk Canada Queensborough Machine Shop – the former Sager’s General Store. Jos Pronk’s work is much appreciated by local farmers for his ability to repair all manner of equipment.

Camaraderie at Hazzard's service

The wonderful local music group Camaraderie performing at the annual summer service at historic Hazzard’s Corners Church

War of 1812 ceremony at Hazzard's

… and a ceremony honouring a War of 1812 veteran buried in the Hazzard’s cemetery that was part of the same summer service.

QCC yard sale

The giant fundraising yard sale held by and at the Queensborough Community Centre (the village’s historic former one-room school).

Moving Chuck's shed

An exciting late-summer afternoon: loading a heavy old shed from the property of our friends and neighbours Chuck and Ruth onto a big truck owned by Smokey’s Towing of Queensborough. We all came out to watch this interesting (and eventually successful) operation. Good Queensborough entertainment!

Queensborough rainbow

Full-bow rainbow over Queensborough after a midsummer rainstorm.

Croissants on the back deck

A breakfast that, sadly, Raymond and I can’t get in Queensborough (until that patisserie – French bakery – eventually opens up here): croissants and pain au chocolat with morning coffee and reading on our back deck in Montreal. Probably for the very last time, given our move to Queensborough.

Red truck at 780 de l'Epee

Raymond’s red truck in front of our former home in Outremont (Montreal), during one of our many trips back there to move stuff this summer. That’s our place with the green door.

Not-quite-ripe tomatoes

The heirloom tomatoes in our garden at the Manse that didn’t quite turn ripe and red in time for Raymond to live his dream of entering them in the vegetables category at the Madoc Fair. Maybe next year!

Fair teacups

Hey, and speaking of the Madoc Fair – you know it’s coming when the teacup ride shows up in the parking lot at the Madoc arena in mid-September.

Honey Bunny

The big news for Raymond and me at the end of this summer was the arrival of our two new kittens. Here is Honey Bunny…


… and here is her sister Teddy – who we initially thought was a male, and hence the name. Now Teddy is short for Theodora.

Tired kitties

And here are both Teddy and Honey Bunny, exhausted after a day of chasing each other around the Manse. They have brought much happiness to the Manse, which was a sad place after our beloved Sieste died at the start of the summer.

Unloading boxes of books

The end of the endless move! Just this past weekend, our books from Montreal were unloaded from the great big moving truck into our new acquisition: the historic Kincaid house next to the Manse.

Yes, people, the end of Summer 2015 for Raymond and me was the excitement of being able to become the new owners of the great old house next door, a funky place even older than our 1888 brick Manse. It is the new home of our many, many books. And one of these days we hope to restore its interior, along with that of the Manse – and maybe there’ll even be some sort of commercial enterprise there. Like, say… a bookstore? Bosley Road Books, Queensborough? What do you think?