(I wonder how many of you I’d lose if I wrote this post entirely in French?)
It doesn’t take much to pique my interest and a brightly-coloured house with two bright-hued dories out front along with a beautifully-textured shed sporting brilliantly-yellowed doors is bound to it, with or without a French flag and a snow tunnel. I didn’t actually notice the snow tunnel until I stopped and got out of the car for a look. Then I started seeing all sorts of marvelous little details, like the lantern, the wood pile and the French flag, which was hanging limply until a gust of wind revealed its array.
I’ve driven and run by this house repeatedly in summer and noted the colour of the residence itself. Hard not to. It’s a mental landmark on one of my longer running routes.
I had also noticed the dories out front and often thought that I should stop and snap them.
Or buy one. You can’t see it from here, but one is painted in the tricolour of the French flag. The other is the traditional yellow and green that stands out so wonderfully against the ocean and shoreline. You want your boat to be visible; it stops other boats from smacking into you and makes you much easier to find when you get stranded or capsize. Boats, like lighthouses, need to be extremely remarkable in this part of the world.
Houses or stages (that’s a boathouse/fish/storage shed built near the water and usually attached to a wharf) in Newfoundland were often trimmed (or sometimes entirely painted) with the remaining boat paint. It stands up well to salt spray, is generally oil-based and therefore isn’t destroyed when frozen and the corresponding house or shed and boat colour was a clue as to who owned what.
Templeton’s, a locally owned and run paint, paper, flooring and general decor shop in downtown St. John’s, has put together a palette of traditional and historic Newfoundland paint colours (pdf format), complete with a write-up about those colours and the traditional usage of ochre for that brilliant red colouration that was so popular historically. Well worth a look and a read-through!