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HERE'S WHAT I"M THINKING: Quirky yard art and other opinions


You’ve got to admire the imaginations and creative handiwork of rural Maritimers, who can turn found objects into eye-catching and quirky works of yard art. 

A homeowner on the Acadian Coast in New Brunswick crafted a Harley chopper out of driftwood, while a resident of Port George, a seaside community in Annapolis County, stacked winter firewood into the shape of what appears to be a vintage Pontiac Trans-Am, complete with chrome discs. 

Then there’s the guy in Lorneville, N.S., who found a creative use for bicycles. He intertwined a dozen bikes on a gnarly tree stump in his front yard. Rubbing his chin and chuckling, the old-timer told me passers-by from all over the world have stopped to chat and take photos. 

Signs which convey amusing messages or serve as calls to action are also favoured by Maritimers. 

Residents of Beach Meadows, Queens County, placed along their stretch of road bold red signs warning of hazards – “Caution: 20-Year-Old Potholes Ahead.” The message must have landed on an influencer’s desk because the road is now expertly paved, and the cheeky signs are gone. 

A sign outside a busy seaside gift shop in scenic North Rustico, P.E.I., warns of overstaying a welcome. It reads, “15-Minute Parking. Violators Will Be Towed to Sea.” 

Another sign posted on a farm gate in the Annapolis Valley tells it like it is: “No Trespassing. Really, Really Mean Bull.” 

If Breaker readers happen upon interesting works of yard art, or amusing signage, let me know. 

Filthy all-gender washrooms 

During an enjoyable visit to a pub-style restaurant, my wife excused herself to use the washroom. 

When she returned, she was clearly annoyed, and exclaimed to me that the persons who decided public washrooms should be all-gender ought to be strung up by their opposable thumbs. 

This popular eatery used to have two washrooms, one for men, one for women. Both washrooms can now be used by anyone – men, women, non-binary, whatever. 

This one-pissoir-for-all designation does not fly with my wife, The Lovely Carolyn, who is one of the most understanding, non-judgmental and non-confrontational individuals I know.  

Disgusted with the sanitary conditions of many all-gender washrooms, Carolyn places the blame squarely on men, specifically on their, um, piss-poor aim. 

“What I don't understand is, with such a large target as the toilet bowl, and such a short distance to that target, why is the floor around the men's toilet so disgustingly wet? Not to mention the little puddles on the toilet seat,” she told me, relatively calmly. 

“Give me back my ladies room. There, the hems of my pantlegs will not soak up ‘moisture’ from the floor. There, I can expect a seat that does not have to be dried and sanitized before it is usable. There, I can take a little extra time to straighten my jacket and re-apply my lipstick without wondering if there is a lineup of impatient men waiting to pee on the floor,” she added, raising her voice. 

Wanting to support my good wife, here are words of wisdom on a sign placed above a public toilet: “Gentlemen, your aim will help. Stand closer, it’s shorter than you think.” And this one, placed above a home toilet: “If you pee on the toilet seat, I will clean it with your toothbrush. Mom.” 

I suppose toilet etiquette all comes down to practice makes perfect. 

And thank goodness a wraparound plush toilet carpet is a thing of the past. Ewww, they were nasty! 

A tip for innkeepers 

Recently my wife and I spent a night in a Charlottetown hotel, a well-known international brand. 

Placed on a table in our room was a gratuity envelope on which was printed this greeting: 

“Thank you for staying with us. Our caring room attendants enjoyed making your stay warm and comfortable. Please feel free to express your gratitude for their efforts.” 

We always leave a gratuity on the pillow, but here’s your tip, innkeeper: How about paying your “caring room attendants” a decent wage, as an expression of your “gratitude for their efforts”? 

Exit strategy a cash cow 

Why do folks leaving Prince Edward Island still have to fork out $47.75 at the Confederation Bridge toll booths, when the bridge, part of the Trans-Canada Highway, was paid off a couple of years ago? 

Two Islanders remarked that even they don’t get a price break. The young ladies, who both attend universities in New Brunswick, told me they can’t afford to go home often during the school year. 

Here’s what I’m thinking. No one should be surprised the toll is still in effect, even increased over time. Governments always seem reluctant to ease their vise-like grip on lucrative cash cows. 

Peter Simpson is a veteran journalist and former CEO who lives in rural Nova Scotia. Reach him at peter_simpson@hotmail.com 

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