Saturday, June 12, 2021

Neville on the South Shore

I haven't loaded a roll of film in a classical 35mm Populist since the last time we were together with Andy and Kristin for Yule in 2019. Although it took me until February to finish it and I had a long run with the square format Manic Expression Cube last summer, it’s been no 24x36mm for me since then.

For our first time back together, I loaded Neville and The Populist with 36 exposure rolls of Fujicolor C200. I used Neville for that last roll. Concerned about the effects of pandemic ennui, I started with him.

Every trip starts with the Mustang, this time just as far as the Appleton Airport. There are no non-stops to Boston from Milwaukee now and just about every one-stop itinerary costs about the same. There were a couple cheaper flights that routed through Atlanta or Denver, somewhere around 7 hours in the air plus layovers. We took the most covenient schedule with a layover at O'Hare.

It was nice we only had to drive 20 minutes, because it was a cold and blustery day.

It was raining fairly heavily by take-off time. These little commuter jets only fly at 12,000 ft. The plane was inside the clouds the entire way to Chicago. We came out of them going west just north of the Loop and flew past O’Hare to Elgin before we turned around to land.

The weather made it to the East Coast shortly after we did and was fully installed by the next morning.

But it was nice sitting around at Andy and Kristin's and getting to know the mysterious ball of canine energy there in front of the window.

I kept telling Andy about how I was required to operate under “Populist Rules.” You have to look for things to photograph and despite less than optimal lighting and support situations, you have to just try to take some photographs and see what happens. The coffee service area in the dining room.

A Populist that Andy made for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day last year.

We got a bit of clear sky so headed out, chauffeured about in their new Subaru.

We went for a walk in Bare Cove Park in Hingham, one of numerous former Navy bases on the South Shore. I also had the Evil Cube with me loaded with Ektar. I only made one exposure of the cove itself.

It was a little weird being in a restaurant again for the first time. We stopped at the clubhouse of the golf course a couple doors down from their home. Very clubhouse menu. Sarah actually had a club sandwich. I tried a Beyond Burger. Not bad, but then I like the bean-based veggie burgers. Everything seemed so normal. Maybe I was distracted because in a room full of windows, we were seated at the only table against a blank wall and exposures took forever. The waitress said the camera was interesting. 

We stopped at Whole Foods on the way home - quite entertaining for a small town cook from the midwest.

Later that afternoon we were entertained with what Andy and Kristin referred to as "stunt beers."

Kristin made Japanese Milk Bread and supper to go with it.

The dutch oven does double duty as a dog-proof bread box.

Greyson is a very happy beagle-like puppy who fortunately needs frequent naps and has been conditioned to take one when he's in his crate.

The next day was the first day that the mask mandate was rescinded in highest-rate-of-vaccinations-in-the-nation Massachusetts, and all the locals had booked every available destination you might want to go to on a rainy afternoon, so we hung out at home.

The rain did let up for a few minutes, so I tried to find things to photograph. They have lots of places to hang out on a nice sunny day. They have a deck just outside the kitchen door.

A brick patio with lots of comfy chairs.

They have a cloth canopy with mosquito netting, now keeping a just-assembled but not-yet-finished potting table out of the rain.

They inherited some nice perenials along the foundation. The last time we were here was over two years ago, before they blossomed. 

A very traditional pink peony.

One very spectacular yellow dripping peony politely perched on the bulkhead door.


Everything is so Historic New England along the South Shore. They get their dairy products delivered in this shiny steel box.

And now for some gratuitis abstraction.

For dinner we went to Lucca's, a pretty swank Italian restaurant, spun off from one of the classics on Hanover Street in the North End. This time it really got to me with kind of a schizophrenic ''This seems so normal"/"This is really weird" experience. Not having gone anywhere at all during the pandemic, we were constantly surprised by all the "no touch" options for things everywhere we went, usually activated by a QR code. Here we all attempt to take in the menu on our phones. Sitting right by a window, by the way. 

They brought paper menus when they heard everyone tell me to just get a newer iPhone. We got cocktails and toasted Katalin Karikó who did the basic research which led to mRNA vaccines just when they were needed most.

Andy felt his recent attempts at the Norwegian traditional flat bread, Lefse, were substandard and wanted some guidance on technique. It is something to do on a cold, rainy day. Potatoes must be boiled, peeled, riced and mixed with butter, cream and salt the night before.

The potatoes must be peeled when they are hot, which requires some expertise.

Same story with the rain the next day. We headed out intended for a microbrewery tour. Started at a lunch spot with the curious name Flanders Field. No mention of WWI. There are several large overhead doors that open onto a patio along the rear wall, of course closed in this wind and rain. The camera is on the little Joby tripod with the magnetic feet attached to one of the steel vertical tracks of one of these doors. Several of the staff thought I was trying to open it and created quite a stir. The young waitress whose shirt and sneakers appear to the right of the table was curious and asked to see the camera and how it worked.

Neville has a .15mm hand-drilled pinhole 24mm from a 24x36mm frame.

Next up, the venerable original, The Populist, finishes the tour, with a few extras from the Evil Cube. 

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