on the evening of Thursday 26th and arriving in Churchill before 8.30am (Canada time). Jamie Christie who works for the Arts Council there, will meet us and take us to visit the Northern Studies Centre; a place where Canadian Writers can apply to have residencies. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
The great thing is - because the weather has been so calm - the water in Churchill has not yet frozen and the polar bears are still there, so we will have a guide take us around and try and spot them: it's too dangerous for visitors to go bear hunting alone. I'm so excited about this I can hardly sleep.
We're staying at The Seaport Hotel on Kelsey Blvd and on Thursday evening, Peter and I are doing readings in the library. Friday is a day for enjoying Churchill and on Saturday we are showing the Amber film, In Fading Light, a drama set in North Shields , filmed out on the North Sea and in Shields, which I was involved in making. Peter will be reading from his book, The Last of the Hunters, also set among the fishermen of Shields, and on the boats Peter worked onboard.
Later that day, Peter and I will be running workshops: me on developing stories for film and Peter on short fiction. We are both delighted to be meeting and working with the Churchill community.
We hope also to see the Northern Lights and I have purchased the Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide, put together by Annette S. Lee, William Wilson, Jeffrey Tibbetts , Carl Gawboy. The book is 'an outgrowth of Native Skywatchers research and programming...which seeks to address the crisis of the loss of indigenous star knowledge, specifically the Dakota and Ojibwe who are the native peoples of Minnesota.'
Although the information in the book isn't directly related to the Churchill area, it is fascinating and the images of the stars and constellations are stunning.
After our day's workshopping on Saturday, we take the train back to Winnipeg : 1700 miles and two days travel. The train has to go slow enough for indigenous people to flag it down if they want to get on board, part of the deal they made when the railway was built on their land. The only restriction is the length of their canoes.
As it is covered in snow here in Winnipeg right now - I have just walked to the shop in 13% below - and more is forecast, the train could easily be delayed on the journey back. And so, although there is food on board, I intend to take extra food and water, just in case.
As I read back on this, it almost seems like a dream. More, after I get back to Winnipeg...expect photos as well.