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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Porches

Winter has us in its grips now, and we do everything we can to heat our home efficiently. This past autumn, we installed a new door and storm door, although a porch keeps in the heat as well.



The porches of homes in our birthplace of Newfoundland are important. The prominence of porches there is connected to the elements which can be harsh. Porches separate the main living area of the house from the outdoors, like a weather or wind break. Years ago they also served as storage areas for wood or supplies. 

Weather is an important part of the culture and lifestyle of Newfoundland because so much of what people did, the fishery, hunting, or harvesting wood, depended on weather conditions. Even today, you consider the weather as you plan your day or look ahead at the week. However, the best laid plans can be foiled because like most of eastern Canada, the weather can change in a few minutes. "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes," is a common saying in Newfoundland and other parts of Atlantic Canada.

As a result of the often harsh conditions, homes in Newfoundland are designed for the elements. Whether it is a room attached to the outside of the house or the entry part of the interior of the home, a porch is almost essential to any Newfoundland dwelling.

However, it is common to hear the word 'nar' with reference to porches. Nar means no, and is used to qualify items such as, "We caught nar fish today," or, "I got nar cigarette." But it is the use of nar with the word porch, a room which provides an entry to the house, which is most curious. 

The importance of the porch to the Newfoundland home is understood by the saying,

"The worst thing you can have on your house is nar porch." 

True.

19 comments:

  1. How interesting! I would guess that any harsh environment requires a buffer zone between the elements and the living area. :-)

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    1. Even igloos have a little porch on the front.

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  2. Oh crikey, my house has got nar porch. But I have a big sheltered front verandah, does that count?

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    1. Some people would call the veranda a porch. A porch in this case is completely out of the elements.

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  3. And I thought it was cold here this evening! Looking at your picture makes me realise what cold really is.

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    1. We are in the middle of a storm today. We lost shingles on our roof again this week. We had some repaired just a few weeks before Christmas.

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  4. You got the use of nar from the Scots I suspect. They construct language in a similar fashion.

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    1. Could be. There were Scottish immigrants to Newfoundland, though not in numbers like the Irish I think.

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  5. Love learning....
    And I love the photo showing the snow and the barrier between the cold and the interior portion of your home.

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    1. Porches are very valuable in Prince Edward Island as well.

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  6. Very interesting.I enjoy learning a little about a culture of your country.
    My sister's home has a porch as the lovely interior of her home, and also she says it is a good security. A thief has to break two of the keys to enter the room.

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    1. There was a time when Newfoundlanders didn't lock their doors. This is the case even today in many small communities. Now we keep our doors locked here in PEI as well.

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  7. Hi,again,
    I forgot to say. I have started reading Anne of Green Gables by Montgomery as my textbook at our English class. Just some parts picked up though. Reading original one is difficult but fun.

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    1. How nice that you are reading about our Anne. She is famous world wide for sure. We have travelled in various parts of the world and people mention the Anne books when we say Prince Edward Island. It is amazing to us. Enjoy!

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