Friday, August 28, 2015

Discovering Canada in One Pair of Pants 2

One Stellar Video to Boot

 "A person can paddle, pedal, jog or run around Ottawa. I chose the walk-about"

I did not have time for much of a walk-about in Perth on Thursday, August 22, just last week. It's a perfectly pretty town and I did enjoy the three-block-long walk to O'Reilly's, but I made it an early night because I had to be on the highway early next day. However, once in Ottawa I strapped on my walking shoes and hit some of my favourite streets in the free world.

Please click here for live video.

Photos and Video by GH

Discovering Canada in One Pair of Pants 1

Day 1 and 2, Perth and Ottawa

AirBNB in Perth: "I liked Garry's treasured map of Old Canada"

A recent 1,700 kilometre-long motorcycle trip - to connect with my older son David, member of (cycling) Team Steffie - took me to Perth and Ottawa and a few other memorable places before arriving in Mont Tremblant QUE. I packed light (a pair of pants, can of ravioli and camera) and noticed a few things along the way that I really liked and made my week-long trip a standout.

 "I stretch my legs during a walk-about in Ottawa"

 "The magnificent Alexandra Bridge leads to Gatineau QUE"

During Days 1 and 2 I only connected with David via email. Day 1 opportunities to say hello to one another were literally washed out by tonnes of treacherous rain and travel, and on Day 2 we travelled by different routes. He recalls his push to Montebello with excitement and I recall a day well-spent in Ottawa chasing memorable moments under threatening skies. A stop at Chez Lucien on Murray St. near Dalhousie did not hurt one bit.

 "I'm on Sussex Drive next to 'gordon harrison art gallery'"

 "Lost? No. I can find my way home from Majors Hill Park"

"Home is where The Jail Hostel is, on 75 Nicholas"

When I travel to Quebec in the future I will do some things the same, others differently. For example, I won't pass through Perth during a flood. I will book a private room at The Jail Hostel next time, but still make time for a short stop at the cozy Chez Lucien.

Link to Team Steffie Climbs 2

Photos GH

Team Steffie Climbs to Mont Tremblant 2

A Hard Day's Ride in B & W

Saturday, 10:23 a.m., August 22

Link to Team Steffie Climbs 1

Photo GH

Team Steffie Climbs to Mont Tremblant

A 500 Kilometre Trek

Photo from news - August 20

When I think back nine days to Wednesday, Aug. 19, I recall being in a hurry to pack three leather bags on my motorcycle in preparation for a hastily-planned trip to Mont Tremblant QUE. A small, select team of cyclists, Team Steffie, which included my older son David, was leaving from Lindsay the following day on a tough bicycle ride in support of  local community groups. And I intended to look for them along the way and take a few snaps while they were hard at work.

"I found the team 35 kilometres north of Montebello"

"Some team members discuss the last leg, 30-km. shy of Tremblant"

I packed my bags, booked rooms in Perth, Ottawa and Mont Tremblant (the team booked in Perth, Montebello QUE and Mont Tremblant), and set out Thursday morning for what turned out to be the ride of my life. Day 1 included torrential downpours all along Highway 7 from Peterborough to Perth and most sane motorcyclists would have bailed out and sought refuge anywhere it could be found. I pressed on, dealt with 10 per cent visibility any way I could, and - miracle of miracles - passed Team Steffie 40 kilometres shy of Perth.

My son and I were too tired to connect after the day's treacherous ride (240 km. for the team, 540 km. for me), we took different routes the next day, but we finally connected on the team's uphill trek to Mont Tremblant. Thumbs up, I say. And "Job Well Done" to the small but mighty Team Steffie.

"I did the easy work. I biked ahead, parked, and snapped photos"

"I grabbed a bag of chips, relaxed and snapped a few more shots"

"Team Steffie reached their destination at 2 PM, Saturday"

"One of my 'souvenir' photographs"

For more information about Team Steffie please go to the following links:

Unattributed Photos by GH

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Port Bruce in B&W

1970 Continental?

"I watch riders 'do the circle' while sipping coffee"

One of my favourite rides is to Port Bruce and one of my favourite spots to sit and relax once I arrive is at The Corner View restaurant, with reportedly* the best coffee in town.

"Forget the Mercedes convertible. I want the old Lincoln"

"Still, I wouldn't trade in my '94 Virago for even a Continental"

On Sunday I said to Corner View's owner, "One large coffee, please. You've got the best in town, eh."

"Have you checked all-l-l the other places?" he said, without missing a beat.

"Pretty much," I said, and realized that small town boys often speak the same language.

Link to Favourite Photos of Port Bruce, 2015

Photos GH

*I reported it so it must be true

Motorcycle Miles - Hops on Springfield Line

Ground Dwellers?

Cascade and Mt. Hood hops climb the sisal ropes on Mr. Hayhoe's hop farm, situated south of Mt. Salem on Springfield Line, within a hop, skip and a jump from my favourite landing spot - Port Bruce, Ontario.

"Why plant hops between the rows without ropes to climb?"

"Hop cones have a delicious aroma. Rub one between your palms"

I'm guessing that the hops on the ground, neatly planted between the rows of poles and cables, are for shipping to others who want to grow hops. My own hops, hugging my backyard fence, originated in a friend's yard, and he just dug up a mass of stems and roots and handed them to me in a plastic pot.

So, if you want to grow a few hop vines, call me for better directions.

1-519-HOP-FARM. Just kidding. I'm in the London Directory, and live on Cathcart St.

Link to more Motorcycle Miles

Photos GH

Monday, August 17, 2015

Motorcycle Miles - Hops Ripen on the Vine

Springfield Road South

On Tuesday, June 9, I spotted a long field of hops on Springfield Line, about a kilometer south of Mt. Salem as well as north of the Nova Scotia Line (which links Port Bruce and Port Burwell). What I noticed at the time was this: The infrastructure for growing hops (i.e., telephone poles, sturdy cables, sisal twine) overshadowed the new network of vines. Yesterday I returned to the long field and the reverse was true. The vines have shown good growth.

After snapping a number of pictures I hopped back onto my motorcycle and was soon sipping a strong cup of coffee at The Corner View restaurant, situated on Port Bruce's main corner.

Link to Motorcycle Miles - A Hop Farm (June 9, 2015)

Photos GH

Custom Shelf 10 - Vintage Trim

Trim From the Top of the Pile

"One last piece to go on the front... lower right"

Shelves are in place, made from rustic cedar rescued last year from Joe Flagler's dock demolition. And because I have more of the fine lumber on hand (yeah, a lot more), I turned some of it into strips of trim and put it all in place on Saturday afternoon.

Now it's time to think about the finish line. I'll apply a coat of wood cleaner, then concoct a jar of colour-rich finish (thinner + stain), and some type of final wax or varnish coat for the table top. Exciting, shiny times ahead.

Link to Custom Table 9

Photos GH

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Birdhouse Sales

I Pack Quickly

Every once in awhile I pack up a few dozen birdhouses and head off to try selling a few at a community get-together, like Gathering on The Green (London), Art in the Park Strathroy), Harvestfest (Lambeth) or at the end of my driveway (Cathcart St.). I stuff birdhouses in boxes and transport them to my Honda Civic, but not until I've stopped off at our dining room table where I stick a price tag on top.

Some will say, "Why, $30, that's a good price for such a lovely birdhouse."

Others will say, "What!? A 1,000 bucks! You're kidding me, right?"

After busy weeks in the workshop I like to have some fun, eh.

Link to Houses in Space

Photos GH

Houses in Space

High in the Sky

"I was walking home late last Friday..."

"...and recalled birdhouses that filled a tree"
(Photo from Wikipedia Commons

It seems some humans and birds like a compact community.

Link to The Workshop by G. Harrison

Top Photo GH

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Workshop

Closing Time

"Lotsa things on the go... for tomorrow"

What will I work on first on the morrow? The shelf unit or the six cedar birdhouses, the funky models with curved roofs or the little free library? I'll think about it while giving the shop a good sweep.

Link to Comox Navy Base, WW2

Photos GH

Comox Navy Base, WW2

Invasion Exercise at Givenchy III

 "I took this photo while walking toward downtown Comox, May 2015"

I visited Comox, B.C. in May of this year and had full, busy days of hiking and kayaking on and near The Spit as well as learning more information about Givenchy III, the home or site of WW2 Combined Operations training grounds on The Spit, formerly RCN base Naden III, currently HMCS Quadra (Sea Cadets). Newspaper reports from May 1944 tell me that my father, a member of both RCNVR and Combined Ops, would have been busier still. An invasion exercise, followed by a carnival, filled one of his many weekends on the base from January 1944 - September, 1945.

"Navy members assisted w building Comox Legion, foreground"

"Comox and Courtenay (left) are minutes apart by car"

Microfiche files at the Courtenay Library and hard copies of the Comox Valley Argus newspaper provided me with a lot of useful information regarding his stint (in part, as an instructor of seamanship skills) at the training camp after two years of HO or Hostilities Only in Europe. After his participation in training exercises and assaults related to raids and invasions at Dieppe, North Africa, Sicily and Italy, my father found Comox and Courtenay to be like heaven on earth.

"One month before the invasion of France. Note large landing craft, background"

"Leading Seaman Coxswain D. Harrison
would have been in the thick of the action"

"Dad would have liked the price of a cuppa coffee in 1944"

Link to Checking Out The Spit

Photos GH

Monday, August 3, 2015

Checking Out The Spit

At Comox Navy Base, Vancouver Island

 "Who is more curious? The alpaca or me?"

One early morning in May I tramped - in an adventurous frame of mind - from my lodgings in Comox to The Spit (site of WW2 Combined Operations Training School; now HMCS Quadra, Sea Cadet training). I made a few stops along the way in order to say hello to a curious alpaca and snap pictures of The Spit as I approached now familiar beaches and a small bay.

In Canadian Navy terms the site is an important part of Canada's WW2 effort and achievement. Young sailors were trained in the ways of Combined Ops (seamanship and gunnery skills, assault landing techniques on flat-bottomed landing craft) prior to, for example, the invasion of Normandy, France. 

"View from barracks beach' on The Spit, Comox
Photo from Sailor Remember, pg. 92

"The 2 km.-long spit of land was a heavenly home for
Canadians in Combined Operations for about two years"

After D-Day Normandy the amount of training slowed dramatically and attention was turned to the Pacific War. Before my father was discharged from his many duties (e.g., instructor, coxswain) he was asked to volunteer for action against Japan, but he, along with his closet five buddies, refused. Together they returned to Hamilton by train and were discharged from RCNVR, the Wavy navy, on the same day, September 5, 1945, one day before my dad's 25th birhday. He was back to work at the Norwich Co-op within a month, but he never forgot his buddies or The Spit.

Link to more about Combined Ops

Unattributed Photos by GH

Favourite Sketch, 2015

Disappearing Birdhouse

Materials used - water, brush.

The water sketch vanished in 60 seconds.

Link to Favourite Photos Port Bruce, 2015

Photo GH

Favourite Photos of Port Bruce, 2015

April 19, 2015

From Gord's 'motorcycle journal: "2nd ride (in 2015), started out warm enough but cool weather w rain arrived while I took photos @ Pt. Bruce. I outran most of the rain, home by 2:30 - 2:45, very cold, slight damp! Not a pleasant ride vs the wind. Still, lovely photos Pt. Bruce."

Link to Vintage Medicine Cabinet 1

Photos GH