Friday, August 31, 2012

$$ FAX 11: “Downsize the Dream”

Retirees are planning to work longer because the Canadian Dream is becoming unaffordable.

Questions: 1. What did boomers spend all their money on if they can’t retire after 40 years?

2. If boomers don’t give up their jobs, how will the next generation live once their expectations are dashed?

Answers: 1. Larger-than-life lifestyle.

2. Small lifestyle, perhaps in parents’ basement. 

[Photos of Aug. 21, London Free Press by G.Harrison]


Please click here to read $$ FAX 10

Discovering the World in One Pair of Pants

Gord’s adventures in one pair of pants will now appear at the following website:

Brilliant idea!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

$$ FAX 10: “We’re short”

We Canadians are crummy savers.

And too many of us bought into big homes, excess furnishings, expensive cars, plus more. Much much more.


Reduce spending. Pay down debt. Save money, even $1 per day to create the habit.

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here for $$ FAX 9

This Old Economist: “Do we share wealth fairly?”

Some Canadian job sectors grow wealthier.

Is Canada’s wealth shared fairly?

E.g., between private and public sectors, the two arms of a strong country?

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here for more This Old Economist

(3) Discovering the World in One Pair of Pants


Round trip: London to Port Bruce

“I stopped several times for water and butt breaks.”

More PHOTOS FROM ALONG THE WAY are found at my other website

Please join me there for the continuing story, Discovering the World in One Pair of Pants

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

(2) Discovering the World in One Pair of Pants

London to Port Bruce, four days, by bicycle

I settled on lunch under a shady tree at New Sarum Diner at 12:45.


CHAPTER TWO   -   A detour and a free lunch   

I left my house and my anxious wife (“What will I do with all my free time, now that he’s gone?” she wondered.) at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, the 24th of August, and headed to a nearby bike shop to buy pedals with toe clips, but I found it was closed, so I past some time by pumping up the tires on my bike and heavily-loaded trailer, and tapping my feet. 

In all I waited about 15 minutes but couldn’t wait any longer because the thought of riding 60 kilometers weighed heavy on my shoulders, as did the extra pounds of gear I had behind me... compared to a similar trip earlier in the summer. (My large can of Irish Stew with its ‘preformed chunks of meat’ alone felt like five pounds of excess cargo during the first two blocks of pedaling. I decided to keep it on board anyway, along with a lot of other stuff I used once - or not at all - during four days of camping. My packing skills are a work in progress).

“Forget about the pedals,” I said and headed south toward Bradley Avenue, Pond Mills and Wilton Grove Roads. They led me to my favourite route south to Lake Erie, i.e., Old Victoria Sideroad.

Though Old Vic has a few sections still in gravel (the road isn’t called ‘Old’ for no good reason), the hard-packed dirt is a decent ride and the lack of traffic is a welcome relief. When motorcycling to Port Bruce in the past I often used the road at low speed for sight-seeing. I once spotted elderberry bushes in bloom and another time wild turkeys on the run - nearly 50 miles per hour it seemed - in harvested corn fields.

On this day I found it closed due to construction.

[My favourite route is closed]

“Darn it all,” I said, though not politely. “Now I’ll have to take the Belmont Road to New Sarum (on Highway 3).”

On the plus side I would have all paved roads. On the minus side I would have heavier traffic, more noise - compared to birds - and less solitude. And I like solitude. I like stepping off the bike in quiet spots and listening to the wind in the willows, chirp of golden finches and quietness of wide open spaces.

[Sometimes, on a quiet day, I hear corn grow]

Not today, I thought. At least, not until I get to Quaker Rd. south of Highway 3.

My trip diary - it’s always close at hand - records the following: I continued east (RATS!) on Wilton Grove Rd. = busier, w chewed up shoulder. Belmont Rd. was OK w shoulder and I arrived in Belmont @ 11:50 but pressed on (w 2 major hills) to Mapleton. Made good time so settled on lunch under a shady tree @ New Sarum Diner @ approx. 12:45.

According to my well-organized ‘camping menu’, which I kept on a separate piece of paper in my wallet (close to my money, as if to say, “Go easy, man. Stick to some sorta budget”), I planned to buy myself, as some kind of reward for endurance, a nice lunch at the New Sarum Diner, the home of ‘four-penny cheese’ in the not-too-distant past. 

[I planned every meal. But didn’t stick to it!]

But my wife had packed a lunch for me so I relaxed in the shade outside the diner, stuffed my face for free and put the frustration of the detour behind me.    

[In the shade, outside the diner]

Note to readers: I wrote a column in The Londoner (London’s finest community newspaper) several years ago re the New Sarum Diner and their world famous ‘four-penny cheese’. If it wasn’t world famous then, it is now. 

When I find a link to the actual column I will provide it. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

Please join me soon for CHAPTER THREE  and more PHOTOS FROM ALONG THE WAY.

[Photos by G.Harrison]

Please click here to read CHAPTER ONE

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

(1) Discovering the World in One Pair of Pants


Round trip by bicycle: London to Port Bruce, Ontario. 125 km. 

August 24 - 27, 2012

Cycling with too much weight is hard work


CHAPTER ONE   -   Why cycle to Port Bruce?

Why ride a bike over 60 kilometers to an almost-forgotten old fishing port I’ve visited one hundred times already? Good question. 

But why not? It’s guaranteed to be quiet and peaceful, and several flavours of ice cream are sold at the Sand Kastle restaurant. Good answer.

I like travelling no matter the method. By foot, bicycle,  canoe, motorcycle, train or plane. I like travelling a short distance for a few hours (e.g., through Chicago by foot or to Lake Erie by bicycle) or a long distance for several hours (e.g., to Switzerland by plane). The rewards are plentiful along the way and more await at my destination.

[The beach at Port Bruce]

I’m a willing traveller who likes to pack (often too much), unpack, take walk-abouts and scores of pictures and talk to complete strangers when I’ve had enough time playing quiet observer. I like learning a few new things each day away from home and then packing up for the return trip.

I like trying to pack light (one pair of pants) and hanging onto my money. My favourite souvenirs are rocks, tans and photos.

A few days ago (August 24) I bicycled to Port Bruce in order to camp for three nights, read at the beach and enjoy a King Burger at the Sand Kastle. Now that I’m home, and after much careful thought and several complicated mathematical calculations (including one Venn diagram), I give the trip a score of 8 out of 10. 

[Miele bike, CCM trailer and me, ready to go]

About the score: The weather was great, I couldn’t ask for better, I felt my bones relax, and though the broken sign that read “Are Strictly Prohibited On The Beach” probably referred to Alcoholic Beverages, the first cold beer I drank under the spreading arms of twin scrub trees tasted absolutely great. And if it was illegal then it tasted even better. However, a few snags appeared along the way, as did the cold nose of a frisky dog - almost inside my shorts - when least expected.

Please join me for CHAPTER TWO  and more PHOTOS FROM ALONG THE WAY.

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here for Zoom w a View, from Port Bruce

Zoom w a View: Port Bruce

While out and about on my bicycle in Port Bruce, Ontario last weekend - all part of my plan to ‘discover the world in one pair of pants - I spotted a man my age enjoying the water as the sun was setting.

[“Two paddlers and one castle builder”]

I would have joined the man and his pooch for a short dip but I was eating ice cream at the time.

[Photo by G.Harrison, Aug. 24]


Please click here for more Zoom w a View

Friday, August 24, 2012

Massey Hall, Toronto

I was very surprised to catch my first glimpse of Massey Hall shortly after parking near St. Michael’s Hospital last Saturday. (It was my second surprise within 5 minutes. Parking only cost me $7.)

["Real cutlery. Real plates. Real good music."]

Actually, surprise surprise surprise. The two buildings are directly across the street from one other, and I had been talking only a few days earlier about visiting Massey Hall after seeing a film made there (featuring Neil Young).

The music hall is definitely a distinctive, significant building, and while taking a few other photos it offered up one more surprise.

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here for Zoom w a View

Gord is now bicycling to Port Bruce, and will continue to 'discover the world in one pair of pants'.

I'll drop by on Tuesday morning... after catching up on Coronation Street.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Photo Poser 12

The answer to Photo Poser 11 is ‘Meadowlily Bridge’.

Today's poser: In what city would the following set of eyes (or pretty face) be staring at me as I walked toward a hospital on Shuter St.?

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here to view Photo Poser 11

Climate Change Concerns PT 2: “Scrap loose change”

A controversial idea - to add iron to the oceans and ultimately, hopefully, suck carbon right out of the air - is making the rounds.

[“Seeding the ocean with iron has PROS and CONS”]

Fertilizing the ocean doesn’t sound as easy or as efficient as simple conservation, cutting back on goodies, living small, reducing spending, saving loonies or loose change in a jar, etc.

However, conservation has its controversies or problems as well. I mean, how does one shift two or three generations of people from “bigger is better” to “smaller is saner?”

How can one develop the habit of throwing loose change into a jar, or savings account, after years of living like a high roller?

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Friday, August 17, 2012

Bicycle London: “Time for a spin”

Cut the grass, bag up a few beets for my brother, and take out the old ’51 CCM for a spin. Sweet ‘to-do list’.

I’ve got a nice afternoon for it.

[Photo by G.Harrison]


Please click here for Zoom w a View bicycle style.

Climate Change Concerns PT 1: “Scrap iron”

[“Iron out our problems?” August 16, London Free Press]

Should we add iron to our oceans - to sink CO2 to the ocean floor, maybe - or try something easier and proven to be far more effective? 

[“Is there an easier way to reduce carbon?”]


[CONS: “There’s so much we don’t know, but...”]

But, surely there’s an easier, effective way to reduce carbon. Hmmmm... scratchin’ my chin here.

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here for more Climate Change Concerns.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

It Strikes Me Funny: “Retired. Now cooking beets”

Shortly after I found them I sliced them up and put them in a pot to steam. Retirement is great, eh?

Not only do I have time to cook beets but I feel free to say “yes” to Neil Young.

Can't beat that!

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here for more It Strikes Me Funny

Yoga Mat 10: “Squeeze in a good book”

Have you read ‘H.M.C.S.’?

Squeeze it in between apples and sandals when you can.

[yoga mat by g.harrison]


Please click here for yoga mat 9

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Zoom w a View: 1951 was a very good year

Q: So, how did this ‘new old bike’ find its way home?

A: One of my last columns with a community newspaper inspired a reader to go hunting.

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please read “Retired. Now cycling” for more details.

IT STRIKES ME FUNNY: “Retired. Now cycling.”

Since retiring from The Londoner (community newspaper) three weeks ago I’ve had more time to doodle - and work at other important projects. As well, one of my last columns linked me to a new hobby.

When I’m not writing ‘Bury Me At Sea’ or smacking nails into a new birdhouse I’m riding around on my new red CCM bike. It's from 1951. So, "new old bike" is more appropriate.

I tip my hat to neighbour Derrick D. Great find. Great work.

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here for more It Strikes Me Funny

$$ FAX 9: “Live smaller”

It’s hard to save money. Prices are up and there are so many temptations. Half-heartedness abounds also.

Survey says that young Canadians (age 18 - 44) are the worst savers. 

I say, “Start the habit. $1.00 a day for starters.” 

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here to read $$ FAX 8

doodle 12: “Pro crastinator”

The grass has riz. Again! So, I’m doodling.

I’m getting very good at putting things off ‘til next Tuesday.

[doodle by g.harrison]


Please click here to view doodle 11

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Best Seller: “Bury Me At Sea” 2

Admittedly, my next book isn’t finished yet. Best seller? We’ll see, won’t we? Let’s get past months of research first.

Legion magazine is a good resource for information related to WW2, in my opinion, and it also is home to creative artwork.

The fellow tossing his coffee reminds me of my dad while in Sicily or Italy, circa 1943.

This stuff is too strong!

I say, “Hey, Dad. When in Rome...”

Research is interesting work. 

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here for "BURY ME AT SEA" 1

Thumbs Up: Link to Maple Leaf Up

While searching for information about Gilbert A. Milne, RCN photographer and author of H.M.C.S. (connected to research for Bury Me At Sea), I came across a unique, interesting website related to the First Canadian Army, WW2. (War stories, photographs, useful links to Library and Archives in Ottawa, and much more)

Home address of Maple Leaf Up

Maple Leaf Up provides excellent descriptions for Milne’s photos. 

Example from their website:

LAC caption: View from LCI(L) 306 of the 2nd Canadian (262nd RN) Flotilla showing ships of Force 'J' en route to France on D-Day, 6 June 1944, English Channel.

MLU note: RCN photographer Gib Milne takes this photo from the bridge of LCI 306, looking over the bow at the other LCI headed towards Normandy. Each LCI carries an anti-aircraft dirigible overhead. Note the cable heading skyward from the bow of this LCI. Also note the bow gun is still covered. LCI 306 looks like it's coming into the strict line of the LCI convoy in front.

The men of the HLI in the photo above are still dressed casually so this must be very early in the morning. Sunrise at the latitude of Portsmouth at this time of year was about 4:50 a.m. since the southern coast of Britain is at the same latitude as northern Newfoundland. Note the white censor marks on the shoulders. Other men would be sleeping in the bunks below deck which is through the white door.

(Photographer: Gilbert Milne; Library and Archives Canada a137014)

If you have an interest in WW2, visit Maple Leaf Up.


Please click here to visit Dad’s Navy Days

Yoga Mat 9: “Lulu who?”

Is Lululemon...

... the lemon of choice?

[yoga mat by g.harrison


Please click here to view the Batman Pose

Monday, August 13, 2012

Notes re my next best seller: “BURY ME AT SEA” 1

The title seems to fit well with my next book, now underway. “Bury Me At Sea” in quotation marks, as if spoken by my father, lines up with “Dad, Well Done”, in quotation marks as well (as if I said the words), and the title of an earlier book concerning father’s Naval memoirs.

While pecking away at the first chapter this morning a book arrived in the mail from California. I.e., H.M.C.S. - One photographer’s impressions of the Royal Canadian Navy in World War II, by Gilbert A. Milne.


Gilbert Milne passed away in Toronto in 1991

One of Gilbert’s camera bags survives

My oldest sister presented H.M.C.S to Dad in 1965

The book may be one of the motivating factors that prompted dad to ask to be buried at sea

A quote from the book, read this morning and which I’ll now use to begin the first chapter, is likely very, very true.

The quote:

Yet I venture to say that so long as memory lasts, the recollection of these great days will be with them, and along with the consciousness of duty done, they will carry in their hearts forever the image of a gallant ship and the spell of the great sea.” Angus L. Macdonald, House of Commons

When dad asked to be buried at sea in the early 1980s (at the age of 60 - 65, my own age at the present time), his voice was filled with passion. He really meant it. I knew it was very important to him but I  never made any plans at that time to help him with his request.

And something my mother said stacked the odds against a burial at sea as well.

[Photos of HMCS by G.Harrison]


Please click here for more about Dad’s Navy Days

It Strikes Me Funny: “Penny for your thoughts”

One of the Conservative Government’s penny saving ventures will be delayed. PM Harper has decided to produce the iconic Canadian penny until after Christmas.

Then, after that, exciting new transactions will take place at cash registers across the land!

And we’ll all save millions!

Well... we’ll maybe save $11 million, minus the cost of all the new nickels Mr. Harper will have to produce.

How much will that cost us? The PM will never say.

And since nickels cost more to produce than pennies, we could actually lose money (as well as the iconic penny) for years to come.

Welcome to Harperville!

Penny for your thoughts.

[Photos by G.Harrison]


Please click here for more It Strikes Me Funny

Please click here for more Welcome to Harperville