Properly attired in sturdy shoes and several warm layers of plaid and denim (a very Canadian thing, eh), I walked downtown to pick up hockey tickets recently and saw - lo and behold - me and a future apartment for my wife and I. (Okay. That's if I can convince her. Not easy!)
["The Jail Birds: These downtown condos are small and cozy"]
["Ye Olde Courthouse: I've got my eye on the upstairs apartment w balcony"]
Getting into fun and fitness walks while living in Downtown London would be easy. I'd just walk to Wortley Village for coffee and groceries every second day. Every day if my wife hands me a list.
["It's a long way to Inveraray. Rain drops keep falling on my head"]
Geoff and Margaret Slee of Edinburgh picked me up in their car early Monday morning and whisked me off to Inveraray. Though the day was overcast, dreary and drizzly, I felt (and Geoff said) it was the kind of day my father and his mates - from many Allied nations during WW2 - would have grown quite used to as they trained at HMS Quebec (Navy base) on Loch Fyne, a few minutes by car south of Inveraray.
["Troops sent to Inveraray would get off the train at Arrochar and Tarbet"]
["From Arrochar troops would be trucked on a long and winding road"]
["Veterans would long remember their first views of Inveraray"]
["The west side of the main street"]
["My father and mates would have been familiar with the east side too"]
I caught a sense of how rigorous the training was (in assaults and landings) undergone by Army, Navy and RAF personnel during the 1940s, thanks to the poor weather, harsh temperature of the loch and rugged countryside. But thanks to warm hospitality offered by local Scots and the undeniable beauty of the surroundings, time spent Scotland by Combined Ops trainees, Commandos, etc., would have been well remembered - as it is by me.
["The Navy drill hall still stands at the former HMS Quebec site"]
["A significant memorial to the members of Combined Operations"]
["The former HMS Quebec site is now home to a caravan park"]
["A few buildings and cement ramps still remain from the wartime era"]
["Seventy years ago assault landing craft filled the loch"]
["I will soon fly back to Scotland for more 'look-arounds and walk-abouts'"]
My first trip to Scotland was a door-opener and I will undoubtedly return for more and clearer 'look-arounds and walk-abouts' in the future. The desire to follow faint footsteps still holds me in its grasp.
Readers may know I am not fussy about squirrels because they occasionally lodge over winter in my attic and eat seed from - and lay siege to, the fuzzy brutes - my bird feeder. I've considered buying dynamite but that comes with some issues.
However, I was recently asked to make two nesting boxes for a person who rescues injured animals and wishes to provide a sanctuary of sorts for squirrels. (If only the little beggars would stay in this person's yard and not visit or nest in mine!)
["I am well underway, more to follow, hopefully not more squirrels"]
So............. after considerable thought ("Again, how far away do you live?").............. I said I would build the boxes. More progress re these projects will be posted here soon.
FYI I found it interesting that plans for nesting boxes exist online and many come from the UK and the southern USA. In both those places, as I learned in the past, squirrel meat commonly appears on menus and in butcher shops right beside the pork chops.
I recently finished reading Breuer's book entitled Storming Hitler's Rhine (very good - link to details) and discovered - on the back fly leaf, thus proving the value of reading everything a book has to offer - the title of another book he'd written a year or two earlier, i.e., in 1983, forty years after D-Day Sicily, aka Operation Husky, an invasion in which my father participated. I immediately ordered it via Abebooks.com and, voila (!), it arrived yesterday.
Breuer also participated in WW2, is a solid writer, and though he doesn't fully highlight the role of Canadian divisions in his books as much as American, he at least mentions them, more than can be said for other non-Canadian writers.
'Halifax and Another Hard Promise' (BW version) approaches its completion date. Today I assemble 'a story in photos', about a wee boat in which my dad was buried at sea, then move on to the last few bits and bites.