Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Little Library 'Book Barn' Project 5

Learn more about 'little libraries' at The Workshop by G. Harrison:

It's All in the Name

A 'Book Barn' of ample size has been parked inside the front door of 'Milos' Craft Beer' establishment almost since it opened over a year ago. A sign on it reads 'Little Free Library - Take a book, Leave a Book'. Message received.

I visited a coffee shop in Wortley Village recently and noticed a small space on a shelf was dedicated to  the sharing of books. A single sign read 'Take a Book, Leave a book'. I understand.

No matter what type of sign I put on these book barns I bet people will get the message. Share.

But, before I get to the signage, I have to add doors, paint this or that, and cut up trim by the yard.

More to follow.

Photos GH

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Books re Combined Operations

Below is a recent post found on 'Canadians in Combined Operations. WW2', one of Gord Harrison's new blogs:

The Watery Maze by Bernard Fergusson

Photo credit - Chartwell Booksellers

Bernard Fergusson's account (published 1961) of the four year period between the British Army being evicted from the Continent in 1940, and the landing of British and American troops in Normandy in 1944, is a full and detailed story about the origins, purpose, early raids and activities related to the Combined Operations organization. It has been said that Mr. Fergusson was "allowed free access to all the documents, archives and minutes of meetings, which have hitherto been secret."

Readers interested in Canadians who served in Combined Operations might underline some of the following, as I did:

        "Obviously two of the most urgent problems were the provision of landing ships and craft, and the crews to man them... as an illustration of the magnitude of the crew problem, the Joint Planners, in the very month of Mountbatten's appointment, had persuaded the Chiefs of Staff that our requirements in LCTs alone for the eventual invasion would be 2,250 - a figure to daunt almost anybody. And where were the crews to come from? Canada made an offer, which was gratefully accepted, of 50 officers and 300 ratings, but this was a drop in the bucket." Page 93

Much is written about Lord Louis Mountbatten, the assault on Dieppe and the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Normandy, and the book emphasizes the role of the Combined Ops organization at every turn.

Important photographs and links to other important books, for further reading, are provided.

"The story of Mulberry (harbours) is a story of its own"
One such story - Operation Neptune by K. Edwards

Link to Gord's new blog about members of the Wavy Navy who also volunteered for the Combined Operations organization

Unattributed Photos by GH

Antique Store BH 3

A recent post at one of Gord's new blogs:

What is Missing?

I have room for one more antique store birdhouse on a basement shelf.

Today I'll add the light yellow trim to 'number four', including a metal BA sign, and start the finishing touches.

Finishing touches include more signage, a back door w hinges and a door pull or latch. Oh, and a Coca Cola machine.

Busy times ahead at the old antique store.

Photos by GH

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Port Bruce

Last Sunday I visited the north shore of Lake Erie and got chased home by stormy weather.

Link to Motorcycle Miles in 'Labels' below.

And What Will the Morrow Bring? (16)

As I gradually wind down the blog It Strikes Me Funny I will continue to point readers toward my three new blogs that are consuming more of my time each week.

For example, please link here to the newest post @ FAINT FOOTSTEPS, WW2 entitled 'And What Will the Morrow Bring?'

Photo of Pennant Point by GH

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Motorcycle Miles

Port Bruce

So, I paid my motorcycle insurance bill and on a nice day during this past week I warmed up my bike and headed toward a very familiar destination, Port Bruce, on the north shore of Lake Erie about 60 kilometres SE of London.

I don't know if this will be my last year to own a motorcycle (downsizing is on my mind) but I am hoping to ride a lot this year, maybe even to the East Coast of Canada again. I sure like that long ride.

Please link to more Motorcycle Miles

Please link to 'We Were As Two Ships', my latest entry on a new blog entitled FAINT FOOTSTEPS, WW2

Photo by GH

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Passages: From The Liberation Trilogy

Passages: As Posted at New Blog

The Liberation Trilogy is one of the best sets of WW2 books I have read, and some of author Rick Atkinson's paragraphs jump off the page as worthy prose.

Below is a recent post from "Canadians in Combined Operations, WW2" my new website at wavynavy.blogspot.

Grind of a Thousand Whetstones

An Army At Dawn (The War in North Africa, 1942 - 1943), the first volume of The Liberation Trilogy by Rick Atkinson, was a book of firsts.

It was the first book in which I purposefully tried to trace my father's footsteps when he was a man of the barges during WW2. (The invasion of North Africa in November, 1942 was his first D-Day of three).

It was the first book in which I wrote 'prose' or 'prose of war' as a marginal note. I envisioned Mr. Atkinson being forcefully caught up in the words, phrases and sentences , and the events - seventy years old in 2012 -  drew breath and lived again.

I have since read others in which some paragraphs go beyond being the repository of mere facts and details, and illuminate the reader in a unique, poignant manner, but An Army At Dawn led the way. Excerpts follow.

The TORCH Plan, on Paper

   Three hundred warships
   and nearly four hundred transports
   and cargo vessels would land
   more than 100,000 troops - 
   three-quarters of them American,
   the rest British - in North Africa.

Task Force 34 would sail
for Morocco on Saturday morning.
The other armada would leave Britain
shortly thereafter for Algeria.
With luck, the Vichy French
controlling North Africa would
not oppose the landings.

   Regardless, the Allies were to
   pivot east for a dash into Tunisia
   before the enemy arrived.

An Army At Dawn, pages 30 - 31

Map of North Africa: Photo credit - Beachhead Battlefront

The Ships are Loaded

In Britain:

All the confusion
that characterized the cargo loading
now attended the convergence of
34,000 soldiers on Hampton Roads.
Troop trains with blinds drawn rolled
through Norfolk and Portsmouth,
sometimes finding the proper pier
and sometimes not.

   Sober and otherwise,
   the troops found their way to 
   the twenty-eight transport ships.
   All public telephones
   at the wharves were disconnected,
   and port engineers erected a high fence
   around each dock area...

Thousands struggled
up the ramps with heavy barracks bags
and wandered the companionways for hours
in search of their comrades.
A distant clatter of winches signaled
the lifting of the last cargo slings.

   And a new sound
   joined the racket:
   the harsh grind of
   a thousand whetstones
   as soldiers put an edge
   on their bayonets
   and trench knives.

In America:

Dawn on October 24
revealed a forest of masts and
fighting tops across Hampton Roads,
where the greatest war fleet ever to sail
from American waters made ready.

   The dawn
   was bright and blowing.
   Angels perched unseen on
   the shrouds and crosstrees.

Young men,
fated to survive and become old men
dying abed half a century hence,
would forever remember this hour,
when an army at dawn
made for the open sea in a cause
none could yet comprehend.

   as the great fleet glided past,
   dreams of them stepped, like men alive,
   into the rooms where their
   loved ones lay sleeping.

An Army At Dawn, pages 38 - 41

About those same days in 1942 my father, a Canadian member of Combined Operations (1941 - 1945) wrote, rather matter-of-factly, the following (in part):

We left Greenock in October, 1942 with our LCMs aboard a ship called Derwentdale, sister ship to Ennerdale. The 80th and 81st flotillas, as we are now called, were split between the Derwentdale and Ennerdale in convoy, and little did we know we were bound for North Africa.

I became an A/B Seaman (Able-bodied) on this trip and passed my exams classed very good. We had American soldiers aboard and an Italian in our mess who had been a cook before the war.

In the convoy close to us was a converted merchant ship which was now an air craft carrier. They had a relatively short deck for taking off, and one day when they were practicing taking off and landing. A Swordfish aircraft failed to get up enough speed and rolled off the stern and, along with the pilot, disappeared immediately. No effort was made to search, we just kept on.

One November morning the huge convoy, perhaps 500 ships, entered the Mediterranean Sea through the Strait of Gibraltar. It was a nice sun-shiny day... what a sight to behold. (pages 23 - 25, "DAD, WELL DONE")

Photos by GH

Monday, April 13, 2015

New & Improved Harrison Special

Barnboard from Fenelon Falls

 "I think all it needs now is a hydro pole"

If you like peeking inside other peoples' workshops just to see what's going on, drop by my new blog entitle The Workshop. Plans are drawn up regularly and projects soon follow. And sometimes it's the other way around!

Please link to Barnboard BH w a Twist 3 at The Workshop blog

Photos GH

Thursday, April 9, 2015

From The Workshop

Shows Promise

Not only do I think this birdhouse style shows promise, I think Gord's new blog (The Workshop by G. Harrison) does too.

Please do drop in.

Link to B & W Barnboard BH w Twist

Photo GH

Sunday, April 5, 2015

I Take Me a Trip (13)

One Good Journal

I took a journal with me during my motorcycle ride to Halifax - to bury my father at sea - in 2010. Yup, it comes in pretty handy now as I share details about the trip. Details: A lot of highs. A few lows. I got home safely. So, it was a good trip. Change that - it was a great, great trip.

Read more at Gord's new blog, Faint Footsteps, WW2.

Photo GH

The Long and Short Of It (12)

East Coast, Here I Come!

'Faint Footsteps, WW2' continues:

In 2010 I planned a motorcycle trip to the East Coast of Canada in order to bury my father at sea. My plans included a lot of to-do lists, charts and graphs. I tried to cover all the bases.

I also packed a notebook in which to record my daily adventures. I share some of the highlights and lowlights at my new blog.

Link to The Long and Short Of It 12

Photos GH

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ten Years Ago

Boston Marathon

Ten years ago this month I ran the Boston Marathon. The long, hot run was but one highlight in my long, hot and dusty running career. Ten years ago I stood 5 ft. 6 in. tall (my drivers' license said so, at the time), weighed 140 pounds and ran around London in spandex tights or shorts.

Today I stand 5 ft. 5 inches tall, weigh 155 pounds soaking wet, walk around town regularly (with a walking mate) in baggy jeans and worn-out running shoes, and am known in my family as one who can paddle a long way under his own steam.

Today's Motto: Not Much Gets Done Without Steam Work.

Link to one of my new websites, Faint Footsteps, WW2

Photos GH