Monday, February 29, 2016

Carry On Gang 31 "Rosy Cheeks on Monday"

First 3 Miles Into the Wind

"I got sun burn on Sunday and wind burn on Monday" 

"Rosy cheeks match my old running jacket"

Because of the wind, today's 6-miler was hard on the way out and easy on the way back. A fellow in Greenway Park, testing a wide kite, almost took off over my head. He would have been the first man ever to join Canada Geese on their flight path over the Greenway Pollution Plant. How exciting is that!

Photos from along the way:

From Sunny Sunday -

"Walkers, bikers, runners and skaters filled popular walkways on Sunday"

From Windy Monday -

"The same pathways - I had them to myself most of the way"

Photos GH

Avocado 28 "Guacamole is Years Away"

Guacamole Coming Soon?

Admittedly, fresh guacamole is years away but still my interest in the avocado plant runs high. Now that the crown is growing before my eyes, I check in each morning.

Lessons Learnt - Go slow and enjoy the view, I say.

Link to Avocado 27

Photos GH

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Avocado 27 "A Short History" (10 Years?)

Do You Grow Avocados?

"The first stem supports the secondary stem"

In answer to the question above, I say, if not, you should, it's relatively easy if you don't mind waiting almost forever for your first batch of fresh guacamole.

It seems like I waited a year before the pit gave birth to its first stem. I waited another year before the stem reached six inches. Then I was informed I must snip it off!

"The secondary stem is about 12 in. tall and supports the third"

I feels like I waited another year or so before the secondary stem sprouted healthy leaves. And once it reached a certain height (Was it six inches? It's so long ago I forget) I was told to pinch out the centre sprout.

Then, I think I waited another year or so before a third stem sprouted. And sprout it did, in a very dramatic fashion, and each week I notice some change. At this time I see four new leaves are unfolding, and at such a pace I can barely keep up with progress notes.

"Lookit this! The third, or tertiary stem, is the Belle of the Ball"

I feel that when warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours arrive, this baby is going to take off.

Link to Avocado 26

Photos GH

Friday, February 26, 2016

Carry On Gang 27, "My Favourite Indian Motorcycle"

A Great Motorcycle and a Long Haul

"Sure, I'll start savin' up right away!"

On Thursday Don and I headed toward the downtown - for no reason other than that was the way our noses were pointed - and I spotted my favourite motorcycle inside a small coin shop on Talbot Street. The 1913 'mint' Indian was for sale but I didn't have the $50,000 on me so I had to be satisfied with a photo. We also stopped at an art shop and walked through the new and improved London Music Hall but the Indian was the highlight of my day.

"Good walks in good weather. Good biking in bad weather"

Today was bright and cheery and I made good time while covering six miles from my front porch to the Thames Valley Golf Course bridge and back. By good time I mean I walked at about 3 MPH the whole way and had a good chat with a former running mate.

Photos from along the way:

Link to Carry on Gang 24, "As Far, As Fast"

Photos GH

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Carry On Gang 24, "As Far, As Fast"

Not Giving Up Just 'Cause It's Cold

"I had an extra long walk on Monday, to make up for one I missed"

Regularly, I go as far and as fast as my little legs will take me, i.e., about four miles at a 'Steady Eddie' pace. If the temperature is low, if snow is blowing, I just add layers of clothes, including my Fruit of the Loom long johns.

My invigorating walk on Tuesday marked the 24th trek - out of 60 - in the 'Carry On Gang' set that should take me to the end of March, or thereabouts.

Photos from along the way:

"This Chevette (?) is parked at 247 Victoria St., as it was when Pat and I
lived at 245 Victoria (behind the cedar hedges) in 1975 - '78"

Link to Carry on Gang 21

Photos GH

Avocado 26, "Exciting Times in February"

"The Business End is Booming"

"Big business opens soon near me"

I can see a bit of growth everyday now. Why, I can almost say good-bye to February blahs!

 "A couple of days ago the business end was leaning left"

"This morning, the business end leans toward the snow-covered yard"

Link to Avocado 25

Photos GH

Monday, February 22, 2016

Avocado 25, "Significant Growth"

Learning As I Go

Feb. 22, 2016

Note to Self:

The new growth looks completely healthy. 'Significant' springs to mind, after a long wait!

Link to Avocado 24

Photo GH

Photos From Along The Way

Signs of a Good Walk

The more I walk the more I want to walk.

We are built for walking.

Go slow and enjoy the view.

Be mildly adventurous.

Last longer.


Link to Carry On Gang 21

Photos GH

Carry On Gang 21, "Highland Park, Mildly Adventurous"

'Extra' Walks are Adding Up

 "The extra miles I walked on Feb. 17/18 = an extra walk"

"I was certainly dressed aright for the tramp through Highland park"

Seven walks in the last six days. I think the good weather has something to do with my energy levels and during three recent walks I added on an extra two miles per day. (Not bad for a geezer). As well, I know I missed five walks this month, so far, so I'm trying to make up for lost time, two miles at a time.

On Sunday, Don and I headed south on Wharncliffe Rd. to look at Hondas, and afterwards we discovered the southernmost entrance to Highland Park, a long-standing wooded area dotted with natural and man-made sections (incl. tarmac) of hiking trail. We were motivated to tramp along the trail (marked with 'This is a Coyote Area' signage) because we are definitely mildly adventurous at times.

Photos From Along the Way:

"Entrance to Highland Pk. is on north side of Ferndale
about two blocks east of Wharncliffe Rd."

Link to Carry on Gang 16

Photos GH

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Context for Combined Ops, "Some Successes in Early 1942"

The following is a recent post from one of my other blogs entitled '1000 Men, 1000 Stories', Canadians in Combined Operations, WW2. 

British Commandos and Canadian Airmen in the News

As found in the Jan. 4, 1942 issue of The Halifax Herald

Early news in 1942, a couple of weeks before the first Canadians in Combined Operations ventured overseas to the U.K., contained some positive notes which may have brought good cheer to our fresh-faced young sailors.

"What are we getting ourselves in for?" they would have asked. They'd get some answers before the month was out, and some would eventually train in much the same manner as early Commando units.


Capture Nazis In New Raid On Lofoten Islands

London, Jan. 1 --(CP)-- A British flotilla and a raiding force of Commandos, free Norwegians and Poles came back unscratched today from a brief and practically unopposed sojourn on the German-occupied Lofoten Islands off Norway's coast.

Caption: These cablephotos, presented exclusively by The Halifax Herald and The Halifax Mail, show the destruction of the important German convoy base at Vaagso in German-occupied Norway. (Above) Flames and smoke shoot skyward from an oil factory set aflame by British soldiers who destroyed the base Dec. 27.

Second Landing

It was the second foray into these islands by the tough, black-clad Commando corps which has struck from the sea at german strongholds from the North Cape to the shores of northern Africa, and it appeared to have overlapped or else followed immediately upon last week's Commando stabs at the Norwegian island of Vaagso, hundreds of miles south of the Lofotens.

This time, the Admiralty disclosed today, there were no casualties at all among the British force and the invading warships even were able to use one harbor as a fueling base.

 Caption: Evacuation of British wounded to invasion barge.

Caption: British soldiers with a group of Nazi prisoners whose leader is seen carrying a white flag. (Acme photos)

More news: As found in the Jan. 8, 1942 issue of The Halifax Herald


Navy And R.A.F. Raid Enemy Base In Norway

London, Jan. 7 --(CP)-- Canadians flying Blenheim bombers rigged as long distance fighters took part in a naval and aerial raid on Hellefjord on the Norwegian west coast Tuesday, while other bombers pounded at targets in Germany, occupied France and on the Netherlands coast. A joint naval and Royal Air Force communique described the Hellefjord foray, the purpose of which was to intercept enemy shipping....

Off the town of Floro one enemy supply ship of medium weight was sunk, and two trawlers alongside a canning factory also were sent to the bottom. Firing was restricted to avoid damage to the town in the low visibility, but a german canning factory was damaged by shells. Despite snow and rain squalls, fighters provided air protection in relays while bombers attaked the airdrome at Sola, near Stavanger. Ships and planes all returned safely.

The raid was about 30 miles south of Vaasgo Island where on Dec. 27 a Commando force landed and destroyed eight enemy ships, oil tanks, ammunition stores and an industrial plant.

Two-Way Escort

Fliers of the Canadian squadron of the Coastal Command, led by their New Zealand squadron leader, provided the two-way aerial escort for the ships. They encountered only one enemy aircraft, a bomber. The squadron leader turned on it and it jettisoned its bomb load and fled.

"We saw the ships well on their way across to Norway and left them when it got dark," one Canadian Blenheim pilot said. "The senior naval officer signalled: 'Thanks for your co-operation,' and we picked them up again in the morning when they were on their way home."

Canadians Take Part

Three British bombers were missing from attacks during the last 24 hours on Brest and Cherbourg in France, and (on) German shipping off the Netherlands and Norway. Canadian bomber crews joined with the R.A.F. - one of the navigators was PO. L.G. Burgoyne of Mahone May, Nova Scotia - in the attack on Cherbourg, and the returning airmen told of multi-coloured fires (green, yellow, red) started in that great port. 

Big Wellingtons were used by the Canadians as they plunged through cloud formations to hit at their objectives. Anti-aircraft was reported to be light although there was some display of searchlights. 

More news related to Commandos: As found in the Jan. 14, 1942 issue of The Halifax Herald

Ottawa, Jan. 13 --(CP)-- From the bridge of a British naval craft the Flight Commander of a squadron of Royal Canadian Air Force men directed their operations in the recent commando raid on German occupied Norway, a statement from R.C.A.F. headquarters said today. Adding a few hitherto unknown details to the story of the attack, the statement said the Commander, (Sqdn. Ldr. E.H. McHardy, RAF) used the ship's bridge as a control tower and kept the aircraft operating in harmony with the naval forces and the hand-picked troops detailed to effect the landing. He was able to observe the whole operation and direct the long range fighter planes by radio telephone.

In the forefront of the opening attack were PO. E.W. Pearce of Winnipeg, Sgt. Pilot J.T. McCutcheon of Montreal and Sgt. W.H. Cleaver of Toronto, an air gunner. They came to grips with defending German ME 109s, and Pearce nearly had a head-on collision with a German who flew straight at him. Both Pearce and McCutcheon engaged in dog-fights with the enemy and their guns had telling effect. One fight broke off as Pearce appeared on the scene while McCutcheon and an ME 109 were manoeuvering for position. The German beat a retreat.

"It was curious to be approaching the Norwegian coast at a snail's pace instead of flying into it," Sqdn. Ldr. McHardy observed afterward. "The Hampden bombers woke the place up. Immediately on our arrival the whole area became a mass of smoke and flames as the guns from ships and shore began to fire. A Messerschmitt dived on us and we ducked behind the bridge. But radio instructions quickly brought the Blenheims on his tail. Then the Beaufighters joined the battle. During the day they shot down four Heinkel 111s."

*   *   *   *   *   *

The following information about the above-mentioned Commando raid, including photographs, is found at 404 SQUADRON R.C.A.F., a website dedicated to a specific, well-decorated group of Canadian fliers.

S/L EH McHardy, DFC is front row, 6th from left. 
P/O. E.W. Pearce (Pierce) is back, 4th from left.

Vaagso Raids

On 24 December, W/C Woodruff led the squadron down to Wick in preparation for escorting a raid on Norway. The Vaagso raid was a commando assault on Vaagso Island, south of Stadtlandet, Norway. The Vaagso operation was actually a diversionary raid in support of the assault on the Lofoten Islands. The primary raid actually failed due to the commander of the operation not having air cover. The Vaagso raid, led by R/Admiral Burrough in HMS Kenya, was successful with the landing party achieving their objectives and 16,000 tons of enemy shipping sunk.

This large operation involved detachments of 404, 248 and 236 Squadrons. Two squadron aircraft flew as part of the event with P/O Pearce and Sgt McCutcheon, Cleaver and Cruickshanks, on fighter patrol for the convoy. 'The work of the fighters was directed by radio from the bridge of one of the naval vessels by S/L EH McHardy, DFC, a New Zealand officer commanding one of the flights of 404 Squadron. McCutcheon in 'B' Z6181 along with Cleaver and Cruickshanks were on a six-hour flight when they intercepted and engaged two enemy Me.109s. After they closed, the enemy aircraft broke off and fled. Smoke was observed coming from the engine of one, which was losing height steadily as it drew away. A claim for one probable and one possible was made.

Gowler's diary entry for 25 December, "Band in attendance at dinner time. Had a very good dinner today including beer, cigarettes and four chocolate bars. Had different officers autograph the back of my menu card. After dinner we took some snaps of some of our lads from our hut and then went for a walk down along the seashore. We found a mine today on the beach." Such was Christmas during the war.

        Sgt. W.H. Cleaver of Toronto (right), an air gunner

F/L JT McCutcheon of Montreal

Link to Context for Combined Ops, "Happy New Year 1942"

Carry On Gang 16, "Flying Solo in Snow"

"A Windy, Snowy Day"

I enjoyed most of yesterday's six-mile walk. Those bits when the wind took my breath away and ice n snow blew straight up me kilt - not so much. But the footing was excellent in Greenway Park so I made good time, to the bridge - 60 minutes or 3 miles from my front door - and back.

While snapping a few pictures of the bridge I happened to notice diving ducks doing a bit of fishing. A pair of Common Mergansers (male) in my estimation.

To make up for the five days this month I missed my walk, I did a "one and a halfer." If I do a few more such walks during the next two weeks, I'll be back on track.

Link to Carry On Gang 15

Photos GH

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Carry On Gang 15, "Saturday Night Fever"

First, There was the Long Drive

"Then there was the fever"

It does seem like a long time ago. Way back on Friday, Jan. 12, I drove to Lindsay and ended up in the midst of family visitations - with no time for walking about town. No problem. Days off can be fun as well.

On Saturday, reportedly the coldest day in the universe, I did manage a walk to a lumber yard to see if any fine lumber would catch my eye. Some did, and I fetched it up later in the day, after the walk home and after scrapping one-inch-thick frost from my forehead and whiskers. Not fun!

Saturday I felt like the world was spinning, and sure enough, it was. A fever attacked my brain and lasted about three days. I don't like missing my walks but - more than that - I don't like wandering off in a daze and getting lost in my own neighbourhood.

"The streets will clear soon and I'll get in some easy walks"

So, now that I'm back in good health I will see if I can squeeze in a couple of extra walks once the sidewalks are clear and dry.

Carry on, Gang!

Link to Carry On Gang 13

Photos GH