Friday, January 27, 2017

Little Library: Little Repairs (1).

Okay, It's Not a Swing!

 Not a Jungle Jim.

Door repaired, but the custom paint tin is empty!!

The thick cedar lumber can take just about any kind of abuse.... from the weather. The door is not as thick and robust, and suffered at the hands of a wee girl who wanted to hang and swing on the door. And somebody swiped the custom sign! Ouch!

I have a few repairs to do now, related to the damaged door and twisted hinges. Fresh paint and new signage are also on the agenda.

From 2014....

Poor snake. Is he hiding in the grass?

Please link to Little Library: Final Touches (4).

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Workshop in Review, 2016 (4).

Up, Up, and Away

A second life for a child's airplane.

Tonka Toys builds good airplanes. And I did not want to send one to a recycling centre before I gave some thought to recycling it myself. Last spring an idea bloomed.

 I had several wee birdhouses and one rare birdcage stand

Together they made a winning combination

 Red cedar houses dressed to the nines:

A batch of colourful white pine houses:

2016 was a busy year in the workshop. Paint-filled, I say.

More to follow.

Please link to The Workshop in Review, 2016 (3).

WALKN Miles in 2017. TZ2 (20).

Extra Miles This Week (Month!)

Wider than usual is he mighty Thames. It's not alone.

I'm wider too. Thanks to the weight of Christmas cookies eaten over the last month my waist is wider than in November. I can tell. I can barely touch my toes and my favourites jeans are a titch tighter.

There are even more cookies to be unwrapped and enjoyed, so that means I'll have to add a few more miles to my routine over the next few weeks. Cookies in, cookies out. 'Recovery mode' 'til mid-February.

I'll be back on the bike tonight with another good book

Photos from along the way:

Please link to WALKN Miles in 2017. TZ2 (19).

Photos GH

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Research: A Good Book, a Good Connection

CBC Correspondent in Italy, Sept. 1943 (So Was Dad)

Canadian 80th Flotilla, including my father, in Italy, Sept. 1943

David Halton's book about his father's writing, reporting and broadcasting career - including significant work during World war II - is the type I cannot put down. When I returned it to a friend yesterday he said in amazement, "Done already?"

Three days. It took three days to read it thoroughly and I savoured every page - during morning coffee, after meals, while riding my exercise bike. David was writing about his father and I saw my own on several pages. That's the type of read I enjoy most.

Matt Halton produced a deep, rich supply of outstanding stories

Matt Halton and my father likely swam in the same water and walked - bare-bummed - on the same beaches in North Africa, though perhaps a year apart as far as their written accounts go. But they may have crossed from Messina, Sicily to Reggio de Calabria, Italy during the same week in September, 1943, and possibly in the same flotilla of landing craft.

Photo as found in Dispatches From The Front. M. Halton, far left

The book tells us Matt and "several other correspondents" stood nervously at Messina, very near the shore of the seven-mile-wide strait that separates Sicily from Italy,  and "along with hundreds of young soldiers from Maritime regiments" on September 2, 1943. My father was on an Allied craft designed to carry tanks (LST), not too far away.

Matt recalls that he and other correspondents selected to cross "with the first assault wave of Canadian troops" were soon witness to one of the greatest bombardments by Allied guns during the war.

From Page 191, Dispatches From The Front

My father very likely witnessed the same bombardment from the vantage point of the LST, and shortly after the guns had stopped, he began the first of several seven-mile-long journies to Italy's shore. While transporting Allied supplies, he saw the terrible results of bombardment.

He writes:

There was no resistance. The air force had done a complete job and there wasn’t a whole building standing and the railroad yards were ripped to shreds. How long we worked across the straits I cannot really recall, but perhaps into October. ("DAD, WELL DONE", Page 35

Mr. Hanlon writes that his father was not greeted by Germans once in Reggio di Calabria but by surrendering Italian soldiers. He notes that Mussolini was no longer in power ("overthrown") and that Italy's new leaders "would formally capitulate on September 8."

Matt Hanlon, fond of a reason to celebrate with a drink, very likely raised a glass on September 8. 

About that same time my father writes the following:

About half of the Canadian sailors went back to England after the Sicilian campaign. That left about 125 (of us) to work about a month across the straits. During that time we received mail and parcels. We worked alongside captured Italian and Sicilian soldiers who were loading our landing craft, egged on by Sweet Caporal cigarettes and some canned food. There were no P.O.W. camps and prisoners wandered freely. The Germans had made good their well-planned escape ahead of the invasion. On occasion during the action along the beaches at Sicily and the quieter time at Italy, we often saw big green turtles swimming about. They didn’t know there was a war on.

Some buddies and I spent my 23rd birthday (Sept. 6, 1943) singing our lungs out in a cottage-style house near the beach (Sicily), complete with a piano but incomplete with no roof. I had my guitar along and we all had some vino. About midnight with the hilarity in full swing, thunder rolled, the skies opened and the first rain in months came pouring in. Soaked inside and out we headed to where we belonged, singing “Show Me the Way to Go Home” as big as life and twice as natural.

One night shortly after that event I was all snug in my hammock, mosquito netting all tucked in (it took a while). I was ready to drop off to sleep when all hell broke loose on the beach. Machine gun fire, tracer bullets drawing colourful arcs in the dark sky. Someone shook my hammock and asked if I was coming to the beach party - Italy had thrown in the sponge. I said, “No, I’m not coming, and would you please keep it down to a dull roar because I want to log some sleep.” (The Norwich Gazette, circa 1992)

So, it seems my father raised a glass as well. Perhaps one too many. ("Go easy on the vino, Doug," I would say).

Naval ratings off duty enjoying a bathe on the North African coast
at Oran or Mers-El-Kebir. Photo - Imperial War Museum, Nov. 1942

Mr. Halton and Mr. Harrison saw many of the same sights, bared their butt cheeks when opportunities arose, crossed the same straits at the same time and likely toasted Allied victories and mourned losses of good friends and mates at similar times and in similar ways.

I salute them both.

Please link to Research: In Comox and Courtenay, BC (10).

Photos GH

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

WALKN Miles in 2017. TZ2 (18).

Off to a Good Start, I Say!

Yes, I've hit a few bad days for WALKN. (But not many).

The first month of 2017 has been gentle in many ways - if you're a regular walker or cyclist. After one thick snowfall the streets were soon bare again.

Will January be the warmest on record? Could be. I saw two motorcyclists on Sunday!!

Easy WALKN and BIKN so far.

I'm pretty sure my biking miles will be higher this month than usual because - when asked about Christmas gifts - I suggested people give me books, bargain table books, even used ones. So, I have a stack two feet high! READN and RIDN will be my thing 'til end of February, I bet.

Photos from along the way:

As the miles pile up, the book pile will fall.

Please link to WALKN Miles in 2017. TZ2 (17).

Photos GH

Sunday, January 22, 2017

WALKN Miles in 2017. TZ2 (17).

I Aim for a Marathon Per Week.

My aim is straight and true.

Mild weather and clean sidewalks helped to make this an 'easy walkn' week. My goal was to cover - at least - marathon mileage, i.e., 26.2 miles or 42.2 km, and I had 30 miles wrapped up after my walk home from Friday's hockey game at Budd Gawdens.

By the Numbers:

 I was BIKN on Thursday and WALKN on Friday

 Three WALKN marathons in January. One more?

My 10-week average reveals a 'Steady Eddie' approach to WALKN

My mileage over the last ten weeks has been very consistent: One week, while away, I walked 17 miles; during all the rest I covered 24 - 30 miles, with 7 weeks at marathon mileage or higher. 

Prediction - Barring unforeseen injuries or more than the usual number of vacations from WALKN, I should be able to walk 40 or more marathons in 2017. (3 in 3 weeks in 2017 so far). 

My aims are within my limits

Photos GH

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Workshop in Review, 2016 (3).

A Rescued Chair and Several "Favourites"

 I fell in love with a "tossed away treasure" (Photo - March 27)

This lovely chair now resides at Cranberry Cottage, PEI

While out for a walk in late March, 2016, I spotted four chairs sitting on an Orchard Street boulevard. Unwanted, I suppose.

I sat down upon the well-armed captain's chair and found it was just my size. And it came home with me, balanced upon my head. I painted it, along with my father's four-legged stool (to match), and carried it by car - 2,000 miles east - to its current home in PEI.

Spring time I spent busily and happily inside my workshop, building up inventory for Gathering on the Green in June and other future sales. I made several models "by the batch" and soon had basement shelves full.

 These small ones dot the surrounding area. Only one remains.

 My "bread and butter", small red cedar houses

 Occasionally I turn leftover lumber into log cabins

 Hefty duplexes are manufactured when the mood strikes

White cedar condo is trimmed with old western cedar

More to follow.

Please link to The Workshop in Review, 2016 (2).

Photos GH

WALKN Miles in 2017. TZ2 (16).

WALKN One Marathon Per Week.

Overtop the Horton Street extension, walkn toward Harris Park.

Atop the tracks between Horton and York Streets

This week (January 15 - 21) I have covered my miles in a variety of ways, with a marathon of miles (26.2) as my target. I think the goal is a good one, easy to remember, appropriate for a retired marathon runner and certainly within my limits (I walked slightly more than one marathon per week in 2016, on average).

 Thanks to global warming, Sunday was easy walkn.

Sunday's walk on the Terry Fox Pathway (6.75 miles) on a sunny day started the week in fine style. Monday's walk to Berkshire Village - easy kap-easy. On Tuesday, after a 3 PM visit, I was loaned a book (by the son of a WW2 correspondent) and spent part of the evening readn and ridn.

Walkn, playing hockey, more ridn, plus - walkn to a hockey game.
Variety is the spice of life.

Tonight (Friday, Jan. 20), after I walk downtown for supper with friend Bernie (currently, a fast marathoner), I will have covered this week's "walking marathon." Not bad for an old geezer.

More Photos From Along the Way:

I prefer snow over rain in January!!

Photos GH