Monday, 1 September 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Sears Free Gift!

A couple of weeks ago, I needed new passport photos, and I knew the local SEARS had a photographic studio, so off I went.

Sears girl: Yes, of course we take passport photos. Please fill out this form with your name, phone number and email.

So I filled out my name and number, but I don't want them cluttering up my inbox with sales rubbish, so no email.

Sears girl, with an encouraging smile: Oh.... If you fill out your email, you'll get a Free Gift worth $45.00!

Me: Thanks, but I don't want a Free Gift.

Sears girl: Well, I'm going to give you a Free Gift anyway for being a good customer!

So after the photography session, (BTW the result didn't look anything like me, they must have swapped the photo with some sad old wrinkly with a saggy face and a baggy neck) the smiling Sears girl presented me with my Free Gift - a coupon for a set of Free 8x10 portraits, no sitting fee etc etc..... how generous......

.... Expiry date 31 December 2012. er....Thanks, Sears! Only almost 2 years out of date!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Beatles and Bruce

I saw a couple of really great concerts this week.

First, on Wednesday, "Twist and Shout : The British Invasion" at the Kings Wharf Theatre in Penetang. It's a nostalgic trip back to the Swingin' Sixties. Peace and Love, Baby! 

Twist and Shout your way back to the ’60s in Penetanguishene
Laura Mae Nason (from left), Jennifer Kee, Valerie Stanois and Lindsay Croxall perform in “Twist and Shout.”
There's just one group of talented musicians and dancers who start the 2 hour show off as The Beatles belting out She Loves You, From Me To You, I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Then they morph into everyone from Petula Clark, The Searchers, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Dusty Springfield, The Kinks, Lulu, the wonderful Shirley Bassey, The Hollies and The Rolling Stones. 

Remember the Freddie dance... from Freddie and the Dreamers?  And the unforgettable Donovan, who seemed to be high on a little more than just music, man. They call me Mellow Yellow.....

The concert marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first visit across the pond.... was it really that long ago? Lots of grey hair in the audience, but of course ..... this was our music, the music we grew up with, the music that shaped our generation. The final number that got everyone dancing in our seats: The Beatles Twist and Shout and Lulu's Shout! It was groovy, man.

I'd hardly recovered from Twist and Shout when, on Friday, a trip to the Markham Jazz Festival and a free concert by Canadian icon Bruce Cockburn at the outdoor band pavilion. Bruce had his trio... percussionist Gary Craig and violinist Jenny Scheinman with him. Jenny opened Bruce's concert with some of her own songs, accompanying herself on violin and mandolin.

Sorry, blurry photo, I was about 10 rows back from the stage. Bruce has been singing and performing for getting on for 50 years, and he's still great. My favourite Bruce Cockburn song? Lovers In A Dangerous Time. um.... no, I liked If I Had A Rocket Launcher.  And of course Wonder Where The Lions Are. Loved this concert, especially the price! 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

3 + 3 = 6

Pictures are self-explanatory, I think?

Monday, 4 August 2014


This is a repeat of a post from Remembrance Day 2010.... but with the 100 year anniversary of the start of the Great War, I thought it should be posted again.

In Memory of


175142, 5th Coy., Canadian Machine Gun Corps who died age 20 on 03 July 1917.

Only son of John William and Agnes Chandler, of Gedney Dyke, Holbeach, Lincs.

Native of Southea, nr. Wisbech.

Remembered with honour



John Turnbull CHANDLER was my mother's cousin. He was born 31 August 1896 in Lincolnshire, England, and was known as Jack.

Jack left England to learn farming techniques in Canada and settled in GrimsbyOntario. He joined the 86th Machine Gun Battalion of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force on 13 August 1915 at WellandOntario, stating that his date of birth was 1894, not 1896. At that time he was already a member of the 44th Regiment of the Canadian Militia. His enlistment papers show him to be “apparent age 21 years 8 months”, 5’4”, fair complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, a member of the Church of England, and fit to serve with the Forces.
His life ended in 
France on 3 July 1917, serving with the Canadian Machine Gun Corps.

His obituary:

GEDNEY DYKE SOLDIER FALLS We regret to report the death in action of Pte. John Turnbull Chandler, son of the late Mr. John W. Chandler, schoolmaster, Parson Drove, and of Mrs. Chandler, schoolmistress, Gedney Dyke. 
The deceased was educated at Barbourne CollegeWorcester (1908) and Framlingham College (1909-1912). He learned farming and went to Canada in April 1912. He enlisted in January 1916 in GrimsbyOntario, came over to Shorncliffe June 1916, went to France October 1916, and was killed in action July 3rd. He was only 20 years of age. He leaves a mother and six sisters to mourn his loss.

I visited his grave in France with my two sons in 2005. Perhaps the only family members to do so.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Peterborough Lift Lock

The Peterborough Lift Lock is Lock 21 on the Trent Severn Waterway which runs between Trenton on Lake Ontario and Port Severn on Georgian Bay, which is part of Lake Huron. I took a lunchtime cruise on the "Island Princess" along the canal a couple of weeks ago. Weather was a bit iffy, but it only rained for about ten minutes and we were under cover. This a typical cloudy sky for this summer.... lots of cool breezes and rain so far.

The lift lock was opened in 1904, and has been lifting and lowering vessels up and down the waterway ever since. The lock has two identical ship caissons (in other words "bathtubs" holding water only a few feet deep) in which vessels are taken up or down a journey of 19.8 m (65 ft), the highest hydraulic boat lift in the world.

Lock 21 - Peterborough Lift Lock
Each caisson is filled with water and the boats enter, tie up to the rails, and the gates of the caissons are closed. The lift lock functions by gravity alone using the counterweight principle. One caisson always ascends and the other always descends during each locking cycle. There water level is a bit higher in the upper caisson making it heavier, so as the top one carries boats to the lower water level, the lower one ascends.

 Heading towards the lift lock. We're going to go up in the left caisson.

The black pillar is the hydraulic cylinder that supports the caisson, and allows the heavier caisson to push the lighter caisson upwards. Once the boats are secured and the gates are closed, the crossover valve is activated and the action begins.

The "Lady Catherine" was on her way down as we were going up. Lots of waving going on as we crossed over.

 And the view from the top as we were on the return journey. This boat was going up and we were going down. Lock 21 is rumoured to be haunted by a woman who was burned for being a witch in the 1840s and/or a worker who was killed during it's construction.... or a pair of starcrossed lovers.... take your pick.... details here. (There's also some pics of the lock construction at the same link.)

"July Saturday 9, 1904, Opening day of Hydraulic Lift Lock at Peterboro
Went down by Ogemah, got off at old Chemong Station where met by rig & drove across to Lakefield by 9:45 am. Got on Empress there & went down with her & 'Stoney Lake' to No. 5 dam where Parliamentary party after lunch['ing' has been crossed out](in big tent there) boarded the two boats about 1:30 pm & proceeded down (in pouring rain) to Lift Lock which was formally opened by both boats being let down at 2:30 pm..."

Lock 20 at Ashburnham on the way back to the main dock at Peterborough, not quite as impressive as Lock 21.