Archive for December, 2018

How to Roast a Dog

Season with salt and place in front of a fire for several hours.

With the advent of the cooler weather this is Reese’s favorite spot to sleep particularly after just coming in from a refreshing walk in the rain.  The little pillow was one given me after my heart operation to hold on to as I recovered.  Never did use it.  Reese likes it more than all her other toys and drags it around and fights with it.

Ship Repair

A few weeks ago I was contacted by someone who had heard that I build model ships.  He had a model given him 60 years ago by his uncle that needed repairs.  I told him I would look at it.

Sure enough it had many broken parts.  A model of a Brigantine built in Boston probably around 1820 (the ship not the model)   It had been stored poorly in a box and as it rattled around the tips of the yards and other parts were snapped off..  I agreed to repair it.

The fellow assured me that his uncle was a shipwright and hand built it but it was obvious it was originally a kit and not well made. I did not tell him that.  Furthermore he had tried to repair it himself years before and made more errors.  I replaced all the yards and many brackets and parts with new wood, but the more I looked at it the more errors in the rigging I found so I ended up replacing or reworking almost all the running rigging.  I also fixed up some of the botched painting.

This is a 1/96 scale model which I do not like because everything is so tight it is difficult to get at.  Anyway I finished it and the fellow picked it up yesterday and gave me a bottle of rum for payment.  It is now going to have a place of pride on his mantle.  The large picture is the completed model


Our Carol Evenings

As those who stay with us know, as we prepare meals and dine, I put on appropriate music genres on our Sonos system.  Generally easy listening or Classical.

Of course at this time of year they are all Christmas songs.

This year I try to add, early on, a version of the song “Baby it’s cold outside” as a protest against political correctness.

Our Probus club singing group had our carol night this week.  This is a group that meets monthly to sing familiar songs.  Not a choir, but about 25 people our age, mainly women, who just like to sing.  My role has become the story guy who introduces each song with a bit of trivia.  The leaders of the group are three very gifted guitar-playing ladies who select the songs and accompany us.  I get some recognition for being the story teller.  Pat will tell you that, on the whole, the group likes it.

This week we sang carols and I only had a brief introduction to the evening.  I started with the story about the local mall that banned the Salvation Army choir from singing carols that actually mentioned Jesus or Christ or the birth (heaven forbid).  Then I mentioned the ban on stations to play Baby it’s Cold Outside because of the Me Too movement. I mentioned the proposed ban on Rudolph because it was about bullying, and of course Jingle Bells commemorates a bunch of drunken louts terrorizing a town in New England after the American Thanksgiving in their sleighs (obviously celebrating  drinking and driving).  Don’t get me started with the issue of White Christmas or the issue of Santa keeping slave labour who are physically challenged.

These are actual complaints being brought to court.  Recently in BC, an atheist couple won a court case against their local school board because their child was being exposed to Christmas “lies”, and were awarded $15,000.

My talk to the group, after describing these issues, was that carols should remind all of us of our childhood where carols were songs of joy and anticipation.  This was well received.

Still, I wonder if my great grandchildren will be able to enjoy the wonders of the Carol season leading to Christmas.

Christmas Carols

Last night Pat and I joined our Probus club for an evening of Christmas Carol singing at the home of one of our good friends.  Those attending were mainly the group that meets monthly to sing songs, but with a few husbands along. About 30 people.

If you do not know this, I belong to this singing group not because I have a great voice, but because I introduce most of the songs with a story or a bit of trivia.  Apparently my stories are well received as I keep being invited back.

I did an intro to the evening, and afterwards, we just sang carols without any commentary.  Not sure how many of my followers spend an evening of singing carols with friends.

The leaders of our group are three ladies who are superb on guitars, and there are a few ladies in the group with great voices, but it is mostly just enjoyable singing.  Takes me back to elementary school.  Granted I did not get to sing the solo in We Three Kings about Gold as I did when I was 11, but a great evening.

Clearing Ruins of Vandals’ Debris

There are clear skies but it is surprisingly cold these mornings.  Yesterday my buddy Tim led us on a hike on one of the great trails that we love, the Bevan trails.  These trails follow the Puntledge River up to the dam on the Comox Lake.  Granted, – 2 C but the scenes along the river with the frost on the grasses and the mist from the river, spectacular.

We love the hikes in the valley but for photo opportunities, this was a wonderful hike (but I forgot to bring my camera).

At the dam you can turn back or if you are adventurous, as we were, climb up into the Ecological park where you end up on a ridge overlooking Comox Lake in the sunshine, enjoy your lunch and wonder how life could get better.

On the return hike down and across the river, we take the short trail back to the base.  This leads into deep forest through the area that in the 1890s had a town (Bevan) and a coal mine.  There is nothing left of the town and the mine is closed, but there are still a few concrete structural ruins hidden in the forest that you can spot from the trail.  These ruins look like bunkers that would have been on the coast in WWII for artillery, but after first seeing them years ago, I researched years ago and the structures housed a waterwheel compressor that drove fresh air down into the coal mines.  Think of a building as big as a house with 2 foot thick walls.

Over the years we do this hike at least once a year, and we notice that the ruins, while hidden in the forest, are being visited many times.  Blaine may remember as I took him on the hike and let him discover these century-old ruins.  Sort of like ancient ruins in Mexico.

Unfortunately, because the trail is becoming popular, vandals have discovered the ruins and added some graffiti.  Fairly minor, but upsetting.  I saw the ruins on a hike in July and they were okay back then.

This week we stopped in and it was devastating.  Recently, well let me just say, a group of sub-humans visited and covered all the walls and interiors with crap graffiti.  Furthermore they left all their used spray paint cans and brushes lying around.  Plus all the scraps from their party and debris from lighting off fireworks.  A total mess.

Now this is not on government land, where some civil servant will come and clean it up… it is out in the bush.  As a group we were stunned, but hiked on back to our vehicles.

It bothered me all night, so this morning I loaded Reese into the car and drove back to the site.  Frosty trails and Reese had a good time following me.  I brought along a big garbage bag and when I got to the site, cleared it of all the spray cans and the garbage they had left.  Reese followed me around the site and supported me.

I brought all the cans back to the recycling depot and dumped the garbage.  But it continues to bother me (I am angry as you may determine.)

Graffiti vandals consider themselves artists,  but artists do not trash the environment.  The pictures do not cover all the debris.  They threw the used spray cans out the portals and debris from the fireworks were all over.  Obviously I do not like this.   If you see the second picture they cut back the moss that was naturally covering the wall to spread their filth.