Archive for January, 2019

Progress on my model Themis

I am in the final year of the model Themis. Doing the rigging and spars.  Love this part because every step is unique.  I made so many blocks, hearts and dead eyes in the past, that I can just open a canister and find the size I need.  But not for the belaying pins.

Belaying pins go through holes in pinrails and used to secure rigging lines.  Also could be used in ship fights as a club.  Think of them as a billy club that cops used to carry around.

Now, at the scale I am using, these should be about 18 inches long.

Many years ago I did not know how to make these so I ordered a package from a model fittings supplier.  Horribly over scale, yet many model builders use them.  So I determined to make my own.  I used the lovely boxwood and the mini lathe that Blaine gave me many years ago.  Tiny lathe work but so happy at the results.

The picture on the left is a pin in the lathe nearing completion.  The picture on the right is the result of about 6 hours of work.

The little pin at the bottom left is one of the belaying pins I purchased many years ago.  You can see why I make my own.  They would be like a thick softball bat.

An Interesting Guy

I went to a funeral yesterday.  Pat was tied up as the CWL financials were getting audited by a committee.

I have not been to a funeral that did not involve being a member of the family, but I felt I should go because I really liked this man.  We were not close friends.  I have not been to his house and he has not been here.  Our relationship is solely from meetings through the Probus club.  Chatted with him many times.  Just one of those guys that you cannot help but like.

His death came as a bit of a shock to us.

Over the years I heard a bit about his background but only in talking to the family before and after the funeral did I realize what an interesting life he had led.

Born in 1941 In Yorkshire.  His father was an officer in the RAF and was killed in 1943 on a bombing raid.  He grew up with, I expect, a bit of money, so at age of 10 was sent off to boarding school (think of Hogwarts).  He developed a love and a skill in Rugby but was not at the time, scholastic.

At the age of 18 he was recruited by Hudson Bay Company to move to Canada and work at an outpost north of Hudson Bay.  Running a store and buying furs.   His career took him to more southerly outposts when he finally determined he should go back to school.  By then he was married to a girl who had been a teacher at one of the outposts.  She supported him through University to get a Poly Sci degree.  ( I know, not what I would have done).

This got him a series of jobs (too long to list) throughout the north, with government and mining companies.  Throughout his life he had been an avid skier and tried to continue to play Rugby.  He taught kids in Yellowknife to play the game.  He eventually received an offer to move to Comox Valley, to be the first general manager of a new ski resort, Mount Washington.

They had 3 kids by now and fortunately his wife Barb, could always get a job as a teacher wherever they went.

They settled here, and after the Mount Washington position was passed on, he worked as a consultant, obviously not making a lot of money… but making a lot of friends.

He organized and ran the local Rugby programs and had time to be the founding President of the Probus club we belong to.  (Which is how I met him.)

There were hundreds of people at his funeral yesterday.  More, I suspect, than will be there for mine.


A Pie for Us

Last night we enjoyed Apple Pie for dessert while watching one of the old VHS movies that we have in inventory and are about to lose.

I have brought up the bins of VHS tapes and the player from the basement which we brought from Ontario.  Time to move on and we need the space.

We have a great selection of classic Disney movies that we will be donating to Blaine and Lisa along with the VHS player so they can show them to the grandkids.  Classics that you just cannot get these days.  Snow White, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Lion King, Little Mermaid, Aladdin and many more.

But as Pat and I prepare to hand this on, we are playing some of these classics, but I slip in an occasional adult classic. (not what you think)   Duel (the first movie done by Spielberg), Escape from New York, Outland (a Sean Connery movie where he replicates the famous movie High Noon, only on a mining operation on the moon IO (which is a moon of Jupiter), Panic in Year Zero and many others that go back in time (Deliverance)  Movies to be lost to us.

Pat made an apple pie…… Now my bride is not big on baking, but when she gets in the mood, she does a wonderful job.  An apple pie with crispy topping and big chunks of apple.  Not that ground up apple sauce that you get in commercial, store bought apple pies.

Of course we served this with Cheddar Cheese.

When I grew up, and we went to the farm, Aunt Grace made great apple pies and Uncle Ken always told us that we must eat apple pie with a slice of Cheddar cheese.

To this day it is the only way I can have it.  Some people put ice cream on it and (heaven forbid) whipped cream…. but a nice slice of aged Cheddar cheese is  just perfect.    Thank you Patty.

Our Wolf Moon

Last night was special because we watched the Wolf Moon /  Blue Moon etc.  When the moon came closest to Earth and went through the earth’s shadow.

I know you are saying “big deal, everyone in the world saw it”  But a big deal here.

Mid January in Paradise and we normally have overcast and rain.  Occasional days with sunshine but even then with a high cast cirrus cloud predicting the next rain coming in from the Pacific.

Do not get me wrong, I love it here.  I accept the rain because the lawn and the golf course behind us is green and lush, and I do not have to mow the lawn yet.

But this has been a strange winter.  Aside from one crazy day where we received a half foot of snow, it has been warmer than normal almost every day.  Lots of rain.  The skiers on Mount Washington are loving it (our rain is their snow).

When I heard about the Wolf Moon / Blue Moon date coming up on Jan. 19,  I thought well, nice for some, but little chance we would experience it.  However…

A high pressure system came up from California and we have had 3 days of crystal clear skies and low humidity.  You cannot believe how clear the view is to the Comox Glacier.

Last night the moon was huge and (unlike the rest of North America) the eclipse was coming in prime time starting at 6:30 pm.  It was a mild 7 C at 9:00 pm.

We took Reese for a walk to the end of the street where we could move beyond the street lights.  The huge moon was magnificent.  I attach a picture (granted a copied picture, as I tried with my camera, but this is better).  But the picture is exactly as we saw it.  Eventually it turned entirely red (not sure why they call it a Blue Moon)

I was at the fitness club this morning and everyone was talking about the night before.  A good friend, Dave, told me he and his wife went out early (because the moon was as big as a pie plate) but went in and watched TV and forgot to go back out.  We all told him that he missed the experience of a lifetime, but not to worry it might happen again here in 30 years.


Winter Wonderland Followup

If you read my last blog, this is a my what happened next.

Interesting detail is that if my blog site got more than 1000 hits I might make some money, minuscule at best.  Apparently these days you need a million hits to get any form of advertising payout.

So I am less concerned about my title these days which includes the words winter wonderland.

As I was heading to bed last Tuesday at 9:30, I looked out and the snow was tapering off. The snow was 8″ deep and level with no wind.

So I thought I would be a hero and take the machine out and clear driveways and sidewalks while everyone was in bed.  Huge problem because the plows had come by and dumped 2 foot ridges of snow concrete on every driveway.  The snow was liquid lead.  I did my best, but did not get every driveway and sidewalk done that I had achieved in the past.  Exhausting work   The plow ridges alone could have used a pick and shovel.

Made it to bed by 11 feeling sore but thinking I had done a brave and neighbourly thing. Kind of heroic.

About 3 am I woke to hear the drain that runs down from the roof behind our bedroom, gurgling away with water running off the roof.  Apparently during the night the temperature rose to 8° C and the snow turned to rain.

When I got up stiff and sore, I looked out and the 8 inches of snow was disappearing.  The driveways that I cleared were down to the pavement but by mid afternoon every driveway was clear.

I chose not to go the the fitness club on Wednesday.  By the following morning virtually all the snow was gone.

As Pat reminds me, it is not just the good deeds that you perform that gets you into heaven, it is also the intention to do good deeds.

Still, I could use a refund of the $4 of fuel I burned that night.

Winter Surprise

We have had an unusual winter so far.  Warm but rainy days with brief breaks of sunshine.

Yesterday is an example.  Brilliant sunshine although a cool 3 ° C.  No wind and spectacular views of the mountains and the Comox Glacier where the snow buildup is beyond normal.  But it is early January and we have not had a hint of snow this winter which is unusual.

Walking Reese yesterday was a treat.  Her little tartan coat on and the sunshine she wanted to walk forever.  I was beginning to regret putting on the winter wheels on the Murano, but too much work to take them off.  Forecast was for return of the rain  (it is not called the wet coast for nothing).

Woke up this morning to heavy snow coming down.  At 0 ° C the flakes are wet and huge.  Snowed all day long.  I moved the snow blower to behind Little Red and charged it with gasoline.

Pat and I had a series of club meetings today culminating in a pub group (only a third of the normal turnout)  More than kinda happy that I left the snow tires on as the roads are slippery and deep and driving was terrible.

When we got home I measured the depth of the snow on the lawn and it is 6″ (15 cm) and still coming down.  The trees are covered as only you see in Disney animations of winter wonderland.

It does leave me with a dilemma.  Do I go out tonight while it is still snowing and use my machine to clear the driveways and sidewalks of the neighbours or wait until morning.  Forecast for tomorrow is 8 ° C and rain so if I do not do my duty tonight maybe the neighbours will not realize my effort.

Pat took Reese outside for her brief visit and the snow came up to her belly.  She did her little thing but was happy to come inside and a lay down by the fire.

I do not like snow but it is very pretty tonight outside.