The Grand Union Canal

I wonder if anyone reading this blog know of or lived near the Grand Union Canal? I have always had a wonderful fascination with this canal from the days of my childhood. Just after the war we lived near Hemel Hempstead which is north of London .Our house was across the road from what was known as the common. A little further on was the railway embankment and on the other side the canal. I also often watched the Royal Mail trains racing north to Scotland, saw the Flying Scotsman more than once.  These were the days when boys collected train numbers and car license plate numbers. We had books in which we could reference the engine number to the train names. A similar book was available for the cars, the license plate number would tell from which county the vehicle came. I guess in those long ago times we amused ourselves very differently from today’s children.  The canal began in London and ended in Birmingham, the total distance was 137 miles with a total of 166 locks along the route. I would spend hours during the summer school holidays sitting by the tow path watching an endless stream of horse drawn barges meandering by.  I often wondered where they were going and what it was like to live on a barge. Most were painted with fancy designs and the living quarters at the rear of the barge always had neat colourful curtains in the small windows. Many of the barges had children and they either played on the barge or the tow path. Again my curiosity was aroused, how did these boys and girls go to school?  The old horses were so used to this work they seldom needed a person to lead them. They just plodded long the tow path to the next lock, there they could rests for a few minutes. They were wonderful times from a different world, candy and sweets still required ration stamps, new cars were still very scarce as was many other items in post war England. I was about 10 years old ,and having lived through the war years I suddenly found a world at peace so very different. I remember the owner of the farm we lived on, he managed to buy a shinny new car a big sleek black Riley. I had never seen such a marvelous machine before, most vehicles were ex-military cars and trucks, even a few jeeps. None were shinny, mostly painted in army drab olive green. Paint also was in short supply back then. On the common across the road was a big oak tree, from one of the limbs hung an old piece of rope. Probably it was once a swing  but that was never an accepted theory among my circle of friends. We claimed it was the rope used to hang Dick Turpin! not one of use knew he’d been hanged in York so believed our story had to be true.

The photo shows a 1949 Riley 1.5 Litre RMA. Not the one in my story but the same year and model.

God Bless and keep reading

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A Little Sunday Humour

An elderly man lay dying in his bed while suffering the
agonies of impending death,
he suddenly smelled the
aroma of his favourite scones
wafting up the stairs.
He gathered his remaining strength,and lifted himself from
the bed.
Leaning on the wall with his remaining strength
he slowly made his way out of the bedroom,and with even greater effort gripping the railing with both hands,he crawled downstairs.
With laboured breath he leaned against the door-frame,gazing into the kitchen.
Were it not for death’s agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven, for there spread upon the kitchen table were literally hundreds of his favourite scones.
Was it heaven or was it one final act of love from his devoted Yorkshire wife of sixty years, seeing to it he left this world a happy man.
Mustering one great final effort he threw himself toward the table landing on his knees in a rumpled posture.
His aged and withered hand trembled toward a scone at the edge of the table when it was suddenly smacked by his wife with a wooded spoon!!!!
Bugger off she said, they’re for the funeral.

God Bless and keep reading

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Ministry of Defense—–DVA

In early March 2017 I visited a specialist about an old injury to both my hands which was incurred during my time aboard HM/SM Alcide. Lately I have experienced severe cramps in both hands. The doctor prescribe Physiotherapy in the form of paraffin wax treatment. I was quite familiar with this treatment as it is one of the treatments received at the time of the injury in 1964.  I contacted Foreign Services to ask for approval to have the treatment carried out. It costs approximately $50.00 pre session in private clinics. I tried the hospital first but was informed there was at least a one year waiting list. Foreign Services applied to the UK (MOD) for the approval. They replied they needed more information, not sure what info that was. I have a complete medical record with the MOD and my hands are a pensionable injury. Technically, I’m a disabled veteran although I don’t think of myself as such. When I consider today’s electronic info is passed on in the blink of an eye, it was difficult to understand the long delay.. However, March turn in April then June and still no approval was received. I email the British pension dept and finally received a reply telling me only two people worked in this dept and they were swamped with requests for treatment. I was told I’d just have to wait and be patient!! Good job my ailment wasn’t life threatening. Finally two days ago after several more phone calls and emails,  I finally got the approval.

I hear of Canadian veterans falling through the cracks and or failing to receive necessary medical treatments in a timely manner. It occurs to me the Ministry of Defense (UK) and the Department of Veteran Affairs must be reading from the same page in the service/treatment manual for Veterans.  In my case it wasn’t vital. but what if it had been. I wonder how serious it is for those who need immediate treatment.  Its time veterans received the treatment they need when they need it.

Photo taken in summer 1964 before the injury, I was Second Coxswain at the time.

God Bless and keep reading.

Posted in HM Submarines, HMS Cockade, hms ganges, military, The Royal Navy & Me, veterans | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Boy Soldier or Child

I have a serious issue with this huge compensation award to Omar Khadr, and the flimsy excuse that he was just a child or boy soldier.  Romeo Dallaire stated on national television, “a child is a child is a child? I have a real problem with that statement.   I can’t claim to have been a boy soldier but certainly I was a boy sailor, and when I joined the Royal Navy I left childhood behind.

I joined the Royal Navy in 1955 at age 15 and was classified as a Boy Seaman, after one year of training at HMS Ganges I was posted to the Far East. I acted as an armed escort on convoy duties and on the trains running between Penang and Singapore. I carried a 303 rifle and a clip of five rounds of ammo. While I never had to fire my weapon in anger, there is no doubt I was armed and dangerous. At the Battle of Jutland a 15 year boy seaman was killed at his post and later posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. I fail to see a difference between Khadr and our own boy soldiers/sailors. While I didn’t have the wisdom of age, I certainly knew why I was there and what I was doing. I certainly did not consider myself a child.  As the question of Canadian citizen/constitutional rights has been raised. Allow me to say, I was a British subject whilst in the Royal Navy and have since served in the Canadian Forces, and I’m Canadian citizen, for more than 42 years. To claim he was only a child/boy soldier carries no weight with me. However, the killing an allied soldier carries a great deal of weight, and because he was tortured as a POW does not excuse his actions.

God Bless and keep reading.

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Wade should take Notice


Our Provincial Premier should really take notice of what is happening in B.C under the new government of NDP and Greens. In fact the Prime Minister with the nice hair should take notice too. Change is coming whether the Liberals want it or not.

PS nice hair isn’t going to cut it this time!!!!!(pun intended), nor your many selfies, too baaaad!!!!!


Change of government opens the door to electoral reform!
Since May, citizens in British Columbia have been biting their nails waiting to see who will govern their Province. NDP Leader John Horgan emerged from the Government House to announce that he had been invited to serve as B.C.’s next premier.
“I think this is an extraordinary opportunity for a new legislature to work co-operatively,” he said. Speaking for Fair Vote Canada (FVC) and its twelve thousand supporters in BC, Terry Dance-Bennink, chair of FVC’s BC Steering Committee says she “couldn’t agree more. It’s time for cooperative politics and we believe a promised third referendum on electoral reform is poised to return a favourable outcome for voters.”
FVC would like to congratulate, NDP Premier John Horgan and BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. Their Confidence and Supply Agreement lays the groundwork for a new kind of collaborative, productive parliament and is supported by 57% of BC citizens.
FVC’s Executive Director, Kelly Carmichael, is upbeat, stating that “Reformers are confident that the electoral reform movement can win this time. Our message is getting through loud and clear and we believe the media, through years of education, has realized that Canada has become a laggard on this issue. It’s time to join over 90 countries around the world (over 80% of OECD countries) and modernize our electoral system. It’s time for a new approach in Canadian politics in which non-partisan cooperation and respectful debate become the norm.”
Canadians have learned a lot from politicians promising electoral reform. To secure a positive outcome, we think it is imperative to have leaders who truly believe in democracy and fair elections and who have the confidence to debate policy ideas on an equal footing. We believe that John Horgan and Andrew Weaver understand that false majorities do not benefit citizens and we need a new type of politics that respects all voices.
We are also heartened that Christy Clark supported proportional representation in the 2009 referendum. In her throne speech, Christy Clark stated that she was listening to the people, which is very commendable. However, this raises the question of why she did not adopt such a compromising approach much earlier. The answer has to do with our electoral system, which allowed the government to rule with impunity based on a false majority.
Twelve years ago, BC’s held its first electoral reform referendum, which achieved 58% support for proportional representation in 97% of ridings. Unfortunately, the referendum imposed a threshold that was designed for failure. Research tells us the format of the referendum is integral to its success. We hope the new Government will learn from the past and design the upcoming referendum for success rather than failure.
We look forward to seeing what a new NDP/Green Government can achieve to level the playing field for voters, politicians and parties. Proportional Representation is an idea whose time has come.

God Bless and keep reading



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This Beautiful Place

Not sure I need to add any words to this blog. Don’t they say a picture is worth a thousand words?? It must be because of my age that I’m finally truly appreciating the beauty of nature.  All but one of the plants photographed are wild, only the tomato plant on the deck is garden raised. My daughter Caroline gave me the tomato plant for fathers day. It is growing fast and already has many small green tomato’s on the vines.  However, the wild flowers and bushes are in bloom and our lovely little home is surrounded with so many colours and fragrances. How can this not be a part of heaven on earth???

God Bless and keep reading.

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A very Special Day

The 29th June 2017 was indeed a very special day in the life of my granddaughter Melissa.
This date was her 18th birthday and also the day she graduated from high school. I don’t want to brag (yes I do) she graduated with high honours. The Grad Ceremony was held at the Forum in  Halifax and the reason for this was the high number of grads. There was a total of 458 and trust me when I say the forum as very crowded and very warm. Fortunately Melissa was 73rd on the list so I was able to escape the heat faster than most.
On the same morning we each gave Melissa her birthday gifts. However, her big moment came when her Mom handed her a small package. Melissa’s mouth fell open when she saw what was inside, a key!. Yes that’s the car in the two attached photo’s and that is what the key was for. Its not a new car, but I don’t think that bothered her she was over the moon with excitement. Its a really nice little 2005 Corolla in nice condition and has most of the bells and whistles. Things like a sun roof, aircon, cruise control, p/w p/b p/l ,p/s  etc etc. Once her Dad got a new plate she was off and running, we didn’t see a lot of her in the remainder of the weekend.
Its so hard to imagine this tiny little adorable five year old is finished with high school and about to start university. She is registered at NSCAD in Halifax, specialising in arts, design and painting. While I’m very proud of her I still miss my little five year old sunflower.
Well done Melissa you are very special and will go far in your chosen career.
God Bless and keep reading
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July 4th

Happy 4th July to all our American friends (not Trump)

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No More Sunny Ways!!!

 Trudeau’s sunny ways were very much like the Canada Day Weekend in Eastern Canada. Rotten weather, Bleak, Wet, Soggy, Depressing. Besides which, many were there not to celebrate but to protest the Kinder Morgan pipe lines. To protest Aborigine rights and the treatment of their young men and women. He has been moving around a lot lately, visited PEI and soon off to Ireland. On PEI he was presented with a petition to reverse his broken promise of Proportional Representation. He is struggling and it was obvious, the silly and unfounded excuses he is using for not honouring his election promise are as sad as the weather was. Not good for Canada he says!! while he poses for another selfie! It will fragment government with too many fringe parties. Oh Canada! where have we heard that before? No Prime Minister Selfie with nice hair, it will not fragment governments it will make every ones vote count. Something the Liberals are afraid of both federally and Provincially. I think we are going to see many more dark days ahead for this flashy young and arrogant man. Why we think the sons of former politicians will make good leaders escapes me??? Robert Ghiz of PEI is a blaring example of failure, so why would we expect young Trudeau to be any better or different.   You know what we say, if we don’t learn from history we are b0und to repeat it.  Guess we have still not learned!!!!!!!.

God Bless and keep reading

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Borden/Gateway Village

I had to go to Borden today on business, it was a beautiful sunny day.  Linda and I stopped in at the Hand pie shop to buy our lunch. The word expensive comes to mind! two pies, one small pop $23.00. Not saying the pies were not good, they were, but the price does seem a bit high for what we got. It made me think. this is often the case during tourist season. Its a short season so I assume many businesses have to charge high prices just to survive. Problem is its not good for the visitors, especially if they have young families along. Two pies and one pop is not a large meal by any stretch of the imagination.

However,, enough on that subject, the village is very beautiful at this time of year, I even like the hills now!!! I can’t help but think the place needs something more if its going to succeed each year. Why not some ongoing entertainment or other activities, a farmers market, maybe a couple of car shows, gymnastics, displays, island characters on site, clowns etc. Lots of ideas out there, but the place needs to look interesting and attract visitors as the drive off the bridge. After we left the village we decided to drive through the town of Borden. What a nice place it is, I felt a strange feeling of the presence of history all around. Hard not to think of the long gone ice boats or the hardships of islanders coming to and leaving the island. The local houses are mostly very well kept, as is the beautiful school and churches. Quiet streets free from litter and we didn’t even come across any potholes! Did see a few old interesting antique vehicles lurking in back yards, two old fifties Cadillac’s, a 1960 or 70 Fiat two seat sports car and a few old trucks.

I sometimes wonder if we really appreciate the beauty that is everywhere on the Island? It is just a matter of getting out and looking at our surrounding. There is something special around every corner, in every village, in every town, and on every back road or lane. We are truly blessed to live here. Please help us all to keep it this way, don’t litter, don’t collect unsightly back yard rubbish, use Island waste Watch. That’s what its there for.

God Bless and Keep Reading


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