I belong to a group on Facebook called Westward Ho! History Group and post there today reminded me of an event back in the late sixties that would be amusing to relate.

Back then I used to augment my teenage earnings with doing a 2-3 hour paper route on Sundays. I used to do a paper route six days a week already for the Northam Newspaper Agent before school and Saturdays too. Somehow I ended up doing the Sunday one too for this guy on a scooter and sidecar. Anyway, the post in the group was of a guy at a garage on Nelson Road and I thought I recognized him.

Somebody else posted that they too did a paper route on Sundays with this guy and somebody else said he still picks up golf balls on the burrows, plays snooker and table tennis apparently despite being 80 years old now. It was the table tennis that jogged my memory because that must be how I too ended up playing, it was the same guy that ran the club in Bideford. Ended up playing on a team that played in a league, we used to go around to different places and towns and play our games. We were young and I don’t recall ever winning any games against the older more experienced opponents though.

Where is this going you ask? Well, I was on the Bideford quay late one evening waiting for the doubledecker bus to take me home to Westward Ho! after table tennis at the club. Because of it’s location you could see the bus coming along the other side of the river and over the bridge etc. I watched it almost get over the bridge then it stopped with the other cars and traffic on the bridge, and then they all started backing up! I waited wondering what to do next then a bus inspector came along the quay to the bus stop where I was waiting and he said they had to get another bus out of the depot to take me home because the bridge has fallen down! Eventually a bus came and I went home. My Father was waiting up for me in his dressing gown and met me at the door. Rather irately he asked why I was so late. I said the bridge had fallen down and had to wait for them to get another bus. He didn’t believe me and said I could have come up with a better excuse than that. Next day of course it was all over the news and my excuse became a perfect example of truth is stranger than fiction.

Well, not quite back to the beginning but to a point when we arrived here on the last stop of our world tour. This is where I planned this particular post and to hopefully carry on from there, and catch up. Anyway, we arrived pretty much just before the 100 year celebration of the areas two towns or villages, depending how you look at it, Rycroft, where we now live, and Spirit River just 8kms west. I found it rather fortuitous to arrive at this particular time because I’m a firm believer in learning and trying to be a part of the community where one lives. I remember remarking to someone it was wonderful that the pioneers, through all their hard work, prepared this place for our arrival. Okay, a bit tongue in cheek perhaps but it leads into those pioneers that indeed do the hard slog of carving out a life in this area.

The first stop was the local hall in Rycroft to see the celebratory displays that were set up. Extraordinary it was too, all the old photographs and family history of those that homesteaded the area were in evidence.

I spotted the Dika family exhibit and was pleased to learn about their contribution to the local because the house we bought was from that family. In the end I thought we have it easy and there are some pretty big shoes to fill.

Along with all the many events that were going on in both communities we also visited the Spirit River Museum and what a wonderful experience that was. They have done a grand job of preserving their heritage and many other communities could do well to learn from them.

Another Reminder

When I go on the internet there are certain places I gravitate to, I call it ‘making the rounds’. I’m sure many others do the the same thing visiting their favourite places to see what’s happening or what’s new and interesting. One of those places I go almost daily is The Presurfer and was very saddened to learn about his passing on February 25th. Apparently Gerard Vlemmings, who made and ran ‘The Presurfer’ blogged for over 16 years was 67 when he passed away. There now will be always be something missing from my daily rounds as I reminded again of my own mortality. Belated cheers to you Gerald, I and many other thoroughly enjoyed your blog, but like others maybe, I regret never saying or doing anything to let you know that your blog was our daily treat. Condolences to the family.

The Weather

While thinking about what to write about next I thought I would write about that old standby the weather. Talking about the weather is a very English thing apparently and usually the topic of conversation when people meet up as a breaking the ice type of thing. It’s also the fall back topic when one runs out of things to say. I haven’t run out of things to say, far from it, I was having trouble deciding that’s all.

The forecast for my neck of the woods shows another possible chinook which naturally would be most welcome. It looks a little longer than the previous ones and hopefully it’s the precursor to spring.

One of the interesting tales concerning our family is the story handed down of the apparent favourite book of my Grandfathers, ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell’. It unfortunately wasn’t among the possessions left behind in Canada went he returned to England and when he passed away whatever he had for possessions over there went to the family of his third wife we assume. A few inquiries were made but nothing came of it. So when I spotted the 100 year celebration reprint and special edition for sale on Hastings Online I decided to get two copies, one for my Uncle who is my Grandfathers son and one for myself.

The question has always been why would it be his favourite book? Having read it now it seems to be quite clear and provides some insight that we’ve never had about his life and thinking around those early years of the 20th century. The book is clearly a socialist treatise on the plight of the common lowly worker and was written at an interesting time in British history too. I was first published in 1914 I believe and my Grandfather would have come into possession of it in the 1920’s perhaps. One of the interesting historical events that happened in the 1920’s was the general strike of 1926 and I remember my Grandmother telling me that it was a very scary time, people filled the streets and they stayed inside for the most part. My Grandfather would have been around 23 years old at that time and just starting his working life. The turbulent times for workers and how they were treated would have been on a lot of peoples mind back then and quite likely the catalyst for my Grandfather having this type of book. Because of that we can perhaps infer he was a bit of a socialist perhaps?

The last little twist of this tale is when I came to Rycroft and joined the library. I discovered in they had an old copy of this very same book, what are the chances of that*smile*.


This post is to pick up the other stuff I didn’t mention because, lets face it, the previous post was a bit long.

First an update on the stuck at the airport problem. On the 201st day of waiting I finally got my Permanent Resident card a few days back*sigh*. I was torn between trying to find out what the problem was and just waiting. I decided to wait just a bit longer and voila my patience was rewarded. Now the wait is for the health card, which I applied for on the 24th. The hold up on that part was for both the better ‘alf and I too because in this province we have to apply together. Then it’s a couple more details to finish off the ID change adventure and we’ll be here officially.

The cold winter has taken it’s toll to feed the overall lethargy, yes, we knew it was going to be cold but I guess we weren’t prepared mentally. The poor dogs suffered a bit as we struggled to give them some winter booties for their paws and shorter but more frequent walks. I have to admit they have adapted quite well really and have gotten to be very efficient in doing their thing, and heading back to the door. I had originally set Mar 31st as my official end of the worst that winter had to offer but have now revised that to Apr 10th. That’s when the youngest officially comes off 24 hour on winter call in and probably is a more realistic date. We’ll see though as we all know the weather has changed and we never know what we’re going to get next.

We’re also still very much in chaotic mode with all our collective belongings everywhere in every nook and cranny. However, we take heart in knowing that we have time to slowly organize because we ain’t going anywhere because this is our last stop on our world tour.

Okay, I’m back by popular demand it seems…lol. That last phone call yesterday was the tipping point and the caller can take great pride knowing he was the one who gave the final successful nudge to the Ol’ Kodger to begin banging the keys again, he knows who he is.

I’m going to try and give the short version and update events since last August but you know how long winded ‘e can get so my apologies in advance. The ‘Little Lab on the Prairie’ didn’t fly because winter set in and I didn’t have heat nor electricity out there. I did get that roof on it at least for the most part, not quite finished but enough to protect it for now until better weather gets going. When we moved into our intended room downstairs and the youngen and his family moved in upstairs it was discovered that our room, the grandsons room, the daughters room in the basement and the outside plugins were all on the same cottin’ pickin’ circuit*sheesh*. So, that nixed the idea of seeing if I could run electric heat in the re-purposed camper in the winter*sigh. As part of the adaptations to our new environment I decided that, okay, shelve that idea until spring and then have another go it. This event along with a few others put me into a sort of lazy mode I guess but in my defence it has been a very busy time despite the cold weather.

Problems included moving and reorganizing ‘our entire stuff’ three times (we had two storage’s packed in there*phew*). First was to raise it off the ground a couple of inches because of the threat of flood from a backed up sewer which has now been resolved by the way. Next it was to again reorganize so the three of the basement walls were accessible to fix the cracks when the opportunity presented itself. That was very expensive but necessary, and it was part of the plan just wasn’t right at this time. Next rearranging was when we all finally moved into the basement as originally planned.

Next intertwined event was the better ‘alfs serious operation that thankfully was a complete success, we did the right thing by moving here first then doing it for a number of reasons. One interesting benefit was that where were camping had the worst winter in years so we count our blessings to have camped last winter when we did.

It’s a very busy household as you may imagine but Christmas was pulled off with great success in amongst it all too. The dogs all get along very well which was one of the concerns and it’s turned out better than expected actually. So, as the New Year began he decided, in his infinite wisdom, to join the local library board. Would be a good way to get out into the community, meet people and do something low key…oh yea…well, the village at the same time decided to delete what they had in place for a librarian and the board members all ended up covering as librarians in the short term until we get organized. So, poof! He’s a librarian as well now. It’s been a lot of work and time consuming for a number of reasons.

That’s the short version, was beginning to get back into genealogy again too but that went into idle mode yet again and I’ve been distracted by footy as well now that I have access to wall to wall games, even able to watch the old home town Brighton. It’s also a case of, oh look, there’s Facebook! Which I have been active on. I do have much to write and share, and the time has come to get going again. The key will be judicious use of time probably. So, in closing this off before it gets too long I can say, in the immortal words of an obscure writer I came across, which I will twist for my own use, rumours of my apparent demise have been greatly exaggerated*wink*.

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