Monday, October 15, 2018

This is the 15th day of October, 2018

Half way through the month and I have been looking at some of the wonderful October pictures on my son's he has taken as he and our youngest son do maintenance on the various internet stations located on the tops of mountains that surround the Similkameen Valley.  

I can remember another fall when Charles and I exclaimed in delight as we drove the back roads.  

All autumns are beautiful, but some are simply spectacular!!!!!

In a box of unsorted photos I came across an old picure of me as a child

and some wonderful old pictures of my grandmother

as well as a group of relatives on Robert John's porch
(my great grandfather)

but when I opened this box of old pictures I found
the greatest treasure of all....

My Auntie Hildred's Autograph Albums!

Is anybody besides me old enough to remember Autograph Albums?

They were all the fad....

you got your nearest and dearest to write little verses
in them
and even a casual acquaintance!

And everyone was prepared with kind and sweet words
of wisdom, if they were so moved...
or some wrote humorous ditties.....

My Aunt Hildred was my father's sister,
and it was their father who first initiated the name "Hildred"
 into the family

My great-aunt Min wrote a verse I would have been pleased to get...

Let us weave into the warp of our lives here below
Beautiful threads as white as snow,
That when the last shuttle through the warp has run
The great "Mystic Weaver" shall say "Well Done"

At work my Aunt was affectionately known as "Tommy"
as her family name was Thompson

some wag with the initial H.H.
wrote this...

Dear Tommy

They walked the lane in silence,
The sky was studded with stars,
They reached the gate together,
And for her he lifted the bars.
But this day is long since over,
There's nothing between them now
For he was just the hired man
And she, the old Jersey cow.

In August of 1925 R. Irving of Calgary wrote...

"Lo! As the wind is,
So is mortal life,
A moan, a sigh, a sob,
a storm, a strife"

But Mrs. van Calat had a much less melancholy verse about same wind
and the responsibility for our mortal life!!!!!

One ship sails east,
and another sails west,
With the selfsame winds that blow.
'Tis the set of the sail,
And not the gale,
Which determines the way you go.

On January 19th 1931, my Aunt's very best friend wrote this...

Does anyone know, does anyone care
Where you go or how you fare?
Whether you laugh, or whether you sigh
Whether you smile or whether you cry?
Glad when you're happy, sad when your blue -
Does anyone care what becomes of you?
I do, old pal, I'll say I do!

ever your friend - Eileen

"Tommy" never married, although my mother knitted her a beautiful pink
negligee for her trouseau
(alas, her finacee turned out to be a bounder)

but her lifelong friend who adored her wrote...

"Dear Thomasino -  I love you truly, truly Dear"

She didn't marry, but she was so loved by all her family, -
her neices and nephews especially.

On July 10th, 1933, when I was pretty young, I wrote..

Dear Auntie Hildred
May your voyage through life
be as happy and free,
As the dancing waves
On the bright blue sea.

and her Mother's words...

In the book of life God's album
may your name be penned with care
And may all who here have written,
write their names forever there.

and my Mother's words
(she who loved her like a sister.)

Dear Hildred
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust

Love - Dolly

So many dear verses of love and caring
but this one I found particularly appropriate!

July 2/33

Dear Tommy
I will not wish you riches
or a flow of greatness,
But that wherever you go
Some weary heart may gladden
at your smile,
Some weary heart know sunshine for awhile
And so your years shall be
a track of light
Like angel footsteps passing
thru' the night.

I think this wish defines her life...
she was truly and dearly loved.

I shall pass these precious albums on,
in the hopes that they will be as treasured
as they are now.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

One Hundred Years Gone By.....

October 11th, 1918

The second Battle for Cambrai

Canadian Troops along the road to Cambrai

On the morning of October 11th, 1918 Canadian troops were advancing north-east of CAMBRAI, preparing to resume their clean-up of the siuation at  Iwuy, and in conformity with these plans the 31st Battalion would soon reach Hordain, there to establish a screen of outposts to protect the left flank of the Division

Promply at 9:00 a.m. the Brigade began to move.

"No sooner had the advance commenced, however, than German artillery observers, watching the lines of infantry as they moved forward, signaled to their batteries, and within a few minutes a devastating barrage had been brought down upon the Canadian formation".

For a time hell was loose among the men of Alberta - as they fell the shells detonated off the trees that covered the Battalions assembly area, and the wounds caused by the flying shell splinters were terrible. *

"....the deafening crash of bursting shells, the rending of riven timber and the continual stammer of the machine guns combined in an inferno of din sufficient to strike terror in the heart of the bravest".

The Battle for Cambrai continued through the day and that evening word was received that the 31st Battalion would be relieved during the night, and thus ended the part played by this particular Battalion in the advance of the Canadian Corps upon Cambrai. (information from 'A History of the 31st Battalion')

*My twenty year old father, a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, fell victim in the early hours of the battle to the barrage which resulted in the flying shell splinters and a fracture of his right forearm.

In the dreadful confusion of battle it was some time before he reached the Field Hospital, and the wound there was described in his medical records as "very dirty"...."urgent".

In the end an Osteo infection set in, and he spent over a year in hospitals in France, in England, in eastern Canada and finally in the Col. Belcher hospital in Calgary, his home town.

After this lengthy recuperation he was declared fit and discharged on the 19th of December, 1919 and was able to resume a fairly athletic civilian life.

He met my mother, - a nice romance!!

They married, moved to Edmonton and for twenty some years
enjoyed good health and dear friends... a bit of tennis and hockey,
lots of bridge, and a firm foundation in the Anglican Church..

Alas, the Osteo infection which had lain dormant in my father's body
for so many years
came to life, and laid him low for the next two years.

He eventually recovered, but the infection had left him 
with  a stiff leg, and he required a cane,
not to swing and be debonair
but just for perambulation!!

My cousin, at that time, was a member of the Medical Corps
in the Canadian Army
and on behalf of my father he set the wheels in motion for a pension
and was eventually successful.

My father received a cheque for seven dollars and some cents
from that time until his death.

Ah well, life is such a mixture of happiness and disaster.

I write this on the 100th anniversary of 
the Battle for Cambrai
and the 100th anniversary of my father's wounding.

I write it in remembrance
so that he will remain alive in the memories
of his grandchildren
and his great-grandchildren,
and perhaps even beyond that!

He was a sweet and gentle man

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A wheelbarrow full of compost and two naked looms...

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

I am so pleased with what I have accomplished in the last few days!!

It is not always so, - sometimes I feel my age and aching bones and spend an afternoon napping and reading. (I should say reading and napping, - that is the sequence!)

But both my floor looms were warped and Sunday I finished a lovely blue, soft, Jagger scarf, - cut it off the Glimakra and after snipping the ends and fixing the errors doused it in the magic of water where all the sweet bits of wool reached out to cling to each other and came out looking like this....

Another Christmas present to keep a loved one cosy....

The wee bit of warp that was left

looks like this......

A nice little cover for a small tabletop
and fun to try a new pattern.

Flushed with success, yesterday I spent the afternoon finishing weaving

a Collapsable Scarf,

and in the evening I dipped it in the magical water

(hot-ish, and with a bit of soap)

After fifteen minutes agitation

the plain, loosely woven warp, striped with deep blue Jagger wool

and pale blue silk.

morphed into this delightful ruffled scarf!

Oh wow!  Magical indeed....

Today I plan to replant bulbs in the wonderful rich compost

our youngest son retrieved for me,

out of the compost bin I so religiously tend.....

Life is good!!!!

 Tomorrow I will wind warp...

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

October still --- and again

October 4th, 2018

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild
Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.


O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow.

Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,

Beguile us in the way you know.

Release one leaf at break of day;

At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away,

Retard the sun with gentle mist;

Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!

For the grapes sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

Whose clustered fruit must else be lost --

For the grapes'  sake along the wall.

October, by Robert Frost

Sunday, September 30, 2018


October 1st, 2018

October, dear October.....

who raises our spirits with it's blue, blue skies and flamboyant colours, so that when melancholy November arrives we are well girded to bear its gloomy, foggy ways.

 A little drive through the Valley to waken one's eyes to October's beauty....

One leaves the gardens 

 Along the fence a riotous

scarlet scarf tops

the fence line, while in the

distance the neighbour

add his cornstalks to

Autumn's festive costume.

 The last of the roses bloom, - just as if it is still June

 Up on the hillside a grove of Aspen falls into the rills where the small streams trickle

 and down here, below, the curly willow driveway that Charles created from little stubs of willow sticks grows larger and provides more shade

 long shadows, a lone sunflower that has served the birds gladly....

 poplars glow in the sunshine

and the sky burns blue through the branches of the pine

along the Similkameen the gold skips the gravelly beach

and is reflected in the still, quiet river

 Oh look, - what is this below??

If once I knew

I have forgotten..

but what a lovely contrast

The river ripples round the bend

watched over by surrounding hills

and off in the distance Apex Mountain

Here above the far bank is an irrigated meadow,

long since harvested, and lying

at the foot of the sloping hills

closer to civilization a little black cat keeps a wary eye on us...

We come to Ginty's pond, - alas, now covered in scum

but still a favourite haunt of ducks

and other animals, - far back in the darker, wooded reaches

the colours of fall dot the hills

and the bull rush grows mightily

the water wends through the trees and grasses, glinting in the sunlight
that finds its way through the trees

the hills, dotted with golden globes

and the fences, festooned with wine and white

and here and there a touch of gold

and fuzzy wild clematis

Feast your eyes on the glorious season

and be full of thanks and praise

for October!!

It behooves one to remember

that November looms...

fortify your soul!!!!!