Thursday, January 27, 2011


I believe I was Four years old at the time , a favorite age and in fact my Lucky Number. After all Jean Beliveau a newly acquired Montreal Canadian Hockey team member was..NUMBER 4. Well perhaps I was a bit older when Jean, MY HERO, joined LES HABS..nonetheless here are my recollections...of being FOUR.
The fall over the ravine (Gully) is part of my tale. The Recovery from my Tumble is another part AND the Third Part.....IS........I am here to tell you THAT TALE.
Yeah it was a Tuesday as I recall or was that a Thursday?..OH Well what the Dickens does it really matter the story is just the same. Yeah as I was about to explain. That Wednesday I had time before the weekly Library Reading Session to Trike over to my favorite SPOT to watch trains. THE SPOT was across the street and well let's see now one, two, three, a and another half house down to the top of THE GULLY. This was THE SPOT. Yep just enough space down through the damp and reedy gully to view the CPR tracks, the path of my favorite visions...TRAINS. Steam Trains no less.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


It was circa 1980 and the Ottawa - Wakefield steam train excursion was a tourist attraction. The train: 1201 A Canadian Pacific Railway, "Pacific" type steam engine 4-6-2 hauled its coal tender, baggage car and several vintage passenger cars from the Ottawa Science & Technology Museum in Ottawa through the capital city north to Wakefield, QC and return. The first photo is the 1201 train crossing the trestle over the Rideau River at Carleton University. (Notice the RED spot top rear engine boiler...the 1201's bell signalling an approach to a cross walk at Carleton). The scenic route travelled north via Hull and Chelsea, QC about an hour to its destination, the quaint village of Wakefield on the edge of the Gatineau River. The second photo at Wakefield shows No. 1201 clearing a switch and ready for a turn around and return trip to Ottawa.
The third and fourth photos are of Canadian National Railway's steam locomotive 6060. Built in 1944 it was one in a UI-F series of lighter and faster passenger locomotives that could reach 75 miles per hour. The 4-6-2 locomotive was painted in green, black and gold and was characterized by its side valances. It was nick named "Bullet-Nosed Betty" because of the shape of its boiler. These photos were taken circa 1972 during a time when it performed steam train excursions and were captured heading out of Montreal just west of Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC. Locomotive 6060 is now retired and on display in Jasper, Alta.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I recall at the age of Four I became intrigued with trains... My family (Mum, Dad, 2 sisters and me) lived close by to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Trans- Continental main line between Montreal and Vancouver. It also served as the local commuter run between Montreal and Rigaud. This would be in 1951, the year that "steam" locomotives were on their way out and the beginning of the new era of "Diesel". I would ride my tricycle across the road to a spot where I could watch the local trains pass by and it would be two years later when I could actually go down the escarpment (we called it "The Gully") to watch and wave track side as the trains chugged by. The second photo above was taken in 1966 and was "The Canadian" heading West from Montreal. At this point it was passing through Hudson, QC down in The Gully. The lead Diesel Number 1418 was a Unit A engine aided by a Unit B. Although diesel No. 1418 was retired in 1983, it is still in service in its restored state and on display in Medicine Hat, AB. I recall before Diesel "The Royal Hudson" picture Number one above, was the locomotive used for the cross Canada trips and the "Pacific" class for the local commuter runs. The first diesel engine I saw in 1954 was in the 1400 Series. The Locomotives in following photos are British and Canadian. The All Black Locomotive was the last freight engine built by Canadian National Railways (CNR). It was a Brute and configured 2-10-2. The green livery locomotive was the last Steam engine built in Britain (Class 9F) configured 2-10-0 and was named "Evening Star". It was a Freight locomotive but painted Green instead of Black. Green was reserved for passenger locos, but in honour of being the "Last Steamer", it got the "green livery" paint job. The name Evening Star was given as a result of a competition amongst staff at the Swindon Works where the loco was built. The maroon locomotive is a British Tank LMS (Class 4P) configured 2-6-4. The London, Midland & Scottish RR used this loco for suburban passenger service. It was fast and efficient. It did not have a "tender unit" because the Coal fuel and Water storage is an integral part of the locomotive itself.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


To Kick Off March I thought pictures of my pets would offer a colourful and playfull beginning to Spring only 20 days away.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


How can I describe Nepal in 1000 words or less? The ADVENTURE began in Varanasi, India where we bordered Cosmic Air. We departed the small airport at 4:50 pm after a 4 hour wait time and a couple of Kingfishers. Got ripped off by the customs to exchange 1000 and 500 RS notes to 100 RS notes at a cost of 130 RS (about $3.00US). It was not the money, it was their political policy. Which as, I understood to be: the larger RS notes could be counterfeit and therefore was a way Nepal would keep bogus bills out of their country. Now if you believe that..??!! Anyhow that's the lowdown. Arrived Kathmandu Airport at 5:30pm. Gate to Gate in 45 minutes. Booked into the Radisson Hotel and had supper at the "Fire and Ice" pizzeria. We walked there and back from the hotel, each way about half an hour. My Room No. 514 was very comfortable and you could have been in any North American city. The room(s) were typically North American...from the furniture to TV to EVERYTHING..except of course room service menu items and pictures on the walls only to mention a few giveaways. Breakfast the first morning (as were the two more we were to enjoy) was absolutely FANTASTIC. Anything you could want, both Local and "what you would find at home" style food. Our driver picked us up for an 8:15 am departure and off we headed for Pokhara ..which would prove to be an interesting and scenic 6 hour drive. I would guess about an hour to clear Kathmandu through very heavy and hectic traffic, then onto the winding switch backing roads through the likes of the Himilayas. Narrow roads, deep valleys, tiered farming plots and ORANGES, or maybe more like our Tangerines. BUT yes tropical citrus fruit growing in the heights of Nepal. And we sampled, a dozen tangerines set us back 50 cents a dozen. We stopped at the "Hilltop Restaurant" for the obvious break, coffees and some magnificent sightseeing views. There are pictures that follow that support some of my claims. No untoward incidents to report along the way and we arrived at our destination, Pokhara, and more specifically our hotel "The Shangri-La". My Room 101 faced
inward at ground level to the beautiful Oriental styled gardens. Drawf trees, neatly trimmed flower gardens, a stream and ponds with gold and black Koi fish. A very serene and peaceful setting with the Himalayas as a spectacular back drop. It was surely and aptly named. We spent a busy day touring local caves, falls, a gorge and a temple. The most interesting place was at Lakeside in the core of the tourist zone. Because it was late we did not tour the area and were back at the hotel by dark for dinner. The meal That night had oriental flavours to it, including goat, egg rolls, other assorted entrees and naturally rice. The next day we were up and back on the road by 9 am for our return trip to Kathmandu. Two hours short of our return our van stalled and failed to start. Thank goodness in a small village enroute and while we waited for help more tangerines were purchased. Actually we had to push the van at one point to get her moving. Home at the Radisson Hotel by 3 pm giving some time to tour the area. On my tour I picked up a 650ml bottle of Everest Beer (Their local brand) and a 375ml bottle of scotch. Each cost 105RS ($2.55US) and 290RS (7.60US) respectively. Also bought a T shirt featuring Mt. Everest. Dinner this evening was at a local restaurant 10 minutes from the hotel. Met a Indian family of 4 who were originally from Lucknow, India and the father now works in the "Kath". These folks were very interested in other countries as I in hearing their stories about theirs. The next day our guide took us to Durbar Square. My first impression was that the architecture was definitely of Oriental influence, for example pagoda and tiered styled roofs. Just look at the picture above. The Pavati Temple (mid right) one highlight and the flee Market (foreground). The RUM DOODLE Restaurant and Bar for dinner later that night. A unique memory was the cardboard feet placed ALL over the restaurant..walls, ceilings, EVERYWHERE. The idea was for the restaurant guests from all over the world to write about their adventures, their names and their country. Hiking and mountain climbing were popular topics displayed. Our 5 names were tacked up over the hostess desk at the entrance way and proudly showing CANADA. This was our last night in Nepal, albeit short an experience.. it was. My other 4 travel companions did do the Mt. Everest plane tour and I busied myself in touring the area close to the hotel. The Canadian Consulate was in the vicinity. All in all a pleasant visit and very clean compared to India, although early in our tour this could change. But all said and done now that the 6 week tour has ended Nepal was cleaner. (This is NOT to slight India by the way). Now was that 1000 words?? You count 'em...... CHEERS.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


The streets of India can be described in many ways and with innumerable words. Just a few that come to mind: crowded, colourful , filthy, noisy, bustling , odoriferous and so on. Just use your imagination viewing the following pictures and I am sure you will come up with your own adjectives. We spent hours roaming the streets of many of the towns, villages or cities visited and never felt intimidated. There were occasions when a firm "NO THANK YOU" may have been required, but if so, became the norm of street browsing. Depending where, some merchants were aggressive wanting you to buy while just as many were content to let you browse and even answer questions on their wares. Not being a true shopper and bargainer, I contented myself more in the "I'm just here for the ride mode". The Streets are alive with a varied culture of people (Locals and tourists) and you will find that they are friendly and curious about you, as you are about their world. People are that way..No? PEOPLE...Who's more fun than people? The Indian populace while huge in numbers deserve humongous praise. The History, Geography and Social science student would have a hay day in India. The people work hard for very little pay, just to eke out a life. Mind you there are the very wealthy, but this mix is generally true around this planet. It was indeed humbling to walk the streets of India. It was indeed an inspiration to walk their streets. It was indeed an education to walk their streets. It was indeed simply mind boggling to walk their streets. Indeed It Made Me Feel ...."While this was their home....WOW how Great IS OURS?" PLEASE WALK THEIR STREETS........... BEAUTIFUL HUMANS.