General blog

Getting ready to leave

I’m at the Apple store in Chinook right now and have been learning how to use my Drift camera and download footage onto my blog. This digital Drift camera is a no-brainer, which is fantastic for me. Just basically hook it up to my Macbook Air and then insert into this blog. I’m pretty excited about this! I rode my bike to Calgary today and now I regret not bringing any of the mounts for this camera because I could have tooled around Calgary and shot some clips. Oh well, I’ll be doing this in the next few days so stay tuned!

The quality of this footage is spectacular. Now to play around with mounts and angles. More later.

Winter to summer just like that!

Took off for Calgary this morning on my bike at 10:00 and was warm! I actually let out a yip or two with the sheer joy of blasting down the road in blazing sunshine and no wind. Last Sunday we had a ton of snow on the ground and today…gorgeous. Met the 3rd C.A.V. (Canadian Army Veterans) Ypres Motorcycle Unit that I’m a member of at Timmy’s on McKnight. It was great to see all the bikes and happy faces out after our loooong winter, about a dozen of us. Then we set out for Black Diamond where everyone but me had lunch at the hotel. I’d already had a substantial breakfast earlier. Just a short ride since it’s Easter Sunday and people had family things going on, short but still sweet.

This week I start laying out bits and pieces from John McCrae’s War Diary, MGen Edward Morrison’s serial that he wrote for the Ottawa Gazette about his experiences in The Great War and some letters and other odds and ends that refer to McCrae. I’ll be going hammer and tongs from now until departure in June. I also have to organize all my camera gear and learn how the Drift camera works. That is a very cool digital HD camera that I will have mounted on my bike or helmet as I travel. I’ll be experimenting with it before I leave to see what sorts of mounts for it capture the most interesting footage. Then I have to learn how to download and store it in my Mac Book Air. Caution! Massive learning curve ahead!

Okay, I’m back.

First I had to do my taxes, blecch and then I kind of went crazy on Facebook. I finally succumbed after getting invites for about two years! I’ve also been busy marketing my book, Rest Your Head on the Wind and planning my June bike trip to Europe. Almost have my itinerary totally nailed down. I have to come home in the middle to attend my son’s grad so it was challenging getting that organized and somewhere to store my bike for four days! I found a BMW dealer near Versailles who said I can have free storage for a bottle of maple syrup and a dose of Canadian accent! Funny and a relief to get that sorted.

I’m landing in Gatwick and riding down to Portsmouth. Then I’m taking the ferry to Caen. I will be sailing into Juno Beach basically and will be very interested in seeing what our WWII soldiers saw as they approached.

In recent local news I’d just been thinking, I haven’t seen our neighborhood elk herd for ages. I was coming home yesterday from Millarville and there they were AND I had my camera for a change. Very nice to see. Ya ya we still have snow in friggin’ April, but seeing these amazing sights around home makes it seem like a non-issue.

Next plan is to start organizing my research on the man, John McCrae around whom I will be laying out my next book. After landing in Caen I will ride down to the bottom of Normandy; St. Nazaire, where McCrae and the 1st Bde. C.F.A., Canadian Field Artillery landed in February of 1915. I’ll be doing a little camping too and just booked three nights at a campground near the village of Meteren where McCrae, MGen Morrison and Captain Cosgrave were billeted before the battle of Fleurbaix.

More to come….

Elk on the move by our road.

The whole mob, about 60 beasts.

Young Bull.

book and independent publisher news

Last Saturday I was invited by writer Fred van Zuiden to the monthly breakfast meeting in Calgary of IPAC, Independent Publishers Association of Canada. Fred has written the WWII memoir, Call Me Mom, the gripping and entirely true saga of his life in hiding during WWII in Holland. At 80 Fred is the very picture of resilience and enthusiasm for life. Somehow, hiding in 26 different places including a chicken coop (jokingly referred to as the Chicken Palace) for four months didn’t kill his optimistic nature. We should all come through our trials as well. When we introduced ourselves in turn he said he had preferred to live a life in hiding for four years rather than take the room reserved for him at Auschwitz.

At age fourteen he ignored the danger and watched almost the entire battle of Arnhem from the roof of a nearby building. At one point an Allied glider sailed right by him and a paratrooper standing on the wing waved to him as they went by! Does it get any better for a fourteen year old boy? I got goose-bumps reading that part. Fred’s website is www.callmemom.ca Being around amazing people like Fred is a tonic and yet another reason to count our blessings in this country.

As for my new book, I’m excited to tell everyone that I now have a Pay Pal button on my website, www.restourheadonthewind.com and I have the book in my first store! Classy, Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond, Alberta. Their website is: www.bluerockgallery.ca