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Midway hawkers

On Canada Day, we went to an event nearby. There was a midway, bands and of course, fireworks. We went in the evening for the fireworks and toured the midway. It was nice to see people out enjoying themselves on a clear, hot night. I reminded me of my younger days at the Cactus Festival back at home in Dundas.

I’m also reminded of the Rush song, Lakeside Park, in particular the opening lines:

Midway hawkers calling “try your luck with me”
Merry-go-round wheezing the same old melody
A thousand ten-cent wonders, who could ask for more?
A pocket full of silver, the key to heaven’s door.

That was written in 1975, and of course, nothing is 10 cents anymore. Still, the opening lines are pretty much still exact. I took a lot of shots of the midway.

Back in 1813

Last weekend we travelled down to Morrisburg to take in a re-enactment of the battle of Crysler’s Farm, which occurred in 1813 during the war of 1812-1814 between Canada (Britain) and the United States. Spoiler alert, Canada won that one.

While not a full re-enactment – at least in scale – it was a demonstration of how wars were fought 200 years ago. It included a number of role-playing events including how soldiers lived, black smithing and music.

One thing I found interesting, was a setup of how the elite would “lunch” in the new country. Set in the time, they included a book by a new, can you believe it, in 1813, a woman author, Jane Austen.

I took along my X-Pro2 for a few shots.

 

The gentry lunching during the summer.

 

A new novel by an upstart female author.

 

Vimy 101

Throwback Thursday is a thing on the webs and social media.

This isn’t.

One hundred and one years ago, on April 9th, 1917, in a small snow storm, the Canadian army acted as one unit, not under British rule, to take Vimy Ridge. A German stronghold that earlier attempts by the British and French were failures.

It was a true Canadian moment, and shows the tenacity that is Canada to this day. When some loser shot and killed an honour guard at the War Memorial in Ottawa and stormed Parliament Hill (and killed by security), I thought, “fuck you. Canadians took Vimy, you can’t do that shit to us”, and went about my day as usual. You don’t mess with Canadians. Yeah, we are super nice and stupidly polite; just don’t push it.

So last year, in 2017, I went to the 100th anniversary of the battle, where the Canadians not only took the ridge, but held it for the rest of the war. Took it with the “fuck you, it’s ours now, you’ve done enough and we will keep it right” kind of attitude. See, most immigrants to Canada, not only left their country to avoid hardship, persecution and look for a better life, they also had to endure the hardships of an untamed wilderness, brutal climate (winters can be rough, even in the 21st century). They put up with all that, so nothing much more can phase them.

Proud Canadian? Yeah.

But I digress. I was there at Vimy for the 100th anniversary. It was the warmest, most clear day of the 10 days I spent in Belgium/France. There were a lot of logistical issues, and problems. But *I* was there. And to look out over the area where the four Canadian divisions came together and made such a monumental success, make me proud.

These are a few shots from the day. I had only my Fuji X100T and teleconverter. I would have liked something more zoomy for the Vimy Flight flypast, but, hey, what are you going to do.

As the 101st anniversary comes, I look at these photos and remember the soldiers who volunteered for a truly worthy cause, the ceremonies and the trip in general.

Still chasing trains

Today at work, I heard the the train heading up to the Nylene plant. I noted the time and determined a return in five hours, putting it back around 4:30. That is around the time I’m done for the day, so I was hoping to catch the train.

As I was heading to the car, I heard the train hitting the level crossings. I hoped to meet up with it along the way. As it happened, as I came to the crossing at Herzberg road, it was slowly approaching. The speed limit is 10 mph, so it’s not exactly zipping along. As I crossed the tracks, I made a quick left hand turn down Bayfield Avenue to meet it at another level crossing.

I stopped just short of Carling at the crossing and waited for the approach and took a few quick shots.

As it went passed, I thought, since it is going slow, I’d try to meet it at Corkstown Road. From my location, it was about seven minutes away. I had a similar meet before (without camera) and figured I could make it. I doubled back to Carling to Herzberg and over to Corkstown Road. No train in sight, I check the tracks. In the flangways at the crossing, there was still snow. If the train had come, it would have been compressed or gone. A moment later, my suspicions were answered as I saw headlights. A second run-by!

I considered a third attempt down the line, but it was not to be. Still, I was happy to see the same train twice.

As an aside, when giving a title to this post, I considered “Chasing Trains”, but a quick search revealed that I had used this title last year, and the photos were only just a little ways down the tracks from the one above. Just to the left in fact. Same camera too – my Fuji X100T

A little Acros

Its been a pretty cold and blustery winter. Since getting my new X-Pro2, I’ve had little opportunity to get outside and take some shots. A little while ago, the weather was (relatively) quite warm, and I took the opportunity to get out and get a quick walk in before it rained. I brought along the new camera, and threw it into the Acros film simulation. I’m not much of a fan of black and white photography, but there has been a lot of good comments on this simulation. Given that this time of year is pretty monochrome, what better time to try it out.

I’m still not convinced that black and white photography is the best, but I had a good time, and the photos here are decent enough. Enough to try again for sure.

Arriving UFO

I gave myself a Christmas present… a Fuji X-Pro2 Graphite edition. It’s an X-Pro2 with a cool look to it. Through some searching and a few other discounts, I got it at a really good deal. I’ve been looking at it for a while and while the weather sealing and wifi were definite draws, the 24 megapixel size was holding me off. It’s just a stupid amount of pixels for what I do with the camera. In the end, the deal/price I came up with was worth it.

So this is one of my first pictures with it. I find I have a tendency to purchase new gear in the winter when it’s too cold, too dark and just not feasible to get out and use the new stuff. Huh. This shot was from my back door in -20 temperatures. The sun was going down and the blue in the sky made for a neat picture. I was shooting other things in silhouette when an airplane was taking off. I grabbed this shot.

Its important to note that this is straight from the camera as shot with an ISO of 3200, not post processing other than a slight crop. The colours and rendering are awesome. Looks like I made a good choice!

Not the Tardis

While visiting my old train watching haunt, I walked up a path and saw an old, abandoned signal box.

Normally, in the summer months I wouldn’t have seen this as it would have been obscured by foliage. But it stood out now. I ventured over to check it out. On approach, it looked kind of like Dr. Who’s Tardis; but of course it wasn’t. It had been well taken over by graffiti and rust. I took a few shots of it to add to my graffiti collection.

Shot with my Fuji X-Pro1.

On the hill

A Christmas tradition of sorts is going to visit family in my home town of Dundas, Ontario a week or so before Christmas. This is a way to visit, do the Christmas thing and avoid the typical bad weather (or try to) that hits around the end of December.

If I can, I like to find time to go up the “hill” to where the main line of the CN Dundas sub runs. When I was younger, on Saturdays I would ride my bike up to this location to watch trains in the morning, returning around noon. There used to be a station there, which by then was a whistle stop, but it has a washroom (if one could call it that) and a place to hide out from the weather if needed. That station is long gone, burned down by vandals in the mid 90s.

Access to the area is now by foot only. A bit of a walk, but no big deal. The line up to Copetown is uphill, so the trains are struggling to make the grade, and you can hear them coming. There is also signal lights to help know if there is something coming. On the opposite direction, you can see the headlights long before the train passes.

So I went up. I stayed for about an hour, and nothing came, even though there was a green light. Still, I wandered and took a few photos with my X-Pro1.

The escarpment is a popular area to hike to, with a great vantage point from up there.

 

In the corner of some foreign field

In my previous post, I mentioned the corner of a French cemetery housed soldiers from the first world war, and our tour group was able to locate a relative from the group.

The Commonwealth Graves Commission has done a fabulous job on maintaining the small bit of land here.

On the way back to our transports, I noticed a selection of headstones off to one side of the cemetery, with the same type of headstone and attention to detail on the landscaping. Upon closer inspection, I saw they were Hindu soldiers from the Indian army. There were nine.

A song from Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut came to mind. The song, A Gunner’s Dream, is a WWII theme of a gunner from a bomber that has been shot down. As the gunner falls (or floats on a parachute depending on interpretation), he thinks of how life could be without conflict. Specifically the lines:

In the corner of some foreign field
The gunner sleeps tonight.
What’s done is done.
We cannot just write off his final scene.
Take heed of his dream.
Take heed.

I thought of how these soldiers came half way across the world to fight for King and Country, to end here; and wondered how many, if any, of their families and friends would ever make the journey to this corner of a foreign cemetery to visit their final resting place.

Lost and Found

When I went to Belgium and France in April for the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge, I went with a small group. In that group were a brother and sister of an older age that had a grandfather that fought at Vimy. He died of his wounds and never returned home. They were on a tour a few years back and the tour company/bus, did not manage (or maybe want, I don’t recall) to find the location of the grave of the grandfather. The tour was going to Vimy. So close.

This time around, our group was small enough, and the tour guide compassionate enough to make the effort to find the grave. We were headed to Vimy for the anniversary ceremony, so we planned the small diversion.

The grave was in a small village near Vimy of which I cannot recall. But we had to drive around a few times to find it. It was in a small cemetery that was very out of the way. No wonder the bus driver before didn’t want to get there. The streets were very narrow.

Long story short, we found the location, which, as I mentioned, was in a French local cemetery. We needed to walk to the back corner to find the location. It was incredible. The Commonwealth Graves Commission had kept this small section in pristine condition to that of the major cemeteries.

We took a moment to have a small ceremony of remembrance, which I’m proud to say, my son read that was prepared by the brother and sister. It was very emotional and they were extremely happy to see the burial location. Below are a few photos.

 

Canadian soldiers that never came home.

 

A moment of remembrance.

 

 

Private Leonard Thomas Godwin. We will remember them.

 

Canadian soldiers.

 

French soldiers are also in this cemetery.