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Life in Rockburn, eh?
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This is even weirder than usual!
“I got a call from a film company in Montreal (www.urbania.ca). They are doing a documentary for TV5 (France) on twelve regions of Quebec (Le Québec en douze lieux) to follow up on one done on Montreal last year.
One of the attractions in this region is the Ormstown Fair (Google) and they somehow found this blog and my mention of the time a buddy stole the pig at the fair. Apparently I haven't posted the story on this thread, but I posted it somewhere on TT.
They got me to tell the story and about my rugby club doing the security for the fair - it sort of solves two problems much like hiring the gunfighter to be the sheriff, if you get my drift.
Several 'phone calls later they have arranged to meet me at the front gate at 1:30 Saturday. They want me to tell stories and show the men and women Saracens working. I cleared it with the club yesterday.
“That's awesome, Gremlin!”
“that sounds awesome - about the show !
good luck with the bone and joints and stuff. I hope it works out where you can stay as active as you want to for as long as you want to!”
I decided to do nothing useful to-day and so came back to the computer centre to spend some time with you guys.
I picked up the Huntingdon Gleaner (every Wednesday) to read at lunch and of course the front page news is the fair, complete with Thursday evening's parade followed by the pig chase. They mentionned the filming (but got the name wrong). This might turn out to be fun.
If you Google 'Ormstown Fair' you'll get a laugh or two (click on "English" at the top left).
last edited: 6/10/09 11:25:54 AM”
“Well, I went to the fair and I got interviewed. The film crew were urban pukes and had fallen in love with our region. They spent two whole days at the fair. After my blurb I sat on the cart with our club president and we talked while they filmed. Then they filmed us tooling round handing out water bottles (I know, I know) to the girls at the gate.
Their angle seemed to be the Anglo-Franco mix and how and why everyone gets along so well. I told them that if there was a body louse in the French school on Friday it would be in the English school on Monday (I don't know if they'll keep that).
Gotta get some fishing in and get my 'yak in the water.
That's about it, eh?”
“Thanks for sharing. Good luck fishing.”
“That was a lousy thing to say, Gremlin.
Was it Franco or Anglo TV?”
“It's a TV station from France that is popular here on cable. The film crew were all from here.
There's always talk of conflict and it was fun to show the other side of life. I guess it's what Rockburn is about.”
“I just got back from the village of Lacolle, about 75 km away.
I never thought I'd join the Legion (my parents would get drunk there and come home and fight), but now I'm the membership chairman of our local branch.
I joined because my buddy Bob thought it would be fun. Saturday I'm grilling russet potatoes outside for the steak BBQ fundraiser. After the first disaster three years ago I drive up to an agricultural wholesaler north of Montreal (no potato growing down here) to buy/donate three boxes of restaurant grade potatoes for the steak and (later) chicken BBQ's.
Well, we have two survivng WW II vets. I took over membership when a WW II vet who lived not far from me asked me to take over from him. That was three years ago and he died last May - he was 87. He didn't say much, but we both knew he was on his way out and I just couldn't say no. My doc gave me shyte because she knows I can no longer do paper work and, indeed, it hasn't been easy.
I gave myself the mission of getting life memberships for the vets who were left and who had donated their time to the branch. Cdes Nick (the previous membership chairman) was in the RAF support. He didn't fly but maintained aircraft under what was often severe bombings.
Alex Thompson was in the army and landed on Juno beach on June 6, 1944 (D Day), 65 years ago.
The paperwork was a nightmare and I am very bitter about the treatment we got from Dominion Command and considered resigning, but was persuaded to continue.
Alex died before knowing about his acceptance as a life member - his family got the badge, certificate and card. Nick got his card and badge, but died before his certificate was framed.
Doug Rogers is the last one. He was a Flight Lieutenant in the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) and conducted 32 bombing sorties over occupied Europe and Germany - greatly exceeding the life expectancy and far more than was permitted at the end of the war.
He is still sharp and I had a great time listening to him when I brought him his certificate and badge - he apologised for 'talking my leg off'. I discovered I had not given him his life membership card and after it started raining I decided that whipper snipping was over and it would be a good idea to drive over and see him and I am happy that I did.
I was a little surprised to see that the 65th anniversay of D Day was not noticed on TT and I just wanted to share.”
“It was pointed out to me at a recent Royal Canadian Legion function that I implied there was only one living WW II veteran left at my branch. I am sorry if I offended anyone. We have several more (less than 6), but I was referring to members who had actively engeged in the management of the branch and in their community and who met the criteria of a Life Membership.
I did not mean to neglect the other living members who, while they perhaps did not understand the conflict and who could not foresee the outcome knew only that there was a great evil and that they must engage in the struggle against it.
They willingly sacrificed their youth and in many cases their mental health and their lives to join the struggle for civilisation.
The motto of the Royal Canadian Legion of the British Commonwealth Service League is Eam memoriam retenibimvs, 'We will remember them'.
They shall not grow old,
As we who are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them.
Back to happy stuff.
“The internet crashed at the computer centre in the village of Huntingdon and I just had to drown my sorrow in crab cakes, arugula salad and two glasses of decent white wine on the terrasse of the Rockburn Pub - brutal. I am going to get a digital camera and beg my daughter to show me how to post photos before (hell, during) the snow.
Things are crazy in Rockburn again. Things have been active in the last few weeks, in the valley wheat, barley and oats have been taken off the fields and now is the frantic harvest of the corn. The maize harvest is staggered as was the planting, from the first gamble of a late frost to the last gamble against an early frost.
Transport is a major industry where the primary industry is agriculture - tractor trailers, farm tractors, combines, tractors pulling wagons transform the sleepy back roads into industrial arteries.
Up on the hill round Rockburn (on the the last and northernmost escarpment of the Adirondacks) the apple harvest has begun. On top of all the other traffic are the cars and trucks of people (retired, idle, poor, transient workers), as well as the school buses of Latin American farm workers, tractor trailers hauling empty, then full pallets and boxes to the orchard factories and ultimately to the cities. The orchard factories, Leahy, Enderlie, Lussier have their own trailers, but tractors and their drivers are from all the towns and cities where they are available. All is a-bustle.
We'll see the tourists beginning this week-end. Rockburn is on two tourist 'circuits' - Le cicuit des paysans (a stupid name, as Canada, even before the English conquest has never had peasants. If the name was designed by an Anglo (50%-50% here) he should be flogged, if by a Franco hannged) and the circuit des vignobles, or the wine route.
Each week-end families will tour and stop at the various orchards that have kiosques of local produce - jams, home-made breads and of course apples and all their sauces. Children will run across the highway that their parents seem to think is a village street. there will be petting zoos, pony rides and tastings of the increasingly renowned 'ice cider' (cv. Trokenausgebeerinlese, or pourriture noble/noble rot.
The usual bicycle clubs will stop for bottled water and the motorcyclists - accountants and businessmen week-end dressed-up as bandits will lounge on the picnic tables on the lawn of the pub.
This week-end is the British Car and Cycle Day at the pub. Mostly MG's, but others as well such as a 1927 Rolls Royce limousine that is locally famous. They'll be there from as far away as Albany, NY and north of Montreal. Their will be Union Flag bunting and the affair will begin with a small parade led by (of course) a piper.
There's a Mustang car rally in Huntingdon as well.
Oh yes, Doug Vandor, the son of the doctor who delivered my daughter and his team-mate Cameron Sylvester (from away) are now classed fifth in the world in K2 (2 man kayak) and Katlin Bourgon won Overall Individual Reserve Champion at an Olympic horse meet in Saugerties, NY.
The Huntingdon County Fair results are in and my town, Hinchinbrooke (Rockburn is a hamlet) placed third in the tug-of-war.
Residents of Fort Covington, NY are worried about the silting up of the Salmon River after the removal of a dam oreder by the NYSDEC (NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation) and we are concerned by the effects that might come here.
That's about it, eh?
“I like that....
Motorcyclists-businessmen dressed up as bandits
That's about the size of it.......aging and bulging and leather-bound.”
“Yeah. the working class ones go to the hot dog place in the village of Huntingdon. The ganag members are never seen by ordinary folk.
It takes about forty CAD per person for lunch at the Rockburn pub and they arrive on 30 000$ bikes.
On the week-ends about half of the people at both places are American.”
“Well, Sunday was our annual pre-season trap shoot-off and, yes, there was a trophy. After one hundred clay targets each (the senseless slaughter of innocent skeets, eh?) the three tie breaker rounds were between John, 52 and his thirteen year-old nephew.
They were both using the same gun, a vintage Winchester M101 that had belonged to John's dad and his nephew's grandfather. John won by one shot and then we went to my buddy's for a pre-season freezer emptying BBQ. Skewers of wild duck, geese, turkey and deer and salads.
There were sixteen of us from 13 to 74 years of age.
Life can be good, eh?”
“Wow, that sounds awesome.”
“It was fun.
The first flocks of geese flew low over the house to-day. We see and hear 'locals' all the time, but thiese were the first large flocks - a sure sign of autumn.
Three flights starting a bit after dawn.
I haven't heard a lot of coyotes thi9s year, but they're all over the place.”
Now get busy, I want to see that giant goose shell blind. ;-)”
“We had 62 Canadian geese fly overhead on Sunday, all headed south. They're a little early.”
“My g'buddy Bob has a digital camera and I have vowed to start taking pics so that you can all see the silliness.
I'm going to need help posting them.
Tree, they fly south from NC? Wow! Most never get further south than Illinois now.”
“There's a lot of birds who live down this way year-round, but this was a larger than usual group, headed due south.”
“I wasn't too far from Gremlinland last week. Was working in Rouses Point, NY which is the most northern village in New York State. I was less than a mile south of the Quebec boarder. Should be heading back up in a few weeks.”
“Well, Eurohike is on the bus to Boston and then flying to Zurich. I just got back from Montreal.
Euro 'phoned me last week to say her plans for this week had fallen through and I offered to drive down and hike with her there, or get her and bring her back here. As it turned out we came back to Rockburn Monday.
I discovered a charming young woman with a beautiful smile and a great sense of humour.
We had lunch in Knowlton just north of the border and drove back in time for dinner.
As most of you know, I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder and had stressed over the visit over the week-end. I had prepared marinated chicken breasts and grilled them and served them with pasta in a cream and grated parmesan sauce with a Greek salad (tomatoes, cucumber, artichoke hearts, sliced black olives and feta cheese in an olive oil/lemon juice dressing with oregano and garlic). It's one of my favourite dishes, but I was too nervous to eat.
I was a little shaky and tried and tried to get the pasta into my mouth, but it wasn't going to happen. Euro asked me if I wanted a straw and instantly became family (my buddies loved it).
Tuesday we travelled to Montreal, but of course could not see everything in a day. We had a nice lunch in Montreal and visited the Old City and drove home. I had put lamb chops in a Dijon mustard/mint vinegar marinade and grilled them with oiled, sliced zucchini and grated Parmesan cheese and broiled potato slices brushed with olive oil, garlic and oregano. Things were getting better.
Yesterday we took it easy and instead of kayaking down the river came to the computer centre and Euro stole my identity briefly (qv. New Hampshire TT'ers?).
My buddy Giles Called to say he was at my place and we drove back and Euro jumped into his BMW Z4 (after a few photos of my giant goose blind) and we drove to a re-constructed Mohawk (Iroquoian) village. We went for a walk in the orchards and woods behind my house and afterward my buddy Bob dropped over for a beer and a giggle. My buddy (Bob's cousin) saw his truck and dropped in too.
It seemed that Euro was suitably amused.
We then went to the pub and Euro had locally celebrated calamari and a Greek salad and I had Grilled chicken breast stuffed with Asiago cheese and ham on garlic mashed potatoes and stir fried vegetables.
We were then invited to join the owner, Joanne, and chill. I gave Euro my car keys as she had shown me her International Driver's Licence when I took her passport at the Canadian border. Euro drove home (all of 300 metres) and that was it.
This morning I drove her to the bus terminus (whatever happened to Amtrack? - there used to be a popular Montreal-Boston run) and said good-bye.
Euro's not just a pretty face, I learned a lot from her, from the medicinal plants that grow behind my place to how your GPS service is organised and presented (how it's done) and why a factory installed system is far superior to an add-on one.
It was a great diversion from a bagnightless summer scraping my house in the hope of painting it before hunting season.
For photos go to www.facebook.com and search for trailtalk (one word). Click on the top one and to members - see all, scroll to me, Doug Murdoch and click on my ugly face. Then go to 'photos' and open the folder called 'Eurohike'.
“If you will cook like that, I would come see you.
French Kissing is totally out of bounds however.”
“Great TR Doug!”
“Thats great glad you guys had fun”
“I need to find out how to post my Eurohike folder from Facebook to TT.
“I saw that each photo has a 'share with anyone' number at the bottom. Do you think I can use this to post on TT?”
“BTW, Euro became an Official Montrealer when she learned that traffic lights are only for cars in Montreal. She also learned how to weave through passing traffic to get to the other side of the street.
Euro also experienced the quintessential Montreal moment at the newsstand in the 'bus terminus when (I had heard him talk to some English language customers) they both did the transaction in French.
Only in Montreal, eh?”
“It's all true. Gremlin cooks as good as he says he does. The marinaded lamp chops were great. And the risk that you take yourself an eye out with one of those is minute. Yeah the spagetti on the first evening were kind of tricky though, huh?
I on the other hand felt really relaxed and un-stressed while at Gremlins place.
The pub is class. So is the crowed that hangs out there.”
“Is it true that they are all little people?”
“Gremlin, I send you an email on how to post pictures from FB.”
“For some reason nothing seems to work. Can Iupload pics from my camera to TT? Help!”
“Of all the Rockburn stories but Gremlin never said something about the strange happenings and disappearings in his flower gardens :)”
“It has to mark the shortest lived criminal career possible.”
“Please, do tell.”
“By the way, I have to mention this: after I had to change my original plans, i.e. I had to make an evasive manoeuvre due to someones infuriated girlfriend ;-) Gremlin spontanously invited me and granted asylum in his Rockburn mansion (old school house). Not only did he invite me, but since I was more or less stranded in the White Mountains, with no public transport to Montreal, he insisted to drive 4 hours to Lincoln, NH, to pick me up. He loaded my luggage and myself into his Volkswagen and without further delay raced straight back to Canada.
I say, if someone drives four hours to pick up a friend he never met before and drive another four hours back, that means a hell of a lot to me.
Thanks Gremlin :-)”
“Gremlin is a good guy.”
“and a good cook too :-)”
“He never cooked for me (I guess I'm not pretty enough), though he did take me on a tour of Montreal last fall.”
“Grem is a true, Southern gentleman.”
“I'm blushing, eh?”
So I had to shopot the decoy, eh?
“Saturday was the test the decoy-blind day. We put the blinds and the deeks in Bob's truck Friday afternoon and we were at the alfafa field just down from our houses at 6.0 am.
When we got there someone else had set up. This is an embarassing situation here and it turns out he and a few neighbours have permission for the fields across the road.
'You Barrington?' he asked me and I pointed to Bob. '
Neil (the owner) said you hadn't been out yet this eason and I took the chance.' he said.
Well, we're all locals (although we don't know him, but we know his hunting partners) and he seemed a decent sort and we decided to hunt to-gether.
He was using a lay-out (coffin) blind and we had the giant geese. He also had 20 giant, full bodid decoys and we had two dozen shells - a good stool. Coffin blinds (canvas on an aluminium frame) and full bodied decoys are hellishly expensive and he was also using a Benelli, 12 ga. 3½ in.; magnum that's worth over 1 500 CAD.
His truck was parked on the road and we told him where to park where it would be invisible to the geese. We set up while he walked over then drove up the designated lane.
He couldn't call worth a damn and so I did the calling and we brought the first flock in right away and we dropped three.
Flocks kept flairing after that and it was driving me crazy. I got out a few times, but the stool looked good. My buddy's brother drove by and stopped to scream obscenities at us (he and his brother and Bob and I are the only ones round using giant goos blinds). He was hauling crates for his orchard.
Suddenly one of our geese woke up and started running. I head shot it, but unfortunately the decoy behind it also fell over.
'You shot my decoy,' Harold (his name) shouted. There were a few dimples in the deek, but nothing went through. Harold was visibly upset and I offered to replace the decoy, expecting him to say not to bother. He agreed that I'd replace the deek.
Apparently Harold is a carpenter with a school board in Montreal. I had to fall in with a guy who probably gets up in the middle of the night to polish his tools - everything he had that morning was immaculate. When we packed up he put the decoys in canvas bags with individual compartments so that the decoys wouldn't rub against each other (I could not make this up).
Later Paul dropped over for a beer. He said Harold's corn camouflaged coffin blind stood out like a sore thumb in the alfalfa which explains why the geese kept flairing once the sun came up.
Got to go to Plattsburg to-morrow and pick up a decoy.
On the good side, Bob's young chocolate lab behaved perfectly and tackled another goose that woke up so that Bob could walk over and dispatch it.
That's about it, eh?”
“please post a photo of the goose decoy you showed me.”
“And tell Harold not to bring corn to an alfalfa party again!”
“Usually locals aren't that dumb; sounds more like the typical tourist.”
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