Category Archives: Woodstock

Sunday 13th October 2019 – I SAID YESTERDAY …

… that I was hoping to have a really good sleep last night. And to be honest, I said it without too much conviction.

So consequently, having closed my eyes at some time rather like 22:45 or thereabouts last night, no-one was more surprised than me to notice that when I reopened them, it was … errr … 09:45.

Out like a light, totally painless, didn’t feel a thing.

Even more surprisingly, all of my old good humour, positive thought and optimism had reappeared too. That led me to the conclusion that the deep depression in which I have found myself over the last … I dunno … seven or eight weeks and which affected my sea voyage around the High Arctic so much was caused by nothing more than good old plain and simple fatigue and exhaustion.

That’s certainly borne out by the facts, where in the latter stages of that journey I was existing on about three hours of sleep each night and being kept running by nothing more than adrenalin.

So this morning, with it being a Sunday, everyone else was having a lie-in too and no-one surfaced much before 11:00. The breakfast brunch ended up being much later than it usually is but it was delicious all the same.

After lunch I took Zoe down to her house in Woodstock. And by the time we got … “ohhh not again!” – ed. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I used to hire a Dodge Caravan I had a mattress that I used for sleeping. Almost new, it didn’t have much use and so when I emptied my storage locker I brought it back and gave it to Zoe for when she has visitors round at her house.

We went back up to Bob and Ellen’s afterwards to drop her off for a Thanksgiving Dinner. On the way we called at the tyre depot and a mammoth search around the premises turned up my missing notebook for which I shall be eternally grateful.

Ellen made me a coffee and we had a little chat, and then I wished them all goodbye. They wished me a pleasant voyage back to Europe, which was nice of them.

When I returned, everyone was out tidying up the yard. I was put on fire duty, in charge of the rubbish burning. We ended up with fire everywhere except where it was supposed to be, but armed with a big metal snow shovel I was able to deal with the matter before the house burned down.

I ended up smelling like a fire myself, so a shower and change of clothes was called for.

Some more stuff disappeared out of Strider too – into the garage downstairs.

Thanksgiving dinner here tonight. Rachel was cooking lamb for everyone so I made stuffed peppers for our little visitor and me. They were quite delicious. As a special treat I had saved two of the vegan muffins and the two of us ate them to celebrate our own Thanksgiving.

Plenty of carrots left over so the plan for tomorrow is to make a carrot soup using coconut milk, ginger and bay leaves. Meanwhile, I put the lamb bones in some water with some sage, thyme, rosemary and olive oil and I’m boiling them down to make some lamb stock. Not for me, I hasten to add, but for the basis of the weekly work soup for the carnivores.

But it did remind me of the story about when the BBC closed down the children’s programmes on radio and went to sell off all of the assets
“How much did we get for Larry the Lamb?” asked the BBC’s accountant.
“Three and six a pound” was the reply.

Rachel and I are chatting right now as I’m typing, and I’ll be off to bed in a short while. Desperate for another long sleep tonight (without the alarms because it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow) but who knows?

And I need it too. Tomorrow is going to be a very long and painful night and I won’t be having much sleep at all.

Wednesday 2nd October 2019 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall that my writings ground out round about the 16th July for a short while after my elderly Acer laptop expired before I could upload to it the entries that I had made on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour.

However, the more astute, cunning reader will have noticed that there is now an entry for 17th July 2019.

And if you aren’t careful, or aren’t quick, you might even find some subsequent ones.

Last night I had a very late, disturbed night because I was working. And working quite hard too. Not only have I finally succeeded in firing up the old Acer, I’ve even managed to salvage all of the data that was on it.

Those two years that I spent studying for my Diploma in Computing back in 1998/99 have proved their worth and I’m surprised that I could remember as much as I did. But then again, having one’s back to the wall is a very good way of concentrating the mind.

So the result of all of this is that we might be completely back in business sometime soon.

So with having had a very disturbed night, with one or two nocturnal voyages thrown in for good measure, I wasn’t in very much of a mood this morning.

There was also the school run too, but only for Amber because our little visitor is feeling under the weather. I think that the strain of life in New Brunswick is proving too much for her.

After dropping off Amber, I headed on down to Woodstock for my gearchange arm, and by the time we got … “you said that yesterday” – ed

They hadn’t unpacked the deliveries when I arrived so I had to loiter around for a while. There’s a huge Amish community in the region so I spent some time watching their horse grazing on the grass verge while they went to the shops. I went to the shops too – for a few bits and pieces here and there

Eventually I returned to the garage and compared the old arm with the new one. The old arm had rusted and worn away to just a fraction of the thickness to I reckon that it was about time that it was replaced.

Mind you, it’s not made the gearchange any more precise, so there must be plenty of wear elsewhere. But I’m not going to strip down the column change mechanism. I’ll go with what I have.

Having said that though, regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few years ago the overdrive unit was taken out and repaired. I’m disappointed that the people who did it didn’t replace the mechanism – it must have been pretty bad even then.

Back at the tyre depot I’ve been labouring in the workshop, answering the phone, dealing with customers, all this kind of thing, and then I went to pick up Amber from school. She’s been staying late because they have a cheerleading competition coming up and they are rehearsing.

Later this evening I went out with Zoe. She’s recently bought a little house in Woodstock so I bought her a housewarming present – a water cooler for her kitchen. And then we spent an hour or so doing some tidying up in her house to make some room.

On the way back we had a moment or two of excitement as I screeched to a halt to let a family of raccoons stranded in the middle of the road escape to the verge out of my way.

So now I’m off to bed. I had a rough night last night and I need to catch up with my beauty sleep. And looking at myself in the mirror, I need quite a lot of that.

Tuesday 1st October 2019 – A PECULIAR THING …

… happened during the night.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that occasionally (but far more frequently these days) I have sometimes awoken during the middle of the night and then gone back to sleep and re-entered a dream at exactly the same point where I left off.

But last night we had something completely different. I awoke in the middle of the night and went back to sleep again, stepping back into a dream not at the end where I left off, but right back at the beginning where I had started.

And furthermore, as far as I could tell, it went on more-or-less (as near as I can tell) exactly as it had the first time round.

That has never happened before, and it was certainly an interesting experience.

For a change, I was relieved of duty on the school run today so I was in no rush to start the day off. Instead, I had a lounge around and when Rachel sent me a text message to say that my gearchange cable was in, I went off down to Woodstock in her car.

By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong so it was pretty crowded in the Golf, but I found room for the cable and some shopping from the Atlantic Superstore, including more of the vegan sorbet that we like and some fruit bread for me for lunch today and tomorrow – on special offer today.

Having stopped off at home to put the sorbet in the freezer, I continued on to the tire depot and had a look at Strider.

After much effort and difficulty, we managed to fit the cable. But now we have found another problem. The operating arm has a piece broken off it (which is probably what caused the fault in the first place) and the new cable isn’t holding on as well as it might. No point in spoiling the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar, so I’ve ordered a new operating arm and that will (hopefully) be there at Ford’s tomorrow.

But while we were underneath it, we did manage to find an aperture through which we can pass a cable or two. That means that I may at last be able to run a live cable or two through into the cab of Strider.

Apart from that, I’ve been going for parts, carrying sacks of grain about and answering the telephone as well as entertaining the customers. It’s all go here.

Later on, I went to pick up Amber from school (so I wasn’t totally relieved of duty) and had to fight the torrential rainstorm back home.

Tea was pasta tonight, and then I had a play with the failed laptop. Much to my surprise I managed to make it fire up and I can access part of the Windows directory now. Not the part that I want, but it does show me that the thing is not as totally dead as I was imagining.

That means that back home, I may be able to salvage some of the missing data, and that will be good news.

So now it’s bedtime. No idea what I’m doing tomorrow – I shall make it up as I go along. But an early night never goes amiss.

But remember the old Ford 1-tonne that mysteriously moved the other week? The old 20-tonne Ford that was next to it has also mysteriously moved today. But not as far.

After 20 years of standing it fired up first time with some accelerant and a new battery but the accelerator cable is stuck. It’s a long time since I’ve used a hand throttle.

Saturday 14th September 2019 – FOR THE FIRST …

… time in I don’t know how long (you can scroll back for yourself to see) I actually had a decent night’s sleep last night.

In bed by about 22:30, on the internet for a short while, and then away with the fairies.

A brief awakening and a trip down to corridor at some point during the night (I’ll have to cut out these evening tea-drinking sessions with Rachel) and that was that until the alarm went.

A look on the dictaphone showed me that there are two tracks on there that weren’t on there when I went to bed so clearly I had been on my travels during the night. But as for when and where and who with, you’ll have to wait until I find the time to transcribe them.

For a change I was up and about quite early which was just as well because I had work to do. Rachel had a stall at a craft fair at the ice rink so I went along to carry her stuff and mind the stall.

And among the interesting things to take place there was a woman from the Netherlands so I spent a good few minutes talking in Dutch (well, Flemish in my case) to her. I’m back in Leuven shortly for a blood transfusion so I need to keep up with my Flemish and practise it when I can.

We were hit by a torrential rainstorm, as I discovered when we went to reload the cars afterwards. A really miserable day in fact.

Strider and I went on down to Woodstock afterwards to Sobeys for some more shopping. By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong so it was rather crowded in his cab but we managed. And now we have enough food to make vegan pies and pizza as well as piles of other stuff – including some mixed fruit vegan sorbet.

Back home I crashed out for an hour or so and then made a lentil, pepper and mushroom spaghetti for the two of us vegans here. I made some home-made vegan garlic bread too, so our little visitor can’t complain that we are starving her.

Later that evening the two young girls went off to a friend’s for a sleepover, and Darren and Rachel had visitors over. Consequently I’m in my room working and playing guitar.

And I’m in luck! Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I bought this laptop it had the stupid Walmart IPOS splash screen on it that I was unable to move and Walmart was of no help.

You might recall that I was in BIOS mode the other day, so this evening I had another look deep into the bowels of the computer and, sure enough, the password that controls it is only recognised and functioning on the Windows interface.

Consequently, in BIOS mode, I could simply delete it without needing to know the password. Well, delete a few of the more important files such as the password files and then go back into Windows and use the “uninstall” function to remove the rest.

And it seems to have done the trick too, which is a big surprise to everyone, not just me. Anyone care to guess why the “techies” at Walmart couldn’t tell me that?

Tomorrow Strider and I have a settee to move for Zoe so, for a Sunday, it will be an early start. I’m hoping for a good sleep so that I’ll be on form.

But two good nights in a row is being rather optimistic, especially as Rachel and I have just had another cup of tea. Tomorrow, if I were a Native American, you would probably find me drowned in my own teepee.

Tuesday 10th September 2019 – IT MIGHT BE …

… only 20:00 right now, but what I don’t understand is that I’m absolutely whacked and I’m going to bed in a moment.

In fact I’ve been fighting off the Sandman (and not always successfully either) since about 15:00.

It’s not as if I have done anything exerting either. I had a reasonable (for me, anyway) night’s sleep with an awakening round about 03:00 as seems to be usual.

Not sure where I was during the night (I’ll find out when I listen to the dictaphone) but Nerina was in there somewhere, presumably come to keep an eye on me. She used to have that rather bizarre knack of turning up just when she was needed or when it was most useful, and I was convinced that she was much more in touch with her spirit side than she ever let on.

Ghost hunting (in the days when I lived with a ghost), water divining, she was quite good at all of that and much much more. In fact it wasn’t until I started to meet other women after we moved off down our separate roads that I realised how lucky I had been for nearly 9 years. I just wish that we had learnt to talk to each other.

But back on the subject of dreams and changing planes, I remembered that on several occasions on board I had dreamt that I had dictated my dream into the dictaphone, only to find that I had dreamt it and not done it.

So that’s at least a climb up onto the third plane, so I am moving about quite dramatically.

This morning, I didn’t have to do the school run. Instead Darren came to fetch me and we went back down to Woodstock to pick up the springs that we took down yesterday. With a hydraulic press the size that they have, it didn’t take them long at all to push put the seized bolts and bushes. And so successful were they that two of the bolts were reuseable – although we aren’t that desperate.

Back at the house I made my lunch and then went on down to the depot. We were really busy today and most people were pleased to see me.

Zoe took the afternoon off so I quickly went into Florenceville. The insurance on Strider is due for renewal and needs paying, and because I’m a non-resident with a foreign driving licence they punish me severely. Nevertheless, it’s still cheaper than hiring a vehicle and there’s no-one complaining about where I go and what to do. And a 4×4 high ground clearance vehicle is important in many places in which I travel.

Thanks to Scotia Bank for helping me with the e-transfer

At the depot this afternoon I was doing a bit of everything. But I did recall a sign that I once saw in a garage in the USA –
OUR HOURLY RATE IS CALCULATED AS FOLLOWS –
Talking to the customer – 5 mins
Looking at the job – 5 mins
Fixing the job – 5 mins
Testing the job – 5 mins
Looking for the tools that we had in our hand 5 minutes ago – 40 mins.

That was me this afternoon. Changing a fuse in a radio connection is a 30-second job, but not when you then spend 25 minutes looking for the top of the fuse holder that you just had in your hand.

The accounts balanced at the first attempt so Rachel and I were leaving at 17:20, and collided straight away with someone who wanted to know if we had any scrap tyres.
“Just one or two” we said, waving our arms about in the general direction of the large scrap pile.
He’s coming back tomorrow to take some away.

This evening I was alone for ages so I had some of the left-over chick pea curry with rice. Everyone came back all at once so I retired to my room in peace and quiet, and here I’m going to stay.

I need an early night today too. Apart from the fact that I’m whacked, Darren is on his own in the garage tomorrow so I’m expecting to be rather busy fetching and carrying, and lifting heavy objects.

Still, it could be worse. I could be on holiday.

Monday 9th September 2019 – WITH HAVING TO …

… go to bed early last night in order to be on form for today, it goes without saying that I had another bad night last night.

Still awake at 01:30, and when I finally did drop off, it was just in 20 minute segments where I was off on various travels. When I unwind the dictaphone at some point in the future I can tell you all about them, but what I can say is that at one point Castor and I were joined just for a change by Pollux.

Is it the first time that the aforementioned has accompanied me on a nocturnal voyage? I shall have to check

And it was one of those nights where I kept stepping back into the voyage at exactly the same place that I had stepped out. That’s something that I’m noticing is happening more and more frequently these days and when I was having similar situations back 15 or so years ago, I found myself able eventually to move onto a third plane, and that’s when it all became exciting.

That was during the period that we were researching dreams (that lasted from about 1998 to 2006 or so) for someone’s PhD at University and so our individual research was never individually published. But I still have the notes somewhere and I’ll have to look them out when I’m back home.

The spell was however unfortunately broken round about 04:00. The batteries in the dictaphone went flat at an inopportune moment and, determined not to miss a moment, I left the bed for a spare set.

They were flat too so I had to find some more and in the meantime find the charger to charge up the flat ones.

Unfortunately this meant that by the time that I was organised and went back to bed, I’d missed my spot and ended up going off somewhere else instead and isn’t that a shame?

When Amber banged on my door, I’d been up for quite a while. Before the third alarm in fact and that’s a rare deal right now. So we went outside ready for school.

Amber doesn’t like the idea of travelling cramped up in Strider so she had negotiated use of her mother’s car for me. It was cold, damp, misty and foggy outside and I had to clean off the car before we could go anywhere.

We negotiated out way through the queues at the covered bridge (the highway is down) and much to my (and everyone else’s) surprise, the St John River valley was clear of fog and mist. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that’s usually the place that GETS it first.

The girls clambered out at school and I drove back to the Co-op for apples (seems that we have a little fruit-eater amongst us) and to Tim Horton’s for bagels for me for breakfast.

At the tyre depot the morning passed quickly. There were lots of people around there and we were quite busy. I sorted out some paperwork and then, grasping the nettle, I telephoned the hospital back in Leuven.

They offered me a blood transfusion on 11th October on a “take it or leave it” basis. And so I took it. After all, chemotherapy and mapthera didn’t work as we know and the product that they are trying out on me is still in the trial stage so it’s not licensed as yet in North America.

And with having missed already three of my four-weekly transfusions, heaven alone knows what my blood count might be like. It was knocking on the “critical level” back in June.

Nevertheless, I’m going to try to see if I can push it back a week or so. I have may things to do that are as yet undone and there are many opportunities waiting to come my way and that won’t be accomplished if I’m not here.

After that I went to see Ellen. She’s quite ill too and doesn’t look anything like the woman that I remember. It’s a shame but I reckon that we will both be stoking the fires of eternity together, and quite soon too. But I kept her company for an hour or so and we had a good chat.

At lunchtime I took Rachel’s car back home and picked up Strider. Then went to the Irving for lunch. Afterwards I hopped off to pick up my mail from my mail box but SHOCK! HORROR! the whole battery or mailboxes out on the River du Chute road has been flattened.

A brief drive enabled me to find another battery of mailboxes but my key didn’t work. Off to the Post Office then, where she explained that the boxes have been moved and I needed a new key. She confirmed my Canada address and gave me a new key to a different box

But even more SHOCK! HORROR! It seems that my new licence tags for Strider haven’t come through. They expire at the end of the month so I need to chase them up before I go off to Montreal and Ottawa.

And I forgot to add that with the road up there being as it is and with Strider being as he is, it was an exceedingly lively drive. Next time that I go to Labrador I shall need to take with me a change of underwear

This afternoon there was yet more work to be done. Darren needed to take some heavy springs down to the welders in Woodstock so I went along to help. By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong but in the big Chevrolet lorry there was plenty of room.

Having brought the petrol back on Saturday it was the turn of the diesel. But this time, now that the lorry is mobile again, we had a proper licensed fuel tank to move the stuff about.

I have deliberately refrained from mention the world’s worst customer service that I have ever received – service that would knock Belgium’s legendary incivility to its customers into a cocked hat.

I rang Walmart in Fargo about the splash screen on my laptop and after repeating my story 7 times to 7 different people the best advice that I was given was to “reformat your hard drive and tough s**t for your data”.

That’s advice and assistance that I can well do without.

There was a major issue trying to reconcile the cash account this evening on closing so we had to stay behind to resolve the problem. Eventually, at about 18:30 we suddenly twigged – payments received after closing on Saturday lunchtime, credited though on Saturday, had been put into the till on Monday instead of being added to Saturday’s pouch.

Of course, neither I nor Rachel had been there at close on Saturday or opening on Monday, had we?

It meant that we weren’t back home until 19:00 and, much to our surprise, the girls had cooked tea. I went for a shower afterwards and then tried some of Rachel’s home-brew ice coffee, which was delicious.

Now even though it’s early, I’m off to bed. It seems that the school run is required for tomorrow (the school bus arrives too late, what with the issues on the bridge and Amber has already been cautioned once by an unreasonable Principal, and she can’t take a passenger on her scooter) and once more, Yours Truly has drawn the short straw.

And a big hello to my new readers from Montreal and Mississauga.

Saturday 7th September 2019 – I HAVE THROWN AWAY …

… a whole lifetime today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I travel around the world in some kind of peripatetic idyll, all of my possessions either on my back or in one of my trucks (Caliburn in Europe, Strider in North America).

But today, up at the mill, I heaved almost all of my North American possessions into a skip (dumpster to you North Americans) and put an end to my nomadic lifestyle.

It’s simply that I can’t do it any more and it’s no point pretending that I can continue. Watching the blood count slowly decline over the last two years down to the critical level (which it must surely have reached by now seeing as I haven’t had it checked for almost 3 months) and knowing that my days are numbered, it’s just useless weight that I’m dragging around with me.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be up in Montreal and I’ll be emptying out my storage locker. The only thing that I’ll be salvaging from there will be the amplifier and speaker for the bass and the remainder will be joining the rest of the travelling gear in that great camp site in the sky.

That’ll be the first time in Montreal this year. It’s not like me, is it?

But I’ll tell you something. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my mentioning the rather lively back end of Strider, how we travelled mainly sideways down a variety of gravel roads in Labrador. “Lively” back in those days had absolutely nothing on “lively” today, with almost nothing on the pick-up bed.

If I ever make it back to Labrador, we shall certainly be living in interesting times.

Having crowed about my really good nights just recently, it’s almost inevitable that they should catch up on me sooner or later.

And so it was last night.

For a start, we were still awake, the bass guitar and me, at well past midnight as I was picking away at various bass lines, unable to sleep. One thing about life on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour is that it has pumped music back into my soul.

But when I finally did manage to drop off, the dictaphone tell its own story. There’s a record on average about every 20 minutes over a three-hour period, and what I do remember from the various nocturnal rambles is that every single one of them concerned Castor pursuing me around the ship.

Not that I’m complaining of course. Usually, anyone pursuing me anywhere would be almost certainly brandishing the kind of offensive weapon that would paralyse a polar bear, so it makes a nice change to be pursued by pleasant company. What I don’t understand is why I thought it necessary to run away. I’m definitely losing my grip.

Once all of that was over I was up and about, only to find that we had run out of bread for breakfast. With Zoe not coming back last night, we hadn’t been to the shops had we?

Instead Rachel and I went straight up to the garage and made coffee, and slowly woke up.

Then it was that I attacked the emptying of Strider and that took me almost up to lunchtime. But lunchtime was late – there was a queue of trucks needing attention in the workshop and we couldn’t move one out until almost 12:45.

Zoe, who had by now put in an appearance, and I shot back to the house, picked up all of her belongings and, now that Strider was almost empty, whipped them down to her new house. And I’m glad that we had emptied Strider because by the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong and there wasn’t much room inside the truck.

Atlantic Superstore was next for a week or two’s load of vegan food so that I can eat properly, and also due to the fact that we are having another vegan messing with us for a while.

There’s a hurricane threatening here and out in the sticks a back-up generator is necessary. But believe it or not, in a household with 6 cars, three trucks, two heavy trucks and assorted 4-wheelers, snowmobiles, golf carts and Amber’s motor scooter, there wasn’t a drop of spare fuel.

Consequently Hannah had thrown a pile of empty fuel cans into the back of Strider and I came back from Irvings at Woodstock with 157.6 litres of petrol in the back of Strider. The rear end of Strider wasn’t bouncing around at all then!

Next stop was back at the garage. Darren had a rear wheel bearing, driveshaft oil seal, brake disk and caliper to change on the rear of a Chevrolet D5500 heavy truck – the one that I drove down to New Hampshire a couple of years ago to take that racing engine for repair.

It’s not difficult task but it’s heavy, dirty and complex, and four hands are always better than two working down a cramped inspection pit.

The task involved a judicious amount of heat and with an oxy-acetylene welding torch it brought back many happy memories. The last time that I did any welding on a car was the old Passat back in 1997 but that was with the mig-welder. With oxy-acetylene, the last time that I did any welding was stitching Nerina’s Ford Fiasco back together back in something like 1991. When I had my taxi company I was probably welding up one car or other almost every day.

We’d finished by about 18:00 and staggered off back home.

And I couldn’t resist a smile. Driving 20 miles with 157 litres of petrol floating around in the back of the truck and having to invent a makeshift stopper for one of the cans – getting out the oxy-acetylene welding bottles – crawling around an inspection pit in a garage taking driveshafts out of lorries and showering myself in Hypoid 90 – I thought that I had left all of that behind me more than 30 years ago.

You can take the boy out of Crewe right enough, but you can’t ever take Crewe out of the boy.

But then that’s why I like New Brunswick. It’s about 50 years behind the times and suits me perfectly.

Rachel came to awaken me later. It seems that I had crashed out for a while (hardly a surprise) and it was now tea-time. A chick pea curry which was delicious, and then we were descended upon by hordes of people. Amber is having a party and despite the rain and the winds, there are dozens of teenagers all attired in a variety of swimwear and heading for the hot tub outside.

I’ve locked myself in my room with the bass guitar and I am refusing to come out until the coast is clear. It’s a good job that it’s Sunday tomorrow and a lie-in is on the cards. I think that I’m going to need it.

Friday 21st September 2018 – I MADE IT …

… outside today.

Strider and I were reunited at long last and we went for a good blast up the road.

Mind you, I didn’t feel much like it. Another miserable night waking up several times and each time the nocturnal ramble in which I was travelling disappeared into the ether before I could grab the dictaphone.

I vaguely remember ships but that’s about all.

With Ellen now being supernumary it means that Rachel has to open up the office at 08:00. I didn’t realise that of course so when I finally drifted into the kitchen at 07:50 Rachel was on the point of drifting out.

And so I drifted back to bed again, but having first checked the availability of the shower. And Hannah told me that there were some new products to try.

10:30 is a much-more realistic time to raise myself from the dead and so coffee and toast brought me round somewhat. And then I went for my shower.

In the shower I find the coconut (because I love coconut) shampoo, the strawberry (in honour of my Recent Travelling Companion) shower gel and the vanilla (because it was nearest) soap for shaving.

I now smell like a rather bizarre dessert – something that brought a great deal of ribald comment from some (erstwhile) friends.

But I suppose that it’s better than smelling like a badger.

Hans suggested a topping of whipped cream. He would gladly do the whipping, and I replied that it would be OK as long as he found someone nice, young, friendly and female to lick it off me afterwards.

Rachel had ordered on-line the licence tags for Strider but they had never arrived. I bet my mortgage that they were in my mailbox up on Mars Hill Road so I took Strider off for a drive. And on a few occasions I forgot just how light his back end is.

And Strider has acquired not only a block heater but also a really good and new tow bar and attachments.

Arriving at the battery of mailboxes I had a nervous 5 minutes when I couldn’t remember which box was mine. I ended up having to empty out Strider until I found my mailbox contract.

The tags were in there, as was a letter telling me that I had been pre-approved for a life assurance policy, without a medical. If only they knew …

Back at the mill I had a chat with Rachel and Bob and then Strider and I headed off to Woodstock.

And by the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong so it was pretty crowded inside Strider, I can tell you.

First stop was Service New Brunswick. I pay my property taxes on Mars Hill by direct debit but I had received a bill. Turns out that there had been a revaluation and a subsequent refund, but they had refunded the wrong amount. So I needed to pay some back.

Subway for lunch and then Atlantic Superstore and Sobey’s for supplies. I’m running out of stuff in Strider. I remember emptying him out last year.

Tim Horton’s for a new coffee mug and a coffee, and a very bizarre conversation as I tried to explain to at least four people what it was that I wanted and somehow they didn’t understand.

Back here I had vegan hot dogs and beans for tea and then we all settled down to watch TV. First programme was one of these medical ones where they cut people open, so I bid a hasty retreat back to my room.

The air in here is rather gloomy today. It’s my father (Rachel’s grandfather)’s funeral today back in the UK and Rachel thinks that I should be upset by it. But Rachel didn’t have the childhood that we had.

All I ever wished for was that his end would be quick and he wouldn’t suffer – I wouldn’t wish suffering on my own worst enemy – and in that at least he was lucky.

Whatever else I was intending to write, I’ll keep it to myself.

No reason to inflict my problems on you lot.

Monday 28th August 2017 – I WONDER IF …

saint jog=hn river woodstock NEW BRUNSWICK canada aout august 2017… you can guess where the Saint John River might be.

That’s right – it’s over there where all of the cloud is. Late August and already we are in the cold early mornings,
the rapid heating and the resulting condensation.

It’s not looking good for the autumn – but then I say that every year and I somehow seem to manage.

hanging cloud lakeville NEW BRUNSWICK canada aout august 2017And it’s not just along the river either. Everywhere there was a patch of water there was a hanging cloud hovering in the vicinity.

Down there in Lakeville, for example, where there is, as you might expect, a lake, there was a large patch of it and I was drifting through patches of fog all through the morning.

I’d had a good sleep last night and even been on my travels but once again, I’ve no idea where to. And it didn’t take long for me to pack up the last remnants of my stuff and hit the highway.

Just Strawberry Moose and Yours Truly to start with but by the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong.

international chevrolet reo speedwagon woodstock NEW BRUNSWICK canada aout august 2017Remember last year when I saw that old car here in Woodstock?

Well, we can do much better than that today because we don’t just have one old car, we have three old lorries.

And quite interesting lorries they are too.

chevrolet international reo speedwagon woodstock NEW BRUNSWICK canada aout august 2017The flatbed lorry on the right is an “International” and the pick-up in the centre is a Chevrolet.

And we’ve seen these Chevrolets before – out on the Outer Banks of North Carolina back in 2005.

The one on the left with the tyre issues is the most exciting though. That’s an REO Speedwagon.

It’s amazing what you find in the backs of the barns occupied by these old potato farmers you know. All kinds of treasures are in there.

At Fredericton I bought an entire Walmart – including a slow cooker because Brain of Britain has left his other one in the lock-up in Montreal. How clever is that?

The Value Village came up with a few odds and ends, but Home Depot and Princess Autos (there’s one in Fredericton now) had nothing of interest.

lunch stop highway 7 NEW BRUNSWICK canada aout august 2017From there I drove on towards Saint John and stopped for lunch at a convenient lay-by.

I was joined by a couple of locals who told me the legend of the maple Tree here but I didn’t pay too much attention. I was half-asleep with fatigue.

In Saint Johns I soon found a motel. Rather expensive and needs a good coat of paint but it had a microwave so next stop was Sobey’s and a bag of spuds.

I went to the Dollar Store for a microwave dish too and a few other bits and pieces, and cooked myself potatoes, sausages and beans.

But the beans left over from last year were nasty and found their way into the rubbish. I reckon that I’ll bin all of that stuff and buy some new.

So now I’m off for another early night. No need to go to the hospital as Ellen has now been expelled so I can pay my insurance and move on.

Sunday 20th August 2017 – NOW HERE’S A SURPRISE!

Despite having had an early night last night and despite having crashed out for a while during the day, I slept right through until the alarm went off this morning.

I don’t even know why I had an alarm seeing as it’s Sunday – but there we are.

But a nice early start gave me an opportunity to catch up with a couple of things that I had let slip over the last few days and prepare myself for brunch.

Toast, beans, hash browns and home fries with plenty of coffee – what a way to start the day. But then we had work to do. With Ellen being in hospital, Bob is finding it difficult to manage and so while he was out visiting her, Rachel, Amber and I had a major blitz on his house for a couple of hours.

And we would have done much more had we been able to find some vacuum cleaner bags and stuff like that. But imagine me cleaning someone else’s house! I have enough problems cleaning my own!

That having been organised, the three of us set off for Woodstock. And by the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong … "here we go again" – ed … so it was pretty crowded in Rachel’s car.

The vegan range of food products in Sobey’s has expanded even more so I bought a fair bit of stuff to keep me going for the next week or so until I hit the road. After that it was the Walmart but there was nothing there that I needed.

By now it was supper time so I invited Rachel and Amber for a meal. Still a dearth of vegan food in the restaurants here but one place rustled me up a couple of vegan wraps and more home fries.

Not exactly what I would call “adventurous” but at least it shows an awareness and a willingness which is more than you can say for some places.

More tidying up here when we arrived. Last night a bear had attacked the dustbin and there was rubbish strewn all over the driveway. Amber and I attacked that and cleared up the mess while Rachel put the shopping away.

Another surprising thing is that back in Europe the broadcasts of the Welsh Premier League are blacked out for those living outside the UK. But here in North America they aren’t. I don’t understand that. So I took advantage by starting to watch yesterday’s TNS v Bala Town match.

But after about 15 minutes I was obliged to give up. And 5 minutes later I was flat out on the bed. I crashed out for a good 90 minutes, and crashed out completely too.

Now of course I can’t go back to sleep.

I just can’t win, can I?

Thursday 6th October 2016 – I FELT THE PAIN …

… this morning of the last two days on the road. It was a struggle to crawl out of bed and start out.

but I had to do it because I have a very long day tomorrow and so if I’m going to take a break, tomorrow during the day is the best time.

So we went off to the tyre depot, in another load of fog and hanging cloud, to say hello again to everyone and for a coffee. And once that was accomplished, there was work to do. Rachel had some deliveries that needed to be made in Florenceville. Everyone else was busy and so I volunteered to go. “Sing for your supper” and all of that.

Next stop was Woodstock, and so I set off down the road on the eastern side of the Saint John River. Not that I could see anything because the fog billowing off the river was blanketing everything.

By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong, so it was rather crowded in Strider. The fog was lifting too. I went into the Atlantic Superstore for some shopping for lunch, and here I hit the jackpot. Not only were hot-cross buns on sale, but there were a few packets reduced by 50%. As you know, I have a long way to go tomorrow night and also, the food is pretty miserable on Air Transat. The hot-cross buns will fill in the gap quite nicely.

river meduxnekeag woodstock new brunswick canada october octobre 2016There’s a grassy area and boat slipway at the back of the Council car park in Woodstock, overlooking the River Meduxnekeag, and this is one of my favourite places to stop for lunch. And here I am yet again.

In the sunshine, eating my butty, reading my book, chatting to the boaters and … errr … closing my eyes to relax in the beautiful weather with the glorious autumn colours on the trees on the opposite bank of the river, there’s nothing more pleasant than this.


river meduxnekeag woodstock new brunswick canada october octobre 2016Once I’d come back into the Land of the Living, I had work to do. Tomorrow, Strider is being laid up for the winter and so I need to have everything sorted out.

A huge pile of rubbish went into the bins for a start, and then I tipped everything out of the back, sorted and stacked it into the boxes where it will live for the winter (and threw away another pile of stuff) and then slid the boxes back under the bed.

Some of the foodstuffs won’t keep, especially as I’ve no idea when if ever I might be coming back, so I made up a box of all of that to give to Rachel. And then there was some stuff that I wanted to take back to europe with me.

On the way back I stopped at the car wash and gave Strider a good going-over with the pressure lance ready for putting away. And once I’d arrived back at Rachel’s, I took out everything that was to come out. There wasn’t anyone about though and so I settled down in the sun to read a book. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Darren came back and I had a guided tour of the garage. While I’d been away he’d tidied up in there and the place was looking quite impressive. It won’t be long before he’ll be in a position to strip down the engine on Perdy in the Pink.

Once Rachel and Amber returned, we had tea and then we chatted for hours about this and that. After all, I have to be realistic and say that I’ve no idea if ever I’ll be able to come back to Canada. This might be my last chance to see them.

But I was soon in bed. I hadn’t been up to much all day and by now my batteries were really flat. I’m struggling along now and I can feel everything – all the aches and pains all over the place.

Wednesday 14th September 2016 – AND AS FOR LAST NIGHT …

… while I was in bed and asleep early enough, I had to make a little trip down the corridor at about 00:40 and that was that until 04:45. Not the best night, but not too bad, is it?

I’d been on my travels again too. There was this wartime motorcycle, in yellow desert camouflage paint, and there were three of us on it – a woman driver, her young child as a passenger, and me bringing up the rear on the pillion. We rode, with her driving, quite some distance into Europe, and then she asked me to take over. This became rather embarrassing because I couldn’t make it move. It seemed that there was too much slack in the throttle cable so winding the throttle on was just taking up the slack. Some man came by and gave me some advice and lent me some rubber gloves to pick up the front end and pull it over a wall (I’m not sure how I intended to do that, with the weight of the bike) – and then the man had a flash of inspiration. He reckoned that this bike was a wartime European Army bike, and he picked up the telephone to call some kind of registry. It turned out that we had bike n°60, which was used by a Belgian by the name of Crabbe, from Liège. And he had died in 1960, so he was interested in how come this girl had obtained the bike.

Breakfast was rather late this morning and so while I was waiting I loaded up Strider with everything that I was planning to take to me, and once I’d eaten, I hit the road.

1937 Buick special woodstock new brunswick canada september septembre 2016I didn’t make it very far though before I shuddered to a stop. only as far as Woodstock in fact.

On the edge of town isn’t darkness – at least not at that time of morning, but a car body repair shop and here sitting in the parking area was this magnificent beast. We’ve not had a Car of the Day yet in North America.

It’s actually a Buick Special and dates, according to the guy in the garage, to 1937. The bodywork is in good condition and although the interior is rather worn and tatty, it’s complete and undamaged. I need to empty my suitcase to take this home with me.

I stopped off at the Atlantic Superstore in Woodstock in order to buy stuff for lunch – including some hummus of course but also some vegan cheese seeing as how the stuff that I have is a little bit on the old side (it’s at least a year old, you know). They had a new variety of vegan cheese on offer and so I decided that I would give that a try.

And that reminds me – where does a native American do his shopping?
Answer – in a Siouxperstore.

Now here’s something upon which the Brexiters can reflect for the next 50 years, and that is that the Canadian Prairies are the breadbasket of the world. More grain is produced here than almost anywhere else in the world and with the economies of scale that are practised here on the huge farms, the costs of production compared to a British farm are negligible. No-one can produce wheat as cheaply as the Canadians. And so the cost of a baguette here in a Canadian superstore is $2:89, which is about £1:90. In a French supermarket, it is €0:75 – or about £0:65.

Leaving the EU might save the silly Brits £350 million (which, the Brexit leaders have now decided, won’t be given to the NHS despite using that reason as a major plank of the Brexit campaign) but the European agricultural subsidies will go. And then listen to the Brexiters complain about the dramatic increase in the price of food.

The European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy comes in for some severe handling in the popular press, but the writers and readers of these articles have never compared the price of food in the EU with the price of food in the rest of the developed world.

And so abandoning another good rant for a while, I drove on South-West.

At Fredericton I called at Value Village, the Co-operative Charity Shop. I managed to pick up a copy of Pierre Berton’s Arctic Grail. Berton was one of the leading Canadian historians and wrote his books in a very engaging style, although occasionally he did manage to slip into a little bit of polemic when he wasn’t paying attention. I’ve quite a few books by him now.

With all of the roadworks going on at the top end of Fredericton I missed the turning to Home Depot and ended up back on the bypass. So never mind – I’ll have to catch up with that in due course on the way back.

Halfway down to Moncton I stopped off to make my lunch. And this is where the rain started. You can tell that I’m going to the seaside for my holidays, can’t you?

As the rain came down heavier and heavier, I arrived at Shediac. This is where I’m going to be staying for a week or so.

And it was here that we had a major catastrophe.

Looking for a motel, I drove out through the town and not finding anything, I went to do a u-turn in a lane at the side of the road. And as I was turning round, the edge of the road collapsed under the weight of Strider and we slid irrevocably into the ditch.

No matter what I tried, I couldn’t extricate myself from here. But I wasn’t alone for long. A woman driving by stopped, and offered me a lift down to a nearby garage. They came out with a breakdown truck and within 5 minutes, had lifted me out of the ditch. My stupidity cost me $60:00, but it could have been much worse, and you have to pay to learn.

The tourist information here found a place for me to stay. Seeing as how it’s now out of season there are some reasonable deals going around and I’m in a studio, with a bedroom, living room, bathroom and fully-equipped kitchen. It’s lovely and I would be quite happy to live here for good, I’ll tell you that.

Having installed myself, I went out into the rainstorm and down to the supermarket in the town where, for the first time since I don’t know when, I did a week’s shopping. And the lack of European food subsidies didn’t half hurt the pocket. And with having a freezer here, I could buy ice-cream (well, sorbet) and stuff like that. I could really become used to this kind of life.

And back at the flat I made myself a pizza for tea, and it’s been a while since I’ve done this too, isn’t it? And followed by some tinned fruit salad and ice-cream for pudding.

Now, I’m heading off for a reasonably-early night in my comfortable (for it really is) bed where I’m going to sleep until the sun comes back.

Friday 9th September 2016 – THAT WAS A MUCH BETTER …

… night last night. Even though I had to make a few trips down the corridor I did manage to have something of a decent sleep – right through to when the alarm went off. And I was on my travels last night, although if you are probably eating your lunch right now you don’t want to hear about them.

I had breakfast with Rachel and once I had organised myself, I had a task to perform.

Did I mention that a mouse seems to have found its way into the back of Strider? It hibernated in there over the winter and you can imagine that the mess that it has made is quite considerable. And so I resolved to empty everything out of the back and give it a good clean.

Of course, these days, everything takes me ten times longer to do than it did before, and emptying Strider was no exception.

One of the storage boxes was broken and it was in there that the mouse had lodged, so the box and most of its contents were filed under CS. A pile of other stuff followed it too, and once Strider was empty I gave him a good brush out and all the mess was removed.

I’ve redesigned the bed slightly too so that works better (that aggressive rough-cut saw that I bought last year is an impressive tool) but I can’t finish it off as the batteries for the Ryobi plus One drill are flat (on charge even as we speak).

Once I’d had lunch, I crashed out for an hour or so (can’t stand the pace these days, can I?) and then I went downstairs to start to reassemble everything.

strider ford ranger rear box campîng centreville new brunswick canada september septembre 2016And here’s the finished product, such as I had been able to reach at that particular point. It’s comparatively tidy in there as you can see and we have the Canadian Tire fold-up chair in the background and the little Walmart folding table in the foreground. You’d be surprised at just how comfortable it can be in there.

But the condensation on the aluminium roof is the big issue as you know once the temperature cools down. If I do manage to make it back here another year I’ll have to attend to that issue.

While I was out there organising myself, Darren came back from work. He was stopping off on his way to Woodstock to do one or two things, and so I hitched a ride. By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong, so it was pretty crowded in the truck, but there was enough room for a new tote box from Walmart – a nice colour-coded purple one to go with the light green one, the black one and the blue one.

Back here after tea I loaded up the new tote box with what was left from the damaged one and added a few bits and pieces that were lying around all over the place, and now the tidying is completed.

We have had a minor inconvenience though. I’d been charging up my Canadian mobile phone with the 12-volt car charger, but when I removed it from the socket I left half of it behind. I need to disconnect the battery and pull out the missing bits with a pair of long-nosed pliers, and hope that it will all reassemble. It’s the “good” lighter socket too.

All of this has worn me out considerably today but at least it’s a job well done. I didn’t feel at all guilty about having an early night. And so checking my mails, I found that I had finally received the proposal form for Strider’s insurance. I need to print it out, fill it in and fax it off (and pay for it of course) and as soon as I can do that, I’ll have the insurance card in the next post.

Strider needs his safety check (the equivalent of an MoT or a controle technique) and then his licence tags, and we will then be ready for the off.

I fancy a week or ten days by the seaside.

Sunday 11th October 2015 – I THOUGHT THAT I HAD LEFT …

… the rain behind me yesterday but over the night it seems to have caught me up again and this morning we are all being drenched.

I had to be in Centreville at 11:00 and so I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to leave my comfortable motel, but eventually I was back on the road again, having stopped at Tim Horton’s for a coffee.

I was early at Centreville and so I hung around talking to Bob for a while,and then when Zoe was ready we drove off down to Woodstock and Zoe’s salon. By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong, so we were rather crowded in the Ranger, but Zoe and I spent a good two hours or so down there tidying up, throwing out some rubbish and measuring up for some new furniture that she wants.

Back in Centreville and at Bob and Ellen’s, Rachel and Darren returned from their weekend away and Hannah and Amber came back from an afternoon out. A few other people turned up too and we all had a Thanksgiving meal together, even if Thanksgiving isn’t officially until tomorrow.

I’m back at Darren and Rachel’s now. My wanderings are over and I need to clean and tidy up Strider so that he’s ready to be put away for the winter. Darren is very kindly lending me the bottom end of his hangar now that the big caravan has been sold and that’s where Strider will be kept.

Anyway, I’m off for an early night. I need to acclimatise myself for being ready back in Europe.

Wednesday 16th September 2015 – AND THE ANSWER TO YESTERDAY’S QUESTION IS …

… just about everybody.

Actually, that’s not quite right.

First port of call was the Scotia Bank. One of the things that I need is a bank statement with my name and Canadian address on it. And so to the Scotia Bank on the north side of Fredericton, and as you might expect, it was closed.

After a coffee however, it was open, and the bank quite happily obliged with the information. You can’t say fairer than that.

Next stop was Service Canada. They don’t have an immigration service office there – it’s in a separate department elsewhere and callers are only accepted by appointment. But they did have a telephone number and eventually, after a considerable wait and jumping through a great number of hoops, I was put through to a human being.

I need an immigration form 1M1442 setting out my entitlement to be in Canada. This can be applied for on-line, but the waiting list is … errr … three months, by which time I shall be out of the country. I can however obtain it at the border when I cross in.

And so after a great deal of discussion, there was only one solution – and that was to go BACK to Houlton where I crossed in yesterday, and pick it up from there. Of course, that will take a good few hours, but you spend more time debating the issue than actually doing anything and I am playing for high stakes here, so off I went.

And at the border we had the most astonishing arrangement that makes European bureauocracy look like nothing at all. I could only pick up the document as I ENTERED the country, so I had to leave the country, go and annoy the American immigration people (who were not in the least amused, and who can blame them?), do a U-turn, and then go back in to Canada.

Back in Canada, after much discussion, I ended up with the manager of the Canadian Immigration office there. They do indeed issue IM1442 forms there, but only for immigration purposes, not for demographic purposes. However he did accept that laws and rules and regulations change according to events, and he would have been quite happy to issue a document to me, but he needed something in writing from the Insurance Company.

And here’s the rub – the manager of the Insurance Company REFUSED to put the details in writing and to fax them to the Immigration Office – so that was that. I was there for a good few hours in earnest discussion, but I’m a miserable pleader at moments like this. However, I am in possession of the address of the Insurance Company Head Office (it’s in Dartmouth, opposite Halifax) and so I shall go to Home Depot and sort out a suitable pickaxe handle, then go for a drive.

Despite everything that the manager of the Immigration Service did for me, Service New Brunswick wouldn’t budge either, although they did give me the phone number of the Appeals body. I shall just have to apply on-line for this form – which of course takes much longer than the time that I’ll be spending in Canada – and the Insurance Company will still honour the policy as long as my application is ongoing.

Back at Fredericton (good old Strider), the Festival proper started tonight with two tents opened – the Blues Tent and the Mojo tent.

canada new brunswick fredericton mellotones harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 First up on stage at the Blues Tent were the Mellotones.

First thing to say about them, as you can see from the photo here, is that there are far too many musicians up there on the stage. Four too many in fact. I’ve no idea why they needed a brass section but there you are.

new brunswick mellotones fredericton harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 I mean – they were good at what they did – there’s no denying that of course – but it’s not my kind of music at all.

It certainly wasn’t blues, and as for jazz, well, jazz can be very good if it IS very good, but working over a few Bar-Kays numbers and that kind of thing isn’t really what I was expecting to hear. In fact, I found it all rather a dismal proceeding

From here I popped into the library. I’ve been writing quite a bit on certain occasions about the railway lines in New Brunswick and I went to see if they had any old maps of the area. And sure enough, they produced a set of old maps that showed quite a few railway lines, but it was dated from the late 19th Century and there were many lines which I know existed but were not recorded. I had been hoping for a map of the 1930s, but they had nothing from that era.

canada new brunswick fredericton downtown blues band harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 I wandered on from the library to the Mojo tent, in time to catch the start of the Downtown Blues Band.

We’d had the Bar-Kays in the Blues tent and so in the Mojo tent we had the Blues Brothers. The Downtown Blues Band played a re-hash of numbers from the film of the same name.

canada new brunswick fredericton downtown blues band harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 This was another occasion of far too many musicians on the stage. I’ve absolutely no idea why many of these groups want to have brass sections, and indeed why the organisers of the Festival want to book them. It beats me.

But then, as I have said so many times before, the rest of the audience enjoyed them. I’m clearly in a minority of one here.

canada new brunswick fredericton downtown blues band harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 The female singer was clearly enjoying herself on the stage. She was having a good time too.

And it has to be said – they were quite good at what they did. But to my mind, it’s not jazz and it’s not blues either. There’s clearly something that I’m missing here.

new brunswick jj grey mofro fredericton harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 Back to the Blues tent and we had JJ Grey and Mofro from Florida. They’ve played the Festival before, but I somehow seem to have managed to miss them.

They started off quite well and I was feeling that I might actually enjoy this concert. But my feeling of elation didn’t last long.

canada new brunswick fredericton jj grey mofro harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 They played a number that was crying out for a lead guitar solo, and they built up to this over a period of a good five minutes, or so it appeared to me.

And then we got it – the solo. But, would you believe, played on a trumpet. Well, I suppose, you would believe it after having read what I have written up to date. It was so disappointing as far as I was concerned.

canada new brunswick fredericton paper beat scissors harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 And so back to the Mojo tent, and this was the Halifax group Paper Beat Scissors.

They are now living in Montreal and recording CDs, and they weren’t all that bad. They were something similar to Sigur Ros, but singing in English of course, and I didn’t mind at all staying here for a while to listen to them.

canada new brunswick fredericton paper beat scissors harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 The one big drawback that they had was that they had a brass section.

When they wheeled on the French horn of whatever it is during the warm-up, I feared the worst. And I was right too, because even though the player started off on the keyboards and shaking his maraccas too, it didn’t take too long for him to get on the horn.

canada new brunswick fredericton paper beat scissors harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 However, the singer had a good voice for what he was doing, and they were definitely the best band that I have seen here so far this year

But then again, that doesn’t say all that much for them. They haven’t had all that much competition to date as far as I was concerned.

canada new brunswick fredericton galactic harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 Back again at the Blues tent, and we had Galactic on stage.

They started off with an instrumental number, and of course we did have the brass section that has featured in every act to date and it’s thoroughly dismayed me, in case you haven’t guessed

canada new brunswick fredericton galactic harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 However, we were soon joined by a singer, a young lady from Louisiana if I remember correctly.

And their second number was a scorcher too. This was much more like it, even with the brass section and I quite enjoyed that. I was quite optimistic with that and was quite looking forward to the rest of the set.

canada new brunswick fredericton galactic harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 But it was not to be, unfortunately.

Despite the energy that our vocalist was putting into her show, the third number degenerated into a rap number and if there’s one thing that really grates on my nerves, it’s rap music. This kind of stuff isn’t for me at all, and I beat a rather hasty retreat.

But not before we had had a little excitement on stage.

canada new brunswick fredericton galactic harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 We had a small, lightweight platform on stage and they had an organ and a heavy drum kit crammed onto it. And I mean ‘crammed” too because there was no room for anyone to move and the drummer was extremely enthusiastic to say the least.

With the platform bouncing around, I was betting with myself about how long it would be before all of this went pear-shaped and sure enough, just a couple of minutes in to the performance, part of the drum kit collapsed across the stage. We had the roadie trying to rebuilt it all the time that the drummer was playing with what was left of the kit, and in the end they weighted it down with sandbags.

canada new brunswick fredericton wintersleep harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 Now this is very much more like it.

At the Mojo tent we had Wintersleep.

I’d missed the start of their act because the performance of Galactic had started late, and so I can’t tell you all that much about them. but what I can say is that they were a four-piece band and I enjoyed their performance very much.

canada new brunswick fredericton wintersleep harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 There was no brass section – or mouth organ – in sight while I was there and they were playing real music from my point of view.

Nothing quite as electric or as lively as Samantha Fish or the 24th Street Wailers, but then again, what could ever be as lively as all of that, but it was good enough to hold my attention for quite a while.

canada new brunswick fredericton wintersleep harvest jazz and blues festival september 2015 And so we definitely have a winner of today’s entertainment – something that was looking very unlikely after the first couple of acts this evening.

I’ll have to go and have a look for these and see if I can’t lay my hands on a live performance for broadcasting on Radio Anglais sometime in the near future. It would be quite enjoyable, that’s for sure.

strider tent mactaquac provincial park fredericton new brunswick canadaAnd so I went back to Mactaquac Provincial Park and my tent.

I’d had a good night’s sleep last night for once and that had certainly helped with all of the issues that I had had to deal with during the day. I don’t suppose that tomorrow is going to be any different and so I’ll need to have a good night’s sleep.

And by the way …

… the photos that I’ve posted for tonight’s acts at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival are only a small sample of the dozens and dozens that I took during the evening. If you want to see any more of those that I took, you’ll need to contact me. Leave a comment and I’ll be in touch.