The Land of the Bad Hair-do

December 23rd, 2009

Montreal, Canada

In a place where daily temperatures heat up to minus-8dC (17dF) on warm days keeping the biting wind out and retaining all the body heat one can means wrapping up in as many layers as your outer coat permits, ensuring always that this bulk does not prevent you from getting into taxi-cabs or store entrances. Mastering the layering technique is equally critical as one will undress and redress many, many laborious times during the tourist day. Getting the sequence right is critical as is recalling the correct pocket location of all the sundries – scarf, then neck warmer, then hat, then gloves. Doing this going in then out for each store, coffee-shop, restaurant or ‘point-of-interest’ makes for an exhausting experience for the first-timer.

The local Montreal Canadians do this effortlessly of course, with better choices in clothing but also with a grace and flow that is worth watching and aspiring to. They smile at the congregation of tourists (like us) blocking shop doorways as we work troubled zippers, look for the other glove and get ourselves ready for the blast of cold from the chilled outdoors.

The hat is an essential. But those unused to hats, like me, find them strange, itchy and a nuisance. Canadians, having been born wearing ski-hats, have no such issues and adorn them with a flourish. Colours and shapes are plenty, with fur being a popular decorative add. Indeed number-one-son, the Circus Boy, and the reason for our sojourn in this city, has a great example of such which he bought – of all places – in Tokyo.

Hair is the casualty of the hat of course, and I don’t think there’s a good hair-do to be seen in the city. But nobody local seems to notice nor care even, and restaurants and bars (we saw plenty of both) are populated by bad hair-do’s.

You can tell people from the south amongst the throng though, they’re the ones continually patting-down, hand-combing, seeking unattainable engineering hair feats, anxious about their appearance in-case, maybe, that someone from the office might see them in this unruly and unkempt state. Quebec-ers meanwhile enjoy their Molson and Poutine, and smile knowingly.

The March of the Duvets

December 23rd, 2009

Montreal, Canada
Center-ville, Montréal, Québec

Now, with overwhelming international-based evidence to hand, I can confirm the March of the Duvets.The cold shoulders, cold feet and lack of overnight bedding weight experienced in Montreal this week give evidence supporting my long reached conclusion that somewhere in the West there is a calling. This is the place where duvets aspire to be, to converge, to congregate. Overnight they inch in that direction, thinking their movement wont be noticed, in this most recent incident, by the cognac-laced sleeper.

Duvets of all types, shapes and sizes have this inane drive and desire. Marriott duvets are no different than those experienced elsewhere. True, they could be larger. Lynne had already pointed out the lack of duvet hang-over that our king-size-no-smoking-view-of-the-park Marriott bed possessed. But I feel this was planned and facilitated the March, all by design.

The struggle continued through the night, incursions westward thwarted by grabbing handfuls of duvet and wrenching eastward, only to have to repeat the skirmish several times. Exhaustion brought on sleep, the only benefit of the battle.

Early Snow – bah!

December 20th, 2009

The earliest deep snow on record! Bah!



Good Progress on the J-3 Restoration

November 27th, 2009

With two friends – Roger and John – we three are rebuilding a 1946 Piper Cub J-3. The J3 is a classic American aircraft, two seater and as basic as they come. No electrics, no radios, flying ‘low and slow’ with its 68hp Continental A-65-8 engine. This is flying at its best, and the J-3 is beautiful, fun and a delight to fly.

We bought the airplane in pieces and in need of some substantial parts replacement, and an engine rebuild. The seller – another friend of ours – delivered the boxes of parts, the fuselage and wings to the hangar at our airport in the later summer.

Roger has restored many of these airplanes, and John completed the building of his own kit airplane a couple of years ago and me – I’m learning!

With the great progress made thus far, in the reassembly of one of the wings, prep-ing the other plus the fuselage we’re about to watch Roger go to work on the recovering.

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Air Venture 2009 – Oshkosh, Wisconsin

August 2nd, 2009

One of 500,000 people to participate in EAA’s Air Venture 2009 this week, at Oshkosh in Wisconsin. Flew the Cirrus out on Wednesday, stopping to refuel in Fremont (506 miles, routing N57-V170-RAV-V170-ERI-V221-SPICA-PSI-KFFX), then VFR across Lake Michigan to Appleton – our base for the 3 day adventure.

Three great days at the air show, spending the mornings checking out all the aviation vendors for new products and services, buying the obligatory t-shirts, viewing the static aircraft then settling in for the afternoon air show.

Some amazing technology on display, including the Airbus A380 – the largest passenger aircraft, the C-5 Galaxy – one of the largest military carriers and the truly amazing WhiteKnightTwo – the Virgin Galactic aircraft that will carry a spacecraft to 50,000 feet for release beyond the atmosphere.

Made the return single-leg, 626 mile flight in just 3 hours 48 minutes, filing KAPT-FNT-MXE-N57 and getting that routing! It was a fast and challenging flight (stormy weather, rain and instrument flying, video below) which the Cirrus is designed and perfect for!

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Cirrus Reflective

July 6th, 2009



June 25th, 2009

Syracuse Flight – beating the weather!

June 18th, 2009

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Pool’s Open!

May 25th, 2009


Baseball with the Boys

April 7th, 2009

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Saw the Philadelphia Phillies go down to the Atlanta Braves 4-0 on chilly night. Neil, Alan, buddy Cameron and I shivered through the opening game of the Baseball season for the Phillies. Oh well – great company!

Southport Visit – March 2009

March 26th, 2009


Southport Rock


Waiting for the flight, Philadelphia Airport (delayed 5 hours, faulty switch). To Southport for family wedding (congrats to Sarah and Phil) and brief few days amongst our wonderful families. Great beers and foods too, made even better by just excellent family company. Memorable trip. Miss you all.

Philadelphia Vessels – Trip with Neil

March 8th, 2009


Trip for Neil and I to Philly to visit and tour vessels moored at the Philadelphia riverside. Nice day, good times.

Grand Central Station, New York City

February 27th, 2009


Hong Kong

February 19th, 2009

Hong Kong Skyline


February 15th, 2009

Tokyo 2009

Imperial Palace, Tokyo