Friday, 31 October 2014


Canada has been rather more interesting than usual for the past ten days, for all the wrong reasons.  We're showing up in other countries' news channels and websites, when  On top of that, tonight is Hallowe'en and it's also a Friday, never a great combination for the police or those of us who prefer that boring old "peace, order, and good government".

Seeing as things have been a decidedly un-Canadian kind of loopy lately, I offer two good kinds of loopy.  First, I adore this.  This is Patrick Godfrey, a second-year music student at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.  Anyone who was in school band knows that the French horn is not easy to play. Just listen to what he does:

Second,  absolutely nothing Canadian about this.  But it is loopy, in the best sense of the word.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The last sunset of September

I was walking the Accent Snob on the dirt pathway in New Edinburgh Park this evening when I shoulder-checked the flaming bronze platter disappearing around the bend of the Rideau River.  It occurred to me that this was the last sunset of September, so in order to get a last unimpeded view of the departing sun,  I took a firmer hold on the poop bag and dog-leash in my left hand and, using my right hand as a brace, made a series of jumps down three boulders that lead to a favourite fishing perch.  The momentum sent me skidding on the dirt at the bottom and damn near over the edge into the water.  Another last for me, I think.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Over the fields and far away

I have mentioned that, when younger daughter's school moves five miles further west in less than two weeks, there will be things I will not miss.

The above is something I will miss.  Not that much, because it's really only at this time of year when it's this beautiful.  It's the Experimental Farm Parkway which meanders in a huge curve to the north of younger daughter's school, from the Experimental Farm itself near Dow's Lake to Woodroffe Road (which is not nearly so lovely at any point of the year).  This is what the parkway looked like today.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Whose side are you on?

This is fun, but is she portraying an office bully, or someone surrounded by idiots?

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Some days you don't even have to look up

The autumn colours are coming to Hades early this year.
You never know where they'll turn up.

Friday, 26 September 2014

What I'm watching this minute

Oh gawd.  Emma Thompson.  Bryn Terfel.  Stephen Sondheim.  I've been waiting for this for weeks….

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Holy father of. . .

What I wanted to write:

Dear Fellow Ancestry Member,

I have watched with horrified fascination over the past week as you have saved record after record that I have posted, from my family tree to yours.

Just one question.  How on earth do you think you are related to the people in your own tree, let alone those in mine?  

I hardly know where to start.  Don't you think it's odd that the great-great-great-grandfather you've assigned for your home person was, according to you, married seven times, and that four of those marriages are double marriages to his own sisters-in-law? Or that the 32 children you're claiming he fathered are mostly duplicates (mercifully) of nieces and nephews, and in a couple of cases, great-nieces and first cousins?

Sorry, that's three questions.

Let me tell you about the man you think is your ancestor.  He was blind from childhood and he taught music, played the organ, and tuned pianos.  How do I know this?  Because I have checked -- and this means I actually read -- each census between 1841 and 1891.  Do you know what else the censuses tell me?  No children.  None of those 32 children you have with them, a number with different surnames.  (Didn't that puzzle you?)

He married Sarah Mason in Islington in 1847.  She may have been his cousin; the Mason name appears in older generations.  She certainly wasn't his aunt, as you have indicated for the two Sarahs you claim he married.  The age difference might have been a clue to you.

I don't even want to get into the dog's breakfast of erroneous ancestors you've mixed up for him out of a hodgepodge of family trees you've borrowed from Ancestry.  I cringe, frankly, to see that you've listed my tree as a source.  Clearly, you have never looked at it. 

I would also like to point out that the grandfather you've assigned for your home person is highly unlikely to be related to you at all, so everything else is moot.  You claim he came to the States and married a Lillie Dubois in 1890.  I found him in the 1891 British census, living in Islington, London with his parents and siblings, and studying the law.  In 1901, he's still living with his parents who have moved to Surrey.  You've saved this record to your own tree.  Did you bother to read it? He's listed as a solicitor and he is single.  You have him as the father of  six children by then.

Eleven men named Frederick William Hales were born in England between 1845 and 1871 -- it is not an unusual name.  I am positive that the Frederick William Hales in your tree is not your ancestor.  I think you should remove the documents you have copied from my tree; it is a poor use of them and you are proving absolutely nothing.  

And I really wish you'd remove the reference for my tree.  You're embarrassing the hell out of me.


What I actually sent:

Dear (her name), 

You are, of course, free to ignore this.

I have noticed, with some interest, that you have been saving copies of various documents I have posted to my tree, connected with my great-great-grandfather, my great-great-great-grandparents  and their family.  I am somewhat dismayed to see them attached to the wrong people, especially since I am sure you would like your tree to have your real ancestors in it!

I can tell you that the Frederick William Hales and his ancestors -- at least as you have placed them on your tree -- cannot possibly be related to you.

Will you permit me to tell you why?

You say your ancestor Frederick William Hales, the father of William Nallard Hales, married Lillie Dubois in 1890 and fathered eight children during the following 16 years.  My third cousin twice removed Frederick William Hales (who is the grand-nephew of my great-great-great-grandparents, not their grandson as you have in your tree) was living with his parents at the time of both the 1891 British census and the 1901 British census, where he is clearly noted as being a solicitor and and single.  In 1903, he was a godfather to the son of his eldest sister Edith Eliza Seymour (née Hales) at a christening at St Andrew Alexandra Park in north London.  He married Margaret Evelyn Rawson at the very same church in 1920.  He is noted as a 51-year-old bachelor - not a widower. 

None of this fits with the details you have provided about your ancestor who is clearly another Frederick William Hales.  This means, I'm afraid, that none of the ancestors, uncles, aunts, and cousins that you have for your Frederick William Hales, nor the documents you have attached,  belong in your tree. There were eleven men named Frederick William Hales born in England between 1845 and 1871.  I'm sure, with some research and detective work, you can find your true ancestor, the Frederick William Hales who belongs on your tree, and learn his story.  Have you considered joining a family history society?  They could be of tremendous help to you.


See?  This is why I need to wait three days before trying to correct someone on the internet.  She may get ticked off with me anyway, but I, at least, think I don't sound as angry in the second draft.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

And we danced

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been listening to old episodes of "Desert Island Discs".  This, of course, has got me thinking about what I would choose were I to be stranded on an island with only eight songs. Limiting the choice to eight is, of course the toughest task, but I would probably narrow down from the "Most Played" list on my iPod.

I don't plan to do a list right now; besides, rather a lot of them have appeared on this blog, where I tend to put my favourite things.   However, I don't seem to have posted this one.  As with most songs, I far prefer the song to the video, but this video isn't bad. It fairly shouts "1985!", doesn't it?

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Transit Theatre (write of passage number thirty-three)

Most of the challenges I encounter on my daily bus trips stem from the self-absorption of others.

Take this afternoon, for example, when a young woman made me clamber over her to the seat by the window while she clung resolutely to the aisle seat, refusing to either slide over or to rise to let me on.

"I'm getting off," she said brusquely when I glared at her.  Eight Transitway stops later, I had to clamber over her again.  I was getting off.

However, there are a minority of people who turn outward, rather than inward, on the transit system.

So I was standing in front of the entrance of the Tunney's Pasture Station, checking the time and wondering where my bus was.  I was listening to a podcast of an old episode of the BBC Radio series "Desert Island Discs"on my iPod (Frank Skinner back when he was still single), when a man wearing a backwards baseball cap strode out of the building, making a pulling motion from his ears to indicate he wanted to talk to me. I pulled out my earbuds.


He shouted the entire time.  There was a big smile on his face, so I wasn't alarmed.  Before I could reply, a blonde woman in a sort of quilt coat emerged, and launched herself into the conversation which was evidently already in progress before I laid eyes on them.  She was shouting too, but I'll spare you the upper case:
"I told you this would happen!"
"No, listen, I know exactly where it is; it's the Codway Estates."
"But I didn't bring a map…'

Where on earth is my damn bus, I thought, but I got out my phone anyway and quietly entered "Codway" into Google Maps.
"Uh, do you mean Caldwell?"

They nodded absently, but I was no longer part of the act -- if I ever was.  Besides, there was my bus, finally.  I left them squabbling amiably and theatrically.

As the bus pulled away, Caldwell Avenue came up on my sluggish phone.  It's off Merivale, not Carling. They should have stuck with the 176.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Rain every day

Last Friday, we took youngest daughter to the Fourth Stage at the National Arts Centre to see a show entitled "Swinging the Bard".



How could we possibly pass it up?

It had been an exhausting day, the kind when I'm really resenting evening performances.  (I've always preferred matinées, which are a relative rarity in Hades.)  I was even more resentful when we became embroiled in the general admission politics which bring out the competitive killer instincts in Ottawa concert-goers.

However,  when Diane Nalini took the stage and began singing settings of Shakespeare songs -- and a couple of the sonnets --- which she had written some years ago, all negativity drained away.  The music    ranged from swing to blues to a folksy sort of jazz which reminded me strongly of Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs.  The Resident Fan Boy bought both CDs for younger daughter during the break (naturally, she loved the performance).  Couldn't find a video, but there's a link at the Canadian Adaptions of Shakespeare Project websitto three of the songs she sang and I rather like her version of "When that I was and a little tiny boy" from Twelfth Night.

While I was looking all this up, I discovered that Dr (yes! Doctor!) Nalini is a -- wait for it -- physics professor who was a Rhodes Scholar.  She's also married to Adrian Cho, who played the bass and directed the Ontario Jazz Choir through Duke Ellington's Shakepearean jazz work "Such Sweet Thunder" after intermission.  These are seasoned jazz musicians, so they'd only really had one rehearsal. This backfired, but only slightly, when Mr Cho introduced one segment as featuring "a chorus of coronets", then played through on his own. Evidently, a cue was missed.

"We'll try that again some other time," he said calmly, before proceeding to the next bit.

That's jazz.