And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

Listen to this to really understand the results of the war, then during the Second World War and all the years since.

Take out the tissues – you will need them.

Anzac Poppy


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A forgotten man.

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

Have you heard of Matthew Hewson? I just learned of him and his many expeditions as he accompanied the well-known explorer, Robert Peary. In 1866, Hewson was born to a family of sharecroppers, He worked odd jobs before he joined the crew of a merchant ship and sailed to distant continents. His first mentor, Captain Childs, trained Henson for a life at sea and even taught him to read. In 1883, Childs died and in 1887 he met Robert Peary while working in a haberdashery store in Washington DC. Commander Peary, an engineer with the US Navy, was impressed with the young stock boy and he invited Henson to serve as his assistant on a survey mission to Nicaragua later that year.

(Image credit:Nelly George/Alamy)

Then he accompanied Peary to the Arctic Circle in search of the North Pole. Peary had long cherished the desire to be the first to…

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Easter Sunday

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

I just finished a long post on Easter Sunday and it’s disappeared into the ether.

So here’s a truncated version. I hate WordPress at times.

Today it’s Easter Sunday and I went to church.

This is a usual habit for many of you, but not for me. It is about 18 years since I have been to church for other than a wedding or a funeral.

At lunch yesterday a friend told me they were decorating the Cross at her church. I had never heard of this although I am told is quite common around the world. So I accompanied her this morning.

I was brought up in the High Church of England. Services were solemn affairs, churches were quiet areas and children were taken out to Sunday school or the crib shortly after the service started. But not today. This was a cheerful gathering of a wide age group…

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Daylight Saving Time Is Here

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

Realising that it is Good Friday and the first Friday in the month, I wondered what to write about. We turned back our clocks on Sunday and so I thought of a post from my early blogging days. 2011 and several of us were blogging daily .

I will repost it here and then, as there are a few differences 12 years later, I will list them.


“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear;
too long for those who grieve;too short for those who rejoice;
but for those who love, time is eternity.”
Henry Van Dyke, American short-story Writer,
Poet and Essayist, 1852-1933)

On Sunday 3 April at 3am the clocks went back an hour and Daylight Saving ended. So we now know we are on the way to winter and all that brings here in New Zealand. ***

We don’t have the…

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The view from my bedroom window..a rare phenomenon

It’s not the view that is rare but the result of a rare phenomenon called THUNDERSNOW

My bedroom window overlooks my balcony and directly next to it is a huge old tree. It is the only one remaining so close to the building so I count myself very lucky. In the heat of summer it shades my outside space and lends a park-like aura to my digs.

Yesterday, yet another ‘winter storm’ was predicted, and after most I find myself thinking that in my youth it was just called snow. No drama. Just snow.

But it turned out to be something else.

The ‘storm’ started at five in the evening as predicted, which is amazing in its accuracy, with small flurries that quickly became side-driving sleet, then full out snow. The winds were fierce.

I sat knitting, listening to an audiobook, David Baldacci’s End Game, and caught what seemed to be a flash of lightning. My large living room window was sans covering for Miss Rosie’s viewing pleasure.

Miss Rosie O’Grady my Christmas gift who believes she is the boss of mi Casa, and it would seem she is. Funny thing is that I have never been one to ooooh and aaaah over babies and pets, but since I got I have been doing exactly that!

As you will see from the link above Thundersnow with heavy lightening and thunder is rare. And the sound is supposed to be muffled by the heavy snowfall, but last night the thunder roared and rumbled and went on for what seemed a long time. It sounded like bombs going off. The lightning frequent and white and blue.

Quite a show laced with wonder and the tiniest tinge of fear? Maybe not, but consternation for sure.

This morning:

The next amazing sight this morning, whom I do not know, but looking out I saw this:

Yup, he is shovelling his roof. The guard rail that was there last year came down when he had work done on the roof. I couldn’t look!

So, unlike many who must dig themselves out, and others who must drive, I can enjoy the view.

So, from North of 43 I bid you adieu as I sip my coffee and contemplate doing some domestic chores with gusto. (I am waiting for gusto to arrive!)

Chris G Saturday March 4th ’23

Valentine’s Day in North America

Photo by How Far From Home on

This is not a day I would normally celebrate. Even when I was COUPLED with someone I was not a fan.

However, it has been quite a lovely day for me so I am celebrating. How?

Well I got a wonderful deal on a regular monthly cost item. The sun is shining, temps above 10C for a bit, and I was able to go out without winter boots. That last item is the most cherished. Well, maybe not. Deals are pretty sparse in these times so….

So back to the how.

I am having a lovely chicken breast recipe for tonight made with orange juice and maple syrup (yup very Canadian of me). I went out and bought Cava (Segura Viudas) which my cousin in Scotland is better than Prosecco, Blueberry Cheesecake (any cheese cake will do unless it is tainted by too much other flavour, and quiche tartlets.

This is a day for love – even if it is Love of Life. I wonder if it is the Love of Life that gets us through the Worst of Life.

What do you think?

What makes us survive in the worst?

Lord knows the world is suffering. From war, earthquakes, pestilence (look it up), and …..

Wherever you are, whatever your circumstance, hang on if you can, there is another day coming, another day of hope. And if you cannot, then go in peace and love. Use it as a blanket of protection.

That’s about all the wisdom there is from North of 43, where we may be cold but we are vital!!

Chris Gingerich Tuesday Feb 14th, 2023

The second First Friday of February Five Word Friday


THE SECRET DIARY OF A CHURCH OF ENGLAND VICAR’S WIFE is one of my favourite blogs to read. Today she said she has noticed decreased blogging activity both on her site and those of her own favourite reads. If you get a chance, give her a bit of a click and check her out.

I know that applies to me a bit – but then – it is 30 Below – a little cold

Tuesday, a few of us are going to see 80 for Brady and dinner after, and fortunately the weather probs are actually 4C – not 30 Below- a little cold

Our own Rodent in Residence, Wiarton Willie did not see his shadow, so an early spring?? then not 30 Below – a little cold.

Though some do say he is new at the job so may be inexperienced in predicting. The original Willie of many years, an albino passed.

I believe February is usually the stormiest month of winter, or so the myth goes, but I do know the months immediately below were warmer than usual – so now – 30 Below – a little cold.

Enjoy all your Fridays is my wish from North of 43!

Chris G Friday February 3rd ’23

Oh dear, what has Canada done now?

We went to see the Lost King”. These words are from the previous post, by my co-blogging partner JB. I love history and whilst I do not learn large amounts I do retain tidbits, making me one of those who recounts a lot of useless information at the drop of a hat.

The previous post by JB recounts the search for the lost remains of King Richard 111 the last Plantagenet King of Britain. Fascinating. The only missing historical body I know of, is that of Samuel de Champlain, known as the Father of New France (Quebec). He died Christmas Day in 1635. And I first learned that in a Louise Penny novel, her sixth, titled Bury Your Dead.

Well, enough about historical trivia. Today I want to address an article in THE GLOBE AND MAIL, a large Canadian Newspaper. Not an article but a letter to the editor.

Some of you already know that I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with my country. Only in the last few years.

This is what happened. When COVID-19 shut downs began about three years ago, the government began pouring money to The People through a program called CERB, and it was made clear to apply, not to worry. It was to replace wages lost.

It was a pretty stupid idea, even from the perspective of one so fiscally challenged here. It gave …oh never mind, the details are so depressing.

After COVID, the CRA (Canada Revenue Service) decided to track down those who should not have applied (though there were no safe-guards in place), and recoup what they figured was $15-Billion. Oh they rattled their sabres, and growled and did nothing, then news came that it would be too much work to track it down.

You know, because 15 billions is throw-away-money. So the headline to the letter to the editor above tells the story. A normal citizen was audited by CRA and ended. up having to pay $57.12.


Of course this is a government that likes to spend – mostly on themselves. We have a Governor General (Trudeau appointed after his last choice had to be booted out with her lifetime pension intact) who lives very high on the proverbial hog and who does not speak French – requirement-, does not represent the Anglophones either. She only focuses on the Indigenous, as she is Indigenous). She is known as the Queen’s / now King’s representative, but I suspect her only focus is rich food, rich meaning costing a lot) and an entourage who don’t do anything but eat and drink and fly high)

Oh my, I must close now before I really begin to rant and that is not a pleasant sight. The whole world is falling apart, it seems, so I think we must find some joy, purpose and pleasure in our tiny little lives.

So from North of 43 I bid you adieu and bon soir with a promise my next post will be filled with mirth!


Chris G Tuesday January 31st ’23

Disclaimer follows

*It probably isn’t necessary, but what follows is my opinion and POV. It may be different that yours and you don’t have to agree. I celebrate all differing views.

A long rambling chain of thoughts brought to mind some observations this week as I was celebrating a run to freedom.

I first thought about stressors we voluntarily put on ourselves, unintentionally of course, and frequently in the name of self-improvement.

You see, this week I had a couple of epiphanies.

The first being that I ditched my Fitbit. (Probably not permanently as I am Gemini)

Photo by Pixabay on

In the beginning it was to set goals of activity and monitor sleep etc etc. And it was wonderful. At first. Then I began to feel stressed; if I didn’t make a certain number of steps in a day, if I didn’t sleep a proper percentage of each stage for seven to eight hours, if I didn’t, if I didn’t, if I didn’t…

Mind you doing the steps did increase my sense of well-being and was a natural way to lose pounds.

My doctor had ordered a medication for me, and a side effect for ten percent of patients was insomnia and you can guess where I fell. Insomnia triggers the very condition for which the medication was designed to aid.

Anxiety each night wondering if I was going to sleep well, and then the disappointing result in the morning gave rise to increased stress. Then I considered not wearing the bracelet to bed. Immediately I felt better. Not because I was sleeping better, and I think I was, because negativity wasn’t the start up emotion of my day and night.

And I realized I had learned how much activity to do in a day without needing the bracelet.

The conclusion was clear: constant monitoring is a stressor. Once you learn the tools for activity and health then just do it.

I have given up some social media. Why? Because success in something for others is often reflected as failure in yourself.

Remember the old saying about keeping up with the Joneses? Participants in social media, in my opinion, often means trying to keep up with so many, not just the Joneses. And that is stressful and creates some level of paranoia.

I had a hearty chuckle, okay loud laugh, when the next thought passed through my brain – people who spread the fear that the vaccines contained trackers put in by the government were the same people who willing wear trackers, carry cell phone, and stay ‘connected’.


Do I suggest giving these things up – nope – because it is a reality of this world now and cannot be stopped in its progression to things we can barely imagine.

So for now, here at North of 43, I am on a Fitbit free kick. I must say though I do feel a little lost. We almost need these things to give our life meaning. Maybe there should be a Challenge for this?

Chris G Tuesday January 24th ’23

The things we see on a walk

Christmas decorations were alive and well around the corner and down the street. I see now that I didn’t edit it very well, but the home is surrounded with every kind of lawn ornament possible. It was a rather nice surprise as this was the first day of real sunshine in weeks (well it felt like weeks) and it took my breath away and made me smile! As I watched the gentleman of the home came out to start packing it away. He is somewhere in that picture.

Then I came across this:

And the smile disappeared.

When I was young (think mid-last century) there was cause for celebration when Kitchener was voted the cleanest city in Canada. And we were.

No such thing as litter. This photo is taken at a bus stop. There used to be containers at every bus stop for this refuse, and I had noticed many were over-flowing.

Rather than schedule a more frequent pickup at these spots the city REMOVED ALL THE REFUSE CONTAINERS.

l am disgusted with the way things are done these days. At least somethings like this.

Okay, that’s enough from North of 43.

Chris G Tuesday, January 17th, 23