Walking With A Friend

“When I’m in turmoil, when I can’t think
when I’m exhausted and afraid
and feeling very, very alone, I go for walks.
It’s just one of those things I do.”

― Jim Butcher,  American author. 1971 –

I am enjoying one of those weekends with Daisydog.  For those new to this blog, or those who may have forgotten, Daisydog is my No 1 grandson’s dog.  As is so often the case, James moved on, Daisydog stayed with his parents.  And now I have the pleasure of spending occasional weekends minding her when my son and daughter-in-law are away.

Daisydog is getting old and she quite likes walking with me because we walk at the same pace – two elderly ladies out keeping each other company. As soon as I mention the word she takes off to get her collar from the handle of the drawer.

Yesterday, yet another beautiful autumn day, 20 we went for a walk along the river bank.  Even on such a lovely day, the pathway was almost deserted.  

Where was everybody?  Inside watching TV, sleeping in or maybe shopping.  In any event, we enjoyed our time meandering along, watching the pukeko family busily foraging for food.  We met a stray dog who took one look at Daisydog and decided to take off and find someone younger with whom to play.

By the time we had walked a km or about 1,500  Steps she was exhausted – as an older dog, she suffers from arthritis in a hip and so we don’t go on the long rambles we did even a year ago.  So I took her home and she settled into one of the many beds she has around the house.

As Tom T Hall sang “aint but three things in life worth a solitary dime, but old dogs and children and watermelon wine”

I continued my walk after she was settled down. But I miss those long walks we used to have.

My almost walking day

was rounded off by early drinks with new friends followed by dinner with old friends.

JB 05.01.22

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Sunny Summer Sunday

Just another day on the beautiful Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington.

I am dog sitting, as I told you, and once again the day has been hot, too hot to sit outside with my book and so hot that Daisy was interested in walking only in the shade. So we didn’t go to the beach, preferring the river today.

But after the pooch party on Friday where Daisy did far too much running and chasing, and playing fetch, she spent Friday afternoon and all of Saturday quietly resting. Even “get your collar” evinced no response. But today was different.

I was dictating into my phone a message to my sister in London. At one stage I said”comma” at which Daisy took off and brought her collar to me. I guess one hears what one wants to hear, dog or human, and so a walk was decided upon by my four-legged friend.

Then after the walk we returned for lunch. A quick bite and back to the book I found here and started reading this morning. It’s called the The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell. I have not heard of this author but the comment on the cover from Harlan Coben claims it “Her best thriller yet”. I note she has written 18 other thrillers, so plenty to read as the summer morphs into autumn/fall (as it will) and the days grow shorter, giving plenty of time for reading.

JB February 27, 2022

Yesterday JB took us on a Cemetery Walk – one of my Favourite Things

I found the pleasure of Cemetery Walking a few years ago when I began a quest for better health, and sought a place I could stroll/ meander/ march/quick step/slow step, without fear of traffic and general every day noise.

Well it paid of in spades as they say. Hmm I wonder why they say that? Regardless, I found quiet, I found beauty, I found some old friends and family that came as a surprise. And I found history – the kind I was not expecting.

Below is a post from the past, July 7th, 2016 about a particular CW I took in Woodland Cemetery, where most of my family now reside.

I hope you enjoy a bit of Surprising History!

HOW MY TOWN IN SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO CANADA BECAME THE SITE FOR GERMAN PRISONERS OF WAR GRAVES.

Woodland Cemetery Kitchener Ontario

My hometown, Kitchener, lies in southwest Ontario, surrounded by three of the great lakes, Ontario, Erie, and Huron. Its location makes it easy to traverse to Toronto, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Detroit, and lies just south of the beautiful north vacation lands of Algonquin, Muskoka and the Kawarthas.

All in all we are pretty lucky that whatever life style you choose to pursue it is available somewhere nearby. Big city, camp ground, fishing. We got it.

Kitchener at about 233,000 is a twin joined geographically with Waterloo with a population of approximately 133,000.

But Kitchener was not always so named. On June 28, 1916, 346 people voted to change from the name Berlin to Kitchener. We were two years into the First World War and the change was to prove loyalty and ‘stem backlash against a city with deep German roots.) *The Waterloo Region Record June 27, 2016.

I have never had much interest in cemeteries until recently when my quest for ten thousand steps a day took me to one nearby here in Waterloo where I currently abide (the city that is not the cemetery). That stirred enough interest to visit Woodland in Kitchener where most of my family and friends have final resting places. I’ll tell you about Woodland some other day, but for now I must relate my surprise on day when I came across this:

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Somewhere in the past I remembered hearing about people being interned during the war. I knew the Americans had interned Japenese after Pearl Harbour but I did not think beyond that horror.  In researching the above sign I discovered:

  1. Canada operated prison camps for interned civilians during the First and Second World War.
  2. Canada operated camps for 34,000 German Prisoners of War
  3. The camps at Lethbridge and Medicine Hat Alberta were the largest in North America 
  4. There was a camp for Japanese Canadians in British Columbia
  5. The British Government did not want so many German prisoners in Britain as they posed a threat should hand to hand fighting take place in Britain itself, and would provide added support for the enemy if freed.
  6. In each of the Great Wars Canada hosted about two dozen camps across the country
  7. The CBC did a number of articles at the time that can be found in their archives.
  8. While it was generally felt POWs were treated better in Canada there are still some horror stories and some mysteries.
  9. I found out that people who had escaped Nazi Germany in the year before ‘the troubles’ and found their way to Britain considered themselves safe.  However upon declaration of war many of these people found themselves interned as a precaution in case they were spies. Many of them were sent to Canadian camps
  10. The scariest I think was a camp in New Brunswick which housed Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany.  They had been deemed by the British as ‘dangerous enemy aliens, and ended up in a camp with Nazi soldiers, the very enemy they were trying to escape. A wall was finally built to keep the Jews safe.

The 187 dead were brought together in 1970 from thirty-six sites across Canada. Kitchener was chosen since it had largely been a German city and located where family from Europe could easily travel to visit the graves.

I read that many died of ‘natural causes’ such as cancer but that just didn’t sound right. As I walked among the stark white stones I notice that most were between nineteen and twenty-five years old.  Then one day I found an article that said many of those in northern camps were put to work logging and that an unusually large number of ‘accidental’ deaths occurred. No one seems to have questioned this.

As I walk through this little garden of foreign death I consider that it does not matter that they were the ‘enemy’, but just young boys that died way too young and my heart breaks a little for our history.

I look at the state of the world today and think……..Have we learned nothing?  I wonder.

Perhaps have. It’s still winter here at 43 North Lat, but wherever you are I hope your day will be blessed with warmth

Chris G