Monday, September 29, 2014

A Great Weekend By A Great Lake


Kay and I took Appa the Volksbison, our ’85 VW Vanagaon camper, down to Lake Erie this past weekend.    On the plus side, I had recently discovered that our camper’s onboard fridge was actually functional.   I had ordered a kit to convert the space to extra shelving and storage, but had been procrastinating about taking the fridge out and junking it.   However, on our last outing, I was startled to discover that some of the items stored in the fridge space were cold to the touch!   Evidently I had it set so that it ran off the battery while the van was in motion, and I realized that the fridge was working.   A little tinkering with it this summer, and some YouTube research, taught me how to run it off an external power cord while parked, to get it properly chilled, and then how to get the pilot lit so that it could run on propane once we reached our destination.   This meant that we had all the VW’s original systems working:  the propane stove, the fridge, and the water tan/sink/tap.   Excited, we searched for a destination and settled on Wheatley Provincial Park, down on Lake Erie.  Wheatley is not far from Point Pelee, which is the southernmost point in Canada, on a latitude with Northern California.

We made it.  Appa is old and slow and somewhat prone to overheating, so I kept a close eye on the temperature gauge, but we made it there and back without much incident.  We were blessed with a perfect early fall weekend and a campsite by the water.

If you peer into the side door, you’ll see Kay celebrating our arrival.


Walkway to the beachfront along Lake Erie.



 Some of the park’s many denizens.  We got up before sunrise on Saturday morning and were treated to the unforgettable sight of stars reflected on the water.    I wish I could have captured that in a photo, but some things are best saved for memories.  I may never see starlight reflected on water again, but I’ll never forget the sight.




I tried going for my morning run along this beach.   It wasn’t my fastest run.   In fact, it was like one of those dreams when you’re trying to run away from monsters but caught in quicksand.


 Church by the lake.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

With The Royal Highland Fusiliers Of Canada

My friend Padre Neil is away this month at the Canadian Forces Leadership School in St. Jean, QC, getting the official training and qualifications to set the seal on his pre-existing awesomeness as a padre.   Unfortunately his absence left his reserve unit, the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada, in a bit of a lurch, as they wanted him to offer a prayer and blessing at their parade this past Saturday.   I was happy to fill in.

The RHFC are one of the many colourful Reserve regiments of Canada’s Army.  As you can see below, their ceremonial dress uniform is a Highland variation of the less glamorous, plain green DEU (Distinctive Environmental Uniform) worn by most Regular Force army units. I felt quite plain standing next to them.  The Fusiliers have a proud history, with their roots in the various militia regiments formed in the Waterloo Region of SW Ontario since the mid 1800s.  In World War 1, a rather confusing period in the lineage of Canadian regiments, the RHFC’s ancestors  included the 108th Battalion CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force), the 111th CEF, and the 29th Waterloo Regiment, Highland Light Infantry of Canada (HLI). During World War Two the HLI earned a distinguished reputation in places such as Normandy and Holland, and claimed to be the only Canadian regiment never to have given up a prisoner or man missing, or to have yielded its ground to the enemy.  In 1965 the HLI was amalgamated with another local militia regiment, the Highland Fusiliers of Canada, thus becoming the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada.   Many members of the RHFC deployed to Afghanistan in the last decade as augments to Reg Force regiments, and so the RHFC will soon receive a new Battle Honour, Afghanistan, for its colours.



It was a perfect day for a parade.  September has been cool and wet, but the sun came out on cue.  In this photo, the Colour Guards stand before the Commanding Officer,  preparing to lay the colours on the regimental drums during a short parade at the cenotaph in Cambridge.   The Pipe Sergeant Major is standing on the cenotaph.   My role in the service was to offer this short prayer, and since I couldn’t find a specific prayer for the RHFC,  I adapted from the Regimental Collect of the British Army’s Royal Highland Fusiliers, which are allied to Canada’s RHFC.  Padre Neil, your homework is to see if there is in fact a proper prayer for yur regiment, and if so, to make it more visible for future use.

Gracious and loving God, look with favour on the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada.   Keep us all mindful of their legacy of heroism, sacrifice, and service.  Abide with them, in all the places where they may be called to serve, and strengthen them to resist to the uttermost all assaults of evil.   To their leaders, give wisdom, and to all ranks, give valour.  Inspire them to serve in their day and generation so that they may worthily uphold the trust that has been handed down to them, and give them we pray your continued blessing.  Amen.

To my chaplain friends, there is a useful resource on Collects of the British Army here.   Someone should compile a similar list for the Canadian Army.   


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Plug For The Great War Blog

I discovered this blog the other day, and I recommend it.  Each day covers a different aspect of World War One.   It’s well written and researched, and worth the time of anybody interested in this period.

This image from today’s post explores the links between the Edwardian ethos of masculine values, amateur athletics, muscular Christianity and recruiting.


Monday, September 8, 2014

A Good Day At Church

Kay and I took church with us to Rockwood Conservation Area this weekend.

The traffic on the way to church was light and there was lots of parking.

 We decided we would sit right in front of the altar rather than as far back in the church as humanly possible.  

Safely home thanks to Appa the Volksbison.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Military Picture Of The Week


This picture comes from the Foreign Policy website’s Photos of the Week feature and shows Afghan National Army personnel praying at a graduation ceremony at the ANA Training Centre in Kabul on 24 August.  These are the faces of the army that NATO members, including friends of mine, have been labouring to train and guide for the last few years.  They face a difficult future, with a government still paralyzed by deadlock after a recent national election that shows the country’s ethnic fault lines and distrust, and an undefeated Taliban insurgency.  Good luck to them.

Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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