The following story shows how quickly things can go terribly wrong……

I would like to share a fairly scary situation in which I found myself in yesterday evening, as a cautionary tale and in the hope that none of you do a similarly stupid thing. This adventure has given me a whole new respect for our local winter environment.
Last evening I decided to leave my vehicle at home and walk the kilometer and a half to an indoor soccer game at Pretty River Academy. When I left my house, the weather was a bit windy with a light snow falling, nothing I hadn’t walked or ran in a hundred times before. By the time I got to the end of my road the wind had really picked up and the snow had turned into blizzard like conditions. My route to Pretty River Academy took me along the Vacation Inn trail that winds through some bush next to the recently completed MacPherson condo project. As I trudged along, the visibility got less and less, until I could barely see a couple of feet ahead of myself. There are a couple of side trails off the main trail which eventually leads to Highway 26. I ended up losing my bearings and inadvertently walking along a trail that runs behind the school. I could see the faint glow of the gymnasium lights in the distance. So instead of backtracking I decided to get to the school through the bush behind the school.
I’m not sure if many of you realize this but Pretty River Academy is built on part of Silver Creek Wetlands. I struggled my way through some fairly heavy bush then my route to the school looked like a clear walk across a field directly to the rear of the school. I took maybe six steps then broke through ice into about eighteen inches of freezing cold swamp water and mud, so with the snow and ice covering I was in this mess half way up my thigh and actually quite stuck, in the middle of a blizzard with the temperature around minus 20. I eventually managed to maneuver my right foot out of the muck and water to lift it high enough to take a small step forward with a lot of difficulty, that foot again broke through the ice, then the left and I inched my way forward, after around 10 similar steps and quite a lot of effort I was free and in shallower water, then on solid ground, I was sweating quite profusely which was now contributing to my deep chill and I was probably in the first stages of hypothermia. When I finally walked into the school I was covered from head to toe in snow, my feet and hands were completely numb, my jeans were frozen solid up to my thighs. 10 more minutes outside and I would have been in serious trouble.

I am fairly fit and I had a fully functioning phone so the above scenario was never life threatening for me, but in hindsight if I had no phone or signal and the water was maybe just 6 inches deeper, this could very easily have been quite a different story. When I first broke through the ice I had a split second panic that maybe I was falling into a pond and some really deep water. No one knew that I had walked to the soccer game that evening, I live alone but my son was staying with me that night, he was at work and getting a ride from a buddy to my place. I usually go for a few beers after soccer so he would not have missed me until the following morning. No one at soccer would have given my absence a second thought (if you saw me play soccer you would understand why).

What did I do wrong? Firstly I ventured out into the coldest evening of the year telling no one, under dressed, in jeans, regular Bluntstone boots and not enough layers of clothing on. I had taken a short cut across unfamiliar terrain with no proper trail and I had no idea what was under the snow that I was walking on. Lastly I had not given this place and the environment we live in the respect that it deserves.

VFAN’s lineage (No you don’t need to bow)

A couple of years ago, my sister in law in the UK got very involved with searching out her and my brothers family trees on Below is what she found.
So in light of this and considering the results of the recent Canadian election with Justin’s hereditary receiving of the torch from his father Pierre Elliot. I think the following puts me in a very good position for seeking elected office in this country. After all I am directly related to British royalty, I have actually held down many jobs over the years, I have made and paid numerous payrolls in various businesses. I also  know a little about world affairs beyond climate change blabber and Islamist appologism, so I believe I am infinitely more qualified than Justin to be PM. (Although I must confess, I don’t have Justin’s roguish good looks nor curly locks, so maybe not.)

One branch of my family tree below – As per (The first name is my direct descendant).

1. Doris Florence Wills (Barrett) My Mother (1931-2012)
2. William Henry Joseph Barrett “Billy Barrett” (My Grand Father) (1901-1992)
3. Emma Louisa Perry (1876 – 1930) (My Great Grand Mother) married to Henry Barrett
4. Selina Lethieuillier (1845 – 1917) married to Joseph Perry (GG Grand Parents)
5. John Fredrick Lethieuillier (1816 -1886 ) married to Ann Levett (GGG Grand Parents)
6. John Powell Lethieuillier (1775- 1839) married to Henrietta Crosswell (GGGG Grand Parents)
7. John Greene Lethieuillier (1752 – 1800) issue from 1st marriage to Sussanna Read
8. Manning Lethieuillier (1705 – 1752) married to Ann Greene
9. William Lethieullier (1671- 1739) married to Mary Manning
10. Ann Hooker (1643-1702) married to Sir John Lethieuillier (1633-1719)
11. Lettice Copinger married to Sir William Hooker (Lord Mayor of London) (1612- 1697)
12. Frances Burgh (died 1618) married to Francis Coppinger
13. Thomas Burgh, 3rd Baron Burgh (1558–1597),_3rd_Baron_Burgh
14. Lady Katherine Clinton married to William Burgh, 2nd Baron Burgh
15. Sir Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln 1512 – 1585 From first marriage to Elizabeth Blount, one of Henry VIII’s former mistresses.,_1st_Earl_of_Lincoln
16. Thomas Clinton, 8th Baron Clinton (1490–1517)
17. John Clinton Fiennes, 7th Baron Clinton
18. Elizabeth de Clinton (de Fiennes)
19. Richard Fiennes, 7th Baron Dacre (1415 – 1483),_7th_Baron_Dacre
20. Elizabeth de Fiennes or Lady (de Holland) Elizabeth Holland (1389 – 1449) married to Sir Roger Fiennes
21. Elizabeth of Lancaster, Duchess of Exeter,_Duchess_of_Exeter
22. John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (Plantagenet)

23. Edward 3rd (Plantagenet) King of England (1312 – 1377) My Great GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Great Grand Father.

Hammertown – Dispatch # 2

                                    I AM LEGEND ADDITION

1. When I first went to work down in Hamilton, I thought that my dispatches would be a regular thing. But to be honest there is very little to write about and usually the highlight of my week is driving up Highway 10 on a Thursday afternoon racing back up to “God’s Country”.

2. I was on my bike in the fall riding along the waterfront trail. A lady was chatting with someone on the right side of the trail with her back to me. Unbeknownst to me her dog was in the bushes on the left of the trail attached to one of those retractable leashes (you can see where this is going). As I rode over the leash it got caught somewhere around my bikes chain, flipping me over the handle bars into a rhododendron bush. The dog, an over-sized black lab mix, decided it was payback time against the person that rather rudely interrupted its sniffing and territory marking. So it lunged at me. Fortunately the leash was still tangled around my bike, so the lunge was stopped around 6 inches away from my foot with the dog snarling, snapping and barking at me. The whole incident reminded me of one of the scenes from “I am Legend”. Only the dog wasn’t a raging zombie dog. It was the leash stopping the dog not the last fading rays of sunlight, and I am way better looking than Will Smith:)

3. I know this next bit is going to make you think that I haven’t had much luck working my little stint in Hamilton but……… well actually I suppose I haven’t. I was sitting at a stop light early last week and a 5 ton truck passed me on curbside and did a right turn showering my van with ice from its roof and badly cracking my windshield. My van looked like it was involved in a drive by shooting by the gang-bangers from Lococo’s (described in Dispatch #1).

4. Talking of bad luck, since the ticket that I received from the squeegee guy (also described in Dispatch #1). I have picked up 2 more, one for driving 62 kp/h in a 50 kp/h limit and failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. The Hamilton cops take no prisoners. My car insurance has now gone from around $1,300 per year to $2,700. So I have decided to buy myself a trilby hat, move my seat so my chest is 2” away from the steering wheel and I am now the guy that you swear at driving 10 km below the speed limit all the time.

5. Apparently my good friend Annette Patrick will be in these parts in the next few weeks hiking the first section of the 895 km Bruce Trail. Read all about it here: . I look forward to reading about all her adventures, good luck to you AP.

6. One thing I do like about living and working a little further south, is there is much less snow. So along with the late arrival of winter I have managed to continue running outside without a break throughout this winter season. I am seriously considering another crack at a half marathon, so stay tuned.

Pompous elitists still alive and well east of Saskatchewan.

I posted the following rant just before Christmas 2014. I thought that post was even more appropriate this past week after the media storm surrounding Lloydminster’s Ken Cundliffe’s letter to Justin Trudeau posted on Facebook on the 10th January. I have shared this letter on my VFAN Facebook page. Apparently this guy got a lot of abuse mostly from people living east of Saskatchewan.

This Hour has……….. A Bunch of Pompous, Elitist, Assholes!!! (Originally posted 14th December 2014)

I was sitting in front of the TV the other night, not really paying attention to what was on. I was more interested in what I was doing on my computer. The cheese ball “This hour has 22 minutes” show was droning on in the background. I can’t stand it and never find it funny. I was about to switch it, when an attractive blonde lady came on and was saying something about oil prices and Alberta, which immediately piqued my interest. The screen went to a Welcome to Alberta road sign and there was a mashed up version of the “Welcome Back Kotter” theme song playing.

The premise of the skit was to make fun of Alberta and the problems it is about to face as a province, due to the falling price of a barrel of oil. I was actually quite disgusted by the whole thing.
I didn’t catch all of the words as I was still only half paying attention, but I did wonder what they meant by “Welcome Back” in the skit. So I searched for it on YouTube then viewed and listened to it again here:

Yes that is canned laughter not real. Am I missing something here? Does anyone find this type of thing funny? I guess they meant welcome back to the economic reality of the rest of Canada. A little rich don’t you think? Considering that this crappy TV show is produced by a company called DHX Media based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A complete economic basket case of a province that has been a net receiver of transfer payments from the economic engine that has been Alberta for the past 10 years or so, and prior to that Ontario and BC. Nova Scotia has never stood on its own two feet within confederaration economically as a province. This show is paid for and subsidized by the CBC, which would also be a basket case broadcasting company, if not for the $1.2B subsidy per year it receives from, yeah you guessed it, indirectly through transfer payments from Alberta.

I know a few people from Collingwood, that have made it through some very difficult times by getting on a plane and working in the oil patch. I also know that many hard working people from the Atlantic provinces kept their families clothed and fed by working in Alberta. This type of thing is classic pompous, elitist, snobbery of the worst kind. They don’t want that dirty Alberta oil and want nothing to do with those redneck hicks from Alberta. But they certainly want the revenue from them to support their public service jobs and social programs that they could not afford if not for transfers from Alberta.

Can you imagine the uproar if the skit and song were about a Windsor car plant closing or a New Brunswick ship yard shutting down. I have news for these pompous twits at the CBC and this crappy show, where Alberta goes the rest of the country follows very quickly. The province has been the economic engine of the country for a number of years now, so what is bad for Alberta is very bad for the rest of Canada. By the way the economic reality of the rest of Canada is mainly the result of the tax and spend policies by successive Liberal and NDP provincial governments. Take Saskatchewan for instance 10 years ago after many years of successive NDP governments, it was one of the worst economic sink holes in Canada, I constantly heard “the last person to leave Regina turn out the lights”. Brad Wall of the right of centre Saskatchewan Party became Premier in 2007. He introduced a myriad of changes to the way the province does business. It now has the highest GDP in the country, the lowest unemployment rate and people are lining up to move back there again. I personally would like to see THAT model as the economic reality of Canada. Not what these socialist stooges at the CBC think should be the economic reality.

RIP – David Robert Jones

I found out that David Bowie had passed away at around 6 am this morning. I don’t think a celebrities passing has hit me that hard since John Lennon was murdered outside the Dakota in New York in 1980. David Bowie came from the area I grew up in, namely Bromley in Kent. In fact he went to my younger brothers school Ravenswood around 20 years earlier than my brother. He was a big part of my early teenage years. I lost my virginity in the wee hours many years ago, at a party in Dulwich, South London with “Drive in Saturday” playing over and over on a record player in the background. Whenever I have heard that tune since it always makes me smile.
I saw Bowie live twice, first time at Hammersmith Odeon when he famously retired “Ziggy Stardust” in 1973. Footage of that show can be seen in his film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. My buddy Steve Colley (may he also rest in peace) attended that concert with me, he had the full on bright orange hair spiked at the front and long at the back, he was a Bowie fanatic. The second time was at the Vancouver Coliseum in the mid-nineties. Both concerts were brilliant Bowie was an excellent live performer and showman.

I was never a massive fan, but I respected him and his music. Space Oddity is probably one of my all time favorite tunes. As I write this I am listening to his catalog the first time I have done so in years.

Strange that his passing hit me so hard earlier. Maybe because it was so unexpected, he kept his illness (liver cancer) very quiet. Also I suppose it is another knock on the door of my own mortality.

RIP – David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016)

2016 Mayors New Years Levee – VFAN Style

I attended the New Year’s levee Sunday at Georgian Manor Resort (or whatever that hotel is calling itself these days). I have a few observations and comments below:

1. Mayor Cooper almost broke a hip trying to avoid saying hello to me again. It’s really funny because I do it on purpose whenever I am at these types of functions. I walk directly towards her with a big smile on my face and she thinks it’s someone that she knows, then she realizes it’s me, spins around and runs off in the opposite direction.

2. I’m not sure if it’s me imagining things, but the town crier’s uniform seems to get more and more ostentatious with more medals and sashes every time I see him. Nowadays he would look right at home sitting at the head of one of those juntas in a tin pot failed state in South America somewhere.

3. I was glad to see Nick Brindisi was awarded the order of Collingwood. He is a tireless volunteer, always doing some kind of ridiculous 200km run up and down mountains for charity somewhere, good for you Nick. Incidentally on another note Nick is a way better volunteer and marathon runner than he is soccer player. Imagine someone with two left feet and their soccer cleats tied together and that will give you a good mental picture of Nicks soccer playing skills.

4. Ditto Kevin Hamlin (not the soccer playing). I wrote a blog just before Christmas about the CCI music program here: That is Mr. Hamlin driving that bus, I know if my kids are coming home whining about someone, especially a teacher that teacher is doing something right. Good for you Kevin well deserved.

5. Oh now I think of it I thought it was only me that gets all choked up when talking about my long passed parents. Very touching moment during Nicks acceptance speech.

6. Back to Mayor Cooper. I would have thought that after 5 years in the mayors chair, that she would have bacame a little more comfortable with her public speaking. But alas no, she still comes across as wooden, forced and completely uncomfortable in her own skin. The thought of her representing our town across this province really does make me wince.

7. Why is it that every time I meet Cam Ecclestone it’s like the first time I have ever met him? Reminds me of the movie “Groundhog Day”. Apparently I am not alone in this phenomenon. Someone told me that apparently at one of the shindig’s around Christmas time he introduced himself to Kevin Lloyd.

8. I look forward to Ian Chadwick’s column and review of this years Mayors levee. I know he wasn’t there but that doesn’t stop him from commenting on every council and committee meeting that happens around town. My theory is he has obviously mastered that ancient art of shape shifting himself into the form of Kevin Lloyd.

9. Every councilor I spoke to strangely disliked my first post on the Collingwood airport, but liked my second post. In fact Deb Doherty said that if I had not written the second post she would have hit me with something next time she saw me, which was today. So I was rather fortunate I suppose.

10. What gives with this crowd today. I went to grab I bite to eat and it was packed around the food table, so I grabbed a coffee and decided to leave it for ten minutes until the rush died down. When I went back it was like a swarm of locusts had just gone through the room, the only thing that was left were a few crumbs and a rather sad-looking tomato. Did everyone decide to break their New Year’s resolutions en mass?

11. Now this one item actually has little to do with the levee, apart from when I left the event I was stopped at this stupid light again. So I decided that I would include some whining about it in this post. I am obviously talking about the traffic light at Lighthouse Point. It is one of those 1980’s technology stop lights that keeps changing on a timer whether someone is trying to get out of Lighthouse Point or not. The amount of times I have seen streams of traffic stopped on Highway 26 for 3 minutes (yeah I timed it once) for absolutely no reason at all. C’mon guys let’s get that light up to twentieth century standards, we have the technology.

Happy New Year to all of you.

“Making” me fall asleep…….

So I was roped into watching the first 3 episodes on this latest Netflix social media phenomenon “Making of a Murderer” last night. I must confess by half way through the second episode I was finding it hard to stay awake. By a quarter of the way through the third episode I found it more interesting cleaning up the dishes from dinner, than watching this awful series. I fail to see how this bore fest can drag itself through another seven episodes. I have personally seen enough. ***Spoiler Alert***. After watching episode three I went online to find out if anything new happens to prove Avery innocent, and it does not. He is still in jail and he does quite rightly get convicted of the murder of Teresa Halbach.

Firstly anyone that would douse a cat with gasoline and throw the poor moggy on a fire is pretty much capable of anything. The series directors also glossed over the fact that Avery was convicted of assaulting his cousin (a woman) and firearms offences a few years before he was wrongly convicted of the rape of Penny Beerntsen. These transgressions were put forth as “youthful exuberance”. In my mind, stealing a car or getting into a bar fight is youthful exuberance (I was once convicted of the later myself). Torching a cat to death points in an entirely different direction
What a disgusting awful family the lot of them are. If they all banded together they might put together one full set of teeth. Avery’s girlfriend at the time of the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach, was in jail for repeatedly driving while impaired. So unlike many of the bleating masses, after what I had seen of the man, did not think it too much of a stretch to conclude that Avery could be capable of the rape, torture and murder of this poor unsuspecting girl  for a little trailer trash sexual R and R. That was the other thing I found quite disconcerting, the makers of this series seem to be so intent on making Avery look like a choir boy, they completely brush over the fate of the victim in this case. She was out doing her job and ends up as bone and muscle fragments in Steven Avery’s fire-pit. This girl was murdered, probably within ten feet of Avery’s trailer, someone committed that murder and although the red necks down at Manitowoc County sheriff’s department looked like they were quite capable of planting evidence, it should defy even the most ardent conspiracy theorists credulity, to think that they would kill an innocent girl, then plant evidence, just to save a $36 million wrongful conviction law suit. No, someone from this disgusting poor white trash family, killed, raped and tortured Teresa Halbach. My view is leave Steven Avery in jail until the rest of this swamp dwelling clan figure out which one of them was responsible for the crime themselves, with any luck maybe they all did it so the courts can incarcerate the lot of them. In the meantime when is House of Cards coming back on? So we can concentrate on some really important television watching.