~ October 2010 Edition
~ Contributing Editor: Ian Doig ~
Member at Large
The Rideau Cruise on October 7th aboard the General Brock III was a huge success, with 57 Probus members and guests in attendance. Many thanks to Mary Kilgour for organizing this wonderful event and attending to all of the details that enhanced our enjoyment of this event, including fabulous weather and a birthday celebration for both Jean and Bruce who were coincidently celebrating their 39th (again). Thanks to Peter Craske for our musical entertainment and to Captain Andy and his crew for looking after us so well. Thanks to Ernie and Carol for the pictures and slide show, which are available on our website by clicking here. And thanks to all who participated and made it so much fun.
Walking from Lands End to John o’Groats by Ian Doig
Our Speaker in October was Walter Baker, another retired academic whom I passed by with the idle question in my mind, “That fellow looks a bit young to be coming to Probus”!
In fact, Walter, 81 years young, was here to tell us about his exploits last year, walking from Land’s End, on the south-eastern tip of Cornwall, to John o’ Groats, on the extreme north-western tip of Scotland. This was not by any means a travelogue; rather it was a discussion of what it takes, in human terms, to undertake and complete such a feat. Walter started training back here in Canada, and set himself a plan based on walking 18 miles a day, and staying in B and Bs each night. He recognized that there were a lot of factors to be considered in training for such a venture; (A) the physical aspect, to be sure, (B) the necessary planning, which included both mental and intellectual factors, (C) the financial question – ‘can I afford it?’ and (D) the emotional considerations. His conclusion was that “Whatever came up, we’d just walk through it”. ‘Rock solid Commitment’, it’s called!
He began his trek on the 21st of March 2009, and finished it on the 30th of May; a deadline dictated by the fact that the terrible Scottish midges – worse, he says, than our black flies by a long shot – came out on the first of June!
Eighteen miles a day may not sound like too much to some of us who are used to yomping around the plains of Eastern Ontario, but Walter made the point that the trails, particularly in Cornwall and Devon, and of course in the Scottish Highlands aren’t like that. He compared walking the hilly terrain to “climbing a staircase three steps at a time for an hour, with a full pack on your back”. And he made the point that, particularly for people in our age group, climbing down was just as difficult as going up! He spoke as well of edging his way along ledges on cliff faces, so narrow that his pack was hanging out over space!
It was a fascinating presentation, and an inspiring one, by an extraordinary speaker. Walter is a man of wide-ranging accomplishments. He closed his presentation with a recommendation for his latest book, Creative Entrepreneurship on a Smaller Scale”, which I expect is targeted at a younger audience than us Probians!
Management Team Notes
New member Les Brown ~ welcomed by David and Mike
Recycle your unwanted electronics free at Twenty-Twelve Electronics Recycling, 42 James Street Smiths Falls. More information on our website.
Self-introduction ~ David Farquharson |
by Ian Doig
Our October self-introduction was given by David Farquharson. David was born in Fort Chambly, Quebec, where he began his academic career in a one-room schoolhouse. Subsequently the family moved to Montreal, where the academic prospects seemed a bit better, and after finishing his secondaire, David took his B. Eng at McGill.
He began his engineering career with Bell Canada, where he was drawn into the then-emerging field of Data Processing. Subsequent moves took him to Canadian Pacific, where, faced with the unhappy prospect of being transferred to Toronto, he made the decision to join CMHC in Ottawa. Here he worked with the Assisted Home Ownership Program, until an opportunity came along to move over to EMR, where he helped develop their Off-Oil programme. This led to his move into consulting for a period of time, then back to Government with Canada Post until retirement.
Driven near-crazy with retirement, he got involved with the volunteer sector, helping to put together a “Speakers Bureau”, which lined up a series of presenters drawn from the ample resources of the Ottawa academic scene, government and elsewhere to come and speak to a growing group of retirees in the area who like him wanted to keep in touch with what was happening in the world. Having moved to Perth as recently as six years ago, I’m confident that his connections with this supply of plugged-in speakers is still fresh enough that he might be able to divert the pipeline over to the Probus Club of Perth! Hey – maybe we have even found my eventual replacement!