Wednesday 24 July 2013

HRH's Favourite TV Show

My cat Her Royal Highness adores the continuing saga of 1960s ad man Don Drapurrrrrr.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Stoney Creek Music Video

Just one final post on the Battle of Stoney Creek!

Mark McNeil, a veteran journalist at The Hamilton Spectator and a talented singer-songwriter, wrote a wonderful song about the battle to mark its bicentennial. In this recently-posted video, he performs it against a backdrop of locations that you will recognize from my previous posts -- the Gage House, the Battlefield Monument, Smith's Knoll, the battle re-enactment field complete with re-enactors -- and even the actual trickling water of Stoney Creek!

Many thanks to Kay G. of Georgia Girl with an English Heart who found this video on YouTube and passed its link along to me!

Monday 22 July 2013

The Rage of the Maple Leaf

Move over, Hulk! There's a new mild-mannered-to-enraged superhero on the scene!

Maybe it's just me but every time I see this photo sequence, I laugh so hard that I nearly pee my pants. I found these pix over at Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool but where Cal got them from I don't know. So may I just say: BRAVO to whoever created our latest Canuckian superhero!

Saturday 20 July 2013

Thursday 18 July 2013

In My Own Defence

Yes, I am a middle-aged lesbian who has an inexplicable fascination with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. But in my own defence, at least I'm not one of those crazy Janeites who worship all things Austen. Their obsessiveness is satirized in this new over-the-top movie Austenland. It looks like a total hoot! I MUST see it when it comes to Edmonton!

I wonder if My Rare One would buy me one of those life-sized cardboard cut-out figures of Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth for Christmas? Hmmm . . . .

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Mr. Darcy in the News

Every Mr. Darcy fan loves the iconic "lake scene" in the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. Who can forget Mr. Darcy after his swim, with his tousled hair and clingy wet shirt, as he unexpectedly and awkwardly encounters Elizabeth Bennet touring his family estate? It's the scene that made Colin Firth a sex symbol. (I can't embed it due to copyright reasons but you can see it on YouTube by clicking here.)

So take a peek at this next video and see what those crazy Brits are doing to mark the bicentennial of Pride and Prejudice's publication --

The irony, of course, is that the lake scene was not actually written by Jane Austen at all. No, it's purely a creation of the TV version. Oh well, who cares? It's Colin Firth in a wet cotton shirt -- YAY!!!!

Monday 15 July 2013

Monday, Bloody Monday

Mondays are when we need coffee the most to jump-start our mornings. Oh, if only coffee could rescue us from having to go to work too!

HRH is not above needing a little caffeine pick-me-up too.

Although she prefers fish-flavoured coffee.

Anyway, have a good Monday and here are some words to live by:

Friday 12 July 2013

HRH the Pirate Queen

Remember earlier this year when I wrote how HRH had ditched me in order to be a Pirate Queen over at another blog? Well, she's back now from her adventures at O'Leary Miniatures -- and she didn't come home alone! She brought along Suzie Swagger, the first mate on her pirate ship. Suzie is a high-spirited gal with a penchant for bikini bottoms and mayhem. She and HRH get along famously.

Both these wee miniatures are only 32 mm (1 inch) high. Isn't that incredible? Thank you, Anne, for painting them so beautifully and sending them to Edmonton. I was only expecting HRH in the mail but Anne included Suzie Swagger as a surprise for My Rare One. And Anne correctly divined her exact taste in pirate babes! It's uncanny but then again, Anne is Irish.

[Photo courtesy of Anne O'Leary]

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Memorials at Stoney Creek: Battlefield House and Monument

This very British-looking castle tower was built as a monument to memorialize the Battle of Stoney Creek. Battlefield Monument was officially dedicated and opened to the public on the centennial of the battle in 1913.

Battlefield Monument is located on a rise behind Battlefield House, the restored two-storey home where the Americans imprisoned the Gage family on whose farm the battle was fought. This photo of Battlefield House was taken looking down from the Monument.

Here's the Monument as photographed through a window inside Battlefield House . . .

. . . and as it appears behind the battle re-enactment field.

[Photos by Debra She Who Seeks, except for photo #2 which comes from the internet]

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Memorials at Stoney Creek: Smith's Knoll

Aboriginal and militia casualties at the Battle of Stoney Creek were claimed by their relatives and taken home for burial. But British and American soldiers did not have the luxury of a return to their home countries. They were buried where they fell.

British and American soldiers were all laid to rest in mass graves at Smith's Knoll in Stoney Creek. Here is the British memorial, replete with cannons, the Union Jack, an impressive plaque and the imperial lion on top.

The American memorial was erected later and is much more modern in appearance. The fresh floral wreaths on both monuments were recently laid in commemoration of the battle's bicentennial.

You can see that someone (an American re-enactor perhaps) has left a couple of tributes for the US fallen, including a flask undoubtedly used to toast their memories.

Although the plaque was laid on behalf of an American Legion branch, clearly it was engraved locally in Hamilton, judging from the Canadian/British spelling of "honour."

[Photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

Monday 8 July 2013

The Battle of Stoney Creek

Two hundred years ago, Stoney Creek was a small village on the shore of Lake Ontario near the Niagara Escarpment. Today it is part of the large city of Hamilton, Ontario. In 1813, invading American forces arrived and established a camp of 3000 soldiers on the farm of James Gage. The American officers commandeered the Gage farmhouse as their headquarters, imprisoning the family in the cellar but not otherwise harming them.

Shortly thereafter on the night of June 5-6, 1813 under cover of darkness, 700 British troops who were stationed nearby launched a surprise attack. They had strict orders not to fire any muskets but to use only their bayonets when silently ambushing the American camp.

The British soldiers were accompanied by members of the local militia comprised of area farmers and merchants.

Iroquois warriors were there as well, led by Mohawk Major John Norton.

The silent ambush plan didn't really work out. Musket fire and native war cries soon filled the air and the battle was on! In the darkness, the fighting was fierce and confused. The Americans mistakenly thought they were outnumbered. Due to a couple of crucial American tactical mistakes, the British were able to capture their two senior officers. In 45 minutes it was all over and the Americans surrendered. While darkness remained, the British forces quickly dispersed back into the woods so the defeated Americans wouldn't learn how few in number they actually were.

Once again, Upper Canada was saved. And once again, may I say: Huzzah!

My Rare One and I took these photos at the Bicentennial Re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek held in Hamilton on the weekend of June 1-2, 2013. We enjoyed the Re-enactment tremendously. The re-enactors are unpaid history enthusiasts who come from all over Ontario and the USA. They pay for their own uniforms, equipment and travel costs. Many set up camp at Battlefield Park and live there all weekend in an authentic period manner without cell phones, electricity or any other modern conveniences. Re-enactors talk the talk and walk the walk!

Saturday 6 July 2013

Samuel Green and the War of 1812

Two hundred years ago today on July 6, 1813, my great-great-great-grandfather Samuel Green died. He was a farmer and miller in West Flamborough, Upper Canada (today part of Hamilton, Ontario). Samuel belonged to a large United Empire Loyalist family which had fled to Upper Canada from New Jersey during the American Revolution. He was 43 when he died, leaving a wife and 11 children. Samuel died performing military service in the War of 1812 with his local militia unit, the 2nd York Regiment. His wife Margaret later received a war widows pension for his loss.

Most accounts say that Samuel Green was a casualty of the Battle of Stoney Creek which was fought during the night of June 5-6, 1813. Some accounts say he was killed in action but the later stated death date of July 6 would indicate that he must have instead died of wounds received in the battle. Or perhaps that death date on the pension application was simply a clerical error and "July" should have read "June."

Or did Samuel survive the Battle of Stoney Creek but die performing another kind of military service? An entry in the Militia Muster Roll and Pay List of the 2nd York Regiment says a Samuel Green was paid for "batteauxing to York" from June 25 to July 6, 1813. Batteauxing was how the British moved military goods, supplies and ammunition over water from one strategic point to another by the use of large flat-bottomed boats. Did Samuel in fact drown in Lake Ontario or die accidentally while loading or unloading military supplies? The pay record itself makes no mention of death while on duty. Could it perhaps have been a different Samuel Green doing that job? Records were often spotty or inaccurate in those days.

It's probably impossible to know now. I prefer to subscribe to our traditional family history that Samuel Green was a casualty of the Battle of Stoney Creek. It was on this basis that My Rare One and I went to Hamilton in June to attend the Bicentennial Re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek. More on that to come!

[First photo of a Hamilton statue honouring the United Empire Loyalists comes from the internet. Second photo of militia re-enactors of the Battle of Stoney Creek was taken by My Rare One.]