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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Burringham to Boston-My 2003 World Trip-Part 8-Canada (Calgary and back to Swan Hills)

Calgary and Swan Hills again !
I slept most of the way on the bus to Edmonton, waking up in the town of Legal. Is it full of law-abiding citizens? A couple of hours to look  around the spick and span city centre of Edmonton, and then another three and a half hours see’s me back in Calgary.
     David picked me up from the greyhound depot, and we go for a drink at the bar where Cheryl supplements her income from Calgary Laboratory Services by bartending.
  A quiet and early night at Douglasdale, talking to Sheena about the last two weeks.
           Sunday 24th August. Me and David enjoy a game of golf on the local course. He beat me by one, but I managed my lowest score ever for eighteen holes. Hurrah!.
         Cheryl’s cooked a beautiful ‘Beef in Beer’ dinner, so with a full belly the only thing to do the rest of the day is laze on the deck with the occasional dip in the hot tub.
             Monday 25th August. Sheena’s working all this week, and I’m due to head out with Alex Lockton on Tuesday and Wednesday, so today I’ve got to occupy myself. I let Luke and Nicky out in the garden and get some breakfast.
         I get a telephone call from Tommy to tell me he’s got visitors on the way to Swan Hills from Edmonton, three brothers and a cousin from Connecticut, he’s not sure if it isn’t a joke. I knew a surprise visit was on the cards, but did they have to wait till I’d got back to Calgary?
         As I said before, I consider the Mcgovern clan as my family and so when it came to a choice between one of the richest men in Calgary and meeting up with these guys, there was no contest.(Alex say’s the invitation stands next time I’m in Canada)
  Over to Avis to see Abdulla where I hired a beautiful all mod cons Chevrolet Impala.
  The drive back up to Swan Hills was a cruise, just a little traffic round Edmonton. I made good time and it was great to be back.
Pat, Phil, Johnny and cousin Noel had made the trip, and it was fantastic to meet up again.
The Connecticut Contingent at Swan Hills
     Whenever the brothers get together the dialogue and ‘Craic’ is just brilliant and it was no different up here in Swan Hills. Noel and Phil hosted a radio show for a good many years(Noel still does one),so when these guys are around you don’t need alternative entertainment. I’d had a great day.
     Tuesday 26th August. The guys are visiting Winfield today on a genealogy mission. I’m out in the oilfields where I see Bud and his welding team surveying their latest job. I watch and film as a helicopter doing some amazing manoeuvres takes samples from treetops. I also take a run up to Deer mountain.
Lunch at the Palace with Betty and her friend Mary was the highlight of today.
    Wednesday 27th August. Me Noel and Johnny teamed up with Mayor Gary Pollock for a great game of golf. This was my last game, I’d like to have been there when the boys including Phil played again. I do believe they had fun.
    Betty as usual provides the most exquisite food and the evening is spent in party mood, with anecdotes, hilarity and serious nostalgia. A lot of unidentified people in old photos were identified. Pat has an amazing memory.
Thursday 28th August. The boys keep me company today as we go out to look at the lakes and the oilfields. Up the Freeman River where the beaver activity makes the area look like a lumber camp, and more bear tracks. (After I’d left Swan Hills, the boys sighted a bear. Just my luck).On to Windy lake where we nearly got bogged down in the mud, and then a photo call at the pump jacks. Back home Tommy’s got Swan Hills sweatshirts for us all. I’ve already been given a ‘Bud’s Welding’ windcheater. I’ll buy another suitcase in Calgary.
Me, Pat and pump jack
   Friday 29th August. Goodbye Tommy, Betty and family, it’s been fantastic. Goodbye boys see you in the USAir’s saying goodbye to Swan Hills for the second time, and Bud has suggested an alternative route which bypasses Edmonton. This is a beautiful scenic route and it took in Breton which is Betty’s home town and Winfield where Uncle Phil Mcgovern had settled many years ago. I stop at Sylvan lake where water sports is really big, then at Gasoline Alley I stop and purchase a ‘Hygaard’s super ham sub’, which fills the hole in my belly.

Back in Calgary, there’s no rest for the wicked and Sheena whisks me off to the Karaoke for the evening, where we meet up with friends Elaine and Phil. I think I can sing Lloyd price’s ‘Stagger Lee’ tonight, but I’m a total failure. Sheena’s a bit tipsy tonight and I get lost on the way home, but end up on a hill with a beautiful view of the lights of Calgary below us. Back home we listen to music and dance. She’ll have a hangover tomorrow.
  Saturday 30th August. Took the car back to Avis, Abdulla’s pleased I’d had no problems with this one. I stop at Chinook mall to buy Sheena a present to remind her of my visit.
   Today it’s Glenda’s garden party, so we’re out early to help. I assist Glenda’s son James felting the roof of the gazebo. Then accompanied George down Calgary for some last minute shopping.
     The party was brilliant with over a hundred people in attendance. George had rigged up speakers on the lawn, and the music was beautiful and varied. The food was in a marquee they’d set up. Glenda was the perfect hostess, meeting all the guests as they arrived. I met and spoke to lots of interesting people. As the sun set a bonfire was lit(bonfires appear to be a very popular custom in Canada),and people sat round looking at the flames talking, drinking and totally relaxing. The garage was transformed into a dancehall and the party went into the wee small hours. All too soon it was time to go, and as a memento George gave me a baseball cap proclaiming ‘Maverley’s Custom Sound’.
  Sunday 31st August. Is today really my last full day in this big beautiful country?.
We barbecue on the deck today, with me making use of the hot tub for the last time. Pat, Don, Stephanie and Dawnlynn come round to say goodbye and give me a Calgary T-Shirt. People really are so friendly here. Sheena gives me an inscribed Key ring and Clip set, she’s at work early in the morning. Goodbye cousin, it was really great meeting up with you.
   Monday 1st September. Scrambled egg on toast for breakfast. David and Cheryl take me to the airport. Thanks for your hospitality guys and thank you Canada for having me, I’ll be back.

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