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Archive for the ‘Fishing guides’ Category

I was given a Kindle for Christmas and have begun learning how to use it. I’ve been practicing on free ebooks from Gutenberg, which familiarizes me with how to use the thing, as well as getting to read some of the classics or even not-so-classic old books.

It got me thinking of doing an e-book on the Rideau. This at least has the merit (for me) of not involving printers) and lugging boxes of books around. Perhaps an historical fiction, based on real characters and real situations. Lots of examples out there and lots of free software to make it work.  I already have a few pages done and they work well (technically, not necessarily as great literature – no doubt that will come ) – yeah, right!

Onward and upward! Bastardi non carborumdum!

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Himself !!!

Well, I’ve started looking into the possibilities of converting some of my books into electronic formats that could be read on Kindles, Nooks, Kobo, iPads, and so on. There is a wealth of software (mostly free) out there – how to decide between the freebies and the paid programs. I have the impression that the free stuff is often “good enough”, but I’m not sure.

I guess what I will have to do is try converting something small and seeing what the experience is like from the production side. Testing such an “ebook” will give me some sense of how it looks in the real world.
If the “free” stuff doesn’t measure up, then I can consider paying (ugh!). It’s still a lot cheaper than paying Adobe, that still doesn’t guarantee a smooth and painless experience.
If anyone out there has any experience or views on creating ebooks or simply reading them, I’d be interested in hearing about it.
I’ll be going off to Johnny Pigeau’s Reading Series at Backbeat Books in Perth this coming Friday. This session is on novels – earlier sessions have been on poetry (and most enjoyable). Things have certainly moved right along since Worsdworth and Frost.

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I had a request for an earlier book, Fish Tales: The Lure and the Lore of the Rideau, from England. When I checked the cost of sending the book by ExpressPost (6 days – no tracking), it came to $35. If I wanted tracking and 2 day delivery, the mailing cost jumped to $66. The book itself cost only $25.

No surprise – the potential buyer cancelled the order and said that she would pick it up on her next visit to the Rideau Corridor (summer 2012). Smart move!

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Himself !!!

I came, I saw, I was blown away (to paraphrase some famous Roman)!!!

This fair has been going on for ever, since Pontius was a pilot. Anyway ….
I was there selling and signing my three books at the Writers’ Corner in the Public Library – I was able to make contact with some of the former guides, like Thea Fleming, and boat builders, like Charlie Cliffe ( through his daughter).
 
A number of people with family histories working on the Rideau Canal came to talk to me about the new book, Invisible Army. I loved it !!!!
 
Next year for sure and a tip of the hat to Margaret Brandt and her article in the Review-Mirror that alerted people to the Fair and to the fact that I was going to be there. It made all the difference in the world, I’m sure.
 
BTW, Lyndhurst has a brand new main street now, so if you haven’t been there in a while, or, even worse, have never managed to go there, this pretty village is sure worth the visit. It’s off COunty Road 43, about 10 minutes south of Delta, and can also be reached from Highway 15 through Morton ( Briar Hill Road). It has a very picturesque stone bridge as well.
 
With autumn leaves beginning to turn, plan a drive that takes you through Lyndhurst – you’ll be glad you did.

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Himself !!!

The Lyndhurst Fair takes place Saturday September 17, 9-4.

I’ll be there with all 3 of my books – Invisible Army (natch!), plus Pathfinders and Fish Tales – in the Lyndhurst library.
Lyndhurst has a great stone bridge, and some fine old houses.
It seems to me that I went there back in 2006 to talk to the family of Cornell “Chef” Bennett, a former guide. His story is in Fish Tales, in the chapter on Westport.
For those unfamiliar with Lyndhurst, it can be reached from Kingston by taking the Briar Hill road from Morton ( on Highway 15) near Jones Falls. An alternate route from Ottawa or Brockville is to go to Delta and then take Hicock Road to Lyndhurst.
As a former parish priest used to say when encouraging attendance, “Come numerous!” I hope to see you all there.
 

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Himself !!!

The Monday evening talk on Invisible Army went very well – about 35 people showed up – some from as far away as Kanata and Rideau Ferry. Gerry Covell, a retired lockmaster at Poonanmalee, came, and we went through the common travails of working around the Parks Canada personnel records.

Another gentleman brought the family genealogy of his distant ancestors – the Newman brothers, who were among the first lockmasters at Black Rapids, Clowes, and Nicholsons locks.

 
Creation of the “slackwater” canal flooded a lot of low-lying areas – shown in a “before and after” map of the Opinicon Lake area. Water management kept the water levels relatively stable to meet the needs of the steamers and the timber trade (which obviously went away, as road and rail pushed into the area).
 
I illustrated the difficulties of the early “roads” (so-called)  using Lockmaster Peter Sweeney’s diary (1839-1850) . He was a “travelling” man, as well as a “drinking” man, and his jaunts from Jones Falls to Brockville, Prescott, and Kingston sorely tested his stamina, but not his determination.
 
I focused on showing how the canal had successfully overcome its lack of long-term commercial success by recognizing (reluctantly) that the future lay in the tourism/ guiding/ cottage country area. Serendipity — the rise of the “back to nature” movement in the northern US in the 1880’s and the abundance of unspoiled nature in the Rideau Corridor was the catalyst.
 
My new projector, an Epson EX5200, worked like a charm!
 
All good!

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Take a look at the new page that I added, called The Good Old Days.

It gives us some insight into living conditions in the Rideau Corridor in the 1840s.  “Ansley’s Mills” is now Battersea, not so far from Brewers Upper and Lower Mills lock stations.

I plan to add other pages over time in order to illustrate just what the “good old days” were really like, for both city and country living. And … the examples will be based on eyewitness accounts and planned actions of local administrations: for example, there were constant struggles to get usable roads built. The example used here is no exaggeration.

Always open to comments, questions, etc.

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