A ramble down memory lane

As its dreich weather and most sensible folk are stuck indoors Rebus and Mahe drag up a few yarns to pass the hours . Grab a beer or make a cup of tea and sit back .  Should we wake a few memories of your own please share them with us .

The Language of Rubber

As Danny De Vito said, “It was a dark and stormy night” as the plane burst through a mixture of fog and failing light, to hit(used advisedly!) the runway at St John’s airport in the magic land of Newfoundland. Five lost souls walked across the runway to the airport building to begin a new life. The souls consisted of me, my wife and three sons. We cleared customs quickly and my new boss was there to greet us and drive us to our hotel. He said he would pick me up in the morning and take me up to the university and show me around. It was Dec 29, 1981.

For those of you still reading this, here are a few facts about Newfoundland or NF. Firstly, learn to say it properly. It is NOT New- Found- Land…..it rhymes with “Understand”. Use “Noo” as in “Auch aye the noo” for the first part. Use “Fun” for the second syllable, and “Lan” for the last. Noo-Fun-Lan. Now you are an honary Newfie!

NF is an island about the size of England, Scotland and Wales combined, storm lashed off the east coast of Canada. In addition to the island, there is a large mainland called Labrador….together they form the Province of NF and Labrador with a population of, wait for it, of 550,000 souls. About 50,000 live on the mainland where two thirds of the land mass of Western Europe would fit in! Meeting a neighbour is a real occasion there. NF is Canada’s newest province, joining in 1949, after two referenda (Brexiteers take note!). NF was a Dominion prior to joining Canada.

Those that know something of it, call it the “Rock” because most of the soil slid off into the ocean during the thawing of the ice age. That soil formed the basis for a thriving fishing industry off the island. That is, until it was raped by both islanders and Europeans and suffered a collapse in the mid-eighties. Now NF is the Shetland of Canada with vast undersea oil fields. Just NF’s luck to discover oil reserves when the price has fallen through the floor. As we say on the island, “Can’t win for losing.”

On Dec 30, 1981 it snowed and snowed. We had never seen anything like it! It took us 20 minutes to cross the road, dressed as we were in the latest Paris fashions! People died in this weather and here I was with a casual jacket and shined shoes thinking what have I done to my family! If we could have got on the plane we would have been out of there, faster than a seagull could splat on your head. We simply had to get to a mall to buy proper jackets and boots. So our first shopping experience consisted of going to the mythically named Avalon Mall to buy these items. There we were to encounter what I will call the language dilemma. NF, part of Canada, right? Canada has two official languages, right? English and French, right? All of this is true but it is not the truth! NF has its own forms of English, or Irish as it happens. Did you notice the endings to the last three sentences? That is part of Newfanese, right?

What did I come to NF to do? I came to teach at the university. My God, nobody can understand me! Even worse, I can’t understand them! An example:

Newfanese: where are you to and I’ll come to where you are at?

Translation: where are you at the moment? I shall come to visit you.

Teaching? Lots of stories to tell but this is getting beyond my attention span….far less yours. Here is one story.

My first course was a quantitative one, which was hated by the students. These are always the best ones to teach because expectations are so low. Do a half decent job and they love you. I ran a tutorial on the Simplex Method…boring as hell….involving a lot of arithmetic. I allowed folks to move around and compare workings because you could not reach everyone. This meant there was a hum of noise as people compared efforts. I looked at one girl’s work. Let’s call her SB. She was in all kinds of trouble, thrashing around with various efforts at solving the problem. They all worked in pencil so that they could easily change their numbers. SB had various aborted efforts, each one scored through with a huge X, sometimes more than one X!

I looked at her work and exclaimed, “For God’s sake, SB, don’t you use a rubber?” A silence filled the room. There was an air of “did he really say that!” I knew something was wrong, did I shout too loud? Was it the God reference? Someone just had to break the silence, so I said, “If you do not have one, I can give you one”. The class erupted or should I say “ejaculated” in laughter.

Later SB said to me, “Dr Rebus I think you meant an eraser in there, a rubber is something else!”

After that I was accepted because we both understood we could communicate even although we talked differently.

My second yarn concerns my introduction to a Canadian winter and the dreaded wind chill. We could not have chosen a worse time to arrive in NF for they had discovered oil offshore. The oil companies moved their legions in and gave them an allowance for monthly rentals. As a result, rental accommodation prices rose to meet this allowance. That made the rental of decent furnished accommodation out of our reach. So Plan B was find an unfurnished place and furnish it cheaply. We found a nice apartment and slept on the floor for the first night until the shops opened in the morning and we could buy beds and other stuff.

Remember that huge mainland, Labrador? It was used by many airforces to practise low level bombing and flying in harsh weather. It was also ideal for survival training. The SAS trained there as well as the Danish and German equivalents. At the beginning of the eighties the Americans started to pull out and shut down their bases. This meant that there was a lot of surplus furniture and appliances that were shipped to St John’s for sale. By this time I had acquired a good friend who had a truck and he offered to help me get some of the US surplus goods. We drove up to an abandoned church where the stuff was stored and I bought an old fridge and a telephone table. Why I bought the last item, who knows, but it would at the least fill up the hallway. Remember I was a newbie on Canadian winters and the temperature was between -12 and -14 degrees C. We loaded the two items into the back of his pickup and Gary, my friend, indicated that I should get into the passenger seat. I looked at the fridge and I thought that could easily topple off the truck, I’ll just ride in the back and keep it steady. Gary gave me a strange look, but I reminded him that I was a tough Scot. We can handle it. So, up into the back I went and Gary took off down the road. Pretty soon I knew what the wind could do to the temperature. My hands froze to the fridge and I was sure I heard the clunk of bits falling off of me! I hammered on the cabin and Gary got out laughing his head off. “You lasted longer than I thought”, he chuckled. Gary dined out on that story many times. As an educator I knew that one of the best ways of learning is through experience. I had been introduced to wind chill and I knew I would never forget about it. When they give the temperature over here, they include what it would be if the wind blew as forecast. That’s the one you need to remember! Sometimes when the wind chill takes the temperature into the -30 and below range, they also tell you how many minutes it takes for exposed flesh to freeze. When we lived in Saskatchewan that was more of an issue. Sask. Is prairie land and flatter than flat, so there is nothing to stop the wind blowing at you.

You plug your car into an electric socket overnight, drive to your work and plug it in there as well. When you are fumbling with the cable to plug it into the socket in the car park, the mucus in your nose freezes. You run to the nearest building and get out of that cold as quickly as you can. Once inside the building for about a minute, you hear popping and crackling coming from your nose as the mucus thaws….then your nose runs and runs some more. Since this is happening to everyone, nobody comments on it. Would I change any of this? Not a chance, I love it here.

Oh, and the fridge and telephone table? We used them for a year and sold them for more than we paid.

Rebus

Having done a bit of travelling one sure fire thing I have learnt is that when abroad in the local Irish bar , as you do of course , a good yarn is worth more than the local currency .
During the year I lived in New Zealand ( best year of my life , I was 29 and had my 30th Bday there ) I worked with a fella I will never forget .
Raymond was an Aboriginie , and looked it also . Well his mother was full blown aboroginie and his dad was a white fella who was passing through that he never knew or met . Standing roughly 5’ 4 or so at not a bit of fat on him at about 8 or 9 stone he was a wee wirey bassa , but usually had a smile on his face . Ray had grown up on a reservation in central Oz , travelled about his country in his 20’s and 30’s , hit NZ in his 40’s and had no intention of leaving .
His weakness was the drink though . The first 6 or so he was a normal fella and then the switch went and he could beat the world, despite being a bag of bones .
He had a few good yarns did ol Ray and overall I guess Im glad we met . Heres a couple of his tales,, just for a bit of banter on this fine Friday you understand.

I will never forget him telling me of walking home from the reservation school one day as a boy and his mum was streaming tears . There was nothing visiblly wrong .
“ What is it Mum ? “ he ask’s
To which she replies “ Elvis is dead ! “
A full blown aboriginal woman on a reservation in the red dust sorching middle of Australia was cryin her eye’s out because the King was dead ?
That blows me away that this fella could have such an effect ? Lets face it this was no Princess Di or anything , he got overweight and unhealthy and paid the ultimate price for his slob lifestyle .
He was no role model but just think of that impact ! Talk about globally adored !

Anyway leaving a King to discuss Queen. Specifically ol Freddie Mercury himself.
So Ray gets a job at the Hard Rock Cafe in Sydney and they pay the band to come and dine with them after a sold out show in the city . The band get the Vip area of course and sign a guitar for the wall.
Ray asks the manager on duty for a favour, when his shift ends if they are still there can he nip home and grab a Queen Lp and bring it back to get signed ? He gets the nod and is delighted .
But the rub is he is a bit of a music buff or whatever and actually happens to have back in his crib the very first album the band released , a 1973 pressing and all .
So proud as punch with his special prize he waits in line and eventually gets the nod to approach the table .
He tells me Freddie hadnt looked at him, he was handed the album and was gonna scribble his name, until he see’s which album he’s holding . Inspects the specimen , nod’s in approval , and turns to me mate , looks him up and down with curiosity .
“ Whats your name ? “ Freddie asks. When told Ray he writes something and says here you go Ray enjoy it .
What did he write I obviously asked next to which Im told he wrote on the cover in thick marker
“ Blow it out your ass Ray ! Freddie Mercury “
I swear this ,, I asked Ray what does that mean and he genuinely looked perplexed and said I dont know but its signed by Freddie and thats all that counts.
I have since found what exactly that phrase means ( let me know if you need help ) and I am still laughing at this fella carrying that around without a clue . Ol Freddie eh , effing character doing that !

Moving on to one hell of a character , a larger than life Texas boy that should have his memoirs published I swear . Uncle Jim ( the wifes uncle ) is retired now but boy gimme a beer and a seat beside him and sit back and listen to history seen through his eyes.
He rose to a prominent position in Texas Instruments , makers of the worlds first pocket calculater , and was on their troub;e shooting team that was composed of only Texans who flew into various countries around the world and set the non target hitting factory back on profitablity course . He told me smiling that no matter where they flew into when the 5 yanks rolled up to save the show people where quaking in their boots hoping it wasnt their department at fault and their job getting axed.

Anyway I recall a great tale he told me of asking a colleague for adivise on hwere to take the wife for date night ( a popular pastime here and one I like if Im honest ) .
Go and see the kid who breaks his guitar strings , he puts on a good show , he was told .
So true enough they get seats to see him next date night and the curtain comes up in the local dance joint . The kid comes out looks around , when he counts only 15 people he sighs a little , composes himself , and treats the entire night as a practise session singing his heart out and perfecting his act as if there was no one there .
End of the night true to form he strums the crap outta his guitar and breaks the strings leaving them lying on the ground . A couple bucks were flung towards the stage as was the custom back then .
So that kid went on to do pretty well , his stage name was Elvis Pressley and ol uncle Jim happened to catch him while just breaking out , was within reach out distance , and walked over his broken guitar strings on the way out . The King started humbly and I like that .

Jims daughter told me of being told to put her yellow dress on one day despite the fact it wasnt a church day . She was confused and the parents wouldnt answer her questions but kept saying you kids will love it . When she seen dad had got the car hand washed she was even more confused . So the entire family in the Sunday best drives downtown and waits for a while and then she found out what was happening .
JFK himself rolls by in downtown Dallas to her delight and she and the family scream and cheer with gusto their beloved president . She told me about 30 minutes later while driving home in a happy car , dad almost goes white, pulls the car over and turns up the radio .
Being a nipper she didnt understand what was going on but according to her every car pulled over and every house occupants spilled out onto the street and together a mass wailing and screaming started with everyone holding each other . She says the house they had pulled up outside was an older coloured lady’s house and she rushed out and fell into her mothers arms with racking sobs. Groups were organised to bring the children inside while the adults huddled around radios and cried wth shaking heads.
You know what happened , they had seen him 10 feet away about 10 minutes before it .
Living history right there.

Sorry for the rambling , hopefully someone enjoyed the musings . Mahe

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saltires en sevilla

Rebus & Mahe,

Great story-telling bhoys!

Some inspirational stuff.

Please keep them coming.

HH

,big packy

nice reading bhoys, you ghuys could write a book,.lets get 3 points today.hh.

The Gombeen Man

A terrific read lads and I read them again when I’ve more time.
Newfoundland sounds a remarkable place. I’ve an uncle from there. Somewhere near St John’s, he’d drive there every summer from Toronto and work on the boat that he’d built. It was called Kerry Head. I don’t think my aunt loved the long drives and the rural setting that he still talks about.
On my last trip to Canada he reveled in showing me clips of third generation Newfies still talking with clearly discernable Irish accents.

Can’t say I’ve ever visited Oz or NZ but maybe that’s something for the Bucket List?

I didn’t meet Freddy Mercury either but Jon Bon Jovi once bought me a pint but that’s something for another day.

As Packy says 3 points after a turbulent week would be terrific.

Let’s hope our away form in the domestic league continues.

Mon the Hoops…

HH

Jimmynotpaul

Dr Rebus 67.
I loved reading that.
Thank you.
Hail Hail

Sol Kitts

Rebus
Fabulous post, mate. I have cousins in Alberta, where it gets bloody freezing. My uncle was a farmer there (town called Clyde, would you believe), God knows what he farmed – ice cubes, maybe?
My cousin visited us in Ayrshire a few times before we moved south, and he was always amazed at how Scotland ground to a halt because of a bit of snow or temperatures of -1C. He now drives a massive truck all over Canada and the USA, and his fb posts show some weather that would close Scotland down for weeks.
The rubber/eraser story made me lol, reminded me of a recent trip to Florida where Mrs Kitts saw someone with a tray of chips at Disneyland. Now, Mrs Kitts is a sucker for chips (although being an Edinburgh lass likes them with salt and sauce – ugh) so she had to have some. Off she went to the kiosk, asked for a tray of chips, and came back with a tray of crisps. She didn’t realise she had to ask for fries, and was too dumbfounded to query what she got. First and last time I had seen her lost for words.

What a great read for a Sunday morning! Cheers!

saltires en sevilla

C’mon the hoops

Team for today will be interesting – this game is probably the toughest until Dons away

Rebus67

Thanks for the positive words. I had no idea how it would go down. It was all Mahe’s idea.

Off to watch the game now.

Rebus

Rebus67

TGM,

We lived in Saskatchewan for two years……A wonderful place and great people.

When driving across the province I came across one example of Scottish interest….the small town of Biggar. As you drive into the town there is a sign that states, “ New York is big, but this is Biggar”. Charm and pride in a simple sign!

Rebus

Saltires en Sevilla

Ach Down 1-0 in first few minutes

Knew it would be a tough one.

Plenty of time to get sorted oot!

Saltires en Sevilla

Hibernian
1Marciano
3Whittaker
25Ambrose
36Porteous
16Stevenson
8Slivka
7Horgan
14Mallan
20Hyndman
32Shaw
22Kamberi
Substitutes
9Maclaren
18Nelom
24McGregor
31Bogdan
43Mackie
47Gullan
49Allan
Celtic
1Gordon
35Ajer
5Simunovic
32Benkovic
3Izaguirre
8Brown
21Ntcham
49Forrest
42McGregor
11Sinclair
22Edouard
Substitutes
4Hendry
15Hayes
16Morgan
27Mulumbu
29Bain
56Ralston
73Johnston
Referee:
Don Robertson

Rebus67

HT and we are lucky to only be down by a goal. There is no shape at all to the team. The back three is being exploited in the wide areas. Izzy and Ajer are consistently dragged out of position into the middle. Christie’s absence is evident as there is no creativity in the midfield. Edouard cannot play as a lone striker. Forrest is our best hope but he has been switched to the left as Sinclair plays out of position on the right. Seriously, this is like a group of players who have never played together. BR has to step up here because this formation is disjointed and is never going to work. As it stands we are relying on a bit of luck. We had that on Thursday.

Very, very poor.

Rebus

Saltires en Sevilla

Rebus

Could not agree more.

2-0 down now and lucky not to be 3 down.

Morgan on for Sinclair – let’s hope he can deliver a spark ⚡️

Sol Kitts

This is brutal. The January window is now vital for us, anything less than significant strengthening will result in the 8 being lost. We’re about to see if Lawwell values on-field success over bank balance. Sadly, I don’t think what happens on the green stuff bothers him.

Mike in toronto

Great read.

I spent three years in the east coast, so your article brought back some great memories. Winter weather was brutal…. but the east coastersare the nicest people. And the Newfs were the nicest of the east coasters.

,big packy

hi bhoys, may I say before I go on, congrats to neil lennon a true hunskelper, we can blame our injuries to key players but we were never at the races, Brendan needs to be backed in the transfer window or I can see us not winning this league, god forbid them bassas winning it, any thoughts.hh,

rebus67

SES,

Well we cannot expect to win them all! The failure of the last transfer window is coming back to haunt us as the injuries mount. We now have no central striker and no presence in the box. Edouard is best cutting in from the left wing. He should be in Sinclair’s position. The latter is now becoming a liability. He was responsible for the second goal. He has no physical presence at all.

Without Christie we shall have difficulty scoring goals. He made them and scored them. McGregor is better playing from Brown’s position. So goals will be difficult from now on. Which brings me to the real blunder here and that needs to be laid at the door of the coach. From the Motherwell game(lately) he should have learned that make a large number of changes to personnel AND changing the formation of the team will lead to a poor performance. He did it again today. Given that goals will be difficult then we need to set up to make it difficult for the opposition to score. But what do we do? We switch to a back three with a FB playing in midfield(Izzy)! Hibs just pumped long high balls into the wide areas and caused all sorts of mayhem. Why do this, especially against a team that usually give us a tough game? Neither Izzy nor Ajer knew where they should be playing. Time after time they were in the middle of defence rather than wide to block crosses.

By the end of the game, it was a team of wingers versus another team of wingers with noboby knowing where they should be playing. I do not mind losing if the other team outplays us…and they did. However, our formation, whatever it was meant to be, made it easy for them.

Congrats to Hibs. It was their day.

Rebus

rebus67

MIT,

Yes, NL is a unique place. Quebec argues that it has a unique society but the same is true of NL. It has a distinct language and a culture shaped mainly by Irish immigrants and some from Devon and Cornwall. Newfoundlanders have had to endure tough times and this has forged them into a proud, tight community…or more accurately, a community of communities, if you see what I mean. There are many isolated communities called outports which almost operated as a feudal system where the local merchants and fish buyers were kings. Some of these are still very dependent upon the local fish plant.

Newfoundanders like to keep it simple. You are either a Townie, a Bayman, or a CFA. Townies come from the major city, St John’s and, perhaps, the second city, Corner Brook. Baymen are folks from round the bay…or the rural areas. CFA’s, like me, are “Come From Aways”. CFA’s can never become either of the other two categories. Baymen can, perhaps, become Townies if they move to St John’s but not without difficulty. Anyway, why would they want to?

The music is great. Very Irish. Parties take place in the kitchen…where else!

Rebus

mahe

Rebus, ,, fantastic writing partner, smiling reading it.
Couple questions if you don’t mind,
Does the local car dealer only have plug in cars?
When you plug in, is there like a heating strip wound around the engine to stop freezing and cracking I assume?
Any bears?

Thanks again, great start to a Sunday. Then just read the score, oops,, at least it’s Lenny and no doubt Stevie will try and get his charges up for it.
Anyone that actually seen the game fancy writing tomorrows match report please say aye!
Hail Hail

saltires en sevilla

Mahe…

Don’t trust myself to offer… complete ballsup by manager.

Surely there is someone who can be objective?????

mahe

SeS,,I do have a site that shows the duffle games but recently they have slipped and some games might take days to appear while some don’t at all.
Post Europe games are always a challenge and Lenny always tries to get the better of us as I think he wants that job back in future plus he is saying look what you lost.
Hail Hail

,big packy

well if Brendan goes, id love lenny back, a true tim imho.hh.

A Thing Of Beauty

Abject performance from the dug out to the pitch. Pass marks only for Forrest, the rest were not worth their wages. We have watched too many of these half arsed performances this season and a lot of last. Not sure if Brendan is stale or theplayers but we are going backwards and are about to be passed by a hun team we’ve spent years laughing at. Shocking state of affairs.

Fairhill Bhoy

A will never understand why our manager has to be a ‘true tim’?

Great read

Rebus67

Mahe,

On the heater, it depends where you are. If you are in Saskatchewan or the other prairie provinces, or the Yukon or North Western Territories, all cars will have a block heater installed. Basically, they heat the engine block and the cylinder head to stop the fluids from freezing and cracking your engine as they expand.

In NF you do not need a block heater 90% of the time so many cars will not have one. In NF if you keep your car in a garage, it will probably be safe without the heater for all weather. If you wanted to be overly cautious you can buy the heater and install it yourself. It radiates a small amount of heat to your engine and since that is metal, the heat is conducted to the head and the block.

Of you have a diesel engine you are better off having a heater as these are more difficult to start.

Rebus

Rebus67

Fairhill,

Me too!

Rebus

,big packy

REBUS67 if your referring to my post I said lenny was a true tim nowhere did I say our manager had to be a true tim.hh.

Fairhill Bhoy

BP- it was me that referred to your post,but you know that!
It’s pretty obvious what your post was alluding to ffs ??

,big packy

FAIRHILL BHOY, read again where does it say our manager has to be a true tim

Fairhill Bhoy

MAHE-trying to get the better half to head back to Vegas in September,you still want that beer ??

Fairhill Bhoy

Read again,it’s obvious what your alluding to

,big packy

FAIRHILL BHOY sorry show me where it says he has to be a true tim.

Fairhill Bhoy

It reads like you want Lenny back cos he’s ‘a real tim’?am I wrong ?

,big packy

FAIRHILL BHOY, yes completely wrong I grew up watching the lions jock stein wasn’t a true tim but I loved the bones of the man, anything else you want to know.

Fairhill Bhoy

Yes, how’s the dogs?

,big packy

FAIRHILL BHOY, they are fine, best wishes to your sister.hh?

Fairhill Bhoy

So why is Lenny a good next manager for Celtic if it’s not because he’s a ‘good tim ‘

When Brendan leaves, and he will, probably in the summer imo, I will wager now we will get another Pedro puppet, I honestly can’t see them splashing out for another top manager, the balance sheet has to be considered, can’t have it dwindling like every club on the planet can we.

Fairhill Bhoy

TET-couldn’t agree more,and Lenny left because he didn’t want to be a puppet,so unless he’s changed his mind?

Fairhill Bhoy

I honestly think BR was our season ticket selling gimmick,just like SG

,big packy

just think he knows how to motivate players, not saying Brendan cant, only saying if Brendan goes back down south, he and steve Clarke would be my choices.

There was 20,000 odd empty seats, that was why he was brought in, so you are correct, the fact he has won seven trophies and two seriously well paid CL ventures is a bonus for the club, have they backed him, have they eff.
Lenny won’t be back as long as Pedro is there, another cheap option will be the order of the day.

saltires en sevilla

Sevco’s turn at the trough is nigh!

Remember to stop grunting an’ start groaning…

Fairhill Bhoy

Can’t see the killie manager being interested either

Fairhill Bhoy

Tying your self in knots there

We should be looking at the RB Salzburg manager, his scouting is first class and his tactics are top drawer, I reckon he would come in a flash, I could be wrong mind you, but I would hope we go foreign, as for Stevie Clarke, he said before Brendan got the gig that he wasn’t interested as his family live in scotland and he wouldn’t put them through the shite they would have to put up with if he took the job, how sad.

,big packy

THE EXILED TIM, yes how sad, only in bonnie scoddland.hh.

saltires en sevilla

TET

Yeah…that level of tempo.

SeS
There are top quality managers all over europe, managers who work on a much smaller budget than we do, they have far better scouting set ups than we do, their teams perform at a much higher level than we do.
I look at the likes of Rayo Vallecanno, they are a yo yo team, they get promoted, they have to sell their best players to survive so they often get relegated, yet they rebuild year on year and still compete in La Liga with the best, they do this on very little money, a dream for Pedro, but the likes of the Salzburg manager is the level we should be looking at.
Knowing us it will be a serial loser like Moyes or a puppet, no vision whatsoever.
BP
Aye it’s sad but expected.