September Sunrise

Every so often one is in the right place at the right time. Last week after attending the opening of the Alberni District Fall Fair, I returned to our Sproat Lake home just as the sun was setting. I scooted down the hill to our float and snapped the photo above. I found the moment to be purely magical.

Martin Mars may have made its last bomb run
An Alberni Valley icon, the Mars Water Bomber stationed at Sproat Lake likely has fought its last fire in the province. The BC Government (Forest Ministry) will not renew the contract with Coulson Flying Tankers for next year, saying the aircraft is too old. The Mars is the world's largest water bomber and those in the know say the aircraft should remain as one of the many tools that can be used to fight forest fires.
Admittedly hundreds of folks in the Alberni Valley have an emotional attachment to the Martin Mars and hope other contracts can be found to keep the huge aircraft flying from its Sproat Lake base. In the past the Martin Mars has fought fires in California and in Mexico.

The photo above I took last week just before the Mars was pulled up on shore after the BC government fire fighting contract for the summer ended. 

This shot shows our grandchildren Nathan and Matthew boarding past the aircraft in mid-August. 

The photo above is by Susan Quinn of the Alberni Valley News and shows the Martin Mars Water Bomber releasing a load over the Alberni Inlet as a display for passengers aboard a cruise ship visiting Port Alberni. 
Last Night of the Proms played Nanaimo’s Galaxy Theatre

The New York born conductor Marin Alsop leads the BBC Orchestra in concert at the annual Last Night of the Proms. The concert beamed from London’s Royal Albert Hall was watched by upwards of 40-million people the world over.

American soprano Joyce DiDonato was the crowd’s favourite soloist, singing a stunning set of opera arias. And what would any Kansas born singer do for an encore? Somewhere Over the Rainbow of course.

This summer I felt some nostalgic twinges. For many years my model railway has been stored away in boxes in our basement.

Consequently, I decided to repaint a display cabinet that musician friends Bill Cave and Frank Ball made for me over 35 years ago. 

I remounted the cabinet on our living room corner wall, unboxed locomotives and rolling stock from my model railway and displaying them once again after a 15-year absence. 

The chair in the photo is from a railway caboose and was given to me by Ed Sharpe who worked for the E&N Railway out of Port Alberni.

Biking around the Port Alberni harbour recently I watched a ship being loaded to the gunnels with raw logs from local forest lands. It’s depressing to realize jobs in valley mills are lost due to the practice. This shipload is heading to Dubai. I didn’t know they had lumber mills in the deserts of the Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf. 
Flying Oil

I’ve been worried for many years about a full tank of furnace oil that was located behind a shop on our Sproat Lake property. The previous owner had heated the shop with an oil furnace that was now beyond repair. I’ve had recurring nightmares of the tank rusting through and causing an oil spill into the lake. I needed to get rid of it. But how, it being located in a remote area down a steep hill. I phoned Soup Campbell, a fellow Industrial Heritage member. Soup said  “no problem”. Backing his crane gingerly down the hill, he lifted the tank over the shop roof. The oil will be burnt as fuel in APR’s steam locomotive #7.