Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every New Year find you a better man.
Diligence is the mother of good luck.
Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.
He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows or judge all he sees.
Great beauty, great strength, and great riches are really and truly of no great use; a right heart exceeds all.
He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.
The sting of a reproach, is the truth of it.
Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man.
Beware of little expenses: A small leak will sink a great ship.
Hide not your talents, they for use were made: What’s a sun-dial in the shade?
Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.
Well done is better than well said.
Glass, china, and reputation, are easily crack’d, and never well mended.
He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas.
Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
If man could have half his wishes, he would double his troubles.
The poor have little, beggars none, the rich too much, enough not one.
Don’t throw stones at your neighbors, if your own windows are glass.
A true friend is the best possession.
Wish not so much to live long as to live well.
EPISODE 521 NAPOLEON SAID ‘MEN ARE RULED BY TOYS’ (assume the same applies to women)
Jan. 27, 2022
Napoleon was one of the great men of history. That is true whether you like him or not. His imagination of a
united Europe after the turmoil of the French Revolution is one of the great ‘could have beens’ of the those years
1799 to 1815. He failed. But there is no doubt he was a great leader of human beings, with the exception of his wife.
He was not locked in by the idea of a privileged hierarchy based on blood. An aristocracy. After battle came promotions based on
another of his comments. “Give me the lucky men.” promotions from private to officer occurred without regard to blood or rising through
the ranks. Ability was rewarded of course. But promotion was not limited to that.
When he coined his comment the ‘Men are ruled by toys.’, he was
not being cynical. He believed that achievements should be recognized by medals. (medals = toys).
Thousands and thousands of men from a variety of ethnic groups loved him. .. Were prepared to die for him.
And many thousands did die for him capped off by his 1812 retreat from Moscow. He invaded Russia with a 600,000
strong army. He returned with a fragment of that army. His marshalls remained loyal
none more true than Marshall Ney who Napoleon assigned the job of rear guard in the horrific retreat where men
ate slabs of their still living horses. A brutal time.
But who remembers Napoleon today?
Have you ever heard of the Legion of Honour? Napoleon was involved. Men are ruled by toys.
We have the ORDER OF CANADA for similar reasons…perhaps dating back to Napoleon.
Napoléon Bonaparte > Quotes > Quotable Quote
EPISODE 519 MARJORIE AND SOME GUY NAMED ROBERTalan skeochjan. 25, 2022“Just what the hell is going on?”“Playing bridge via my computer, Alan”“Who are you playing with…every day for past week.”“Playing with Rob…must concentrate…you could get me a coffee if your so inclined.”“Get you coffee while you are playing with Robert…whoever the hell that is.”“Stop being silly…Rob is faster than I am.”“Let me talk to the sob.”“Alan … get the coffee and stop harping at me.”“Just who in hell is Robert?”“The name is not Robert…it’s Robot…”“ROBOT!”“Even worse…some kind of pet name.”“Robot, Alan…a machine player…not human…but faster than a human.”“Let me take a look!”“See?”“You mean that you and Dolores are playing bridge with a robot.?”“Exactly….you could join us if you were not so insane…Did you reallythink I was having a game with some guy named Robert?”“No…just kidding…(damn it all anyway…fooled me_)
Sent from my iPhone
EPISODE 271 FOLK ART by my Uncle Frank FreemanREPEAT AS EPISODE 520
alan skeochMach 2021January 25, 2022
Last night, I thought of my uncle Frank Freeman specifically two of his folk art pieces
There is a deep desire in many probably most human beings to create somethingwith their own hands and minds. Some human beings follow the fine art traditionthat involves training…creating artistic objects in a sophisticated manner.Folk artists on the other hand do not worry about fine art, sophisticated art.Folk artists do not worry about fine lines. Often folk artists use items of everydaylife and do not particularly care about accuracy of line and shape. Nor do theyworry about critical comments. Utilitarian art in this instance…to be handled.My Uncle Frank Freeman created two early example of folk art that intriguedme. He seems to have made both piece in March 1942. And they are objects madeas toys for his six or seven year old son Ted. The objects are not madeto be submitted for comment by a jury of accomplished lovers of fine art.They are made to be used. They are made from scrap materials found here and there onthe farm. They are imaginative. Unique. Tangible. Unsophisticated. Joyful.Uncle Frank loved to talk to people. He was tall but not silent. Warm hearted. Certainly not wealthy in the monetary sensebut rich in other things particularly the natural world around him. He always had time for other people. He loved his very difficult farmcomposed of glacial till …rocks, boulders, sand and soil…piled up forming fields that slanted in such a way that little pockets retained pools of waterthat some call swamps. And all these pools drained into a big swamp in the centre of the farm. The farm owned by Lucindaand Frank Freeman would be 100 acres of headaches to most farmers. To Frank, his farm was a wonder of creation.How do I describe him best? I can do that with a short comment he made to me decades ago.“Alan, I love farming with horses rather than tractors. Do you want to know why?”“Why?”“A tractor never stops working. Now horses, on the other hand, must take a rest part waythrough a job. And when the team rest I get to rest and consider the world around me.”Another anecdote: One year Uncle Frank thought he was about to die from cancer. He was not…buthe did not know that. “Alan, I took my last walk around the farm today. Every trail, field, swamp and forest.Just to say good bye.” (These are my words but they accurately cover what he said to me.) He lived for manymore years. I expect he took that walk again.Made with these hands…for a reason. Made from things cast aside. Made to be touched and handled. Made to be useful, to entertain, to be;Am I running out of steam? Nope. Got lots of stories to come. The next one is taking a lot of time….trying to find the unfindable.
alan skeochFEb. 2021(Fifth Line, Erin Township, Wellington County)
EPISODE 518 FLORIDA, BRAZIL, AND ONTARIO….JANUARY 2022 CONTRASTalan skeoch
A friend just sent these three pictures from a lush wilderness in
Florida. January 24,2022…seems some Canadians are on the move no doubt
“Is that a gator just behind your boat?”
NOTE FROM PATRICIA…THAT SHOULD BE COMFORTING TO THOSE OF US IN ONTARIO
I got an email this morning from a friend who is a kayaker and here’s her description of kayaking on the Myakka. It is bang on. We were shocked at the size of the gators when we canoed down the river – easily 12 to 14 feet. Huge! We were glad to be in an aluminum canoe. Use what you wish from this description below. I confirm it’s validity.
“Hiking along the Myakka ….interesting….we kayaked down ( or up…I don’t know) the Myakka last week and there were alligators all along the bank , Hugh prehistoric looking creatures, who would get up and walk down to the River and slip in directly in front of my kayak. And that River is very shallow, I always thought that I was going to hit one on the head with my paddle….and that he might be a tad upset….but there were an awful lot of them.”
By the way, hiking is done on a marked trail. Alligators stay by the water. A wild pig dashed across in front of us. That was scary. Bigger than a Labrador, quite black.
We both carry large thick walking sticks.
Another friend sentpics from Brazil….water looks grand but no swimming or the alligators (?) will get you…and the ants love to bite.
It is a malicious comfort to know the alligators prevent you from swimming. Is that one following your boat?
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EPISODE 516 PART 1: HEAD GARDENER EDWARD FREEMAN ….WHO WAS HE? THE GRANDFATHER I NEVER REALLLY KNEWalan skeochJan. 19, 2022pics…left to right…Alan Skeoch, Eric Skeoch, Edward Freeman (grandfather), circa 1945
EDWARD FREEMAN was my grandfather. I thought I was close to him but now realize, thanks to my cousin Ted Freeman, thatI never really knew him. He never told me a word about his life in England as head gardener on the Eywood Estate exceptsome weird comment about tipping his hat. “Never liked tipping my hat to Gwyers.” That comment meant nothing to me. What’sthe big deal about tipping a hat? Some do it to indicate a good morning or a sudden meeting of an aged friend. No meaningexcept greeting.Well, I now know that the issue of tipping the hat in England in 1900 had a lot of meaning. It meant you knew where youstood in the hierarchy of English life. It was a deferential act. “I am tipping my hat because I know you are better than I am.”It acknowledged and accepted inferior status.This was drilled into me when I became a teen ager and our 38th Scout Troop went campingwith a British scout. We did not get along at all. “You know the trouble with you Allan…you are COMMON.” In short, he regardedme as an inferior person. At that moment as we sat around our campfire I thought, “Does this son of a bitchwant a fight for some reason?” I am not a fighter so let the comment slide away. But I did not tip my scout hat to the bastard.And Granddad’s comment about his hat began to have meaning.He never said another word to me on that subject. He never really said much…but he loved our visits. That was unsaid.He listened in amusement to the events of our youth. He even got involvedwhen I had a bad case of pin worms and mom and granddad pulled me from under the bed to give me the cursed enema.He made Eric and me each small wheelbarrows…hand carved. He smoked his pipe and tended his large kitchen gardenwith the neatly trimmed cedar hedges retaining heat in the garden rectangle. He managed a huge rhubarb patch beside thebackhouse…something we have never been able to do ever since. From that patch he made a barrel of rhubarb wine.He carved picture frames containing old black and white]photos of some distant place called “Eywood….with an ‘E’ not an ‘H’.”The pictures I have of granddad Freeman have nothing to do with England…no grand English estate….no scramble tomake his way through a class system….no 15 year apprentice ship…no need to grow a beard to make him look older.OLDER? Granddad had always been old. He was born in 1871 which means he was 80 years old in 1951when I was in Grade 7
reading cowboy westerns by Zane Grey and Luke Short. A North American kid unbroken by being ‘in service’
…he would have been 89 in 1960 when I had the chance to sleuth out the Freeman roots roots in Herefordshire.
But by then he was dead…died in 1958.Alan Skeoch, Eric Skeoch, Edward Freeman, Arnold Skeoch (out of picture)Edward Freeman, former head gardener of Eywood, PICTURE TAKEN CIRCA 1950 in CanadaOf course I knew Granddad. He made me a wheelbarrow….he spent a lot of time cutting and splitting firewood….andeven more time keeping his garden spotless. But I never knew him really. I never knew his life as a kid. I only knew mine.I knew I failed him a couple of times. Like when I stole one of his special chisels andgot caught; I hid in the long grass Timothy field…ashamed… Because I got caught. If I hadsucceeded that memory would have faded. He never chastised me. Looked amused. My biggest failurewas refusal to shoot a porcupine chewing maple buds high up in a sugar maple tree back in the bush.“Granddad, I found a live porcupine back in the maple bush.”“Fetch the rifle…we’ll get it. Show you how to shoot.“Shoot?” I did not want to kill. But killing seemed to be a rite of passage for farm kids.I was a city boy really. No gun. But I went along with granddad. I remember he was crippled by then and had tohobble to the back field using a sturdy cane. He had me carry the rifle. I hated that moment. I was toogutless to say No. What I did know was that the porcupine incident would be one of the last … one of theonly times Granddad and I would share an experience.“There it is…way up there in the maple.”“Take careful aim and shoot it.” I Took aim….careful aim to deliberately miss the creature.“Try again.” “Try again.” “Try again.” There was no escape so my final shot hit the poor thing.“Just wounded it, Alan, now you are going to have to climb the tree and knock him down.What a traumatic event. Must have been 70 years ago but I can still pick the spot in the bush.The big maple is gone now. I climbed that tree with a stick in hand. The porcupine looked atme…little beady black glossy eyes the size of ball bearings. I poked and poked. Blood dribbled down onmy face….even some quills fell. But the porcupine held fast. Finally I gave up. And Granddadgave up. Both of us hobbled back through the winter snow to the big stove in the front room.“Well, Lou, someone is going to find a dead porcupine. Let’s keep Laddie tiedup for a while,” he Said to Grandma (Louisa Amelia Freeman)And sure enough a dog did find the porcupine…got quills in its lips and mouth requiringa visit to the veterinarian. Word spread up the road. Granddad never ratted on me.But I never really got to know him. But Thought I did. Until this January 2022 when I senta note to my cousin Ted Freeman who spends the winter in Texas. I had asked him aboutGrandma and Granddad Freeman. Simple questions like the life of a head gardeneron a 1500 acre country estate in England circa 1900.
“Granddad didn’t like tipping his hat to the Gwyers,” Alan “And he did not like being headgardener for people like the Gwyers.”“How did you know that, Ted”“We talked a lot as we did things on the farm.”“Ted, I stayed with grandpa in the farm house every other week-end but we never talkedabout his life as a boy. I never asked.”“My middle name is ‘Edward’, named after grandpa.”“Ted, my middle name is also Edward…never thought that was important.”“More important than just grandpa I think The Edwards family took in grandmaafter she was born. Illegitimate .”“Mom did mention that. Some man by the name of Dr. Price was the father. I wastold that grandma almost became a street child in Birmingham if she hadn’t been rescuedby Mrs Webb, whoever that was. Mom seemed to believe that grandma was rejected.”“Yes, she was rescued by Mrs Webb and brought up on the Edwards Farm along witha boy.”“No education then?”“Quite the contrary. Dr. Price paid for half of grandma’s education. Eventually she graduatedfrom the Hawkins Ladies Academy in Kington. She graduated as a lady. Very high up thesocial ladder. So high that granddad would be emxpected to tp his hat to her. Which he never did.”“What is a lady? Means nothing to me.“Meant a lot in 1890’s..meant she had risen above her station in life. Louisa Amelia Bufton was a lady.”“When did you talk to granddad?”“Lots of time.””“Dad and I helped him with the haying….Dad liked to rest the horses and we sat downand talked. He liked to light his pipe and talk about the past.”“About Eywood?”“Sometimes. He said he did not like the Gwyers.”“Only head gardener from 1898 to 1905 ““Prestige job but not worth the aggravation ““Some head gardeners grew old in the job because pay was so poor. So maybe granddad sensed thatdecided to take a cjce on a better life in Canada.”“Was the risk worth it?”“He thought so and tried to get his brothers and sisters to follow him. Cliff, Chris and Annie did emigrate.”Emigration cost money. Edward and Louisa with their children Frank (8 or 9) and Elsie (5) boarded the Victorianin 1908 bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia and then a train all the way to Toronto..“Where did granddad get enough money to migrate?”“He told me he bought some stocks and wold them at a profit”“
The Passenger Steamship ‘Victorian’ built in Belfast and launched in 1904 for transatlantic trade. Converted to a warship in 1914 and finally scrapped
WHO WAS EDWARD FREEMAN?
Granddad, EDWARD FREEMAN was head gardener at Eywood from 1896 (?) TO 1904 or 1905 when family board the steamship ‘Victorian’ for Canada
IF BEING A HEAD GARDENER WAS SUCH A PRESTIGIOUS JOB THEN WHY QUIT?
1) did he not get along with the Gwyers?
2) was Canadian propaganda just too persuasive (and wrong)
3) He hated his father and just wanted to get away
4) head gardener’s job had prestige but poor pay
5) British class system was suffocating
-her mother seems an odd duck …was Bufton, became Anson before migration to Clendennan Ave., Toronto
-was Grandma abandoned child on streets of Birmingham?
-rescue byMrs. Webb and raised onEdwards farm\
THE ENCLOSED GARDENS OF EYWOOD CIRCA 1960
FILLING IN THE BLANKS….CAN THAT BE DONE?
EPISODE 515 LOWER WOOTON FARM, 16TH CENTURY, HEREFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND (CYRIL AND NANCY GRIFFITHS 1960 AND 1965)
EPISODE 514 THE KITCHEN GARDEN, FRUIT GARDEN, FLOWER GARDEN, CIRCA 1900 (Great World exhibition of 1851, Eywood Courtgarden circa 1900)
Within the walled gardens were three kinds of gardens.