Sparks will fly

6 Jun

I know I covered this topic last week, but the third annual “Smith-in” blacksmith festival in Dunvegan appears to be building up a real head of steam. Over eighteen blacksmiths from across Canada and the US will meet at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum this coming Saturday and Sunday to demonstrate their craft to the public and share ideas with fellow smiths.

Armstrong & Carter Ironworks will be giving a workshop on forging a Lancashire pattern hacksaw. Lloyd Johnston, Mike Kennedy, Stephen Midkiff and others will be forging reproduction gun barrels modelled on a musket discovered in Apple Hill. And Pat Taylor, Upper Canada Village’s smithy, will be firing up the museum’s latest acquisition… a reproduction portable forge. Modelled on forges from the American Revolutionary War, it features leather bellows and wooden carriage wheels.

If you’re a blacksmithing novice, the Big Beaver School House will feature a video showing how seven basic techniques can be combined to create a host useful iron and steel objects. And many of the smiths will have hand-forged items on display and for sale, as will other local craftspeople and artisans. There will be games and activities for children, including a horseshoe tournament near the schoolhouse. And if you work up an appetite, chilli dogs, hot dogs, snacks and other refreshments will be on sale at the museum’s cheese factory.

Whether you come for a few hours or stay for an entire day, I’m confident you’ll have a great time learning why blacksmith shops were at the centre of village life in the 19thcentury.Admission to the festival is just $5 for members of the museum. For non-members, the cost is $10 per head or $25 for a family of four. Children under 12 are free.

ABCD = Excellence

I have it on good authority that Vivian Franklin missed last Thursday’s meeting of the DRA executive committee. However, she had an excellent excuse. Dr. Thierry Mesana, president & CEO of The University of Ottawa Heart Institute presented Vivian with the 2018 President’s Above and Beyond the Call of Duty (ABCD) Award. To quote Dr. Mesana, “The competition was strong, and the Committee’s decision was a difficult one to make this year. As you know, I personally believe in the power of teamwork, and by consistently helping your team to overcome administrative hurdles, you demonstrated both your commitment to excellence, and the powerful impact of collaboration…. (We) are also incredibly proud of your commitment and enthusiasm to ensure our scientists can continue the world class research they have built within the UOHI community.”

To add frosting to the cake, Vivian also received her 25-year service award, a milestone that Vivian told me, “comes is a padded white self-hugging jacket.” She went on to say, “I am one of the lucky people who actually love their job. So it’s not hard to go to work everyday… except when I’d rather be gardening.”

Congratulations Vivian. Both the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the Dunvegan community are lucky to have you.

A stroke of luck

One doesn’t often see the words “stroke” and “lucky” together. However, Rebecca MacLeod, daughter of Kenny and Annie MacLeod of Dunvegan East is lucky the stroke she just suffered occurred last Tuesday morning, May 29th. Rebecca works at the Maxville Manor and was on duty when she started to exhibit the classic signs of a stroke. The Manor’s doctor quickly diagnosed the problem and was able to arrange speedy transport to the Cornwall Community Hospital, despite the ambulance drivers’ strike.

There, the 26 year-old was told that she had experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA). The symptoms associated with TIAs, or mini-strokes as they are sometimes called, are the same as for major strokes, but usually last less than five minutes. These include: sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms, or legs, especially on one side of the body and difficulty speaking. A TIA usually causes no permanent injury to the brain.

Given her young age, the attack came as a huge shock to her and her family. Doubly so, since Rebecca had been “walking on a cloud” that Tuesday morning. At her father’s 60thbirthday party the Sunday before, the love of her life, Alex Lowe, had proposed. Obviously a young man who has watched a whole raft of movies from the 1940s, Alex first asked Kenny’s permission to seek his daughter’s hand in marriage and then did so on bended knee.

Rebecca was released from the CCH the same day and Alex and the rest of her family brought her home. With any luck the mini-stroke was a just a warning and, by following her doctor’s orders, she and Alex will have a long and happy life together.