1988 TOUR DIARY
Renfrewshire Tour 1988
Archie McFarlane Tour Captain
Past- President Barrhead Fereneze C.C.
Treasurer East Kilbride and Haremyres C.C.
Malcolm Richardson Tour Secretary
Secretary/Treasurer XIIth Province
Representative on R.C.C.C. Council
John Blair Kilmacolm C.C.
Ann Bowes Kilmacolm C.C.
Jim Bunyan Uplawmoor C.C.
Sandy Deans Vice-President Bridge of Weir C.C.
Sheila Deans Bridge of Weir C.C.
Ian Harper Erskine C.C.
Clif Hewitt Past-President Barrhead Fereneze C.C.
Cath Hewitt Vice-President Barrhead Ferenze C.C.
Greenacres Ladies C.C.
Peter Kerr Erskine C.C.
Old Glenalmond C.C.
Hugh Knox * Past-President Beith Morishill C.C.
Past-President S.I.R. Club
Dalry Union C.C.
Lix Knox * Past-President Beith Morishill Ladies C.C.
Greenacres Ladies C.C.
Margaret Kyle Old Grammarians C.C.
Greenacres Ladies C.C.
Tom Lavery President Port Glasgow C.C.
Janey McFarlane Barrhead Fereneze C.C.
Greenacres Ladies C.C.
Grant Mac Gregor President Uplawmoor C.C.
Vice –President Greenacres Ice Rink
Margaret Polson * Kilmacolm C.C.
John Stevenson Erskine C.C.
Owner of Greenacres Ice Rink
Matthew Stevenson Erskine C.C.
John Walker President Blythswood C.C.
Pat Walker Blythswood C.C.
October Ladies C.C.
* Members of the 1979 Canadian Tour Party
The representatives of the
Matthew Gloag (Overseas) Limited
McConechy’s Tyre Service (
S.P. Tyres (
C.J. Strain & Son
William Teacher & Sons Limited
I must say that my
“appointment” as Tour Captain initially filled me with trepidation – I need not
have worried. The arrangements made by Malcolm Richardson, our Secretary, and
by the Host Committee in
Pat Walker has done a superb job in putting this diary together. It is so difficult to put into words just how wonderful the Tour was to the participants. The overall score was Ottawa Valley Curling Association 514 – XIIth Province 439 – this was a most creditable performance considering the high standard of curling at every ice rink and the combination of increasing exhaustion and the debilitating effect of the hostility suite!! Everywhere we went the enthusiasm of the members in competition and hospitality was simply terrific. The tour was indeed one of “Goodwill” and many new friends were made. We have to thank the Scottish Host Committee of 1980 for their tremendous work. We reaped the benefit.
I was proud to be the Captain of the party and honoured to be a member of it. An invitation has been extended to the Ottawa Valley Curling Association to visit here within the next two to three years. All members of this party have already expressed their wish to be involved when it takes place.
FRIDAY 18TH November
Malcolm had told us to be at
The Ladies (hereinafter called
the girls) were wearing their tartan skirts but were easily put in the shade by
the sartorial elegance of the menfolk in their Black Watch trousers, Province
blazers, white shirts and a fair sprinkling of interesting and historic tams.
We were all carrying
Liz and Hugh had brought the broom bags so all our gleaming new brushes were stored away for the journey.
Before leaving we were
photographed as a group for the Evening Times so we put on
The first stage of our journey
This was the BBC’s “Children in Need” day and after serving breakfast the crew of our 737 decided to do some fund raising. Peter Kerr gallantly put in the highest bid for the Pudsey Bear which was auctioned. Pudsey, wearing a Biggles outfit with leather flying suit and goggles was to become our team mascot for the tour.
The flight to
The girls changed into trousers to avoid creasing their skirts in the long flight. Janey being short of time managed to do this in the main concourse and got a round of applause.
The departure to
Our flight by Canadian
International was as smooth as silk with a most attentive cabin crew who served
a delicious lunch and who certainly didn’t believe in small measures when
pouring the drinks. There was a lot of good chat and it was felt that we had
the makings of an excellent tour. It was a clear sunny day and for hours on end
those of us with window seats had a sparkling view of the
FRIDAY 18TH November (Cont’d)
After a short stop at
The host committee were at the airport to meet us and those who had been on the previous tour had warm reunions with their old friends. Introductions were made and our well organised hosts quickly allocated the Scots to their Canadian drivers who took us to the Talisman Motor Inn. This was to be our base for the duration of the tour.
Right away there was a welcome party in the hospitality room which was instantly christened the Hostility Suite. Our hosts had arranged lovely food and drinks.
In a relaxed atmosphere with lots of photographs being taken we met John and Helen Doty, Roger and Gerry Wilson, Louis and Doris Albert and Denny and Audrey Charlebois. These couples had organised the tour from the Canadian side. We also met the Moores, the Gourlays, the Perry’s, the McLeans, the McLarens an many others all of whom would become well known to us in the days to come.
John Doty welcomed us and explained that there would be two extra events on our schedule. The first was the Canadian General Election on Monday and the second was the Grey Cup a week on Sunday! The Grey Cup is a kind of Cup Final with knobs on. Boy, we knew all about the Grey Cup by the end of the week!
We were then told that the next
day would be our longest and hardest. We would the Talisman at for the drive down to
It was now twenty hours since
we had met at Abbotsinch (Glasgow) and most of us still had to unpack.
Gradually we drifted off to our rooms to catch some sleep before our first
curling matches in
Quote of the day
“Sic transit” - Janey
SATURDAY 19TH November
Our internal time clocks were still on Scottish Time so we all wakened very early and it was a jovial bright eyed group which breakfasted in “The Greenery” that Saturday morning. Jim Bunyan had already managed to break his room key.
At we gathered in the reception hall and met up again
with our drivers of the previous evening. The 60 miles drive down to
At the outskirts of
On arrival at the rink we were
thrilled to be greeted by a young piper, Jesse Brittle playing “
We were formally welcomed by Sandra Lawn the attractive lady Mayor of Prescott. With Jesse piping Sandra then led the first teams on to the ice and threw two ceremonial stones (or should I say rocks) to start the day’s matches. Pudsey was given
A Scottish flag and settled down to do some serious mascotting.
Curling started in
SATURDAY 19TH November (Cont’d)
Four draws had been arranged for the day and we all played in two of them. Those who were between games were taken out by our hosts for a drive or to visit the local shirt and glove factories.
Archie and Malcolm were interviewed by the local press who thought we were on a “cuddling” tour (problem with Scottish accent!)
An excellent lunch was provided and later when the games were finished we all changed into “evening dress” and assembled for drinks. The club members served a delicious roast beef dinner for about a hundred people.
Afterwards we had a speech from the Prescott President Jean Smith which was replied to by Archie. There was also a short welcome from Neil Dufour, president of the Canadian Branch of the R.C.C.C. . Archie presented the Province pennant, ties, a head scarf and the R.C.C.C. Centenary badge. All the Scots were given a pack containing interesting information about this historic fort town. The result of our matches today was Canada 93 Scotland 89 (not too bad considering the jet lag!)
We were then entertained by
“Old Spice” a smartly clad group of
Very late in the evening we
parted from our new friends at
Quotes of the day
“Police escort – I thought we were being arrested!” - Archie
“What a Saturday!” - Jim Bunyan
SUNDAY 20th November
Snow had fallen during the
night. After breakfast in “The Greenery” we met our drivers at the decadently
late hour of .
It emerged that all sorts of things had been left at
The snow turned to rain as we drove through the suburbs to the Ottawa Golf and Hunt Club, which is in reality now a golf and curling club. The hunt section became a separate issue some time ago. The curling rink was built in 1959 and combined with the golf course ensures year-round use of the elegant club house.
In the spring and autumn the members hold a “Curler – Golfer Bonspiel” when they play both sports in the one day (also known as “Swing and Sweep”). This marks the division between the two sporting seasons.
Among the glass show cases and winners boards in the lounge hall there was a plaque listing the names of the Hunt Club members who has recorded a “hole in one”. We were amused to see that the first name on the list was Peter Tallyhoe!
Having changed in the luxurious locker rooms we had coffee followed by a relaxed game of curling with some of the Canadian players who had been on the Scottish tour in 1980. As this was a “non-counting” friendly match the teams all contained both Canadians and Scots. It was a great pleasure to curl in this beautiful six-sheet rink with its high wooden roof and superb lighting. Fans were used on the roof to cut down condensation. The ice was again clean and keen.
After the game we had drinks in the comfortable lounge and some of us were introduced to “Fuzzy Navels”, a deceptively innocuous concoction of vodka, peach schnapps and orange juice.
Sunday Brunch at the Hunt Club is a well known gastronomic treat and we all gasped at the amazing range of dishes hot and cold which were beautifully arranged on the buffet tables. The centre piece was a charming butter sculpture of Santa Claus surrounded by children. Later when Hugh Knox was expressing our thanks he said that Brunch here was like every possible meal in the day rolled into one!
Replete with fine food and
mellow with all the hospitality we had received, we reluctantly parted from our
friends at the Hunt Club and set off with the drivers for Carp which is 30
miles west of
There we were warmly welcomed by the Committee at the Huntly Curling Club. A notice at the entrance said “Welcome to the Scots” and there was personal welcome to each of us by name on the wall – these were later given to us to take home.
SUNDAY 20th November (Cont’d)
After changing shoes we were
offered drinks and met the club member before the match. Huntly is one of the
youngest clubs in the
We played four ends, stacked brooms for more drinks and then played the next four ends against new teams. This enabled Huntly to include as many of their members as possible. Reporters and photographers from the local paper interviewed and snapped away as we played. One of the Huntly members recorded the whole visit on video.
Afterwards there was a candle light supper and the ladies of the club produced delicious cold ham salads and apple pie with ice cream. Denny Charlebois paid tribute to the Huntly Club and made a very funny speech about the Scots. So far as he could see we had a disgraceful lack of self control and it was obviously going to be survival of the fittest. He was astounded at the way we seemed to fall asleep when being driven from rink to rink,
Keith Rowe, the local councillor said a few words of welcome and presented us all with a glossy brochure about the area of West Carleton. Loxley Trenholm spoke on behalf of the club.
John Walker proposed the vote of thanks and hoped that Heaven would have an ice rink just like Huntly (I’ve no doubt he was also hoping that the ladies committee would be there en bloc!) He then presented the Province Banner and the R.C.C.C. Badge to the club, ties to Keith Rowe and Loxley Trenholm and scarves to Dixie Trenholm (Chairman for the Day) and Judy Davy (President of the Club ). The result of today’s match was Huntly 33 Scotland 25.
We were then entertained by Danny O’Connell aged 9, who played the fiddle most expertly and his sister Coleen, aged 15 who gave a brilliant step dancing display.
Before we left we were each given a Canadian flag. The warm welcome at this valley club was overwhelming and will remain with us for a long while as one of the highlights of our tour.
Our host committee were now anxious to get us back to town as it had been snowing all evening and the roads were becoming difficult. They are excellent drivers and brought us safely back to our hotel in convoy.
We gathered yet again in the Hostility Suite and a hilarious party developed. Stories and songs abounded and eventually we crept along to our rooms for what was left of the night.
Quotes of the day
“No, I don’t want another drink” – Ian
“I’m on the Calgary Red Eyes” – Grant
“What a Sunday” - Jim
MONDAY 21st November (Canadian General Election Day)
Pale faced and fairly quiet we slipped into “The Greenery” for breakfast trying to keep our heads very still. The usual dishes were bravely ordered and even more heroically consumed!
were on parade as bright as buttons and took us the short distance to the Navy
Curling Club situated on the
The Navy Club was formed in 1956 and acquired its own premises in 1959. Originally intended for male personnel of the Royal Canadian Navy and Civil Servants at Naval HQ, members were later admitted from the Army and the RCAF. Over the years the structure changed and it is now an open mixed curling club. It has a reputation for friendliness and we were soon to find that this was more than justified!
served and we were formally welcomed to the club. As this was a four sheet rink
only sixteen of us could play so Vic Ridding took Peter, John W, and Grant to a
shopping mall and Doris Albert invited Ann, Archie and myself for a drive. She
proved to be a most interesting guide and we spent a relaxed morning touring
around the main places of interest in this beautiful city. The sun came out to
make thing better. I think
Returning to the Navy Club we found that the match was over and everyone was singing Scots songs. Navy had beaten us 35 shots to 30. This being the Canadian General Election no alcohol could be sold until the polls shut at 8.00 pm (presumably to ensure that the voters had all their wits about them!) Our generous hosts had no intention of entertaining us to a “dry” lunch and drinks and wine were there in abundance. They were however definitely not sold!!
Tommy said a Curlers Grace before a delicious lunch of Quiche and Salad followed by coffee and superb cookies. All the tables had a centrepiece of an old curling stone decorated with tartan ribbons.
John Blair gave the vote of thanks and the banner, tie, scarf and badge were presented. Jack Forrester replied for the Navy Club. Another member, Bruce Hosking had been playing the piano and after lunch an impromptu party developed. Hugh and Liz gave us a few songs and we all joined in some well known choruses. The tour song had another rendition – no comment! It was a very happy time and we all agreed that the Navy was indeed a very friendly club.
new friends all too soon we set off with the drivers to the Granite C.C. for
the afternoon match. We learned that when the Scots immigrants had started to
MONDAY 21st November (Cont’d)
rink was most attractive and all the decorations were green and yellow. The
heads on the four sheets (or “ices” as they are called in
During the match it was evident that the Scots were making frequent good use of the little seats between the rinks! It was a most enjoyable game but sad to say we lost again - 39 shots to 25. The late night was definitely catching up on is!
A quick change afterwards and we were ready for dinner – again beautifully prepared by the ladies of the club. Matt Stevenson said the Selkirk Grace and afterwards Ian Harper gave the vote of thanks and presented the usual gifts to President Bill Kingston and Ladies President Pat Brigham.
We chatted at the tables with our hosts and in due course were prevailed upon to sing the Tour Song – the ratings by the O.V.C.A. Committee are getting marginally better and have now reached about 1.5 .
After a pleasant evening we parted from our hosts at Granite and returned to the Talisman. Tired as we were the hostility suite drew us to its bosom like a magnet. Some of the Canadian joined us for a few drinks and we all kept our eye on the Election results on television. In spite of their Free Trade policy which was not universally popular, the Conservatives had a decisive victory.
Not too late tonight we gradually slipped off to catch up on some sleep.
Quote of the day
“It’s the bright lights on the ice that are giving me a headache” - Grant
TUESDAY 22 nd November
We were up
bright and early to be ready for the long drive out to
We drove out
welcomed to the Perth Curling Club by President Gordon Burke and Vice President
Jackie Lord. Coffee was served and the draws announced. We would play four
sessions with each Scottish player having two games. The Canadians were
represented by curlers from
Munro, the organiser for the day, gave each of us a plastic name tag which had
specially prepared with our names and “Perth Curling Club,
The Curling Club was founded in 1875 and has three sheets if ice. Being one of the older rinks it has the upstairs and downstairs clubrooms. The upstairs room has a beautiful close planked wooden floor which was laid by two of the members. This year the club has experienced difficulties with some of their machinery and only managed to make their first ice two days before our visit!
In between the games the drivers ensured that we were not at a loose end. In the morning some of us visited the Silver Shop and bought souvenirs and gifts. In crystal clear sunshine we walked around the town and returned to the rink by the path along the River Tay.
Ann Bowes who is a keen horsewoman, was thrilled to be driven out to meet Ian Miller, the Canadian Olympic horseman and 1988 World Champion. She was shown round his stables and met his famous horse, Big Ben.
learned that last fatal duel in
soup and sandwiches was available for everyone between games. We all enjoyed
our matches on the
TUESDAY 22 nd November (Cont’d)
Dinner was served in two sittings and the ladies of the club dif a truly splendid job catering for so many. They had cooked four huge turkeys which were served with salad. This was followed by wedges of delicious carrot cake.
Gordon Burke, Murray Kirkpatrick and Craig Wormwald spoke for
began to flow very freely and a marvellous ceilidh ensued. One of the
At the height of the party a strange figure appeared among us whistling “Sweet Georgia Brown”. The creature had an enormous face a huge top hat and wore a small tail suit. It was none other than Murray Kirkpatrick doing his legendary party piece. His head and arms were inside the hat which rested on his shoulders and his body was painted with a face. He even had little ears stuck on his sides. The tail suit started at his hips. It was one of the funniest things we had ever seen!
the evening drew to a close with “Auld Lang Syne” and after many fond farewells
our long suffering drivers took us back to
There is a huge bed in the H.S. and each night more and more of us decide that this is the comfiest place to have a nightcap. There must be a limit before overloading occurs!
work was done the Tour Song, and the other chartbuster My Dingalong. Jim Bunyan
(the dark horse that he is) suddenly revealed a glorious singing voice and gave
us his own version of
We were not too late tonight and one or two sensible people actually gave the H.S a miss. Surely we’re not admitting a tiny touch of exhaustion!
Quotes of the day.
Pudsey’s got a Dingaling!” (Actually it’s a key fob which says “
“What a Tuesday” - Everyone
WEDNESDAY 23 rd November
There were no games this morning which gave us a reasonably long lie – bliss! The drivers had arranged to take us shopping so sporrans were open and plastic cards at the ready. Most of us were taken to the Bay Shore Shopping Mall which had various levels containing every conceivable kind of shop. There was even a Marks and Spencer! Christmas decorations were on sale everywhere.
We spent an unhurried morning wandering around the shops. It was very warm and coats were not necessary. Later on we had lunch in one of the many eating places in the Mall.
we had a quick trip to the hotel to change for the afternoon game at
The Richmond Curling Club is 27 years old and has four sheets of ice. There are 240 members and the club hopes to expand in the future. There is a downstairs bar where the ice can be viewed at eye level – a new slant on curling but don’t wear your kilts boys!
enjoyed our games on yet another rink with clear fact ice. The ice at
first draw we had drinks with the
the club President, spoke form
draw then took place and those not playing watched from the lounge. The score
We then sang the Tour Song and the O.V.C.A. Committee walked out!! Nevertheless we persisted and even gave them a rendering of My Dingaling with Malcolm singing the verses in front of the “choir”.
WEDNESDAY 23 rd November (Cont’d)
our evening with yet more new friends and I particularly remember one
delightful lady who told us that she emigrated from
Eventually we bundled into the cars for the journey back to town. The hotel is now beginning to fill up with Grey Cup supporters. An hour or two in the Hostility Suite finished off a very pleasant day.
Janey and Archie are complaining of sore thighs – too much sweeping they say! Hugh has a sore knee and Janey managed to drag her tired legs over to the big bed to give him a massage and an ice pack.
Could we be starting to crack up?
Quote of the day
“A message from Janey – some people have all the luck!” – John Walker
THURSDAY 24th November
In the early hours of the morning the fire bell went off. Most of us slept through what was in fact a deafening onslaught. Just as well it was a false alarm!
breakfast we were taken to the Ottawa Curling Club in the heart of the city.
This club is the oldest in the area and is housed in a dignified building with
a spacious five sheet rink. It has many old trophies, photographs and curling
memorabilia. Everything at the
Coffee was served with whisky and we were welcomed by President Rod Matheson. The draws were called out and the games started. This lofty rink has roof fans and there are electric shoe cleaners on the walkway. As always tissues are provided for the players at both ends of each rink.
The ice was
magnificent and easily the fastest and best we had experienced. The
drinks, lunch of moussaka and gateau was served in the club’s well appointed
dining room. Although there was catering staffs, the club ladies still helped
to serve and clear the meal. The Grace was given by
Lamoureux, the Club manager spoke for the
The drivers took us the short distance to the Rideau Club which is currently celebrating its centenary. Again we were impressed by the many beautiful trophies in the showcases. The tables in the lounge have glass tops which protect thousands of curling badges arranged in patterns. Panels of various tartans decorate the walls.
Talking of badges we have now swapped pins so many times that our own badge collections are now enormous. We step onto the ice clanking and glittering with a fair weight of metal and it is beginning to look as though we are clad in chain mail.
The Rideau had prepared a special treat as Shirley Adam, a local curling historian had brought along a full set of “irons” from her collection. Gordon Perry demonstrated the “iron” delivery and each rink were asked to play one end with them during the afternoon match. It was quite an experience for the Canadians as well as the Scots.
The Rideau rink was smart and well maintained and the ice was excellent. We noticed that the score boards and stones were sponsored by local companies and individuals. There were racks where the members could leave their brooms, each slot having a little gate with padlock. The girls here also favoured the kilts. Our game this afternoon resulted in a win for Rideau by 36 to 25.
THURSDAY 24th November (Cont’d)
the girls changed into their best dressed and we had drinks before dinner,
which was to be the official dinner of the tour. Representatives from all the
clubs involved in the tour were present as well as notable local’s and
A 75 lb hip-o-beef had been prepared for us – the cattle must be big out here! This is another volunteer club and the members had worked hard to make this evening very special.
many speeches starting with a welcome from President Ross Davey who told us
about the Rideau Club and presented two centenary books to Archie. Roger Wilson
spoke for the O.V.C.A. and gave a hilarious account of the “tour so far”. He
reckoned the Scots had been in
Peter Kerr, assisted by Pudsey, presented Archie and Janey with an engraved silver tray as a token of our thanks for their part in organising the tour.
Archie then spoke for the Province and expressed our heart felt appreciation of all that had been done by the O.V.C.A. to make this such a happy and memorable trip. He did, however, suggest that by now the Canadians probably wished we had been hijacked en route! The organisation had been so impressive and each rink we had visited had overwhelmed us with hospitality and friendliness.
on to give a short history of the
Archie finished by thanking Malcolm for the enormous amount that he had done to organise the tour and presented him with an engraved silver salver from the members of the tour party. Malcolm was obviously deeply touched by this gesture.
The formalities being over we drifted down to the lounge to mix with the curlers who had come to this dinner from all over the Valley. We were all extremely interested in the Curling Memorabilia Exhibition which Shirley Adam had mounted for us. Liz and Hugh even spotted a stone which had been made in Beith.
In due course we arrived back at the hotel and gathered in the H.S. The girls got together on the big bed and made up funny songs about the Host Committee, in preparation for the final fling on Saturday night. So ended a very good and long day.
Quotes of the day
“Listen fellows, us girls have done a lot of work on that bed” - Liz Knox.
“When can I get playing with Sheila” - Sandy
“Can anyone tell me what a Squeeze is?” - John Blair
FRIDAY 25th November
out “free” day the drivers offered to take us sightseeing in
In bright sunshine we set off in various directions for what was to be a most interesting and enjoyable day out.
Ian, Peter, Matt and John Stevenson, among others, visited the National Aviation Museunm which had been opened in the spring of 1988. They saw 43 complete aircraft and countless aviation related artefacts.
Denny entertained Archie, Janey, Ann and Jim to breakfast followed by a fascinating “hard hat” tour of the Museum of Man, a futuristic building full of curves which is still under construction.
Many of us visited the National Gallery of Canada which was also opened this year. It is an enormous building with a predominantly glass exterior. White screens closed automatically if the light becomes too bright for the exhibits.
Parliament Buildings were a favourite stop and some of us joined the excellent
half hour tour and also took the lift up to the top of the
We noticed not for the first time the little black squirrels which scamper around the city parks and green areas. Unfortunately it was not the right time of the year to see the magnificent display of tulips which were a gift from Holland, whose Royal Family found refuge in the city during the war.
lunched with our hosts in different restaurants, some of us crossing the river
to sample the food in
After lunch there were visits to shopping malls or the craft market. Everyone seems to have looked into the curling shop run by Ora Cook whom we met yesterday at the Rideau Club.
evening we had arranged to entertain the host committee and our drivers to
dinner, so everyone gathered for drinks in the Hostility Suite at . The party also included
Malcolm’s son and his wife from
FRIDAY 25th November (Cont’d)
It was 6 on
the Richter Scale, the worst fro 50 years and felt from
course we were transported to a restaurant called “The Place Next Door” which
is apparently where the “stars” dine. We could well believe it! There were
about fifty of us and we all sat at a great long table where we had a “plank”
dinner. After our first course the waiters brought a series of planks covered
in foil which were laid end to en along the big table. These planks were loaded
Needless to say almost everyone came back to the Talisman for a nightcap. This has been another thrill packed day but how on earth are we going to curl tomorrow?
Quote of the day.
Saturday 26th November
Our tour is sadly coming to an end but at breakfast this morning we still has a whole day curling to look forward to. It was a brilliantly sunny day. That must have been why some of our party were wearing dark glasses.
Our drivers were in the lobby punctual as always and drove us to the R.A. where we were welcomed by the Chairman for the day Keith Butler. Coffee was served with usual tots of whisky. How on earth will we cope with elevenses with just plain coffee?
Club is part of the Ottawa Civil Service Recreational Association which
occupies one of the biggest sports complexes in
The curling club was originally constructed by Federal Government employees who all made contributions to start it off. Every Government employee is a member of the Association and pays a fee if they wish to curl. Outsiders may join, but they pay a higher fee.
The ice rink was one of the largest we have seen and we were all able to play against the R.A. at the one time. Malcolm’s son and daughter-in-law (both good curlers) made up our members to twenty-four.
At many of the Valley rinks we had seen rows of little pink and blue curling stones lined up on the walkways. These are the Peewee or Baby Rocks (weighing only 17lbs) and they are used by young curlers aged between eight and eleven. This if proving a great way of introducing children to the game and provides a reservoir of young talent later on.
The R.A. had decided that we should all play one end with Peewees. For adults used to 40 lb stones this proved rather difficult as the light stones tended to make one feel unbalanced. One Canadian curler, Marion Rougier, unfortunately fell when delivering a Peewee and knocked herself out. She was taken to the First Aid Room and appeared later with a large head bandage (hopefully none the worse).
Our match ended with a win for R.A. by 48 to 31. We are definitely getting tired and the little seats on the rink were in constant use. Young Pudsey has been spending too much time in the bar and not attending to the games.
We had a good lunch of soup, sandwiches and very calorific cakes. Denny Charlebois and Gordon Creelman spoke for the Valley and Jim Bunyan gave an amusing vote of thanks. He said we had all aged ten years since last weekend. The gifts were then presented and Sharon Malott, the manager of the Curling Club took us on a guided tour of the Complex. We saw an amazing variety of top class sports facilities including another ice rink where a game of ladies broom ball was in progress (tough stuff!). We also sampled some of the equipment in the Nautilus Room where the very fit go to become even fitter.
Saturday 26th November (cont’d)
Our tour ended up at the R.A. Sports Shop where we made a lot of purchases. Some of us succumbed and brought corn brooms as mementos of the trip. John Stevenson issued an instant warning that on no account had they to be used at Greenacres!
It was then time to say goodbye and make our way to the Hunt Club for our final match. As we drove across town we could see lots of hot air balloons which were part of the Grey Cup celebrations. There was also a huge Grey Cup parade through the city although the match would not take place till the next day. We read that the Cup had been put up originally by Lord Earl Grey (presumably of tea fame).
We were given a warn welcome at the Hunt Club and were “piped” on to the ice by Helen Ridding, clad in full highland dress (she had a wee bit of help from a pipe band on the loudspeaker system!) We all enjoyed our second game st this beautiful ice rink. Although we lost by 49 to 33 the companionship during the game more than made up for the small matter of a defeat.
Afterwards we changed for the final dinner and enjoyed some drinks with our hosts. Needless to say a few of us opted for the “Fuzzy Navels” again although Hugh was actually seen with a glass of water. We heard that the rink had been shaken by the earthquake last night and those who had been curling at the time had a fright.
The dinner was indeed a memorable occasion and several of us took photographs of the loaded buffet tables. Another enormous roast of beef had been cooked for the main course and this was carved by the chef. Although there is a catering staff here they must have been working vary hard as in addition to our dinner, there was a dinner-dance in the main dining room and presumably another Sunday Brunch to prepare.
Having savoured this delicious meal and enjoyed the company of our Hunt Club friends we heard from Vice President Rick Bennett. Dave Hands, the Chairman of the mixed match Committee, then acted as M.C. for the evening.
Having watched us closely all week the O.V.C.A. had chosen the All Star Scottish Team which would consist of Grant (skip), Ann (third), Matt (second) and Sheila(lead). They were presented with Tee Shirts with their position printed on the back. Everyone else was given an “appropriate” gift and this caused a great deal of hilarity.
Vic Ridding sang a cleverly worded song which he had composed about this tour. After that his wife Helen brought on her troup of Performing Curling Elves. A stage with lighting and scenery had been set up and the Elves gave us a brilliant little show with lots of curling adaptations of popular songs (and they were such good singers!).
gave a humorous account of the tour and introduced Archie and Malcolm who
expressed the appreciation and thanks of the Scots for all that the Host
Committee and their helpers had done to make this such an unforgettable visit.
They hoped that it would not be long before the Canadians came over to
Saturday 26th November (cont’d)
The evening proceeded with various speeches, songs and stories. Hugh acted as M.C. for the Scottish part of the entertainment and many of our party sportingly “did a turn”. The Tour song and My Dingaling were sung for the last time with the Host Committee receiving special mention in extra verses to the latter. Fir this effort the judges awarded us full marks – sheer persistence had paid off!! (Or perhaps it was just relief!!!)
This great evening ended with Auld Lang Syne and many mementos and gifts were exchanged. Eventually everyone ended up having a last dram in the Hostility Suite at the Talisman. We find it hard to believe that it will all be over tomorrow.
Quote of the day
“I don’t care what you say, you going home tomorrow” - Roger
Sunday 27th November
Sometime during the few hours which were left for sleep the fire bell went of again. This time we all heard it.
A great deal of packing had been left to the last minute which made the morning a bit chaotic. Roger et cie had tidied up the Hostility Suite and we all settled our hotel bills. Some of us even managed a light breakfast in the Greenery. The service today was exceptionally slow owing to the large number of Grey Cup supporters in the hotel.
By , however, we were ready to be taken by our faithful drivers to the Albert’s house for the Farewell Brunch.
At this early hour we were welcomed to their charming home with powerful “Fuzzy Navels” and devastating “Orange Blossoms” (champagne, vodka and orange juice). Those of us who had not managed to have some breakfast were in thin ice!
Doris and Louis had certainly created a marvellous atmosphere for this final party. We all enjoyed the Brunch which, needless to say, turned out to be another feast (definitely breakfast and lunch together!) This was a very happy time and final gifts were exchanged and addresses ascertained.
Later on we went outside and strolled around the garden and the avenue. It was a most beautiful day and really quite warm. The Canadians told us that it was exceptionally mild for the time of year.
Soon it was departure time for us all the members of our party who were travelling home that day. The drivers packed them and their luggage into their cars and drove them to the airport. I hear that the final goodbyes were poignant and sometimes tearful.
had an unexpectedly long journey home and even managed an unscheduled stop at
Eight of us
What a trip
it was, what fun and friendship we enjoyed and what hospitality we experienced.
We must ensure that these tours continue and look forward to welcoming our
Canadian friends to
Diarist - Pat Walker