Graham Biggart                           Tour Captain

                                                  President, Renfrewshire XIIth Province

                                                  Past President, Kilmacolm Curling Club

                                                  Old Glenalmond Curling Club

                                                  Aberdeen Nomads Curling Club


Rosemary Biggart                        Past President, Greenacres Ladies Curling Club

                                                  Kilmacolm Curling Club

                                                  Reform Curling Club

                                                  October Ladies Curling Club

                                                  Aberdeen Nomads Curling Club


Malcolm Richardson                    Tour Secretary

                                                  Secretary/Treasurer, Renfrewshire XIIth Province

                                                  RCCC Representative

                                                  Erskine Curling Clud

                                                  Port Glasgow Curling Club

                                                  Wigan Curling Club


Joyce Richardson                        Erskine Curling Club

                                                  Greenacres Ladies Curling Club


Sandy Deans                              Vice-President, Renfrewshire XIIth Province

                                                  Past President, Bridge of Weir Curling Club

                                                  Kilbarchan Curling Club

                                                  Erskine Curling Club


Sheila Deans                              Bridge of Weir Curling Club

                                                  Kilbarchan Curling Club

                                                  Erskine Curling Club


John Fyfe                                    Erskine Curling Club


Sadie Fyfe                                  Secretary, Erskine Curling Club

                                                  Greenacres Ladies Curling Club


Ian Gillespie                                Past President, Glennifer Curling Club

                                                  Reform Curling Club


Dorothy Gillespie                         Glennifer Curling Club

                                                  Reform Curling Club


Sandra Lapsley                           President, Greenock Ladies Curling Club

                                                  Kilmacolm Curling Club


Fay Laurie                                  Kilmacolm Curling Club

                                                  Greenacres Ladies Curling Club

                                                  Lochgoilhead Curling Club

                                                  B.M.A. Ladies Curling Club


Tommy Lavery                             Past President, Port Glasgow Curling Club

                                                  Bridge of Weir Curling Club


Angus Macdonald                        Barrhead Fereneze Curling Club


Anne Macdonald                         Barrhead Fereneze Curling Club

                                                  Blairhill Ladies Curling Club


Archie McFarlane                        Past President, Renfrewshire XIIth Province

                                                  Past President, Barrhead Fereneze Curling Club

                                                  Erskine Curling Club

                                                  East Kilbride & Haremyres Curling Club


Janey McFarlane                         Barrhead Fereneze Curling Club

                                                  Greenacres Ladies Curling Club

                                                  East Kilbride & Haremyres Curling Club


Grant MacGregor                         Past President, Renfrewshire XIIth Province

                                                  RCCC representative

                                                  Minerva Curling Club

                                                  Reform Curling Club


Jennifer McLaren                         Minerva Curling Club

                                                  Uplawmoor Curling Club

                                                  Associate member, Rolling Stones Curling Club


Ian Parkinson                              Gleniffer Curling Club

                                                  Bridge of Weir Curling Club


Robin Richmond                          Old Grammarian Curling Club

                                                  Reform Curling Club

                                                  Carmunnock and Rutherglen Curling Club


Christine Richmond                     Old Grammarian Curling Club

                                                  October Ladies Curling Club

                                                  Reform Curling Club


Alan Sharpe                                Port Glasgow Curling Club


Matt Stevenson                           Erskine Curling Club

                                                  Ardrossan Curling Club


We cannot close this list without noting that Janie Parkinson should have been one of the Tour group, but had to withdraw for health reasons.  Janie not only designed but also arranged the manufacture of our Tour pin, which was so much admired and sought after by our Canadian hosts.  We are most grateful for her contribution and want her to know that her company was sorely missed.


Alan Sharpe joined us on Tuesday 8 November in Janie's place and managed to get himself organised in amazingly short order.


The XIIth Province 1994 Tour group want to express their deep gratitude for the thoughtfulness and hard work of the people who made our Tour such a successful and enjoyable experience.




Don and Enid Bond -                        Glengarry Curling Club


Denny and Audrey Charlebois -      Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club


Ken and Jackie Peskett -                 Huntley Curling Club


Mike and Ann Swift                           City View Curling Club


Locksley and Dixie Trenholm          Huntley Curling Club



In addition to the above, we also wish to acknowledge the generosity, patience and fortitude of all of our drivers, namely:-


Doris Albert,

                                    Mike & Pat Burrows,

                                                                                    John & Helen Doty,

Aggie Erfle,

                                    Dan & Irene Hudson,

                                                                                    Terry & Jacquie Kielty,

Bruce Neill,

                                    Vic & Helen Ridding,

                                                                                    Adolphe & Marion Rougier,

Jim Stewart.



We are particularly grateful to Denny and Audrey as well as to Doris for inviting this bunch of hooligans to dine in their homes and to all the ladies who helped prepare those sumptuous meals - not to mention the men who kept us so well supplied with drink!


(Graham discovered that Audrey's name is really Adrienne. He suspects that this is a deep plot like using Milngavie to trick the Sassenachs!)


Murray Bond was generous with his time and his piping was a delight to our ears. We wish him success in future competition.


We cannot close this section without mentioning the indomitable Gordie Perry and his new young bride Muriel.  It was great to share their happiness. Gordie was well remembered from his visit to Scotland in 1990 for his youthful enthusiasm and good fellowship and he seems as full of vitality as ever - lang may his lum reek!

The representatives of the Renfrewshire XIIth Province who visited the Ottawa Valley in November 1994 are extremely grateful to all of the following for their generous support:-


Ailsa Trucks Ltd


                        International Distillers & Vintners Europe Ltd


                                                                                    Kenning Tyre Services Ltd


            Reliable Vehicles Ltd


                                                                                                Serck Marston Ltd


                                                            S P Tyres Ltd


D B Wilson Ltd


and during our time in Canada



                                    United Distillers/Johnny Walker




together with the members of the Curling Clubs at


City View                                                                                                        Huntley

                        Manotick                                                        Arnprior

                                                Ottawa Hunt & Golf

R.A.                                                                                                                 Maxville

                        Granite                                                           Hylands



all contributed to a most enjoyable Tour


I had been looking forward to the visit to Canada with a keen sense of anticipation from the moment that I knew that it would take place during my presidency, which virtually guaranteed me a place.


My imagination had been fired by the tales brought back by members of the previous visit and from what I heard when talking with members of the Canadian Tour group who were here in 1990.


None of this prepared me for the fantastic welcome which we received in Canada: indeed, now that I am home, I find myself struggling adequately to describe what participation in such a tour is like.  Taking part in a curling tour is an experience that is unique to the group involved.  No-one who was not there can share in it, no one can be involved in retrospect and nobody can take the experience away from you.


I think that we were all greatly impressed by the organisation and preparation work which had been done by our Canadian hosts.  That it was effective was self-evident, for we did not experience a single hitch during our stay.  It would be great to find out how they organised the weather!


We benefited from the work put in by the 1990 XIIth Province Host Committee and our thanks are due to them for the goodwill which they engendered for our visit to Canada.


I was delighted to be part of the Tour Group and honoured to be Captain. My task really was an easy one, for the entire group blended together well from the start.  With their commitment and support during the tour, it could not have been other than a success.


The overall score for the tour remains a mystery even as your Diarist folds his tent in the waning days of 1995.  We can only say that


Allowing that a disparate group of curlers who had mostly never played together were taking on some fairly strong Canadian teams on their own ice, together with the debilitating effect of the hostility suite, we should not be ashamed of our performance.


It should be noted that our scores improved once we had overcome the effects of the journey and had consumed sufficient alcohol. Our singing, too, improved with practice and we were becoming reasonably good towards the end. What a pity that extraneous noise prevented our finale from being effective.


An invitation has been extended to the Ottawa Valley Curling Association to make a return visit to Scotland. From what I heard, I think that their tour will be over subscribed, for many of those we met were anxious to take part.


We will certainly face a major task if we are adequately to return the hospitality and kindness which we received in Canada.

FRIDAY 11 NOVEMBER                                         DIARISTS: Joyce and Graham




In varying states of alertness, twenty four alleged curlers straggled into Glasgow Airport at around 5 am and were milling around the Air UK check-in desks - not yet open although we had been asked to arrive at 4.30.  Malcolm arrived with our tickets and in spite of a hitch with the on-line computer we were block booked through to Ottawa.


There had been a problem with the ties and scarves which had originally been supplied with the logo 'Ottowa 1994', in spite of Grant having pointed out the proper spelling.  Fortunately, a last minute re-run corrected this.  We were not so lucky with the wording on the brushes and decided that this would be an observation test for our hosts.  The bags of brushes had to be taken to a separate desk for awkward items and some unkind soul suggested that Graham should check in there too.


Alan told us of his professional tailor having stitched his Province badge to the inside of his sleeve.  He must have thought that Alan's elbow would be permanently bent!  In hindsight we wished that it had been left there so that nobody would know that he was one of our group.


Glasgow is now an international airport, so of course the shop was firmly shut in case anyone should be so foolish as to indulge in any wickedness such as buying books or newspapers so early in the morning.


The group moved (if that is the correct description) through to the International departure lounge and there was considerable hilarity when the buzzer on the X-ray equipment was triggered first by Grant's corset and again by Tommy's pacemaker.


Several forays were made into the Duty Free shop to purchase a variety of medicinal items and although there had been some discussion as to whether prices were better here or at Amsterdam, many opted for home territory.


The Lord Elgin Hotel would be providing us with accommodation for use as a gathering and hospitality suite - famed in song and fable as the 'hostility' suite - and the various alcoholic purchases were to be our basic stock.  Grant researched our individual preferences and organised us to buy the correct items


It was at the Duty Free shop at Glasgow Airport that we made our first - and biggest - mistake of the tour:  A major purchase was our Tour mascot "Wee McBroom", complete with tartan outfit, whose sole task was supposed to be that of bringing us success on our tour.


A last minute opening of the bookstall allowed some to purchase newspapers, only to find free newspapers at the aircraft when we boarded.


We soon noted the first signs of trouble to come: Angus was heard to rebel over the choice of reading matter.  Although Anne reined him in sharply, we were concerned that he should be trying to shake off the traces just because we were going to a foreign land.  This kind of behaviour spreads rapidly and the ladies were concerned that others might be tempted to follow his lead.


After we had taken off and were well on our way to Amsterdam, the Tour Group were welcomed on board by the Captain.  The Diary found out much later that Dorothy's Dad had 'phoned Air UK and arranged this.  The flight to Schipol was on a Fokker 100, very comfortable and quite uneventful, although after landing we seemed to taxi forever before we could disembark.


Time spent around the shops in the Duty Free area suggested that Glasgow had indeed offered the better prices for the major items.  Some of the group found a Chocolate shop which offered freebie samples -certain members managed four tastings before purchase.  However, in spite of the variety of goods on offer it was with some relief that the group, particularly the attached males, headed for the departure lounge.


There was a slight hiatus when the female security officer at the boarding gate came across Grant's corset, which she seemed to think was some previously undiscovered engine of destruction.  Clearly she was unaware of what the well dressed gentleman from the West of Scotland wears when curling, but she received much helpful - though sadly unappreciated - comment from the rest of the group.


There was only a slight delay before we boarded the Boeing 767 for the flight to Halifax and Ottawa.  The intermediate stop explained the surprisingly long flight time which had so puzzled us earlier.  This discovery brought little joy to Sandra, our intrepid aviator, who now had to face an additional landing.




Although booked with KLM, we in fact flew with another Dutch company called Martinair on an aircraft that was only partially full.  This was a blessing and meant that in spite of having less leg room than on the Air UK aircraft, we had a reasonably comfortable flight.  Martinair is the charter operation belonging to KLM, and the cabin crew were excellent.


To keep the passengers placid, food and drink were produced in great quantities on the flight and this helped to confuse our internal timeclocks even more.  Archie was enjoying this so much that when the steward offered him a choice of fish or chicken, he answered "whisky, please"!


As predicted by those on the 1988 trip, Matt was first asleep and several others followed his lead, thrust into the arms of Morpheus, no doubt, by a drop of rum in their coffee.  Angus rebelled again and indulged, in spite of being told quite clearly that he didn't like rum.  We really are going to have trouble with this man.


Dorothy had arranged a quiz for those who remained awake and the question sheets were accompanied by gifts of a pen and embrocation - does Dorothy know something that we don't?


Between films and advertising, the cabin screens gave information on the flight.  Our height seemed somehow more impressive when shown in feet rather than in metres and with an air temperature of - 52° Fahrenheit we were glad that the aircraft had inside toilets.


We rather wondered whether the apprentice was driving when we reached Halifax.  This was an experience which Sandra would not be keen to repeat, for there was a brisk cross breeze and the landing could fairly be described as "interesting".  Indeed, it seemed more like a controlled accident and this return to the ground most certainly qualified as a 'white knuckle' landing.


The aircraft pitched and yawed wildly on the approach and the pilot seemed to be making constant speed adjustments before touching down - such an inadequate description - with a thump that loosened our fillings.  We then bounced several times and it was a tribute to the engineers and technicians at Boeing that the wings remained attached.


The runway at Halifax is a short one and full reverse thrust had to be used to prevent us arriving at Ottawa overland.  Whilst many pilots claim that any landing you can walk away from is a good one, there are some in our group who would dispute this.


Grant was taken by surprise and felt some concern when our wheels hit the runway with our height still displayed as three metres.  By the third bounce he had stopped bothering.


More than half of the other passengers left the flight here and as far as we could judge, only one person boarded.  Our time on the ground at Halifax was extended by about forty minutes because we had to wait for a slot at Ottawa, but eventually we were off again.


More food on this sector and a much better landing, but then came the bad news.  We were told that there was no ramp available and that we we would have a further wait on the apron.  Is this part two of the hundred thousand welcomes?


The Scots group fortunately did not resort to violence, but nevertheless greeted the news of this further delay with language that they certainly did not learn at their mother's knee.


Indeed, we were quite astonished at some of the words that Fay and Dorothy used, but consoled ourselves with the thought that they were probably innocently unaware of their meaning.  Poor Sandra looked more wraith-like than ever as her escape was frustrated for another twenty minutes.


Those who were on the 1988 trip remembered that Matt and John Stevenson kept getting their shoes mixed up .  This time Matt had taken his off for comfort and couldn't get them back on - he could have done with John's which are two sizes larger.  We had visions of Matt being flown back to Schipol, still struggling with his shoes.




All good things come to an end, however and eventually we were able to disembark.  We headed for Passport Control, where the Canadian team were definitely in unfriendly mode!  We are certain that this is part three of the hundred thousand.


After careful scrutiny of our documents and some intense questioning we were able to collect our luggage and move through to the arrivals hall, there to be greeted by the Canadian host group with piper Murray Bond in full regalia.


What a welcome we were given!!!


There were lots of hugs and handshakes and it seemed as if we had parted only yesterday -  even those who had not previously been involved were soon deep in conversation with our hosts.  All the girls were given roses, which had neat little individual water containers attached.


We were all allocated to drivers for the transfer to the Lord Elgin hotel.  Like the Americans and our European partners,  Canadians drive on the wrong side of the road and this meant having to switch on our brains for crossing the street.


As we drove in to town, Ottawa struck us as an open and clean City with impressive buildings visible on every hand.


Although it is in the middle of town,  The Lord Elgin has an open area at the entrance and so we were driven direct to the front door.  We checked in and went up to our rooms - must get used to calling lifts elevators - where we found a box of goodies from Nestlé, one of the sponsors.  Varying amounts of unpacking were done before meeting in the hostility suite (room 1019) for the first drink of the Tour on Canadian soil.



Later, after a quick wash and change, our drivers took us out to Manotick to Denny and Audrey Charlebois' lovely home on the Rideau river for dinner.  It was amazing that this number of people was so easily absorbed into their home.


On the way in, we had noticed that there were two plastic ladies 'curling' by the front door and Alan even tried chatting them up.  We were to realise later that this is an instinctive reaction and that he never misses an opportunity to practise.

Before dinner, Denny put on a video of the 1990 Canadian visit to Scotland and it was amazing to watch the effect that this had.  Within a very short time everyone was riveted to their seats - a fair indication of the power of the small screen.


The showing had to be cut short whilst we enjoyed an excellent meal, following which Graham read out our Challenge to the Ottawa Valley Curlers in ancient 'Braid Scots'.  This was understood by few of our group and even fewer of our Canadian hosts.  In a more recognisable tongue, the challenge was in turn accepted on their behalf by Denny as Chairman of the Host Group.


We then enjoyed a superb evening of friendship and it was a rather weary Tour party that returned to the Lord Elgin, even abandoning the planned meeting in the hostility suite until next morning.


SATURDAY 12 NOVEMBER                                  DIARISTS: Dorothy and Ian


With a slight feeling of unreality after our long day yesterday, we awoke to a bright, clear but cold morning and had a leisurely breakfast.  Most of us then congregated in the hostility suite, the exceptions being Grant, Sandy and Robin who had all gone to purchase soft drinks - allegedly.


It was observed that others who had been out to the shops had managed to get back in time.


Teams for the day were announced. Graham and Malcolm claimed that they had made the selection using a new scientific method.  Dorothy told the Diary that never during her extensive training did she ever hear of a pin being described as a scientific instrument.  We were also given the list of diarists - Dorothy felt that it must be Ian's shy and retiring nature that got them elected for the first day!


Dorothy announced that Sandra and Robin had won the transatlantic quiz and presented them with their prizes.  The Diary noted that Sandra couldn't have been as worried about flying as she was making out!


Next we rehearsed our songs, since we felt that we might have to perform today.  The Diary hoped fervently that with practice we would improve, but was none too sanguine about the prospects.


We had been told that shops in Ottawa do not open on a Sunday, a fact that had been noted with some relief by the men, notably our tour captain.  Thus when we agreed to have flowers sent to Audrey and Doris we realised that this should be done today and Joyce undertook the task.


The hotel sent her to a nearby florists, but she ignored it. Because of the silver flowers in the basically empty window display she thought that it was an undertakers office.  Eventually the hotel made the arrangements for us.


Quite a few of the ladies had wanted to go shopping in the morning and abuse and vituperation was heaped on Malcolm and Graham for organising the meeting at 10.00 - just in the middle of the available time.  The Diary noted that there had been damned few crying out to hold the meeting when we returned to the Lord Elgin the night before.


By quarter to eleven our drivers were waiting for us and we started to load our bags and brushes.  Graham will have to remember that he is loading his gear into the trunk, not the boot!  Rosemary told the Diary that he would also have to remember that Canadians drive on the opposite side of the road.  She later reflected that he was insured, so did it really matter?


On the hour we set off on the thirty minute drive to the City View Curling Club, which was founded in 1957.  We were welcomed by Club President Marisa Dupont who introduced Doug Clement, organiser of the day's curling.


We had an excellent lunch followed by coffee and sweets before the afternoon's six-end games, which were to be played on City View's three sheets.  Dorothy and Ian arrived after lunch, having been held up in the traffic created by the parade bringing Santa to Ottawa!


There was some consternation when Sadie and Jennifer realised that their brushes were missing.  They were eventually found in the men's changing room, but the later Stewards enquiry failed to discover just how they had got in there.


The rink was nice and bright, with three lanes separated by a small barrier with seats for weary sweepers.  When Sadie went onto the ice she tripped on one of the barriers and landed on it bum first with some force.  She claimed that the bruise was of championship standard and offered to sell tickets to anyone wanting to view her posterior.  She later failed to honour this pledge.


The heads were painted red and green and we noticed that the junior stones were made of a heavy plastic rather than granite - is this a foretaste of things to come?  We played six ends and were comprehensively cuffed, Matt's team being the only one to win.  Although Grant was the first to score, his overall performance didn't impress us.


Robin                                   3 - 8                                     Ken Riddel

Joyce                                                                                Pat Riddel

Janey                                                                                Peter Gray

Angus                                                                               Peggy Gray


Grant                                    2 - 9                                     Phil Hodgins

Rosemary                                                                        Catherine Hodgins

Fay                                                                                   Yaz Fujimoto

Archie                                                                               Liz Fujimoto


Phil had gesticulated and called to Catherine that she was off the brush when she delivered one of her stones. "Just a suggestion" came the reply.

Archie called Yaz "Razamataz"


Tommy                                2 - 7                                     Daniel Gingras

Christine                                                                          Doris Cole

John                                                                                  Diane Olney

Anne                                                                                 Howard Crerar


Matt                                      4 - 3                                     Mike Swift

Sheila                                                                               Ann Swift

Sadie                                                                               Claire

Sandra                                                                             Jim Bryden


Malcolm                               3 - 7                                     Bob Murray

Ian G                                                                                 Elizabeth Sills

Jennifer                                                                            Jack Entwistle

Graham                                                                            Joan Banks


Sandy                                  1 - 7                                     Doug Clement

Ian P                                                                                 Jill Collins

Dorothy                                                                            Rob Collins

Alan                                                                                  Kathy Thompson


During the day John met a boyhood chum from Lochfield Primary School and Christine was sorry to have missed Ian Stevenson -"she used to play with him".


Sandy Deans gave the vote of thanks before we returned to the Lord Elgin to change for the evening.


Doris was our hostess for dinner at her superb house on the opposite side of the Rideau river from Denny and Audrey.  Some navigational difficulties were experienced in getting there, but eventually everyone arrived safely.  Again, the capacity of the house, which took all of us and our drivers without appearing overcrowded, really amazed us.


Sandy and Sheila had stayed here before and could tell us that the sound system in the house cost $30,000 and music seemed to come from all around us.  On the last night, Fay stayed with Doris and claims that it took her half an hour to walk to the river.  Survey of the ground suggests that the route must have been an erratic one.


Dinner was sweet and sour chicken, pork and Nova Scotia beans with rice and various salads (spinach, bean sprouts, water chestnut and egg) and this was followed by chocolate trifle (yummy cake), coffee and petit fours.


We tried out some of our repertoire of songs - the girls gave a sterling performance with Nellie Hay and John Fyfe endured "My Willie" for the first time.


We were initiated into the Canadian scoring system - they gave us no marks at all for artistic impression and incredibly low scores for technical merit.  We felt that they could benefit from some training input from the Russian school of judging!




"Only Dentists make good impressions"  (Robin)- (who was being unusually modest that day)


"Is it O.K. to score?"


"I thought they were lying shot"  (Malcolm)


"Sandy's family motto is 'Ready, willing but Feeble"  (Sh**l*)


"Doris is human - she has black tights hanging drying over the Jacuzzi"  (Janey)

SUNDAY 13 NOVEMBER                                       DIARISTS: Christine and Robin


We are writing our diary notes for Sunday although we are really quite sure that to-day is Monday!


We all intended to have breakfast at 7.00 and came down early.  Anne and Angus were the last ones seated - perhaps Anne was sorting out her laundry?


The arrangements for drivers were excellent and Ken Peskett is to be congratulated on his efforts.  We were collected on time and set out for the run to Arnprior on a beautiful sunny morning.


Unfortunately, although Ken and Jackie had given all the Canadian drivers maps of the area, some still contrived to get lost. Dorothy and Ian took a Great Circle route and came via Québec. (Note the French spelling)


Perhaps the Canadians were taking their revenge on the Scottish drivers who seemed always to get lost between the Normandy Hotel and our various ice rinks.


Eventually everyone arrived and President Andy Stewart welcomed us to Arnprior Curling Club which was founded in 1868.  We were offered coffee and doughnuts before the game in the club area partly below ice level.  The entire rink gave an impression of brightness and space.


Robin had an Arnprior pin and thought that he might have been there during the 1979 tour. However, an Arnprior member advised that the pin was a much older one.  Robin concluded therefore that it must have been brought home by his Grandfather, who had toured with the RCCC team in 1939 when he was 76 years old. (Grandpa, that is, not Robin!)


Alan discovered that he had left his curling shoes at City View. The Diary suspects that he was so busy chatting up the City View ladies that footwear was the last thing on his mind!  Fortunately, he managed to borrow a pair and was able take part in the curling.


We had enjoyable games but were no more successful than yesterday, the overall score being Arnprior 25 - Scotland 14.


After curling we went upstairs to a large hall where we were treated to an excellent lunch prepared by the members.  Very tasty mince pie followed by delicious home baked cakes.  A recipe book prepared by the Arnprior ladies sold very well as a souvenir of our visit.


Graham was presented with an Arnprior left-handers pin by one of his opposition.  Apparently there are enough left handed curlers in the club to make production of a special pin viable.


After lunch Mayor Pat Robinson welcomed the Scots to Arnprior and the surrounding district.  She told us that this was her last official function before retiring as Mayor and said that Arnprior was founded by McNabs and McLaughlins.


Proudly wearing his Grandfather's Arnprior pin, Robin thanked our hosts for their hospitality.  He also presented president Andy Stewart with a XIIth Province pennant and Mayor Pat Robinson with a Tour head scarf.


Ken Munro, who made the ice and Rink Manager Don Heath were given Tour ties.


Two people who were visiting from Renfrew were overheard talking to Matt about Greenacres.


Matt:- "Ye'll ken whaur wi arr, just abou' Beith"


Visitor:- "Know where you are? I can't even understand what you are saying!"


Soon we had to leave to go to Huntley where we were greeted on arrival by Dixie.  She gave each of us badges that were miniature straw hats with our names on them. these were extremely well made and had been produced by Rilla.


Janey thought that she had lost her gloves, but they were found eventually in her capacious handbag. (Under her portable Physio table, presumably!)


President Frank Bell welcomed the Scots to a Country and Western evening.


When we sat down for the meal we were amazed to see Stewart Hitchcock and his henchmen roll out a converted washing machine.  We were told that they were all engineers and had devised and converted the machine into a portable cooker themselves.


From this device they winched out a huge hip of beef weighing over eighty pounds, which had been cooking gently for the previous twenty four hours.


Alan demonstrated the correct way to sharpen the butchers knife and then Stewart proceeded to cut generous portions of rare, medium or well done beef which really did melt in the mouth.  Robin claims that there were others who went back for third helpings!


Stewart, who is a founder member of Huntley Curling Club, then served a choice of chocolate or orange gateaux for sweets.  Altogether a most excellent meal which we all thoroughly enjoyed.


Archie thanked the members of Huntley on our behalf and presented a head scarf to Irene Hudson , a tie to Ken 'the Hat' Peskett and our Tour pennant to president Frank Bell.


We 'entertained' the folks at Huntley with several songs from the choir and we are, perhaps, improving. The points given by our Canadian hosts even included two's and three's.


Grant held his audience enthralled with his poetic rendition of "Tam's Last Stane" and thus encouraged, Graham gave a 'spirited' rendition of "The Match".


After this we continued to dance the night away Country and Western style.


Back at the Ranch (a.k.a. the Lord Elgin), Sandy was seen to have fallen asleep during the evening meeting in the Hostility suite.




It was noted in the ladies changing room that Sadie was sporting the BUMBEE tartan.




"I'll never wash my bra again"  (this from a Canadian lady to whom Alan had just pinned a Tour badge.  This gave rise to scurrilous speculation as to exactly where - and how - he had attached the pin.)






Grant            Tommy           Matt                   Ian G            Rosemary    Robin

Malcolm       Sandy             Joyce                Christine      Ian P             Sheila

Janey           Fay                 Archie               Jennifer        Dorothy        John

Anne            Graham          Alan                  Angus          Sadie           Sandra


MONDAY 14 NOVEMBER                                      DIARISTS: Sadie and John


This was an important day for our Canadian hosts and a red-letter one for the Tour party.  They were holding their Municipal elections and we WON our first match.  The bad news is that we hear that no alcohol is available until after 6.00 pm today and Tommy and Matt have taken to muttering darkly!


We set off with our bright and eager drivers to the R.A. Club which is part of the Civil Service Association and is in a very large complex catering for many indoor and outdoor activities.


This ice rink is the biggest we have visited so far and we were all able to play an eight end game at the same time.  There were quite a few Scots amongst our opposition, including a lady from Peterhead.


Unfortunately we lost to R.A. - "Wee McBroom" has been considerably less than supportive to us so far and is in some danger of being given a free transfer.


On a personal note, John and I had met a colleague of Ken Peskett's while she was walking Hadrian's Wall last year and she came in to see us at the R.A. during her lunch hour, which was a nice surprise.


Now for the good news - the liquor ban does not seem to apply here.  This is quite a relief, for having to go dry for election day without even the chance to vote would have been hard to bear.


After a drink, we had a really enjoyable buffet lunch served in one of the R.A.'s function rooms. The 'piéce de résistance' was a tray of large cookies which were at least three inches in diameter and an inch thick (75 and 25 millimetres for metrication freaks) - quite scrumptious, but not advisable when you are curling again in half an hour!


Bob Keyes welcomed us on behalf of the R.A. Curling Club and Ian P responded with a very amusing vote of thanks for their wonderful hospitality which was very much appreciated.  Ian presented Bob with our Tour banner and also one of our ties to be passed on to Ray Pollock, the President of the R.A. Curling Club, who unfortunately was unable to be with us.  Ian then asked one of our host Committee, Audrey Charlebois, to put on her other 'hat' and presented her with a Tour scarf in her role as President of the R.A. Club.


Following lunch we said farewell to the R.A. and were quickly transported to our next game which was at the Granite Curling Club.


We were told that Granite got its name when in the mid 1950's it became the first club in the Ottawa Valley to use all granite curling stones as opposed to the original wood or iron ones that were used by the early immigrant Scots.


Iron 'stones' were originally converted by Scottish soldiers from the discarded hubs of the wagons and gun carriages of Wolfe's army in Quebec and later were cast specially.  Apparently iron 'stones' were still being used in the Ottawa Valley into the late 1950's.


We were welcomed to the Club by Dave Young who was host for the day. He caused great mirth when he told us that he came over to Canada from the Borders as a "Bull Shifter" and he was made to repeat the second word, which he did - enunciating carefully.


All six teams played in one of the two four end sessions on Granite's three sheets and as the match progressed it looked extremely likely that we were going to WIN at last.  This was probably because we had turned "Wee McBroom" to face the wall - this will definitely be his position in future!!  The entire Tour party were clearly pleased with the result and we felt that we had to apologise to our opposition for such evident delight and explain that this was our first success since arriving.


After we had changed into our 'finery' we enjoyed a beautifully prepared chicken dish followed by a superb fruit pie.  The Ladies of the Granite Club had worked extremely hard to produce this excellent meal for us.


During and after the meal we were entertained by various Granite members and as usual were prevailed upon to sing our Tour song along with a few others in our repertoire and these appeared to be enjoyed by all. The ratings are gradually rising - I saw a 5.5!


We received a leaflet outlining Granite's membership options, amongst which was Evening Ladies - is this a euphemism, we wonder.


John Fyfe thanked Granite for their generous hospitality and also for giving us the first win of the tour.  He presented a Tour banner to Past President Brian Kelly in place of President Roger Tetreault and a tie and scarf respectively to Alan and Teresa Tierney, who were also the hosts of our 1980 tour, as well as a tie to Dave Young who had organised to-day's visit extremely well.


After saying our good-byes to our friends at Granite it was once more back to the hostility suite to get up to date on the day's news and find out our teams for tomorrow.


Rosemary's Aunt May and Uncle Ronald had driven across from Hudson Heights to see her.  They are both enthusiastic veterans of tours to Scotland and they joined us for our evening prayer meeting (the please, God, let us play better tomorrow slot).


They told the Diary that they had thoroughly enjoyed the company and certainly they seemed to have terrific stamina although she is 92 and he is still curling (and instructing!) at the age of 89.  Ronald has become slightly deaf, a condition which was hardly noticeable except when May told him it was bed time.



"Tam's as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike"  (Alan)


" Are you folk all retired or just very rich?" (if only!)  (Canadian lady)


" I've trained for years to play as badly as this "  (Robin)






Sheila          Grant              Tommy             Matt              Ian G            Rosemary

Malcolm       Robin              Joyce                Christine      Sandy          Fay

Angus          Dorothy          Janey                Jennifer        Sandra         Ian P

Sadie           Anne               Alan                  Graham       John             Archie

TUESDAY 15 NOVEMBER                                    DIARISTS: Janey and Archie


We had another early start, for we had to be at the Governor General's residence by 9.00 am. Rosemary was taking time with Ronald and May and Fay had arranged to visit Red Cross headquarters, so they were joining us later at the I-Max theatre.


Our route took us past the British Embassy and we were disappointed to find that every effort had been spared to celebrate our presence in the City.  Denny and Graham were first to reach the Residence and seemed to have had no trouble in entering the grounds after Denny chatted up the gateman, who seemed somewhat bemused by the alleged arrangements.


They then drove around the building and car park area, passing the Governor General's one lane curling rink on the way - it was quite strange to see scoreboards at each end of a narrow strip of grass alongside some tennis courts.  We are clearly moving in exalted company, for one or two of our Host Group are members of this very select Club, which is restricted to a hundred members.


There is a permanent police detachment guarding the residence and two members of Ottawa's finest were sitting in their car at the front of the Residence.  They, too, appeared to be rather perplexed by the number of people arriving well before they had expected to see any members of the public around - obviously there had been a communications underlap.  Denny did another bit of chatting up and the guns were put away.  His system seems to be "don't worry, the guy at the other gate knows all about it".


We all managed to arrive on time, only to find the doors locked - the G G must have slept in!  However, the slight delay gave us an opportunity to look around the grounds of this impressive building, although the keen breeze left many lamenting the lack of a warm jacket. In spite of the cold there were no brass monkeys in sight, but there certainly were plenty of black squirrels running around amongst the last of the summer's leaves.  Those who strolled across the grass were soon joined by the ever-watchful police who obviously knew suspicious characters when they saw them.


We noted that the house had been built originally for the engineer in charge of the Rideau Canal construction with additions and alterations since.  Even allowing for these, it was clear that the gentleman - a Scot, of course - lived in a considerable degree of opulence.


Eventually the doors opened and, once inside, we were divided into groups which each had their own guide.  The guides were clearly masters at moving their groups around the house without ever interfering with another party.  They also knew their subject inside out and we all thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to view this magnificent building.  It was interesting to note that the post of Governor General alternates between the French-Canadians and other groups, which seems to work well although it must be well out of balance with the population spread.


We gave our guides tour pins as thanks for their informative presentation and as we were leaving we were asked to sign the Visitor's book, which carries many famous names, Royalty included.  Obviously a lot of entertaining is done here and in light of this, Alan left his business card - just in case there might be a wee order!

When we left the Residence, Denny went via the back gate and took Graham around the outside of the perimeter fence and through an area of magnificent older and very expensive looking properties.  A new house was being built for the owner of the Corel software house, an unbelievable two storey 20,000 sq ft property entirely clad with anti-glare glass.


We had to cross the Ottawa river by one of the earlier bridges into Hull where we were going to visit the Museum of Civilisation - some of those who had been on the 1988 Tour had been there when it was being built and they saw quite a change!


From the terrace outside the museum one can look across the river to the Parliament buildings which we were to visit on Friday and have a clear view of the flight of locks which were built to pass vessels between the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa river.


Inside, our wanderers rejoined us and we made our way to the cineplus theatre with its incredibly huge panoramic screen and steeply banked seats where we enjoyed (or endured) the stunning illusion of 'flying' through the Serengeti.


It wasn't only our white-knuckle flier who felt a bit squeamish this time - more than one felt the need for a sick bag!  We learned that the female lion does all the hunting whilst the male has sexual intercourse an incredible number of times in a day.  Oh to be a lion!! (readers will note that Archie was clearly impressed by the male lion's sexual endurance - or perhaps the opportunities available. The Diary suspects that this was the inspiration which led to his later troubles).


After the show we spent some time in the shop before going our various ways to have lunch.  Sandra, Fay and the MacDonalds were entertained in the Riddings home whilst Archie, Janey and the Hudsons had lunch with Senator John MacDonald in the Parliamentary dining room (Irene is the Senator's secretary).  They were entertained royally in a dining room which is situated at the top of the Parliament buildings and has lovely views of the river and the city.


The rest of the group had lunch in the 'Eager Beaver' in downtown Ottawa where the helpings were enormous!  Grant and Alan had Bison Burgers of staggering proportions - hardly the conventional approach to competitive curling.  Alan, of course, needs regular feeding to make up for the energy which he expends on chatting up women.


Nor did the waitresses in the Eager Beaver escape his attentions, but they seemed to take it all in their stride and we were impressed by their cheerfulness and energy. (the Diary wonders whether Alan could be persuaded to reveal the secrets of his approach in book form - we could sell it to build up funds for the return visit. Title suggestions to Malcolm, please!)


Rosemary wanted some Zovirax, so Denny took her to a local chemists shop, where she got a rather dour reception from the staff, who all seemed to be French-speaking.  She was told that she should have a prescription, but that she should nevertheless wait.


Ten minutes or so later she had the cream - for which the pharmacist himself had apparently written a prescription - at twice the price that she would have paid at home.  A smile would have cost extra - eat your heart out, Edinburgh!


We drove out to the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club in glorious sunshine and the views of the Clubhouse and fairways were fabulous.  The course has been laid out with three groups of nine holes and the manner in which they are organised means that in effect there are three courses available - what a clever idea!


We made our way to the changing rooms which are excellent.  The ladies locker room is particularly well appointed and photographs were taken to show the M.C.P.'s at the home clubs what ladies locker rooms really should be like.


The padlocks in the men's locker room caused some difficulties.  Graham almost pulled a locker over on himself whilst trying to emulate the wrist action which members used to open the padlocks.


Ian P experienced particular difficulty and eventually managed to jam one completely, but fortunately one of our hosts resolved the difficulty and managed to cover all traces.  Angus reckoned that the locks were part of an aptitude test and that we had all failed.


Although this act of vandalism was quickly forgiven, the members must have wondered what kind of incompetents were visiting.  Graham was intrigued to see that Baby Powder was provided in the washroom, and John and Malcolm indulged in some ribald speculation as to the use for which it was intended.


Out on to a large, bright and cheerful six sheet curling rink where we managed to lose yet again!!  Thank goodness for Matt, who is the only skip who is managing to have consistent success.  Ian G's opposition felt so sorry for them that they took them off for a drink after four ends in an effort to revitalise them!


We were to stay on at the Hunt Club for the evening so we were able to make full use of the excellent locker rooms to beautify ourselves.  Robin said that he had never looked better and everybody else agreed.  Not to be outdone, Sandy spent half an hour combing his hair, but there was no detectable improvement.  The ladies emerged dreamy eyed about the facilities and looking, if that were possible, more lovely than ever. (the Diary thinks that Archie has started crawling already).


We felt very honoured to be guests at a drinks reception hosted by the City of Ottawa.  Sadly, the Mayor herself was unable to attend - exhausted perhaps by her recent election campaign or by the preparations for her tour to China.


Following this our Host group and drivers entertained us to dinner in the Hunt Club's sumptuous and beautifully decorated dining room.  We had an excellent meal, although Janey was slightly taken aback to find that there were no takers for her salmon.


The evening was chaired by Denny, aided and abetted by others from the Canadian group.  Our ladies were presented with beautiful individual pewter brooches and the men were given pewter key fobs.  This kind thought was greatly appreciated and Graham was thrilled when he was presented with a large glossy book on the Archives of Canada


Doug Sears, President of the OVCA, was also a guest at the dinner and welcomed the Scots to the Valley.  We were delighted to see the Tierneys and the Macleans, who were on the 1979 tour to Scotland.


Tour Captain Graham spoke excellently on behalf of our party, a performance marred only by the control wires to his tongue having slackened through drink.




"Next time bring more like Alan Sharpe - but make them women"  (Dan Hudson)






Sandy          Malcolm         Grant                 Robin           Matt              Ian G

Sheila          Joyce              Janey                Rosemary    Tommy         Ian P

John             Anne               Jennifer            Christine      Fay               Dorothy

Sadie           Angus             Archie               Graham       Sandra         Alan


WEDNESDAY 16 NOVEMBER                             DIARISTS: Rosemary and Graham


The hotel dining room was extremely busy this morning because of a Farming Convention being held in Ottawa.  There certainly were extra staff, but they moved at a pace that made Graham seem fast by comparison and did little if anything to speed up the service.


Matt met a farming friend from Ayrshire who had only just realised that he was staying in the same hotel and it was quite like 'old home week' in the centre of the dining room for a while.


Dorothy was going to visit a pharmacy to see how it was run before meeting us at Fulton's Pancake House to have lunch and see how Maple Syrup was made.


As we drove out of town we passed an establishment which advertised themselves as 'Crown Cleaners' - we were surprised that there would be sufficient crowns needing to be cleaned, even in Ottawa, to support a business.


Ken Peskett had arranged for our drivers to meet en route, to see that everyone was with us.  Vic, of course, had taken a different road and this seemed to be causing Ken some frustration, although Vic always managed to arrive in the right place at the right time.


Thus it was again, for when we stopped beside the beautiful lake and waterfalls in the township of Alimonte (named after a Mexican General), Vic appeared shortly afterwards.  We were told that even if there is only one road to a place, Vic will still contrive to arrive by a different route.


Jackie Peskett passed round lovely tasty apples which she told us that she had picked from her own trees before setting out that morning.  Biggart swallowed this story hook, line and sinker: it is good to see him getting his leg pulled for a change.  Pity, though, that the intelligence pills so obviously aren't working - he'll really have to go!  We all enjoyed the view on this beautiful morning and the photographers in the group clicked away assiduously.


We drove on to Fulton's and were met by Shirlie, granddaughter of the original Fulton who arrived there in 1840 from Aberdeen.  She told us that her and her husband's families had always been related through drink.


We saw maple butter being prepared and tasted the maple sap - not terribly exciting or sweet.  Shirlie then said that she was going to take us into the woods, at which Sandra became visibly excited.


After a short walk into the trees, Shirlie told us that this was the sugar bush which considerably depressed Graham, who remembered a popular song from the days of his youth - longer ago than most people care to contemplate - which mentioned a sugar bush.  Graham had a mental image of this as a small bush, not unlike a holly, and was disappointed by the reality.

Some of the trees were two hundred years old and sap can only be collected from adult trees, which means forty years old onwards.  The early settlers had learned how to make the syrup from the indigenous Indians.  Nowadays the sugar bush is run like a farm and the sap is collected in the spring and drawn to the processing plant through a web of plastic piping.


Another dissy for Graham who, when a lad, had seen pictures of Canadians collecting the sap in cans hanging from the trees.  On a personal note, I find this clarity of memory rather astonishing - he can't remember what I tell him for five minutes.  Shirlie says that if he had tried gathering the quantities they need, the glamour of that image would wear off rather quickly.


They take 10% of the sap from each tree, which needs a maximum of four taps on a large tree.  Weather can vary the sugar content, but on average it takes 40 litres of sap to produce one litre of syrup.  About 70% of their production is exported world wide.


Shirlie told us to ignore any bangs as there were hunters in the woods and one or two faces paled as stories were told of enthusiastic hunters taking a shot at anything on legs.


It was with some relief, then, that we made our way back to the Pancake House, stopping en route to visit the production plant, which was tiny when you think of the volume of sap they must process each year.  Then we tasted some of the maple butter before lunch - pancakes drenched in maple syrup or sausages or both.


Many of us wanted to buy maple candy and other products like maple leaves which had been plated and made into brooches, but unfortunately they didn't have sufficient prepared.  Shirlie told Graham later that she had expected that the Scots would be too mean to buy much - a sales opportunity lost!


By now Shirlies two daughters had arrived and in his vote of thanks Alan grasped the opportunity to chat up both mother and her girls.  This seems to be a natural talent for Alan and he insists that he has had no special training.


Under way again, we stopped in Packenham to visit the General Store for sweatshirts, only to find that we had been given the wrong information.  Here we passed a church with a notice at the roadside saying 'Priest parking only' - what a quaint custom! - and saw the five span bridge over the Mississippi.


We passed through Arnprior, where we had curled on Sunday and drove a further sixteen miles to the Curling Club at Renfrew.  There we were met by President Leo McCallum before being loaded on to a School bus - plenty of room for little children, but a bit tight for big Biggart's knees.


Alan sat beside Joyce, but Malcolm was sitting behind with his video camera, which somewhat cramped Alan's style.  We were driven to the house of Earl and Marge Lindsay, built in 1890.  Earl left Lochwinnoch, which is about two miles away, as a child sixty years ago to live in Renfrew with his parents.


Earl's great grandmother had set out for Canada from Greenock, Renfrewshire, one hundred and fifty years ago.  Her husband died on the boat, but she carried on.  At the Lindsay's we were welcomed by a piper and the Town Crier, before being taken indoors for afternoon tea and cookies.


In the house we saw a pair of curling Irons which had belonged to Earl's mother.  These weighed a mere 27 pounds - men's irons weighed sixty pounds.  The Renfrew Club played with Irons until about 1953.


After that, it was back to the bus for a tour of the town, guided by Earl and Marge, who is the town's Historian and Doris Humphries, who is the town's Archivist.  Many Scots came to the area in the eighteen thirties and forties and we drove through the lumber area, then saw Paupers Corner, where the Accountants offices are - guess who photographed that one!  We then passed through the industrial area to Lochwinnoch, with Glasgow on the River Clyde a mere two miles away.  Marge very kindly gave us a copy of her script for the tour and a copy is placed at the back of the diary.


We arrived back at the ice rink at 3.57 pm against a 4.00 deadline and changed for six four end games in two sessions.  We were given glasses of (neat) whisky or Baileys Irish Cream to drink a toast before the game.  It was clear that Dorothy thoroughly enjoyed the Baileys.  A story circulated that she had managed to down six glasses.


We really doubt that a well brought up young woman could have managed so much, but she certainly was wearing a look of smug satisfaction as she left the bar.  However, the effect of the dram was deadly on some:  Janey simply couldn't see the broom through the alcoholic haze and Rosemary really wasn't much better.


The ice was excellent - what a pity we could not have had eight end games - and in spite of the Micky Finns we were all curling reasonably well.  Grant called Graham off the ice to be interviewed for the local cable TV station by Doris Humphries.  Graham only thought later that he should have persuaded Grant, a man with a really Scottish name, to do the interview himself.  Later there was some acrimonious dissension when, having left the ice 4-0 up Graham discovered that his team had lost two shots after Grant took over.


These shots were vital, for the team taking over was skipped by Tommy, who had so far demonstrated a remarkable - and, he claimed, natural - talent for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Renfrew won 21 - 20!


We were entertained by our hosts in the bar, where we met re-elected Mayor Howie Haramis, who claimed to be the only Greek Mayor in all of Canada and afterwards we went into the next room for an excellent beef and greens dinner.


After dinner, Graham was asked to read Burns poem "Jean" but before doing so he thanked the Renfrew Club for their hospitality, following which he made presentations to our hosts.  After that, Malcolm passed over the friendship letter from the Provost of Renfrew, Scotland.
We in turn were all given banners, made by Club member Rachel Pope, which had the Renfrew, Ontario cloth badges and metal pins attached.  Next Howie gave us a video to take back to the Provost of Renfrew.


The Club had brought in a local band who entertained us with lively traditional music.  One of their members also gave a superb display of step dancing - her feet were almost a blur beneath her!  Later in the evening a group of line dancers gave us a stunning display and "Mufferaw Joe" told us of the loggers life.


We really appreciated all the efforts that had gone into making us welcome but sadly, we had to leave at 11.00 pm.  We arrived back at our hotel just after midnight and following a short (for most of us) sojourn in the Hostility suite we closed down for the night.




"This is Renfrew - the bar is free!"





I think he's hot = the bugger's heavy!


Mucky mucks = toffee nosed




"To the woods!"  (Sandra)


"If I have time I will skin it for you"  (Alan)


"Shirlie's husband makes mincemeat out of butchers"  (Locksley)


"Where's the broom"?  (Janey)       "In his hand"  (Rosemary)


"Matt never gets cross when you play with him"  (Janey)


"Tommy needs new batteries"  (Anon)


"We're not going to be last again tonight"  (Sandy & Ian P) - (they were!)




1a. Matt, Rosemary, Janey, Angus                      1b. Robin, Sandy, Fay, Jennifer               12 - 3


2a. Ian G, John, Sheila, Graham              2b. Tommy, Ian P, Anne, Sandra   4 - 12


3a. Malcolm, Christine, Dorothy, Alan                  3b. Grant, Joyce, Sadie, Archie                 4 - 6

THURSDAY 17 NOVEMBER                                  DIARISTS: Fay and Sandra


Following a somewhat rushed breakfast, a rather fragile tour group gathered in the lobby to leave at 8.15 for Hylands Curling Club, which is on a Canadian Air Force Base.  Others have been allowed to join in addition to Air Force personnel.


It has recently been announced that the Base is to close because "more effective use of resources" has led to a reduction in the armed forces budget (familiar song?).  Graham was told that the City of Ottawa has undertaken to support the sports facilities on the base, so the curling rink seems to be safe in the short term.


We were welcomed by Wayne Moore and told of our opposition, who were drawn from Seniors, Business Ladies (is this another euphemism?) and members of the Board of Directors.  Wayne urged us to help ourselves from the plates of enormous pastries and doughnuts, to be helped down with coffee and cream.


Our blood alcohol levels received an unexpected but nonetheless welcome boost when the cream proved to be Irish Cream Liqueur.  Dorothy clearly found this to her liking and partook with considerable relish.  Accounts of her consumption that morning vary and in fairness to her we feel that we really must challenge the 'fifteen cups' version, although there does appear to have been a degree of depravity.  This girl has hidden depths and wore a delightful broad grin all morning!


Thus fortified, we took to the ice and curled to our normal "high" standard, further hampered by a veritable blizzard of paint flakes falling from the recently painted polystyrene ceiling throughout the games.


Vic took some of the distaff side to the shops whilst the first group curled, but later opening than at home reduced purchasing time.  Rosemary gave Graham dog's abuse for having failed to make arrangements for her to get to the shops - entirely unjustified, of course.  The suggestion that Graham is tight fisted is a damned lie: he is widely known as a kind and generous man who is always keen that his wife should spend money.


After an excellent buffet lunch (this seems more like an eating and drinking tour with some curling rather than the other way about), Graham read the Challenge and Grant gave our vote of thanks.


On our way out of Hylands, Fay and Sandra were "buzzed" by an Air Force jet - poor Sandra seems fated to have close encounters of worst possible kind with aeroplanes during this trip.


We were driven through attractive countryside with white painted farmhouses to the ice rink at Manotick and another thoroughly Scottish welcome with two pipers this time.  We wonder whether we will qualify for a full band by the end of our tour.


We were welcomed by our very own driver/Mayor Jim Stewart and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon's curling.  Tommy played a magnificent game and thoroughly deserved the accolades which followed although all things considered, his rink were pleasingly restrained in their praises.


It was Aggie who took the ladies shopping between games this time - did Rosemary miss out again? - and they went to some lovely little craft shops.


McBroom, our futile mascot, had earlier been found severely stabbed with cocktail sticks.  However, in spite of injuries which would have finished many a lesser being, he continued to exert his malevolent influence over our curling during the afternoon


After curling, we enjoyed a delicious roast beef dinner and heard a poetic vote of thanks from Tommy.  After the speechifying a weary but happy group returned to the Lord Elgin, where a lovely letter from Doris awaited us.


By this time most of us were practically moribund - indeed, Tommy was claiming that his rink had been that way since 8 am - and our evening in the Hostility Suite finished early.





"You really will like this coffee, Rosemary"!  (Dorothy)


"I haven't played this badly for at least twenty-four hours"  (Fay)


"She always holds the brush too narrow for me"  (Tommy)


"Honestly, we're not going to be last again tonight"  (Sandy & Ian P) - (they were!)




CURLING: A Saskatchewan Draw = Barrier Weight


MEDICAL: A power surge = A hot flush





Ian G            Robin              Sandy               Grant            Tommy         Matt

Rosemary    Malcolm         Christine           Fay               Sheila          Ian P

Jennifer        Janey              Archie               John             Dorothy        Joyce

Angus          Ann                 Sadie                Sandra         Graham       Alan


FRIDAY 18 NOVEMBER                                         DIARISTS: Ian and Alan



This was the day that we discovered that Fay was responsible for McBroom looking like a tartan porcupine.  This woman has a tendency to viciousness previously unsuspected.


Irene Hudson works for one of Canada's Senators and she had organised a tour of the Houses of Parliament as an 'optional extra'.  It seemed that most of the group had assembled in the lobby at 8.45 am to walk up Parliament Hill - in the rain!!  The first and only rain of the trip, it was a very heavy drizzle which soaked us but fortunately only lasted for about an hour.


We were ushered into the building in front of the queues of intending visitors thanks, it seems, to Irene's influence - useful to have friends in high places.


Our Guide was Sylvianne, a college student, who took us first to the House of Commons, which has two hundred and ninety five elected members and is modelled on our own lower house.


We then spent a few minutes in the circular library, which survived a fire which destroyed the rest of the original Parliament buildings, then built largely of wood.  The various sections of the building were dedicated to the various States and carried their coats of arms.  There was on display a huge cake in the shape of the Houses of Parliament.


The Senate was next - Canada's upper House - which has a hundred and four unelected members, appointed by the Governor General following recommendation by the Prime Minister of the day.


Our final visit was to the Memorial Chamber which was opened in 1928 to commemorate the Canadian fallen of the Great War, but now pays tribute to all Canadians who died for freedom and Peace.  The names of all of those who died in each conflict is inscribed in memorial books and a page of every book is ceremonially turned each day at 10.00 am.


As we left the buildings Alan was allegedly harassed by a Brazilian lady who was anxious to "feel the texture of his trousers"!


The rest of the morning was taken up with shopping or cultural visits, then we set off with our drivers to Maxville, the longest drive of our visit.  We had arranged to meet just outside the town for lunch at a truckers stop called the 'Max Diner'.


Joyce sat with Alan during lunch - the significance of this will be apparent later - ostensibly to keep his eyes off the waitresses' legs. "mini skirts and maxi portions" is the fully justified boast of this establishment.  When our waitress Janet was seen to respond to a casual remark by a truck driver with a resounding wallop round his ear, this served to quieten Alan's tongue - for a wee while anyway!


In Maxville we visited the Glengarry Curling Club, of which Don Bond is a leading light. Don is also Chairman of the annual Highland Games, a huge event which draws people from all over Canada.  This excellent three sheet ice rink was built in 1988 and provided us with yet another variation of the spelling of Ceud Mille Failte.


The afternoon's bonspiel consisted of six four end games against the curling Clubs of Glengarry, Alexandria and Lancaster, this latter appearing to be the only non-Scottish thing in the entire place.


Tommy avenged his four end granny at Renfrew with a fine 8 - 0 win over one of the Alexandria rinks and the overall score was 24 - 17 in favour of the Tour group.


We all enjoyed another excellent dinner and Angus gave a thoughtful vote of thanks on our behalf.  Next followed by the most extensive entertainment of the tour - four pipers, a group of step dancers and three Highland dancers - one of these being a Canadian National Champion.


A little choral activity on our part was followed by a variety of dancing including 'Strip the Willow' to one of Ontario's most popular bands, before we were driven back to the Lord Elgin for a sojourn in the Hostility Suite, which rounded off another most enjoyable day.


Archie fortified himself well - for the rigours ahead, had we but realised - and he became amorous with it, amongst other things telling Fay that she was "a lovely wee mover".  We noticed that some of the other ladies had a smile on their faces after he had whispered sweet somethings in their ears.


Oh! the wisdom of hindsight.  Had we but guessed Archie's intentions for the rest of the evening, we could have offered him cautionary counselling.




"1015? that's easy to remember. It's Alan's room number"!  (Joyce)


"Is Rosemary shopping again"?  (a chap who is either very brave or incredibly stupid)


"We're definitely not going to be last again tonight"  (Sandy & Ian P) - (guess what?)




Malcolm       Grant              Tommy             Ian G            Robin           Matt

Rosemary    Sandy             Fay                    Sheila          Joyce           Christine

John             Angus             Ian P                 Jennifer        Archie          Dorothy

Sandra         Graham          Sadie                Alan              Anne            Janey


SATURDAY 19 NOVEMBER                                  DIARISTS: Sheila and Sandy



In the morning a crestfallen Archie admitted to a monumental hangover and severe bruising caused when he fell between the beds.  There was intense speculation as to what had caused this fall until Janey told the assembled females that Archie becomes amorous, though incompetent, when in drink.


The consensus was that this applied to most men - have they never heard of distillers droop, that well known medical condition where a man's mind makes contracts that his body cannot honour?  Nonetheless, we were all delighted to hear that Archie had, in spite of his injuries, "had his holidays" after all. 


Archie's own memory of the event seems somewhat hazy.


We were to check out of the Lord Elgin today and would spend the night with our hosts before leaving.  At 11.00 we were collected and taken to the Hunt Club to curl in the Friendship Match against the members of the 1990 Canadian Tour group.  Helen Ridding 'piped' us on to the ice and the usual photographs were taken.


The arrangement was that we would play four ends, come off for lunch and then play four ends against another team in the afternoon.  The Scots start well and are ahead after the first session.


Luke Ambridge, who is the local Representative of today's sponsors Johnnie Walker, is with us and both he and Denny say a few words.  Alan Sharpe presents each of our lady hosts with a bunch of roses which clearly delights them.  Helen Doty is given artificial flowers as she is allergic to the real thing.


Dixie got a special presentation of a crystal bowl and Denny was given a large badge confirming him as an "Honorary Clan Member".


A delicious lunch arrived - seafood soup and chicken wings and we probably indulged ourselves more than was sensible.  Certainly, lunch seemed to do the Canadians no harm for in the afternoon session they drew steadily ahead whilst we fell further and further behind.  When we came off the ice the scoring committee went into session and calculated the day's result.


Don Bond announced the final scores of:-


                        Scots 104.00                         Canadians 129.06

                                                                                                            and Graham presented the Friendship Cup to Denny. There were also prizes for the best rinks which were:-


1. Grant McGregor  2. Locksley Trenholm  3. Ken Peskett  4. Ian Gillespie


The group then went off with their hosts, having arranged to meet at The Mill for our Tour Dinner for about fifty six in total.  All the ladies were talking about their bouquets of flowers.

We had potato soup, then green salad followed by a choice of Sole, Chicken or Beef and rounded off with Chocolate Mousse and coffee.


Grant seems to have a tie for all occasions - we have never seen him wear the same one twice. We wonder how he comes by them all - can it be that he actually spends money on himself?



Following the dinner and battling with the noise from the diners below, Graham made presentations to several deserving members of our Tour group as a token of recognition for their sterling (or even stirring) performances during the tour


Dorothy was given a glass of Irish Cream so that she would not suffer withdrawal symptoms.  A straw was provided so that she would not gulp it down this time!


Tears of gratitude came to Sadie's eyes when she saw the cushion we were giving her for her sore bum.  The memory her fall is obviously still painful, but Sadie consistently refuses to let us see the glorious colours which she claims for this bruise.


For Grant - a lollipop to hold in the head. The curlers in his team felt that he would do more good with this than with his broom.


We were sure that Angus would benefit from some cotton wool to help him ignore instructions from his better half.


Sandy's eyes lit up with delight when he received a giant comb for his curly locks.


Robin was given a packet of throat sweets to soothe his throat after all the shouting that he had done.


We certainly hope that Alan makes use of the special decoction produced by Dorothy and Graham which is designed to stop him chatting up women.


It has been noted that Anne had made great use of the laundry service and so she was given her very own laundry marker.  The rumour that the laundry was to close after Anne left was found not to be true.


We had by this time discovered the reason for Archie's fragile condition that morning -DRINK AND SEX!!.  He had, it seems, either been trying to emulate the lions of the Serengeti or was training for the next Olympics and whilst jumping the gap to Janey's bed - in mid-leap, we understand - he had made a small misjudgement and crashed to the floor, causing himself a variety of injuries.


In spite of our concern, we were nevertheless impressed by Archie's ambitious endeavour at his age and felt that he had thoroughly earned the Bull award with which he was now presented.  Being sympathetic by nature we were sorry that he had missed the bed and gave him a Tubi-Grip to use until his new truss was ready.


Although Ken Peskett was not one of the tour group, he had done wonders in organising our transport and had coped wonderfully with drivers not appearing and Vic always taking the scenic route.  When he forgot his shirt tonight, we felt it only fair to give him a pencil so that he could write himself a list.


Finally we felt that Tommy deserved a shot glass for remaining so cheerful in the face of all the abuse that some of us had heaped on him.



On a more serious note, Graham then presented a Quaich to each of the couples who together had made up the Host group, as a token of our thanks and appreciation for all that they had done to make our tour such an enjoyable and memorable one.


The Canadians seem to have some problems with the pronunciation of "Quaich", so we will have a competition for the best version when they visit Scotland again.


Denny spoke of the Host Group's involvement in the tour and hinted that they had even enjoyed our company.  Clearly the treatment isn't working any more and he needs skilled help!


On behalf of the Tour Group, Sandy and Sheila presented Rosemary and Graham and Joyce and Malcolm with gifts of Canadian Glassware.  These were greatly appreciated and will be treasured.


Graham then called on Fay to speak and she announced that Vic Ridding was high on the Ladies Honours list.


Unfortunately, because of pressing State duties, Her Majesty could not be here herself to invest Vic, so Fay had been asked to organise the presentation on her behalf.  It is not entirely certain that the dear Queen was fully aware of this arrangement, but we like to think that she was.


Fay told the assembled company that during our visit Vic had performed far beyond the call of duty and with no thought for his own health and welfare, had looked after every need of the ladies in the Tour Group.


Vic had performed feats of service that would have challenged many a younger man in his efforts to satisfy the ladies' demands - services, indeed, that their own husbands frequently decline to provide.  Fay noted that Vic's efforts had so debilitated him that he had even fallen asleep in his vehicle one afternoon behind one of the Rinks that we had visited.


For these selfless efforts Vic was invested as a Companion of the A O T B - the Ancient Order of Toy Boys - and Rosemary presented him with the Gold Medallion of the Order in an emotional scene which brought tears to a few eyes and lumps to many a throat.


The Canadians scored us full tens at last - this time for not singing, which they thought to be impossible against the background noise.  The Tour group took revenge by giving a rendition (and we mean that most sincerely) of 'Flower of Scotland', with which at least they themselves felt pleased.



"Wee McBroom" was left with our Canadian hosts. He had brought us no luck and we might as well see whether he will equally defeat them when they return to Scotland.




Sandy          Malcolm         Grant                 Robin           Matt              Ian G

Sheila          Joyce              Janey                Rosemary    Tommy         Ian P

Angus          John                Jennifer            Christine      Fay               Dorothy

Anne            Sadie             Archie               Graham       Sandra         Alan




The entire tour party were delighted to have been invited to stay in the home of one of our hosts for the last night.  The Diary was very taken by Anne's account of their stay and set out to add some comments from others. We have included them at this point as it seemed to be in the natural sequence of things.


Anne and Angus:  We stayed with Enid and Don Bond and when we arrived home we sat talking quietly round the big kitchen table in the farmhouse.  We greatly admired the Quaich gifted to the Bonds and particularly noted the fine chasing.  We were careful not to say the word "Quaich" too often lest they should gain an advantage in the competition.


We spent a peaceful night and woke in the morning to blue skies and a mild climate once again.  We had a 'Bond' good morning - bagpipes at breakfast, Herefords on the front lawn and four ginger kittens playing! Enid has found homes for three of them - any offers for number four?  Something was said about a neutered Tom and I seem to remember an old saying about closing the stable door!



Dorothy and Ian:  We were lucky to be staying with one of the main contributors to "Gidday Once More", so we enjoyed lovely home made muffins for breakfast. Thanks Irene and Dan.


Rosemary and Graham:  Audrey and Denny drew the short straw and we spent a most pleasant evening with them when we returned from the Old Mill.  Getting to sleep presented neither of us with problems and we woke to sunshine, coffee and muffins.


After breakfast a bit of rapid packing and then a walk down to the river in the bright crisp morning air, which was quite delightful.  The warmth of the welcome we were given is a memory that will stay with us for a very long time.

SUNDAY 20 NOVEMBER                                       DIARISTS: Anne and Angus


We set out from Maxville to join the rest of the group and on our way we visited a cheese factory where we made our purchases.  We have since tasted some and can pronounce it extremely good!


There is no Sunday shopping in Ottawa and Graham thought that he was safe and lowered his guard. Denny, however, took them to a warehouse that was open - and worse than that, told Rosemary in great detail about the wonderful range of goods stocked and the bargains on offer.


Denny even took her into the building but fortunately Rosemary by now had realised that Biggart had gone into shock and, displaying considerable self discipline, refrained from buying - is this a first, we ask ourselves??


The Diary was later to hear that Graham hadn't realised where they were bound until the very last moment - and by then it was far too late for diversionary tactics.  He confided to the Diary that he considers Denny's actions to have been sly, treacherous and thoroughly underhand, certainly not the behaviour of a gentleman and quite probably in breach of the Geneva convention.


Graham was even more horrified when he discovered later that Denny thoroughly enjoyed himself and is now actively thinking of suitable means of retribution - vengeance is mine saith My Lord!


Archie and Janey were staying with Ken and Jackie and had the opportunity of seeing a beaver dam - quite a work of art and achievement.  John and Sadie, staying with Dixie and Locksley, were out and about early to see the overnight results of Mr Beaver's handiwork - trees almost gnawed through.  It is not an uncommon sight to see a tree being dragged across the road.


The beaver is a real workaholic and leaves a lot of clearing up to be done after all his efforts.


We all then made our way to the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club to meet up with the entire party for some Sunday Brunch - and it really was quite an experience!  So much beautifully cooked and prepared foods and salads and so attractively displayed - which one to choose?


Some of us tried valiantly to sample as many dishes as possible, but to try them all was just not feasible - we would have had to starve for a week beforehand and this we certainly had not done!!  Just a wonderful feast of sight and scent to tempt the taste buds.  Our heartfelt thanks to Doris and the former Ottawa Valley Scottish Tour participants for hosting this lunch.


After lunch most of us went for a short walk round the golf course and Janey was spied chatting up the golfers.  She was then offered a club and had two shots on a par three hole, both balls landing on the green - well done Janey!


We went our separate ways to the Airport where we were given a right royal send-off.  Everyone was there including our two new friends from City View.  It was an emotional parting of our ways - so many friends, so many good-byes.


Our party was to be reduced to sixteen for the journey home because Grant and Jennifer were staying in Ottawa for a few days holiday, whilst Archie and Janey were going on to Toronto to visit family, accompanied by Malcolm and Joyce who were then going on to Detroit to visit friends.  Sandy and Sheila were going to Lake Ontario to visit family.


We were again flying with Martinair and there was even more room on the aircraft than on the outward journey.  This time our landing at Halifax was uneventful and we settled down for the overnight crossing of 'the pond'




Another uneventful landing and then we had some time to wander around the Duty Free area at Schipol where again some were tempted.


Alan, we discovered, had gone in search of a leather belt and had been offered a designer belt at seventy nine pounds - and this duty free!  In his usual style he informed the sales girl that at that price he could buy two pairs of trousers with belts in Marks and Sparks.  Ian P was heard to remark that if it was only to hold up his trousers then a piece of rope or string - Compo style - could be had for free!!


And so to the final leg of our journey home.  The aircraft for Glasgow was full and we were all by now very tired, although game to the end.  When we reached Glasgow, what a pleasure it was to be met by a group of Greenock Ladies (although some may say that this is a contradiction in terms) with friendly smiles and welcoming banners to greet our return.


More good-byes - this time to the rest of our Tour group before we all set off for our various homes.


This tour was a wonderful experience and quite unique - our thanks go to all the Canadians who welcomed us with such warmth and hospitality.  In particular we remember our drivers and the Host group and the work that they put in on our behalf.  We look forward to their return visit when we will, hopefully, be able to return some of the hospitality which we have received.


This has indeed been a 'Goodwill' tour.




Eventually all the wanderers returned and quite a few met up again at the Province Bonspiel.


From Alan's subdued demeanour throughout the Pitlochry weekend, it is obvious that not only has he been taking our decoction regularly, but that it is very effective!


The Diary was sorry to hear that shortly after returning from Canada, Janey hurt her back and has had to stop curling - temporarily, we hope.


At about the same time we discovered that Archie had to have several stitches in his head.  We leave you to draw your own conclusions, dear reader, but wonder whether Archie has failed to learn from the débâcle in Ottawa and has not yet foresworn gymnastic sex in an attempt to avoid further injury.  Damned lions!!


Sandra's horizons were definitely broadened by the Tour.  She has confided to the Diary that she was surprised and comforted to find that Robin can make mistakes!


In early December Malcolm received a letter from the Equerry to Prince Charles regretting that the Dear Prince (God bless him!) felt unable to provide a letter of greeting as we had requested.  We are considerably impressed by the urgency with which our simple request was treated!!