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Michael Furey "thefurey" (England)
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David Thompson: The Epic Expeditions of a Great Canadian Explorer (Amazing Stories (Altitude Publishing))
David Thompson: The Epic Expeditions of a Great Canadian Explorer (Amazing Stories (Altitude Publishing))
by Graeme Pole
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Short History of David Thompson, 19 Jan 2010
Graeme Pole is the author of several guides to the Canadian Rockies. So it's fitting that he should write this book.
David Thompson is probably the best-known of the early explorers of the North-West of Canada and the Rockies in particular. After an apprenticeship with the Hudson's Bay Company, he began surveying much of the territory under the official command of that body. He did such good work that his promotion was rapid, and his pay substantially increased. Yet he became dissatisfied with his work for HBC and joined the more vigorous 'upstarts' of the North West Company in his mid-twenties.
For the next 30 years, he pushed his knowledge of the wild country of Western Canada to the limit. After many false starts, he finally reached the headwaters of the Columbia River and established trade with the far side of the Rockies. Due to trouble with the Piegan people, he forged a newer route through the mountains and eventually reached the Pacific at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River.
Thompson's later map of the Rockies was a marvel of surveying for its time. It was hung in the great hall of Company headquarters at Fort William (now Thunder Bay). Unfortunately, a London mapmaker used most of his work without payment or even credit for it.
If you want to know about the great voyages of the fur-trading years, without buying the expensive but thorough copy of Thompson's 'Narrative', this book is a good place to start. Pole has taken a long story and distilled the character of a great pioneer into 140 pages.


Tales from the Canadian Rockies
Tales from the Canadian Rockies
by Brian Patton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Taster, 19 Jan 2010
This is an anthology of writings about the Rockies. That's pretty obvious from the title but what isn't so obvious is the historic scale of the writings. From First Nation peoples to Jon Whyte (b. 1941) of Banff, the book covers extracts from the classic writings like Alexander Mackenzie's and David Thompson on the early days of fur-trade exploration; missionaries like Fr Jean de Smet; railway builders; 'outfitters' and mountain guides; haughty English mountaineers and those with the simple attitude of 'Go, look, see' like the famous Mary TS Schaffer.
A lot of the selections explain the origin of the curious names like Kicking Horse Pass and The Committee's Punch Bowl or the trials of trailfinding through 'blow-down' timber. There are grim stories of semi-starvation during the pass-finding days when routes to the Pacific coast were unknown to white men, and familiar to few First Nation people. There are tales of pioneers; gentlemen travellers; layabouts like Felix Ó Byrne who never carried a burden he could shirk yet had a mountain named after him (proof that there's no justice). Some of the women encountered here were tough in the true meaning of enduring. Mary TS Schaffer's explorations north from Lake Louise to Yellowhead Pass are well-known; what's less well-known is an exploit of Lady Susan Agnes Macdonald, wife of the then Prime Minister of Canada. She insisted on riding on the cowcatcher of a locomotive from Laggan station below Lake Louise over the Kicking Horse Pass. Try that on with Health and Safety nowadays...
You can read this straight through. first time around. You can dip in and out of it, picking out favourite pieces, many times more. After reading it, for sure, you'll have a new appreciation of the people who came to the Rockies and learned to love that wonderful area. After awhile, you'll be able to drop in little comments to show that you know more about the Rockies than you'll learn from any guidebook. If you want to know what the early travellers experienced and felt, you won't find much better than this book.


Hunter of Peace (Non Fiction Account of Expedition to Maligne Lake)
Hunter of Peace (Non Fiction Account of Expedition to Maligne Lake)
by Mary Schaffer
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hunter of Peace in the Canadian Rockies, 28 Dec 2009
'A Hunter of Peace' was published to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Province of Alberta. It has a short biography of Mary TS Schaffer by EJ Hart which sets her life and achievements in context. Then comes her original book, 'Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies', and her 'The 1911 Expedition to Maligne Lake'. My own copy was worth the purchase price for the account of the 1911 expedition to map the whole of Maligne Lake. This has a much warmer tone than her earler account. That's a great story but rather too modestly told. I know that was the fashion then and I still appreciate it but the second of her accounts is much more human.

I first found references to Mary Schaffer in Graeme Pole's excellent Altitude Guides to the Canadian Rockies. He says that she was an exceptional woman but you have to read her own accounts of her travels to realise just how exceptional she was. At a time - early 20th century - when women hardly travelled anywhere without a chaperone, she undertook arduous trips through country known only to First Nation hunters and a few white trappers. But she wasn't just an adventurer; she was an accomplished botanist, photographer and painter. She'd illustrated most of the works of her late husband on their 19th century field trips to the Rockies.

This was when the only trans-Canada railway was the southern route via Banff and Kicking Horse Pass. The crowded modern resort of Lake Louise was still a heavy trek from the railroad at Laggan (Lake Louise Village). The Columbia Icefield Parkway was decades in the future. Motor vehicles were unknown in the Rockies; all travel was on foot or horseback and needed arranging long before setting out. Those were the days of the 'outfitters' who provided riding- and pack-horses, tents, clothing, food and guides.

Schaffer's journeys took her from Laggan all the way to Jasper but not by a direct route. The trip to Maligne Lake, the first by a European woman, should have ended at Jasper but was brought to a dead stop by the thick country beyond the mouth of the lake. Now it's a short drive from Jasper; then it was choked with thick forest and deadfalls.

After my own travels in that area, it's humbling to think that the leisurely half-day drive between Banff and Jasper took Schaffer's party months of bushwhacking; more often leading her horse than riding it; sleeping in clumsy canvas tents; swimming horses across ice-cold rushing rivers. Not many people would face that today; I know I wouldn't fancy it at all.

If you want to know in detail what travelling for 'fun' was like in the Rockies 100 years ago, this is the best book for you.


Canadian Rockies Superguide
Canadian Rockies Superguide
by Graeme Pole
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rockies by car, 20 Sep 2009
I can't remember whether this is Pole's first, second or third guide to the Canadian Rockies but, whichever it is, it does its job. This one's primarily aimed at the motorist though he does comment that few visitors venture more than 1km away from their vehicles. Pole would much rather they did and the book offers some tempting titbits. He covers the National Parks only, with a few short references to the Provincial Parks.

He breaks up the main text with 'sidebars' on the geology, history and flora and fauna of the region. These are never dull and often throw light on neglected subjects. The very short biographies of historical characters are fascinating, giving a sight of a forgotten era. Illustrations are superb, especially the mountain photography; unlike many authors, Pole doesn't restrict them to his own work but gives credit to other photographers.

If you want to know more about Canada's Rocky Mountains without wading through pages of hotel adverts, you could do a lot worse than buy this guide. In fact, I'd heartily recommend it.


Secrets of the Face: Love, Fortune and Personality Revealed the Siang Mien Way (Coronet Books)
Secrets of the Face: Love, Fortune and Personality Revealed the Siang Mien Way (Coronet Books)
by Lailan Young
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't stare at strangers after you've read this book, 7 July 2009
I read Lailan Young's book many years ago and have regretted its disappearance many times. The author opens up a whole new way of looking at people to judge their characters. Siang Mien is an ancient Chinese discipline that lays out the different shapes of facial features and comments on the way they show a person's character. This is not airy-fairy New Age wittering nor a template for snap decisions but a real set of indicators that we all carry.

Some of us will be surprised if we honestly examine our faces and align the different characteristics they betray. I know I was. The author is at pains to point out that we shouldn't judge people by isolating one feature but should take the sum of the parts into consideration. Because of the age of the book, some of the people she uses to illustrate her points may not be known to younger readers but that shouldn't deter them from going through the text.

The author explains that Siang Mien is the reason why so many Chinese people seem to stare at strangers. I've been conscious of that ever since I first read the book 25 years ago. 'Secrets of the Face' isn't essential reading as such but it's certainly a skill worth learning. It might even help you avoid making bad decisions about people.

I suppose that Siang Mien is the original 'character reference'.


Hoya 58mm G Series UV Filter
Hoya 58mm G Series UV Filter
Offered by CameraKing
Price: £9.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars filters, 7 July 2009
I've used Hoya filters for many years; I've bought filters from West Lancs Photographic before and been highly satisfied both with the filter and with the price and speed of despatch. I bought this and another filter for my son while I was in Canada. I hunted round various Canadian dealers but West Lancs offered by far the best deal. My son's happy with the results from this filter, as I knew he would be. So it's full marks to West Lancs for their service at such a low price for a good filter.


Hama Clip-On Adapter - Minolta/Sony Flash Shoe to Standard Connection
Hama Clip-On Adapter - Minolta/Sony Flash Shoe to Standard Connection
Price: £9.50

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plastic rubbish, 2 May 2009
I've given this one star because Amazon demand a positive rating. If there were black holes for negative ratings, I'd give it five.

Don't think that this will let you use a standard flash gun on a Sony camera. It won't; got that? IT WON'T. There's no electronic connection between the Sony flash shoe and this, nor between this and any flash gun.
Why there are two pieces to it is a mystery to me because about the only use I can see for it is to mount a 2-way spirit level. For the price of this piece of junk you can buy enough double-sided tape to stretch 30 times round Jonathan Ross's head, or gag Jeremy Clarkson for 2 days.
Hama should be ashamed to market it without a warning that it's virtually useless. Don't buy it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2011 1:57 AM BST


Ex-Pro Fuji NP45, NP-45, High Power Plus+ 2 Year Warranty Replacment Lithium Li-on Digital Camera Battery for Fuji FinePix
Ex-Pro Fuji NP45, NP-45, High Power Plus+ 2 Year Warranty Replacment Lithium Li-on Digital Camera Battery for Fuji FinePix
Offered by ExpressPro
Price: £4.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars battery, 24 April 2009
What can you say about a battery? It works, it's cheap, and that's about it. Delivery was prompt and cheap enough, to say that it's fixed by Amazon. I'm confident that it's as good as the original Fuji battery that came with the camera. So I'm taking it to Canada next month. Can't say fairer than that, can I?


Irish Ways - The Story of Ireland in Song, Music and Poetry
Irish Ways - The Story of Ireland in Song, Music and Poetry
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £9.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars easy history, 24 April 2009
This CD and booklet are a quick run through Irish history from the standpoint of the 'plain people of Ireland'. Everything on the CD is in the booklet, so there's no excuse for not learning the words of the songs and poems. Most compilations are just thrown together from back catalogues, usually to tempt you to buy further CDs. All of Kavana's have a theme to them; emigration, resistance, etc. This one covers just about the lot. Ron Kavana's done a lot of good work in pulling together compilations of Irish music but this is his best effort yet.


Hoya 55mm G Series PL-CIR Screw in Filter
Hoya 55mm G Series PL-CIR Screw in Filter
Offered by CAMERA CLUB
Price: £19.38

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars top value, 24 April 2009
You can find Hoya filters like these in many camera shops but you won't find them cheaper than this. Hoya are an industry-standard for filters so you're not getting some cheap imitation. There are 'sound-alike' filters out there but beware of them; they don't stand comparison with Hoya. There's no point in economising on filters; they're right in front of your lens so any blemishes will show up in your photos. What's the point in having a top of the range camera if you stick any old filter in front? You can buy these filters with confidence.
West Lancs were very helpful and quick to answer my emails, so top marks to them for service.


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