Wednesday, August 27, 2008

JOURNEY'S END (for both of us)

August 27th & 28th, 1827

Entered Steel River, a stream of some magnitude but not so rapid as the last. Breakfasted at its junction with the York River [nowadays the Hayes River]. Continued until dusk when we put to shore, boiled the kettle and embarked under sail. Aurora borealis beautiful [we were prevented from seeing the Aurora by the storm which kept us benighted]. The idea of finishing my journey and expectations of hearing from England made the night pass swiftly.

At sunrise on Tuesday I had the pleasing scene of beholding York Factory two miles distant, the sun glittering on the roofs of the house (being covered in tin) and in the bay riding at anchor the company's ship from England [the Prince of Wales].

The hearty welcome I had to the shores of the Atlantic from Mr McTavish and others was to me not a little gratifying [altho the York Factory Journal merely records that they arrived!]. In the most polite manner everything that could add to my comfort was instantly handed, including a new suit of clothing, linen etc [the Pants] ready to put on [altho this would all be accounted for and paid for by the Horticultural Society of course]. No letters from England

Regret the death of my Calumet Eagle; was strangled a few days ago with the cord by which he was tied by the leg; fell over the eavings of one of the houses and was found dead in the morning. What can give one more pain - this animal I carried 2000 miles and now lost him, I might say, at home.

It now only remains to state that I have had great assistance, civility and friendly attentions from the various persons I have formed an acquaintance with during my stay in North America.

And here our journeys come together. In 2008 I can only echo Douglas's sentiments above.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have followed his travels to York Factory in remote Manitoba. Like him, our party has been assisted at every stage with every kindness, particularly by Ian Campbell and Doug Gibbs (and Nelson the dog) of Parks Canada at York Factory, and Bronwen Quarry of the Manitoba Archives, all of whom went far beyond the call of duty to help us illuminate the Douglas story.

Tomorrow, August 28th, 2008 - the 181st anniversary of Douglas's arrival at York Factory - I fly out of Winnipeg and back home. Thank you for your patience in following this parallel blog through 1827 and 2008; not many people have commented but I know people have been watching it. Normal allotment service will resume in due course.


The Gnome said...

Well done Woody !! Some journey that. I think your parallel blog has been a great success and highly original. Make certain you make a movie and write a book. Goodness knows what your allotment looks like while you have been gallivanting.

Woody Wilbury said...

Thanks Gnome; it was indeed quite a journey.

Filming "David Douglas the movie" has already started, including York Factory and British Columbia (with yours truly on screen several times). Next up is Hawaii in February, Scotland & Kew in May and (fingers crossed for the funding) a planned premiere in Perth in October '09.

As for the allotment, the least said the better. If it weren't so wet I'd take a flamethrower to it and start again. But it'll soon start to die back and that gives me the winter to get stuck in and sort it out (I think more of it may lie fallow next year!).