The Octagon – March, 2022

Greetings all,

As we March into Spring we look forward to longer and brighter days ahead. Snowdrops have emerged, various other bulbs are poking through the soil and the birds are increasing their chatter…… all the usual signs of a new beginning.  We humans are also looking forward to a new beginning as mandates lift and we get back to doing all the things we used to do……but with a good dose of caution thrown in.

At Fintry we are making plans for a more normal season and we look forward to holding our Fairs in May, July and September as well as some new events in June and August. We certainly hope that you can attend at least one of our planned programming events.

The Fintry Provincial Park opens on April 1st and camping reservations can be made starting March 21st, when you visit

Dan, our curator, has been perusing his extensive library and has discovered some interesting and very timely correlations between days gone by and today…..

One of the most popular writers of children’s adventure novels in late Victorian times was Sir Henry Rider Haggard.    Tales such as “King Solomon’s Mines”, “Alan Quartermain” and “She” (who must be obeyed) are even now easily available in several editions, and as so often the case, written for the young, but equally appreciated by adults.   (There is a first edition of King Solomon’s Mines out there for sale, at $14,933.00).

Apart from being a successful author, he was a magistrate and a gentleman farmer in Norfolk.  In 1898 he turned his literary talents to the production of “A Farmer’s Year” which was essentially his diary, giving us a detailed look at the daily operations of a 350 acre mixed farm.   This is exactly the kind of farming that James Dun-Waters would have been familiar with before his move to Canada, and if Sir Henry had visited Fintry, (which he certainly did not) there would have been a complete appreciation of what was being done.

An interesting passage in Sir Henry’s diary concerns the issue of “anti-vaccinationers”.   As a magistrate, he had to deal with the situation created by the Government’s decision to allow ‘conscientious objectors’ to leave their children unvaccinated.   At this time, Covid-19 was not the problem, but small-pox.

“Never before, I imagine, at least in these enlightened days has such sanction been given to the wretched theory that ‘freedom’ consists in giving a man the right to gratify his own whim, however mischievous, at the cost of society at large, and never before has the doctrine of the power of the parent over his offspring been pushed so far”.  And this was written in 1898.

He goes on to give an example from Venezuela, that was reported on in the London Press, where the city of Valencia with a population of 35,000 and no particular enthusiasm for vaccination, had 5,221 cases of small-pox. This alarmed the health authorities, and when the capital, Caracas, which had at that time a population of 80,000, began to be infected, compulsory vaccination was enforced, with the result that there were 400 cases only.

As a magistrate, Sir Henry did not have to deal with protesters, (perhaps the Norfolk population was too polite), however he did have issues with those who claimed immunity from the requirement to vaccinate on grounds of conscience.

“Anti-Vaccers” are not a new species!

On that note, I wish you all good health!

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

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