Monthly Archives: May 2014

May 17 and all’s well – we have books in (two) stores!

This hot off the press, having just visited both these Kelowna stores: Mosaic Books on Bernard Avenue has five copies, for sale at $19.95; Chapters at Orchard Park has none, though their computer says they are available to order if anybody phones to ask for a copy.

Heard from cousin Marjory in Vancouver that Hager Books has copies and that she bought two there this morning, maybe more.

It looks as if the distributor, Raincoast Books, has been doing its stuff.

All good news!

Cherry Point 2a

Author and wife on the beach at Cherry Point, near Duncan BC

Don’t worry – in spite of their worried look, things are looking up and finally, we have BOOKS IN STORES.

31 May 2014 will be the centenary of an historic photograph

Rufus - set 1h

It was taken a hundred years ago this month! That’s a pretty special picture, if you ask me. Does it come from the book?

It does, in fact you’ll find it in the first set of pictures – following page 61.

Tell us about it – who were these fellows?

Well, the older man at the back was Rufus’s Dad. He was an English vicar and he’d scraped together the cost of coming to BC to visit his three sons and his grandson. He’d arrived in May and would go home at the end of July. He’s holding Derek, his grandson, who died in 2009 at 96

Were any of the old man’s children still living in England?

Fortunately, yes – he had three at home, two daughters and a son. People had big families at that time, so he wasn’t all alone. But still, his three eldest children – all sons – were living in BC, and he missed them terribly.

Why didn’t their mother come too?

B 2 Nellie Lukin, Rufus's mother who died in 1903

Who, Nellie? Because she’d died eleven years earlier – at the birth of their younger brother Peter. Here she is, and it’s not the picture of her you’ll find in the book

So, when the picture was taken Rufus was living in Victoria – and Linden Cottage was his house? What was he doing for a living?

He’d just started as News Editor at the Daily Colonist  in Victoria.

And his brothers?

Roy, a qualified lawyer, was 29 and working in the CPR’s legal department in Vancouver. Lyonel was only 19 and had just arrived in BC. He was  becoming a surveyor – doing a sort of apprenticeship. He’d snatched a few days off to come and see his father but had to leave in the morning to get back to his bush-camp up north.

Maybe this was  the only chance to get them all together for a picture?

That’s absolutely right – and it was the last picture taken of them all together. World War One broke out while the old man was on his way home. Roy and Lyonel joined the army right away, Rufus in 1915, and before there was an opportunity to get together on leave in England, Lyonel had been killed and Roy gassed.

G 7  Lyonel 1916.03 Colonist, on promotion to captain

Poor Lyonel – how did he become a captain so quickly?

Well, he started as a private, was commissioned in the field and ended up commanding a company of 60 men because every other officer had been killed. So they made him a captain in 1916 and this picture was in the Daily Colonist. He was killed soon afterwards, just before his 21st birthday.

That group picture certainly had a story to it. What are you planning to celebrate its centenary?

As luck would have it, Val and I will be in Victoria that day. Allan has scoped out Linden Avenue and, although the cottage was torn down to make way for apartments, we’ll have a three generation photograph on a nearby doorstep  – Allan’s children are the fifth generation of Rufus’s Canadian family.  And any other of Rufus’s descendants are welcome to join us. As the outlaw, I’ll take the picture.

Who took the original one?

Bee did – you can see the shadow of her head on Lyonel’s foot. I guess she took it because she was the outlaw! Plus, it was a guy picture.

Rufus publication date 1 June 2014; likely available from 22 May in stores that have ordered copies.

Rufus - original design for book-cover

So, the great day has arrived – finally!

I’ll believe it when I actually pick up books from the publishers – and that won’t be until Thursday, May 8. By then the first batch will have been printed.

But not yet available to buyers? Why’s that?

Because before that can happen they have to be distributed to stores that have placed orders – and then those stores have to display them. The process will take about two weeks – until 22 May, in fact.

I see. So what advice do you have for somebody who wants to buy a copy?

First, try your local independent bookseller. Many independents have copies ordered and, if they haven’t received their copies yet, get them to reserve one for you.

And the alternative?

Try your local Chapters store – though likely they won’t have copies any sooner. Mysteriously, Chapters’ website claims to have sold out – but don’t believe a word of it – nobody has yet bought a copy of Rufus!

Is there also an E-book?

There is – and it can be had from

That’s all wonderful – I hope we sell plenty of copies.

So do I, dear boy – believe me, so do I!