Personal History - Del Holt

Subject: Life after flying

     Cruising down the M5/6, one Friday summers evening in "76. with the gas needle on E, wall to wall trucks on the two inside lanes the flashing lights of a Jag XK behind me, I thought there has got to be a better way of earning a living than this.

    In 1961, during my tour on Brittanias, I was lucky to land at Calgary's McCall Field (now the International Airport) and I was immediately struck by the big blue sky,the vast spaces and the excitement of the place.

    That evening after finally getting fuel and heading south to my home in Swindon, that first day in Calgary flooded back into my mind and there and then I decided to try my luck across the "pond".

    Beryl, my wife, did not exactly embrace this idea, as  a Piscean I was given to spur of the moment decisions, but undaunted I quit my job and the following Monday caught A Wardair 747 to "gods country".

    I had only a tourist ticket and had 17 days to find employment and then return to the UK and await at the Government du Canada ( A Francaise) leisure for landed immigrant visas. On day 2 with help from a friend I was  offered a job as a welding technologist, what ever that may be, and my new employer took me to Immigration and filled out the necessary forms. You know there has to be forms.... smile.

    Without making this a pioneer epic I returned to Swindon jobless almost  broke and awaited my visa, this took six months with medicals and interviews and more forms. If at that time I had been Lebanese it would have taken about 3 weeks, but this was during Pierre Trudeau's reign , he did not want anymore Brits.

   Our "Mayflower" was a Air Canada DC8, packed to the gunwales, but we did not care; Beryl my youngest son Richard and I were off to a new beginning.

   On arriving at Calgary Airport I was told my job was'toast" ,so I took a minimum wage job in Timothy Eatons (big Canadian dept store) warehouse. Beryl hired on with the local Dairy Queen (ice cream parlour) she was soon fired , being left handed she could not get the swirl on the ice cream cones to go the right way. Soon we had regular jobs I got on with International Aeradio (sub of British Airways). this was great as I was entitled to free flights, which my kids left in the Uk soon took up.

   Eventually the family was reunited four kids and us, all studying to be Plastic Canadians ( citizens)

   After four years , and now having the right to vote, Beryl and I were lucky to get jobs at the University of Calgary , where we stayed until the Alberta Premier made us an offer we could not refuse. Retire early on full pension or be let go, we chose the former.

    This is turning into a saga, so just a few words about Calgary. Its the second city of Alberta situated in southern Alberta ,elevation 3600 feet, on the eastern slopes (foothills) of the Rocks ( Rockies to you guys). Inhabited by 900,000 multiracial people ( a Canadian is an immigrant with seniority). The weather is weird but you get used to it, our rain falls mainly in June the rest of the precip is white stuff , temps ranged from -40C to +35C, not all in the same day. If you like the Great Outdoors this is IT, topped off by the Calgary Stampede in early July, 10 days of horses, hooting and roaring and hilarity.

   Well not to bore you anymore, I close, saying come on over, Tims Tours will look after you.

Del Holt



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