Lost Under a Big Sky
You never know what you might find whilst out hiking on the prairies of Alberta
I have never been to Canada. This is something that I hope to rectify when life finally gets back to something resembling normal, because it's a place that has always appealed to me, from getting 'screeched in' in Newfoundland (which mostly seems to involve drinking rum and kissing a fish - which is not a euphemism) to dinosaurs in Alberta. There are big cities, and rolling prairies, and there seems to be a lot to see and do.
But a Canadian friend of mine saw something this week that I wouldn't have expected. Whilst hiking with permission on some private land (she's asked me not to say exactly where), she came across a jumble of tumbledown - but phenomenally charismatic - farm buildings.
I mean really, does it get more charismatic than that?
And parked, if you can call it that, around the buildings, were a few surprises.
Once upon a time this was a Series 1 Land Rover
Exhibit A is this Series 1 Land Rover, and although it's not going anywhere now, it probably had a few adventures over the years. You can't see it here, but it's far from standard under the blue tarp and other assorted crap. At some point in its life, it was converted into a camper van, and no doubt covered many miles of the open prairie before being parked up and left to the elements.
This was not the only surprise hiding in the long grass, however. Parked up nearby was another British classic, proudly displaying its heritage by flying a Union Flag.
This Ford Anglia has been standing for some time, looking bone-bleached and rusty, but largely intact despite the best efforts of the prairie to grow through the rear bumper. That said, apart from a few missing bits of trim, it doesn't look as bad as you might expect. It probably won't go anywhere again, but if someone was really determined, it does look like it might not be completely dead yet.
One thing that is really nice about this car is that my friend noticed there was a non-standard badge on the back, and she wondered whether it meant that the car had been assembled locally or had some other Canadian connection. It wasn't too hard to decipher the decorative logo, and once I picked out 'Healy Edmonton' a quick Google showed that this was a Ford dealership established in 1956. Not only was it the source of this geriatric Ford Anglia, but it may well have been the origin of the third discovery.
The final discovery was a Mk II Ford Zephyr, a car that was introduced in 1956, the year that the Healy dealership opened. This one is well on the way to being swallowed up by the prairie. Again though, it doesn't look like a lot was missing when it was parked up, although pretty much all of the glass is gone. However, it does seem to have had a pretty major impact on the passenger side at some point, so perhaps this is why it ended up like the rest of the dinosaurs in Alberta, forgotten in the middle of nowhere and just waiting to be rediscovered.
Later in the day my friend moved on, taking nothing but photographs and memories with her, and leaving the cars to rust in peace. I'm very grateful that she shared them with me, and even more grateful that she gave me permission to share them with you. As for crediting, she knows who she is, and that's all she wants me to say.