Memoirs, Or Shadows Of What Has Been
By Peter Landry

Chapter Thirty-Seven, 1986, "BYE, Maders Cove; HELLO Little Harbour

Here we are in 1986, and the final frontier continued its expansion: the seventh planet from the Sun, Uranus, was reached. On January 24th, the unmanned space ship, Voyager 2, sped by. Uranus was named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky, Uranus. It is about 20 times the distance from the Sun than the earth is from the sun (earth is 93,000,000 miles from the sun, or one AU). The diameter is roughly four times that of Earth. The surface area is 63 times that of earth. It orbits the sun every 84 years. It has 27 known moons, though its largest, Titania, has a radius of less than half that of our Moon. Uranus has no well-defined solid surface; though it has a solid core (relatively small) made mostly of silicon. The mass of the planet is made of ices, such as water, ammonia, and methane. Its mean temperature is about -200 centigrade. It is not a place, by any measure, suitable for the habitation of man.

As for Voyager 2: it was launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 to study the outer planets. Part of the Voyager program, it was launched 16 days before its twin, Voyager 1, but on a different trajectory which enabled it to encounter Uranus and Neptune. It is the only spacecraft to have ever visited these giant ice planets. Voyager 2 is still hurtling through space but not yet beyond the influence of the sun. Incidentally, its sister ship, Voyager 1, in an entirely different direction, is fully into interstellar space. Signals of the two are still coming in, though there will be a point when we will hear from them, no more.

Closer to our planet, advances can be seen in respect to spacecrafts in orbit around the earth. Like all progress in any project, there are successes and failures. Hopefully more of the former than the latter. On January 28th of this year, 1986, however, there was a setback, a failure; the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after launch, killing the crew of 7 astronauts, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. About five weeks later, United States Navy divers found the largely intact but heavily damaged crew compartment of the Space Shuttle Challenger; the bodies of all seven astronauts were still inside.

Another event of an-out-of-the-world nature was when, on February 9th, Halley's Comet reached its perihelion, the closest point to the Sun, during the two times it did so in the 20th Century, when it visited the neighbourhood near the sun (the first visit was in 1910).

In keeping with out-of-the-world events: on the 19th of February, the Soviet Union launched its space station, the Mir.

On March 14th (my birthday), Microsoft Corporation holds its initial public offering of stock shares. Too bad somebody didn't think to give me a few thousand shares - if it had been done, I would be on easy street today.

Let's see - On April 26th, the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor exploded sending massive quantities of radioactive material into the atmosphere. In time, "traces of radioactive deposits unique to Chernobyl were found in nearly every country in the northern hemisphere." Paradoxically, the event occurred while a safety test was being conducted. Beside the huge property damage, the radioactive fallout from the accident caused the death of many people and obliged hundreds-of-thousands of others to relocate.

The social event of the year was when, in London, on July 23rd, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, married Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey. While in London, we should mention that in October, The Phantom of the Opera, the longest running show in history, opened at Her Majesty's Theatre in London.

Oh! My-

It was in 1986, that I expected that I should receive a "Queen's Counsel" designation, being up to that point given to any lawyer who has been in practise for twelve years and managed to keep his nose clean. Well, it did not happen. It seems that those who had a Q.C. designation grouped together and decided to limit the number to be appointed, to, what they perceived, is a very special club. What was now required was that the lawyer desiring such a designation should apply to the committee. This application consisted principally of an essay describing how wonderful a person you are; it was (is) an exercise in grandisement.

"The practice of appointed Queen's Counsel continues in a number of Canada's provinces; appointments ceased in Ontario in 1985, and the federal government ceased the practice in 1993. No substitute distinctions have been implemented in these jurisdictions as it is felt that the practice is a form of political patronage and is best discontinued entirely. However, title holders continue to use the QC as postnominals." (Wikipedi)
In the UK:
"The QC system was suspended three years ago by the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, after concerns were raised about its fairness. Last week the first new QCs since then were appointed under a resumed and reformed process. Only four out of the new 175 appointments were solicitors; the rest barristers. This has prompted Fiona Woolf, the new president of the Law Society, which represents 100,000 solicitors in England and Wales, to question the value of the rank of silk. In an interview with the Law Society Gazette she said: "I'm not sure that I would perpetuate a QC system. I would go down the route of specialist accreditation - for example, having specialist family or energy lawyers, etc. It should be done by field of practice or sector in which lawyers operate, rather than having a system that says these people are generally fantastic lawyers and deserve to be QCs. Especially when many lawyers might have an amazingly obscure speciality." (
On November 28th, I conveyed the property at Maders Cove to a purchaser. In my new married situation, there was Linda's cottage at Little Harbour, Pictou County.

As for musical pieces for 1986: That's What Friends Are For, Dionne Warwick, Elton John, and Gladys Knight; Say You, Say Me, Lionel Richie; Holding Back the Years, Simply Red; Sara, Starship; These Dreams, Heart; Manic Monday, Bangles; Nikita, Elton John.

The year 1986, did not produce movies that were of the memorable type. However, here is a couple I recall: Nine 1/2 Weeks, Mickey Rourke & Kim Basinger, An erotic story about a woman, the assistant of an art gallery, who gets involved in an impersonal affair with a man. She barely knows about his life, only about the sex games they play; The Mission, Robert De Niro & Jeremy Irons, 18th century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American Indian tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.

NEXT: [Chapter Thirty-Eight: France, 1987]


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2014 (2017)

Peter Landry