Archive for January, 2023

high noon mexico

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Noon. 28℃ with a 40% chance of rain. Theyreavinalaff. It is time to consider a siesta. Possibly a stroll down to the sea to get our feet wet.

Although there is a lot to do here I sense that half the point of coming somewhere hot like this is to do nothing. I’m not a lie on the beach type. If you stay in the sun too long it tires you out in anycase and better, methinks, to chill out and be fresh for the evening.

Our decision to hire a villa instead of staying at an all inclusive hotel has been vindicated. Can’t imagine a holiday where we sit there drinking all day in this heat, just because it is all “free”.

Hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone who lives in this part of the world all the time. I suppose you get used to the heat. Called home a while ago and everyone is in winter coats and woolly hats.

villa mexico

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Sat on the terrace at the front of the villa, surrounded by exotica. Palm trees and plants I don’t recognise from home. Interesting birds sing to me. The need to purchase insect repellent springs to mind.

Inside the villa ceiling fans rotate gently. It is a spacious living area with a kitchen bar to one side. Tons of room for the two of us. Last night after dinner we hit the local Walmart for some very basic supplies. Coffee, orange juice, bread, butter and to my delight, orange marmalade. No fresh milk from what I could see.

This morning there is no rush whatsoever to consume any of those supplies. We are having a relaxed start to the stay in Playa Del Carmen.  A bit of planning. A stroll to the beach, 50 metres away. Dip in the pool. That kind of stuff.

Although we are here for 5 nights, one of which is already over, there does appear to be a lot more to fit in than is possible in that time. Chicken Itza, snorkelling, stuff like that.

A high sided pickup truck drives by with 12 or so Mexican blokes squeezed into the back, on their way to work. A few minutes later the truck went back empty the other way. Bit annoyed that I’m not quick enough off the mark to take pics of this sort of thing. It is still early.

We are staying in a gated community. Posh cars in drives. The bars and restaurants around the main drag, 5th Avenue are full of tourists flashing the cash. It’s no wonder Mexican people try to get into the USA. The land of gold and honey. For a substantial minority.

A coypu or similar has just wandered past the window. Saw a couple nosing around the pool earlier.

Carlos the concierge recommended not touching the eateries on 5th Avenue but to go to 30th Ave where the locals hang out. A bit more of a walk but less crass than 5th which almost reminded me of Bourbon Street. Not quite as bad as Bourbon Street. 

There were plenty of interesting looking bars fair play. Last night we were tired having been travelling all day so we just ate, Walmarted and hit the hay. 

The street outside 801 Frenchmen

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

This morning the street outside 801 Frenchmen is a hive of activity. They are filming an Amex commercial. I had hoped that the Ayu Bakehouse would be open for a bit of breakfast earlier than scheduled 8am but that wasn’t the case when I went down to enquire as to whether our taxi would be able to make it to our pick up spot.

Looks as if some touristy looking folk have rocked up to watch the action, deckchairs in hand.

Apparently they aren’t filming an Amex commercial but a show called Life and Beth starring Michael Cera. That’s him doing the press ups next to the curly haired guy whose family owns Preservation Hall. Fwiw. Not heard of him or the TV show meself but that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Joe knew of him.

Straightforward trip to MSY. Taxi arrived on time and we were checking in within 30 mins. A bit of a contrast the the experience getting to JFK, or LHR. I guiess MSY is smaller.

New Orleans was totally fab. We drank beer and listened to a lot of great music. Got some great posters as souvenirs from a music shop on Frenchmen. Couple of 1970s originals.

Couldn’t have picked a better location for our AirBnB. Perfect home from home in New Orleans.

It’s quite interesting to observe how touristy NOLA is. Of course we had to do the main touristy bits but once those boxes had been ticked you didn’t really need to go very much further than Frenchmen St and onwards slightly towards but not as far as the French Market.

Btw Austin based friends I will be with you for 90 minutes or so this pm but won’t be able to meet up unless you want to come and meet me at the airport gate (AA2835) from around 1pm.

Seat 3F en route to Austin. Comfortable and spacious fair play. Window. Don’t typically book a window but it’s just me n Jose and I figured I’d give him the option. He went aisle. Fair enough.

Sometimes when I am on a plane I just use my notebook to write. I typically do that where the use of a laptop is not convenient. On a bus for example. This does mean that if I want to upload any of the notes I have to type them in later but in the interest of being able to remember things I’ve seen on route it is worth the effort.

These could be ideas for poems, interesting observations or just something that takes my imagination. For example the street car named Desire is still in operation on the New Orleans green route as number 922. I’d never have remembered that had I not written it down. I didn’t need to look up the number later. The act of writing it down made me remember it.

It doesn’t always work out like that but the notes are there anyway so it doesn’t matter. It’s quite interesting to go back through the notebook and read the observations. It is for me anyway. People tend not to write stuff down anymore.

This aircraft is an Embraer E170/175.

Cotton wool ball clouds – seems appropriate for a cotton growing region. Do they still grow cotton in Louisiana?

When them cotton wool ball clouds get rotten you can’t grow very much cotton. They are way down yonder below us, but above the Bayoux.

The clouds above the bayoux

We stream through the air, seemingly effortless. 

Most of the world is cloud covered. 

Ayu Ayu Ayu

Bake house Bake house Bake house

The guy sat outside the music club differentiating with his flute. The competitive music scene of New Orleans. The battle of the banjos. Banjo battle.

We leave the people and bars of Frenchmen behind. Another smile, another tip. Thank you for coming. The banter was, mostly, good. Thank you for being there . Thank you for the beer and the chips and the French fries. french fries? What makes a fry french? The fries of France.

Willie’s doesn’t do pizza anymore. They should take the sign down. Take down the sign. Paint over the mural. Sumpin like dat.

The invasive American culture. I live in a different world. An educated professional world where people understand what I am trying to say.

The comparisons with the strata of society in the UK and USA are quite similar. The educated person will understand me and I them. Unless they only speak Chinese.

A smooth ride is expected. AHA. Sparkling water with lime + watermelon. No sweetners.

Sweet not the sparkling waters of the flow. The first flow. Dirty clouds mingle with the pure.

Tree nuts of nature’s garden have been served. Powered by plants. Distributed at 28,000 feet. Scattered in the controlled direction of my hand. moved to mouth. Munched.

Scatter my nuts! Scattrerbrained stories from the stratosphere.

Made in USA with ingredients from India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, USA, Vietnam. A blend of almonds, cashews, pecans and pistachios.

Pissed achios. Inebriated in the USA. Call that a shot? Call the shots. Big shot.

Remember January 2023. It has nearly gone. Disappeared. Vanished with a click of the fingers. Blink and it’s gone. Goner. Gonner?

Fabricate, felicitate. Random words to confuse the mental palate.

It will be cold when we get to Austin. 1 degree centigrade, celcius. In the vernacular, bloody freezing. My shorts and silk Tommy Bahama shirt won’t cut it outside the safety of the airport biosphere. I shall remain cocooned where the life support system operates. Do not, I repeat do not pull that plug. Under any circumstance. Aaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh.

Flight to cancun

Watched some simon sharma and then switched to tunes whilst eating. Can’t believe it took me until I was 60 years old before finding Pink Martini. What else lies out there undiscovered. By me obvs.

The time we have left. Rest not on your laurels. Keep on exploring, discovering.

What are laurels? What are they worth. Do they have a trade in value. In the next life.

Heard some quotes by the venerable bead who had written as if it was a nobleman speaking about the Christian religion. It offered hope for a life after death. This is its chief selling point. How badly do you want to believe in that.

When you are gone there is eternal silence. Get on with it whilst you can. Whilst you are able. Dodge the bullet. What on earth are you doing putting yourself in the path of a bullet?

Heavy rain washes the streets of NoLa

Monday, January 30th, 2023

Heavy rain washes the streets of NoLa. Water lies on the ground in Washington Square. A slow start to the day occasioned by a heavy night in Coop’s bar. Great bar. Position A for watching the Mardi gras parade outside. 

I didn’t feel the need to watch much of the parade. Watched it long enough to tick the box. Star Wars themed. A couple of the crew from the USS Enterprise came into the bar.  Box also ticked for the trolley car. A streetcar named number 48. Also the New Orleans Museum of Art. Well the cafe at least. And Central Park.

This morning we are ‘doing’ brunch at Nonna’s down the road to us on Delphine. Their French Toast is to die for, apparently. Nonna’s is en route to the bus stop for the city tour. Multiple boxes to be ticked there, at least from the outside.

A trash truck, or whatever they call them, roars noisily along the street below. The rain has stopped and I can hear conversation. We have a wonderful spot on Frenchmen. Couldn’t have picked a better one really. This does not happen by chance. Extensive research goes into planning these trips.

Funnily enough I received an acknowledgement from Un Hôtel en Ville, La Rochelle for a booking in September that was made sometime before Christmas. I guess there was no rush. Didn’t even realise the booking wasn’t firm prior to the response.

Sunday morning punters have started to appear at Ayu Bakehouse. Sgood stuff in there fair play. I have just over a week to enjoy such wheaten delights before going back on the keto diet. The last four months seem to have been one long party.

This time next week we will be having breakfast at the National Hotel in Miami. South Beach. It has a very long pool. A claim to fame according to the hotel. I saw it last week on my last trip but the weather was not conducive to swimming and I wasn’t staying there anyway.

Someone walks by sipping from a takeaway coffee cup. You see a lot of this in New Orleans. There must be a cafe on every corner, perhaps. This particular chap/guy stopped to investigate something on the pavement/sidewalk, pushed it with his shoe and moved on.

All is well.

Walked down Bourbon Street. Felt no urge whatsoever to enter any of the establishments thereon. I was carnage, even at 5pm. Our objective was Preservation Hall but turns out you had to book online. Wasn’t like that last time I went, admittedly around 30 years ago. Moved on to the Old Blacksmith’s Forge. Cool enough gaff but rammed so we went straight to Coop’s.

Turns out that Desire still operates on the green line. Number 922.

New Orleans continues to give

Saturday, January 28th, 2023

New Orleans continues to give. A wonderful day out. Set off at around 10am and arrived early at the riverboat. Secured our boarding passes. A good half of the passengers had not realised they needed to do this so when the announcement came there was a huge queue at the ticket windows.

The steamboat cruise was memorable, partly for the fact that the food was perfectly edible. Wasn’t totes sure what to expect there. Booking for the second sitting also proved to be a result as we benefited from the views on the top deck during the commentary and only had to move down to the restaurant deck when we hit the farthest point of the cruise and turned around for the return leg.

The commentary itself was memorable for the fact that the announcer repeated each fact at least three times. Must be an American thing. Signs of the havoc wreaked by hurricane Katrina were still visible along the whole route. 

Following disembarking we did a few more touristy bits including visiting St Louis’ Cathedral and purchaysing a couple of hats/caps. Couldn’t resist. Then hit the Market Cafe for a beer and listen to the band. This set the scene for the next three hours or so. We moved on and stopped at a number of establishments en route to the flat.

Rocked up at the Roosevelt

Friday, January 27th, 2023

Rocked up at the Roosevelt for cocktails. It’s a Waldorf Astoria but didn’t feel particularly posh. Lots of tourists milling around an extensive lobby. As if a coach party had just arrived. Full of wealthy Americans of the third age. 

The cocktails were good. When we got to the Sazerac there was no spare seat or even a bit of bar to prop up against so we blagged space at a table with a couple from Georgia. Conversation.

Sitting in the dark in the front room at 6am NOLA time. The street lights cast shadows through the tall sash windows.

Riverboat cruise today. Steam down the river down to New Orleans. Watch the card sharks fleece the tourists. Stay clear when the gunfight breaks out. Tables flying everywhere.

The noise of the city is all around. It is still dark but there is a suspicion of a lightning sky . Maybe only in my imagination. Maybe not. 

So much to see, not enough time. A balance must be struck.

It used to be good. A bored band groans out tired tunes. Not a good sales pitch for a Creole night out. Joe hit an early hay and I headed for Frenchmen Books, leaving with a heavy bag and lighter wallet.

The sky is definitely getting lighter. The house opposite has green painted shutters. 

Noises come from the Ayu Bakehouse below. The place opens at 8am but the baker will have already been in for some time, kneading his dough, plying his trade. I feel the need to buy his bread. A small loaf will suffice. Butter I have but marmalade not. Nor toaster. Kyboshes my plan. Bacon but no brown sauce. Bagels.

Not much traffic on Frenchmen at this time of day. It isn’t a busy road anyway. Doesn’t appear to be. We hit the jackpot with location. Location. Location.

We toasted the bagels in a frying pan yesterday. Wasfine. Avocado was ripper than we had anticipated and did a job.

The park gates open early on Washington Square. No insomniacs or early risers take advantage. A train blows its horn in the distance. Cowcatcher? Casey Jones pulling into town, or leaving for the open prairie. All points west.

Daylight replaces street light. The night watchman heads home.

It isn’t always a Friday. Sometimes it’s a Monday. Old saying.

Old man river

“It is no easy matter to go to heaven by way of New Orleans.” Reverend J Chandler Gregg.

Been up for two hours.

Balcony on Frenchmen

Friday, January 27th, 2023

Sat out on our balcony basking in the afternoon sun. Had to put my sun hat on. Washington Square is a hive of gardening activity. Looks like they are digging deep holes to plant new trees. Reminds me of that movie where everyone is chasing after buried treasure somewhere. Dig deeper, dig deeper 🙂

I’m glad we booked an airbnb. Plenty of space for to chillax after a long day’s touristing. The beauty of sitting out here is that people walking by below don’t notice you. 

Came across fire station number 9 on our travels this morning. Walking around to the front there was actually a fire engine with number 9 written on it just poking out the door. Later we saw number 19 and then station number 19. I wonder how many they have in total in NOLA. Could google it I suppose.

Blue light rushes by at the end of the street. Ambulance. Couldn’t quite see it all. Young woman walks by with dog. Both had light brown hair.

The French Quarter was v interesting. We were there quite early, just as people were setting up the market. We booked a swamp tour for saturday and a bus tour for sunday. Already sorted the steamboat for tomorrow. Yawl.

I sense there’s no point in going out too early tonight. Some of the bars were quite quiet because we were twirly.

Looks like the hole diggers have packed up for the day. They’ve left tape around the holes. A boy kicks a football. A woman is sat on the bench previously occupied by the homeless guy. I assume he was homeless. He might have gone home I suppose.

Interesting. Different bartender at the Apple Barrel tonight. Wouldn’t hand over the beer until I’d given him the cash. Interesting. Doesn’t inspire confidence as to the viability of the business. Was only a small bar.

NOLA Day 1

Thursday, January 26th, 2023

Well, a successful first day in NOLA, considering we were jet lagged. The taxi from the airport dropped us off at around twelve thirty pm and access to 801 Frenchmen was v straightforward. Worra great flat. Quite luxurious.

After a walk to Roberts’ Grocery store for some supplies we spent the afternoon chillin’ out listening to music and reading. Finished me book. Was v easy to pair the phone with the retro record deck.

Roberts’ is a handy gaff a few mins walk. Searching for beer I remarked that the stocks were remarkably low considering the size of the shop. Then we found the beer fridge. This was a room sized fridge stacked high with beer. Not seen that before but not surprising coming from a small town in the boonies as I do.

Found myself needing to switch to American English when asking an assistant where they kept the butter. She was confused and about to escalate the question to a supervisor when I realised the issue and changed my request from butter to budder.  Aaaah!

At fiveish we broke open the Lagunitas and had some (disappointing) chips with a stunning local salsa. Our plan was a pub crawl on Frenchmen. In the end we only made it to three spots including Apple Bar, The Spotted Cat and 30/90. Fantastic music in three very different bars.

Checked out Willie’s Chicken Shack on the short walk back to number 801. Chicken tenders were good, fries not as hot as they could be and, surprisingly, not that many of them. Willie’s was a super cool gaff but we were the only ones in. Twirly probs.

Better sleep last night than when we arrived in Atlanta on Tuesday. Today we will be heading out to explore NOLA after breakfasting on bagels, bacon, eggs and avocado washed down with plenty of steaming hot cawfee, OK and meealk (2%).

Homeless man returns to his bench when park opens

Tai chi group

Toasted bagels, avocado, fried egg and bacon with cawfee, oj and milk was good

Percy the park keeper american style

Balcony blues, too cold to sit out right now

Laid back in NOLA

Frank crooning in the corner

going to have a problem with New Orleans

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

We are going to have a problem with New Orleans. There appear to be too many great bars to check out. We are mixing it up a little. Sunday night at 5pm is American Sports Saloon for the Chiefs game. If we have the stamina we could move on to a jazzy joint afterwards.

There is a cult mardi gras parade on Saturday night

We are a short walk from Cafe Negril, Favela Chic, Vaso, Apple Barrel, Blue Nile, Snug Harbor, the Spotted Cat, and the Maison, all on Frenchmen. That’s before we even make it as far as the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, the latter which we will really only take a look at and maybe try out a couple of bars when passing through.

Below the apartment is an artisanal bakery, Ayu Bakehouse. Bought a couple of sandwiches for lunch at $33 inc tip. Very artisanal for that price! Strolled round to Roberts’ Market on St Claude Avenue and picked up some groceries. Just a few essentials such as bacon, butter, chips & salsa and a Lagunitas variety pack. We can get the bread from Ayu’s.

We also need to drop in at Preservation Hall just so Joe can say he has been there and maybs take in a riverboat trip. Other than that we are here to chill out. A guided tour of the French Quarter has been identified.

Frank Sinatra is crooning relaxing tunes through the speakers of the Victrola record player on the table in the living room. There is a collection of jazz records featuring Louis Armstrong.

Need to drop in for cocktails at the Roosevelt. I did initially book a room there for this trip but opted instead for this apartment which is the dogs.

Refrain on a train

Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

Refrain on a train,

Will I see this place again

Next time I come travelling with you.

I woke up in the night and thought of those words. Got up and wrote em in my notebook. They came with a tune but that was a little bit too ‘country’ and probs already sounded like most other country songs so not original enough. Will think of something.

On the 07.30. Someone sat in my seat. Not a biggie although there was only one other person in the carriage so why she chose mine is a mystery.

Well actually she had booked the seat next to me. Why on earth would you choose a seat next to someone when there are loads of others unreserved? When I booked it there was no one else on the table.

It gets worse. She is very talkative. It’s her birthday on Thursday. She is off to London for one night today and then Birmingham for three nights on Friday. She works for the NHS, is a Christian and is using up her holiday at a time of year when nobody else wants to take holiday. Always takes Easter weekend off though, natch.

There you go. And the train hasn’t even left the station.

The Grimsby train has just pulled in on the opposite platform.

Last train to Grimsby. Has a finality to it. In reality it is probably the first. New destination, new beginnings.

Outside, a medium frost carpets the ground. Dappled red clouds frame a fading pallet sky with delicate outlines of trees softening the motionless edge of frozen Lincolnshire fields. Nothing moves. A large stack of straw bales waits patiently.

Quite a few people have got on at Newark. I’ve moved my bag to the rack above, largely to make it obvious that her large bag and voluminous coat on the seat next to her (the one she booked) is a bit anti-social. This does come with risks. Someone might come and sit next to me. I’ve left the aisle seat free as my originally booked seat, the one she is occupying, was the one opposite and I didn’t fancy having to avoid playing footsie.

I expect she is a bit disappointed I am not being chatty. Twirly man, twirly. As it is I never have a good night’s sleep before catching the 07.30. Indeed the only time I really get that train nowadays is if I’m off to LHR which is the case this morning.

Frost does bestow the landscape with an ethereal beauty.

This trip is the next chapter in the dad and lad series of jaunts whereby I take an offspring off on a jaunt with daddy. It isn’t always dad and lad. The next one will be dad and daughter but we are already planning into 2024 for that.

We are currently hurtling towards Grantham. Whilst somewhat melodramatic the use of the word ‘hurtling’ is, I feel, quite appropriate. A powerful momentum. I quite like the notion of not stopping at Grantham even though it is scheduled. The look on the faces of passengers waiting on the platform would be quite amusing. Obvs this is a very anti-social thought and not one that is likely to be put into practice but bemusing nonetheless.

Amusing little footnote to that last paragraph. We didn’t stop at Grantham. It wasn’t scheduled anyway 🙂

I don’t mind chatting with other people on the train. Often do. I’m a chatty kind of guy. There is such a thing as overly chatty at seven thirty in the morning though.

We are pulling into Peterborough. Even a pristine frost can’t make Peterborough look nice.

Peterborough has a new university, opened in 2022 according to the sign.

Swords and ploughshares. Just passed a couple of fields containing ridges created by the mediaeval technique of ploughing. Looked it up. Made me think of swords and ploughshares. Violent death or the slow grinding away of body and spirit.

Moments in time. Moments of madness. Intimacy. Imagine if time stopped, momentarily. Freeze frame.

The clear skies of Stevenage.

The wine society, since 1874.

The Redeemed Christian Church of God United Kingdom

See it, Say it, Sorted.

gorgeous frosty morning

Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

A gorgeous frosty morning out there with clear skies. I would appear to be over the jet lag and the stomach upset I had yesterday has gone. I heavily suspect the overcooked bangers and mash at the Wig and Mitre consumed at the scouts annual leaders’ night out on Friday. The sausages were tough suggesting they had been cooking for a long time and potentially even reheated which might account for the lurgy.

Today will see a flurry of packing in readiness for my next bout of jet lag. You will no doubt hear more of this. The use of the word flurry is somewhat inaccurate as I like to take my time over packing for long trips. On this occasion I am leaving at 7am on Tuesday so a relaxed approach to filling the suitcase is in prospect. 

A two week trip merits taking a suitcase. For last week’s jaunt to Florida I only had carry-on luggage which facilitated a quick getaway from the airport on arrival. For the return leg I opted to check in one of the bags which proved costly in time at the other end. No matter.

The house is noisy this morning. Sounds of an electric toothbrush mingle with BBC Radio 4 upstairs and contrast with the Hovis advert on Classic FM. The music isn’t called ‘the Hovis advert’ but I don’t know the actual name of the tune and can’t be bothered to find out either by googling or getting up off my arse to look at the radio display.

The day has offered a relaxed start. There are locally sourced breakfast ingredients in the refrigerator and food preparation will commence in due course. 

All arrangements are in place for the next trip. I just need to sort ground transportation from Cancun airport to Playa Del Carmen but there is no urgency and it may just be a matter of grabbing a cab. This will be the last international journey for a while, the next one being a weekend visit to Llandudno for the final of the Welsh Open Snooker Championships. Cool or what? 🙂

There are a few jobs, apart from packing, that are required (by command from a higher authority) to be done. We have two overflow bins for recycling that need their contents moving to the brown recycling bins for onward dispersal. I also need to go to the tip (municipal recycling centre) with a load of plastic stuff that has been hanging around the front for some time. Should also drop the drain rods back at Simon’s. So you see it isn’t all about glamorous international travel.

Reality is I am trying to cut down on travel although I know it doesn’t look like that 🙂 My, admittedly part time, work gets me around on occasion and we still have some planned big trips, not the least of which is 5 weeks in France for the Rugby World Cup from the start of September. The most exciting bit of that trip is not actually knowing when I’ll be heading back across the channel. Open ended jaunt. Why not?

Jobs all done. Fire lit and crackling away in the grate. Quite appropriate for a cold winter’s day. I am wearing a warm and cosy woolly pully. It feels as if I should have a cup of hot chocolate to hand but this is not the case.

beeootiful day

Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

‘tas been a beeootiful day in Lincoln. Started sub zero but gradually warmed to, oo, three or four degrees by tea time. For the uninitiated, tea time is three thirtee. For those in the know, it is also three thirtee. Note new spelling. Sfine.

Somewhat sluggish here. Should have gone out for some exercise.

Dusk, a periodic visitor, has moved into the vacuum between the shed and the house. The shed is otherwise illuminated only by a pair of monitors and my new Lagunitas sign, a truly worthy addition to the interior lighting arrangement.

The switch for the Lagunitas sign has been made easily accessible and held in place by a couple of cable clips which is an improvement on its predecessor, a mere ‘COLD BEER’ sign that required me to reach under the shelving to turn on. This only matters to me.

Start packing tomorrow for t’ next trip. ‘sit for a while then.

Luxury living

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

Seat 1E BA208 MIA to LHR. V comfortable. It’s the new seat. Newer than on the way out anyway. I’ll be sleeping most of the journey. Just get a few champagnes and cognac in early on. No nosh. Ate in the Flagship lounge. Burger and fries. Bit of a trek from the gate. Also flight was delayed and the gate was v warm and stuffy. Not ideal. Moreover a drip started where I was sat and I had to stand up. Sbeen a whirlwind trip. Seems a long time since we arrived in Miami. Off home for a cuddle with Anne. And a proper cup of tea. Taxiing now. There is a baby in first. Row behind me. Will need to root out earplugs. Just in case. Would anyway.

Fantastic night’s kip. Woke up with two hours to go of a seven and three quarters hours flight and went to the loo. Back to sleep again for another hour and a quarter. Perfect timing. Changed back from pyjamas to shorts and t shirt and bunged my jumper on, everything back in the bag, mug of tea and I’m ready to hit the arrivals lounge.

Skipped the arrivals lounge. Took a while for my hold bag to come through. It was carry on on the way out but I figured I could do without the weight to lug around in the airport. In consequence I gave the arrivals lounge a miss and made it to kings cross with roughly forty five minutes to spare. Charles rocked up with my new neon sign – pics later.

The train is rammed. Not sure what’s going on here.

Walk, don’t walk

Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

Walk, don’t walk. I crossed the road in front of the hotel to the beach. To the left of me were sun loungers camped on by hotel guests who had had a ‘resort fee’ imposed on their room rate and felt they should get their value for money. I didn’t bother.

Standing on the beach, staring out to see the next landfall is the island of Abaco in the Bahamas and after that Western Sahara. Didn’t realise that was a country. A vast emptiness by the looks of the map. Not somewhere to be stranded without water and protection from the sun. Obvs.

A luxurious position of having plenty of time to prepare for the journey ahead. I am sat inside the room with the door open to the balcony. It’s too exposed to the sun out there. 

On the ground floor of the hotel there is a Mexican restaurant. Top notch beef tacos with habanero sauce and a side of refried beans for lunch fair play. Stayed off the pop. V sensible me!

Fort Lauderdale is quite a noisy place today. Sounds like lots of building work going on. They call it progress. It is a Wednesday, apparently.


Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

Sat in a windowless conference room in a Fort Lauderdale hotel. The speaker is a retired analyst with 47 years communications industry experience. His level of detail is high. 

The first thing that springs to mind is that how does one cope with having spent 47 years working essentially in one, albeit hugely evolving, space and then stopping. My second thought is how boring.

In all fairness his one headline message is quite good. I won’t trouble you with the message.

I have one hour and forty five minutes left of conference time, finishing at noon EST. The flight home is at 21.30 and checkout is 4pm fair play. There is clearly a window of opportunity to relax and prepare mentally for the journey home.

A careful packing strategy is called for. The United Kingdom is a somewhat cold place to be at the moment whereas Florida is, following the dip in temperature last weekend, back to its usually very pleasant shorts and t shirt weather.

I need a three sets of clothing strategy: Florida, plane and UK. Hawaiian shirt, comfortable t shirt and woolly jumper. Haven’t actually brought a warm jumper with me. Layers will have to do it. The warm clothes will have to be readily accessible when I land in London. 

My mind has clearly wandered away from Unified Communications.

Yawn. Headsets. Yawn. Poly/HP sales pitch. Woot!

The audience is meant to be the service provider industry. In reality 75% of the people in the room are vendors rather than service providers.