Categories
diary

gorgeous frosty morning

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.

Categories
diary

beeootiful day

‘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.

Categories
diary

Luxury living

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.

Categories
diary

Walk, don’t walk

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.

Categories
diary

windowless

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.

Categories
fusion

Marcia Ball at the Funky Biscuit

Great night out at the Funky Biscuit last night. Marcia Ball gig. Marcia is 73 years old. The average age of her audience also looked about 73. In consequence they were a fairly inanimate bunch although there was plenty of clapping after each song.

The FB was an hour’s Uber away. Seems a normal kind of journey in the USA where distances are so large and people think nothing of hopping on a plane for 5 hours. In Lincoln I rarely make it as far as Nottingham because it’s an hour’s journey.

Quite fancy strolling out somewhere for brunch. Question is where. Ordinarily I have breakfast in the hotel but the Hilton deal these days in the USA is not as good as it used to be. Nowadays you get a “food and beverage allowance” of $15 a day per room. Doesn’t go far when you consider yesterday’s breakfast for two was knocking on $80 inc tip and it isn’t as if we went over the top. An expensive place to visit is the US.

As a result it doesn’t really matter where you  eat, assuming time is on your side. The question then is where? I am travelling with our US Sales Director Charles but there is no sign of him yet this morning! Might just head down as I’m now quite hungry. Didn’t have dinner last night!

Ciao.

Now chillin poolside. Only three others here. Could be something to do with the unusually cold weather I suppose although the skies are clear blue. An azure sea is visible in the gap between the Ritz Plaza and the Delano hotels. Ocean really not sea.

It’s one of those days for total relaxation. Would help to be a few degrees warmer but it doesn’t really matter. The pool itself is warm albeit quite shallow. It’s an infiniti pool and as such designed for wallowing as opposed to exercise.

I find that life continues to be surreal. Yesterday we had lunch in a supercool joint called Ship Wreck down a Key Largo side street. Couldn’t really call it a street. It was a road that took you to one of many inlets in the area. We actually looked for downtown Key Largo only to find there wasn’t one. Bit disappointing. Gave up after a while, when every road we turned down was a dead end. Got a couple of t shirts. 

The pool is attracting some rather large people. Four beer toting bearded  ‘good old boys’ wandered in, sat awhile and wandered out again. One of them had a baseball cap with a gun emblazoned on the front.

Aircraft pass by overhead. No sign of British Airways as yet but it is twirly man. A midday arrival here would mean a 7am takeoff from London. Our return flight is not until 21.30 on Wednesday. Figured we would get some dinner and a few sherberts before flying out and that time departure means I will hopefully get a decent kip on the plane.

Ordered chips at a bar. Waitress asked if I meant fries.

Categories
diary

The leaving of Lincoln

Twas wild night in shire. Blowy. Early start. Sleepless set alarm. Tea cup early. Station drop. Awaiting bacon roll. Four just walked past me to next carriage! Mine arrived. Not particularly good. Serves purpose.

Long day ahead.

Nuarque arrivée. Blameless platformed passengers bear coats. Cold. Brought my Black Yak beanie. Needless Miami. Final destination. Airport meet Joe Marion at. Few sherberts. Late for me.

Sky grows lighter. Clouds, medium grey. Shade twenty five.

Half way to London. Just leaving town. Dressed comfortably for the flight. Flight of the Trefor. Put on phones. Listen to fave tunes. Need to consider downloading some vids for flight. Rarely anything I want to watch on the in flight entertainment. Not my thang.

In my own world on the underground 

The Express train for Heathrow Airport pulls gently away from the platform and gradually picks up speed. I am alone in the compartment. Three members of staff join me en route to their shift in Terminal five.

First Class check in is a dream.

We breeze through security to the haven that is the Concorde lounge. Leisurely breakfast sets up the day.

Slept five hours on the plane. Good kip. A pot of tea before landing and 15 somewhat chaotic mins from the gate to the exit from security. None of the escalators were working occasioning large queues to get onto the stairs. Took Charles almost two hours. The difference was entirely down to Global Entry versus non Global Entry. There was only one passport booth open for ‘foreign’ arrivals whereas Global Entry had two. Hooray for Global Entry.

Picked up the v cool Mustang convertible hire car which friend Joe Marion who had met me off the plane drove to the hotel. Took us a while to figure out how the valet parking worked but we soon ended up in a bar called Cucu’s Nest just down the street. Bit noisy so moved on to the National Hotel over the road. Joe (son Joe not the one I met last night) and I are staying there a couple of nights in early February to finish off our dad and lad trip.

The pianist and chanteuse in the bar at the National were also quite noisy but we weren’t moving again. Also I was only wearing a tshirt whereas a sweater would have been totally appropriate. Not warm inside or out – air con versus January weather.

Headed on a bit of a road trip to the keys today so will dress a bit warmer. 

Huevos Rancheros breakfast beckons.

Catch ya later.

Categories
diary

Nous vous prions

Patrolled the first floor of the Davies mansion this morning at 5.30am. Was listening out to see if I could hear any signs of squirrels returning to the attic. Don’t think I could hear anything but the mind certainly plays games on you. I suspect any audible sounds were my stomach or something outside the house. 

Reminds me when, as yoof of 17, I was on night watch on the sail training schooner the Malcolm Miller. We were in the English channel and I kept imagining I could see something in the distance. Was only my eyes playing games.

There is something quite magical about being up at that time of day. Don’t recall exactly the time but it would have been something like 2am. Let’s say 4 bells on the middle watch. Cup of hot chocolate to keep you going.

I just looked up the Malcolm Miller. She was sold in the year 2000 along with her sister ship the Winston Churchill which does fill me with some melancholy. I would have sailed on her around 1979. They must have reached the end of their useful service and have now been replaced by other sailing ships. Strange that a ship, which we traditionally refer to as feminine, would have male names. Slifeinnit. I’d love to go again.

Walking around the house this morning I stopped to look out of the windows of various bedrooms. It’s amazing how much traffic there is at that time of day. Our own cars looked lifeless in the wet front drive. Sleeping beasts waiting to be brought into life.

In other news got the nod that my certificate of air quality is on its way:

Nous vous prions de bien vouloir trouver en pièce jointe votre facture relative à votre commande de certificat de qualité de l’air concernant le véhicule immatriculé xxxxxxx.

Votre certificat sera expédié prochainement par courrier à l’adresse de livraison indiquée lors de la commande.

Dans l’attente, cette facture vous permet de justifier de votre démarche et du classement de votre véhicule.

Veuillez agréer, Madame, Monsieur, nos salutations distinguées.

Le service de délivrance des certificats de qualité de l’air

Need it apparently when entering certain conurbations in La Belle France. Was (surprisingly) relatively painless to apply for and considering I wasn’t totes sure what some of the questions in French were really asking me my form filling seems to have worked. Bien.

When I was at school we had to study a foreign language. The choice was usually French or German and I went for the former. I naturally assume that most people, at least in my age bracket, had to do the same. It surprises me how many folk I know have little understanding of any foreign language. 

All our kids studied French and one of them took it to degree level. When I listen to said offspring speak French I am amazed at her accent. I don’t really bother trying to get the accent right. My philosophy is that as long as they can understand what I’m trying to say then that is fine. N’est pas? Shrugs shoulder.

Dois y aller. il est temps de faire le thé 🙂

PS I did run google translate on the email – just to be sure 🙂

Later, the pesky squirrel has been heard again. Need to persevere with the hunt.

Categories
the art gallery

aodksjhfodjfhoa

aodksjhfodjfhoa

The title of this post is a collection of letters in lower case typed randomly without looking. Not sure what the chances are of replicating that ‘word’ would be via the same method but that is of no significance whatsoever. Safe to say this word will not make the OED.

It is wonderful how words, originally just means of communication, are a form of art. One of my fave opening lines in a book is

“Snowflakes the size of old pennies were falling in the top left hand corner of Wales.”

That is a fabulous opening line. Beautiful. You can just picture the scene. It’s probably one of the few opening lines to a book that I can remember, it created that much of an impression on me. The other one is 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” 

That is a famous one. It has its own different beauty to the first. They both describe a scene in completely different ways. That’s art for you.

I have some favourite poems but no favourite pictures. Maybe it’s just me. Years ago when my dad retired they went on holiday for three months and he asked me if I could recommend some reading material. I struggled. Basically my own judgement and reputation was on the line. If dad didn’t think much of the book it would reflect on me. Or that was my thinking at the time.

I only managed to find 5 books out of the hundreds I had on the shelf (this was maybe thirty years ago – I have a lot more now) that I felt comfortable with recommending. Can’t remember what they all are now though I could probably put my mind to it.

It probably wouldn’t have mattered to dad who had different reading tastes to me anyway. Also in those days my books would have been mainly fiction. Nowadays it is rare for me to buy fiction; probably just don’t do it at all. My reading is growing increasingly niche. Each to their own 🙂

The inside of the shed is covered with pictures. Posters, signs, photos, maps and the occasional drawing and print, notably a limited edition print of the Black Boy Inn in Caernarfon which is a particularly favourite haunt of ours. Lots of maps. How else would I find my way around?

Now watching snooker in the shed. V colourful game is snooker. The masters is on. I quite like watching snooker although I’m totally rubbish at it meself. I suspect it is as much to do with the fact that I wear specs than a lack of ability. Difficult to focus when looking over my specs down a cue. 

Anyway I digress. Not sure from what, but digress I do. Sounds like the title of someone’s autobiography. ‘Digress I do’. Doubt anyone would want to read it. Who would want to read a book that kept jumping about from subject to subject. 

Could call it ‘aodksjhfodjfhoa, the art of digression’. An alternative might be ‘aodksjhfodjfhoa, the art of just about anything you like’ on the basis that it isn’t really a word. Because it doesn’t really mean anything it could be applied to many situations. However it does have some artistic merit. Not much but some.

aodksjhfodjfhoa isn’t in the same league as philistate which is of course a real word. However I don’t like to chuck words away so I will not hasten to discard aodksjhfodjfhoa. I will leave it here as a record of a moment in time. I could even put it in my google docs dictionary but I won’t. I have as little faith in it as you. Totes waste of time. At least I got a post out of it.

Some people might wonder why I write this drivel. Well it isn’t drivel in my book. You know the one: ‘aodksjhfodjfhoa, the art of.’ Coming to a book shop near you. In due course.

Categories
ideas

Philistate

Philistate is a new word I invented whilst lying in bed this morning. I have as yet no idea what it means or whether it is a noun or a verb but I’ve googled it and the word did not previously exist.

It’s quite pleasing to have come up with a new word like this. There are very few avenues of adventure and discovery left to us so to find something new is v exciting. America and Australia et al have long since been found and someone, Amundsen, has already been first to the South Pole.

The few places left are in our imagination. Let your mind run riot, out of control even, and see what it comes up with.

Categories
diary

Waiting for the shed to warm up

Waiting for the shed to warm up. I don’t think it is particularly cold out but it has become my customer and practice to switch off the panel heater overnight in order to save the planet. I also turn off any LEDs (printer and screens) but that is more a light pollution issue. I don’t want to be able to see lights on at the bottom of the garden when the shed is empty and it is dark. The switch and AP are not visible from the house so that is ok.

It is interesting how light pollution is creeping into our lives. When we moved into this house a quarter of a century (gosh) or so ago the previous occupant had fitted electrical sockets with red LEDs which I thought was a bit over the top. However we now also have two showers, and two APs that glow in the dark, the latter in blue. I have been able to switch off the RING doorbell chimes’ LEDs.

I quite like the idea that during the night a house should be in total darkness. We would have to move to the country and ditch the aforementioned appliances in order to do this. This would come with huge downsides: crap broadband, one bus service a week etc. It ain’t gonna happen. The allotments out the back will have to do 🙂

Where we live right now I have occasionally caught a bus from town but it isn’t too far to walk and I rarely go into downtown Lincoln. Far too many people, you can’t walk in a straight line and it is full of the same high street brands you see in any town in the country. There is nothing there for me.

The other thing about living in the countryside is that a village these days will often not have a pub. How do people cope. I’m not exactly a regular pub goer anymore, since covid got me out of the habit and my keto diet kicked in but a village is not a place to live unless it has a church, a pub and a village shop. I’d only attend the former for weddings and funerals etc but the others I’d make a point of frequenting. I would even consider taking a daily paper. FT probs, at least at the weekend.

Keep meaning to subscribe to the FT. Might get around to it. My subscription to the Caravan and Motorhome Club (£50 a year and used once in two years) comes with a monthly magazine that I never read and intend shortly to shred and consign to the compost bin. Not getting the mag once a month will be a step forward. I keep getting emails pushing caravan reversing courses and other such items of a highly relevant nature, at least for the enthusiastic weekend caravanner. Not moi.

Most of our pals now have motorhomes. We have vintage VW campervans that are uber cool but don’t have onboard toilets and showers. Sometimes I wish I had a motorhome like the others but we just wouldn’t use it. When we go to the South of France for a month in September we aint taking a van and are probably in for three grand’s worth of accommodation costs plus a mortgage’s worth of fuel. 

The others, in their motorhomes will use at least as much fuel but lower site costs. I dunno. So we will have spent a few bob more (in largely very nice accommodation) but not had to shell out forty grand of the vehicle plus the annual maintenance and running costs. Obvs we will probably spend more on evening meals but half our booked accommodation is self catering villas etc so the difference wouldn’t be that great. Also we are there for the rugby. The cost of the beer is not going to be insignificant.

Categories
diary

New Year 2023

Sluggish start to the day. Occasioned by some medicinal whisky taken last night. I have to say it caught me a bit by surprise as I didn’t have that much medicine. I don’t think you ever live and learn.

The shed needs a bit of a tidy. I can count at least three laptops strewn around the place with accompanying accessories. The place is not really my own at holiday time although one conference caller was booted to the conservatory when her inputs to her own meeting began to interrupt mine. I don’t have that many meetings as such and typically stay out of the shed if there are already two people in residence.

New Year’s Eve. Today we dream of world peace, love, happiness and hopes for a bright future. No homeless on the streets, no long waits at the NHS. Everyone has enough money  to satisfy their needs so no strikes. I don’t think this is asking too much. Why can’t we have all this?

I hope that 2023 brings you all of this and anything I may have missed that is specific to your particular sitch. 

Lotsalove <3

The log fire has been lit and is now roaring appropriately in line with its job description. I’m glad I bought a big bag of logs. Outside the rain falls steadily. All is quiet. All is good. 

There are still chocolates on the Christmas tree. This is truly unheard of. I’ve been making inroads but there are only so many Christmas tree chocs you can eat in one session.

My chosen life partner is sat opposite, attracted by the promise of the fire. One of life’s pleasures, sitting quietly together, keeping each other company.

Vaughan Williams’ Lark Ascending flutters in the corner contributing to the relaxed vibe.

Our house has six sofas. That’s a fair number. An over’s worth. You may have more or you may have fewer. This is not about who has most sofas. It’s simply a statement of fact. I’m sat on one of them by the fire, almost within marshmallow toasting reach. Not that I’m about to start toasting marshmallows. Don’t want to spoil my appetite for later. It’s bad enough helping myself to the tree chocs.

I probably use more of the sofas than any other occupant of maison Davies. I don’t systematically work my way around the house trying out the sofas. It’s just that I use the front room more than anyone else and that alone has three of the sofas.

One of them is in the shed. 

Sausages sizzling in the pan herald the start of a new year. Not an obvious indicator I know but it is so 🙂The kitchen is brightly lit and today is the penultimate day of the “official” holiday.

We are using up what is left from the Christmas excess and tonight Hannah and George are cooking us a grand finale Thai meal to mark the end of their stay.

Tuesday is looking very active. Weather permitting, Rosso is coming to start on the new BBQ area (granite worktop etc), CityFibre (Kelly) are coming to install my FTTP connection and I will be back in the newly reopened pool at Yarborough Leisure Centre. It’s been closed for a year which has been v annoying and most inconvenient.

Those three items mark an optimistic start to 2023. Having the pool back should be life changing and the improvements to the BBQ area will be a big step up from what is there now.

I am also hopeful that the 1gig symmetrical will be a real bonus. I’ve taken the opportunity to revamp the home network and once the CItyFire/AAISP connection is in will demote the old Virgin docsis connection to being a backup and switch off its associated wifi. Only pain is that I’ll need to run an Ethernet cable or fibre from the garage to the attic where the router sits but hey…

January looks set to be a very busy month generally.

Categories
diary

Friday, apparently

I happen to know it’s a Friday. Tbh this is of very little relevance. To anything. Had I said today is the ninth day after the Winter solstice that might have meant more. Heading in the right direction but hatches still battened.

We have no/very little say in our direction of travel. Some of us might crave for better days, sunnier climes but it is what it is. We are where we are.

Loudish background music, smooth jazz even, although I’m sure there is a more accurate description, streams through the kitchen door. This is fine. The source of the music leaves for London tomorrow. We are happy for the source to still be here enjoying our company and us his.

That will leave one remaining offspring, our daughter Hannah, and her boyf George with us until the New Year. That’s cool too.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. Lots of people mark this occasion and actually in a society run by calendar it is a significant milestone. It would make more sense for it to coincide with the solstice but I guess it is too late to change now.

My only negative thought about NYE is the Auld Lang Syne nostalgia thing. I don’t do it. I’ve always subscribed to the notion that life moves on. If someone moves away and we don’t see them any more, if I enjoyed their acquaintance I’ll probs keep in touch via social media, occasional visits or Christmas card. If I bumped into them on the street I’d stop for a chat or maybe even go for a coffee or beer. It isn’t something to dwell on. Maybe I’m just a miserable bugger. Probs.

Moving away from a locale is far less of a final thing these days. When the pilgrims decided to head on an American adventure there was, unless the ship sprang a leak which one of them did, no going back. A letter home would have resulted in a reply the following year, if at all.

Two weeks today I am off to Miami. I’ll leave the house at around 7am to catch the 07.30 from Lincoln Central and by 19.30 local time will be saying hello to my pal @Joe Marion at Miami International Airport. The flight lands at 19.15 but a combination of turning left on the plane and Global Entry should see me through in very little time. Carry on only.

When we visited Plymouth MA and the Mayflower replica this year the notion that there was a perfectly good airport nobbut twenty miles away did go through my mind 🙂 I’ll probably have more room on the plane than was enjoyed by the passengers on board the Mayflower. Certainly the champagne will be better although I did observe that beer/ale was high on the list of pilgrim needs.

There is a backup plan for the UK bit of the journey in case the train staff are on strike, again. This involves a taxi. The backup may in fact become plan A as the train option looks to involve multiple changes over four hours versus a single three hour taxi hop. Only issue is the taxi is two hundred quid more expensive and I’d have to put up with the company of the driver for three hours. Gonnamullitover.

The flight is around 2 ish but I like to get there early especially if the Concorde lounge is involved. Pushed the boat out on this flight as I will be going out again with one of the kids the following week and need max comfort and min recovery time in between.

I’m quite excited about the prospects of 2023. Ok there is a lot of crap going on in the world but I’m focussed on my own little bit of it. The Little World of Trefor Davies by Giovanni Guareschi. Unfortunately Giovanni died in 1968 at the tender age of sixty. Brings it home a bit really. I’m sixty one. Doesn’t feel particularly tender 🙂 If you don’t know who Giovanni is you need to google him.

What is age anyway? It’s quite handy to have a senior railcard and nice to get free prescriptions. The latter will likely become a more valuable perk as I get older whilst the former will grow less relevant.

Categories
diary

Hotel breakfasts

Hotel breakfasts are never quite the same as you can do for yourselves at home imho. Ok some at the very high end can come close and of course you are often presented with a much wider range of options than you would typically have at home.

Nevertheless I stand by my statement. This morning I have finished off the tinned grapefruit and had some toast and marmalade. The toast, made on granary bread, came out right first time with no need to put it through a machine a second time. Bonne Maman marmalade and Normandie butter. Yanow the form.

The other thing about hotel breakfasts is that I am compelled by a value for money gene to have the full English (when in England) even though I don’t typically have to pay for breakfast, at least at Hiltons. Usually the full English at your bog standard Hilton is not particularly appetising and is pretty much identical across many of their brands. Ah well.

Breakfast is complete and I am now slowly getting my brain around the day ahead. Nothing too onerous but I do want to put in some phone calls and my expenses are somewhat overdue. December was quite hectic innit. 

For us today is the first day of relative normality after Christmas. There is more “holidaying” to come but not today. We don’t have to worry about keeping the kids from being bored and being stuck in the house. 

When I used to hold down a fulltime job I often worked between Christmas and New Year. There was never anything going on in the business and it seemed a waste of holiday allowance to spend it at home moping. Now with no particular set holidays I work when it suits me regardless of the day of the week/season.

One of my jobs today is to refill the recycling bins that were emptied early this morning. I was able to avoid that job on Boxing Day because both brown bins were rammed. 

Today is actually a nice day. Bit of a breeze making it quite refreshing and not cold. The fact that I am writing this however does indicate a certain reluctance on my part to sort my expenses. There is a big pile of receipts on the desk in front of me as well as some in my email inbox. Once I get going I will be fine. Sigh 🙂

Found this poem on philosopherontap last night. It’s called A Golfer’s Eulogy.

When his game is up,

And prompts no more debate,

And life’s unerring drive,

Ascends the green of fate,

It will I’m sure be said,

By crowds that filled the gallery,

That upright was his stance,

Whilst stood upon the final tee,

And when the last put drops,

Stewards will murmur from afar,

In marking of his card,

He played his round in level par.

I wrote it in 2009. At the time my dad was alive but I suspect that deep down it was intended for him. When my parents died I didn’t particularly go public although others did which is fine. It is at Christmas that you really think about your parents. On a day like today I’d have called dad for a chat. I used to call most days. We wouldn’t talk about anything in particular.

During covid lockdowns I’d just leave a video session running where we wouldn’t necessarily say much or anything. Dad got weaker over time and it was difficult to hear him. He was a victim of covid although the disease itself didn’t kill him. He wasn’t allowed visitors in the care home. A terrible thing at his time of life. We shouldn’t forget but let’s move on.

2023 is already looking action packed. Not sure we can squeeze that much more into it. That isn’t to say every day is accounted for but as many days as we want to plan ahead for are. You need downtime. Ordinary days.

Ordinary days mean days where you go to the shops/gym/do jobs round  the house/gardening/watch TV/build that model aeroplane/do your knitting/cook a nice meal. That kind of thing.

I still haven’t got around to writing a hit West End stage musical though that remains on the list. To do that I need a lot of ordinary days, without travel and without work getting in the way. No sign of that as yet.

Travel starts again mid January with a fairly intensive month of it from that time. I guess if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t do it. Ah well. Time to get on with my expenses…

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poems

This year I’m spending Christmas with my piano

This year I’m spending Christmas with my piano

My body comes gradually to its senses. It lies there for a while before realising it has changed state. An arm reaches out and brings life to the radio. 

There is something all powerful about bringing life to a radio

Some time later the radio drives me out of bed. Dressing gowned stumble downstairs and stick the coffee.

I wander into the music room

Sitting at the piano my hands rest on the keys. A moment of inspiration awaits. Gradually notes appear and the piano picks the music.

Time dances

The day fades into reverie. Coffee miraculously changes to wine and into brandy. An empty plate lies on top of the piano, evidence of the day. 

Sun sets

The music continues into the night…