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diary

Saturday morning, as the crow flies

It is nine thirteen on a Saturday morning, as the crow flies 🙂 The fast has been broken and I am sat without a cup of tea indulging in some relaxation prior to getting ready for the day. This will involve the usual performance of ablutions and getting dressed and then sauntering in the general direction of the shop to purchayse picnic supplies.

For today we set the compass bearing west to Llandudno, the Imperial Hotel and the Wales Open Snooker Championship final. We will see two out of the four semifinalists do battle for the trophy on Sunday.

The semi finalists are Shaun Murphy, Robert Milkins, Pengfei Tian and Junxu Pang. This is mildly disappointing as I’ve only heard of Shaun Murphy. All the other big names have been knocked out wtf! Including Ronnie!!! Presumably we will be watching a new star in the making. I woz there!!!

Gorra go. Ablutions etc…

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diary

Nine ante meridian

Nine ante meridian. Doesn’t quite sound the same as 9am. Funny that. I’d like to bet that lots of people don’t even know what am stands for. I had to ask Anne who is a gifted linguist and who of course did know. Obvs all you guys do know, if only because now you’ve just read this (totally random) discourse on the subject.

I was sat here pondering what to write and that just came out. Seems to be a lot easier with a keyboard than with a pen if for no other reason than it is quicker to tap in words on a laptop than to write them on a piece of paper (ie page).

So what, I hear you say. Each to their own innit.

I quite like the pen function on my new phone and have used it to write actual notes. With older phones I’d have to do a voice recording or even a video if I wanted to note something down. Now I just whip out the stylus (or whatever it is called) and scribble away. It is a very smooth writing experience.

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diary

earnest cup of tea

It must be said that a cup of tea needs to be finished before the day begins in earnest. This isn’t the most dramatic of opening lines but it is what it is.

We, I’m sure, all have different interpretations of what an earnest day might be. For some it will be hacking away at their corporate coal face. Others will find distraction in a trade or gainful employment in the retail sector.

For me it will involve an initial cleanse (shower) and then a foray into the local market for some milk and freshly baked bread. The staples of life. This isn’t to say I haven’t got a busy day ahead because I do but the timetabled activities do not start until noon.

I have grown used to a leisurely start to the day. It is some considerable time since I responded favourably to requests for early meetings, ie before nine in the morning, and some hard thinking has to be put in before arranging trips to London that involve the seven thirty am direct train from Lincoln Central. 

That is a handy train as it gets you in before nine thirty and provides a good head start for the business day. However I generally prefer to make life easier by staying the night before and having a relaxed start.

An earnest day might be spent pruning fruit trees. Yesterday afternoon I took time out of my busy shed ule to prune the grape vine.The vine in its early years living in our back garden proved to be some disappointment but last year for the first time it bore fruit. Moreover on a trip to Bakewell Anne and I had lunch in a cafe courtyard that boasted a wonderful specimen heavy with fruit.

This was inspiring. Our vine is set in a sun trap behind the barbeque and we have now had posts put in so that we can train it around the patio at a height of seven or eight feet. The pruning involved removing branches headed in the wrong direction and helping the right ones up the posts and along the wire.

Results won’t be instantaneous but I am optimistic. We aren’t sure whether the grapes are eaters or drinkers. All in good time.

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diary

The scourge of covid has been beaten

The scourge of covid has been beaten. Vanquished. Removed from my corpuscles and consigned to history. This episode, at least, is over.

This morning I tested negative. 

I can now no longer justify languishing on the sofa binge watching boxed sets of interesting history programmes that eventually had me falling asleep because one history programme tends to blur into another and another, and another.

My brain has been restored to a state of full alert. Sharp. Incisive. Full of interesting things to think and say 🙂 

There is no reason, other than natural idleness and disinterest, why things should not be getting done.

Just been downtown to visit the EE shop as I couldn’t make sense of their online offering. They are trying to get me to “upgrade” 

This involves swapping my £20 a month 5G 160GB/month with roaming and no max speed limitation (I tried 5G for the first time when I was downtown and got 260Mbps down) for £18 (online only – £23 instore) 125GB/month with 100Mbps limitation and no roaming. Roaming is another tenner.

Phuh. I’ll stick with my current plan for the foreseeable future. Data costs only come down not up.

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diary

Shostakovich Symphony No5 in D minor

Shostakovich Symphony No5 in D minor is playing in the shed. Tis a relaxing way to start another day. I could say ‘start another week’ but that would be at odds with my philosophy of every day being a start to another week. Or the end of one, or the middle. Anything really.

I wrote that yesterday. Now consigned to a set of electrons parked in my cerebral cortex. Presumably. I dunno.

This morning I woke up the the realisation that I’d entered the wrong delivery address for my new phone, arriving before 10.30am. Doh. It was two doors down. Just before nine I nipped around to alert the neighbour, who I’d never met and who was on a conference call in a tracksuit. Might have been his pyjamas.

All is well. The phone is now in my possession and updating as I write. 163 apps installing. Installed. 

Seems I hadn’t backed up whatsapp messages. Thought I had. Sokay doing it again. The phone is telling me it’s just uploading 8.6GB of whatsapp messages and media. Blimmin ‘eck. Hadn’t realised it was that large or I hadn’t set up a backup. Could have sworn I had. Getting sorted anyway.

I went for a TeraByte of storage on the new phone. Was maybe £135 more than the 512GB version when discounts were taken into consideration and with 200 Megapixel images and 8k vid I figured it would use more storage than my old S10+. Although I mostly store in the cloud anyway. Who knows when next I will be filming movies somewhere with no connectivity.

Interestingly I wrote about 8K video as a thing of the future during the London 2012 Olympics and now here it is, on my phone!

I’ve moved the old phone into the kitchen where there is a newer, faster Unifi access point with noticeable improvement to backup performance. Sprobably already uploaded by now.

181,084 whatsapp messages restored to new phone! Ridiculous.

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diary

Day three of feeling positive

Day three of feeling positive. Well testing positive anyway. Ah well. Symptoms are on the wane. Actually slept quite well, ably assisted by listening to an Infinite Monkey Cage podcast. Twice. Two different editions at different times of the night.

I like the Infinite Monkey Cage. The only problem now is that there are two podcasts that I not only didn’t hear the end of but have no idea how far into the programme I got. Ya gotta laugh.

I will defo be better for next weekend and the snooker. We shall see. 

The spare room is quite cosy. We actually have four spare rooms. One of them is now devoted to sewing and another is the overflow sewing room. So really only spare when the house begins to fill up as it is wont  to do from time to time.

We like it when the house fills up even though it means a disruption to our otherwise idyllic pre-kid/post-kid existence. At least we have enough space not to be on top of each other even with a full house.

This morning I got up and made the tea which you should take as a sign of progress.

Am now enjoying a quiet house. Sunday morning. The wireless set has been switched off. I’m sure it is not good for it to be on all the time. All I can hear is the ticking of the clock. Tick, tock, tick, tock. You know how it goes. Someday the clock will stop ticking… 

Whether this comes after a tick or a tock we will never know for certain. This is partly because the chances of anyone being in the room and listening when it ticks or tocks it’s last are pretty slim and partly because I’m not sure which is the tick and which is the tock. 

The other point worth mentioning is that if there are more than one of you in the room you can’t really hear the clock. And finally I’m not really sure why we have the clock anyway. It has a very small face and I can’t even see it from where I am sat. 

Enough of this horological distraction. Time to move on.

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diary

Covid 2nd edition

The unadulterated binge watching of history documentaries on BBC iPlayer has been made possible by Covid-19.

I last binged watched the four first series’ of Bangers and Cash but have not watched it since. That is the danger of binge watching anything. A History Of Britain by Simon Shama is not in this category as series 3 ends with relatively recent history and both Si and I will be long dead before anyone looks back in the same way at present day occurrences.

The great thing is being able to sit in front of the telly during the day without thinking I was skiving. I can’t imagine that any daytime TV is worth watching but iPlayer is different. I will also have the use of the shed this afternoon when its current occupant disappears off to the gig he has organised at The Drill.

Settled in front of the TV for a day of covid survival. I have a lemsip and a laptop to keep me company and a gig symmetrical line to communicate with the outside world 🙂 The whole world is there to keep me company.

I uploaded a short video of a cup of tea earlier. Ordinarily I might look a couple of times in google photos before it had uploaded. With my fttp connection it was already there by the time I opened the laptop. Internet access as it should be.

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diary

Seven Years in Tibet (John Williams)

Seven Years in Tibet (John Williams) playing in the shed. Tres relaxant or words to that effect. You definitely get the Asian undertones.

Wouldn’t want to go to Tibet for seven years mind you. I’d have to get someone in to keep the grass down. Or turn it into a wilderness garden which I guess would be doable and the cheaper option. 

It isn’t going to work. I’ve only just got back from a trip for goodness sake.

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travel

Kisses off the missus

Great to be home natch. Kisses off the missus.  Lovely sunny day out. Everything unpacked. Mostly.

Shed relations reestablished. Posters from NoLA and Miami laid out flat and weighted down to counter the effects of being carried across the sea in tubes.

Spotify not playing through the amp for some reason. Kluged it by playing through the Roku stick which is plugged into the amp. Doesn’t feel optimal. Might setup again. Something tells me this has happened before. I think it fixed itself.

The joy of washing your face in cold water in the morning

Lots of nice places in the world.

Earthquake reminds us of how weak we are in the face of the power of nature.

Great kip last night. Need to power on through today and hopefully be back in the zone by tomorrow, or Friday at the latest. Got lots to do. 

Lovely morning in the shire. Although it is true of all travel, this latest trip really made me think. We went to New Orleans, Mexico and Miami Beach. Three very different although in some respects, due to their exotic nature, very similar locations.

The fantastic apartment above an artisanal bakehouse in New Orleans had a balcony overlooking Washington Square and Frenchmen Street. Position A for the best bars and music clubs in town but far enough away to not be affected by the noise. When we awoke on our last day we were in the middle of a real live movie set as the cameras had moved in to Frenchmen to film an episode of a New York based TV show.

Our villa in Playa Del Carmen had its own pool, also in the shade of coconut palms and was a 50 metre stroll to a fine white sandy beach with the warm waters of the Caribbean. I could stand on the beach letting the warm waters lap around my ankles and imagine Spanish galleons coming up over the horizon.

Before heading to the airport and home, in Miami we luxuriated in the perfect temperature of a pool protected by the dappled shade offered by surrounding palms. We had lunch accompanied by cold beers sat on stools at the poolside bar. Miami had given us her best.

On the trip we ate great food, drank a huge variety of beers and cocktails, watched our first full game of American Football in a Sports Saloon, listened to lots of live music, met interesting people and had good times all round. 

I am lucky enough to be/have been able to travel to lots of different and exciting places in the world whilst also living in a beautiful town with beautiful family and friends around me. I frequently find existence to be quite surreal. I also find it quite amazing the concept that life still goes on after I’ve left places I’ve visited.

Does make you wonder. It is not possible to enjoy everything this world has to offer. How does the brain cope with this? Why not? None of it really matters.

We are surrounded by bad things as well as good. Terrible wars, devastating earthquakes, human suffering, homelessness, criminality, misfortune. I recognise that these things are all there, still, in the streets as I pass by and because it is impossible to avoid media coverage.

All I can do is focus on my own space. This doesn’t mean ignoring all the bad things but I can’t fix everyone else’s problems. Neither can I perpetually be visiting nice places in the world. My waistline (and wallet) would consider this inadvisable.

This morning I washed my face in cold water in the bathroom sink. One of the joys of being alive. That feeling of cold water on your face and drying it off afterwards in a cosy towel.

Life has many joys. The act of existing is one of them. On the radio during breakfast there was news coverage of a family living in a cellar in a bombed out town in the Ukraine under siege by the Russians. Although the conditions were terrible they still seemed to be able to laugh. It is the only option really. There is no real alternative.

Being at home is a joy. It is always great to get home after a trip. Anne didn’t come on this one as it was one of my occasional dad and lad/daughter trips. It was a joy to meet her at Kings Cross station and travel up from London together. I saw her before she saw me and I smiled. Her kiss invigorates me, still sends shivers down my spine, after 36 years of being together. 

Of course life is also mundane but there is comfort in the mundane and really there is no reason why the mundane should not be joyful or at least beautiful. Next time you pass a road sign or a tree, a house or even a brick you should consider how wonderful a thing it is. I am sitting writing this in our kitchen. A wonderful place. Just as wonderful as the beach in the Caribbean. Just different.

I guess at the end of the day it is all about getting the most out of life. How you want to do that is up to you. We are only here once, afaik 🙂 Get on with it 🙂

In a similar vein of thought I followed a Fiat Doblo out of the Waitrose car park this morning. My first thoughts were ‘what a weird looking car’ and ‘what an odd name!’. Someone must have designed it. A team of specialists would have sat in a room deciding what to call it. I can picture it now.

Then I thought hey, it’s part of the rich tapestry. The design will have appealed to the presumably substantial minority of people who bought one. The designer will have had objectives. A spec. It’s part of what makes this a good place to be, along with the road sign, the tree, the brick and the paddling in the warm waters of the Caribbean.

Doesn’t look as if they make the Fiat Doblo anymore. All things come to pass…

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travel

waiting for a drink

Froze right to the bone

Green rich village

Sound like a hillbilly

Rob you with a fountain pen

So long new york

In my time of dying

Been airborne for a while. I’ve had my hot flannel but being in the last row in business class the drink is taking a while. I know this would be the case but it was a trade off – best seat versus speed of service. Nomatter.

Listening to a bit of Bob Dylan. Hi early stuff is good. Not sure at what stage that changed.

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travel

Checkout

Checkout in one hour and forty minutes. All packed but there is no rush. A relaxed approach to the day of travel is entirely appropriate. Currently sat on a sofa in the Blues Bar. The bar is shut but it is a pleasant spot to sit.

Sbeen a terrific trip. A combined work and play job. Looking forward now to going home, despite the fact that it is bloomin cold in the UK. The system won’t know what has hit it.

The National Hotel is very comfortable. An appropriate way to finish off the trip. It is in a great spot with access to the beach. Classy decor in keeping with the art deco nature of the building. Miami Beach has done a very good job of keeping its character.

Was chatting to some folk last night who said the city is trying to move away from the spring break image to a more cultural destination. Apart from the fact that you need to remortgage your house every time you come here they would appear to be making good progress.

The hotel is a better spot to hang out than the airport lounge. The last time I was there, only three short weeks ago, the lounge seemed packed. Fortunately on that occasion I was flying in first class and was escorted through to the haven of the first class dining room.  

Not so this time. No availability. Last time I slept seven hours and didn’t bother with the in-flight service. That was a nine thirty pm flight so it made sense to eat before getting on the plane. Today’s flight is at five pm so I will be availing myself of a spot of nosh before hitting the hay.

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travel

Observations from Mehico

Observations from Mehico.

Didn’t manage to take a pic of the pickup truck carrying workers.

Before the Spanish arrived they didn’t have chickens or pigs

The reef protected the coastline on the east of the yucatan peninsula

The tree of life (not sure that’s the right description) had 13 steps to heaven and 8 to hell. You could go up or down in different lives. Being a human sacrifice guaranteed instant access to heaven.

Friendly lot

Felt a little inadequate with my limited knowledge of Spanish. If I lived somewhere Spanish speaking I’d need to learn the lingo.

Not had a proper cup of tea in a while.

Didn’t notice any fresh milk for sale. Might just be me not knowing where to look.

Beautiful coastline. Real scenes of paradise – soft white sands, coconut palms, azure sea.

Gets v hot in summer – 43 degrees – toohotman

Some great food

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travel

cave dwellers of the north

Exotica such as this is strange for us cave dwellers of the north. Palm fronds waft gently in the breeze. A bird chirrups unseen. Whitewashed buildings with pan tiled roofs.

Yesterday, at sea, it was possible to imagine the ships of Cortez appearing over the horizon, scanning the shores for signs of civilization amidst the jungle that creeps down to the pristine white beach. A beach that stretches for untold miles to the north and south.

The beach is protected by a coral reef that makes itself known, mostly, by the sign of breakers and the change in sea state on either side.

Mornings are a slow start with a simple breakfast. The days are spent relaxing in the shade, occasionally taking a dip in the pool to cool off. Evenings are a slow start. Couple of beers before heading out to the night. We don’t have late nights. 

Tonight we are having a barbecue so it’s a night in. A simple marinated chick with some salad and mango salsa. We will need to make our way to Walmart for supplies. These include some decent tequila, not for consumption here but to take home. 

Everyday a worker appears outside the villa to rake up the dried leaves that seem to fall constantly from the abundance of roadside trees. A very verdant environment.

I can see the attraction of places like this although I can’t understand how, in this sun, people can lie on the beach for hours. The first thing Robinson Crusoe must have done was to build some shade and make himself a hat.

Lazy days in Old Mehico…

Slightly disappointed to have lost my receipt from this pm’s Walmart shop. It would have been a good souvenir of the daft amount of stuff Joe and I threw into the cart just for tonight’s bbq and a bit of bacon for the next two mornings. Ably bumped up by a couple of bottles of top of the range tequila to take home at £41 each.

Walked there, cab back. Outbound we were treated to local sights not to be seen on the tourist main drag including some great looking bars – simple yet cool.

Hola Marco, hablamos antes sobre ir a visitar las Ruinas de Tulum mañana.

¿Podría recogernos en el número 683 de Villas Jaguar a las 9:00? Playacar Fase1

La villa se encuentra en la esquina de Bahía del Espíritu Santo y Esmedregal de Caleta

necesitaríamos que nos recogieran para el viaje de regreso dos horas después de dejarlo

En el camino de regreso, ¿hay algún cenote conveniente que podamos visitar solo para echar un vistazo? – No queremos hacer snorkel. ¿Sería capaz de hacer esto dentro del precio cotizado de 2000 pesos de devolución?

Trefor Davies

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travel

high noon mexico

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.

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travel

villa mexico

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.