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…


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.



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.


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


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


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.


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. 


The street outside 801 Frenchmen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.