Discuss longhaul
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Travel is the most private of pleasures. There is no greater bore than the travel bore. We do not in the least want to hear what he has seen... (Vita Sackville West).

Friday, February 18, 2005


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A good day yesterday so I thought I'd share it with you. Paul had an unexpected but very welcome day off mid-week and we decided to tackle a job which has been hanging over me for some time - the destruction of the remains of the old greenhouse in the back garden. The glass bit was long gone but until yesterday there was still a solid-looking brick and concrete base providing a real eyesore - made even worse by the fact that I have been dumping combustibles in a heap on top of it with the intention of having a bonfire. Among other rubbish to burn was the old Christmas tree and greenery from the festive season so soon we were engulfed in acrid smoke and neighbours weren't long in appearing and complaining about that (even though it only lasted half an hour). Then Paul began weilding the newly purchased sledghammer and remarkably quiclky real inroads were being made into something I had thought looked fairly indestructible. If you look at the pictures it gives the impression that I just set Paul a load of work and watched him get on with it, but I assure you I did my fair share - just less sledgehammering being comparatively weak and feeble.

Once the rubble had been stacked up we dug over the soil and Paul gave the lawn a good mowing. Then we had tea and cake sitting in the dying sun and admiring our handiwork. It was one of those incredibly satisfying afternoons. Now both of us are looking at the new patch of virgin soil and fantasising about spud crops and fruit bushes. I have Geoffrey Smith's bible of veg gardening to refer to - remember him from the 1970's? I can't wait to get planting and this was impossible to do while the eyesore was still in situ. Honestly, the excitemant of having a little patch of ground - you would not believe!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Foreign bodies

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Well after last post's whinging about time and tiredness, some light relief was afforded in the form of a visit by my Dutchies who had the honour of being the first guests to sample the comforts of my luxury Laura Ashley bed. Only since January has it been possible to offer guests anything more inviting than a camp bed so they came at the right time! We had a good day trip out to Exmoor and the coast, climbed Dunkery beacon, took in the attractions of Lynton and Lynmouth, Porlock and Simonsbath. It is a beautiful area and I will have to go back soon for a good tramp over the hills. The Blagdon Inn at Blagdon Hill near Taunton did us proud on the food and drink front. This place was discovered by Jude and it is a great find - gezellig! Go there if you're passing (and take me too - their liver and onions with bacon and mashed potato is calling me back).

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Jo serving up the neeps
Token tartan
A dog's life in NYC
A humiliated hound
Central park vermin
Central park vermin 2
Clock shop
Lamp shop

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Apologies for my extended absence from the blog. Life is fuller than ever at the moment as the resposibilities of home-ownership continue to make themselves felt and the rigours of long haul flying take their ever-increasing toll on my weary body. The more knowing and sarcastic among you may at this point be thinking "Yeah right. Busy? Tired? Got better things to do these days have't you Vick with the advent of Paul-from-Devon in your life?" and there is some truth in this.

However, the blog has just passed its first anniversary. My first posting was back in January 2004 and it concerned my first trip to New York. Since then I must have been to NYC about eight times and the excitement of that first time can never be recaptured - unique and engaging a place though I still think it is. These days and as with most of my destinations, I am a little jaded and it is all just another day another dollar. The jet-lag does start to make you feel permanantly in need of a bloody good rest - just a bit worn out all the time, though this doesn't seem to result in actual illness so that I can take an enjoyable week off and spend it in bed. My immune system must be rock solid from being exposed to world-wide germs. I was told when I started long haul that you can handle it for the first year but after that it starts to really get to you and I can feel I am reaching this stage. Also I am away from home too much of the time. I think it is 60% of my life and especially now I have a man to attend to again, this feels like an imposition. Wherever I am I find myself thinking I'd rather be in Somerset. I wish I could go part-time (like most of my colleagues) but at the moment the option is not there - they need us full-timers to carry on working flat-out for the sake of the airline's profit margins.

The lessening frequency of postings is also down to the fact that most places I go to now are repeat trips so not as interesting to write about for me or for you to read. All in all I feel the blog may be coming to the end of its natural life what with lack of time, lack of inspiration, worries about BA finding out and reading it all (an embarrassing insight into my private life even if not actually a sackable offence), the oddness of strangers happening across my writings (disconcerting).....and well, I've just got other priorities these days. We'll see....there's Islamambad coming up on my roster so that's something new. After that, perhaps it will be time to bid adieu to over a year's worth of self-publicity and nerdish activity.

Coincidentally I have just returned once more from New York - rather cold and snowy at the moment. It is no longer the big tourist attractions that catch my attention there but rather the city's many quirky sights - people and shops. I'll bung a couple of pictures I took this time on here to show you what I mean. It is true that anything goes there - witness the dog's attire for instance. I fear I have become less adventurous over the year too. The last few visits to NYC I have contented myself with rushing round the corner to my favourite deli to grab chicken, rice and veg as my evening meal, holing up in the room for 12 hours to catch up my sleep and drinking a wee bottle of airline wine (paid for I hasten to add). Then the next day I might go for a wander for fresh air but when I think of all the pastimes on offer in the city which I have yet to experience it is quite bad I seem to have lost the will to make the effort. For instance, I have neglected The Guggenheim, the helicopter ride round the city skyline, the boat trip out into the harbour, a pilgrimage down to Ground Zero and a keek at the Statue of Liberty. I should get off my arse and then I might have something new to say.

Still, back in my real life and the one I care about times have been much more interesting and usually busy as hell. Last weekend was a Burns' Night party on the Bee in Bristol. Jo and Martin had transformed the hold which was decked out in tartan of all descriptions and which on closer inspection revealed itself to be mostly things like duvet covers refashioned into banners and tablecloths. Two hardly-ever-seen cousins, Tom and James managed to join the throng of twenty-four revellers and Jo made sterling efforts in the galley and somehow managed to provide scotch broth, haggis, tatties and neeps all round. Scottish James did the honours with the poetry and I'm reliably informed that dancing took place into the late small hours of Sunday after I had left as I had to go to work next day.

I also had friend Jude up for a weekend - my first sleep-over visitor apart from family. We had a good walk, fell in a lagoon of slurry, ate too much hearty winter food and caught up on events in each other's lives. And on other days off Paul-from-Devon and I have tried to reacquaint ourselves with who the other one is again, attempt to cram in enough sleep to make rational conversation and normal behaviour a possibility and eat as healthily as possible. His life too is rather dominated by working long hours and not being in bed at appropriate times at the moment. Lorry driving for a living leaves much to be desired when it comes to dragging oneself out of bed at 5.30am and returning thirteen hours later, totally Scania-ed out. Our relationship is characterised by mutual comparisons of how tired we each are at any given moment and resentment at the thought of when work will next rear its ugly head for either of us. Having the same days off, when it happens, is a treat, but at the moment I've got that feeling of running to stand still. Oh its not all cider and glorious mud down here you know!!

Moaning over now. Bet you'd all be glad to see the back of this blog if I carried on much longer in similar vein. Signing off!...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Post-massage at the temple
Khao San Road
Street origami

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