Rapist in Chief

I view politics very much through a British looking glass. You wouldn’t expect anything else. This means I’m inevitably going to be viewed as a commie by our American cousins and a capitalist pig by our Russian ex-friends. Both are simplistic labels proferred by simplistic minds. My political line of thought is easily summed up. If it’s too big to fail, essential infrastructure, a matter of national security, a social service or where human decency overrides the need for profit, it should be government run. Otherwise, we the people should be left to get on with it. There’s the ‘left’ and the ‘libertarian’ in me in in two shortish sentences. Of course, those two sentences are wide open to interpretation. You can have a crack at this quiz, if you care to. It’s pretty low brow, but still…

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With this in mind, you can probably imagine how I view US politics. Obama is not a socialist. Sanders is not a communist. Neither are even close. You guys really need to meet Jeremy Corbyn, our new-ish Labour leader. Some people would suggest Sanders is an American style Corbyn in many regards. I like Corbyn. He’s principled, decent and in the politics game to try to make a difference, rather than for his own furtherment. His analysis of real world politics and issues is spot on. Probably because he lives in the real world. Yet, I probably won’t vote for him. As things stand, I’ll vote Liberal. Because Corbyn is a weak leader whose specialty is protest not policy.

He’s a good guy in the wrong job. But he is not Britain’s Sanders. He is our Trump. You might not see how such a comparison works if you look at their respective policies and opinions. They couldn’t be more different. But policies don’t matter one jot if you don’t get a shot at the top job. What Trump and Corbyn do share is the ability to tear their own parties apart, to alienate the key floating voters and to gift their opponents the next election. This is the main reason behind my opposition to Corbyn.

My assumption, though, is that Trump will fall down in the primaries. He’ll get to the blue states, who’ll pick a moderate Republican and send Trump back to the tower. His tower, sadly. Not ours. We no longer behead crooks anyway. Trump is nuts. Despicable is not too strong a word.  He most definitely doesn’t live in the real world. It’s worrying that anyone who does would offer him their support. Frankly, Ted Cruz is no better.

You couldn’t make a parody of Trump. He is a walking talking parody already. Where does one even begin to list his misdemeanors? He’s figuratively raped the bank accounts of Americans and other citizens and governments around the world for decades. But perhaps more of a concern is the literal rape of his ex-wife. Is this just being ignored in the US? Have I missed something? Seriously, what’s the deal? There’s been no conviction, as is oft the case with this particular crime. But dear old Ivana was pretty clear in a statement under oath. He raped her. Then he gagged her through the courts. One of the joys of ‘freedom’. Can I get a hallelujah?

Nowadays, she says that he didn’t literally or criminally rape her. What does that even mean? He had her permission to rape her? Isn’t that sort of activity more commonly known as consensual intercourse? Is this just a British / American linguistic anomaly? Help me out guys. But I guess, more importantly, help yourselves out. You are the ones with a vote to cast in this election, not I. Don’t swallow the audio-visual Rophenol soundbites he’s throwing your way. Don’t give this guy your consent. He will shaft you all if he gets the opportunity.

Pizazz

Sometimes a photo just needs a little extra something. I have used Nik Efex for years. But not for a while. I’d forgotten how much extra they can give a photo.

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Sunrise

I took a stroll along the River Avon in Ringwood a morning or two ago. Just to check out the sunrise. And to play with a Christmas gift. I’d gotten a Hoya ND10 filter. I already had one, but as they are stackable I thought I’d get another and see what sort of light stopping power they have when combined. It turns out they have plenty of stopping power. The image below is an eight minute exposure, and it was still awfully dark. I could easily get a fifteen minute exposure out of them in fairly light conditions. Double that or more in very low light.

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The real treat of my walk evaded my camera, sadly. An otter surfaced in the river no more than two feet away from me to have a splash and a roll. By the time I’d got my filters off, the remote shutter release unplugged and the setting flicked to auto he was 10 feet away from me. By the time I’d raised my camera and focused….he was gone. I don’t blame him though. It was a crisp, icy morning. An otter gotta keep moving to keep warm.

 

Happy New Year

My new year wishes come late, I know. I blame my inner Mexican. But then again, everything tends to be delivered late, if at all, on this blog these days. I’ve tired of blogging. Or at least of the sort of blogging I used to do. Long, rambling posts. It requires thought, time and effort. None of which I have spare to dedicate to this little part of the web. You’ve all noticed, I know. It’s there in the stats. The visitors graph reads like the value of the peso. It’s been tumbling year on year since 2011, the year I returned home from my six year stay in Mexico.

It turns out that whilst people liked reading about adventures in Mexico City, they are less interested in hearing about life in Bournemouth. I understand. Entirely. I can demonstrate this with a couple of images from the annual report that WordPress automatically generates. Firstly, let’s look at how often I post these days, shall we? Bearing in mind that last year there were 122 posts. In 2013 there were 146. In 2012 I crafted 196 literary masterpieces….



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Yes, it’s a sorry story, isn’t it? And it has to be said, if I’m not writing anything new, then visitor numbers are going to fall. But let’s move on to the next graph, which rather shows that the dire state of affairs that the Mexile currently finds itself in is not entirely down to a lack of new content. Let’s have a looky see what visitors do read once they’ve gotten here…

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Well, three of those top five were all written when I still lived and played in Mexico City. The other two? Well, they do appear to be about Mexico. I think my medicinal advice on how to clear up a bit of psoriasis of the scalp must be my most read post ever. By some margin. That’s two or three years running that it has topped the charts. I wonder if anyone ever gave it a go? And if so, did it work for them?

Anyway, despite all this doom and gloom, some of you still take the time to look in and see whats going on now and again. So the final graph. It’s the biggie, too. Who wins the prize for leaving the most comments this year?

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Why it’s Kim G. For the fourth year running. Well done Kim. William made a good go of it though, pushing up to second place from last year’s fourth spot. He swaps places with Norm, who tumbles to fourth.  Steve is consistent. Third again. Colm is a new entry displacing….me. Apparently, I was the fifth most frequent commenter last year. That, I think was an error.

But this is all a bit by the by. You see, as I mentioned, I’m a bit bored of blogging. Especially now that I have a new job with plenty of overtime available. And money to spend on going out when I have a day off. This all makes blogging feel like work instead of a hobby. I’ve no intention of retiring from blogging, mind you. If this were a job, then I’ve moved from being a part-timer to a zero hours contract. Shorter posts. Published less frequently. Mostly photos. Such is life.

 

Hat’s The Way To Do It

So you’re setting up a promotional shoot for a German railway. You got all the uniforms pressed and prepared. By dammit, you’re one uniform and hat short. Not to worry, you’re sure you saw something in an old cupboard in the basement. The cupboard with ‘Gestapo’ on the front, whatever that is. It’ll have to do…

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Photo 2015

Another year has almost passed us by. Where doe the time go? This year it was spent in London, Istanbul, Berlin, the south coast of England and at various country estates around the south. All carefully documented with my camera. I had a little look back and choose my favourite/better snaps of the last 12 months. And so I present to you, in no particular order, a selection of 18 shots that I liked the best. The next Ansel Adams I am clearly not. But I enjoy getting out and photographing what I see. And then processing the images into something more interesting when I get home…

P Marks The Spot

Normally when travelling by myself, I land at the airport with nothing more than a Lonely Planet guidebook and a completely open agenda. I had just two full days in Berlin though, so I planned more carefully. I didn’t have a day or so to orientate myself to my surroundings. I planned an itinerary and booked the required tickets. First up was a walking tour, booked through Viator with Discover Berlin. A four hour march past all the key sites in Berlin’s history. The first part focused on pre 20th century Berlin. The latter part on the World War and Cold War. The guide was enthusiastic and interesting, which helps.

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I returned to one of the locations the next day. A very nondescript car park, just a few hundred metres from the Reichstag. It’s a car park because its difficult to build on this spot. Underneath lies the Fuhrerbunker, where Hitler made his last stand. There is a sign explaining the location and describing the layout of the bunker, 8 metres below the surface. This only went up in 2006, in time for the World Cup.You can’t access the bunker today. Over the years there have been efforts to destroy it and/or fill it in with concrete. There’s a fascinating collection of photographs by Rober Conrad, who disguised himself as a construction worker in 1987 and went down into the bunker to document what remained.

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It’s a place worthy of sitting for a while. To picture the scene, seventy years ago. The Nazi regime was in its death throes, but Adolf Hitler still strolled this patch of ground from time to time. Have you seen the film Downfall? It’s a masterpiece, well worth a couple of hours of your time. It’s based entirely on the last days and hours of the regime, covering the moment that Hitler finally did the right thing and put a bullet through his brain.

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Historians have placed the pit where the bodies of Mr and Mrs Hitler were partially burned to be by the first parking sign in this photo. The irony of this being a wheelchair accessible parking space is not lost on me. The only way to make it a more appropriate parking space would be if it were reserved for black, gay, Jewish wheel chair users. Dr Goebbels has it worse. They built the Monument to Murdered Jews over his bunker. Karma.

Everything possible has been done by the authorities to make this site uninteresting and devoid of stand out features. To remove the blemish of the Third Reich from the streets of the city. To say that they have attempted to whitewash history or pretend it didn’t happen is going too far and is unfair. This is a complicated and touchy subject.

Berlin

The German language is a pretty blunt instrument of communication. The vocabulary is direct and to the point. So I hope the natives won’t object that I utilize that straightforward approach in my opening description of Berlin – the Ugly City. If Paris is the city of light, then Berlin  is the city of darkness. A largely brutalist expression of architecture in both the east and west parts of the city. Although, for obvious reasons, more so in the east. But Berlin is about function rather than finery or frivolity. So that’s okay. And whilst giants of literature and science have plied their trade here, most visitors come for the history, not the culture. That is certainly why I visited this week.

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It’s a history dominated by a single man, and the evidence of his existence is etched into every square metre of the city centre. Although you’ll see only a few sign posts acknowledging that fact. The architecture is the first giveaway. The modern concrete blocks, laid down in the 50s, 60s and 70s to fill the holes made by tens of thousands of tons of British and US high explosives, dropped from the skies, day and night, for several years. With the additional destruction of the Soviet attack, the Battle of Berlin, thrown in for good measure. The end result was something of a modern version of Carthage.

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Here and there, an older building survives. Or rather, was restored. But they still bear the scars of war. Magnificent columns riddled with bullet holes. Monuments so blackened from the soot of fires that cleaning them is not possible. Then there is the Reichstag, the crowning glory of German reunification, risen from the ashes of 1945, but with constant reminders of the buildings violent history. Photograph displays throughout the interior show the story of the Reichstag. Russian graffiti has been preserved. Then there is that magnificent dome on top, the contrast between the old and the new.

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The history that visitors come to see doesn’t end in 1945, of course. In the eastern half of the city, the swastika was simply replaced with the hammer and sickle, the war changed from world to cold, and an oppressive and brutal leadership  carried on the work of their predecessors. Most of the key sites in Berlin lie in the eastern half. What was until 25 odd years ago, the capital of East Germany. Architecturally, an even bigger mess than the western side. I think it is fair to say that the city is yet to fully recover from either the World War or Cold War, both physically and mentally.

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Berlin can also claim to be the birthplace of modern political correctness. The art of conversation without offence. Given the very delicate nature of the city’s history, it is not surprising that this is so. How to discuss the finer points of the Gestapo and Stasi without upsetting anyone? There are laws outlawing holocaust denial and use of Nazi symbols. Like a  recovering alcoholic, there is the fear that just one sip from the forbidden cup will see Berlin swathed in fascist emblems once more.

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I pre-booked a tour of the Reichstag. We were guided round by a grandfatherly figure with as monotone a voice as you will ever hear, and a habit of finishing ever sentence with ‘ya’. He was informative. But he did something that I didn’t hear from any other German during my short stay. When talking about the war, he used we and us, rather than they and them. Germans instead of Nazis. I noticed it, but whether anyone else did I cannot say. But he left his feelings open to interpretation by doing so. When reading signs or listening to Germans on the subject of the war, there seems to be a deliberate effort at disassociation. And I can’t say that I blame them.

Click here to see my Berlin album on Flickr.

 

I Am Ten

This blog has been knocking around a few years now. The last five years it’s been maintained more out of habit that anything else. And it’s a habit that is becoming less frequent with time. But it’s been going more than ten years. So the title is not about the blog. If you were loitering in this part of the world wide web back in my Mexico days, you might remember that this blog focused on three main subjects. Documentation of my adventures in Mexico. Dubious sponsored posts for dodgy Rolex watches and vaginal rejuvenation surgery. My turtles, and their adventures. Well….as far as turtles living in an inflatable pool in a back yard can have adventures.

It’s tricky to write on those three subjects with any regularity these days. I no longer live in Mexico for one. And the sponsored post market has dried up. Perhaps all the vaginas have now been rejuvenated. And the turtles have gone on to new homes. But perhaps, just perhaps, you are wondering whatever became of them. I keep in touch once every so often with the chap who took on Bob, Baby, Itchy and Scratchy. You might remember that Bob was the first of the turtles. The daddy of the pond. My favourite. I think he quite liked me too. Maybe.

Bob is now ten years old. There we are, the title of the post makes sense now, huh? In human years, he’s about 20ish. About time he got a job instead of lounging about in the sun all day. He won’t of course, but he’s doing very well, as are the other three. I believe they still get their favourite treat of barbacoa every now and again. But anyway, he’s got plenty more years in him if all goes well. In captivity, the little critters can live for 35 to 40 years. So if you’re thinking of a new pet, but are tired of the heartbreak of having to bury them every decade or so, well a turtle is for you. Look after it, and it’ll be an heirloom that you pass on. They’re quite good diggers actually, so they could even help bury you.

I just thought you might like to know….

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Tis The Season

In Mexico things were much simpler. There was rainy season and there was dry season. There wasn’t the world of difference between the two, really. A bit cooler in the mornings and evenings in dry season. And you’d get an hour or two of rain in the evening in, predictably, the rainy season. Otherwise, it would be sunny and warm. Just how I like it. There was no real autumn, winter or spring. Not that an Englishman would recognise. The new shoots would be well underway before last years leaves had fully fallen.

However, I liked to add a third season to the traditional two seasons. Jacaranda season. If you were going to be persnickety, you’d point out that this is spring. But the Jacarandas spread such a magical lavender sheen to the sky and a carpet of lavender leaves on the ground. It just seemed to wonderful to simply refer to it as ‘spring’.

In the UK we have real seasons. There is often debate as to the when, exactly, each season is. I like to apply logic and simplicity. March, April and May are spring. June, July and August are summer. September, October an November are autumn. The remainder are winter. Miserable, bleak, wet, dark, depressing, never-ending winter. I hate it. There’s no time of year when I wish I was back in Mexico more than in winter.

But perhaps the UK needs an extra season too. December is most definitely winter. Yet it’s one of my favourite months. It’s cold, but the cold still has novelty value. And the towns and cities are bathed in lights, glitter, sparkly things, baubels, decorated trees and cheesy music. Christmas deserves to be a season all of its own. After all, the old song does state, ‘Tis the season to be jolly…’. Thus I have evidence to support my claim.

London is the brightest and jolliest of all the towns and cities to visit. I’ve noticed more and more places taking advantage of all the festivity to bring the punters in, with illuminated displays. We visited Kew Gardens. I rather imagine that they have a tough time drumming up business in the middle of winter. Mostly because all their main attractions look pretty much dead. Can you imagine a zoo trying to get customers in to look at animal corpses? Exactly.

But….add a million fairy lights, dozens of strings of LEDs, some pots of fire, some Santas and light the famous greenhouse up in seasonal shades of red, white and green. Or, as Mrs P and I preferred to think, the colours of the Mexican flag. Serve up some mulled wine and chestnuts, and hey presto – you got yourself a tourist attraction. To see all the photos I took, click here to be transported to Flickr.

 

The Steam Train

The technology might be centuries old. The engines might be hopelessly outdated and unreliable. But there are still plenty of steam powered trains in the UK. Dozens of heritage railways keep the old chuggers chugging. And plenty of people are still enthralled at the concept of burning coal in a boiler to produce sufficient power to propel a lump of metal down a track. Enthralled enough to come out in their dozens to watch one come by.

A steam train came through my station the other day. The photo below may deceive you. Or it may not, depending on your powers of observation. It’s going backwards, not forwards. It had broken down earlier. The paying passengers had to endure the ignominy of being towed by a more modern diesel locomotive, which is out of shot. It didn’t matter to the train spotters though. Of which, it seems, I am now one. Oh, the shame…

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Syria

We’re at war. Again. Sort of. I’m not really sure why our latest campaign in Syria is being called a war. Obviously there is a war happening on the ground. We’re not participating in that. We’re just dropping bombs on distance targets from a safe distance.  But anyhow. I have a few thoughts.

  • Why are we bombing Syria? Well, there’s a very simple answer to this. Its what we do. It’s what we’ve done for hundreds of years. It’s what we’ll continue to do until someone gives us a sound thrashing and puts a stop to it. Even then, it’ll probably only be a temporary stop. It’s in the national psyche. It’s tradition, pride, vanity. If there is a bit of a kerfuffle going on someone in the world, we feel obliged to throw our hat in the ring. Especially if the French are involved. You think this is a ridiculous explanation? The world is, more often than not, ridiculous. Besides, I have evidence. A map of the world. Everything in red is a nation invaded or occupied by the UK at some stage. I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did Luxembourg get away with it??

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  • I voted Labour at the last election. I’ll be voting for someone else at the next election, unless Corbyn is replaced. I like him. His analysis of a problem is often spot on. He is principled. He is eloquent. He says what needs to be said. But his solutions, when he actually has one, are usually ideological, impractical and devoid of consideration for all other connected factors. The chap is an activist. He is not a leader. He demonstrated that last week. He is 100% against bombing in Syria. Yet, rather than force Labour MPs to vote against military action, he gave his colleagues a free vote. Why? Because his colleagues were going to ignore him anyway and he didn’t want to look weak. He’s not in control of the party and even if he were, his continued leadership is almost certain to see another Tory win in 2020. Who might replace him? Some would now say that Hilary Benn is a candidate. Picture yourself in the year 2020 at a UK/US convention. PM Hilary and Pres Hillary. Cartoonists are going to have a field day.
  • The argument in the UK as to whether we should bomb Syria seems to be devoid of substance on both sides. The Right believe they can bomb ISIS into oblivion. The Left want a political solution. A political solution? Who are they kidding? A political solution with who? Russia? Assad? Turkey? The Kurds? That’s like sitting at at table with a bowl of dog shit and declaring that you are going to make a cake. Ain’t nobody gonna be swallowing that, I’m afraid. As far as I see it, there are two types of war. Total war, which is the one we most want to avoid. The other type involves running around trying to put out fires, but doing little to actually stop the firestarter. Which is also unpleasant, but probably better than sitting back and watching the fires spread and burn some more. But when all is said and done, there is no answer to this (or many other) of the world’s problems. Such is life.

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  • No one seems to be asking the most important question. It’s a simple one. Can our bombs kill radicalized terrorists more quickly than the bombs radicalize new terrorists? There’s got to be someone doing the maths…

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  • I’ve also noticed that those people I speak to who are most in favour of bombing Syria are also the least likely to approve of us taking in refugees. There has to be a formula out there to calculate the bombs to refugee ratio. Factor in tonnage of bombs dropped, the period of time over which they are dropped and the density of the receiving population per square mile. Plus a few other  contributory factors. We can then present the maths to fans of the bomb and explain the concept of cause and effect in numerical form. Getting them to understand the concept of ‘responsibility’ is another matter altogether…

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  • Putin is nuts. He may sometimes make a valid point. But I suspect that’s by chance rather than design. The Turks are also nuts. They are doing more to prolong and aggravate the Syrian conflict than other nation. They have definitely occupied the moral low ground. I read somewhere recently that Turkey and Russia have waged war against each other more times throughout history than any other pair of countries. Although producing such a stat is a very dubious art. But anyway.  They’re not buddies at the best of times. That should be everyone’s biggest concern, perhaps.

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  • I’ve long needed a post relevant for my warplane photos.

PS. We’re still bombing Iraq, dontcha know?

 

The Apple Market

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There is a magical place in London, where all your technological dreams come true. Staffed by pixies and leprechauns, who have brought with them the finest gifts from the end of the rainbow to sell to those of us lucky enough to know the whereabouts of this secret marketplace. Freshly cut bouquests of iPads, posies of iPod Nanos and bunches of iPhones adorn the stalls. If you’re feeling flush, perhaps you might be interested in an extra special iMac arrangement, or maybe, as it’s Christmas, you’ll be tempted by a wreath made out of purest gold MacBooks.

Alternatively, I’ve been for a day to London, stopping by at Covent Garden, to enjoy the Christmas lights. Take your pick. Whichever tale sounds best to you, that’s the true story.

On another note, WordPress have changed their quick post editor. Again. I found the first version to be a bit ‘meh’. This latest update is awful. The full editor is still available, but I am a little tired of WordPress’ determination to always take me to the quick editor by default.

The Three Month Review

I’ve completed three months of service in my new job and, as is the process of my employer, I’ve recently had my three month review. How did it go? We’ll get to that later. Firstly, I’ll give a three month review of my employer. Finding a job you enjoy is tough work. I’ve been trying to get my foot in on the trains for several years, and there were a three or four unsuccessful interviews before I finally cracked it. I’ve struck lucky with this job – it is the best of the bunch that I’d applied for. I’m a relief ticket office clerk.

In short, this means I cover shifts across a stretch of line when the normal clerk is on holiday or sick. I like the variety. I like the early mornings too. Some days I’ll need to be out of the house by 5am. I’m not a fan of waking up that early. But once up, it’s nice to have the world to myself for a couple of hours.

I enjoy the face to face interaction with customers too. It’s a significant improvement on dealing with them at the end of a telephone, as was the case at my last employer. Of course, you get the occasional upset customer. But most are happy to have someone help them through the confusing minefield that is the rail ticketing system.

I like the pay too. It’s another significant improvement compared to my last employer. Well paid overtime combined with various allowances meant that I got paid more in ‘extras’ last month than I’d have previously been paid for an entire month’s worth of labour.And of course, I’ve joined the union. I’m probably a little bit to the right, politically speaking, of most of my comrades. But I do reap the reward in pay and terms that comes with working in a unionized industry. It’s only right that I contribute my dues.

My employer runs a tight ship. But they are realistic in their demands. There are no threats or scowls when an honest mistake is made. There’s recognition that we’re all human. Mistakes happen. Just don’t make the same mistake over and over and over again. That’s a fair request and one I can deliver. It’s a tightly run ship and my ship mates act as a team. Once more, an improvement over my last employer.

Then there are the travel perks. And they are truly bountiful. Not every clerk makes full use of them. I shall. It works like this. I get free travel on the network I am employed by. I also get free travel on another network that is also owned by my employer. I also get a coupon allowing 5 lots of free travel over a 48 hour period on a third network that is majority owned by my employer. The other networks? I have a card which entitles me to a 75% discount on all other rail travel. After a years service, I’ll also get discounted travel on Eurostar and around much of the EU. Best of all, whatever I get, Mrs P also gets, as my spouse. Although she is limited to leisure travel only.

We’ve already been to Edinburgh for a weekend away. I’d never been to Scotland before and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Edinburgh is a magnificent city. We’ll go back next summer. We shall take the Caledonian Sleeper up to Fort William via Glasgow and return via Edinburgh. In between time, we have trips to York, Axminster, Exter, Birmingham and Liverpool planned. I shall make the most of my travel perks.

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I’m very happy with my new job, in case I’d left any room for doubt. The good news is that my review suggested that they are equally as happy to have me there. Sure, the overtime, extra cash and many places to see does mean I have less time to do some other things – such as blogging. Such is life, it’s a small sacrifice. If you’d like to see the full set of photos from Edinburgh then, as usual, just click here.

Viva Paris

Some people here in the UK don’t seem to get why Brits seem more sympathetic to Parisians than they do to Lebanese and Palestinians. Perhaps you’ve noticed this elsewhere in the West. I wouldn’t have thought that this phenomena wouldn’t be too hard to grasp, but it does seem to be beyond the intellect of a surprisingly large number of people. Hands up who has been to Paris? And to Beirut? The Gaza Strip? I think I see more hands for Paris.

Hands up who envisages London turning into the next Beirut? No one? How about a Paris style atrocity occurring in Covent Garden and Kensington? Sadly, there’s every chance it will happen.  We can relate to Paris. We know Paris. We live just a couple of hours by train from Paris. It’s not, fortunately, a normal feature of Paris life. It still has shock value. We worry about being the ‘next Paris’. Comprende? Failing that, why are you whining about Beirut and Palestine and not Honduras or Mexico?

I’m tired of people of all ideologies smugly claiming some sort of personal victory, valediction or bragging rights every time an atrocity is committed. You predicted this? Really?? Goddamn, just give me next weeks lottery numbers right now, pendejo. Right wingers gloat ‘I told you so’ in their misinformed, prejudiced rants about the dangers of multiculturalism. Yet supported, and still support, the actions that actually led us down this path.

The left wingers who defend Islam as a religion of peace are just as bad. There is no such thing as a religion of peace, Islamic, Christian or Buddhist. The first two in particular boast many scriptures urging violence. At the end of the day, the path of peace or violence is a personal choice for each follower.

Tragedy really does bring the worst out in the sickos of the world. Whether it’s Donald Trump and his fan club claiming that more guns are needed to solve the problem, or others who justify (or simply mitigate) the murders in Paris with the atrocities committed in the Middle East. It may be true that 9/11, 7/7 and 13/11 are everyday Gazan life. But this isn’t a competition. And then there are the conspiracy theorists. Who are perhaps the most deluded, poorly informed and ignorant members of our society. They wouldn’t know reality if it slapped them in the face.

I don’t know where we go from here, other than more of the same. But I have decided that an awful lot of people shouldn’t be allowed to have opinions if they can’t exercise some rational thought and responsibility. In the age of the internet, words have become more dangerous than sticks and stones. Viva Paris.

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