Fifteen years ago today, I published my first post on my blog. How time flies. Oh, if I could only go back to being that 30 year old, just about to head off on a backpacking trip to Mexico, and do it all over again. But time is a funny thing, a one off deal. We are stuck in the moment, moving forever forward and never backward. Perhaps this is just as well. Had time moved backwards from my birth, the year would be 1927. I’d have lived through World War 2, the Great Depression and I’d currently be looking forward to (or backward to) the General Strike. I guess I would have lived to see the Moon Landing, but I’d have been too young to appreciate it. So it’s probably just as well that time does indeed move forward – I got the better part of the 20th century.
Most companies of any size offer a few benefits and perks to their employees. The railway offers more than most. Who wouldn’t want a final salary based pension? They’re hard to come by these days. Some (most? all? I don’t know…) Train Operating Companies also provide a scheme, which I participate in, to buy shares in the business. I buy three shares, two more are thrown in for free. There are conditions, of course, and it really only works if you treat it as a long term deal. But my favourite perk, which works in the here and now, are the travel benefits. I’ve probably touched on this before. But I’m not sure I’ve ever explained the full deal.
I strolled past this marvel of engineering at the weekend. It is truly a thing of beauty, one of the finest cars ever made. I don’t care how quirky it is, I love it. And I’m not alone – it came third in a poll for Car of the Century. Indeed, if I were more mechanically minded, cash rish and with time on my hands, I’d pick an old DS as a restoration project. Some unkind soul might suggest that the first DS was in need of restoration about five minutes after it came off the production line. French cars have that sort of reputation. Regardless, I have neither the know-how, money nor time to embark on such a project. Instead, I settle for photographing other people’s efforts.
Life on a narrowboat always greatly appealed to me, although it’s a life best suited to a singleton. In my opinion. I personally wouldn’t want to share quite such a limited amount of living space with another. I like solitude, even extended periods of it. I like the rural setting. I like living by, or in this case, on the water. And who wouldn’t like to be able to travel the country without ever leaving home? Modern technology means that you can cram so much more into the smallish space. Flatscreen televisions, microwaves and a kindle for a library’s worth of books. An iPad to keep one in touch with the world. And I noticed quite a few narrowboats with solar panels, which must keep down the already reasonable costs of narrowboat life. They don’t look pretty though. Mr Musk should get to work on a solution.
Death usually comes with a jingle. The jingle of a breaking news alert from the BBC, Guardian, Washington Post or Sky News apps on my phone. I’ve not monitored this enough to make a scientifically based assertion, but I sense that the BBC is the quickest at bringing bad tidings. News flashes are almost always bad news. Today, the news was that Anthony Bourdain had died. Tragically, at his own hand. I imagine you would know who Anthony Bourdain is. If not, he’s a chef, a writer and a travel/food show presenter. I’ve never had the pleasure of feasting on a meal served up by the great man, so I cannot speak for the quality of his cooking. But I love his writing. His television shows even more so.
Here’s one of my rather infrequent self portraits. I’ve been missing in action longer than Melania Trump, but no one seems to have noticed. Regardless, here is proof that I’m still alive and kicking. I’m wearing my currrent favourite t-shirt, a snazzy green number by SuperDry. I like the brand alot. It’s good quality and fits nicely. It’s not cheap, but I shop once or twice a year in the sales, using any extra vouchers I can find. I prefer the stuff which has minimal branding, which prevents me from buying about 50% of their clothes due to the foot high logos stamped on them.
Some new technology ideas change everything, and one wonders what one did before. Others are just gimmicks, soon to pass into history. And others still look like gimmicks, but prove to be a fantastic idea. Apple Pay fits into that latter category. And Live Photos too, as I have discovered twice over. With the feature turned on, every photo you take is actually a three second video, with audio. My initial thought was, ‘what’s the point?’ And I turned the feature off. But then I thought I’d give it a proper try, and turned it back on a month or two later. Which was a good move. Because it turns out there are three good points.
Bournemouth is a popular seaside town. Very popular, even. If I had to liken it to a Mexican resort, then Bournemouth is our version of Acapulco. Is the sea as warm or the tacos as good as those on the Pacific coast? No, of course not. But the outrageous traffic jams of visitors from the capital city at the beginning of a holiday weekend, and back out at the end, are very similar. Bournemouth is one of three prime coastal hotspots for Londoners fleeing the smoke.
I like my job. It’s the best job I’ve ever had, actually. From both a job satisfaction and a financial point of view. Sure, I don’t love it so much that I’ll keep turning up if they stop paying me. And I’ll never be a millionaire even if they do. It is, after all, a job. That said, I like it. It doesn’t sound a particularly thrilling job. I sell train tickets. Sometimes I refund unused train tickets. And there’s plenty of other odd jobs around the station that need doing. Usually I work alone, but sometimes I work with others. It depends where I am on any given day.
Let me tell you a story. It’s about that photo up there. I took it just a few minutes ago. That cat has been hanging around the station for a couple of weeks. Today it got bold enough to wander inside and sit on my till. I gave him some milk, and he likes the attention he gets from customers. I reckon he’s going to become a regular fixture in here. Which is a good thing. Every station should have a cat. But the story isn’t about the cat. It’s about the photo in a more general sense.
Don’t worry, he’s not ours. He is a newly arrived nephew. He has a first name and two middle names, all in homage to his recent ancestors. All of whom are now sadly deceased – great grandfather on the maternal side, and grandfather on the other. Sort of. It’s complicated. On my blog, we will call him simply Master J. He’s a cheery, chubby little fellow, isn’t he? He’s about eight months old now. Mrs P, being a good Mexican lady, is needless to say over him like a rash. There are many worse rashes he could have at his age.
Mother Nature, as is her wont, has played a dastardly trick on us. A week of fine sunny weather and soaring temperatures, convinced us to put away our winter clothing till the frozen winds from the north and east return late in the year. No sooner had we done so, that the fine sunny weather disappeared and cold winds blew in again. Hopefully, it is but a last hurrah before the seasonal norms settle in. Continue reading
Mrs P and I happened to be strolling up the Mall over the weekend. There’s a big Commonwealth of Nations Heads of State conference going on, so the Mall is lined with the 54 flags of the Commonwealth and a small army of police and other security personnel. A particularly astute reader might want to stop me there and add a correction – there are only 53 members of the Commonwealth. But he or she would be forgetting that the Commonwealth itself has a flag. And he or she would no longer seem quite so astute.
Hurrah! Smug Mug have bought Flickr. Which, I think, is great news. It’s time to get out the bunting and celebrate. I’m pretty invested in Flickr. I’ve been paying my annual Pro subscription since August 2006, but I originally signed up some time before that. I get unlimited storage for my $25 a year, which I am trying hard to fill up. I’m beginning to think I’ll never succeed, but so far the 17,008 photos that I’ve added have consumed 67.74 gb of disc space. Needless to say, changing to another photo host would be a bother.