I don’t know whether Stephen Hawking was really the world’s smartest person. But I’m pretty sure he was smarter than me. I don’t really understand the indepth mathematical equations he came up with to explain the universe. But I do enjoy dreaming about the stars, the universe and everything – and he helped. I don’t think he’d have been quite as famous as he was if he hadn’t been stuck in a wheelchair with a comical grin permanently fixed on his face. But I don’t care much how famous he was. I don’t quite know how he survived so long. But I bet on that question, Mr Hawking was probably as equally baffled as I.
This chilled out hound lives in Faro, Portugal. He pretty much ignored me as I took this shot. So I inched a little closer. An inch too close, as it turned out. The hound saw me off. From cuddly pup to killer in a flash. With a telling flash of his fangs. He is indeed a good boy. He did his job. And I still had my photo, so all is well. The dog is mans best friend for a whole bunch of reasons. Security is just one of them.
That’s Mrs P, strutting her stuff in the mid 30s celsius midday sun at the observatory in Jaipur. Signs of the time indeed. Why did I not think of that title for a post before? I rather miss India. I enjoyed it. This may come as a little bit of a surprise to anyone who read my opinions of India shortly after the holiday. You’d expect me to add a caveat, at least. But no, I shan’t. Pick any point of my life, a high or a low point, and I have only fond memories. Positive recollections of people I’ve met, lessons I’ve learned. Happy memories of places I’ve been Nothing negative lingers in the soft grey matter betwixt my ears.
Every once in a while, a town that is local to me will hit the national news. One of the most exciting events was back in the late 90s when a bunch of animal activists burst into a fur farm in Ringwood, releasing thousands of mink. Yay for the freed mink! Not such great news for the native wildlife that then came into contact with the mink. In 2011, Mrs P and I returned from the land of the narco, where grisly beheadings were the norm. Only for someone to behead a man across the road from our workplace. And just recently, a well off gentleman is an exclusive neighbourhood round the corner from mother was shot dead in a bungled Continue reading
They’re after my jobs, the ba****ds. Not the eastern Europeans. Nor the Indians. Nor the growing population of Latin American emigres. Those guys, up there. The machines. The dreaded, job eating machines. They are the new competition. And they are tough. Relentless. Remorseless. It’s a new world, and they are determined to make it their world. We feeble humans are having to adapt in order to compete. The 21st century resume will need to be reworked if we are to stand a chance.
The end of this month marks a year since the UK invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, setting in motion the two year countdown to our exit. How’s it going so far, you ask? Not so good. Brexit is best described as the undefined, negotiated by the unprepared to deliver the unspecified on behalf of the uninformed. It’s clear that the promises and benefits of the Leave campaign are undeliverable – but they knew that. We clearly do not hold all the cards. It’s clear that the progress of negotiations with the EU amounts to repeatedly kicking a can of worms down the road, for fear of the war of words within the Conservative Party turning in a government toppling revolt.
If I’m asked what to do, where to eat, and where to go in Mexico City then I’ll waffle on forever with a billion suggestions. If I have to narrow down my response to a single sentence with no more than five words? Go and see Lucha Libre. Is there anything more ‘Mexico City‘ than Lucha Libre? Methinks not. Food recommendations are all well and good, but the truth is you’re never more than a ten minute walk from a dozen damn fine places to eat. And the guide books and leaflets in hotels will list all the main tourist sites – there’ll be more than you can ever hope to visit. Sheesh, I spent six years trying and still have places to go.
I knew the story of Jennie Jerome, the American lady who came to these isles and produced the dominant figure of 20th century British politics, Winston Churchill. It transpires that we returned the favour – what goes around, comes around. Although I was, until recently, ignorant of the story. I shouldn’t have been. Twice we have spent the day at Minterne House and Gardens, in a small village in West Dorset. Not so far from our home in Bournemouth. It’s here that the story began, as a young Pamela Digby, the daughter of Baron Digby, grew up in the family home.
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The London market place, where time stands still. Years, decades and centuries pass it by. The produce and faces change, buildings come and go, but the location stays the same. The centre of the community. Those that idle and stop to stare stand out like the masts of wrecked ships in a raging sea. This is where you find the colours, sounds and smell of the city. Where new meets old and the latest fads mix and melt with antiquity. Where cultures collide and create a place in which the known world exists. Continue reading
It transpired that it was quicker and cheaper to get home via Faro than by returning to Malaga. We like quick and cheap, so that’s what we did. What can I tell you about Faro? It’s small. We toured the main sites in an afternoon, marvelling at the Chapel of Bones and taking a leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town. The regional museum is not something that one would describe as one the world’s must sees. But it was still a pleasant way to spend a half hour. Mrs P and her mother took a little boat trip out into a nature reserve, which they enjoyed. I preferred to stay warm. Continue reading
This year, Mrs P and I have been particularly good cinema customers over the last year. We both enjoyed Gary Oldman’s version of Winston Churchill. I had my doubts about the casting of wirey, high pitched Oldman. But he pulled it off, then some. Worthy of an Oscar? Definitely. We watched the Post, which many people have referred to as the prequel to All The Presidents Men. Has Tom Hanks ever made a bad movie? I mean, a real stinker? I can’t think of one. I’m also currently watching the sequel, being played out in episodes each night on the news. It may end up being called All The Presidents Russians. We’ll see.
I had a grand idea some time ago. For several years, London has been wrestling with the issue of air travel to and from the capital. Heathrow and Gatwick are close to capacity. Should a new runway be added to one of those two? Or a new airport be built to the east of the city? I had a better idea. Enlarge Bournemouth airport and have that serve London’s growing needs. There’s plenty of land available and the runway is big enough – Concorde used to land here now and again. Continue reading
Southern Spain, and Andalucia in particular, has obvious appeal as a destination for a British traveller. It’s both easy and cheap to get to. It’s warm all year round. It’s sufficiently different, with touches of the exotic, but with enough that is familiar to help the more unadventurous holiday-maker feel comfortable. For Mrs P and myself, it’s also a cheap and easy substitute to Mexico. She, of course, enjoys the ability to speak her native language for a few days. This was our second trip in less than a year, flying into Malaga airport from Bournemouth. Continue reading
London has a multitude of famous old markets. Our favourite is Borough Market, near London Bridge. It’s a great place to go at any time of year for a bite to eat. You may know it from movies such as Bridgit Jones Diary. Or, sadly, from a news report last year. We went recently, on a frosty weekday morning in the middle of winter. Hardly peak time. It was packed with people. The simple presence of every single one of whom is a two fingered salute to ideological idiots. On every side. Continue reading