Sunday, 1 November 2015

A little word

September was a dreadful month.  I can remember only one worse.  This time, some was of my own making, some not.  But ultimately, I hope and believe that things will turn out well...they do seem to be heading on the right path. It made me realise that some things that I would like to write about are not for public consumption.

I'm reading a lot about self-driving cars being developed at the moment.  It seems to me at least that this is another area where the technologists are taking us when we don't particularly want to go.  I understand the desire for safer cars...every road-death is a wasted life.  But I really, really enjoy of life's pleasures so would feel a loss if it was my car taking me from A to B without my intervention.  I know for some driving is not a pleasure, but let's not end up in a situation where to drive your own car you have to take it to a makes me thing of people who now head to the gym because they've got so many labour-saving devices that they do no daily exercise such as walking to the shops...

Anyway we've just spent a few good days in Venice with friends.  The crowds were fewer than you get in the heat of summer, yet we still managed to have sunshine and warmth throughout.  As usual we had a guide with us throughout, so we managed to see a lot in a short period of time, our knowledge already bolstered by having watched on DVD he decade-old series about Venice by Francesco Da Mosto.  Venice is, of course, just picture-postcard...everything is lovely...and I have described it as like listening to a greatest hits record.  No real favourite bits...although thanks to the endeavours of our guide we were able to do things that many others wouldn't get the opportunity to...up the clock tower in St Marks, up the secret stairs in the Doges Palace, lunch with a Countessa at the hotel where George Clooney ceased to a batchelor, etc.  Aren't we lucky?  In four days I managed over a thousand photos, so if you fancy seeing them, do pop round.  In the meantime, I was amused by the Venetian habit of hanging washing out to made me realise that as ridiculously beautiful as it is, living in Venice is not that was a theme for my picture taking

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Cat on a hot tin roof

It no doubt says something that my loyal band of followers has grown since I stopped writing so much....

...I watched a fascinating programme of the Beeb last week.  It was about graffiti, and traced its origins back to the days when we lived in caves and painted on the wall.  So far so so-so, but it ploughed on, bringing us pretty much up to date, without anything but the briefest mention of Banksy.  In fact it spent most of its time in Rome (fans of gladiators drawing on walls), Paris (Viva La revolution!) and New York...advertising board painters getting their own back.  Evidently, it's all because we want to remembered...graffiti as our epitaph.  It makes sense.  But in the narcissist world we now live in, and our addiction to selfies (not me guv), it made me wonder whether the current obsession with tattoos is a sign that we no longer need to mark our territory, but we need to mark ourselves to regain ownership and remind us that 'This is me'.

Anyway, after our trip to Lisbon, The Cat's Mother headed off with her family to France, and specifically to Orange, home of the ancestors of William of Orange, hence an influx of Dutch tourists.  Their return journey was some what marred by the Eurostar equivalent of leaves on the line - they had migrants on the line.  Now don't get me started on that one...I have a lot to say, but the world won't listen.  I had planned for a few days on my own, down in Brighton, but it was not to be.  Grandma in Cyprus lost her last dog...Bobby...who had just reached a point where it was so much kinder to have him put down.  Not surprisingly, it was immensely upsetting, especially as she and Grandad in Cyrus had decided that there would be no more dogs.  It wouldn't be fair.  So I decided to pop over there for a few days.  It was nice to see them both and offer what little comfort I could...I guess just being there was enough.  I hope so.  Grandma had been complaining how uncomfortable the heat had become - I couldn't quite understand until I arrived - it was a stifling heat that made it hard to breath.  No wonder they are planning to spend some time in the UK next summer - we are looking forward to that.  Of course, they are not alone.  They have acquired a lovely kitten - a feral - that had damaged its leg, and now hope around with just three functioning limbs.  He is remarkably friendly, and affectionate, and an absolute joy - I think he is just what they need, in addition to the black and white female that seems to prefer life outside, but always turns up for food.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Daylight robbery

Throwing my hat into the ring, I'd like to cast my vote for Jeremy Corbyn.  I've met the man, and he's as straightforward as you'll ever find a politician can be.  In truth I think some of his policies are daft, and some if implemented would hurt me.  So why would I vote for the 'loony left'?  For me it's very simple:  for the last two decades our democracy has been substantially undermined by having three parties that essentially occupy the same ground...they're policies are essentially the same...shades of the same grey.  I believe that for everyone's benefit we need to have at least two, and preferably three parties each one with a different vision of the future of the country.  With Corbyn heading up the Labour party there is a different vision that we can all review, assess and either buy into or vote for something different.  Should he win, the media will have a field day, but I hope that the desire for change will be sufficient to create a momentum which will see Britain return to being a country that truly believes that in fairness for all - rich and poor.

As a cyclist, I see my life flash before my eyes all too often.  I would describe myself as assertive rather than aggressive...but sometimes I can be pushed beyond my limits.  The other day whilst going round a roundabout, a driving school car pulled out in front of me, causing me to brake and swerve.  I screamed loudly, and then took off after him, as he was also driving the same direction.  I had assumed it was the instructor that had told the learner to go, so my wrath was directed at him.  It being the rush hour, it was long before I had caught up, and then he had to stop at traffic lights.  As I let rip at the open window on the passenger side, I suddenly saw that the instructor was holding a tick-box form with notes on.  He was indeed not an instructor, but an examiner.  Calmly he asked me to cycle on, explaining he was merely an 'observer'.  I assume the learner failed...he should have done as his manouvre was dangerous...but there was a twang of guilt.

The Cat's Mother and I had a short break to Lisbon last week...neither of us had been there before, and we managed to get a great deal at The Four Seasons Hotel.  It was lovely, and we had a brilliant few days, even if it was a little tainted by TCM having her purse taken.  Highlight of the trip was a four hour trip round the city on a vintage motorcycle - TCM was very comfortable in the side car.  Here's some pics