The leaving of London

I never pack until one hour before I have to leave my house ( maybe 90 minutes on a good day ). Do you do it the day before ? Did I hear you say ‘Days.. before’ ? Goodness.

Have I ever managed this ? I’m really not sure. I try, I really do. THIS TIME, I say to myself, I am determined to have my suitcase(s), hatboxes etc ready and waiting in the hallway when I go to bed the night before departure day. And yet……

It all starts so well. In the week running up to d-day piles of this and that gradually appear in various rooms. Efficiency central!  Passport, money & tickets in the kitchen. Tech stuff in the hall. Clothes in the spare bedroom. Books in the TV room. It’s all there. It’s ready. The suitcase, or this year my sexy new Caribee Fast Track 85, just needs to be filled. But IT DOESN’T HAPPEN. I decide to hoover under the bed instead. Quick defrost of the freezer anyone ? Is it now a tradition ? Is it a mental block ? Aargh.

I JUST CANNOT DO IT. So off to bed I go.

Next day dawns ( often at about 04.00 ) and TRING TRING the alarm rings and WHOOSH it’s action stations! Whirlwind activity. A quick SSS and then everything gets chucked into the bag/suitcase and it gets forced shut. Follow this up with a manic squizz round the house ( Are the windows shut? Are the doors locked? Is the smelly rubbish out ? ) and I rush to the awaiting mini-cab or just run up the road to the bus stop. PHEW! There is sweat on the forehead. The heart pounds. And so to the station ( Tube/DLR )

Once in a blue moon I fly ( last occasion was 2005 ) and then the bag stays shut but I normally travel by rail, within the UK or through the chunnel and off into Europe.

And so to Euston/St Pancras/St Pancras International….whichever. Newspapers, water, breakfast, condoms and a macchiato are bought. Climb aboard the train , stow the luggage and collapse.

Gradually I come to. I drink the coffee, munch the croissant/muesli and maybe sneak 40 winks. And then it’s time for REPACKING. If the train is quite empty ( Say I have 1 seat in a four ) I will get my suitcase and put it on the seat opposite me. If the train I full I will go to the luggage area. I open the suitcase and out it all comes.

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The tech goes into plastic bags, neat piles of boxer shorts, socks & shirts appear. Maybe I am listening to Brahms through my BOSE wireless in ear headphones . Why do people stare ? Why do they yearn for  a panic button ? Hello, what’s so odd about my activity ? Do there fear a bomb ? I smile at them, I can say ‘hi there!’ in 5 languages ffs, but still they make no eye contact! And if I speak to them……….oh my……….. the look of fear in their eyes. Get a grip people.

So there we are, all my stuff goes neatly back in the bag ( taking up far less room it has to be said ) and I return to my seat. Job done guvnor! ( What would Jeeves say ? )

Depending on the journey, I will now be 45 minutes outside Sheffield, Manchester, Brussels or Paris. Cafe Bistro here I come for a refuelling of caffeine. Laptop to the ready.

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I’m chilled. I’m on holiday and to my surprise <ahem>  it appears that the carriage in which I have a pre-booked seat is now half empty.


Breakfast in London, lunch in Paris and dinner/supper in….?

Keep following this blog and you’ll find out where I spent that first night.










Two steps back, one step forward.

Blogging. It’s just like writing a personal diary post every day innit. That was a big New Year’s Resolution thing when I was a teen. We all bought diaries and were all going to write a page everyday. No probs. Girls seemed to be more diligent at this it has to be said. They liked to write about who they were dating and ‘how they were ‘feeling’. The boys knew this of course and were always desperate to read about who ‘Maude’ was dating and “How far?” she had gone and with whom. 1 holding hands, 2 a kiss, 3 upstairs outside etc. One of my cohort bought a diary with a padlock. The hunt for the key…..! I wonder if she still has it (them)?  I digress. So first week in January off we go, every evening we are going to write a page. Then there are a few busy days, so no entries. Then we sit down to pull it back. Maybe we’ve made a few notes along the way, teens soon forget yesterday’s drama ( And this in 1965 remember. No mobile phones, no social media ). You can’t remember what you did this morning at that age, let alone last Tuesday!  You chew your pencil. Do you write the current stuff and leave the catch up for another day ? Do you fill the gaps in first? You prevaricate. Maybe nothing happens at all and two days later the situation is even worse. And then it goes tits up, falls apart and it never happens. You give up. FAILURE!

Well i’ve been like that with this blog. I’ve been trying to understand how WordPress works ( Come on you lot I spent $88 on the pro version so you would get to see something sexy. Cut me some slack ), I’ve not been well and so the days roll by and there are no posts. I sense the diary syndrome kicking in. On the plus side i’ve been out roving reportering so I have loads of photo albums in the bag.

I want this blog to to be EPIC, SEXY & a compelling read. If I go back to the beginning with the narrative ( which is what I want to do ) do I have to hold off posting the photo albums to keep the sequence in order ? Can I switch blog posts around after I have published them #noidea

So yesterday I decided it was all or nothing. I had to post something. So WHOOSH I posted a slew of ( rather raw looking ) photo albums in the hope that it would hold your interest. Now I am starting to write text. Maybe the posts won’t follow in date order but does it matter? My next written post will be about my rail journey from London to Valencia. I’m gonna dip in and out and write about the things that have happened to me in the last 17days. What possessions have I lost so far? ( I have form here.. ) What are those women siting under parasols on the side of the N322 doing ? What’s the latest goss on the suspension of the Calpe-Denia railway?  What is the best recipe for Pan con tomate ?

Are my tennis coaches hot?

Hang in there, I’m just gonna write about what I want, when I want, depending on how the mood takes me. I’m now out of the starting blocks and on a roll.



PS Move over Sam P……

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Wot no blog posts ?

Technology. Wonderful innit?

T’internet, camera, satnav, apps, all there on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop.   All integrated, with data and images flying around in the ether over wifi. Yeah right…

Everybody thinks I have all of the latest technology. I don’t and I never have had. Okay, I did upgrade to a smartphone ( iphone3S ) when my Motorola was still perfectly good (I was s till using that 3S when the iphone6 was launched. It’s in a drawer in my kitchen and I noted the other day it had exploded. I ran it into the ground. Funding for a replacement arrived in the nick of time. Equity release anyone?).

I did buy a desktop when I was using this laptop but that was another story. The TV was about to die and I had no money for a new one so just for a laugh, I applied for an imac on Apple credit so that I could watch TV on it when the TV died. Of course I never expected the credit to be granted so I fell off the chair when it went through. I was so shocked I left the imac in the box for a year before I even plugged it in. Guilt? I think we are in about 2012 here. So I switched to the imac and lent this laptop out to a young friend a couple of years ago.

I’ve never had a ‘proper’ camera either, just a cheap digital thing. I did buy a decent video camera, but I then realised that I didn’t really want to make movies ( other than the porn ones, natch ). I like taking still photographs and making collages, slideshows with music, that sort of thing. Anyway, the video camera got left behind in a taxi at Murcia airport in 2009 so that was that. I did get some money back on the insurance though! Good friends who are aware of my occasional carelessness will understand this. I am shit hot at ‘Mi xxxxxx es perdido’ in Spanish.

I do have an ipad, which I scraped the money together to buy. It’s an excellent product, but it’s only an ipad1 which is now almost useless. It really pisses me off this. All it needs is more memory which of course you can NOT add. It’ll do email and twitter OK but try loading a link in the Facebook app and the whole thing crashes. Planned obsolescence anyone?

So, having sorted myself out with an iphone6s plus in the Spring I also invest in a Panasonic LUMIX bridge camera for this holiday. Just one problem, I don’t have a laptop anymore ( out on loan ) and I need a laptop for downloading all the photos, writing the blog posts etc. No problem, I get the laptop back from the lad that had it ( he’s deleted iphoto….), update the software, give it a polish and ‘Klaar is Kees’. Off we go to Spain!

And then the trouble starts. This laptop is from pre 2008 and now deemed obsolete by Apple. it’s on a very old version of ios which you cannot update. Is the iphone6 compatible with it? Is the Pope Catholic? Can you reinstall iphoto or Apple’s current offering ( which I hate ) called photos? Er no. Can you connect it to icloud for syncing of photos, contacts etc? No. Can you run the WordPress app on it ? Cat, hell’s chance.

I manage to move the photos from the LUMIX to the iphone, and the photos do go up to icloud, but of course they don’t come back to the laptop. Can you make photo albums in the online icloud? Can you do it in the phone? I want to put albums on Facebook and here in the blog. The same album. Google is a bit more helpful, it let’s me put Picasa on the laptop so I can park my photos there too but then it wants me to upload them to Google’s ‘cloud’ which is a duplicate of them in icloud. Ah ! I can create albums and publish using my Flickr account. Well I can but all the photos are in the album newest first, when I want them to be oldest first. My albums tell stories and that doesn’t work very well backwards.

So we have another go with icloud, and yes we do work out how to create albums in the phone or online and then publish them but the interface into Facebook is much uglier than Flick, which at least puts up the first image for people to see as opposed to icloud which puts a drawing of a man wearing spectacles up…

Desperation sets in and we draw a flow chart to try to solve all the problems.

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The upshot is, that only the iphone has the WordPress app and all the photos to enable me to easily create the blogposts I want. But I find typing on the phone horrendous. It’s why I brought the laptop with me #fatfingers

So, I am writing this on the laptop and my next post will be done on the phone. Let’s see how it goes shall we ? This blogpost may be 1 of 1.

Friends from work will remember that I one of the most determined users out there and I am going to make this work COME WHAT MAY. Rules will be bent I am sure. There will be tricks! I’m in a lovely place to fiddle about with all this, I do enjoy the intellectual challenge and I have all the time in the world but it really shouldn’t be like this. I guess the blame finger has to be pointed firmly at Apple. This laptop should be allowed to run a more current version of ios.

PS The TV did die, but in the end I was able to replace it with a new one and that’s another story for another day!

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