What might be in store for you here?

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A rather uninformative fingerpost, Scotland.

I was going to write a little bit here about what the reader can expect from this site but the simple fact of the matter is that I have no idea as I still have not the faintest clue how the site even works. I no longer have the safety net of friendly support staff on commercial travel sites and am literally making it up as I go along which is proving to be a fairly tortuous process. Getting this far has taken me the best part of two weeks already. I had never even heard of a DNS until then and my joy at successfully changing a nameserver was undoubtedly out of all proportion to the complexity of the task. As I say in my profile, this is a learning curve like Everest.

As previously indicated it is primarily going to be travel themed although I did pick the title quite deliberately because it is somewhat ambiguous. Obviously it represents my physical rambles around the world but now that I am not constrained by the very strict (and quite understandable) rules of other sites regarding posting about non-travel matters I may well also ramble on a bit about any subject that takes my fancy which may be just about anything. I am a man of eclectic interests.

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Stepping stones on the North Downs Way, UK.

Incidentally, the images hopefully accompanying the first three pieces on my new toy are also deliberately metaphorical in that they are all “roads” I have physically travelled around the world although I use the word road in the broadest possible sense as they include paths, dirt tracks, highway and byways and occasionally swamps and small gaps in the trees. I include also in this definition canals and waterways which I love as they are merely slightly sunken roads with water in them. I once even waded through a shallow lake as a means of getting to where I was going. Thoroughfare would perhaps have been a better term but it is a touch cumbrous.

Metaphorically they stand for all the many and varied paths I have travelled in my life and those hopefully still to come. No, I am not going to get all philosophical on you, these were just a few thoughts I had whilst trying to decide on a name for the site and actually I re-used it from a previous blog I had when the same thought processes had to be negotiated. With this fresh slate here on http://www.fergysrambles.org and hosted by WordPress I could have started with something completely new but, after consideration, I thought I had made the right decision first time round. I quite enjoyed the previous blogging experience and it was merely the time constraints of trying to maintain it and my other online writing activities that persuaded me to put it on hold. If you would like to have a look at my first foray into blogging it is at http://fergysrambles.blogspot.co.uk/

The throughfares (ouch, it is indeed unwieldy) may very well serve as an analogy for my life and the predominant theme of this site but there are sub themes, if that is indeed a proper word (if not I wish to patent it now). These will undoubtedly cooking and music and who knows what else in future. In both these fields of endeavour I have been on journies all my adult life and I love both so therefore I believe that my metaphor still holds up.

I am fairly obsessive about either of the mentioned pastimes and will quite happily sit and read recipes online or from one of my library of recipe books whilst listening to music from a very varied range of styles. I have been known to either rustle up a quick bite of dinner for friends or knock out a few chords on my guitar, which I still affectionately if somewhat pathetically refer to as “the baby” and accompanied by my pretty average singing voice. If you would like a little taster of the latter (regrettably the mighty internet has still not developed a means of me conveying home-cooked food to your device) you can try a look here.

Apologies for the quality as it was taken on a friend’s mobile (cell) ‘phone amidst much fairly raucous jostling and so once again many thanks to her. Hopefully it gives you a slight insight into the type of lunacy I indulge in with a guitar in my hand and a pint in front of me.

I don’t actually play much in UK any more as I am so often away from London on my various trips and it was not fair to ask the band to hold my seat for me whilst I disappeared for months on end. I used to get quite a bit of “dep” work i.e. filling in for someone else but my friends don’t even call any more as they just reckon I am in some far-flung corner of the Earth which is generally the truth. I should stress that there was no animosity involved in any of this and when I do turn up at a gig / session I am always greeted like the proverbial prodigal son, invited to play and generally plied with ridiculous quantities of drink which suits me nicely. A while ago I worked out that in the years 2015 and 2016 I actually played more gigs outside UK than I did in my home country. Suits me as it means I am still travelling.

I promised at the beginning to try to precis this as best I could and be brief, an ambition which has foundered horribly on the rock of my waffling so I have formulated yet another new plan (see below).

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Track near Inle Lake, Burma.

I am composing this as a document before transferring it to the site and constantly editing. Whilst I am not trying to teach anyone to suck eggs it is a good tip, especially if you travel to countries where dodgy internet connections and power cuts can lose you many hours work on a website in the blink of an eye. If you are new to internet writing then please believe me when I tell you that this is one of the most useful tips I shall ever give you no matter how much I write, which will probably be a considerable amount. Save everything. This has two benefits. It negates any immediate problems and, if you back it up on an external hard drive or one of these “cloud” systems I have heard of then you do not lose all your hard work.

In terms of length if not content this would probably be good for a Doctorate dissertation now so my new plan is this. I shall parcel this up into three pieces which will hopefully achieve several objectives. With any kind of luck this trilogy serves as an introduction, a means to tell you a little more about me than is detailed on the profile page which, against all expectations, appears to have been published and finally how I envisage the site moving on although it is still very much a work in progress.

In that vein I would like to encourage any of you to please contact me via the e-mail here which has hopefully been sorted out or on a possible comment page, which I am not yet sufficiently brave enough to attempt but will shortly, with any suggestions you may have about how I can potentially improve this site. Again, I have nowhere to hide now, no lovely VT staff in California to shelter behind. This is mine and mine alone and I have to stand or fall by it. OK, I shall forestall the obvious and beg you not to tell me to tell me to just shut up and stop prattling on. Believe me I have tried and it is just a non-starter. I would urge the reader to console themselves with the fact that at least you can alt/tab to another page. Imagine the agonies of the poor sods who have to sit and listen to me ranting on in the pub with a few drinks in me!

Whilst speaking of matters internet and blogging I do fully realise that I am at a huge disadvantage in regards to attracting traffic to this humble site insofar as I have steadfastly refused to follow the herd and throw myself headlong into the dangerous abyss known as social media which seems to be a pre-requisite to promotion of a site in the 21st century.

For years I was utterly derided by friends, some very intelligent you may be surprised to hear, for my stance with everyone telling me that this was the way forward and the greatest thing since sliced bread. I was accused of being paranoid and yet I had serious reservations about the effectively unregulated power that such media had.

Literally a few months ago it appears I was proved entirely correct and I take no pleasure in saying this. I only need to say two words here which are Cambridge Analytics. If Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook in case you have been living on Mars for the last few years, has been “datamined”. He is reportedly worth no less than $66 billion USD and obviously a computer genius so if he can have his data stolen then what hope is there for the likes of me who cannot even answer my mobile (cell) ‘phone. I am not joking about that and I shall explain anon. It is crass to say, “I told you so” but……..

I shall not be using any of these obviously dangerous tools to attract potential readers although those of you that do utilise such tools should feel free to use them to “spread the word” if you think I have something of value to share. Frankly, if I can manage a readership into double digits I shall be happy and I can almost now name (before I have even posted anything) these potential followers as I believe the term is, but that is not what it is about.

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Grand Union Canal, UK.

So what is it about? I promise I am winding up here. It is about many things. Primarily, it is about me having something to do that gives me a degree of satisfaction and hopefully pleases the reader. I mentioned much earlier that retirement terrified me and whilst I have come to absolutely love it there is always the possibility of extreme boredom and the associated depression which I can really do without.

It will give me an excuse, as if any were needed, to travel more while I still can. I already have a small trip planned for the purposes of discovering if I can keep this blog together so watch out for that. Consider it a test drive. This site will hopefully serve as a means for the few friends and my now dwindling family to keep up with what I am doing as I am the world’s worst at keeping in touch. I would also like to think that I may offer a few small tips to other less-experienced travellers based on my 40+ years on the road (always pack a universal sink plug and babywipes!) which may hopefully be useful. No, I am not the oracle nor would I ever set myself up to be so but I learn on a daily basis and perhaps I may be able to contribute something to the sum total. That would please me and would effectively stand as a raison d’etre for this site.

On a techincal level, I am still very much finding my way. I loved the way Virtual Tourist worked before the appalling TripAdvisor (who have been multiply sued for lying in case you did not know) killed it because it embarrassed them as well it might have done. I loved it as it was possible to write about your travels in a blog style and also submit tips / reviews. I loved writing those as they were potentially of some value to the reader and did not clutter up the main narrative. I would like to do something similar here even if it means creating separate entries or whatever, perhaps linked pages to allow me to write about accommodations, pubs, restaurants, museums or whatever else without detracting from the main thrust of the story. Again, I stress I have not even looked at the site properly as I have not published anything which will potentially indicate my options. Let’s see how it goes.

I have a vast amount of material going back many years and I would like to give it an airing as time permits but I am definitely going to prioritise the current blog when I have anything to write about. I would like to compartementalise various trips as matters will become messy otherwise, both chronologically and geographically. As always, any and all assistance is most welcome.

At long last that is it, a three entry piece if it ever actually gets published which is by no means a certainty and that has honestly taken me eleven days off and on to write, alongside trying to sort out such mysteries as DNS and who knows what else. In truth it was more on than off as I want it to be just right and I have barely left this keyboard in that period. Still, it may just be worth it in the end.

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North Downs long-distance footpath, UK.

Finally, yes really finally, I hope that this site brings the reader a sense of the utter joy of travelling, experiencing the myriad experiences that are on offer and the greatest of which are generally the simplest which I hope to share with you here. If you don’t travel then do it now and, trust me, you will not regret it. If you are a seasoned traveller as I know most of my potential readers will be then you already get it and I hope you enjoy reading or, in some cases re-reading, some of my little adventures.

If I can master the complexities of my own blog, which is a much less likely proposition, then I shall proceed to my first travel adventure which may surprise you.

I should mention that all the images used on this site are my own, I don’t use stock images. Yes, this obviously means that the quality is not as good as DSLR taken ones which necessarily incur a lot more weight and possibly even a porter in hard terrain if you factor in multiple lenses, filters, tripods, spare batteries and all the rest. This is not my way at all! I make do with a compact (Canon Ixus if you are interested) after dabbling with a DSLR which gave great results but was such an encumbrance to travel round with that it is now gathering dust on my top shelf. As with the text, the blame for any images here lies squarely on my shoulders and I am now wondering a little why I stuck my head above the parapet in this fashion. Not only am I setting myself up to be sniped at but I am paying for the privelege, I must be bloody mad.

Thanks so much for wading through all this if you have. Wish me luck and stay tuned.

Author: Fergy.

Hello there. I am a child of the 50's, now retired and had been enjoying travelling pre-virus. Now I am effectively under house arrest. Apart from travelling, I love playing music (guitar, vocals and a bit of percussion) as the profile pic suggests and watching sport, my playing days are long over. I read voraciously, both fiction and nonfiction I'll read just about anything although I do have a particular interest in military history of all periods. I live alone in fairly central London where I have been for over 30 years since leaving Northern Ireland which was the place of my birth. I adore cooking and I can and do read recipe books and watch food programmes on TV / online all day given half a chance.

6 thoughts on “What might be in store for you here?”

  1. Your site does bring a sense of the utter joy of travelling Fergy. You achieved your outcome there, in some overwinded convoluted way 🤣🤣🤣🤪 Jokes aside, I do mean it. Your writing is infectious and makes me smile and is a perfect way to end the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe just maybe, after all my years of living, I finally found something I could do and thanks as always for your very kind and supportive comments.

      Yes, I know I ramble, and I did not think up the site name randomly. If my disordered disccursions made you smile then it has been worth every sleepless hour.

      That was all I wanted when I rather idiotically bought the website, against all evidence of my technophobia.

      I am not a well man and probably have a limited time left to me with further travel a complete non-starter thanks to the Chinese but, if I have made even one person happy whilst reading my rambling lunacy, which I appear to have done, then I can go to wherever I am going a happy man.

      I loved my travelling before the world was needlessly destroyed and now, in the time left to me, I want to commit it “to the ether” so that those who follow us (Miss A?) can read and learn. Surely that is not too much to ask.

      Thank you again, your comments do mean so much to me and I look out for them.

      There is nothing I can tell you here, you have travelled far more than I have and you get it. I am preaching to the choir with you but I would love to think that perhaps some others may some day read my nonsense and be inspired to travel, distant as that dream is now. Perhaps in Miss A.’s time, time will tell as it always does.

      In our time. thanks again, it really means a lot to me that you even read my idiocies. You are obviously of the same “tribe”, for want of a better word, That I belong to and, as long as there are humans on the face of the globe there will be those of us that want to see beyond the next valley, the next mountain range or what was over that sea the we gazed upon.

      It is inherent and I hope it never changes.

      Incidentally, I am still trying to work out what those little smiley faces mean, I told you I am shit with technology.

      Like

      1. You are a wise man Fergy. I’m sorry to hear you aren’t well, I hope it’s nothing too serious? I remember a while back you had posted on this blog about hospital stays and not feeling the best. I hope you have many more years of rambling ahead of you!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have been accused of many things in my time, most of them well-warranted but being wise is not an allegation that gets thrown at me every day!

          If you ever manage to wade your way through all my nonsense here you’ll see that I nearly died from a perforated duodenal ulcer just after playing the Broadstairs Folk Week, but the “recuperation” gave me another month or two in that lovely place.

          At that time they had time they had discovered incidentally an embolism / thrombosis in my left femoral artery. I thought they had dealt with it by means of one of the numerous drugs they were sticking in my arm but apparently not. In June 2020 I I came within an ace of losing my left leg and possibly my life when I was taken by ambulance to the Royal London Hospital and had all sorts of nasty things done to me.

          Yes, it is all recorded, so you can read about it here

          https://fergysrambles.org/2019/08/20/qeqm-hospital-margate-4/

          and the second little interlude here.

          https://fergysrambles.org/2020/07/06/lock-down-diaries-6/

          I would never claim the wisdom you attribute to me but both of those times in hosptal were wonderful learning experiences and. odd as this may sound I don’t actually mind being incarcerated in hospital too much, it is a wonderful learning experience and you meet some fascinating people. Have a look through and see my experiences with Doc. Harley, a most brilliant man who I would never have met had we not both been seriously ill in a hospital ward together.

          There is always a silver lining if you know where to look for it. If the finding of silver linings constitutes wisdom then I’ll take your probably overstated compliment in the manner it was offered.

          I think wisdom, if such exists, is ineffably tied up with age. The very fact that you get as old as me indicates that Darwin (whose house I have had the pleasure of visiting) was probably right. Survival of the fittest and all that. The very fact that I am able to write this after the number of attempts on my life, must attest to that.

          Whether longevity and an ability to survive equates to wisdom I could not say, but experiencing as much as I have probably counts for something.

          I know that you have a foot in two continents, you married a man from a third, and now you are bringing up Miss A. (I shall not call her Baby A. as she is well beyond that. but I have a gut feeling about her. I trust my gut, that is why I am in a position to write this. With her parentage and upbringing I just know she is destined for greatness.

          I will undoubtedly not be here to see it but you mark my words now and remember them. Miss A. will make a mark on the world.

          Before you ask, I am not drunk or stoned, I am absolutely serious about this. You know yourself, there are some things you just know without knowing why you know them. I know ths and you are going to be a very proud Mother.

          Enough of this nonsense, I have a miniature railway in Canada to write about! Best wishes as always and love to hubby and the potentially brilliant Miss A. Give her a hug from me.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks for this comment Ferg. It really touched my heart! As a mum you worry about your kid all the time but I think mine will turn out ok. She is a super sensitive soul, very quiet and has a lot of nerves and anxiety but I’m getting her the help we need and people do say that her being like this in this day and age is a good thing. I hope she will grow to be confident and more outgoing, but also have a heart and be empathetic to those around her. I hope one day in the future I will smile and say, “yep that crazy old bugger was right about her!

            Liked by 1 person

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