Lock-down Diaries #1

What’s all this about?

Hello there and welcome to a post which is probably going to make me hate myself, I just hope it doesn’t have the same effect on you.  By way of keeping  the site tidy, I am going to put a read more link here so please do as I am going to try something completely new.

One of my many concerns about anti-social media, apart from the security of my personal information and the whole “Big Brother” aspect of it is that it drives people into apparent frenzies of narcissism and perceived self-importance if that is not tautologous. That is a great word and there will be a little piece about my favourite words later on. I love the English language and my verbosity will be well-known to regular readers.
Facebook and Twitter, or Fartbook and Twatter as I prefer to call them, just seem to bring out the worst in people and yet I am one of an apparently small minority who has not succumbed to their evil blandishments (another favourite word).

Intelligent, lovely people seem to develop withdrawal symptoms if their ‘phone battery runs out and they do not have immediate access to fb. What did they do before 2004 when Zuckerberg started his bid for world domination? He must be so mad that Bezos made more money out of his idea although he is hardly penniless.

From what I can gather people are so obsessed with Facebook that some publish to the entire world that their “status”, as I believe the correct term is, may be “going to the supermarket” at 1127 hours and then at 1215 it is “back from supermarket”, complete with a post that Sainsbury’s has a special offer on dog biscuits. Who bloody cares?

As for people now giving their occupation as “influencer”, that makes me extremely angry. The cult of celebrity is vile and the whole situation make me question our self-declared position as the most intelligent species on the planet.

As for Twitter, I shall quote a line from an excellent book I am currently reading called “The New Silk Roads” by Peter Frankopan, Professor of Global History at Oxford University. In the book he quotes German Foreign Secretary Heiko Maas who warned of the consequences of President Trump’s willingness to use “280-character tweets” to undermine “alliances that have developed over decades”. The whole world seems in thrall to this lunacy. I know I’m rambling again and it will probably get worse but I’ll try to get to the point eventually.

The header above asks “What’s all this about?” so I’ll try to clear that up first. This is the first of my “house arrest” diaries brought on by the current appalling CoVid pandemic which is rapidly bringing the world to it’s knees. Isn’t it odd how the often brutal attempts of the great empires of history to conquer the world all ultimately failed and yet something so miniscule as to be invisible to the naked eye has done just that in the space of less than six months? Alexander the Great, Caesar, Genghis Khan and Hitler would all have been so jealous.

I know that nobody uses the term “house arrest” as it is presumably deemed to be too totalitarian and associated with repressive regimes but that is effectively what Iam currently enduring. Aung San Suu Kyi, who I admired so much when I visited Burma / Myanmar some years ago, would understand. She had all her food delivered and was allowed to exercise in the garden, terms dictated by the then Government of her country. Rangoon 2006, London 2019, what’s the difference. We’ll come back to her later when I eventually get around to explaining this post.

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During my current confinement I have been working up to 18 hours a day on this site which sounds obsessive but I do enjoy it and my sleep disorder means that I am now fully nocturnal again, usual sleeping between about 1900 and midnight, if at all. I thoroughly enjoy working on the site and have got a lot done. I have currently nearly finished a very lengthy series of posts about walking the 150 mile London LOOP long-distance footpath in 2013 / 2014 which is giving me a lot of satisfaction. OK, that is a shameless plug but it’s my site and I dictate advertising policy!

The only problem is that in order to keep the site on some sort of order I backpost entries to the day on which they happened so all this hard work effectively disappears except for my few faithful followers who get notification and I thank them once again for their support and lovely comments. This means that my stats page, which I checked today, “thinks” that I have done nothing for the last three months. Far from the truth but that is the logical way a computer works. I wish I was that logical.

You’ll be glad to know I am not going to commit to posting one of these “diaries” every day but just as and when I feel so inclined and they are going to be completely random collections of whatever I feel like putting up. I have a few ideas which will be unveiled in due course.  One of these will probably be an “on this day” piece where I shall try to link in my own experiences if appropriate. I have so much old stuff saved from my days on Virtual Tourist and in other places that will never see the light of day otherwise. I do hope you like it and at least the daily activity on my stats will not look so barren.

As always, if any of you have any suggestions for these diaries, apart from “bugger off and close the site down”, I am more than happy to hear from you.

I might as well start this eclectic potpourri with Aung San Suu Kyi as I have just mentioned her.

I visited Burma / Myanmar in early 2006 and I can barely believe as I write this that it was 14 years ago. Tempus fugit, as they say and things were a whole lot different then. The internet was still technically illegal and if you could find an “underground” connection, it had been routed through China and was painfully slow. The country was still in the grip of the military junta, and effectively still is, although they have just polished up their act a little even if they have not actually cleaned it up. Their recent treatment of the Rohingya minority is ample proof of that and “the Lady”, as Aung San was reverently known when I was there, has apparently climbed into bed with the Bamar generals as she has done absolutely nothing about it. That is why I termed my respect for her in the past tense. Perhaps her new freedom and Nobel Peace Prize have made her complacent to suffering.

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When I was in Rangoon I almost got to see the house where she was under house arrest but not quite. I was in a taxi with my friend Zin who you can see in the image and we passed the road where Aung San Suu Kyi’s rather palatial house was, it is a very nice area. I wanted to drive down and have a look as there was no apparent police or military presence nor anything to prevent you driving but Zin would not hear of it. In those days it was something you just didn’t do and there really was a palpable sense of fear in the whole country then.

In a “former life” I had a bit of surveillance training so I know for a fact that I was followed a couple of times whilst walking round Rangoon and they weren’t very good. Really, they stood out like a Doberman’s whatsits and I took great delight in leading them on a wild goose chase.

The image, incidentally, was taken in the rather grand Strand Hotel where we went for drink one day and here is what I wrote about it at the time. Remember the prices are 2006.

“The Strand Hotel is nothing short of a national landmark. It speaks of a time all but gone, and is the very height of colonial refinement. It is almost inevitably equated with the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, and it is very impressive inside and out following a multi-million pound refurbishment a few years ago.

I’m told it even has a steam driven lift (elevator) and apparently Mick Jagger stays here when he’s in town.

With rooms starting at over 400 USD I’m not suggesting that you actually stay here, unless you are on an expense account or extremely rich. However, as a small splurge it’s nice to visit the extremely pleasant bar which is open to non-residents. The surroundings are lovely, with a baby grand piano and a half-size snooker table serving as a pool table, and the service is superb, as you might imagine.

It is certainly a lot more expensive than other places in Yangon, but not outrageously so. the draught beer is 2 USD a glass (it is about 35 cents in a normal bar) but this still works out about the same price as London.”

You see, I can do posh when I have to and Zin loved it. After all her kindnesses to me it was the least I could do. Incidentally, for anyone who didn’t know me 15 or more years ago, yes, I did shave my head for many years, I really did look like that!

Whilst Zin’s understandable reluctance to do a drive-past on Aung San Suu Kyi’s rather comfortable prison was a small setback, I did manage to visit her childhood home which was fascinating. Here is what I wrote about that, with a few images.

“It’s difficult to overstate the importance of Bogyoke Aung San in the Burmese national psyche. Effectively the founder of the modern nation he is completely revered and his statue is to be found just about everywhere. Additionally, every settlement of any significance has a street named after him, indeed, one of the main roads in Yangon is named for him.

The museum, which is just about signposted, is actually not very impressive but it is a pleasant glimpse of an old colonial home, complete with teak floors and comparatively spartan furniture. I was shown round and courteously given tea by the Curator, but this is very obviously a Government place. When shown pictures of the man’s children, Aung san Suu Kyi, his daughter and leader of the anti-government faction at that time, was described without a trace of humour or irony as the “ugly one there.”

The man told me that Aung San liked to live frugally and that was why there were so few clothes and personal effects in the house. I subsequently found out that most of them were in the National Defence Services Museum! You can pass a pleasant hour here, but it’s not really worth going out of your way for.

The best thing is the beautiful old car (pictured) rusting away in the garage.
The $3US admission fee (despite what the website says) goes straight to the Government.

I had written all this up on Travbuddy, one of the two travel websites that was pulled from under me in the space of 15 months and led me, against all logic given my technophobia, to get my own site here. It is pleasing to dig up some of this old stuff that I so painstakingly comosed over so many years and this is a good excuse to dig out some old images.

I am sure I shall be returning to Burma in future diaries as it is one of my favourite countries but for now, in keeping with the peripatetic Nature of this site, let’s head to Halifax. Isn’t peripatetic another lovely word? Apparently if you write it with a capital P it refers to the Aristotelian school of philosophy as the great philosopher used to teach his subject whilst ambling about the Lyceum in Athens. That sounds like my kind of school, wandering about one of the great ancient cities of the world talking esoteric nonsense with a bunch of like-minded lunatics.

Have you ever thought about what a philosopher actually does? Sit about all day looking out of the window and thinking? It’s hardly heavy lifting, is it? I would do that but I live in an ugly street with a warehouse and offices opposite so I just think a lot without the window-gazing component. I wonder if it is necessary for the cognitive process. I actually do a lot of my thinking whilst out walking alone so perhaps I am a little Aristotelian, never thought about it before.

image002I like staring out of windows in more scenic places and do it a lot. When I was on my unexpectedly extended trip to Broadstairs last year, which is fully documented in earlier posts, I used to sit in the rather lovely Royal Victoria Pavilion in Ramsgate and, when I wasn’t trying to keep this blog up to date, I would sit and stare out at the Channel and think lots. Does that make me a philosopher or a weirdo or both? I feel the two states are not mutually exclusive. I have included an image of the said view here just because I can.

I warned you these diaries were going to be a ridiculously random ramble (I do love alliteration), sort of like a Jack Kerouac stream of consciousness piece but without the talent or drugs. I actually saw his original manuscript for “On the Road” on display at the British Museum in 2012, it was an incredible artefact. If memory serves I wasn’t allowed to photograph the manuscript itself or else I was just too stupid to do so but the second image proves I was there.

Speaking of drugs and the fact that I shall probably post this in the middle of the night, if it does not take me until tomorrow afternoon to finish, I shall preclude the obvious question here. I AM NOT DRUNK! I haven’t had a drink for ages. Now that’s cleared up, where were we? Oh yes, Halifax.

For the sake of clarity I should state that I am talking about Halifax, West Yorkshire and not Halifax, Nova Scotia. I have been to both places and love them equally although they are very different. It is also a good way of shoehorning in another couple of old images that have been figuratively gathering dust in my computer. I’ll let you guess which one is which!

I was in Canadian Halifax a year before I ever set foot in the town it is named for which is odd given their relative distances from my home. I went there to meet up with three dear friends from the Virtual Tourist website. We were having a long weekend on a narrow-boat on the Calder and Hebble Navigation and in another plug, equally as shameless as the first one, you can read all about it here. My three hugely enjoyable Canadian trips with my friend Lynne are not yet recorded but may be my next project here.

The night before we picked up the boat I was in a cracking pub in Halifax called the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe which has all sorts of activities on various nights but not currently obviously. This particular evening the local Poetry Society were in residence and a very friendly lady asked if I’d care to join them. I promise you this tale is leading somewhere other than the madhouse!

I declined her kind offer as I had nothing to offer in return. Like many other teenagers I had dabbled in poetry years ago but without any notable aptitude for the discipline, it was just the usual angst-ridden hormonal drivel of one whose voice has recently broken. However, I love words as we have already seen here and I always seemed to have a talent, if it can be called that, for composing limericks on the spur of the moment. As I was sitting, half listening to the very serious people reciting their pieces, I was thinking again. I told you I do that a lot and the excellent cider in there certainly helped the process.

I decided that, were I ever to return there on poetry night, which is most unlikely, I would bring a pad of Post-it notes, some pens and my laptop. I could theoretically use a notebook but my handwriting is so abysmal that I can type a lot quicker than write legibly.

I was thinking that at the start of the evening I would hand out the Post-its and pens and ask everyone to write their name and two or three facts about themselves. Nothing too personal obviously, I’m not stalker – honestly! I was looking for things like what football team they supported or what their job was or a hobby or some other trivia about them. During the interval I’d knock up limericks for each one of them and declaim them later. Honestly, I am not being boastful, that is not my way, but I can cobble together five lines of hopefully slightly humourous verse in a couple of minutes. I did the two below in that time and it probably shows!

It is the same with lyrics in blues music which are basically nothing more than two or four lines, depending on how you write them, with the two lines or second and fourth rhyming. Look at Booker T. Jones’ all time classic “Born under a Bad Sign” as an example from millions which shows both the two and four line methods.

“Hard luck and trouble is my only friend
I been on my own ever since I was ten
Born under a bad sign
I been down since I begin to crawl
If it wasn’t for bad luck,
I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”

Years ago, I used to play in the “house band” in jam sessions in the peerless and now sadly long-closed Greenwich Inn in Southeast London. One of our party pieces was to jam a standard 12-bar blues and I would just invent lyrics on the hoof, based on the latest pub gossip, what people were wearing or whatever. It used to go down well and people often refused to believe I had not pre-written it, I just found it stupidly easy to do. I was never going to win an Ivor Novello award, that’s for sure, but it was fun.

Finally, we get to the point of this tale. When I was thinking yesterday about starting these pages, I thought that a topical limerick or two might be a decent little filler should I need one which is unlikely the way I witter on.

The limerick, as I am sure you know, is usually bawdy and hence the image below which I have included, tongue very firmly in cheek, in the interests of responsible publishing. Honestly, they are not that filthy. I doubt I have any younger readers as they wouldn’t want to read the musings of an old codger like me but if any of you are of a delicate disposition, you may wish to skip down a bit.

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The first one, almost inevitably, is about CoVid lockdown and specifically the totally ludicrous practice of people stockpiling toilet paper, amongst other things, which led to completely empty supermarket shelves back in March. I hasten to add that I am not stockpiling them, I think it is a stupid thing to do and anyway I couldn’t find any to buy if I’d wanted to. The plot is just for hopefully amusing effect. Here it is.

“This lock-down’s becoming a chore,
In the loo I’ve got bogrolls galore,
But the problem is this,
When I feel like a piss,
I can hardly get through the damn door”.

After I’d got that one filed in the hindbrain I thought that if I ever did get round to these diaries I’d ask my few faithful readers for suggestions, the stranger the better and I’d see what I could do with them. I decided to put myself to the test and for no reason that I can explain I thought of a unicorn, very Freudian no doubt but he talked even more nonsense than me. I promise I am not making this up, I thought of a unicorn and I warn you that this one is a little ruder.

“Consider the poor unicorn,
Always single and therefore forlorn,
With no mare for a mate,
He’s in such a sad state,
Which explains the perpetual horn.”

OK, I’m sorry but I did warn you!

ON THIS DAY, 20th MAY.

As I said above, I am not going to annoy you with everything that happened on this day in history or I would be here for a lot longer than the eight or so hours this entry has already taken me. I am not complaining and it has successfully passed another long night as well as being educational for me which is pleasing.

image018On this day in 1521, Ignatius of Loyola was seriously injured when a cannonball ricocheted and shattered his leg during the Battle of Pamplona in Spain. Ignatius was thirty at the time and a career soldier but that was finished by the injury. He “found God” and re-directed his energies to the Church, founded the Society of Jesus (SJ) who are more commonly known as the Jesuits and is now a Saint, one of the many associated with soldiers.

That resonated with me when I came upon a church dedicated to him in Den Haag in the Netherlands on my European jaunt in 2017. In the third plug of this post you can read all about him and my visit to his Church on this page.  I’ve even thrown in an image just to brighten the place up a bit.

On this day in 1772, Sir William Congreve was born. He was the son of a senior military figure who was in charge of the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, and I have happened upon him on not one but two of my other walks, both of which are scheduled for eventual inclusion in this site if I ever get time!

As well as being an Army officer himself,he was a prodigious inventor and registered patents for inventions as diverse as a hydropneumatic canal lock, a gun recoil system and banknote paper that could not be forged. Undoubtedly he is best remembered for his military rockets which he much improved from the original concept he had taken from the Mysorean (Indian) troops of the Tipu Sultan who used rockets, particularly at the second Battle of Serangipatam in 1799 at which the future Duke of Wellington commanded.

Originally the range was only 600 yards but by 1806 Congreve had increased that to 2,000 yards and the rockets were used in the Napoleonic and First Anglo-Burmese War and that ties in nicely with earlier in this piece which is surely getting out of hand now. The rockets were tested on Wimbledon Common much to the terror of the local inhabitants who had never seen anything like them and had not been pre-warned. I had passed the spot whilst walking the Capital Ring long-distance path.

When they went into production, they were manufactured at Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Mills, which I passed whilst walking the Lea Valley Path. another LDP.

You have undoubtedly heard Congreve rockets mentioned many, many times and possibly didn’t even know it because they appear in the national anthem of the USA of all places. There is a line in there which goes, “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air” with the rockets in question being Congreve rockets as used in a skirmish as Fort McHenry in Baltimore in the War of 1812. I’m full of this useless nonsense and I really will get onto writing up both of these walks asap.

On this day in 1845, John Franklin and his men set sail from Greenhithe in Kent on their ill-fated attempt to find the Northwest Passage which ulitimately foundered in what is now Northern Canada with the loss of all 134 hands. Several search and rescue expeditions were mounted and on one of them a young French naval officer called Joseph René Bellot, who was serving in the British Navy, sadly lost his life. He is commemorated by a rather splendid monument by the Thames in Greenwich.

The monument is on the path of the Jubilee Greenway which I was in the process of walking only a few months ago and reporting on this blog until the house arrest put paid to that and everything else. If you wish to know all about Lt. Bellot and the Greenway path then this is the page to go to.

On this day in 1867 Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone for the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington in London and I had passed that impressive structure a couple of days earlier on the Greenway walk.  Click here if you want to find out about that.

I have a few other ideas up my sleeve if I decide to continue with this madness but I’m sure you have had more than enough by now. I know that after twelve hours straight of writing this and preparing it for publication I certainly have but it has been fun.

I’m still not tired so I’m heading back to the “day job” of writing about my travels so look out for that, stay tuned and spread the word.

Author: Fergy.

Hello there and welcome to my blog which is the last attempt of a retiree and child of the 50's to overcome advanced technophobia and create a memoir of my rambles having had three commercial travel blog sites pulled from under me in just over a year. A learning curve like Everest! I am rapidly approaching a senior citizen bus pass and realistically I have more days independent travelling behind me than before so I intend to "do it while I still can" and am trying to cram in as much as I can now. Apart from travelling, I love playing music (guitar, vocals and a bit of percussion) as the profile pic suggests and sport, although my active participation is now restricted to the very occasional game of pool. I read voraciously, probably a legacy from my dear late Mother who was a librarian and encouraged me towards books from an early age. 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, youth and early manhood. Partially by necessity although more by love of the art I adore cooking and I can and do read recipe books and watch food programmes on TV / online all day. Nothing fancy and none of your nouvelle cuisine nonsense, just hopefully tasty, proper food. To my knowledge, I have not poisoned anyone yet! No doubt other little personal facts about me will emerge during the course of my writings here so stay tuned if you are at all interested.

15 thoughts on “Lock-down Diaries #1”

  1. Wow .. I have had a flick through your site here and you have certainly been busy since I developed writers block in Sept 2019. I really thought that I would write more having retired but that didnt occur … too damn busy !!! Now that I am hopefully back for a while I will try and work my way through your writings … I though this was as good a place as any to start so will work forwards from here and then back, if that makes any sense. Loved the limericks here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Albert, great to hear from you again, it has been a while.

      I know what you mean about retirement. When I was about to quit I was terrified I would go mad with boredom but a mate of mine who had retired a while before said to me, “Fergy, give it six months and you’ll wonder how the Hell you ever found time to go to work”. He was a wise old sod and he was absolutely right.

      The diaries are a good place to start and, believe me, they get a bit dramatic a few entries along from here, I have had an eventful couple of months one way and another. I’ll not issue any spoilers here!

      I don’t know if you’d made a start on my London LOOP series (just put LOOP in the search box) dating back to 2013 / 2014 but I am nearly finished it now, just one more entry and it is finished. Because of my habit of back-dating posts (the only way I can keep some semblance of order here) they tend to get a bit “lost”.

      Don’t worry about the writers block, I get it form time to time and I find the worst thing you can do is try to force it. If you don’t feel like doing it, just let it be, it’ll come back to you in it’s own sweet time.

      How is this CoVid nonsense treating you? I hope you are not too restricted where you are although I know some parts of Oz were pretty badly affected.

      I am sure I’ll get notification when you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard to be more precise) and I look forward to it.

      Speak soon,

      Fergy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I look forward to reading your increasingly dramatic lock down diaries. Yes I did start reading you LOOP entries and will return to them as well. In regards to Covid I think you may be confusing Australia with somewhere else. We have been (at least until a couple of weeks ago) been remarkably fortunate. To about 2 weeks ago we have less than 10,000 cases and 103 deaths … in a country of 26m. We acted fast and hard to stop it killing people unlike a few countries I could name. On the downside the economic cost of what we did will per capita be higher than most if not all apart from NZ in the world. That will have to be paid for .. but I suppose we are furtunate to be alive to pay for it. Sadly a couple of weeks ago just as the country was almost totally out of lockdown and state borders were opening etc etc cases in Melbourne started to rise .. today we had nearly 500 there. Melbourne is back in full lock-down and travel into out of the state basically outlawed. In the past few days there has been some (less than 20 per day) cases in Sydney – all traced back to travellers from Melbourne before travel ceased. I hope these outbreaks can be curtailed in the next days before they get out of control. 2020 has not been a good year for Australia – we started with devastating bushfires, then hail storms then Covid all of which have severely curtailed my ability to get out walking, especially in local national parks. Anyway all we can do is look forward in anticipation of better times.

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        1. I don’t know where I got that from but I have all but given up on news at present. Somehow or another I had it in my head that a few of the big cities had been hard hit but your saving grace, apart from the prompt and robust action you mentioned, is your relative lack of density in population.

          I have an online friend (originally from Plymouth) who lives fairly North in Queensland on a farm, her nearest neighbours are a few miles away and there has been zero CoVid in her entire area.

          As I shall explain in a future Diary entry, it appears I have had it as I have antobodies and I did not even know, I was totally asymptomatic. I suppose that makes me pretty lucky really, some form of immunity without the hassle of being ill with the damned thing.

          I do hope you can get out and about walking sooner rather than later, I know what a pisser it is being stuck indoors especially when the weather is as good as it is here at present, it is really annoying. I suppose it is the middle of winter for you now.

          You’re right, all we can really do is play safe and hope for better times to come.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yep .. winter here but off course winter here even if we get minus temps is nothing like the UK. We have dry and sunny days 95% of the time which I love. Beats the increasing number of 40C days we are getting in summer now.

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          2. Sorry I managed to miss this somehow Albert but I am so bloody disorganised it is hardly surprising.

            I can go about 38 quite happily but anything above that gets too much for me. I remember when I was in Perth over Xmas / New Year of ’96 / ’97 doing best man at my mate’s wedding (he is actually in Canberra now, quite near you by Aussie reckoning) and it was unseasonably hot even by their standards. When it got to 42 I was done, I simply could not function. I don’t envy you consistent 40+.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Thankfully 40+ would last for a week at most here but there is no doubt that temperatures have been higher in the past 10 years and the higher temperatures last longer. Whether that is a temporary thing or evidence of climate change I will leave to others make up their own minds on. Personally I feel this and other weather changes in Australia are evidence of climate change.

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          4. Agree. It is impossible to know what to believe about this and many other things today. Sadly there isn’t a respectable or believable media outlet left these days – in print or on TV. I have to force myself to watch even the news these days and the quality and obvious bias in reporting infuriates me.

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  2. “On this day” this year I should have been hosting the Newcastle meet, with a city walking tour in this unexpectedly lovely May sunshine!

    I had to look twice at that photo of you with Zin – I honestly didn’t recognise you at first viewing 😉

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    1. Hello again mate named thanks so much as always for having a look.

      I had totally forgotten this was “meet weekend” as days. weeks and even months just seem to be drifting one into another. So much time lost. I was really looking forward to another trip there as I think you know my feelings about that wonderful part of our country that I had lamentably neglected for so long. I take it the meet is merely on hold for next year if it is viable?

      This weather certainly isn’t helping matters. I remember playing Chippenham Folk Festival on the late May Bank Holiday for a few years and we were regularly wading about the campsite.

      Yes, I did look like that for about 15 years or more. About ’92 I was asked by some mates to make up numbers for a hiking trip to Nepal due to a last minute dropout and in the days when I could still do such things.
      One of the guys had read (correctly) that it would be very warm and humid at the lower altitudes, although “low” is a very relative concept there and so we all got between #1 and #4 haircuts.
      I liked it as it was easy to maintain and you know I am a very low-maintenance bloke. I took to shaving it completely when I got back and didn’t start growing it again until 2006 with the results you can see today. Always present a moving target, as they say!

      I do hope you and your “better” half (can I say that?) are both keeping well and managing to survive this as best you can and that we’ll all be able to meet up again sooner rather than later. That wonderfully enjoyable Xmas meet at the Chamberlain now seems like such a long time ago.

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      1. Hi there. Yes, totally the meet is just postponed, not cancelled 🙂 The venues where I’d paid deposits for dinners, and the tour companies, have all confirmed revised dates so the programme will be more or less the same, just a year later. Actually, a fraction less than a year because I’m going for the w/e of 22nd/23rd May to avoid the Bank Holiday. But this weather is so frustrating – it would have been glorious for our trip to Bamburgh and Holy Island, which should have been today, and it will probably pour all weekend next year!

        I know what you mean about that evening at the Chamberlain. As soon as it’s feasible I’d like to plan a small London meet, but we need to be able to gather in larger groups and have some pubs/restaurants open, and that feels still quite a long way off …

        Anyway, yes, Chris and I are still keeping fine, so far – finger crossed! I hope you are too – take care and stay safe!

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        1. Ah yes, Bebbanburg and Lindisfearena (yes, I resd too much Bernard Cornwell!), both places it has been far too long since I visited. I am guessing 35 years maybe.

          I’m not surprised the venues and tour companies are keeping things open because as and when this all settles down those that are left will be looking for all the business they can get.

          Certainly, a London meet would be great under whatever odd circumstances it looks like I am going to be living the rest of my life under. We could all sit at diverse corners of some huge pub (probably Wetherspoons as they are the only ones likely to be able to weather this) and communicate electronically. Come to think of it, that seems to be the default position of anyone under the age of 30 these days!

          Glad to hear you are both bearing up and speak soon,

          Fergy.

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  3. I remember reading about some of your Canadian travels back on VirtualTourist, and I look forward to seeing them again if you ever get around to posting them here.
    (I never posted anything on TravBuddy, which was one of my better decisions in recent years.)

    Like

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