Hello again folks, thanks so much if you waded your way through the last offering as I know it was a bit of a saga but such is the way I write. My late Mother “gifted” me a Viking middle name to add to my Scottish surname and Irish forename. All these peoples are inherent storytellers and some of it must have filtered down through my genetic inheritance, at least I would like to think so even if I would not count myself amongst the bards or skalds of old. Others say that I just talk too much, which I think is far closer to the truth! I could use a very indelicate expression here but I shall refrain.
I had left you with yet another hospitalisation and an utter failure to meet my friends up in Newcastle. They had basically kicked me out of UCL hospital and I don’t blame them, they need the beds and there was nothing else they could do for me then. I had my newly acquired inhaler in my pocket and a promise of a consultation with my GP which I am still waiting for ten months later. That does not surprise me as I am completely blind in my right eye as diagnosed by the Royal London Hospital and I am still waiting for the consultation I was told would take four to six weeks in February 2020! My left eye, taking all the strain, is degenerating rapidly and I can barely see after dark or in the all to infrequent glimpses of bright sunshine we get. I spoke to my GP (on the ‘phone obviously) about eight months ago and he promised to re-refer me. Needless to say I am still waiting.
I should offer a word of explanation about my blog here.
When I bought my domain name / website / homepage or whatever the correct terminology is (I am a technophobe) in a fit of drunken madness in the middle of the night, I determined myself that I was not going to fall into the trap of bloggers who post things like “I went to the shop today and bought a loaf of bread”, “I am going to have a shower now”, “I had a shower, it was lovely”. Really, who cares? I find one of the most offensive things on the planet people who self-identify as “influencers”. What the Hell gives you the right to “influence” me? You are good for nothing but self-promotion and as my rudimentally educated maternal grandmother, who was full of wisdom despite her lack of formal education used to say, “Self-reccomendation is no recommendation. As usual she was right.
So how does this relate to my blog which was only ever meant as a travel blog although it seems to have slipped into a tale of my various hospitalisations. Not that I actually need to (and I hope that does not come out as an arrogant statement, it is not meant to be) but most of my hospital incarcerations have been when I was travelling. There is another one to come in a subsequent post. I’ll swear I am going to write a book entitled “Hospitals I have known and loved” or even a culinary guide to NHS hospitals as the standard varies so much. The reader (in the UK certainly) will know where to fall ill because the hospital grub is good!
Insiders tip, QEQM in Margate. I promise you that I do not make this statement lightly nor because the head of catering happens to be a mate of mine from thirty plus years back, it is a statement of fact and I was told that the food was trucked daily from somewhere in the Midlands which is several hundred miles away. I just do not understand the logistics of this but, as mentioned in a previous post, they serve damned tasty grub, I do recommend the curry.
There I was, discharged from UCL hospital and with another wristband to add to my collection (I have quite a few on my right wrist) and where was my life going? I know that sounds like a very serious statement and it is. I effectively had to rethink my entire future. Some of the things I held dear and were supposed to sustain me through my retirement until I eventually popped my clogs were now denied to me.
I had no idea if I would be able to fly again, given my history of DVT and, even if the airlines would carry me, who was going to insure me at less than a ridiculous fee? OK, I love train travel and I can go for a very long journey (Singapore now) without leaving the ground but the fact that 300 yards walking leaves me exhausted does not help.
I was at home, perfectly comfortable with my little local shops and supermarkets within a couple of hundred yards and I could have then, still could now, exist in my own little 100 yard bubble, as indeed I was forced by law to do with the totally unnecessary Chinese virus house arrest. Have you noticed that all the “emergency” measures brought in on the nod in Parliament are still in place? I wonder when they will be recinded. Probably never because that would be politicians giving away power and we know that will never happen.
There were two options left to me as far as I could see although my readers, who all seem to be a damned sight more intelligent than me may suggest at least half a dozen more. As far as I could see, I could just retreat back into Chinese virus house arrest mode and fester what is left of my life away or I could have another go at travelling. No prizes for guessing which one I chose.
At that time there were still massive restrictions on travel, even if I had the physical ability to do so. I believe I am right in saying that t that point, if I had fancied a daytrip to France I would have had to isolate myself in a designated hotel, with the prices bumped and probably full of economic migrants for 14 days and the same on the return with the Dover hotels this time full of those that the RNLI, Border Force and the Royal Navy had pulled from the busiest shipping lane in the world. So, a day trip to France to buy some nice wine and cheese and perhaps some cheap tobacco (our tax on that commodity is obscene) would tie me up for a month and cost me a small fortune. No thanks.
Time, I feel for a bit of lateral thinking and it was actually a lot easier than I thought it might be. For over 30 years I had thought nothing of jumping on a ‘plane to Kathmandu, Bangkok, Bratislava or Perth. This is all great and I had an absolute ball doing it but I had always thought that there was so much of my own relatively small country I had not seen and, adapting to my new travel head I thought that would be the thing to do.
In days past I had been to Luang Prabang but never Leicester, Denpasar but not Derby, Chiang Rai but not Chester, this was a hole I needed filled. It is very truly said that you never really appreciate what is on your doorstep. I know that for reasons which still elude me that I have readers all over this relatively tiny planet of ours. Tiny as it is, ig is just jam-packed full of wonder and much of it is within a day’s travel of where you are reading this. Yes, international travel is not easy at present so start local, I promise you that you will not regret it. Go international after that, when circumstances allow.
My word, I seem to have come over all philosophical again, that was not the plan. Insofar as I have a plan, this was not it. I suppose what I am really saying is travel ads much as you can and even if that is a 20 milw train ride, I’ll guarantee you’ll find something of interest if you keep your eyes and ears open.
From my travel writing, specifically on the wonderful and evilly destroyed (after much theft of content by TripAdvisor, evil, evil people) Virtual Tourist, I have met, face to face, several people who have been to over 100 countries (you know who you are guys) and I am somewhat in awe of them. However, they will tell you what I just mentioned above. If you cannot, (for reasons of finance or Chinese virus regulations or whatever) just go and explore locally, I promise you that you will not regret it.
I am going to issue a bit of a challenge now although I can see myself coming a cropper (if some reader lives in the Australian bush and 400 miles from the next farm) but anyone that lives in a fairly populated area, give yourself a 30 mile radius and get a train, bus or drive your car there.
Don’t research anything, just follow your nose and I do not mean head for the local tannery or abbatoir! Just wander and you will discover things, things that will ultimately prove fascinating and give you such an insight into where you have been. I find out so much researching apparently random images when I come to write these pages. Yes, I know my blogs look like they were thrown together by a dysfunctional five year old but I promise you, I do a lot of work to put these things out.
OK, I know this has gone on a bit without the merest hint of an image nor a link nor anything else of immediate visual impact. I suppose I could throw in a couple of images from previous trips but I think that would be tacky and just doing it for the sake of doing it so I shall not. I just went off on a bit of a discourse of, well, many things. If you care to skip this page I shall not be offended at all. OK, I stuck an image at the top of the page as a bit of a teaser of what is to come.
I promise the next post shall be full of my necessarily limited travels around the UK and there will be plenty of visuals for you to feast your eyes on. Just wait until you see Joey 108, Pirate and all sorts of good things.