This is the place to start.

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Sunset over Rangoon.

Good day one and all and thank you so much for visiting my little site here and if you wish to read my latest entries please go to the paragraph immediately below this one as they go in reverse order (most recent to oldest) from there.

For those that do not know me, I am to technology what a sumo wrestler is to synchronised diving i.e. I just cannot do it. I have just conjured up a mental image there that I really wish I hadn’t.

I have owned this site for about 19 months now (as of November 2019) and have been working very hard trying to resurrect writings from long ago which were previously on other websites, one callously killed off by illegal corporate greed and the other by lack of interest by the owners.

Eventually I have worked out how to pin (I believe that is the techie term) this page so it remains at the top of my front page. I have decided that the only way for me to make any vague semblance of sense here is to backdate the entries of my various trips to the relevant dates which may make them hard to find and so I am creating this page to assist you – hopefully! I shall keep you informed here of completed travelogues and those under construction.

Firstly, I did write for a while for a decent website called blogspot.com which I know is much used by travel bloggers. If you want a look at what was admittedly a very user friendly site and looks like not being killed off any time soon, then here is a link to my pages there. They deal mainly with my trip to the Philippines in 2012 but also with an earlier trip round SE Asia which happened to coincide with my 50th birthday shortly after I retired. There is also the beginnings of a piece on a month I spent in Malta but which I never really finished there and so it has been migrated  here (see below).

If you want to know about rather unusual trip which happened in 2017 when I went to meet a friend for four days (having packed accordingly) in the Southern part of the Netherlands and flew home from Rome eight countries and over three months later then look here.

If you want to know about one of the least known parts of the British Isles i.e. Lundy Island then this is where you want to start.

If you want to know about yet another trip that took rather longer than expected then have a look at my recent excursion back home to Northern Ireland which is detailed here.  A week for a family reunion turned into two and a half months but that is the way I am.

If you have any interest in narrowboats and the British canal system (a great love of mine) or more specifically the West Yorkshire canal / river navigation system then you may wish to have a look at this series of entries.

As I mentioned above I started a blog on my trip to Malta in the blogspot site but I left there before it was finished so it has been move to this site and this is the place to begin. 

My 2019 annual Pilgrimage to the Broadstairs Folk Week turned into a bit of an adventure for all sorts of reasons and you can find out all about it my series of posts begins here.

The current project is a week of gigging, and exploring Newcastle and Berwick-upon-Tweed in the Northeast of England so stand by for that one.

After that, I am very much in your hands. I have three extended trips to Canada to write up, three to Sri Lanka, another couple to Northern Ireland and a few to Scotland. I have a month on Madeira to write about and many other adventures besides. If you have anything you would like to read about, please tell me. It is all the same to me, it will all take time but this really is my last chance at writing online. If this one goes wrong then I am out of here.

Perhaps Burma, Lao or Cambodia are you your liking or maybe a great trip through a couple of the former Yogoslav Republics (Serbia and Macedonia) with some dear friends plus the briefest of side trips to Albania. Honestly, I was there for 15 hours, border to airport via Tirana. Imagine visiting a particularly secretive country where you never had a penny of the local currency in your pocket, did not speak a word of the local language and still got where you needed to be. That was Albania, proper “flying by the seat of my pants” travel and I loved it, I must go back some day. The Algarve in Portugal, Greece and Cyprus are all in the mix as well.

Please get in touch if there is anything you would particularly like to read about and I shall certainly prioritise it. As I say, if I live long enough it will all get done sooner or later and I do not really mind what order I do it in.

As for the image which heads up this page, it is not really very relevant to anything I have written here bar a passing reference to Burma. I just wanted to liven up the page with an image and this is one of my favourites to the extent I have it as a screensaver. It was taken from the grounds of the Shwedagon paya in Rangoon, Burma at sunset which is undoubtedly the best time to visit if you happen to be there. My dear Burmese friend Zin had very graciously given up her day off to show me round that fascinating city and we had had a great time. Not only do I find it aesthetically pleasing as it is one of my few half decent amateur efforts but it stands for the reason I travel, the reason I write about it and, ultimately, the reason this site exists at all.

Right, so much to do and time I got back to work so, as always, stay tuned and spread the word.

I am back again.

Hello again all and, as seems almost inevitable with this website which I so naively embarked upon a few months ago, I begin with an apology. Any of my handful of readers who were following matters sequentially will have left me back in Northern Ireland in early August 2018 where I had spent about two … Continue reading “I am back again.”

Hello again all and, as seems almost inevitable with this website which I so naively embarked upon a few months ago, I begin with an apology.

Any of my handful of readers who were following matters sequentially will have left me back in Northern Ireland in early August 2018 where I had spent about two months at home with my Father having only intended to be there for about a week. I ended up staying until the 10th of that month when I returned to London for a literally overnight turnaround which entailed unloading the few dirty items of laundry (I had laundered at my Dad’s before leaving), replacing them with clean from the Himalayan pile of clean clothing awaiting ironing which may happen sometime before a politician tells the truth but don’t hold your breath. I swear that little suitcase has not been fully unpacked for about 18 months now.

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Viking Bay on a sunny day.

The next day saw me on a train and heading for the utterly delightful seaside town of Broadstairs in Kent, which is about as far East as you can go in that county without getting wet as you will have fallen in the Channel! Apart from the many obvious charms of this delightful town you may wonder why I was taking myself there and the reason is simple, it was Broadstairs Folk Week which is arguably the largest and certainly my favourite of the numerous Folk Festivals that take place all over the UK every year.

Most UK festivals are weekend or long weekend four-day gigs but Broadstairs is one of the three week-long events that take place throughout the season (the others being Sidmouth in Devon and Whitby in North Yorkshire) and I am unsure exactly how many years I have played it but I reckon it is 27 this year. I missed one in 2016 as I was travelling in Canada but otherwise it has been an unbroken run. The Canada trip will eventually form the basis of another set of retrospective entries here but there really is so much to be done beforehand. Likewise I have more than enough images, memories and written pieces salvaged from other now-defunct sites to construct travelogues on many different years here but again it is all a matter of when I get time to do it.

I am something of a standing joke in Broadstairs although I have to say that that particular state of being is not at all confined to this location. The reason is that, like my four-day Dutch trip last year which took three and a half months and my week back in Northern Ireland which took two, I have a habit of not going home. I am not even going to start explaining my five-week trip to the Philippines in 2012 where I managed to substitute the word months for weeks and is yet another travelogue waiting to happen. I just tend to get marooned in places and last year I came to Broadstairs to play Folk Week but ended up going back to London in early November as I wanted to attend Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph as I habitually do if I am in the country. It is just the way I am, I get cast up on foreign shores and tend to remain.

You may well wonder how I manage to do such things and I do try to explain them as I go along in my various little travelogues here. I am certainly not a rich man and cannot afford to just sign into some hotel or another for months on end. I hope I can give a few tips in my writing about how to minimise costs for the independent traveller but in the case of Broadstairs it is very simple. I have two wonderful friends who live right in the middle of the town and are kind enough to put me up, allowing me to stay as long as I like even though I often tell them to throw me out when they are sick of the sight of me. They never do. I am not going to name them here for various reasons but they have my deepest thanks and are the most lovely people. Again I am drawn back to another of my travel / life mantras (is there a difference?) that there are a Hell of a lot more good people in the world than bad and so here I am on a gloriously sunny Summer day in a town I love with an almost ridiculous passion. A dear friend whose opinion I greatly respect once told me it was my “spiritual home” and, whilst I shy away from the term somewhat, it is undoubtedly true.

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A very fine pub and back to it’s old name again.

I am typing this in a great bar (the George) which is not 200 yards from my bed and “home” where I have my own key. I have free run of the kitchen and bathroom, access to the washing machine (vital when you travel as light as I do) and I am living with friends who I socialise with on an almost daily basis. How bad can that be? If any of you have been reading the account of my little European excursion last year you will have heard me speaking of the “travel Gods” who I firmly believe in. No, that is not a belief system nor religion and, no, I am not intending to start a cult worshipping them but I genuinely believe in their presence, not as deities per se but just some sort of “something” that looks out for travellers. I have a Hell of a life on the road and I fully appreciate that fact.

Enough of the philosophy and back to the details. I am in Broadstairs again for whatever length of time, I have been asked to play at the local Folk Club this evening which is generally a good laugh and I believe there may also be a firework display which really are spectacular here. I’ll keep you posted. I have been asked to play at a house party on Saturday for other friends where there will be a bunch of musos hanging about as the male half of the couple is a bass player in no less than three bands so that should be fun. Of course this sort of thing ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy as someone sees you at a gig and asks you to open for them the next Tuesday or “dep” (stand in for someone) at another gig and so becoming stranded here is not too difficult.

Right, I think that is me caught up with my present position but for anyone who is coming upon this site for the first time I shall provide a couple of links to the other travelogues I have alluded to as the only way I can keep any semblance of order here is to post events on the days they happened.

You can find the start of my European jaunt here.

If you want to know about my recent trip to Northern Ireland trip it is here.

I have now finished off the blog of my trip to Lundy Island and the West Country.

The European trip of 2017  as mentioned above is eventually finished and I am going to attempt to pin this entry to the top of the site (fingers crossed) so you can have a look at all the back entries I have done and the many more I still have to do.  Honestly, this backdating is the only way I can ever hope to keep this whole enterprise in any sort of order.

As a final comment, thank you as always to everyone who has read my pages here and sent comments or “liked” them and there is much more to come so please stay tuned and spread the word.