Talking Travel 2

It’s plane to see….

Flying is the great necessary evil if you want to go from A to B quickly. I’ve never really enjoyed flying like some people do but rather enjoyed bits of it, take off and landings, whilst wishing I could sleep through the many hours in between.

It’s noisy, it’s cramped and the seats are usually skimping on as much comfort as they possibly can with padding barely worthy of its name.

Then you get the person who will recline their seat so far into your lap that you could wash their hair for them as it hovers precariously over your groin. The reclining seat is the selfish persons dream and as someone who, out of a no doubt misguided sense of honour, refuses to recline their own, I do get a bit frustrated when my already cramped space shrinks even further due to the appearance of some silky locks or a suspiciously dandruff ridden scalp.

Emergency exit seats are the exception and have become my favourite seats on the plane, at least in the class I can afford, as there is nobody to threaten your crotch but rather you get valuable extra inches for your legs and the illusion of a proper space. And when you are 6’4” you appreciate that little bit of room.

But those seats are few and far between and even when you do get them, as with all seats, you cannot legislate for your neighbours who mummify themselves from head to foot in airline blankets for 10 hours and stare rigidly into space.

I like an aisle seat if I have to use one. At least I can dangle a leg in the gangway now and again, but my partner always wants a window seat and if it’s a 3-4-3 configuration, as many places are, I get the hated middle seat. The seat where there’s no room, where you have to ask someone to move their legs so you can go pee, the one where you feel hemmed in from both sides. I absolutely loathe it as it’s clearly been designed by a sadist who believes people stop growing at about 5’6” and don’t need so much room. Just…no.

Airline foods always a great talking point. Being offered a choice only to be told that, actually, there is no choice. The dry stringy meat, the slightly weird desserts that have been created for a captive audience- Rosewater and Chocolate Ginger Custard and Marmalade rice pudding are just two examples…that I’ve made up, but they illustrate the point.

And the drink that’s about a quarter of a can because heaven forbid they give you an actual whole can to drink by yourself. I mean, what?. The airs dry and you’re thirsty but nope, they have to eek out the only Pepsi on the plane which you must share with 279 others!.

Inflight entertainment can be hit and miss. When it works of course, as that’s not a given. Some airlines are great with decent size screens and a good choice of stuff but dear me, I recall the days of travel with only one film to watch and a screen set in the ceiling that was so far away you could barely make it out anyway.

Sleep is nigh on impossible, for me at least. There’s grunting, belching, farting, snoring, lights flicking on and off, toilets flushing, people with night terrors – who doesn’t love a bit of strangulated screaming as you try to doze- ‘No mammy, not the whip! Noooooo’ – which sets tongues wagging and questioning glances thrown towards the unconscious screamer.

But it is a necessary evil. Sure I’d love an instantaneous mode of travel to zap me from A to B in a microsecond but that’s not coming anytime soon, if ever and I won’t be around when it comes. So until then it will be seatbelt on, seat in the upright position, tray stored and then whoosh, we have take off.

And I cannot wait.

Talking Travel

Leave only footprints

I’m talking travel.

A hefty bunch of holiday brochures have arrived and I’m thumbing through them, wincing at the vastly inflated prices and then wondering why some companies have such a shameless need to rip us off.

There are bargains though and my eyes rove across the images as I smile at places I have been and places I long to visit.

But now is not the time.

Not quite yet. The worlds such a tumultuous place at the moment and whilst I would happily climb aboard a plane tomorrow I’m not yet ready to part with hard earned cash. But soon, perhaps.

I know it’s hypocritical. I’m quick to condemn those who have rushed off abroad whilst secretly wishing I was amongst them although the beaches of Spain and Portugal, whilst I am sure most delightful, are not for me as my eyes stray farther afield in search of exotic delights to soothe my aching soul.

The holiday brochure is an interesting read. Or if you are Saga, a very poor read. I say that because I have to keep reminding them that they can’t get the hotels name right and the pictures don’t have the right captions or that ‘insert caption here’..isn’t an actual caption relating to the image but rather an instruction to some faceless inserter of captions.

It’s easy to dismiss most tours I read about. Either the country doesn’t grab my attention or the cost per day makes my eyes water. Can I justify £5000 for ten days in Japan? I wish I could say yes but the answer is no. And what about that train journey? Only £6995 you say? How very….unreasonable.

And that use of the word ‘only’, an irritating word when it comes to pricing, the suggestion that this is cheap and that anyone can afford it. Its almost as annoying as ‘from’, another word that frustrates me. I don’t want to book a holiday from £1995 because I want it to be £1995 and not £20’000 which could still be argued to be a figure ‘from’!.

I know people have to make money and that, as with all things, someone somewhere will put their hand in their pocket and pay the extortionate cost but I can’t help feel that this is yet another example of how we will be ripped off and our desperate desire to escape will be used to make more profit than is necessary.

But for me it’s all about value and that’s what I will be looking for. How many days? What am I getting? Is the airline decent? Are the hotels decent? (TripAdvisor comes into its own at this time) What am I seeing? Are the journeys between places long or short? What’s the weather like? – these and a hundred more need to be asked and the answers dissected before decisions can be made.

Do we go back? Do we go somewhere new? Is the group small or large? – Yes the questions go on and on and on. But the way I see it, my money is precious and I’m not going to waste it on something I’m not going to feel is worth it. And that’s how it’s always been.

So, why am I writing this? Good question.

I’ve decided to blog more, or at least try to. To try and inspire myself and give myself a push and what better way than to talk more travel!. So, from whenever I summon my next inspiration (or even perspiration if that helps) I will be blogging about past experiences, holidays, flights, incidents and some other stuff.

Just remind me if I forget! Agreed? Cool.

See ya soon.

Nobody Cares

Am I right?

Nobody cares

Am I wrong?

Nobody cares

Nobody cares

About anything

Nobody cares

About lies

Before their very eyes

Or deceit beneath their feet

Nobody cares

The gap expands

The rich rub warm hands

The poor sink in quicksand

Nobody cares

About truth

What is truth?

Where is truth?

Nobody cares

Promises broken

Anger awoken

Revolution unspoken

Nobody cares

Nobody cares

Enough

That’s it’s rough

That it’s tough

Nobody cares

If we live or die.

Autumn time blues

Autumn is coming.

Which is strange when I’ve only just found out it’s summer!. Yes I know we had a week long heatwave but apart from that the temperature has been below normal for the time of year and it’s never really felt like you will find periods of uninterrupted sunshine.

And I’m feeling blue.

I’ve not achieved anything this year this far. Writing aside I am angry that once again time passes me by and I lack the motivation to get off my arse and are something of my life.

It’s easy to blame Covid and lockdowns and in fairness to both them and me, they have rather dampened my appetite for so many things. There seems to be more effort required these days and the rewards are rarely worth that effort.

I look about me and know we should be actively looking to move. Then I realise greed and selfishness has pushed house prices up so far that even if we moved, areas we could afford six months ago are now bordering on being out of reach. And with each disappointment comes that sinking feeling that we may be stuck here for even longer.

Work continues to frustrate. Changes are mooted and then discarded, priorities change, allies resign and the uncertainty I feel about the future just grows and grows. People I speak with feel unloved and unsupported and whenever a reward is given it seems like such an afterthought rather than something positive and inspiring.

My writing continues and that also frustrates. The community on Twitter is full of those who say they will follow for a follow but won’t or don’t but just want you to inflate their numbers or don’t answer questions or, when you seek beta readers, with few exceptions, probably miss your tweet amongst those out out by their million followers.

I’m not happy with my writing. I know what I want to write but the translation to page is so difficult. Great in my head, sloppy in my fingers. Too much dialogue? No enough dialogue? Too many characters I do nothing with? Not enough descriptions of characters? Or locations? Fighting scenes realistic? Or fanciful nonsense?. Over ambitious or reining myself in and not actually exploring what I could explore?.

That’s the problem. So many questions about my writing leave me conflicted about it. I introduce characters and then don’t use them in the way I envisage. I forget about characters and then find I don’t have a place for them. I imagine epic but end up with epic failure.

It’s unfocused. It’s all in my head and when I read some of it this morning I realised I had spelled one character three different ways, each time convincing myself I had the right spelling. That’s the danger of not having thought things through and planned meticulously.

So that’s dragged me down a bit. Seeing some of the gorgeous settings and offices my fellow writers have only makes me feel more of a failure. How can I write well on a tray balanced on my lap?. Silly I know but I can’t help feel I’d write better in a proper space. But spaces require money and houses with spaces to have spaces in..and that’s not something happening soon.

So that’s today’s moan, an end of Summer moan, a pre-Autumn moan, a pre-emptive strike on Autumn.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope life is treating you well.

Until next time (whenever that is).

Writing? That’s a novel idea…

There’s a book in everyone.

That’s what they say isn’t it?. It doesn’t mention what sort of book it is nor whether it’s any good but if everyone has one in them then that is quite a few I’ve yet to read.

I write. I’m not very good at, not consistent at it and most of what I write is on the spur of the moment. A made up fantasy now on book 3 with 90% of it stuck in my head. So many plot holes and awful plot devices and characters who change appearance- but it’s all my own work and that can’t be taken from me.

I try to write somewhere between 6-8000 words a week. I might write 400 or 2000 in one go and quite often I will write random scenes ‘for later’ because I have that scene in my head ‘now’.

And my head brings its own problems. I often write scenes in my head, really epic stuff which I love…only that always translates badly to paper or I forget half the scene before I get the opportunity to write it down. Frustrating stuff!.

I’ve completed 4 novels and have 3 partially finished. Two big epic series, one set in modern times which involves angels and demons and one fantasy set in its own space and time and which involves prophecies, mad kings, blood, sex and lots of fighting. That’s the series which is at querying stage…and I have no idea what I’m doing with that either so don’t ask me.

I wish I had a proper space to write in and was skilled in the art of folders and files so I had everything at my fingertips but my set up is a chromebook on my lap with a notebook beside me. And my Chromebook has a few issues so it’s not exactly a professional looking job. Oh for a desk and a proper laptop and several screens and a printer and an office. Oh, just give me the house as well!.

Some days I really enjoy it and then some days it’s chore. Some days it flows and on others I grit my teeth and struggle through. Most days I want to go back to series one and edit that but then I worry about series two and getting that done. That said, what is series one about? Been so long I’ve forgotten.

I struggle with punctuation and grammar. My dialogue is stilted but then I’ll write a really flowing piece and think ‘that’s not too shabby’ and I’ll be settled again. It never lasts long.

I fight ADHD to write and being Autistic sometimes means that I get frustrated when what I’m planning in my brain isn’t replicated on the page. I can be so close and yet so far away from where I’m envisaging it actually being. But I struggle onwards.

I’d love to be published. Just to say I’d done it, just to say that someone believed in me enough to publish it. And to sell a copy? Incredible. I think that would just be awesome, to be able to call yourself a ‘published author’ and to say your book had ‘sold’. Fantastic.

But that’s for another time and if I don’t write I can’t keep that dream alive. So, back I must go to human sacrifices, powerless gods, sentient swords and a very large black horse. Oh, and a transgender assassin, pirates, madness and much more with 40 plus characters to wrestle with, just in case you thought I was taking it easy! Lol.

If you write, write on, and if you don’t, give it a try. If you have a book in you, let it out.

Back into hell

So it’s back to Hell on Monday.

That day many of us have dreaded has arrived and despite good evidence to the contrary, with rising cases and the increased virulence of the Delta variant, we should all go out and hug one another. Or get more intimate if that’s your thing.

Already I see fewer masks and a sudden surge of sunflower lanyards being worn by grinning individuals who collect handfuls of them from customer service desks in major supermarkets and hand them out to their mates as if they were popcorn. Well, not quite but close enough.

I feel herded towards herd immunity or vaccine immunity that isn’t quite immunity, in that you can get Covid still even if it might not be as severe as before.

I feel affronted by ant-vax supporters in my timeline peddling their nonsense and talking about ‘government control’ when this government has never been in control of anything or suggesting Bill Gates is putting a micro transmitter in my bloodstream ( for reasons only Bill must know, because I certainly don’t) and generally making no sense at all but using any excuse not to mask because it infringes their human rights.

And that’s it. Their rights, not my right not to infected by them because they’re selfish.

I know I work from home but I’m not a hermit. I go out, I shop, I do see people. And people worry me. I know I wear a mask and I will carry on wearing one for the foreseeable future but I can’t legislate for others and to hear and read people already talking so openly of social gatherings, getting drunk, parties, burning their masks etc, is seriously worrying.

People want to be treated like adults. But they can’t act like adults. They don’t want restrictions and rules but they need restrictions and rules until they understand the seriousness of this dreadful illness.

So on Monday we go back to Hell.

I dread it. I absolutely dread it.

I’m hoping this is just a phase and that things will improve, that numbers will decline and that eventually there will be light at the end of a very (insert as many as you want here) dark tunnel, but I can’t help but feel we are in yet another ‘things will get worse before they get better’ scenario and even double jabbed, I’m not confident of escaping unscathed.

So, take care, be sensible. Ignore the continued discomfort and inconvenience and be safe for others if not yourself.

Please.

Priced out of life

I see house prices have risen again.

Good news for those that own them but for those of us who don’t, nothing could be further from making us happy.

When you already live in a hugely expensive area you see what little, if anything you might afford, vanish in a puff of smoke.

Then you look around and find areas that were once affordable start to drift out if budget as well and you begin to despair.

Affordable housing is all well and good but it’s not affordable and the combination or mortgage and rent puts it outside the budgets of many. Add in all sorts of restrictions about who can buy one, (buy being a generous word), what you can and cannot earn, if you can or cannot have owned a house either together or separately before and you start to feel unwell even before you’ve worked out whether you actually want one.

Perhaps it’s a generational issue.

When you’re older and don’t earn much then the world seems against you. You don’t have 25 years for a mortgage and don’t earn the type of money to afford that house you want.

So what are you left with?.

Renting.

Just…hoping that something will come your way and that when it comes up you’ll stand the slightest chance of getting it…only to have that hope dashed by landlords and property developers who get in first, often before the property has actually had a sign up.

I look back at 32 years of working and realise, sadly, that I’m priced out of life, priced out of my dreams and ambitions, priced out of feeling that I’ve made something of my life by having a home of my own.

So..

Yeah, it sucks.

Black Dog

Black dog of depression,

The court is in session,

The charge is you’re dragging me down,

There’s not been a smile,

On my face for a while,

Now the smiles been replaced with a frown.

I get that you’re bitter,

(You’ve said so on Twitter)

You’re fed up, frustrated and sad,

You’re worn out, you’re tired,

In a deep bog you’re mired,

And everything’s driving you mad!.

You’ve lost your ambition,

Got no clear sight, no mission,

No hope and the future looks bleak,

Your life on the wane,

There’s no sun, only rain,

It’s the same thing now, week upon week.

But you’re still standing,

Every footsteps still landing,

So you carry on marching along,

Propelled by sheer will,

This is real, it’s no drill,

So you hurl yourself back into the throng,

You’ll struggle on by,

With tears in your eyes,

You’ll battle, you’ll fight and you’ll holler,

You won’t let it win,

So you’ll rein it all in,

And you’ll grasp that black dog by the collar,

And bring it to heel,

And then you will feel,

Some sense that your life is your own,

And the black dog will shrink,

And you won’t need to think,

About giving your black dog it’s bone.

Weevil under the sun

Can I go back please?

Strange as it might seem, I’m not a sun worshipper. My mother was and my father wasn’t immune to it’s charms when it came to lazy days upon Cornish beaches and my sister enjoyed it before her accident meant that even an English summer made her uncomfortable.

But give me a foreign sun, give me something to see beneath a sun that blazes far hotter than its English counterpart, and I’ll stand about and fry gently for several hours.

I have grown to equate an English heat with overcrowded Cornish beaches, that mad dash to the coast the moment the temperature climbs to the giddy heights of fifteen, the endless succession of caravans clogging up the roads and the fact that I can’t breathe in my local town due to the sheer number of invaders….I mean tourists.

In short, hell.

A foreign heat brings the rich and exotic, the temples and palaces and forts, the smells and sights of the strange and different. Huge rivers that wend their way through diverse landscapes where the locals walk, talk, sleep and work. Temples glimpsed above leafy canopies, shining brightly in the sun and vast statues that look down upon us as we sail past.

Landscapes of waving palm trees, beautiful lush valleys filled with tea plantations, a myriad of blooms and vibrant green paddy fields.

There must be someone called Paddy Field, surely?
Better to be there…

We all look at one another when the temperature hits 20 here in the UK and exclaim it’s too hot and yet when I’m distracted and the temperature is in it’s 40s, as it has been in Egypt, then it’s barely noticeable. Foreign heat seems so much more…enjoyable, than our own.

One of the great tragedies of this pandemic, albeit one that pales by comparison to human loss, is that we have been prevented from exploring our planet. To those of us who live to travel, who get inspired by doing so and who yearn, almost to the point of heartbreak, to fly once more, lockdown has seemed almost doubly cruel. Words cannot adequately express how much I am conscious of time passing and what I am missing out on.

I miss the sun.

I miss rising early and that first blast of heat upon my skin even if it is early morning and the temperature is restrained. I miss knowing that it’s an exotic heat beating down on me and that with exotic heat comes exotic sights and experiences, the delights of something new or even familiar to witness and partake in. I miss being chilled….in the heat.

I’m hopeful, and I’m sure many are, that one day this will be behind us and I’ll feel that sun, that special sun, upon my skin once more.

But until then, under an English sun, I’ll close my eyes and allow myself to dream, of lands both old and new and pray I’ve still got time to see, feel and experience the wealth of all they have to offer.

Under their sun.

Stuck on the treadmill

I’m stuck.

Stuck on a treadmill with no off button, feeling that life doesn’t have a pause button I can press, just moving when I don’t want to.

I’m waiting.

Waiting for central hearing to be put in, for electricians to come, for test results, for what seems to be an endless list of things.

It’s like being at the eye of the storm, unmoving yet the whole world is moving around you and you feel strangely detached and set apart from all that’s happening.

But am I moving.

I don’t know. My sister has breast cancer, the cat has liver cancer, I’ve got a kidney problem…apparently..and nothing ever seems to be resolved. Not properly. Not really.

I just seem to lurch from one thing to another and try as I might, I can’t fix them. I feel strange. I feel as though my energy has dissipated and I don’t have anything left. I’m not angry but disgruntled. I’m not bitter but frustrated and yet I lack the energy to even be that.

Work is insulting me by training me to answer a phone. A phone. I’ve answered a work phone since 1986!. Perhaps I know how to do that?. It’s just another thing that adds to that sense of…fedupness that I feel.

I am discouraged. I try and edit my book but do so without enthusiasm, knowing that it’s boring having to correct so much and angry with myself for having written things so poorly to start with. I know what I’m trying to say but it’s better in my head than on the page.

I see the sun and want to travel again but know that my partners utter failure to look after herself this past year had brought on a host of medical issues we didn’t need. That will delay or destroy plans. I can barely live with the former, let alone the latter.

This is a mess.

This blog is a mess. A confused, contradictory mess.

It’s my life.