Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This…


I rarely dream about travelling. It’s not something that occupies my sleeping mind and yet, when I’m awake, I day dream about it, and think about it almost constantly.

The moment the sun casts its golden glow over the rooftops, my mind is racing to recapture that magic moment when I was in India or Sri Lanka or somewhere where the sun shines and it’s hot and I can put aside, even for a fortnight, the dullness of home.

It’s holiday brochure time. The time when I feast on images of exotic lands and then hear my wallet complaining at how much everything has gone up. And it has. The cost of living crisis has impacted heavily on fuel costs and now that’s an additional % you need to add into the equation. And, whilst prices go up, you can guarantee that they won’t be coming down.

As I feast my eyes I find myself pondering on the thought processes that these large travel companies go through when deciding how long their tours should be or what sights they should include. I find myself wondering why they didn’t go to A or B or how they expect you to see everything in 11 days.

And why 11? Why not 12 or 14? Why has 7 days become 6 or 8? I recall the ‘good old days’ of 14 day tours (and longer) but now you are expected to pay more for less and I read through itineraries wondering why they feel the need to squeeze that in but not that, or go there but not there.

I suppose that I dream that I could do better. Perhaps I fool myself there, but it would be fun to try. It frustrates me when I see a holiday I’m enthusiastic about, only to find it’s truncated or they don’t go to that one place I had my heart set on visiting, despite it only being ten minutes down the road.

Still, I have brochures. I have brochures and I will peruse them and dream a little. I will dream there’s still a chance to travel again, to put these last few years behind us and see something of the world, before age and health rule it out completely.

Holidays, travel, airports, sunshine. Sweet dreams are made of those.

Invisibly speaking

I’m really not bitter,

About changes to Twitter,

Although I can see,

What has happened to me,

At least I can see me,

Though no one else can,

I’m no longer visible,

‘Twas Elon Musks plan.

My timelines all wobbly,

Tweets gone astray,

People I followed,

Are not there the next day,

They just seem to vanish,

Depart in the night,

Then when morning comes,

They’re nowhere in sight.

I talk to the void now,

My tweets swallowed up whole,

Was that really the idea?

Was that really the goal?

Perhaps I’m not interesting,

Not controversial enough,

To maintain the interest,

Oh boy, it’s got tough!

I’m kinda invisible,

People see right through me,

But just sometimes,

Not how I want it to be.

So if Mr Musk or his cronies see this,

Can we please return,

To that sweet state of bliss,

Where tweets do get noticed!

Where tweets do get seen!

And I promise, this time..

I’ll keep my tweets clean!

New Years Reso…somethings!

Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

Happy New Year!

That’s how it begins, isn’t it? A traditional greeting and resolutions that are will intentioned but usually die a death by the third month?

I am not making a resolution this year. Not specific ones. Of course, I will go along with the standard ‘get fitter, eat more healthy food, lose a bit of weight’ type fare, but I can’t be bothered with specifics.

The world is in such a bad place that it seems almost impossible to plan for anything specific when there is a pandemic that refuses to go away, flu is everywhere, people are depressed and fed up and the future seems a little dark and foreboding rather than bright and sunny. And this weather hasn’t helped.

I think, bar one day, we’ve had nine days of rain, at times torrential, accompanied by gusty winds. I know it’s winter but it’s darned depressing having to keep the lights on all day because it is so dark whilst worrying about the energy cost at the same time.

The country is in a mess. Strikes everywhere, cost of living crisis, unnecessary deaths due to hospitals overflowing, families not seeing one another because the trains aren’t running and politicians conspicuous by their absence. No wonder people are so fed up with everything when nothing is working and the poor are getting poorer whilst the rich, inevitably, get much richer. I don’t mind rich people being rich but when they take advantage of so much corruption and cronyism to make themselves so much better off, it does stick in the craw somewhat.

So here is to 2023. Here is to another year that, like 2022, I hope will be better than the year before. I hope it is good for you and your families and friends and that, at the end of it, you can look back on it with a fondness and thnk ‘Yeah, something good DID happen’.

So, to you all, Happy New Year!

Why Germany have to change if they want to succeed again

Photo by Ingo Joseph on Pexels.com

Germany deserved to miss out. Germany deserved to go home.

I’ve always loved German football and supported Germany because my favourite players have been German and since most people in England loathed them and were jealous of their success, I decided to support the underdog.

And these days they are very much the underdog.

Ignore the fact that Werner and Wirtz and Reus were injured or that Draxler and Goosens were deemed surplus to requirements and concentrate on what we know about what happened.

Neuer, the often hailed keeper, is a poor shadow of what he once was. Yes, he can make some astonishing saves but they fall in between increasing errors (Costa Rica’s first) and a general lack of commitment. Some of the goals he concedes are embarrassing.

Defensively, Germany are terrible. Rudiger is still a class act but he shares defensive duties with Sule, the lumbering 6’6″ sometime right back or centreback who is average in both roles. Then there is David Raum, an immobile left back and Schlotterbeck, another lumbering centre-half who just isn’t very good. Or else there’s Ginter (who is okay) and Tah (also okay but not selected). There’s a real lack of presence there and Rudiger apart, I wouldn’t have any other of those named defenders in my squad.

In midfield we have Gundogan. Great for Manchester City but far too cautious and slow when in German colours. Then there is KImmich, who also fills in at right back, as ineffective player as I have ever seen. Raved about, apparently world-class, but totally anonymous and unable to stamp his authority on anything. I do like Goretzka because he’s box to box and looks committed but why Julian Brandt, a dynamic young player never got a look in is quite beyond me.

Up front, Flick got it horribly wrong. Havertz was anonymous against Japan but is a talent. Muller, on the other hand, has been a great servant but is past it and well past it. He missed a huge chance against Costa Rica and that was all he did of note. Fullkrug scored goals but did he get a start? Of course not. There was barely any room for Moussoko bar a few minutes vs Japan and Adeyimi, another fleet-footed attacker, never kicked a ball in anger. Why they bothered to travel is beyond me.

The one shining light was Musiala. In all three matches he showed skill, composure, work ethic and desire sorely lacking in several of his team mates. He really looked the part.

I don’t rate Hofmann or Klostermann that highly and it is clear that Germany is now suffering from a dearth of talent beyond a small pool of players who will take Germany on. They still have Gnabry and Sane, Werner, Havertz, Moussoko, Adeyimi, Nmecha, Musiala, Wirtz and Fullkrug, at least for the next couple of years but they need to find a midfield and defence to complement their attacking options. They need the next Neuer, the next Lahm, the next Mertesacker and the next Kroos.

I can’t see them. I can’t see them in their under 21s or under 20s. Players who I have watched and liked in the past seem to have vanished, their races run, their abilities found wanting.

I am sure Germany will rise again and in their place we will look to a golden age of English talent to dominate the next 4-6 years. But watch this space, Germany can’t get much worse and one day, just when we think it’s all over, they’ll be back.

Stop policing my diagnosis!

I’m sad. I’m sad I have to write this. I shouldn’t have to write this.

But I do, because the Autistic Community has decided that I cannot refer to MY diagnosis as Aspergers.

Yeah, you read that right. The community, (insert hollow laugh here) is policing My diagnosis.

Self-appointed guardians and leaders have decided that my diagnosis isn’t one that should be mentioned. No, I must only refer to myself as Autistic because using the term ‘Aspergers’ is too terrible to contemplate.

And these self-appointed leaders seem to think I am truly an idiot and that I don’t know the awful connotations associated with using the term ‘Aspergers’. And I do. I am well aware of what he is alleged to have done and his Nazi sympathies. I know, because I’ve read.

But what these leaders fail to recognise is that in amongst the bad, Hans Asperger recognised Aspergers. He recognised what I am. ME. My diagnosis. And yes, whilst the DSM no longer recognises Aspergers as a separate diagnosis, you can’t turn back time and simply rub out people’s identities because of what is known now and modern sensibilities.

But that seems to be the way. Anything distasteful in history must be hidden or renamed or not spoken about for fear it upsets someone or it offends them. Well, be offended! Nothing happens. We all get offended by things but it doesn’t hurt us. We may not like it but that’s tough. It isn’t our job to say that X can’t call herself ‘Trudy’ because it offends us. Or that Y is a Zebra when really it’s a horse because it offends us.

You’re offended because I say my diagnosis was Aspergers? Good, then be offended. It’s nothing to do with you and it doesn’t affect you unless you decide to get up on your high horse and pontificate about it. Which nobody asked you to. You want to be called ‘Autistic’, that’s fine by me. There is no moral outrage here. I don’t care because it DOESN’T AFFECT ME. You see?

So stop it. Stop tell me what I can or cannot use to describe me. Stop invalidating me. Stop telling me how angry it makes you when the NT community polices us and realise that is exactly what you are doing.

I shouldn’t have to write this. I really thought we were better.

Look how wrong I was.

I keep forgetting!

I keep forgetting to blog.

Even when I get a reminder, I forget to do it.

Perhaps that is the ADHD brain doing it’s stuff or perhaps I am merely too lazy to pick up my finger and type in a few words. Either way, my apologies.

I must confess to a certain lack of desire as well, primarily because I don’t know what to blog about these days unless it’s the continuing saga of my health problems which, I am sure, nobody actually wants to read about.

If we were travelling then I might have inspiration, or if there was something good happening to report on, but regrettably we, like many others, find ourselves just struggling along, bumping along the path, getting by, without much light at the end of the tunnel.

The last three years have been hard for so many of us and those years have definitely reduced my interest in so many things. My love of Egyptology has waned, my desire to travel is diminished, my interest in reading is non-existent and I read a quarter of a book now and then just give it up, unable to complete the task.

It’s frustrating, it’s infuriating and it’s a continuing cycle of pain that’s inflicted on me. Trust me, I have tried to break free but nothing seems to work.

I will try to blog. I will try to find things to blog about. I will. Honest.

But I might forget.


Reviewing the travel reviewers

Take a seat

Yes I’m jealous, I’ll admit that from the start but having watched probably a hundred or more YouTube videos of people reviewing airlines and seats, I’m starting to get a tad frustrated with them all.

Sure, it looks amazing but the smugness of some of these guys is really off-putting. They bandy prices around as though everyone has £5K just ready to spend on an eight hour flight and don’t seem to understand the privileged position they find themselves in.

Sure it’s our subscription and patreon and views that help them out but they rarely seem grateful that we do it. The thanks given at the conclusion of the video is said with a ‘look at how brilliant I am’ tone and then that smug grin which says I’m here and you aren’t. I’m sure that some of them work very hard but they fail to remember that it’s their life and we can only watch it, not join it and after a while it starts to grate.

Some videos are just not interesting. Loo reviews are, by the by, the same. It’s rare they find one that’s bad, not in business or first class at any rate. The food is usually good in those classes as well and after hearing someone bang on about caviar and the fact it’s the ‘08 Dom Perignon, that’s being served, you get it rammed home even harder that this is a different league.

Let’s face it, when most of us travel, it’s in economy. Yet very few actually use economy when they travel so to the ordinary person, how relevant are the videos? How many of us can access a lounge or get priority boarding? Or get an upgrade because hey, they’ve been recognised.

I watch the videos because I love travel but I do wish the vloggers were a little more grounded, less full of themselves and, on occasion, less superior. If the crew does it’s job efficiently, stop complaining that they “weren’t very chatty”. They aren’t there to make friends with you. And stop moaning about the contents of your amenity kit with your “Oh, there should have been an eye-mask included!”. Be grateful you’re getting one to go along with the hundreds you already have and give it a rest.

Yes, I’d love to be able to do the same and I have no idea how they manage it but I repeat again, they need to knock the smugness down a peg or two, think about how the majority of us travel and concentrate on that.

But glamour sells and I guess that people want to see what they can only dream of.

So dream away.

I hate editing!

Honestly, I do.

I hate it for several reasons and first amongst them is the awful realisation that what I’m editing is pants. It is. Pants, huge bloomers with frilly bits.

Sometimes I read a page or two and then wonder what it is I’ve just read. It makes no sense at all and I must have been on something to have written such dross. What are my characters doing? What is their motivation? And who the bloody hell is Algernon? I’m sure I didn’t write a character called Algernon!

Then I realise the punctuation is worse than the writing. I am the enemy of grammar although, as my spelling isn’t that hot either, I probably meant enema of grandma! I throw in random commas, strange full stops and hyphens hyphenate where they shouldn’t. And I love exclamation marks! Seriously!!!!!

I try to sound clever when I shouldn’t and dumb it down where I should make it clever and then I invent new words just for the sheer hell of it..or is just my spelling?

I’m editing my epic. Editing 90 chapters, a quarter of a million words and x number of pages. I wish I’d never started. What possessed me to write it and then decide to edit, or basically rewrite it? Am I mad? I’m already going a bit word blind and doolally and I’ve edited 5 chapters! 5! Bloody 5! At this rate I’ll still be editing in 2025! And yes I love exclamation marks!!!

So now you know. You know why I’m a little bit loopy. I will finish it and will present something I’m proud of; promise.

Just don’t ask me when!

Farewell to The Queen

I watched yesterdays proceedings with a mixture of awe and pride. I watched it and then I thought, why? Why do it like this?

This was a funeral for a Queen but how much did we learn about her during the services? She was also a mother, a grandmother and great grandmother but where were the tales about her, the things you might hear at a normal funeral?

Of course we have heard them all over the last ten days as endless celebrities and members of this or that company or household have been trotted out to tell us about how much she loved horses and dogs and Balmoral, but where, amidst all the pomp, was there a human factor?

Perhaps it’s not the done thing but why couldn’t Harry have told us a funny story, or William? Or someone with something real to say other than the usual pompous drudgery, no matter how worthy, of the religious leaders. How peoples hearts might have been lifted if, instead of another reading by a monotone politician or another hymn nobody had heard of, the Archbishop had said, “And now, a personal story from …” to lighten the mood and remind us of the woman behind the crown.

I know these things are imbued with ceremony and solemnity and perhaps the tales are spoken in private, far beyond the ears of mere humble mortals, but sometimes, just sometimes, especially if you wish to modernise the monarchy, starting with something that we can all relate to, the personal story, isn’t a bad way to start.

But now we look forward to the reign of Charles 3rd. His lip biting and grief during yesterday will linger long in the memory but I wish him well. He has big shoes to fill and I hope he can fill them. I am sure he can if he is allowed to and not weighed down by needless petty fighting.

God save the King and thank you Ma’am for your years of dedicated service to the country. Rest easy beside your beloved husband, secure in the knowledge that your reign was both long and glorious.

Who am I writing for?

I have 8 books out on Amazon and to date, I’ve sold 8 copies and 4 of the books have yet to sell a single one. So who am I writing for?

It’s easy to say that I write for me and in a way that’s exactly what I do. I have stories that I think deserve a public audience or that people will enjoy and therefore I want to get them down on paper and out there.

But it does become dispiriting when I see my sales and pages read and know that if everyone who had promised to buy one, did buy one, I’d have tripled my sales. Sure! I’m not getting rich in the process but 24 is bigger than 8.

I didn’t expect to be rich but a bit of light in the darkness wouldn’t go amiss. Even a review would be nice but either people don’t want to review, can’t be arsed to review, think it’s so bad that they want to give zero stars but can’t or the book is sitting in a ‘to be read’ pile and it might never be read and a review may never come.

I’m currently writing my 9th. If I put my mind to it and did some editing then I could have another couple out in the next month but is there any point? Am I simply fooling myself that I’m going to sell more than 1-2 of each book, if that?

I try and market when I can. I push my books on Twitter but that doesn’t increase sales, whilst Facebook means that each book gets its existence acknowledged but then nobody buys it. And I can’t live on people liking the fact it’s written because that doesn’t bring in the money.

I’m starting to become jaded about my writing. I do about 2-3K words each day but wonder why I bother. I enjoy some bits but then others feel forced and poorly written and I wince when I reread the passages, struggling with my poor word choice and generally just getting fed up with a routine that is painful.

So, who am I writing for? It’s you, but I wish you’d read the bally things!.