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I have recently discovered why I am not a better photographer than I am. This is partly due to the above photograph that I took last night. It is a picture of the remnants of sunset, as I sped along towards Norwich in Norfolk, UK and was taken through the car’s windscreen. I hasten to add that my partner was driving, so no need to worry about this photographer living dangerously! As you can see, in the picture, there are two of our local telephone lines atop a telegraph pole. The pole was built and erected sometime during the last century, probably pre-1960! This is the problem. Although Norfolk has loads of great pictures just lying around waiting for people to take them, I can’t seem to find any new ones and so usually end up with something like this. On a photo-site that I subscribe to, there are many of the worlds great sites, taken from many different angles & tweaked to perfection by their ‘takers’. As great as Norfolk is, we don’t have a Golden Gate Bridge or huge rocky outcrops, there are no ‘Uluru’s or Sydney Opera Houses. No Amalfi coastlines or great Hagia Sophia type temples. So all I can do is take pictures of the things we have locally. Some people are lucky to live near many great views or architecture. Norfolk is beautiful, I don’t deny that, but I have just travelled abroad recently and it will be quite a while until I can do it again. So Norfolk will just have to do for now. We have a pier at Cromer from where this photograph of mine comes: DSC00670 But once you’ve taken it as many times as I have, it becomes a bit ‘samey’. Maybe I’ve lived here too long and need a change? I see many people who enter photo competitions have the same pictures as each other. Obviously they can manage to travel to the worlds top photo sites. I am usually too busy for that though. We can all take pictures of the moon though can’t we? DSC00512 (2) Yes, that’ll do and there’s no need to travel. I recently took a few shots of it while in Mallorca, but couldn’t see any difference. So to be a ‘top’ photographer, you need ‘top’ money and the time to spend travelling around. I don’t have either of those and so will just have to make do with what I have here and the odd trip out to different places. Please excuse the title at the top. I haven’t forgotten to add one, just that somehow “Enter title here” fits perfectly, as I have no idea what to call my post this week. I also think that my camera hinders me a bit, as somehow a DSLR makes everything look better, so maybe I’ll go back and take all the same old pictures of the same old things, but make them look better, when I get my first one, hopefully soon. I’m currently trying to get into portraits too. So maybe this new direction will open up new photographic opportunities. I never take ‘selfies’ though, I can’t afford to break the camera I have just yet!

Okay. Now hold that pose, smile and say smelly old English mature cheddar CHEESE! See you next week.

Self-Scanning and Self-Service checkouts make my blood boil!

Alright. I’m not going to name the supermarket that made my blood go over 100°C the other day! But OOH! I could just £*$&% the whole lot of them, I could honestly! While trying to attain one of their self-scanning devices, I found that my loyalty card had stopped scanning, so I had to put in the incredibly long number (SEETHE)! Then I went round as usual and everything was going well until the end, well it WAS a Saturday afternoon and there was a lot of ‘trolley rage’ (for trolley read ‘cart’ dear American readers). So finally, I arrive at the self-scanning checkout. I hadn’t realised that, at the end of my shop, there was one ‘impulse buy’ item that I had flung in the trolley without thinking. The young lady, for want of a better description, decided that she didn’t like the look of me before I even begun checking out. She came over with a shifty-looking stare. “I couldn’t scan this one item” I said, hoping for a bit of help, as something I did try to scan, failed completely. “Okay”, she said, “I’m gonna scan some of your stuff anyway” and she did. You would have thought I was the greatest unscanning shoplifter in the history of the world, when she discovered the one thing I HADN’T scanned. “OKAY” her voice suddenly rose by 13.5% volume, “I’m gonna have to scan EVERYTHING now” she almost shouted at me. “You’ve failed to scan this”! A tall but fairly young man suddenly appeared out of nowhere, positioning himself between me and the exit of this checkout area. While she happily scanned everything in the trolley and everyone around carried on staring at me and shaking their heads “Shame on him, how COULD he do such a thing”? “I’ve NEVER made a mistake in my whole life”! their constant, disaproving looks seemed to be saying, I asked sheepishly “Could I have some bags please”? We’ve just begun to be charged a whole 5 pence for a plastic bag here in the UK, but I didn’t mind this. The assistant barked at the young man who was enjoying his new-found position of security guard, “Okay, get him some bags”! “HOW MANY D’YOU WANT”? She asked, “Er, I dunno about 4 I suppose”? “RIGHT GET HIM 4 BAGS”! ANOTHER sorry, another order emanated from her otherwise tautly sealed lips. Having scanned everything in my trolley, she failed, much to her dismay, to find even just one more thing that I hadn’t scanned. “Right” she said a little bit quieter, “That was the only thing you’ve missed, you can pay now”. I paid quickly, stuffed everything in the 20 pence worth of plastic carrier bags and hastily made my way to the exit. Both of them stared daggers at me, while I ran this visual, stereophonic gauntlet of disapproval. I got out of the store and drove home like my life depended on it. (Within the speed limit of course, I’m not a getaway driver too)! Occasionally checking the mirror to make sure none of their secret security men were following me home.

I gave up using self-service checkouts years ago as, since supermarkets won’t pay me for doing the job of a checkout assistant everytime I shop there and they won’t hire more staff to do the job like they should, I would rather help the people who do do it, to stay in a job. I know they would love for all their checkouts to be self-service, but no way say I! Now of course, I can’t use the self-scanning ones either. It will be quite a while before I can summon up the courage to return to that supermarket, as they probably have hours of CCTV film of me shopping for magazines, sushi, pants (briefs) and chocolate and will no doubt, have alerted all the staff to my presence. I imagine my next appearance there will bring out the sniffer dogs and shifty-looking store security people, who will, no doubt, all follow me around like hawks!

“Code 10! Security alert in mens pants”! Oh the shame. THE SHAME!

The invisible blogger strikes again!

Hello people! It’s me! I put a new post on! Hello! Well sorry for all the exclamation marks there, but I swear I’m invisible on this here blogging site thingy. Oh I’ve had a few readers, well, one that I know of this week, but some people get hundreds and I need to find out exactly why I don’t. I don’t think search engines like me very much. I was told “Oh it’ll be alright when you get picked up by a search engine, then you’ll be well away”. Well I haven’t been and I’m not. Maybe it’s because I put on too many of these whingy “Why isn’t anyone reading my blooooooggg”??? posts. Right then, I’ll stop that right away and wait for another reader to come flooding in.

Anyway, trying to be funny as ever, I’ve been on a bit of a bread thing comedy wise this week, whereas all my jokes seem to be bread related. You could say I’m on a bit of a roll! (Sorry). I know, I should use my loaf more and try to come up with funnier stuff than that, or I won’t get ANY readers at all! I should sell my jokes, I certainly knead the dough (groan), I’ll just have to (french) stick at it. People say I’m usually funny, but not at the moment because they don’t find bread jokes very funny. They think I’m crackers and say that I waffle on too much. It’s just that I see so many people laughing at the jokes of others and I suppose I want a pizza the action. Maybe my jokes are just too corny (cornbread) as they all seem to fall flat (flatbread). Someone even shouted something about Foccacia at me, at least I think that’s what he said. Maybe what I need is more filler, instead of just these silly bread types. Still, did you hear of the baker who got eaten by one of his own loaves this week? It was tiger bread! I’m terribly sorry and will try to do butter, sorry, better next time.

Maybe this ‘Great British Bake Off’ programme has gotten to me. Doughnut fear, brave readers, for I shall return with another slice of humour soon!

Blogger blogging about bloggers

I know right? What a ridiculous title! But what it meeeeeans, is that I think as a blogger, I seem to be more successful at reading other peoples blogs and commenting on those. My best ideas come when I have just read someone else’s funny blog. Then I seem to be spewing words left, right and centre! When I have to do it myself. Well, it’s harder. I believe that this is, as I seemed to moan (jokingly) about a lot of things when I started out. For instance: https://puttingmyselfdown.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2&action=edit  which was my first post, all about how much I dislike ring-roads as we call them. Especially the one around Norwich in the UK. Then there were posts about doggy-poop at the beach and mobile phones. All meant to tittilate and touch your funny bone, albeit with a serious undertone. Now I seem to have run out of things to moan about! I think that’s because I STILL moan about ring-roads and mobile phones in real life. The problems that make me laugh don’t seem to change much, but I can’t go on writing about them for ever, can I? New things do come up of course, like my latest dislike about air-travel. I HATE flying! I have flown, in total, for 25 hours! Yet the latest two of those hours (one flight) made me feel just as bad as the first hour. I don’t enjoy it, never have, never will. Mostly because of that strange feeling of nothing being below me. I like my terra-firma, to be a little firmer than that of an aircraft’s thin metal bits. Also, as I’ve never had a flight lasting more than two hours, (a lifetime for me), I’ve never gotten to enjoy the entertaintment system that long-haul routes seem to have. On my flights, it’s all coach and one tiny, weeny little screen for about 30-40 people in each section, if they have any at all!

Oh I’m sorry, I’ve just done it again haven’t I? I promise not to talk about flying again! Well not in this post anyway. Please feel free to read some of my earlier stuff and tell me of your ‘bugbears’, things you don’t like, or absolutely detest even! Who knows? My blog may even feature in there! I wouldn’t be at all surprised. I’ll leave you with this strange thought I have just had. If someone commits a crime on a road crossing, would the police put up those signs saying “Crime scene, do not cross”? Then you’d be stuck, wouldn’t you?

Anyway, must fly! Whoops!

PS Must just let you know that one of my favourite pastimes, when I get the time, which is only rarely now, is I have a FLIGHT SIMULATOR! It’s just a computer prog on this very machine, but I love it! It’s sort-of safer than ACTUAL flying, as you can go off and make a cup of tea or something if you get bored. Maybe that’s why I hate flying so much, as you have to climb into a real plane and risk life and limb in order to do it. Getting to the other end is the payoff I suppose, but then I can’t settle until I’m back at home, sitting in my favourite armchair, or on here, boring you lot (dear readers)! Oh no, I promised and here I am again. Shut-up about flying already Gilbo! I’m sorry. See you next week? Maybe?

Funny blog? Anyone? No?

Well, that’s it. I knew that last night’s blog post was the funniest thing that I have written in a while. So I just sat back and waited for the comments to come flooding in. “Great post”! “Yeah man, go you”! “Funniest thing I’ve read for years”! “I laughed so much, I ruptured my spleen”! Etc. Only, I’m still waiting for the FIRST comment to come flooding in. I have quite a few ‘likers’ and ‘followers’, but not many commenters. I decided that if I get no comments this week, that I am DEFINITELY, gonna give this whole blogging thing up. One day. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, maybe not the week after the week after the week after that. But, oh blow it, I don’t know how the saying goes. I need to get more readers. Somehow…

Do UFO’s need passports & immigration control?

Well it’s a funny one, I know. You must be sick of me writing things related to air travel by now. But just imagine it for a moment. A UFO (or UAP if you want to be all correct about it) would be funny, if they visited earth and had to go through immigration. “Hello Sir or Madam, what is the purpose of your visit to our country and how long do you plan on staying”? Why would they be here? Just visiting like E.T? Or maybe for abduction purposes. If they didn’t have a good reason, or no passport, would that make them an illegal alien? Could they be smuggling? Who knows? They might just be here for the ‘duty-frees’, as they probably can’t get our quality selection of perfumes, tobaccos or alcohol wherever they came from. Maybe they came for the sun, as all the ones on TV seem to have very pale and insipid looking skin. Do you think they have cabin crew on them there things? Please feel free to leave me your thoughts in the comments.

“Last call for Uranus at gate 18”. Gotta go that’s my flight. I’m gonna go through a WORMHOLE! See you next time!

The sky’s the limit!

I chose the picture of the young lady above, as she represents a bit of this weeks subject, RULES! A couple of years ago, I travelled with my partner on a trip to places afar, for a short break. Always wanting to ‘do the right thing’ (stupidly of course), I asked the lady at the airport information desk if it was OK for me to use my camera within the terminal, or outside or even on the plane. She informed me that I could take pictures of my partner and myself, as long as we were against a blank wall only and not showing any part of the terminal building, that could identify it as being an airport. She also said that if I did take pictures of anything else, inside or out, my camera would be ‘confiscated’ and probably not ever returned! I asked why that was and she just said “Well you did ask”. I noticed people all over the airport pointing their cameras and mobiles all over the place, taking pictures of this and that and not following any such ‘rules’. I thought it was a bit rude of her to talk to me like that, when I had asked so politely and felt sure that she just didn’t like the look of me! As everyone else was getting away with it. I see that it is getting more difficult to do exactly what I was asking to do, due to terrorism these days. However, what I probably would have had pictures of, would have been a few walls and seats, maybe the odd poster or two, which were only adverts and were all over the country anyway and even on TV! Also, I may have caught a shot or two, of say a Boeing 737 or possibly an Airbus A320 and they are ‘top secret’ aircraft which no-one has ever seen before, aren’t they? Cynical? Who, me? Well maybe a bit.

Also, the rules aboard aircraft are very strict, but again, are mostly ignored. You should have your mobile or camera either turned off, or on ‘flight mode’ or any other such device that can send or receive things, until you land I suppose. I noticed on my most recent trip though, that no-one takes the slightest notice of these rules and people were simply ‘covering up’ their mobiles, while playing games or sending messages as the cabin crew walked past, in the same way that naughty schoolchildren cover up their funny drawing of the size of their teacher’s nose etc. You aren’t supposed to film the take-off or landing of the airplane either, as this would mean having the device switched on, when it should be switched off, or so I have been told. I see however, that there is one chap who seems to fly everywhere in the whole world and even has a YouTube channel, where he posts videos of all of these flights! (There are also thousands of other such videos, by many different people). Yet he obviously hasn’t been to my local airport ever, as they would simply confiscate his camera and throw him in jail! Or so I have been led to believe. (I think the rules aboard aircraft are meant to stop airplanes crashing, due to all these signals interfering with instruments or something. I think if planes were crashing and people dying from it, then MAYBE they would do as they are told)? So maybe that’s just another ‘line’ they feed us. Maybe.

I can understand that we must have rules and I (boringly) follow most of them. We don’t want terrorists getting hold of any secret information about a small, regional airport now, do we? I’m sure there could even be something that they shouldn’t see. But if these ARE strict rules that must be obeyed at all times, then WHY aren’t they being upheld and adhered to?

On a slightly lighter note, On the earlier trip of I which I spoke, my partner who is a wheelchair user, had been told to wait at the side of the bit where everyone has to go through the sort of X-ray machine. Having been put right in view of one of the observers screens, she was having a rare old time apparently and told me later that, when people pass through it, she could see an awful lot more of each person than you are led to believe! These machines seemingly leave nothing to the imagination as, when I went to retrieve her, having had my ‘go’ in this machine, she had quite a red face! I just hope that there aren’t any weirdos applying for this job, as they would be getting paid for ‘peeping’ as it were! The other implications of this are many and varied, but I don’t even like to think about them!

Oh well, must fly. Please have all passports, boarding passes and selfie-sticks at the ready!

Disabling Holiday travel

“Travel both broadens the mind and loosens the bowels”. So sayeth my partner. I think the second bit comes from the differing choice of foods that you find abroad. Some spicy and some not. But it’s the travel bit I want to address here. My partner Sue, is disabled. She is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair, that she is confined to. Or to explain it better, she is paralysed from the chest down (from T4, for those of you in the know). This is roughly half-way down her chest. So she can use her arms and can lift and move herself a bit, but not much. So when we travel by air, while everyone else is heading on down the tunnel, from the airport straight into the plane, Sue usually has to go in a funny truck, that lifts up and down and somehow attaches to the other side of the plane from the tunnel. From there, she is lifted from her wheelchair into an ‘aisle-chair’, which is more like a sack-barrow with a seat on it. She is then strapped onto this thing, to move just a few yards from the plane door, to where she will be sitting. Usually this is either the front left or right aisle seat. This last time, on a ‘737’, due to differing safety laws, she had to sit in the fourth row instead of the first and in a window seat, instead of the usual aisle one. We took this ‘safety’ thing to mean the safety of all the able-bodied passengers. Needless to say, she was left in an uncomfortable and distressed state, due in part to the (obviously un-researched) problem of getting her into that position on the plane and also due to the cabin crew having no idea of a disabled persons needs at all! But travelling with a disabled person is something even I, as her partner, had no idea about until I tried it. You know when you see a ‘special offer’ in the travel agents? ‘Seven days in the Med, for only £3.50’! Well, Sue has never and could never go on one of those, because, as able-bodied people can just ‘flop anywhere’ in any room on any bed, again, she can’t. She needs a special hoist to lift her onto and off of the bed and also into a shower-chair (that’s a wheelchair, that can be used for showering in), which needs to be used in a wet-room. Which is basically a room like a whole shower cubicle, so that everything in it can get wet. She also can’t use a shoe-box sized room. This can be handy, in that you get a much bigger room to move around in, but we would prefer to be able to use a normal room, like everyone else! Staying on the subject of the room, one of the reasons she’s only been able to travel again recently is, that with her condition of being unable to just use ‘any room’, If her room was given away to anyone else, as rooms sometimes are, due to double-booking etc., the only option Sue has, is to go straight back home on the next available flight! No way to spend a holiday. Her most simple wish, to be able to walk on the beach with me, hand-in-hand, is one that can never be granted. Also we are misunderstood sometimes, as occasionally, people make the mistake of thinking that she gets ‘special’ treatment, by getting all these ‘added extras’. That couldn’t be further from the truth, as the only special help she gets, is just so that she can live as normal a life as possible. Even with all this help, that ‘normal’ doesn’t even begin to approach the normal of everyone else, as everything takes longer to do and sometimes needs three people just to help her achieve it! One case that comes to mind, is when we first moved into our present home. A lady had lived here before, who, although old, was perfectly mobile and had an ordinary bathroom and shower. When ringing to ask how much longer it would take to convert our bathroom for Sue’s use, the lady on the phone said “Well I hope you appreciate the amount of money we’re spending on you to make this happen”! Sue simply replied “I’m not asking for anything special though, just the right to have a wash, like everyone else”. The lady thought for a moment, then became a bit ‘nicer’ when she understood, everything happened a lot quicker after that. That’s the main problem we have, if people could understand disability and the needs of those with it, like making somewhere accessible for instance, then all our lives would be so much simpler. Back on the subject of travel though, think about how you get on and off a plane so easily. We wish we could do that, but this most recent trip of ours (a two-hour flight, in both directions), took six hours in total! Having to be put on the plane first and having to wait for assistance at the other end, meant sitting around for another hour upon arrival, before we could even begin to move and having to do it all again the same, upon our return. I think next year, may well be a ‘stay-cation’!

A big rock in Mallorca

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I went here the other day, to look at a lighthouse (Cap de Formentor) and to look at this big rock (Es Calomer). I climbed up (and down) a truckload of precarious looking concrete steps and pointed my camera at that there rock and because I did, you can now look at it too. I also realised that I don’t like heights like this, especially when people are coming and going past you in all different directions and I could very easily have ended up in that very water you can see below. I therefore declare this sight ‘Beautiful but deadly’. The photo is all my own work, but I think from now on, I’ll take pictures of things a lot closer to the ground!