So…I’m still here!

I’m sorry folks, I know I promised to write a big bad blog this year, but although I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m sorry to say that I’m still here and am still planning to do it. I STILL haven’t sorted out my complaint about an airline treating my partner like doo-doo, just because she has a disability. This is in part, due to the fact that it involves the SPECIAL company who arrange holidays for people with disabilities, the travel company who they booked our holiday with, the airline who that travel company seconded our flight to, even though they have hundreds of their own planes and the people who provided ‘assistance’ by throwing my partner around like an old sack-o’-spuds and leaving her actually sitting atop one of the seatbelt holders! They are all currently passing me from pillar to post and not accepting ANY responsibility. So anyway, if I EVER get around to doing this promised super-blog post, it will probably be about how, not that my partner is disabled, but how the whole world IS disabled. The more I look around, the more things I see that are made into barriers to keep disabled people OUT. We have rules now that say any new buildings must be made accessible to all, but so many companies have found ways AROUND those rules, by building their places into awkward shapes and putting ‘dividers’ about the place, to stop wheelchairs from getting anywhere near. Like one restaurant I know that has fixed seating by all the tables and you are not allowed to put a wheelchair on the end of the table as it’s ‘against the fire safety rules’ and they are legally allowed to (and do) enforce that rule. So in other words, NO wheelchairs are allowed in! Although it’s illegal to discriminate. Work that one out if you can!

WHOOPS! I nearly started writing a post right there and then. Sorry! Hope to see you all soon!

Humbugs for Christmas!

I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I hope all of my readers had a happy Christmas and to wish everyone a very happy New Years! for 2016 of course.

Maybe I should say ‘all of my reader’, as I’ve still not quite hit the big time, in the wobbly world of blogging and still haven’t grabbed many of you into reading and worshipping my every printed word. But I will keep plodding on, I’ve got something big in the pipeline and hope that people will want to read that. Possibly.

See you next year, dear reader(s)!

I don’t do lists. So in light of that, here is mine.

1) Why does Christmas come around sooner every year? Oh I know there’s at least 365 days between each one, but they somehow ‘manipulate’ that for sure. I’m old yes, but not stupid enough to believe that there was more than 100 days since the last one. Maybe it’s a time thing. ‘Inflation’ or something like that!

2) Why do women secretly have this wish to wipe out or just blind the male population? Just because they appear to be shorter than us men, (I’m only 5’6”) and go around on cold, rainy and wintry days with the points of their umbrellas pointed at our eyes at an angle of about 45 degrees?

3) Why do people in London have this ‘London Weighting’ thing? They get paid more, just because it costs more to live there. I understand that. What I don’t understand, is why when I visit there, I don’t get paid more for the time I am there and have to pay grossly inflated prices for everything!

4) How does Santa enter our houses, now that chimneys are a scarce item in new properties?

5) Why do multi-storey car parks have to be made, so that when you drive around them, unless you can turn on a sixpence, you nearly bang into every wall and then have the tiniest spaces possible, with lots of dividing walls to cause even more scrapes?

6) Finally, why is Rudolph the only reindeer to participate in Red Nose Day?

I’d better stop now, or someone else on here may think I’ve stolen her list idea.

I wish someone would give me humbugs for Christmas, then I could go around offering one to everybody, saying ‘Bah, Humbug’?

Meanwhile, just remember that “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to feed and be fed in return”. (With apologies to Eden Ahbez).

Enter title here

DSC09899

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.

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!

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

Es Calomer small

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!

Fine-Ants Problems

Well hello again! I hope you are having a fine and happy summer, o readers of my incessant blog! We’re not, in the UK that is. The weathermen (and women) tell us that “it’s going to be a lovely day tomorrow, with temperatures up to 22 degrees celsius” and then it isn’t. It’s cold (16 deg.), wet and rainy, then on the next forecast, they say “Well it’s been a lovely, warm day today” and it wasn’t. So maybe they’re just pretending, as there’s nothing they can do about it. Anyhow, I’m digressing as, the main reason for this ‘rant’ isn’t the weather at all, but rather money. ‘Finance’, not like the title at all is it? It certainly isn’t funny and neither is money.

We recently had to change some money from ours into theirs for a holiday, at the rather French sounding, ‘Bureau de Change’. Why can’t they just call it money exchange? Anyway, this is from British Pounds into European ‘Euros’ that I’m talking about here. I spent weeks watching the euro exchange trends, seeing it bounce up and down against the pound, like a pony-tailed young girl in a tennis dress at Wimbledon, trying to win a few points against it’s opponent. The Greeks couldn’t seem to sort out their problems with the ‘single currency’ and I waited, like a hawk, fluttering it’s wings and hovering above a mouse or vole, ready to pounce the very moment the Pound hit the magical 1.50 mark. Or 1.45, or 1.44, you get the picture. But it didn’t and when the Bank Of England didn’t do what it was supposed to do to the interest rates, the exchange rate suddenly fell like a stone and I, like a rat leaving a sinking ship, dived into the nearest foreign exchange to change my money at a paltry 1.38! We had got some Euros a few weeks earlier at a higher rate, so we’ve still done fairly well I suppose and only lost a few pounds into the bargain. The last time we went, we only got 1.20, so we’re still way ahead of that now. At least I now know that I couldn’t work in finance. Never mind ‘Black Friday’ or whatever, my nerves are now so bad, that on my first day there, I would be the first out of the window, even if things were going OK! I know I shouldn’t joke about such things, but I could never handle such a high-pressure environment. I get worried if I over-inflate my tyres, never mind the bloomin’ economy!

What I do dislike about changing money though, is the porkies they all tell! That is, porky-pies (lies). Bit of rhyming slang there. They say, “Oh come and change your money here, we don’t charge any commission”! Rubbish. So the actual foreign exchange rate for the Pound to Euro is say, 1.42, that means that on the online comparison site, the place you intend to change your money at, will say 1.40 or 1.39. When you get there however, it will say 1.38 or even 1.36! I always ask why this is and they say “No, we don’t charge commission, but we have to make money somewhere”! In other words, they DO charge commission, but call it a ‘different’ exchange rate. Then if, while on holiday, you haven’t blown the lot on bull-shaped bottles of Sangria and china donkeys in hats with holes for their ears to poke through, as presents for the family, then you get robbed again, when you try to change your money back! The rate to get your pounds back, always means that you lose quite a lot, just on those two transactions alone! So it’s always best to really enjoy your holiday. Forget about blowing a load of cash on things for Auntie Flo et al and just stuff yourself with spicy foreign food and strange herbal concoctions of the local spirit, to use the money up. Then when you get to the ‘Bureau de Change’, you’ll have such a bad head, you won’t care if you get much back or not!

I hope you have all had/are having/will have a great holiday or just a great summer if you’re staying at home. Whatever you’re doing, make the most of what we have left of any good weather as, as I always say, it will “Soon Be Christmas”!