Location: Chichester, UK
The night before India
First thing is i`ve got UB40 in my head so on Utube I`ve got my way of thinking playing, this is going to distract me but I love this song
I think I`ll do a desert island disc version of a letter
First Hello, how are you? It must be giant despair what you`re going through but at the end of the day you are the asset, when things are straight people will remember the quality of your product , I can`t even get a job with ESL (Britains worst contractor-The one with the Red Audi) Lol- It must be something to do with the quality of my subcontractors turning up upon the owners door threatening to harm him lol.
Matt Bianco-Half a Minute
I saw the most wonderful film on the BBC I player- it was called We`ll take Manhattan, I think-Its about David Bailey & jean Shrimpton-I didnt realise what a brilliant photography he is-You should watch it for the brilliant shots of NYC
I`ve been looking for day trips to Agra, Taj Mahal. On Trip advisor they are starting at £70 & when you ask for a firm quote they say £200-so I haven`t booked anything just yet, I may say f--k it & go under my own steam
This will involve getting the train to Agra , a Taxi plus entrance to the site-Real Adventure
A challenge maybe lol
Swans way-Soul train
This morning it was very sunny; the front doors of the trailer face east so I took the opportunity of ironing my shirts for the trip on the decking-got some strange looks but it was lovely to be ironing in Sunglasses
Since my new job will be Working Ive been exercising which has involved cycling lots , some press ups (which are v. hard work) but where I live, across the Chichester bypass any journey involves crossing these huge bridges across the A27. Today I cycled to the big Tesco for an eye test. It was fun getting there half an hour early sat in the sun in a motorcycle parking bay & reading a novel A Paul Coelho called the Witch of Portabello. Funny even though the reserved space is 2 car spaces wide a twat on a big Honda insisted on parking in front of me lol
Talk Talk-Its my life
Today will be packing my bag, I`ve got a brilliant Karrimor carry-on bag thats got shoulder straps, so its good for the Honda, it will be my longest trip on the new bike but parking at T4 is free & I intend to break the journey at a McD, or similar as 70 odd miles on a step thru can be a bit achey! Its really fun planning for airport parking , what clothes Im going to leave in the Topbox , where to stash my (Hopefully) waterproof Parka and warm gloves plus Crash helmet and do I try & leave boots there or do I wear desert boots to India ?
Visage Night Train
Spandau Ballet-Chant No. 1
I won`t be back in UK, properly, until the 17th, I will have so much washing to sort, my new job starts on the 20th, a lot less a month than I was earning but I hope the quality of life will improve , if my body can handle it, satisfaction from being able to control the quality of work rather than steering a bunch of underpaid blokes
My oh My-Sad café
Space Invader-The Pretenders
I love this song -It is on their first album -my then Girlfriend was into the heavy feminist writing of Chrissie Hynde and in the middle of this album there is this wonderful instrumental-I still listen to odd bits of the album even some Joanie Mitchell she used to play lol
Who do you think I was -John Mayer
While correcting my dreadful spelling, I found an album that I used to have on VHS & I gave away to a Coke Addled friend in West London-I thought I would never hear this album again, its a tape of a live gig by Alexis Korner & Colin Hodgkinson A track is playing that I hummed all the way across morocco in 1986.
I`ve been watching, quite by accident, a lot of Bush craft stuff & a Utuber called rewildyourself (bloke actually spent a night in a loin -cloth in freezing conditions to prove he could survive with literally nothing)- while he was cuddling his hot rocks he started talking about living outside of our comfort zone, taking cold showers, missing meals that sort of thing.. he asked for viewers to comment on what things they had done outside the box- I can`t say Ive spent the night naked in the North of the USA but I wonder if sleep walking around Ho Chi Minh city in just a T shirt & a pair of boxer shorts counts lol; maybe get lots of angry survivalists in Cammo paint gunning for me lol.
Sheryl Crowe & Prince-Everyday is a winding Road
Location: Chichester, UK
I'm sat staring at my overflowing bookshelves and thinking I can't keep cropping the amount of books I have I am simply going to have to buy another book case.
My life seems to have become 7 overflowing shelves
On the left top to bottom
1.Diaries and journals
2.spanish text books
3. Keith Floyd ( numerous) an old uk pesticide guide and a barely read French course
On the right top to bottom
1. Travel journals by others
2.mainly lonely planet type books
3. Novels by authors such as JJ Connelly (layer cake etc, Forsyth, American psycho ( read this for the best ever description of cocaine use and a whole pages describing the music of Huey Lewis, Grisham -when he's good he's good when he's bad he's horrid, Elmore Leonard - the man that gave us the books get shorty( brilliant novel), stay cool (crap)' ,Rum Punch ( Jackie Bown)
4. English bible , satanic bible ( useful when writing presentations to American agricultural barons) John le Carre , I love his stuff and Martin cruz smith for the Gorky park series ( they say Eskimos have so many words for snow, he can describe bleak in so many ways !
5. Over size and hardbacks
Underneath the coffee cup is a two drawer filing cabinet full of papers from 7 years of travelling, my plan is to combine this into files, dump the filing cabinet and have the files within the new filing cabinet
The collection of CDs , by the Nikon, is a set ofTarantino films , carmen bought me those for my birthday , I had asked for a 2nd hand copy of Jackie Brown, I love her generosity this small unit also holds all of the Breaking Bad series and the complete Tinker Taylor and smileys people.
When we moved to Chichester I had to lose 4 shelves of text books and a further four Shelves of novels in my bedroom.
It's an up hill struggle trying not to buy more books , being more organised with the ones that I own. As I type I see a book I bought in Palma last year, there is an eccentric Brit who owns a bookshop by the cathedral , it's a 1954 hardback guide to Spain , it contains pull out maps of every principal city & guides to hotels & attractions , this book cost me10 , I gently open the book to read about where I'm going , it barely mentions any of the modern tourist areas but what a joy-so logic would say dump it in favour of the 1990 guide to the country but my heart tells me to have both.
Blowing up the picture I notice the novel of good fellas ,the god father -imagine the dilemma of being on desert island discs 8 songs and 1 book and a luxury
Have you ever pondered your 8 fave tracks?
I've thought about this, innumerable times ,while commuting and while I always add great songs I think
1.War low rider-first time in LA , in a friend Patty's Lexus SUV and this came on the radio-kind of a OMG not just a song on a Cheech and Chong vinyl 12" but a sunny Thursday in California , this is my life
2. All I want to do is have some fun- Sheryl Crowe. I was in Eire with Lana and Carmen -Simon Bates played this - this later reminds me of the bars in New Orleans & Memphis
3. Bags Groove- Makoto Ozone & Gary Burton-new York 2006 Gail had taken her 18 yr old and her best friend to Broadway, I've been to a Broadway show once and wanted more so when I walked past Carnegie Hall I stopped and asked what was on that night, it was a performance of one of George Gershwins pieces , it was in the same vein as rhapsody in blue- this lead me to look up rhapsody in blue which lead me to a version with Makoto ozone-, is mind blowing stuff, later I found his version of Bags Groove and its Jazz and clever and it's great.
After Carnegie hall I agreed to meet Gail in a bar by the hotel, I got talking to a black lad whose parents marched with Martin Luther King in Montgomery Alabama.
4.Planet Telex-Radiohead . Japan 2011(ish) in Askusabashi , Tokyo-looking for a Japanese doll maker ( Lanas thing not mine) and this song is pounding in my head; the Yen was stupid expensive then , we returned in 2015 Lana bought the doll she had lusted after in2011 and she saved over £200 on the strength of sterling.
5. Sliding Delta-Colin hodgkinson - Marrakech 1986 . On a coach touring the imperial cities of Morocco and I can't get this brilliant version of this Mississippi John hurt song out of my head-life was on the up, I I was to start driving tractors , Morocco at the time was one big tractor fest and on a day trip to Gibraltar I had turned down the chance to buy a seiko moonphase watch- why did I need a flash watch when I was going to be a tractor driver, within 3 months I had broken my ankle and my career was then to lead to running jobs and I never got to be a tractor driver
6. Kelly Clarkson - Give me one reason to stay here. Tampa airport 2014-a brilliant road trip that took me and Alana from Tampa ,down to fort Myers , across to Florida city then down to Key west, we headed north to south beach Miami for New Year's Eve and then back to Tampa , all in a Chevy suburban. This song was playing , Tracey chapmans version ,in the airport and curiosity lead me to listen to Kelly clarksons amazing version
7. Lyle Lovett - natural forces-Always tears
8. Mad dog Johnson- Miss Lucy . New Orleans 2015 The St Roche tavern , our last night and Kevin the charter skipper has thrown a cookout of red fish, the beer in PBR, Pabs blue ribbon, the company exquisite and there is Jeremy at the bar -we discuss blues , of how false I felt after my night with the lad in NYC in 2006, white fraud I think I described myself . Jeremy talked me around and like a great epiphany I came home to a new blues and one more edgy and comparable with my life and experiences.
My luxury a chromonica-I saw Larry Adler play summer time with Yidzac Pearlman on violin- I think I'm old enough to try and learn some jazz groove harp
My book-John Grishams the firm-in 1989 when I was a director of a company for the first time, I had an office in South Kensington, drove a cavalier SRI and had a Motorola brick phone for a while the world was mine
My keep song would be Sliding Delta
after reading & ironing out the typos all my choices have changed but the sentiment is still there
Location: Chichester, UK
I was planning a Blog entitled "Barcelona!!!"
Then I looked at my posts & I realised I had not written anything about my first visit to the Basque Country-El Pais Vasco
Now as I have to get up at 5.30am to drive to Gatwick I am in a dilemma , do I write about the most wonderful ,friendly , challenging, Hilly , Artful place Ive been to this year or carry on with my pre birthday, tomorrow, post.
I could tell you about flying to Bilbao, sat next to a Basque who was doing Duolingo in French-I got talking to him & he works in the factory that I started my gardening career in , he also lives very near my last house in Portsmouth. He took me to the bus stop for the Plaza Moyua-amazingling I had 1.45 in copper -this didn't help when I paid 20 to bail myself out of a stupid situation I got myself into trying to find my Air BnB.
I suppose I could tell you about how pleased I was with my hand drawn map of how to get to Dagmaras place , just outside the Casco Viejo (Old town). My strong advice to anyone doing hand drawn maps is give yourself the alternatives as well as the main route,there are no 2nd guesses on main directions.
I could tell you the really funny story of my lying in Dagmaras spare bedroom and not knowing where the toilet was crossed my legs for 6 hours-their flat has three rooms for air BnB & I didn't want to stumble on any of the other guests-Advice to self when your landlord tells you where the toilet is..Listen!
I suppose my waking up to a spectacular view of the city, Bilbao is vv hilly -They've even got an escalator -ala Hong Kong to get you up the hills, they also have an elevator to take you down -That costs 0.45
You might be interested about the huge welcome I got from Dagmara in the morning where I was given "wake the dead " coffee & I was used as a Guinea Pig for a Lent dish which is Milk soaked bread, egg washed & fried bread-Nice
Would you really want to hear about me finding a small café where the Chocolate con taza was so thick I could almost stand my biscvuit up , La Palmera, as opposed to Churros.
You might be interested to hear about the organic market I found walking toward the Guggenhiem or the spectacular footbridge crossing the river on the same walk
You might find my excuse for not taking the fernicular railway but I was sick of missing the station & there was this bar, with tables bathed in sunlight, locals were drinking Txacoli & their vaso de vino tinto was only 1.50 & they had Ahora Caigo on the telly-my favorite Spanish quiz
All this takes me to lunch time Saturday-so I guess I will get my head down on the flight tomorrow , complete the entry for a city that made me feel so good about being there.
In the meantime my last evening as a 54 year old
Manana es Barcedlona
Location: Noviomagus Reginorum, England
Back from Alicante, was a fun 13 days but the weather. The last night we went to a bar that we've often walked past, on the way to the Sal y Pepe restaurant or upto the Tram. They had the TV on and there was lots of snow and it was only just up the road in Valencia- they kept pointing to the screen , muttering "Espana" in disbelief- apparently it has snowed on Torre Vieja - the place a week before where I was sat in the sun talking to my new friend.
Being a man of leisure and also no one wants to employ me I have put my efforts into reading, shopping for the best bargains and planning my first trip to northern Spain-Bilbao.
The plan is to take the Honda to LGW and park for free on the Friday night, get to Bilboa 10.30ish , catch the A3247 to plaza moyua on gran via then walk to my air BNB place , I'm thinking 1am.
But my host Dagmara seems very cool to the situation
I have written to her in Castillian Spanish and I'm hoping all is good.
I want to spoil my soul with he Guggenheim and the Arts museum, I'm hoping for a good Sunday market somewhere too.
My mind is full of packing details for the Honda and what I can safely stow during the trip away
Btw Noviomagus Reginorum is Roman for Chichester
Location: Alicante, Spain
Yesterday was Torre Vieja
They have a huge market, the biggest street market in Spain.
You have to start early if leaving from Alicante & walk to the Bus station.
Its a great walk from the old town ,along la Rambla with its spacey paving, the high winds blowing the seeds from the Palm trees, the early morning light, the Spanish keep fitters looking aghast at 3 unfit Brits walking while they jog past.
Getting to the Estacion de Bus the kiosk opens and you pay 4.50 one way, you buy individual seats for the journey.
while sitting outside the bus a confused brit approaches thanking god we speak English, she is lost, confused and looking to return to Marbella- we ask a bus driver where the Marbella bus is for her, show her how to get there ,she is a stranger in strange land- why oh why do brits think that Spain is England light.
approx. 1 hour 15 we are there, Torre Vieja, blue sky warm , market, people life -We walked and shopped for a couple of hours then set off for the sea front-it was just how we left it in September -however a lot of places were shut
the verve it is like the best place in the world to promenade
Buy a Guinness or two
Buy a very lovely set menu
Fall into a conversation with a chap from Essex who was worried about the weather back home
walk back for the 3.30 bus
sit in the sun and drink café con Leche
get into a deep conversation with a woman from Bridport about being 68 & finally getting what life is all about
dozing the beer off on the bus back to Alicante
watching ahora caigo
watching lots of letterman on You tube
not a bad Saturday
Thank you beloved Costa Blanca
I am typing this while listening to Dave Brubeck's Blue Rondo a la Turk
Not bad & now Kinda Blue , Miles Davis
Location: Alicante, Spain
Soy Ingles, Estoy dura
I shouted this back to a local , swathed in scarves and a winter jacket- He had asked me if I was cold , I was in shorts & a T shirt & was just leaving the local Carrefour express with Bread and Fizzy water
"I'm English , I'm hard" I laughed as I marched away
10 minutes later sat in the apartment I have put on a jumper lol
Tuesday-There's a threat of a visit to a hardware store, apparently the Loo brush -I'm guessing el Cepillo de Bano- is failing so we need a new one. Other than that there is the matter of the menu del dia somewhere, la siesta and the ever demanding "Caminar del playa"-the beach walk
Its currently grey outside-"Cumulo Nimbus! but I'm hoping for the sun soon