It’s Showtime

2014 will see me accrue many air and land miles, but sometimes things are closer to home. The year offers me the potential for many new and exciting outcomes; one being ‘where do I want to be’ at the end of it. Of course this could include geographical location; somewhere that I come across and feel it a place to settle down for a period. But I am hoping that it will also enlighten me as to ‘where I want to be’ as a person. A chance to re-evaluate life. I’m not one to get all heavy about this…if Kismet were a religion I’d probably have a look at it. But maybe there is scope to change ‘que sera, sera’. And perhaps with a lot of work and a lot more luck, there might be the seedling of a new career. Not one that will make me wealthy, but one that would reward me with a sense of achievement. It’s

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Travel Overcomes Prejudices

My journeys will take me far, but for two nights I’m in Birmingham…and not the one in Alabama! And yes, I admit it…I have long harboured a prejudice against our second city. Whether this is due to the old Bullring or, more likely, the what I consider to be a rather irritating accent is uncertain. Brum would not be on my top ten destinations in the world, nor ever will be. However, it has climbed up the league table. Look beyond the BNS train station and the ‘newish improved’ Bullring, and you discover something rather exciting; an eclectic mix of old and new. And whilst I could not argue that the architecture blends seamlessly, it is not offensive. I never visited the old library, but my first stop was at its much maligned recent reincarnation. And what a treat; light and airy. Gone were the feelings of stepping back in time that many a corporation lending library still has in

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Euphoria and sadness

Today I travelled out to Grantley Adams International Airport; not for the long haul home but for something far more rewarding. I had a date with a wonderful old lady; though some might call her a ‘wonderful old bird’! I leave it to the reader to decide. Since her retirement, she has been hidden away, like an elderly relative stuck in to a home. Well cared for, but ultimately redundant to all but those who appreciate her natural beauty. I stood before her captivated by her lines and power.  her name: G-BOAE or Alpha Echo for short. In her prime, she completed the journey from London Heathrow to Barbados in four hours, or half the time that the new kids on the block take now. Such was the routes popularity, Alpha Echo was joined by two of her sisters, standing in line on the airport's apron. In retirement she had not aged neither physically or physical appearance. Fuel and oils

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Island Tour – with a local

Seeing the island in the back of a 4×4 is fun. And that has nothing to do with the constant supply of rum punch! But sometimes you have to be more individual than that. So today I teamed up with a local driver and set off again around the island, but this time not on a pre-arranged caravan of 4x4x4s travelling in convoy.  Tyrone, a part time security guard from the University of the West Indies, part time builder, and now part time personal driver picked me up in his clean saloon car with air con. The air con is partially irrelevant regardless of how pleasant it was; the real point was it was a saloon car. Tyrone saw this a no reason to stay on the tarmac.  We headed up to Hillaby, the highest point on the island and looks over the east coast. Surprisingly, there were houses right at the top of the hill. There was no obvious

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Island Tour

Today is not only Sunday, something that was very evident by the absence of heavy transport and the sheer volume of vehicles parked outside churches across the island; but also my induction into the scenery that Barbados has on show. I’m not going to pretend that the 4×4 offered the best viewing platform for photographic evidence, but it did get me to places I wouldn’t have seen.  The tour guide was Ian, a Bajan, a philosopher, a regular charmer…as one mother of two children soon found out. Ian had a manner about him who, despite his laid back appearance, clearly knew his country inside out, could tell a story from start to finish (with plenty of diversions en route), and carried with him an enormous container of rum punch.  Our first stop was a reminder of Barbados’ colonial past…the Lion representing the Crown and the ball the world. However, of much greater interest were the more colourful and more pleasing

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Famine and Feast

The year begins, and I can’t think of a better place to have your passport stamped, and unwind than the relaxed island of Barbados. This will be the luxury, before we tail off to ‘roughing it’ in Africa, before gradually building up again in the Far East. Of course, there are other stops in between, but we’ll deal with those as they arise. Its fair to say that this 12 month voyage didn’t start as I imagined. Having had a moderately bumpy eight hour flight, we arrived in Bridgetown. i was immediately struck by how early the sun set. Yes, it is in the northern hemisphere. But by six o’clock it is as dark as a very dark place (acknowledgement to Mr Baldrick, former employee of Lord Blackadder).  The hotel looked like most hotels in the dark, I.e. bewildering. Many passages and steps leading you uphill and down dale; was the room second turning on the left or was that

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Le Grand Depart…well, nearly!

Well…time to take a gap year. Yes, I know…at triple 17 as a dart player might say, I’m old! But having never attended university, I didn’t have the chance during my formative years of adulthood. At the age of seventeen I left formal education. I had attended a ‘special’ school for the visually impaired that comprised of too few staff teaching eighty children between the ages of five and sixteen. Many subjects couldn’t be taught to O Level standard, so at the age of fourteen I was packed off to the local FE College where seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen year olds were trying to advance their learning whilst taking part in pirate radio and drugs! There was no support as such at College, and it’s fair to say it wasn’t a wholly enjoyable experience. So when I finished my Os at sixteen, and then spent nearly a whole year being disillusioned on a City & Guilds course, I ditched education

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