scribbles tagged ‘holiday’

Paris mourning

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

New year really started in the bathroom of a 3 star hotel 45 minutes walk from Notre Dame. Not midnight amongst the Europeans singing, hugging, kissing and drinking. A houseparty of strangers. A strange flavour of tonic water.

It wasn’t raining, but the clouds seemed to crowd right into the bathroom mixing with the steam where the taps ran water into the bath as quickly as it ran out the plug hole.  I’d tired of scrubbing. Red and wrinkled skin from hours of soaking, foaming.  Sometimes if was difficult to tell if this was real or a dream.

The effects of the spiked gin and salty tears were gradually wearing off, being replaced by a profound silence and a kind of numbness I’d never known before or since. I drank more water. Sometime I would have to leave this room, through the one door back to the bedroom. Have to look into his eyes and see all that had happened the night before reflected there. All his questions and apologies, all his needs and regrets had to be faced.  There wasn’t enough room for me to run with the water down the plug hole.  Watching the water spiral down I wished as hard as I could to either wake from this dream or slide out with the water.

Slowly, precisely and with the conviction normally reserved for reprimanding criminals I turned the taps off, rose, dried and dressed myself. Blew my nose. Drank more water.  Closed the window. Composed, upright, dry faced.  In the privacy of my mind I could hear the applause and cheering for a well excecuted restoration job.

 I walked out of the bathroom


Paris mourning
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death of a camera

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

The first time I thought about replacing the EX s770 was a couple of years ago when I noticed a lense defact placing a smudge on all of my photographs.  Since my photographs are more about the gist of the story than the perfrection of the detail, I tolerated the slight blur. 

The next blow was not so easy to absorb.

While on holiday in Turin the camera decided it would only take effective pictures if I used the zoom – a little bit – not a lot.  A sadly high proportion of my Italian holiday was spent zooming the camera then walking further away from things to get a better picture frame.  The camera joined me in July 2006. Four years of taking daily photographs, jiggling round in pockets and bags, is darn good performance. But. Aaaaarggghhhh, this could not go on.

This is a picture taken with no zoom:

This is the same scene after I’ve stepped back, zoomed the camera, and a lady has stepped into the gap between to leave a prayer:

The new camera, casio EX fs10, will not improve my photgraphic skills, it will help tell stories more effectively than the now defunked EX s770.  It also has some slow motion panning functionality that I accidentally used and is frightening geek-lovingly-cool but irrelevant to life as I know it. Sigh. 


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too hot to be fabulously british

Saturday, June 12th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

spotty dog: Nice jacket, Jack Wills?
wendy: yes, when I got back from the US I felt an overwhelming need to wear something fabulously british, this looked like a boating jacket
spotty dog: but you haven’t worn it since we arrived
wendy: its too hot in Italy, I’ll be fabulously British when we get back home


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apply a beer glass and matt

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

One August we stopped in the small town of Chesaw that had a Rodeo ground,  a bar, and half a dozen teenage smokers hanging around. A small town in Okanogan highlands (Okanonogan pronounced like tobogan). 

We went into the bar an ordered the only thing on the menu – a burger.  The 5 other people in the bar sat on high stools with their gaze glued to the TV screen showing a live Mariners game playing 3 hours south in Seattle.  While waiting for our burgers a small dark object like an oversized fly repeatedly bashed itself against the window pain.  I pointed this out to the barman and asked if I could open the window to let it out.  The barman took a pint glass,  placed it over the hummingbird,  slid a beer-matt underneath then took it to the open door and shook it out,  just as I have done many a time with a wasp, or spider. 

Excellent burger

I’ll always remember my first hummingbird

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kiss in the shade

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

  A slightly dodgy habit that I picked up during my miss-spent youth mingling with ‘Transport studies’ students is a tendancy to kiss beautiful vehicles.  In the UK I once had the misfortune to freeze my lips to a Ferrari.  In Turin I burnt them on an Alfa Romeo.  Can you see the lip marks on these beauties?


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City Angels on via Roma

Friday, June 4th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

The via Roma runs from the Porto Nuova train station (1861) through three gorgous city piazza’s (Castello, San Carlo, Carlo Felice) to the Palazzo Reale.  The roads facade is a classic Italian art Deco (1933) style that houses designer, expensive stores (and footlocker).  We noticed some ‘city angels’ wandering along the street.  Commmunity policing?  Free accociating with art deco, with 1933, brings thoughts of Hitlers rise to power, the German ‘brownshirts‘.  Though technically speaking the city angels are wearing red shirts. 

Suprised that my mind so easily sees echo’s of fascisim in places it has been…

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welcoming committee

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

Someone told the Torino police that Spottydog and I were visiting for the weekend.  The welcoming committee waited for us and followed us on the local protest against education cuts.  Excellent hospitality.

I was impressed that so few police were supplied for so many protestors. I suspect the Italians are more vocal yet less disruptive than British protestors. 

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Ryan air

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 | tags: ,  |

My first experience of a budget airline was very good. £57 for a return flight between Stanstead and Turin limited to 10kg of carry-on luggage, nothing in the hold.

Ian arranged for a Taxi to take me to the airport at 5.15am.  The taxi driver was a retired policeman who explained that Dunmow had the lowest rate of drinking-related disorders, it’s a quiet and orderly village, that’s why he retired there. 

Getting onto the Ryan air flight was not a bunfight, everyone lined up and found a seat in a very organised and civilised fashion.  We bought our own food, water and entertainment and the time flew by.  A good start. Finding our hotel was a little more complicated…

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Great Dunmow

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

tonight I’m hanging out in Great Dunmow.

I’ve not seen much of it, I rolled in after 3 hours driving through places like Maidenhead, Slough, Ruislip and some cuter bits nearer Cambridgeshire.  The sun set, the roads wound.

I pulled into the Harwood Guest house Bed and Breakfast, 15mins from Stanstead airport and not on the flight path at 10.15pm  An hour and 15 minutes later than planned. Doh!  Driving the cute route was longer than the SatNav predicted.

wendy: is there a pub near here that I can get to before last orders?

Ian: where are you from gel? you’ve got loads of time

wendy: South of here, don’t they stop serving at 10.30?

Ian: there’s a pub across the road they’ll serve you till 11pm no worries.


Ian is a gem.  I’ve only talked to him for 10 minutes,  but it was enough for him to work a few embedded knots out of my shoulder muscles.  That’s a high quality Bed and Breakfast.

Across the road they serve me a pint of Doombar for £2. 

A bargain.

I fire-up my laptop to tell you guys about it.  I’m on holiday. 

How lucky is that?  Matrix is alive, how lucky is that?  The ash cloud isnt going to prevent my flight tomorrow. how lucky is that?  I’ve got a job, an income, how lucky is that?  It’s after last orders, after closing time and I’m still being served, how lucky is that?

Things may go quiet while I’m on Holiday, but they may not, Darling is travelling with me….

Great Dunmow
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personalised service

Sunday, March 28th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

I still get over-excited when booking holiday flights,   all bouncy,   liable to get a bit too click-happy.   Even the airline realised this and instructed me not to go clicking around when I can’t see anything happening.  

Please be patient

a message just for me,   personal service

Be Patient

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not casual before April

Saturday, March 27th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

Bing-bing, cur-clunk

Louise: Goodmorning, how can I help you?

I glance at the hosts of wedding hats and fascinators arranged by colour and the large striped floorstanding hat boxes.

wendy: I’m looking for something casual                 for an Italian vacation in May

Louise: Oh, we don’t bring out the casual hats before April.          I have SOME in the boxes here,   I COULD get them out for you

wendy: It’s alright, I can come back in April, there’s no hurry,   thank you for offering.   Can I take some photographs of your lovely shop?

Louise Claire's millinery - blue green purple

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Southseas rockabillies

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

What better place to plan a summer holiday than in a sunny Southsea Diner where the rockabillies are literally bouncing?  

After two cups of coffee I was also bouncing of the red plastic benches while spottydog calmly booked a hotel in downtown Turin.

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night felucca in Cairo

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

.Listen to the city at night while I watch this sail boat, felucca, cross the Nile after sunset.  

Later that evening I experienced the rare treat of watching a whirling dervish.   The whirling Dervish are traditionally Sufi people and the dance takes them to another plain of consciousness.   Kiddies often discover whirling without any input from religious organisation.   Whirling is a natural way of connecting with the earth,   in my case normally by falling over.   I loved their outfits, the music, the balance, skill and peace.

The sounds of Egypt were so much more beautiful than the sounds of western cities.

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coptic Cairo

Sunday, December 6th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

hanging church wall decorationThe word ‘Coptic’ appears to refer to an Egyptian language spoken in Pharonic times  and currently written with the Greek alphabet

The language is now used in the Coptic church,   a christian church with it’s own Pope (not the  Catholic one).    The apostle Mark reputedly bought christianity to Egypt  in the first century AD when Egypt was governed by Rome, Emperor Nero

The Copts seceded from the other Christian churches in the 5th century  because they rejected the decision of the Council of Chalcedon (451)  that Christ had a dual nature, both human and divine, believing instead that he had a single, divine nature

Christianity is now the largest minority Religion in Egypt.   About 95% of Egyptians are Muslim.   The christains have a difficult relationship with the state, government and some Muslims

hanging church wall paintingThe external architecture of the christain churches was such that I found them difficult to spot.   The give-away sign was a cross,   normally on a dome

I visited the 7th century St. Mary’s hanging church in Coptic Ciaro.   Called the ‘hanging’ church because it  is built overhanging the Roman gatehouse of old Cairo.    This church was increadibly beautiful.   Painted walls with motif’s that often looked celtic, arabic writing, gold-leaf

Wall panels were delicately carved wood inlaid with ivory in regular geometric designs.   Often straight lines constructed to enable you to see circles and curves.    The colours created a warm celebratory atmosphere,   very different from the white-washed  walls of many Church of England churches.   This celebration in art appeals to me.

Mary and Jesus - Coptic churchI was suprised to find the paintings of people (Mary, Jesus, Saints) depicted very pale-skinned people that looked like North Europeans,    an over-emphasis on pale skins given the likely colouring of the people portrayed.   They were at least portrayed with brown-eyes and dark hair

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the rain in Egypt

Friday, December 4th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

Alexandria citadelfalls mainly when Wendy has arrived on Holiday (not on a plain in Spain).

In Egypt it only rains for a few minutes every year.   I managed to make a trip especially to the rain clouds to witness the annual event, live, as it happens, in Alexandria.   Can you see the rain cloud sneaking up behind the Alexandria citadel?

Children ran around the street with cloths ready  to wipe the local cars clean.   There was general excitement.   Clearly this was a special social occassion.   Warm rain in Alexandria.   A wonderful memory.

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quick scarper

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Tourism policeHere come the Rozzers

Wandering the streets of Cairo was quite tricky.   Mainly because  it was tricky to avoid the Tourist police on most street corners.   They  hide in their  little houses.   Luckily graffitti artists often leave warnings for the tourists.   This one helped me  disguise myself as a local before I was Policed

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Bombay’s pillau

Saturday, November 28th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Egyptian guide: We will go to Bomay’s pillau

Clearly I was misunderstanding what my Egyptian guide was telling me,   though visiting Bombay’s pillau in Alexandria did sound rather facinating.   The sign at the Sarapeiona temple we visited cleared-up the mystery.   The Sarapeona temple was built by Hadrian in the second century,   the same Hadrian that walled-out the Scotttish from England.   Unfortunately those darned Christians destroyed this non-christian the temple in the 4th century….     the pillar remained standing

Pompey's pillarPompey’s pillar

No rice.   No connection to the Indian city.

Ceasars son-in-law, Pompey,  had a history of disputes with Ceasar. Pompey travelled to Alexandria hoping to find refuge with the Egyptians. Upon arrival  Pompey was beheaded by Ptolemy XIII  as un unsolicited favour to Ceasar.   Ceasar didn’t approve.   Subsequent tourists looking for Pompey’s tomb mistakenly named the pillar in the Sarapeiona temple after him. The name remained with the pillar.

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sandy shores of the Nile

Monday, November 23rd, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

 I’ve been lured away to stay with a friend’s family  in Cairo.  How lucky is that?

There will be sunshine on  sand, pyramids, sweat, bizarreness in bazaars,   bobbing on boats, the grandest of floppy hats and the lovely Egyptian people.

Sand maybe getting into crevices, interferring with normal blog posting services, friction and chaffing.   Please be patient, we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause

(Sax warning)

Madness sang night boat to Cairo

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terminal breakfast

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Heathrow Terminal 16am Heathrow Terminal 1 is quiet.    A young couple and myself eating breakfast in the ‘Ristorante pizzeria cafe bar’.   I choose the vegetarian breakfast omelette,   testing the viability of a possible  new years resolution, it  tastes good

My day has already involved an exploding movement-sensitive light as I left the Wendy house.  It rained glass upon me.   Luckily I had my hood-up against the rain and didn’t get sprayed with glass.     In the Reading rail-air bus terminal I met an elderly Australian gent.   He looked at my fake Australian zebra skin hat with no comment while he  bemoaned the rain outside and having to visit Britain (Wales) to see his terminally ill mother.

No queues at checkin or security clearance.   SWEET

The customs officer said ‘Cairo is too far north for that hat’   We laughed

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desert holiday hat

Thursday, November 19th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Hat #14: Fake Zebra skin cowboy hatIn a mock Bavarian village nestling in the Cascade mountains  there is an store that specialises in selling Australian goods.   I purchased a fake Zebra skin cowboy hat that kept the sun from my neck  in  the Nevada desert and New York.   The Australian Zebra skin hat will be joining Eric and I in the  Egyptian desert next week.  

Todays texts:

Friend in Cairo:  How do you fancy camping overnight  in the Desert next Thursday? Tents and drinks provided.



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old lady’s shoes

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Words of wisdom from  an almost stranger*.  in this case a girl on the commuter  train to London Paddington:

don’t wear Ecco shoes,   they’ll  make you look like a really boring  old person

Ecco SandalsI would have followed this advice


Ooops!   it’s toooooo late

I picked up these little green dudes in a sale,   as preparation for my upcoming HOLIDAY in CAIRO.   They have the phrase ‘pat pending’ on the sole.   Just like the wacky races character.   I love that!   The garish green is pretty darn cool too,   for a wrinkly, if this is what boring old people wear,   then so be it.

* Past tips provided by Alan the hairdresser.   Lucia the hairdresser, an anonymous  manicurist, a Jackson’s sales assistant, a bus stop philanthropist, a mini salesman, Windows Network Diagnostics, Flat Eric  and Reading Police.
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where’s wendy?

Monday, September 14th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

On Holiday!   Out in the country!   Sheep, cows, fields, tractors, all the advantages of rural living.   Anything could happen…

The farmers boys sang in the country

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post codes

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Cawsand Dartmoor ponies and chapelQuestions have been asked.

The anwers are mostly:  YES,   Hooray!   Holiday in September.

This  holiday is a  secret mission. I can divulge it will be near Cornwall with the aid of mud, dirt, earth and soil.   Though not necesssarily in that order or spelking.   Blog posts will be coded.   Blog post codes  will protect the anonymity of people I meet, tail and snoop around.

The Wendy House alert level has been raised to amber.   Over excitement is setting in with

  • Spates of  chaotic packing, unpacking, repacking
  • Oubreaks of  listing
  • Incidents of falling over
  • Tears before bedtime
  • Turbo  injected fiction

I’ll send you some blog post cards with the blog post codes

wish me luck


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£300 per week

Saturday, July 18th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

storing automotive containers over the recession..The natural harbour at Falmouth is one of the cheapest places to store large, unused, container ships.

We counted 7 of these large automotive carrier ships stored in the tiny, otherwise picturesque, Falmouth harbour.   The ships are waiting for the automotive industry to either come out of recession or decide to send them to the scrap yard.

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blown away

Friday, July 17th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Blown awayAt Pendennis castle, a wedding party finished their breakfast then photographic sessions in time for the bride to be whisked away by the whirling winds of passion and tears of happiness mixed with the rain.   Beautiful.   A groom tackling a kilt would have added a cherry to my experiential cake.

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name that plant

Thursday, July 16th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

What are these Flowers?On a Falmouth  street an elderly gentleman caught me gazing into his front garden, admiring the plants.

He came out and apologised that his wife, who maintained the garden, wasn’t available to give me a tour of the tiny garden and name specific plants.

Spotty dog and I then accompanied him on his walk down a steep hill  to the dentist.   On the walk he told us how his house was once a Quaker school and brief histories of several other houses on the street.

Cornish folk are extremely personable.

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Cornish bus

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

speedy bus to HelsonCornish bus drivers would check when people got on their buses that they knew where to get off and how to get back.

The passengers slept thought the journey while the buses dodged the plants which grabbed at them from the side of the high hedgerows encroaching from either side of single-lane roads.
sleepy passenger on Helston bus

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Helston locals

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Helston lawn bowlingThe locals on Helston bowling green persistently tried to get Spotty dog and myself to join them because they needed what they called ‘young-blood’ especially that of  ladies.   Spotty dog and myself managed to escape with all  our own blood before the games ended

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the unrented

Sunday, July 12th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

the unrentedBeach hut anyone?

Delivered, installed, then removed at no extra cost.

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Rock chic

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

RocksHoliday warning!   Cornwall here we come!

With my

Rod Stewart haircut,

Oakley sunglasses,

figure hugging fab frocks,

I’ll be wandering over the rocks on the coast.

Rock chic!

There will also be the standard Wendy, none-rock chic, outbreaks of:

  • A bit of paddling
  • collecting pretty coloured, pocket-sized, pebbles
  • eating  fish and chips wrapped in newspaper for supper
  • wearing Sunhats galore (consecutively)
  • reading a book about the Medici
  • blowing rasberries at the seaguls
  • riding the local BUSES on windy cliffside roads

Excitedness levels are already Amber.   OH!

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