The moon? Pieces? Helston in a handbag? (A handbag?!)As too often in recent years, the Chariot has sprouted weeds, begun to squeak and lost its brazen lustre. Weapons lie rusting nearby and our trusty dray-horse is seeking alternative employment.
No lame excuses, please. Busy, on holiday, painting the shed, planning a party………
32 thoughts on “Everyone’s gone to………”
Sorry Sir, but the two match Test series in Bangladesh has had my undivided attention for a while. And what an exciting last two days, in particular. No, I know nothing (Schultz) about the England – West Indies game for toddlers. 🙂
That’s alright then, matey. Can we expect an Antipodean post between overs?
Meanwhile, you might enjoy this, being a francothingy…….
That’s just cheezy, Janus
We had a new sneaky-beaky box installed recently to access many, many TV and radio channels. Last weekend the NSW (an avid sports fan) watched her first ever Aussie rules footy match and was intrigued. It has taken since then to explain the rules. That is my excuse and I defy anyone to come up with a better one.
I am currently buried under a pile of work. Last week I had over 750 comments to mark. That doesn’t count German-language assignments. This weekend I have more German-language assignments, law lectures, Greek mythology and exam preparation to sort out. I am also slowly working through my meagre possessions as I am quickly coming close to making my departure for the UK via California as I have a paperwork to sort through there.
You guys! Gotta sort out yer priorities, innit! 🙂
And I’m glad you asked. The cheezy data was provided by a Froggy when a Murican retailer published a map that sourced them in all the wrong places. So there.
As a warning, Backside, there is a very good chance that I’ll be working on average 50 hours a week between my two jobs in the UK. I’ll be a regular nuisance on the Chariot, but don’t expect many grand soliloquies.
No really good excuse – like I’ve just come down with “Outer-Space-Influenza”, or some other un-treatable disease.
But, I’m really busy trying to organise some overseas trips: I’ve decided that it is time to empty my bucket-list before it’s too late 🙂
So I’m busily looking at just how I can do all the things I want to do – in anticipation that once I’ve done those there will be others that just might pop up!
I’m not a free traveller – I like my comfort too much. But far more importantly I want to visit places where someone will tell me what I am looking at and why it is important.
1) I want to go to India before Christmas – too many options, and I’m not that sure that this is really the best time of year to go… any advice most welcome!
2) Despite saying I’d never go to Japan, both my brother and grandson have changed my mind … and I want to see the Cherry Blossom – if anyone can tell me when that is likely to be… Help! Christopher and advice on where else to go.
3) I promised to go on a European River cruise with my daughter when she retires in two years time (she has an amazing pension scheme!) – but she has brought that back to next year. This looks to be the only trip that might be booked this year – indeed, with any luck tomorrow. The cruise starts in Amsterdam and ends in Budapest, and is mainly through Germany – all places ending with ‘burg’!
4) I really want to go to Russia – but not in the winter – thanks very much! So that is definitely for next year!
5) Despite living in England for most of my life – I’d like to see a lot more of Europe than I ever saw when I was living in that little island that is definitely NOT in Europe. The problem is that there are just so many, many places I want to see. That’s the problem with being a history buff.
I do promise that once I embark on my adventures I will keep you fully informed!
Boadicea: I’m glad you’ve come ’round! The Japanese are perfectly lovely people and you will be treated with the greatest kindness. Generally speaking, peak flower-viewing time in Japan is in late-March, early-April. I strongly advise you to book flights and accommodation well in advance during this time as the Japanese go flower viewing en masse at this time. If you’re interested in great historical sites, I’d recommend Kanazawa and the Kansai region. Three of Japan’s imperial capitals: Heijo-kyo, Nara and Kyoto are in the Kansai region. Kanazawa is one of Japan’s best-preserved cities, its relative isolation made it an undesirable target for bombings. You can easily fly to Osaka and I’d recommend basing yourself out of that city as it is no more than half an hour or so by train from the old capitals and it’s far, far cheaper. You will pay out the nose to stay in Kyoto and Nara has far less competition. You can reach Kanazawa by bullet train now and you will go through some stunning mountain scenery. If you’re interested in grand landscapes, go to Hokkaido in May. It’s a bit far away from the main historical sites, but it’s so unlike the rest of Japan and the people are very much of the “frontier” sort. Northern Honshu is within easy reach from Hokkaido and is also stunning. Peak blossom season is roughly the same as in Hokkaido. Avoid Tokyo like the plague. Twice the population of Australia crammed into the ACT. It makes London feel like a languid country town.
Es ist alles Käse
gaz, ist es nicht alles Wurst?
Boa, I agree with young CT about Japan. India is best avoided, imho. Yes, the sights and sites impress but the social deprivation and sheer overcrowding are depressing in equal measure. Envy, envy, I’d love the river cruise.
CT, no stamina, you kids, says Backside. Probably Skippy’s convict genes.
My excuse/explanation is that I am recuperating from having a new knee fitted and all that entails, getting a leaky roof fixed and planning a visit to DC to attend our son’s fortieth birthday celebrations.
OZ, I thought the whole point of Aussie Rules footie was that there aren’t any. 🙂
FEEG, sounds unpleasant – except the birthday do of course. We’re just embarking on a new thatched roof – hoping the weather gods are kind for a few weeks. Some hope, eh?
Janus: There are some countries that are best enjoyed in well-printed picture books. Tokyo is simply too large, too sterile and too overwhelming with too little to really make it worth the effort. It misses the warmth and gentle humour of other parts of Japan.
Backside: Skippy has asked me to inform you that his ancestors were crooks and whores of the best sort.
Many thanks for the comments re my proposed trips.
My daughter and I did book the river cruise today – although we had to take the trip Budapest to Amsterdam rather than the other way around. Not really a problem, since my daughter is going off to Greece and I will be going to the UK afterwards.
Eat your heart out Janus! Looks to be fabulous and it will be a ‘once in a lifetime thing’… 🙂 I’m well aware that the India trip will be a very mixed experience – but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I was told much the same before I went to China – but I wouldn’t have missed that trip for all the tea – there!
Many thanks Christopher for your advice. I would, almost certainly, have made the mistake of centring my trip in and around Tokyo! Your description of the place filled me with horror! Nonetheless, I will include an exceedingly brief visit to Tokyo and then ensure that I head for somewhere a little less crowded and more suited to my taste. I need to do a bit of reading on Japanese history before I go.
FEEG – commiserations on the knee! And you are dead right “Aussie Rules” = “No Rules”
Boadicea: My favourite part of Tokyo is Ueno Park. Because it’s so large and open, it feels less claustrophobic. There are some fantastic museums in the vicinity — including the Tokyo National Museum. If you stay on the Yamanote Line it’s fairly easy to get around — Ueno Station is on it. The problem is that Tokyo’s metro and rail system isn’t integrated and is operated by multiple companies. Thus, there might be 3-4 stations with similar sounding names that can only be accessed using tickets issued by the “correct” company. It’s a bloody nuisance. That, and Tokyo is one skyscraper after another. Japanese buildings are traditionally paper and wood so when the Americans fire-bombed Tokyo they completely levelled it. There are only a handful of buildings more than 30-40 years old. It is very clean and well-kept, but it’s sterile and the people are somewhat robotic — much unlike the generally shy, but warm, Japanese outside the capital.
Boa, chacun à son goût, innit. I enjoyed China too. Somehow its poor are allowed more dignity.
Boadicea, because I’ve be lucky enough to be a traveller, in one form or another, for most of my life. As a result I’ve come to the conclusion that as there is so much to see in this world, given the choice, one should opt for new locations rather than returning to places one has previously visited. That all changed after a one day and night visit to “Treetops” in Kenya. A nice little hotel, not overly luxurious but immaculate and comfortable. But sitting on the hotel deck, literally built in the treetops, watching the sun rise over a snow capped Mount Kenya, while the elephants at the waterhole are so close that you can hear their endless rumbling conversations was a truly magical and unforgettable experience. If you can manage it before going home. go there, it is truly fantastic.
Janus: In China, nothing is set in stone. An impoverished, toothless farmer’s son — or daughter these days — might be a commissar in 15-20 years. The Chinese haven’t had an aristocracy since the An Lushan Rebellion some 1250 years ago. They were killed off and subsequent dynasties were very careful to not allow for their re-establishment. People could rise on their efforts and they could fall due to their lack thereof. Until fairly recently, a haggard rag-n-bone man from Ningxia Province could petition the emperor/president for the redress of grievances. There are notable examples of emperors personally intervening to redress the grievances of even the most humble of people. As Chinese society has always been in a state of flux and fortunes were always rising and falling, no caste system could develop. Hindus might largely be pleasant enough people, but there are so insidious aspects to it — things that are intolerably dehumanising.
Janus – certainly. sure you are right, and that Christopher’s explanation as to why the sort of poverty, endemic in India and in other similar countries, has not taken root in China. Nonetheless, I fully intend for that to be next on my list of places to go…
Since I will be travelling alone and, as I’ve said, I want to make sure I know exactly what I’m seeing, I will be travelling with a tour company… small groups only. I am very tempted by a tour based on the different cuisines of India… and learning how to cook them. But, I have the feeling that my idea of Indian cuisine (as in the UK!) is very different from the sort of food I’ll be dished up in India!
James – I’ve always wanted to travel, But for many years I had to go to the UK for quite lengthy periods primarily for research and then family, and more recently just for family. That is no longer the case, any family who want to see me are young enough to visit here!
I absolutely agree that I really should not return to places I’ve already seen – apart from a ‘real’ trip to the UK to see what I should have seen when I lived there!
Boadicea: Going to India might not be a bad idea. It’s really easy to become complacent, to always take the easiest route. The results are usually the equivalent of Bird’s custard. I’m guilty of that myself. Scandinavian holidays are generally quiet, pleasant and stress-free. It’s enjoyable, thoroughly so, without challenging any preconceived notions or forcing personal growth. I’ve never been to India, but I am inclined to go only because it will force me out of my comfort zone and force me to face things I generally attempt to ignore. From accounts Indian and otherwise, it’s a country that will exhaust you at the same time it enlivens you and will inspire and horrify you in equal measures. Apparently the food in India, depending on where you go, can be far better!
But beware of Delhi Belly!! 😦
That, Janus, is why one goes to a GP for proper medications and vaccinations prior to departure! Most good tour groups will provide proper medical advice.
:I did all that and whoops! Too late. :_)
Christopher; take a trip out of your comfort zone! Visiting Indonesia from Darwin takes roughly the same time as flying from England to Paris. I lived for four years in Darwin, and went to various places in Indonesia during that time. Flying that hour or so from Darwin to Indonesia forced me into a totally different mind-set that made me look at my own ‘certainties’ quite differently.
Oh! How I wished I could have sent the over-indulged, spoilt Ozzie brats that I taught in Darwin, who were so full of their own self-importance and their rights, off to spend a month or two in the shoes of the youngsters I spoke to in Indonesia… they wouldn’t have lasted a day. That experience certainly showed me why the students from Indonesia, and other such countries, were an absolute joy to teach.
There are images burned into my mind that I will never forget: from the face of the young chamber-maid, who had kept my discarded newspapers for a week so that she could return them to me when I returned, and was so thrilled when I said she could have them… to the very dignified, elderly and, clearly, dying, woman I met in a Balinese temple. We couldn’t speak, her English and my Balinese were both non-existent, yet somehow we did communicate. There are others, too many, to list here – but, they all made me look at what I had in my world quite differently.
Janus Delhi Belly – Bah – Bunkum!
I may not have travelled that far or that wide. But I’ve managed China, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, Singapore and a few other odd places with no probs whatsoever…
BUT, I’ve had food-poisoning three times in France. I think the French have developed a special Anti-Brit-Bug to compensate for their failure to win the 100 Years War!
Boa, enjoy your obvious immunity against Asian bugs! I don’t have it. 🙂
Boadicea: For all that went wrong there, I’m immensely glad to have spent time in China. It wasn’t always easy — but I coped and I grew. Trading Germany for China, while perhaps sensible considering the circumstances earlier this year, has turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. I’ve achieved little. Really, this year has been a bit of a hydroplane for me. Living with Germans can be incredibly difficult. They’re so bloody sure of themselves and certain that they’re correct in all ways. It feels like living in Monty Python’s Reich. Sometimes the distinct possibility of something going awry is better than absolute nothingness. In China, there is always the potential of good — and there always is good, even when so much can be wrong.
In the next few years I want to go to Mexico with some Mexican mates. When I go to Australia again, I am looking into an extended layover in Malaysia or Thailand. There are some beautiful structures outside Bangkok that interest me — especially in Sukhotai and Ayothaya. Vietnam also is a distinct option. Their airline is supposedly at least tolerable and the Vietnamese are keen on encouraging visitors to come. I also have the distinct impression that Dorset, while perfectly pleasant and civilised, won’t be especially scintillating!
Janus: I’ve had wretched experiences twice with Chinese pork. I just have to be more careful and keep the proper pills with me. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
I hope you and your daughter enjoy your river cruise, Boadicea. We found a cruise advertised from Budapest to the Danube delta on the Black Sea that looked interesting. Closer inspection revealed it to be a Saga cruise, with all meals on board. Reports of Saga cuisine are not encouraging. There was no opportunity for finding a nice restaurant ashore or dawdling on a terrace in the local square people watching. Other reports suggest that the main problem with cruises are your fellow passangers. Given my low tolerance of fools, husband felt that the danger of disappearances overboard on a dark night would be too great. We’ll stick to independent travelling.
Hahaha! Yes, Sheona – the dangers of cruise culture! People, warts and all.
CT, I see what you mean! 😦
Janus: Talking about pork… I’ve received in interview invitation from the NHS. Strangely, my casual applications in the UK have resulted in more success than committed effort in Hunland.
Now you’ve got me speculating what kind of job you have in mind at the beloved NHS!