Hi Charioteers,

I have seen that very little is happening on this site these days. When posts are written, by far the most are from Christopher, who writes exceptionally well, yet often on subjects which are heavy or political.

Since Covid I have taken a much needed backseat on writing or commenting about such topics, because I found it wasn’t doing me any good. My views around the covid measures were seen largely as the ideas of a loony conspiracy theorist, many of which have now been vindicated by research and evidence. Excess deaths are increasing worldwide. None of us really know what the lockdowns and virtually forced vaccines were all about. Anyway, here I go again, drifting into the “heavy”.

Over the last year or two, in order to keep away as much as is sensibly possible, from MSM and social media, (I still use Facebook for posting some of the nicer aspects of life, such as holidays, running events etc. As my family and friends are spread over many countries, Facebook is a great way to let them know how we are and what we are up to), I have been doing a lot of reading and hiking.

As we are living in Spain and I have been concentrating on learning to master the language, I noticed that my German was gradually weakening. I still often speak German with Bettina, but as time went on I began to notice that I needed more effort than before to find certain words. In the hope that this was not due to dementia setting in, I began reading books in german again, mostly novels. It seems to have worked. My german is now back with the fluency it once was.

My second main activity, hiking, is a great passion of both mine and Bettina’s. We began a little project to try to walk the complete circuit around the perimeter of the Iberian peninsular. As we began this in 2014, we went away for one or two days every couple of weeks to walk the coast. Now, as we have to travel over 600km to reach our next starting point, we go for around 12 days every 2 months. So far we have covered every inch from Portbou at the French border, down to Mazarron in Murcia. In the Summer months we do the GR route across the Pyrenees, from the Mediterranean towards San Sebastian.

We have completed approximately a quarter of the whole coastline and a third of the Pyrenees route so far in 8 years. Now, we are trying to decide whether to increase the frequency of our trips or accept that we won’t complete the journey before we become too old. I suspect, in the end, we will just continue as we are and let life show us how far we get. The end goal of actually completing the circuit is less critical than the goal of attempting to. We have so many lovely experiences of situations or meeting new people, that it is the journey that gives us pleasure, not the final goal.

Now that I have drifted into waffle mode, if anyone is still reading this, I will finish by wishing you all a Merry Christmas and good health and happiness in 2023.

Oh, one more thing. I shall be going away to Garrucha in Almeria over the Christmas period for the next 12 day coastal hike. We will be having a very quiet time walking along, while everyone is eating, drinking and celebrating with their families.

What will you be doing this Christmas?

Is The Tide Turning?

Hi All, as you all probably know, it has been a long long time since I posted on here, but even I was surprised to see it was over three years ago. This is partly due to spending much of 2019 supporting Bettina in her battle against cancer, which thankfully now seems to be gone two years after chemo and radio treatment, albeit never completely gone from our thoughts. Then came the charade of a pandemic, and fanatical restrictions and measures to control it.

I accept that we have probably all had it up to the eyebrows on the topic of Covid, but in spite of that have decided to attempt to lay down my thoughts.

I wrote to my two children in April 2020, during complete lockdown here in Spain, on a sad note wondering if or when I would ever see them again. They laughed at the silly old bugger, exaggerating as usual. I wrote them a long letter in May 2020 explaining that I thought that this was the start of something quite big. The way that the whole world almost simultaneously reacted smelled of an orchestrated worldwide event. I told them in the letter that I predict vaccinations for everyone, even newborns, to be administered every year. Proof of vaccination would be required to do basic things and be able to take part in society. Bars, cafes, restaurants, gyms, theaters, leisure centres all would be only available to those who “did the right thing”. My son, now 42 thought that I was barmy and ridiculed me as a cranky conspiracy theorist. My daughter, now 48 was a little less direct, but I am sure had similar thoughts. Bettina didn’t want to talk about it, as she thought it would all be over by Christmas. I never felt so alone in my entire life as during 2020.

Continue reading “Is The Tide Turning?”

Keeping going

Most years my tomatoes are a flop. Each April I buy nice heathy looking plants from our local garden centre, a mixture of cherry and larger varieties. Each year I spend money on plants, fertilizer, canes, soil (in Spain it is like gold) and water. Every year I moan that the return on investment is simply pathetic. We harvest our few measly tomatoes at the time when we can get them from the market at about 50c per kilo.

It’s a joke.

But I can’t stop trying.
Continue reading “Keeping going”

John – Part 1

Where to start, a bit tricky really, but hey ho here goes.

John was my brother. The story that I am going to tell you is also the reason why I have not been able to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) for over a year.

“Why am I writing this?”,  I ask myself. Well, maybe because there is nothing else I can do.

John was the eldest of three brothers. I am the youngest, or as my parents used to annoyingly call me when I was little, “Bab”.

After a hard beginning, growing up in Lowestoft, being evacuated to the midlands in 1939 and finally joining in the war in 1942, missing any opportunity for a good education, Dad brought up his three sons with a rod of iron. He didn’t know any other way. Boys (and wives) had to be kept in hand. That was the way of his world. He had an almost obsession for schoolwork and education. I later began to realise that this obsession came from his lack of education. He was an intelligent man and easily capable of a university education, but life had handed some bitter blows which meant his time had passed. He therefore wasn’t going to let that happen to his boys.

Continue reading “John – Part 1”


I need to have a rant.

The modern way of argumentation is getting on my wick.

People just love to try to win arguments by vilifying their opposition with labels. Some examples:

  1. Agree that the UK needs some immigration and you are a LEFTY
  2. Disagree with gay marriage and you are HOMOPHOBIC
  3. An atheist is MORALLY UNSOUND
  4. Disagree with bombing and you are a PACIFIST or TERRORIST SYMPATHISER
  6. Agree that the EU is a good thing and you are an EU FANATIC

I think that using such extreme labels to try to win a discussion shows that one is already struggling to find honest logical arguments.

Was it always like this or is this something new?

Funny old world innit

A couple of things:

We went out for a meal yesterday evening. Sitting on the table to my left was a couple, man and woman (that needs specifying these days) of around 45-50. They appeared to be well dressed and professional people. To my right was another twosome, two older guys around 65-70.

The 50 year olds spent 98% of their time with their respective smartphones. Their conversation level was nil and I (after a couple of glasses of wine) almost burst out laughing at the sight of them thumbing their little screens for all they were worth. Now they could have been professional people who were still working, messaging colleagues, although it was well after 9m. (Spain …eat late….Janus…remember?). So I couldn’t resist leaning over and taking a sneak peek…yep…Facebook. He was updating his status on Facebook.

I glanced across to the two older guys. They had a litre of red wine and were very much enjoying the moment, chatting good food, a real social occasion.

It made me wonder. Did I have the past on my right and the future on my left? If so, I am glad that I am geting older. FOE suggested that the couple on my left would probably have just sat quietly staring at each other, had they not had their phones with them.

I guess most younger people would have found the situation quite normal and not even noticed that the phone couple hardly spoke to each other.


My other point for today is rather sad. I keep a Christmas list for cards and presents. It is quite handy when out doing the Christmas shopping, to remember who I still need to buy for. I keep the list in an excel sheet and just do a quick update each year. This year it was quite hard deleting all of the dead ones since last year.

Let’s up the Anti

Now that Janus has encouraged us all into the Christmas spirit with the poetry how about something a little more challenging?

We all have our little secrets and anecdotes from the past. How brave are we to relate them on here?

A little anecdote, the only rule being that it must be true and it must be about you.

A prize will be awarded for the story voted as being the funniest, most interesting, or downright unbelievable.

Voting begins after 20th  December 2015, ends at midnight on 31st.

I will collate the votes and award the prize on New Year’s Day (if I am sober)

I dare you 🙂

Sign of a Good Night

After crawling out of bed this morning, prising the eyes open with matchsticks and putting all of the empties into a bucket ready for the rubbish, it occurred to me what a good night we just had with our new french neighbours.

They speak only French and about 20 words of Spanish. We speak German, English and a poor level of Spanish.

The evening began with very low level conversation due to the language barrier.

The evening ended with great conversation, nostalgic music of ELO, Supertramp, Dr. Hook (my favourite) etc.

And do you know why the communication improved so much during the evening?

Well, it is in the waste bucket this morning.

An empty bottle of Champagne, three empty bottles of red, and a drained bottle of Scotch, not to mention a half empty bottle of Kentucky Bourbon 🙂

Please don’t be offended if I don’t reply to any comments for a while.

FOE, where have you hidden the paracetamol?

It Does My Head In

Good morning all.

As a relative newcomer, and someone of incredibly poor memory, it does my head in when we each make comments trying to remember who is living where. It is especially difficult for the newbies like me.

I hope this suggestion is received in the spirit that it is intended but could we all leave a comment about our whereabouts?

For privacy reasons you make want to give just the country, for others less concerned with such privacy a biography of up to 10000 words would be fine. 🙂

For me it would help tremendously to know who I am conversing with and where. I could then refer back to this blog when my memory fails me….where was I? Oh yes:

I live in Catalonia about an hours drive south of Barcelona.

I have been born in Nuneaton which is quite an admission in itself. The place has become an absolute dump: Correction, it always was a dump. If I count Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, children and grandchildren, it comes to well over a  hundred of us. At the age of 38 I moved to Berlin where I lived from 1994 to 1999. Then on to Munich until 2002.

Due to a career move I then came back with Mrs Gaz to the West Country, where we lived for ten years in a little village very close to the river Severn. It was a lovely time and certainly not a boar.

Then, in 2011 on to France, Toulouse for three years.

Last year in October we moved down to Catalonia where we intend to stay until the ashes are spread.

Where are you?

Woody Fetish

Having just come inside and battened down the hatches ready for tomorrow’s storm and heavy rain (nothing desperate I must add, just the usual monthly thunderstorms) I thought it perhaps remotely interesting to tell you about my wood passion.

Even though we live in a warm country and heating costs are quite minimal, we still prefer to sit in front of the woordburner during the winter months. There is something very special and cosy about real fire, rather than the dry but warm hum of the central heating system.

Obtaining wood here is not so easy, so I collect and cut my own.

Quite a long drive from home, in the foothills of the Pyrenees near the village of Oliana, (for those google maps freaks) is a large reservoir. The reservoir is remote, surrounded by forests and changes level regularly as the dam gates are opened and closed. Consequently, in the direction of the flowing current when the gates are opened, a large amout of flotsam gathers on the shore in a particular spot. Each year the new wood is deposited along about a kilometer stretch and dries in the sun. It is presented for collection by anyone who is crazy enough to go for it. I have only once seen  another person gathering it.


Continue reading “Woody Fetish”