Life in a Time of Covid

I write this at a time that I should have been packing up for a flight to Denmark before continuing on to California. I’m clearly not. Rather, I’m sitting in suburban Trier listening to the sound of aeroplanes flying to and from Luxembourg. Passenger flights remain suspended, but cargo flights are still coming and going. Continue reading “Life in a Time of Covid”

Chibber at the Art Gallery

It was more a case of save your money for God’s sake than art for arts sake that I suggested to my good friend, Chibber, we explore an art gallery rather than paint the town red, white and blue in a drinking establishment. This was, of course, pre-covid days.

At first hesitant by my complicated and sophisticated reasoning, rolling my Rs and elongating my Es, I could see my brainwashing was working and he agreed to enter the Chamber of Magical Dreams. Think he thought he was going to Disneyland.
Continue reading “Chibber at the Art Gallery”

Keep Safe, Keep in Touch

I sent that message to all those friends and relatives I owed e-mails to last week. I’m usually a dreadful correspondent – but I wanted the odd e-mail to let me know how they were coping.

You have become ‘friends’ over the time the site has been running, even though I have only met a few of you.

So I send this message to you all: keep safe, keep smiling, and please put a one word message or even a long rant to let us know how you doing.

India Part 2

One point I’d like to make for those interested in going to India is the very high level of security almost everywhere and not just at tourist centres and airports. Every hotel we stayed in had walk-through security, most scanned any large parcels that we took into the building and our handbags were searched.

At Delhi airport no one is allowed inside the building unless they are actually flying or has vetted authority to be there. So our taxi driver was only allowed to take us to the entrance and we were met the other side by an authorised person to help us book in.

Our tourist guide was regularly stopped by the police and asked to show his papers. But, I do have to say, all the security checks were carried out with a smile.

A selection of photos. Please remember that many were taken from some form of transport! Continue reading “India Part 2”

Tranquebar

Tranquebar is a small town in India. More specifically, it’s a small town in Tamil Nadu. In and of itself it isn’t all that remarkable. There are a lot of towns in India, many smaller than Tranquebar, many more towns vastly larger. What makes Tranquebar interesting is that it was once a Danish trading outpost. Denmark had great ambitions, but little ability to really force their will on anyone. Denmark’s colonial holdings were, thus, modest. Denmark was among the first countries with overseas colonies to divest itself of them. It sold Tranquebar to the British East India Company in 1845. It sold the Danish West Indies to the United States in 1917 when they became the United States Virgin Islands. Continue reading “Tranquebar”

Holden on no more.

After August, Holden will exist no more. GM, true to form, accepted billions in dosh before turning tail and running. A number of Australians complained about that. They should not be surprised. After American taxpayers bailed them out, they simply moved production to China to boost their profits and cut costs — the long-struggling Michigan and Ohio economies be damned.

Naturally, various excuses were made. The most pitiful one was that Holden struggled due to the fragmentation of right-hand-drive vehicle markets. Sure, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are no more geographically remote from each other than, say, North America, continental Europe and Brazil. Another slightly pitiful excuse was that it was difficult to keep a brand going when it only exited in two markets — Australia and New Zealand. That point is fairer, but it ignores the basic premise that Holden had, for a long time, been a repackaged Opel/Vauxhall with some Australian features.

Whatever one thinks, it’s a blow. Holden was well and truly an Australian icon. With the years, there is less and less that makes countries, societies distinct, that makes a region feel like a region. Holden was Australian, it was a part of Australian life and society. Now, it’s the same Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Hyundai or Lexus you can find anywhere.