Always the bridesmaid, never the bride!

One of the great things about working in the aviation industry is that you do get to visit a lot of places. Over the years working for various airlines, ground handlers and an aviation technology company, I have put a lot of pins on the map.

Ok, at the moment it’s all a bit in abeyance and in the past six months where I might reasonably expected to have been in numerous European countries, the middle East and possibly USA…my travel has been limited to Aldi, Lidl and the Co Op in my local town..but hey ho, I am not alone in that respect of a changed life!

Travelling is great , I love it and I never forget to be grateful and aware of my privilege of having these opportunities even if they don’t return in the future.

However it isn’t always quite as wonderful as it sounds. I was asked by a friend recently had I ever visited Johannesburg? …I had to think a lot and answer realistically.

My trip there had been out on a flight for 9 hours, walk through the terminal to the airport hotel. I then attended a meeting (included refreshments: one cup of coffee!) After the meeting, straight to bed in same hotel, and up again six hours later for flight back to UK!

It gets better….a quick flight one morning to a European capital to attend a meeting with a Low Cost Airline. On arrival I was met at gate by pleasant but anxious young man tasked with getting me to the airline office by car across the ramp area. Lots of phone calls but still no (airside) transport arrived..he was very apologetic at this point. Then a phone call or two was then reassured that alternate transport would arrive. After some more minutes waiting – it surely did arrive…a toilet truck!

I do this job purely for the glamour!

Toasted Sandwich Naked

This isn’t my What Three Words location, although a good one to have as my actual one is not very memorable and certainly won’t spring to mind if I am shipwrecked, stuck up a mountain or just lost in Ikea’s one way customer flow.

It is also not a crossword clue for a Danish Open sandwich. It was actually an unfortunate message I sent to one of my sons and his fiance. I was at the top of ladder at home clearing our attic and found various items of possible use to the next generation and decided the best way of determining if it stayed there or was destined for a new home was a quick What’s App to ask the question as and when I found items. The message ‘Do you want a toasted sandwich maker?’ becoming ‘Do you want a toasted sandwich naked’ unfortunately was a result of auto-correct and my haste!

I do actually have to confess to an earlier mishap with predictive text. Some years ago a more junior colleague was seeking my approval to attend a meeting in Latvia as I had already made it clear it had to be a low cost airline trip. When asked about what they could book for the journey, my text message of ‘you can only travel there by Air Baltic …unfortunately got corrected to…You can only travel there by…. air balloon caused some stress, calls to HR and the company’s insurance department!

Anyway, back on the home front…I think the wedding is still on but some doubt as to whether any thoughts of a father of the groom speech being a good idea …..

A nice mini break, shame about the aliens

This last week we had planned to be in Holland and Germany visiting family. Quarantine rules however meant that trip has had to be postponed so we rather rapidly formulated an alternative of a few days away in the Ribble Valley in Lancashire, England.

Like many things that are on your ‘doorstep’ one does just not appreciate them as they are so near and always accessible. We live in the neighbouring but rival county of Yorkshire and are just only an hour or so away. away.

The War of the Roses might have ended in 1485, but as far as many locals are concerned, it might as well still be going on today. Certainly in terms of Sport and pride about who has the finest countryside, notable persons and so on.

The Ribble Valley really has it all. Beautiful countryside, lots of walks and plentiful pubs and tea shops.

Any downsides? None other than we were convinced we were being followed home by Aliens one night as we drove back from dinner at the wonderful Inn at Whitwell.

Strange lights were illuminating the sky and appeared to be chasing us. You may be assuming this was just the effect of too much red wine, but our designated driver consuming only water also experienced the same. Having seen the Northern Lights, I knew it wasn’t that (although it was similar, but only white light, not the wonderful colours of the Aureora Borealis). So we were genuinely mystified.

Fortunately our Air bnb hostess was able to help us as we shared our bizarre experience with her on returning that evening. She too had observed the same one day earlier that week and likewise had the view that aliens were following her home. She did however have the answer once she had shared the experience with local friends. It seemed there was an outdoor music event nearby with a strange lighting system of an array of searchlights that were literally lighting up the clouds above us! So no close encounters of the Third kind!

Bath Time

I always enjoy my visit to the hairdresser and this is despite me being someone who in the past as an awkward teenager suffered from Tonsurephobia.

Tonsurephobia apart from being a 15 point word in Scrabble, is the fear of getting a haircut. The word Tonsurephobia is derived from Greek words ‘Tonsure’ meaning ‘ to cut’ and ‘Phobos’ meaning ‘deep dread or aversion’. To be fair for me it wasn’t the loss of hair that was the issue, but the need for conversation with a twenty something smart and worldwide girl when I was an awkward 15 year old. Anyway, that was then…I am no longer aged 15!

So these days I enjoy the conversation. Sophie my hairdresser is always interested in where my work travel has taken me over the last 5 or 6 weeks. So I often will list off places such as London, Milan, Berlin, Muscat, Dubai and so on.

So last week…same question and all I could come up with was home, Aldi and Morrisons . (For those not familiar with the UK..both of these are supermarkets!) Suddenly I felt my ‘reputation’ as one of her most well travelled clients erode into one of her most likely serial and obsessive supermarket shoppers.

I realise much later that evening that I had actually omitted to tell her about the one interesting journey I had made in the past weeks was to the City of Bath.

I have been to Bath many times and this most recent visit was a real flying one, to quickly help someone with a house move.

Bath is a beautiful city, just awash with beautiful buildings, an awesome park in the city centre and more Georgian Terraces of house than you can shake a stick at. Pubs, restaurants, wine bars and coffee shops abound and you would be hardpressed not to be able to find things to suit taste and budget. So what’s not to like? Really only the city’s narrow street and the impact on through traffic. A geographically short journey can take a long time!!!!!

Finally, I am recognised for my lack of talent

Last weekend in the UK nature brought us blue skies, a gentle breeze and warmth in the sunshine, so a perfect day to get on and get some work done in the garden.

Planning on being out there the best part of a whole day, I made sure my phone was in my pocket and turned on. I even diligently got my phone out from time to time to make sure I had not missed calls when using my somewhat loud strimmer and even noisier lawn mower.

However unbenown to me, when replacing said phone in my pocket, I actually touched the Facebook icon, opened the app, and then made a post consisting of a stream of random keyboard characters!

Oblivious to this, I carried on working and about an hour later stopped for a cold drink and checked my phone for messages.

An urgent What’s App from my daughter: “Dad, I think your phone has been hacked and someone has been using your Facebook to make some posts, I am sure they are not from you”

You can imagine my panic I quickly checked the posts expecting to find adverts for Russian Mail Order Brides, Investment Opportunities for Nigerian businessman with a surplus $1 million that they need my help with or recommendations for magic potions to improve parts of me to make me even more desirable to the above mentioned mail order bride!

Anyway I was very relieved to find out it was none of the above but just a random post of gibberish like someone’s left over scramble letters!

What did surprise me though was that this pointless post attracted much interest from my friends and got a number of ‘Like’s.

In fact more likes than I would normally get for a post.

It actually quite troubled me as it suggests this far exceeds the quality then of what I more regularly post!

Well that grabbed my attention!

I follow quite a few bloggers, and indeed there is no particular connection amongst these other than the posts they write amuse, entertain or educate me.

Occasionally they just confuse me! I am sure I too am guilty of the same on occasion of leading in one direction and sending to another.

I know have quite an esoteric following in the world of dentists, veterinary staff, cooks, travel writers and a whole raft of people whose skills or interests have not been disclosed. I just hope at least some of what I write fills a void in their blog reading life.

So, back to the blogs I read. One I read at the beginning of the week was titled..How to get more Instagram followers without posting photographs. I was slightly puzzled by this as I thought Instagram was about where to show your photographs. I haven’t used Instagram for long but evidently I have been doing the wrong thing by actually publishing photos rather than creating brand ‘me’ and promoting me. This oversight explains why I have about 20 Instagram followers rather than 20,000!

The next day however I read a blog post simply titled ‘Finally a sofa’.

That resonated far more with me, as like so many people, with more time on our hands we have been trying to put them to good use, but need the tools to do that.

Over the last weeks I could have done a blog called ‘Finally hedge clippers, deckchair covering, strimmer wire and printer toner’. All of these very First World requirements and never really the kind of items that would have pleased Robinson Crusoe too much if washed up on his desert island beach. But for me better than a lifeboat, outboard motor with fuel and a map that Robinson hoped for on each tide.

On the subject of ‘how to….?’, in the UK we had a childrens TV programme in the 1970’s (..and I think it returned again in the early 2000’s) called How? It never did anything on how to big up your social media presence….and even if such things had been in existence today, they would not have gone there, but it was great in that it explained how things work and in many cases how to replicate them.

One of my favourites was how toothpaste comes out with stripes!

For the non experts in toothpaste manufacturing, it has dyes positioned in the tube neck that colours the outer edge of the paste just as it exits. The TV programme actually then gave you a toothpaste recipe and then showed you how to unseal a used tube of toothpaste, fill up with your own that would then squirt out stripey toothpaste.

Happy Days

PS …told you this blog was liked by Dentists!!!!

As this is a blog, all comments welcome……..

Just livin’ the dream

I used to work for a well known European airline, and I was there in the boom times. It was good!

We were all busy people rushing from room to room, in meetings , conference calls and so on. Whenever we were asked by visiting suppliers, partners and so on about how life was , the phrase bounced back to them was, ‘yes, just great , just livin’ the dream”.

And in reality this was true – we were busy , well paid people in a burgeoning economy and things looked good. Having said that, I am never really sure what that phrase, ‘living the dream really means’.

Then fast forward some years, and aviation is a different place, but then so is the whole of transportation, leisure industry, car manufacturing and a whole host of others.

However lets not dwell on that…much is written already, by those far more eloquent and informed than me.

But back to ‘living the dream’. I must admit I am actually quite fascinated by dreams…and the many explanations of why we have them and what they mean. Mine are normally quite staid affairs and usually just involve me being late…I am actually a very punctual person by nature so its perhaps just a bit of daytime real life fears translated into night-time reality.

Until now that is……recently I have just had two very, very strange dreams . One of them in a way doesn’t make a good story to recount in detail as it featured only people that I know or knew…but actually a very strange and bizarre mixture of old friends, old locations , present day family and events none of which are in reality ever connected with each other geographically or chronologically or in any way but with the assistance of my brain had then been beautifully woven together into an elaborate story, a set of emotions, connections, strange timelines and distorted geographies that had this been featured in a film, would have had the critics complaining that the script writer had no sense of reality or worse still was making use of narcotics or had suffered a severe bump on the head.

Normally the dreams I have if remembered at all just evaporate a day or so later once I have shared (or bored!) my friends and family with…”you’ll never guess, I had the most weird dream last night”. But this one is still slightly haunting me some days later as I really puzzle over the most bizarre links of people and events. I am very tempted to share some of the detail but perhaps I’ll keep it in case I ever consider screenwriting of weird movies as an alternate career.

The other dream that followed just one night later was actually much simpler in content. In this dream, I decided to photograph a police vehice and was promptly arrested. I hasten to add that I live in a country where that does not happen, and in fact you would need to steal the police vehicle for such a reaction to follow! In the dream I had bizarrely decided to photograph it because it had some unusual decals on the side…a bit like you might see on a Plumbers van, it advertised the location on the side, and seeing British Transport Police, Kirkcaldy , and yet I seemed to be in London, not Fife , Scotland at the time. It then appeared I decided to photograph this for my friend who lived in Kirkcaldy and show him a visiting police vehicle of his locale, doing a visit to London. Yes, I know this is all so weird, but its a dream don’t forget!

The dream then took on a more bizarre twist, that once I was handcuffed, the very amiable policemen decided that I was just a pleasant but misguided photographer, deleted the photo from my phone, but took pity on me and decided it still would be nice for my friend to see this, so promptly ripped the decals off the van and presented to me as a parting gift after un locking me. None of this makes any sense..other than that I do have a friend who lives in Kirkcaldy!

If anybody can explain any or all of this…please do let me know.

Since then dreams have returned to non-memorable trivia…just a few more missed trains and meetings.

Maybe I eat too much cheese?

Enjoying this blog, or just confused by the content?

Don’t worry, normal content will return soon after a relaxed and good sleep.

And then there were three…

People seem to like things in threes. People expect a third bit of bad luck after two disasters befall them. I am really not sure if I subscribe to that way of living myself, and would actually be more than content with just two bits of misfortune!

Footballers always want another goal after their first two so they can get a hat-trick if they get a third. And for those who are not followers of football (soccer) or possibly, polo or handball…the term may not mean anything to you.

This really weird term originated in cricket when a cricketer, Mr Stephenson won 3 wickets in a row and the crowd were so pleased with him, they took a collection for him and he bought a hat with the proceeds. Quite why he bought a hat rather than just a large round of drinks, history does not seem to say.

Get involved in any wager, and for the losing participant, if things aren’t going well, then a plea of ‘best of three’ is often called for in the hope of grasping success from the jaws of failure.

And so on….

Anyway for me at the moment, I too have things happening in threes….

I have my own game of three parts going on at the moment just to indeed endorse that everything happens in three’s.

As I am reasonably tech savvy, by some co-incidence I have been requested by 3 completely independent individuals at this one time to help them migrate to a new internet solution.

What could possibly go wrong?

The first one went like clockwork, actually like Swiss clockwork!..router arrived on time, line enabled and all working like a dream.

The second has been the biggest fiasco ever and 10 days on still no connection, formal complaints raised and hours of my life gone…on hold to a contact centre!

The third one, well the jury is still out…maybe will be ok?

I know you can’t always expect all three to be perfect…ask Goldilocks that when she did porridge sampling at the three bears house, but even so, this just getting an internet connection, not putting a man on the moon, neurosurgery or writing a best selling novel.

Having said all of that, we do now take our telecoms in the home and all that it gives us totally for granted.

As a child in the 60’s I remember phone calls outside of my local area being treated as one off and expensive events. You had to ring the operator and tell them you wanted to make a trunk call to London for example (we lived in Glasgow). The operator in Glasgow would have to liaise with the London operator and join everything up and then call you back!

I can’t really recall the actual changeover some years later to what was then called STD calling (self dialled trunk calls) but thinking about it, it must have been a real revolution. And don’t forget this was still in the days of telegrams and businesses using telex…or even phoneboxes!

For anyone under the age of 50, you will probably now need to ask best friend google to explain these…..

My submarine is full of eels!

In the UK , this was a Bank Holiday weekend. We residents of course know exactly what that means, but to others in the world, whether native English speakers in North America, Australia, New Zealand etc. possibly not and to those who are speakers of English but for whom it is not their mother tongue, most definitely not. My european colleagues having just got over my use of the term annual leave when taking just a days holiday were perplexed when I started on about bank holidays!

So what is a bank holiday? Unlike just about any other country we in the uk don’t refer to national non working weekdays as public holidays, but as Bank Holidays. The term derived really from two sources…the holidays are of course days when banks and government offices are closed, but also back in 1871  John Lubbock first Baron of Avebury who was a scientific writer who studied ants and allegedly tried to teach his poodle to read. He however was also a banker and politician and he drafted the Bank Holiday Bill . This once it was law  created the original bank holidays.

We also very carefully schedule our bank holidays..a day off is much more useful if it can be on a Monday or a Friday and tagged on to make a long weekend. Hence the term Bank Holiday weekend..although ask a UK native about bank holiday weekends and they will usually mutter something about rain.

Uncannily many bank holidays seem to attract inclement weather and there is almost an expectation of it for our Late Summer Bank Holiday weekend, on the last Monday of August. Being a stoical nation, people will carry on as normal and still go to the beach and eat fish and chips or ice cream on the beach and then look miserable but resolute!

English is a congusing language, and we tend to use these idiosyncratic terms, desmite many of these never finding their way into a phrasebook. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Monty Python once did a sketch about a Hungarian Phrasebook that had ‘useful’ phrases for translation including “My submarine is full of eels”. Hmmm…and you thought Bank Holiday confusing!

Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard


Although my parents and teachers always told me they didn’t have favourites and favouritism is basically a bad thing,  I do break the rules when it comes to street names.   Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard is definitely top of my list.  Its actually a street in San Francisco, perhaps not surprisingly. 

Nobody has ever really been able to explain where the name derives from – I get the Beach Blanket bit. I could also almost accept the Boulevard part as well,  although as far as I can recollect,  it doesn’t really resemble  Boulevards as one thinks of them in Paris or Berlin i.e.  a wide street with majestic buildings, often trees and sometimes side carriageways.  Let’s not even start on the Babylon part…… but despite all that I love the name.  I believe there is a quite a famous stage show of the same name and also now a couple of restaurants in London as well also using that name.

As with any favourites,  it is good too to have a second choice or backup…for me that street is Wych Elm Rise.

I haven’t really researched if there are multiple variants on this in different towns.  

This one is is in middle class, leafy Guildford in Surrey, England. Well one would expect Elm trees to feature in a leafy town!

Guildford gets many adjectives and descriptors. A town in the Stockbroker belt is one of them – the town certainly has more than its share of well heeled commuters at the station each morning heading to their city jobs on the train.


I realise that anyone not an native English speaker is probably now lost in a web of confusion with all these adjectives – ‘well heeled’? we could just say wealthy but the etymologists will show a link to good shoes being a sign of prosperity; leafy, we could just say nice streets with trees and so on.  But of course the English language at times is designed to confuse! 

 Only yesterday one of my very ‘English fluent’  German colleagues asked me why my ‘out of office message’ on my e-mail said I was taking a days annual leave.

To him that was a complete contradiction – I am  taking  a day off not a year off!

So back to Wych Elm Rise – why do I like that name?  I used to live on a road adjacent to it (called Warwicks Bench…but that’s another story)   and when giving a friend directions to find the house,  on hearing the Street name he was convinced I was giving him a crossword clue (14. Across.   Scottish origin tree on slope,  11 letters).


I could very easily do a top 10 of favourite street names, but for now I will just leave you with number 3.  Nothing at all cryptic or exotic about this one.  It is Hill Street in Glasgow (and I’m sure there are many other Hill Streets in the world)

I had to walk up this hill every day to go to  secondary school and it often vexed me that the great Victorian city planners of Glasgow (which unusually for a UK city is based on a grid system like so many US cities) couldn’t come up with anything more imaginative!

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