A few of my favourite things…

Fans of ‘The Sound of Music’, prepare to be disappointed now.

This is not a blog about ‘brown paper packages tied up with string’, ‘raindrops on roses’, or ‘kittens with whiskers’ – for those who haven’t seen the movie or know the song, come on now, you know the routine  just Google    ‘Sound of Music, Favourite things’, rather than me write a lengthy explanation about 1965 films and how the lyrics just stick in your head.

You might also start a whole new pastime  of going to the cinema dressed as a nun.  I am told this is what the true aficionados do. 

And just for  clarity, this also  isn’t a blog about favourite places either…although Salzburg, where the film is set is really beautiful and worth visiting when the ‘situation’ we are in allows it.  Famous for Mozart but has a whole lot more to offer too.

What I am actually writing about is three favourite blogs. I read a lot of blogs for entertainment, information and education but a lot of these are one off visits. There are a few I read regularly and look forward to and  these are three of them that I look forward to and enjoy. .

In no particular order…..Kerry

Keeping up with Kerry.   I started reading this really as a Travel Blog. Kerry is Emirates Cabin Crew and somewhat unusually in my experience, she  really embraces the opportunities she has visiting an array of destinations across the Emirates  destination network. Her writing style is relaxed and informative and in fact probably hides the determined efforts she has made to research in advance where to go, what to see and do in a limited amount of time on a layover.  I can honestly say I have learnt a lot from this blog, even about places I have already visited  and thought I knew well. Understandably at the present time she has not been able to blog about recently visited places for a while but has done a few on working for Emirates, life in Dubai and some detailed ones on hair, make up and cabin crew personal grooming!  Ok, the latter aren’t for me, but never say no to any new knowledge. These days you just do not know what questions may come up in a Zoom on line quiz night. Also as  I also work in aviation  I of course enjoy the more generic ‘life with Emirates’ ones  and also those about Dubai…again a place I have travelled to many times and also pleased to learn more.

Next is Saturday Saunter .   Kev lives in Glasgow but writes as much about  Edinburgh as well as larger neighbour Glasgow. He also features his beloved football team and intersperses it with literary recommendations, some moral philosophy and his views on life in general. It’s a very much ‘say it is, how it is’  kind of blog..in a way written from the heart and like a diary.  I grew up in Glasgow and have a real affinity with many of the places mentioned, but equally there are so many mentions of places and things I either wasn’t aware of or didn’t know the full history that once again, I find more places being added to my must visit list.

Finally, Steven Liddel’s blog….  Steven  is a historian, but also a Tour Guide.  Not just any Tour Guide  but really fascinating walking Tours of London and other UK locations where you will  enjoy hidden secrets and be educated and informed at the same time.  Naturally Steven is unable to blog about current tours,  but he shares in his most eloquent style some  realistic and raw descriptions of his current life in these challenged circumstances  and also  what is now in his more constrained locality.  I think I first found this blog looking for an article about hidden and disused tube stations.  For someone who lived in London for over 10 years,  I am intrigued about what is hidden  and known from all but a few . 

Three very different blogs…I commend them all!

I am so glad to be smart!

Before rushing off to the Smugness Police to report me for an incidence of extreme arrogance, please be assured I am talking about mobile phones and not my personal attributes of being a genius and master of much knowledge!

As it happens, and it might be a British thing, generally people are always reluctant to blow their own personal trumpet about their intelligence, so actually no risk I am doing this at all.

Taking this to extremes there was a song in the 1980’s by US ‘not many hits wonder’, Dean Friedman, ‘Lucky Star’ where he proudly sings to his ‘in song’ girlfriend, ” You can thank your lucky stars that we’re not as smart as we think we are”.

Why on earth would he say this? This confused me back then every time I heard it and more so now! It seems to have confused other people too as it even gets a mention in his Wikipedia entry!

Meantime back to me and Smart phones……… Why do I mention them? Well one of my millenial children commented today that they too had been part of the generation migrating from ‘brick’ phones to ‘Smart phones’ despite many people often wrongly assuming that this generation was born holding an iPhone.

Almost unimaginable now…going to a box to make a call

Its seems its a very regular barb thrown in their direction…’ you lot don’t know what life was like before all this technology’ etc. but actually they do😁

Why am I so glad to have a Smartphone ? I think it’s almost all to do with having the equivalent of an expensive SLR Nikon or Canon camera always in your hand or pocket…and always in auto mode. I can’t believe that back in the day when I regularly used real cameras I actually spent time adjusting shutter speeds or focal length to cope with light levels or movement.

Having a camera always with me in the days of real cameras (even pocket size digital ones, was a plan but never reality), but now I do have that ‘camera’ there and available to capture moments. For some of them, retrospectively I think….. why?

But the majority, are snapshots of life and allow one to reflect and enjoy.

Date and time stamping photos has also allowed us to compare years, seasons and in a way perhaps embrace and recognise the changing world around us even more.

Now that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate other features available on phones as well.

Google Maps directions has saved the day many a time for me…well that is once I have actually determined which direction the phone map is in compared to my direction of travel. Many a time I have been surprised when my 8 minutes walk destination seems to grow in remaining time rather than decrease!

New city?… buy a map
Or ask someone?

Any features I don’t like?

Yes of course. My phone persistently asks me to review Dave’s Guitar tuition studio! I don’t go there. I have never even seen the place. I don’t own a guitar, but it seems I regularly walk past it, and Google is convinced I am taking lessons.

Thankfully I don’t seem to be regularly walking past anywhere of a less acceptable line of business…otherwise I might have some detailed explaining to do at home!

Hope you are enjoying the blog….

Your musical taste is not important to us…

We are all too familiar with the ‘on hold’ message when calling a contact centre is to be told ‘your call is important to us, and we apologise for the delay etc.’


Well that might well be the case but my choice of music most certainly is not a big issue for them. A fairly recent call to my credit card company gave me the opportunity to listen to Divine Comedy’s   …The Pop Singers fear of the pollen count!! I have now listened and listened to these lyrics with some detailed scrutiny but after much analysis,  I really can’t find any relevance to financial services at all. It is however one of these tunes that once in your head will never leave it, at all, ever!!!!

Similar in takeover as is The Lighthouse family’s Ocean Drive .

The Divine comedy actually specialise in somewhat bizarre lyrics and a focus in subjects as part of their musical song writing  and composing efforts. One of their equally left field charting successes was a song “The National Express” based on a UK bus company offering inter city travel.

It’s worth a listen on you tube if only to reassure yourself that not buying it, when it came out was the right thing to do!

Here for your delight is a sample of the lyrics!….

Take the National Express when your life’s in a mess
It’ll make you smile
All human life is here
From the feeble old dear to the screaming child…

Hmmmmm………..

However….. all this has now changed.

This last week I was on hold again in a call but this time, the ‘voice’  in charge gave me a chance to select and plan the music’. It did trouble me that this might mean I might be in for a  ‘long haul’….Anyway, great to be in the musical driving seat!!!

First Aid Kit…or Band Aid music

My itunes has a huge variety of music and I am always adding more of every possible genre. If my itunes account was being forensically examined in some future lifetime perhaps to try to match me to an era or interest…the musicologist would be baffled. The Cure, Lady Gaga, the Beatles , Blur, Mozart, The spice girls, Alan Jackson, Celine Dion and hundreds of others just happily co-exist. Nashville, Manchester, Liverpool and London…all on the same map page!

In the same way that we make personal friendships through chance meetings and opportunities..my music arrives equally randomly. Recently I was on a flight and perusing the on-board audio looking for Lady Antebellum and I came across First Aid Kit…I had remembered the name from my daughter talking about them….and so this was how I was introduced to them!

And as an aside, the award winning Lady Antebellum band got their name from the historical period before the civil war…the band had been doing a photo shoot in historical costume in houses of that same period. And First Aid Kit’s reason for their name…far simpler…they came across the term in an English dictionary (they are Swedish) and just thought it very aptly described what their music did!

If you haven’t listened to either of the above before as Country may not be your thing (..and it wasn’t mine)..then do give it a go. You will find them on you tube.

Enjoying this blog? I hope so. I try to make the content as varied as my itunes account!

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