Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

Graffiti   1 comment

This post has been inspired by recent posts by Brit on the Rock which have included photographs of some of the graffiti around Gibraltar. Generally graffiti is just mindless vandalism which creates work as people have to clean it off, but sometimes it shows an underlying artistic talent that maybe could be harnessed in some way.

 

On the side of a squash court

On the side of a squash court

 

As can be seen in the slideshow at the bottom of this post, graffiti gets everywhere. This example does seem to me to show a talent for design, and whilst it might not be clear from the photograph the orange colour has been used to highlight elements of the design very well. I begin to think its a pity the person who did this hasn’t got a place in an art and design college somewhere. Not a clue what it means though!!

This next effort clearly shows artistic talent.

 

That's Handy

That’s Handy

 

With the current proliferation of many poor quality websites let down by their graphics and their design, seems to me there is a lot of talent being potentially missed out there. Clearly we need to take this art off the streets, but may be there is scope for graffiti walls within school premises using special paint which is easily removed. Artistic efforts could be photographed by the school and potentially submitted as course work, before being removed.

Many years ago the less academically bright boys were taught subjects like woodwork and metalwork and the less bright girls did domestic studies like cookery. Are we missing the opportunity to nurture those who are less able to communicate effectively by missing very obvious artistic talents.

 

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All pictures taken with my Samsung Galaxy Note II smart phone.

Posted March 13, 2013 by bluonthemove in Gibraltar, Publishing, Walking, Wimbledon

Lent   1 comment

I am no great believer in religion these days, probably never was to be honest. However having spent the four least pleasant years of my life in a roman catholic prison camp somewhere in the Berkshire mountains a certain amount has rubbed off on me (OK it was a school, but as someone wiser than me once said, a religious boarding school only prepares you for one thing, a life in prison).

 

Gratuitous religion

Photo courtesy of freeditalphotos.net

 

So, young catholic neighbour asks me what I have given up for Lent. After a moments thought I gave my reply; green leafy vegetables.

At this point child’s mother unhelpfully reminds me I don’t even eat green leafy vegetables. Not true I retort, I bung frozen spinach in currys as its hardly worth the effort to do saag for one in a separate pan.

I’ve never really understood all the self loathing associated with religion, it always seems to be about not doing things. God presumably invented the carrot as well as the stick. Whats wrong with abstaining from something one doesn’t like?

I guess where I’m going with this is looking at how people judge others. One thing that bugs me is when people imply that you cannot care about animal welfare if you like to pick up a pack of lamb chops from Tesco for dinner. They seem to forget without people eating meat there wouldn’t be any sheep or cows outside zoos; which should of course themselves be banned as they lock up animals.

My vegetarian brother was a prime offender in this area. He subjected a dog to long time servitude. On a typical working day he was away from home for 12 hours and the dog was imprisoned in a single small room for that time without food but hopefully it did have water. Not always if he forgot.

The cat didn’t fare much better, it was chucked outside regardless of the weather and wasn’t able to get back inside the house until he returned. Living amongst fields though, there were plenty of mice about for the cat’s lunch, and there were outbuildings to provide shelter.

He also used to say you shouldn’t eat meat if you can’t bring yourself to kill the animal in the first place. My response to this line of argument was usually to grab the remote control and turn the TV off. When he shouted at me to turn it back on, I would remind him he couldn’t build a TV or make the programmes shown on it. He bought it from a shop, just like I did with meat.

Animal welfare is about animals having a comfortable life, plenty of food and water, space to run around, not locking them up in confined spaces. Its not about them living a long life though and when the time comes for my dinner they need to be killed in the most humane pain free way that is possible.

I have no delusions though, that the food industry adheres to what my guidelines would be. I used to believe the price of meat should be more expensive, but in recent weeks we have seen that global markets are very difficult to control without global policing which I think is a long way from being effectively organised.

My financial commitment to animal welfare is directed towards orphaned baby elephants, allowing them to grow up with other orphaned elephants in a secure area where poachers are shot on sight, and to shelters for rescue cats. My choices, no one person can do everything.

Posted February 24, 2013 by bluonthemove in Family, Publishing, Wimbledon

Taking a Gander…   2 comments

Toronto

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net


 

Gander Airport

Gander Airport
Courtesy of Google Maps and R. Villarias

invisible

Canada is one of those countries one goes to, that one immediately likes. Its true that in my case it was always coupled with a business trip to the USA and I was certainly jaded from up to three weeks working in the USA by the time I arrived.

There was always something peaceful about Canada, even in Toronto (pictured) but perhaps more so in Montreal. Many of the best aspects of French culture have been taken by the city and made their own.

I remember clearly on my first visit that I had a client meeting where the address was fourteen thousand and odd Trans Canada Highway. I really had visions of driving for about 2 days and the meeting being actually in Vancouver.

It was with trepidation then that I ordered a taxi from my hotel, made sure that it took credit cards, jumped in the back purposely refusing to look at the meter at any point during the journey.

I managed to get there in the end and only a few minutes late. The cab fare however was somewhat over 100 C$.

On a more recent occasion I was flying from New York to London on American Airlines. Sitting across the isle from me was a very pleasant American woman doctor with whom I was discussing the importance of Continuing Medical Education. We were interrupted by a stewardess who asked the medic to go with her as an old lady was suffering some kind of distress.

The old lady was brought forward to sit with the doctor and given an oxygen mask. We weren’t too far from Gander at the time, so we were diverted to there. For those that don’t know, in the days before they could fly very far, planes would take off from Heathrow, fly to Shannon in the West of Ireland, refuel there, then fly to Gander where they would again fill their tanks for the rest of the journey. Since the advent of the 747 Gander is no longer used for this purpose.

On our arrival at Gander, some paramedics boarded the plane. Two of them immediately helped the old lady, the third seemed to be rifling through her things. The doctor, seeing the concern on my face and knowing I was from the UK, leaned over and told me they were just looking for her credit cards to make sure she could pay for their services. Not entirely sure what they would have done if she didn’t have one, but she was an American so unlikely.

By this time the delay mean’t we had missed our landing time at Heathrow, and we weren’t allowed to take off from Gander until a new time spot could be agreed, which was problematic given how busy Heathrow Airport is. The end result was we were on the tarmac for about 4 or 5 hours, they were not able to allow us off the plane or able to bring extra supplies on board.

This was a day time flight so we didn’t arrive at Heathrow in the end until somewhat after midnight and the place was deserted. American Airlines laid on some buses and I was able to get to Victoria Station but had to get a taxi from there to get me home.

I’ve been playing with the formatting on this post, as I don’t really like the default way that WordPress handles placing text around images. It seems to work fine on both my PC Laptop and Apple Airbook, but might not work too well with tablets and phones. Please let me know if you have a problem with it.

Posted January 28, 2013 by bluonthemove in Food, Publishing, Travel, Walking

A snowy day is no for caching   8 comments

The title is adapted from that well known Irish saying of which my father was so fond.

“A windy day is no for thatching”.

A snowy day

A snowy day

I’ve been reading quite a lot on wordpress about geocaching, so found myself last night going over to the geocaching.com website and having a look round. If you don’t know what geocaching is take a look at the site yourself.

There are several geocaches quite close to me, so I thought I’d go out and take a look. Indeed 3 of them are on or just off the Long and Winding road of my previous post. I have an old Garmin emap GPS which I bought in 1999 but haven’t used for a couple of years which I thought could be given a new lease of life.

Isn’t the Internet a wonderous thing. I went into Google and found the instruction manual for my old Garmin, and most importantly, how to manually enter GPS coordinates. I know I could download a geocaching app to my GPS enabled smartphone, and if I catch the geocaching bug I might well do so.

So there I was, a couple of hours ago, wrapped up in a warm coat and ready to go out. It’s snowing. I decide to leave the GPS at home and just take a walk down to the first cache site and see what I can see. I didn’t really search very much as I immediately realised where it was and the snow was getting heavier. Sneakily the geocaching.com map seems to suggest the cache is on the other side of the road.

Now I know where to look, all I need now is a dry morning. Not sure what I’d do if I found it as all the ones nearby seem to be micro caches which I suppose is no surprise in an urban area. I’d guess the drill is sign the log and replace it where it was. There are also some up on Wimbledon common, these might be more interesting but the weather needs to warm up a bit before I’m going all the way up there.

Posted January 14, 2013 by bluonthemove in geocaching, Publishing, Walking, Wimbledon

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Flowering things   4 comments

Plants, flowers and stuff is a whole area I know nothing about, and whilst I can recognise something that looks attractive, its not something that interests me very much.

Now things that can grow in pots and earn their keep is a different matter altogether. My neighbour has just started growing Rosemary in a pot just by his fence; now of all the herbs I use this is the one which is so much better fresh than dried. I find dried Rosemary and the semi fresh Rosemary you can buy in the supermarket to be very woody so I tend to only use it with things where I can fish it out remove it during the cooking process. Fortunately I have permission to lean over the fence with a pair of scissors!!

I saw this in my garden the other day.

Mystery flower

I wonder what this is, any ideas ?

Anyone have any idea what this might be. Most things in my garden are weeds, is this a weed too. It seems it is some kind of climber/creeper and seems to have crept in from next door, so it might not be a weed.

I particularly like the flower, its possibly a bit more purple than the blue the camera seems to have picked up, I’m sure if I was into editing photos I’d know a trick to darken the colour a bit; but I’m not so no. If anyone knows what this is, please let me know. It may be quite common.

Posted September 12, 2012 by bluonthemove in Publishing, Wimbledon

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Wrong time, wrong place   4 comments

With all the security in place around London 2012 Olympics, and with the arrest of suspected terrorists in southern Spain, one’s mind turns to one’s own security and personal risk.

As someone currently living in London, I am aware that every day I travel into central London I will pass within 100 metres of a fundamentalist person who would probably quite happily slit my throat in different circumstances. I have also had personal experience of terrorism on a couple of occasions during the mid 1980’s.

Borobudur Temple Indonesia – Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

My first brush with terrorism was on a business trip to Jakarta the capital city of Indonesia. This is a nice picture of Indonesia, as I didn’t find any of Jakarta and didn’t have my own camera to take pictutes with at the time.

As our flight from Singapore began its final descent into Jakarta airport, I kind of knew this was going to be an interesting trip. It was the captain’s announcement that those sitting on the right hand side of the plane could look out and see a spectacular firework display, which was actually a government ammunition dump that had been set on fire to by rebel terrorists. The “fireworks” were missiles and rockets exploding, but not close enough to the airport to provide a real danger to landing flights. It was noisy enough though.

Fortunately we landed safely, and I made my way to the hotel without incident. At the time, as a small company, we were using holiday packages for our travel, they enabled me to visit maybe 5 capital cities in less than three weeks, were very good value for money, and provided four star hotel accommodation. My room was nice, lots of dark wood offset by a nice big picture window which let in plenty of light.

Off to work first thing in the morning, I got a taxi to the first clients offices, a major American pharmaceutical company. The taxi driver was trying to tell me something, but his English wasn’t very good, so he gave up after a few minutes and took me to the address I’d requested. We arrived after about 30 mins to find the burnt out shell of the offices of the company, which had been fire bombed over the previous night. The guy I was meant to see was there, helping to clear out the rubble, along with a senior colleague of his from the US office who I also knew.

After a brief conversation with both guys, I got back into my cab who was waiting for me and we went off to the second client of the day, a major British pharmaceutical company. Gosh the rebel terrorists had been busy, they were shut for business and slightly singed around the edges. My third meeting of the day was with the local CEO of a Japanese company, and as we’d planned to have lunch at my hotel, I was a little bit worried.

After a productive lunch, I walked a few blocks to another client’s offices, and that was my meetings for the day complete. It was the hot humid season, so when I got back to the hotel I decided to have a cool bath then lie on the bed and enjoy the air conditioning and a cold soft drink from the mini bar.

B O O M !!!!

Now I was lying on the bed encased in that nice big picture window I referred to earlier. I was covered in shards of glass, they were everywhere, the whole picture window had been blown inwards and mainly over me. The window was a single glazed panel of non-safety glass, and some of those shards were like daggers. Before I’d really processed what had happened there was a knock on the door, followed by the sound of a key, the door opened and there was one of the assistant managers who I recognised plus another guy.

They cleared the glass from around me, helped me to walk to the bathroom, where I was able to get dressed after they’d dabbed at the minor cuts I’d sustained from the flying glass. The manager then escorted me downstairs to the lobby bar where they’d organised some food and brandy for the injured. Unbeknown to me at the time, the other guy was packing all my belongings up for me, and moving them to another room on the other side of the hotel.

The hotel wasn’t busy, it was off peak so no tourists, but there were a few other Brits I got talking to, so we decided to go outside to find out what had happened. When we got outside we discovered that the hotel was next door to some government building which had been the target for the bomb. Terrorists it seems are not stupid. Around the government building were a number of what looked like 1930s American fire engines, spraying their hoses as high as they could, about 5 floors. The bomb had been placed on the seventh floor, so it was burning away happily unconcerned at the attempt to put it out. My room was facing the government building and on the 8th floor, so had got the brunt of the blast from the explosion.

After some discussions with the travel people I left Jakarta the next day and arrived early in Hong Kong, so had a couple of days of “me” time before continuing my business trip. Now fast forward a couple of years and I find myself in Paris.

At the time, Le Defense was one of the major office developments in Paris, just over the Seine at, if I remember right, Neuilly bridge.
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Le Defense was one of the major office developments on the outskirts of Paris, and was a popular office location with a couple of pharmaceutical companies. Paris was a city I visited a lot in those days, probably four or five times a year depending on the business opportunities.

There was nothing special about this trip, it was as I remember September time, and I was visiting our regular clients to negotiate their support for the forthcoming year. I had travelled to Europe the previous week, starting in Amsterdam and then going by train to Brussels with meetings along the way, and then from Brussels again by train to Paris, arriving on Friday evening so I could enjoy the weekend there, in preference to Brussels.

So, on Monday morning it was I arrived at the offices of my first client of the day. This proved not to be an onerous meeting, the working relationship was good and I was able to secure a small price increase from the previous year. After the meeting, I made my way back to the metro station to take me back to central Paris.

On my way across a paved square, I saw an inviting looking cafe and as I was in no hurry I considered stopping for a coffee. It was quiet, as it was mid morning, but it would be very busy between midday and 2pm. I went over to the cafe and looked at the menu in the window. Being tight, erm mean careful with money I thought the cafe looked too expensive to bother with, there were nicer and cheaper places in the area around my hotel. That carefulness saved my life.

I was some distance from the cafe walking away from it, probably 50 to 150 yards, when the whole cafe exploded. The force of the blast lifted me right up in the air and landed me some few yards further away scraping the skin of my hands and wrecking my suit trousers. I managed to pick myself up, find my briefcase, and despite the pain I was in make my way quite quickly to the Metro station. I didn’t want to find myself being interviewed by either the French police or journalists, not sure which I disliked the idea of more, and I certainly didn’t want to be on French TV.

Reading a newspaper the next day, it seems that the bomb was not supposed to go off when it did, and the cafe may not have been the intended target. It seems the bomb was not that well made, went off prematurely killing the bomber. I think I’ve had my share of close calls, so heres hoping there won’t be anymore.

Blu

Posted August 4, 2012 by bluonthemove in Publishing, Travel

Sharing   4 comments

What is the obsession with sharing these days, especially on the Internet. Everytime I read an online newspaper, it wants me to share the article with all my facebook, twitter or other friends. If I want to read an article a friend of mine has read, I cannot do so unless I sign up to an “app” that requires to know my inside leg measurement and demands permission to post on facebook anything it likes in my name. To read the article, I have to copy the title and paste it into google, which takes me to the article as it appears from whatever source.

I also have to “like” things, and if I do, there they go, posting away on my facebook wall. Sometimes you click on things that are either plain bizarre or you suspect they are downright dishonest, and forever more they claim you like them on your facebook wall several times a week. Am I unusual for wanting a bit of privacy, for wanting to decide what I share and with whom. Even the great Zuckerberg keeps secrets, apparently this weekend guests turned up to his girlfriends graduation party only to find it was actually her and Zuck’s wedding.

I was perhaps brought up slightly isolated in my formative years. This is the family home where I lived from the age of well a few weeks I guess until I was 21.

By the time this picture was taken, in the early 1990s

Image

we hadn’t been living there for a while, so it was being used as nursing accommodation as well as accommodating the odd Landrover!! We never owned it, it belonged to the NHS. It was in the grounds of one of those huge victorian former asylums, where my father was senior consultant.

My brother, who was 18 months older than me, was an August baby, so when he went to school at 5 years and a couple of weeks, leaving me at 3 and a half years to play by myself for a couple of years, atleast during term time. Although she never worked, my mother didn’t bother with me much, so at 3 years old I rode my tricycle not only round the extensive grounds of the hospital but inside too.

The hospital was built in a circle, so I could ride round the corridors. Most people knew who I was, so I was given lots of sweets and when I went on the wards I’d get orange juice and biscuits too. Matron, who was very strict, invited me into her flat, where she would give me gin, which was a bit naughty, I mean, I was driving. Strange too, to contrast with today, when most parents won’t even let their kids out of their sight.

Image

The pics by the way, were taken with a Logitech Fotoman. The Fotoman was the first digital camera to be available commercially in 1990, it could take up to 32 monchrome images which were then transfered to a PC via a serial cable. I still have mine, however it doesn’t hold charge anymore, so not much use.

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Posted May 21, 2012 by bluonthemove in Publishing, Relocation