Saturday, 27 February 2010

Nicholson's Updates

A blog has been started to notify boaters of any changes to facilities and features of the canal since the last Nicholson's Waterways Guide was published.

We mainly use Nicholsons Canal Guides, but I often find that the books become out of date quickly.

With pubs shutting down, etc at a rate of knots, it doesn't take long before a favorite acclaimed boozer becomes a boarded up hulk.

Anyway, this blog site is a resource for boaters to be able to post details when they find things have changed.

Not much on there yet and you need to have the latest books which have only been out for a year.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sunday, 14 February 2010

To Blog is Human ?

As I sat in my bath making extravagant use of gallons of hot water, my bathtub thought of the day (see my blog post of 18th December), turned to the subject of blogs or more precisely, why do we blog ??

As Willawaw chases the setting of the sun at the average pace of a walking ladybird, I considered at some length, the essence of why I do it.

Why do I and my fellow blogonauts feel the need to emit spurious and incandescent pools of words into the ether at regular intervals.

I suspect that each gets their own special "glow" from the deed.

Those that do it on a consistent basis surely do it for their own gratification.

Man is far too selfish to continue with this time consuming activity, for the needs of others.

For me, it is the literary equivalent of releasing a wild bird from a small cage within me.

Each time I blog, I get a feeling of release and freedom.

I'm driven with a basic urge as strong and possibly misguided as the actions of Capt.Nemo and the good ship Nautilus.

Man is such a small flicker in the gloom which is time.

As I listened to Chopin's Waltz No.7 flowing out of the Bluetooth speaker and the strains danced around the cabin, it occurred to me how special it must feel, to compose pieces of music that, although the equivalent of an 19th century number 1, are still being enjoyed two centuries later.

How would Chopin feel if he knew this ? 

Surely, its the ultimate accolade to any person.

Will Westlife or Take That still be admired by masses in the 23rd century ? I wonder ?

Blogging is nothing more than a verbose flicker of the candle.

Haiku-like, the cage is opened, the bird flies,  and the speck that the bird becomes, is lost in the open sky. 

My heart is lightened by that bird and its newly found freedom.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Country's Going To the Doors

There is a danger that I'm turning into a grumpy old man.

But, I don't think so....

I went to a charity bash last weekend.

You know the thing, they charge you £50 a ticket and then try to get you to spend more with a succession of auctions and raffle ticket sales.

I looked at the auction items which started at about £60 and up and there were about ten differing things for sale.

Now, I know it was all in a good cause and participation was optional, but none of the auction items appealed to me.

Various golfing rounds, the hire of a mini-JCB for the afternoon, a spa session, tea at a London hotel and a designer name watch.

The watch eventually sold for £110. 

I said to the twenty something girl who bought it, "you paid £110 for that watch but you only gave it a quick glance".

Yes, she said, but it was a  **** watch !!! (* = designer name)

Never heard of them, I replied. She gave me a blank look as if she was talking to somebody who had been on a desert island for the last twenty years.

It was quite clear to me that she only bought the watch for the name.

For a long time, I've noticed that the UK follows the USA, probably the greatest consumer society of all time.

Generally speaking, trends and social patterns that occur in the USA happen over here some time after.

It used to take a number of years, now with the "media" like the internet, it happens much quicker.

The dollar is the religion in the USA and we are becoming the same here.

There are many names for what is going on and people far more educated than I can recite the long words.

However, to my simple soul, religious beliefs, family values and ethics are all up the creek.

My daughter who is a teacher, told me that she took her class of small children to St.Pauls Cathedral. They had a great day, but just as they got to the top of the 365 steps, there was a fire alarm and they had to evacuate. 

My daughter was shocked to see the adult tourists who were also up there, pushing past her 6 year olds, in order to get out first. 

Mind you, at least the UK has toilets with the male and female doors, the same size, unlike this one in Turkey !!!

I don't think equality has reached Turkey yet..

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Snow on Savarona

Yes, it really does snow in Istanbul.

This February view of the Bosphorus shows ferries and other vessels moored in the snow.

I took this photograph from a moving car crossing the bridge.

The classic yacht with the buff funnels is the 1931 124m steam yacht, Savarona.

Originally built in Hamburg for an American heiress, she is probably best known as the yacht of the famed Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, who died in 1938.

She is named after a species of African swan and is a truly beautiful ship.

My two favourite spaces on this ship are the hamam (Turkish Bath)

and the beautiful Savarona Suite, one of 17 suites onboard:

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Reservations on Central Reservations

The Turks have found a great new use for the central reservations on their highways.

They remove the overgrown grassy verge and litter and install;

a Bus Lane....

Their bendy buses run between stations along a dedicated tarmac lane in the centre of the highway.

The stations are reached by bridges from each side of the highway and concrete crash barriers prevent other traffic entering the bus lane or bending the bendy buses. 

No traffic problems in the bus lane of course and as the buses go in pretty much a straight line, there are no problems with bendy buses knocking cyclists off their bikes.

Friday, 5 February 2010

He's Lost His Bottle !

Starting the "it can only happen in Turkey" series, this is a photograph of a Turkish Water Cooler man trying to deliver refills by motorbike.

Excuse the quality of the photo, but I shot it as an opportunist snap through a car windscreen with a phone-camera, earlier this week.

Believe it or not, he was trying to carry 5 large, full water bottles on specially made holders on his motorcycle in the middle of winter. He lost the bike on the roundabout and there were bottles everywhere....