Archive for October, 2009

James is Wolfman

James shows off his collection of wolf related art

I forgot that I had taken this photo of James and his “Three Wolf Moon” t-shirt standing next to one of his man wolf based art works.

He was not holding his Chump lighter but I think it was most likely in his pocket.

For full Three Wold Moon joy see reviews on Amazon.

More Corsican Joy

Yesterday was a fab day of Sea Kayaking,

walking and working, basically the exact reason we came to Corsica and it was really great.

Gerome’s parents have been absolutley amazing and I would like to thank them for putting up with the non-french speaking plonkers that were staying in their loft over the last week.

On the eastJet flight home I noticed during the ignored safety demo that their life jackets had “” emblazoned upon them – i know all publicity is good publicity and all that but couldn’t help but wonder if reminding passengers dumped in the North Sea with only a limited chance of survival where to book their next trip is taking things a little too far?

Perhaps at the moment you have forced your passengers to don their life jackets is not the ideal time to bring up the topic of their next holiday? Or perhaps it is the ideal distraction…

“Margaret, darling”
“yes…” (shivering)
“this holiday has not panned out so well, but if we visit, we could get another trip in before the end of the year”

Still in Corsica… Oh yeah!

The view from the harbour of Macinaggio where I am typing this

This morning Gerome nipped along to Bastia to pick up Noémie who had taken the overnight ferry from Toujon.

6am is certainly too early for me so I slept. Noaime is charming although my inability to speak

even half decent French is, as usual, a bit of a barrier. It is only when I want to communicate with someone for real that really regret my pitiful attempts to learn French. Perhaps one day I will actually make a positive effort to learn.

This morning we climbed up to the closest Genoise watch tower that is just along the beach from Gerome’s parents house. Colin’s ankle could not really take the walk and he was clearly in a fair bit of pain on the way back down… I did not help him though, just watched the wincing.

Later on Gerome, Noémie, Gerome’ Dad & myself set off on 2 mountain bikes and a tandem up towards a church that little did I know at that point, was up a massive hill.

My cycling legs seemed to be serving me well and confidence surged through my body, what luck I thought, despite years if inactivity my fittness is still there, on tap when required. I dropped a cog or two and picked up the pace, these guys would be eating my dust.

One hundred metres later, I was buggered.

I dropped to the back a started the excruciating job of pulling my overconfident, under prepared body up this mountain road that the others seemed to be coping so well with, they must be super fit.

About half way up I swapped with Noémie and got on to the back of the tandem with Gerome. Although I was gamely turning the pedals and attempting to put my fair share of effort, Gerome was certainly getting the raw deal – he must have lost five kilos dragging me up that hill.

Upon reaching the top, the view that treated us was worth the effort. We could easily see the Tuscan coast to the East of Corsica and all of the Italian Islands inbetween.

I am writing this sitting on Macinaggio harbour.

Si P and Tribalogic in Corsica

Last night I enjoyed a great catch-up-curry with Australia’s Si P along with Fran, Mike and Sarah. It was great to see Si (one of my 2 best men, both of whom has since left Scotland for Oz…

conicidence? Or was the best man to Robin experience the last straw?) after so long in Australia and he was full of tails from the colonies.

He is clearly enjoying his care free existance in Brisbane, althouh that may change when he is forced to get an actual job.

The venue was Mother India on Infirmary st which I thoroughly recommend. They go for the tapas approach which let’s you taste loads for different things even if it slighly threw us when we first looked at the menu, service was extremely slick although a little more joie de vive would not go amiss.

We returned to our flat for a whiskey and a bit of Dizzee Rascal… genius – the Aswad singer was a particularly good spot by Si. I remembered to switch on the Skype just in time to see Mike “Howie does it” Howie (my personal blog commenter) logging out, shame as it would have been good to have some Paterson/Howie drunken chat. So Mike will never know that he was so close to being shouted at by a couple of tipsy louts across the interweb… unless he reads this of course, which I will know when he comments… unless out of spite because I have said he will comment he now does not comment.

So, Mike if you do not comment on this blog post you are a spiteful man.

I had to rapidly chuck some stuff in a bag for heading out to Corsica today with Colin to catch up with Gerome for our Tribalogic

away week! Gerome has kindly invited us to work from his parents house for a week which should be fab.

Turkey Chicken

One of things I forgot to mention in the podcast but did cross my mind this week was my best ever dream: my “Turkey-Chicken-Turkey-Chicken” dream.

I dreamt that my wife was a top class live Turkey Chicken stacker. The basic contest involved the stacking of live turkeys and chickens (you had to alternate), with the help of a see through glass/plastic “starter cylinder”. Sarah seemed to be

really good as there were a lot of people watching and I had a feeling of pride and a nervous feeling that she do her best.

Podcast Failure

Mike "Howie Does It!" Howie

Mike "Howie Does It!" Howie

After weeks of talking about doing a podcast/movie/poem/novel together, Mike and I ran a test run of a trans-european Madrid-Edinburgh podcast… although it was really just a conversation over Skype that I recorded.

We were shit.  There is no doubt that it was not interesting podcast material, and for that reason it will never be released for public consumption – but at least we got past the first hurdle of actually agreeing to a time and attempting to record it. A little more preparation next time might make us talk about interesting and funny things instead of rubbish things.

Personally, I blame Mike.

On top of us being really unentertaining, the sound quality was not really up to being broadcast, Mike’s Madrid bar location was a little noisy and his internet connection was not really up to the job – so the technical problems were really Mike’s fault too.

I am glad that I this is my blog, ‘cos it means I can blame all the problems on Mike.

It was nice catching up with him and hearing that he is getting on great in Madrid, sounds like a great place to live for a short while and I am sure that soon he will be a fully fluent Spanish speaker.

It would be good to have regular Wednesday podcast slot, hopefully we will manage to sort that out.

West Palm Beach, Florida

Sarah and I set off this morning nice and early for West Palm Beach, top down and sat-nav primed!

Me on Juno Beach, West Palm Beach, Florida

I had a story about a Frenchman called Drefuss buzzing around my head, it must have been on the radio when I fell asleep last night. He was wrongfully imprisoned at the end of the 19th century and prompted a famous author to pen “j’acuse”, pointing the finger at the French Army and establishment… must look it up in more detail.

Anyway, it took us about 2h 45 to get to West Palm Beach (aka Palm Beach) from Kissimmee and we headed straight to a pedestrian friendly area (a rarity in these parts) where we wandered around some shops, grabbing some lunch in an Italian place next to a fountain in the square.   I had a walnut, gorgonzola and pear salad… no real gorgonzola, soft walnuts… but the pears were ok.

Sarah on Juno Beach

On the advice of the waitress, we headed North on I-95 to Juno Beach to stroll along the sand and dip our toes in the Atlantic.

Juno is a very nice, sandy beach with coast guards actively patrolling. Considering it is so close to such a built up area, I was pleasantly surprised by how relaxing it was – and how quiet.

Only one comically pumped, bandana sporting, bronzed Miami-style runner to speak of!

Following the beach stroll, we got back in the motor and set off north on route 1, heading back homeward with a vague notion to stop somewhere on the way for dinner.

Where are the towns?

Sarah and I drove around Florida a fair bit and I have no idea where they keep their towns!

The feeling you get is that everyone lives in one giant suburb with 3 lane highways ploughing through the middle giving no clue as to the character of the places you are passing. For a European, this is really frustrating as in general if you get of the main motorways in Europe, you will find something resembling a town that you can stop in and walk around, instead you are forced into a mall, some form or drive through or purpose built car park.

Now, vague notions to stop somewhere can work in Europe where the roads generally take you through towns and villages where you can spot a potential venue… in this part of the States at least, you are specifically routed past anything of interest, pushed in rows of 3 or more at 55 mph north, south, east or west.

We did stop somewhere called Stuart that resembled a town in some respects but it was difficult to find and this was after a few failed efforts to find somewhere that would be nice to walk around and find a place to eat.

Once you have figured this out and you make a real effort to leave the main drag, you can sometimes find places that resemble towns and find a good place to eat.   We managed to stumble upon Stewart, and had a fun meal, the home made Lemonade and Orangeade were a highlight!

Air Boat Ride, Florida

Today we drove, top down towards Cape Canaveral to take a trip on one of those “Gentle Ben” style air boat rides that are the done thing when you are in Florida.

A Bald Eagle from our air boat, Florida

A Bald Eagle from our air boat, Florida

Our sat-nav guided us to the venue without too much trouble, only a slight hickup taking us 2 miles (which in US context is nothing) in completely the wrong direction for some reason.   We pulled into the empty car park, with no sign of life other than a pickup parked on the grass near what was obviously the shop entrance.  As we walked gingerly into the shop, we were greeted with a friendly lady whose voice I recognised from the earlier booking telephone call, “you must be Morris… your captain will be with you shortly” she hollered and pointed us in the direction of some camouflage covered seats to await his arrival.

In what must have been a deliberate attempt to tick as many cliché boxes as possible, we had to step over a large pig (yes pig), negotiate our way past at least 5 snakes (including a python) and along the line of stuffed Gator heads to our seats.   My attention was drawn to the “Rockets of the World” poster, showing world rockets all to scale from smallest to American – I thought to myself while we awaited our captain that it must have been a difficult exorcise collating that information given how secretive many countries are about their rockets and if you were to do it train spotting style this would be even tougher given how fast rockets generally travel.

Florida Everglades

Amongst the Cypress trees in a feeding tributary into St. John's river, Florida

We shared our boat with only 2 others – a man in his early twenties and his great grand father – plus of course the captain. Our captain/driver/tour guide took us on a whirlwind (literally) ride through along the St. John’s river pointing out the wild life plus an indian burial ground.   It would have been nice if he had identified the flora and fauna more than once for each item, he was a little too economical with his words – “Blue Heron over there, and that is a Cormorant” was kind of all we got despite the large number of both birds on display and there must be more to each species than their names!

The highlight was being taken into the mangroves amongst the Cypress trees, extraordinarily beautiful.

Our fellow passengers on the trip, approached us in the car park afterwards – in a Grandpa from The Simpsons moment the first words the great grandfather declared to us were “I drove semi’s for 40 years you know!”, and when we asked him if he had ever been to Scotland he declared: “I ain’t never been out the state much, ‘sept to Main on one of those big planes, y’know big planes”… big plane arm waving followed.   The grandson seemed a little embarrassed.


Lying Downtown

Looking at the Balloon in Downtown Disney

A brief summary of today would read…

  • Shopping in Downtown Disney
  • Lunch at Rainforest Café
  • Lounging by

    the pool

  • Cinema to watch “The Invention of Lying”

and indeed it did read like that.

Sarah under the Downtown Disney Lights