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Friday, 27 June 2014

305: An old joke

My holiday on the Costa Brava is coming to an end. I will fly back to the UK tomorrow. Good timing - the French ATC have called off their strike and the airlines have worked through their backlog.
A shortage of material today (for some reason my phone photos won't upload to dropbox) so I will regale (bore?) you with a very old joke. It is a mix of fact and fiction and I will leave you to decide which is fact and which is embellished.
I went for a run today in the heat of the mid-afternoon sun. I wanted to kill two birds with one stone by topping up the tan and working on the fitness at the same time. Not really the best time of the day to run though with the rays of the sun beating down. I ran out along the beach at a pace of 5:1 (5 minutes gentle jogging and 1 minute walking). After 30 minutes I decided to turn back and this time the sun was in front of me. I slowed the pace right down to 1:1 and even so I almost became dehydrated and started thinking about water. Halfway along the beach there was a tent set up on the sand. When I looked in there was a man selling ties. Nothing else, only ties. What do I want with a stupid tie I thought.
I pushed on, gagging for a drink. When I finally made it back to the hotel there was another tent. This time they had water but, just as I was about to go in, they stopped me and said "no admission without a tie!"
Ran past some people playing petanque (big boys' marbles!)
Have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

304: Barcelona

On the evening of June 23rd, Catalonians and many many tourists celebrate midsummer. Despite it being almost the shortest night of the year for me it felt like the longest. As a committed stick-in-the-mud I was trying to sleep and the noise from the music and what seemed to be non-stop bangers being let off all night prevented sleep for most of the night.
The next day, Tuesday, I took a train into Barcelona with the intention of doing some shopping. Only when I got there did I discover that the cunning Catalonians have tagged on another holiday (this time to mark the birth of St John the Baptist) so that they could rest after the revelries of the night before. This meant that all the shops were closed. Apart from restaurants and cafes. A wasted trip. Even a trip to McDonald's failed to lift my spirits. Never mind, such is life.
It is the time of the year for French Air Traffic Controllers to go on strike again and cause chaos all over Europe. I have read that they have been joined now by the Belgian Air Traffic Controllers. I hope both sets of employers capitulate soon, as they do every year, otherwise my flight back to Stansted on Saturday will be in jeopardy. I could face a long train journey up through Spain and France and through the Chunnel. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

For a video clip I thought perhaps Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé singing Barcelona. Enjoy!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

303:Santa Susanna

I'm in Santa Susanna on Spain's Costa Bravo, having a well-earned (well, I think so anyway) rest away from the hustle and bustle of daily life in Moscow.
The joy of being able to get up in the morning and do exactly what you want when you want is almost indescribable. Perhaps that's what life is like being retired? Maybe I'll try it - one day.
I arrived here yesterday evening after a short RyanAir flight from Stansted and the whole week stretches in front of me. The Midsummer Fair was on in Cambridge yesterday so my bus from St. Ives was delayed and I opted to take a taxi from Cambridge to Stansted rather than wait 40 minutes for the next train. The taxi driver did me proud and set up a new land speed record for the short journey and got me there just as the train would have been leaving Cambridge.
I shall do a bit of running, a bit of programming (how sad is that?), a bit of learning Spanish and a lot of lazing about doing nothing.
A plethora of languages can be heard being spoken in the hotels and on the beaches. Everybody is here to soak up the sun, which has chosen to hide behind the clouds today. Never mind, there will be other days.

Friday, 6 June 2014

302: We're having a heatwave....

Blog number 302 but it could also be the temperature 30.2. In typical British understatement I've been mentioning to my students that it is a little warm.
It briefly broke this afternoon when there was a storm in parts of Moscow but that has passed over and the sultry heat has returned. It'll be good to get to Spain for some cooler weather!
A poster informed me that yesterday was "Eco friendly day in Russia" Both the government and the mindset of the people need to undergo radical change before recycling and green issues are taken seriously throughout Russia but it is enormously encouraging that they have started along that road.

This says something like "do your bit! Life starts with you"
5th June - ecology day in Russia

  Today's video clip is of Marilyn Monroe singing "we're having  a heatwave" from the 1954 film "there's no business like show business"