Under The Streetlights

We’ve moved around so much in recent years our dog now lives with my in-laws. While walking him last night, I snapped this guy slinking around under the streetlights. You see them all the time after dark in outer London (the other night, I saw two of them together), and they always keep an eye on you from a safe distance:

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“Sorry, what was that you said?”: Our Shared English

I’ve learned it’s challenging writing for a potentially global readership. After all, nowadays, courtesy of Amazon and others, potentially anyone on the planet can tomorrow get hold of most any book. As an author, how to cope with that reality?

Screen capture of Dictionary.com.
Screen capture of Dictionary.com.

Language can be an issue. I’m not talking about a “foreign” language either. Rather, there can be “trouble” even with local variations on our shared language.

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Nomads On The Move

I know I’ve not even hinted at it, but we are moving house today. We’re relocating from just outside of Bath, temporarily back to north London. We suspect we may be living somewhere semi-permanently around Reading (pronounced Redding) in the near future – although that could well change. (This is all work-related. Yes, that awful reality. ;-) )

Free Stock Photo: A set of keys isolated on a white background.
Free Stock Photo: A set of keys isolated on a white background.

So the nomads are on the move once more. As a result, I may be somewhat “unsocial” on here for a few days. Right now, I’m sitting in a lounge that is, well, chaos.

My desk has been taken apart. Boxes are everywhere. The removal guys will be here in an hour or so.

A new chapter begins. Have a good day, wherever you are. :-)

Underground Photography

Thanks for your understanding yesterday. I wasn’t going to post today, but as yesterday went on I felt progressively better. Today, I feel almost fine.

Pain makes everything else feel worse in life, doesn’t it? It “depresses” you. But when the pain lifts, you get necessary perspective back.

So back to “normal.” Or what passes for normal with me. ;-)

Moving right along, I don’t think these are potential future cover photos:

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Ten Years On: The Day’s A Blur

July 7, 2005 was like any other normal day. A few days a week I took public transportation – either overground train, or tube – to my university office in north London where I then worked. Other days I drove. I liked to vary the commute.

That day, I’d pre-booked the car in with a dealer for a routine service, so drove to work a bit early. Being near the college, they would send someone over to my office, collect it, work on it, and return it by the end of the workday. Ho hum.

As usual, by 8:30 they’d picked up the car and taken it away. I think it was on my desktop sometime around 9:30 when I first saw the BBC web site update: there were rumors of electrical fires/ explosions in a couple of tube stations.

Very odd stuff, to say the least. I remember colleagues shaking their heads.

Screen capture of BBC web site.
Screen capture of BBC web site.

And I remember one – the first one to suggest it – saying these sounded like bombings.

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The Lovely Canines In Our Lives

Our friends’ 11 year old female black labrador collapsed the other day. They got her to the vet. But before the vet could do anything, she was gone.

Hearing that sad news, I immediately thought of her as a puppy on a 2005 Isles of Scilly holiday she’d been on with us all. Funny how on hearing such bad news one instantly recalls that sort of thing. I have photos of her on a PC in America during that trip. She was an absolute little star.

Our own 10 year old hound (half English springer spaniel/ half labrador: a “springador“) is now living with my in-laws in London. We’ve moved and traveled so much in recent years, they had him for months at a time and eventually just took him in “semi-permanently.” Although he has been twice to France on holidays with us, that is the extent of his foreign travel; he couldn’t be packed up like cargo flown back and forth repeatedly to America with us: we wouldn’t have ever subjected him to that “treatment.” (I’ve read Air France allows dogs in the cabin, but they can’t be more than 10 kilos. We have thought, hmm, maybe a strict, pre-flight diet? ;-) )

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Benediction (Hot Natured Cover)

I know I’m breaking my no post before Tuesday, long weekend, rest pledge. But there’s a very good reason for that. This won’t take long, and I don’t want to wait until tomorrow to post this.

On Saturday night, we were directed to this on YouTube by our overnight guests. This wonderful singer – Amy Syed – is our friend’s niece. Her aunt (one of those guests) is massively proud of her…. and rightfully so. Enjoy!:

What one can sometimes learn unexpectedly, eh? This being social media, if you like her singing by all means do please share it.

I’m returning now to my UK Bank Holiday weekend. ;-)

Have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. :-)

Relaxing London Saturday

We missed the rain: it rained earlier. Back from a morning stroll:

Bluebells are still out. [Photo by me today.]
Bluebells are still out. [Photo by me today.]
Rare this field is ever so unpeopled. [Photo by me today.]
Rare this field is ever so unpeopled. [Photo by me today.]
New signage for 2015. [Photo by me today.]
New signage for 2015. [Photo by me today.]
Although I have War and Remembrance with me on this visit to the in-laws, I don’t plan “to think” too much today. (Now, no snickering about when do I actually think!) Simply I hope to enjoy some “quiet” time.

You have a good day too, wherever you are. :-)

Planespotting

We flew back to the U.K. last night from Boston’s Logan Airport. We’d arrived in the U.S. there three weeks ago on a freezing evening and I’d never been to Logan before; and I was impressed with Arrivals. I was impressed again Friday afternoon for another reason: it’s right off I-90 and much easier to drive to from upstate New York than I had realized.

International airports have always greatly intrigued me. They are remarkable places. Before we’d flown to the U.S., I grabbed this photo of passing aircraft at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5:

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Americans Make The Movies (And At Times, We’re Really Sorry)

I’ve spent much of the last 25 years often as the (only) American in the room – be it with family, friends, or workplace colleagues. As you know if you visit here regularly, I’ve now also spent several years writing novels in which I’ve created characters sourced from some of my (especially early) “travel” and “expat” experiences. They are full of types of people I’ve encountered, and even cherished, and what I’ve seen here in Europe.

I can’t begin to list the nationalities I’ve met in just London: nearly every European country; Africans from Egypt and Morocco all the way to South Africa; Afro-Caribbeans; Middle Easterners; Indians; Chinese; other Asians; Canadians; Australians; New Zealanders; Brazilians; even a few other South Americans. And all the religions: not only Christians of course, but Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. It feels like a far more “diverse” city than even New York.

I will always remember a Pakistani student, right after 9/11. He offered me personal condolences. He flat out called the attackers “terrorists”: no qualifications, no hesitation.

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