Tag Archives: diary

Catch Up Roadtrip 2 [2017] : Boston To Quebec (A Route Worth Taking – A Destination Worth Avoiding)

Route Map Boston To Quebec

The route from Boston selected was the slightly less direct of the two options – it was a relatively marginal difference in the scheme of things and went up in a bow via the Hamptons.

This was a place with a name that seemed familiar – uncertain as to why but it did, plus it went up into Canada via what appeared to be a less major road..a guess was made that this might make for a more interesting and scenic route.

We will never know – because the fleeting wondering that occurs about such things was hardly likely to evolve into a rational for driving the not entirely unsubstantial collection miles back down the other route .. Boston revisited, unhelpfully so – given a need to get back to Toronto at some point.  So with only one route experienced all that can be said is that this route was a route worth taking.  Gradually upward slowly into the hills, no European winding mountain pass, just a gradual sloping into the browning trees until eventually it was joined by some Snow..

the hamptons USA Coastal

Bay the hamptons USA

Bay the hamptons USA

old houses in hamptons usa

Coast Beach Hamptons USA

Pumpkins Which Meadowmere USA

USA Road

Skyline Road USA

US Canada Border

Go Canada Go Maple Leaf

Night Quebec

City Wall Quebec Night

Side Street Qubec Night

Qubec – we had another day here before moving on.. The first evening was just a quick encounter, an effort at dinner and a couple of drinks and in those few hours you can learn what seemed to be the two key things about Quebec.

  1. It has an element of Old – That was not seen in the USA and very much felt like it was back in Europe somewhere
  2. Its unpleasant and rude in a way you would struggle to find elsewhere, that is to say the people are – not all, but if an impression can be made so swiftly by such a resounding level of consistency then its a whole lot of rude and its spread none too thinly about the populous.

Looking to go somewhere and have a relaxing and enjoyable time, dont choose Quebec, never Quebec…If you want to see old – go to Europe..if you want rude, go to a theme restaurant that specialises in that sort of thing, at least afterwards you can walk out and be back among the customary levels of rude, indifferent, friendly and mental that frequent most other places.


2018 – NHS & Working.. A Solution

Social Media Is Filled With People .. Many People Are Thinkers And In Their Thinking and Their Reasoning They Come Up With Inspired Moments That Can Change The World Forever.

First You Learn From The Amish and You Draw A Specific Line In Time .. Before The Line Is The Before Time and After The Line Is The English Time.  None Of That Is Correct, Safe To Say However That The Wheel Is A Technology That Is Acceptable While The “L’EQUIP 215 XL JUICER” Less So For Them.
At Some Point There Was A Time When Discoveries Were Ok and A Time After Which New Discoveries Were To Be Roundly And Actively Disdained Against.

All Of Which Lacks Relevance Other Than To Show The Acceptable History Of Choosing Arbitrary Moments In Time And Predicating A Fair Bit Of A Premise Upon That Choice.

Enter Mr M Cooper Internet Thinker – From Wolverhampton

Who Has, A Little Fortuitously Opted To Draw His Line For Before And After, Sometime After The UK Was  Done Retrieving/Re-homeing Assets From Fortunate Colonies, In Return For Them Being Allowed To Play Host To The Union Flag For A Bit.

But Why… Surely He Is Missing A Trick – The UK Famously Singled Handily Rescued The World In Past Times As Well.. There Was W.W.I.. And That Time We Saw Of An Asteroid By Sending Ben Affleck Into Space.

Imagine All The Outstanding Debts.. Well I Couldn’t.. So Better To Write Them Down:


I have a few gaps in my calculations – missing events and some challenges establishing the exact values … all of which could add substantially to the total .. but it looks like we (the UK populous) are each owed in excess of £840,000.. im also thinking we should all forgo an NHS magic brexit contribution of around 0.54% – which will get us what that nice red bus promised for the next 100 years.. but if we can fill in the gaps im thinking we could well be in excess of 1.5 million each…

We Really Are Going To Have The Best Health Care In The World and We Can Chill .. Mr M Cooper – Internet Thinker – Of Wolverhampton .. He Showed Us And Now We See.

Greenpeace Re-brands Boris Johnson's Brexit Battlebus

What was the Thunderbird charge card for saving the world?


Catch Up Roadtrip 2 [2017] : Boston, A Place With A New York In The Way – Circumventing

Route Map Washington DC to Boston
Circumvent New York Congestion and US propensity to drop a toll on not rare or particularly predictable occasions

Driving In the USA

Big American Flag Driving In the USA
Oh yes – thats right, its not Lincolnshire, i knew that i think but in a, this is very autumnal for Thailand sort of way

Dillsburg Tobacco Outlet

Boston Underground
Boston Underground – Recapturing The Spirit of US Public Transport, not like that there Washington DC, all plush with its clean surfaces and unexposed electric cabling
Boston Underground Looking Good
A Hatch – For Heroic Doings When Alan Rickman takes over the underground station with menaces

Boston Subway Station

Boston Subway Train
Its more a subterranean tram – least it looks like a tram, in a dystopian future where this was once the outside but had long since been buried and built upon, safety while Arnold nips of to Mars

Night Skyline Boston USA

Al Dente Boston USA
Good Portions and Italian – Italian Food

Catch Up Roadtrip 2 [2017] : Canada & USA – Buffalo To Pittsburgh

Cereal Breakfast USA

Quite why breakfast is a meal that needs to be consumed from disposable plates and bowels with the limited aid offered by bending plastic utensils, was a question that bewildered me last time i was in the USA and it was no clearer now.

There was a certain symmetry to it.  A yogurt like pot whose content were quite the brightest pinkest colour.  It appear as the newest inadvertent thing to emerge from the basement of Sizewell B and could be had alongside thin wafers of cinnamon sprinkled plastic, the local take on cereal.  Im not a breakfast person but this whole approach to the morning seemed a little unnecessary, causing as it did such existential questions to arise about what it meant that we had come to this, how had we gotten here and was there anything that could yet be done… its all very early for that kind of thing.

To a friendly shout of – you be safe out there – from the reception desk we headed out on our toll road avoiding drive on to Pittsburgh.

Buffalo to Pittsburgh Google Map

I was on some sort of rogue hair left in hotel toilets role .. only this probably wasn’t it was so fibrous and ample in its thickness, it probably shouldn’t be hair.   It was more front and centre and dryer than the offering in Bangkok, looking back at me as i opened the door, primary it was a matter of relief that is hadn’t sought to scuttle off as i pushed the toilet door open.  That would have freaked me out, it was too big to be the sort of thing you’d want to have scuttling around unchecked in either your room or your toilet space.

Suspension Bridge Pittsburgh

The hotel was no tin the right part of town to readily get access to the city centre.  It was across the water and behind something of substantial hill.  Thankfully the hotel operated a complimentary shuttle service. The next one was due to leave about 20 minutes after we arrived, so we headed upstairs to dump of the bags and collect up what might be needed to go an explore Pittsburgh.

The driver was a very friendly chap, with the sort of sense of humour i was more accustomed to associating  with our fellow Europeans. A sort of deadpan sarcasm which did not get in the way of his effusive welcome and introduction to his home city.   He beckoned me with my Camera wielding to the front of the mini-bus.  The part of the city we stayed in headed toward the city via a tunnel which would open up directly onto the river bridges that were to then carry us across to the city centre.  He was clear this was quite the good and unusual view.  He was not wrong, though it was quite fleeting and my photography skills failed to do it any kind of real justice.  As you emerge from the tunnel you are directly on a large suspension bridge looking across at  Pittsburgh sky line.

We were dropped in a central square and told we could summon a collection whether we were ready – which was all very handy.

Autumnal hillside PittsburghPittsburgh StreetsYellow Suspension Bridge PittsburghPittsburgh skyline bridges and riverBaseball Stadium Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh had not been on our original plan – a fact id had to explain to our driver when he’d thanked us for visiting and explained how often it was over looked by foreign travellers.  It had though only made its way onto the itinerary because it served as a reasonably logical pause point on our way to Washington, the first of the properly planned stops.  That said this was a city well worth the stopping.  We would only be there for that half day and some small part of the following morning, but it was a relatively small city and as such we’d found ourselves quite able to explore much of the central part by walking around it.

Street Lights Pittsburgh NightNight PittsburghNight Pittsburgh Lights and ArchwayIce hockey Statue PittsburghSports Bar Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh – Well Worth The Visit, Probably Best To Take In The Ice Hockey While Here, They Seem To Be Going Through A Recant Spate Of Success & Are Probably It Seems Quite Good At It. Solid Place For Some Views, Some Ice Hockey and A Brief Stop Off.. Probably Too Small For Much More Than A Weekend Visit However.


Potentially Related Links:

Facts About Pittsburgh

Catch Up Roadtrip 2 [2017] : Canada & USA – Toronto To Buffalo

Thameslink broken ticket machinesMore Thameslink out fo service ticket machines

In 2017 – about nine months in advance of the infamous new timetable unravelling of 2018 the life challenged people of Govia Thameslink picked up and walked off with their ticket machines in one swift and orchestrated manoeuvre.  In their place they deposited a range of newer far more shinny machines whose function was to provide a small square illumination from their display screens.  Sometime partly dimmed by the words out of service but equally frequently completely unhindered by any such purposeful demands being placed upon them.  They were poor torches, the illuminated screens were too high to shed light upon the floor and had no where near the power necessary for the light to beam out through the darkness.   Sometimes, on the rarest of occasions the revealed their true purpose, offering the names of station and purporting to sell tickets – such outlandish claims could be swiftly dealt with simply by selecting one of these stations.. At which point the ineffective torch would quickly revert back to its true form, the not entirely glorious beam of the blank screen.

Travel then was ticket free into London – which isnt the bonus it might seem to be, given a ticket would still be needed for the London to Gatwick bit.. In London there would be barriers to contend with.  The ticket machines at St.Pancras had not gone with the blank screen, they were among those upgraded few that actually mustered an out of service message.

London St Pancras Thameslink Platform

In one little corner of St Pancras a surviving cluster of the big old square ticket machines of before had survived.  They were in many ways less fetching than their replacement, big, imposing, brightest blue with an air of the rescued east German functional but with the layers of domestically formed grime that came with their years of service.  They did however have one thing over their replacements and it was a fairly key thing … So with tickets now in hand baggage could flow with us through the barriers and onto the platform.

Book Gatwick Airport Shop Five Escape Brexit Island

Air Transat In flight Gatwick Toronto

With the excess time available at Gatwick i happened to do some research on our airline – Air Transat – which turned out to be fortunate.  What i learned was that their flights from London to Toronto dont come with entertainment systems on each seat. Instead they have an on board entertainment system which can be accessed via apps on the passengers own devices.  A prerequisites for this being that you have an appropriate device to hand and have taken it upon yourself to take the somewhat unusual step of downloading this app.  Hasty efforts to get this in place were worth while, the connection on the flight didnt allow for adding the app, only for using it.. So i was fortunate and pleased to have taken these steps.  It wasn’t a vast array of movie options but it was something, there were municipal screens on board but sight of them was something that was limited to around 2 seats in every 9..  I was not to find myself the occupant of one of those 2.

Route Map Toronto to Buffalo

The route to the hire car was a more complicated one than envisaged.  There was the terminal train, the car hire telephone to arrange collection and then the waiting for the collection in a the thin but marijuana soaked air.

This though was not to be the challenge, that came at the point of collection.  It was our second road trip of the year having migrated our way along the Spanish and Portuguese coasts in the early spring.  It was now November but the knowledge of that past trip was not entirely lost.  The car had been hired with unlimited mileage and with no warning about limitations on crossing boarders.

An array of additional charges that resided in the small print but that had no part of the booking process.  It was looking like it was going to be a battle over charges until we clarified the nature of the mileage of the trip (some rough estimates using google maps). The “unlimited mileage” couldn’t even be extended to cover those kilometres, were we so willing,  by the purchasing of those add-ons.. This while generating some immediate stresses in the form of  last minute re-planning, did mean that the debating and haggling aspect was not going to be a thing.

A bus was leaving for Buffalo from Toronto later that evening, once in Buffalo a car could be collected.. that was an option.. what would we have done were there no internet? ..  The guy behind the counter advised us that he thought AVIS would provide cars with cross border coverage along with unlimited mileage.. For budgetary reasons it would mean downsizing the vehicle, no plush north american comfort and still spending more.. but compared to being stranded at point 1 of our trip, this seemed like the best option.

A compact vehicle of some description would be waiting for us – back into the transfer mini-bus, through the scented marijuana cloud onto the terminal train … hunt down AVIS counter.. it was there somewhere, there were signs.  Signs that were there until they weren’t.. we walked back, yep the signs were there and … no .. then no .. the signs were gone and no sign of a counter.  Starbucks people, would have to be approached for some local knowledge..

Boston Pizza Sports Bar Restaurant

It was a VW Golf estate – AVIS and the other car hire companies were not in the terminal, which explained our not having found them in there.   It was all secreted on the ground floor of the multistory that stood opposite the terminal.

After some mis-steps leaving the airport, some stopping, a discussion with pointing, some more stopping and a then rotating of the navigational duties, directionally we’d found our way onto the route.  With things now going reasonably smoothly, hunger and lethargy sneaking in, we stopped off at some bright lights.  An assortment of signs that spelt out a small range of unfamiliar establishments.  Boston Pizza has the brightest lights what more it had bright TV lights shining out on the inside, it won this display of the Bowerbirds.

A rational of selection that won out through knowing nothing about any of the options that were around us.  The weakness of this selection criteria revealed itself in that which emerged from the kitchen.  The Pizza that i had wasn’t too bad, it was the sort of standard that you could expect from a superior standard home bake oven pizza, the pasta ought to see the Italians take action for abuse against of their nations proudest offerings.  If we can protect our cheeses and pies and the french can protect the name of their particular form of fizzy white wine then the Italians ought to be able to do something to prevent that which was getting banded about here inheriting the good name of pasta dishes.  There was an oddly fatty white sauce involved, something akin to mayonnaise or salad cream, only not … so heavy .. and not warm, even a standard house bulb can summon up more heat than had been absorbed by this offering, a cold, stodgy, bland gluepe of a thing .. so if your going to Boston pizza, be sure to order no pasta there, yes if your going to Boston pizza – dont be Italian, it will hurt you in your heart places (beyond the fatty deposits those odd choices of sauce will be offering up)

Having been up for quite some time fatigue had me, i was glad to not be driving and without such duties i was free to have a pint, a nice cold pint as the shroud of post tired tiredness sunk over me,


Potentially related links:

Telegraph – Best and Worst Airlines

Catch Up China 4: A Holiday After Working – Beijing [2017]






































I returned to Beijing for the last few days in China.  Having initially taken to Shanghai my second visit to Beijing swayed my attentions.  Clearly it did not diminish Shanghai, which remained more compact, clean and still had that intangible sense off somehow being friendly.  What it did do was point out how much more Beijing had to offer among its sprawl.

Different areas with changing characteristics, the large parks and their substantial lakes (entrance fees applied but they are hardly prohibitively expensive nor are they inflated for foreign tourists.

The forbidden city is not so easy to access, attempts were made but they were attempts that were not supported by research and in this instance there are regular demand issues, excessive demand for gaining access entrance vs the permitted number of people to wonder about there in.  So you need to get in early and get yourself a ticket if you want to be making your entrance.  Personally, not a morning person and learnt this issues about getting hold of tickets a good hour or more after the last of the tickets had been sold… Aim to be early if you really want to to get in – i went and saw some parks instead and enjoyed my days more than well enough.. It was warm, travelling with water and replenishing that water from some of the street side stores a good and necessary idea.


Potentially related links:

16 must dos at Beijings summer palace

Forbidden city blog post

Forbidden city limit daily visitors

Beijing Parks

Forbidden City In Lego

Popular Tourist Scams

Catch Up China 2: A Holiday After Working – Shanghai [2017]

Leaving Beijing:





View From The Radisson blu shanghai – it has a circular Panoramic top bit, its a restaurant but the friendly staff let us wonder around in there – it was quiet, a none dinning hour of the day which may have been a helping factor



Night Times and The Dancing In The Street




If i wrote this at the time i would probably suggest Shanghai was my favourite city on this mini break quick fire round of stop offs.  Though i wouldn’t have known why, it was something about the sense of the place, a comfortable something.  I dont think it can be the large river and a nostalgic reminder of the close to home Thames river, quite a lot of large cities come complete with a water feature, be it a lake or a river.  I haven’t noticed this bringing back thoughts of either London or Zurich and so unjustifiably raising them up above all other, none water feature having, cities.  So it was something else.  It was discernibly more compact than the sprawl of Beijing, with a definite sense of a centre.  It was cleaner and newer than Beijing or at least this more compacted central part that i was frequenting was.

Shanghai was the only city during my trip to China that felt like it could become home.  The substantive issues of language,work and the sweltering heat placed to one side, Shanghai felt like one of those places people are relatively fortunate if they get to call it home.  Who knows if that’s true, probably people who go on to spend more than just 3 days there.  There was nothing notable that was visited or seen white there.

There is the bund – the riverside bit where most of the views of the high up sky line can be taken in. There was also an Old Shanghai Street Market bit, that ended up being walked to (the benefit of being more compact was the ability to practically explore by foot).  I had a McDonalds there, wasn’t feeling adventurous at the time, aside from that there were some older looking buildings, though it all rather had the air of something Disney might have done.. A sort of mock old.. perhaps it had all just been maintained or renovated too well.  There were little parks dotted about where shade and resting up could be sought out on a bench beneath a tree that was casting its shadow in the right direction.  Generally i would describe it as an off mix of nothing so much to see but well worth experiencing.


Potentially Related Link:

Someone who knows more (something) about Shanghai and took some pictures

Other people come here and feel the need to write about it in a public forum

Catch Up : Nan Chang 2 .. The Eventual Return [2017]

“How are you enjoying it?” – was the question posted on social media as my time in Nan-Chang came it end.

The question came from someone id not seen in the actual world for some time.  As a result i lacked clarity on the level of appreciation that existed.. Perhaps people thought id gone on tour?  My – you’re not in the shire any more – social updates, the ones that had instigated this question, had a back drop which had probably not been overly shared..  Random semi incoherent utterings over recant months, if people had the energy and wrong minded inclination to spend their time sifting it out.

In shorter terms than those above, i responded with something that approximates an answer and historic back fill:

“Its not been a holiday so it in terms of enjoyment… when you’re here for the incompetence of people and in job for a company you’ve so long wanted nothing to do with .. it could have been really shit and it really wasn’t”

“China is probably a 6.5/10 place reduced by at least 1 for the excessive and most unnecessary abundance of heat humidity combinations.. but the Chinese are probably an 8 or maybe more .. an untrue generalisation on any peoples but in a place as vast and people rich as this i imagine quite nonsensical indeed – yet as odd as it can seem .. all people are odd and the odd that they have here seems in so many ways preferable to the odd elsewhere – i will miss the Chinese and the way of things here when its far away i suspect – having been able to appreciate its presence .. enjoyed i don’t know, but appreciated and missed when absent i think so”

How is that you score a country or a whole people, what does that even mean? not only are there so many different parts (people / areas etc) but what are they being scored on and why … nope that all ok .. they are an 8, say no more, job done and thats out of 10 by the way – if you weren’t clear ..

This came 2 months after i’d arrived in China 2 months or slightly more than 7 weeks in Nan Chang that had included a fair bit of ritualised office going, just as it would in the UK with work but in terms of my existence to that point this is where routine ended.  This is not to suggest the trip had been in any way remarkable to this point, it had not but to say it was routine or somehow the norm, well i’d worked up in Liverpool for a while once but this wasn’t that… so no it was definitively different / not ritual or routine.


The not full flight to Dubai and its generous stretching out opportunity and conundrum – to stretch is too sleep, too sleep is to not watch the movies and have the drinks .. Long Haul Flights are to be savoured, sleeping negates savouring, it is sleep and it doesn’t belong or owe allegiance to whichever surround  that houses it

My previous trip to china had when viewed against its purpose been a success, the project had not been put back on course, that was never likely, but we’d had an honest and considered reflection on where we were, how much remained as well as the time and other things required to achieve it.

It wasnt an answer many would have welcomed and they didnt but it was at its heart an honest and more importantly worked through view, based on a considered though still optimistic deconstruction of what remained.  I had returned to the UK with Cambodia holidays in mind and a faint wiff of disembodied hope wafting accidentally in the wind.

It did not last by the time id returned from the Thailand (the post Cambodia part of that holiday) the feedback and corresponding plan had been thrown out.  The UK team has again come back with some 5 week plan that they’d made up an we (the owner of my employer) had taken that because it sounded a whole lot better than 10-14… and we liked things that sounded a whole lot better, even if they came with no substantiation, from a source that had evidently never yet been correct and had neither the means nor inclination to be so.

One other pre-requiest for the project getting back on track was stated and then stated again on each call i had with China that i needed to go out there.  Again no action was taken.  Instead a return to the threats from us and vast distortions (i dont say lies because it was somehow not this, it was a complete disconnect with the truth to a point far beyond delusion) it was odd but mostly infuriating.

This went on with early morning calls UK time meeting evening call China time.. Their UK affiliate telling our owner there were 4 people dedicated and working on our project as a prioity, while the China team told me they had been told to work on other projects but we’d had 1 person looking at something… or similar such updates.. Either way i was going nowhere and the project, now a further 6 weeks later had not moved an inch.

I resigned – I resigned while on holiday in Spain or Portugal… while using up some more of my stock piled holiday.  Two ego-fantasists arguing but bot arguing in a joint fantasy world was pointless.  I contacted China and asked if they would accept my assistance if i came as me and not an employee.  There were two issues at stake, this was 1.5 years worth of work, my work that was being flushed .. second it was a piece of work on which 4 peoples jobs were dependant.  .. Either it was up by July or the project was to be cancelled and peoples jobs.. it had been strongly intimated to me, they were at risk- it was already early May at that time and many of those 10-12 weeks has already been wasted.  Third – doing this meant a level of cost but would be far easier to explain if it came up in looking at other jobs, which it almost certainly would.

This act of resigning and seeking to make my own way to china had the unforeseen consequence of forcing the issue – rather than resigning and heading to China as a free agent, an agreement was reached that i would go under the companies flag.. Cheaper for me, flights and accommodation .. on the flip side i would not yet escape my shackle to their collective world, a dystopian feeling mash up somewhere between ‘cool world’ and the drunk dumbo dream sequence , id never much cared for.

the fact this version is in a language that is only passingly familiar inadvertently makes it more apt to the time.

With the plan from March suggesting an August delivery and with it now being the beginning of June i set out to China, with no real belief in anything other than my desire to negate the regret of not at least trying.  I may have been at the end of my role but others still wanted their jobs … id hired them, put them in this position..  You can fail, i thought i would probably be okay with failing given how hampered we’d been, but only if there was the knowledge of having properly tried.  If they lost their jobs, having shrugged and walked off, i think i have left future me with some things to think on he’d rather then present me hadn’t.

While this is my Flat –  some small part of this on one of the almost top but not quite floors. Many buttons in the lift, it was pretty tall but not notably so, pretty standard sort of height in China.  I was on the 20 somethingest floor.


It came with a gate door to protect its actual door.. Most flats didnt have this, mine did – i wouldnt say it would be one of those install this to add value to your property things they tell you about on Channel 4 .. First impressions pass quickly enough but it makes one.


Life in the flat had one memorable challenge which stand up to memory erosion.  It was sleep and achieving it.  The bed was entirely solid, there as a mattress but someone it was formed of a substances that was harder than the floor itself.  If this seems like an improbable exaggeration, well then …maybe..  seems like one .. but i did end up opting to move myself and my sleeping bad to facilitate an attempt at sleeping on the kitchen floor through the pursuit of greater comfort.  Whats more it worked.   I was not unfamiliar with the concept of the unnaturally solid mattress having been first introduced to it during 3 months in Nepal.  As then, i grew accustomed to it, at least most of me did, my back maintained reservations and expressed them to me at the beginning of each day as i tried to get up.  I found a rolling technique helped overcome this.  Legs drooping over the edge,toes seeking to fish out some floor.

The other issue that stood between me was the air con.. It brought the cold or rather the sort of temperature that didnt torment a person to perpetual consciousness.  It made noise in its efforts, not persistently but in disruptive fits and starts.  It had a night mode  id been introduced to on moving in, a button on the remote id subsequently all but immediately lost track off and rediscovered only by after some mass button pushing.  A mass pushing that id failed to conduct in an orderly fashion and so again lost track of which button id struck upon to achieve this.  Eventually however the secret of the night mode became known to me.  Oddly thought the night mode did nothing about the temperature display, its neon blue light shining so much brighter than ever seemed possible during the day.  At least no ships would inadvertently breach the river banks travel a few miles across land and strike the block of flats in the night time.

I tried sleeping with shades .. it was not an run away success

I tried the hood on my sleeping bag, turning the sleeping bag upside down to covert the hood into a face cover.. it was a little more successful ..

Shopping presented challenges on any packed items where ambiguity over the contents became a possibility.. My first pensive effort to secure milk for the purposes of tea was testament to that. This was not that effort, the milk that wasn’t came in a carton that very much resembled what used to come around on trolleys at school .. what was in it was white but it was gluepy in a border line yogurt way but it wasn’t yogurt, im pretty confident it wasn’t a for m of off milk as it was sort of sweet. least the very small amount i placed on the tip of my tongue as an effort at hesitant effort at investigating seemed like it probably was. This looked like a garlic and chilli sauce. it even came with English words “No 1 Hot Sauce” – it was not lying .. i dont know what the number 1 was scored on but it was hot – if not mixed and used in district moderation, it was an inedible stomach infuriating concoction.. still I bought it again when it was used up.. it had that key benefit of knowing what it was

The 10 minute walk to work exited in two forms.. the June form which was grey, overcast and occasionally torrentially wet.  It made for some muddy pathways across this short cut.  The july form of the trip existed in burning heat that meant any freshness of person and clothing that had been attempted in the flat was a thing of distant history by the time of arriving at the office.  Walking to work involved a wonder through the flats in the background of the shot below.  The local inhabitants were mostly about, sat around outside, in the morning some among them would look to greet with their preferred turn of English phrase – How are you? – or just hello .. it nice to find yourself so greeted into the day.  In the evenings as the weather grew dryer and warmer, groups of women clustered around what wasn’t really a ghetto blaster, but another form of portable music box, and they danced.


Work Offices

The Injoy Shopping Centre – NanChang, a very local convenience.

By The Nan Chang River:


The river bank at Nanchang turns into a giant display at night. Sky scrappers as far as you can see along both banks act as giant screen with animations and other context free things shine out.  Id live amongst this the first time i was here (for the 5 day initial visit in March) and came back once this second time.

One of the developers had taken it upon himself to invite other out for some games of pool.  This is not my game but being terrible at pool in a public arena is something life has taught me to be accustomed to, the invite was very welcome as thing to fill part of a none working weekend.  As evening came we headed toward the river to watch the show in the form of the music and fountains, water display.

There were also funfair rides – they were not Alton Towers – but the sense of readily appreciated fun that imbued my hosts, it was a little infectious.

Back at the flat:


and a good few weeks in – the discovery by inadvertent button pushing that one of those buttons switched off the air con illuminations …and so it was that sleep gradually became that more readily achieved thing that would be there to greet me at the end of the days.

Wondering About:



A more premium priced store existed by the river – it had European products..  Cereal and Milk came from here .. Milk meant Tea and the ability to make use of that big old pack of Tetley that had travelled with me.



Another developer invited me to football..I had no football boots here, they were not among the things id packed, just the plimsolls i wondered about in, no shin pads and no socks… given the position i play shin pads do rather matter.  Not about to decline mind, love football, hadn’t played for over a year and not done much in the way of surrogate exercise.   I was offered some shoes but then i realise they weren’t spares they were actually someone eles game shoes -so generous and not okay – also i realised this while trying to get my foot into them, they didn’t want to, the size was not a UK size.

Still so warm.  It was an 8 o’clock kick off, the night 8 o’clock and it was dark but the temperature didn’t rely on the sun to sustain itself.

The lack of sock was a problem – the astro removing a fair chunk of skin, just an outer layer .. this despite barley moving past a wonder, shuffle to a jog ..  It was as well that time had already seen me move gradually to playing centre back, if id actually had to play in the midfield i might not have made it. .. i was regularly dizzy as it was .. still im not sure id enjoyed myself as much in good long time.  3 weeks of football in China. i even bought socks and astro shoes

The skin wound that would normally have healed in 2 days or so – at least forming a crust and being done.. did not do this in China. Instead it somewhat unpleasantly seeped oozed for weeks.

The local players seemed politely unfamiliar with the European .. actually more UK defending … a lot movement (even more impressive give nature was doing all it surely could to put an end to any idea of mobility) and short passing.  A collection of central midfielders with a reasonably solid sense of team play, certainly  far more that you would see among men in the UK, though less so with womens football which tends to exhibit more of this, in my experience.  The agricultural clearance when under pressure has now been firmly introduced, whether it will become a popular move and spread though out the land, we shall have to wait to see.

Coming To It End:


Regular Dinner Offering From Local Restaurant


Bottling The Water – They Need To Do Something About This .. Plastic Problem – It mounts up


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About Nan Chang

Star of Nanchang, Ferris Wheel

Roadtrip 1 [2017] : Portugal – Albufeira

Spain – Portugal (day 5)

Between the discovery that the rain in Spain falls mainly on the Seville and a choice of hotel that was very much not central (requiring a fair bus voyage to escape the uneventful residential area where we found ourselves) – thoughts were turned to redrafting the plan for the second day.  Checks were done on the Weather In Portugal ..  The Weather was heading West but hadnt by all accounts made it there just yet, the opportunity to attempt to get ahead of it and add a day to Portugal seemed like one worth taking..  Back in the car and leaving Seville behind, a city that probably deserved longer but on a different day, with climactic conditions that were more enticing for heading out.

Service Area Road To PortugalInside Service Area On Road To Portugal

Spain Cup Of Tea
Its A Cup Of Tea

As the road that didn’t have a tall accidentally went and became the road that did have tolls we conducted an emergency scurrying off before the tolls set about mounting.

Google Map Portugal South Coast Toll Road

Hotel Pool and Seating Area

Swimming Pool Rules Sign
Disposable Swimpants Are Compulsory – Well..

Hotel Villa Petra and Pool

Albufeira Portugal Town and Beach


albufeira town and beach by night

Roadtrip 1 [2017] : Seville .. City Of The Eternal UEFA Cup

Spain – Portugal (day 4)






While we sat drinking a better quality of Sangria than the hush puppy Sangria discovery that had been revealed to us in Cadiz, the bull fighting came on.  It was on all the TVs and it was pretty hard to miss.  I had no interest in it, certainly no desire to see it but also no desire to judge whatever rational had allowed such a thing to persist in Europe in 2017.

But there it was in front of us and there could be no hiding what it was – an honour less, abhorrent disgrace of thing that case all those who were in attendance and choosing to whatch this on their TVs in an unrelentingly poor light.  Some part hopes that it will show itself to have something of a redeeming feature, it did not.

Notes From the time:

“Bull fighting is a disgrace .. cultural imperialism nothing – it’s barbaric & shameful. On the tv here – tormenting, exhausting and then killing slowly – Spain’s cultural right. wanting some superior alien types to pop down round up some Spanish people, goad them before a large disorientating audience and then bleed them out to their slow exhausted death.

Anyone operating under the illusion it’s a skill or man against beast contest.. watch it – just once – it’s multiple men exhausting one beast until it’s too tired and bled out then the guy comes on .. when it’s already done in to much applause .. hoping for a colour blind bull and a matador dressed in finest green”


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Building In Seville

Traveller Information

48 Hours In Seville – Things To Do