Disconnections, missed connections

5 September 2010

So up until Friday I didn’t know what my plans were. Actually, no, I knew some of them. My partner’s mother is visiting from overseas, and they’re traveling from London to Italy and spending a week and a half traveling around. Nothing more beautiful than September in Rome. At the end of September they’re heading to Venice for the weekend where I agreed to join them.

But of course, with starting a new job, I had no idea what was in the diary. Then I discover, the Thursday I’m going to join them in Venice, I have meetings in both Brussels and Edinburgh. Of course the first task is to work out which I’m going to (easier said than done). (I’ve now decided).

But you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to get between the two. There are no direct trains (my preferred means of transportation) from Brussels. I could get an overnight train via Paris and Milan for £200 however. Or fly Ryanair for £30.

I hate Ryanair. Yes, they get you from A – B yada yada yada – and they’re cheap. I can cope with cheap. I can cope with all their extra charges. But what I can’t cope with is the fact that they purposely make the whole experience as unpleasurable as possibly. From their garish clunky website to the INYOURFACEYELLOW on the plane itself (I’m saying nothing about the overlyabrupt cabin crew). I’d really rather not arrive at my destination angry and irritated by the experience of getting there.

Anyway, that’s all irrelevant now as I’m actually going from Edinburgh. And could have gotten from Edinburgh to Venice on an appropriately timed flight (arriving that night, not changing at Heathrow overnight) with Lufthansa… but for £650 (£230 single). How can it cost so much more than a return to go one way? The £230 of course isn’t too bad. But as I have to get back to London it’s a waste of money and a seat.

Anyway, I’ve now resolved the problem. Increasing my carbon footprint, and tiredness in the process, by traveling back to London and catching an early morning flight the following day. Oh and missing out on most of a day’s holiday.

In an uber-connected world easy to forget that getting from A to B isn’t easy. And I’m lucky – I have the resources to do it.

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Lies, Damn Lies and Luxembourg

25 August 2010

I was reading about Luxembourg this morning.

That source of all knowledge Wikipedia had some amazing information on the country (Michael Scott, the David Brent of the American Office once said that because anybody can contribute to Wikipedia you know you’re getting the best possible information). It’s an unusual country, it is the world’s only remaining sovereign Grand Duchy, and it’s landlocked position provides a strange statistical quirk.

"Luxembourg consumes the most alcohol in Europe per capita. However, the large proportion of alcohol purchase by customers from neighboring countries contributes to the statistically high level of alcohol consumption per capita; this level of consumption is thus not representative of the actual alcohol consumption of the Luxembourg population."

Fascinating, eh?


Exploring Catalonia

19 July 2010

We’re off to Barcelona today. Well, flying to Barcelona, staying in Sitges and Barcelona, then exploring Catalonia by car. Building on my love of maps I decided to try and map the holiday. Click here to see the full itinerary.


Pasty white boy…

19 July 2010

…going on holiday to Barcelona in mid-June? I’d better pack protection!


Photoblog: King’s Cross, the other side

29 April 2010

Last weekend I visited some of the King’s Cross Reveal Festival. I didn’t have many chances to take photos but I thought I should blog some of my photos: the other side of King’s Cross.

Camley Street Natural Park is one of the most unusual and unexpected finds in London. A miniature wildlife oasis in the heart of one of London’s largest regeneration projects – an area historically associated with deprivation and prostitution that it now London’s gateway to Europe. The famous King’s Cross gasholders – a landmark in their own right with a history and a future – remain a part of the area’s landscape. And London’s famous Brunswick Centre


A la carte

25 September 2009

I’m writing from the departure lounge at St Pancras station waiting for the 16:25 departure to Paris. A while ago my partner realised he would be working in the South East of England on Friday and Monday either side of this weekend. We originally contemplated a weekend in Canterbury. But then quickly realised it’d be just as cheap to pop under the Channel to Paris for a short weekend break (as Bridget Jones put it: A Mini-Break means true love). With the help of my Nectar Card my return ticket cost me just £50, and my partner will join the train at Ashford. So what’s the plan for Paris? primarilly to sit in cafes, drink coffee, eat croisants and soak up a bit of Parisian autum. What more could a boy want from this Indian summer?


Rainy Days and Mondays…

8 June 2009

…always get me down, The Carpenters used to sing. I am not sure that’s what Channel 4 were thinking about when they commissioned their latest sculpture I saw outside their offices on Horseferry Road today, Monday.

The impressive sculpture, replicating the Channel’s idents, featuring a “you couldn’t tell from a different angle it’s a digit” gigantic Number 4’s, is made up entirely of umbrellas.

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I did see that today’s Sun (or possibly Mirror) headline could have better referred today to Rainy Days and Mondays, being “countbrown” (referring to Gordon Brown’s expected relatively limited time left as Prime Minister. However I was disappointed that, especially after the European elections caused a further crisis for the PM they didn’t go the whole hog and recall Europe’s “The FINAL Countbrown”!

I cannot write much about politics these days, but couldn’t pass by the fact that not only did the Centre Right increase their control over the European Parliament, but also that the British National Part got two seats from the UK. The blogospehere’s now alive with shock, but perhaps we are the more politically enlightened who express our opinions online. And much has been blamed, particularly the Proportional Representation system which gives more ability for smaller parties to get into parliaments than the traditional British “First Past the Post” system. But the BNP seats say a lot about the attitude of the British public, increasing dissatisfaction of the white working class and, in some ways, are a successful result of a democratic system, albeit one where people have been so dissatisfied with Politics that they are apathetic to voting.

Proportional Representation also gave the Greens an increase in their UK vote, and gave two seats to the BNP. (An interesting aside: some countries (mostly smaller European countries) split their vote nationally, rather than by region. If the UK vote was split nationally it would look like this). But, whatever you think of them, it shows how the system can work for the smaller parties. The next task is re-enfranchising people with politics so they vote.


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