Why I Could Never Be A Travel Blogger

adelaideLoving every moment of being here with Goldfinch. So glad I am finally here! I have been taking lots of photos and writing own little thoughts in my notebook to formulate into posts later. I wonder if anyone is thinking, “COME ON CARAMEL…WHERE ARE THE HOLIDAY PHOTOS? WE WANT TO SEE ADELAIDE!” Or maybe that thought is about as far from your mind as I am from London right now. 10,100 miles away!!!

adelaide beach.jpgWell, I regret to tell you I think they are going to have to wait until I am back in England.  I will need to blue-tooth them to my laptop and then create posts with the photos. I am a bit of a technophobe at the best of times, and I cannot figure out how to create a post on my tablet with photos on my tablet. I am sure there is a way…but it is beyond me!

On three occasions in recent weeks I had to explain what a Luddite was to staff who were trying to advise me on “issues” with my phone and my laptop. Two were PC World advisers and one was a Vodafone adviser. They had never heard of the term “Luddite”. When I explained who the original Luddites were, I then had to reassure them that when I called myself a Luddite I was joking, I don’t actually try to destroy technology…it’s never in anger, but always an accident when I drown, drop or destroy by other means my electronic devices.

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Trying To Make The Waiting Time Go Faster

While clock watching and waiting for the minutes to pass before my journey to Heathrow and then on to Adelaide, I noticed the prompts for today from Teresa, aka The Haunted Wordsmith:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/06/10/prompts-june-10/

Prompt A (song challenge): Pick your favourite song/video

My favourites change all the time. But right now I am thinking of my reunion with Goldfinch so this song is whirling around my head. If you have never heard it…it starts slow, but then wham big bold chorus!!! You don’t need to look at all the kissy pictures in the video.

Prompt C (photo):

forrest1.jpg
Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

It has been a long time since I travelled. The last time I flew anywhere, it was to Germany, but that must be seven or eight years ago. In my twenties I did a lot of travelling. I have also been to Belgium, France, Ghana, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, USA and I can’t remember where else right now.

sailingI always loved travelling, but it can be expensive. And I also wished there was more time. I would love to have time to visit every land properly. Really get to know the people, the culture, the music, the cuisine. I have always said my dream was to build a boat and to sail as slowly as possible around the earth, getting to know my human family along the way.

on the shoreIn boarding a plane to travel to the opposite side of the planet in twenty-three hours think of all that I am missing! All the mountains, and forests and lakes I will be flying over. All of the beautiful people and animals that will be living their lives down on the ground below me. There is a part of me that begrudges the speed of air travel. I would love to let my feet touch the shore of all the lands I shall be passing over – but with the man I love.

sailing1Right now, only one man in the world matters. But I would love to live forever with him. And at some point to build a boat together and then to sail around the world as slowly as possible exploring this amazing planet and getting to know our fellow human family members.

Well, first things first…let’s arrive safely in Adelaide first of all, shall we!

I Give Up!!!

too muchIt’s been a very busy week so far…and I am finding I have not had chance to concentrate on some of the posts in my drafts folder I wanted to finish off before my travels.

This post is just to explain that I have started a number of posts which are nominations from other lovely bloggers for awards and challenges. I love these posts, but as you all know, they do take a while. I want to do them justice as it were. So I have decided I just can’t do them before I go away to Australia.

They are going to have to sit safely in my drafts folder until I am back. Then I shall make sure I spend some quality time on them.

happyVery soon I will be heading far far away! 10,100 miles away! The opposite side of the planet! The land down under! Australia! You may already be fed up with hearing this over and over. Don’t worry, I will leave it there for now.

I have scheduled a post for every day before I travel…and then I am re-publishing most of my Goldfinch posts. So if you have seen them before, you can skip them, or if you are curious, they tell the story of the lovely year I had last year with Goldfinch.

Isn’t it exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still can’t believe I am going! Six months after Goldfinch left England, I am on my way to Australia! Thank you thank you thank you for all of your wonderful comments and well-wishes. It is so heart-warming.

Go Nadiya!

family TVI think I have mentioned that I did not have a television for about ten years. After a ten year break from television, most of what seemed to be broadcast seemed astoundingly awful. After I left hospital, I went up north to stay with family to recover from my injuries and the trauma of what had happened to me. When I was with my family I saw some television programmes they recommended including “The Great British Bake-Off”. I did like that.

nadiya.jpgI watched some of the series which was eventually won by Nadiya Hussain. When I was watching the episodes, I liked all of the contestants. But since she won the contest, I have loved the cooking programmes I have seen Nadiya involved in.

I found an episode on BBC i-player of a show where she visited Bangladesh, where her family are from. I love love loved it! I really like watching her, she has such an appealing personality. But it was just fascinating to see the people she met along her journey and have glimpses of their way of life. In all honesty I completely lost interest in the food part of the show, because it was the scenery and the people that caught my attention.

nadiya travellingI love our human family so much. I am grateful that the Beeb sent Nadiya and a television crew out to Bangladesh to show us more about our family. Our beautiful fascinating human family. Go Nadiya! Your cooking and travelling programmes are the best of television as far as I am concerned.

I don’t have a lot of spare time at the moment, but if I do have chance to relax on the sofa, I shall be searching through BBC i-payer for more Nadiya shows.

One Epic Day on The British Rail Network

I mentioned in another post that whilst working in Notting Hill I had caught my head on the underside of a sink and subsequently, bruises had appeared all down one side of my face. When I was attacked most of the injuries I had received were from blows directed at the same side of my head as the bruising. The incident at work aggravated my injuries. I was taken to hospital where I had a CT scan and was told I should rest for several weeks. So I had to go back up north to stay with family and recover. I wrote an e-mail to Stuart telling him about my journey:

I had to travel across the country after being told by staff in hospital that I needed to rest up. What a journey! I made my way up north and my sister Milly and her husband travelled down to London to collect my belongings from the house in Notting Hill where  had been living. I am so glad I did not have to drag a suitcase across the country with me. I was in a bad way. I made the journey confidant that if anything happened to me train staff or members of the public would call emergency services. Hours of wondering in my head “Are we nearly there yet?”

The most memorable events I will tell you of – read them at your leisure – this is just me prattling about people I crossed paths with.  The good, the not so good, and those I kind of hope I will never be stuck in a train carriage with again.  I will start with the worse and it will get better.

So starting with the tube journey on the way to catch a national train that would take me up to a hospital in the north.  I was sitting in a corner of the carriage.  A man boarded, he must have been in his forties.  He headed towards me and had the audacity to wink at me and blow me a kiss.  I turned away.  He plonked himself next to me.  Maybe ignoring him was a mistake because he then whispered into my ear “sexy”.  I just shook my head and turned away again.  He was quiet for a couple of minutes, but then nudged me and said ” sexy ” again.  I put my hand up and said “do you mind!” There were plenty of passengers so I felt safe.  But then a couple of minutes later he put his hand on my lap and said “sexy” again.  This time I jumped up and went to stand near the area for prams / wheelchairs.

coat.jpgAnnoying!!!!  Was he mocking me?  The thing is, I was wearing a knee length pencil skirt, woolly tights, flat court shoes, coat, scarf – all proper and modest nothing about my appearance suggesting I would be open to attention from a man on the prowl or an utter fruitcake.  Or maybe he just wanted my seat and was trying to get rid of me?

Annoying!  Maybe you are one of the many who have been made to feel super uncomfortable by a complete stranger presuming to behave inappropriately in a public setting.

Now I had to face the train journey across the country.  I had insisted I could undertake the train journey alone.  Several family members had kept insisting they would prefer to drive all the way down south and then take me up north in their car.  That seemed such a waste!

7.08am I boarded the train with a large flask of super strong coffee.  But a group of seven, all men accept for one brave girlfriend sat near me.  They were on their way to a footie match.  I overheard that they were planning sightseeing beforehand.  From the moment they sat down it was apparent that they were breakfasting on Foster’s lager.  One of them!!!!   In his twenties, vibrant ginger head, beard, very loud and prolific with his use of the most colourful language imaginable.  Sometimes I am shocked by the language people use in public, even when little children or the vintage generation who surely are deserving of more respect are present.

I was already nauseous, groggy and exhausted.  I knew he could make the journey a nightmare.  The conductor came to check our tickets.  I went over and said to this lad “excuse me, I really don’t mean to be rude, but would you be so kind as to make your language less colourful as it is still a bit early in the morning.” He asked me what I meant.  I said that if it had been evening and there were crowds heading out for a drink I would expect bad language but to hear so much swearing so early when I didn’t feel awake yet was exhausting.  Well he was very nice about it and apologised and his mates were lovely too.

It turned out he had been out drinking all night and had not even gone home to shower or change his clothes.  Nice!!!

So, he decided to include me in their chatter / banter for the rest of the journey.  Things improved slightly when a very cheery woman, who turned out to have been a police woman for almost ten years, sat next to me.

There was a very long queue for the toilet who were listening to the conversation between me and the police woman and the man who had not been home all night. The three of us seemed to be giving them some laughs.  Can you imagine?  Me…only conscious / remotely coherent due to the copious quantities of espresso I was pouring into myself.  He…giddy and running on adrenaline with hangover delirium and believing himself to be the on-board entertainment.  And our PC who was just ecstatic to be off-duty and determined to have a great day and chuckling at everything.

I don’t remember all of our conversations now.

I do remember him telling us he was single but open to meeting the woman of his dreams. Then he remarked maybe fate had lead us to being on the same train.

I remember telling him I was sure the vast majority of women would be attracted to a man with mud all over his trousers (hope it was mud) and who hadn’t washed or brushed his teeth and had Foster’s for breakfast.

His mates just laughed the whole journey.

Increasing my agonies was the severe delay to our train journey.  Someone had been throwing things at the trains from an overhead bridge.  There was some damage to one of the trains but also the overhead cables.  So, they had to remove the damaged train and turn the overhead wires off so that it was safe for some engineers could repair them.  No trains were able to move until the work was completed.  Everything was repaired within three hours, but that is a very long time to be trapped with someone who is totally repellent to you!

He was alright really, just ever so loud!  I was so grateful to get off the train.  Only I was horrified when he kissed me.  I told him to get off me.  Only he carried on kissing my hair.  I was pushing him away with my hands, but the fool tried to kiss me. I was outraged. His mates grabbed him.

Ay ay ay!!!!!

Then came another shorter train journey to my final destination. On the local little train there was an older lady, she was probably well into her eighties. She was wrapped up  well, but had no gloves and as I chatted with her I saw her rubbing and blowing into her red hands. Well, co-incidentally….I had forgotten my own gloves when I had left the house. When I was at the station waiting for the train and noticed how bitterly cold it was, I bought some gloves.  Only, the only pair I liked had a second pair attached. Two pairs for the price of one. So I pulled the brand new gloves out of my bag and handed them to her.  She was so pleased. She seemed to be crying tears of joy. It was lovely to end my journey chatting with a sweet gentle soul after all of the other trials of dealing with challenging passengers during my epic day on the British Rail Network.

I love having a little opportunity to be kind. Being kind is a wonderful way to achieve instant happiness. Whether you are on the bus, or train, or any other mode of transport, please be kind, be considerate, be patient and be lovely. Try not to harass or offend your fellow passengers.

 

Panic After A Pickle With A Portuguese Man

It was not only in the accommodation I was living in that I was having challenges that came from men who did not seem to realize how uncomfortable they made me. I published this post a while ago, but it describes an incident that occurred during the time I was in my first “tied-accommodation” post and facing almost daily harassment:

I had a little incident with a man today.  I was in a bit of a pickle and I panicked.  Now, I am wondering if I over-reacted, and I feel bad.  You can judge me…it’s alright.  I am aware that I did not handle the situation perfectly.

I had just jumped off the tube when a stranger brushed against me and then immediately apologized.  I replied, “No problem”.  As we came down the steps he was looking at me and smiling.  When we reached the end of the steps, he put his arm forward and touched my arm and said “this way”.  I was just a tiny bit freaked out.  He would not know why I have reason to react awkwardly to a stranger touching me.  I looked at him and clearly told him “no thanks”.  I very deliberately walked the opposite way straight into the newsagents within the station, WHSmith, even though I didn’t need to buy anything.

WHSmith

Once I was in WHSmith, I looked at a few items I sometimes pick up on my travels.  I decided there was no point buying anything right there and hoped now I could just carry on with my journey.  As I was leaving the shop, he was standing there in front of me.  I may have been imagining it, but he seemed to be watching me.  He smiled at me and said “Hi”.  I said “Hi” and walked out with a very quick pace.  He had not done anything terribly invasive, but for some reason, he had triggered my panic buttons.

I walked through the barriers and then did a U-turn to head up to the busiest part of the street even though that is not where I was headed.  I just needed to know there were other people around.  I had panic running up and down my spine telling me not to go anywhere isolated.  I was walking so quickly that my silly little shoes kept sliding off my feet.  He ran up beside me and he asked me if he could have some shelter under my umbrella.  I gave him a look which I thought said “not on your nelly!” which he did not seem to interpret correctly.  (Now I was starting to feel trapped).  He asked me to walk with him towards the bus station.  I told him I was going the opposite way.  He said that was fine, but he carried on walking with me.

portuguese tartsHe told me he is from Portugal and asked me if I had ever been and would I like to go.  (I have many Portuguese friends and know a few Portuguese expressions but did not tell him anything.  Even my sister Mandy has learnt enough Portuguese to have conversations about art and order a few pastéis de nata when we are in town together.  We even have Portuguese connections through marriage.  Our Helen married a very handsome Portuguese man and then when his best friend came over from Portugal for the wedding he met one of my best friends Laura…and it was happily ever after for them too.)  I was not liking the attention from a complete stranger so I did not respond to his questions.

He decided to ask me where I was from.  I said Liverpool – that is where I amUmbrella from, although I have not lived there for over ten years.  He then put one of his hands on my umbrella very firmly.  He asked my name.  I was starting to feel very threatened.  His grip on the handle of my umbrella was so strong.  (Maybe he wanted the umbrella and was not really interested in me.)

I told him that I knew he was just being friendly, but that I was not comfortable sharing any more information about myself, because he was a complete stranger.  When he objected, I just confirmed it was a no saying, “I don’t mean to be rude and please don’t take it personally, but this is the world we live in today”.  He told me that although we were strangers he would like to get to know me.  He asked if he could take me for something to drink or eat.  I cried “no thank you, I am headed to meet friends”.

He asked me if I was going shopping.  I was starting to get a bit frazzled.  He offered to hold my umbrella for us so I could rest my arm.  Again, I declined, “thank you but I am going inside now anyway.”  My umbrella has a button in the handle that pulls it in, so I clicked it.  He said he would like to talk to me until I met my friends and maybe we could go for a drink another time.  He then asked me my name again.  I felt like crying, “I am sorry, but I have told you I don’t feel comfortable simply because you are a stranger.”

I saw two security guards in big hi-vis yellow coats and ran towards them.  I didn’t say anything to them.  I just stood beside them until the man who had been walking with me backed off.

I know I have a very good reason to be nervous around men I don’t know…but do you think I was rude???  Do you think I over-reacted?

There is not much I can do about it now…I am just feeling a bit unkind.  Yet at the time I really wanted to get away from him and he did not seem to pick up on the vibes I was sending out.  I thought I was making it very clear that it was a no!  I was saying no and he was not listening.  He just made me feel more and more uncomfortable.

I know some women would not have minded, they perhaps would not have felt as threatened as I did.  It’s just after that night in the park, I have panic buttons I did not have before.  He triggered them all.  I ended up feeling like a hedgehog or porcupine with all my sharp needles bristling!  It is funny because my lovely Goldfinch was a complete stranger when I met him, but he did not make me feel uncomfortable.  He certainly did not trigger any of my panic buttons.  Aaaah, Goldfinch…I forgot I was going to tell you about the lovely day we had together on Wednesday.

I am not going to let myself brew on this one.  Perhaps the Portuguese stranger was a lovely man.  I did not feel comfortable though.  For whatever reason, I had every right to say “No thank you!”, just as I did with my workmate in “Icky Sticky”.

Hi-Vis

What a shame this is the world we live in.  I really don’t like feeling as if I have been rude to someone, but in this world, there are times when you have to be on the defence, cautious and you have to flee to a point of safety.  When you are in a pickle that makes you panic…just run to safety.  That is one of the reasons hi-vis jackets were created…for moments when a stranger crosses the line and we turn into damsels in distress.

(Thanks hi-vis jacket designers…these are my go-to whenever I have a panic moment!)

Travelling With Teresa

I really liked the look of Teresa’s questions for today, so I have thrown a post together quickly with my answers. I have to sleep now – another long day of work tomorrow and I need to pack my little suitcase before I travel to Wales.

Here is the original post with Teresa’s questions for today:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/12/22/queen-of-questions-dec-22/

Where is one place you love to go walking?

Oooooh, lots of places, so hard to choose one…here is a favourite I don’t think I have mentioned before.

Eskdale in the Lake District – I would head to Wastwater and climb Skafell Pike or Great Gable.

I love Eskdale…many camping trips and a lot of fell-walking with friends and family for many years.

Would you rather walk around: Disneyland, a city park, an art museum, or a natural landscape?

Probably I would say a natural landscape.

I am not sure why I even used the word “probably”! I would prefer to walk around a natural landscape over any of the other options, without a doubt.

I have never been to Disney land. There are some very nice parks here in London, St James Park is pretty, Hyde Park, Primrose Hill, Regents Park, Richmond Park, Hampstead Heath. I could walk round an art museum so long as it was not modern or abstract art, but if there were landscape paintings, I would enjoy it.

What is one thing you like to do that is within an hour’s drive of you?

Within one hour’s drive…

I like to visit Virginia Water to see the Punch bowl explode with colourful flowers.

The time to catch it is late spring.

You are taking off for a driving day trip…where do you go and what do you do?

Goldfinch has picked me up from Coventry Railway Station and driven me to various locations – usually National Trust Estates. Wonderful romantic days, walking hand in hand. We have either had a picnic in the summer or sought warmth inside and had some warmer food in a restaurant.

What songs are on your driving playlist?

I have never had my own car, so it is never my driving playlist. Most of my friends have fairly good music taste. Normally something like an acoustic album with various artists. Something easy going.

You have a plane ticket for anywhere in the world…where do you go?

Adelaide, Australia of course!

Did somebody just ask why?

Your flight is 22 hours…how do you pass the time?

I might check out the movie options to see if there is anything I would enjoy. There might be one.

The rest of the time I would probably be reading and writing. I often find myself chatting to fellow passengers. I can chat to almost anyone.

I am sure I would spend a while staring out of the window daydreaming as well.

If you could pick anyone to be your seat partner (in a car or on a plane), who would it be?

IMG_20180722_123051 (2)I apologise if my answers are becoming rather predictable, but surely it is fairly obvious who I would like to be sitting next to.

None other than the Goldfinch!

It breaks my heart to think I might never be sitting next to him again.

Where would you like to take a cruise to?

Anywhere I could go to see whales.

It is a dream of mine to build a boat and to study and research whales.

Apparently, one of the best places to see whales is the coast of Australia. So I could hop over there, build a boat along with Goldfinch and then we could set sail to see the whales.

You’re stranded in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean…will you survive?

I am not going to put any money on it!

It depends how long I was out there doesn’t it. Does anyone know that the ship (I am presuming I was originally on a ship) has sunk and have they started a search party? Are there any food supplies in the boat?

You are picked to go to the ISS for a year. Do you accept?

I think the International Space Station must have happened sometime during the ten years I did not have a television and I was busy travelling in connection with various volunteer projects. I only heard of it around a year ago.

What have I done wrong for them to want to stick me up on there far away from everyone I love and the planet I love? I would never choose to go there.

Is it annoying that so much money is spent on outer space rather than helping people who are malnourished and struggling just to feed their families each day and provide clean water? Hmm. I better not get all hoity-toity with my opinions

You would rather: stay home, travel with the Doctor, go home with ET, or get Lost in Space?

Staying home sounds rather appealing. Well, not stuck indoors all day, But home as in, my home planet Earth, I would love to explore every inch of it!

I am not keen on Doctors (with the exception of our lovely Dr Tanya of course!) We have too many in the family (some who are rather arrogant, others more down to earth) and I have had to spend way too much time with Doctors these past three and a half years.

I can’t comment on the other two options because I don’t know what they would involve, except that I would prefer not to go into outer space which seems barren of life, when my home planet is teaming with colourful and fantastic life in millions of forms.

Lost in Space vs. Star Trek…who travelled the stars better?

I don’t think I have ever seen “Lost In Space”.

Years ago, when I was a teenager, I had a couple of friends who really liked Star Trek and I remember watching some episode at their home. They were very big fans. I just had a crush on Joel who was a vegetarian and a big Star Trek fan.

However, something rather disturbing put me off Joel…but that is another story.