I’ll Never Go Abroad

Travel often pops up in various conversations and those who know me have suggested that I should put down some of my experiences. At first I was reluctant, because I didn’t think people would be interested in the travels of an unknown traveler. When my grandchildren started to ask questions I thought perhaps I should put a few things down before I get too old and forgetful.

Do you ever regret making a comment years ago, which proved how stupid and wrong you where when you look back over your life?

I was about thirteen at the time and ‘studying’ French. On the completion of the final examination the class results positioned yours truly second to bottom in a class of forty. I was not very good, nor was I interested in the French language. I can remember the teacher, when discussing my poor effort, asking what would I do if I ever went abroad. The thought of going abroad was so far out of my comfort zone that I remarked that ‘I’ll never go abroad’, which is why I decided on this title.


Rayani Air

Having flown with nearly fifty different airlines I have finally found an airline that I would not wish to fly with, even if they offered free seats.

Rayani Air began services last Sunday (20th Dec). This airline is the first Malaysian Sharia compliant airline. Of course they don’t carry wine, which is not a problem, except they restrict the passengers’ choice. The lack of wine is important, but not my main consideration.

My main reluctance is that they offer prayers before take-off, which doesn’t give me the confidence that I normally have in the the guys and girls at the sharp end. If they need the help of the Almighty, and they are still on the ground, I think I’ll give them a miss.

Bird calls

Travel does broaden the mind, or so one would think. Two small incidents happened to me, each linked to the other, but thousands of miles apart in distance, but only a few months in time.

I was in Tokyo, on business, and the hotel in which I stayed had recordings of bird calls in the reception area to help sooth the tension of the guests arriving and leaving in such a busy city. Depending on the ambient noise in the reception area the sound of the birds would be increased or decreased, but the birds calls where always in the background.

Some months later I was in Cairns (northern Australia), and staying at a city hotel, which was popular with Japanese tourists. I was checking out and a Japanese tourist asked the hotel employee who was dealing with me, if the hotel could possibly turn down the sound of the birds. He complained that they woke him too early in the morning. The hotel employee’s face was a mask of confusion as he had no idea what the hotel guest was requesting. I was able to explain to the hotel guest that Australian hotels didn’t have electronic bird calls, and the sound of the morning bird chorus was real, and completely out of the control of the hotel. I don’t think the tourist was convinced of the truth of my comment. The hotel employee had a hard time keeping his face straight as he finalised my account.


Recently flew from Helsinki to Bangkok with Finnair, so of course they offered reindeer as a choice of meat for the evening meal. It was very lean meat with a nice texture, which went very well with the red wine.

I had to try it because I like to try ‘new’ meat having eaten kangaroo and crocodile as well as the ‘normal’ meat of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, frogs (is frog meat classed as meat?).

I only hope my grandchildren don’t find out about the reindeer meat, because I am sure I will be accused of eating Rudolf, if Santa is late this year due to being a reindeer short to pull his sleigh.

Santa’s traditional reindeer Dasher, Dancer, Donner, Vixen, Comet, Prancer, Vixen and of course the new one, Rudolph, which is thanks to Robert L. May in 1939, who wrote the story of Rudolph. May’s brother in law, Johnny Marks, turned May’s story in to a song that we now know.

Who remembers Gene Autry, the singing cowboy, who made Rudolph famous in 1949?


Christmas wishes

Please don’t wish me Happy Holiday, because I am not going on holiday, but I will be in March, but then I would prefer Happy Easter.
If you want to wish me anything this week may I suggest that it is Happy or Merry Christmas.
If wishing me Happy Christmas is offensive to you, then accept the fact that not wishing me Happy Christmas, and wishing me Happy Holiday, is offensive to me.
I do hope that I haven’t offended.


Last week I received information that a local author of The Sleepwalker Legacy The_Sleep_Walker_Legacy_Front_Coverwould be available at our small shopping strip to sign his latest book. I introduced myself to him and we chatted about writing and publishing in general. When he realised that I’d also had a book published he suggested that we should swap books, which we did, and I am now reading his, and hopefully he is reading mine!


Beside writing I love reading. I am quite unable to pass a second hand book shop, just in case they have something of interest. On the way to a restaurant for lunch last Saturday I called in to a wine shop for some Christmas drink. On leaving the wine shop surprise, surprise there was a secondhand book shop next door. A quick look around, because I didn’t want to be late for lunch, and I ended up with Daniel Silva’s – The Heist. It’ll go well alongside Portrait of a Spy, The Defector, The Secret Servant & The Unlikely Spy.The Heist

Do you mean ‘YES’?

The media used to set a certain standard for the correct use of English – but not today.

Have you noticed that people no longer utter the word ‘Yes’ for the affirmative, but will answer ‘absolutely’, and if you wish to emphasis ‘Yes’ it has to be ‘Absolutely Correct’, or ‘you are absolutely correct’ if the speaker wishes to compliment someone. Of course some go further and state ‘You are one hundred per cent correct’ as if the speaker was in an doubt that they were correct.

No longer is anything ‘unique’ – anything unique in today’s world is ‘very unique’. They fail to understand that if something is unique – it is unique – a little like being a ‘little bit’ pregnant or a ‘little bit’ dead – you are either pregnant or you are dead or unique.

Why is it that nobody is ill in hospital any more, because they are ‘fighting for their life’. It doesn’t seem to matter if a sportsman is in hospital for a sprained wrist or on death’s door, they are are gallantly ‘fighting for their life’.

As for cricket players who go to do ‘battle’ against all odds – I have a mental picture of two adults, dressed in the traditional white cricket gear, with shin pads of course, attacking each other with a cricket bat. I know I am behind the times, because few play bat and ball today dressed in white, but in various coloured shirts denoting their team.

The promoters assume that the supporters are unable to work out that the guy with the bat is against everyone else on the field, including the fellow with the ball, and his only friend on the field is the other guy with a bat. When I grew up all cricket players wore white, because we were bright enough to know the difference between the teams. Perhaps, like everything else in today’s world, life is dumbed down so that people don’t have to think for themselves, or have any responsibility for make a mistake – coloured cricket shirts must help a lot.

I bet you haven’t realised how many heroes we have in sport. According to the media everyone playing sport is a hero for being paid a great deal of money for something that used to be done for pleasure. Of course being a sporting hero allows you to make an ass of yourself with alcohol or drugs and then to apologise to your fans for your ‘mistake’. The mistake being that you were caught, because if you hadn’t been caught you were not making a mistake . . . .

To finish for the day (stop cheering!) – when will we stop saying ‘he paid no tax’, or ‘companies paid no tax’ or ‘he spoke no English’ – how can anyone pay / or do something that doesn’t exist ?

Frankly my Dear, I do give a. . .

Am I the only one who objects to the current use of inappropriate language in films, books, TV and on the radio?

Are the current crop of ‘artists’, whether they are authors, scripts writers, actors, TV producers etc, incapable of producing entertainment without the reader or viewer being embarrassed, especially when sitting with family members?

I now hear inappropriate language on the radio when the radio ‘host’, of a chat show, is speaking to a member of the public. It seems the public speaker is more attuned to the correct use of language, knowing that they are ‘on the air’ than the radio host who should be setting an example.

Perhaps I have passed my use by date, but I am sure I am not the only person who who considers the poor crop of good films that have been released in the past few years. Many fail a basic story line test, and compensate this failure with gratuitous sex, extreme violence and bad language.

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