Saturday, January 9, 2016

A blustry day on Avon Beach

IMG_2016_ (97)Pearly morning light found us camped in the Noisy Lobster, a local beach hut / cafĂ© ideally positioned to watch the crashing waves and gliding kite-surfers over coffee, pancakes, and eggs. 

IMG_2016_ (197) IMG_2016_ (199)IMG_2016_ (134) IMG_2016_ (198)

When the sun emerged, it was almost spring-like along the beach, and lots of folks were out for a stroll.  Children tried to outrun the waves, bikers and joggers squinted into the wind, and couples huddled for warmth all along the beach.  The huts were still largely shut for the season, with only a few souls bundled beneath blankets for a day out.

IMG_2016_ (153) IMG_2016_ (168)IMG_2016_ (150)IMG_2016_ (170) IMG_2016_ (163)

Yes, it was very windy…

IMG_2016_ (195)IMG_2016_ (192)IMG_2016_ (193)IMG_2016_ (194)

…and, yes, I need a haircut.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Back in Bournemouth

IMG_2016_ (75)It’s been spitting rain and gusting wind today, a good test for the new beach jacket and top-cover that my parents gave me for beach walking.  It was lovely to stand atop East Cliff again, the rolling waters spread beneath out to the Isle of Wight.  I’d worked the morning before joining up for lunch at Harry Ramsden’e, a local fish emporium that offers a wonderfully light and crisp batter-dipped filet.

IMG_2016_ (82) IMG_2016_ (173)IMG_2016_ (196) IMG_2016_ (84)

The blowing sand absolutely any exposed bit of skin (at least, that which wasn’t numb from the cold).  There was shelter in the lee of the pier, overlooking surfers out to challenge the rolling waves.  IMG_2016_ (96)I loved the flat yellow light and the way it highlighted the beach and boardwalk.  The sands have been moved around lots by the winter storms that passed through during the holidays; bulldozers have pressed up steep berms to slow the erosion until the winds die down and the beach can be readied for a new season.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Making adjustments

DSC08504My camera gave up on itself just before New Year’s, flashing a message that the body couldn’t recognize the lens.  I went through the usual steps to try to fix the connection, gentle eraser cleaning of the contacts, cooling the components, resetting the programs.  The soft blur persisted.  I consulted the Internet and professionals in town. The fellow at the camera shop in Everett shook his head: These are made to be disposable; nobody will fix it.

DSC08505Still, I had an extended and accidental repair policy with John Lewis, so I went to the Reading UK store to make inquiries.  I quickly determined that the lens was at fault by swapping a store e-lens onto my a5100 body, getting a decent picture.  So there was every reason to hope that Tech Support could simply give me a new one under the insurance.

No such luck: up to six weeks to send it to Sony for diagnosis and to get a warranty repair.  Reluctantly, I let it go, down to the phone and tablet cameras for the duration.

It’s going to be a new experience trying to do the blog for a month without pictures.  However, I’ve wanted to make some changes in my writing anyway, with less reliance on festival reviews and travelogues.  I’m posting photos regularly on Instagram and Flickr, so it makes sense to use this medium to better reflect my expat and entrepreneurial experiences in observations and essays.

I’d also like to take Dave Winer’s suggestion that Ideas come to you in all sizes. If it’s short, write a short post. If it’s long write a longer one.  IMG_2016_ (51)Too often, I scribble a note to myself to comment on an article or share a thought, but then never write it expanded as a full essay.

Drinks along the Thames last night, and heading back down to Poole with the w.wezen tonight: we’re overdue for time getting blown about the beaches and watching storms from the restaurants.  It’s been pretty incessant rain and freezing cold since I got back, and it would be great if we were to get some sunshine at the weekend.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Making resolutions

DSC06290 (683x1024)I’m not a person who makes a list of New Year’s resolutions.  Still, the holiday break is a time for assessing what is going well and poorly, prioritizing the work, and seeking opportunities where things can be done better.

Last year, I had my ‘Big-5’ issues to tackle during January.  One got solved (gaining my UK ILR), a couple of disagreements did not (and so lingered on), and two business problems were wrestled to a draw.

This year has a better mix of positive tasks ahead.  I want to get my UK passport, bring my companies products through to CE mark submission, consolidate my residences, perhaps visit Hong Kong.  I’ll spend more time teaching and mentoring, and develop a long term ‘brand identity’.  Work / not-work life should continue to come into better balance and proportion, although it’s a long-term project.

I’m resolved to spend more time developing and deepening my relationship, my family ties, and new friends.  Surrounded by historic and cultural opportunities, we will take better advantage of being in Europe, i want to visit Prague once and Italy again.

My habits will become healthier this year, giving up a couple of vices to exercise more regularly, eat right, and take more walks.  If something takes less than two minutes to do, I’ll do it rather than write itt onto a list.  My w.wezen is building my cooking skills through new spices and classes; I’ll get William’s bicycle back onto the paths.

Each day, I’ll read books that challenge and touch (not just adventure novels), inspiring my writing to develop a more pleasing voice and an authentic insight.  Lectures, galleries, performances all beckon; the Tate Card and Sr. Rail Pass will be better used.

When the weather warms, I will sail again.

I’ll make time to deepen my technical and artistic ability in photography, a source of genuine pleasure and accomplishment this past year.  Perhaps I’ll find time to evolve my lamentable talent for pen-and-wash watercolour landscapes and charcoal life drawing as well (I’ve found a local class).

DSC06319 (1024x683)It’s very aspirational, I know, and has some daunting FOMO  elements.  But as I look back, 2015 contained some good personal evolution from similar yearnings.  I did take more time off (weekends and evenings apart from work), spend more time with my love and local friends.  Most mornings, I took a slow start to read the news and catch up with the house.  Many days, I bonded with the beach; and I reserved evenings for socializing, writing, and films.  I got my travel under better control, while visiting my parents more often.  Weekends held many concerts, exibitions, and festivals; vacations together were also a genuine separation from work and emails.  I was able to persevere through a significant personal loss and several near catastrophes midyear.  But through the challenges, I’ve been fortuate to have embraced wonderfully postive and supportive people, while at the same time separating from a clutch who were causing me much unhappiness. 

DSC04221 (1400x1030)I thus have gratitude and optimism for achieving my ‘resolutions’ in the new year, for pulling it all together into a life lived fully and happily somewhere I will call ‘home’.  It would be lovely if, a year from now, I could say that I have achhieved much of what I wish, and have set a firm basis for a truly happy and secure ‘ten years to come’.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Picking up the pen, again

DSC08445 (1024x681)‘New Years greetings and best wishes for 2016!

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote here, partly because the holiday was very busy with travel, appointments, family and friends, and partly in keeping with a resolution to take the occasional complete break from work and everyday routines.

New Year’s Eve was spent somewhere over the North Atlantic, before droppping into Paris, then Amsterdam, and finally Gatwick to complete a 20-hour trip. 

While travel is substantially cheaper and emptier on the 31st / 1st, it’s also solitary and disconnected on a social evening.  So, this is the last time that I’ll arrange the flights that way (‘first resolution of 2016).

SchipholThe trips were uneventful: no repeat of the escaped cat that energized my flight on the trip west.  I did mange to miss some excitement at the EasyJet counter an hour before I checked in at Amsterdam, though.

Manchester new yearsAnd I was far from the New Year’s scene in Manchester.  It’s a great picture that has gone viral locally as people consider it’s value  as Art rather than simply as commentary.

‘nice to be back, really.