Wednesday 14 January 2009

Hello Again

I can’t quite believe it’s nearly two months since I posted something here. What’s my excuse? I’ve been busy; I’ve been away; I’ve had Christmas. But all that applies to most people who blog and they’ve managed to keep up to date. Nothing to write about, perhaps? Not really, as this is meant to be a mostly political blog and there’ve been some pretty major political and economic events. I suppose it’s a question of priorities. So here’s a quick update of random events, before another post about the economic situation:

- I went to Nice. It was Nice. (Although unfortunately I had flu and it rained). I stayed with some friends who have escaped to the sun after spending years in Frankfurt. They seem to have settled in well but their dog hasn’t. It seems most unsettled, obviously a good German dog wondering what on earth it is doing in a strange country with different language and customs. But any sign of recession doesn’t seem to have hit that part of the world yet: it’s just so comfortable. When we landed after the flight back, the expensive looking 40ish lady next to me was spotted by the older lady in the row in front. “Hello! ..... Where are you spending Christmas?” “Aspen”. Well, of course.

- I’ve booked my skiing holiday. I’m travelling with – they fly directly to an airport close to the resort. I hadn’t used them before, I was impressed with the return flight cost of £11. But of course after taxes, baggage charges etc the total was over £120. Why do they bother? Why not just say what it will be the beginning? The total is almost as much as my business class BA flight to Nice. And I resent the cost a lot more.

- I’ve got an i-phone. Readers may remember that I’m fond of gadgets although incapable of understanding them. But this is a fantastic gadget, probably the best and easiest bit of technology I’ve used. The best part? A picture of a zippo cigarette lighter I’ve downloaded. If you flick the phone, the lighter opens. If you touch the flint, it lights – and the flame moves about if you move the phone. What more do you need from a phone? (Mobile phone reception is so bad here the phone bit is actually a bit unnecessary).

- I went to Scotland for Christmas, back for New Year. I hate New Year (although I like the Northumbrian expression Old Year’s Night rather than New Year’s Eve) and the feeling you should be assessing the past and cathartically looking towards the future. 2008 isn’t a year I want to look back on. Political failure; rotten weather; economic collapse; unsold houses; poor golf. I went to the neighbours’ outdoor party just before midnight which was good fun: drink, distant fireworks, cheesy music. I almost got out my “cigarette lighter” but decided that would be just too tacky.

- I’ve just been to the London Art Fair. Plenty of “I don’t know much about it, but I know what I like”. I hadn’t been for a couple of years. It all seemed more spacious – implying galleries taking more space – and a couple of friends who are dealers expressed pleasant surprise at how well they were doing. It was mostly the “accessible” (a word meaning you can recognise what it is) work which was selling, implying normal rather than fashionable buying. London was the crowded inefficient disorganised mess it always is, although I am sure Boris, having tidied his hairstyle, is also working on that.

Two topics in the London local paper have some national interest:
o The question of who paid for Peter Mandelson’s latest house (it doesn’t seem to have been Peter Mandelson) could run and run or just fade away – too soon to say.
o The furore over a third runway at Heathrow. Its hard to see why the Government wants to build this when Heathrow is so clearly not capable of handling current volume never mind more, and when efforts should be going into a new airport and high speed rail networks. As always, I suppose it’s so they can say they are doing something (not the same of course as actually doing something).

So that’s the last couple of months.

1 comment:

Troy said...

The i-phone is amazing. On the way back from HK this guy was showing me his photos of Vietnamese temples. He had 100's of images that he waved through on this gadget, which turned out to be an i-phone. I was more interested in the gadget than the pictures.

These budget airlines can be a con. We went with BA to Lanzarote last Easter but now easyjet have taken over that route from them and are charging much more this Easter - and don't give airmiles.

Finally, you do realise that fate puts expensive 40ish ladies next to you on aeroplanes for a purpose?