Holidayers in Ibiza Struck by Horrific Thirst.

Ibiza very good. Full update soon. Thanks all for lovely birthday wishes too.

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ibiza

Today I’m going to the place on this photograph. I read that Leonardo Di Caprio recently went there and happily displayed his new middle-age spread for photographers. If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me. In fact, I’ve lost almost a stone in weight thanks to running and starving myself to the point of insanity. So I will feel confident disrobing on the beach and won’t have to wear duffel coat and wellies after all.

Of course, I intend to be heavily sedated for most of the trip. I will be drinking a large amount during the holiday as intense heat makes you very thirsty. We fly out of Manchester at 10pm. If you want to share my drunken pleasure follow me on Twitter or Facebook or one of those kind of things. Don’t try burgling my house while I’m away because I’ve rigged up many death traps and… well, I don’t have anything worth stealing. See you when I come back. If I come back.

Metroland

metro2I’d just come straight from a terrible book called John Dies at the End by David Wong which. I admit, I mainly bought because of the title. It was really bad (contrived, smug, trying too hard to be wacky, not as clever as it thinks it is) and I couldn’t even finish it (I hate not finishing books). I’d previously loved The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes so I thought I’d go for another of his. I ended up reading his very first novel; Metroland.

Metroland is about a bloke called Christopher Lloyd and his experiences growing up in the suburbs of London, his brief life in Paris as a graduate student and the early years of his marriage. As adolescents Christopher and his childhood friend Toni had shown contempt for the bourgeois establishment but this lifestyle is one that Christopher ultimately chooses, much to Toni’s disappointment, obtaining a secure job in publishing, marrying, buying a house and having a child. Christopher realises that his normal life and somewhat mundane marriage are not perfect, nor are they necessarily more exciting than his time in Paris with his bold French girlfriend, but he does love his wife and is happy.

JB is a brilliant writer so it goes without saying that this book is good. It falls far short of The Sense of an Ending though, I reckon. It’s really accessible and completely absorbing but there’s something about the characters that spoiled it for me. I just found them a bit too posh and sneery. I could get over that in the childhood section of the story but even when the characters had grown to adulthood they remained posh and sneery and it just stopped me identifying with them or caring about them. Also, there’s lots of very meaningful talk about art and life and it just doesn’t ring true. The odd filthy word here and there doesn’t make it ring true either. Who talks like that?! Posh, sneery people, I suppose. Most of us don’t talk about those things, do we? We may think about those things. Mostly, though, we talk about bacon sandwiches and traffic.

Despite that, this is a Julian Barnes book. Even if it’s not his best, it’s still a trillion times better than John Dies at the End.

 

I can’t ever wear a hat!

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I found out a new fact about myself this week. I can never ever wear a hat. I’m going on holiday to sunny Ibiza next week and I’ve been trying to find a hat to prevent a forest fire breaking out on my head. Each one I tried has provoked howls of laughter from onlookers, (some of them had to be rushed to hospital). Hats either make me look like someone has balanced a pile of giant tiddlywinks on my head or a Victoria sponge has fallen from the window of a high rise bakery as I sauntered, hatless, along the street below.

I think it might be because I have a head the size of a peanut. Therefore all head gear seems to sit ridiculously low down on me; covering my eyebrows, sometimes my eyes, sometimes my nose, sometimes my knees. I’d love to be able to wear a really cool hat but I think you may need to be a really cool person to do that so… no chance of that then. I did eventually buy one but it was a cop out really because it was really just a baseball cap. Even that, I just know that it makes me look like some bloke called Bubba who likes to stroke a piece of velvet all day.

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A Machine Gun Murder, a Killer Whale, and a Lighthouse

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I took these photos of a disused lighthouse at Hale, near Liverpool UK. It was built on the site of an earlier lighthouse dating from 1838 and was completed in 1907. The widest part of the Mersey estuary is around here. 100 years ago it was busy with shipping supplying the industries up river but the water is deserted now.

During the Second World War, the light attracted the attention of enemy aircraft, and bombs were dropped in the area. Once, the keeper’s wife was machine gunned, from the air, as she was opening the lighthouse shutters. More recently a killer whale was stranded near here in October 2001. 

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Elephants. True or False?

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1. Elephants are vegetarians.

2. Elephants support unilateral nuclear disarmament

3. Male elephants leave their family groups when they reach puberty to live alone or with other males.

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4. Elephants are the only mammals able to kneel on all fours except Nick Clegg.

5. Elephants communicate by touch, sight, smell and sound but over long distances they use infrasound, seismic forms of communication, and texting.

6. Elephants  appear to have self-awareness and show empathy for dying or dead individuals of their kind, unlike the current UK Government.

8. Elephants’ sense of smell may be four times as sensitive as that of a bloodhound.  Unlike bloodhounds, however, they are rarely called Fido.

9. Elephants can suffer from floppy trunk syndrome which is a condition of trunk paralysis occuring  in African bush elephants. It can happen to the best of us.

10. The brain of an elephant weighs 10–12 lb compared to 4 lb for a human brain!! Durrrrr!

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