Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Happy Holidays on Holy Island

I am absolutely shattered, but it is a price worth paying for the superb time I have had surrounded by family on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne just off the Northumberland coast. My aunt and uncle have a cottage there and invited a few of us up for the Christmas festivities. We ate and drank obscene amounts, even when the power went off for several hours on Christmas Eve, and walked for miles around the rugged coastline of the island, taking in the views and unique vibes. One of favourite times was when I dragged myself out of bed early to catch the sunrise and take some photos. The wind had dropped to nothing and for a splendid hour, I was the only soul for what felt like miles. It was great. I'll leave the pictures to say the rest.

Pictures of Holy Island.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Today is the day...

that marks the death of an intellectual giant, Christopher Hitchens. Agree with him or not, he was a man who was able to provoke debate and thought. He was strident and obstinate to the end, assuring everyone there would be no Pascal's Wager death-bed conversion. He has to be admired.

Hitchens talks to Richard Dawkins.

Also, today marks the 10th anniversary of the passing of Stuart Adamson, lead singer of Big Country. Their album, "The Seer", is one of my favourites of all time, particularly the last song, "The Sailor". I could listen to that song forever.

The Sailor

Sunday, 11 December 2011

You Are My Boro: The Unlikely Adventures of a Small Town in Europe

My second book is now available to buy at Amazon.

You Are My Boro.

Friday, 2 December 2011

That was the day that was....

pretty shite, actually.

I found myself with several metaphorical knives in my back at work today. I'm going to be transferred from the project I work on because one or two people don't think I'm up to the task. To be fair, they don't think many people are up to the task. They have had it in for me since I started back in July.

They conveniently forget that I have come into an environment of utter mistrust and apprehension because of the reorganisations that are about to occur. People have, understandably in some cases, played cards so close to their chests that even they can't see them. They have seen me as a threat because I'm a consultant, and have therefore only drip-fed me information and left me in the dark many, many times. I've also come up against some Kafka-esque procedural problems with gaining access to computer systems that are pretty much essential to my function. Yeah, maybe I should have pushed people and asked questions, but when the atmosphere is so non-conducive and people only want to talk about the negatives, you get bored of trying and you get depressed.

I was looking to get away anyway, so it's not all bad. I guess I'm just a bit sore about the way I feel people have behaved. Two weeks ago I was being told I was doing a good job, even with everything that's happened in my personal life (surgery and family illness). Now I'm a pariah.

Oh well. I've bounced back from worse than this. I will bounce back again. It helps when you're a touch rotund, of course...

U2 - Acrobat
Don't believe what you hear
Don't believe what you see
If you just close your eyes
You can feel the enemy
When I first met you girl
You had fire in your soul
What happened your face
Of melting in snow
Now it looks like this

And you can swallow
Or you can spit
You can throw it up
Or choke on it
And you can dream
So dream out loud
You know that your time is coming 'round
So don't let the bastards grind you down

No, nothing makes sense
Nothing seems to fit
I know you'd hit out
If you only knew who to hit
And I'd join the movement
If there was one I could believe in
Yeah I'd break bread and wine
If there was a church I could receive in
'cause I need it now

To take a cup
To fill it up
To drink it slow
I can't let you go
I must be an acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
And don't let the bastards grind you down

Oh, it hurts baby
(What are we going to do now it's all been said)
(No new ideas in the house and every book has been read)

And I must be an acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
And you can find
Your own way out
You can build
And I can will
And you can call
I can't wait until
You can stash
And you can seize
In dreams begin
And I can love
And I can love
And I know that the tide is turning 'round
So don't let the bastards grind you down