Wednesday 31 December 2008

Mother Morph?

Something is happening to me..

I find myself staying in more and watching bad British soaps.

I know what's happening to various celebrities although I do my best to avoid that kind of drivel.

I have joined in various sporting activities that were previously untried -water aerobics? Body pump.

Today topped it all though. I gategrashed a class at the gym as there wasn't much on - over 55's Prime Time Dance class.

Sad but true.

Actually I spruced up my salsa moves and sweated more than on the running machine (but that's just between you and me...)


Rock and Roll.


Sunday 21 December 2008

Boob crunch?

I may be feeling really sad and bad but some things do still amuse me greatly.

Like the fact that the credit crunch has affected the amount of plastic surgery people are having.

"More recently, a quarterly earnings statement from Mentor Corporation, a breast implant manufacturer, reported that the number of breast implants sold in the United States decreased 5 percent during the three months ending Sept. 26 over the same period last year. In the last month, two manufacturers of cosmetic medical devices have closed."

Can you imagine that - being layed off from a breast implant factory. There must be a lot of gags in that.

Bye bye big fake boobs in the credit crunch.

Thursday 18 December 2008

Broken strings

And they all snapped one by one...

I feel like a guitar

I feel like a guitar that needs to be finely and carefully tuned to sound its best.

Currently, my strings are being pulled. Taught. I think one is about to snap.

Who will restring it?

Tuesday 16 December 2008

Wise words

"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination." Nelson Mandela

Monday 15 December 2008

PC madness

No - I don't mean my computer.

I mean political correctness.

I applied for a job today.

On the "diversity and inclusion" form I was asked : age, gender. FINE

Then - "Do you, or have you ever, identified as transgender ?
Prefer not to say"

Prefer not to say? Well - what's the point in asking. Jeez. Then - how does one identify as transgender. Meaning, I've had a sex change, I want a sex change, I am really a man in a woman's body...

Then I was asked my sexual orientation - being heterosexual is way down the list.

Then my faith - horrah - I could at least tick Jewish. I can be a little bit cool...

Then my ethnicity - wow - that is a LONG list.

I felt tempted to hit black, lesbian, jewish with a disability.

Maybe I'd get an interview.

Thursday 11 December 2008

Whoah now...

You know the piece I wrote the BBC. It's suddenly gone viral.

It's on another blog- and that's linked to something and then so on and so on.

Now, I know that's how the web works but when you try and penetrate the media, it's hard.

When you write something and wack it off....with no great thought - and voila suddenly - you and it ...are OUT THERE. Yikes.

Random collection of emails to my personal email account :

A Buddhist monk in Switzerland -written to me 3 times - we're quite pally now.

A population control maniac telling me to be careful in sinister overtones.

Some dude who is running some huge campaign - and wants my support.

An old work colleague.

Let's see what tomorrow brings...

Monday 8 December 2008


So many ideas in my head but as Mark Twain said - apply fabric of trousers to top of chair - to get anything done. In my mind I have a book and a screenplay written.

Be nice if that became reality one day. Went on a screenwriting course - fun, fun, fun.

Doing it all however seems rather exhausting.

If I had a day job, I'd say I shouldn't give it up. Hah hah.

Thursday 4 December 2008


Stange week.

I wrote a piece for the BBC's Green Room

and it got more hits and comments than ever before on that site.

Madness. And the strength of feeling is potent. What a reaction. Still I can say I'd hate to be famous. Some people wrote such awful personal things about me -and they have no idea who I am or anything about me. Can you imagine if you are a public figure. Wow.

However, the chance to pose questions about society and how we make decisions and act is fabulous, provoking and fun.

Still waiting on a decision re.a job. Is it the economy? Is it me? What's happening?

Either way I feel stressed and anxious. I need to work again. I feel completely underutilised. I have started my book though. Just.

Maybe that's the answer?

Wednesday 26 November 2008


For those of you that know me...You know that patience isn't my strong point.

I get impatient waiting for people, I talk fast, I don't like having to explain myself over and over, I don't get it when people don't get a film plot or understand a joke.

Sorry. I know it's not good. It's just the way I am.

So isn't it funny that this year - I have had to be so patient. It's nearly, but not quite, killed me.

My life has quite literally been in other folk's hands and subject to their timetable.

Last night I had an email re. a job. In essence it said - sorry - we haven't made up our minds. When we do, we'll tell you.

There is nothing for me to do but do a headstand, play with my meditation tool and wait.

Monday 24 November 2008

True to ourselves

What do you do when you see a friend who is not being truthful to himself?

So evident to everyone but him.

Not my place to say/push/cajole or confront.

People have to realise and be their truth - which means taking a risk and being vulnerable.

A lot of people would rather live in the shadows, than the sun it appears. That's because the sun warms and sometimes, burns.

Sunday 23 November 2008


Went back to Rome, the sun shone, saw my friends, played in the park, lost a pub quiz, did some work, looked at a wonderful view, saw a copy of the Turin shroud, a nail from THE cross (not any old cross) and apparently a bit of the crown of thorns.

Amazing how it all becomes one.

Oh - and the picture is feeling the lurve from Missy L.

Saturday 22 November 2008

Numbers from this year...

Three trips to Rome
One to Switzerland
Two to India
One to Spain
One to Washington DC
One to Paris
One to Amsterdam this week

25 job interviews
10 for jobs that didn't exist
3 verbal job offers that went nowhere
Untold amounts of rejections

8 acupuncture sessions
4 dates

Sunday 9 November 2008

Greetings Cyber Visitors

I have had a comment from Brazil and one from - well - it could be anywhere -but he says he is a gorilla from the Congo so let's leave it at that. Funny how he seems to know a few Yiddish words this gorilla though -"tookus" meaning bottom, bum, booty apparently in this gorilla's vocab.

I am so pleased to have some foreign guests. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome.

I must find something more interesting to write about now.

Oh by the way - here is my stat of the year. I have had TEN interviews in the last year for jobs that HAVE NOT ACTUALLY EXISTED. Yes-believe that.

They did at the time of interviewing but somehow they all disappeared in restructures/internal recruitments/recession etc.

How INSANE is that.

Saturday 8 November 2008


Here is the thing. I thought friendship was a constant.

But according to a few friends of mine, I was stupid to think this.

They say that people with partners and kids have different spheres of influence. As a friend from the past, you are way down the list - or a bit like an onion - on the outer ring.

They may still care but if your life so different to theirs - there is little point of reference now.

Life priorities have changed and whereas once your were each other's constant to party with, chat to, cry with, discuss life, laugh and hang with - they don't need you now.

Is that true?

If so - it makes me sad. But perhaps I was the last one to realise this?

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Obi-Wan Kenobi

According to Facebook, I am Obi Wan Kenobi super hero. So much for being something cool and sexy in a skin tight lycra suit.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars)
You are smart and kind. You aren't mean to anyone and always think ahead. You don't like war but you aren't a hippie. You only use violence in defence and only rarely hurt people. You are worried about your friends and you are very honorable and obey your master.

Thursday 30 October 2008

Virtual Worlds

It had to happen – the digital “whodunnit” crime.

A middle aged piano teacher from Japan was arrested recently for murdering her virtual husband by hacking into his computer and erasing his carefully constructed character from Maplestory, a role playing game. Her crime in real life was hacking into his computer.

A few weeks ago, in a less sinister but bizarre scenario, a friend of mine was swooped upon and passionately kissed in Second Life, another virtual world.

I then switched on the radio and happened to hear assorted food chemists in a happy frenzy discussing modern day equivalents of Roald Dahl’s everlasting gobstoppers and sticks of chewing gum that taste like three course meals.

All of this got me thinking. Where and how do we draw the boundaries between real and virtual?

Our most current example is of course, our virtual money markets. Not that I can claim to understand exactly how they work or why they collapsed like a pack of cards, but it smacks of virtual living gone wrong.

The reason all of this bothers me is that I went to visit the Imperial War Museum.

Entering the hall I was struck by the sheer size of First and Second World War tanks, the hanging bombers and massive guns. I was spellbound by the old helmets and the tattered soldiers’ playing cards, lighters, photos and diaries.

I felt somewhat overcome. Everything seemed too big, too frightening, too ...real.

However, in some ways, it was the innocuous signs outside the Holocaust exhibit and the Crimes Against Humanity sections that made me pause the longest.

“This exhibition is not recommended for children under 14. Parents wishing to take younger children into the Exhibition may do so at their own discretion. Children must be closely supervised at all times.”

Even the last gory Batman movie “The Dark Knight” had a 12A certificate.

So back to the exhibits.

In some ways they were frightening and distressing but only because they refused to hide historical facts. I browsed stories, photos, testimonials, video clips, speeches and poignant remains of shoes, clothes, letters and drawing from concentration camps.

It was a reminder how recent the Holocaust was and how many wars and genocides around the world we’ve created since.

I find it continually amazing that we are so eager to shelter people from the real world - but we are so ready to enter into virtual ones.

What does that really say about us and has it done any good?

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Blog envy?

I have a few favourite blogs I turn to for laughs, to check on friends, to see how sane or insane they are - but I am feeling something like blog or is it life envy?

I don't post pictures of my nights out and friends. I probably should. It all looks a bit mundane to me on this blog. Maybe not to others. I am no longer sure.

I don't express myself as openly as many others and certain subjects are definitely off limits for me.

This sort of defeats its purpose though as it is supposed to be a private/public forum. If I feel constrained, what's the point? The best blogs are the ones that make you slightly squirm as it feels a little like you're reading a private diary.

There is a certain level of exhibitionism in having a blog -but I don't want to tell all. Hence the dichotomy.

God almighty - why I do make everything so complicated?

Sickness and snow

It snowed last night in London. It's October. I had been out all day and getting home, buses and walking, I got soaked, cold and wet.

I had an aching sore throat.

Now it is fully fledged, I feel hot, cold, tired, teary. Everything aches.

Of course, I know that I have brought some of this on myself. Waiting, anxious, no news, stress, too much time, checking bank balances, fretting, comparing, worrying.

None of that does much for a body.

Thursday 23 October 2008

What the Dickens?

I heard this expression today and it made me cackle inwardly with laughter.

But actually I think it deserves a revival.

It is nicer than "What the Fk", more descriptive than "What on earth." Better than - "What the hell, or In God's name.." which seems a bit heavy at times.

I shall reclaim this expression like a piece of marshland.


Tuesday 21 October 2008

Friday 17 October 2008


I get accused of not being enthusiastic.

Why is that so?

Am I such a cynic?

If so when and why did that happen?

It is a curse.

And costing me opportunities as I can't do the fake, happy, smile.
People like enthusiastic people.

Friday 10 October 2008

Bikram Bootcamp Yoga?


I have never felt so compelled to blog in my life. I have just tried my first ever American Bikram yoga class. Who was to know?

I knew it was in a heated studio. I knew I would sweat a lot.

What I did not not know was that the class was led by a man with blond crew cut, barking orders into a microphone mouth piece.

Nor did I know it was SADISTIC.

Here are some one liners that nearly made me burst out laughing - getting them down before I forget.

1. We do not serve cheese cake, we serve pain.
2. I said 45 DEGREES, that is half of 90. 45 (in loud bark).
3. It is meant to hurt.
4. Again, if you don't feel pain, it isn't working
5. I know you feel like you're having a heart attack -better to feel like that now than later in life.
6. Did I say you can take a water break? Did I? I did not. I will tell you when you can drink.
7. Do not get up and go to the bathroom. You get before or after. THAT IS IT.
8. Do not use water to shower yourself with, it is for drinking.

Apparently, I did quite well for a newby.

I hated every minute of it but was too scared to get up and leave. I could feel my heart pounding throughout the entire class, my ears went funny, I couldn't breathe, my head was spinning and all I kept thinking of -get me out, get me out.

The clock seemed hidden and remember the melting Salvador Dali clock -I am sure it was.

Never ever again.

Thursday 9 October 2008


It's a fun time to be here just before the election.

I must buy some Obama trickets - some great T shirts and a very fun bag whereby 20 per cent goes to the campaign. Whatever happens, it is an historic moment and I feel I should engage.

Two strange observations today about the grand Ol US of A.

I can't find a shop that sells newspapers.

Yup. True. I can find chemists that sell magazines, small annoying vending machines which I never have the right change for, Starbucks which sells a couple of things but...where or where can I buy a newspaper. Do they not have newsagents? Newstands? This needs further investigation.

Second point today. When you go into a shop to try things on -they looked at me like I was MAD when I said pointedly - I HAVE THREE THINGS.

"Yeah - whatever - go right in..."

But thinking she may be deaf and separating the things I tried again. "Three - three things..".

She turned, pushed me into a changing room and slammed the door.

Being British is not helping today.

We may speak the same language, but I am definitely an Englishman in New York. Sort of.

Thursday 2 October 2008

Slipping away

Everything is random isn't it?

Except as my good friend Chris said yesterday - until we decide it isn't.

So I have had two more job interviews. One I enjoyed but not sure if I can survive on the salary. One went really badly. Can't explain why - immediate clash of personalities. Contradictions. Expectations not met. Not what I thought it was, maybe I wasn't what they thought. Who knows?

It was hard - panel interviews on the phone always are.

The holiday was ok. Nothing special. It rained. Freak floods in Southern Spain - the worst in 22 years.

Of course.

Nice food and wine and good long treks - despite the kagul down to my knees.

I may post some photos if I can be bothered.

I feel like everything is a really really big effort at the moment.

Sunday 21 September 2008

On the move ...

Am off to Spain for ten days to the mountains and then down to the coast. I have packed an array of walking boots and sensible things as well as some pretty frocks -one never knows does one?

I get back for 4 days and then head to the states - maybe that'll be my next home.

It would be good to feel settled once again.

However, I suspect some souls never quite feel settled - it's part of the divine discontent.

Divine because one constantly seeks, discontented- because it's never quite enough.

Enough for a Sunday morning - need to go and turn my thoughts to the mundane - like switching kettles off at the wall etc.

Ciao ciao. xxx

Thursday 18 September 2008

Strange jobs ....

I'm not even sure what this bloke does.

He was friendly enough tho'!


It seems JoJo lost her Mojo for a bit - hence the lack of news.

Check out the picture here. Where do you think it is? Costa Del Sol, Nice, Rimini...nah...


What good the salty sea air does one..

And when the sun shines in the UK, it's ok.

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Tea time.....

It seems appropriate to go from cake to tea, a loose association - but one, never the less, that works.

We had a family tea party on Sunday in honour of an aunt that had fled the UK many years back to install herself in Chicago.

Aunt Barbara (not Babs before you ask) came armed with a steely accent and pearly white teeth.

I noticed this, as I am sure this is a definite legacy from the Americas - no Brits have such whitey whites.

Tea, much cake and Jewish hubris was served.

How do you make small talk in a big loud family where nothing is ever small.

In fact, everything, including perceived grievances and injustices, are always rather large.

I digress.

We all made small talk, consoled the old, the sick, the ones in pain, greeted the young, and pretended family rifts weren't real and discussed career options for the next generation.

Should the arty ones do science? Should the scientists become doctors (Oy?!)

Should we have all become doctors?

It is amazing whom one is related to.

Somehow, tenuously, sometimes by a cousin, a thread or a marriage.

Do we all really share some invisible genetic map?

As well as tea and small talk, the important things were of course shared too.

"So and so xxxed the other day" cited my grandma over a loud car noise.

My mother - "What - she called?"

"Yes - she xxxxd."

"She died?"

"Yes - she called."

"Did she call or die?" (In an exasperated tone of voice.)

At this point, we have no idea if this old lady called or died.

I look out the window and feel an urge to giggle.

"She DIED."


And who was she, asked another relative.

The reply.

"An old lesbian."


Monday 25 August 2008


Birthdays are a bit like New Year. If you're Jewish, you get another New Year thrown in aside from December 31 so you have at least 3 times in a year where you can assess your current status/achievements and mental health.

It's a like a thrice yearly litmus test.

Am I blue? Perhaps I'm in the pink at the mo or even a bit green around the gills. Perhaps I am in the red, or even really grey today.

Anyway - voila - another birthday has been celebrated.

Why in fact do we celebrate birthdays? To say - yup - you've survived another year .

Or- aren't we all glad you were born? Hooray!

Don't ask me. According to my parents this hedonistic and yearly celebratory ritual is a generational thing.

"What - you think that people that should remember and turn up at a place of your choosing?..we didn't make all this fuss."

Or..."Well - we didn't celebrate all these milestones like you lot do...the 30th, the 40th, the 60th blah blah. We did our 21st and that was that. "


So maybe things have changed. In my world it is a chance to spoil your friends, make them feel good and yes, make an extra effort.

However, there is always next year.

Unlike most things in life, you know you get another chance to celebrate it or even spoil a friend another time.

That's the good stuff about birthdays. There may be a finite amount of them in a lifetime - but unlike a tribe I visited in Niger once who get one birthday when they are 7 days old - - perhaps we are luckier than most.

At least we get to remember our birthdays even if we drink too much to have clarity of recall.

Bring out the cards and pressies.

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Kissing the Blarney Stone

I've just come back from four lovely, but sodden days in the Emerald Isle.

I don't have much to report to the wider world but I thought you might enjoy my photo of kissing the Blarney Stone.

Now - no one tells you that you have to get on your ass, lie back and no - not think of England - but wiggle back and do a half back bend, crane your head back and peck the stone.

What a palaver for a very quick kiss that is supposed to endow magical powers of eloquence.

Also being on the petite side, I did find it rather hard to reach.

So whilst laughing hysterically, and people craning their necks and asking if I was scared or ok, the kindly old man holding me so I didn't slip over the edge - kept saying "Go wid ya, kiss it, kiss it, will ya...."

Perhaps I am just out of practice.

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Meaning of Life Stuff.........

I thought I'd been through this phrase when I was a teenager or a student.

Hours contemplating why we are here, what it's all about and religion.

I must have shelved it all for a decade by being busy. Damn busy.

But now it's all come back to haunt me and I feel like there is a hamster in a wheel going around my head 24/7. Torture.

I wake up ...why am I here? What will I do today of any great consequence?

Why does anyone do anything? Why have children? Why not have children? Will the planet survive? Does my life mean anything at all?

On and on and on.

So I bought a book. Why not? It's called...The Language of God - A scientist presents evidence for belief.

I need evidence.

So far,it's a head spin.

Here's a few factoids to keep you going :

1. In the early moments of the universe following the Big Bang, matter and antimatter were created in almost equivalent amounts. The symmetry was not quite precise - if it had been the universe would have dissolved into pure radiation.

2. If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in 100 thousand million, the universe would have collapsed before it reached its present size.

3. If the rate had been greater by even one part in a million, stars and planets could not form.

4. The nuclear force appears to be tuned just sufficiently for carbon to form - critical for life forms on earth. Had the force been more attractive, the carbon would have been converted to oxygen.

I am only on chapter 4 but somehow I am finding comfort in science and rationality rather than pure faith at the moment.

Thursday 7 August 2008

To bare or not to bare?

Now I've embarked upon this thing ie. this blog, I realise I need to keep writing.

To be frank, I have a few friends that blog too, and I feel a tad disappointed when there is nothing new to read. (I just realised that the word blog is both a verb and a noun - I am such a nerd.)

Which is silly. Of course. It's not a soap opera where we all tune in and there it is - new drama 3 times a week.

Except -sometimes, my life is in fact just like that - but I digress - again.

Anyway - I really don't have that much to say except I met a friend to work-out and then, far more importantly, to gossip and catch up in the steam room and pool.

I know this is crude, but when I got back to the changing rooms, I realised --ahem --that apparently Brazilians are still very much a la mode. I had no idea. Clearly I am not fashionable enough.

I don't think I should dwell on this but I do find it weirdly fascinating - don't you think that looking like a pre-pubescent girl is a little odd?

Anyway, we then went for a cute Italian dinner - and it reminded me of Rome.

I felt sad and happy. I miss it.

What do the Romans feel about Brazilians?

Monday 4 August 2008

You get out what you put in...

So people say.

Now is that really true?

Cos right at the moment, I'm not feeling the universal love.

Yes - I am sure eventually things will work out but jeez- don't you ever think "I'm a good person, I try to treat people well and with respect, I work hard and do my best.. - when are things coming good?"

I know this totally contradicts my last post.

But it's hard to stay strong and resolute when you keep feeling let down and that every-time something looks good, it gets pulled away.

Do we get brownie points for endurance? Maybe that's the secret of life.

Friday 1 August 2008

The law of attraction

My natural tendency is to mask sadness and disappointment with humour.

Clearly, that's better than dissolving in a sobbing heap on the floor - but today, I have decided to take charge of my thoughts.

A darling friend of mind reminded me the other day that the mind becomes what it touches.

So, we need to fill it with inspirational good thoughts and beauty, rather than let it fall to the lower depths of cynicism, despair, negativity and hopelessness.

Yes - I had another disappointing evening last night - more job rejections, stating how fab my CV was but "still not quite suitable" etc. What can a gal do?

And yes, I went on another date and discovered yet again, that all chivalry in the world seems to have disappeared. Have I ever bought my own plate of 4.95 melted cheese and guacamole Nachos so begrudgingly?

But all that aside, this is not what this post is about.

This is about a reading I have just discovered, written in 1912.

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

So -at least for today and I will try to carry this forward, I greet you with a big beaming smile and yes, we are well, yes we are good and yes, we are happy.


Wednesday 30 July 2008

It's a tough world out there....

Right -so I want some feedback on this one.

Here's the deal.

Girl meets bloke on a "blind" date.

I've never understood why they are called "blind" dates except perhaps you want to stab your own eyes out in frustration with toothpicks and ice cubes?

Or it feels like you're being punished by the gigantic eagle set by Zeus to feed on the ever-regenerating liver of the Titan Prometheus, after he was chained to the peak of Mount Kaukasos as punishment for stealing fire from the gods?

Or Pringles from the bar?

I think his eyes were pecked out - weren't they?

I need some help here.

adj., blind·er, blind·est.
    1. Sightless.
    2. Having a maximal visual acuity of the better eye, after correction by refractive lenses, of one-tenth normal vision or less (20/200 or less on the Snellen test).
    3. Of, relating to, or for sightless persons.
    1. Performed or made without the benefit of background information that might prejudice the outcome or result: blind taste tests used in marketing studies.
    2. Performed without preparation, experience, or knowledge: made a blind stab at answering the question.
    3. Performed by instruments and without the use of sight: blind navigation.
  1. Unable or unwilling to perceive or understand: blind to a lover's faults.
  2. Not based on reason or evidence; unquestioning: put blind faith in their leaders.
  3. Slang. Drunk.
  4. Lacking reason or purpose: blind fate; blind choice.
    1. Difficult to comprehend or see; illegible.
    2. Incompletely or illegibly addressed: blind mail.
    3. Hidden from sight: a blind seam.
    4. Screened from the view of oncoming motorists: a blind driveway.
    5. Secret or otherwise undisclosed: a blind item in a military budget
None of it sounds any good does it. Quite.

So - to the point.

I went on a blind date this week. Met in a bar - had a glass of vino - got comfy and then he walks in.

Average looking. Nasal voice. Cynical. Not overly bright, not that funny.

He's looking me up and down like I am a strange animal and I'm trying to make small talk.

Except I can't, can I? Nope - one glass later and having some airwaves to fill, I have pronounced that weddings are a waste of time and money; that most jobs are pointless, that I probably won't stay in the UK and that, I am not sure about any of this blind date malachy.

Suffice to say he leaves exactly an hour and I mean TO THE DOT since we meet. 20.30 to 21.30.

Fair enough I suppose except I was in full flow and hadn't concluded anything.

He wasn't saying much of any interest.

He had a car, I didn't. He shot off -leaving me ambling and slightly tipsy chatting to myself looking for the bus-stop.

If he ever finds this blog - good.

That was no way to treat a lady, was not impressed.

Monday 28 July 2008

I like John from Lincoln

"End of cheap flights boom as airlines raise fares in line with oil prices"

says the Times Online.

More than five million British passengers could be priced out of the budget holiday market as airlines raise their fares, bringing the era of cheap travel to an end.

Holidaymakers preparing for the traditional summer getaway this week may find that when they come to book their next break the fares have become unaffordable.

Ticket prices are expected to rise by 10 per cent this year and next as the cost of oil pushes up airline fuel bills.

And here it comes at the end of the article :

Your ticket to better value

- Be flexible with your flight dates and times. Try flying midweek rather than at weekends

- Consider booking early. You will generally get a cheaper fare

- Be flexible with your airport. Check travel costs to and from it. Flying to or from a nearby airport can save you money

- Consider alternative, but similar destinations. If you are looking for a warm coastal destination to relax by a pool check out non-euro countries such as Tunisia

- Check the one-way fares. In some cases, you can find a cheaper flight by booking two one-way destination tickets. This is usually the case for shorter breaks


All very serious isn't it....except for a few comments at the bottom of the piece which made me cry with laughter...hurrah for not being PC!

"What a wonderful if unlikely scenario. Alcohol swilling, tatooed, body pierced louts of both sexes priced out of air travel. If only, I would gladly pay a premium just to be rid of them."
John, Lincoln,

"Oh Dear! For two weeks of the year, we were relieved to see the drunken, shell-suited, tattooed brigade, chanting their football anthems and smoking their Duty Free fags, migrate to Magaluf or the Costas. So now we will have 52 weeks to 'enjoy' their company. "
John, Lincoln, UK

or this one..

Oh dear. Never mind the less well off holiday makers, what about the middle class professionals seduced by property porn programmes into believing that they can live in France etc and commute to work in the UK on EasyJet or the like? It had to end in tears, and now it will.Clive, Chichester, UK.

Nothing like saying it the way it is eh?

Monday 21 July 2008

Poverty amongst email

I'm back from Delhi and feel drugged. I don't know if it's jet-lag or going from 100 percent humidity to the UK weather, but I can't seem to wake up properly.

That said, I wanted to write up one of my last experiences in Delhi as it affected me and I haven't stopped thinking about it.

It's a humid, stale, dank Thursday and I am trying to get to a shop I've been recommended.

Sitting in the back of a rusty 3 wheel motorised tuk tuck with a non English speaking driver on huge 4 lane motorways is a scary experience. You're basically in a motorised wheelbarrow with lorries up your rear.

We stop. I am exposed. Two tiny, skin and bone kids approach me.

They are wearing floppy hats with a spinning top on so that when they shake their heads in a circular motion, the top of the hat spins.

Picture it - they keep moving their heads, the hats keep moving.

They've got make-up on. Fake moustaches which are dripping down their small skinny faces in the heat.

And then they start to perform on the hot tarmac - literally under the cars and lorries.

I hesitate. Do I want to give them money? I already know I don't have any small change, but we are stopped at a red traffic light, and I can't get away.

Then the smaller of the two - perhaps about 4 years old - takes a tiny steel ring and wraps it around his body as he lies on the road.

He shakes, contorts, bends his back in two, puts his ankles to the back of his head as he lies on his stomach bent double, and moves this small ring around and up and down his body.

It is excruciating to watch. I see his mother at the side of the road with another baby on her back staring at me. I try to picture myself.

White western woman with sunglasses on, decent clothes and now I have to admit it - a Blackberry in my hand.

I was midst emailing an editor about a story I'd written as she had an urgent deadline and needed one extra fact and some photo captions.

So there I was emailing someone from my hi tech gadget which probably cost more than this family ever see in a decade or more. I am emailing, these kids are contorting, the mother is frowning.

I don't have the stomach for this. I give them a 100 rupees - a lot of money here -about 2 dollars I guess.

However, because I hesitated before giving them the money - the traffic was starting to move. They see me hesitate and wait. I melt.

I thrust the bill into the hands of the smaller of the children and...they nearly get trapped under the wheels of another car before taking off, grinning.

My heart was racing. Would it have been my fault if one had been knocked down and killed because I hesitated to give money?

I had been distracted, pretending they weren't there, emailing, then acknowledging them - a small dance which took a minute or so.

I don't know. I know these issues are complex. It's about the global economy, the haves and have nots, the caste system, opportunities, social matrices and a host of other things.

In the end however, isn't that what life is made up of?

Moments, decisions, reactions, emails and for some, day to day poverty.

Sunday 13 July 2008

Hot, humid and batting off mosquitoes

I'm in Delhi and good lord, is hot. Not the bright, sunny, glare in the eyes and the "where are my sunnies" kind of hot.

No, this is muggy, grey, sweat pouring down you, as you move, hot.

It's also raining..big, soggy, violent monsoon rain which leaves the open toe sandals you're wearing saggy and squelchy - and a constant feeling of damp in the air where newly washed clothes don't dry carring a damp smell.

Did I mention the mosquitoes, because they're having a ball. Not too hot, not too cold, lots of water to play in.

All kinds of flying things are in my room and they're all bigger than I recall they should be.

Mostly mosquitoes and ants.

Anyway, I did just go for a walk despite the constant friendly, if irritating drivers of small motorised tuk tuks, honking and trying to steer me elsewhere.

In fact, wherever I walked I kept being told I was going the wrong way. I won't take this as a metaphor for life.

Then I heard a big flapping noise above me and thought it was a bat or perhaps a large crow, or something equally unglamorous.

But no, right in the middle of this sprawling, dirty,busy city, a beautiful peacock arched above me and flew to the top of a large, ungracious concrete building.

And there it stayed.

Amazing. Delhi. You may just as easily encounter a mosquito as a peacock.

I love this video....

I took this from a friend's blog. Nothing wrong with sharing eh?

Watch and enjoy...I defy you not to cry!

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Thursday 10 July 2008

Cuteness - is it universal?

I'm in a silly mood. Nervous. Have a job interview in 2 hours but am ansy and restless.

So I thought I'd share my new love of tree kangaroos.

Not just any old these are special and live mostly in PNG and to be honest, they're very endangered and I'd never heard of them a few months back.

But, now I am doing a project and it involves filming them (no I am not going) and they are soooooo cute. Stupidly cute.

Did nature think ah yes, I'll make some ugly things, some useful things, some things to eat and some thing that people will just go...aaaaaah how cute is that?

Does everyone think they're cute or would someone say...nah - that's not cute. Give me a scorpion and a snake any day, now that does it for me.

A friend of mine once said that if I was an animal I'd be a small furry mammal with big eyes.

Not sure if that's a cute compliment or an insult.


Wednesday 2 July 2008

Is friendship the new religion?

I just got off the phone to a good friend.

I said it would be easier to hand it all over to someone/something else as every decision I make, I wonder if I should've taken a different fork in the road.

It would be nice to say - it's all up to him /her/it up there.

What will be, will be.

Que sera, sera.

Doesn't it sound better in Spanish? Now I feel like bursting into song, a la Doris Day.

Anyway, back to the point. She said...yeah, Jo, whatever. I don't like all this religious stuff.

For me friendship is the new religion. I paused. She continued..

You believe in your friends, you turn to your friends for help, reassurance, love, companionship and debate. You have a community. It's a religion really.

Now how cool would that be. I am imagining it now. The new religion of friendship.

Here are the ten commandments :

1. In times of need, bring wine, chocolate, a box of tissues and a strong shoulder.
2. Be there to share the good times and hopefully, record it for posterity on camera
3. Do stay in touch
4. Do remind us of our good points - not the bad
5. Be there to remind us that someone does love us
6. Learn to drive and share the driving
7. Divvy up holiday and recreational booking
8. Remind us there is more to life than work
9. Do tell us if we behave like monsters...or perhaps date one..
10. Help during house moves

I'm sure there are tonnes more. I think this is a great new religion.

Kneel to the god of friendship.


Sunday 29 June 2008

Acts of random humour

My grandmother quipped today over Sunday lunch and with a deadpan face -"we can't all die when people want us to, you know."

That struck me as funny.

As did a random man on the underground yesterday.

A family of four got into our carriage, some of the most unsavoury characters one might have the misfortune to meet.

Two elderly parents - badly groomed, grimacing, with hairy faces and contorted expressions. Two middle aged sisters, both with scaly eczema, eyes-brows that met in the middle, yellowed feet and fingers, stained clothes, scraps of hair and enormous bodies that took up nearly two seats each.

I was fascinated and repelled. The mother hisses under her breathe towards another character hacking away -shut bloody well up will ya?..

It was all very unpleasant. But entertaining - as long as they didn't turn on me for staring. Which I have a propensity to do.

They finally shifted, wobbled and hobbled off the train.

At which point a well groomed young man opposite my caught me eye and said -"let's hope they haven't bred."

Ah. The wry one liner.

Brings a smile to one's face.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

Focus and Pace

A good friend said to me the other day that the secret to success and happiness is focus and pace.
He may be right. But then lamented the fact that for the most part he is frenetic and caught in a constant spiral of output that may or may not add up to anything.

Me. I am unfocused most of the time. When I do focus, I have moments of brilliance. But then I can't seem to control when this happens. It is as if it I need to expel a whole lot of mental and physical excess before I can settle. Exercise does help. In fact deadlines and pressure help too. Hugely. But today I haven't exercised and I don't have any deadlines. For the life of me I can't concentrate.

Which is irritating. My mind is such a grasshopper. It would be nice to be a razer sharp laser. I am sure I could achieve so much more if I spent less time ruminating and more time doing.

Which leads me in my rambling, unfocused way to.....what?

Ah yes. How to achieve focus. And how to pace oneself. Erm. Answers on a postcard please.

No seriously, I suppose it is quite obvious. Setting goals. Timelines. Not getting distracted. Being organised. Lists. Setting a routine and deciding how to spend one's time.

Quietening the monkey chatter mind as they say in Bhuddism.

Monkey chatter. I think I have a zoo of primates in my head.

Tuesday 24 June 2008

Sunburn and London

A few hot days in London and I get burnt to a crisp. Everything hurts. My arms look like slightly scalded hotdogs. And my back hurts every time I move.

But that said - a lazy Sunday in Kenwood park was a very good place to be.

London is beautiful in parts. When the sun shines. And people stop moaning about the price of a loaf and filling up the car and negative equity.

You'd think we could all transcend day-to-day realities but somehow in London it gives people a feeling of solidarity and being rooted.

We moan. We placate. We cajole. We sigh. We exaggerate. We tut. And then say..but at least the sun is shining!

Brits in general are fabulous at whinging. But Londoners...a cut above the rest.

House prices
Long hours
Crap transport
Boris and his blond hair
Congestion charges
Bad schools
Hospitals/GPs...generally all manner of medical malaises
No jobs (well I can moan to my heart's content about that)
Boring jobs
Bad services

Good lord. I need to log off. It all seems terribly bad.

But the sun is good.

Sunday 22 June 2008

On the outside looking in....

Do you know the Plato fable about men in the cave who could only see the shadows from the fire outside on their cave walls. They insisted that that the whole world was in their cave and even when someone took them by the hand and led themselves outside to see the fire and the fresh air and the sky, they refused to believe it and went back inside.

Sometimes I feel like that.

Like I am in a cave and there is a world out there but I can only see the shadows at the moment.

I'm not even sure why. I think it's because I am trying to look at other people's lives and work out what does constitute a correctly led, happy life. Is it the 9-5? Is it the family and kids? Is it family values and community? Or adventure and exploration, pilgrimage and journeys to the unknown?

I think I want a bit of it all. And that's pretty hard to achieve. In the meantime, I keep inspecting other people and what they do in the hope I will be inspired or find the answers to what I want.

It's a bit like window dressing. Just that I still don't know if it's the camping shop and hiking boots or Prada that does it for me.

Does Prada make wellies?

Friday 20 June 2008

Writing - what's that all about

People have been telling me for years to keep a diary. I should've done. I've probably travelled to some 50 odd countries in the last 8 years. But somehow I couldn't be bothered.

The moleskin and Hemingway fountain pen thing just didn't do it for me. Partly because my hand writing is so shockingly bad. A diary should be written in a fountain pen copperplate script shouldn't it? Not some scratchy bad biro. Surely.

And then there was that fear that a diary had to be private, full of sexual revelations and undying passions that you almost hoped/feared that someone would read one day. Because without a secret life of passion, what is it all about? How dare one write a diary if it's boring and about daily trivia. Was I worth a diary?

But this is fun. Is it because I can type it all out? Is it because the nature of a blog is irreverent? And actually I am never going to reveal too much because it's all public. Duh. Obviously. So there's a relief.

Yet - the therapy of banging away at a computer and letting it all flow out feels very good. Perhaps I've been bottling things up for a while and then losing my temper or bursting into a panic of tears. Not good. On any front. I come across as a mad thing.

But this is sane, rational. Of the zeitgeist. That's got to be good hasn't it?



I woke up thinking about the concept of acceptance. By this I mean, where is the tipping point between saying, I accept, I stop fighting, I am at peace with myself and whatever circumstances surround me and then the other extreme -"I do not accept, I fight, I fight with my enemies ..and the devils of bureaucracy and lethargy to prevail."

Well you get the idea.

Clearly I am not the first ever person to consider all this and I have read various ideas surrounding it, but somehow, I am not any clearer.

There is a popular school of thought called acceptance through non acceptance. Yes. I know. Seems like a cop out to me.

It basically says, as far as I understand, that an elephant has to acccept it is an elephant.

And that the aim of humans should be to find their natural role (dharma) in life and stick to it. This is the basis of the spiritual path. Most people are on the path of adharma (in opposition to their natural inclinations). But you can never find and tread the path of dharma by non-acceptance of yourself.

Non-acceptance only leads to neurosis and suppression. Does prozac counter that?

Fair enough, but it still leaves me no clearer about the battles we are supposed to fight.

Do we fight for love? Do we fight for justice? Do we fight for the right job, person, place or passion because it's important, or do we just's not the right time, it'll come to me. I accept.


Like being a set of scales trying to stay level.

I best get on. More mundane concerns about bank balances concern me.

Thursday 19 June 2008 easy is this?

And absolutely terrifying - or of course wonderfully liberating - that anyone can somehow get a presence on the internet. I haven't even thought what this is about or whom it will be for. Should I? Does everything in life need a purpose? We can discuss this later I guess.

OK- well I guess by nature,this blog is egotistical. So this blog is about Jo. Or JoJo to some friends. Benny to others.

Who is it for? My new age cult following. Hah hah. No one will read this anyway so really, I can write whatever twaddle I want.

This has been a difficult year so far. If one is politically correct of course, I would say it's been challenging. Yup. Whatever. Job hunting. Forever it seems. Rejections. Moving countries. Leaving friends. Trying to find a new life again. I seem to make a habit of this.

Movements. Transition. How long is something in transit? Are we all by nature in transit til we reach our end point. What if we never get there?

Well, apparently I am writing a blog to keep asking questions. Wow. Exciting stuff.

However, I'd like to think, it's a bit of therapy, sharing, humour defining diary of a an early 30s soul searching lass. Who can be funny. Sometimes. X