We came into this world on the same day. My forceps provided the slipstream for her, 5 minutes later – and twin-life began. It was a mixed bag. The fun of having a ready-made playmate was diluted by sibling surveillance, and sharing. People said we were polar opposites. Maybe. Or maybe we were the same […]Read more "Same Same But Different"
Three years ago the freedom of infertility set me on a mid-life meander to Melbourne. Last month, I went home… So, what have my cohorts and countrymen been up to without me? Well, apart from break-ups, breeding and Brexit. Not much. We did the rounds. From family roasts to beers with the lads. We were like social […]Read more "A Sort of Homecoming"
Recently, I discovered something laying dormant inside my mobile blower… Podcasts. More precisely, Desert Island Discs. There are hundreds of ’em – and many are my cultural counterparts; from Gallagher and Brand, to Weller, Winstone and whispering Bob. If you’re unfamiliar with the format. Guests (or “castaways”) get to choose 8 songs (or “discs”) to take with […]Read more "Music From The Motherland"
First I heard of Van Diemen’s Land was back in the 80s when my Walkman was partial to a bit of Rattle & Hum*. Little did I know, it was real place that one day would be on my doorstep. Nowadays it’s an Australian state called Tasmania. We fly to Hobart and make a long weekend of […]Read more "Van Diemen’s Land"
Some call it Australia Day. Others, Invasion Day. For me, it’s January 26th – a public holiday and a welcome break from the daily grind. Australians woke to the news that their prime minister had awarded Prince Philip a knighthood – and by bestowing this colonial trinket on a pointless prince had implied that no […]Read more "Pull The Ladder Up Bruce"
The anniversary of my 4th decade on the earth gave the old girl an excuse to fly out for a visit. Fancy man in tow. My end of the bargain was to assume the role of tour-guide-slash-driver for a road trip round Victoria. #1 Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula The locals bang on about the penguins at Phillip […]Read more "Ocean Drive"
As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a footballer (well, and a gangster – but that’s another story). I’d have been in with shout, but lager and birds sabotaged my crack at the top flight and I settled for that kick-about between two skinfuls – the Sunday League. Injuries were […]Read more "Cash on the Hip"
Approaching 30 and birdless: “I stopped looking for a dream girl. I just wanted one that wasn’t a nightmare.” – Charles Bukowski As luck would have it, one turned up anyway – and it wasn’t long before we were shacked up and due to get spliced. From day 1 it was obvious she was gonna […]Read more "10 Years a Slave"
This time last year I was looking out of my Canary Wharf window thinking: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller It’s good advice, but after 277 “days off” it was time to put some bunce back in the old […]Read more "Back in the Game"
It’s been a while since my last post. So let me fill you in. When we wrapped up the backpacking we headed for a 6 week stint with the in-laws and Chinese New Year Macanese style. They’re a family that like their grub and Macau’s hospitality is top drawer. I fit right in. Only trouble […]Read more "Hello Goodbye"
With the backpacking part of this trip done and dusted. I’ve been in a reflective mood and put together a montage of the journey so far. Now it’s onto Melbourne where another new experience awaits – living and working in a foreign country. Is Australia really the land of Milk & Honey? _____Read more "That Was The Trip That Was [Video]"
Got chatting to this monk the other day. Didn’t catch his name, so for the sake of the story we’ll call him Harry. The conversation* went something like this. Rooky: Being a monk must take a lot of self-control – no booze, no sex. So what makes virile young men (like yourself) pass up SE […]Read more "When Harry Met Rooky"
The next stop in our tour of Indochina was Vietnam. This is what I saw… Saigon Scooters With 35 million scooters in Nam, you can forget what the green-cross-code-man told you. You’ll be there all day. They come at you from all directions, so my advice would be – just walk… If evolution’s true the […]Read more "19 Nights in Nam"
Cambodia, a perplexing place – one day you’re watching the sunrise over the “8th wonder of the world”. The next, you’re standing in the middle of the killing fields shocked by the evil humans are capable of. After a month on the beaches of Goa I can handle sightseeing again. So we fly to the […]Read more "Drop your Angkor, weigh your thoughts…"
After 4 months on the road, travel burnout was beginning to kick in – sightseeing had become a chore and I was missing the sense of purpose that work used to provide. Thankfully my friends at OSCAR India supplied the antidote – and asked me to do some football coaching. OSCAR is an organisation that […]Read more "Teenage Kicks"
Our 34th day in India takes us to Bombay, and my mind adjusts to the flagrant poverty people had warned me about. Even before my feet hit the tarmac my window seat shows me a sea of shanties that seemed to go on forever. We spend Diwali in Ambedkar Nagar slum (our friends at OSCAR […]Read more "Bombay Luck"
Be Here Now by Ram Dass My rating: 3 of 5 stars In India and en route to an ashram, I was looking for a spiritual read to complement the trip. I heard this book led Steve Jobs on a similar journey, so gave it a whirl… It took me inside the mind of a […]Read more "Book: Be Here Now"
When the missus first floated the idea of a week in an ashram, “reluctant” weren’t the word. Don’t get me wrong, I like my yoga as much as the next man, it was the “mandatory” schedule* and the prison-like house rules** that put me off. In the end my curiosity prevailed – if it’s good […]Read more "Cell Block Hippy"
There’s something about a Hindu temple that makes me wanna sing a bit of Sanskrit. I’ve only gotta enter one of those places and the words “Govinda jaya jaya” or “acintya bheda bheda tattva”, are in my head. So as I’m in India (the home of Sanskrit), I thought I’d find out what these old […]Read more "Temple Tunes"
Coming from Singapore, India’s like a different world; cows at bus stops, blokes in skirts*, people eating with their hands, shoeless pedestrians on dirty roads, entire families on one motorbike (sans helmets), regular power cuts, straight men holding hands, and incessant car horns during my siesta. It took a while to acclimatise. Three days into […]Read more "South India Road Trip"
Our journey down the Malaysian peninsula finishes with a few days in Singapore – everything is just that little bit better; shopping malls are spotless, public transport runs like clockwork, even the quality of the crumpet exceeds that of its Malaysian neighbour. We arrive on Grand Prix day. The chaos and crowds I was expecting […]Read more "Singer Poor"
Bored of Melaka and with a few days to kill before Singapore we weigh up a trip to Tioman Island. The weatherman tells us they’ll be rain all week, but Time magazine had it down as one of the world’s most beautiful islands (in the 1970s), so we ignore him. Being a city person married […]Read more "Mosquito Island"
One of the benefits of colonialism is that you get towns with plenty of character, and in the case of Melaka & George Town that’ll get you world heritage status too. Well either that, or someone at UNESCO has taken a bung from the Malaysian tourist board. Melaka is the older of the two (by […]Read more "Melaka: A Poor Man’s GT"
It’s been 6 years since I was last in KL, but that was a honeymoon and sightseeing weren’t exactly a priority, so we’re back for another look… One thing we missed on our last visit (much to the disappointment of the missus) was a trip up the Petronas Twin Towers. So we book ourselves in […]Read more "KL: The Second Coming"
After 2 and half weeks on Borneo, where it’s all wildlife and trees. It was time to get back to a proper city; 5 days in George Town, Penang was just the ticket. One of the first things I noticed was the amount of street art. Most of it painted by a Lithuanian fella (Ernest […]Read more "A Town Called George"