First Fire


There’s definitely something primal and satisfying about the first fire you light in your new house.  So primal, obviously, that it inspired me to blog for the first time since .. um .. Independence Day (see below … )

Lots has happened in the in-between time;  and I sometimes puzzle vaguely about why – having so enjoyed the blog for so many months – I just stopped when I left America.  No better explanation presents itself than that I’m a lazy git.  And very happy.  Maybe there’s something to this “tortured artist” thing …?


Independence Day

July the 4th, seen from the roof of David’s house in Chelsea, where we’ve been staying while in New York City.

Completely by accident, in a way, that we ended up being here on this night;  and that it ended up being (almost) our last day in the US.  Unintended as it was, it turned out to be the perfect punctuation mark to round off our American experience:  a celebratory Exclam! Close Bracket rather than the dot .. dot .. dot .. I think was still hanging at the end of the line when I left Chicago with just over 3 months ago.

Which means it feels like Independence Day for me too.  Today we pack up and board the Queen Mary II and sail out of New York harbour, bound for Southampton and home.  As America slips away – with some great memories attached, and not just from this summer – I think I’ll peacefully slip my moorings from the old job too, and leave it behind (also with great memories attached).

See you all on the other side …

Cartoon moment

A moment of excitement on yesterday’s hike when we got rattled at by a rattlesnake.  Great cartoon moment as Tony & I screamed, tried to jump into each other’s arms and run away all at the same time.  Screamed in a manly way, obviously ….

Hilarious (in retrospect …)

The little chap above is only a baby;  so – unlike the one that rattled at us – we felt fairly safe sticking around close enough to photograph him.

Radio silence

I feel a little guilty about the radio silence of late.  But only a little.  And renewed flutters of interest in what’s going on in the world at large (“gosh:  has there been an election in the UK then …?”) suggest that some channels, at least, might recently have re-opened.

In the first two or three weeks after leaving Chicago – particularly in Hawaii – I felt quite strongly about keeping up the rhythm of recording our various doings, and the things we’d seen.  Looking at it in retrospect, though, it’s more travelogue than blog;  and probably more displacement activity than anything else.  I remember hearing once that if you want a true holiday, you need at least 3 weeks;  the theory being that – if you’ve got a busy and challenging life – it takes 2 weeks for the mind and body actually to reach a useful level of relaxation, and that you need to remain there for a few days to reap any lasting benefits.  I think I reached that tipping point around the time we returned to Waikiki for our last 7 days … which, you’ll notice, is also when the blog posts started to dry up …!

That was 4 weeks ago though (4 weeks …!).  Time to start re-connecting.  And not just by this means either … I’ve been equally slack with my in-box, and have barely switched on my phone. Until I catch up with myself again, expect a hodge-podge of images and reflections from the last 4 weeks mixed in with more contemporaneous stuff.  As book-ends:  (below) view from the Waikiki sun-lounger;  and (above) a warehouse on one of our walks on San Francisco’s Embarcadero.

Wild and gorgeous

San Francisco is blessed, no doubt about it.  Although – like most places – it’s charms are most evident when it’s sunny.  I remember being bitterly disappointed the first time we came, in 1999.  It was the end of July and (typically for the time of year, as we later discovered …) it was 11 C / 55 F, grey and drizzling.  Everything looked drab.  I caught a cold, and snivelled for the whole week.  Poor little me …

However:  as if to make up for that first impression, the city’s treated us lushly ever since.  I enjoy it more (and find it more beautiful) each time I come back.   Today’s walk:  from Crissy Field, just east of the Golden Gate Bridge, back along the peninsula’s north shore to Pier 39, where we fell gratefully into a taxi.  Above & below some shots from Golden Gate Promenade, between Crissy Field and the Marina, where they’ve been restoring the native salt marsh plant life.  Wild and gorgeous.

A Room with a View

I’m in Pittsburgh, at the airport hotel. Maybe not your idea of a view (admittedly it’s zoomed in). But – if I widen my focus – it’s really quite grand. Planes landing & taking off at one corner of my vision (it’s a real airport hotel: just a stroll from Arrivals); and, at the other corner, this epic long-stay car park stretching to the hills …

Unintentionally I’ve (once again …) found a metaphor for life in today’s photo. I realize I’ve been very zoomed in on the downsides of this short work interlude I’m on. So, despite nearly a month off in Hawaii (and with more sloth in San Francisco in prospect) I’ve been in an arms-folded, pouty sulk for the last 48 hours. Since I got here, though, I’ve been able to widen my focus. It’s actually been great to see and catch up with some old coaching colleagues and friends; plus meet some new ones. I got to sit in on a presentation by Bill Strickland (amazing: probably more on him another time), which I’d have missed if I’d said “no” to the job.

So: here I am … mildly chastened, and .. um .. sort of looking forward to working tomorrow and the next day …


Moist ...

Well:  Kaua’i was supposed to be for 10 days, but we bailed after 3.  ‘Bailed’ being the operative word:  rain forecast for all 10 days …

Still:  in addition to the ziplining and – in the other dry moment – the visit to Waimea Canyon, the soft weather allowed plenty of time for rest and contemplation, as well as bracing walks on the beach …

Tony, Waikomo Stream Villas, Poi'pu

Poi'pu Beach, Kaua'i

That's the spirit ...