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Showing posts from 2024

The Happiest McDonald's Fries

I can't recall why my amazing mother hadn't ever had a McDonalds before and so, in Newport , we popped in and she fell in love with their fries. (This is one photo even though it might feel like two chopped together)

Nature Meets Art

Once again nature meets art, what a stunning photograph of a gorgeous late autumn woodland scene over the Wye Valley , Monmouthshire. If someone can tell me what style of painter this reminds them of I'd be very grateful. I am particularly fond of the right hand side with the farm buildings and old church nestled away amongst the trees. Zoom in on the full photo, there is so much loveliness to be had.

Angela Barnes

Angela Barnes is good solid funny comedian that knows how to tickle ya funny bones. More than that she's a fucking awesome human being and I have all the time in the world for her. PS: Her support act, Michael Fabbri , was superb as well.

Hancock's Half Hour

A radio show from the 1950s on stage in the 2020s, must prove something. Nostalgia is alive and kicking amongst those who were there or who's parents would tell you about it. Hancock's Half Hour shows still stand as great comedy writing. The acting (impersonations?) were excellent, especially 'Sid James' and 'Kenneth Williams'. Finally, as it was staged as an actual radio recording it did feel a tad like seeing behind the wizards curtain. If you ever get a chance absolutely go .

Misty And Moody River

Sometimes eh, just sometimes nature puts on a show and it can be breathtaking. The River Wye from the Wye Bridge towards the Boat House.

It's Like We'd Always Been There

Time is an illusion, lunch time doubly so. So says Douglas Adams , and he's right. Time is one of my new topics of ponderment, alongside the why we're here, what's it all about, and why is my little toe growing inwards. Those that actually study time aren't even agreed on the  question, " Does time exist? " Standing under the ancient ceiling of The Queens Head with my two oldest mates, Rob and Andy, it does beg the question what truly is time? Of course it wasn't the same, we were in a surprisingly empty pub that unsurprisingly closed down a few months later. We are all fathers, none of us live in Monmouth, and we have all lived big and different lives. And yet, here we were, back again and even saying that it felt like time hadn't moved. Time, it's a feature of love IMHO.

Map Of Fictional Britain

Ever wondered where Pontypandy is? Curious about Ambridge ? Pondered as to the location of Stoneybridge ? They are all here and so many more, enjoy [ tap/click to open larger image ]

Sarson's Malt Vinegar

It's a truth universally acknowledged that any UK establishment in possession of good food, must be in want of a Sarson's bottle. I've noted this before but I can't go past this photo without highlighting once again just how ubiquitous the Sarson's vinegar bottle is.

Have I Lived My Best Life?

Ok, alright, fair enough, "Am I living my best life?", you know what I mean. Yeah, I believe I am living life. I certainly don't feel like I am 'existing through' life. I see some living their lives in amazing ways, some living life in ways that are not for me but are obviously very cool for them, many living lives that I have no idea about but I hope are best. That word 'best', that's the key one eh. What does it mean to live the 'best' life, by what criteria are we to use to judge whether it is a 'best' life? How about these ... I have the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expect of me. I have the courage to express my feelings. I stay in touch with my friends. I let myself be happier. "Nice Mike, made those up to suit your own life / this article did ya?" Well, no actually they are the positive spin on the  Top five regrets of the dying (via Susie Steiner, The Guardian, Feb 2012 - unfortunately th

NEW: Objects From Iceland And Dr Who

It's been fun adding new photo albums to the Iceland collection, that ends now and onto a few others as well: National Museum of Iceland A collection of items and objects that I found intriguing at the time Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder (July 2024) An exhibition of all things Dr Who at Takina in Wellington

History Comes Alive

This is Mr Evans. In the closing years of the 1970s it was noticed that I was old enough to go to 'big school'. Initially my parents thought it would be a step up to go to the Haberdashers Boy's School ... I didn't want this as none of my friends were going so I failed the entrance exam on purpose. Monmouth Comprehensive here I come! There's a million stories , a million heartaches, a tonne of boredom, and friends I still have.  [ Facebook group: Monmouth Comprehensive leavers 83/84/85 ] And there was Mr J Evans. He was my History teacher for a year or so. I never pursued history in any academic way but you can tell by this blog's #history  that it is a thing for me. This is almost exclusively down to Mr John Evans. Quite a few of us recall him acting out the Romans invading Wales. Him jumping onto desks to act out the Welsh hiding in the mountains, the battles between the desks, the cry of the dead, the whoops of the victorious. John Evans is as spry as he ev

Íkarus

Time to leave the incredible country of Iceland . I hope to be back and stay for a few months! As you know I'm a hunter of street art and Keflavik airport has plenty , both inside and outside the terminus. Íkarus (Icaros) by Leifur Breiðfjörð Leifur Breiðfjörð, a renowned Icelandic artist, presents "Íkarus" (Icaros), a remarkable stained glass creation that adorns the terminal. This piece, alongside its counterpart "Yearning for Flight," forms a duo that eloquently expresses humanity's age-old aspiration to soar through the skies. "Íkarus" delves into the timeless tale of Icarus, juxtaposing this ancient myth with the modern-day feats of astronauts and the natural grace of birds. The artwork becomes a luminous spectacle at night, a beacon of dreams and human ingenuity. "Icaros" spans an impressive 490 x 970 cm and is beautifully situated in the departure hall, overlooking the south window, offering a captivating visual experience to trav

Secret Entrance Into City Hall

Top work the person that designed an entrance into Reykjavík's City Hall via a set of steps that descend through the surrounding pool, love it!

Northern Lights

Whilst I did see them I, like almost everyone else before and after me, was a little underwhelmed. Now, I have mates who have seen spectacular aurora and won't stop talking about how astounding it was but I believe they are the very lucky ones and the average view is a lot less intense - see the recent aurora that we all raved about a month or so ago. Staring straight up and at it you sort of see a slight change in colour. Side eyeing it (using your peripheral vision) brings more definition to the colour. Finally, pointing your camera at it brings out a much clearer view. This photo has been enhanced (not faked, but edited to bring contrast and up the colour). It was there, this is what I was looking at, but this not what I saw.

Whale 'Looking For' Comes To An End

We didn't actually see any whales, some puffs as they exhaled in the distance, but I wasn't bothered as it was simply a lovely trip from the Old Harbour out into the large Faxafói Bay. I think I may have fallen asleep at one point.

Nipple!

I know, childish, not big nor clever, and certainly not the first time it's been said. It's Þúfa ("tussock ") an art / tourist thing that I only ever saw from a distance. I'm not sure I knew how to get to it, or what it was. Turns out Þúfa was created by Icelandic artist Ólöf Nordal and is an 8-meter, man-made, grass-grown mound, which can be walked up. The whole piece is on an artificial island. Those who walk up to the top are able to enjoy one of the most impressive views of Reykjavik available.  Damn 🫣 Source of info: Visit Reykjavik: Þúfa art piece

Architecture A Go Go

The  Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre on the Reykjavik waterfront is an astounding building. From the outside it's a giant glass covered item lit up by the sun and reflecting the water and sky. It's well worth a wander around looking at all the different angles, light, and interesting moments. I wandered inside but couldn't go into the auditorium(s). But still, wow, as wonderful inside as out. I see I've shared two photos of this magnificent building already, and here's two more as I just can't decide which is to be the one for today's daily photo , lucky old you.

Runny Eggy Soldiers

There's an Enid Blyton story feeling that wraps me up in comfort and safety that I feel when I slowly dip my slices of toast into my egg. It's been too long, let's all do it! btw: count the fingers .

Be A Man Not A Boy

I don't really know how to get this through. When I was 18 or so I was quite the timid person despite the exterior bravado. I felt like I was a small boy in a man's world and my job was to keep my head down unless the "bigger boys" spotted me and called me out. I have carried that little boy (about aged 13 or 14) with me for years and years, during my mental breakdown he was close to the surface, crying out in pain, and I finally listened . Most of the times I failed were those when I allowed the boy to act out, lash out, to be, well an angry 13 or 14 year old. This time though this little boy was in charge of a mans body, a man that was legally allowed to drink alcohol, drive a car, have sex. It was a potent combination, and so wrong. In Aotearoa New Zealand I see so many mens bodies being driven by a boy inside. Men, with the machinery of being men, and for much of the time having a man at the controls, being a good parent, a loving friend, expressing empathy and k

Have A Happy Day

This voettir / gnome was just sitting there next to Tjörnin, the lake in downtown Reykjavík. He made me smile, I hope he does the same for you whatever the time of day it is where you are on this planet.

Miramar Mike In Berhampore

Where are you living now Mike, still in Miramar?" Nope, I have taken up temporary residence in the suburb of Berhampore , a place I had little to no knowledge of. For instance hands-up who could draw Berhampore on a map of Wellington, where does it start, where does it end, what's in it? It is surrounded by the suburbs of Vogeltown (where?), Newtown , Melrose (huh?), Island Bay , Kingston (what the?), and Mornington (Crescent, I win! ). Ok, so we all know where Newtown is, likewise Island Bay , but those others are just made up places, surely. Here ya go: Now, we all know our own suburbs. You can name the shortcuts, where the rich live, when to leave to get to the shops before they shut, what number buses to use. You can name the suburbs you travel through to get to work / university / the shops. We all claim to be proud Wellingtonians.  But really, how much do you actually know about other suburbs, ones you've no business driving through. Those places you visit once

National Museum of Iceland

If I insisted upon a visit to a museum for a few hours would you a) Revolt; b) Whoop! In the right mood I can be lost inside a museum for hours upon hours as I gaze upon weird items revelling in their labelled history. The National Museum of Iceland is an intriguing visit. The building is grand, the articles inside are fascinating, and the small café is perfect. It's quite a traditional museum, a lot of things to look at and read labels of - yay! From memory there's a lot of religious stuff , which I'm less interested in, although the angels were quite bizarre. All in all, I'm glad I went . And as I left it started snowing which made me giddy with childish excitement. Ok, so, what about this item? Well, it represents all the items I photographed and, um, it's wood, made of wood, and it's got a face, a quite lovely carved Viking-esque face, and it all looks like a dagger, maybe, perhaps, a wooden face dagger, no? Ok, I'll Google it ... Oh, no, it's not

Lauren Bacall

This was my first ever PC wallpaper. I loved the starkness and intensity of the photo. However the background wasn't perfectly black so, using MS Paint, I made sure it was. Took me ages, pixel by pixel. Well worth it.

The Drunk Rabbit

On the bar of an Irish pub, The Drunk Rabbit , in Reykjavik.

Iceland - Photo Album Time!

Here ya go peeps, Iceland in all her glory ... well, a little, tiny part of Iceland in her glory. Golden Circle, Iceland (2023) Kerid Crater Faxi Waterfall Thingvellir National Park Gullfoss Waterfall Icelandic Art The Icelandic Phallological Museum (Hið Íslenzka Reðasafn)

Gotta Have These Bars

Hey, Reykjavik is a tourist town and of course the English wanna go to the English pub, the Americans wanna frequent an American bar, and everyone else goes to the Irish pub. I was tempted and succumbed to the Irish pub, it was small and loads of fun.

Life Changes On Monday

For a lot of people this coming Monday (1st July, 2024) will be the first day of a different life as they DON'T go to work. Central government agencies have been commanded by the current Government to cut costs and explicitly by stopping work and reducing staff numbers. Whilst the latest public count of role cuts is 6,227 by my estimation it's going to directly affect around 4,551 people. There will, of course, be massive ripples out as families, households, private sector companies, and Wellington service & retail companies are touched by these changes in people and incomes. Sidenote: I believe there are still more roles to be cut as David Seymour (Leader of the Act party who are a vocal and active coalition member) wants at least 7,500 people cut . He is, if you couldn't guess, a neo-conservative with a, "small government" mentality. What the government won't be able to perform will then be picked up by a small band of private organisations for profit,

Öxarárfoss

The last of my Icelandic waterfalls wasn't large and powerful a la Gulfoss and Faxifoss , but was enchanting nonetheless. It was the rocks and ice with Öxarárfoss falling and flowing through, I could've taken a million photos from a thousand angles. So I did.

Þingvellir And The Drowning Pool

We all know that Iceland's original 'government' and meeting place ("Parliament" if you will) is "one of" the oldest in the world. The Alþingi; Icelandic for 'general meeting'), anglicised as Althingi or Althing, is the supreme national parliament of Iceland. It is one of the oldest surviving parliaments in the world. The Althing was founded in 930 at Þingvellir ('thing fields' or 'assembly fields') ... So here I was, alongside 1 or 2 other tourists, wandering around the top of a cliff that looked out across Thingvellir National Park as the last of my Golden Circle Tour stops. You know, it's only now looking back at the photos, that I get the sense of history of the place. I wish I had spent a little more time imagining how it would have felt 1,500 years ago being present at the very place my feet were standing. The visitor centre was quickly ignored, maybe I popped in for a wee. Our your guide gave a useful brief overview o

Splutter, Poompf, Splash

After Gulfoss we were bused to the Stokkur . You know, the geyser you'll have seen that rises majestically into the air every 30 mins. We were at lunchtime and the ' visitor centre ' is a large space with many tourist shops and a food court. I decided to get the obligatory photo and video of this world astounding natural wonder. The wind howled across the flatness as a crowd stood around the obviously hot pool. It eventually, 25 mins later, went flump .  I trudged back to the visitor centre/mall and got myself a sandwich and a beer. At least I was warm. When you visit I hope it rises majestically into the air, it certainly didn't for me.

I Am An Organ Donor

The medical profession can, when I am dead or very near to death: Let me go if it would help, Keep me physically alive to preserve my organs, and Take any and all organs and bits they need. ------- (copy the above paragraph, amend if needed, and pass it on to everyone you need to) Who should I tell?  Everyone that knows me tbh, and especially my kids, sibling, and lover, who are likely to be the ones being asked by a doctor if they can harvest my bits and bobs. Here in NZ that is all you need to do, see next from Organ Donation NZ: Have the conversation : Can I register to become an organ donor? When applying for or renewing your driver licence, it is possible to tick a box and have ‘DONOR’ printed on your licence. However this is only an indication of your interest in being an organ or tissue donor, it is not an official organ donation register. The most important thing you can do is have a conversation about donation with your family, whānau or those people closest to you and let the

Gullfoss Waterfall (Iceland)

The wind roared and froze me, the water crashing over both levels was constant and almost overwhelming. It is a shit tonne of water falling over rocks, amazing nature in action.

WiFi "Don't"

WiFi names 1 and 2 as well.

Icelandic Horses Are Vikings

Powerful looking, covered in warm clothing, a long blond mane flowing in the cold tundra wind. They're also small, very cute, and you wanna hug them, awwwwwww.

Tiswas Signatures

Tiswas was is the greatest Saturday morning kids show ever. Fact! I was happy then, happy now that I was the perfect age for it all. I went and saw them live but I had to leave early (parents, pah!). I got 3 signed photograph's just by writing off and asking for them - who can shout out the Tiswas address, GO! Unfortunately the Sally James signed photo has faded away, but here's Bob Carolgees and Spit. And of course Chris Tarrant , the best thing he's ever done although he was pretty good doing the Capital Radio weekday 'going to work' show. Shame about the Sally James photo eh.

Faxi Falls

The first of two waterfalls I got to see, no, that I got to experience in Iceland. Faxi waterfall (also knows as Faxafoss Faxi, Fossin Faxi, or Vatnsleysufoss Faxi) flows from Tungufljot River that is fed by glaciers and other streams from the highlands in Iceland’s interiors. Full photo album .

Kerið Volcanic Crater

The Golden Circle tour is about as touristy as one can get in Iceland, second only to The Blue Lagoon. First stop for me was Kerið Volcanic Crater , a 3,000 year old explosion crater, 55m deep with a lake at the bottom, which really demands a clear sky and the Sun lighting up the colours. Still, it was a nice stretch of the legs walking around the crater rim. Oh, and wow for a music venue with floating stages - Bjork (1987) and the opera singer Kristján Jóhannsson [ video ]. Apparently it has amazing acoustics. To get a sense of scale if you zoom in you can see figures walking along the crater rim, yup, it's a big hole.

New Photo Albums: From Iceland to NZ via Wales

Couple new photo albums as I discover I have groups of photos over time, or visited a place and went wild with the camera. Icelandic Art Seems I was extremely arty and sophisticated during my brief trip to Reykjavik The Icelandic Phallological Museum (Hið Íslenzka Reðasafn) A normal part of a male mammals anatomy and it's got its own museum, strange eh (giggle giggle, fnarr fnarr, r r r) Mappa Mundi, copy (Hereford Cathedral, England) I think I saw a copy but heck it was awesome anyway Levin (Horowhenua, Aotearoa) Strangely I've taken very few of "town", or, "the big smoke" despite living near it for over 2 years Monmouth's Shire Hall So many photos it deserves an album of it's own Abandoned buildings So many of us love a good solid abandoned building, I wonder why

Best Reykjavik Fast Food

Since 2009 there has been no McDonalds in Iceland , which is not to say they don't have typical US fast food joints at all, they do. They also have they're own versions, Metro for instance is a burger and fries caper that the old McDonalds franchise runs. It's basically McDonalds with a different name. Ignore them all  as it is in Reykjavik that you'll visit the best hotdog stand ever. So good that they are also at the airport and around the capital city, although make sure you go to the original. Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (translated to The best in town ) has been doing what it does since 1937 having be setup by the grandfather of the current owner, Guðrún Kristmundsdóttir. While most hot dogs in the world are made out of pork or beef, the hot dogs here are made from lamb meat. The sauces and sides are also something to shout bravo for! You can have a hot dog with homemade crispy onions and sweet mustard, along with raw onion, ketchup and remoulade. The ketchup is actuall

Soundtrack Of My Life: Mike Riversdale

Saw this from Katherine Parkinson and thought, what a great idea. Easy as, copy the questions, fill in your answers (with links to YouTube or Spotify), pop this message at the top, and send it on to someone else. The first song I fell in love with The first gig I went to The song I wish I’d written The song I do at karaoke The song I can’t get out of my head The song I can no longer listen to The song I want played at my funeral The song that makes me want to dance I nominate: Keith Jo Rob

More Reykjavik Statues

Part 2 of statues around Tjörnin in Reykjavik .

Statues, Reykjavik Loves 'Em

A wander around Tjörnin , "a small, prominent lake in central Reykjavík , the capital of Iceland" is a statue lovers dream. I am definitely into a bloody good statue, any 3D art tbh.

It's Coming To Us All

Quick note. I've been spending more time on writing and one of my paths has been to finally pick up my draft posts and finish them off. Welcome to yet another ... Death . Oops, sorry, did I make you jump, so sorry. It's a word that is so so much more than just a word. Feel the difference between, "death", the word, and oh I don't know, "stick". Both just words but wow the weight of the word "death". For some the weight, that dark heavy lead smell and taste, is too much and we sidestep it by using one of many euphemisms available such as: passed on no longer with us departed resting in peace All used to deflect the power of the word "death", we just don't want to state it in the face and feel it's presence. I have been around a number of deaths, some friends that committed suicide, a few work colleagues, and some family members most notably my Dad, Derek . There are also famous people dying that, through their art, work, and p