Tag Archives: Life

So, yeah…

A few days ago I may have mentioned something about emigrating: it’s something a lot of people say when they’re fed up with a situation; many never mean it, others simply don’t follow through – that’s really not the case here: I mean it – I’m up, off, and outta here.

You see, I was fortunate enough to grow up in Europe, West Germany to be exact, it’s the place I’ve always thought of as home, the formative years when you form bonds, attachments and habits were all spent in Nordrhein-Westfalen, and having recently been back to my ‘home town’ of Gütersloh, I realised just how much I’d missed it – not just missed though, but how much I thought of it as a home town compared to Stamford, Peterborough, London or anywhere else.

It’s not just local attachment though, it’s a question of quality. The quality of life is significantly higher, the opportunities which are presented in that area for travel, new experiences, work and building a life are enormous. I’m sick of being couped up in the UK: I want to travel in Europe – I want the freedom to just jump onto the autobahn and go shopping in Dutch markets, go walking in the Harz mountains, go tobogganing in the Alps, drink in the culture of Venice, Salzburg, Wien, Berlin, Köln or just go to a different country without having to think of it as an excursion with passport clasped in hand. Let’s face it the only way to do those things in the UK is to start taking extended weekends or holidays, my job precludes being able to take that amount of time out – and I’ve just had enough of it – I want my life back, and moving to a place that makes it easier to escape makes a lot of sense.

Of course those of you who read the political posts will know where I stand on Europe – I really do roll my eyes at the attachment to the Pound, the constant interference in our daily lives of a thoroughly inept and at times disreputable civil service and government. The ludicrous and frankly luddite situation of having to enter Europe – a continent we’re all officially citizens of with a passport and customs control – and the sheer hassle of getting anywhere that’s remotely interesting without having to pay extortionate train fees for the Chunnel or having to slog down to Dover for my preferred choice, a leisurely P&O ferry and a decent car all take their toll on me. I want to be in the heart of Europe – not just personally, but professionally.

So the planning starts now… If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about moving in the UK it’s that planning is key, the more organised you are the better: and moving into a foreign country even with prior experience needs military precision; we know many things about what we want. We love Köln, right in the heart of NRW it’d make a great base: it’s got great shopping, a compact city centre with good public transport, a good gay scene and a busy ex-pat community. It’s close enough to the border to make the UK a not entirely tiresome drive and it’s got good links to all of NRW and the rest of Germany, a quick hop across the border to Holland or Belgium, and only a matter of minutes on the autobahn before you start to hit some really beautiful scenery.

So that’s the beginnings of a plan to emigrate. I’m looking at this as a long term plan, rent first see what happens and then look at settling down. I want to make the move this year coming: 2011 – disengaging from the rat race of ludicrous rents and house prices, rip-off britain, x-factor and all the other stuff that sets my teeth on edge, escaping to cheaper living in the heart of europe only a car drive away from mountains, glaciers, rolling hills, vineyards and more. Bring it on.

Life Change?

Life, life’s an interesting one – it throws you curveballs, it shakes you up and it spits you out; it’s even worse when you get stuck in your own rut, the change life chucks at you can seem even more difficult: that’s why I’ve always tried to make my own way; not fall into ruts.

At the moment it feels like a rut is forming, not just locally either – but the whole country, I’m not sure I want to get stuck in the UK while house prices are still unconscionably high, while living costs are still giving us the title of ‘rip-off’ britain, and while the UK still sits on it’s hands watching the rest of Europe come ever closer together.

I’m seriously considering just upping and offing – emigrating, leaving for pastures new… bring it on.

Oddest scene in Soho

Very strange scene in Soho this evening – chaos as the one way system got completed snarled because it looked like the lift had made an escape attempt from this building on Broadwick Street, smashed glass and firemen everywhere…

End of a long week.

Almost the end week three, of what’s turning out to be an increasingly busy month, busy in good areas and busy in bad – work is busy, which is good, home is busy with impending house moves which is not so good, social life is distinctly un-busy, but there’s really no change from the usual there.

And what a week it’s been; I do look at the state of the UK in more and more of a depressed mood recently, Brown the Bottler and his incompetent cabinet of all the talents has-beens lurches from disaster to utter catastrophe as it appears that they’re going to have to force a nationalisation of Northern Rock to even consider recovering the tax-payer’s cash, nothing could be worse, both for the banks investors, the square mile and the wider economic reputation of Britain. What makes me cringe is the steadfast belief they all seem to have that they’re doing the right thing, seemingly not noticing that personal debt is at an all time high and it’s about all that propping up the economy at the moment as the FTSE tumbled 3% in one day and is now thundering toward 5800 at quite a terrifying pace. – The sooner Brown and his team of liars, cheats, fraudsters and baboons leave power the better, although one would hope that between now and then Cameron gets his team totally sleaze free and starts looking seriously at the possibility of coming to power in the middle of a recession…

The strange thing is as a business owner, speaking to other business owners there’s not a great deal of concern about the threat of recession, people do seem to think it’s going to be localised and that the world at large will carry on while housing and banking take the big hits, I’m yet to be convinced, but I’ve always believed in spreading business risk and keeping overheads down, so with some (and I do hate myself for using this word – I promise I won’t pull an odd look between a grimace and a grin half way through it before thumping my fist on the dispatch box) prudence *shudder*, things should be manageable without too many compromises.

Anyway, that’s quite enough of that: in other news, the new design and content is almost ready, so some time in late February I’m going to be relaunching the site, with new areas for the urbex stuff and a bigger, better blog with more space for all of the advertising/brand comment, plus the political and plain strange stuff. I’m quite excited about it, and you’ll be glad to know there’s a series of video podcasts coming very soon!

Good god, sense!

And it’s in no less a journal than The Times. It’s nice to see someone standing up for the ‘average’ man, casting aside the beefcakes and the waifs and rakes that have insidiously cornered almost every area of our print and broadcast media.

It’s mainly good stuff, positive in most respects although I’m not sure ‘corpulent’ would be the word I’d use to describe the average man.

You can read the article here:

Jesus Wept

I have someone staying with me at the moment, who; with the best will in the world, could be called sometimes, a little… well, dense.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s a bright lad, but sometimes mouth is engaged before brain

And the little oracle in the corner just piped up, during conversation:

“what’s a widget?”,
“well it’s a thing, it could be anything”, I replied.
Oh, he said,
I thought it was like a winged midget…

Jesus wept

Early Start

I woke at, by any reasonable measure, a ridiculously early hour this Sunday; I’m not sure whether it was work still playing on my mind, or just the heavy dinner from the night before, whichever it may have been it was accompanied by the all too familiar ache in my side crying out for pain killers.

Leaving Dave slumbering I fumbled around the bedroom, eventually pulling on my favourite rugby top, a pair of moth-eaten old jeans and the softest socks I could find, before making my way to the bathroom, downing a few pain killers then padding through the house opening the blinds taking in the rainy morning before making my way to the kitchen going through the familiar motions of making a strong morning cup from tea that we seem to buy in excess from Whittards on Kensington High Street every couple of weekends.

Supping my tea at the open French windows there’s that wonderful soul cleansing freshness in the air, the sort that only a rainy morning can bring, and as the rain is coming down in slow and steady sheets the one thing that’s evident more than anything else is just how cold it is – it’s unusually cold for May, all the more so considering the heat we’d enjoyed throughout April.

I can hear the distant rumble of the westway above the pitter-patter of the rain, but other than that it’s quiet, the wood pigeons are cooing in the direction of Holland Park, and it’s still that glorious time of day that’s just before London’s gets going, and being a Sunday there’s no chance of the peace being shattered by Porsche Cayenne’s thundering up and down Campden Hill Road filled with Notting Hill über-mummies delivering their numerous offspring to any number of the hideously expensive private schools that scatter the whole area.

I’m wondering what to do, this is the earliest I’ve been up on a Sunday for as far back as I care to remember, so having finished my tea I decide it’s too cold and wet to warrant braving the weather for a Sunday paper, so instead I bunk down for an hour with a book and leaving Radio 4 on, ignoring the less than soothing tones of Sunday Worship. Quite why they still have that programme on is beyond me, in our secular society you’d think we’d be above wasting tax payers pennies on religious programming, but Radio 4, like the seasons carries on regardless.

It’ll be interesting to see where we end up in the coming months, I’ll miss this view across the roof tops of Kensington and Notting Hill, but with the building having been granted planning permission for ‘re-conversion’ into two massive quad-plex apartments the death knell is tolling on this particular building, hopefully the next house we get will be nicer thanks to a larger budget, and won’t have the usual rush of one lease to another, which almost always influences what you actually end up buying – more so than I suspect most people would like to admit.

Busy Weekend

Well it’s been a busy weekend after a busy week – and to be honest I’m just entirely knackered: spent all day Saturday working with on a catalogue making updates to measurements and sizing charts which is a laborious, thankless and entirely soul destroying task that I eventually got finished at half past two on Sunday morning, a day that I’m hoping to be able to reclaim in bed with a much deserved day off during the week!

But it’s not all been work which is good – on a recommendation that it’s “nice” we took the streetcar for a spin today around the M25 and all the way down to Hastings, which on paper sounds like it should be nice, and in parts it’s lovely – but the bit by the sea (and let’s face it if you go to the coast you want to see the sea!) was a chav-infested hell hole, car parks that were like the surface of the moon and roads clogged with 17 year olds ‘cruising’ in modified cars… in fairness we probably didn’t give it quite the chance we should have, but we took one look at it and drove out – maybe we’ll give it another go when it’s chucking it down, that seems to keep chavy-teenagers indoors

Away from Hastings it was out onto the country roads of Kent travelling through Battle taking a convoluted route back to London which was lovely – I’d forgotten how nice it was just to jump in the car, switch the radio on and just go for an entirely random drive, not the cheapest thing to do in what’s essentially a hire car, but nice nevertheless… I like rural Kent, it looks like the sort of place I could escape to, much like rural Bedfordshire – it’s deceptively rural, beautiful countryside, but never far away from a proper road straight back into London.

So on the way back we took yet another detour – this time via Coulsdon, admittedly not the epicentre of most peoples world’s, but to the Urbexer Coulsdon is the home of the catherdral of urbex: Cane Hill, so we popped in for a little unplanned worship… ok, I’ve taken that metaphor as far as it’ll go… anyway, with darkness closing in we took a dusk walk around the perimeter of the fence, taking photos as we went

Cane Hill Lunatic Asylum

It was, much as we expected, still magnificent; every inch the Victorian lunatic asylum – imposing, stately and grand – albeit in a falling down sort of a way… and even though it was just a walk around the perimeter you almost felt in touch with the building as it stands high up on the hill, surrounded by trees the only things we met along the way were the occasional hoot of an owl, or the bark of a fox – it was perfect, and it’s spurred us on to go up there again to take a much more detailed look at the building as it stands now in 2007; so don your hard hats and head over to the urbex section to keep an eye out for Cane Hill photos and reports to come!

Losing whole weeks…

Well it’s the end of the week – and what a busy week it’s been, they seem to fly by, even though they’re long days the week’s themselves seem to be getting shorter and shorter, I’m not sure whether that’s the weather, the season or just my age… I shall blog properly over the weekend… when I’m not so tired.


I woke with a start this morning, partly due to the realisation that I was in fact already dreadfully late and partly due to our new found alarm clock that is St.George’s Church, just behind my house on the corner of Campden Hill Gardens which dutifully rings it’s bells in what seems to be no particular order at eight in the morning, midday and sometime around six.

From the moment I opened the blinds it was clear that the weather was going to be against  me all day, and as I walked out onto the balcony clutching my early morning dose of caffine it was became rapidly clear that it wasn’t just sheets of cloud flying across the sky above Trelick Tower on the horizon, but a fine drizzle was also starting to fall, the sort that can only be described as miserable drizzle; that stuff that soaks everything it comes into contact within mere seconds, which effectively  leaves you looking like a drowned rat for the whole day no matter what you try to do to dry off.

The only good thing weather wise was the cool stiff breeze, which was blowing the leaves around Campden Hill road in great swirling vortices, showing the first real sign of autumn taking hold that we’ve seen this year, as I strode out the flat I was a man on a mission, 30 odd photos needed sourcing, setting up, taking and finally processing – not the easiest of tasks when some of the things you’re taking photos of are entirely shrouded in cloud, and by the time I’d walked the familiar 400 yards from house to tube station I was utterly soaked; they say that the man with the weather has a sense of humour, if he does – it’s an evil one.