Monday, February 28, 2011


Sometimes, as I have no doubt said before, I despair.

This time, it's at my department. We had our end of month meeting in which all 30 odd of us meet up and listen to the Boss tell us 'stuff'. Someone had brought up the fact that in 2 of our classrooms there were broken projectors which have been broken for something like a year. Seemingly our admin have been trying to arrange for a technician to come and fix them. But, given that we are located in an airport, it's not as easy as just calling them and them arriving the next day or whatever. The technicians need a pass to get in. The technicians passes however keep being rejected which means they can't come into the airport to fix the projectors. This, as I mentioned, has been going on for nearly a year.

Now, why oh why has no one taken a moment to think about this problem. Why hasn't someone said, if we can't bring the technicians into the airport, why can't we take the projectors out to the technicians?

Honestly, no one had thought of that. I'm still shocked beyond belief by this. The stupidness of some people. The admin said 'Oh yes, that's a great idea'.

Eh yeah, but one year late.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Another 6 nations game. Another Scottish defeat. Why do we bother?

Each year, high hopes fade quickly into depths of despair. This time, it was Ireland at home. Next game we are in London against the English. Have we won there ever? I don't think we have since the 80's. Then it'll be a game against Italy for the wooden spoon. Again.

One of these days, Italy will be a good team and then we'll be right in the proverbial sh*te.

It doesn't exactly bode well for the World Cup in the autumn. Actually, we do seem to play better in the autumn so maybe, just maybe we'll be OK.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I really really try to sleep late on the weekend. Really try but I just can't seem to do it. If I manage to sleep past 9am either day, then I consider that 'good'. I don't really know why that is the case. I like sleeping. I would say that I'm good at it. Good, in the sense that when I go to bed, I tend not to stay awake too long. In the morning, I just end up getting up. But, come mid morning or whatever I just end up feeling tired again which is totally not how it's meant to be.


It seems that gone are the days in which I'd wake up around lunchtime. In same ways, thats a good thing. More time to do stuff. Constructive stuff. Kind of. Sometimes though, I'd like to just sleep. Surely it's not a big ask. Is it?

Friday, February 25, 2011


There I was, just driving back from the supermarket. Nothing very exciting ever really happens on the drive back from the supermarket. Depending on which one I go to, it generally takes about 15 minutes to drive back home. Invariably it's a Friday afternoon that it happens and the roads aren't all that busy which makes things much easier.

Today however, I was driving along when a big, blacked out mercedes pulls along side me, in the lane to my left. The Merc then moves into 'my' lane and in front of me. I notice that it has a non standard registration plate. It's got CC on it which I guess means it's diplomatic or something. We were fast approaching our exit onto the next street. It was a single lane exit which leads to an overpass then onto the next road. Behind me was a saloon car with some middle aged men in it, wearing suits. Again, this particular car behind me has similiar non standard registration plates. I felt this was a bit strange, so I purposely slowed down going up the overpass enabling the Merc to move a distance ahead. That meant this saloon car also had to slow down.

At the bottom of the overpass, the road opens up to 3 lanes. The Merc was now some why ahead in the centre of the 3 lanes. I meandered down the overpass and also into the centre lane. When the road opened up, this saloon car sped up and very quickly passed me on the left had side as if trying to catch up with the Merc. The saloon wasn't all that fast and I managed to keep pace with it for a further 100 metres or so. I'm not sure they were impressed. Having played my little game, I went right and off home and delivered my shopping.

It got me thinking though. What was going on? Was the Merc full of vips or something? Was the saloon car the 'security' goons or something? If so, they were crap given that I drive as slow as anything in a small car. If that was the case, they really weren't exactly in disguise. I spotted them!

It was all abit odd to be honest. I'll need to be more aware on the road!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I've got this one student. Let's call him Mr. I. He's already taken a few of my higher level tests and failed each and every one of them. He came to a month long series of classes and still he failed the test. I don't like the fact that he isn't at the required level and I'd rather that he passed and be done with. To that end, his boss and my boss decided that he should get one-on-one remedial class at a lower level of English then work his way up to the higher level. I have an hour a day with him and have being doing that for 2 weeks now.

He's doing my head in.

That's the long and the short of it. Unprofessional, yes, but he really is. His English isn't that bad but my goodness, does he lack common sense and even the basic skills to study. We would do some example sentences in class orally first or some important grammatical point that would help him the in future. A good student would know that whatever is covered in the class, notes of it should be taken and written down somewhere where you wouldn't a. forget or b. know what the notes refer to. He just doesn't seem to have that knowhow. I have had to tell him on a number of occasions, that it might be in his best interests to write this or that down. And he's like 'oh yes, yes, good idea'. Why do I need to tell him all of this?

Then there was the issue of homework. I gave him 2 sheets of paper. On one was the 'theory' and some excellent examples, the second sheet was an exercise giving practice of the 'theory'. I asked him to read the first sheet before attempting the exercise and have it on hand when he did the exercise. The next day, he had completed the homework but it was mostly incorrect. I asked him why this was the case, as he really should be able to do it. He replied that he had quickly read over sheet 1, then went straight to sheet 2 and quickly completed it because he 'knew what he was doing'. I beg to differ. He just hadn't taken the time to read everything over, get everything into his head and then do it. Oh no, that would be too easy. Instead he bashes on thinking he can do it.

I said to him, why don't you have the first sheet on your left and on the right, the second sheet. That way, you can refer to them both. 'Oh yes, that's a good idea' was the reply.


How can I help him, if he isn't able to help himself. He maintains he knows all 'these things' and that they are in his head. The evidence suggests otherwise. He has to prove it to us all and that is what he quite clearly isn't doing. The irony is that if he doesn't pass this lower level there ain't any chance of him progressing through the next 2 levels and with it, he can kiss goodbye to his pending promotion.

And on that note, all I'll say is: you can lead a horse to water...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The interview!

I had asked for the CV of the person that was up for the English. Clearly, being prepared was the best approach to take for the interview. Just as well I did because there were definite queries arising from it that I wanted clarified one way or another.

There were 4 of us on the panel. Oh, how I remember the days of trying to impress a panel. Not easy. Anyway, the person came in and we all spoke about the person's previous experience and qualifications. I also spoke about the job that we needed a person for. In the course of the interview, it became clear that this person was indeed a teacher. A kindergarten teacher who teaches 3 year olds with little ESL experience. Indeed, the person didn't even really have a formal teaching qualification. Oh dear. In some ways, I'm glad that that came out in front of my boss (one of the panel). To my mind, though the person is very nice and came across well, the person isn't what we are looking for. I probably won't have the final say but I really hope that I'm listened to. It wouldn't make any sense for this person to join us. If this person went away and got an ESL qualification, then we could talk but not right now. I sat in on a further 2 interviews for positions not directly related to me. Interesting, interesting.

No formal questions were laid out before hand and the questions that were asked tended to relate to what was said by the interviewee. I was quite surprised by that in some ways. People always troll the net to find 'typical' interview questions. Granted, there are certain questions that may come up but if this interview process was anything to go by, the best thing someone could do is have a number of practical examples 'no hand' to relate. That certainly seemed to be the way to go. Oh, make sure that what you say is consistent and truthful. You'll get found out!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I had my first real taste of the interviewing process over the last couple of days. Generally, I have been the one that is being interviewed but on this occasion I was asked to come and sit in on interviews for the positions in our department. The reason I was there specifically was that one of the people called was for an English teaching position and this person would report directly to me.

The first day saw 8 people engage in one of those group discussions in which they are given a problem and they are to solve it the best they can. There is generally no right or wrong answers exactly and because of it, the people have to make their decisions and then justify them. I had to monitor 2 of them, the others being monitored by others. By 'monitor', I mean, sit at the back of the room and see how they interact. Not exactly the easiest task. It was interesting to see it however. It's funny how the dynamics of the group are quickly established with the 'leaders' asserting themselves and the others, becoming 'the others'.

The second thing that the 8 people had to do was a presentation of their choice. It was to be 15 minutes in total. I only had time to stay for one of them - the person up for the English teaching position. It went fine, mostly. There was a concern about part of her spoken English. Quite a basic and as it turned out, a consistent error. Other than that, the person was confident and presented themself well. It was decided to take this person onto the next stage, the actual interview. Not all of the 8 got that call though. I think only 4 did.

More of that tomorrow!

Monday, February 21, 2011


I can't honestly say that I'm a massive Radiohead fan. I haven't ever bought one of there albums for example but there are certain elements of them that I like. For example, I do like Kid A as I've mentioned before somewhere. I felt it was a big, bold 'experiment' after OK Computer and one that confounded a lot of people, no question of it.

This week saw them announce that in 6 days time, their new album would be out. This caught a lot of people unawares. I'm not surprised. They have tended to do things their own way in any case. Hats of to them for it.

I went to youtube to try and watch the video for Lotus Flower - the 'single' from the album. Inspired or utterly ridiculous? Whatever you think, you'll have an opinion on Thom Yorke, alone strutting his stuff. Personally, I think it's a wonderful video. Visually, it's very strong and it certainly takes courage to commit something like that to tape. The song isn't quite what I expected either. It is something of an 'electronic' song which, I'm all for!

Have a look here: Lotus Flower

Sunday, February 20, 2011


We had not bad seats at the tennis yesterday. I took this before the 'action' started. We had managed to get a completely uninterrupted seat in which we could stretch out our legs. Nice.

In the first match, the world number one Carlina Worinecki (spelling?) beat Jelena Jankovic to reach the final. It was a pretty good game actually. A lot of twists and turns. There were quite a lot of supporters for each lady and they were pretty vocal with it.

The second game was a bit more one sided. This time Svetlana Kutsnesova beat Flavia something or other. There were mistakes by both but towards the end Flavia got a bit flustered and gave away too many 'easy' points. She stormed off court at the end without saying anything to anyone.

In between games, Novak Djokovic was on court practicing for next weeks men's event. He seemed in good form actually. He's very fast across the court as is his serving. One to watch, I think. Like I know much about tennis!

Same time next year then.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Dubai is 'renowned' for it's Friday brunch's. It seems almost every hotel offers something that could be classed as brunch. Some come with alcohol, some do not. Some are inexpensive, some are very expensive. I think the last one I was at was the Mojito one back in the Summer of last year. It was good but you can pretty much write off the remainder of the day because you either continue drinking until evening or you go home and totally veg out and fall asleep. That's what happened anyway. Went home, fell asleep.

This time, it would be different. We had reservations for the Dusit hotel. It was a buffet style brunch with a range of packages - one with soft drinks only, one with wine and beer, and another with champagne. The Dusit is a lovely hotel, no doubt about that. We had a nice table by the window on the 24th floor looking back towards the interior of Dubai aka, the desert.

The food was excellent. A massive range of salads, seafood, pasta, meat, breads, dumplings, and a really big selection for dessert. Oh, and a really lovely sparkling rose wine. What was there not to like about it. Over the course of 3 hours we ate, not to the point of being stuffed but just a little full. The wine however did flow. I couldn't possibly comment on how much was drunk. Or remember. After it, we went to Barasti which is a beach bar along by the Marina. We got a seat right on the beach and may well have had another couple of cool beverages there, watching the sun go down. There was even a bride and groom going about. A bit of a strange place to have your wedding reception, I would have thought.

Anyway, we decided to head home to 'rest' up for the evening. We did that and off we went out again. No point in flaking out. Down to the Village, although we did go to Club Alpha but it was closed. Nightmare. By around 9, it was time to go home. 8 hours of drinking and eating is enough for yours truly. By 9.30, I was sound asleep on my bed, on top of the covers, fully dressed. I was woken at 1am to find myself in this state. Not good. But, I did get back to sleep and slept well. Then I woke up. I wasn't feeling too bad. That all changed and after an hour I was knackered again. A very poor show.

I can't be knackered though because we have tickets for the Dubai Tennis Championship today. It's Women's semi final day. Got to get across the road for that. I hope.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Today is a day off. A national day off no less. I am certainly not complaining at all because it means it's only a 4 day working week and let's face it, the more 4 day working weeks the better as far as I'm concerned. The reason for this holiday is because it's the Prophet's birthday.

Nothing at all strange about that at all. The West celebrate Jesus birthday so it makes sense that the same thing is true of the Prophet's birthday.

However, I'm slightly confused by the timing of the day. Apparently, the official birthday is on the 15th which would have meant that we were off on Tuesday then back to work for the remainder of the week. As I mentioned, a day off is a day off and that's totally fine. But, the powers that be moved the day to the Thursday meaning that everybody gets the day off and the weekend, giving a total of 3 days off. Excellent news alright. My point is though, surely the birthday is set in stone and whatever day of the week it falls on, it should be celebrated. You can't just go and change the day of it to suit where the nearest weekend is. Can you?

What if, this year my birthday is on a Thursday. By the same logic, can't I just move it to the Friday and then take the weekend off as well? That what it looks like. Perhaps I'm misreading the situation.

Alas, today is a day off!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


It's quite a significant day today. You might not think so, but it is. Today represents the 3rd anniversary of me landing in Dubai. It certainly has passed very quickly. One that fateful night 3 years ago, I just wanted a job.

I had finished my Masters and had an excellent job in Perth. It was part-time however and I was commuting 2 hours in each direction everyday to do it. It wasn't ideal but it was totally fine given my circumstances. The opportunity arose to join Emirates which, really, was the only job on the horizon. It's funny, because after the interview I didn't particularly think that I would get it. In fact, my future Boss actually left the interview about half way through as he had other things on. I felt that was a very bad sign, but in hindsight, it may have been because he had seen enough and had decided that I would do. Thankfully, I got it. After about 3 months, I was off to Dubai.

I didn't really think I'd still be here after 3 years. In fact, I didn't really have a big 'plan' as such. I wanted to work as well as I could and see what happened. There are aspects of the job that I'm happy with but others I am less so. I do what I can, I think that's all I can say. I'm not always the best or most effective but I'm certainly not the worst. There is always room for improvement. I feel I should be more proactive. I guess I work as well as I can in the given circumstances however. Perhaps that is a cop out. 

Outwith my job, Dubai is a place of superlatives. It isn't the best place in the world, nor is it the worst. It's managable. I can get everything I need and some so in that respect, it is totally fine. I don't necessarily see myself here in 5 or 10 years but who can say. I'm neither ruling it in or out. I've definitely done a lot in and around Dubai, but more so in the past 7 months since a certain lady had the courage and strength to move out here. For that, I'm eternally grateful for.

I could go on and on about what's happened but who wants to know that?

All I'll say is, that's 3 years down. Not the longest in one particular location but definitely the longest full time position I've had in my not-so-long career.

Monday, February 14, 2011


And that was Valentine's Day. Yes, the great money making bonanza for retailers the world over. And we buy it. We buy into it and we obey. Relationships have no doubt collapsed because one or other of the couple haven't complied with it. Essentially, it's open the wallet and get something for the significant other, or expect a degree of unpleasantness. Or a fight. How bizarre.

And what exactly did I do?

Had I been single, I would have done nowt. But, I'm not single and I bought into it all!

I obeyed.

A card and a reservation for a lovely Friday afternoon brunch at a high end hotel this coming weekend.

Yes, I know, I know...but it is for that special lady!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I was in a right bad mood for most of Sunday. I don't really know what started it off exactly, but as soon as I woke up, I just knew that the day was going to be a struggle. We work on Sunday's so it is was the first day of the working week.

By the time I got to the office, I was already unimpressed. I usually have the keys to the office and I just let myself in. One this occasion though, I had to leave the keys with the guys in the next office over the weekend. I fully expected to go in and collect them. But, were the guys from the next office in? No.

The first reason for being unimpressed.

I had to wait about 20 minutes for the office to be opened up. And since I had lost that time, I was in a rush to get organised for my first class of the day.

The second reason for being unimpressed.

Finally, I managed to 'catch up' and went to class as normal. After the class however, I only had a short time to get ready for the 2nd class. This class is a totally unnecessary class and is for 1 guy only. He had been promoted under false pretenses and our department had to rectify the situation. On top of that, I've got a hundred and one things to be getting on with which did not really include this particular class.

The third reason for being unimpressed.

Those weren't the end of the reasons but I don't want to dwell on them.

Let's just say, I was delighted when home time arrived. I was out that door quick sharp. I guess it was just one of those days which we all get. I haven't had one like that for awhile though. Hopefully, that'll be it for a while longer.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Goodness. Another 6 nations weekend, and another bloody defeat for Scotland. I know I shouldn't be surprised by it but it does bother me that it happens so much. This week, it was the turn of Wales to beat us. At home. We were 16 points down after as many minutes. I was following it on the Beeb and when that score came up, I knew it was time to switch off. And so it proved. 24-6. Shocking.

Consistency is always important and good teams have it. We don't. We are dreadful when it comes to being consistent. Last week against the French, we played well in parts. Gave them problems which is what you want. Last year we beat World Chams, South Africa and beat Argentina away twice. In contrast we got stuffed by New Zealand. It's frustrating, let's just say that.

Who knows what Scotland will turn up in the next game? If we're not careful, it'll be the wooden spoon which was be depressing particularly given the fact that the World Cup is later this year.

Please Scotland, can we get a win?

Friday, February 11, 2011


Oh there's nothing quite like a wee glass of Merlot on a Friday evening. Not one mind, but two. Nice. It's a sign of age I think having wine instead of a pint but sometimes a glass is all you need. Beer is totally fine and has it's place. The same can be said of cider or even spirits but the fruitiness of wine hits the spot. I can't say that I prefer one or the other. I'm not that 'good' or even that knowledgable. I just like what I like I guess. It's very easy to have a couple of glasses and all of a sudden, a whole bottle is gone. That's dangerous. But easy to do. It's the weekend though, so why not?

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I did it. I went to the dentist. Now, that doesn't really amount to much it could be argued and you'd be right. I haven't been for nigh on 3 years which is frankly scandalous. I guess it's a male thing in the sense that if you ain't ill then there's no real need to visit either the doctor or the dentist. It is wrong and because it's wrong, it needs to be righted.

This time, I booked in with a dentist up in Bur Dubai, on the 21st floor of some big tower. I've never been to a dentist so high up. Have you?!

In the end, I was only there for about 20 minutes or something. The dentist asked me a few questions - last time at the dentist, smoker, blah blah. She had a little look around and a little poke here and there. She then proceeded to tell me that everything was looking pretty good. No sign of decay or anything. She recommended that I get a polish and that was fine with me. And that was it. I was quite happy to hear that. I do brush twice a day without fail so it's not as if I don't look after my teeth but to have them 'ok'd' was good. The polishing didn't take too long and it's quite surprising how much difference it made. I don't have pearly whites but certainly they look a bit better after it.

And that only cost me £75. Bargain. I think.

I think that I'll go back to the dentist in 6 months time. I'd rather do that and get a polish or whatever than leaving it as long next time. Besides, with a wedding to come and a lot of photos likely to be taken, I might as well have as nice a smile as I can. Not that I'm all that handsome when I'm smiling!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


A good win for Scotland. And away from home. Always a bonus. In fact, it was our first win away from home since 2008 which is shockingly bad. Granted it was 'only' Northern Ireland but 3-0 is fairly comfortable at International level.

I've not seen the goals or anything but by the sounds of it we looked pretty comfortable. That marks a big change from the Prague debacle in which we didn't field a single striker. The difference is though, we need to do it when it really matters and that would be in the Euro qualifiers. We're in a fairly poor situation in the group at the moment so any improvement would be good.

It's interesting to see a lot of younger guys coming through which is pleasing. What is more pleasing is that they are generally playing for their teams regularly. Not only in Scotland but in the Premiership as well. A few years back, that certainly wasn't the case. In that respect, progress is being made.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


I was just sitting watching a bit of TV - as you do - when I heard this big noise outside. I didn't really pay much attention to it initially and I continued on flicking the million TV channels to find something that I quite fancied watching. In the end, I couldn't so I gave up and got up. I then looked out the window to see 2 cars in the middle of the road, making a kind of 'T' shape.

It seems that the big bang I heard was actually a car crash. Not a massive one as such but a crash nonetheless. 

By the looks of it, some big fat 4X4 had tried to cross over the road from a driveway but had somehow managed to smack into the side of a taxi. No other cars were involved and indeed, it looked as if there were only the drivers involved. The 2 of them then moved their cars out of the way and to the side of the road. I'm not sure who was at fault but I would assume that it was the driver of the 4X4 given that he was trying to cross a lane of traffic.

After about 20 minutes or something, the Police arrived. Clearly, they were busy and couldn't make it any faster. That or they were, well, I won't say...but they arrived, so that's one thing. Not only that, but 2 Police cars arrived. Maybe they just happened to be in the neighbourhood.

And that was about it really. I lost interest after that and resumed flicking channels to find something worthwhile to watch. It's all high excitement over here in Dubai, you know.

Monday, February 07, 2011


I know that I'm an English teacher and I know that I should be helping people with their English in order to improve them but...sometimes I just can't be a*sed with it all.

Exhibit A

One bloke who was promoted but did not match the minimum requirements to get the promotion. He needed to pass a certain level of English test to meet those requirements. Please note that this was something of an 'afterthought' by those who had already promoted him. He has sat the afore mentioned English on 4 different occasions and has failed it each time. He then took one of our English courses to prepare him for the test. He attended each day. And guess what? At the end of it, he failed the test. Again.

Exhibit B

Me. Taught this bloke for a month and spoke to him countless times outwith of class.

Exhibit C

His department who have given him time off to do the course and to attend the tests and who, presumably promoted him in the first place.

All of which, mixed together equals one holy mess.

It now seems that I will have to teach this bloke, one on one, for an entire month for an hour a day in order to help him get to the level required. This bloke will then get to take the English test once again, for like the 15 millionth time. And what if he fails it again? Not only that but it's a question of time. At the moment, I have a fairly tight schedule as it is. And now that I have this bloke coming everyday, makes things difficult. But then who has to bail the department out and this bloke out? Yours truly.

It would be alright if this bloke listening, took things in and did what is asked of him but he doesn't. He will do my head in. All I can do is be nice and do what I can. Everything else must come from him. I'll be delighted when this 'cosy' private set of lessons is over.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


All this Egyptian protesting is causing havoc with my Scottish football viewing. I know, I know, where exactly is the link between hundreds of thousands of people protesting in Cairo and me sitting at home and watching the football on the TV?

Well, I get a couple of TV channels beamed in from Egypt which just so happens to carry the Scottish football. Granted, it's not on every weekend but often enough. In addition, it's in Arabic which is totally crap but you can't have everything.

The problem is that now that this has kicked off, the Egyptian channels have forsaken all 'regular' broadcasts in favour of getting the low down on what's going on in their country. The upshot being that the football isn't being shown at all. It's a scandal, frankly. Of course, that's a purely biased opinion and the Egyptians would certainly disagree with this history making venture of their's. I could go on about how terrible Mubarak has been blah blah but I don't really know enough about it all to make a comment.

Even still.

When's the football coming back on?!

Friday, February 04, 2011


And that was the passing of the White Stripes. When I say 'passing', they won't be touring or releasing new material but with the latest fad for reunions and the kind of money on offer for such tours, I wouldn't go all they way and say that they are totally dead.

But, the White Stripes passing is definitely worth a comment. They were unusual in the sense that there were only ever 2 of them. A very able guitarist and a drummer who kept it simple. They did not employ a bass player in the studio or live. Quite a feat in itself. In some ways, there refusal to alter their musical template may have become their downfall. The limitations that placed on them may have precipitated the end. They were in many senses fairly revolutionary. Nothing quite sounded like them, certainly at the turn of the century there was a bit of a void musically. They took elements of the past, most notably blues and garage-rock and rejigged it, rebooted it even for the 21st century. It worked. Even their look was revolutionary. Red, white and black. Brother and sister? Haha. An excellent urban legend.

I've spoken about how the Strokes played a big part in reviving aspects of rock music, but the White Stripes did so and almost at the same time. I was relatively poor when I lived in London and I recall buying 3 albums that year. The Strokes, the Avalanches and the White Stripes. It took a bit to get into but the song that sticks is 'Fell in Love with a Girl'. It's about 2 minutes long and absolutely fantastic. Two minutes of garage punk energy. It makes you want to jump around like a bit of a fool. It was only later that I saw the video for it. They had 'lego'd' themselves.

The video for which can be found here.

The later stuff like Elephant took them 'overland' if you like and Seven Nation Army remains perhaps there biggest song. Indeed, the 'riff' from it can be heard in songs sung at football stadiums. That's a sign of 'making it'! Again, the video is remarkable. It does give me a bit of a headache watching it though. Their headlining of Glastonbury remains a definite highpoint as well.

How about a sweep stake on when they will reform?

Thursday, February 03, 2011


The past few days have been really awful. Not only being seriously busy at work but the weather has been something very unpleasant. It's been very windy and with the wind comes sand. Everywhere. It looks cloudy but it isn't. It's tons and tons of the stuff lingering in the atmosphere. The car is totally covered in it and it's been parked under cover for the past few days. The window sills are dusty as are the areas next to the balcony and sliding doors. My skin has been feeling pretty rank as well. We did get some rain last night but not enough to wash the streets and clear the sand. With a bit of luck, it might mark a change in the weather.

More clean, clear sunshine please.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Been watching this on DVD of late. It's basically Ewan and Charley driving from London to New York on motorcycles via Europe, Russia, Mongolia, Canada then finally America. I vaguely recall watching segments of it on the TV a few years ago. But, the time had come to watch it in it's complete form.

I must say, I did really enjoy it. It just amazing to think that they travelled all that distance on motorbikes for goodness sake. It's insane really. Some of the things that they encountered were equally crazy.

I think it was Uzbekistan (or one of the ex-Russian states) that they were welcomed into peoples home for the night. They had something of a party then all of a sudden the host starting singing. Nothing overly unusual there but it was the fact that they then started getting their guns out. Like, serious hardcore guns. I definitely would have been nervous had that been me. Mongolia seemed beautiful but totally isolated. No real roads to speak of. The thing that was amazing was the people. How friendly they were particularly when they were comparatively poor. The Road of Bones in Siberia however was poignant. It was the road that was built by the educated masses that Stalin had banished there for no particular reason. I hadn't heard anything of it until I saw it. It must have been horrendous. Once you went there, you weren't getting back. The road had started to decay and parts were impassable but the history of it was something that really hit home.

I'm not sure I would be cut out to do anything like that but hats off to them for even considering it. They were told before hand that it was impossible but they certainly proved everyone wrong.

The reason for watching this, and it's 'follow up', Long Way Down (coming soon to a download near me!) is that Charley is giving a talk at the Emirates Festival of Literature here in Dubai in March and yours truly has tickets for it. Looking forward to it. I'd better think up some questions for him...any ideas?!

Anyway, Long Way Down ahoy...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


My god, more than 20 posts in January. That must be some kind of record. I really don't recall writing that many in a month for a long, long time. The big question is whether I can keep it up. It's funny writing that sentence actually, because this isn't written for anyone inparticular and I fully expect that I am the only one 'reading' it in any case. So whether I can keep it up, is really a reflection on myself and how 'bothered' I am.

Anyway, February already.

And with it, the end of the football transfer window. What the heck was that? £50 million for Torres. £35 million for a relative 'unknown' in Carroll. Mental. Crazy money and more likely to be panic buys that anything else. Silly. I know not to buy anything in the January sales because you just end up buying stuff that isn't really what is needed and the same should surely apply to football. At least with the January sales, I can hold onto the receipt and take my purchases back. Easy.