I know what it’s like to dread flying: to book yourself onto a holiday then spend weeks of sleepless nights imagining all the dreadful things that might happen; to feel fear that you’re going to embarrass yourself and your family by throwing some kind of loud, wild panic attack at the airport; to sit on the plane in a state of rigid tension responding to every slight noise the plane makes, every tiny grimace on the face of the steward, every message that the pilot does or doesn’t give out.
I existed in this state for about 30 years, but I’m pleased to say that I have now overcome this fear without hypnosis, drugs, therapy or the expense of attending a fear of flying course (although of course I realise that all these things can and do help many people.) It’s been a gradual process, but I’ve got there in the end. I recognise that some people’s fear of flying takes a more serious form and causes them more distress than mine did, but nevertheless I’d like to share my approach, in case it can help someone else – one of the estimated 10% of the western world who suffer from aviophobia – even a little. Continue reading
I’d been wanting to go to Ireland for most of my life, it seemed and I finally got to spend a fortnight there this summer. What a wonderful place: full of history, charm, friendly people, good accommodation and wholesome food. Here are some of the things I found out:
I first became interested in W.H. Davies (1871-1940), the author of The Autobiography of a Supertramp, when I was writing a blog entry on his poem which begins, “What is this life if, full of care,we have no time to stand and stare?”. You can read this most relaxed of poems and the blog entry here.
While scratching around to find some information about the man behind the poem, I was interested enough by what I read of his personality and life to want to read his autobiography. Even the title of it sounds quite modern and inviting to a twenty-first century reader, despite being written in the very early years of the twentieth century. Interestingly, much of the book also reads like something written more recently.
There are many hidden corners of London and the longer I live near this great city the more I find to inform and entertain me. What’s more, many of the treasures which London has to offer are free if you know where to look.
One treasure of a place which I discovered recently is the Wallace collection museum, tucked away just behind busy Bond Street. This house once belonged to the Marquesses of Hertford who, over several generations during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries made it their life’s work to collect beautiful and interesting works of art, porcelain, weapons, armour and furniture amongst other things.
So there I was in Rome. The eternal city; the city of echoes; the city of illusions; the city of yearning; the city overwhelmed by its own greatness. Hm, a lot of people have said a lot of stuff about Rome. But what should I be doing while I was there? Ah, of course: “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” I simply had to find out what the Romans do, then copy it. Clearly there was a need for some close observation of the Romans. During my three-day stay I reached some obvious conclusions about what Romans do, then gave careful consideration as to whether I would be able to do this do too – or, indeed, whether I would want to. Continue reading
Many of us think we know what buildings there are of interest in our area and we’ve probably visited all the best-known ones. Then, when we encounter a new part of the country, we follow the hordes of tourists to the likes of Stonehenge or the Tower of London or the Roman baths or wherever screams loudest at us from the racks of gaudy tourist leaflets.
But, if we take the trouble to read up on some more detailed information or, better still, to talk to the locals or the experts, we can often be rewarded with finding somewhere really special which not everyone knows about. Continue reading
I retired a week ago and so far, I have to say, retirement’s been good to me! But what will I do when the novelty has worn off? Because people keep telling me the novelty WILL wear off and I WILL get bored. Hmm, I don’t think so but – just in case it does- it probably wouldn’t do any harm to start formulating some plans.
So here they are, my plans for retirement (in no particular order because I don’t have to bother about that kind of thing any more): Continue reading