Snow in Sweden!

With the clocks going back an hour getting up to leave at 4.30am was a little less painful!

I drove through the dark to Gatwick, and caught the plane after a fairly clear journey, taking off early at 8am.  Checking your bag in now is all automated which was new to me, but once I’d sorted that, I’d got on the place and sat back for the flight.  By the window I could see below and with the clouds and the angle of the sun I saw a complete rainbow effect which was cool.


Once I landed at Arlanda, Stockholm I was under the cloud again and it was snowing! With a bit of wind making it a blizzard!  Its how I always imagined it, but thankfully it didn’t last more than an hour, or settle, although apparently it was the first snow of the season!

I met a friend at the airport, and traveled back to his place to dump bags and since I would need a pillow for my spare bed so had to visit Ikea, since in Sweden so got the pillow and couldn’t miss out on the famous Ikea meatballs and gravy!!


We had a beer in a pub away from the store, and noticed several things, firstly, it got dark at about 3.30pm which totally threw out my body clock, it felt more like 10pm when later it was only 6pm, the temperature was obviously colder than the uk at just 2 degrees (I left home at about 10 degrees) and some of the names I found funny such as a chocolate bar called ‘Plopp’ that you can buy from Willy’s – you can enter or leave car parks following signs for enfart or utfart !!, and the end station at the end of a train line is ‘Slutstation’.

So we planned some cultural things to see over the next week, and get an idea of what Stockholm has to offer, and there is a lot!  A lot of history, and things of interest…



I have always noticed something about water, and yes before anyone says it, it’s wet!! But it can also be many different things.

When it’s lying there still and calm it is very peaceful. When I took a walk at Frensham Ponds, Near Farnham last the silence was everything I heard.  There was no computer fan whirring away or music playing in the background, there was no traffic noise or people chattering in the background, it was just silent, except for the odd ripple of water as a fish came up for air, or s bird called out.

The colours in the sky from the setting sun just added to a welcome setting and I could literally breath in the fresh beauty around me.

It’s a place not far from where I live and I wondered how many places are there around the country that are amazing to see but we are all so wrapped up in our lives that we forget about the simple things in life that can bring simple happiness and relaxation so easily.

The birds get to see this everyday, and it would seem in this case they are the lucky ones!


Open Space!


How much space do we need?  Or do we never have enough?

I took this image a while ago and I think it conveys many other things other than just space, such as solitude, reflection, peace, freedom, and lots more…

It was taken in an ideal location, on the island of Kuredu, Maldives and also think it looks like an ideal place to go to sit relax and contemplate life, which in a way is what triggered my blog seeing this photo again.

I think it is an image that is open to interpretation too.  It could convey a certain feeling of loneliness since there is only one chair there not two.  Lost in a large expanse with no one around for company, or at least having one chair offers that suggestion.

Or, it could be seen that the person who’s chair it is, likes their solitude and wants a moment of quiet reflection with there thoughts and the sound of the lapping tide on the shore, whilst soaking up a few rays of sun, with no one there to interrupt their peace and tranquility.


Not far from the beach chair was this scene which I prefer.  A totally natural vista which has been created over time naturally occurring on the same island.

As I sit here remembering that view, seeing it for the first time was the total realization of paradise for me.  I have this same image as a large canvas on my wall at home.  It always brings a smile to my face knowing that there is such natural beauty still out there in the world, away from all the buildings and roads and pollution that humans create.  I think if ever I was ship wrecked, I would hope to be ship wrecked here and would be quite happy to live out my days in a place such as this. (With food and wifi obviously;) )

I have thought for a while now about a question, do we over complicate life?  The rat race, the need for more money, the growing list of things we want to buy but are too expensive so we work ever harder.  but I think it is easy to miss the little things, such as a view like this which means far more to me than so much of the commercial things available.

The space within the image though is idyllic, and I appreciate it all the more since I live in a 1 bed small little flat.  I love my flat don’t get me wrong, but when I look at this picture it reminds me there is a whole world out there, full of amazing sights and more space that I would know what to do with.

Space comes in all shapes and sizes wherever we are in the world, I for one always try to keep my eyes open and appreciate as much of it as I can, the world is a beautiful place.


What would you do?

Today I did something I’ve never done before.  I went in to a supermarket and bought a meal deal – chicken wrap, crisps + water, and gave it to this person.


But how many times do you walk past someone like this.  I know I do all the time, but today was different and I really felt like I wanted to do something helpful.  We all have times when life is cruel and hard on us.  Many times some people are so wrapped up in their own lives that we forget that others are suffering too.

Often people ask ‘Can you spare some change, love?’ or words to that effect, and many just walk on by, wrapped up their own lives and not giving a thought about someone just fighting to survive the day.

I made the decision to get the food for this person, and went into the supermarket and got a meal deal just for her.  I came back out, went up and handed it to her, saying “I think you look like you need this more than me” and she thanked me and off I walked.

It was a small gesture, I could tell she’d had a tough time since she was clearly not new to the streets, her skin looked grubby, her teeth in a sorry state, and I wondered just how does someone cope in a real homeless situation.  Her head hung in her arms, I could tell she probably felt beaten by the world – the world can be a cruel place.

I also thought that in the past I have walked past homeless people thinking why don’t they just get a job and sort themselves out, but its easy to say or think those thoughts, but I bet her reality doesn’t make such a thing as easy as that sounds.

She had a cup in front of her, hoping people would give her money.  I am skeptical of that because the common view of a lot of people is that it might just go on a bottle of whisky or drugs.  But by giving her food and water today, I know that that will help her to at least not be hungry.

The line in ‘Parklife’ by Blur suddenly came to me after having given her food which is:

‘I feed the pigeons, I sometimes feed the sparrows too It gives me a sense of enormous well-being And then I’m happy for the rest of the day safe in the knowledge there will always be a bit of my heart devoted to it’

Now obviously she’s no pigeon or Sparrow, but by helping another fellow person I felt I was just doing something human.  A little bit of kindness goes along way, and I encourage others to think twice about walking by, and maybe give someone a helping hand.

Life is very tough for some people, and I believe that we are all able to do things in our lives to improve our own lives.  Sometimes though, a helping hand is required, maybe to restore our belief in ourselves, maybe just to say everything is going to be alright, maybe just to show someone that there is a place for us all in this world.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, I do believe that you should never give up!  Life finds a way, but sometimes an extra helping hand does help…

What would you have done?  Please comment below…

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V1 Bomber Val Ygot

It is amazing and disturbing all the things that went on between ’39-’45  Things worked out well for the allies but there was heavy cost on both sides.  I’ve learnt a lot about WW2 over the years and seeing a V1 bomb still on the ramp aimed at London is a chilling sight.


The Firing Control Bunker stands next to it, where the German Officer would have overseen the bombs take off releasing the V1 by electrical contact.  There are no working parts inside the bunker now, just the empty concrete shell.  This particular site at Val Ygot was immediately bombed before it ever got used.  However, there were 117 sites like Val Ygot and some were used to devastating effect.  In 1944 between mid Jun – August approximately 3000 V1s reached London killing 6000 people and wounding 3 times as many.  The total number of ‘doodlebugs’ launched was 9521 and at its height, about 100 were launched per day across the launch sites. Some V1’s didn’t go far accidentally landing in France killing or wounding civilians.


This ‘Amagnetic’ Building was built without any ferrous metal to avoid confusing the compass withing the bombs.  It was in here that the compass would be adjusted for direction and the flights altitude would be set and autopilot engaged.  Once ready, the V1 would be sealed so there were no changes before getting to the launch pad.

The evidence remains all around the area that the site was rendered unusable from allied bombing with big craters still in the ground and destroyed buildings still visible.


It seems so strange that in a wood that stands today so quiet and peaceful, such an evil thing lurked within and was primed to take so many lives miles away.  The noise of WW2 is over thankfully, and the woods are peaceful once more, but the memory of the horror of those days lives on, let us not forget…

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It’s Only Water…

In the western world, I think that a lot of us do take water for granted because usually it is there on tap for us 24/7.  We enjoy the luxury of water sprinklers, and fountains as water features, and are lucky to have enough water in our country.


We are very lucky to have water available to us all the time, and although we grumble if there is a hose pipe ban, we still have enough to drink, cook with, for use in heating and many other ways.

Other countries are not so lucky, Africa being the obvious thought that comes to mind, and having been to Egypt last year, I felt the very dry heat that just draws water from you very fast.  Visiting the pyramids was awesome but I went through 3 bottles of water in about 45 minutes!!  However, I was able to buy that water and so it wasn’t a problem to me.


So I’ve often wondered if anything can be done to help the hot parts of the world.  Can drought be dealt with in a such a way that people who need water can actually get it.  Could a pipeline for instance be built from a country with plenty of water to irrigate the thirst of desert areas?  They build huge pipelines for oil after all!

However, I read an interesting idea the other day that is actually quite inspiring, as if often the case it makes me wonder why has no one thought of it before?

Egyptian scientists have found a way to use waste water to irrigate the land and create a new forest using fast growing eucalyptus trees which as the report suggest grow four times faster than pine trees!  If you are interested, here is the link to the report I found



I think the idea is potentially very helpful, but are there deserts on the world for a reason?  Do they help the world in some way we are not aware?  What about the eco system of a desert.  If the deserts are taken over by forests as could happen, what would that mean for our planet?  Could a forest be encouraged to grow in this new way across say, the Sahara Desert?  There are a lot of questions that need to be answered I think that shouldn’t be ignored.  On the face of it though, I think the idea the scientists have implemented sounds great, if it could help people in places such as Ethiopia then it really could be a winner, lets hope for a better quality of life, and water for everybody in the future…

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Boats, Harbours and Relaxation

Water is generally accepted as being a relaxing feature.  If it is calm, running slowly past, or as part of a pond, lake or harbour then this can be very true.    If its tranquility and peaceful nature appeals then you may enjoy a French town called ‘Honfleur’ in Normandy.


I think that this idyllic harbour has a lot going for it.  Boats on water create a lovely view, covered seating provides shelter from the weather so you can comfortably eat and drink outside admiring the view and there are lots of little shops to buy exciting things in.

As I walked around the harbour the smell of French food being served by the local cafes was welcome and pleasant, the occasional cry from the seagulls above reminded me I was at the coast and the whole atmosphere was very relaxed, but there was a great buzz in the air.  For me it was an excitement at finding such a gem, a combination of the weather, others enjoying the harbour, the general hustle and bustle of life, and from my experience, friendly folk.

There are many great harbours though, one such place that is always a personal favourite is Portscatho in Cornwall.


There is the lugger (jetty) in the picture that people jump into the sea at high tide.  The harbour where people keep their boats mostly during the summer months.  The village is friendly with a great pub ‘The Plume of Feathers’ where I’ve been lucky enough to have enjoyed good food and a pint or two!

The two pictures above are very different, one is a town, the other is a village, but both have friendly people, a great atmosphere, and feel welcoming.  If I had a boat, I can imagine this is the sort of place I would come down to, and when the water has risen at high tide take it out and enjoy some sailing or fishing…



If you get the chance to go to Clovelly, Devon though I thoroughly recommend it.  If you stay in the town, and take a walk down at night under a moonlit sky, the view can be breathtaking.  The sound of the water lapping at the shore, or the ropes pinging the masts if there is a little wind I find incredibly relaxing.  It helps that this particular place is a 16th century harbour and steeped in history, it just oozes character and even if just have an afternoon to visit and have a Devonshire cream tea, it is well worth it!

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