Away we go

Right.

All being well, our Europe 2018 trip should be one and a bit flights in already. Are you having fun yet?

All being well, I should be somewhere over Turkey or somewhere similar as this publishes. I’m possibly asleep, listening to Ludovico Einaudi.
That is, after all, my usual MO for these sort of trips.

All being well, we should be arriving in Paris in just a few hours, assuming that the A380 operating as Emirates 073 is doing its job. And I have no reason to believe that it won’t be. The holiday starts here, and so this is probably a very good time for me to advise you to follow me on Instagram.

All being well, you probably were already, but if not, here’s the link. I intend to document much of the upcoming three weeks on there, so you’re almost certain to see regular updates. Tell your friends.

OK, so what follows is…

OK, so what follows is… well, for the next few weeks at least… is a combination of pre-written posts and juicy fresh content.

Pre-written posts because I want to have a break without having to be concerned about needing to blog every day, and there’s no way I can guarantee a decent (or indeed any) internet connection wherever we may be. But I recognise that there’s a demand for blog posts on here and I want to keep that record of a post every day going. Because I’m a bit obsessive like that.

Deal with it.

Also, I’m trying an experiment whereby I publish a post at the same time each day: 0800 CAT in this particular case (like this one, see?). Apparently, this is the best way to blog [citation required], although I tend to just post stuff once it’s written. And usually it’s not written by 0800 CAT. However, when you’re writing stuff in advance, it’s always written by 0800 CAT. So I’m giving it a go.

Oh, and juicy fresh content because I enjoy blogging, because my most important reader is me and because there will inevitably be things I will want to share while we’re away. If interest, internet and inclination ever meet (and I’m sure that they will), I’ll be popping thoughts, photos, opinions and whatever else on here.

Keep up with updates by following me on twitter or Facebook.

Weirdly (for us at least), we’re only flying out later this evening, so we’ve got a spare day to get all those last minute jobs to get done. Hair will be cut, the beagle will be bathed, the housesitters will get their final instructions, decisions on which bottles of brandy will be packed will be made (spoiler: it’s most of them).

I am trembling with mounting anticipation.

Positive

As a parent of school-age kids – much like when you were a student yourself – your family’s annual calendar naturally revolves around the school terms.
Term 2 of 2018 is at an end. And, having considered things carefully, I’d say that this term has been one of the most difficult that I can remember.

First “real” exams, illness, work stress, dark mornings, Eisteddfods, sad news, my effing knee: it’s all added up to a tough 10 weeks.

And yesterday was a very crappy day.

But… But… It looks like we made it.

As I switched off my early morning alarm for the next four weeks, and with just one more day in lab to go before a break of three weeks, I couldn’t help but feel just a little victorious.

There are changes on the horizon, but right now, all I have to do is get through two more meetings and put my bit of the lab to bed, and then I get to go home. And there are still quite a few jobs to do around the house before our flight in [checks] about 32 hours, but there’s time to do them. Suddenly, that first drink in the airport lounge – the traditional moment at which we feel that we can truly relax – seems closer than ever.

(Because it actually is, obviously.)

The weather looks absolutely amazing in France for the foreseeable future, flights, trains and hotels are booked and checked into. Luggage is (sort of) packed. The housesitters are primed and ready for action. There is a bone ready to distract the beagle from the moment of our actual departure. Spotify is ready to go.

I’m feeling positive. The next three weeks are going to be great.

Strikingly beautiful

No! [chuckles] No, not me!

Not this time, at least.

I stream BBC 6 Music into the office and the lab. As the guy in charge around here, I get to make these sort of choices: it’s good to be king.

But 6 Music is what happens in the background: in the foreground there’s TB, lab work, specimens, spreadsheets and databases. And listen (no pun intended), that’s a perfect scenario, because the background music makes the foreground work go more smoothly.

Silence isn’t golden. Silence is anything but golden.
Silence is awkward.

But then there was this song. And even though it is supposed to be in the background, it pushes its way through right to the front of everything, amongst the TB and the spreadsheets, and this happens every time they play it, because it’s so strikingly beautiful.
I recognised the voice, but not the song. And that’s because I had somehow missed the fact that Suede have just released something new. This is it:

Orchestral, theatrical, stunning. I love it.

The scene for the video is a bit galling, mind:

It’s set in a rural landscape, on the hard shoulder of the motorway, among the B-roads and among the rubbish that’s been fly-tipped. It’s set by a chain link fence with a dead badger lying rotting in the ground.

Right, but there’s a new album out soon too, yes?

It’s quite dank and troubling. A lot of this is about the terrors of childhood, so it’s quite unpleasant in lots of ways.

Which sounds… er… lovely.

I can’t wait.

Dat Winter Solstice tho

It’s today. And I’m timing this post to appear on the internet at exactly the same time as the sun begins to light up Cape Town.

Which it is doing like this:

“Several billion trillion tons of superhot exploding hydrogen nuclei rose slowly above the horizon and managed to look small, cold and slightly damp.”

It’s one of my favourite Douglas Adams quotes, and it seems wholly appropriate for the chilly, moist conditions that typify a real Cape winter, and with it, today.

The days get longer from tomorrow, guys. Summertime may be a long way off, but it is on its way.