Grandfather’s Footsteps

It might be December and it might be in the North of the UK, but the sun does shine sometimes:

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Granddad led the way, and Alex was ever so happy to follow over the stepping stones in Endcliffe Park.

Proper family time in the winter sun.

Over Ukraine

As I’m currently flying over (or maybe around) Ukraine, so why not hit you up with a Chernobyl post?

For the attention of the residents of Pripyat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station in the city of Pripyat the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating. The Communist Party, its officials and the armed forces are taking necessary steps to combat this. Comrades, leaving your residences temporarily please make sure you have turned off the lights, electrical equipment and water and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short-term evacuation.

Here’s that video taken by CBS in Pripyat, showing the desolation and ruin caused by “the catastrophe that never ended” – their words, not mine.

And, while we’re here, a reminder of Michael Jennings’ excellent account of his visit to the same place and another – more recent – essay on the same “dark tourism” subject which I really enjoyed reading.

Tomorrow: Less radiation, more England!

Come fly with me…

Take it, Frank:

Come fly with me,
Let’s fly, let’s fly away
If you could use some exotic booze
There’s a bar in far Bombay…

But I’m not going anywhere near India, Bombay is now Mumbai, and this isn’t actually an invitation. Still, while we’re on the subject, much new found respect for Frank Sinatra in keeping a straight face while telling us about the possible entertainment on the South American leg of our shared trip:

In llama-land there’s a one-man band
And he’ll toot his flute for you

Really, Frank? Really?

Nope, we’re UK-bound this evening at the end of a couple of hectic weeks which have exemplified this year for Family 6000. As ever when on the road, I will continue to attempt to blog each day, but I promise nothing. But you should probably expect fewer words and more photos – maybe a bit of Tumblr mode. You’ll survive.
If this is an issue for you, please drop me an email stating why you deserve a full refund.
Oh, and your bank details, obviously.

Look after SA for me while I’m gone, OK?

No sleep til Sheffield

(With apologies to the Beastie Boys)

After a particularly sleepless night, this post – shared by Signe Rousseau on Facebook – hit home particularly hard. In fact, everything seems to be hitting home harder than usual today. Eina.

Every aspect of who you are as a human, every capability is degraded, impaired, when you lose sleep. What does that mean? Your decision-making, reaction time, situational awareness, memory, communication, and those things go down by 20 to 50 percent.

What was I saying? Oh yes. I’m not with it today and I’m about to head off on a 13,000km, 23 hour journey this evening.
Fortunately, I’m letting someone else do most of the driving.

Happy daze.

Kayak love

Not the canoe boat thing. No, I’m talking about the website and especially the app.

Kayak isn’t new. Even I have been using it for years. I don’t travel overseas often, but when I do, it’s indispensable and thus, it remains one of my favourite apps.

You can use it to book cheap flights and hotels, but then travelstart is probably the best local option for that. You can use it to track flights, but you’d probably want to go down the flightradar24 route for that.

So why Kayak? Because its biggest strength is that it is particularly brilliant at compiling your itinerary, and it has a genius way of doing it. Each time you get a confirmation email from your airline, your car hire place, your ferry, your hotel or your train company (or whatever), simply forward it to kayak and they put everything together in a handy little virtual pack for you.
You can see the bare bones of this at a glance (flight numbers, times etc) and then with a single click, you can get the detail (seat numbers etc). It even stores the original email for you to refer back to if you need to.
Oh – and you can share the itinerary, either as a read-only or a collaborative editable file.

So simple. So brilliant.

One last thing – a really nice touch on the latest update is the app background changing to a photo of your destination. Suddenly, I’ve got Tinsley Viaduct and those infamous cooling towers on my phone and it’s piquing my excitement to head to the frozen North.