Friday, 5 February 2016

They Might Be Giants, Electric Ballroom, Camden, London - February 2016

A fantastic gig, marred only by a lack of camera battery which meant that after three reasonable shots  (these) I was on the much inferior camera phone.  

Fourth time I have seen them, and quite possibly the best.  You guys don't know what you're missing.  

Friday, 15 January 2016

David Bowie and Faith

"I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end" Ecclesiastes 3:10-11

For a long time David Bowie was my favourite artist. I first saw him in 1983 on the Serious Moonlight Tour and then saw him play on another five occasions, the last of these being the (final) Reality Tour in 2004. I have owned all the albums at some point, with the exception of second Tin Machine album, which I’ve never even listened to. I only tell you this so that you know that these aren’t the ramblings of a preacher who knows or cares nothing about his subject. I’ve been thinking about Bowie and faith. It is, unsurprisingly, complicated.

Below I’ve attached some referenced quotes to some of his thoughts on religion and faith from interviews he has given over the years. I’ve also pointed out some song lyrics that might offer some insight as to what Bowie believed. It’s clear, that like many, he was certainly a religious seeker. He looked in some weird and wonderful places, much of it contradictory, as he tried to work out what it was all about.

His father went to church and was also open minded about other faiths and David went along to church with his dad and then followed a path of exploration of other faiths. He started with Buddhism and studied for a year with the thought that he might become a monk. Later, during heavy drug use, he was very drawn to the occult teachings and magick of Aleister Crowley, the Mysticism of the Nazis and their alleged search for the Holy Grail at Glastonbury Tor, and the Kabbala. He recorded a strong dislike for the church and organised religion but often stated his belief in God. He loved a conspiracy theory and was influenced by the people who influenced Dan Brown. He read widely, and from his reference in the song Sex and the Church, I think that must have included the Bible, because he isn’t referencing a particularly well-known part there.

Saviour Machine, from Man Who Sold the World (1970) seemed to kick against trusting someone else to save you – “you can’t stake your lives on a Saviour Machine”. And Loving The Alien (1984) can be interpreted as attack on belief – “Prayers, they hide the saddest view, Believing the strangest thing, loving the alien. On the other hand, Bowie in interviews says it was about loving Muslims and he went on to marry Iman his second wife, who is Muslim. At his death, she tweeted, “The struggle is real but so is God”.

Bowie’s use of the Christian faith in his lyrics and his thinking were also a feature of his music though.

On The Buddha of Suburbia he wrote the lines in the song, Sex and the Church:

Though the idea of compassion
Is said to be
The union of Christ
And his bride, the Christian
It's all very puzzling.

Station to Station is an interesting album. Recorded during the height of his drug use, he claimed not to remember making it. His take on the album was that it was a step by step interpretation of the Kabbala, with the title track being about the stations of the cross. On the same album, there seems to come a cry for help in the track – the prayer, perhaps of a desperate man.

Just because I believe, don't mean I don't think as well
Don't have to question everything
In heaven or hell

Lord, I kneel and offer you
My word on a wing
And I'm trying hard to fit among
Your scheme of things

It's safer than a strange land
But I still care for myself
And I don't stand in my own light
Lord, Lord, my prayer flies
Like a word on a wing
My prayer flies
Like a word on a wing
Does my prayer fit in
With your scheme of things?

Such a reading of the lyric is probably not far off, he referred to this time and his descent into drugs being a result of his turning his back on God in an interview with Tony Parsons.

The track, Pallas Athena, named after the Greek Goddess, on Black Tie White Noise, the lyric simply repeats (with some subtle variation) “God is on top of it all, that’s all” with the backing response “we are praying”, all over a dance beat.

And to last week’s album. Blackstar has been described as his farewell note to his fans, few of whom knew he was dying.

The album contains clues that, like during his drug crisis, he was reaching out to God. The track I Can’t Give Everything Away refers to the Prodigal Son and, in the circumstances, I don’t think it’s such a stretch to think the song’s title might be a reference to the conversation that Jesus has with the rich young ruler.

And best known, Lazarus, whose stunning video seems to confirm the reference to the man that Jesus raised from the dead. As well as the opening line,

“Look up here, I'm in heaven
I've got scars that can't be seen”

The song concludes,

“This way or no way
You know I’ll be free
Just like that blue bird
Ain’t that just like me.

Oh I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me

Like a lot of us, Bowie was a seeker. I think he recognised that the 'hole within' would not be filled by 'sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll', though he had a really good try! He recognised the need to reach out for God, I think that’s what he did when he knelt at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and prayed the Lord’s Prayer. There are times when you know you need help and you look around for it.

I just hope he found it.

Some references and further reading that you might find useful…

TONY PARSONS: Why did you say the Lord’s Prayer at the Freddie Mercury tribute?DAVID BOWIE: I decided to do it about five minutes before I went on stage. Coco [Schwab, Bowie’s long-term personal assistant] and I had a friend called Craig who was dying of AIDS. He was just dropping into a coma that day. And just before I went on stage something just told me to say the Lord’s Prayer. The great irony is that he died two days after the show.

….In rock music, especially in the performance arena, there is no room for prayer, but I think that so many of the songs people write are prayers. A lot of my songs seem to be prayers for unity within myself. On a personal level, I have an undying belief in God’s existence. For me it is unquestionable.

….Looking at what I have done in my life, in retrospect so much of what I thought was adventurism was searching for my tenuous connection with God. I was always investigating, always looking into why religions worked and what it was people found in them. And I was always fluctuating from one set of beliefs to another until a very low point in the mid-Seventies where I developed a fascination with black magic.

….And although I’m sure there was a satanic lead pulling me towards it, it wasn’t a search for evil. It was in the hope that the signs might lead me somewhere. There seemed to be a path inherent in cabbalistic religion. There seemed to be a path that one could follow. And of course it helped greatly that it was all so drug-induced. That really helped to blur the sense of reality of what I was getting involved in.

But it wasn’t only the drugs. It was also because of my spiritual state of mind. I had never been so near an abyss of total abandonment. When they say that one felt like a shell, an empty shell, I can really understand that. I felt that any of life’s intrusions would crush that shell very easily. I felt totally, absolutely alone. And I probably was alone because I pretty much had abandoned God.

….But what often amuses me is the reaction to a song like “Loving The Alien” – where so many reviewers said, oh, Bowie out in space again. And the alien in this case was Muslim, which is prophetic because here I am married to one. I was talking about people being aliens to each other.

“The humanists’ replacement for religion: work really hard and somehow you’ll either save yourself or you’ll be immortal. Of course, that’s a total joke, and our progress is nothing.” David Bowie

Quote attributed to him on the Daily Mirror website in the week of his death.

Bowie on Bowie: Interviews and Encounters by Sean Egan, Charles Shaar Murray, Adrian Deevoy, Robert Hilburn, Allan Jones, David Quantick, Paul du Noyer, Steven Wells, Dylan Jones

Quotes on Bowie and Faith

Since he was 14, however, he had been interested in Buddhism and Tibet, and after the failure of his first LP he dropped out of music completely and devoted his time to the Tibet Society, whose aim was to help the lamas driven out of that country in the Tibetan/Chinese war. He was instrumental in setting up the Scottish monastery in Dumfries in this period. He says, in fact, that he would have liked to have been a Tibetan monk, and would have done if he hadn’t met Lindsay Kemp, who ran a mime company in London: “It was as magical as Buddhism, and I completely sold out and became a city creature. I suppose that’s when my interest in image really blossomed.”

Oh You Pretty Thing, Michael Watts, January 22, 1972, Melody Maker

I think everybody, at one time or another, gets that kind of feeling: that they aren’t just here for themselves, and more often than not they turn to the Bible and agree that it’s probably Jesus and God and all of that section of religion. There’s a feeling that we are here for another purpose. And in me it’s very strong.

Goodbye Ziggy And A Big Hello To Aladdin Sane, Charles Shaar Murray, July 22 and 29, 1972, New Musical Express

Even though God does these terrible things to man and sits back and waits for them to ask for forgiveness … despite that, Merrick was prepared to believe in heaven, because of Jesus, not so much because of God.

The Future Isn’t What It Used Be, Angus MacKinnon, September 13, 1980, New Musical Express
The reference is to John Merrick, The Elephant Man, who David played on Broadway.

“Loving The Alien.” It also approaches subjects Bowie has never tackled before: religion and history. “It really doesn’t fit in there very much, does it? That was the most personalised bit of writing on the album for me; not to say that the others were written from a distance, but they’re a lot lighter in tone. That one was me in there dwelling on the idea of the awful shit that we’ve had to put up with because of the Church. That’s how it started out: for some reason I was very angry.” You don’t normally hear people wearing crucifixes making remarks like that. “I know … this”—he fingers the crucifix around his neck—“is strictly symbolic of a terrible nagging superstition that if I didn’t have it on I’d have bad luck. It isn’t even religious to me—I’ve hardly even thought of it as a crucifix, anyway, probably because it’s so little. The most obvious lie or cover-up I can think of is through education … at the time of writing the song I was reading a book called The Jesus Scrolls, and the conclusion of that book is that Jesus died at the age of 70 at Masada and wrote a scroll himself, which is currently in the hands of the Russians, who are holding it over the Catholic Church. Actually I read that a long long time ago, around ’75—it was a real Los Angeles book, but it really stayed with me. The crunching thing about the Church is that it has always had so much power. “It was always more of a power tool than anything else, which was not very apparent to the majority of us. I never thought about it as … as a child it was just going to church and listening to the choir and hearing the prayers, and it was never really made apparent how much weight they carried. My own father was one of the few fathers I knew who had a lot of understanding of other religions. He—this is an abuse of the word—‘tolerated’ Buddhists or Muslims or Hindus or Mohammedans, whatever, and he was a great humanitarian in those terms. I think some of that was passed on to me, and encouraged me to become interested in other religions. There was no enforced religion, though, he didn’t particularly care for the English religion—Henry’s religion. Oh God! “‘Alien’ came about because of the feeling that so much history is wrong—as is being rediscovered all the time—and that we base so much on the wrong knowledge that we’ve gleaned. Now some historian is putting forward the notion the whole idea of Israel is wrong and that it was in fact in Saudi Arabia and not in Palestine. It’s extraordinary considering all the mistranslations in the Bible that our lives are being navigated by this misinformation, and that so many people have died because of it, and all the power factions involved …” Bowie sighs. “I don’t know … just like everything else, it’s just a song of images. I can’t ever see any cohesive view point in my songs.

Sermon From The Savoy, Charles Shaar Murray, September 29, 1984, New Musical Express

They called it the Prayer, its answer was law —“Saviour Machine” (1970)
“Unfortunately, I didn’t really know Freddie [Mercury] that well at all,” Bowie says. “I’d met him about two or three times in all those years. I found him very witty, quite bright and indeed very theatrical. So I don’t know the ins and outs of what he had to live with or what happened to him. I do have a lot of gay friends, and I know the pain of losing friends through AIDS. Unfortunately, I lost one just after the Queen concert [the memorial concert for Freddie Mercury at Wembley Stadium in April 1992]. His name was Craig, a New York playwright, and he’d actually slipped into a coma the day before the show and died two days after it. Which was why I said the Lord’s Prayer that night.” Bowie’s flair for drama notwithstanding, the gesture left many people surprised. “Yeah, they probably were,” he says, “but it wasn’t for them.” Part of the surprise was that Bowie has never been known as a particularly religious sort of person. “I’m not. I’m spiritual,” he says. “I’ve never bought in to any organized religion. But now I have an unshakeable belief in God. I put my life into his hands every single day. I pray every morning. “My friend Craig was not a Christian,” he continues, “but I thought that prayer the most appropriate inasmuch as it’s not … it’s a prayer about our Father, not so much about Christ. For me, it’s a universal prayer. I was as surprised as anyone that I’d said it at that concert. But I was pleased that I’d done it.”

Station to Station, David Sinclair, June 10, 1993, Rolling Stone

“You can be very thick. I had this morbid obsession with the so-called ‘mysticism’ of the Third Reich. The stories about the SS coming over to England in search of the Holy Grail, that was the aspect of it that really appealed to me in my beleaguered and drugged state. Absurd as it may seem now, it just didn’t occur to me that what I was doing had any relevance. My overriding interest was in Kabbalah and Crowleyism. That whole dark and rather fearsome never-world of the wrong side of the brain.” Do you believe that “magick” has any ability to affect the physical world? “No, I think all those things merely become symbolic crutches for the negative. It was all an adolescent state of mind, even though I wasn’t adolescent. I think drugs really perpetuate that adolescent state. Or can do, anyway, with me they certainly did.”

The Artful Codger, Steven Wells, November 25, 1995, New Musical Express

“I have a real thrusting, rampant, spiritual need. I can’t become comfortable with any organised religion and I’ve sort of touched on all of them. I’m not looking for a faith, I don’t want to believe anything. I’m looking for knowledge.” But why does it need to be outside of us? Aren’t we fundamentally decent animals? One of the new Darwinists said something about how you could walk up and down the most violent street in New York and see a thousand acts of courtesy, caring and kindness before you saw one negative act. Isn’t he right? “I think there are lots of people who can live their lives on that level and on that platform and I am so envious of them. I can’t do that. I’m perturbed by the idea of morality, of good and bad. I’m much more comfortable with the idea of illusion and reality. I get such moral drift—I’ve seen people killed with f---ing kindness and I’ve seen some negative situations actually turn out in a positive way and I find it all very confusing. “More recently, I’ve been interested in the Gnostics. They aren’t that different from Buddhists, really, in that they thought that God is within yourself, it’s their idea that there’s illusion and reality and the illusion part of it is what we perceive as reality in our conscious state. But, there again, it’s just another codification. I don’t think I could subscribe to saying that I was a Gnostic.” So we’re not going to see you put out an album called “Laughing Gnostic”?

The Artful Codger, Steven Wells, November 25, 1995, New Musical Express

The occult had made its way to the top of his reading list—the album Station to Station, that he recorded in 1976, was, he now says, a step-by-step interpretation of the Cabbala, “although absolutely no one else realised that at the time, of course”—which led, in turn, to “Grail mythology” and then to an unhealthy interest in the role of black magic in the rise of Nazism. “Being seriously involved in the negative,” as he puts it. This was the period when he was quoted as saying that “Britain could benefit from a fascist leader,” and apparently declaring himself as a prospective candidate. In the end, the clouds of delusion and the clouds of cocaine were all too much. “I blew my nose one day in California,” he once, memorably, recalled, “and half my brains came out.”

A Star Comes Back To Earth, Mick Brown, December 14, 1996, Telegraph Magazine

As a teenager he was drawn to Buddhism. For a year he studied under a Tibetan lama and says that at one time he contemplated becoming a monk, “until my teacher told me I wasn’t born to be one. But so much of what first appealed to me about Buddhism has stayed with me. The idea of transience, and that there is nothing to hold on to pragmatically; that we do at some point or another have to let go of that which we consider most dear to us, because it’s a very short life. “The lesson that I’ve probably learnt more than anything else is that my fulfillment comes from that kind of spiritual investigation. And that doesn’t mean I want to find a religion to latch on to. It means trying to find the inner-life of the things that interest me—whether it’s how a painting works, or exactly why I enjoy going for a sail on a lake—even though I can’t swim more than 15 strokes.”

A Star Comes Back To Earth, Mick Brown, December 14, 1996, Telegraph Magazine

Does he feel that the new album is as adventurous and groundbreaking as albums like Low, Heroes and Lodger? “I don’t know if it feels like that,” he ponders. “But it feels really good-hearted and uplifting.” It’s hardly comforting, though. “No? Blimey. I get all happy when I hear it. How do you hear it?” A pounding, shrieking, relentless sort of sound. “Golly.” He thinks. “It’s not difficult music, it really isn’t. If the audiences can just open their minds to it.” What are the songs about? “I guess the common ground with all the songs is this abiding need in me to vacillate between atheism or a kind of gnosticism,” he explains, slowly. “I keep going backwards and forwards between the two things, because they mean a lot in my life. I mean, the church doesn’t enter into my writing, or my thoughts; I have no empathy with any organised religions. What I need is to find a balance, spiritually, with the way I live and my demise. And that period of time—from today until my demise—is the only thing that fascinates me.” You’re already thinking about your death? “I don’t think there’s been a time when I haven’t,” he laughs, blithely. “It was ennobled with a romantic, cavalier attitude when I was much younger, but it was still there. Now it’s measured with rationality. I know that this life is finite and I have to accept that.” What’s stopping you from believing in an afterlife? “I didn’t say I didn’t,” he says quickly. “I believe in a continuation, kind of a dream-state without the dreams. Oh, I don’t know. I’ll come back and tell you.”

CHANGESFIFTYBOWIE, David Cavanagh, February 1997, Q

The Station To Station track itself is very much concerned with the stations of the cross. All the references within the piece are to do with the Kabbala (a set of mystical instructions supposedly given to Moses on Mount Sinai and often said to have links with ritual magick). It’s the nearest album to a magick treatise that I’ve written. I’ve never read a review that really sussed it. It’s an extremely dark album. Miserable time to live through, I must say.”

CHANGESFIFTYBOWIE, David Cavanagh, February 1997, Q

I think we will feel a lot more content when we are able to accept that life is chaos. I think it was an awful thought 10 or 15 years ago. But I think we are beginning to become more comfortable with the idea that life is chaos and it’s as simple as that: it is chaos. There is no structure. There is no plan. We are not evolving. We have to make the best of what we got. And if we can become happy about that, I think we ought to establish a lifestyle in which we are more content.”

Such A Perfect Day, Mikel Jollett, July/August 2003, Filter (US)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The loneliness of the long distance runner

Today I ran my first half-marathon.  This evening I am sore but happy.  As my Dad rightly pointed out the other day, I am not a natural athlete.  When I did the induction at the gym 18 months ago I was allowed to walk on the treadmill for 10-15 minutes.  But today I ran 13.1 miles.

Many of you will have done this yourself and those of you that have will almost certainly have done it faster.  Possibly quite a lot faster.   Having trained for 12 weeks and not run more than 3 miles in one go for 25 years, I was very nervous about it, especially when the entry form said there was a two and a half hour cut off point.  I knew from my training runs that it was going to be touch and go whether I did that. 

Conditions were ideal.  Started cool and cloudy and with no breeze.  The race started and ended on grass, with a lap of the cricket pitch, followed by roads for the rest of the way.  Burnham on Sea is very flat and the biggest ‘hills’ are railway bridges, just three in total.  

Midway round the first lap of the cricket pitch I realise that I am following 173 other runners in a 174 person race.  But I know what I can do and more importantly, what I cannot do.  I cannot try and keep up with the pack if I want to finish.  So I am not unsettled by the little girl who on that first lap says to her Mum, “That man is really slow”.  Mum is a little embarrassed but I laugh.  She is right. 

I am used to running alone so I’m okay with how I run alone for nearly the whole of the race after the two mile mark.  I’m encouraged by an old man in a wheelchair who sits at the end of his drive at the three mile mark and cheers me on.  It gives me a real boost.  I’m less happy with how it feels for the first four miles but have found that is often the case and my times are okay.  For me.

Around 6 ½ miles in I catch up and run with a woman who is running her second race of this kind.  She pulls away when I walk while I drink my water at the drinks station but I pass her at around 7 ½ miles and feel good as I run.  I’m there or thereabouts in terms of the time, though beginning to drift a little.  

I don’t see another runner in front of me for about 4 miles after that.  The last two or three miles are tough and probably not helped by running on my own.  Lin and Ben surprise me by showing when I have two miles to go and it’s a massive encouragement to see them.  It’s just around the time I have started to talk to myself to spur me on.  (Other people do that too, right?)

As I get to the last half mile I can see Lin, Ben and my friend Eerke.  He finished 35 minutes ago but runs alongside me to spur me on over the last bit.  The person I saw in the distance a mile ago, an older man, is suddenly very close.  I hadn’t been trying to catch him, just concentrating on my own race.  I am surprised that I can put in a faster finish than I expect and finish 26 seconds outside the 2 hour 30 minute mark.  Mo Farrah can rest easy.  So can I tonight, once I have negotiated the stairs.

The great motivation in all this was to raise money for MAF, an organisation that flies medicines and doctors and patients and pastors and relief supplies to some of the most isolated parts of the world.   My good friend Mark Stanton was working for this charity before his life was cut short by MND.  I came 171st out of 174 finishers.  He’d have done the run so much quicker.  

A huge thank you to the friends who turned out to see me finish, who fed me afterwards and the many, many people who were so generous in their sponsorship.  In my wildest dreams I was hoping to be running for £100 per mile but we’ve just about made it to the £1500 mark, which is brilliant.   Thank you so much for your generosity. 

I just hope I can get out of bed tomorrow.   

Monday, 18 August 2014

Getting there. Slowly

So much for regular updates.  I'm now two weeks further on in my programme to run my first half marathon.  Getting there, slowly, is an appropriate description of my progress.  Week Four and Five have generally seen me stick to the programme, making little discernible progress speed wise, but - like the Duracell bunny, I'm finding I am able to keep going a little longer each time.

You can find the details of the half marathon training programme. I am following by clicking the link.

I've just finished week 5, so yesterday I (very nearly) ran my furthest distance ever.  The schedule had me down for a seven mile run.  I diligently planned my route and all was good for about a mile and a half.  It was only then that I discovered that about a mile of the route I had so carefully plotted was along a very rough bridle-path, lots of deep furrows from farm traffic and not worth turning an ankle over.  So I walked a far bit of that mile and probably lost some time as a result.  But not much, I am very slow anyway.

I've never run further than 6.25 miles before - the length of 10km races I entered a couple of times.  That was twenty years ago and carrying a wee bit less wait too, so I even though I was forced to walk some of it, I was delighted to have done 7 miles yesterday.  Sore, but delighted.  The fact that I have to do 8 miles this Sunday is something to think about later in the week.

If you would like to sponsor me, this is the place to do it.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Snap! (almost)

This caused me to do a quick double take this evening and then, on reflection, to be encouraged.  One is a shot from yesterday's Western Morning News Sport section.  The other is one of mine from Saturday's game.  It would appear I'm getting something right.  Or getting lucky...  

Monday, 4 August 2014

Running 1

I want to record my progress - or lack of it - in training for my first ever Half Marathon.  I've promised a few updates to the good people that have offered to sponsor me for it but, don't worry, it won't be a step by step account.  I'll spare you all the detail. 

I joined a gym nearly 15 months ago and at the induction, the young girl gave me some exercises to get me started.  It included 10-15 minutes of walking on a treadmill.  It hurt my pride a little but I have since progressed to a bit of running.

This will probably be my first and only Half Marathon.  Because I've discovered that a bit of running isn't enough.  According to the running plan I am following, I need to do a lot more than a bit. I am three weeks into a twelve week programme and according to my times, I'm getting slower.  But I am middle aged and I'm running further each week.  I am determined to finish, for reasons that I'll go into later.

Week 4, here we come...

Thursday, 9 January 2014

A bit of culture

Some of which was a bit wasted on us, to be honest.  As I think I recorded elsewhere, I preferred the photography at the Orange County Fair to that on display at the Getty Center but what do I know.  Nothing really floated by boat more than the sensational architecture of the place itself.  Scorching hot and the white stone of the buildings really stood out against the blue sky.  I spent more time looking at the buildings than the treasures they contained.  Hmm, there's a sermon illustration in there somewhere....

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Venice Beach - Out Come the Freaks

On our first Sunday, we paid a visit to our friends' church, leaving uplifted.  The service was excellent and the preaching (by a guy who was a fire fighter by day) was fantastic.  On hearing of our plan to go to Venice Beach that afternoon, we encountered some raised eyebrows and someone, choosing their words very carefully, said that it should be very eclectic ... I think that was the description.  Intrigued, we went anyway.

The place was very busy and we eventually found a $25 parking space.  It was overcast but you could see that the beach must have been amazing in the sunshine.  It was further inland that things were less pleasant. Naive fools that we were, we were looking for a Starbucks, maybe a tea and some muffins.  It's eclectic, alright.  But it's not that kind of place.

I saw a drug deal being done within the first couple of minutes of walking the shop fronts along the sea front, and there was a parade of characters on display.  My friend the snake handler (below) was preaching on the street in his leopard skin thong.  As Moe says in the Simpsons, when Homer tries to get him to convert, "I was born a snake handler and I'll die a snake handler".  Some other guy (below) was standing around begging for cash for hash, and people were trying to press their CDs on you too.  The famous Muscle Beach was a bit tatty as well, though I wouldn't have said so to the two guys that were working out there.       

In truth it wasn't a great vibe, the only time that we felt unsafe in our trip to America and so we made for the cars and went back to the safety of the suburbs for that cup of tea.  Still, it was an interesting experience.     

Monday, 6 January 2014

High Tide - 6th January 2014

A couple of days ago, when we had a flood warning at high tide, there were a lot of photographers out to record events, even though it was happening at day break.  Today high tide was 10.15 a.m. but most people were back at work and so I pretty much had it to myself.  I was at work too but I'm based about 50 metres from the pier, so could pop out with my camera.  I'm a lucky man.  

I think the waves were a bit more challenging this time but the wall passed the test and kept the sea at bay. Good fun!


Saturday, 4 January 2014


Before leaving San Diego, we took a trip on this wee beastie.  It does roads as well as sea and was a great way to see San Diego from a different angle.  The sea lions were easy to spot, they just sailed us out to the point where they unload the fish that people catch and there they all are - well fed and (in the main) sleeping it off.  A further treat was the sight of dolphins, albeit some distance off in the naval pens.  Both seals and dolphins are used by the military serving out of San Diego.