Fading Memories

Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, March 25, 2017

We have an itinerary.
Tokyo


Travel for us is a somewhat random, some might even say haphazard affair.  We tend to lurch on with only the vaguest of notions about where we might end up on any given day, following signs on a whim, walking and riding transport in a pattern that often resembles the wiring on a Tokyo back street.  Like the wiring though, what appears to be completely accidental almost inevitably ends up at some sort of bright light.

Today for instance, we managed to quite deliberately find our way to Nippori Fabric Town, accidentally discovering a sensational bowl of noodles along the way, some more excellent steam buns, and somehow discovering the first flowering cherry tree of summer.  In that we were not alone it must be said, as here in Japan, the cherry tree in blossom has special significance, quite different to its significance in France where it is a sign that shortly we’ll be eating cherry tart.

Back to our random travels for a bit though: Most reading this will be only too well aware that we are not particularly fussy about where we sleep as well, having found ourselves gratefully recumbent on many a floor, couch and spare mattress on our wanders.

All that changes tomorrow.  We’ve done a strangely uncharacteristic thing.   We’ve arranged to travel with a small group on a guided journey with an actual itinerary and accomodation booked weeks in advance.  

Over the coming few weeks we shall have a chap telling us about things, taking us places, organising accomodation and even more strangely travelling to a schedule, and we’re going to like it a lot.  We’ll be staying in hotels in which if the cost of all this is anything to go by, we might even find ourselves sitting at tables with table cloths.   It's a bit of an experiment really, so stay tuned.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Through the looking glass.
Brisbane to Tokyo


If this morning was hot and humid and relaxed as we sat outside our house, this evening was cold and damp and positively dozy as we wandered in downtown Tokyo.

It can hardly be jetlag causing our state of fatigue, because there’s just an hour of time difference between home and here, so we’ll blame the sudden cessation of work or perhaps it’s an allergy to airline food, but there is no doubt we have once again found ourselves on the other side of the looking glass, in a world which will be more fully revealed in coming weeks.

For now, a quick stretch of the legs down one of Ginza’s retail streets, some steamed buns and a nice cup of tea were the perfect end to what had been a fairly long day, or perhaps to the year to date.

It will be interesting to retrace our steps on the morrow, revisiting these streets with fresher eyes, but is the temperature really going to be in single digits all day?

Really?

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Good heavens is that the time?
Dicky Beach to Brisbane


When one closes the door to the house for a period of extended travel, there’s a strange sense of closing the door on all of the ills and spills and the accompanying madness up to that point in time.  

Suddenly the whirlwind that sometimes seems to be of tornado like proportions simply stops.  

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag?  Blow that for a game of soldiers, why not leave ‘em at home and get on with life!

So it was at four thirty this morning, we found ourselves sitting in complete silence, the doors firmly locked behind us, memories of the race to get the place tidied, tools away, make space in the garage for the car, and the ills and spills of recent months already starting to fade.  The sweat from that effort washed off, but already starting to reform as the solid wall of humidity and mid twenty degree temperature made its presence felt, clad as we were in clothing more suited to our destination.

We were not leaving everything in the state we would have preferred, but the two bags at our feet contained all that we would need for the next three months and providing the the bus had not forgotten to pick us up and of course that we remembered to race in and turn the lights off when it did, we just had this feeling that everything would in a very short space of time, be simply tickety-boo. 

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Monday, January 02, 2017

If a job's worth doing....


We wouldn’t do any work on the house this year we said, after all we’ll only be home for a few months , and it might be nice to do “beach stuff” after almost five summers of “building stuff”.   Then a few things happened, a couple of stars that were formerly neatly in line slipped a bit, and once again the wheels fell off our resolution.

Two weeks was all it took to demolish everything downstairs that wasn’t holding something up, getting rid of excess possessions took a little longer, and like it or not, the final stage was underway.

We knew at the outset there’d be no no hope of finishing before the middle of March, but perhaps we could give it a good shake, as long as we could get the car back inside by then things would be fine.

We had begun.

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Friday, December 09, 2016

The getting of knowledge, if not wisdom


It may be odd, posting a photo of the kids when the blog thinks we're still near Avignon, which is a long way from where they can be found, but a lot of water has gone over the aqueduc since last we had time to post.   If "busyness" consumes us when we are on the road, it's nothing to the tsunami that envelopes us on our return.

It starts as a dull roar in the distance, the one that sounds exactly like a jet spinning down, then there is a lull, we alight and are engulfed in heat, humidity, children, happiness and some sadness too.  Hours turn into days and then into a month, and one starts to hope that the notes one made of those final weeks away do not get lost in the wash before the stories can be converted to electrons.

It matters little if they do, as they will be replaced by other very noisy ones in the blink of an eye. Having been run a teensy bit ragged by a touch of solo grandparenting last week, it wasn't my most patient voice that called back to the ten year old straggler on one of our adventures,  to enquire as to why he was lagging.

"I have a gum nut in my sandal" came the reply.

"Well it could be worse it could be a prickle" I sympathetically urged, hoping to enthuse him sufficiently to have us home before midnight.

"Oh no Papa! It could be a LOT worse" interrupted the voice attached to my left hand, as Miss Six began to explain why: "He COULD," she started, "be bleeding out.   Then, there'd be no blood getting to his brain, and his brain would have no oxygen, and then….."

OK, I'll give her that, it could be a lot worse.   He could have a travel diary incomplete as well.. 

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Test Post with more to come!

I do apologise to email subscribers for what will be a double up of posting - some words will follow shortly - just need to get a little glitch sorted with the updated blog!
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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The joy of a road trip.
Thursday 20th October - Avignon

Washing, yarn bombing, France

Anyone who has suffered the curse of the road trip, pulling on cold and still damp undies before setting off will appreciate just what a blessing it is to be travelling in cooler temperatures and staying in places where bathrooms are heated.  In these conditions the “smalls” washed in the evening are crispy dry and warm in the morning and dare I say it, something of a pleasure to don.

Thus with nicely warmed nethers we set off in direction vaguely south, asking the nice lady in the GPS to take us as far from anything that looked like a motorway as she could.  For those unfamiliar with the road network in France, this has the effect of forcing one to slow one’s journey, smell the flowers, take in the surroundings, at the same time taking an interminable amount of time to travel not very far.    It also means that if one were not a tractor or farm vehicle enthusiast before, one soon gathers an enormous knowledge of the intricacies of all variety of machinery, while following them up the road at a pace which would make a canal boat proud.

I am sure there is a word for having an irrational fear of roadhouse food, and if there were we would happily apply it to ourselves, and even more happily report that we were able to dodge that particular bullet this day, finding a bakery open at exactly the time we realised that despite several hours of passing through the countryside, we were barely out of site of last night’s bedroom window and perhaps after eating, if we were serious about getting anywhere anytime soon we should hit the tollway.  Those tollways have their place.  We made it before sunset, a heated flat, out of the chilling wind bringing the promise of tiny temperatures overnight, comforted by the thought that our undies would be warm tomorrow too.
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