Showing posts from November, 2012

Paddy Caravan

Whenever I talk about Paddy Caravan, I feel like I’m talking about myself, and in a way I am. I always start by talking about my heart. It's where I finish too, because when I get down to it, that's all there is.
My heart almost stopped the first time I saw him. I was at the farm with Jenny late one evening, just before it got dark. While Jenny saw to the horse, I explored the yard. When I rounded the corner at the bottom of the barn, I was faced with this hulking, bearded tramp of a man. He was huge. Startled, I said my hellos. He stared through my greeting. Not with malice, but with something less cold, an expression I couldn’t place. I could hear his breathing and there was a moment when its rhythm seemed to mark the bars to the agitated beats within my chest. Then he turned and was gone as quickly as he had appeared, leaving me to catch my breath. The few who saw him said that’s how it always was with Paddy Caravan.
Strangely excited, I rushed back up to the stable block whe…

Smack my bitch up

So, recently, my normally clinically undemonstrative boss, has taken to smacking me on the arse as he passes by. This change of pace in our working relationship has given me a little pause for thought. I'm not particularly shocked or offended by the new dynamic, nor do I think that my boss has in any way 'turned' (with me being the catalyst who converted him), but I simply can't help but be curious as to why the change has come about. Why that? Why now? And why me?

It has happened enough times now, that I know how I feel about it (fine), and how I feel comfortable reacting to it (turn, smile, greet, let it pass as normal behaviour), but I do find myself wondering about this thoughts as he goes through his little ritual; what is the intention behind the act? How does he feel as he smacks me? And how does he expect me to respond to his gesture?
In answer to the first of those questions I should say that, contrary to what you might think, physical contact between Japanese m…

Park and ride

So, today was a day off for me. Like always when my day off isn't a day off for the kids, I went out to get some fresh air and take some photographs. Like last time, I took in a park, but as this one is pretty far from home I took the bike, stopping off at our local Fuji-san viewing point along the way. I got lucky with the weather again; if anything, it was too sunny and fighting against the washout was the theme of the morning, and specifically why I went out again at sunset.

My park

So, after my stroll through my town, I headed up to my park to continue my walk. It's a very popular park but, unusually for the Tokyo area, it's more than big enough to absorb its own popularity. It's the jewel in the crown of my town. Well, 'crown' may be stretching it a bit, but nonetheless 'jewel' it is. The chief thing a love about my park, is the incredible variety of environments it has. That was clearly the remit for the designers and undoubtedly it was their triumph.

Now that the designers have passed the baton to mother nature, their triumph can be witnessed by all. Different areas of the park shine at different points in the natural cycle, and for me the late autumn sun shines best on the lake in my park. What do you think?

My town

So, a day off... and a walk around the place where I live. Town first, and then later on to the park to catch some sunshine.


So, I was sitting on the low wall across from the bookshop along my street the other day, just catching a little of the still warm, late autumn sun. Unusually, I didn't have anywhere else to be at that time in the morning. That's a bit of a miracle these days, as since got back from my travels, I've been busier than Jimmy Savile's lawyers. Soon a local old boy who I know quite well, nodded his greeting, and took a seat beside me. He sighed gently as he too drank in the welcome warmth.
After sitting there for a few minutes, our attention was drawn to the bookshop. Or rather to the commotion going on just outside. Next to the bookshop, between the exit and the vending machines, was a whole bunch of bicycles roughly parked in a line, presumably belonging to the customers inside. One of the bikes, right in the middle of the row, had in its front basket a value pack of loo rolls, and in the rear basket, a large shopping bag packed with groceries. It was the rear basket the w…