Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Human Kindness - alive in Valencia

We spent Sunday site-seeing in the centre of Valencia. I have surpised to see English newspapers for sale and anEenglish bagel shop, the menu in English. I guess nobody has told these people that bagels are an American construct and in England we eat TOAST.
I few years ago I attended a beach paty, in which I was the only English person. One of the guys, a pretty nasty bloke even by Spanish standards, nudged me on the shoulder and rattled off the words.
Toro, toro, paella, paella, Sangria, Sangria - that is Spain for you, yes
At the end, I considered all the nasty things I could do to this bloke to cause him a life time of pain. But after I spending the morning in the centre of Valencia. I can see that this image is not created by brits arriving back with stories of beach life and party life, but by Spanish. I lost count of the number of shops that sold post cards of bulls, t-shits with bulls on, cups with bulls on, plates with bulls on, bull magnets, bull caps, and fridge magent shaped Paella. The Airport they do it with taste, but these people are selling the Spanish down the river, look at us, somehow we can't quite leave this tacky American habit of sticking a magnet on crap and calling it at souvenir, the image is in instilled and created by this people. A different type of Spain almost as far removed as those ex-pats that spend their days asleep by their pool in Denia or Murica, slowly pickling their liver with English bought Gin.


We stopped for coffee and watched a man working with wire, he spends his days making little wire sulptures, selling them for three euros each. Seconds before we sat down, a man has passed him whispering something into his ear which caused him great stress. Sitting on the street surounded by all these people, he began to cry. Never are we so alone then when we are surounded by people. I suggested that we buy something from him, in order to cheer him up and as your see, his work is great. He started to make something, must of took him a few seconds to wrap the wire. He moved down the rows of table, removing a napkin, in which he wrapped the wire sculpture, to steps later he had placed the 'present' onto the table in front of me. Telling me that I needed to give it to Monica, which I did. After he had sat back down, I handed him three euros, he shook my hand, his hands rough from working with the wire and a life on the streets.

I don't care what he does with the 3 euros, he showed a type of kindness that is only displayed among friends. And he worked for his money, unlike the buggers outside the church or supermaket who just beg. He has a skill and is tyring. I've included a picture, if you see the guy,go and give him a euro and say hello. He's as a mad as a hatter, but thats okay.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Ever wondered

I've often wondered why Spainish people walk so slowly. Now I think I have the answer, it's all do to with time and space. You see when a bunch of Spanish people start walking, they drop out of rotation with normal time and space, so for a fraction of a second they are actually going backwards.

When the time and space 'globe' as gone full circle it picks them back up again and they gain forward movment. This happens everytime they change direction, everytime they walk around a corner or everytime they cross the road.

Of course I know the real reason, it's all about living la vida loca. Taking time over speaking, walking, eating and anyway when it's 40 degrees outside who wants to rush anyway/. But some times, like when you need to get the best seat for the fire bull, some times speed is important.

So my friends, a picture for you. I'm sure you will recognise this, because you are all this!

Friday, 8 August 2008

A little story

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could hav done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn't do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
Think about

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

An up setting incident

Customer Service: The element that all company pride themselves on, that which can make or break the company profile. So why are the Spanish so bad at it, why can't companies and organisations, who frankly are here to serve the customer, the people who pay good money for their services be so intolerable of there own country folk and others.
I mean the 'elbow rule' I can get used to and am actually getting quite good at it. But people being rude, not good. Twice in two days I have been on the recieving end of bad Spanish Customer Service, the first one I put down to 'being lost in translation' which is kind of odd because I managed to order my breakfast this morning which consistered of me speaking 7 words, when yesterday I only had to speak 2. Me thinks maybe some people should open their ears and close there Fu***** mouths.
And today, we went to a well unknown shopping chain to do our weekly shopping and to look at buying me a push bike. The man, who was meant to be a bike techican was so rude, when asked if he knew anything about bikes he said no, when asked which bike was better he said the cheapest, he asked us if we could get the bike down from its stand, which we didnt, when is it my job to do his job, he didnt like that very much and told Monica, not to worry as he didnt want me losing my 'rings' he said if he spoke English he would tell me himself. SO now we are getting to it, its because I'm English and I'm living in your country
Therefore I'm no better then the shit on your shoes, well you know what buddy, you can stick your bike right up your pig latin, dog shit smelling, noisey bastards, bad driving, Bull killing, rice eating ass.

Edited now that I have calmed down

Friday, 27 June 2008


A nervous energy collected around the house a few days before the move . We spent the week saying goodbye to people. It started with a pub lunch with Monica´s Spanish friends, the few that are left in Somerset that is. Two of my friends, N & K came as well. The whole meal was painfully slow for N&K not being used to the relaxed spanish way of eating.

Next I went to Cheddar to say goodbye to the few people who are still there - fighting the good fight. I started with my good friend JH, our friendship has grown over the last few years, however I´m sure that he might argue, its only grown since I´ve had something interesting to say.

On Thursday all our boxs went, all 7, 7 boxs for 26 years. I suppose that starting a new life means getting rid of all the clutter which is fine. So now we are just sitting on our thumbs. As Monica put it, we have nothing to do here and so much to do in Moncada. On Thursday we checked the requirements for the cat to travel. We are both very worried about the transport, and driving from BCN to VLC with the cat. I guess that is our cross to bare. I´m meeting another good friend today and my long term caving partner. By far the most emotional, probaly because we have done so much together. Still these friends are keepers.

And thats it I had three friends to say goodbye to. Today is Friday and the fridge needs turning off and the food removed and then we will probaly sit down and relax. I´ll post the next time I have an internet connection and tell you about the move and journey. 22:39hrs tomorow we will still be on the road, heading towards Valencia. But I´ll be Spain.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

This time of year

So at about this time of year I starting thinking about my birthday and a list of presents that I would like. My friends often ask me, what can we get you for your birthday.

So here is an idea for one of my friends. Bego, what I would like from you, might very well change my world. Its something I need more then anything else in the world and it would make me so happy if I got it for my birthday. It's something so simple and not at all expensive, but I need it more then anything else. If you got this thing for me, I would be your best friend for ever. What is it?

Well socks of course. I seem to have no socks, the sock fairy keeps on stealing them. Maybe it will be better when I have my own washing machine, but for now I have to make two pairs last a week. I spend a lot of time at home in bare feet with freezing feet. I'm not picky, any type of socks will do. Not white please, I don't like white socks and no trainer socks, good proper ankle length socks would be great.


Wednesday, 21 May 2008

3 years today and other stuff

Today 3 years ago, I met the most wonderful person in my life. Kind, funny, caring and supportive. I found somebody I'm prepared to give my life up and follow. Because it makes her happy. I guess its the Geographer in me, but who would turn down the chance to experience a different culture and with such a wonderful person. Of course it is tinted with sadness. It became clear after being together for a short time that we will never be 100% happy. With her family living in Spain and mine in England somebody will always lose out.
I was thinking today I'm going to have to say good bye to my friends and family and I have no clue how to do that. Maybe as said in a past post I won't say good bye, instead I'll say see you later. But at the airport, when I'm in Spain I will have to wave people away, see them go through security and get on a plane and fly back to there lives. We always comment when we come back from Spain, how live here goes on with out. How long will it be before people forget us, that couple that used to live in Somerset, what were there names, they moved to Spain. I can see it now, in some respects I'm starting to think that people have forgotten already, I guess its out of sight out of mind.
Tomorrow is dissertation deadline, I get to give away this monster that has controlled my life for so long. When I get it back I will file it under "S" for shit and never look at it again. There will be some stuff that I will never look at again, such as the view from Exmoor, or the dark granite faces of Darkmoor. Months are going to slip by with out me here, the changes of season will be missed, I won't see the river in full flood washing at the tyres of the cars, or a tractor with trailer moving slowly at harvest time. I'll miss the smell of damp cut grass, grass on bare feet and green, green hills, green moors, green river banks. I'm swapping my rural jungle for an urban jungle, but I don't mind. I'm growing up, no longer am I Peter Pan. I'm leaving the place I grew up, moving on, striking out on the first step to having my own. And in a short time I will look back and I will be a more complete person, happier (maybe), richer, maybe not money rich but rich all the same, because I'll have MY family around me.
Here's to another three years. Cheers

Thursday, 8 May 2008


A few weeks ago we started thinking about packing, and decided the first job to do was to sort all my clothes. So we bravely dug around in my cupboards, finding clothes that I've had probably or certainly had since I was a teenager.

A lot of the clothes were bagged up ready to go the Charity shop, but as I put my first ever shirt into the bag I started to feel very sad. It just felt like waste. Here are all these clothes that have most likely been bought for me, by somebody else and now I'm just throwing them away. Not really throwing them away because they are going to the charity shop so other people indirectly benefit. But I'm letting them go. Maybe this is a wider issue with relationship, the give and take element can be traced back not just feelings or houses or cars but also to your life before the relationship started. Maybe with throwing old clothes away I'm saying, yep I'm ready to start my new life with you and I'm also ready to buy new clothes with you as well. :)

This shirt, for instance, my first ever 'going out' shirt was bought for me by my mum, the colour was fading and it smelt, after being stored to long. But clothes are expensive, this I guess is just a cycle, never been very up to date with clothes and I tend to wear what ever is comfortable, again and again, when I'm bored of it I leave it in the cupboard and move on. Its like I've got this blue jumper, I don't like it, but it was bought for me and when it came to throw it out, I said no - you work hard just to have your children throw there clothes out is that ungrateful or part of sharing your life on another level?

Sunday, 4 May 2008

House rules

Okay, so as the days run down to moving in day and the prospect of living in the same city as the my step mother gets closer. I've decided that some rules most be put down. I'll get these written in both English and Spanish and display them in the flat. So far the rules are:

1. No whispering - if you can't say it out loud, don't bother

2. No shouting - I never shout and nor should you, it damages the vocal chords and produces more stress and up-set then is needed

3. No arguments - words are often said in the heat of the moment and are very hard to take back

4. No unaccompanied children - children should be with the parents at all time otherwise they cause trouble and disruption

5. If it's not broken, don't fix it. Making alternations to a rented flat is like bouncing a ball against a wall, its fun for a while but does not actually get you anywhere.

Five simply rules to a happy and contented home environment

Monday, 21 April 2008


Starting to get a following!! Please leave a blog address or web address so I can return the comments. Okay results time, in an earlier post I was talking about the experiment I was conducting in a local cave system, attempting to forecast the weather by underground pressure changes. This is part 2:

So I decided on three different types of data, one set called real time, this was the data down loaded from loggers as is, the second set introduced a 1 day lap within the time data and the third set introduced a 5 hour time lag. With me so far. Okay to work out how significant these results were I used a statistical test called Pearson's correlation co-efficient, so thanks Mr Pearson. Now what this does, it take the two data sets, so in this case, one data set was from Bristol Airport and the other set was from Goughs cave and it compares them, not sure how, but it does. And it provides a number or more a formula which can be graphical represented on a graph, the formula details the slope of the curve. It also gives an R square value, which is the important bit because that shows how close to each other the results are.

For the real time data I got an R squared value of 0.5949, you may remember if you read the last post, that the closer the R squared value is to 1 the better, so that's not bad. I ran the same test on the 1 day lag, so the data had one day removed and got an R squared value of 0.6438, getting better. So I ran the test with a 5 hour lag introduced and the R Square value was 0.8888 which is pretty dam good.

So what this means, is its not possible to forecast the weather by underground pressure changes, which is a shame because that would of been cool. Putting it into easy terms so I can understand it, as pressure rises at Bristol Airport, pressure will also rise at Goughs cave only 5 hours later...hence a 5 hour delay exists. Pretty neat.

So what next, well as of today I have a month to write the experiment up, get it printed and ready for submission, also I have to write an essay called Psychogeography in a Heritage town...which could be interesting and then I have an exam on Paloclimate....don't even go there!! Then the summer starts, and of course there is the small matter of graduating, getting up in front of my peers and collecting my 2:2 we can't all be really, really smart you know.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

In a quiet place

I'm in a quiet place regarding work at the moment, just waiting for the next set of date line, so had plenty of time to surf the net looking for geography related stuff...and boy did I find it. I decided to write a list of Geographies, just for fun.
Guerrilla Geography
Deep topography
Historical Geography
Development Geography
Coastal Geography
Culture Geography
Gender Geography
Fenismist Geography
Regional Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of Disease
This is a mixture of both Physical and Human Geography and the list has not ended yet, there is more. I just got to find them. The first three are aspects that I've not come across, stuff they don't teach you at uni. For instance the second one in, a group calling themselves Guerrilla Geographers, there mandate is to force geography done peoples throats, at first this worried me, Geography, when related to your primary bread winner, rather then a passing interest, should not be forced onto people. Its the fear of whats new, but after so more reading I started to see what they were trying to say.
Being a physical Geographer, science has and always will hold the answers for me, but even the most up-tight science head has place for a little bit of slack jaw human rubbish. I've spent the last three years running from Human Geography because in my eyes it can't provide the answers. I was asked the other day what type of Geography I like, or what type of Geographer I was and I think I'm a regional geographer, a friend has spent the last three years not taking sides, he calls it sitting on the Geographical fence, but Regional Geography does just that, it sits on the fence bringing out the best of science and not science, ie Human Geography. The regional paradigm fell apart in the early 80's I think, being replaced with the current definition of Geography as place and space, regional geography is place and space.
Geography is an important and large subject, anything remotely geographical that can not be pigeoned holed into either science or social science is geography.
I'm in a quiet place so I'm gonna join the mass movement, Geography must be retained. Not shortened to Geog but proudly stated Geography because at the end of the day it makes sense.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Look what I found.

The story was publihsed in our local newspaper and the reports says, a new charity shop has opened in Glastonbury and is looking for volunteers. Manager (pictured far right) said "I have been in the tourism industry for the last 15 years working at Cheddar Caves and Gorge, managing this store is a totally different venture, but its still in a tourist area, so I've got a pretty good idea of what tourists expect..."

Good on you ;) The report goes to on say, I've also got a pretty good idea that Sam and Monica's relationship will only last the season. I made that last bit up.

Thursday, 21 February 2008


As some of you might know, I've been conducting an experiment in a cave for the last couple of months. Up to this point I'be been bashing the data trying to make sense of it. I think I've got the answer.
I best explain:
Pressure (mb) is the measure of how much air is pressing down on a certain point at a certain time. Different measures of pressure relate to different weather conditions, so high pressure means the sun is gonna shine and low pressure means its gonna rain. Pressure is measured outside to help inform the weather report. So for some reason, maybe I need shooting, I came up with the idea of forecasting the weather from inside a cave. After all if Pressure can be measured outside to forecast weather, then it can be measured inside to do the same thing. The first stage of the data crunching was running a statistical test called a Pearson Correlation, this gives you a nice number, either close to +1 for a good correlation or -1 for a bad correlation. By correlation we mean how close the pressure is inside to the pressure outside or the pressure outside informs the pressure inside.
The results for December showed a correlation of 0.933645 and 0.47465 for January, I need to everything checked, but the correlation is very good, so for now at least my theory is correct, I can see a lapse rate within the data, which means that its not an instant thing, but with more time I might be able to model the pressure wave as it enters the cave, maybe. I'll keep you up-dated.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Some times

Some times in life, you come across somthing, that makes you stand back and say WOW. I had one of these moments today. Today was my first day back at university and as often is the case I went into the shop to get a drink, I paid with a five pound note and was given change, which went into my pocket with out being checked. When I got home later I empited my pockets and saw this.

Now what your looking at is a normal one pound coin with a pink sticker stuck to it, the pink sticker says. "WS1 Valentines Burlesque Ball, 14 feb, www.ws1nightclub.co.uk." so I typed the web address into my brower, thinking maybe it was a night club in Bath...as it turns out, it came from a nightclub in a place caled Walsall which is close to Birmingham in the Midlands. The link below shows the location of Bath and Walsall


How amazing to think that this coin travelled so far in a short space of time. I e-mailed the night club telling them I had found there coin and asked if maybe I had won something!! What a great way to advertise!!

Saturday, 12 January 2008

JLM Gruop Inmobiliari - probaly the worst estate agent in the world

JLM - The worst estate agent in the world!There is a little known law in Valencia, called zone urbanisation local Valencia, which means that the local council can, if they wish raise a compulsory purchase order on your land and your house, they are the right to take the land away from you to enable them to build roads, railways, bridges, parks, sub-ways or just green space. Under this act the council does not and won't pay the land owner any compensation for the homeowners loss. It's like sitting on a ticking time bomb, the land under your feet, the land that you bought with the house does not belong to you.
How heart breaking is that! JLM didn't want to tell us that the land was classed under the act, as luck would have it, somebody was on the ball and asked the right question at the right time which saved us much heartache. Thanks for that Aran! Now we have an extension to our 30 day contract in order for the agency to recover the deposit that has already been paid to the house owner. The house as perfect, more or less but it could never be our house.

So what now, well the search continues, there are many houses within Valencia that don't fall under this act, some are at the right price. So we have contacted an English agent in Valencia, why English quite simply I have more time to chase these people when they speak the same language. With an English agent both myself and the agent can be frank and Monica can be Monica.

Saturday, 5 January 2008


After reading my last couple of posts, Monica commented on how well I write. Write a book she shouted out loud, write a book for me she continued. Write a book about what, writers need to have experienced something in order to write about it, plus I hate people being critical about my work...of course another consideration is that I just don't have the time maybe one day, when I'm done-roaming I will.
But it got me thinking about words, somebody once said, and I don't know who that the pen was mightier then the sword, does that make the written or spoken word more mightier then the bullet. Certainly if you look in the UK law then the charges of Libel (written) and Slander (spoken) are very important, actual laws that can carry a jail term, for just saying something about somebody.
Lying in bed last night, I was thinking about words...you see the thing is, words can build people up, words can reassure, words can bring joy and happiness, words can make your world collapses around you, words can be taken the wrong way, words can be taken seriously or not so seriously, words can hurt, words can't be taken back once side they stay out there. Words in the long run can come back and haunt you either in a good sense or a bad.
I have spent the last two years writing words, words that are useless and mean nothing to nobody. When I look behind me, I see darkness, in front and to either side. There is light at the end but I need to get many more words before I can escape, its an exercises in increasing ones vocab to be able to find the right word at the right time. Discourse is an interesting subject, the type of language one uses in different settings.
That's it.

Friday, 4 January 2008

As promised

I have so many pictures to choose from, so I've just choosen the best...that is the ones I didnt take!! Enjoy Christmas in Spain! Because of the speed of Blogger up-load, I have up-loaded the pictures to flicker. So just follow the link. :)

Thursday, 3 January 2008

New Year old mood

I got back from Spain on the 1st of January. I had a good time, in fact I had a great time. Every time we go its gets harder and harder to come back. I think the highlight of this year are as follows. Seeing all of Monica friends, who over the years have brought me, an out sider into there circle and made me welcome, friends who don't mind if I don't speak any Spanish, people are are just pleased to see me. I can truly say that I have friends like these on both side, but because of the whole Spanish culture it enables people to get closer. We found out that a friend was getting married in 2009, pushing the whole marriage thing on the agenda...getting married...my god do you know how much money I owe right now!!
Going shopping was another highlight, the shops are crazy and it interesting to see how many people buy Heinz baked beans, present buying and putting the tree up, I have some pictures somewhere.
I tried my hand at skiing, and didn't like, yes I managed to stay up-right, most of the time, only fell once and that was when I was going up-hill! I did the splits which Monica found very funny, shortly after that we heard that somebody has broken there back on a black route and at the time I watched an out of control skier clip the wrist of a lady sitting on the ground, the fun went out of it for me. However I did manage to pick up a tan. It rained, but most of the time the sun shone. It was nice to see Valencia again, Spain's third largest city is constantly growing in importance, the science city looked lovely all lit up, the new hospital is coming along nicely, its going to be the biggest hospital in Spain!! The new high speed transport link will make it possible to travel from Valencia to the South in a matter of hours.
When I was out there in summer, the worst peace time accident occurred when a sub-way train came off its rails killing a large number of people from the same suburb. The train came to rest in a station called Jesus, a few days later I stood in that station and joined in the mourning, this winter the accident was far from peoples mind, Valencia is constantly looking forward and buy the increase in road traffic, the average Spaniard has money.
There was a sad moment, as we walked down the street early one morning we passed a down and out sleeping on a park bench, it was early but there was lots of people and traffic about and the man had not woken up, we walked past him three more times that morning and still he had not woken up. How bad would it have been if he had died, a day before the New Year and not one Spaniard had tried to help him. I never did find out if he was alive or dead, but I don't think the average Spaniard cared anyway.
While talking about down-sides, I hate travelling, I hate watching my own kind at air ports, there ability to take over both shocks me and surprises me. It started in the Bristol during boarding when the balding ex-pat announced in a loud voice "Your not getting passed me unless your in boarding group A." A man and his wife with there three children were trying to get passed him after being called forward to board. The same man, upon arrival at Valencia almost knocked Monica over in his rush to leave the bus and get through passport control. Or those people we used to see boarding during the summer months, those that take the opportunity to drink at 6:30am, you know when they get off the plane they will go to there little resort and disappear, returning to the UK with serious sun burn and non the wiser about Spanish culture. Why most the British shit everything up when they go on holiday, the Spanish view us as aggressive lay about, binge drinking, non-t-shirt wearing idiots.
New years eve was interesting, always surprises me how the Spaniard manage to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds on the final count down. I managed 5, a record for me. Mind you I was still chewing half an hour later! Then at one o'clock we sang old land zine, reading the words from a computer screen and we celebrated New Years in the UK. At 3am everybody went out on the streets, some people went onto another party some people went home. We went to bed counting the hour till it was time to ago once again. I was commenting to a friend about the fact that in the late 80's retired couples used to change there house names to 'done-roaming' I might do the same.
The post has turned into book....so I'll post pictures some other time.