Birthday Times

The 27th remains a reasonably significant day of the month for my family. In April, the date marks my birthday, in November, my Dad’s, and in May, my Dad’s Dad: Grandpa, or ‘Pa’ as he was known.

Today, Pa would have been ninety nine years old.

After me, my younger brother’s due date as a baby was also the 27th, of January, however he stayed in for some extra days of peace and quiet, emerging on 1st February.

Not content with being born on what had become a special date, the story goes that I began life immediately setting my parents’ nerves on end, the umbilical cord attaching itself, python-like, around my neck during delivery. No sooner had I gulped my first mouthfuls of hospital air, than I was rushed to an emergency ward for “checks”. Continue reading “Birthday Times”


Photo courtesy of
The circular trajectories of consumerism – Photo courtesy of

What keeps you awake at night? Is it the Fear Of Missing Out?

I read three things recently which deftly, and each in their own way, brought the FOMO concept to life for me.

Let’s start with the amusing Guardian piece: – neatly drawing attention to a daft notion we have become subjected to, which is that there are certain things “we MUST do before we die”.

Usually these things come in the form of a handy list, often of 100 items.  There is no end to the categorization which has been used in this vein of commentary – 100 movies we MUST watch, songs we MUST listen to, places we MUST visit. Continue reading “FOMO”

Inca Magic

The view from up top of Waynapichu
The view of Machu Picchu from top of Waynapichu mountain

There’s a catchy song going round at the moment – by Asaf Avidan – containing the refrain: “one day, baby, we’ll grow old, think of all the stories that we could have told.”

Take it or leave it, I’ve always felt there to be immense appeal, and need, now and again, for a carpe diem type of call to action.  Time waits for no man.  You are only young once.  Just Do It.

We live in an era of 24/7 availability and connectivity.  Of twittersphere brevity.  Of mouse click transactions, and downloaded lifestyles.  Today’s children will know very little else, growing up as they will do surrounded by technologies whose sell-by dates will have expired halfway through the journey from their Chinese factory origins, to the shelves from which they will be sold.

Does this excite or exacerbate you?  And what does it matter anyway?

This time last week I climbed Machu Picchu, the world famous Inca heritage site in Peru, and spent a large chunk of my Tuesday soaking up dizzying views of Andean mountains, valleys and indigenous life [I left my own technologies behind for the day, although did take the photo above with a crappy old camera].

My first time to Peru, and the experience was a memorable one.  Cultural nuances, tasty foods and drink, a different pace of life, language, and a wonderful and striking mixture of old and new. Continue reading “Inca Magic”