Tag Archives: sydney

Time to stop, perhaps?

What is this life if, full of care,Blue mountains

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.


William Henry Davies


Phil: Standing and staring. That’s something I’m not very good at.

Last week, I took a trip to the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. This was a strong recommendation from Candice and working on the basis that you should always listen to friend’s suggestions, I took it up.

As promised, the scenery is simply stunning. From the right vantage point you see the mountains recede in to the distance for many miles. The blue colour is a haze from the droplets from the eucalyptus trees that blanket the hillsides and visitors can stroll on a boardwalk down in the rainforest to take a closer look.

Needless to say I took some pictures. Quite a lot in fact. The trouble is that the vista is just too big. No camera can do justice to it. Not that this stops anyone trying. All sorts of devices were being waved around, from SLR’s to iPads.

Now don’t get me wrong. Taking photos is great. You can share them with friends and family, make a scrapbook to remind you of a trip and even frame the best for your wall. At some point though, it’s important to stop watching the world through the camera lens and see it for real. The scene is there and isn’t improved by processing through someone’s tablet computer.

I’m getting better at this. A little voice in my head has told me several times recently to put the camera down and just drink in the view. Commit it to the memory of the mind and not just the memory of the SD card.

Sometimes, we just need to stand and stare.


Filed under Phil, Writing

Travel broadens the mind, but is mine wide enough?

suitcase pilePhil: If there is one major difference between Candice and I, apart from the obvious one, it’s our attitude to holidays.

When we first met, she had just returned from a break in Australia. Since then there have been regular vacations. Usually by the time one is underway, the next has been booked. Every few months, friends are treated to more pictures from an exotic location via Facebook.

I, on the other hand, like the concept of a holiday as long as I don’t actually have to go on it. Travelling is something I’d like to have done, but not actually do. If you’ve seen the film “Total Recall” or read the original story “We can remember it for you wholesale” where an industry has grown up selling memories, you’ve probably got an idea how I’d like to operate. All the pleasant bits from a trip without all the hassle and inconvenience would make me happy. Looking at the Nolan photos, I envy trips to Cape Canaveral, but not enough to load myself on a plane and go.

Part of this is that I don’t like flying. Sitting in a tube an unfeasibly long way above the ground makes me nervous. I know planes (generally) don’t crash. I even have a pretty good idea why they stay in the air but it still all seems wrong to me.

More of a problem is that it’s so inconvenient. When employed in proper jobs, I have been actively encouraged by some bosses not to take time off. One would delight in suddenly producing something “that must be done” late in the afternoon on my last day. Alternatively I’ve found meeting booked into electronic diaries even when mine clearly states I’m not around. Meetings important enough that if I wasn’t going away, I felt I ought to come in for them.

There are a couple of years in my past when I didn’t take a single day of my annual leave entitlement. (Before you get the violins out, I was on flexi-time in both jobs and so earned odd days off, so I had time off but no longer than a long weekend). Looking back, I received no thanks for this and never expected any. It was just the way things were.

Even since joining the world of freelancers and contractors, my last proper trip away was in 2008 – that shocked me when I looked it up on the blog I set up in a fit of enthusiasm for a lifestyle change involving more getting away from it all. OK, there have been loads of days out and even a few nights away but nothing you can properly call a holiday.

Why do I mention this?

Well, next week I’m away for a few days on Isle of Man. Then later in the year I’ve been invited to speak at a conference in Australia. You can’t spend that much time travelling for a weekend so I’ve booked a proper trip involving Adelaide, Sydney and a couple of visits to Hong Kong. Comitting myself to that was a bit scary if I’m honest. So I couldn’t bottle it, I told lots of people I was going. Needless to say, several, including Candice, have given me excellent advice and a list of places I should visit when I’m there.

I think I’m looking forward to it but already I can see work piling up and a voice in my head is telling me that it would be a lot more convenient not to go…


Filed under Phil