Monday, 11 May 2020

2020: the year of the Rat

We live in surreal times. We started the year with Australia being on fire, then Donald almost initiated a nuclear war with Iran, prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down from their royal duties and then to top it all off the Chinese started what many believed to be the Zombie apocalypse. 

In the Chinese calendar 2020 is the year of the rat and because it is the first in the rotation of the 12 zodiac signs it also represents a year of renewal and strong vitality... 
Now, I'm not Chinese or a horoscope expert but that's either deadly accurate or they're just taking the piss. 

I'd like to believe this is our host, Planet Earth, fighting back and trying to regain some precious ground in its daily fight against the despicable destruction of its flora and fauna.

And so now humankind is in an unprecedented fight for survival. Almost all our daily differences have been put aside for this one battle against a common, invisible enemy. An enemy that does not distinguish between race, age or gender. Even here in the UK, a country so divided and tribal for the past 5 years the nation is coming together to support one another in a way only seen during wartime. 

We've seen a WW2 veteran walk circles in his garden to raise more than £32 Million. We're finally meeting our 'new' neighbours by chatting while clapping. Social media has finally found its true calling. Not to share and re-share that one in a million photo of you in a bikini on the beach in the south of France where you don't look fat and ugly but actually rather sexy, but instead to educate our children, speak to our loved ones and share missed birthday moments and special occasions.

Apart from the obviously horrible and sad side of the current state of world affairs, the funny thing about this whole COVID-19 self isolation is that although the entire world is complaining about it and pretending they want it all to be over as soon as possible (so they can go back to work, woohoo!), they're actually really enjoying it and want it to continue until Christmas. Imagine the New Years Eve party if everyone was allowed to mingle again for the first time on December 31st.

I personally have been keeping myself rather busy these last few weeks. I've taken up acrylic painting.

A really shit skyline

I've started baking...

Easter bunny decapitation cake

I've done some more painting...

A really shit sunset
 I've built a ladder...

I've done some more painting...

A really shit farm

...and I've even tried my hand at some more practical yet still creative pursuits that I hope will pay off soon.

Many years from now we will look back at these days with bittersweet emotions. With an overriding sadness at the loss of so many lives and loved ones, for many of us it will be remembered as a unique and once in a lifetime experience where we got to spend precious time with our children, wives, husbands and other family members. A time like this we will most likely never see again. 

Friday, 24 May 2019

If you want to change the world...

...start by making your bed in the morning.

With the climate change movement gaining momentum over the past year I thought it poignant to include one of the most moving life motivational speeches I've ever heard.


If you want to change the world start with the little things. I definitely believe that is something that translates to the fight for our planet. If everybody contributes, the munchkin crew can change the tide for the better. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Podcasts are brilliant!

I have a new addiction.

Podcasts. In particular True Crime Podcasts! I think I have just about heard every single detail about every single unsolved murder case in Atlanta, Georgia. Why Atlanta, Georgia by the way? What's so special with Atlanta, Georgia? It seems that if you live in Atlanta, Georgia, you are either somehow involved in an active, unsolved crime or you are making a podcast about one. Either that or the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) are really shit at their jobs.

Image result for podcast

In the last month and a half or so I've just about listened to every true crime podcast out there.

Starting with Serial I worked my way through all 5 series of Someone Knows Something, The excellent Up and Vanished as well as single series podcasts such as Teachers Pet and Murderville.

Then I moved onto Missing and Murdered, Broken Hearts, Atlanta Monster and Monster: The Zodiac. After devouring those I skipped through Hell and Gone, Cold, The Dropout (not so much True Crime), Unravel, A Murder On Orchard Street, A Killing On The Cape, To Live and Die in LA, Over My Dead Body, The Wonderland Murders, The Hurricane Tapes, Case Closed, Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder, Phoebe's Fall and finally The Lady Vanishes.

What's wrong with me?! Should I be worried that podcasts are quickly becoming my best friends? Should I see someone about this or go to some sort of podcast rehabilitation centre?

In all seriousness however, podcasts are brilliant though aren't they? Perfect for commuting purposes. They are like little audio gems that allow you to deep dive into a topic and really immerse yourself, in my case in old, cold, crime cases.

In many of the above crime cases the podcasts actually re-engages the general public with the case and often causes new insight or uncovers new details about the case. To be fair this rarely leads to any actual breakthroughs or convictions but it definitely keeps the interest up in the cases.

I am currently listening to Maddie, a podcast about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, 12 years ago. In my opinion a very good podcast. It looks at all aspects of the decade old mystery. Since the start of the podcast we have heard about a new prime suspect that Operation Grange has uncovered. A suspect that the Portuguese PJ Chief Inspector Gonçalo Amaral had predicted would be made the scapegoat for the 20 million pound UK inquiry that has uncovered nothing of significance. Anyway, all very juicy as you can imagine! Get listening I say.

I have also been listening to a podcast called Coffee Break French. A podcast helping you improve your French although it's making me a little annoying, not want to speak English and hunkering to smoke so enough about that!

What all this podcasting has made me realise however, is that maybe I should start my own podcast...

How about "Adventures of a Dutch Nomad"?!!

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Frans Lanting - a Dutch Diamond

Frans Lanting is a national gem. A wildlife photographer respected all around the world he has produced some of the most astounding visual imagery ever seen. From the wildlife of Africa to the impenetrable jungles of South America he's seen it all and photographed more.

Thomas Kennedy, former Director of Photography at National Geographic sums up Frans eloquently, “He has the mind of a scientist, the heart of a hunter, and the eyes of a poet.”

A National Geographic stalwart, Frans has travelled the world documenting the natural world in action. His renowned LIFE: A Journey Through Time stands the test of time and brought him numerous accolades.

What really resonates with me is his ability to use his photography to draw in support and attention for conservation projects not just on a local but also on a global scale.

Frans Lanting's adventures and carreer mission is very close to what I as a young adult envisioned my dream job to be. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it happen but I guess you never know. Never stop dreaming!