Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

History

An aviation classic – the Hawker Hurricane

Thought for the day…”I haven’t failed. I just found 10 000 ways that won’t work” Thomas Edison.

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadow falls behind you”.

Wanaka, New Zealand hosts the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow every two years, and was at one time, also home to a number of Warbirds, such as this Hawker Hurricane.  This particular aircraft had an interesting history, having flown in 1940 and crashed in Preswick, Scotland, then after a rebuild was damaged several more times before being transferred to the Soviet Air Force in 1941.  It crashed again near Murmansk, Russia in 1943 and was recovered around 1990 and partly rebuilt in the UK from 1992 to 1995.  It was fully restored in Wanaka and flew again from Christchurch, NZ in January 2000.    It was later sold to a French owner based in Cannes.   The photo was taken in Wanaka about 2010 prior to the sale to the new owner.

And a photo from Oslo harbour in Norway.   The DFDS ferry travels overnight down to Copenhagen, Denmark.  Unfortunately, journey times have been increased now and prices onboard are very high, making it much less attractive than previously, especially when the highway down through Sweden is a fast alternative.  Why management wanted to slow the trip down is a mystery, as the boat is now much slower and leaves both cities too early to be much use to business travellers or people wanting a full day trip.

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Censorship by Booking.com

Thought for the day…”Chocolate is ground from the beans of happiness.”

“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.”

Free Speech.   Something that is very important, but something that is disappearing fast in Europe.   Political correctness has already gone far to far, but now the online travel agency (OTA)  Booking.com   is also at it.

I recently stayed in some accommodation in Zurich which I booked online via Booking.com         The property was not good (badly run, dirty and with poor facilities) with poor security.   Not only was the property not clean, but it appeared to have many problems, one of which was what appeared to be asylum seekers in the accommodation.   So after my stay, I wrote a TRUTHFUL review to help other people in deciding whether or not to book.    One of the things that I wrote in the review was that the property appeared to house asylum seekers.    I did not make any statements about the rights or wrongs of this, nor did I mention nationalities, skin colour or race.    No references were made to immigration policies or criminality, just a statement that there appeared to be asylum seekers housed in the property.

But Booking.com   refused to publish my review because I had used the words ‘asylum seekers’  which they said could cause offense to some some people.   I would argue that the words described (truthfully) a situation, and were just reporting what I had seen and experienced.   Despite emails to Booking.com   the review did not get published.     So it seems that Booking.com   also want to be politically correct, even if this means distorting the truth.

The result of this….I cancelled a lot of future bookings with Booking.com     and now try to book direct with hotels etc. where this is possible.  I am not going to have Booking.com   tell me what I can and cannot say in a review.   It also makes me think that the other reviews on their website may also have been edited too.    So if you are reading reviews there then be aware that the reviews may have been edited for suitability.    George Orwell’s   1984 is here, just a bit late.   Booking.com    is in the same group as Priceline.com    and Agoda.com

Today’s photo comes from Glendhu Bay on the South Island of New Zealand.    The valley in the photo was until recently one of the homes of the Canadian country-pop singer, Shania Twain.  Nearby is Mt. Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps.

and another photo from the archives….a SRN-4 hovercraft seen here in Boulogne in France.  These hovercraft had a top speed of 154 km/h and crossed the English Channel in as little as 22 minutes.  The record is held by the hovercraft in this photo, the Princess Anne.

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Oslo airport OSL does it again

Thought for the day…”If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.”

“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”

Oslo airport does it again…makes it unpleasant for passengers.   On Saturday I had the misfortune to use Oslo OSL airport again.   Even with their big, new extension, it is still the same unpleasant place as before.    Despite have a big new space, there are still almost no seats for passengers waiting to check in (WHY??) and even though they have put in a big new duty free shop (which they conveniently funnel passengers through whether or not you want to buy), they still have not got it right for passengers.  Why do their departure gates have seats for about 30 people when the aircraft using them take 170 passengers or more?   And can the managers at OSL not count?   Why on Saturday were most of the security check-points CLOSED ?, resulting in a long queue of people trying to get through security.    The managers at OSL must know how many flights are scheduled to depart, yet they seem unable or unwilling to put enough staff on the security checkpoints.  Bad management?   Of course, if you pay money then you can go ‘Fast Track’ through security, but this is merely an admission that the normal waiting times at security are too long.    And whilst the airport managers may be happy to see more and more (expensive) shops at Oslo airport, they still have not put in enough facilities for passengers.   Try finding a water fountain or a working electrical socket.   Try finding something to do whilst you are waiting at OSL.   And the worst thing……we passengers are actually paying a lot of money to use OSL airport.   Because it has a monopoly position then it can take our money without providing good services.   Flying from Oslo is not something to look forward to, especially if you have to wait there.   Perhaps the train from Oslo is the answer…….

A photo of the SR.N4 hovercraft taken in 1997 in Dover, England, from a scanned slide in my collection.   At that time, the SRN4 was the largest hovercraft in the World.  Top speed was 154 km/h and they could cross the English Channel in as little as 22 minutes.  The noise and vibration inside them was unforgettable, and if you crossed the English Channel on a rough day, then the ride inside them was ‘interesting’ !!  But they were a thrilling way to travel over the waves.

and another photo from the archives…by the sea in Cuba.

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Down the alleys of Stockholm

Thought for the day…”It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old”

Am I missing the point?    Went into a local sports shop (part of a large international chain) and could not understand why a sports shop has escalators to go up and down between the different floors.   This is the same chain of sports shops which sells running machines and keep fit equipment, yet they have escalators between floors.  Am I missing the point?

Lovely photo of the alleys in the medieval part of Stockholm, Sweden.  This part of Stockholm (actually an island) is known as ‘Gamla Stan’, or Old Town, and dates from the 13th century.  In the 19th century the area was a slum, but from the 1970s the area was restored.   Fuji X-T10 camera & 18-55mm lens.

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and another photo from the archives….pondering the moment in Ethiopia…..

WORDPRESS ETHIOPIA Bahir Dar Tis Isat girl green dress 4 Oct 2011 (7)

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Pride of the Pacific – No Way

Thought for the day….”If you wish to reach the highest, begin with the lowest”

“If you want something that you have never had, then you have got to do something that you have never done”.

Air New Zealand used to have a slogan “Pride of the Pacific’, and at one time, were a very good airline to fly with.  I had many happy flights on the stopping service from New Zealand via the Pacific Islands to/from the USA on NZ 47 and NZ 48, a service which followed the route of the early flying boats.   Great for island hopping, as the aircraft stopped so many times at places like Fiji, Tahiti and Hawaii.   And it connected nicely with NZ 1 to London as well.   Service was good onboard, it was comfortable and also good value.    Fast forward to the Air New Zealand of today, who are still trying to pretend that they are a quality airline.   Now you find that you must pay for almost everything onboard…the basic fare gives you a seat only to which you must pay extra for checking in a bag, having a ‘meal’ onboard, choosing a seat (NZ10) and even watching a movie (another NZ10 extra).      So the cash registers are ringing all the time…..basic plus $$ plus $$$  plus even more $$$.  And if that was not bad enough, Air New Zealand have also gone for the high density 10 across seating in their 777s.    So not only are you restricted for legroom, but now you are also finding less shoulder room.     So what was once a quality airline has now turned into a budget airline.     The last flight that I had on AirNZ, it took the staff OVER 1 hour 20 minutes to get me a cup of coffee, and then after that I had to ask for a refill as no refill of the small cup was offered.   Pride of the Pacific it might have been, but Pride of the Pacific it is certainly not now.   If AirNZ think that I am going to pay $10 extra to choose my seat and then another $10 to watch a movie on a small screen then they are very mistaken.     Neither do I wish to sit in a 10 abreast seat configuration where I am pushed up against the shoulders of fellow passengers on both sides, especially on an international flight of many hours.     The bottom line is that AirNZ have become a budget airline, with all the negatives that a budget airline comes with.    I hope that next time that they run into financial difficulties, that the New Zealand government does not bail them out as it usually does.    The quality has gone.

Two more photos from the Fuji X-E1 camera…….showing just how good the Fuji glass is….

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and another photo from the archives…city centre in Ascuncion, Paraguay…

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Deep Thinking

Thought for the day…”The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary”

“It’s not that I am smart, just that I stay with problems longer”  (Albert Einstein).

It is sad and also annoying to see how  in New Zealand, that a MINORITY is now trying to take control of more and more.     Many people believe that the Maori people were the original people of New Zealand (not to be confused with Australian aborigines)  but in fact they are not.  It was the Moriori who were the original people in New Zealand, later to be followed by the Maori, who arrived from Polynesia around 1250 or 1300.   The census in NZ shows that about 600 000 people claim to be Maori, or about 15% of the total population of NZ.      So it is extra annoying to see that a MINORITY is trying to claim more and more rights for a land that was not theirs to begin with.     Currently in NZ, they are trying to get many place names changed to their names, despite the fact that they were not the original settlers.    Names such as Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) are being replace by Maori equivalents, and even the names of the two main islands in NZ are now appearing under their Maori names.  They even are even trying to replace the words ‘New Zealand’ with their own names for the country.   But many NZ people are forgetting that the Maori are a MINORITY and that most of them do not use Maori language as their first language.   Politicians are giving in to the minority, and even government departments are being given Maori names to keep the minority happy.    Look on the internet for a telephone number for Picton Department of Conservation (DoC) and you will see that the DoC offices are now listed under their Maori names.    Gradually this MINORITY is trying to claim more and more land for themselves, despite the fact that they were not the original owners of the land.  And the NZ government is giving in to them, costing the taxpayers millions of dollars.   All wrong.

On a happier note, today’s photo comes from the Pacific Island of Niue, where a local is deep in thought…..

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and another photo from the archives…..beautiful Picton in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

WORDPRESS-Picton

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New, looking old – more classic cars

Thought for the day….”  It is better to be looked over than overlooked”   (Mae West).

“If you focus on results, you will never change.  If you focus on change, then you will get results”.

Lucky timing with the camera recently and a case of being in the right place at the right time.    There has been a rally of Ford Model A cars in the Otago region recently, and I just happened to be at the village of Cardrona when the cars were also there.   Over 4.8 million Model A cars were made between 1927 and 1932 , the car being a replacement for the famous Ford Model T.    One version of the car even featured a V8 engine.   Prices ranged from USD 385 up to USD 1400.   Interestingly, it was the first car to feature safety glass in the windshield.

Two of the cars are seen here, outside the famous Cardrona Hotel.  Originally a gold-rush village, it now sits at the base of a ski resort.  A disused (gold) mineshaft can be seen inside the hotel bar.   From here, to the left of the photo, the road climbs up the Crown Range, reaching a height of 1119m, before descending towards the tourist town of Queenstown.       Due to the bad light that day, the photo was converted to black and white, then changed to sepia, to give it a 1930s look.

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and another photo….some of the 20 000 plus runners in the Stockholm marathon…

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NEW NEW NEW     more  photos available on Picfair.com  too !!!   Have a look there as well     NEW   NEW   NEW

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New looking old, historic New Zealand

Thought for the day…” It isn’t premarital sex if you have no intention of getting married.”   (George Burns)

“Dreams are not what you see in your sleep.  Dreams are the things that do not let you sleep”.

Nice photo of the historic Cardrona Hotel, Otago, New Zealand for the photo today.    Cardrona lies about 25km from the town of Wanaka, on the mountain road to Queenstown.    Cardrona was originally a gold rush town which grey up in the 1860s.   The historic hotel in the photo was used in advertisements by the Speights brewery in New Zealand.   Nowadays it is the nearby Cardrona ski area which attracts tourists, although now that the road to Queenstown is sealed all the way, then the route through Cardrona is much busier.  Occasionally you still see people panning for gold in the nearby river.   The photo was taken in colour, then selectively changed to black and white.

LOW-RES-hoteland another photo out of the archives…taken on safari in Kenya…..WORDPRESS-KENYA-Lioness

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Fast and Slow, Albania to China

Thought for the day…” Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving”  (Einstein).

” If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there”.

Around 3.2 million people live in Albania, which borders Greece in the south and Montenegro in the north.  Italy is just 72km away across the sea, yet Albania remains one of the poorest parts of Europe.   One strange difference in Albania is that shaking your head means ‘yes’ whilst nodding your head means ‘no’.  Today’s photo shows the train from the Albanian capital, Tirana arriving at the second largest city of Durres.    At the time the photo was taken, trains ran all the way from the capital, however now the main train has been demolished to make way for new roads !  Even when it was operating all the way, average speeds were extremely poor, with the 38km journey taking around 90 minutes.   Compare that to the world record for a conventional train, held by the French TGV which reached a top speed of 574.8 km/h in April 2007.    Up to July 2011 (when its top speed was limited to save energy) the Chinese CRH2 Harmony train covered the 922km from Wuhan to Guangzhou at an average of 313 km/h.

LOW-RES-Albania-Durresand another photo from the archives….boats in Essiouria, Morocco.  Spot the man on the boats….

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The meaning of life ?

Thought for the day…” Success is when preparation meets opportunity.”

With all the problems in the world (climate change, recession, unemployment, malaria, Syria etc……) it is surprising to read that scientists in the USA in Portland University have been busy working on perfecting a coffee maker that will work in zero gravity (zero G) conditions in space.    I may be missing the point here, but one, are there many people travelling in space? and two, could these same scientists have worked on something more useful??  Hopefully this ‘research’ was not paid for by taxpayers’ money.

Off to the small town of Arrowtown in New Zealand for the photo today.   The town was previously a historic gold mining town once had more than 7000 residents, who were attracted by the lure of gold in the nearby Shotover and Arrow rivers.   The Shotover river turned out to be one of the richest gold-bearing rivers in the world, and it is still possible today to pan for gold in it.  The photo was taken late evening, when the day trippers from the nearby tourist mecca of Queenstown had returned and had left Arrowtown in peace again.    A colour photo was converted to black & white, then to sepia, and the contrast was increased.

wordpress-Arrowtownand a photo from the archives…..carnival time in El Salvador.

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