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Buying decisions….to buy or not to buy, that is the question

Thought for the day…”A goal without a plan is just a wish”

“Success with a negative attitude is called Luck.  Success with a positive attitude is called Achievement”.

To buy, or not to buy.   That is the question.   Having recently upgraded the camera to the newer Fuji X-T10 (great camera, and highly recommended), the finger is now poised over the ‘BUY’ button.  This time it is the new Fuji XF 100-400mm lens.   All the reviews have been great, and the people that have posted their comments praise the lens, so it is undoubtedly a wonderful lens.   I gave the lens a try in the camera shop, and it felt very good, and the extra zoom would be very welcome BUT here is the problem….the lens costs about 3 times as much as the camera did, and with the teleconverter, will cost around 2000 euros.    So the finger is hesitating on the ‘BUY’ button.    Quality always costs more, and the Fuji products are great, but the thought of almost 2000 euros on a lens is difficult to accept.  To buy, or not to buy, that is the question…..

A couple of photos from the north of Norway, taken with the standard 18-55mm Fuji lens on the X-T10.  The first photo is from the small town of Vardo, at the top of Norway.

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and another photo from north Norway…Hammerfest

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Up to the top of Norway – Finnmark

Thought for the day….”You will never win if you never begin”.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose”

Today’s photo is from the fishing village of Vardo, in north Norway at 70 degrees north in the province of Finnmark.   Vardo has three names, one in Norwegian, one in Finnish (Vuoreija ) and one in Sami (Várggát).  Russia is also just a few kilometres across the bay, and the island is now connected to mainland Norway by a 2.8km subsea road tunnel.  Vardo is also the name of the gypsy caravan used by romany gypsies in Britain.  Vardo has a history of witchcraft, including trials of witches and also a witchcraft museum.   Curiously, it also lies further east than either Istanbul or Kiev.  It also hosts the yukigassen, a snowball fighting competition.  The average annual temperature here is only 1.3 degrees, not helped by the long, dark artic winter in this part of Norway.

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and a couple of photos from Oksfjord, near the top of Norway at 70 degrees north.  About 500 people live in this fishing village, although the fish processing factories have all closed.  As there are few roads in this part of Norway then ferries are an important way of getting around, including the daily Hurtigruten boats.  Hammerfest is the nearest major town.

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and another photo from the archives….a beach in the Seychelles islands…..

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Last light of the day – sunset

Thought for the day….”Success is more aptitude than attitude”

“Heaven on Earth is a choice that you must make, not a place that you must find.”

As part of my job, I get to travel a lot, and you tend to notice the differences between countries.  At Singapore Changi (code SIN, and possibly the best airport in the world) recently the drinking fountains were closed for maintenance.  Being Singapore, with its fantastically well run services, the airport managers had thought to provide bottled drinking water at the water fountains so that passengers were not inconvenienced.   Travel further up to Norway, which you would expect would also be a well run country and things are the opposite.   In the Scandic hotel in Bergen, the orange juice machine was out of order, but nobody had thought to provide juice in jugs next to it.  Next hotel (again a Scandic hotel) and the coffee machine was out of order.   Just a handwritten sign on the machine saying that it was out of order.  Again, nobody had thought to provide a thermos of coffee to make up for the failure.   And as part of the ‘improvements’ to standard rooms, they do not now provide tea/coffee facilities in the standard rooms.  Gone also are tissues in the rooms, individual shampoo and conditioner and soaps.

And as if that was not enough, the Scandic hotels in Bergen (not cheap, as nothing in Norway is cheap) have decided that they will not put cutlery, cups or serviettes on the tables.   It is the same as the airlines, customer service is disappearing.   Scandic hotels may be happy to ask high prices in order to stay in their hotels.  The prices rise, but the service levels fall.   There comes a point when you say that enough is enough.   Why pay high prices for less service??     Perhaps they should let Singaporeans run the hotels in Norway??

And to end the day, a photo of the sunset near Alesund on the 18th July 2016….wonderful end to the day..

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and another photo from the archives…..happy boys in Albania

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Norway this morning

Thought for the day…” Life is too important to be taken seriously” (Oscar Wilde)

“Life is like a 10 speed cycle.  Most of us have gears that we do not use”.

Another fantastic summer day in Norway….and one photo taken early this morning.  Taken today near the centre of Bergen.   Time to put on the sun cream again….

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and another photo from the archives..a 737 about to land in Funchal, Madeira…

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Great colours from the Fuji camera

Thought for the day….”Too many people overvalue what they are NOT, and undervalue what they ARE”

“It is not the load that breaks you down, it is the way that you carry it”.

Norway has been enjoying some fantastic summer weather…with unbelievable temperatures, even in the far north.   Not only have there been many long, sunny days, but some days with wonderful clear air too.  Today’s photo comes from Svolvaer, the ‘capital’ of the Lofoten Islands, about half way up the long coast of Norway.   The photo was taken in the main harbour, and shows the traditional cottage that was previously used by fishermen, called a rorbu.  These cabins were traditionally built out over the water, so that boats could moor directly alongside.  Many of these have been converted into holiday homes, although the ones in this photo are actually part of a hotel.   At this time of year, there is 24 hour sunshine in this part of Norway, so even late evening it is possible to get photos like this.  Expect to pay around 200 euros a night for a typical cabin during summer.   Taken with the Fuji X-T10 camera and standard 18-55mm kit lens, with almost no editing of the photo.   Once again, great colours from Fuji.

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and another photo from the archives…some great colours in Mindelo, Cape Verde islands….

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More depressing news from New Zealand

Thought for the day…”If things do not go right, go left”

“Success – keeping your mind awake and your desire asleep”

More depressing news from New Zealand….even more flights and even bigger aircraft.   As well as increased numbers of flights from the USA and also from China, Emirates airline has announced that it is putting a 4th Airbus A380 on the route to Auckland.    This will mean that there will be 4 A380s at Auckland at the same time in addition to another A380 from Singapore Airlines.  Whilst the tourist board in NZ may be congratulating themselves on record numbers of visitors, the country just cannot cope with ever-increasing numbers.   The country has a population of just over 4.6 million people, but now receives over 3.3 million tourists, many of whom want to see the same few places.   The last 2 summers have seen accommodation fully booked, and tourists having to sleep in cars due to the lack of accommodation.  Buses and flights have been fully booked, and it has even become necessary to reserve some mountain huts ahead.    Queenstown (known as the adventure capital of the world), with a population of around 22 000 people, is now receiving over 2 MILLION tourists a year.  You can imagine what the town centre is like there in high summer.   But the tourist board keeps encouraging more and more flights, thinking that more and more tourists are good for the economy.  Yet the very nature and beauty that these tourists are attracted to is fast becoming destroyed (there have been attempts to build a monorail in one of the national parks already).

Some of the popular walking tracks (such as the Abel Tasman coastal track and the Tongariro Crossing) are now so crowded that they are considering giving people starting times for the walks, in an attempt to spread the crowds out.    Clean and green New Zealand it once was.  Now it is crowded and busy NZ.   So the news that the airlines are putting on even more flights to cope with this demand is hardly surprising, yet nobody in government has had the courage to stand up and say that there is a limit to how many tourists that NZ can accept.   It seems that every month that a new record for tourist arrivals is being reached (China is the big growth area for incoming tourists), with no sign of it easing up.    So when those millions of tourists do finally arrive in NZ, then the fun and games trying to find accommodation, rental cars and domestic flights begins.    Those politicians who think that unlimited numbers of tourists are good for the NZ economy should take a trip (assuming that they can get a seat on a flight or bus) to Queenstown or Milford Sound in summer and see just what sort of effect the millions of tourists are having.    Start queueing now !!!

Early morning in Geilo, Norway for the photo today….great colours from the Fuji camera together with clear air helped make this such a good photo.  The early morning mist had almost burnt off when the photo was taken.

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and another photo from the archives…two tourists admire Lake Wanaka, Pembroke Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand. Two tourists managed to creep into this photo even !!

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Queen of the Skies – the Boeing 747 400

Thought for the day….”Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

A photo that is history now….a Singapore Airlines 747-400 taking off from Zurich airport in Switzerland.  Known as the Queen of the Skies, almost 400 tons lifting off for the 11 hour flight to Singapore.    Zurich (code ZRH) is a great place to take aircraft photos, as the authorities there actually encourage people to take photos, and even organize special photo tours.    Great that the managers there have seen the value of photographers, and make it easy to take photos, rather than trying to prevent it like so many airports do today.  Not only that, but Zurich is actually a good airport to fly into or transit, run with the usual Swiss efficiency.     The photo below was taken during one of the organized photo tours, although even from the normal viewing decks, it is easy to get some great photos.

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and some faces from the harbour market in Helsinki, Finland……

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Unbelievable Norway – summer comes early to the north

Thought for the day…”If you obey all the rules, you miss all of the fun”  (Katharine Hepburn)

North Norway has been enjoying some unusually warm temperatures recently, not to mention some fantastic summer weather.    Temperatures in the far north of Norway have reached over 18 degrees in April (plus degrees that is), along with clear blue skies, windless days and warm sunshine.    At times it has been hard to believe that it is Norway, especially when the sea has been incredibly clear and such a wonderful blue colour.  If this is all due to global warming, then I vote for more of it !!!  The first photo is of the Hurtigruten ship “Kong Harald” in Alesund harbour.

Every day of the year, one of the Hurtigruten ships leaves from Bergen to sail all the way up to the coast of Norway to Kirkenes, just a few kilometres from the Russian border.     Officially, the radar domes in the second photo from Vardo, are part of the European Space Junk monitoring programe, however, a few years ago the covers blew off the radar domes, and a Norwegian newspaper revealed that the radars were not pointing upwards towards space, but were actually pointing across the bay towards Russia.   No doubt there are also radars on the Russian side of the bay pointing towards Norway !!!   Curiously, Vardo, in the second photo, actually lies further east than Istanbul or Kiev, even though it is Norway.

All photos were taken with the Fuji X-T10 camera, which is proving to be a joy to use, and with the 18-55mm standard kit lens (also a joy to use).

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Where are the ‘experts’????

Thought for the day…”Don’t live the same year 90 times and call it a life”

“When life gives you a rainy day, play in the puddles”.

Computers have been around for a long time now, since the last century indeed.  Some of us grew up with them, starting with the famous Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the says of loading programs with tapes.   But despite computers having been around for decades, they still do not work as they should.  Why is it that there are still so many problems with things that by now should be simple, like logging into wifi??    Why do computers seem to have endless problems and need endless updates?   And where are the ‘experts’??   Surely by now they could have sorted out all the teething problems and have produced computers that do work without needing constant attention.     I would love to sit next to Bill Gates on a long flight and pass him my laptop and ask him to make it work properly.    It seems that the so-called ‘experts’ are not so expert.  How often have you heard the advice to restart the computer (ie. pull the plug out)??    And why have these ‘experts’ not managed to sort out the problems after all these years.  I just want a computer that works as it should and does not need constant attention.   Is that too much to ask???

Off to Norway for the photo today…and to the harbour port of Kristiansund, seen here on a beautiful summer’s day.

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and another photo from the archives…..fishermen returning home in Croatia….

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Some red faces somewhere…..a big error.

Thought for the day….”What the mind can concieve, it can achieve”

“You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind”

No doubt that there were some red faces at the Nabors Demolition company in Texas, USA.   They recently demolished the WRONG house, and have blamed Google maps for the error.   The house that they demolished was one block from the house that they should have knocked down.   Needless to say, the owners of the now-demolished house were none too happy, although the Nabors Demolition company  described it as ‘no big deal’.    The demolition company’s motto is ” We Could Wreck The World” certainly had a good try.   Apparently, Google maps has now amended the map to show the correct location of the house that should have been knocked down.   Some red faces somwhere??

People photos are always fascinating, so here is another one…fisherman in the park…Fuji X-E1 camera together with the Fuji 55-230mm lens.

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and another photo from the archives…Kandersteg in Switzerland….

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218 Million British Pounds gone on a new folly.

Thought for the day…”It always seems impossible until it is done”   (Nelson Mandela).

” Life is like photography.  You use negatives to develop”

One definition of a ‘folly’ is a building that is built mainly for decoration, but in a style to imitate something else (such as a castle or tower), and at such expense to have shown folly for the builder.     So when I read news about the new airport that has been built on St. Helena island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, then the word ‘folly’ springs to mind.    The news often features stories about the much-delayed new Berlin airport, which seems to be continually delayed and plagued by one problem after another, but the new St Helena airport is equally worthy.

This new airport (soon to receive its first commercial flight) has been built at a staggering cost, reportedly 218 MILLION British Pounds.    The fancy airport comes complete with control tower, restaurant, departure lounges and full security facilities, and a fire station complete with 3 expensive fire-engines.  Not bad at all, except for the fact that St Helena only has a population of about 4255 people.   Not only that, but the island only has 2 small hotels, which will be completely unable to cope with the numbers of tourists expected on the weekly flight to the island.     So the British government has spent 218 million British Pounds on an airport which will have almost no flights, an airport which will serve a population of about 4255 people and an airport which will overload the 2 hotels on the island.  So it is not only Berlin that gets it wrong with its airport.     Folly?    I think so.

Another great photo from the Fuji X-E1 camera…taken with the 55-230mm lens at the maximum 230mm….

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and another photo from the archives….autmn colours at Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

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Why I am glad that I am not 16 years old again

Thought for the day…”Always remember to take your vitamins.   Take Vitamin A for ACTION, take vitamin B for BELIEF, take vitamin C for CONFIDENCE, take vitamin D for DISCIPLINE, and take vitamin E for ENTHUSIASM”

Just had another birthday, and once again, I thought how glad that I am NOT 16 years old again.    Recently I went to a Countdown supermarket and was forced to use the self-service checkouts (normally I avoid them) as there were no staff working the ‘manned’ check-outs.    Whilst self-service check-outs might be profitable for the supermarket shareholders, the problem is that they are doing many people out of jobs.  The same thing has happened at airports (= less check-in staff working on the desks) and hotels which increasingly have automatic check in (= less receptionists).   Cruise ships are introducing robotic barmen capable of mixing and serving drinks (= less bar staff), petrol stations are increasingly becoming automatic (=less cashiers).  The list goes on, meaning less and less jobs.   All very good for shareholders, but not so good for the school leavers who are looking for jobs.    Often in supermarkets they try and steer me towards the self-service checkouts, but I try and choose a manned check-out.   One day, the trend might go the other way, when somebody realizes that the PERSONAL touch means so much.  Keep people employed !!

Great, punchy colours from the Fuji camera for the photo today….a colourful market scene……

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and another photo from the archives…a cruise ship visits Dubronik, Croatia….

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Classics of aviation – Mandeville, New Zealand

Thought for the day…”You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them”.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time”.

Driving down to the south part of the South Island of New Zealand, you might come across some traces of the past.   Down at a small settlement called Mandeville, there is a small airfield, home of the Croydon Aviation Trust.  Here they restore old aircraft, and also train pilots to fly them.    The old hangars are still there, and inside them you will see aircraft being restored using traditional methods, such as carpentry and dope on fabric.  Mandeville was originally a wet area (=alcohol allowed), whereas nearby Gore Town was a dry area (=no alcohol allowed), which might be the reason that the airstrip prospered.     Enough aircraft and flying machines in the hangars to make a stop worthwhile if you are in the area.   Another nice feature is that you can actually go for pleasure flights in the aircraft, including the open cockpit Tiger Moth or the DH89 Rapide.   A trip down back to the past !!

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Sunrise in New Zealand

Thought for the day……” You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you need”

“You never fail until you stop trying”

Three photos from the same spot showing the sunrise in Riverton, South Island of New Zealand. Riverton lies at 46 degrees south, and has a population of about 1431 people, although this has been decreasing and the number of empty houses increasing.   Originally a whaling town, it later changed to a logging town, helped by the arrival of the railway.   Surfers often visit the town due to the surfing at nearby Colac Bay.   Riverton is on almost the same latitude as Punta Arenas in Chile.   Just after taking the third photo, it was time to put the camera away and head back for the first coffee of the day, always the best one !

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Early morning trip to Milford Sound

Thought for the day…”He who angers you, conquers you”.

“We all have the ability.  The difference is how we use it”.

I have just had another flight (unfortunately) with Air New Zealand.    I say unfortunately because what was once a quality airline has turned into a money-grabbing budget airline which pretends to be a quality airline.     Do AirNZ really think that I am going to pay NZD 10 to choose my seat, when they have to give me a seat anyway?   Do AirNZ really think that I am going to PAY NZD10 to watch a movie onboard??   Whilst they might have put a credit card slot in the seatback for me to pay, it is going to remain unused.      And having tasted the food offering (laughing called ‘The Works” on the outward journey, then I am sure that I will not be paying for the small portion of food that was offered.   I moved on from eating child portions a long time ago but apparently AirNZ thinks that I still do eat child portions, even when I paid for an ADULT portion.   And a wait of over 1 hour and 20 minutes to get even a cup of coffee is not going to make me happy either, especially as it was the usual airline sized 1/2 cup.

But the saddest part is to think back to how AirNZ used to be.  Once they WERE good, and once it was a pleasure to fly with them.     Times change.

Milford Sound is one of the most popular fjords that tourists visit in New Zealand.     Here is an early morning photo from the road which leads into Milford Sound.  Unusually, the weather is great in the photo.   Milford Sound is infamous for getting over 7 metres of rain a year…..so days like this are rare.    This photo is taken just before the entrance to the famous Homer Tunnel, which leads down to Milford Sound.

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And another photo from the archives….Haglebu, Norway

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More cutbacks at the airlines…Lufthansa squeezes more people in

Thought for the day…” A dame that knows the ropes isn’t  likely to get tied up”   (Mae West)

” I generally avoid temptation, unless I can’t resist it”.  (Mae West).

Back on one of my favourite topics…airlines.    I have now seen the seatmaps for the new Airbus A320 NEOs that Lufthansa will be introducing.  Not only are they squeezing in even more seats (12 more seats as compared to the A320s that they currently operate), but passengers in economy class will end up with LESS leg room than on Ryanair (the new Ryanair 737s will give 76cm of space whereas Lufthansa will be offering only 71cm).   Not only that, but those passengers sitting in the rear of the aircraft will be looking at a blank wall, as the rear area (previously the toilet area) does not have windows.  But wait, there is more….the 2 rear toilets that are left are also being reduced in size (said to be the equivalent of a Greyhound bus toilet for size) and the galley is being reduced in size to a small corner unit.   So more passengers but less food options, more passengers but smaller toilets, more passengers and less leg room.    Is this progress?    And Ryanair, once seen as the king of cutbacks and no-frills, is actually going to offer passengers MORE space than Lufthansa.

So that begs the question…why pay extra to fly with Lufthansa??  If you are going to pay more but get LESS legroom, and if Lufthansa are now charging you to choose your seat in advance, then why bother to fly with them??  Do you remember those adverts showing Airbus aircraft with SPACIOUS interiors?    Forget that now…economy class on Lufthansa is going to be a squeeze…just 71cm.    You pay your money and you take your choice, as they say.

Early morning sunshine in the small town of Picton, South Island New Zealand for the photo today…quiet before the arrival of the ferry from the North Island.

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and another photo from the archives…thinking time in Cuba…..

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A Good News story

Thought for the day….”The telephone book is full of facts but it does not contain a single idea”

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for”

With all the bad news stories around at the moment, it is heartwarming to read a happy story.  The New Zealand newspapers recently featured a story about a cat in Auckland (which, incidentally,  is not the capital of New Zealand, merely the largest city).    The government electoral commission had sent a letter to this cat inviting it to enrol ready for the forthcoming elections.   Somehow it had not been noticed by the government department that this person was actually a cat.   But even better, the name of cat was ‘Chairman Meow’.   Wonderful name for a cat!!.

A photo from capital of Slovenia, Ljublana for the photo today….

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and another photo from the archives…a crowded ferry on Lake Malawi, Africa…..

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Addiction

Thought for the day….” Shadows cannot see themselves in the mirror of the sun”

“There are many ways of going forward but only one way of standing still”.

Addiction is the ‘persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance’.   I recently observed a group of foreign tourists come into a popular local cafe.   The father sat at a table and immediately whipped out his mobile phone, and asked his wife to find out the password for the internet.   Then once they had got the password (and some coffee), they spent the entire time heads down engrossed in their mobile phones.   No awareness of where there were or what was going on, apart from their mobile phones, which were the centre of their attention.    No conversation between them or their children, just the mobile phones.     There is even a medical term now for this, internet addiction disorder, also known as problematic internet use (PIU).  One of the factors not helping this is the fact that we are rarely out of contact now, with internet access almost everywhere.     Even when we go on holiday and sit on a beach or climb a mountain, we often still have internet coverage.  We are never really out of touch.  Traditionally, holidays were times when you DID leave the everyday behind.   Holidays were times when you were AWAY and where you were uncontactable.    But for many people now, just a few minutes out of contact can cause panic symptons.     And it is sad to see people sitting in cafes and restaurants concentrating on their mobile phones, not on those who are with them.    Technological advance or a backward step  ???

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And another photo from the archives…the Stockholm marathon….

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Frequent Flyer schemes – waste of time ?

Thought for the day..” Life is like photography.  You use the negatives to develop”

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time”

Are airline frequent flyer schemes a waste of time now?   Perhaps.   I have just flown from Frankfurt, Germany to Auckland, New Zealand, a distance of some 18 162 km.   Most companies see the value in recognizing regular customers and in looking after them, as they are an important source of profit.    But now it seems that frequent flyers are losing their attraction.    Rather annoying that for the flight from Germany to New Zealand, that I will not get a single air point.    I then go on to read that for my domestic flights in New Zealand, I will also not get ANY air points.   Two additional trips to the Pacific Islands, again not a single air mile for the return trips.    So for 12 or more of my flights, I will not get a single air point.   Not one.   And to make matters worse, when I do actually get some air points, the airline is now often only giving me 25% of the air miles, because I am flying on cheap tickets.     And when I come to try and use my air miles, they are asking for even higher amounts of miles than previously, and then are asking me to pay the taxes and charges on top.     So it begs the question, are the airline frequent flyer schemes now a waste of time.??

Fishing nets in New Zealand for the photo today……

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and another photo from the archives…..about to arrive in Funchal, Madeira.

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Changing names in New Zealand

Thought for the day….”For every dark night, there is a brighter day”

“Arriving at one goal is the starting point for another”.

Next time you look at a map of New Zealand, you might notice some changes.   And not changes for the better either.   The politicians in New Zealand are giving in to the Maori people and are changing more and more names from their English names to alternative Maori names.  There are even new names for the country itself (I refuse to mention the new name for NZ) and for the two main islands, which up to now have been known as North Island and South Island.   But the politicians either do not have the guts to resist or the will to resist the increasing demands of the Maori people.     Changing the names of places is just another sign of how this group of people are gradually taking over New Zealand.    What the politicians are ignoring is the fact that New Zealand does not belong to maori people, as they were not the original people of the country.     Not only that, but under the treaty of Waitangi, they even signed agreements over land ownership.   So now, after all these years, they cannot claim that it is ‘their’ land and there can be little legal right for them to insist that names of places in New Zealand are changed to their names.

But the politicians have just given in.

So tourists when the visit New Zealand will start seeing more and more Maori names, and will probably believe that NZ actually belongs to the maori people.  Quite how a MINORITY group of people has got this to happen is strange.   English, not maori, is the language of the majority of people in New Zealand.    Places such as Mount Cook (the highest mountain in New Zealand) should keep its English name.    But the politicians have other ideas.

A peaceful summer scene for the photo today…another triumph for the Fuji X-E1 camera.    Taken as a jpeg photo and cropped to produce this pleasing image.

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and another photo from the archives….a backpacker talks to a local boy in Nepal…..

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If you are feeling hungry…fast food….

Thought for the day….”You cannot live a positive life with a negative mind”

“Success is a ladder that you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets”

If you are feeling overfed after the Christmas indulgence, then spare a thought for Nela Zisser (New Zealand).  This woman has undertaken the challenge of eating to excess and is posting on YouTube.  Her latest attempt failed.   She was attempting to eat 100 MacDonald burgers in a row.  Not surprisingly, the attempt fails, and she ‘only’ managed to eat 45 burgers.  Apparently, after eating 45 of them, she said that the taste got to her.     The record is held by a Japanese, Yuka Kinoshita, who managed to eat 62 burgers at one sitting.   Also in the news this week is that the world’s heaviest man, Andres Sepulveda (Mexico) had died at the age of 38.  His weight had been as high as 450kg.  What will your New Year’s Resolution be????

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and another photo from the archives…fireworks over the Norwegian city of Bergen…..

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Political correctness – something is wrong here.

Thought for the day…”Why does a round pizza come in a square box?”

“If electricity comes from electrons, then does morality come from morons”

If you have visited Sweden recently then you will have seen the large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in the cities and in the train and bus stations.    Whilst normal tourists need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter, it appears now that the borders to Europe are open to all, and without limit.     Swedish Television has now issued instructions to it’s staff that they are not to use the words ‘immigrant’, ‘black skinned’, ‘dark’ or ‘African origin’  for fear of  insulting people.   The use of words such as ‘white skinned’ is still allowed though.   Is that fair?  Is it not discrimination??  Even  worse is that anyone accused of racism by an immigrant is not going to be allowed time on TV or radio to defend themselves.  And whilst people in Sweden have had to put their names on waiting lists for sometimes several years in order to get public housing, asylum seekers are being put into housing quickly.  Across the border in Norway, asylum seekers are housed in hotels (at public expense) and are given a daily living allowance, whilst Norwegian people have to pay to stay in hotels and are taxed on the priviledge.    Is that fair?

The photo today comes from the lakeside town of Pembroke Wanaka, on the South Island of New Zealand.  A typical morning view of the lake from near the town centre.

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and another photo from the archives….window cleaning in Ljublana, Slovenia

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Making the same mistake again (and again)

Thought for the day…” We cannot control the wind  but we can direct the sail”.

” If you want a happy ending, that depends of course, on where you stop the story”  (Orson Welles)

I should have learned my lesson before.   Having suffered the fiasco of Windows Vista, I ‘upgraded’ to Windows 8, only to be caught again by all the bugs and problems of that system.   So you would think that an intelligent person would learn.  Once bitten, twice shy, as the saying goes.   But no, along comes an offer from Microsoft to ‘upgrade’ free to Windows 10, and I again fall into the same trap.  Not only are there serious privacy concerns about the new operating system, but Microsoft seems to want to take control of YOUR computer and decide for you how things will run and which programs will run.   Perhaps worst of all is that there is a clause in the user agreement which allows Microsoft to monitor in real time your activity and also which keys you are using (a keylogger).   Even if you want to you YOUR choice of music player, the Microsoft own music player (called Groove) tries to take over instead.    And Microsoft even made deleting its Groove player difficult, needing a user to go to a command line prompt just to delete a program.   The more that you read about the loss of privacy with Windows 10, then the worse it becomes.  Somehow I just cannot accept that they would be watching every key that I press on MY computer, every webpage that I look at, and every program/game/application that I use, all in real time.

So Windows 10 had to go, and gone it has.    I regretted installing W10, hopefully this time I will learn my lesson.   Experiments with the LINUX operating system have been far happier.  It is a much simpler system, it works as it should, and its privacy policy is far better.    Windows 10 be gone !

Lakefront in the South Island, New Zealand town of Pembroke Wanaka for the photo today…..

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and another photo from the archives…the Challenge Wanaka triathlon competition, held each year in Pembroke Wanaka, New Zealand.

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Festive Times are here again

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

“Value is more expensive than price”

It is that time of year again.  It used to be called Christmas but now to keep everybody happy, they are referring to it as the ‘festive season’.    One ultra extreme local council in the UK decided a few years ago to refrain from using the word ‘Christmas’, resulting in Christmas trees being renamed as ‘horticultural elements of a festive nature”.  Political correctness !!!   I was about to buy some Christmas cards when I saw that even those are now being made in China, more jobs going overseas with no doubt, untold damage done to the Chinese environment where they make them.     Did you know that in the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ that if you add up all the gifts in the song then they total 364 gifts !!

Today’s photo is from rural Malaysian island….children playing.

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and another photo from the archives….having a hard day in Tallinn, Estonia…..

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