Wednesday night is Taco Night at the St Helena Yacht Club, probably the busiest single social gathering I have yet attended on the island, and in full swing behind me as I took this picture. But the outlook is west, across James Bay: the next land in that direction is Brazil.
At the point in time that this photo was taken, I should have been somewhere over the Congo, maybe Zambia. This, however, is definitely not the interior of Africa. Having got up at 4am, by 6am I and a few dozen other people were sitting on a plane at Manchester Airport waiting to depart, only then the powers-that-be decided that due to a few snowflakes falling, nothing could move. Time passed, and by 9am we were all back in Terminal 2, the MAN – AMS leg of my journey wiped from existence. (Other excessive flight delays to have featured on here: Bergen, Nov. 2012; Keflavik, Jul.2019 [still the epitome].)
I finally left the ground about two and a half hours after capturing this shot. I will still make my final destination, and already know that a completely unexpected new country is going to make the blog tomorrow, perhaps that can be seen as a minor compensation. At least I won’t be seeing any more snow for a couple of weeks, that’s guaranteed.
Radiohead had a track on the Hail to the Thief album that basically screamed, ‘The raindrops!’ for a few minutes. I know the feeling. Train strikes don’t help either: there was no reason nor encouragement to leave the house today.
Taken at the same time as yesterday’s shot — and only five minutes after Monday’s. This is as near as I have ever got in 11 years to three consecutive shots at the same time of day. I swear I don’t do these things deliberately, even in the most boring periods.
Had things turned out differently I might have been in the Balkans today, but even though they did not, I am not bothered by this — which would not have been the case ten years ago. I guess I am more attuned to the enjoyment that can be had from the local area these days. Yes, even Rochdale railway station — like the rest of the region, bathed in cold but magnificent weather.
A day to reacquaint myself with people, who, generally, have not been seen on here for the last few days. Not that there will be many visits to Manchester coming up; I’m trying to minimise the need for them. And. by the way — Japan, brilliant stuff guys.
The flight home. The Sahara looked astonishing: this was a day when I wish I could break my own rules and post more than one photo. The River Niger certainly was worth seeing, a braid of blue and green running through a sandy wasteland. We must have crossed that somewhere in Mali.
But instead I will go with this shot; for much of the three hours it took to cross the desert I was thinking, hmmm, well it’s certainly barren, but more rocky than sandy. But then came this sea, this ocean of dunes, tinged by the setting sun. This must be far enough north to be somewhere in Algeria. Not that national boundaries really mean a lot here. If anything this is Arrakis. Had a gigantic sandworm crested out of this stuff with Fremen on its back, I would not have been surprised.
I reckon there are five or six decent shots available that between them will encompass the view from my place of quarantine. This is the left-hand-most of them all, if you see what I mean. We are here looking west; while not very apparent on this shot, on the top of the hill is an old fort, dating from the 18th century. To the right (north), a spectacular view over Jamestown to the ocean, but you can see that another day.
While I do resent having to spend time in quarantine, particularly as I was tested not only before I flew, but at the airport, and came up (inevitably) negative both times — I accept there are worse places to do time.
This one was a matter of looking out of the window at just the right time, and having clouds at just the right layers of opacity. It’s not often we get a visual sense of the sun as being spherical, but this gets close, I think.
Without even having to be subtle about it, the moronocracy have ensured not a single pub nor place of entertainment will be open for New Year’s Eve anywhere in the UK, so I don’t feel 2020 is really ending — it will go on to infect our future for years to come. It’s going out cold, too: this was probably the coldest day of the year. This view from the upper reaches of my house has appeared on the blog many times before but it’s a useful mainstay, and on this one I like the addition of the headlights of the car caught heading up Birchcliffe Road.