Monthly Archives: March 2013

If

Hi to you all

I have been reading the Jungle Book of late by Rudyard Kipling, which I should have really read when I was in cubs, but I didn’t. I cheated and watched the film instead. The Bear Necessities. What a song. It’s a shame though, because all this time I’ve been missing out on a fantastic read.

When I went to investigate more about this extraordinary writer on Youtube and came across the poem, If. I don’t register ever reading or seeing this poem (I don’t know how I’ve been so ignorant), but it’s powerful and precious, and I wasn’t surprised many Hollywood hotshots doing readings, such as Harvey Keitel, Michael Caine and Dennis Hopper. It was written for his son, before his son sadly died in World War I.

I really like it. I hope you like it too.

 

 


Happy Birthday Dad

Hi all

In the UK, it should be 1st April today, hence all the jokes you should be playing on each other today while you’re reading this. In Honduras, it’s still 31st March, which is my father’s birthday. He doesn’t like being centre of attention so he will probably hate this post. But like wine and cheese; you get better with age.

So… to cheer him up as he creeps up the age ladder, I am going to include a photo with mum on their Central American adventure a year and a half ago, and a song from a group which my brother, sister and I called, the Traveling Willies, when we were small. It’s actually the Traveling Wilbury’s, End of the Line, not the most appropriate name of song to wish someone a happy birthday with, but I remember listening to this song a lot in the car in my youth.

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200 updates & JazzCo.

Dear all

This update is one beautiful landmark which I never thought I would reach in the two and a bit years of writing this blog: 200 updates! I am proud of myself and I am loudly patting myself on the back. This should be coupled with the fact that in the next couple of days that I should have 10, 000 visits on this blog. I have enjoyed writing this and I will continue to do so, with many nice comments I receive from readers, fans if you will, which inspires me to keep writing.

To celebrate, I would like to introduce you to another member of my musical family in Glasgow, Patrick West. They were labelled the musical family, not just because of their obvious talent, but by a very enthusiastic Greek man, and sometimes very drunk, who owned a bar in the refined little village of Stegna, Rhodes, and he claimed to have a million cds. His name, I am sure the West family will remind me, I’ve forgotten, but he was a larger than life person. We spent most nights in his bar, one of which my cousin Sam managed to get a calamari ring stuck on his finger while playing the guitar. I don’t know how (gulp)!

Anyway, I’m going way off the point.

My Uncle Pat has a jazz band who play at a few bars around Glasgow, although I think they have gone further afield. The name of the band is JazzCo and Pat is on the sax, playing just a few metres from the ale taps in case he runs out of his favourite tipple. I am going to include a link to his website. If any of the band are reading this and they have a new website or links, let me know and I’ll update this breath-taking prose. I think they might have a cd, but I am unsure. Have a look on this website either way, where you can get a sample of their music. So if you’re in Glasgow, or anywhere in Scotland, look them up and enjoy an evening with them  http://www.myspace.com/jazzc0.

Here is also a video of them playing. Enjoy.


Robert Gallardo – Birding

Dear all

I hope you are all enjoying Easter. I would like to bring to your attention Robert Gallardo. I met him through my housemate and good friend Nacho, and he was just stopping off in Tegucigalpa last night, so we went for a typical restaurant called, err… Denny’s!

Anyway, sometimes many people, including myself, can get caught up in reporting the negative things that take place in this country. This, of course, can distract people from the more beautiful aspects of this country, such as the kind people, the archeological sites, and the stunning natural beauty. Whereas Costa Rica is able to promote itself as a fantastic and safe tourist destination, Honduras falls down on. What is true is that Honduras has more reserves and national parks than Costa Rica, and has many more species of bird. In terms of nature, the only thing Costa Rica possesses which Honduras doesn’t is active volcanos. But who wants to be scolded by boiling lava anyway? All the rest is here.

I must say, for Nacho and Robert, who both own businesses in the nature tourist industry, having these negative reports being squeezed out of Honduras only quashes business opportunities and potential clients. Robert has been here in Honduras over 20 years. He is a professional bird-watching tour guide (it is often called birding, in bird-watchers circles, but for some reason, birding seems as though it should be a lurid sexual practice of some sort, but that is probably just my filty mind). This friendly furry top-lipped Califorian lives in Lago Yajoa, but he is based all around Honduras selling tours, taking pictures of rare birds, and he also has other projects on the go, such as calenders and diaries. He seemed very insightful, patient and informative about nature, which is great for a novice like myself. But just one look at his website and you will see that he is pretty much an expert about “birding” (not a perverted sexual act, I assure you), as well as a very passionate bird-watcher in general. I suppose 20 years in this country full of birds (no sexist pun intended! (well, just a little bit)), you would have to be. You can go to his website on: http://www.birdsofhonduras.com/index.html

And here is the man himself, picture courtesy of his own website, Birds of Honduras:

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Good causes

Dear all

Happy Easter to all! No doubt you’re scoffing yourselves with Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns, or from what I hear from the UK weather, have been sledging to work and fighting off polar bears in what should be spring time.

For myself, it’s been nice to relax after recent stressful times, with visits to Comayagua and bank clubs, eating fresh fish, eating cheese with chilis, chicharrones (or however it’s spelt, but it’s delicious great lumps of pork meat, with fat. Think “huge pork scratchings) and chilling out with Mariela and Nacho, and Pam’s family. Unfortunately I have a scolding sunburn, thanks to Tuesday’s scolding sun (which I applied lots of sun-cream), and it’s screamingly painful and it makes passers-by laugh and throw rocks at me. Okay, they don’t throw rocks but they do laugh and say stuff like “stupid chele”. My pride and skin hurts. But nonetheless, I am preparing myself for another good all crack at the job hunt next week.

I remember back three years ago, pretty much this exact time about 2010, when I decided that I would be going to Honduras, courtesy of ICYE, and I had to raise a whopping £4, 500. There was a lot of hard work, not just from myself, but by my family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, friends of friends, and all their generosity were the first sure steps that lead me to be sitting in this fancy seat, in this fancy apartment, in this beautiful country, all that time ago. They helped me in kind donations or helped organise events. Many of people who read this blog I know donated some time and effort to help me. It’s not forgotten, and while I cannot repay everyone back individually, I would like to promote other people’s good (and hard) work for great causes, so they can possibly get sponsorship money. I did it a year or so ago for a number of friends who were running marathons and climbing mountains, so I have decided to do it again.

 

Jordan Kenny

He has been one of my best mates throughout my years at University of Central Lancashire and of course after. I remember frying up bacon sarnies for him those years back on cold mornings on good old Norris Street in Preston, or getting drunk with him on student nights. He is now cutting back on the pork life (or maybe he isn’t!) and he’s going to run a half marathon (or a full marathon, I can’t quite remember) to raise money for a local charity in his hometown, Manchester, called Reclaim. I must admit, I do not know too much about the charity, although having a brief read on the website, it helps disadvantaged youths in the Manchester area with self-confidence, raise-awareness of the problems marginalised groups and youths face in modern British society. It does do a lot more, and I hope I do not get done for plagiarism for copying and pasting their aims, but you can find them from the following website: http://www.reclaimproject.org.uk/.

AIMS

  • To provide young people with positive leadership opportunities to make a difference in their area
  • To raise levels of self-esteem, aspiration and self belief in young people
  • RECLAIM gives young people the opportunity to reach and communicate with the adults in position of power both locally and nationally
  • Allows young people to know they are in control of their own decisions and destiny
  • Allowing young people to challenge negative stereotypes of themselves and their communities and fight the demonisation of young people in British society
  • Reinvigorating a spirit of volunteering and support for young people
  • We want to provide a safe and supportive network of caring adults.

I don’t know if the organisation is facing financial issues from the recent cuts (I have read on Guardian website that youth centres are feeling the brunt of recent cuts), but knowing Jordan well and is good judgement, this charity is doing a grand job at helping disadvantaged youths. I am especially fond of this work, having worked with street kids in Honduras. I know what challenging work it can be, the negative stereotypes that have to be changed and difficulties of finding funds in lean times to keep projects running. I really hope that you can sponsor my good friend. Here is a link to Jordan’s Justgiving site. Any money you can give would much appreciated.  http://www.justgiving.com/JordanKenny/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=JordanKenny&utm_campaign=pfp-tweet

 

Joe Newell

Joe, who used to live in Kings Heath in Brum with a charismatic Catalan called Francisco Campoy, is going to be climbing Kilimanjaro to raise money for Marie Curie. He’s been a good mate for a few years now, works in television and once accompanied us on a trip to Cornwall where I tried to eat as much as I could in a weekend. Pasties, clotted cream, fish and chips, Pringles, sausage rolls, chocolate, Cider, fruit, cake. It was grotesque to watch but brilliant for me. I had a hole to fill. Enough about me. He is a great guy, who is going way, way, way out of his way to raise money for a charity that does so much for cancer victims, and supports those who are incurable. He has just a couple of days to raise the money, so if you could please put some money on to his Justgiving site, I am sure it would be much appreciated. https://www.justgiving.com/Joe-Newell/

There is someone else I know who is climbing Kilimanjaro but I need to research a bit more about the charity she is doing it for. As it is 1am, I feel sunburned and my face looks like a tomato, I am going to do it in the next couple of days.

I am going to leave you, a bit randomly, with the ten great goals by Matthew Le Tissier, the former Southampton superstar. If you are not aware of this man, ignore his crooked teeth and fringe, his goals were out of this world. While England was fussing over Gazza’s tears and madness, this man was scoring goals for fun and never really had a look in. The oversight is understated. Criminal. He had a bit of Zidane and Cantona to his game, but England kept picking Darren Anderton. That’s why we can’t beat teams like Montenegro or Algeria. When we have a player with a bit of class, we have no idea how to play him. I have been talking to my housemate Nacho about him. Recently Xavi Hernandez declared Le Tissier was one of his football heroes. This is for Nacho, and Xavi (though Nacho doesn’t like Xavi! (Nacho is 100% Real Madrid)). Enjoy!


Ocean Colour Scene

Hi all

While remembering days of working in Cadbury’s and life back in Brum, I began to listen one of the finest bands to come out of Brum, and in my opinion, out of the UK. I think they’re scattered about Birmingham, but one of albums is Moseley Shoals, which I believe was a music studio (so I am told, I don’t play a musical instrument and my voice blows electrical fuses, so I don’t know about studios etc.), based in Moseley, which ajoins the neighbourhood I am from, Hall Green. I miss nights in Moseley Village, hanging out with Niku, Chris and Paul. It’s randomness makes it apart from anywhere else in the world I have been to. You literally meet anyone there, from any background. It has a nice easy feel to it, kind of haunting at the same time. I miss Moseley Dance Centre and The Jug of Ale: both long gone but both were such brilliant places to visit. I should write for Moseley!

BI remember bumping into one of the band members of OCS, Oscar, in Medicine Bar many, many moons ago when I was absolutely wasted one night and tried to speak to him, but the words wouldn’t come out and I ended up making a complete idiot of myself. What a proud moment to share with you all. To those who don’t know them, they were huge in the 1990s and they are still together, with a new album out, so I believe. It’s indie rock, I suppose, mixed with folk. There are quite a few beautiful songs that I would love to include on my blog. I have included some in the past, but tonight I will include two. Robin Hood, which he includes a bit of Live Forever on the end, and is all about drugs, and Foxy’s Folk Faced, which just has beautiful lyrics. I hope you enjoy. Maybe if they ever read this, I am sorry to Oscar if I embarrassed him, and I am trying to make you a fan base in Honduras. Come out here and tour!

 

 


CADBURY’S CHOCOLATE

Hi everyone

This evening has brought me a lovely pleasant. First of all, I am going to copy and paste a status update I wrote a little earlier:

“Please, someone from England, send me some Cadbury’s chocolate. I miss the sweet scent of Dairy Milk blowing over from Bournville. I cry when I can’t get that Friday feeling without a Crunchie. Easter isn’t Easter without a Twirl Easter Egg with a mug, and maybe some Buttons inside. The Caramel bunny….is it wrong to be turned on by a rabbit?”

Well, I then got a delightful message from a Jess Noe, a Catracha-adopted-Scouser, who went to the great city of Liverpool last year. She met a Liverpudlian and she’s looking to make it back to the land of Beatles and Tate and football and shell-suits, and it seems she’s in a similar situation Pamela and myself were in last year, when I was back in Brum and she was here. Anyway, to get back to the point, I bumped into Jess and her mother in the ICYE offices before I left Honduras in 2011 and I stayed in contact with Jess whenever I could. Tonight though, like angels from Heaven (Heaven being Miraflores, close to where I was living before), they fluttered down to Las Colinas and dropped off some Cadbury’s Buttons and Fudge. As they say in Liverpool, “I’m all made up, likeeee!” Unfortunately, I am not the generous type and I will not be sharing these lovely moments of pleasure with anyone. I looked on the back of the packets and it has the sweet name Bournville written on it. I remember working at Cadbury World and having the sweet scent of Cadbury’s breathe through my lungs. I doubt it did more harm than the succulent Danli cigars that I smoke here. Kraft would lose the magic of it if they tried to move the factories away. I’ve very fond memories of working there and I try to stay in contact with mates there, although it’s hard to do. They were great days, and looking down at the picture below goes alongside those great days. Scoffing chocolate for free and having naff all guilt about it.

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While back in Europe, England smashed San Marino 8-0 and Spain drew 1-1 with Finland, here in Central America, there was a bit of showcase. Honduras v Mexico. The only way to imagine this back home is Mexico is England, looking down on the other home nations, a bit smug and arrogantly, saying cocky things to wind up the nearby nations (one famous Mexican footballer or coach once said that Honduras plays with a square ball!) while in reality, Mexico, like England, has little success on the world stage  (i.e. World Cup). Honduras, on the other-hand, is like Scotland; brave, wanting to prove everyone wrong, passionate fans, sometimes a bit physical and not always pretty football (but sorry to the Scottish, especially my cousins, Honduras is still quite a lot better). Well, today, Honduras didn’t start too brightly and Mexico were looking good. Just after half time, Mexico were 2-0 up, on Honduras turf. There was a lot of rough play (people think the Premiership is physical!), elbows flying about, as well as a lot of hijo de puta lip-reading. I was sweating just watching. The match was in San Pedro, roughly six or seven degrees hotter than Tegus. At that point, my housemate Wilmer stopped watching, looked a bit pissed off and went back to his hometown Danli. I continued to watch. Then, against the run of play, Honduras pulled one back with twenty odd minutes to go. As always with games like that, confidence rises and Honduras changed their football style from San Marino to Spain in a matter of seconds, knocking it around like wizards and confusing the cocky little Mexicans. The pea, the Michael Owen lookalike who plays for Man United, to be fair, looked a bit roughed up. Soon after Honduras were awarded a penalty, which they scored on a rebound. All this was done without the crocked Wilson Palacios. Espinoza, Wigan’s new Catracho superstar, had a big role to play. The game finished 2-2. I got the feeling Honduras would have taken that before the game was played. Imagine Scotland doing that to England: it would in a way feel better than winning one or two nil in a dull game. Well done Honduras. You never really know which Honduras is going to turn up: the one that scrapes a draw with Panama or the one that beats USA 2-1 or Canada 8-1. But people seem happy.

The next part, it’s probably best that mum doesn’t read this, is a bit shocking but I am quite lucky. After the game, I got a message from Pam asking where I was. I had just come back from the local supermarket buying my evening ration of a six-pack of Salva Vida beer. She kept asking if I were okay. It seems, in the same supermarket I was in (in Plaza Miraflores), four armed men stormed in and hurt quite a few people. I don’t know whether it was the heat that made me delirious or something, but I didn’t notice anything different to normal, other than that there were less queues, which made me very, very happy. Nonetheless, I think myself very, very lucky, and not because of the short queues.

I am going to end with a Stereophonics song that I love. It has nothing to do with football, chocolate or armed men in supermarkets. It’s called Maybe. And it’s not Maybe Tomorrow like the famous one. It’s different. So there.