Monday, November 30, 2009

Hoi An - black-eyed pig

Hoi An - black-eyed pig, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Following our recent animal theme, here is a little chappie from three years ago - 30th November 2006 - what a great diary system digital photos are placing you to the hour, day and date to a particualr place and sensation.

So this photo reminds me that my brother Richard and I were out on the back of motorbikes going to some temple complex outside of Hoi An, on a very sunny day, leaving early and ending up on the beach, but not before passing a piglet market!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This week's beast

Geese and grafiti, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Opps! Looks like I have skipped another week on the blog! Maybe I can fill some patches in later. Where does the time go to? I seem to spend more than enough time on the computer but then without writing blog entries. Need to change my priorities.

Anyway, I captured this handsome fellow yestreday afternoon when taking advantage of a long break in the showers to go outside with my camera.

One never feels all that comfortable around geese and this photo was taken low down with a wide-angled lens, so I was pretty close. Thank goodness there was no trouble.

Fred had been away in Groningen for the weekend and came back mid-afternoon and shortly after we went out for our Sunday afternoon walk with the intention of buying a pumpkin to eat with our roast guines fowl dinner. Anyway, I left the hosue with a cheese sandwich and a piece of Groninger cake and before long we were walking past these geese again and guess what? They followed me around very persistently, hoping to score some scraps off me and they didn't exactly seem too friendly about it either.

I think one is safer around geese with a camera than with a piece of cake!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How could I have missed these?

It has been about a month since we were last in Istanbul, so about time to go back again! As it happens, we have a business meeting in Istanbul this coming week, meeting the people from our associated comapnies in central and eastern Europe. Hopefully, we will avoid hee snow which we had at the equivalent meeting in Warsaw this time last year but we are unlikely to have the warm sunshine which we ahd back in September whne I came across these chaps on a walk through the old streets of Fener, with Fiona and her friend. It would be great to see them again, jsut a pity I don't have copies of the photos to give them and, unlike in smaller places, there are few shops which can do instant printing.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Brother and sister in Istanbul (in September)

Before meeting Gareth, I had about three quarters if an hour with Fiona, meeting her under the Christmas lights next to Libertys. Poor girl had fallen down her sprial staircase earlier in the day before her bike got a puncture in Hyde Park. Still, she looked well and it was nice to see her again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


garethbee, originally uploaded by garethbee.

I was in London again this week for a couple of days - more meetings at work, having been there for three days of meetings the week before! Still, despite all the hassles of travelling, the worst being the treatment I got in Gatwick when daring to try to take an almost empty tube of toothpaste out in my carry-on bag without separately declaring it and putting it in a plastic bag, both sets of visits to London were worthwhile and even fun!

This week, I had arranged to meet up with my flickr friend 'garethbee', having a couple of months earlier met up with 'Stuart-Lee'. Anyway, instead of meeting up in the City, Gareth suggested Soho, which was immediately a better idea, and having met each other at Trafalgar Square, we set off for Soho real and found a comfortable bar for some beer and some very pleasant conversation. This was followed by a meal in a local Japanese restaurant on Frith Street and then by another beer in another pub.

It is all along way from one's first steps onto flickr, where it was a question of putting one's photos onto the web so family and friends could follow us around Middle East and Africa on our six month journey, accompanied by this blog. It took me quite a few months to realise flickr's social side where one can look at other people's photos, make comments, send e-mails and build up some social contacts, ending up in meeting real people every now and then, like I did just now with Gareth.

All very positive and although there are things going on on flickr which one doesn't particularly like, it is quite easy to switch yourself off form that and make your own way through.

Having thanked Gareth already on flickr and later on facebook, I'd like to thank him aagin for a wonderful evening and I look forward to doing it again, if not in London, then maybe in the Cape in March (?). Hmmmm... that would be very nice!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another day, another set of mushrooms and another sunset

A walk in late November, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

I particularly like these shots!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fred out East in Ijburg

A walk in late November, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Here's a charming shot of Fred from yesterday's walk, when I managed to steer him away from the sreets of town out towards the wide expanses east of where we live.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sheep on the dyke

Sheep on the dyke, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

From the flickr archives, I can see that it was on 17th October last year that I cycled to the forest behind Ijburg to look for mushrooms and ended up taking photos fo sheep grazing on the dyke. Because it was so dry last year, there were no mushrooms.

However, 13 months later and after a warm and wet autumn, I am back again, finding sheep AND mushrooms!

However, one sad observation from yesterday was that they have finally dismantled Blijburg, such a shame, but probably the council don't want people to have too much fun...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mushrooms on Ijburg

Mushrooms on Ijburg, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

At the end of a brilliantly warm and sunny day here in Amsterdam, I stumbled across this field full of mushrooms, quite different from the ones we see in the local woods. This one was taken with the flash into the sunset.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If only...

Irish sea dog - one, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

... Thierry Henry had held his hands like this well-behaved Irishman yesterday evening, maybe Ireland would be going to South Africa and not those wretched French!

Hard luck on Ukraine and Russia on missing out as well.

I am hoping to go to South Africa sometime next year but I see a colleague has already picked teh favoured February slot (cold here and warm there!) so maybe I will have to wait until the summer or go there the year after... a pity!

So it looks like Belgium will give Europe its first President

The Pied Piper of Antwerpen, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has dropped out of the race to be European Council President - just as EU leaders meet to decide who to appoint.

The Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy is widely expected to get the job, with French and German support.

So Sarkozy and Merkel get their way, by having someone who will not put them in the shade. Wow! We really can be proud of our European leaders.

Belgium is a country which is being torn apart, has a string of corruption and paedophilia scandals behind it, has ultra-racist parties getting lots of votes, is wideky known as the centre for gun-running and weapon trading in Europe, if not the world, has a massive budget deficit and receives massive funding from the EU. Just the right country to give us our President.

(No offence meant to any Belgian friends who might be reading this).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

To Stop Terrorism, Trade Fairly

Old boat in Berbera dry dock, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

The New York Times published the following in April 2009: "Navy Seal snipers rescued an American cargo ship captain unharmed and killed three Somali pirates in a daring operation in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, ending a five-day standoff between United States naval forces and a small band of brigands in a covered orange lifeboat off the Horn of Africa."

The very words "pirates," "daring operation," "standoff," and "brigands" were typical of the U.S. media; they made it sound as though white-hatted cowboys had ridden to the rescue of a town besieged by Billy the Kid and his gang. Having lived in that part of the world as an economic hit man, I knew there was another side to what had happened. I wondered why no one was asking about the causes of piracy.

For the rest of this article please follow this link.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My colleagues

My colleagues, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

The CEMEA Finance Team... as photographed (with my camera) by The President and CEO of our one billion dollar company!

We have (left to right) Norway, 4*UK, Poland, France, South Africa, US, me!, Spain, Holland, Italy, Greece, UK*2, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Germany (via Kazakhstan)

We had our meetings these past two days in London, here are my colleagues!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Who is this chap?

Who is this chap?, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Someone is very desperate to know who this person is. If you know, olease get in touch. Thanks!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kosovo elects

International monitors say they are generally happy with the way Kosovo's local elections were conducted.

European monitors said the poll - the first since the country declared independence from Serbia last year - met many international standards.

Good luck Kosovo with your independence!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Zenyatta wins the Breeders Cup Classic

Down at the Odessa racecourse, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Zenyatta wins the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita, making it 14 wins out of 14 races in her career. Another all-time great, just like Sea The Stars was this side of the Atlantic. Two in one year.

Zenyatta is a great gand-daughter of the mighty Troy, who won The Derby in 1979, the year I first took a major interest in racing.

He sired Helen Street who won the Irish Oaks in 1985 , when Fred and I were on the beach at Trevignano Romano on Lake Bracciano near Rome.

She eventually produced a horse called Street Cry, who raced in the US and who won the Dubai World Cup a few years ago. He is now the most successful stallion worldwide and had the winner of The Melbourne Cup (the race which stops Australia) on Tuesday in the shape of Shocking.

Humbler fare in Odessa this afternoon with a programme of trotting races...

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Opera House in Odessa

Odessa in the sunshine!, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

We were taken to the Opera when we were in Odessa. There is a very beautifuil Opera House there and this was the first time that I have ever been to an opera. The opera was The Barber of Seville, by Rossini, performed by a local opera company.

The songs were sung in Italian and there were translations into Ukrainian on an electronic board above the stage. I did not understand either. The programme included a short synopsis in English which I didn't quite understand either as it all seemed rather complicated.

As a result I fell asleep about three times during the performance.

Still, the building was impressive, even more inside with lots of gold plated statues based on themes from Shakespeare's plays. And it was fun drinking champagne and eating caviar in one of the intervals!

Drinking in Odessa - champagne and caviar

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Recycling in Odessa - empties

Drinking in Odessa - empties, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

garethbee says:
this is a classic, excellent pic Charles!

CharlesFred says:
Thanks, this was an unavoidable shot, although for some reason, I did ask the premission of the drunks sitting next door if I could take it....

steblina says:
This is the receiving center of empty glass bottles. Prices on the bottles show how much they will give you for particular type of bottle. 20 coins (kopeykas) = 0,20 hrivna, 18 coins, 15 and so on. If you have collected 10 bottles of Heineken, you can sell them and get 1 hrivna.

CharlesFred says:
Oh! I see! That explains why the bottles were empty - ha ha! I was thinking that the prices were a bit steep (high) if those were the prices for the beer...

Thanks for the info!

gert55 says:
great...something to think about :-))... interesting capture!

halifaxlight says:
funny commentary and interesting bottle collection

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Vitamin C to see away the flu

Vitamin C to see away the flu, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Ukraine has been brought into a state of panic, mainly by the politcians scare-mongering people, by closing down schools for three weeks, putting travel restrictions on people and having the World Cup qualifier against Greece played to an empty stadium. There are elections in January and this is seen to be the start of electioneering. Apparently the price of garlic and citrus fruits have escalated in recent days. Looks like we left just in time!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Further tales from the Flea Market in Odessa

At the Flea Market

At the Flea Market, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Monday, November 02, 2009

All Soul's Day

Autumnal Odessa, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

As the leaves fall off the trees, as they do all around Europe at around this time, we celebrate the dead and departed. Adopted by the Christian Church over a thousand years ago, it is not hard to see its pagan/natural origins.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Autumnal Odessa

Autumnal Odessa, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

I am not having much luck in photographing the autumn here in Holland, as it looks better in the sunshine and the sun only seems to shine when I am at work! This is nto so bad, as I have an office facing south so I get the sun beaming in all day, keeping me nice and warm, not to mention a bit sweaty!!!

So, here is a nice autumn scene from Odessa (where it has become much colder since we left, apparently). I thought these looked a bit liked coiled snakes in the sun...

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