Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hanoi - street scene in Old Quarter

Finishing off a mini series here of photos from northern Vietnam, these two charming ladies.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Puppies at a Black Thai village on Pac Hoan lake

Unlike the piglets, I don't really remember these little puppies, so quite a surprise to find them on my photostream this morning!

I wonder how they are doing now, five years later.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Early morning on Pac Hoan lake

I went to visit my uncle and aunty yesterday evening and we ended up looking at some of his photos of northern Vietnam from their trip back in 1998, so I decided to re-load/re-time some photos from the trip my brother and I made there five years ago.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Camel riding with a cowboy hat in the Arabian desert

I am just coming to the end of my fourth visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in as many months, making good use of my six month visa.

This time I have been here at midsummer and it is very much hotter than it ahs been any other time, particularly here in Riyadh. The result is that I have stayed in my hotel almost all the time, just going out tghis evening after I had ti vacate my room. It was still 41 degrees at 8.30 pm and it felt like a furnace.

I got a Pakistani taxi driver to bring me to Badha where I went to my favourite restaurant in The Kingdom, a Yemeni fish restuarant, where again, I was treated like a king. A whole grilled fresh fish, served with rice, sauce, vegetables and soup and all very cheap. Great atmosphere there too.

I walked around afterwards looking for my Yemeni friend but he seems to have been well and truly deported which is a pity but at least he is with his family.

I also tried to find something to buy my uncle and aunty who I hope to see in London tomorrow but could not find anything worthwhile. Maybe at the airport later.

I fly at 2 to Istanbul, then change for a flight to London, where I stray a couple of days, returning home on Wednesday morning, in time for a quick trip to Dusseldorf on Friday.

I have had to work a lot this trip and basically do other people's work, while the auditors ignore us and add to the stress of meeting deadlines. It is not all joy and adventure coming to these places. Still, I mostly enjoy it and I feel as if I have a good job.

This was me from a couple of trips back when it was cool enough to visit the desert.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Somali woman in Old Jeddah

A specially commissioned photo for this woman who wanted me to take some photos of her and then have them printed. It seems that I am famous around these parts...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Red River

Red River by CharlesFred
Red River, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

Back in Saudi, back in Jeddah, means a trip to Al Balad, or Old Jeddah to see my Somali friends. Here is a charming young man with red lips, presumably from an ice lolly he had just eaten.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A video of my birthday party at The Derby

Happy memories of that sunny day on 4th June on the Epsom Downs, to the accompaniment of My Life's Story's version of the song 'Duchess'.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

La vita balconia, with Romanians!

I am having to leave these lovely chaps in the charming company of Fred as I am off on another business trip - my fourth visit to Saudi Arabia in as many months.

In the meantime, I can leave you with a video of the party we had on Saturday night:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The second 50th birthday party

Here with my friend Mariette.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

50 years old today

Friday, June 17, 2011

Celebrating my 21st birthday at Royal Ascot

My 21st birthday, back in 1982 fell on the Friday of Royal Ascot, which also turned out ot be the wettest day of the whole summer, still the rain was not enough to dampen our spirits and somehow it stayed mostly dry during the afternoon racing before clearing up at the end of the day.

Quite a contrast to The Derby two weeks ago, whilst tomorrow looks like it might well more like 29 years ago, wind and rain and more rain!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fred on a beach in Bali

Fred on a beach in Bali by CharlesFred
Fred on a beach in Bali, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

Continuing our occasional mini-series of photos from our trip to Indonesia back in 1992, one of our first backpacking adventures when we spent seven weeks travelling from Medan in Northern Sumatra, down the island to Padag, across Central Java and to Bali. Here is Fred on the beach at Amed in Eastern Bali.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Charles at Parangtritis

Charles at Parangtritis by CharlesFred
Charles at Parangtritis, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

Here we are back in 1992, so 19 years ago, here on the beach of Parangtritis in Java, just south of Yogyakarta. I had great fun galloping this horse backwards and forth but I remember the inner sides of my knees getting grazed by gripping onto the leather saddle. I read from my friend Diff Lim that green is NOT the colour to wear ot this beach (which is famed for its very strong currents), but there is only a little bit of green on my Marks and Spencer shorts here...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Balcony life - blue

Balcony life - blue by CharlesFred
Balcony life - blue, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

View up to the buses and stands at The Derby

It is easier said than done, organising a picnic for 20 or so in a foreign country. So we spent quite a bit of time on the Friday organising things which had us going to Homebase to pick up the 'gazebo'/mini-tent to rpovide shade, as well as three comfortable chairs which fold up into a bag, as well as two more common collapsable chairs. Then I would rely on Fiona for the picnic rugs. So much for the furniture.

Plates and napkins had been brought over from the Hema in Holland and Fred picked up some soft cool boxes at the pound shop.

The food was ordered from a Syrian restaurant in Shepherds Bush, the champagne already pre-ordered from Waitrose (which was listed as having one of the best supermarket champagnes) and then we picked up breads and cheeses and still more cheeses from the Portobello Market.

A big worry was how we would carry everything and I was lucky to find a quite sturdy shopping trolley with big wheels for a tenner on Portobello Road, which was big enough to carry the soft cool boxes stuffed with bottles of cooled champage as well as the cheeses and so on.

The minibus which brought us from West London took us through the various byroads of South London, slow but reasonably direct and brought us all the way to the course, from where it was a short walk through the tunnel under the course to the open areas of the Downs to this spot just below the last furlong, in view of a good TV screen, from where we could follow the races.

James set up the gazebo with a little bit of help and soon we were set, for what turned out to be a lovely afternoon!

As it happens, the double decker buses at the track were for rent at 1,600 pounds for the day, whilst a pitch was going for 2,000 pounds. I don't really consider myself a cheapskate but I thought these prices were a liottle bit on the high side, when just a few yards behind, access was completely free, more money left for the champers!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A mother with her two sons

Happy Birthday Diana!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The family at The Derby

The family by CharlesFred
The family, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

This is a group portrait of most of the family who turned up to my Derby party.. here at the end of a wonderful hot sunny day on the Dows, on the day when Pour Moi won The Derby for France, the first time in 35 years! Such a shame that The Queen's horse, Carlton House, didn't quite make it.

Flickr Friends Go To The Derby

And here are my flickr friends who made it to the grand occasion. Thank you, James for taking this photo, and thank oyu Stuart (in advance) for letting me use this photo!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Magic cakes for my pre-50th birthday party today

My Mum has arranged for a cake to be made for my pre-50th birthday party on Epsom Downs this afternon. However,, I could not resist ordering these Magic Cakes from Konditor and Cook in London to celebrate the day.

The themes are:

Red London Bus (for The Derby)
Mitzi, our miniature long haired dachshund
Queen - Pop Group and owner of the Derby favourite
Troy, my favourite Derby winner from 1979
Happy Birthday
CharlesFred in Flickr style
Somaliland, my birthplace
Flower Man of Tihama
Chicken (to mark my Mum's three chickens)
Camel, to mark my desert adventures
and Mary Poppins, such an inspiration to me for so many years!

After a cloudy start, the sun is bursting through, should be a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The first Wednesday in June - Teenoso in 1983

Exactly 28 years ago today, after one of the wettest Springs on record, it was time to run the 203rd Derby at Epsom. I had been following this horse Teenoso through his first runs of the season, the horse loving the mud. Although he was not very fashionably bred (by Youth out of Glorioso) and had not won the major trails, he was being ridden by the great master of Epsom, namely Lester Piggott. partly because of this and partly for his liking of the soft ground he was sent off teh 3-1 favourite and he justified those odds by winning easily by 3 lengths, giving Lester his ninth Derby winner and his trainer Geoff Wragg his first Derby winner in his first season of training (having taken over from his father Harry Wragg).

The following season, Teenoso was to win one of teh greatest races ever staged in Britain in teh modern era, namely the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot froma field which includfed many Classic winners as well as the colt who wopuld later become the greatest stallion in Europe of the 1990's and 2000's, namely Sadler's Wells. And he did this on firm ground too.

He was favourite for the Arc later in October that year but got injured before the race and didn't run.

I would folow the runners of Geoff Wragg for many years until he retired in 2008 (0r 2009), particularly those horses being run in the chocolate and gold colours of the Moller brothers. These included horses like Pentire, First Trump, First Island, Petardia, Topsy, Autumn Glory, Swallow Flight and so on.

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