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Friday, 17 December 2010

Blatant Tranny in the 'Douce' Suburbs

' Douce '  -

chiefly Scottish
: sober, sedate douce faces of the mourners — L. J. A. Bell>
douce·ly adverb

(Your enjoyment of this Blogpost will be greatly enhanced by playing  This link -Elgar Symphony no 1 )

 

So....Today, as I was queuing in Giffnock Post Office to buy some stamps for Christmas Cards, I noticed a fine looking 50 something Gentleman in front of me, wearing lovely pink lipstick and blusher. and wearing a twinset and pearls. 

I wouldnt have bothered about it so much apart from the fact I was in Giffnock.

Giffnock is what you could describe as 'Douce' .Every Scottish city has an area like this, or two. Think St Andrews, Troon, Kelvinside, Morningside. People here arent flashy, many arent even rich, they are simply stable. Volvo driving, labrador walking, Rugby Golf and Bridge playing, cottage in the country holidaying, humourless prudes for the most part - not 'country' enough for the foxhunting set, not 'city' enough for the radical chic and those ghastly left wing people.


These communities dear freinds, here in the death throes of the British Empire, are the backbone and the final and last bullwark, against us finally and permanently 'going to the dogs'

So im sure none of you will be surprised when, much to my amusement, todays blatant suburban postoffice tranny was certainly causing some whispering and tutting from those upstanding and moral ladies who lunch today.
I'm sure if their downtrodden, Archers listening Stockbroker husbands knew about it (they surely would at supper tonight) there most certainly would be some words about it to be had to somebody (what is the world coming to for Gods sake?!)
Giffnock, 100 years ago (or was it today, same difference)

The reason these places are great though is not only BECAUSE NOTHING EVER HAPPENS here, its because, these guys are the only people left in urban Britain WHO STILL KNOW THE RULES.  This Church going, stiff upper lipped, fair playing, hard working, DOUCE, Scottish middle Class exude stability and well educated Christian modesty from every pore. They've been churning out accountants, lawyers, and doctors (and here in Glasgow Engineers) across the Empire for a hundred and fifty years, for crying out loud.

But when trannies walk the streets of Giffnock, we're surely on the slippery slope. When the 'douce' suburbs finally fall ( read - vote Labour ), then the sun will have set on the Empire, and all will be lost.


ps - Ironically, our arch socialist ex prime minister - the man charged for ruining our country this time round (since the last Labour Prime Minister), Gordon Brown was born here, funnily enough in what is now my local pub.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Ayahuasca , One Year On

Preparing the Laced Kool Aid
Just realising that today is one year since I took Ayahuasca in Peru, with Hamilton Souther and the  blue morpho team .
Totally unconnected photo, in Machu Piccu (which is also a great place, i wrote about it November 2009)

You can read about the experience here and if your brave enough, here . (theres a much longer version of it in this blog in the early December 2009 posts)

I was thinking, has it changed my life ? Are the effects permanent? For those who havent experienced it, Ayahuasca is a jungle vine, which is mixed with tree bark and drunk, in a seance like ceremony - basically traditonal Amazonian Shamanism. The aim is to spend a few days, ingesting the Ayahuasca, in special ceremonies, with the Shamans. The Shamans sing 'Icaros' which are gentle healing songs, and you get frightening visions, puke your guts up, get rid of all your bad energy, and hopefully have a life changing ephiphany (do you get non-life changing epiphanies?!!)
The Mighty Amazon, near Iquitos

There are many pretty badly run and less than genuine Ayahuasca 'experiences' for tourists in Peru, mostly in Iquitos , but some notable good ones and proper Shamans and so on, and price does not seem to be a good indicator of quality. The main thing to do is check around forums and so on for one that looks comfortable, as it seems different people find a place they like themselves, or get to know some Shamans out there in the jungle, if you are feeling brave.
Nightlife in Iquitos

Its a boom business now though, with everyone 'waking up' to themselves etc etc. , pretending to get rid of their Ego. However, joking aside, i'd recommend it as a truly life changing event. For sure, i had an ephiphany or two, and im sure my fellow travellers on that trip did also. But one year on, how does it feel?
The Promenade, in Iquitos

The more visual things have faded, like the 'wolf' who came into my life, doesnt hang out with me any more - I wonder, was he real or a construct of the 'medicine', or just my imagination? or is it that now my heart has hardened again and im not open or sensitive to the spirit world any more. I had some crazy times in the month after the 'Aya', coming to grips with a dive into the world beyond, and had some terrifying nightmares, too, if im honest, but now it all seems like a distant dream....

However, the medicine does seem to work on you in the background, deep in your core. Priorities in life change, your philosophy changes, you realise whats actually important in life, and what isn't. These kind of things stay with you forever. The only sad thing is when you come out and you see that no one else has changed - I can understand that though - what if a freind i'd known for 20 years suddenly started telling me they'd seen the light? that material possessions are irrelevent? that God has a plan for us all and not to worry too much?
The happy and content, and eminantly non-materialistic, Mr Shitty, of Iquitos, relaxing at home

Well its just as confusing coming out of this thing back to your old life (which in my own case is generally about making money) and realising that actually the money isn't really so relevant other than as a means to an end - But the Ayahuasca is strong. 3 weeks ago, I found myself locked out of my apartment one day, and i realised that there isnt a single thing in there that i really wanted, not a single thing. So profound a thing hadn't occurred to me before but anyway, for the first time in my life there was a temptation to simply walk away from it all, and keep walking...but of course I didnt, I packed a suitcase and went to USA, on business...so maybe another Ayahuasca tour is required, so i can end up happy as this guy..(who could forget mr Shitty, of Iquitos)

Friday, 10 December 2010

Glasgow in 24 hours (or maybe 3 days really)

24 hours in Glasgow on the other hand, is a doddle. The only problem is, that you'll want to come and live there.

Firstly, do a little tour...

The way Glasgow is built (fairly high density 4 storey tenenement blocks) means its easy to get around. To start off in the morning, jump onto the 'hop on hop off' bus tour. It has two loops, the East End and the West End. The East End is ugly, the West End is beautiful.
The Peoples Palace, Glasgow

  On the east side, you can check homeless drunks waking up to their morning can of 'special brew'. There are however a few little gems and oddities to check out - on the weekends there's 'The Barras' which is one of the worlds biggest flea markets. If you want knocked off DVD's and computer games this is also your best bet. The area half gentrified now so you see a few nice looking new developments sticking out like a sore thumb. The gem of the East is Glasgow Green, a large park on the river. It contains the Peoples Palace a strange museum devoted to the history and life of Glasgow, which actually has a really great conservatory to have a cup of tea in (if you are that way inclined) Another quirky thing worth checking (apart from the amazing Victorian fountains in all the parks) is Templetons carpet factory, which is a copy of the Doge's Palace in Venice. Also if copies of Italian Architecture floats your boat is the Ca'doro (house of gold) building on the corner of Union Street and Gordon Street, a copy of the Venetian house of the same name.

Glasgow Green, and Templetons carpet Factory

The West End of Glasgow is posh and bohemian. Full of more interesting people. Even some foreigners. Glasgow University is there, across from the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, which is well worth a visit. These, together with The Huntarian Museum (its in Glasgow University Building), and the Glasgow Transport Museum and the lovely Charles Wilson designed Park Circus all hang out around Kelvingrove Park, Glasgows best park by a long way ( I should know, i've slept in it ) Best get off the bus around here and take in this part of the city by foot, just wander around, the buildings are beautiful, the streets leafy, and theres a new and interesting thing around every corner. Once you finish up, you'll need some food. Mother India, across from the Art Gallery is the best Indian food you'll ever eat, i kid you not. Dont just beleive me - youll notice it because theres often a queue out the door. Its not expensive either, just a great atmosphere, experience and food (hey i hope your reading this and offer me free curry!!)  If you want some good healthy Scottish Seafood, go for Stravaigin (which is Gaelic for 'to wander' ) on Gibson Street, across the park.
Glasgow Uni, the other day before it started snowing

You may as well at this stage, if you want ot leave the West End back to the centre, jump on Glasgows strange little underground system, known locally as 'the clockwork orange'

Anyway, the city centre, as you know from my previous posts has a whole bunch of pretty victorian streetscape - check out in particular Royal Exchange Square, which houses the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and has some pretty funky places to eat and drink, like one up, on this link, and also Princes square if you like to combine it with posh shopping. If you like good seafood and pretty interesting Art Deco Interiors, check out the famous Rogano Oyster Bar in Royal Exchange Square too. This is the saquare with the famous statue who permanently dons a traffic cone (ever since i was a kid, im not sure who put it up there but it looks great)

In the city centre, the coolest part is Garnethill, up by Sauchiehall Street.  A must see for a visit to Glasgow is the School of Art , not only the most famous Charles Rennie Mackintsh Building, and the Alma Mater of 'The Glasgow Boys' movement amongst other painters, but also of a fair few 'Glasgow sound' rock bands like Travis, Belle and Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Snow Patrol....(even though theyre from Ulster!)

The nearby west main part of Sauchiheall Street is also worth a peek,  if by then you fancy a beer. It used to be the main street of Indian restaurants but theres a whole mix now of arty Bars and restaurants, with some trendier ones behind there on Bath Street. Being a fan of cosy dive bars, id recomend 'The Variety Bar' if you want to meet poets and chancers. Once you have a taste for it, walk West though across the motorway, and towards Woodlands Road - my favourite pub in town, Uisge-beatha there. Its a dive, its true but the quiz night is legendary (and impossible) it does a great selection of Whisky, a good mix of people (pretty much everyone with an iq over 120), and for the ladies, all the bartenders wear kilts! If you want to get drunk after that, theres 'Ashton Lane' just off the back of Byres Road thats one big bar street, with something for everyone, so long as its alcohol your looking for.

Sleeping? if you really insist, check www.hotwire.com  or www.hostelworld.com really, or better yet, just chat up a local.

ps and dont bother going South of the river unless you want to check Scottish Ballet's base, the impressive Tramway theatre.  Or to visit me of course. 



Monday, 6 December 2010

London in one day

London in 24 hours? Are you kidding me? Cancel your flight and take a week ! You'll barely get past the airport security in a day ;o)

More later....

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Scotland, the Templar knights, Robert the Bruce, and the Battle of Bannockburn

Stirling Castle, scene of Robert the Bruce's final routing of the filthy English in 1314
So, on this day after St Andrews Day (the day of the Patron Saint of Scotland, and oddly enough, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, and Patras in Greece) winter is quickly upon us. It makes Scotland look much nicer thats for sure. So i've nicked a couple of photies frae the newspaper to show you, dear reader.
Edinburgh, looking dreich as always, just the other day

The snow today in Glasgow is about a foot, not exactly Baltic level snow but enough to make ladies who lunch panic (although im not sure why because they all drive 4x4 Range Rovers) The working class are not generally affected since, like in US you can tell our poor by the fact that they are, to a person, fat, and therefor well insulated from the cold. Well, fast food isnt much cheaper than healthy food but its far more convenient.

However i digress... let me tell you a little about the history of my lovely home...im really looking forward to, at some point soon, visiting Stirling Castle (pictured) and the Wallace monument, which is halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and traces the harsh times where Scotland was getting some trouble from the English King, Edward 1st ('Hammer of the Scots') but, as you im sure saw in 'Braveheart'...cometh the hour cometh the man...and William Wallace, stirred up the populace enough, for Robert the Bruce to come back and utterly trounce Edward's foppish son Edward 2nd and take back Scotland once and for all at the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314, just at the foot of Stirling castle.
Wallace Monument, diguised as a penis

It gets more interesting though. Rumour has it the Templars got into the fight...
``...the great King Robert the Bruce supported by the Knights Templar led by Sir William Sinclair with an army of only 9,000, defeated 38,000 Englishmen, the Scots facing heavy calvary, archers and wave upon wave of staunch and brave Englishmen.

But, while their involvement hasn't been proven, historians argue that the Knights Templar (or what remained of them after they were broken up by the damn French) were given refuge in the then excommunicated pariah state that was Scotland, so im sure a few were knocking around....heres a great link - i think that actually if the Templars did in fact fight with us (or at least the Scottish ones) then they wouldnt really want to draw attention to the fact so it all kinda makes sense.

Oddly enough all this is connected to the Da Vinci code and the Roslyn Chapel, which was built by the Sinclair(St Clair) family. Who oddly enough were involved in Scottish Rite Freemasonry and are known as a leading family in the Illuminati. And who (heres one for the conspiracy theorists!) their descendant Lady Sinclair married (the heir to the throne) Jacob Rothchild a few years back. Check Here (if you are into this kind of thing) you can see that they are the leaders of the Illuminati, and it was all calculated to ensure world domination etc etc.

Anyway back to the battle - rather than let me tell you the story of how the 'wee folk' (the cooks and so on) decided to join the battle, and the English, already losing, thought this was reinforcements coming, routed and ran, leaving the Scots to capture a large portion of English Nobility for ransom, you can see the whole background of the battle in the following..

Link to the Battle of Bannockburn

well....heres to war and world domination!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

THANKSGIVING

So, as i understand it

1. The original white settlers in America were starving one winter and in some real trouble
2. So the Red Indians decided to be kind and help them, giving them food and shelter
3. Whitey repaid them by selling them whisky, giving them yellow fever, and taking their land
4. And now they have an annual celebration of it. yipeeayay! American Imperialism 1 Pocohantis NIL
5. Do I have something wrong somwhere?

Anyway tomorrow will be my first ever Thanksgiving dinner, since im in USA right now. I understand its great fun and even (bizzarely) Red Indians celebrate it, and there is a lot of food (and if you are in Buffalo, drink)

So, heres a special toast, to that ever expanding (waistline of) America -  Happy Thanksgiving !

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Kopli Life - Très Chic!

So i've now joined the vanguard of Estonias upwardly mobile community by moving to Kopli. Kopli you could say is almost up and coming. The booze is cheap here (in fact you can buy 'aftershave' to drink here too, and lighter fluid, for those cold winter nights)

I thought that maybe id be walking round, seeing some 'bohemians' and other pioneering foreigners...but, no, its just me and a bunch of Russian alcoholics for now. I walked past the bus stop last night, and a romantic couple were holding on tightly to each other and the bus stop post..awww i though. As i got nearer i realised they were so drunk that moving an inch away from it would mean they would both lose balance and fall into the puddles surrounding them. très chic - Welcome to Kopli !

The weekends are the most interesting. Apart from the 'narcos' who sing 'hallelulah!' walking down the street (al la trainspotting) the characters mostly have a love affair with 'champanski'. Or rather alcohol in general. I'm sure that had something to do with the man standing around muttering in Ristikotu street saturday in his shorts and nothing else. It was 2 degrees. Tough guys these russians.

But fortunately, the good news for potential bohemians who cant afford the newly hip Balti-Jaam (railway station) area, Kopli is totally safe. The criminals are too busy drinking lighterfluid and (for the mornings) these large brown plastic bottles of cheap strong beer, which is the Estonian equivalent of Carlsberg special Brew.

What with the drinking, they barely have time to beat their wives, although i did see some of that on the beach there this summer, ahh the romance of a summers day. Actually the woman was doing more beating than the man in this occasion, get in there! (love tip for you girls, im quite ok with you hitting your men, but dont bite us when making out as it really pisses us off) This is one big plus point of Kopli - there are two beaches. They are however, filled with Russian drunks sunbathing in the their nasty underwear, and groups of feral young guys looking for drunk girls to 'group date' Not for the tourists, not yet...

I was warned about running around here, but i have a great route now along Ristikotu and down one long boulevard, occupied mainly by surprisingly hot russian teenage single mothers and to the Stromi beach. From there you can run your way along parks and paths all the way out of the ghetto. It seems to me totally safe, although if i was a drunk robber, id go for the old ladies, not the nutter dressed like a hobo with running shoes and a backpack. I was actually kind of hoping for a fight though at some point. As fight club will tell you, fighting certainly makes a man feel alive (or dead if it goes badly)

Anyway, im off to USA tomorrow for a few days, and then London. So if you have a penthouse free, and are a beautiful rich girl who can cook, let me know, ill drop by.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

http://www.slackersultramarathon.blogspot.com/

Just for those of you who are interested in how not to train for an ultramarathon, ive started a run training blog on this site www.slackersultramarathon.blogspot.com

so i wont put too much about it on this blog here, ill just focus on traveladventures and scary stories to tell young children.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

NUTRITION, TECHNIQUE AND DISCIPLINE (WOULD BE GREAT IF I HAD ANY)

I’ve spent considerable time reading about how good nutrition affects running performance, and how a good diet is the cornerstone of any athletes life. Avoid sweets, fried and processed food, eat lots of fruit and veg. Avoid tea, coffee, don’t eat or drink too many dairy products.  Anyway my discipline sucks, here’s what i ate today.
8am breakfast of 2 x Weetabix, milk and honey (Nutrition Brownie Points – 7/10)
11am elevenses – smoked salmon on a white roll, 2 coffees and white sugar (NBP – 5/10)
2.30pm lunch – fish and chips, tea with milk and honey (NBP – 3/10)
11pm – large bag of smoked bacon crisps, half a bar of chocolate, spoonfuls of honey (NBP- 1/10 may as well have had a beer)
Anyway i’m going to write down what i eat every day now in a little journal - I think by exposing myself and writing down exactly what crap i put in my system every day, then i will force myself to a healthy diet. No, pervert reader,  I didn’t mean that kind of exposing myself.
Tonight, despite still aching legs from Sundays Yoga (I kid you not!) and after my fish and chips digested, i thought i’d do a stint in the freezing rain with a half marathon. I focussed on going slow and getting the technique correct, and although theres a lot of room for improvement, i think it started to work towards the end, or at least it either wasn’t sore or I was through the pain barrier. At this distance though, I could feel I could have done with some sugar to keep my energy levels up but that’s a small issue – I always take a little bottle with water and honey  (a true superfood and something that must make up 80% of my diet) but next time i’ll try adding some jelly babies which I hear are perfect for giving you a boost.
This month I plan to focus on diet, and technique. After this I don’t even know which country I’ll be living in so that will decide if I do this 50miler or just the Las Vegas Marathon in December.
50miles, well it’s easy to talk about when your’ sitting in your living room watching TV, but the reality is, there are all sorts of new issues come out – regulating your temperature, all those niggling pains from bad running technique and of course dehydration, hypothermia, and the other potentially fatal illness that comes from lack of sodium can make these ‘Ultramarathon’ races quite dangerous.  Anyway, now I have a task for the month, watch this space!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Crosstraining with YOGA

'GIMLI: Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for? ...'

I spoke to a veteran Ultramarathon runner the othe day, he's convinced me that i should do a 50mile(80km)  'training run' in the Welsh hills in December, so at least i have some 'mini' goal to train for now. I also asked him about crosstraining - its where you should really do other sports too to balance you out a bit and to give your legs a rest sometimes, normally with running you should be doing swimming or bike ie triathlon sports, as they are still good endurance sports but using different muscle groups.

However ive decided to take a chance that..well.....it may work, it may ruin my life. Call me stupid, call me a vegan metrosexual, call me a pervert, but I've decided to cross train with YOGA. Ok, i understand, its not the obvious choice for Ultramarathon training, but hear me out.

Ive already started this Chi Running, even to the extent of buying the book for £8.99. And it seems that its all about 'Chi' - basically on the odd occassion i finally find my sweet spot and am running in the zone, and not using any energy - well its almost like meditation anyway. Yoga, if i understand it correctly, strenghtens my 'Chi' (whatever that is) and helps with breathing, strengthening my core muscles, and increases my focus.

The point of Chi Running is that you are running using your core muscles, and you are focussed, so you dont need big and inefficent leg muscles to run. So actually, if im strengthening my core muscles and improve my focus, i couldnt possibly get a better cross train.

Ok i will try a 30km run this weekend after a week of Yoga and lets see how it pans out. Probably if i beleive it works then it will, until that Glasgow deep fried mars bar diet heart attack kicks in of course.

I actually went to Yoga for the first time in my life last night. I noticed 1. There were some fat people who seemed they were experts. 2. I was the only straight guy (which is a good reason not to use the showers) and 3. I found myself sweating like a rapist after 20minutes standing around on a small mat.  so all this is new and confusing but out of the maelstrom im sure ill know for sure if it works or not on this 80km run
 

Saturday, 16 October 2010

WHY DO RUNNERS RUN? (IT'S THE DRUGS!)

I went for my first proper training run for a month today.  I’ll try to keep an intermittent log in here, as I will be taking bets on my ability to complete this 254km Sahara race over the next wee while, with the proceeds going to PAPYRUS, a charity that helps young people with depression . I did a cautious 5 miles (8km) in a not very fast 46 minutes in chilly but quite ok plus 4 degrees today, with a bit of hail towards the end.  I’m pretty fat from the USA though so that kept me warm.  

The first run is always an amazing one though – After a mile or so I always cough like hell, it feels like all the crap living and awful processed American food being expended from my body, and usually I have a tough time in the first few miles just remembering how to run – but after 2 or 3 I got into the swing of the Chi Running again and could open the clutch a bit. I’ve decided to raise money for the suicide charity, I think quite an apt good cause considering the nature of the race i’ve entered. So if you’d like to give, just email me – there will be details on my facebook page too. The strangest thing happened though – despite having not ran for a month, i wasn’t even out of breath today, so tomorrow i’ll attempt a cheeky ten miles, just a slow one, in an attempt to 1. Toughen up my feet with blisters and 2. Get used to running in crappy hailstones (the forecast is even for snow i believe) So long as the saunas on when i get back, then i shouldn’t catch a cold. 
At the moment im fat as hell, and red, so its time to bet against me finishing Marathon Des Sables!
Anyway back to the running – the first run for a while, always reminds you of why you run.
And i’m sure you are asking yourself – ‘Yes Alan –actually why the hell do people run?

Well this is an interesting and you could say core question. You non runners will see runners out in pissing rain, snow, hail and storms, and even deserts thinking – ‘This guy is 100% crazy – otherwise why is he putting himself through this hell? ’ A point I can understand fully by the way. Other non runners will tell you it’s boring, it messes up your knees, its gives you a cold, only a total nutjob would get up at 5am and decide to do such a pointless thing like run 20km up a hill and back. WHY?
Well – every runner will tell you a few different things, but the root of it all is - Running  makes you happy. Your brain releases Endorfins and you get a great feeling of wellbeing after the exercise. So it’s basically drug addiction. Of course people say they run for the discipline, they run to relax and clear their mind, they run so they look good, they run because they will improve stamina and be better in bed. And all these are true. But... during and (especially)) after a long run, you feel great, confident, positive, and want to do it all over again – and that’s why it’s addictive.   When you’re running smoothly, you’re totally in touch with your body and what it’s doing, it’s like meditation – at these times its easy even to fall asleep, (so don’t do it on a busy road)

And with Chi Running you don’t even expend enough energy to get tired, so you can run a longer distance than you normally would if you were pounding the pavement and messing up your knees. 

I’ve also stopped drinking now so if anyone sees me with a beer/wine/pint of vodka please punch me in the face (guys) or kiss me (pretty girls) or at least put a bet against me finishing the Marathon Des Sables (all girls and guys)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

FINDLAY IN DARWIN AWARDS ATTEMPT

My application for the Marathon Des Sables has now been accepted, so now i plan to make the most of my impending doom by raising money for a charity - With this in mind, i thought id put it out to the public, if anyone has a specific charity theyd like to see money raised for, please let me know, and let me know a reason why they should get the money. Emails to my facebook page or here please!

Friday, 8 October 2010

HACKNEY, LONDON. AND MOUSTACHE RELATED INVESTING

When i bought my first ever flat in London Fields, back in 1999, the only guys with Moustaches in Hackney were hairy Turkish guys selling kebabs on Kingsland Road. I’d moved up from the then seedy Ironmonger Row in Shoreditch (of the famous Turkish baths), much to all my City Boy Colleagues shock and horror to what was a the time the ghetto front line. (they now all live here) Broadway Market E8 was a typical East End high Street, with the Cat and Mutton, a pretty dodgy boozer with a pool table and a bunch of kebab shops, greasy spoons, and vacant boarded up shopfronts. There was one art gallery there, owned by a cantankerous but very proud old guy who hated me for some reason and ruined one of my paintings.
Moustache Pioneer, Venezuala

However, I could see all the seeds in place for a textbook gentrification – At the time there lived a pretty messed up mixture of Blacks, Vietnemese, Turks and Hasidic Jews, none of whom liked each other particularly, along with a few cockneys, looney lefties and starving artists. Although it was dangerous enough, too dangerous for English people, the architecture in the area is great and the area was obviously posh 150 years ago. The most important seed was that there was an established community of artists and general crusties, living in squats and setting up some pretty crazy gigs and raves in abandoned buildings around. It’s also slap bang in the centre of London and while at the time the tube was a far off dream (opened this year), you could still walk from Shoreditch to the City in 15 mins.

Fast forward two years to 2002, and Shoreditch in particular really started to move. Despite being a total shithole. There was a whole bunch of crusty bars, the most famous being ‘333’ or ‘The mother bar’ which, along with the White Cube gallery opening on Hoxton Square were true catalysts that helped Hackney become the coolest part of London bar none. I’d bought as many flats as i could by then, then bought the then totally fucked ‘Bikes on Broadway’ shop at 73 Broadway Market, which i can now proudly say is the offices of Findlay Property Investment (website here if you want to rent a flat or invest or simply talk to nice Estonian girls in London) We kept the bike wheel, i cant remember why. Theres also some random neon bike sign upstairs, it was just too much hassle to take down, but i'd like to think it was our part in 'creating' the vibe there.
Broadway Market - Trustafarian Dickhead Central

The big turnaround in 2002 for Hackney, in my book, oddly enough – the defining moment if you like, was the opening of ‘dream-bags&jaguar-shoes' in 2002. They just got a shoeshop in Kingsland Road and threw in a bar and hey presto!! Every bar in the area was stowed out by that time with everyone thinking they were onto the coolest thing in town – you didn’t even get mugged in Hoxton Square anymore. There were bars everywhere, strangely enough mixed in with Strip Bars for the City Boys (where i used to have lunch i must confess) and thankfully houses prices were going through the roof thanks God.
Moustache HQ, Shoreditch, Hackney

However, if you walked up Kingsland road towards Dalston, a few hundred metres though thats where the real action was – there was a dodgy Russian bar called the Wolf and Rabbit, and a Black club which overnight turned into a Russian club (ahh Oksana from Lvov i’ll never forget you! ) You never knew what was going on in that dodgy looking warehouse where the noise was coming from – people would have punk gigs in their squats, striaght out of 'the young ones' and id usually end up in one underground all night bar (whos name i cant tell you) The owner i’m sure was a police informer, as every character under the sun was hanging out there looking shady. Every now again a big group of strange gangsters would come in, well dressed and looking like pro football players (they were big movers in the Heroin business ) would be well spoken and polite, and would all introduce themselves (all 6 of them) by the name of ‘Fletch’ Ive no idea why. The Turks run the heroin business in London, the would tell you and they were ‘in construction’ To add to the real life ‘snatch’ effect, they had some lovely illegal Ukranian girls working there, poor lambs.
Some parts of Hackney are yet to Gentrify (note lunchtime can of Carlsberg Special Brew)

Walking round today the place has totally changed. The tenants are much better for a start, and i don’t find guns in tenants wardrobes any more. Broadway market and London Fields are now THE destinations to be at in London. Its full of restaurants book shops and wanky galleries. There a bike shop cum cafe. There a guy on a monocycle cruises around. There are guys with stupid looking moustaches.

There’s good and bad to this gentrification – on the plus side, i’ve seen and met some great looking girls in Hackney, something you’d rarely see back in the day (except our staff of course but they were Estonian and Japanese imports) but on the negative side, it seems to now be full of twats. For example, here in Jaguar shoes, there are 3 guys with moustaches, including the waiter. The moustache count has reached 20% - which to me means time to sell up. Hackney has now peaked and become so cool its full of total tossers. So i’ve been to Foxtons and put all my places here up for sale. Buffalo i didn’t see a single moustache – a great buying signal if i ever saw one !

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Surprising Buffalo


Market Arcade, Main St,  Buffalo (1922)
So what the hell is Buffalo like? Well, if youd asked me a year ago i would say that its the place with the Niagara falls that invented Buffalo wings and has a really crap American Football team (all of which are true) But it seems now i know it better, Buffalo, like Glasgow in the past, has been given a pretty bad rep, usually from people who have never visited the city.

You can see from arriving at the place that Buffalo started growing in the 19th century - Things started moving in the heyday of the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825. The city was located at its western terminus which allowed the then sleepy village to grow into a major shipping hub for the fast growing west. It grew exponentially all through the next hundred years as immigrants, particularly Italians, Poles and Irish, flooded in, and by 1900 the city had produced 2 Presidents (Millard Fillamore and Grover Cleveland), had more millionaires per capita than any city in the USA, and was home to one of the world’s largest transportation hubs. The cheap power from the Niagara Falls attracted steel plants and allowed Buffalo to become one of the largest steel producing locations in the US.  And so, like in Glasgow, the wealth from all this industry is reflected in the citys pretty impressinve Architecture.
Buffalo City Hall (1929-1931) in Niagara Square
City Hall, detail
Modern copies, Chippewa St, Buffalo
M&T Bank, Buffalo
Niagara Mohawk Building
 The downtown area, makes a great morning walk around (Theres a good hostel there too)– start on Main Street at the Market Arcade (also the tourist visitor centre is there) and walk down Main Street towards the HSBC building (this is HSBC US HQ) You’ll see the M&T bank and the Niagara Mohawk Building (one of my favourites) amongst a whole bunch of renovated smaller buildings on the street itself. 
Then head west round to see the various art –deco towers including the 32 storey City Hall ,( one of the tallest in USA) and then up to Chippewa Street, which has some interesting ceramic and Terra-cotta buildings built in 1906. The street was originally the citys red light district, but now has a Starbucks and is one of the citys main bar areas– its more the young and drunk crowd here though, more sophisticated people will move on up to Elmwood.  If you walk round here in the morning though, it’s worth grabbing some lunch on this street – ‘the spot’ coffee shop also has some nice food deals and is pretty healthy for USA.
Houses of Artsy Allentown
Elmwood St, Allentown
'The scene' in this wannabee New York neighbourhood

After this, it’s worth walking or taking the bus up nearby Elmwood Street, which runs right through 'Elmwood Village'  and Allentown, the citys ‘artsy’ area. At first the area has the usual bohemian shops and houses, the cafes, tattoo parlours and antique shops and galleries that epitomise every ‘Bohem’ area in every US city. As you move north towards the Wright Knox Art Gallery  it gets a little more suburban with a whole bunch of decent restaurants from every corner of the world, trendy independant  shops and the ubiquitous coffee shops – again ‘the spot’ is the busiest place in town, and it is even possible to see good looking girls here, a rare breed in US (well, for a guy who lives in Estonia at least!)  At night this area has a few wine bars and so on, more for the more sophisticated or the SUNY crowd, compared to beers, shots and fat girls in miniskirts in Chippewa St. 
Wright Knox Gallery, Delaware Park, Buffalo
The Old Mill (V.Van Gogh 1888)
Unbeleivable crap - this 'painting is called 'the tree' Its a blank canvas. Nice work! I wonder what mug bought it?

The Wright Knox Gallery is at the north end of Elmwood Street, at Delaware Park. It has a pretty eclectic collection of quite strange modern art (some totally useless like that pictured) and some quite interesting pieces like a Van Gogh and some other famous works.  The area to the north is also interesting for architecture buffs – there are no less than 5 Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Buffalo (amazing, only beaten in the world by Chicago!) and in the area around Delaware park, among the mansions there sits his ‘Martin House complex’ which is open to the public – you can check this out at www.darwinmartinhouse.org  .

Around Buffalo, there are also some interesting sites – the Great Lakes themselves are quite beautiful, and if you drive for ten minutes outside the city for ten minutes north across grand island, you get to the famous Niagara Falls. You can drive across to the Canadian side from here too, although to be honest it looks quite spectacular from the US side too. You can park for free for 20mins (not many people know this!) if you drive into Goat Island and drive PAST the extortionate parking lot, for 200metres. I suppose that is too far for Americans to waddle, so it’s a WIN for Europeans (those who aren’t fat at least) The Canadian side of the falls is pretty developed compared to the (tacky) US side, which for some reason has about 20 Indian restaurants (does anyone know why?!!!)  And has 2 big casinos (6 decks blackjack for all you card counters out there, with good penetration too)

So there you have it.

Friday, 27 August 2010

FRAUDSTERS IN TALLINN - PLEASE CIRCULATE

Greek conman tryng to hid his face in Olumpa hotel, Tallinn
I had an interesting but disturbing situation recently, which i dont mind sharing, even though the fraudster may be reading this (but the more people who know about this the better!) After a very long story 2 years ago involving a team of Italian mafia fraudsters in Milan, a bag full of money, and some near death experiences (all of which is another long story) I found myself that this gang of fraudsters were a little bit pissed off at me (i think connected to me taking 1500 Euros from them) After a few months, i started getting phone calls from all over Europe from perplexed people saying that they just met with a dodgy looking geezer who said his name was ME, and had my passport and was selling real estate from my (legitamate) website, but they wanted to do the deal in some strange way involving cash (which is the 'sting' that they use - they want to make a forex transaction with sleight of hand where you lose all your money or get shot dead if you dont) Anyway, I understand one (quite silly) woman in Greece handed some money over to a guy in a hotel (really, who the hell does that?) and we got the police involved, who of course it being a real crime, were not remotely interested (it didnt involve speeding tickets you see)
Anyway, after changing passport and putting out warnings etc. for the banks, i didnt hear anything until yesterday, when by some lucky coincidence, one friend told me that a guy called him (thinking hes some random investor) saying he worked for me, and was selling real estate (from my legitimate website) and WAS IN TALLINN. So what an opportunity for a sting. The TV was interested, reporters interested, in fact everyone except those dozy cops were interested. Anyway....best i dont say anything more yet, but here is the main member of the gangs mugshot, above  - please circulate this post and if anyone has seen or heard of 3 sleazy Greek guys with fliers on real estate deals, pretending to work for me or any other real estate business, please let me know - THEY MAY STILL BE IN TALLINN, so if anyone has any details of where they stayed etc. it would be very good information.

And watch this space!

Friday, 20 August 2010

What Really happened in Venezuala - 2 - Los Llanos

Me and the guys and a 6m long Anaconda
One other interesting area of Venezuala is Los Llanos  - its in the south of the country and is difficult to get to, but despite sounding like a boring big wild piece of grassland, it was worth the trip. We got ourselves there anyway, and decided firstly to find a Giant Anaconda snake, as they hang out round here. So we saw a tail hanging out of the water for a metre or so, and thinking it was a reasonable size one, me and two local guys decided to swim across and inspect closer. It turned out to be the longest they had seen for a long time, (6m long!) so we got a rope round it and swam across the water back to the tourist group (of which i was ostensibly a member) When we got back, i found that the water was full of Piranhas. What a way to die! So we fished them and ate them - id say the best tasting fish ive ever eaten, full of flavour surprisingly. But just look at those teeth!!

Piranha fishing


Hungry Croc
There are loads of 'wild' kind of things to do around here, like horseriding and hunting crocodiles, and the food is all local and fresh and delicious. We even ate a large local guinea pig, which not surprisingly tasted like pork. English isnt spoken at all really, and the place doesnt really have towns as such, just isolated farms, so sorting accomodation is better done in Merida or Caracas via the inevitable tour guide hustlers that you meet there.

Monday, 16 August 2010

CHI RUNNING (and the fact that the solution always comes when you are on the toilet not thinking about anything in particular)

I had an interesting conversation the other day about 'The Secret' and how it does seem that if you really need somthing, then somehow there is always a lifeline thrown your way. As soon as that one door closes then the other one opens and you look back and realised that you should have actually closed that door ages ago anyway (you all know what im talking about!)

Anyway one thing happened to me recently that illustrated this, my Ultramarathon training had been proving...well basically impossible. Ultramarathon means you have to train long long distances, and these longer runs are great for bringing out niggling injuries (im no spring chicken anymore remember)- if you are pounding a pavement for 150km a week then the repetition with normal or 'power' running totally breaks you. Its ok to run through the pain, but it was beginning to get to me, how the hell am i going to run 254km straight, if after 30km i get such pain in my knee that i can hardly walk never mind run? Well i suppose its at these times when you simply dont have a solution, that you get totally depressed - what kind of idiot would i be to mess up my health just for a stupid run?

To be honest this was almost what i wanted - its always easy to look for excuses so you dont have to do somthing difficult, and its just when things look too difficult that all those demons come out to tell you that you dont have the strength to go on. Its the same with any challenge. However instead of giving up and looking like a dick, i searched and searched and finally found the perfect solution (or rather it found me) - Chi Running.

Its a technique where you use gravity and your core muscles to run. You use about 30% of the energy you normally do and you dont get injured. Win win! If you are even half serious about running, i suggest you buy this book (or cheat and read it here for free)  The most important chapter, if you are browsing, is to read chapter 4 which is on p58
Chi Running Book

It means i can go out, get drunk on friday and saturday, and still run 25km on a hot and humid sunday afternoon (the true story of my weekend)

But more importantly, here, the moral of the story is that, from out of nowhere, just as i was thinking i was totally fucked, a solution provided itself, and now i actually know i can do this race. Now all i need is the same thing to happen in all the other messed up parts of my life ;o)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

What Really happened in Venezuela - 1 - Lake Maracaibo

So i know i did write a lot of crap about Venezuala in previous posts. And  despite being mildly humourous , im afraid it wasnt true. What did happen was that we cruised around some really amazing part of the world that, (thankyou Mr Chavez), doesnt get visited very often, expecially not by tourists, and (thankyou Mr Chavez, actually sincerely this time) especially not by Americans, who are told not to go, thanks God.

The delights of Caracas


I dont think theres much to tell about  the capital Caracas except for that is a hot and humid and very dangerous place. Well, actually i didnt see any trouble at all and i did stay in some shady areas but i think nightwalking is quite out of the question here, even for idiots like me.  Just think of city of God withouththe police presence. Well i dont think my girlfriend at the time would have stood for me being kidnapped / eaten so i gave that a miss. I did however firstly force her on an adventure of a lifetime. The most surreal and beautiful place i'd say was certainly  Lake Maracaibo on the Northwest End of the country. Its a little bit of a wild west place, as its where the oilfields are, the most patriotic Venezualans, and of course the disputed boundary with Guyana (Esequibo). So again dont be popping out for that midnight drink in the any of the Barrios of the cities there, you just never know what kind of kidney cutting adventure you may end up in. 

The lake itself is amazing and beautiful - i dont think ive ever swam an a more beautiful environment.
 
The middle of Lake Maracaibo


We got a small and fast boat across the lake, and in the middle, jumped in for a swim, and some dolphins joined us. Its quite shallow but i dare you to try to swim to the bottom, i certainly couldnt. At the West side, is a small remote fishing village on stilts, which is one of the strangest places i've ever been.

Church on stilts

Anyway, the population of about 150 seriously inbred looking specimens, survived fishing on the lake, living totally on these houses built on stilts (pardon the bad photos, ive lost that camera so dont have the originals any more). There was even a church built on stilts here. But the even more surreal thing about here is that, (until strangely it seems January this year) there was basically a permanent lightning storm. Every night, without fail, the sky would crackle and shards of light would stab down on some distant (or dangerously close) tree or boat. Catatumbo lightning tells you more about it - its the most prolific lightning storm in history and has gone on for centuries.
Catatumbo Lightning (stolen from the wikipedia website, thanks guys)

To be honest though, im afraid i have to dash the dream of all you budding ethnically aware eco warriors out there - these little buggers who live in these villages couldn't be described in any way as noble savages.  They live like and act like pigs. We stayed on hammocks outside a little hut, and im sure if we hadnt a guard they would be in there stealing our stuff. They also dropped all their crap into the river which they fished, including plastic things and so on. Doh! I mean piling it up somewhere wouldnt have been that hard guys. Talking of pigs....

This photo will be ruin my career one day

Friday, 6 August 2010

Punk in Estonia

Can't you feel it right now? It's in the air, thats for sure. The deep down nervous energy, the boiling resentment - Im sure its not just me, its everywhere. Id say if you want to grow a cult army of disenchanted followers to start the revolution, then NOW, dear boy is your time.
 
Punk im sure of it, is about to take off on a second wave - what with a whole generation of disenchanted feminist mindfucked youngsters, thanks God for extremist fagins who can warp these young minds into a frenzy of hatred, be it against government, parents, blacks, whites, businessmen, gays, nazis, muslims, chinese or just more general hatred. Well I suppose it gives them something more interesting to do than World of Warcraft.

I've been more than a bit (pleasantly) surprised this last week by the punk offerings in a small city like Tallinn. Twice this week, i've had the pleasure of full on Punk gigs, complete with a proper moshpit. First with Kaptain Korsakov on Friday then tonight a whole bunch of bands in Von Kraal, headlining, the (pretty unimpressive) Psychoterror.

Friday i cant tell you much about, i understand it was good but i also understand that the evening began with us finding a very cheap Vodka place and drinking it in a Tallinn Law students leaving do (i think that was it at least) And the vodka was even cheaper at the party, which led to 3 days of not needing to top up (great training for the Marathon De Sables)

Tonight i was sober (since its thursday and actually i dont really drink so much) Von Kraals selection was two small and hungry bands - the first was so so - then when second band, Guiseppi Perverdi (what an awful name) came in  i was just asking myself, why the hell do people go to a punk gig to 'dance'? Fortunately, like a dream come true that amorphous brawl of a moshpit appeared.

For those of you who dont know, a moshpit is what happens at the front of a punk/thrash concert, its at its best when someting fast and thumping comes on. I suppose its a combination of people jumping into each other and pushing each other with some force and energy and  hoping that when you jump, there are other people to crash into, otherwise you end up on the floor, feeling like a dick. Although it looks violent (and ladies, please keep off there, its not clever and you just get in the way) its not so bad, and is usually good natured unless you get the odd nutter who does actually start a fight (no one usually notices though to be honest) but the adrenilin rush from a good band is unbeatable, the energy, slipping on a beer stained floor and still managing to stay up, or jumping off the stage into a pile of random people who's name you will never know, or in a larger one, surfing on top of the crowd until you get to the stage then jumping off.....well, thats the kind of 'feedback' i miss in cold hearted Estonia, so these times really made me see that there is a heart beating under the thick layers that smothers the passion in any typical Estonian.

The 2nd band had to stop as they broke their drums (Rock and Roll!) but the final headline band (this Psychoterror were, if im honest, disappointing. I kid you not - they had sheets with the lyrics on them that they were reading from! If i was a teenager, id say FAIL. (but im not) Also, they just didn't have the energy of the 2nd guys, althugh they did get a good moshpit going, but the floor was slippy by this time (mainly from a watermelon that randomly found its way being torn apart in the moshpit)

Anyway, seems punk is not dead after all - i even got some bruises to show it - can see the start of somthing big here so watch this space!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Holy Shit, you dont really exist !

Ok so everyones talking about this film 'shutter island 2' or sorry i think its called 'Inception', so it seems there is a big interest now in 'who are we' and 'what the hell am i doing here?'and possibly 'why do nice girls hate me?'


Ok on the first two - Personally i think these guys are only touching on the edges of the subject - the whole thing has already been worked out - how? Well firstly lets assume

1. That we are all, along with all objects in the visible universe made up vibrations. ie we dont really exist.

2. That our real existance therefor is not in this 'plane' of existance, but somewhere else.

Woooa hold on you might say, crazy stuff to assume but dont worry ill come onto these more later - just bear with me. Lets now think that what is the logical conclusion to come to if above are true? Well...heres the obvious ones.

1. Our souls truly are immortal, since we dont actually exist in this life, we exist somewhere else, or in fact many different places at once.

2. Time doesnt exist as we know it.

3. So no point in fearing death, failure, pestilence, or being turned down by that hot chick that works in the HR dept.

Ok. So can you imagine that everyone in the world knew this? That no one any longer feared death? well there would be some crazy suicides and wars sure, but also people would actually see the world in a much more positive perspective. Imagine that you didnt fear failure or rejection, becuase it doesnt actually matter? Well im pretty sure you would do ok.

This is the real Bible code guys, all our religions are telling us this but just asking us to believe it with blind faith, whereby in reality science is actually proving the whole thing.

This is a difficult subject to grasp, i know - the current search for the 'higgs bosum' is also at the heart of 'string theory' and its offshoots which is a whole quantum physics subject of its own, but ill try to explain the basics firstly behind the assumptions. Lets take a step back and stop trying to pretend we understand what i just said then....

On the assumpitons -

1. WE ARE ALL VIBRATIONS - String theory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory  is a quantum physics theory that is rather dull, but part of its basic idea is that atoms are like little 'strings' which vibrate at different frequencies and therefor take on different existences.
For example if you vibrated at a different frequency you would become a tomato. Or a higher frequency then you would have a different thought pattern from say someone with a lower frequency, who was a criminal. It also means that everything you see is also simple vibrations at different levels. This is the basis of the idea that you get 'good vibes' from a place for example. The most important part of this is that if you split an atom (subatomic particles are called electrons) then they have the same reaction, EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY BE AT THE OPPOSITE END OF THE UNIVERSE (See we all are the same person ) ie the theory is that was all part of the whole universe, if that makes sense)

2. WE DONT REALLY EXIST - Atoms only exist when conciously measured. Otherwise they dont seem to exist. Strangely enough this ties in with Shamanic teachings on Spirits - Spirits only exist when your concious mind visualises them. So in theory then they are as much of existance as you or I, who are simply vibrating  atoms which dont really exist if we arent conciously seeing them. This link gives you some interesting background on the main theories behind this -  objectiverealitydoesnt exist

To check the facts - im sure you want an easy read, so check  'The holographic universe' by Michael Talbot) or if you are even more lazy watch this little short movie -  howtoscareaquantumphysicist .

So there you have it guys. This is the true truth behind the universe and the next piece of knowledge which will, i suppose herald the next big wave in human development - remember you read (and misunderstood it!) here first!!!!

 ps be sure to read the additional info if its all too complicated, or if you want to get to sleep.
pss on the third 'why do nice girls hate me' question, its because you are a dick.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Roadtrip to Finland

So, this weekend, I explored the lakes of Finland, with my intrepid Viking companion, who for reasons best known to herself brought a childrens summer tent for us to sleep in. We decided that the tour should be totally random, with coin tosses being made for the logic of most decisions, a ploy I recommend if your roadtripping in a quite boring place with good company. First stop was Porvoo, a pretty little town on the sea, with a little wooden old town, churches, lots of quaint shops and restaurants,  and for some reason, no seafront. It felt more like Sweden than Finland but that could have been the Swedish tourists. I’d recommend wandering about the old town though, then driving up to the island on the river estuary and you can sit down and annoy the locals by having a picnic at the private jetty (like we did)


A toss of a coin brought us north, to some random persons summer house in the middle of nowhere, where we camped at the lake, and took a swim and wash etc. I understood that you can pretty much camp anywhere, and since the owner wasn’t there we thought it was all good, until the neighbour saw our fire and chucked us off. Anyway, in hindsight, the solution here is to tell him in loud English that you don’t understand what he’s saying (even if you do) and keep doing whatever you’re doing until he goes away (Finns are a pretty meek bunch really) But don’t take the piss - don’t use his sauna or sleep in his living room unless he invites you, unless of course you are a refugee/asylum seeker/gypsy then you can do anything you want in Nordic countries, just like in UK.

Anyway, bizzarely we came up on a deserted beach on another lake and got the childrens tent up just when the rain started. We were woke when it was light by some fishermen (and also the fact that the tent was soaked and we were frozen) and got up assuming it was normal time, when in fact it was 5am – these damn Nordic summers, you can’t tell if its night or day, especially if you drank a bottle of Finnish Liquorice Liquor the night before washed down with wine.
We found a cafe and tourists info. stop on the road junction for breakfast at 9am, which was mildly amusing for the fact that it confirmed my lurking predjudices about Finns in that  1. It was full of overpriced, and unhealthy food and 2. At 9am it was full of fat inbred looking men drinking beer.
Next stop, the coin said north, so we passed Mettala (only a Finnish town could be named after its favourite music Genre) and headed up to Mikale, possibly the most boring town in the universe, but with one of these cool ‘quirky’ ‘arty’  coffee shops that packs in middle class chicks and that sold baked beans and oddly employed an old chilled out black guy from South London (the black guys tend to like the fatties so i’m guessing he’d shacked up with a local Finnish chick and come over) This town I realised is the furthest North i’ve ever been.  Mikale is on a lake too i believe, and has a nice church, but really there isn’t much to do there, even the main local hotel is called ‘Cumulus’ Hotel, (which presumably means they only operate in places where the weather is crap – have i just stumbled upon a deep vein of ironic Finnish ‘humour’?) You can however, in true Finnish style, buy leather waistcoats in the main department store.

Anyway, the toss of the coin had decided  we were hitting the ‘rainbow’ hippy festival  somewhere northwest of there,  but the rain was coming down in buckets and all East Finland was raining (and it was freezing) so we excersiced our artistic licence by ignoring it headed west and south for the sun, with some vaguely nieve idea that we’d get lucky again and find a deserted paradise beside a pretty  lake where the sun would be shining and the earth soft for a (mini)tent under the stars, and the world outside wouldn’t matter and no one would care how bad my poetry and jokes and writing is.

And oddly enough we got one (kind of), at the side of Paijanne lake, although we did cheat as the  restaurant/bar was nearby and so we could get into some real Finnish style partying, by getting some 40% ‘Mintto’ shots down us and prepare for the impending thunder and lightning that was coming. We could also brush our teeth and so on. Anyway, this section of lakes, around the teeming metrolpolis of Sysma is also great, although with the bigger lakes, the water tends to be freezing, even in July – but jump in with a gusto (preferably drunk and naked) then you can wash yourself of sorts, and after 5 minutes it becomes warm (and you think you can swim to the other side, hence the high Finnish ‘suicide’ rate)
The next day the weather got much better as we headed toward sub tropical Helsinki – I plucked up the courage to jump into the lake wash at Lahti, which could have been described as ‘bracing’  then to  a ‘beach’ at  JarvenPaa . Oddly enough , (i didn’t tell you this of course) you can drive a mile or so south to school and there is a beautiful beach Sauna house, with a jetty that you can run out and jump in the lake from, that for some reason may not be always locked (of course using it and being caught will mean you’ll have to explain to the police that you read a blog that said it was ok to do that, but i’ll leave that to your discretion dear reader)

Anyway, now it’s back to Tallinn and a shower and sauna, with my view of countryside Finns as a very pleasant bunch of fat introverted drunks firmly intact.