I thought that I’d post some photos that I have taken with a few comments made on each picture. I will use each photo as a discussion point as people often say to me that I have done so much travelling and worked in so many different places that I should write about it. Only, I find it hard sometimes to know where to start. So using my photos as a talking point seems to be a good solution.
Check my website www.alsphotosite.wordpress.com for more.
This is my son Paddy and was taken in 2017 on the west coast of North Island in New Zealand. I adopted my son in Swaziland in 2006 so he has now been part of my life for twelve years. We hired this van from a rather unscrupulous outfit as it turned out. It had clocked almost 200 000 km by the time I had the pleasure of driving it. It actually had cobwebs under the bonnet. I love New Zealand. I first visited the country in 2003 on a round the world trip. I wanted to show Paddy what it had to offer.
This was taken from the top of Roy’s Peak near Wanaka. This is in the middle of winter and there were not many people climbing this 1 km high mountain that day. The snow was pretty deep near the top. This view in my opinion is stunning.
In 1997, I was living in Zimbabwe and took a road trip that year through Namibia with a house mate and some people we met in Cape Town. It was my first time seeing Namibia and what struck me was how flat and arid much of the country was. In many cases, the roads continued in a straight unbroken line as far as the eye could see. At night, distances were deceptive. A light on the horizon would take a fifteen or twenty minutes to come into view even driving at 100 kph because it would be 30 km away.
You had to be particularly careful driving on the dirt roads. We had hired a VW Golf from Cape Town and had been warned about speeding on the dirt roads as cars frequently overturned killing those inside. One of those amongst us was a twenty-something English woman who, whenever she was taking turns driving, would drive at breakneck speed. This made me very nervous and no matter how many times I asked her to slow down, she would not do so.
This photo was taken in about 2001 in Matopos National Park, near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. It shows my friend Tim Cherry (behind the wheel), his son Andy (with the red cap) and my friend Nontando’s son Kelvin. I met Tim and Nontando whilst teaching in Zimbabwe in 1996 and 1997. When I began teaching there, 1 GBP was worth about 10 Zimbabwe Dollars. By 2002, the exchange rate was something like 60 000 000 000 dollars to a pound.
This photo was taken from aboard a ship that I took from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales in southern Chile. It took three days and wove its way through these fjords. I was in Chile as part of my round the world trip in 2003. I had got the idea of taking this voyage from reading the book by John McCarthy and Brian Keenan who, when held in captivity by an Islamic terror group, had discussed what they would do on their release. They talked about setting up a yak farm in Patagonia. So it was that five years after their release, they did in fact travel to Chile and covered this vast and diverse country by almost every mode of transport possible. They took this same ship that I did and it was this that gave me the idea to take the same journey through the Chilean fjords.
This rather retro-looking shot is of my campsite in the Chimanimani Mountains of the Eastern Highlands in Zimbabwe. I think this was in 1996, my first year in the country. I was hiking on my own and had rather a heavy rucksack. At one point, I stumbled and badly sprained my ankle. The pain was so bad that by the time I had descended, I decided to camp for the night as I could no longer walk. A couple of young German women hiked past where I was camping, in a place where you would definitely not choose to set up a tent, and I remember trying to impress on them that I was in trouble and needed help. They could not speak English nor I German so they just stared at me and walked off without attempting to understand me.
About six years later, I had reason to have my ankle x-rayed after another bad sprain and the doctor asked when I had broken my ankle. It turned out that I had fractured my fibula in my lower leg in 1996. No wonder it was so bloody painful.
In 2003 on my round the world trip, I decided to learn to fly in Port Elizabeth. I studied at Algoa Flying School. It took about five weeks and flying was done in Cessna 150s. The previous year, I had learned to skydive at Witbank Skydiving Club in Mpumulanga Province, South Africa. I continued to skydive there when I began working in Swaziland as it was only about a four hour drive. I haven’t flown myself since 2006 as it is so expensive. I stopped skydiving about the same time when I adopted my son as I didn’t have the time. I found the kind of people who skydived in South Africa very macho and there was a fair bit of racism at the club so I wasn’t sorry to stop going there.
Fluffy was a cat that I acquired when I was living in Hungary. I lived in Hungary for three years from 2008 whilst working as a maths and physics teacher in Bratislava. There were a number of feral cats that I used to feed in the village where I lived. One gave birth to a litter of kittens in my living room, and fluffy was the runt of the litter. She died in December 2018.
This photo was taken in about 1950, and shows my mother and her two aunts. This is probably taken in Slough where one of her aunts lived at the time. On the left is Edith and in the middle is Ada.