New Header Picture: Bangkok sunset

Chao Phray River Bangkok
Sunset over the Chao Phraya River, Bang Sue, Bangkok

The Chao Phraya is Thailand’s major river flowing 372 km from the confluence of the Ping and Nan rivers through Bangkok and into the Gulf of Thailand.

In Bangkok the Chap Phraya is a transport artery for a network of river buses, cross-river ferries, and water taxis. The river buses are cheap and are an excellent way for tourists to see Bangkok.

According to wikiyoyage the prices currently are around 30 Baht (roughly one US Dollar) and there are a confusingly large number of different boat lines:

The photograph was taken in November 2018.

Global Golden Hour: Sunsets around the world

Amateur Hour presents: Global Golden Hour

The Photos app that comes bundled with MacOs periodically produces slideshows. Normally, these are themed around places or dates. One caught my eye though – it was called ‘Golden Hour’ and included photos I’d taken from many places. Usually, photos taken around sunset are better because the quality of light is better.

Sunsets from

China: Tianjin, Beidaihe, Sanya

Thailand: Bangkok

Ireland: County Roscommon, the Irish Sea

UK: Leeds

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to export it so it could be edited. I had to re-create it manually using iMovie. This is the result I call it Global Golden Hour: Sunsets around the world.

The soundtrack is “In Memory of a Free Festival Part 2” by David Bowie which I thought was appropriate. All rights remain with the original artist blah, blah blah, no profit is being made, blah blah, fair use, blah blah.

Click here to open in a new browser window

New Header Picture: Pingdingshan

Nei Mengu
The extinct volcanoes of Pingdingshan, Xilin Gol, Nei Menggu

平顶山, 锡林郭勒盟,内蒙古

Pingdingshan in Xilingol League in Inner Mongolia has a very distinctive landscape. There are many extinct volcanoes from a time when this was the sea floor. This photo was taken in early October and the lush green grasslands had already faded to their winter brown. Even so you can see a flock of sheep in the foreground.

The interactive map is a new feature which I’ll maybe use again now that I know how to do it.

For tourist info click here

“Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind.”

 – Seneca

11 reasons why Roscommon is the best county in Ireland

  1. Lakes – Lough Allen and Lough Ree
  2. Great Towns – Boyle, Frenchpark, Roscommon, Castlerea, Strokestown, Athlone and Ballaghaderreen
  3. Historic houses
  4. Golf courses – if you like ruining a good walk that is…
  5. Nature – Rivers teaming with fish, woods and forests and don’t forget the bogs!
  6. Roscommon Lamb – pass the mint sauce please
  7. Roscommon Castle – looks lovely doesn’t it
  8. Good nightlife – okay so this might be over egging the pudding…
  9. Mining experience – visit the coal mining museum in Arigna
  10. Home to Chris O’Dowd
  11. Primrose and blue steel Roscommon football team

Overland Odyssey to the Orient – The Prologue

The Prologue

The cliche that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step is misleading. Before I took that first step on my 5,150 mile journey* I felt like I had run a marathon.  The list of tasks to be completed seemed endless at first. Obtaining a CELTA qualification and quitting my awful job was the easy part. Sorting through a lifetime’s accumulation of bits and pieces and miscellaneous crap, throwing away what was not required and putting the rest into storage was hard. Everything had to be moved, as much as possible was recycled.  The St Gemma’s Hospice and St George’s Crypt charity shops both accepted a lot of my stuff hopefully, they will make some money from them.

Getting my house into a good condition where it could be rented out was even harder.  Planning my journey was fun but getting the tickets and visas was less so.

A Citycabs black and white taxi

Before I left I managed to fit in a day at Headingley to watch a county cricket match between Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire with Percy, Chris and Cousin Martin.  Yorkshire had a bad day at the crease but went on to win the match. A sunny day , the sound of leather on willow, good company, good food and plenty of ale – life doesn’t get much better than this.
The last few days were hectic but on August 7th at 13:00 British Summer Time I found myself standing outside my house waiting for a taxi that would take me on the first part of my journey.
* That’s as the crow flies the actual distance travelled was much greater.

Box Set: Ewan McGregor: Long Way Round (Two Disc Set)

I’ve recently finished reading The Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World by Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman, about their epic motorbike ride from London to New York via Magadan in Eastern Russia. and empathised with this sentiment:

“I thought back to the day a month or so earlier when we had been in Mongolia. It was mid-afternoon and we were riding through a beautiful valley. I pulled over and got off my bike. Charley, ahead of me, stopped too. He swung his bike around and rode back towards me. Before he even arrived, I could feel it coming off him: why are we stopping? We’re not getting petrol, we’re not stopping to eat: why are we stopping?

I walked away from Charley, I didn’t want to tell him that I had stopped because we’d passed the place. The place we’d fantasised about months before we’d even set off from London. A place with a river of cool, white water and a field nearby to pitch our tents. The place we were going to stop at in the middle of an afternoon so that we could cool our sweaty feet in the river while catching fish that we’d cook that evening on an open fire under a star-speckled sky.

I’d seen that river half an hour earlier. There was no question at all that it was the place. A beautiful big white river and nobody for hundreds of miles. And we had ridden straight past it.”

Click the link below for a bigger picture of a Mongolian river much like the one Ewan McGregor must have seen.

Update 2022:

…having been to Mongolia I can confirm that it is has spectacular landscapes

BBC Monsoon Railway

Update: – No longer on iPlayer , but it is on Youtube (resolution 480 so just about watchable)

Information is still present on the BBC website though

BBC4 Monsoon Railway

Fascinating BBC television documentary about the Indian Railways which brought back memories of my trek across India and Nepal many years ago.

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway

Time travel back to the age of steam.


A Yorkshire tradition, the KWVR has been in operation since 1867.

If you want to visit Haworth and Bronte country then the KWVR is the best way to get there.

You’ll have seen it already though in movies and period TV dramas including the Railway Children, Peaky Blinders, Testament of Youth and many more.

Stonehenge – Guide for visitors

“Stonehenge is the UK’s Unmissable Wonder”

Nice commercial site about Stonehenge, complete with a timeline and some good photos.

From the site:

“There is no documented purpose for this monument but it has been referred to as a burial place, a calendar, and a place of worship and sacrifice. While new research has ruled out some earlier theories, there is still no solid confirmation on the original purpose of this monument. One thing is for sure, knowing the time period that this monument was built and the lack of technology puzzles the mind and creates a worldwide fascination. If you have plans to visit England, no visit is complete without a visit to Stonehenge. The construction and purpose of this monument are still unsure by researchers, but when you walk onto this ground, you will experience a step back in the past. Some visitors find the experience majestic, celestial, or spiritual when they first encounter Stonehenge.”

In the footsteps of Joseph Rock 重走洛克路

In the footsteps of Joseph Rock is the journey of Sydney blogger Michael, following the footsteps of ‘bad-tempered and imperious’ Joseph Rock, who travelled through western Sichuan and the Tibet borderlands in the 1920s to reach Minya Konka, once thought to be the world’s highest mountain.

The writing is superb but the genius is in the photography, placing side-by-side Rock’s photos with Michael’s own equivalents taken 70 years later.”