Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Blog-free Zones – A month without blogging and (almost) no Internet

September 3, 2012

It’s back to life, back to reality, as the Soul 11 Soul song from 1989 went and I have returned to the land of Blog, from whence I have been missing – a self imposed ban, tis true, but worth it, methinks.

Let me recount the wonders of an (almost) internet free 40 days.

1 No time wasted pootling around all sorts of distracting rubbish on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter; or my wondrous in-box (which I normally love)

2 Lots of time to read – 4 academic texts with extensive notes + the wonderful Night Circus – more of that to come

3 Even more time to write – to not write blogs means you can write other stuff and so 50 000 words of first draft of new novel completed + 2 draft chapters for PhD exegesis

4 A lovely feeling of freedom, of being disconnected from the world, so no Olympics, no naked Prince Harry, no R-Patz – Kristen Stewart shenanigans, no GCSE melt-down, etc, etc. The world does keep turning without knowing all these things as they happen!!

5 No obligation to respond to FB, or email


So, it’s been like a return to another time, another galaxy where none of the electronic wonders of our modern world existed. Instead I read and studied and wrote all day long. Beloved plastered, painted, ripped out walls and re-made the house, girl-child helped too.


The Young Pad Wan played her saxophone every day, exercised and entertained herself with lots of self improvement stuff important to mid-teen girls. We played scrabble, trinominos and had fires outside and drank wine, talked under the stars and had picnics at the lake.

It’s nice to be away, it’s nice to live life differently for a while, to shut off the real world. You can live without all sorts of things. God knows I love my iMac and I love my blog – do I devour my stats and agonise over pix for my posts? Indeed I do, dear reader. Am I keen on growing my following? Absolutely. I love the magic of blogging, of having real readers. We all do.

But it’s nice to know that we can live without it – even if, really, ultimately we don’t want to. And still the spam and readers came while I hibernated. Spam count: 66. Visits: 783 – not too shabby for nothing new for Jactherat for all of August.

But it’s nice to be back, so, onward and upward: new recipes to come, some new pondering about life, love and relationships, a book review or two and some more wonderful general wisdomosity, dear and faithful readers. (Pictures courtesy Google Images and Private Collection)

The ideal holiday – 40 Days and 40 Nights

July 22, 2012

I will be away from the world of work and electronica for 40 days and 40 nights. Indeed I am hopeful that the link to Noah is not portentous, as I’ve really had enough of the rain this English ‘summer’.

Yes, dear reader, it’s time for the long summer holiday, the time of the year when everyone wishes they were still as school, or uni, or a teacher!

40 days is a goodly amount of time. It was the time of flood in the bible that wiped out sin and unicorns, not to mention dragons, and other evil stuff.

40 days is the time of Lent, when Moses went up Mount Sinai and hung out with God without eating or drinking any food. And most people think they suffer by giving up chocolate.

40 Days and 40 Nights is also a 2002 movie about Josh Hartnett giving up sex after a nasty break up with his girlfriend – apparently he fails dismally and has loads of sex, but fails to get over the aforementioned g-friend. Don’t worry about this.

My 40 days will be a mix of abstinence and indulgence, as really, the ideal holiday should be.


I shall abstain from

Anything to do with work – no emails, no reading, no preparation, no evil thoughts sneaking in to waylay me

Public Transport  (once I get to France) – not one bus, or train or tube, just my own Jag and lots of walking

Anything to do with the Olympics – being not there will be a huge relief, especially as my world of public transport, ie London Bridge, will be severely disrupted

Electronic communications – we are without internet and the wonderful web of world-widedness so I will not be emailing, surfing, tweeting or blogging. So dear, reader you will have to make the most of this last post until September. Re-read some of my older stuff, it’s pretty enjoyable too.


I shall indulge in

Sleeping – especially sleeping in and afternoon naps and other assorted bed-time activities having been apart from beloved for 33 days

Wine and cheese – well I am in France and the cheese is wonderfully runny, pungent and economical. The wine is abundant, cheap and as I’m in Champagne how can I not support the local endeavours?

Walks in the gorgeous countryside and trips to the local lake for picnics and a spot of fishing

Reading – loads of study stuff plus the odd recreational read

Writing – of course, it’s me isn’t it – what else would I really indulge in? I shall write 2 chapters for my exegesis and play a bit with my crime story

Playing games with beloved and baby girl – lots of Scrabble and Trinomimos, a bit of Articulate, but no Monopoly whatsoever, ever-ever!

Trips into the town nearest our village – little shopping sorties, bread from the boulangerie, coffee at the café, dinner at our favourite restaurant.

Doing nothing – in the sun, in the countryside, sitting, just being – chatting aimlessly for hours, feeling no need to do a thing!

Have a lovely break if you are off and away. Being away from your normal life is a wondrous way to recharge and revive your life. Don’t feel compelled to do anything other than what you (and your family and friends – no need to be completely selfish) want to do.

So, tis to the Eurostar, bright and early and away. Travel well, my friends, I’ll be in touch in a while. (Images courtesy Google Images & Private Collection)

Holiday Movies to Get You in the Mood

July 20, 2012

In the good old days, when I was an Antipodean the big holidays were at Christmas 6+ weeks of bliss, sun and sand, a bit of water, lots of fun and sleep once Christmas was put to bed.

Now it’s still Summer (all right, not at all here in Britain) and the holiday stretches uxoriously before us and I still watch the same collection of movies that move me into the zone, unwind me after a hard year and let the stresses slip away.

See if you know these: see if they send you to the same relaxed zen place, getting you into the holiday zone in 90+ minutes of the right stuff.


Water – with Michael Caine, Valerie Perrine, Billy Connolly and a plethora of other great English actors.

Set on a Caribbean Island, where life is idyllic, dope fuelled and windy and warm every day. Political upheaval, sexual desires, laconic humour and a soundtrack from Eric Clapton and George Harrison is more than enough to take you to your own island paradise. This is close to my favourite film. Written by Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais, of many great British films and comedies, you can’t lose.


Shirley Valentine with Pauline Collins and Tom Conti

From lousy Liverpool to gorgeous Greece, join the oddysey of a middle age woman in melt down, old before her time at 42, ignored and taken for granted by her husband. But on holidays refinds herself and life again. Based on Willy Russell’s one woman play it is the best antidote to winter and the best ad for Greece you’ll ever see. Who wouldn’t want to run away to a taverna on a beach on the Med?


Withnail and I – written by the delectable Bruce Robinson (who has a cameo in another fab holiday film) and starring Richard E Grant (but was nearly Bill Nighy) and Paul McGann features the holiday from hell.

Remember – ‘we’ve come on holiday by mistake’? It is darkly funny, sad and silly all at the same time. More a reminder of life past and foolishness forgotten, but also a wonderful way to relax into the holidays, especially if you take up the drinking game to accompany the film. Always good to begin the holiday with a hangover!!


Still Crazy, also written by Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais. Starring Bill Nighy, Jimmy Nail, Stephen Rea, Billy Connolly, Stephen Rea and Timothy Spall with cameo from Bruce Robinson.

This is the ageing rock band – Strange Fruit – making a comeback, searching for past glories but finding past indiscretions instead. Great music – Jimmy Nail and Bill Nighy both sing and the music is good, fab acting, lots of fun. A big poignant in spots – great fun all the way.


Yes, there are tons more, and I haven’t even touched the Xmas movies – that was another blog. But these are fun and get you in the mood for relaxing, indulging and getting away. What more could you want?

Enjoy. (Images courtesy Google Images)