The barbeque

Mans last domain and his summer throne

Cooking with fire made by man,

takes us back to a simpler time,

so powerful and primative,

plus it makes food taste good.

It’s mans throne in the summer,

our last domain of control,

even the kids recognize,

authority of the king,

when he’s stood cooking at the grill.

In control of his world,

we stand on his every word,

waiting for the food and fun to come.

Happy times with family,

shared in the summer sun,

food and beer and stories,

the days go on and on.

The long days of summer

Another Poem about Summer days in the sun

Long summer days,

lazing under the sun.

Summer’s the season,

so full of fun.

The heat of the sun,

vacations and family fun.

Days spent exploring,

free from the school.

A child’s delight,

fun with friends in the field.

Those special summer days,

that seem so endless,

still fresh in our mind’s,

forever and ever.

Freedom and Rebellion — The Joy of Motorcycles

Once part of pop culture Motorcycle riding is declining fast

Ever since man first jumped on a horse we have wanted speed.

The feeling of freedom.

The danger and exhilaration.

Since the early 20th century we have been able to pursue these feelings on 2 wheels or 4.

A motorcycle at 15/16 years old, was the gateway drug.

The boardwalk racers of the ’20s, the ton-up boys of the ’50s through the rockers of the ’60s and ’70s. They all embraced motorcycles as a gateway to freedom, rebellion, and speed.

Today this once iconic form of self-expression is disappearing. In the last 30 years, new motorcycle sales have dropped by over 50%. So has the amount of young people taking the bike test.

There are many reasons for that, the tests are harder. The bikes themselves are more expensive, so no big advantage in cost over a car.

But the number 1 reason is that Motorcycles are no longer seen as rebellious.

There is no shock factor in riding a bike anymore. Your parents may not like it, but it’s not shocking.

As we know every teenager wants to shock. So we move onto the next thing.

I can’t help thinking though that generations are missing out on the real fun.

Freedom

As a biker since my teens, I’m biased, but for me, there is nothing like the freedom of being on a bike.

Just you, the bike and the road. Time to think, space to grow.
Plenty of time to open the throttle and enjoy the feeling of speed you can only get on a motorbike.

There is a sense of space and freedom on a motorbike that you don’t get anywhere else.

As the world moves forward so do bikes into electrification. That freedom can come guilt-free in an environmentally friendly form.

If you have ever thought about getting into motorcycling, I would say go for it.

As a biker since my teens, I’m biased, but for me, there is nothing like the freedom of being on a bike.

Just you, the bike and the road. Time to think, space to grow.
Plenty of time to open the throttle and enjoy the feeling of speed you can only get on a motorbike.

There is a sense of space and freedom on a motorbike that you don’t get anywhere else.

As the world moves forward so do bikes into electrification. That freedom can come guilt-free in an environmentally friendly form.

If you have ever thought about getting into motorcycling, I would say go for it.

There is a risk, yes, but the rewards are huge.

After all freedom and rebellion are two of the cornerstones of the human state of mind!

The simple life — Gardening our secret pleasure

Anyone remember the simple life?

The sit-com where a couple ditch the corporate life and become small scale farmers?

While they went all in, there is no reason that we can’t dip our toe and enjoy the same benefits.

Sometimes the simple pleasures in life are the best.

Spending time outside, and growing things is hugely enjoyable.

Being able to eat what you grow is also great. The result of that hard work always tastes sweeter.

Especially today when we can’t pursue a lot of our other hobbies. Its been a huge amount of fun growing fruits and vegetables.

We also rescued the abandoned grapevines and gave them a new lease of life. If we get some continued good weather, a bit more rain and some luck we should have grapes to make some wine.

Sitting at home, not being able to exercise as much as we would like, it can be hard.

Whether you have limited room in an apartment or balcony. Or your fortunate to have a garden.

Its great fun, a simple activity that’s harder work than you might think.

A de-stressor, exercise, and food production all in one.

If you have been looking for some inspiration to try something new. I can really recommend some gardening.

Its been a secret pleasure of ours since the spring. Now that we are enjoying the fruits of the labor, I think its time to share it.

The future’s bright, the future’s a robotic cleaner

We just bought a robot vacuum, it solves so many issues…

House chores some people hate them, some people love them. Either way, I can think of much better things to do with life than cleaning the house.

That may be a terrible statement but its true. I was a spoiled child who got to skip household chores. That means today I rebel against the idea of me cleaning.

My partner is the opposite and had house chores during her childhood.

Cleaning duties in our house are sometimes like war.

Until yesterday I had two main tasks in the house.

  1. Washing dishes
  2. Vacuuming/Washing floors

I know it isn’t much and I can’t complain.

Still, there has to be a better way. It’s not like cleaning adds value to our time after all.

There are only 2 of us, so when you take the energy consumption of the dishwasher into our lives. It’s not a worthwhile trade-off.

Besides washing dishes from 2 of us, takes 5 minutes.

It’s the vacuuming and washing floors that need to go.

Not just because I hate them. I’m human and so far from consistent.

The solution may have arrived…

Again there are only two of us. Neither of us grew up particularly wealthy so no cleaner. We don’t feel that’s the correct choice for us.

Instead, we welcomed a new robot vacuum and mop into the house.

Already it’s proved its value. No more lost time, or time doing something we are not interested in, and no more inconsistency.

Once our cute little robot has been around the room once, it built a map. After that tell it which room its in and walk away.

After it has mopped or vacuumed it sends a notification.

It’s a fantastic little thing and a huge time saver.

Why???

Yes I know it sounds like a waste of money, but its build to the same standard of a high-end vacuum. It costs a similar amount of money, and I don’t need to drag it around.

Life is busy, things that bring us no joy get in the way.

We work, we have hobbies. Anything that gets in the way gets cut.

This is an extension of that outlook on life.

The future is here, it’s robotic, what an interesting time to be alive!

Watches — How to collect on a budget

Watch collecting should be fun, but it needn’t break the bank

There is something so cool about the way a wristwatch tells the time.

Whether its a beat up thing your wearing for work or leisure or you have a statement on your wrist.

Mechanical watches never go out of fashion.

Smart watches have been and pretty much have gone.

The old faithful remains, unaffected by fads and fashion.

Another thing that remains the same is the belief that you need money to collect watches.

Sure if you want to collect Rolex, Omega, Patek or any of the big boys, you need deep pockets.

That shouldn’t stop any of us collecting watches though. A $10 dollar watch that looks good on your wrist is as good as a $10,000 watch.

Its not the name that’s important, its the what the watch does, how it looks and how you feel when its on your wrist.

With that in mind, lets take a look at the ways we can build a watch collection on a budget.

1. Cover the basics

Basic watch maintenance can get expensive fast.

The first essential for watch collecting on a budget is covering the basics.

– Invest $10 on a basic watch maintenance tool kit. Ebay and Amazon have 1000’s of them.

Once you have this kit next stop is you tube.

Adjusting watch bracelet lengths, by adding or removing links

– Changing watch bracelets and straps

– Changing watch batteries for your quartz collection

These are the small jobs where costs add up.

Once you have your tool kit you can learn to do these tasks on you tube.

You will save a fortune buying batteries yourself before the labor costs for example.

No more paying for a watch bracelet sizing or replacement or a new strap. Which brings us to point number 2.

2. Welcome to the world of customization

This is the real secret to collecting watches on a budget.

One watch can have many different looks. A bracelet, different straps, a NATO band. Each changes the look of a watch.

I have a Seiko Prospex which I have had for years and its my go to daily driver.

It has a yellow face so its easy to change up and give it a new look. As a result that watch rarely looks the same 2 weeks in a row.

That actually goes the same for the rest of my watch collection. The $50 cheap used watches through the Tag’s and Omega’s all get the same treatment.

One watch has so many different looks.

My favorite watch is a 1950’s Tresso dive watch. It’s dressed up for weddings and other fancy gatherings. Likewise it gets dressed down for other occasions where I need a casual look.

All it takes is 2 minutes to change the strap.

You can buy 1000’s of high quality straps and bracelets online for less than $10 each. All you need to know is the width of the strap where it fits into the watch. This known as the “Lug” width.

Once you have the straps, the tools and no-how, one watch has many looks.

3. Know where to buy them

I very rarely if ever buy a new watch. Almost always I’m a second hand buyer.

Likewise I don’t use watch clubs.

Where I do buy is ebay, gumtree, and dedicated watch sites such as Chrono 24.

Because I can do the basic maintenance myself. I don’t care if it needs a new battery, the bracelet sized or even a new strap. Ill do that myself.

If I like the watch and it works ill buy it, its also cheaper that way.

I have also picked up rare watches that need parts. Much cheaper than buying a functioning example. All it takes is time to track down the parts that I need.

4. Do it for the joy of ownership

Colleting watches on a budget is not going to make you money. The people making money from watch investment are buying rare watches worth $1000’s.

If you want to collect watches on a budget, its best that you know upfront that its not going to make you money.

Final Thought’s

There is something so effortlessly cool about a really nice watch. Like anything mechanical and seemingly old fashioned. They have a feeling all of their own.

All you need is some basic skills and the use of the great resources online. Once you have those, you too can own a great watch collection without it costing you a fortune.

The silk road

A poem about the historic silk road

A road and a story as old as time,

Asia and Europe crossing a line,

bridging divides between people and culture,

crisscrossed with danger, predators and vultures.

Dusty and hot, snowy and cold,

lined with silk and incense and gold.

Through valley high and river deep,

the road is so long and no time to sleep,

goods to buy, to sell and exchange,

travelling by horse days out on the range.

Riches in person, in life and in spirit,

life’s an adventure, go out and live it.

How to make the expat life work for you

The essential checks when getting ready to move

Being an expat is a great experiance.

Travelling and experiencing different cultures and getting paid for it.

As someone who loves to travel, for me it doesn’t get any better.

Everywhere you move opens up new and different opportunities.

One thing stays the same though…

Whether its your first time or your an experienced member of the expat circus.

The preparation you put into the move, will make or break the experiance.

Too often people hate their new location. It’s not an uncommon feeling and almost always its because they didn’t prepare.

Think about it?

Moving is one of the most stressful things we humans do. Moving to a new country, new language and new culture doesn’t make the process any easier.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. We can do some basic research to prepare for the move to make it so much easier.

1. Research the Country on Wikipedia

Sounds simple I know, but this is a good place to start. Often a company asks us to go somewhere and we know roughly where that place is on a map, but that’s about it.

The basic facts you need to know are all in Wikipedia, that goes for the country your moving to and the city. Weather, history, population size, transportation, all this information is available in Wikipedia.

2. Join an expat group

Social media is your best resource here and its free. Join an expat group specific to the country and the city your moving to and start asking questions.

In these groups you may have to filter out some of the info you get. But in general, cost of living, entertainment, quality of life, schooling. The group will have the answers to these questions.

You also get the bonus of cultivating new friendships you can pick up in person on your arrival in country.

3. Check the visa requirements

Always a tricky one.

The visa process is the thing which creates hold ups for any potential move.

The key here is to research what’s required and don’t rely on your employer to tell you.

Worse than a big delay for the whole family is when one person goes to start work and the rest of the family have to follow.

Being informed and prepared to work through the visa process, avoids this issue.

4. Travel Connections and costs

Depending on where you will be moving to this is one that can catch you out.

Pre-2008 this wasn’t much of an issue. Companies provided plenty of free flights for their expats.

Nowadays its one flight per year. You are going to want to travel around more than that, and go home at least once. Do the research and make sure that its affordable.

You don’t want to find that all the sacrifice and working away from the family doesn’t cover your travel.

Make sure you know your costs before you commit.

5. Life doesn’t just happen at home…

Life doesn’t stop because your living abroad. You may be planning for children or marriage etc.

Plan upfront, your embassy will be able to tell you the services they offer. If you have a child in country or want to get married for example having a plan for that will set you up for success.

I have friends who had a child in country, then were stuck in country for 6 months.

The reason?

They didn’t plan upfront for passports, birth certificates etc. for their newborn. It was all done at the last minute as they didn’t think it would an issue.

Some research before hand would have avoided a lot of stress.

Final Thought’s

Having the opportunity to live and work as an expat is an honor.

It’s also great fun and a fantastic experiance.

Preparing for that change and the place you will be moving to, will make or break your experiance.

Doing the research and working out if its the right move for you, is key.

If it doesn’t look right for you, it isn’t. Other opportunities will present themselves over time.

That said, it if it’s the right for you then go for it.

Getting Creative — The Brave Writing Choices

Experimentation comes with risks, but its the only way to improve

The first brave choice any writer makes is publishing.

What started for me as a series of listicles or even worse dumping thoughts on a page, has taken a turn.

I’ve realized that to improve I need to experiment.

If I stick to what I know and I’m comfortable with I’ll never improve.

This is not about money or followers or stat’s, I enjoy writing and want to be the best writer I can be.

That means being brave which in my case means trying to be creative.

You see my first love is non-fiction.

As much as I enjoy fiction, I’m a binary kind of person.

I can thank being an engineer for that.

To get out of my comfort zone I need to embrace other forms of writing.

Today that experiment was poetry, which I must say I enjoyed.

Something I would never have imagined myself writing.

The opportunity to experiment was there and I’m glad that I took it.

What’s next?

That’s a good question and I’m not too sure.

Getting out beyond my comfort zone is a must if I want to improve.

Writing in different styles and genres. Improving my editing skills. These are all areas I need to delve into and its scary.

Until I started writing I had no idea how intimidating it could be.

The brave the choice to publish, how steep the learning curve is and how big the world is for a writer.

If your willing to be brave and experiment there are a whole world of possibilities.

Conventional wisdom says we should find a niche and stick to it to be successful.

That might be true but the world is full of brave choices.

They almost always lead to something amazing and unexpected.

The first brave choice as a writer is always hitting the publish button, the second?

Well that’s up to you.

Lessons from the Silver Screen

Great life lesson’s from a movie called “Click”

Lessons from an Adam Sandler movie???

I know, I know…

In fairness it was a Sunday night and there was nothing else on Netflix we wanted to watch.

Christopher Walken is in the movie we thought we would give it a go.

Whats the worst that could happen right?

In the end although its not either actors crowning glory, it did provide us with some thoughts to take away and reflect on and some life lessons.

Not too often you get them in a 1hr 20 family comedy

Can you control life???

In the movie the basic premise is that with a magic remote control for your life, that this is possiblle to a certain extent.

So while there are no do-overs, you can fast forward on auto pilot through the bits of life you don’t like.

We see the main character hit the fast forward button through arguments, meetings, illness, work days.

The lesson: Live in the present, hit the fast forward button and all too soon life is over. Huge chunks of time can go by without you noticing.

Skip the small stuff and miss the big changes

As our character moves forward through life missing all the small “unimportant” stuff as he goes, more of his life is spent in fast forward.

By not living in the present he starts to miss the big changes and milestones in life.

Years pass by in a blur, loved ones die and family grows up and changes.

The lesson: Make time for the small stuff, and learn to enjoy it, it all adds up and adds color and context to the big changes in life as we experiance them.

Where’s the rewind button???

While we can spend too much time in fast forward mode, unfortunately for us in real life just like our lead character found in the movie their is no rewind button.

The lesson: We don’t get the chance for a do-over in life, its what we make of it the first and only time around.

What about a replay button then???

Luckily for us, we don’t need to be in a movie to have the advantage of a replay button.

That’s provided for us by the remote control that we have the ability to click in our brain.

The lesson: While we can’t go back and relive events we can replay them in our mind and learn from them.

Learning from our mistakes is surely one of the most powerful lessons we learn as children.

The power of that lesson should not be reduced as we grow older.

Takeaways

Life isn’t always simple, and of course there are times when we just wish we could hit the fast forward button.

However the joy of life is its many up’s, downs and challenges.

The things we enjoy, the things we learn to love, along with those parts of life we would rather not deal with, they all shape us amd make life what it is.

When things dont go so well, we don’t have a fast forward or rewind button.

What we have instead is a set of lessons we can learn and pass onto the next generation.

Watching them grow and being present for the small things that up to the big steps and changes in life is what counts.

The joy of life and of living is in the small stuff…