Meanwhile...

Ephemera and whimsy
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Rutabaga
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Rutabaga » 4 months ago

I was wondering about the clown fancy-dress thing, then I remembered having seen a TV programme once about people who go on cruises. Some of the old hands bring along very elaborate fancy-dress costumes because there are usually on-board competitions in which the winners get Lots of Expensive Swag. Perhaps someone felt aggrieved that they would have brought their costume if they'd known? It all reinforces Dunckel's description of these things as a cross between holiday camp and prison. :D
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Dunckel » 4 months ago

Rutabaga wrote:
4 months ago
I was wondering about the clown fancy-dress thing, then I remembered having seen a TV programme once about people who go on cruises. Some of the old hands bring along very elaborate fancy-dress costumes because there are usually on-board competitions in which the winners get Lots of Expensive Swag. Perhaps someone felt aggrieved that they would have brought their costume if they'd known? It all reinforces Dunckel's description of these things as a cross between holiday camp and prison. :D
If you look at the cruise adverts - Rob Brydon for example - you see a sales pitch of luxury and tranquility with a personalised service, when the reality is the mass catering, group entertainment and regimented activities familiar to those who visited Butlins in their youth. Some close relatives of ours went on the Norwegian cruise with Cunard's Queen Elizabeth. Now the service and structure was well above the Carnival Line standard, but you were still told which evening you were invited to The Captain's Dinner and which nights you were assigned places at the various evening shows and entertainments.
I fully understand that for some people having everything organised for you and having not to plan and think is appealing; even I sometimes like someone taking charge and just going with the flow (the Cambridge Pienic for example, wonderfully organised and driven by some bloke). So I see the place for cruise holidays, but these huge ships are just processing people and unsustainably exploiting the places they visit.
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Rutabaga » 4 months ago

Dunckel wrote:
4 months ago
these huge ships are just processing people and unsustainably exploiting the places they visit.
More anti-cruise-ship complaints, from Mallorca this time. The photo of bloated cruise ships accompanying this article is obscene! And they're not just "processing people" either. This was news to me: the "grey water" that these ships discharge relatively close to shore (from swimming pools, showering, etc) creates oil-slicks of greasy suntan cream residue that quietly pollute the local ecosystems.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/ ... y-in-palma
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Dunckel » 4 months ago

Here is the Norwegian view which echos exactly what was being said to me by people in Bergen.

https://www.newsinenglish.no/2019/06/06 ... e-control/

Another issue of similar nature are the huge all inclusive holiday resorts. I was in Kos last year staying at a very nice smaller hotel. Kos town itself has seen a huge change in its fortunes over the past few years. Locals told me how the town used to be bustling from the morning right though until past midnight with the restaurants, bars and tourist shops full and earning good money. However a couple of massive all inclusive resorts have been built and the whole place has changed. Although there are the same number of visitors in the town the older hotels are struggling, daytime trade is down with the all inclusive tourists just buying ice cream and drinks during the day and disappearing completely in the evening back to their dining halls and organised entertainment. The resorts also ship their food and drinks in direct from off the island in refrigerated trucks so the local traders see nothing of it either.

No wonder there is a backlash against cheap mass tourism.
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Rutabaga » 4 months ago

All this was accurately predicted, and warned against, in 1973 in Ernst Schumacher's marvellous book "Small is Beautiful". Cheap mass tourism was just a glint in tour operators' eyes around then, hardly any ordinary people even went abroad. I remember the excitement when my parents went on their first foreign holiday in the early seventies, to Mallorca as it happens. Alas, that Schumacher's concept of "enoughness" was scorned, and the results are such a global disaster.

This comment piece is rather old, but every word of it is true:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... nomic-idea
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Dunckel » 4 months ago

A very interesting article, thank you.
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Lullabelle » 4 months ago

P_20190728_205323.jpg
The Tour is done for another year
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by JohnToo » 4 months ago

I've just read the Fridays Irish Tour Report on the website. Sounds like a good 'un albeit small in numbers?
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by JohnToo » 4 months ago

My usual question at this time of year. Any of you good folk doing the Prudential Ride London this Sunday? It might affect how much flapjack I bake...
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Rutabaga » 4 months ago

JohnToo wrote:
4 months ago
I've just read the Fridays Irish Tour Report on the website. Sounds like a good 'un albeit small in numbers?
It did sound good fun, but way beyond my capabilities and possibly those of others too. That might explain the small take-up, perhaps.
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Joan » 4 months ago

Joan wrote:
4 months ago
A bleak day, my lovely Aunty Joan has died, and boris is pm.
The thing about having once had 18 aunts and uncles, is that a week like this was almost inevitable. Joan was my mum's eldest sister. This morning I learned that Ann, my dad's baby sister, died. She has had alzheimer's for many years, and after fighting of a bout of pneumonia, when it came back a week later they decided the kindest thing was to treat it palliatively. So again, expected but unexpected. I hadn't spoken to Ann in many years, the last time I saw her was a lovely afternoon tea we shared with her where she seemed much like her usually self, but I found out later she found it distressing because she kept remembering and forgetting who I was (she covered it beautifully) and was worried she had said something wrong. I agreed with my cousin that we wouldn't put her through that again.
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Iris » 4 months ago

Rutabaga wrote:
4 months ago
It did sound good fun, but way beyond my capabilities and possibly those of others too. That might explain the small take-up, perhaps.
Way beyond mine at the moment too, but on the face of it it looked less taxing than many previous tours - shorter days and no compulsion to ride every day help.

I suspect the low numbers were a function of unpredictable weather and the fact that our nearest neighbour is such a pig to get to from the part of the country where most of the club is based. No trains every 15 minutes taking a couple of hours and dropping you at an overnight ferry this time!
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by Rutabaga » 4 months ago

Less taxing than the Netherlands? Really? I wasn't aware that the tour stayed in one place this year either. As I dislike boats at the best of times, the idea of that particular ferry crossing was the final nail in the coffin for me!
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by The Real Ravenhurst » 4 months ago

Rutabaga wrote:
4 months ago
Less taxing than the Netherlands? Really? I wasn't aware that the tour stayed in one place this year either. As I dislike boats at the best of times, the idea of that particular ferry crossing was the final nail in the coffin for me!
Iris wrote:
4 months ago
Way beyond mine at the moment too, but on the face of it it looked less taxing than many previous tours - shorter days and no compulsion to ride every day help.

I suspect the low numbers were a function of unpredictable weather and the fact that our nearest neighbour is such a pig to get to from the part of the country where most of the club is based. No trains every 15 minutes taking a couple of hours and dropping you at an overnight ferry this time!
It wasn't easy riding compared to any of the continental tours - there were three days involving a lot of climbing and one with a longish distance and a challenging headwind. Plus two of the lumpiest days were very hot - the day in the Slieve Bloom mountains was very tough indeed and I don't think @Rutabaga would have enjoyed that, or the brisk dash to Clonmacnoise. Also the small group threw the differences in strength/fitness into sharper relief. The days needed to be shorter to offset the challenge of the terrain. However lots of it was easier and felt very continental - rolling into small towns with market squares for coffee and suchlike. As Iris observed there were optional days off/shorter rides/luggage free days, we were lucky with the weather throughout, and we had unexpected help with luggage on some days, including the one where we crossed over the Wicklow gap. I wasn't very fit at the beginning of it after having had the winter off with injury, but I was definitely stronger by the end. I did two different ferries - Fishguard to Rosslare on the way out and Dublin to Holyhead on the return. The trains connections for both are not bad, but of course the cycle capacity is low. The food was very good - the Irish have not succumbed at all to the fashionable UK phobia of bread and potatoes and you get superb bread and lashings of butter with everything; the beer not as good as Belgium but better than the Netherlands...
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Re: Meanwhile...

Post by JohnToo » 4 months ago

20190803_124934.jpg
Even though Johnson is PM and global warming unchecked, some things still uplift the heart.
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