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Category Archives: Away

Posts from around the world.

Yousef and I went to Bahrain over the weekend to watch my brother compete in the Middle East IKO Dojos Karate Tournament. I have a transparent belt in Karate, so I had no idea what to expect.  This was the first event of its kind in the region and participants were mainly from Bahrain and Kuwait.

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The last of my Scotland posts comes to you from Sumburgh.  It’s not a secret to anyone who knows me that I like birds.  In fact I love birds, always have done.  Puffins are a special case for me.  Ever since I was six years old, I saw a picture of one in a book and kept it for years.  Every time we visited a zoo, aviary, or if I came a cross a book, I would seek them.  I even bought a tacky Swarovski model of a pair of puffins – which I probably like a little too much.

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The world sometimes feels smaller to me than the small Shetland Islands, north of Scotland.  I live in Kuwait, I work for a Houston-based American company, with a head-office in Sens (in France), and I cover the Middle East and the UK.  Last week, I had a meeting at BP’s Sullom Voe Terminal. I later spent the late afternoon exploring the place including an hour of bird-watching.

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My wife and I visited Aberdeen a few years ago, and my limited memory of our visit is of a very grey city.  As my plane landed, I could see the long beach, the river, and grey!  Rows and rows of buildings and homes covered with local granite.

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It’s funny how some places seem to always fall into the category of ‘I’ll go there next time’.  Montmartre has been on my list for the past three years, and every time I’m in Paris, something gets in the way.  I had an unexpected free afternoon yesterday, and – despite the terrible weather – I went to have a look.

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Last week, my work took me to Germany.  It was my first visit to Hamburg.  The trip lasted the typical just-under-two-days, but I did have a free afternoon to look around. Hamburg is a small city, well organised and easy to cover on foot.  But it was freezing! Snow and ice everywhere.  On the day I left (Wednesday) it was snowing again.  Ice floated on waterways and sat stubbornly on sidewalks.  Some lakes were almost completely frozen.  The main Christmas tree on the big lake was still there late February, waiting for the ice to thaw… hopefully before Easter.

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I spend a lot of time in the air. I have done for more than fifteen years.  It’s fair to say that whist I don’t hate flying, there isn’t much out there that impresses me! This was the first time, in a long time, when I was actually excited about a flight.

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I’ve been away for a few days and a little too busy to post.  I have however been taking photos; and I should be able to play catch-up during the forthcoming five-day holiday.  The posts will include photos from the Special Forces event at Kuwait Towers last Saturday, some shots of (and from) the new A380, and a postcard from Hamburg  where I am today.

For this post, I wanted a photo that symbolised a break/pause.  I was inspired by the silly title, and the word ‘Gap’ made the choice obvious.  If you haven’t yet guessed it, it’s a close up of my jeans.  I used a Canon G11 on a macro setting. I’m impressed with what this little camera can do.  I can’t wait to buy a macro lens for my Nikon, which I hope to do in the summer.

Have a wonderful break.

I returned last night from a very frustrating trip to Dubai.  I’ve always known integrity is rare in the business world; now I add decisiveness.  People are so busy covering their backs.  Half – if not more – of their energy is invested in avoiding decisions. Result in our case: A year’s work – of putting small pieces together for a business deal – fell apart yesterday because of one man.  He was born without a spine.

Anyway, this is a positive blog, and positive it shall remain.  My meeting was in Jebel Ali and I had to rent a car to go in.  I therefore had some free time in the afternoon, and for the first time in Dubai I had a car.  I’ve driven there before, but I was stuck often there with colleagues.  Non-photographers are not as patient when, say, we’re waiting for the sun to be at exactly the right angle…

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My travel has increased dramatically this month and I just don’t have any spare time.  I was in Bahrain and Saudi last week, Qatar and Dubai this week, and finally France and Germany next week.  March should be a little lighter.

I was going through our photos and found this one.  I took it back in 2006, when Yousef was just over two.  I had been trying out a new lens in the garden as Yousef watched from the doorway.  When I realised I had the keys in my pocket, I asked him to close the door.  He hesitated, as that would have left him alone inside… His confusion created a wonderful natural expression – which I had to capture.  As mean as it was to do, I’m so glad I did it.

I’m out of the snow and back home today.  It’s around 20ºc in Kuwait, which is a welcomed change for me.  This was London yesterday.  I woke up to a white blanket all over London Town.   Lucky my flight was late evening, and the weather calmed down considrable,  Apart from a twenty minute delay for de-icing, the rest of the flight was perfect.

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Last week, I was on the DLR looking out at great views of the place that runs the world’s money.  It had been a few years since I was in the City, so I stopped to take a couple of quick shots.  It still surprises me how much, and how little, this place impresses me.

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I lived in London for more than fifteen years, but this was the heaviest accumulation of snow I’ve seen.  My trip has changed and I’m back in London over the weekend for some meetings during the week.  Colleagues, new to London, were asking me what to do on Saturday morning.  I offered shopping, but they preferred to join me on my ‘photo walk’.

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Not the easiest shots I’ve taken recently… especially when wearing a suit! I took these early this morning outside my hotel before heading to our France office in Sens.  It was -3°c and it continued to snow the rest of the day.

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I’m in London, so I did some shopping last night. What’s great about being in a city you know, is that the hassle of finding things goes away.  I had a free couple of hours this morning and my plan was simple… To step out of the hotel, and go to the first gallery/museum/show that appeared on the side of a bus.

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