Opting out of the wild goose chase

​There are a many situations in life where we run into a sticky problem and have to decide whether to carry on regardless or to back track. At what point does reason tap on the shoulder of determination and suggest an honourable retreat? And will our ego  allow common-sense a fair hearing? I set off…

The Auckland Taxi Mystery

I was checking out of the last hotel on the final day of a week dashing around some islands in the Southern Hemisphere. Three of them to be precise. Australia, South NZ and now North NZ. My colleagues had left at midday, leaving me with a fee afternoon to walk around Auckland. I’d been up…

The Broken Bones of Christchurch

Arriving in Christchurch after midnight was like arriving in a ghost town. We drove quietly from the airport along deserted roads before finding the edge of the town centre. On our left appeared a temporary orange plastic fence behind which something was being cleared or constructed – it wasn’t apparent which. The road narrowed and…

To fly, perchance to sleep

Counting time between proper sleeps – it was 48 hours. From waking up in my own bed in England (8am Saturday morning) to falling asleep in a hotel room in Melbourne (10pm Monday evening). We can argue about the definition of a day. The number of hours between these two times is theoretically 62 hours.…

Half a world away

The most confusing thing about international travel is working out what time it is. Even the one hour difference can trip you up – you can easily find yourself arriving somewhere an hour early or an hour late. On this trip, the difference will be variously 4, 8, 11 and 13 hours. I’ve decided to…

Running with Pablo

I was running along the Atlantic coast in the cool remains of the evening. The sun, tired from its long day’s work was sinking towards sleep, dimming its light, brushing a soft orange glow over the darkening grey ocean. Laying its head on the pillows of the clouds. I ran at a steady pace, my body…

Nice – 86 stars that no longer shine

We didn’t intend to book this hotel in Nice. Not this particular hotel. We just chose the one which seemed to have the nicest pool and rooms. We hadn’t intended to book the actual hotel, directly outside which a murderous 19 tonne battering ram truck was finally halted, having massacred 86 innocent people in 5…

Swimming in another fish tank

Living in another person’s house is a bit like wearing someone else’s clothes. It’s an interesting journey of discovery – but after a while you just want your own comfortable jumper back. We have just enjoyed our first week of “airbnb”, living in someone else’s world in Vienna. We arrived at street level after a quick…

Vienna, best city in the world? It means nothing to me …

Vienna is apparently famous for its high quality of life. In a study of 127 world cities in 2005, the Economist ranked it joint-first as the world’s most liveable city. For the last seven years, Mercer has ranked Vienna top place in its annual “Quality of Living” survey of hundreds of cities around the world. The UN-Habitat classified Vienna as being the…

The Ups and (ouch) Downs of Life

What goes up, must come down. And I came down with quite a bump. An extremely painful bump. Some days we just feel better than others. This afternoon I was happy, and not for any particular reason. My wife and I had enjoyed a very nice weekend, including a fabulous time at the company ball,…