Hildie's photography skills...In this blogposting…
* Antoine de St Exupery
* Seen in Virginia
* Life’s Lessons
* The World: A Truckshunter Geography
Continue at your own risk…
We haven’t heard from our august Honorary President for ages, so you’ll be glad to hear that Hildie and I decided to pay her a visit last week.
It was lovely to see her. She hasn’t been too well over the last few months but seems to be improving now and getting back to her astonishingly sprightly self. She smiled a lot, talked a lot (she’s a truckshunter, after all) and laid on an awesome spread of coffee, sandwiches and biscuits for us.
Hopefully, we’ll soon see her at an AGM. In the meantime, here are a couple of the pictures we took last week.
ANTOINE DE ST EXUPERY
I included an old photograph of this French national hero in posting 328, as part of my Christmas adventure story.
It’s since been pointed out to me that my one-paragraph biography of St Exupery excluded a very important aspect of his popularity; his children’s books, especially Le Petit Prince (‘The Little Prince’). So….not only an aviation pioneer and war hero but also a writer of books for children. Antoine de St Exupery sounds like a really nice bloke, doesn’t he. Un mec sympa.
Serge has also reminded me that he took a picture of me standing next to St Exupery in Lyon airport, which is named after him. Gaze upon it in wonder.
As a matter of fact, looking at it has reminded me of what a cosy little airport Lyon St Exupery is. It’s never too far to walk to or from the arrival and departure gates - and if it is, there are travolators to carry you along. It has just the right number of coffee-bars, souvenir shops and newsagents, a helpful Help Desk and loads of places to sit down.
It contrives to do all this despite its owners’ attempts to make it seem more ‘metropolitan’ and important. Their latest attempt to make it feel more worldly is the construction of a very, very big railway station; it is certainly the newest, grandest, flashiest - and emptiest - I’ve ever seen.
Inasmuch as airports can ever be ‘likeable’, I much prefer the smaller, regional ones like Edinburgh, Lyon or Newcastle to the huge, unfriendly international ‘hubs’ like Heathrow or - God forbid - Paris, which are really nothing more than highly inefficient ways of moving vast numbers of deeply unhappy people from one bland and faceless warehouse to another. They are necessary but loathesome.
Give me good old Woolsington or St Exupery any day. But not, perhaps, Teesside - which, typically, is the exception that proves the rule. It’s a small, regional airport - and it’s awful.
SEEN IN VIRGINIA
My old friend Kathy sent me some photos recently.
A 15-year-old photographer called Marlin Shank took his camera for a walk (as it were) in his local park in Staunton, Virginia. What he saw (below) is an extremely rare albino ruby-throated hummingbird.
Kathy also sent me this thought-provoking and very uplifting list written by Regina Brett, who is 90 years old. She reckons these are the 45 lessons that life has taught her.
- Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
- When in doubt, just take the next small step.
- Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Change the way you think.
- Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.
- Pay off your credit cards every month..
- You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
- Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
- Release your children when they become adults; its their life now
- Save for retirement, starting with your first pay cheque.
- When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
- Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
- It's OK to let your children see you cry.
- Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
- If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
- Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
- Take a deep breath - It calms the mind.
- Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
- Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
- It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
- When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take No for an answer.
- Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
- Just because you believe you are right, doesn't mean you are. Keep an open mind.
- Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
- The most important sex organ is the brain.
- No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
- Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
- Always choose life.
- Forgive everyone everything.
- What other people think of you is none of your business.
- Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
- However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
- Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
- Believe in miracles.
- Your job is to love your children, not choose who they should love.
- Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
- Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
- Your children get only one childhood.
- All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
- Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
- If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
- Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
- The best is yet to come...
- No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
- Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
THE WORLD: A TRUCKSHUNTER GEOGRAPHY
We’ll soon be making the next call on our wayward world tour - this time, it’s to Antigua and Barbuda. As usual, I’m looking for the kind of facts you don’t find in textbooks so, if you can delve around to find out what they eat for breakfast there, what their favourite tv programme is or what’s at Number One in the charts (or similar off-beat stuff) - get in touch.
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