Month: December 2016

2016 Review

This will be a rather self-indulgent post as I look back over my year. 2016 is a year I will be glad is over. There were all  the celebrity deaths (although Bowie’s death was the only one that really shook me) , there was the shock of the Brexit vote and equally the shock of Donald Trump’s election. Of course it wasn’t all bad, Leonardo Di Caprio finally got his Oscar and a vaccine was developped for Ebola. Closer to home both my mother and mother-in-law died within 5 days of each other, my mother’s death was somewhat expected but Zoia’s death wasn’t. I was with my dying mother in England when I heard the news Zoia had died in Georgia, I returned to Georgia for the funeral, on the day of Zoia’s funeral my own mother died. Between Funerals.



I continue to teach English to private students ranging in age from 6 to over 50 years old. It is an interesting job but not something I planned to do, but I guess that is where my career path has ended.


I haven’t posted as much as I did last year. This blog has seen 75 posts published (this will be 76), last year I published 154. This is my primary blog, but I have two others; one for my hobby of diecast car collecting and the other for book reviews. This blog is primarily for photos but I also use it for my travel stories and anything else that stimulates my writing.

This blog has 298 followers (hi there!), I’d be happy to respond to any feedback or comments. My diecast blog is more of a niche interest, it has far more hits but far fewer followers.

Blog views for this blog (left) and diecast blog (right).


This hasn’t been a great year for travelling but I did finally get to visit Rome, the third of the three cities I considered essential to see in my lifetime (the others being Jerusalem and Istanbul/Constantinople). I also visited the beautiful historic cities of Venice, Florence and Bologna. Rome and the Vatican



In Georgia, I visited Bakhuriani in the winter and Racha in the summer.

Visiting England in July was not for sightseeing.

My Georgian Family

I am happily married to my wonderful wife Khato, we celebrated our seventh anniversary this year.  I take my granddaughter, Ana to her teacher most days, as most of my lessons are later in the day. It is still strange being a grandfather, as I was never really a father. I met my stepdaughter, Maka (Ana’s mother) when she was 17, heavily pregnant with Ana and married… too late really to be any kind of father. I see my other grandchildren, Elene and Lazare less often than Ana. Ana is usually here in the week and her siblings stay apart from us with their mother.


I take a lot of photos each day. It is something of a passion. I post some to this blog, on Fridays there is a weekly photo challenge and I usually submit one or more photos to interpret the chosen theme.

Ana blowing out candles

Ana with a birthday cake

Facebook and the Internet

Facebook is something of an addiction, I check it first thing in the morning and spend far too much time on the site. I usually have windows open on my computer for Facebook, WordPress, the BBC (my primary source of news) and sometimes Yahoo or Goodreads or Twitter or Google. In the Summer I bought my first smart-phone, a Huawei (not sure what model), so now I can access Facebook on the move, too.


My knowledge of the Georgian Language is still pitiful, I’ve been living in Georgia over 7 years and can’t hold a simple conversation in the language. It will yet again be my New Year’s Resolution to learn the language. I have arranged with a friend for an English-Georgian exchange (next meeting 5 January). I really need to take the learning seriously, if I’d spent as much time learning Georgian as I waste on Facebook, I’d be fine now….


We can’t pick up TV stations, we let our cable subscription lapse after Zoia’s death. I have been watching and enjoying some TV series online: Big Bang Theory, Vikings and Breaking Bad.

And finally…

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers, I hope 2017 brings you happiness and fulfilment.

Nazi Bling

I rarely voice my anger in public. I was walking past a stall near Varketili Metro (Tbilisi, Georgia) and I noticed among the “fashion jewelry” a wrist band with a swastika symbol. I know the swastika predates Nazi Germany, being an ancient Hindu symbol, but to my mind I see it as the emblem of Nazi Germany. Anyone who would wear such a symbol is to my mind seeking to provoke a reaction (like when some British punks used Swastika armbands in 1976 and 1977) or they are sympathetic to the ideology of the Nazis and their leader Adolf Hitler.

The sales assistant told me off for taking a picture, I reacted by saying angrily “What the fuck is that?” (pointing at the swastika). This is very uncharacteristic, I often feel anger but rarely voice it. The sales assistant just glared at me. I walked off. I’m not a brave person and tend to avoid conflict where possible.

I posted the picture on Facebook and had various comments, now I’m posting here.


Swastika Fashion Jewelry

It is ironic that the neighbouring bracelet has the word “FREEDOM”….

Since posting I have seen more examples of “Nazi Bling” around Tbilisi.


a strange swastika inspired creation in a shop called “Underground” in the subway by Freedom Square

Bubble Gum Car(d)s

Topps Chewing Gum, Inc started inserting trading cards into bubble gum packs in 1950, cards related to sports like baseball, football and TV characters. My granddaughter likes chewing gum and here, there is a gum called “TURBO” which comes with a wrapper insert of different types of car.


My research suggests “Turbo” was originally manufactured in Turkey (late eighties to 2007)  but more recently in Poland (from 2015). The quality of the insert is not great and sometimes they have been miss cut, so the car name and picture do not correspond… but I like collecting car related stuff. (I have an entire blog devoted to my collection and collecting of diecast model cars… My diecast blog (click here) )


This has been cut wrong, the picture is of a Volvo not a Lamborghini

Ana has one piece of gum on the way to school each day, if the car is something like a Jaguar or a Lotus, I get a little excited. Ana just enjoys the gum.


Ana just enjoys the gum



When we type “LOL” as in “laughing out loud”, I suspect most of us are lying, I rarely laugh when I’m alone at the keyboard. I laugh a lot when I see some good stand up comedy with an audience, laughing for adults is I think quite a social activity. Children have less trouble laughing, less inhibitions.

Watching comedy alone, I rarely laugh out loud, but I did find myself laughing at one scene in Big Bang Theory, where Kripke sabotages Sheldon’s radio broadcast by pumping helium into the room.

Helium: The Big Bang Theory (click on the link to see the scene)

I love watching Big Bang Theory, there is a lot of very clever funny dialogue, but it is the above scene that actually made me laugh. I think the trigger for my laughter mechanism is very juvenile, it is triggered in this case by Sheldon’s increasing embarrassment, I’m not sure what this says about me. Am I empathising with Sheldon or Kripke or is it some kind of schadenfreunde, delighting in another’s misfortunes?

What makes you laugh out loud when you are alone?



Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

I have put together three images of relaxing.

Firstly, here we have a biker relaxing.


biker relaxing

This week’s challenge is Relax (click the link for other interpretations).

Secondly, an old photo from a couple of summers ago of three old men relaxing in the waves at Qobuleti on the Black Sea Coast.

Old men and the Sea

The Old Men and The Sea

Finally, a dog and his pup relaxing on the stone steps of an old church.