America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – barflying around the globe

What’s hospitable about a UK Hospitality industry that wants to bar us (sorry) from sitting at the bar?

But that’s what they’re proposing to the British Government postlockdown.

Many an hour (or day) I’ve spent sat on a stool getting to know the locals, and most importantly the barman in some foreign clime.

And these are just some of the bar stools where I’ve wedged my backside.

Now I’m aware that this column has been over this territory before https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/02/13/hungry-and-thursday-the-best-bar-none-on-my-travels/amp/.

But these selections aren’t marked on the best bars but the best bars if you see what I mean.

Bustin’ Boston

Irish-America: A Boston institution

The Black Rose, Boston (https://www.blackroseboston.com): Norm Peterson is my all-time drinking hero (now my big pal Finlay has gone to the Great Saloon in the sky).

My friend Neily worked with the Cheers franchise on their carts (the exterior of the bar is the same but the interior was Hollywood) I worked at the Black Rose.

Where every night an Irish-American sang standards (and I can’t get The Black Velvet Band out my head) and at the end of play the boss gave the staff a couple pf pints.

See https://www.bostonusa.com.

I belong to Glasgow, mon

A Glasgow handshake: With Karl in Tobago

Glasgow’s Bar, Tobago Parlatuvier Bay, Tobago: Now Glasgow bars have improved since my childhood when there would be grills on the windows.

The common denominator here is that this is Karl Glasgow’s gaff where the locals, many of them workmen stop by to eat and drink at the bar and look out at this.

See https://www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2eXQLwnehuQ.

Mary’s spirit

Irish to the core: Mary’s Bar in Dublin

Mary’s Bar, Wicklow Street, Dublin (https://marysbar.ie): And this bar off the best shopping thoroughfare in the Irish capital. Grafton Street, has it all…

They have a quid pro quo relationship with WOWBURGER downstairs and you can take your beer, burger and chips up and sit at the bar.

Where you obviously wash it down with a stout. See www.visitdublin.com.

Do you want ice with that?

The Ice Bar, Jungraujoch, Switzerland: And good luck with keeping us away from the bar here – it’s only two or three deep.

Because it’s at the top of the Jungfrau in the Bernese Alps.

Still, there’s a curling rink and they serve Swhiskey… www.myswitzerland.com and Swhisskey on the rocks.

Home comforts

Learning at the bar: My Uni bar, the St Machar

St Machar Bar, Aberdeen: They say ‘never go back’ and when I did Jim had gone so the doors weren’t thrown open at closing time.

Linda too, with her doorstep sandwiches.

I wouldn’t want to go to University these days…

MEET YOU IN THE BAR

Countries, Deals, Europe, Flying, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – booze brothers

The news that they will pour away 70m pints of spoiled beer down the drain would merely have been an invitation to The Sesh.

Our drinking fraternity at Aberdeen University have scattered to the four corners of the world – funny when many couldn’t be raised from their scratchers.

My Best Man Andy is in Singapore https://www.visitsingapore.com/en/, Jevan is back home in the West Indies https://www.visittrinidad.co.tt, https://www.visittobago.gov.tt. My kiss with Rihanna, Let’s rumba in Barbados and Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago/.

While some of my English pals, Wee Jon and Micky, and Gaelic emigrees Alan and Anna went to the bright lights of London https://www.visitlondon.com and The London life.

marischalcollege3

And those flatmates that were foisted on us such as Grumpy Vangelis (no, seriously) My Greek odyssey and the cheery Ibohal Singh (song) https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en.html are doubtless back where they belong.

It’ll be 40 years in a couple of years since we first bowled up in Aberdeen so I feel a reunion in the making.

And we’ll need more than 70m beers for that… https://www.visitabdn.com and Aberdeen – a light in the north.

Sláinte

pexels-photo-936571-1-150x150

Aberdeen University’s other great gift to the world, after me, is of course Blair Bowman.

Blair Whoman? Yes, Blair Bowman, who only gave us World Whisky Day.

Surprisingly this celebration of uisce beatha has only been running since 2012.

The organisers say that 250,000 people participated in registered events in 2014.

I don’t know the figures for the last few years – I guess they’d overdone the golden liquid!

IMG_2133

To the pantheon of greats who graduated from Aberdeen Uni, Alex Kapranos, Alistair Darling and Nicky Campbell add Jevan Jutagir.

A proud half-Scots, half-West Indian who is one-third of the Barbados Whisky Mafia.

And who if you’ve got an in will crack out the good stuff before Foreday Morning at Crop Over in Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org, My kiss with Rihanna and Turtle recall.

Free Ireland

Kudos to Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar whose example some across on this side of the Irish Sea would do well to emulate.

You don’t have to be a doctor like Leo to have known that testing and tracing is key but it doesn’t do any harm.

Leo has been outlining how the nation will come out of lockdown.

Which means that the Office of Public Works has opened up certain outdoor sites within social distancing rules.

And that oft-forgotten section of our society, the Cocooners, are being prioritised;

10am to 1pm

Emo Court, Co. Laois

Grounds

Unknown-1

10am to 1pm

Fota Arboretum, Co. Cork

Pleasure Garden & Walled Garden

10am to 1pm

Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin

Rose Garden.

10am to 1pm

Iveagh Gardens, Dublin

Full Garden

images-1

10am to 1pm

Kilkenny Castle, Co. Kilkenny

Rose Garden

10am to 1pm

Nenagh Castle, Co. Tipperary

Grounds

10am to 1pm

Portumna Castle, Co. Galway

Walled Garden.

Unknown

10am to 1pm

Phoenix Park, Dublin

Visitor Centre Walled Garden

10am to 1pm

Roscrea Heritage, Co. Tipperary

Grounds & Walled garden

And Ryanair are flying high

Few things say summer quite like a fleet of blue and yellow Ryanair planes taking to the skies.

Which is why the news coming out from Michael O’Leary Towers that July 1 is the start-up date for us to get flying again.

With 1,000 flights across Europe from €23.99. And new health measures.

Faro, the gateway to the Algarve comes in at that starting price… https://www.visitalgarve.pt/en/Default.aspx and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/secret-portugal-classy-centro/.

London https://www.visitlondon.com The London life and Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam comes in at the same price.

For the full range visit www.ryanair.com.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Africa, Countries, Culture, Food, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Ethiopia’s first lady

No, not Lucy, the earliest female for which we have bones, or the Queen of Sheba, or Sahle-Work Zewde, the President of Ethiopia.

Although all are celebrated examples of female power and contribution not just to Africa but the wider world.

No, my first lady of Ethiopia is the first Ethiopian lady I met… the graceful Meseret Tekalign.

Happy New Year

A smile that lights up a room

It was, of course Ethiopian New Year, Enkutatash… Happy Newer Year – from Ethiopia

And had we known each other before we would obviously have exchanged compliments… that we were looking years younger.

Seven years, of course, as our calendar is on a different time scale to the Ethiopians.

It was always a high point of the year to spend Ethiopian New Year with Meseret, Ethiopian Airlines’ Country Manager Ireland, and the Ethiopian community.

Hands up for Ethiopia

A bright future

And eat with our hands, a type of pitta bread to scoop up the meats, rices and vegetables, all washed down with Ethiopian wine.

Before we watched the traditional coffee-making ceremony and sampled the coffee which I now only take out on special occasions.

I was entranced by Meseret as soon as I met her.

And she by me, obviously, and she even invited me to send a writer to Ethiopia to celebrate International Women’s Day.

I’m a woman!

IMG_4893
Tuck in: And there’s seconds

When Ethiopian Airlines https://www.ethiopianairlines.com/aa put an entire female crew on from Addis Ababa to Washington Dulles via Dublin.

Always putting others first I asked if I could blag it, wear a dress and pass myself off as a woman.

After all being of the Scottish variety I’m no stranger to wearing a skirt.

I was, of course, happy to support such a wonderful idea.

A long history

IMG_4894
One more cup of coffee for the road

And to promote this land of mystery and awe, a country that has no fewer than nine UNESCO heritage sites.

Meseret is heading back to Addis with the good wishes of all who she took to her heart over the past few years.

We’re glad she enjoyed the craic as she revealed:

‘Taking up my first post in Europe was something I relished and will always look back on it fondly.

‘I feel lucky it was Ireland where the people lived up to the hype of being the friendliest in Europe even in business.’ 

And, of course, she and us feel years younger for the experience.

Pride of lions

And, of course, if all this talk of Africa has tempted you then remember that Ethiopian command’s the lion’s share of the Pan-African market.

And talking of lions and Africa, the two go hand in paw.

At a safe and respectful distance as I discovered when I visited the Eastern Cape of South Africa…http://www.southafrica.net What’s new pussycat?

I’m working my way up the continent. We’ll meet again, Meseret.

Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Pilgrimage

Hungry and Thursday – Pickle your Croatian walnuts

It was a family tradition to bring home a bottle of liqueur from foreign shores.

But my parents” drinks trolly seriously lacked a bottle of Croatian Orahovaca.

Sure we had Dubonnet from thr Riviera The Boat D’Azur and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/us.france.fr/en/news/article/about-atout-france-0/amp made for a competition in 1846.

Here’s to Our Lady

To provide the French Foreign Legion to take quinine to combat malaria.

And ouzo from Greece My Greek odyssey https://athensattica.com and Aperol in Padova https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/15/padova-city-of-frescoes/amp/ to name just a few.

But while we’ve all ventured through the Balkans on the other side of the Adriatic nobody dipped a toe in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Would I look big in this?

Until I visited Our Lady and Medjugorje where they’re all Croatians, with Marian Pilgrimages https://marian.ie and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/www.thesun.ie/travel/5132756/a-pilgrims-progress-in-medjugorje/amp/.

Now Medjugorje is many things other than a site to Mary… who am I kidding, it’s all about Our Lady.

But trawl the stalls and you’ll find some treasures other than the holy water and Virgin Mary that will get you into Heaven.

A cross around every corner

Such as Orahovaca which a Balkan trader up by the bus station in Medjugorje was showcasing.

I’ve been to a few wine-tastings in function rooms of hotels, so testing Maria’s samples from plastic cups was a different experience altogether.

But it was worth it and got the thumbs-up from the Scary One and Daddy’s Little Girl when I finally broke open the bottle yesterday.

We adapted the sweet walnut drink by having it on the rocks which meant we drank more.

And you’ll get a statue in the village

But at about a fiver I can always stock up the next time I’m out there.

And at the end of it all we all felt filled with wholly spirit.

America, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Food, Food & Wine

Cocktail Hour around the world

It’s Cocktail Hour all day today (not just 6pm) because it’s World Cocktail Day, and I’ve been swallowing up the hours.

And while holidaymakers may like to mark their territory with their towel, I like to claim a coaster at the bar.

For my fave Strawberry Daiquiri cocktail.

Which I have savoured… from the Maldives to the Caribbean My kiss with Rihanna and Turtle recall and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/.

Now if we can’t get out there to our exotic locations we can at least conjure up the taste of the Tropics at home.

With these cocktails:

Something for Buffalo Bill

The Colorado Bulldog, Colorado:

Colorado-Bulldog-1

Ingredients: Vodka, coffee liqueur, cream or milk and coca-cola.

A White Russian with a fizz… and this would put even more whiskers on Tsar Alexander’s bushy beard.

How to: In a shaker mix vodka Kahlua, cream/milk. Pour into a glass with ice and add Coke.

Visit www.colorado.com and take in Beertown Denver www.denver.org and Go West and The New Frontiersmen.

Take it as red

The Redhead in Bed, 25 Degrees, Huntington Beach, California:

Cocktails and food at 25 Degrees - Huntington Beach

Ingredients: Ketel One Citroen vodka, strawberries, lemon juice, sparkling wine.

I’ve yet to have a Redhead in Bed anywhere (honestly) but if I did it would be in Huntington Beach.

How to: Mix One Citroen vodka, strawberries, lemon juice, and sparkling wine for an added kick.

For those who like to drink their dessert, 25 Degrees offers four spiked shakes, mixing vanilla ice cream and your choice of Guinness, Maker’s Mark, Kraken Black Spiced Rum, or Kahlua among other sweet milkshake additions.

Visit www.surfcityusa.com and My weekend with Marilyn and Stair Wars.

Turning Japanese

Shochu Mojito, Japanshochu-mojito_002

Ingredients: Mint, shochu, sugar, lime, fizzy water

If you had been planning to get out to Japan this year for the Olympics then you have our sympathies but here’s a multi-discipline event you can do from the safety of your own home.

This is a Japanese twist on a classic mojito which swaps the rum usually found in a Mojito with shochu, a Japanese liquor typically made from buckwheat, sweet potatoes or barley.

This is an easy cocktail to whip up once your guests arrive (two minutes prep time) and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

How to: Add the lime, mint and sugar to a tall glass and bruise with a muddler. To this, add the shochu and fizzy water and stir. Serve over ice with mint to garnish. www.japan.travel/en/uk/

And, of course, you all know by now that all your favourite Scottish bartender needs is a cocktail brolly, a maraschino cherry and a shaker and we’re talking Jocktail Hour… Jocktails… the Strawberry DaiquiriJocktails – Whisky Sour, Hungry and Thursday – sangria and La SagradaJocktails: The Bajan Monkey, 

Jocktails – the Hurricane  Jocktails – Mimosas Jocktails – the Sazerac.

And a host of others.

Food, Food & Wine, UK

Lockdown door-to-door booze delivery

It’s the must-have supply for lockdown or self-isolation… a five-litre keg of beer delivered to your door by bike.

An Edinburgh brewer has come up with an old-fashioned solution to our booze needs, biking and vanning our beer to us, while we are confined to barracks.

Andrew ‘Barney’ Barnett has turned to home deliveries from his micro-brewery in Summerhall while his normal outlets are on hold.

Barney time: Barney delivers every time

And his new business has been a Godsend to a broad section of the public, from students to those of us with cabin fever, to our senior citizens.

‘We’ve found that people don’t like the inconvenience of having to queue at supermarkets and have been ordering in our beers,’ he said.

‘We’ve had everybody from students to people who have had to self-isolate, ordering our beer. 

Load ‘em up

‘One older gentleman in assisted accommodation was particularly grateful to have his beer left out for him at the end of his path.

‘It’s been a treat for him, a bit of social contact to see a cheery smile and a wave.’

While Barney, 53, brews up, Edinburgh firm Farr Out Deliveries takes the beer which comes in 12 and 24 packs around to your home… the kegs will follow from Wednesday.

Barney has now rolled out his beer-delivery business across the whole of Britain with the help of DHL.

Award-winning beer… at Barney’s

And all with a cheery smile and a wave. 

There is a £5 delivery charge for under £50 and free delivery for over £50. 

See https://www.barneysbeer.co.uk/about/.

Adventure, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine

Czechpint Jimmy

BYOB – Bring Your Own Budvar and beer expert Joshua will show you how.

You’ll forgive me for joining you late today as I’ve been sleeping off my Budvar hangover – firstly in front of the TV and then in my scratcher.

The answer on how to pour is to turn your bottle upside down, pour it into a glass and leave three fingers depth of head.

I got my beerface on: My Czech night at home

And don’t drink out of a bottle. It won’t employ all of your senses, and besides it doesn’t feel very hygienic, particularly now.

Three fingers then… I took Joshua at his word and poured and drank three bottles of Czech finest.

Which must have oiled my rusty brain cells because I only won a spot prize in the quiz.

The real opera… La Boheme in Prague

The whole point of the evening which also involved a DJ set was to promote the Czech Republic and learn more about this fantastic country.

And bring us up to speed with when we can all get out to the Czech Republic http://www.czechtourism.com.

Beer o’clock: In Zatec

Which is now if you have been cleared through testing of the Coronavirus.

I held back of course from telling those on the ZOOM chat that I have already been out there this year.

To ‘Hoptown’ Zatec, Teplice spa, the Bohemian Switzerland park which doubles as Narnia and to see David Cerny’s climbing babies, a World War II bunker, and the opera in Prague.

Roll out the barrel: In Zatec

You see if I had boasted about my good fortune in front of this party I might very well have ended up with Michael, our host, punching me.

Through the screen from his home backdrop of the State Opera House.

Now the Czechs who have been at the crossroads of the major powers at the centre of Europe know all about resilience in adversity.

 

Where’s Aslan? Narnia in Bohemian Switzerland which is in the Czech Republuc

But there’s one thing that has always remained a constant and a release during troubled times, their beer.

They are rightly proud that they drink more beer per head of population than any other country in the world.

The Zatec Astronomical Clock

While in Zatic in February I was already making plans to get back out one day for their Hop Festival.

Where among the competitions is ‘biggest belly.’

I’ll need to get into practice.

No, not beer this time but their restorative spring water

And now for something to whet your appetite… Hungry and Thursday – Czech please,  Bye, bye baby – Cerny’s Prague Give us this Day – the stars of Prague Hotel Beethoven – Fur Elise

And Hope springs eternal.

America, Countries, Culture, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland

Hungry and Thursday – New York’s Irish Cottage

A little corner of Queen’s, New York, will forever be Co. Donegal.

For 60 years ex-pats and people who aren’t called Pat but love their craic have chosen The Irish Cottage as their place of refuge.

From the humdrum and their troubles at home.

Here Danny and Kathleen McNulty would make them feel part of their family and as close to being in Donegal https://www.govisitdonegal.com as you could be… 5,000kms from Ireland.

An emotional moment: At the Irish Cottage

Full disclosure here, Danny and Kathleen McNulty are my uncle and auntie.

The force of Nature that she was, Auntie Kathleen, passed onto the great Irish Cottage in the sky last month.

Where Uncle Danny would have been waiting for with her favourite drink.

I first visited the Irish Cottage in 1983 before I could even legally drink but it didn’t stop Auntie Kathleen have me moving kegs out back.

All the cousins were employed there to varying degrees over the years.

The canopy was lowered on a Queen’s institution – Steve Buscemi (of Boardwalk Empire) is a patron – last month to mark Auntie Kathleen’s passing.

I have a wealth of memories of the Irish Cottage.

Particularly the last occasion we broke (soda) bread there.

And the McNultys got the greater family out from Long Island.

And we had their famous Surf ‘n’ Turf… I could still be trying to finish it now.

Visitors to New York https://www.nycvb.com will obviously and rightly take in the iconic sites…

The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty. the Rockefeller Center, Broadway er al.

Me, the history buff that I am walked in the footsteps of Alexander Hamilton https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/.

If you have time (and if you don’t, make it) then head out to the borough of Queens.

And Flushing Meadows https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/flushing-meadows-corona-park.

Where the US Open tennis https://ustanew2.gotennissource.com is a unique experience and where another famous Scot (Andy Murray) rocked NY when he won the men’s title in 2012.

You should also check out the New York Hall of Science https://nysci.org, the Museum of the Moving Image http://www.movingimage.us and Rockaway Beach.

While I’ll also pay a visit and dwell and think about the most famous residents of the Irish Cottage at 10807 72nd Avenue, Forest Hills.

MEET YOU IN NEW YORK

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – home distilling

Stocks are running low what with The Son and Heir and Daddy’s Little Girl being home… the solution, brew your own.

I took a shot at this in my Twenties when I bought a homebrew pack and drunk it with Andy, my Best Man.

Beer country: Colorado www.denver.org

Probably before it was ready.

Beer professor

Would that I had known Travis then. He’s only a beer archaeologist in Avery, Colorado… The New Frontiersmen and www.colorado.com.

All of which brings me onto breweries, and more specifically brewery trips.

Watch out for the monks: Strahov in Prague

Czech this out

The Strahov Monastery Brewery, Prague https://www.klasterni-pivovar.cz: And memories of sitting in a bar (remember them) in the Prague area, The Castle, with a trio of different Czech beers on the menu.

Before being given a guided tour of the on-site brewery and finishing off the night drinking Czech liqueur with plain-clothes monks.

See https://www.czechtourism.com/home, Hope springs eternal.

Bottle it: BrewDog

Brew for you

BrewDog, Aberdeenshire, Scotland: https://www.brewdog.com/bars/uk/dogtap-ellon?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb-dogtapellon: And they had me at pets who the hipster employees are allowed to take to work.

The dinky craft beers from the outpost of Aberdeenshire Aberdeen – a light in the north and www.visitscotland.com.

Happy hour: Brains in Cardiff

Booze Brain

Brains, Cardiff, Wales https://www.sabrain.com: And our lecturers at my journalism college in Cardiff knew that to be a top reporter we needed to hone our drinking.

So they gave us a Brains brewery tour and an hour free drinking in the bar… which meant half a dozen beers. See https://www.visitcardiff.com and https://www.visitwales.com.

A beer for rascals

Colorado cheer

Avery Brewing Company, Colorado, USA: https://www.averybrewing.com: Where the man with the coolest job in the world (after me) beer archaeologist Travis works.

Travis persuaded the brewery in Avery in America’s craft brewing heart, Colorado, to employ him to curate beers from the ancient Middle East, and further afield.

Last orders: In Monaghan

One for the road

Brehon Brewhouse, Co. Monaghan, Ireland http://www.brehonbrewhouse.ie: The best beers are often the ones at the end of a long and winding road.

And having gone round and round in circles in the backwaters of Co. Monaghan https://monaghantourism.com and Monaghan’s country roads we finally found our bar in the friendliest micro-brewery in the area. Nectar!

MEET YOU IN THE BREWERY

Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Flying, Food, Food & Wine

Flyday Friday – your lockdown Captain speaking

And when he can’t tell you you’re cruising at 15,000ft with the skies clear what does he do?

Our friends at Etihad https://www.etihad.com/en-gb/ have taken an alternate course for us while we are confined to barracks.

And the captain has got the cabin crew to do what they always do, excel at keeping the restless passengers occupied.

And so the purple-suited ones are encouraging us to learn a new language. Arabic anyone?

Etihad style: And plenty of room

It’s the first language in 25 countries around the world.

See https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KHl80riQ65s&feature=youtu.be

It’s just a taster but a great idea nonetheless and it might just give me precious time when I am put on the spot.

One of our own

Like when I was off to the Black Sea and the crew member started talking Bulgarian to me because they thought I was a local.

With time hanging heavy on us all Daddy’s Little Girl has been badgering me to teach her Italian.

It is la bella lingua and one that I have dipped in and out of but I have little excuse now to get the tapes oit again.

Andiamo.

And particularly if my Laurie helps me with my Italian cooking.

Rusotto… in all its forms

I had already been given a crash course in making pasta from scratch by Italian specialist Catherine Fulvio.

At her Ballyknocken Cookery School https://ballyknocken.ie in my old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow https://visitwicklow.ie in Ireland.

In the company of Italian tour specialists Topflight www.topflight.ie.

The joy of ceps

Etihad also offer cooking tips with their in-flight chef rustling up a quick mushroom risotto… https://m.youtube.com/watch?segmentCode=&utm_campaign=version4_row_ramadan_230420_apr20&utm_source=guestsenen&utm_content=etihadguestoffer&bid=686619102&gsn=311934473&cid=ema%3Agst%3Aversion4_row_ramadan_230420_apr20%3Aguestsenen%3Aetihadguestoffer%3Aallsegments&v=-mcgkEULFx8&utm_medium=email

Fun guy him… and I do love an oul’ risotto Rome on €50.

I’ve seen first-hand on an inspection tour of their fleet at Dublin Airport just how they look after the little ones.

And you can download a number of family activities from their site.

Jet-propellled: In Jordan

Which is all good to know as we’ll want to occupy ourselves in our own seats as much as we can.

When we take to the skies again.

Are we there yet? Well, I’m in no hurry… I’m on an Etihad airplane.

Shukran Etihad.

Jaunty Jordan

And shukran too to my Jordanian host Zuhair, G Adventures www.gadventures.co.uk and Visit Jordan www.visitjordan.com who took me a whip-crackin’ away to Petra,.

And also the desert and the Dead and Red Sea last year The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

Give a little bit

Keep flying high: Virgin Atlantic

Now there’s always a bit of resentment that creeps in when we see someone as visible as Richard Branson asking for a dig-out.

But before we jump on the bandwagon it’s worth remembering the work that he and other airlines have been doing for years for charity.

In the Third World.

We may all be strapped for cash just now but when, and if, we can we should remember that when we next board a flight.

To fill the envelope.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES