52 Week Smartphone Challenge: 24 Who Inspires You?

The great irony this week is that the theme for the Smartphone Challenge is ‘who inspires you?’ and I have rarely felt so uninspired in my entire life.

However, to get round the inherent difficulties this week I have – and I freely admit it – cheated. Here’s how.

If you have ever looked at my other blog you’ll have quickly picked up that I am a huge fan of the Grateful Dead and I truly do find their endless inventiveness an inspiration. So, using my smartphone, I took this screenshot of a photograph of Jerry Garcia.

And that’s what you’re getting for this week.

52 Week Smartphone Challenge: 24 Who Inspires You?

‘The Bus Came By..’

To be perfectly honest, as a general rule I don’t find ‘public transport’ a particularly interesting subject for photography. However, as this subject has come round again in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge it gives me an opportunity to post this picture, taken in downtown Sydney.

As an image, I admit it doesn’t really have much to offer, but if you happen to be a Deadhead it raises a smile, assuming that you are familiar with the lyrics of the Grateful Dead’s second-set improvisational vehicle (sic), ‘The Other One’:

Escapin’ through the lily fields
I came across an empty space
It trembled and exploded
Left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on
That’s when it all began


Share Your World – 2016 Week 36

Once again I find myself at the proverbial loose end and am drawn to participate in Cee’s Share Your World

If you were given a boat or yacht today, what would you name it?  (You can always sell the yacht later)

Well, since the British Antarctic Survey rode roughshod over the democratically-expressed will of the people and decided to call their new research vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough (new readers start here), I’ll step into the breach and go for Boaty McBoatface.


I’d definitely be selling it, though. I’m mindful of the well-known description of yachting as ‘standing under a cold shower tearing up £20 notes’. And apart from all other considerations, I live about 120 miles from the sea.

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best?  (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey) Plus what would the 8th dwarf’s name be? 

Grumpy, obviously. Ask anyone.

As for the eighth dwarf, take your pick: how about Boozy? Slapdash? Sloppy? Or perhaps one of these guys would shake it up a bit:


Name a song or two which are included on the soundtrack to your life?

Asked and answered on numerous occasions elsewhere, including here. To keep it simple though, a couple of Grateful Dead masterpieces with telling lines:

Eyes Of The World – “Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own”:

Franklin’s Tower – “If you get confused, listen to the music play”:

Complete this sentence:  I like watching…

Full stop. Like Peter Sellers’ character in Being There, ‘I like to watch’.


If I must be more specific, then the Six Nations Rugby tournament: there is nothing like it. Only another five months to wait.






Share Your World – 2016 Week 26

Being at a bit of a loose end, and with any inspiration for subject matter over at my other blog suffering extreme drought conditions, I thought I would, for the first time, play along with Cee’s Share Your World weekly challenge, in which I get to answer a few questions that go a little way to lifting the veil on the enigma that is theonlyD800inthehameau.

What’s your most memorable airline flight?

I used to travel a huge amount when I was working. My record annual total was 168 individual flights in a single year. This was during the period when, as I used to explain it, I ‘lived in Scotland but worked in London for an American investment bank, covering companies in Europe and Australia’. So yes, I got around a bit.

Understandably, I have no recollection of most of the what must be well over 2,000 separate sectors that I’ve flown. One I’ll never forget, though, was  a  short hop in a small commuter plane from Lansing, Michigan (yes, really) into Chicago O’Hare.

This was entirely uneventful until we started our final approach, when suddenly the aircraft dropped sharply, jumperd back up and yawed wildly from side to side, as if a curious giant had picked it up and shaken it.

After we managed to land and change our underwear, the pilot explained that directly ahead of us in the queue had been a 747 and we had caught the full blast of its backdraught.


And that’s the only time I was ever in Lansing.

How many bones, if any, have you broken?

Just the one, and that was a humdrum greenstick fracture of the bottom joint of my right index finger.

This happened when I was about 15, and I feel rather sheepish in explaining that the damage was self-inflicted when I tapped my knuckles on the exceedingly thick skull of an exceptionally irritating boy a couple of years younger.

In a blatant breach of the Trade Descriptions Act, his name was Noble (can’t remember his first name: we didn’t go in for such familiarity at my school). Still, I got to wear a small cast for a couple of weeks. Nobody signed it, though.

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be?

Oscar Wilde: for matchless wit and aphoristic wisdom.

William Shakespeare: so, Will, about this Dark Lady…

Jerry Garcia: erudite guitar genius. Who maybe I could persuade to perform ‘Stella Blue’ to close the show.

Make a Currently List. What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating, needing, wanting and missing right now?

Reading: ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’.

For the past year or so, I’ve been working my way through The Guardian’s list of the 100 best books in the English language, or at least the ones I haven’t read before (about half of the total). In the process, I’ve trudged through some proper dross (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein) but also found some gems: ‘Sybil’ by Benjamin Disraeli and, most recently and best of all, Somerset Maugham’s ‘Of Human Bondage’

As for Harper Lee, I’m less than halfway, so I suppose you could say (spoiler alert) the jury’s still out.

Watching: Euro 2016. Because it’s football.

Listening To: at this precise moment, family conversation. Although the current ‘project’ is 1977 Grateful Dead.

Eating: Just had a couple of plain chocolate digestives with a cup of Earl Grey. Marvellous.

Needing: Inspiration. As you may have gathered.

Wanting: ditto.

Missing: My own bed. We’re currently visiting relatives in the UK, which is lovely, but it’s not a patch on this:


Bonus question. What are you grateful for from last week and what are you looking forward to in the week comng up?

Waking up in the morning. When you get to my age….




Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

“If you get confused, listen to the music play”

     – Grateful Dead: ‘Franklin’s Tower’

This week’s Photo Challenge wants to know “Where do you go when you need to think? What do you do when you need to restore yourself, to ready yourself to take on the coming week with energy and verve? How do you get your sense of humor back? How do you recharge your groove?”

That’s an easy one for me. I just put in my noise-cancelling earphones and choose something from here. Or maybe from the 900 or so concert downloads that I’ve accumulated over the almost twenty five years since the bus came by and I got on.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place.

[taken with my iPhone, hence the slightly blurred effect. Although that could just be ‘Dark Star’]


Anything to do with phones is this week’s Black & White Photo Challenge. I can’t imagine how to make a phone – of whatever vintage – interesting, although there’s a certain wry amusement to be gleaned from seeing a picture of what at first glance looks like a housebrick but on closer inspection proves to be an eighties ‘mobile’ (think Gordon Gekko).

Anyway, with modern day phones being largely generic in their external appearance, it seemed to me that what differentiates them is their personalised home page; so here is a screenshot of mine.

I would just like to point out that the background image is most definitely not a selfie.