2016: a view from afar

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The year that saw the world turned upside down. Here we watched from afar as the UK decided to go its own way in Europe and as the USA chose an unlikely path. In the year of fake news, atrocity and celebrity mortality, some good things happened. Here are some of my personal highlights and a lowlight …

When the sheer distance of travel to anywhere  other than Australia seemed daunting, it was a delight to discover that France is not so far away, or at least a South Pacific version: New Caledonia.IMG_6497

More travel, this time to Europe proper and the highlight of Basque gastronomy. Just don’t pinch my pintxos in Donostia/San Sebastian and joy of discovering a culture that has deep roots but is forward looking.

Finding new (at least to ourselves) music is always a welcome and life-enhancing experience, especially when combined with travel. A trip to the Rock en Seine festival in Paris provided both, with musical highlights: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, the Last Shadow Puppets and Jack Garrett.Pix pintxos bar in Soho, London

Keeping to the theme of music, 2016 was the year when my blues-rock alter ego Doctor D came back on the scene, first though a couple of gigs in Adelaide International Guitar Festival‘s Guitar in Bars programme, and later as the host of Music Mondays at the Edinburgh Castle Hotel.

I don’t do politics here, but more as commentary from an ex-pat point of view, it was hard to watch the Brexit campaign from afar: all the hyperbole and polarisation. On a personal level my active participation ended in farce. Firstly a printer malfunction resulted in my application for a postal vote being printed pink (weirdly appropriate given the design of the EU passport). Then the non-arrival of my ballot paper led to my disenfranchisement, only on my return to the UK to find it had been delivered to that address – not the one specified here. Perhaps I could call for a recount? On the day I was able to watch the unfolding drama and history making over a leisurely all day Brexit Breakfast.

What will 2017 bring? At least I have already fulfilled my New Year’s resolution: to restring the GF’s Yamaha guitar. Happy new year to all my readers. Thanks for your likes, follows and visits. Love, peace and music.

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