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How to be popular on Facebook!

Facebook

Do you want to be more popular on Facebook?

The answer as to how is not really a surprise. Stick to posting pictures of cute puppies in awkward situations and kittens in flamenco dresses…!

Here’s ‘scientific’ proof that people generally (at least on Facebook) couldn’t give a toss about anything of much importance going on in the world. Yesterday I put these two post on my wall about half an hour apart.

Here’s the stats!

Cute puppy photo, 16 likes, 5 shares, several comments

Mass murder of civilians including children through the use of chemical weapons in Syria, 1 like, and a huge amount of comments (essentially a two way debate between myself  and one other person).

There you have it!

To engage with your Facebook audience more you need to be posting more crap than you do already!

Don’t despair if you don’t have access to cute puppies or kittens. Here’s a tip for you none animal types!

Try posting screen grabs from your smart phone (or pictures) of the weather where you are. Facebook users love that!

(NB: This strategy is most effective when used with particular sunny and warm weather in Spain, alternatively if you’re in the UK go for rain and snow or any other form of shitty weather).

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Our boys!

In 2013, a crack commando unit were sent to their beds by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit.

These dogs promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Spanish countryside. Today, still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune.

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The big five zero!

Today I turn 50, and frankly I couldn’t give a damn. I had my real crisis at 40 at which point I thought life was pretty much over! In all honesty, I spent several weeks in a drunken stupor unable to accept at the time my youth, and my life, were coming to an end. When I sobered up I realized, in no uncertain terms, that I was an idiot and that I was only 24 hours older than I had been the day before! I’m cool with 50…

My usual cheerful self!In the 10 years since I thought life was ended, I have:

  • Met the woman I perhaps always needed to be with. (No disrespect to any of the previous ladies with whom things might have worked out given a different time, place, or set of circumstances. They would know who they were if they were reading this. As does one particularly needy, self-obsessed, disturbed crazy woman exempt from that statement!)
  • We moved to Lanzarote, started a business from scratch which continues to thrive, and made some incredible friends.
  • I’ve done some serious long distance walking and wrote a book about it. In doing so I had the joy of raising a reasonable amount of money for charity.
  • I’ve seen my three children turn from boys into men, and watched my two step-sons flourish.
  • I’ve become a grandfather!
  • I’ve become a ‘father’  to three incredible hounds!
  • Last year we moved to mainland Spain (time for a new adventure!)
  • …and more!

What’s not to feel good about?! I haven’t even mentioned the plans already under-way for making the next 10 years are just as exciting and fulfilling.

What I will not be doing is; Continue reading

I must be an old-school photographer!

You know you learned your photography skills in a different age when you instinctively head to shade to change a memory card!

Tree

British TV in Spain, the first UK Christmas television since 2005!

Having been in Spain for over six years now I’ve never missed British TV. In Lanzarote, apart from BBC World, we’ve got by with a mix of Spanish, Middle Eastern and American programming. Recently though, due to a move to the mainland we found ourselves with a Sky dish. It’s been quite nice to see a bit of British television again. However, I’m re-thinking that a little having endured the joys of Christmas television.

boxNo, it’s not the bloody awful schedules that have me concerned. It’s Christmas, you know it will be crap! You expect it to be crap! And, you prepare in advance for it to be crap!

What has really wound me up is the advertising. My God what is going on over there…?

I can forgive the stupid slogans like;

“100% of women who tested out product saw results:” (May have actually killed them all, but it is a ‘result’ nonetheless!)

“Our diet pills – when combined with good eating habits and exercise gets results.” (No shit Sherlock!)

We’re all used to ad agencies talking to consumers like they are stupid. In fact we expect it.

I can even – almost – forgive Brad Pitt making an arse of himself by doing the Chanel advert. Who is giving that man career advice? He needs to sack his agent over that one!

What I can not forgive having seen a British television Christmas after so long, was the bullshit charity advertising and the prevalence of gambling websites. Continue reading

To write or not to write?

The Liberal Democrat Party Conference 2012
(click to zoom)

I’m no stranger to having a pop at big corporates or political figures. If you’ve read my posts on the likes of Little Chef, Nick Clegg, or Acciona Trasmediterránia you’ll know what I mean. I’m also pretty sure I’m not particularly welcome at Thorpe Park either!

But on one particular topic I have, for the last couple of years, found myself biting my tongue. It’s one thing to take on a company or politician, but in this instance I’d inevitably end up slagging off an entire country. A country in which I have found myself working a few times over the last couple of years, and one which I quite like on the whole. Putting my views into print in this instance could potentially cause commercial damage to the people I work with there, it could harm my own income, and at an extreme could bar me from entry. It’s a dilemma to me as someone who would normally follow the principle of ‘publish and be damned’. Silence is the sensible option of course, but there’s a part of me that feels like a total sell out.

It struck me just what a sell out I was when I was talking about the location in question to someone who writes a dedicated travel blog. It seems to me that so many travel bloggers shy away from realities of the destinations they are writing about due to the risk of causing offence. Not for reasons of tact, but perhaps based around the fact it may deprive them of a press trip or a free flight.

Am I any better? No I am not? My reasons also are based on personal gain!  I’m genuinely disappointed in myself!

Where do you draw the line?

In sitting down to think things through and write this I have come to a conclusion!

The real thing stopping me is the potential damage to the business of friends. So, once any ties are gone, I’m not just going to write up my views. I’m going to go back with my camera and do what I can to expose the situation both in pictures and print. Perhaps then my complicit silence will be corrected – hopefully this would be a fitting apology to the men and women who continue to be exploited.

A day with Billy…

Good morning owners!

After destroying a large vase on Friday. Probably caused by him and the Lab bouncing around because I had the audacity to go out for a while – there’s little doubt in mind he’d have been the instigator of the incident, if not the actual body that brought it down – we woke yesterday to the not particularly welcome sight of the welcome mat partially de-constructed.

They travelled great on the ferry when we moved recently, despite the appalling journey courtesy of ferry company Acciona Mediterrania (wankers), they were fantastic in the car, they’ve settled into the new house well, their behaviour has – almost – been  pretty good – until the last few days since Billy’s mischievous streak has returned. House training has gone out of the window a couple of times as he gets used to a new toilet regime, and has caused various levels of destruction of household items.

The culprit!

Following on from the mat incident – we were furious – he was frankly a bloody nuisance for the rest of the day, under our feet, annoying the other hounds, pestering visitors – including being very insistent he park himself in-front of the chap trying to negotiate our house on crutches.

Just at the point when I wondering “Why the hell did we rescue him?”, things changed. Quickly. Behind where we live is a track up the mountain, and since we’ve moved I’ve been taking them up there one by one for their last ‘activity’ of the day. Last night when I got back with the Labrador (Pepper) I brought him in and immediately noticed the little ginger freak wasn’t at the door staring at me with a wagging tail. I looked through – the back door was open. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d jumped the outside walls. A quick search and the dismayed running backwards and forward of his ‘brothers’ confirmed this was the case. Continue reading

Setting off at last…!

I’ve been planning the walk of the seven islands for some time now, and especially for the past few weeks I’ve just wanted to get on with it and be on my way. Well, the time has come now and tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn I´ll be setting off from Orzola.

I’m not sure saying I’m looking forward to the journey is the correct way put it, but I guess I am. Though having driven down Fuerteventura a couple of weeks ago to remind myself just how much of a challenge this would be I am starting with a little bit of trepidation about stepping out into the unknown. It’s all very well planning these things on maps – but maps don’t always tell you the whole story, they can only give an impression. I’m pretty sure I’m likely to encounter one or two problems on the way to disrupt my sketchy plans.

Unlike last year when I was pretty much determined to do the walk on my own, should anyone want to join me for an hour or two, for lunch, or a pit stop I’d be more than happy to meet up with any friendly faces en route. I’ll be posting regular updates and photos on this Facebook page so you’ll be able to see where I am and what I’m doing. If anyone is daft enough to want to get up early to come and see me off I’ll be leaving Orzola at daybreak tomorrow – around 08:00. Continue reading

I used to drink, chase women and have a seriously unhealthy lifestyle….

Now I just do each in moderation. No, I haven’t found Jesus – I met Mitch! Six months ago I was a lazy good for nothing, overweight middle aged guy – now I’m a lazy good for nothing, not so overweight middle aged guy.

Seriously, talking to Mitch well in advance of this up-coming walk was the best thing I could have done. Right now I’m feeling great, and just want to get on with it. The credit for that has to go to Mitch. I’ve been far from the perfect client for him – self-discipline is not my forte, and the training has been interrupted along the way by trips overseas, volume of work, and plagued by injuries – more often than not ‘dog related’.

However, spurred on especially this last couple of months by comments like, “You’re looking well”, “You’ve lost weight”, culminating in a comment a couple of days ago from Helen’s (Wax), ” Bloody hell, it’s falling off you, what happened”?  to which my reply was simply “Mitch did it!”; I’m feeling better than I have done in a long time.

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The ‘Siete Islas’ route…

Next time I'm on the ferry to Fuerteventura it'll be about three weeks before I get home!

Last year I walked the extreme northernmost point to southernmost point of Lanzarote – for practical reasons on the seven islands I’m doing things a little differently.

Looking at maps I’ve decided to pick towns and villages on opposing sides of the islands. The the two main reasons being;

  1. on a couple of the islands it would mean walking to a point only to have to walk back
  2. in picking some of the start and finish points I’ll need to use public transport and also had to bear that in mind

So, here’s the route and an approximation of the distances based on Google Street Map via the road routes…

  • Lanzarote, Orzola to Playa Blanca –  70km
  • Fuerteventura, Corralejo to Morro Jable – 120km
  • Gran Canaria, Las Palmas to Maspalomas – 60km

Continue reading