Corfu and clearing my mind

We are sat here drinking our afternoon coffee with a view across the pool, the Ionian Sea and Albania just a stones throw away. It is a fabulous view. The haze shrouding the Albanian mountains. The view stirs my imagination of Greek Gods and The Durrell family, in fact literally just down the bottom of this hillside is the village of Kalami, home to writer Lawrence Durrell, brother of Gerald for many years. That was some 70 years before now but their legacy lives on in the form of Television Tourism. We watched bemused this morning as a boat dropped off a bunch of tourists who swarmed the place like storm ants and vanished as quickly as they came, as though a malevolent child had poured boiling water upon them. Ok a harsh metaphor but that’s how my brain works at times. 

Meanwhile back up on the mountain side the fresh (albeit very warm to hot) air is gradually clearing my foggy head from a clutter of neural junk. I also end up pondering the value of the social media world and the internet. I sit here with iPad perched on my cross-legged lap typing with two fingers on its touch-screen keyboard writing this article which is more a ramble than anything else. As I say clearing the neural scrapyard of my mind. 

I’ve got to the point where I feel social media has started to concern me a little bit too much. It is great that we can stay in contact with so many people in a quick post. Written. Sent. Done. Move on to the next thing. Our lives have become as asynchronous as our computer software we so heavily depend upon. 

Now as a web guy, this is something you’d thought would please me but to be honest I’m worried about it and feel that the web was better in some ways about five years or so ago. Ok technically it was not as good as it is now but it’s purpose and vision were way better. We all had a fighting chance at becoming successful through it. Now the monopoly is overbearing and so many think Facebook is the internet, the web. 

It’s for this reason I hold the flag for the individual spirits of the web. This WordPress platform is one such place where that is encouraged and also I enjoy reading Medium quite a lot. 

I end my ramble here, time for some more coffee and to read more on Medium or WordPress. Maybe there is something that will follow social media as we know it? I would like to see things shaken up a bit? We’ve become too single minded as a race. I could go on talking about similar patterns in the coffee industry, yes Costa and Starbucks. What happened to those individuals?

The Brewster Project

My closest friends and family know my middle name and I’m about to tell you now. My birth certificate states my name as being Nicholas Euan Brewster Lewis. It is the third name of the four I want to talk about in this post, Brewster.

You may know of the Pilgrim Fathers who set sail from Plymouth, UK in 1620 to found a new colony on the other side of the Atlantic of the same name. They were amongst the earliest settlers of America and founded a number of towns and cities there. They were highly influential and the forefathers of modern Americans. Today I found out that Bing Crosby was a direct descendant of William.

Now how am I connected to all of this? That’s what I’ve been yearning to find out about all of my life.

My middle name was the idea of my paternal grandmother who before marriage was Esme Brewster Davies. She herself had inherited it from her ancestors and she felt it important to pass it down the line to me. Sadly it stops with me as no one else in our broader family has inherited it.

The big question is, am I directly or indirectly connected to William Brewster? Some family members think my grandmother got it all wrong and there was no connection at all! However I beg to differ 😀

I intend to follow this historical trail, all the way from Scrooby in Nottinghamshire via Holland and ending up in America.

Yes quite a grand trip but not one I intend to do all in one go!

In 2020 which is not far away, it will be he 400th anniversary of the epic voyage across the Atlantic.

All the gear. Loads of ideas!

Do I really need another camera bag or rucksack? Well this morning I’m churning over what kit to take on our upcoming Corfu trip. Now what gear do I want to take? What am I allowed to take? What will fit in one rucksack? What will be within the constraints of my carry-on luggage?

I’m planning to take quite a few things and in the past I’ve had to make sacrifices and this time I want to take the drone too for some aerial shots. 


Then I found a picture of a typical rucksack setup and it got me thinking, I probably have an older rucksack big enough for all of this kit! In fact there is a whole page on their website dedicated to the Mavic drone as one of the most amazing pieces of kit and ridiculously transportable too. 

Covent Garden, Vini Italiani and mime artists

A post lunch stroll into Covent Garden on a very warm August afternoon reveals all sorts of delights. Mime artists galore and an opera singer delivering his repatoire to an audience of casual listeners all of whom are enjoying a nice glass of wine or a light lunch in the sun. I stand here soaking it all up myself whilst Tina browses nearby. 

A levitating mime artist entertains the crowds and I’m intrigued to know how he does this? Tina suggests that he just has a very well trained centre of gravity and excellent core strength to be able to balance with such grace and apparent ease. 

Later we came back this way and spotted the same artist taking a break with his friend, having a cheeky cigarette!

Have we forgotten to love the moment?

I have quite a lot of random thoughts that pop into my head. I’m sure you are all the same. The fresh air does it to me as I walk away from my desk into the outdoors. Woodlands being one of my favourite places to reflect. I’m sitting in one right now.

It dawned on me that we are so focussed on what’s coming next these days. Some people I know are already talking of Christmas and 2018. It seems all too easy just to undervalue what is happening now, what lays before you. Ok granted the effects of now will lead to what happens next. I feel that we sometimes need to slow down more. Simply to cherish what is going on around you or just to spend time contemplating nature. It’s for this reason I like to get away from other humans occasionally!

Easy to say of course and I’m no innocent party of said crimes. My career is all about innovating the web and whichever way we do it today, it will be old hat by the time I set my alarm clock and drift off at the end of the day. Life is fast. Keeping up is a challenge that keeps people like myself in employment earning money.

The brevity of life was brought home with a thud recently when an old friend of ours passed away suddenly. A week later my great aunt also passed away. So it’s no surprise that this topic lingers heavily on my mind currently. Our mortality. I recalled happy memories of the two people lost, the fun we had and the way I never in the past considered what would happen to them in the distant future. They would all simply always be around, part of the social fabric in which we are embroidered.

The universe in which we live may seem inextricably infinite but nothing within it is. We all have our limits.

Thank heck I’m taking a holiday soon!

A Ticket to Ryde

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We know a family who live on the Isle of Wight and have been tripping over to the island quite a lot over the last 3 years. In fact we are going back again quite soon and will be staying at the same hotel we’ve used twice before in the resort town of Ryde.

Ryde is an interesting old place, like many, it is nothing like it would have been back in the early 20th century or even before that when it was loved by the Victorians. In some ways it still feels like it was from a different era. I like that though, I feel as though I’m on holiday when I go there, making it a smashing place to stay for long weekends and a great base for exploring the Isle of Wight as a whole.

In terms of getting there, you can either take one of two ferries to Cowes or Fishbourne both are not far to drive from or you can catch one of two passenger only options, the Catamaran or my favourite, the Hovercraft!

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The above photo was taken through a window unfortunately, so the black block in the top lefthand corner is a bit of a shame. However is a good testament to the iPhone camera’s panorama mode which I don’t use often enough but I was quite pleased with this. I was really chuffed to have a view like this from our hotel window and I’m sorry, I am a big child when it comes to Hovercraft, I love them, if they are available as remote control toys, do let me know!

The beach at Ryde is phenomenal and I can recall one evening recently whilst we were staying there taking a walk across the sands, the tide had gone out for what seemed like miles and miles. We watched in fascination as two Cruise ships almost seemed to hover across the sand, where the horizon dipped and we couldn’t quite see the water. We pondered where the ships were heading as they took thousands of excited passengers on a voyage of their lifetimes. We however were thinking of simply returning to our hotel room, we were knackered after a day of exploring and a lovely evening meal that was resting heavy upon our stomachs.

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Caerfai, Pembrokeshire

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Earlier this Summer we took a trip up to Pembrokeshire, the western-most tip of Wales and since the last time I went was when I was in my childhood, I just couldn’t wait to return, this time with my own family rather than my parents and brother.

On the first day we took a drive from Martletwy up via Haverfordwest, Solva, Caerfai and finishing in St Davids before returning to our base for the week.

I can remember Caerfai from those earlier holidays in my youth, when we used to stay in an old farm cottage that was close to, if not pretty much smack bang on top of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. It was one of the most fabulous locations I think we ever found. We liked it enough to return a number of times again over the years. So it was really exciting for me, as we drove down the road, I instantly spotted the old cottage and recalled the walks to the Farm Shop to collect bottles of milk. Yes bottles.

Now in 2017, it hasn’t changed in the slightest. However the most exciting moment occurred as we parked in the small but ample clifftop car park and took a peek over the top. Right below us was the splendour of Caerfai Bay with is’t distinctive light purple, almost pink rocks. The same rocks were used to build nearby St David’s Cathedral.

It was also the warmest day of our stay in Wales, t-shirts and shorts weather. We took a walk down the steep path to the beach where we explored the aforementioned rocks and boulders that are strewn across the sands. Watching dogs playing in the water. It felt a bit different, as when we were kids, I swear we had it to ourselves, a hidden gem that nobody else knew about. Now very popular!

Oh and I also swear that the walk back up that steep path, never seemed so tough on the legs when I was ten years old!

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