Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Tempting aromas

March 17th, 2012

Tempting aromas, I imagined, around the village the previous evening. Trapped by the still, cool evening air. Bacon. Sausages. Mushrooms perhaps. Gently ebbing amongst the cottages. Enough being cooked for hundred or more. If you’d have forgotten the next morning was the communal village breakfast in the Tithe Barn, you’d surely have remembered.

But I’d missed this chance for salivation. Enjoying wandering along the darkened lanes, interrupted only by the odd passing car or the occasional cooing of pigeons, the previous night. Off visiting friends for supper half a mile or so from my own place. Talk of China, of Sandhurst. Been quite a canter around. But no, this particular evening I’d joined my neighbours for a visit to a newly re-opened pub a short drive away.

Interesting I’d been told. And it was. Actually more of a surprise. On the outside the familiar look of a small country pub. But step inside and enter a smart restaurant. Pie and a pint no longer on the menu. No longer the place for the passing walker, the tired traveller or the local with his dog, wishing to quietly sup ale. The man that is, not his faithful companion. Now fine dining. I’d venture bordering on exquisite. And rather reasonably priced for what it was. It just wasn’t what we’d expected.

I’d returned to Fitzhead from a spell of house-sitting on the south coast, ostensibly to lend a hand with the village breakfast. But that’d been simply the excuse to catch up with friends, to reassure everyone that home was in the village. My absence a mere interlude, a passing moment in the scheme of things.

The breakfast seemed to go well. I’d volunteered my services and appointed chief washer-upper. There was only one. The bottom rung of a long ladder to become egg lady. Assuming you got past bean stirrer. I was optimistic, but it’d take a while. And there’d be a sabbatical to do as a table waiter. Let out of the kitchen briefly to tuck into tea and toast, a chance to meet the community’s new arrivals. Emma, Douglas, Monty and Bunny. Convinced I’d never remember their names.

There’d also been a chance to catch up on air with the local community radio station in Wiveliscombe a couple of miles away. It seemed to have gone well, chatting mostly about feelings, of emotions on the road rather than plain facts and figures. Stumped inexplicably only for a choice of music they might play. I’d a track in my head, obscuring all others, but couldn’t remember its name. Obliged instead to try and describe it with remarkably little clarity.

Interview complete, I’d drifted around the town for a while, waiting for my bus. Butchers, hardware shop, the delicatessen. All looked familiar. Unchanged. A small library. Converted from a shop. Thought that was new. Wandered past the open door of a terrace house. Didn’t think I’d been staring in, rather walking purposely past, but the woman inside nevertheless said hello. It was nice to be back.


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On air… penultimate day on the road

February 15th, 2012

radio

Courtesy of friends at his local community radio station in Somerset, England – www.10radio.org – you can catch up with Ken’s live chat with presenter Anton on the penultimate day on the road. Click on the link below to download the interview.

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On air in Canada

October 3rd, 2011

radio

Courtesy of friends at my local community radio station in Somerset, England – www.10radio.orgyou can catch up with my regular monthly on-air chats with good friend and neighbour Jon.

In the latest episode Ken talks about his arrival into North America, the search for wild bears and plans for the road ahead. Click on the link below to download the interview.

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On air in Australia

May 26th, 2011

radio

Courtesy of friends at my local community radio station in Somerset, England – www.10radio.org– you can catch up with my regular monthly on-air chats with good friend and neighbour Jon.

In these latest episodes Ken talks about his time in Australia. Just click on the links below to hear the various instalments.

February 2011

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March 2011

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May 2011

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July 2011


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August 2011


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End of Australia summary


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[If you enjoyed listening to this broadcast, or any of their other programmes – you can listen online – please do consider making a donation]

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Bit of a washout

January 22nd, 2011

Tropical downpour. Intense. But warm. And very humid. Cairns. Northern Queensland. Stood in the middle of a car park. Sheltering beneath a large umbrella. Feeling frustrated. Desperately trying to get a signal on my satellite phone so my local radio station could call me. With little success. Too many buildings around perhaps.

Back in the first world. Should have been straightforward enough. But, alas, pay phones don’t accept incoming calls. And the land line number I’d eventually found hadn’t worked. New Years Day so the internet cafes in town had closed early. And I’d not got WiFi access where I was staying. So, no Skype. Out of options. Tonight at least.

In truth, Anton and Jon at the radio station had spoken to me a little earlier. Reasonably clear line, bit of a time delay but workable. But, as soon as the live interview started, the signal began to fade. I’d tried to ad-lib, second guess things. And then the connection was lost. I didn’t want to even begin to imagine what was happening back in the studio in Somerset. Some frantic filling in.

I’d felt particularly bad about it because, in a way, it was may fault. We’d a well-proven method for pre-recorded interviews, unaffected by the now significant time difference. But I’d run out of time for that in Hong Kong, suggesting instead we did it live. After all, how difficult could it be to find a landline they could call me on? Now you know.

[The author is particularly indebted to presenter Anton and interviewer Jon at 10 Radio for their patience and understanding. Much more appreciative of why radio stations try and avoid live interviews…]

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