Wordpress Themes

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I just can’t seem to find the WordPress theme I want for my blog. I’ve used two over the past week or so and neither really gives me satisfaction.

I’ve been adding to the Portfolio section of this blog and updating simultaneously through a blog post. The portfolio section seems ok but as the blog posts are essentially image driven they seem badly displayed and stuck to each other.

I hope you don’t mind if I experiment some more. Ideally I’d like to cross post to Facebook but that isn’t working really well either.

If you have any ideas please do let me know.

It Takes Two to Tango

It Takes Two to Tango

My wife and I had always wanted to visit South America, and at the top of our list was Macchu Pichu and Lake Titicaca. We hadn’t heard about the Iguazú Falls or the Hand on the beach of Punta del Este and Ushuaïa was, for us, the end of the World only seen in documentaries and made popular in France by Nicolas Hulot, a French Television presenter.

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Some of our destinations retained a dream-like almost unreal quality as I thought they would always be memories of images and sounds from television programmes rather than my own personal souvenirs.

I was very excited to finally have the chance to visit these places and experience them with my own eyes and ears.

Our South American voyage started in Lima and while in Peru we flew to Cusco and visited Macchu Pichu. Nothing could have prepared me for my first glimpse, after the short but tiring trek up the mountain. Tiring because any movement takes more out of you at 10,000 feet.

Reality met the romanced discovery I’d imagined, and the images that I’d seen in magazines and in films corresponded precisely to what I got. It’s quite amazing and I really felt like pinching myself just to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming.

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The rest of that day was, of course, an anticlimax. How can you just go on with your day when you’ve seen something like that?

The images will stay permanently engraved in my souvenirs.

After Peru, we flew to Santiago de Chile and boarded our cruise ship in Valparaiso and sailed for Puerto Mont and Punta Arenas before arriving at Ushuaïa our first Argentinian Port

Arriving in the port of Ushuaïa, the air was so crisp and the sky so blue, I could have sliced it all up and put it into a box marked  ‘End of the World’ . As it happens it’s so far South that there really is a destination called ‘The End of the World’ but I’ll write about that in another story.

From Ushuaïa we navigated further south to Cape Horn, where it was so stormy that I was obliged to  hold of the handrails while taking photos of Cape Horn itself and the wind and waves battered the ship with such an intensity that although we came right up to it our Captain wisely decided not to circumnavigate it.

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I mention this because I have a certificate that states that I have circumnavigated Cape Horn but now you know that that is not strictly true.

From Cape Horn, the ship rounded the Southern tip of South America crossing into the South Atlantic Ocean and headed towards the Falkland Islands, Puerto Madryn and a day in the port of Montevideo and the chance of a visit to Punta del Este where I saw the famous hand on the beach.

Then, finally we disembarked the ship in Buenos Aires and spent the night before travelling the next day to Iguazú to spend a few days visiting the Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the Iguazú falls.

I don’t think anything can really prepare you for this visit. Whereas Macchu Pichu is iconic for its architecture, culture and history, Iguazú is an assault of nature on all your senses at once. The sheer size of the waterfall and the power and roar of the water as it plunges over the sides defy your imagination.

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So after Iguazú, the flight back to Buenos Aires gave me the opportunity of reflecting on the sights I’d seen because two days later I was due to fly back home to the UK.

In my mind, the journey was almost over.

Thankfully this was far from being true.

On the last night of our voyage, we attended a Tango Show. I didn’t really have high expectations. I’ve never really been keen on the tango as a dance. I prefer the quickstep, the foxtrot and the waltz . Although I enjoy the skill of the dancers it is a little too postured for my liking.

The restaurant and theatre were tastefully decorated, the waiters were charming and the service was danced to perfection. Almost before we had started we were already finishing the dessert and a few glasses of wine later I was feeling much merrier.

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The house lights dimmed, and the curtains opened. There was a five-piece orchestra high up over the stage that started playing and then the dancers entered.

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They were remarkable. Beautifully precise rhythmic dance steps, with Argentinian attitude, postures and abrupt pauses. The female dancers wore colourful costumes and the male dancers were slicked back, elegant and macho.

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As the Tango originated in Buenos Aires; what better place to appreciate it.

It was a wonderful climax to our voyage and I was disappointed when the curtains closed after the last encore. Although they dance night after night, each dance was fresh and lively.

In conclusion, it takes more than two to tango. The couple dancing the tango and an audience to appreciate them.

They won me over. Now I love the tango.


This is the seventh part of a series of travel tales.

  1. How I went to Brazil

2. Flight over Table Mountain

3. The Tracey Arm Surprise

4. The Lone Piper

5. My Vanuatu Swim

6. Breakdown in Peru

7. It Takes Two to Tango

8. The Bali Run

9. Almost the Northern Lights

10. I’ll Love You To the End of the World

my500words day 15 : The News

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The News

One of my first jobs was as a Paper Boy. Early every morning, six days a week, I delivered the Daily Papers before grabbing breakfast and going to school.

I remember the bag growing lighter as I delivered each paper, and how it really motivated me to finish as quickly as possible. I also remember the bad weather days when it was cold, raining, or snowing. These have always been unwelcome features of the great British weather.

At home, the newspaper rarely dropped daily through our letterbox as my parents couldn’t afford it, but I was too busy with growing up to take much notice of it anyway.

We didn’t have a television set either, and my Dad only listened to the radio to catch the news bulletins and the weather. He seemed to have an inbuilt timer and at one minute to the hour he would turn on the radio and then all distractions were forbidden and silence reigned throughout the house while he listened avidly.

He was a sticker for routines, my Dad, and this particular routine persevered, as far as I know, until he passed away.

Perhaps this helps to explains why I am often obsessed with my own routines.

He always complained of course.

He would gripe about all the bad news and complain that the journalists rarely wrote or talked about anything positive or uplifting.

I didn’t often agree with my Dad but I freely admit that he was right, papers have never really been overly concerned with the feel good factor.

Of course the Press has always been a financial and not a philanthropical institution and exists to make money and influence opinion.

It does that by augmenting our levels of stress and by playing with our emotions, making us outraged, angry or sad.

Articles are filled with conflict and scandal, indignation and despondency.

The reach of journalism has exploded over the years. From the written word, it has expanded to radio, television and now the internet, where you can get your news whenever you want. No more waiting for the daily paper or the next news bulletin, you are, instead, exposed to news twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Whereas with newspapers you might have a day to reflect and ponder, digest and decide, the information onslaught in the Twenty First century is persistent.

Rather than simply relating the facts however, the evolution has been towards creating events that play on our sense of urgency and involvement. The news is stated, repeated, analysed by correspondents and editors and sometimes, in the absence of words, the story is related in images and in videos.

This often happens for events where the journalist doesn’t appear to have a clue as to what is happening but his or her opinion or judgement is served, commented and analysed with a certainty that I constantly find upsetting unless I’m given a moment or two to catch my breath.

There is little news in the absence of journalists and sometimes I wonder why so many journalists are sent to the same event rather than be spread out around the globe to inform us of what is happening elsewhere. So much is happening in the world but because we spend so much time on relatively few events we never really obtain what is considered to be news from elsewhere in the world.

I find it interesting to compare sources when reading or viewing the facts. Don’t you find it strange that exactly the same event is often portrayed with a completely different political bias or opinion? Indeed, opinion often appears to hold more importance than fact. As for facts we are already living in a dystopian world where different truths cohabit and are all defended with equal vigour.

The recent turmoil leading to Great Britain’s decision to exit the European Union, illustrates why following the news in this case probably had an adverse effect on opinions which led inevitably to vast numbers of the population casting a protest vote convinced that the UK would never vote in their majority to actually leave.

In my opinion many of us woke up worse for wear and with thumping headaches on the 24th of June.

Using this as an example, I would advise you to cultivate discernment and pay close, detached, attention to the news you are served every day and if you read a headline, make sure you read the accompanying article because it often describes a different story.

To be continued.