Let’s celebrate. We’re going through a ghastly coronavirus crisis. But we should not forget that the world is wonderful. I thought I would write in praise of several countries I’ve lived in.
Here are ten things to like about Turkey, where I lived from 2012-2016.
1. Istanbul is one of the most ancient and spectacular cities on earth. Here’s me by the Golden Horn.
2. Turks are crazy about fresh fish. Here’s a chap delivering some to a restaurant.
When I lived in Istanbul from 2012-16, people often asked me whether I was concerned about terrorist attacks, crime or civil disturbance.
At the end of my walk on 29 March, with wild boar effigy
‘No,’ I would say. ‘The thing I’m most worried about is being knocked down by a taxi or motorcycle as I try to cross the street.’
Istanbul taxis are famed for their driving style
The same is true in Vienna, in the coronavirus pandemic. I’m doing what I can to avoid catching the virus: working from home, observing the social distancing rules and so on. My fear is that, as I try to avoid other pedestrians on narrow pavements, or cross unusually empty streets, my concentration will slip and I’ll become a traffic accident. (more…)
What to do, when you are stuck at home because of the #coronavirus outbreak?
Read Middlemarch, by George Eliot.
George Eliot’s real name was Mary Ann Evans, 1819-1880
I read Middlemarch recently and posted on its wisdom about sex and relationships (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).
Middlemarch is also full of splendid epigrams. Here are 25 beauties which caught my eye: (more…)
In these coronavirus days, it’s worth recalling how to be happy. I’m going out to dinner tonight, so this might be my last chance.
I’m prompted by a BBC report from 2019, which suggested five things you could do:
- Make a list of the things you are grateful for.
- Sleep more.
- Meditate, or do something which engages your full attention.
- Spend more time with family and friends.
- Get off social media (except this blog).
Me being happy with friends from Deep Purple – who also have some happiness secrets. My post at the link includes pix of Deep Purple in Kyiv
One thing not on the list, but contained in the piece, is that being happy requires a conscious effort. As Professor Laurie Santos says: “Being happy isn’t something that just happens, you’ve got to practice to be better at it.”
How can you practice being happier? One way is by following some of the advice in these “how to be happy” posts – some of my most popular entries:
- W Somerset Maugham on sex, turnips and the meaning of life – (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).
- Appreciating the Cloud Appreciation Society – taking note of nature.
- Austria: the best footpaths in the world? Moments of walking ecstasy.
- Sex, alcohol, people: what makes you happy? We derive pleasure from feeling that we understand the world, and can cope with it.
- Being happy: Paranoid and Bachelor Boy. Music and happiness.
By Robert Pimm
Financial Times, May 9, 2003
I’m picking up the kids from school here in Berlin when a teacher accosts me. “Started being a house-husband yet?” he says. “How do you like ironing all those shirts?”
“Pamela was never a housewife,” I say. Am I being too defensive? “And she never ironed my shirts.”
“How about the vacuum-cleaning?” He has that look in his eye. Does not compute.
“Nope. Mostly, it’s looking after the kids. And I cook.”
“Why not get an au pair? Find yourself a job?”
“The whole point is that I’m with the children. So Pamela can go back to work knowing it’s me looking after them.”
Standing there in the corridor, with kids swarming around him like ants, the teacher shakes his head. “I hope you know what you’re doing.”
In the garden in Berlin, 2003
What I’m doing is this: in October 2002 (more…)
Which rooftop bar in Vienna has:
- outstanding cocktails
- the best view in Vienna
- total coolness?
Here’s a clue:
Here are some reasons I like the Aurora rooftop bar at Hyatt’s fancy new Andaz Vienna am Belvedere:
- I am picky about cocktails. The Aurora has a terrific Nordic-themed cocktail menu. My favourite is the “Berserker’s Punch” (white rum, overproof rum, orange, coconut, pineapple, lemon, milk, and a cola lolly). To be honest, I can’t see or taste any milk in it. I advise against drinking too many of these;