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Neil Smith Blog

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Neil Smith

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5 days ago

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Political violence.

The murder of the English politician David Amess has made all sorts of news headlines but the media discussion, above and below the line veers from sanctifying him to justifying his murder. In the midst of the vilification and hagiography there’s a real man with a real life who h ...

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Down but not out in Paris. Part three.

Working split-shifts meant that I had a few hours every day to do chores, go for a run or wander about town. After the first two weeks when the hotel was no longer taking the security deposit for the flat out of my wages, I found myself with enough extra money each week to do mor ...

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Down but not out in Paris. Part two.

The staff accommodation was small and busy. The three-room apartment would have been perfect for a small family or a couple. With my arrival it was the crowded home to two French guys, three Algerians and a bloke from Cameroon who had the dubious privilege of being my new roomie. ...

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Down but not out in Paris. Part one

‘Vous voulez laver les vassailles?’ · ‘Oui.’ · ‘Mais Pourquoi?’ · I then pushed the absolute limits of my schoolboy French attempting to explain to the bemused man across the desk that I was inspired by George Orwell’s description of life as a scullion in ‘Down and out in Paris a ...

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On the road again

I enjoy writing. It’s not the torture that some experience and the only major problem I have with it is that Life gets in the way too much. Without work, socialising and personal hygiene, there would be more time spent pecking away at a keyboard but a need to eat and not live in ...

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Let's make up. Charlotte Tilbury, publicity and much ado about nothing.

Today I joined a live writer’s presentation about half way through. I missed the topic and person that were the highlights of the online call and afterwards, ended up replaying the entire thing from scratch until I found out who it was that had said something stupid/controversial ...

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Oh, wad some power the Giftie gie us.

The Euros are over. The final was a bit blah but the pre-match favourites and better team on the night won, and so England should be able to celebrate their best men’s championship outcome for over half a century and anticipate the next few years of watching this team mature and ...

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Neil Smith

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3 months ago

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Windswept and interesting. Iceland 2000 part three.

The three zombies step back as the bus to Reykjavik comes to a dusty halt. We load our gear, hand over 4,500 kroner to the driver and climb on board. The coach is warm and comfy and stops at lots of interesting places en route. I point something out to the other two only to find ...

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Glacier Days. Iceland 2000 part two.

This is the second instalment of a three-part account. The first can be found here; https://ie.bebee.com/producer/lovin-a-cold-climate-AV5LwOHE1AVz · The journey around the southern Icelandic coast ended at the foot of the Hoffellsjökull glacier which flowed off from the great ma ...

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Lovin' a cold climate. Iceland 2000 part one.

Iceland 2000. · The snow started to fall, the wind blew sharply across the campsite and the fabric of the tent was flapping. · I though, was flapping more as I tried to thread a second needle to fix the tear in the flysheet of the tent that was to be our home for the next month. ...

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Neil Smith

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4 months ago

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Carry that weight. (In a well fitting rucksack.)

The above is a diagram of a human back, which can easily be viewed as a marvel of evolutionary engineering. An S-shaped spinal column surrounding and protecting our essential nerves cushions shock from ground impact to the brain. · The spine prevents our posture from resembling t ...

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Darkness on the Edge of (London) Town

1984/85 was my final year of high school. I was no great student, didn’t like school and was a shy, insecure outsider. I stayed on for sixth year because I had no idea what I was going to do with myself after school and many of the traditional options had been eliminated by the T ...

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Neil Smith

5 months ago

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Through a Class Darkly.

The digital world took a long time to enter my personal world. I opened a Hotmail account in 2006, set up on LinkedIn by 2014 and started with Facebook sometime in 2015. Twitter and Instagram get a token nod but see limited activity and I am way too long in the tooth to be trying ...

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A Bee in my bonnet.

In conversation recently with some experienced bloggers and copywriters someone said that a lot of her blogs came about as a result of her getting a bee in her bonnet about something which then became the inspiration for a story. This bee has been buzzing around my bonnet for ove ...

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Neil Smith

1 year ago

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Mack.

The door clattered open which caused the flabby guy behind it to jump up off his chair, fumble for balance and fall back onto his substantial arse. Mack strode in and glanced around. · “You’re supposed to be on lookout. Where’s your sidekick?” · The ineffectual sentry, nervousl ...

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A good night’s sleep part three. Sleeping mats and camp beds.

No matter how amazing and warm and fluffy your sleeping bag may be, if you are lying directly on the ground, then you will be cold, uncomfortable and sleepless. The surface under your bag should provide insulation from the cold and cushioning to smooth the bumps from the hard sur ...

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Neil Smith

1 year ago

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Angela.

She was gorgeous. More vibrant, more alive than any woman known or dreamed about since long before I settled for marriage. She talked brightly and I listened whilst lying in the hostel bunk. Half-dressed yet wholly entranced. · That evening we spent hours chatting, which clearly ...

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Neil Smith

1 year ago

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A Good Night’s Sleep. Part two.

Sleeping bags for backpacking. · Much of what was said in part one of this article https://www.charlescamping.ie/store/sleeping-bags-family-camping with regard to choosing a sleeping bag for family camping holds true when it comes to bags suitable for those people who want to tr ...

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1 year ago

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Don't Fade Away.

The cotton flysheet of the old school Vango Force Ten tent could lose its bright orange colour fairly quickly. · Preventing Actinic damage to your tent. · Thanks to Covid-19 this, far from normal, summer has seen an explosion of back garden camping adventures. All over Ireland, p ...

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Neil Smith

1 year ago

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Living next door.

I'm getting really good at not winning writing competitions but at least the standard of my failures is rising. This is not autobiographical except in the sense that we've all been there. · But I've never liked Graham. · Smokie floated out of the old jukebox and across the union ...

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