Monthly Archives: April 2011

ALBERT CUYP MARKET, AMSTERDAM – it’s all about the people

Would you buy a back scratcher from this man?

Aelbert Cuyp was a 17th Dutch painter, best known for his backlit landscapes. His composition rule was that a painting should be 90% light or 90% dark, so that viewers would pay most attention to the minority 10%.

In the market in the Amsterdam street that bears his name, I guessed that the ratio of customers to vendors on a quiet Wednesday was about 9:1. I focussed my camera on the 10% doing the selling. Continue reading


Filed under Holland, travel photography

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – just another morning ride

There's no hurry - I've got the whole morning.

I’ve been awake since 4am. Partly jetlag, partly excitement. I splashed out and bought an expensive new bike yesterday and this morning I’m taking it on its first ride. It was a quick decision to buy it, and it may not have been a good one. I’ll know in an hour or two. Continue reading


Filed under Cycling

TRAVELLING WITH TECHNOLOGY – oh, what a tangled web!

But wait, there's more!

When I first went travelling, fellow backpackers were amused to discover I carried a watch and an alarm clock with me. They joked that I must consider myself a busy man of the world, who may need to wake early, meaning before lunchtime; “Like, Richard, it’s not like you ever have An Appointment.”

Technology for the traveller has moved on. My mobile phone also serves as watch, alarm clock, camera, diary and home entertainment centre. Things are so much more convenient now…or are they? Continue reading


Filed under Travel

SYDNEY ROYAL EASTER SHOW 2011 – a hell of a fair

This is hell on earth – everything that is wrong with the world pressed into a few hundred square metres, and a good proportion of the world’s population pressed in with it.

Blaring music, screaming crowds, fat families stuffing their faces with fatty food, spruikers selling the chance to win fluffy toys, plastic weaponry and shooting galleries marketed as fun, gaudy design, flashing lights, whining kids and harrassed parents appeasing them by buying them junk.

Is this where it starts – our quick-fix throw-away culture, our obesity, our gambling addiction and our willingness to sit on our butts while someone takes us for a ride?

Ordinary Australian families are doing it tough, so we can’t afford action on climate change, but we can find a few bucks for fairy-floss, big dippers and Scooby-Doo dolls. We’ve got the kids to think of, after all.

Am I missing something here? Am I turning into a grumpy old man?

The kids love it, don’t they? Our grandchildren were having a good time until the Tyrannosaurus Rex balloon popped. “Let this be a lesson to you, boys. You see, balloons are a kind of symbol for the ephemeral nature of pleasure…”

The noise is getting to me. Perhaps if I could press the mute button and just look…

…no, sorry, it’s not working.

“Hey, how about we go back and look at the baby goats – they were fun, weren’t they?”


Filed under travel photography, Travel-Australia

SATURDAY PHOTO #8 – you’ll believe a bike can fly

What the...?

This shot requires a little visual explanation… Continue reading


Filed under travel photography, Travel-Australia

SYDNEY ROYAL EASTER SHOW 2011 – going to the dogs

Stop dribbling, Rajah, the judges are coming!

It’s a long time since we’ve been to Sydney’s annual Royal Easter Show. It’s massively popular, and the crowds are one reason I’ve always hated it. ‘The country comes to town’ is the catch-cry for the event, but for many it’s become a festival of eating junk food, screaming your head off on stupid funfair rides and spending ridiculous amounts of money on ‘showbags’ filled with stuff that breaks before the kids get it home.

This year, for the first time, we went with the grandchildren, and there’ll be more reports on that on future blog posts.

My favourite part of this year’s show was the dog judging. Since I saw the hilarious Christopher Guest mockumentary Best in Show, I’ve loved these events, where the owners and handlers are every bit as entertaining as the pooches. Continue reading


Filed under Travel-Australia

MY NEXT BIKE? – I’m paralysed by choice

This ladies Peugot was bought at a market in Dusseldorf for 50 euros. I've toured thousands of kilometres on it, and I love it, but it may be one bike too many.

The number of bikes a cyclist needs is (N+1), where N is the number of bikes he or she already owns. My problem is, what bike do I get next?

My N currently stands at 4, and I desperately want that +1. Mevrouw T has given me the good news that we have enough money to buy another bike, but the bad news is that I have to get rid of an old one to make room for it in our storage space.

So I’m considering my options. All advice (and good deals on great bikes!) gladly accepted. Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling