The Monday Morning Quote #487

“As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt”

Anthony Bourdain

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The Monday Morning Quote #486

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

George Bernard Shaw

(via Michael Neill)

Of airports and airlines.

I fly a lot – into, out of and around the UK. My favourite airport by a country mile is Cork which is friendly and efficient. I enjoy departures from there (this evening I am off to Newcastle) and above all I look forward to returning home, unfortunately not until late next Monday evening.

My least favourite airports in the UK are Edinburgh, badly designed, unfriendly and uncomfortable, Manchester where the leaky walkways, and the miserly limit of 60 minutes free wi-fi (increased from 30!!), speak volumes but it is Stansted which for dedication to giving travellers a hard time leaves everywhere else in their slipstream.

The last time I was there (Saturday June 2nd) I was amazed to find that they have not only found a way to make the queues for security even longer and more unpleasant but are actually boasting that they are #5TimesFaster – a hashtag that is surely an invitation to tweet about how poor the experience was.

The shock of being shouted at by a hoarse, bleached blonde because you had the temerity to put your toiletries in a plastic bag (clearly sealed and the correct size) that was not Stansted standard issue was overwhelming to a couple of non-English speakers. The old trick of shouting even louder to get your point across didn’t seem to help.

When a couple of people remonstrated with an overseer that the man who was organising their belongings for the security scans had been downright rude were reassured with, “that’s just his way, he’s got a heart of gold really”.

There has clearly been a lot of money spent on developing Essex’s gateway to the world, unfortunately taking the Ikea aisle approach means a meandering shopping centre where speed of transit is governed by the slowest plodder. What they haven’t done is to increase the numbers or comfort of seating, the only empty seat I could find was just outside the lavatories. Yet again on Saturday there was no wifi either in the airport “lounges” nor in Starbucks where I finally sat myself.

The doubly whammy of Saturday was the fact that I was flying with Ryan Air – I won’t go on at length they’re too easy a target. They have now introduced another innovation – putting your bags in the hold. Unless of course you pay a premium and then can take two bags on to the flight. This replaces the old system of only letting the first 90(?) people on with their cases which led to long queues, anxiety and aggression. None of these ranks anywhere close to their past policies of “first come, first served” for seating where my wife was told that if she and our three year old son were seated 20 rows apart that was just tough.

One of the problems with putting so much baggage in the hold was they had failed to factor in the ground staff. We boarded on time, were welcomed on board then were told that we were third in line to have the baggage loaded. After 40 minutes on a very hot and uncomfortable evening they told us that the bags were now all on but we had missed our “push” so the 20.35 took off at 22.00 the time that it had been scheduled to land.

Bloomberg has published the best and worst airlines and airports of 2018. In the bottom 10 airports come Edinburgh (134) and Manchester (136) but the penultimate in the list at 140, just above Kuwait International, comes Stansted.

Carriers are headed by Quatar, Lufthansa and Etihad, in 67 from 72 comes Ryan Air, Michael O’Leary you clearly have more work to do there are still 6 below you!

The Monday Morning Quote #485

“Success is the sum of small things repeated day and day out”

Robert Collier

Pass the parcel Part 94, now it’s Portman’s turn.

Swiss firm joins £300m race for Cheltenham winner’s dental chain

Jacobs Holding is among the suitors trying to get in the saddle with Cheltenham-winning jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, Sky News learns.

A Swiss family office whose investment firepower was partly generated by an international chocolate producer has joined the £300m race to buy the dental chain run by a former Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey.

Sky News has learnt that Jacobs Holding, which last year snapped up Southern Dental, a group of NHS and private dental practices, is among the bidders for Portman Dental Care.

Full piece here.

Addendum June 7th 2018.

It appears that I was misled, the Portman group are re-financing and not getting out of dentistry – yet. Happy to make that clear. My apologies for any confusion.

Philip Roth’s advice..

From David Hepworth’s blog.

Philip Roth’s invaluable advice to writers

I like the story about the young novelist, still waiting tables, who approached Philip Roth, proffering a copy of his newly-published first book.

It was called “Balls”. Roth admired the title. Said he couldn’t believe he hadn’t used it himself. Then he advised his fan to “quit while you’re ahead”. He explained that writing was torture, that you had to throw most of it away because it wasn’t any good and the young man really should stop now before he did lasting damage to himself.When this story made the rounds some said that a successful old man like Roth had no right to be putting off anyone young and up and coming.

I don’t agree. Roth said what he thought. That most novelists, like most musicians, are never going to achieve anything like the acclaim they feel they’re entitled to and they really might be better off doing something they can succeed in.

And the more important point is that if the fire to write novels really burns inside you, rather than just the desire to become a successful novelist, then nothing Philip Roth says is going to make any difference.

As Laurence Olivier used to say, if you want to be an actor, you are an actor. If you’re not an actor you didn’t want it badly enough.

 

The Monday Morning Quote #484

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

Voltaire

 

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