Day 5: Edward Snowden and crab racing

A heavy mist enveloped Aberdovey until lunchtime (or was it cloud? – we are currently located up a very steep hill) – so the morning was spent doing something I’ve been looking forward to for ages: reading books. Editing words on a computer screen all day means the last thing I want to do at night is read more words. But now…

The Snowden Files
I spy… Edward Snowden

The Snowden Files by Luke Harding was a birthday gift a year ago. As a former journalist, I was fascinated as much by how the scoop played out as much as the content of the story. The Citizenfour documentary delivered Snowden’s story in real-time, with the actual source and the actual journalists up there on screen. It offered an unprecendented insight into the state of the world’s cybersecurity and surveillance, but also what it’s like to be the journalists given the biggest story of their career. You should see it if you haven’t already. The book is filling out some of the gaps and has me equally gripped. (I also have a cybersecurity course lined up.)

Crab
“Help me!”

A world away from espionage, we found ourselves caught up in crab racing this afternoon. I had no idea this was a thing.

A father and twenty-something daughter team had crammed their bucket full of crabs caught using a raw bacon lure. About 30 crabs were then dumped on the sand where they were to race at high speed into the sea. The middle-aged father seemed hugely disappointed that the near-suffocated beasties were barely moving and we were soon involved in a rescue mission to help the crabs return to the Dyfi estuary. Why do humans do what they do?

aberdovey beach
Just us and the seaweed

Aberdovey developed as a seaside resort in Victorian times but, heading into October, it is pleasantly deserted. Apart from mad crabbers and a few dog walkers we had the long, wide, dune-rimmed beach to ourselves. Hot walkers feet cooled in the incoming tide and then escaped to the hinterlands, across the dunes, over a golf course and train tracks, and finally to the pub.

mini dune
World of sand

Microadventure #3: Bodyboarding weekend in Cornwall

Tl;dr: unfit middle-aged Brummie woman with lifelong surfing obsession fulfils dream by not standing up on board.
fiona cullinan bodyboarding

The challenge has always been to surf. It’s been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember fuelled by seeing early skateboarding films in the ’70s. Then came movies such as Big Wednesday, The Endless Summer, Blue Crush, Lords of Dogtown and the oh-so-quotable Point Break. I even read books: Andrew Martin’s cult classic Walking on Water was particularly inspiring as (like Keanu in PB) a fellow journalist gets the ultimate assignment – he’ll be paid to go surfing, in Hawaii, for The Times. ‘Awesome.’

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Microadventure #1: Alone in Kings Heath park at night

IMG_6900My heart was practically tachycardic as I entered the blackness. They (if they were there) could easily see me nipping off-path and slipping between the large conifers edging the park into the expanse of darkness beyond. I was banking on no one of cruel intention waiting for me there. All I wanted to do was to be able to see the full moon undiluted by surburbia’s glow.

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So that was 2015!

 

sunflowersThis Christmas break has been a feverish, fog-brained, sinus-filled and jelly-legged two weeks, due to the most fluey of cold viruses (but not the actual flu because when you’ve had the flu, you know!). And so, the Christmas alcohol remains to be drunk, I’ve dropped three lbs and our post-Christmas walking holiday has been postponed. But I have a history of broken festivities so I’ll just add 2015 to that list. When you work from home, the winter office viruses find you just in time for the holidays and are all like: ‘Wayhay! Fresh meat!’

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My new trip camera is an iPhone

GridRecently I sold my DSLR with every intention of replacing it with a new hybrid camera. Instead I’ve been pretty pleased with the output from my iPhone 6 and so, for the first time ever, I took all my trip pix using just a cameraphone. Here are some shots from our honeymoon to Iceland. Many pics are straight out of the camera or with just a little adjustment for the confused white balance of snowy landscapes.

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Cantal press trip blogged – and a travel request

Just back from a week in the centre of France in a little known area called the Cantal. It may be “one of the most sparsely populated and geographically isolated French departments”, according to Wikipedia, but it does have one big claim in that the region encompasses Europe’s largest volcano. Snowshoeing a sleeping volcano seemed an irresistible storyline. Continue reading “Cantal press trip blogged – and a travel request”

Travmedia launches new social network for travel trade

Profile%20travmedia.com

Travmedia, a press release and journalist alert service which connects journalists and PRs, has just made a very smart move (I hope) by launching a Facebook-style social network, that will facilitate many more travel trade connections and work opportunities, and make travel freelancers like myself more visible to travel editors.

‘My Network’ is a little clunky to use at first – a beta feedback option would be good for members so that they can improve the user experience. And there are currently some privacy issues – if you are a Travmedia member you should immediately update your default profile so that your full address doesn’t show, for example.

But I think this might be the first useful work-oriented network I’ve joined since Twitter, which has become a little noisy of late.

The success of ‘My Network’ may be dependent on whether others adopt its usage and how Travmedia develops the service. But it’s already been helpful to me in finding PRs for areas I want to cover, for reconnecting with friends I’ve met on press trips and for posting feature pitches and commissions.

We shall see how our relationship progresses after the first flush is over.