October 11th - There’s a type of littering prevalent at the moment that’s really annoying me. It consists of collecting the rubbish in your vehicle neatly in a carrier bag, then when full, tying it in a knot and just chucking it out of the window at your first opportunity.

If you do this you are a moron with no respect for others, and are beneath contempt.

I see bags of this rubbish blighting lanes and dual carriageways; urban backstreets and country verges. This was in Little Wyrley.

There’s something very selfish about a mentality that keeps their vehicle tidy, but can’t be bothered to do the same for the wider environment. Just how hard is it to wait until you’re home and popping it in the dustbin?

Scum. Nothing more, nothing less. Filthy, littering scum.

Salento and the Zona Cafetera

Our most comfortable and scenic bus journey yet took us to Salento, winding our way up through cloud forests into coffee country. It’s safe to say that Paisa country began to steal our hearts in Medellin and totally had them at Salento in the midst of the Zona Cafetera.

Dropped at the side of a dual-carriageway by the intercity bus, we were a little concerned as to how we would complete our journey to Salento, but right on cue, some more friendly Paisa’s ushered us across the road to a bus stop and the local bus driver had us to Salento at break-neck speed.

Salento is a small farming town which has taken tourism to heart, fuelled by it’s beautiful scenery and good coffee. It has a hardworking yet relaxed feel. In the main square sits the local taxi rank, but being coffee country this doesn’t mean the standard yellow miniature Hyundai, but instead a row of vintage Jeeps. Asking for a ride to our hostel, we were directed to the sorriest looking Land Rover, which coughed and spluttered it’s way to our destination - adding yet another mode of transport to our ever-growing list.

Our favourite hostel of the trip so far, La Serrana, sits high amongst the hills with sweeping views. Most nights dinner is offered at communal tables, allowing a great opportunity to meet people and swap stories with other travellers and it was a welcome change from some of the emptier hostels we’d managed to find owing to low season.

Apart from taking a some time to relax, we were here to visit a coffee farm and hike the nearby Valle de Cocora. On our first full day we took the short walk down the road to Finca Don Elias, a small four hectare organic coffee farm perched on a hillside. Our guide Joubert Sneider (his name explained by his Dutch heritage) seemed to have remarkable English for someone who had only been learning for a month! Leading us around the farm, he explained their method of companion planting, how they use banana trees as water stores for dryer times and pineapples to save the coffee from ants. After a short lesson on how the coffee gets from bean to cup and using coffee that had we ground ourselves, Mrs Elias brewed us a batch of the freshest coffee we’re ever likely to taste.

The best fun of the day was still to come when, together with our new Australian friends Beth and Julian who we’d met on the coffee tour, we went for lunch across the road at a small, simple restaurant which offered the opportunity to sample one of the local specialities, trout, and play some Colombian games fuelled by beer and rum. Beginners luck unfortunately sat with the Aussies, as they took us down both at Rana (Frog, a game that involves throwing brass rings into holes to score a varying number of points)and Tejo, an explosive game involving a horseshoe, metal pucks and gunpowder. 

The next day we enjoyed a great hike around the beautiful Valle de Cocora. The walk took us up to a point 3000m above sea level via precarious rope bridges and logs over a river and through a lush forest full of palma de vera (wax palms), the tallest palms in the world reaching up to 60m and Colombia’s national tree. We were rewarded at what we thought was the top with Colombian elevenses - hot chocolate and cheese - and the opportunity to get up close to dozens of hummingbirds swarming around feeders. Little did we know that the hardest part of the ascent was yet to come, up a very steep incline through a misty wood, catching glimpses of the towering palms through the fog. Thankfully we made it into a jeep back down to Salento before the torrential rain started! A well earned meal was enjoyed at Rincon del Lucy (the best value meal we’ve had in Colombia) and then we enjoyed watching locals sing along to Colombian classics played by a band in celebration of Colombia’s version of Valentine’s Day, Dia de Amor y Amistad.

Our final day at La Serrana was spent at the hostel, enjoying the views during a lazy Sunday with a BBQ in the evening. Along with Medellin, this was another place we were reluctant to leave.

Sometimes I like to amuse myself by coming up with absurdly technical job titles for relatively simply jobs.

Like: Pedestrian and Carriageway Interface Liaison Officer.

Aftermath (26)

Don’t read if you down like.

The atmosphere was pretty awkward inside the car, as Ant was still feeling incredibly guilty for what had happened. Immediately, Dec sensed this and stopped daydreaming, “Ant, oh sweetie… Just forget about it, please. I loved it really… Honest I did”
“Decks…” Ant sighed heavily as gradually he turned off the road. He couldn’t concentrate. Ant rested the car in a lay-by on the side of a main carriageway as he lent back in the seat. Abruptly stopping the car.
Nervously in the passenger seat, Dec glanced at Ant, watching as he reached over to grab his hand. Dec knew, Ant was just after his touch, to know that he was OK. Warmly, Dec placed his palm into Ant’s, feeling Ant caress his skin. Cleverly Dec came up with an idea, to help Ant forget, “Ya should know Ant… That all the McPartlins are invited to Mam’s funeral” Dec stated plainly out, trying to defuse the current situation. Quickly, it worked. Instantly, Ant looked up with a surprised look, “Really Decks… Me… ma Mam and Sara? Ya sure… Guess that was ya doing” Ant asked shakily, his voice full with surprise and shock. Ant kept staring at Dec intently as Dec smiled, blushing slightly at the attention.

Supportively, Dec held equally as tight onto Ant’s hand, allowing Ant to unbuckle his seatbelt with the other. Carefully, Ant held Dec’s waist his hands before pulling Dec into the driver seat. Considerate of the cramped space, Ant shoved his seat back as Dec settled quite cosy inside his lap. Giddily, Dec smiled at the action before adding, “Yeah, it was me who invited youse lot. But Mam loved youse guys! I don’t see why I can’t, she loved the McPartlin family also as much as me Ant. I don’t think that she’d want to see the McPartlin’s and Donnelly’s divided over Ella and us” Dec explained. Intently, Ant listened and agreed with Dec’s statement. Steadily, Dec continued as he automatically curled up against Ant’s body, “If ya worried about Dermott love, then don’t be. In my opinion, he can get lost. Earmonn and the rest approve of us, even Mam did…”
“I’m not worried about your Dermott, Decks. I know you and ya brothers will keep him in check. I’m just shocked Decks… very honoured to be invited…” Ant interrupted lightly, squeezing his partner gently. Suddenly, Ant felt Dec kiss. Rapidly, running kisses along his neck. Loosely, Ant released Dec’s waist, stroking through his hair as Dec relaxed. Affectionately, Ant kissed Dec’s cheek, “I have to have youse there Ant, I’m engaged now! Without Ant… Dec’s lost pal, you’re mine now partner… By whatever means I will be dragging ya to Ireland with me…”
“More like luring me, Declan! Love hearing ya say that. Saying that I’m yours and that you’d fall apart without us” Ant teased excitedly as he gently placed Dec back upon his seat. Taking care to re-secure Dec’s seatbelt. Ready to drive them both safely home.

Abruptly Ant’s phone rang out. Rapidly, Ant retrieved it from his pocket, it was his mother. Quickly, Dec took over as Ant set the car going again, “Hey Christine, nah it ain’t Anthony…. it’s me, Declan! We’re running a bit late Christine, totally my fault…”
“Oh, Declan! Hello there pet. That’s fine love, me and Sara has just be wondering wether or not to start tea. It’s 5:30 ya know…” Christine replied warmly as Dec gestured to Ant to get moving. Playfully, Ant saluted Dec, who took this as, ‘Aye boss! I am going!’. Lightly, Dec smiled at his partner and Ant returned the action, turning back onto the carriageway.
“Sorry Christine… We totally lost track of time. Want us to pick up something for tea? We’re heading into the city centre” Dec offered as Ant caught on, readying his hand upon the indicator. Keenly, Dec kept eye contact with Ant, “Oh that would be lovely boys, thanks youse very much. Ya know our favourites by now I hope Declan, shall us girls get the movie sorted?” Christine questioned back as Dec’s face lit up. Clueless, Ant saw Dec’s face, only able to guess at what his mam had just told Dec. Anxiously, Ant stopped at the traffic lights, Dec felt the anxiety and held Ant’s hand lightly upon the gear stick. Intently, Ant listened as Dec replied, “That’ll be nice, yeah why not! It is a Sunday, better not be Alien Autopsy! I won’t thank ya for that”

Suddenly Ant laughed. Realising the conversation was about films, Dec pointed to the city centre and Ant twigged. Indicating off the carriageway, as Dec nodded eagerly which backed up Ant’s belief. During the drive, Dec kept talking to Christine, laughing and joking. Feeling at bit left out, Ant concentrated on the road and smiled at Dec when he gripped at his hand, ‘I’ll tell youse later pal… Being good honest’

VIDEO

Hundreds of police in Hong Kong have moved again to try to clear pro-democracy protesters out of an underpass near the city government headquarters.

Reports say officers, armed with shields, fired pepper spray and scuffled with protestors.

This video shows police attempting to secure one side of the main four-lane carriageway through the Admiralty District of Hong Kong.

(source: bbc 0450 15oct14 | video : Cassady Winston)

Okay, so you will all probably be like “who cares?!” to this, but whatever, I care.

Today I drove on this duel carriageway which is always super busy ALONE AND WITHOUT HAVING A PANIC ATTACK!!! Big woop right? But it is a really big deal for me. Driving really triggers my anxiety and it has been improving over the last couple of years to the point where I now feel fine, except for this one road and on motorways. I haven’t been able to drive this one road without someone else in the car and every time I’ve had a panic attack (which is obviously super dangerous and makes my anxiety even worse). You have no idea how good I feel right now.

One day I will be, for the most part, anxiety free. I can do this :)

I seriously hate it when people mistake polite contempt as actual kindness.  I promise if I say “thank you so much for coming to see me” as oppose to “great seeing you, when shall we do this again?” it generally means that I wish to never see you again and why on Earth did you come to my home uninvited.  Similarly “take care” when said with a concerned brow means that I care greatly about you and please don’t get run over by a lorry. In contrast “take care” when said with a charming smile means “take care that you get in the lorry’s way on a dual carriageway” if you get the drift?  

Perhaps this is just me, perhaps it’s an English thing, but really, people who do not understand it seriously infuriate me. 

anonymous said:

Hello tally, panicky driver here again! So today I went driving with my mum again today and I was much better! I did big and small roundabouts, drove on a dual carriageway and drove into the city centre! I even had to drive up this swirly circular ramp (was veryyyyyy long) into a multistory car park aha. Thank you for believing in me😘🚗

Yay! Well done; I’ve been driving almost two years and I am still terrified of multi storey car parks haha. You’re doing fab and I’m glad you’ve proved to yourself you can do it! Xx

A34 underpass in Perry Barr has reopened in both directions.

A spokesperson from Amey, Said: “Flood water that closed the A34 Birchfield Road underpass has now been removed, the carriageway has been cleaned and the road has now reopened to traffic. Investigations into the root cause of the power failure to the pumping station are ongoing and measures will be put in place to ensure that any faults are permanently repaired. We apologise to all road users who have been caught up in the congestion while we have responded to this situation.”

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