Do you have any stubborn stains? A sticky carpet perhaps, or permanently grubby children? If so, I can recommend an excellent steam cleaning company in Dubai.
I feel duty bound to promote my good friends at the Dubai Steam Cleaning Company because they comment on my blog.
Wonderful information, thanks a lot for sharing kind of information. Your website gives the best and the most interesting information. Thanks a ton once again, Regards, <a href=http://www.the company’s url.html">Steam Cleaning Company in Dubai</a>
Isn’t that nice?
Somewhere in the throbbing heart of the United Arab Emirates, steeped in broiling natural heat and, I imagine, steam, they have taken the sweaty time to read my blog and found the information contained within to be the very best and most interesting.
Perhaps through some cruel administrative trick they are denied access to normal portals of information and rely on me to tell them that Austria isn’t too far away from here.
“Abdul, Abdul! It’s not too far! He went to find a lake and suddenly was at the Austrian border!”
“Excellent! With this, and the news that cows don’t like walking uphill, we have a broader understanding of countries on the northern fringe of the Baltic peninsular. Pass me more steam.”
My blog is also popular with speed readers. I’ve been toying with moving it all over to a Wordpress site and my last post went to both to see what happens. Within two seconds of hitting “publish,” I got an email to say someone liked it. I was very impressed. Two seconds. Superman on methamphetamine would have been slower.
Or, I’m beginning to wonder, is some form of trickery afoot?
Remember the good old days when the son of a Nigerian King would write a last ditch desperate email while under house arrest? With the guards momentarily distracted, beads of sweat would drip down on his computer as he frantically wondered who on earth he could turn to. Me! That’s who. All I had to do was give him my bank account details and he would be saved! And his children. And half the village. In return I’d get millions of dollars and presumably a golden chicken of some kind.
I never believed Mr. Mbaso. Nor did the other twenty thousand people to whom he miraculously found time to write. But was he any different to someone who likes my blog two seconds after I post it? And I’m not too sure that the Dubai steam cleaning company finds my information to be the very best and most interesting. You may have read my posts. They tend not to contain any information at all.
I want to build an audience because if I do, maybe a few will buy my books and then I can justify writing some more. To do that, apparently, I have to engage. Wise and powerful gurus tell me to ‘Read what others have written and comment on it!” Comment comment comment! They will then come find you!
But doesn’t that make me a bit Mr. Mbaso-like? Or a tad steam-cleany? Doesn’t it make the internet a paper-thin mockery of something good?
I began writing this after my morning coffee and then I noticed that Facebook had a little red thing, which means something I’m sure. I clicked, and it said, “You haven’t written anything for ages! Write something or everyone will just wander off and ‘like’ someone else and you’ll die of the plague.” *
*(It didn’t mention dying).
But I wrote something, Facebook. Just the other day. It had mountains in it, with pictures and everything. Is the world so fickle that I must heap random stuff on them constantly?
Rich people complain that people may like them only because they are rich. Similarly, we don’t know if someone likes what we write, or if they just want to steam clean something we own. It’s a great shame that marketeers have taken over the world and I’m not sure I want to join in.
Marketing is important, of course. As you know, it’s rare for me to quote dead circus owners, but P.T. Barnum once said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens. Nothing!”
He also said that every crowd has a silver lining.
So, should I dash around the internet saying “Great Blog!!!” to everything I see? It makes me feel tacky, disingenuous, participating in some kind of fraud. I want people to know that if I comment (which I have never actually done because I don’t know how), then it’s because I wanted to.
My novel The Midlife of Dudley Chalk (available on Amazon, see what I did there Mr. Barnum?) began by asking the question “What is real?” That question was inspired by a friend’s mother who had Alzheimer’s and who genuinely believed that her whole married life was one of bliss and romantic perfection. My friend said it wasn’t. It was crap. So, I wondered, was it crap? If her brain told her that it was perfect, wasn’t that as true for her as the “crap” was for other observers? If she saw it in her head and believed it in her heart, then wasn’t it true? Whatever that means?
The Midlife of Dudley Chalk examines this by putting him in a coma and sending him to another world where everyone in his life is playing a different role. He falls in love with the comatose patient in the next bed, a girl he has never actually met. Post coma, he’s back in the “real world”, trying to find the girl he may have imagined. My friend Ralph read it and couldn’t work out which world was real and I said, “Does it matter? Both were real for him.”
As it was for my friend’s mother.
The shifting sands of reality come very close to home when you write a blog, or do anything with a like and follow button. You don’t need Alzheimer’s or a medically-induced coma to be surrounded by a world that may or may not be true. All you need is a place for people to like it, or comment on it, and you are suddenly transported to a place where steam cleaners in Dubai thank you for information that is the very best, and most interesting (url attached).
Should I join in the game? Because I really don’t want to.
“Try not to look like you’re going to die.”
I have climbed several mountains recently, and I’d like to climb Triglav, the highest in Slovenia and so peaky that it’s proudly emblazoned on the country’s flag, but I’m not quite ready for it. I’m getting better though.
I returned from South East Asia having not walked anywhere for 5 months. It was too hot and too humid. Consequently, all my exercise and even gym visits of the previous summer were undone by the tropics. I imagine that jungle warfare was quite slow, with both sides clearly visible to each other but with everyone doubled over, out of breath, saying, “Wait, hang on, give me a minute. It’s really humid, isn’t it? Where are they? Oh yes.”
The air in Slovenia was fresh and lovely as I arrived at Ljubljana airport. Tatiana was there to pick me up, which she did as a very welcome surprise.
It took six weeks to find somewhere to live but I’m happily installed in a small village near Kranj. Kranj (which I like to pronounce as though it rhymes with “flange” but it actually rhymes with “bran”) is the fourth largest town in Slovenia. Is it touristy? No, not really. I miss the immediate mountains of the Bohinj valley, but, and here’s a surprise…it’s flat! I can ride my bike.
I have everything I need and Joze and Marta, my new landlords, bring me little Red Cross parcels and check that I’m alive.
It may be flat, but just up the road the mountains look down upon us, and I can see the ski resort of Krvavec. When the snow comes and with a decent pair of binoculars, I should be able to see people falling over without falling over myself.
“I’m not going to die.”
“Are you sure?”
Tatiana had some free time and suggested that we climb Stol. I said that sounded like a lovely idea, not really knowing what Stol is.
“It’s the mountain behind Bled.”
I stole a picture from the internet so you can see what Stol looks like in a) a stolen picture and b) when it has snow on it.
Yeah. It’s the Mount Fuji looking thing behind the famously wet Lake Bled.
Off, then, we set. A thin unmade road from the village of Zirovnica goes up and around silly bends and exhausted hikers to a lovely kocha called Valvazorjev Dom. If you’re not sure what a kocha is, it’s the term used for the mountain hut/chalets that pepper these mountains and provide succour, beds, alcohol and food to those that hike. They are quite brilliant, and I love them. The name “kocha” comes from the small houses that were once the simple dwellings of tied workers, but these mountain saviours are large, warm and comfortable. This network of wilderness hotels keep the mountains alive and it’s a mystery to me how they are kept stocked. Valvazorjev Dom marks the start of a long walk up hill.
The combination of “long,” and “uphill,” made me wonder why I don’t put more thought into saying “Okay, that sounds like fun!” Tatiana, as I may have mentioned before, is young and fit and is far more inclined toward inclines than I. At some point during the proceedings she was prompted to ask after my health. Encouragingly, it took less than five minutes for me to tell her I was fine.
Theoretically, it’s possible to go up Stol and come back down again in about six hours, but I got up late and, you know, the tropics. It was clearly going to storm by the time we reached the almost top.
Stol is a Twin Peaks kind of mountain, and on top of the first peak is a kocha! Slowly it got closer and I could hear the sound of goats and tinkling bells and chatting voices. Civilisation was to be found at the top of a mountain that divides Slovenia from Austria. It was good to sit down and drink beer.
We discussed the idea of getting back down again but it was impossible. Joking aside, I wouldn’t have made it before it got dark and there was, indeed, a storm a-brewin. Tatiana is Russian but speaks excellent Slovene, and she organised food, alcohol, and what turned out to be bunk beds in a kind of dorm. She made complex phone calls because being stuck up a mountain wasn’t the plan, and then her phone ran out of juice with no way to charge it. We gave in to the wonderful isolation of a hut up a mountain. We looked over at the other, higher peak and thought it a shame we wouldn’t get there.
We strolled around though, now that the pressure of getting home wasn’t a factor. I asked the girl who, with her husband, were running the place for the summer.
“What happens when the beer and food run out?” I asked.
“It comes in by helicopter,” she said.
That’s the answer to that, then.
Later, a group of young people from the Czech Republic arrived and they had iPhone chargers for Tat’s electrical needs. A fire was lit and the dark swell of a stormy night up in the Karavanken Mountains enveloped the lot of us. We told stories by the fire, and it was primal and it was good.
The light show of a mountain storm was like a fluorescent bulb that won’t quite turn on. It was constant and stroboscopic and oddly silent, lasting most of the night. I’d stumble about in unfamiliar corridors looking for the toilet and in a blinding flash there’d be the static lit image of a Czech person doing the same thing.
In the morning, it was raining in a fairly major way, mixed with bits of thunder and wind. We put it off as long as we could but had to leave in the cold and lashing rain. We got to the car grateful and wet.
Other trips to other kochas were warmer, dryer, and not quite so long. Tatiana would still ask if I was okay, and actually, I was. I got better as we climbed more things and she claimed to notice an improvement. We found a wonderful gorge just north of here and we climbed and swam our way upstream until we could go no further. On another occasion we searched for a lake where she could swim, got lost and found ourselves at the Slovene/Austrian border. I hadn’t realised it was close. It was all very Sound of Music.
For a month, I remembered why Slovenia is the place I call home.
Now it’s autumn and rain is falling on the apple tree by my balcony. I’m not wearing shorts for the first time since January 13th when I arrived in Bali. Tatiana is busy again and my thoughts turn to writing. I’m sorting out the two novels I have for sale because I need to sell some. And I’ve started writing another. All is quiet, as autumn tends to be.
I guess soon the snow will come and Tatiana will say, “Do you want to go skiing?” And I’ll say “Yes! Okay, that sounds like fun!”
Then I’ll remember that I’m a bit rubbish at going downhill too. And yet I’ll enjoy it, and get better at it, and be glad I got the chance.
Slovenia, writing, other things