Change of heart

Well, in a sense the title is a bit of a misnomer, because its not so much a change of heart, as finally accepting the glorious fact I’ve already grown to accept, that with a bit of effort on my part, me, and Jean Harlow could at least be sisters! Alright, given how old she was when she died, she would be the younger, prettier one, whereas me, I’m the older, butch looking one lol!

But yes, even more so when I see pictures like this one, I can see the resemblance!

Jean Harlow

So though I wont be giving up entirely on the 20’s flapper scene, and my admiration for Louise Brooks, I’m going to try for a more practical look, the 30’s Harlow look. Hey, if I look that much like her already, why not? At least the hairstyles are a lot more achievable, with the fringe, and the dress style of the era was pretty classy too, so…

So next week, Tuesday to be exact, I’m going to get my hair coloured, and cut, and go for a 30’s style look, rather than failing to achieve the Brooks bob, and frustrating myself into the bargain. Also, my eyebrows (which are natural, not a pencil line) are going to get waxed next week, and Linda is going to see how close to that look we can get for me!

But before then, this middle aged (are you still middle aged at 55?) lady will put another notch on the age count on Sunday, when I reach the grand age of 56! Tragically, thats 30 more years than Miss Harlow managed on this Earth! The birthday dinner on Sunday, well, weather permitting, it will be one of the flapper style dresses in my collection. Though given its March, if the weather goes back to cold again, I might wear something a bit longer! But if it stays mild, well, my legs might get a shock, and an outing!

Hey, I’m not officially becoming a (middle aged) Jean Harlow lookalike until next Tuesday, so, lets go flapper, darlings! Should be a fun evening either way, thats for sure.

The video, well, the song might say that nothing will make you have a change of heart, and this is just the opposite, but…a super song, by a great singer

Like a ghost town

Lets get in another Iditarod related piece before the race is over. I know, it wont happen until next week, but I have only 1 chance in the next 9 days to blog, so lets go with it, while I can.

About a century ago, give or take a few years, Iditarod had a population of about 10,000 people. Nearby Flat, had a number between 6-8,000 depending on tales, and given their proximity, there may have been some double counting in there. On what is now the northern race route, was a much smaller community, Ophir, that got to between 100, and 200 people living in the area.

Now all have one thing in common, all are ghost towns. Iditarod was the first one to go, despite having been the largest, by the mid 1930’s, it was all but gone. Though strict ghost status only dates to this century, when the last trapper moved out of one of the derelict buildings, when he reckoned that the race coming through every 2 years made the place too lively for comfort!

Ophir survived the war years, but somewhere around the early 50’s, the gold ran out, and so did the last few people surviving there, heading for other points presumably?

Flat actually survived as a community until 10 years ago, though by then the population had dropped to 5! Then the post office closed, and like the mail, people no longer came to town. Funnily enough, the only one of the three not visited by the race, though I suspect a few trappers and the like, still make use of the buildings there.

I have no idea what its like to live in anywhere like the Alaskan wilderness of these areas, nor do I really want to, unless someone wants to provide an internet connection to the area lol! As for what it was like, a century ago, in the depths of winter, I hate to think.

But, at least all these places were once a community. Even more uniquely, there is one checkpoint en route, that only ever has people there when the race comes through, every 2 years! Cripple only exists as a checkpoint, to break up what would otherwise be nearly a 150 mile stretch between Ophir, and Ruby, not really practical. Its supposedly in one of the coldest spots in Alaska, in winter, and thats saying something! Probably why no one lives there!

I must admit, there is a perverse side of me that would love to visit Iditarod, just to see what its like now, and to imagine what it was like, just over a century ago, when the gold rush started there. Probably never will get there, but, until I know its out of the question, I can dream.

The video, a tribute to two tone music, and a comment on the Thatcher years over here, as well as an offering to these places

The Sweetest thing?

As any regular reader will know, I commute to work, using a, err, wonderful train company called Trans Pennine Express. Yes, equally any regular will know, that comment is very tongue in cheek, they could drive a saint to tears much of the time.

Lets just say that their services punctuality leaves a lot to be desired (they put a message on the train speaker saying that if you see anything suspicious, to let them know. If I ever see one of their trains run on time, I’ll report it as suspcious) to put it mildly, the fares are among the highest in the country, and due to having insufficient carriages for need, tend to be overcrowded most of the day.

Ironic story of the last few days, at the beginning of 2013, our fares went up slightly more than normal, to pay for the extra rolling stock that they would be providing, so we didnt feel like sardines most of the time when travelling with them. This week, it was announced that they arent arriving, due to a falling out with the leasing company! But I dont think our fares will be going down now, somehow!…rolls eyes!

But no, this isnt going to be a one sided insult of said train company, I’m about to say something nice about them too!

So when you’ve picked yourself up off the floor…

It seems I’m not the only one celebrating a birthday this month (16th, if you care?), Trans Pennine Express are 10 this month. And those of us long suffering customers who get emails, and the like from them, got an offer. If you sent a request, and were amongst the first 10,000 to do so, you could get £10 off an advance fare. Now fine, for most commuters, its not what we need to buy, but…I’m going to Jersey in May, and have to get myself to Manchester Airport. So by booking now, I got the single fare, first class, for £5! Less than the standard class advance ticket would normally cost!

So fine, I’ve paid for it now, not in May, just before I go (when it probably would still have been £15 first class), but I’ve got a bargain, care of the train company that drives me crazy. So, just once in a while, they do the sweetest thing. Mind, that train will probably run late, but…

The video. Well, Bono has gained a bit of a reputation for being too forthright for his own good. This video, just the opposite, very tongue in cheek. A few cameos in it too, though whether many will spot them now?

Dealing with a slippery character

In my life, I have been fortunate enough to have visited Eastern Europe, both before, and after the fall of the Iron Curtain, though curiously, there’s only one that I visited both sides of that event, Hungary. Believe me when I say, even though my first visit after the fall of the wall was no more than a few months after the big event, the changes were noticeable, even then.

I’m not certain if saying that people were more relaxed then, though attitudes seemed to change pretty quickly, it has to be said. That trip, was actually a holiday, with my ‘other half’, and one night we stopped for a drink in the bar, at the hotel we were staying at for a few days. In said bar, was a lady, dressed in a cleavage revealing top, and leather skirt, looking around at the men, in the bar, and surrounding area.

I understood more than a few words of Hungarian back then, and I heard someone disdainfully say in Hungarian that she was a ‘lady of the night’. No, not a vampire lol, a prostitute! And this was brazenly in the bar of a good quality hotel in Budapest! To say she wouldnt have been there a year earlier is putting it mildly, even though Hungary was a lot more laid back than the Soviet Union (or most communist countries) it has to be said!

In a sense, I regret never going back to the Eastern part of Germany, but in many ways, the change would have been so dramatic, it might have been for the best. Prague, would be nice to go back to sometime though, but no idea if, or when.

Of course, the countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania didnt even strictly exist before 1991! I still hope one day to return to Estonia (my favourite of them) but I have no idea when! Maybe when the body is no longer up to transatlantic flight hopping, and I need to go somewhere nearer. Ironically, due to the arrival on the scene of budget airlines, I suspect Tallinn has changed dramatically in the last 15 years or so, but anyway…

No, I’ve never been to the Ukraine, before, or after the wall came down, so I have no idea what Kiev (Kyiv) is like. But in Vilnius, I saw signs of what life must have been like under Soviet rule, and they werent nice ones. So yes, its sad for me to see current events in the Ukraine, given what happened in the past. No, I dont think Russia will take over the whole of Eastern Europe again, but events in the area concern me all the same.

Snag is, Putin isnt the type to step down from a challenge re events there, and Obama seems ready to stand firm over things too. I just hope this doesnt lead to bloodshed, war, and even worse, thats all I say. So for now, I hope events play out well in the Ukraine, and things can be settled peacefully. Snag is, I’m not sure if they can, at the moment.

The video, rather apt I feel, from an artist no longer with us, whose music I love. Mind, if you want to see that light that ‘comes down from above’ as a mind control element, feel free to do so, the lyrics do seem to fit in!

Apologies re the non video, video, but its all I could find.