internet FREE

Life of Yablon Lake District internet freeI’ve always wanted to holiday somewhere remote with no Internet access. But never bitten the bullet nor been actually brave enough to subject my nearest and dearest to such a ‘hardship’. However sometimes fate is written in the sky and so today we have arrived in a remote part of the Lake District to find that a recent storm has destroyed the rental cottage’s connection to the world wide web.

Life of Yablon Lake District internet free

So basically I’m jumping up and down with glee. It’s my dream come true… in a curious sort of ‘need to do this before I die’ way. One whole week with no emailing, googling and tweeting. He might as well leave his ipad in its case and forget Bloomberg, Sky News and the cricket score. Mini can’t email her friends and Small can’t drum up those infinite word searches (his latest obsession). Plus we’re on holiday with Lord and Lady Y too. Lord Y is talking about writing emails offline and walking his laptop down to the local pub to press SEND.

Life of Yablon Lake District internet free

We don’t even know what the weather will be like tomorrow. (Better not to know if it’s back-to-back rain anyway). Emails from the tail end of Friday’s workday are falling on deaf in-boxes. There is no functioning TV and even the phone reception is non existent so there’s no way of knowing if anyone might be trying to get hold of any of us.

Life of Yablon Lake District internet free

But all three generations are embracing this social experiment. Besides, we have tea, chocolate, a Roberts radio and a football. Nothing else is needed when holidaying in England. Not least Internet access.

{Posted while drinking a cold beer at the Mortal Man pub (thank you!) in Troutbeck}





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are THEY our future?

I’m generally an optimistic person. I tend to believe that everything will work out for the best unless the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary. But some of the ‘modern parenting’ I have witnessed recently is seriously alarming me, and could even suggest a proper crisis on our hands.

temper-tantrum-cartoonI think most of it boils down to a parenting fear of offspring. The mother who turns up at the school gates with a choice of snack, unsure which one little Peter might want after his long, trying day. I watched as Peter reprimanded his mother. Both sugary alternatives were wrong. She lowered her head, apologizing to this 6 year old tyrant.

The bar is continually lowered, when the brats misbehave. Whether it’s a public outburst or private surliness, the adults shrug their shoulders as if to say, ‘That’s kids for you!’ But of course it doesn’t have to be. These minors need manners and a little self-control, basically nothing a table clearing, bed making or even car cleaning couldn’t sort out. The only reason they tantrum (past the age of 3) is because they are being allowed to.

Before I appear smug, mum-know-it-all and horribly preachy, one final example of this certain tribe of the next generation. In the playground last week, one of (9 year old) Small’s friends was slapped across the face by a boy 3 years his junior. The incident was completely unprovoked and a shock to the older boys.   However much the authorities tried to ensure this boy apologized, he failed. Is this normal? At all acceptable? Simply an attention-seeking ploy? I have no idea any more but, at the every least, seems to me to be a worrying sign of the times.

This column first appeared in The Lady where I am their Mum About Town.

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a surprise in Venice

I have since heard that the idea of a surprise fills many with dread. Luckily, as it turns out, I am not one of them.   As soon as I had whiff that He was up to something, I honestly didn’t try to sniff it out too much. Secretly delighted not to be doing the organising and there isn’t really anything more flattering than someone going to all that trouble …

Any readers following my social feeds last weekend would be only too aware that I spent 3 nights in Venice celebrating 15 years of marriage to Him.  In fact, they would also know that until I walked to the airport gate at Gatwick, I had literally no idea where I was going.

Only delivered instructions to palm off the Smalls, a cryptic packing list and a strict demand to leave my laptop at home – it appeared we were off on a glorious mini-moon.

Life of Yablon Venice surprise

Of course, He totally pulled it off. Met by a super-speedy water taxi, we powered off in search of Venice’s latest addition private island hotel to open in its Adriatic sea lagoon.

JW Marriott Venice

JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa

Having never been to Venice, I knew relatively little about the 100 or so islands surrounding the city.   So I was fascinated to learn about the weapons stores, prisons, asylums and leper confinements which were conveniently housed on these islands during Venice’s history.

One of the larger islands, Isola Delle Rose, is made from sand and soil dug out during the construction of the city’s commercial port. A hospital for those with pulmonary disorders was built there so that patients could leave the congestion and humidity of Venice for this leafy, oxygen-rich sanctuary. Anyway, this hospital shut down some 40 odd years ago and Isola Delle Rose lay abandoned for decades.

the hotel's water tower on a stormy night

the hotel’s water tower on a stormy night

That is, until now.

JW Marriott has created a truly refreshingly contemporary fully-functioning 5 star hotel and spa for anyone keen to visit Venice but not spend too much time amongst the main land crowds.

Life of Yablon in Venice

20 minutes by (very regular) hotel transfer to St Mark’s Square, the additional time on the water gives you the perspective of Venice, its breathtaking architecture and those salt marshes.

the view from our table at Cip's

the view from our table at Cip’s

The first night (our actual anniversary) we ate at Cip’s. Ultra cool, definitely iconic and yet brilliantly casual.  Before I had finished my first bellini I was completely intoxicated by the view, my over excitement and of course the organiser of our trip!


On Friday we visited the main sites (Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Square, Bridge of Sighs, Rialto Bridge) before hurrying back to our 16 hectares of landscaped gardens, 1000 year old olive groves, infinity pools and spacious room with private garden overlooking the calm lagoon for an afternoon of sheer (kid-free) happiness.

Life of Yablon Venice

Life of Yablon VeniceLife of Yablon VeniceLife of Yablon VeniceLife of Yablon VeniceLife of Yablon Venice

The rooftop bar was more happening by day than during the evening but we still enjoyed a less hectic, informal evening only accompanied by swarms of mosquitos.

I Scream Daddio by Sarah Lucas at La Biennale di Venezia

I Scream Daddio by Sarah Lucas at La Biennale di Venezia

A glimpse of All the World’s Futures at a mighty impressive Biennales on Saturday morning was followed by recommended (delicious) lunch at Corte Sconta.

Life of Yablon in Venice

walking back from Giardini to the centre

I won’t bore you with every meal, coffee and lap of the pool. But do get in touch if you’re planning a trip to this romantic city and I’ll share all our findings. Oh and if you’re planning a surprise for someone, even the most diarizing-devil you know, you’ll find the after-effects just as pleasing as their initial screams of delight. I still keep pinching myself…

Life of Yablon in Venice


Filed under him, travel

infiltration of emoji

I’m feel we ought to discuss this overwhelming infiltration of emoji. These weepy/winking faces, clapping hands and dancing women have taken over our heads, words and minds. Even those with ridiculously high IQ seem to be substituting curious pictures for wordy description and true emotion and, to be honest, I’m wondering if this can end well for our world at large.


Emoji first entered our vocabulary in the mid 90s. A Japanese tech developer dreamt up the colourful team way back in that pre-iphone-era. Of course there really wasn’t much demand for the technicolour smiley face cult before we had the tools to litter them. Now billions of emoji are flung through the ether each year and I’d say that we’re now pretty symbol obsessed.

On any given night out, Mini (back home) can send me anywhere in the region of 50 little characters (via email) to express her love and longing. I return around 30 of the damn things hoping that this will coax into putting down her screen and placing her head on the pillow.

Instagram is infested with the latest craze of these pictograms. Thumbs up for something impressive, fire for this heat wave, ice-cream at the ready and any assortment of multicoloured hearts to tie in with real words, an image or both.

So, should I be concerned? Is it not enough that we now dream in photographic squares, communicate in status updates and tweet more than we speak? Instead of finding the words, we seem to reach for the icon. I’m all that smiley faced with tongue hanging out about the emotionless-emoji thing.

This column first appeared in The Lady where I am their Mum About Town.


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