a man about a dog

Today I went to see a man about a dog. Not a real dog, but a man at least. We ate avo on toast at The Mae Deli and talked over a few ideas we had. The coffee could have been better but the rye toast reminded me how much I really don’t need to be eating so much wheat.

life of yablon

life of yablon

life of yablon

And then I walked and walked – #LondonbyLondoners, Instagram calls it. Discovering pretty doorways, a hidden mews, colourful brick walls and even a little roadside photography.

life of yablon

life of yablon

life of yablon

life of yablon
life of yablonlife of yablon

life of yablon

life of yablon

I resisted that instinctive temptation to use the phone as I walked, so instead a stream of images of this city I call home.

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oh Buoy…!

What is the definition of a holiday? To you. I mean, what are the ingredients that make you cry: Oh I’m really relaxed now! Oh I’m really having fun now! Oh oh ohhhh…!

You see, the thing is we only share a few of those crucial ingredients on each of our wish lists and – when booking a life-escape (or in fact choosing life partner for that matter), we need to cross-refer to our individual – as well as mutual – holiday checklist.

life of yablon sunsail

Casting my mind and slightly hazy memory back to those days when Pampers took up more space in our luggage than books, I remember my check list was centred around happy toddlers and SLEEP.   In fact, all I wanted was sleep.

 life of yablon sunsail

But then, once the Smalls were backpack-able, we rediscovered our travel bug. Then followed American and Asian adventures (plus a whole host of expeditions somewhere in between). This year He decided to take the wanderlust reins and off He went. Learning a new skill was high on both our lists as was visiting Greece for me as I’ve never been.

life of yablon sunsail

However, I did have an additional hunch on my checklist. It’s one that I am guessing many wouldn’t necessarily add to their holiday criteria. We all live in ridiculously comfortable homes and rarely push ourselves (nor our offspring) outside these ridiculously comfortable comfort zones. I suppose I was feeling the need to break down these boundaries and make sure that the 4 of us were able to live in slightly less comfortable conditions. On Holiday (because when else could we do this?)

life of yablon sunsail

He didn’t object. Quite the opposite, He booked the boat.

life of yablon sunsail

And so that’s how we found ourselves (after a couple day spent sightseeing in Athens) living on a 39 ft sailing boat learning how to be the most efficient competent crew possible.

 

life of yablon sunsail

We covered more than 100 miles, learnt sailing theory, nautical knots, maritime protocol and had the most insane amount of fun. Yes we did often wonder when we might next see a real toilet, whether we had enough water or gas in our tank for dinner, if we would sleep that evening (in a noisy marina or wind swept bay) like sardines in our cabin or would THAT shower be worth undressing for…

life of yablon sunsail

But seasickness and fatigue aside, the experience was unbeatable. The squad were honestly whinge-less. Heads in buckets, flip flops on in showers and some serious graft on deck.

life of yablon sunsail

Our surrounding scenery was genius; utterly BIG BLUE whichever way you looked. At least one night we simply dropped anchor and threw a bowline-knotted lasso over a rock so that we could sleep in the midst of it all.   Deserted islands and ones less so were explored and, while on board, we relished our lack of private space and spent evenings with David, our skipper, and Jane his girlfriend having all those conversations which never happen because real life continually gets in the way….

life of yablon sunsail

life of yablon sunsail

Back on dry land again, we’re clean and less sleep deprived. But you’ll find most of our mealtime conversations start: do you remember when…?

I think this trip might have ticked the boxes.

This sailing holiday/course was booked with Sunsail and made particularly special by our skipper David Mackenzie.  If you would like more detail, do email me.

life of yablon sunsail

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postcards from Athens

Athens Life of Yablon

Athens Life of Yablon
Athens Life of Yablon
Postcards are more than a dying form of snail mail. The Smalls always receive one (each) from journeying grandparents but I doubt many of us will agonise over those 50 or so words and lick that stamp this summer. Typically an email with a picture attached or a text saying that we’ve arrived safely is the only form of correspondence sent home.

Athens Life of Yablon

But there IS an art to postcard writing. I used to love choosing an image less predictable (than the Eiffel Tower) before filling the limited space with a quirkier message than ‘weather’s here, wish you were fine!’

Athens Life of Yablon

Athens Life of Yablon

Here are some new-age postcards from our 36 hours in Athens. And this is what I would have written if I’d bought and sent one:

This city is intense on every level: the heat, ancient ruins and vibrant layers of graffiti covering so many of the city walls. Steeped in history and godliness, we’re covering as much ground as possible during our limited time here, mostly fuelled by cool treats and delicious food. Our Greek adventure has certainly begun…

Athens Life of Yablon

Athens Life of Yablon

Athens Life of Yablon

Athens Life of Yablon

Athens Life of Yablon

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shutting the door (Instagram Stories)

If you’re a daily scroller, you’ll have seen it. It’s the latest, biggest news in social media and hot on the iphones of the #avocadotoast #butfirstcoffee #feedfeed crew. And Instagram Stories is yet another door or window to our inner selves and – while I can see how Snapchat might want to *scream* as their business model becomes just about redundant – I’m not sure I’m all that happy either about the latest update to my favourite platform.

A new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile’ is the social media giant’s mission here. What about those moments you might want to really truly share? The moment today when Small decided to beat me fair and square at table tennis? Or when Mini lay on the sofa and read cover-to-over her 5th book of the summer? I shared those moments without needed to video or snap them but instead by living them in real life.

What if I had grabbed my phone and shared these moments with my 2k+ followers, how would that have actually benefited me? Or them? Surely my moments are mostly utterly dull to most of the world? Besides, by tomorrow, they would have completely evaporated anyway – which definitely proves to me I should spend my time more wisely.

All this is different to the Instagram I know and love. Why? Because the photography app (which is what it is to me) is full of choice and inspiration and creative ideas… that is, if you make your follow choices carefully.

Just one day into Stories and it has shown me that I need to cut out at least half of the number of those I follow. Particularly those supplementing their Instagram lives with Stories. Because – with the new update – I’m being served their mundane and it’s exactly the opposite of inspiring.

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