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Looking Down

Having not written a word for a few days, I’m writing a few somewhere between Italy and Sicily at 35,000 feet on the way back in from the Middle East this morning as everyone at home is waking up.

I’ve come to the conclusion that somewhere in this part of the world there’s a huge factory in the desert turning out tens of thousands of camels, carpets and fake handbags to be sold in every bazaar from Tunis to Aswan. Once upon a time, one could find something unique in the Souk but today one has to try much harder or go “off the beaten” track to find a souvenir or any real interest or value. Oman is good for Frankincense and Silver and Dubai is great for Gold and Russian gangsters but most other places, going shopping means having to run the gauntlet of stuffed camel traders, shouting “Luvly jubly mate –you from England?” as if this were some powerful magic spell, with the power to part the foolish tourist from his money. Del Boy Trotter has a great deal to answer for if that’s the best sales patter we can export to Arabia!!

By the way, a word of warning to anyone thinking of upgrading to Microsoft’s Office 2007. Don’t unless you have taken a deep breath and thought about it first. Now I happen to work with the company and had my copy free and because they’ve decided to change all the menus and features around that I took a decade to learn, I’m now going insane trying to find my way around the software. Where’s the “Edit” menu gone? Worse still, Outlook has eaten my contact file database and 90 minutes on the phone with Microsoft support in Bangalore still hasn’t resolved the problem, which sees my email crashing two or three times a day.

I’m not going to touch Windows Vista until I can afford a new and more powerful PC and even with the one I have, I regret the upgrade to Office 2007 because it’s much more resources intensive than its predecessor.

Over the Alps – which don’t seem to have that much snow this year - and time for a catnap before the English Channel makes an appearance. I’ll catch up with the local news and the abuse over "knuckle-draggers" a little later today

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