Tag Archives: Holiday

October 2018, London

Chris Parmenidis Poster

I am wary that this blog, Ijo Pona, is turning in to a look what I had for tea’ blog — but, I need to talk about Potatoes. London-shaped Potatoes. Me and Mrs Backhouse paid a visit to the capital and spent a long w/e down there. It was fun. The excuse for the visit was that an artist on my label, Chris P. was putting on a gig at S. Augustine’s Church, Kilburn and I was not going to miss it for all the bass-bins in Nottinghill.

It was a bit more Speedcore’ than Spandau” on the way there as we missed our train after getting stuck in traffic. But, the Lovelies at Leeds sorted us and we were only an hour late arriving at Kings Cross. We checked in to our Russel Square located room and set about exploring.

Lambs Conduit Lane is an amazing place to spy Men’s Clothing. We stocked up on Espresso and Swedish Cake and made off to the theatre to bask in its Neon Wholesomeness — it was reet mint! I at the best Italian Food I have ever had — Spaghetti Carbonara and a lemonade to wash it down with. Homeward bound for a night of great sleep.

Can’t fault the accommodation — very central, but with that comes central noise. Thankfully we both had earphones and had a good nights sleep. We went to the V&A the next day. Caught the tube to South Kensington and walked past the Natural History Museum. We had missed the show for the Wildlife Photographer of the year as it started Monday and we were coming home that day.

The Frida Kahlo exhibit at the V&A had sold out — I was not sure people would be booking museum tickets at such a rate but the Photography room was working and we visited that in the first month of being open. That was amazing. There was a massive cross-section of photo history; everything from old daguerrotypes to modern digital art. It was reet mint!

Kathryn had a ball at the V&A — she loved seeing the Porcelain section. To me, it was just old crockery, but Kathryn quite likes the history behind the Staffordshire miniatures and seeing Ming-era Vases was a real eye-opener. Ming Dynasty China was hundreds of years ahead of us when it came to … well … china. We walked miles and saw the Norfolk Music Room — a room that was the interior of a Bloomsbury manor hose but said manor house had been gutted — the interior of the gutted mansion had been placed in the V&A to put on gigs — an amazing, windowless space that had excellent acoustics.

Then it was the night of the label’s gig.


The gig was by Chris Parmenidis at Saint Augustine’s Church in Kilburn, London — Chris met me at the gates of the church and we took our seat. I was shocked to see a good mate, Paul, turn up — we muttered away and then the gig started — it was how 8B5C3B++ should have sounded — an eight-speaker sound immersion. Whether it fell on deaf ears I do not know but I invited a member of The Wire to come and review it.

It was awesome and Chris received a standing ovation.

I hope he got as much from it as his audience did.

Me, Paul & Mrs Backhouse went out for a few beers afterwards — I was surprised to see most people I saw in London still smoked and did not use Vaporisers. The bar staff knew the policy on Smoking — and adhered to it — but they had to ask their boss if I could vape. Seemed a bit weird — but the weather was amazing that day and night so I did not mind standing around being given permission.

It really was balmy. I was walking around Kilburn and Kings cross in Jeans and T-Shirt at midnight in the middle of October. Storm Callum was battering Yorkshire and we had escaped the worst of it. I was perspiring!

Sunday was spent getting lost on the tube. It delayed us by an hour but the Tate Modern was open until 6 pm so we had time to make up for it. This is the plaque for my personal favourite installation in the gallery that day –


We heartily munched on Chinese food for the evening — my fortune cookie said Family is a bit like Fudge — very sweet but sometimes with a few nuts”

We ate the fortune cookies on the train back up north.

The thing I got from London was that you did not have to go to exotic destinations to experience culture — sometimes it is only 3 hours away. I hope to go back down to the Smoke for a few more days next year. We are already looking at destinations elsewhere for our next break. We do not have an excuse. And, for once, my health permitted me to do what I love; spending time with Mrs Backhouse.


Backhouse Field Trip

I thought about titling this post as Family Camp” but then that would lead to all sorts of rumours about that time I went fly-fishing. Instead — I have called this post Family Field Trip 2017” — for it is the largest gathering of our sect of family since Granny’s funeral at Easter. It was really great to see everyone and make memories.’ There were a few cousins who could not make it due to prior commitments but there was a good representation.

Me and Kathryn caught the bus to Ripon on Friday and mum cooked. We pegged it all the way to Derby down the M1. After a quick drink, we set up for the night.

…. I then realised I had left my medication in Yorkshire!

I called 111 and spoke to a couple of people after they had phoned me back. An appointment was made for the following morning at 0810 in the nearest town — there would be medication, just not that night. I messaged my brother on Whatsapp to tell him of the pickle I was in and he said to meet at breakfast as he had just rolled into the hotel with his wife and daughter. I was going to be spending a night in a hotel unmedicated!

A Family

I actually managed to sleep for a bit despite not having my medication — It was full of lucid, weird dreams that felt like reality. I am of the opinion you should not tell about your dreams in public so I will keep them close to my chest — but they involved a lot of celery and high-heels.

Morning came and I awoke tired — hot-footing it down to two plates of cooked breakfast and then whisked along the Sir Frank Whittle Way to Derby Emergency Health Centre — I was tripping balls by the time we got there and did not really enjoy the Abba that was being piped into the waiting area. I had an appointment and was seen prompt where I was issued my prescription — I really can’t fault the NHS for the help they gave me. They recommended that we head out to a retail park in my brother’s car.

Boots was the destination and Jas Dhillon was the super-pharmacist who bent over backwards to ensure that I got my help. She really was a star — I took her name and I will phone Boots HQ to praise her. She was ace and a Yorkshire lady too. Fair enough, Boots is not yet Nationalised and they do not pay their %%% of tax having relocated to Switzerland. But, Jas gave me hope that the company is more than just the decisions of its board members. She was a warm-hearted individual who put me at ease and took charge of the whole shenanigans. Whilst we waited for my script to get corrected, we went for a coffee and I told my brother, who I affectionately call Nobhead, where he went wrong with his driving. The coffee tasted good.

The rest of the day was spent at Heights of Abraham — not the best place for someone in smart shoes, symptoms of a psychotic relapse and with a bad knee — the first two were my fault, but I cannot take the blame for the bad knee. Geological, cable-car amazement was had by all and memories were made.’

The highlight of the Saturday was the 21+ person meal. We all sat down at the restaurant at Breadsall Priory and tucked into a hearty meal — I was running on vapours after a rough night and had to leave earlier than The Norm (whoever he is).

Still plenty of vivid dreams — the next day we went for a stroll around an area of natural beauty & then we bid farewell to each other …. until next time.

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Dornoch Adventure Blog 2016 – Pt. III

Well, I have made it home – we (Kathryn & myself) returned to Yorkshire on Monday evening. Knackered. I managed to sleep most of the journey but Kathryn was coming down with a heavy cold – plenty of Lemsip Capsules were purchased at Edinburgh Waverley Station and then it was down to York to catch the train to Harrogate.[google_map_easy id=“4”]

Granny really enjoyed her birthday – she is a lady who does not like a fuss so was a bit apprehensive about the day. However, by the time she showed up to the restaurant she was enjoying herself. She looked a vision in a red skirt-suit.

For me, most of the day was a blur – I managed to get to my medication and have a shower in the morning but I did not get any sleep. I spent the day running on vapors and double espressos. I hope I did not make an exhibition of myself.

It really was great to catch up with the Scottish side of my family. I wrote in our card Many Happy Returns On Your Birthday, Granny” – to which she replied I doubt there will be many of those”.

There were a fair few people taking photos of the occasion so I asked if I could have a copy of their photos so I can have a go at putting them in a book for Granny. Out of respect for privacy, I will not put any photos up here on the blog.

I managed to edit the field recordings that I took on Saturday morning – I have to say it is one of my better works. The album sees the light of day on Focused Silence (link here). Field recording was compared to Bus Spotting at the family meal – I had to put my cousin firmly in his place by saying that Field Recording is far more of a nerd’s pastime. My personal highlight of the album is the track below. I managed to attach my clip on microphones to the stems of Marram Grass that grow on the dunes of Dornoch beach. The result is that you can hear the grass sway as well as hear the sounds of the beach – check it out below.

I will be spending the day editing some of my photos for the book and trying to catch up on sleep. Kathryn’s cold seems to be abating but I am on hand to pop to the supermarket for more chicken soup.

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Dornoch Adventures 2016 – Pt II

Fun and games at the moment. As people may know I have malaria type symptoms coupled with complex post traumatic stress disorder. I am currently locked out of our b&b and with no way of gaining access to my medication. Tonight is going to be tricky. However, today was a grand day other than the above. I spent the morning field recording and catching up with relatives and the the afternoon chilling with Kathryn and eating cake. Popped out for a bottle of punk ipa (£4!) and ate fish and chips for tea. We then popped into Dornoch centre and caught these cheeky chaps.

I have been offered a sofa to sleep on tonight but without my medication I will not get any sleep – too many flashbacks to Vietnam. I hope Kathryn gets some sleep

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Dornoch Adventure Blog 2016 – Pt. I

So me and my good wife stayed over at Home Farm last night. The reasoning behind this became apparent when we woke at 0445 to catch a train from York at 0730.

What was the insane logic behind this idea and more importantly what was the destination?

Well the mode of transport was train to Inverness and then by car to a small sea side village in the highlands called Dornoch. We have a Gran who lives there who we affectionately call granny Dornoch (obvs) and she has reached a milestone birthday.

The whole family are decending on Dornoch for a weekend of cake and a sensible amount of tea. My immediate family are planning on a hike on Saturday but I aim for a day of field recordings. It is quarter to 11 and I am in the town I visited every year since I was born. It is probably one the of the few geographical constants I have in my life. Bliss. What makes it better is that it is still reasonably light outside.

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Hello! … From Prague!

Well, this is a bit exciting isn’t it – I am sat in a hotel room on the last night of my break and there exists technology that enables me to blog on my phone.

Expect an action update tomorrow, upon my return. Meanwhile allow to say that Prague is a fantastic place with fantastic people. The people really make the place. Almost a genii locus. Curious vistas = curious natives. Yes, I came a bit awestruck – not quite knowing what to do and where to do it.

But, with the wife by my side I have a lot to look forward to on our next trip. Yes, I have and will hold Kathryn to a return leg. The areas we left unexplored are the castle area and the Little Quarter – we aced the New Town, an area heavy with art noveau wonders (a theme that continued throughout the holiday) and we nearly got to see the highlights of the old town and Jewish quarter.

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Enough for the three days but it left us wanting more.

I promise to do a grown up blog when I get the chance. With pictures.

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Me & Liam Neeson – How I Owe Him One

Back in, I think, January of this year (2015) I wrote a blog article about where I would like to holiday in 2015. Well, things did not go ahead with that plan as the whole of my immediate clan descended on Granny Dornoch in the Highlands for a week (well, not all of us – Dad was busy planting potatoes).

So, inevitably, these holiday plans took a back burner as I took on more work – as did the Mrs take on more work. However, we were very fortunate to have a bit of money gifted to us and so I thought about how to break it to the Mrs. about my plans for carrying out The Great Work in Bohemia.

I figure you can really get a sense of the geography of a place through cinema. Good cinema can lend an air of what it is like to be there – in a profiled way. Essentially, I was looking for a way to frame Prague to make it as appealing to my wife as Prague is to me. I read on this blog - The Top 15 Hollywood Movies Shot in Prague - the following advice and then purchased a copy of Les Miserables – the C19th revolutionary epic set in Paris:

Before Tom Hooper’s laborious 2012 film version based on the Broadway musical, Danish director Billie August (Pelle the Conqueror) made this non-musical (and vastly superior) version of Victor Hugo’s classic story. I don’t know why it’s so under-seen: it’s one of the best film versions of this story, with a dynamite cast that includes Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman, Geoffrey Rush, and Claire Danes in the central roles. Filming took place at Barrandov Studios and throughout Prague, which filled in for 19th-century Paris.

Well, Liam Neeson and his baritone drawl worked a treat and the Mrs gave her consent to the booking flights for the end of April 2016 for both of us to go to Prague! For the hotel, we have a booking in the amazing looking Hotel Raffaella (4* and at a bargain!) which is 0.4 miles from Wenceslas Square! I will treading in the footsteps of John Dee, Franz Kafka, James Bond & Hellboy! I am, needless to say, very excited … However, this jaunt to the continent will be well documented: I plan on bringing mobile blogging apparatus, cameras, portable field recorders & binoculars.

Meanwhile expect blog articles about everything from Communist era Czech Movie posters to the newer, more silent Prague tram system.

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Dornoch Beach

Dornoch beach is a beautiful expanse of golden sand located on the tranquil Dornoch Firth.

Miles of golden sand stretch from Dornoch Point heading past Embo beach to the mouth of Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve. Further north along the coast there are two other award-winning beaches located at Golspie and Brora. Adjacent to the beach is a Site of Special Scientific Interest that features nesting birds, flora and fauna.

This fine long blue flag beach has been given a Seaside Award status as a clean bathing beach.

Dornoch Beach

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Dornoch 2015

I have the good fortune to have a lovely Gran living in the Highlands of Scotland. Granny lives a stones throw from Dornoch Cathedral.

Dornoch is a town and seaside resort, and former Royal burgh in the Highlands of Scotland. It lies on the north shore of the Dornoch Firth, near to where it opens into the Moray Firth to the east. The town is within the Highland local government council area, and within the county of Sutherland.

The name Dornoch’ is derived from the Gaelic for pebbly place’, suggesting that the area contained pebbles the size of a fist (dorn) which could therefore be used as weapons. Dornoch has the thirteenth-century Dornoch Cathedral, the Old Town Jail, and the previous Bishop’s Palace which is now the well-known hotel, Dornoch Castle and a notable golf course, the Royal Dornoch Golf Club, named the 5th best golf course outside the United States in 2005 by Golf Digest magazine.

It is also notable as the last place a witch was burnt in Scotland. Her name was Janet Horne; she was tried and condemned to death in 1727. There is a stone, the Witch’s Stone, commemorating her death, inscribed with the year 1722.

Legendary golf course designer Donald Ross began his career as a greenkeeper on the Royal Dornoch links. The golf course is next to the award winning blue flag beach.

However, I just remember the place for good food and good company.

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