28 Mar

Surreal

In my circles surreal is getting overused. I used to be fascinated by Salvador Dali’s paintings; that mix of the credible and utterly absurd–melting watches, crutches, eggs–nearly as bad as a recent dream where I watched two blind surgeons do open heart surgery on a baby, using a meat cleaver. Where on earth did that come from? I woke up in a sweat at the thought of it. The flight from Johannesburg to London is similarly dreamlike. Inside a plane things are static, only food trolleys shuttle and the queues for the loo shuffle. Way below, a moonlight shadow skims the spine of Africa at 500 mph. Afternoon tea in the ebbing warmth of South Africa’s late summer; breakfast over France before landing in dense fog at Heathrow. Surreal. Easter Monday is a British public holiday. The rail system has been Dali-ised. The train from Gatwick airport to my home always leaves from platform 5; the electronic signs all through the station confirm it, yet the train snakes into platform 3 unannounced, leaving me and a colleague to pick another route home. Four hours taken to travel 65 miles from Heathrow to home, compare that with the 2000 miles flown by the Virgin Atlantic airbus in the same time–surreal.

28 March, 2005
26 Mar

Starting Out

My surname “Ford” makes the job of finding a related domain name difficult. Even in setting up this blog, my natural username, TonyFord, has already been taken. In my local newspaper some years ago, the sports page had a headline Tony Ford Is Unique — except his name was and is not. He was a local soccer hero; I will never be. Why the title A Journeyman’s Log? Because I travel a lot for my job. My home is in southern England; I am typing this first blog entry while in Johannesburg on my way back home from Maputo in Mozambique. I feel uniquely privileged in having been able to travel to Asia, Africa, various parts of Europe and a few destinations in the USA, but that’s not unique either. A journeyman was one who had a trade, having fulfilled an apprenticeship to an older, skilled man, who passed on his skills to the next generation. The journeyman was taken on by the day, not for him the luxury of a long-term contract, employment rights and some stability–benefits I have had with my employer for 30+ years. In countries I visit, many are like the old journeyman, like the line of men opposite my company’s office in Maputo waiting for a day’s work helping lay the permanent road surface atop the current red dirt. Literally my work life is a series of journeys. On this blog I’ll share some of my experiences, as well as some relating to my home town and my journey through life.

26 March, 2005