Botswana is a successful country. According to Wikipedia, it is the least corrupt country in Africa with a negligible level of foreign debt, and it is a democracy. It gains income from diamond mining, soda ash, beef and upmarket (high cost, low volume) tourism.
The Okavango Delta is one of the key tourist attractions. Non-residents are required to pay quite a bit more for park fees than residents – which is a very sensible idea. We visited the Delta in 1993. As residents we paid the smaller amount, per person per day, and we went to one of the lower cost camps. It was a wonderful trip. Jamie was four and Shaun was two, and unfortunately neither can really remember much about it.
Lindsey and the boys in a mokoro
Auntie Caro gave me Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: My Adventures as a Botswana Safari Guide, by Peter Allison, for Christmas, and I read it recently on holiday.
It’s a very pleasant read. Peter Allison has a friendly, self-deprecating sense of humor, and anyone who has been on safari will be able to associate with his stories. Anyone new to Africa will also appreciate his book.
I took this the top of Cime de Caron, where you get the best view in Val Thorens. At 3200m you can really feel the altitude. At 53 seconds you can see over to Mont Blanc.
If you buy an area lift pass in Val Thorens, you have acccess to something like 600km of runs, which is enough to keep most people happy. The area pass covers Val Thorens-Orelle, Les Menuires-St Martin de Belleville, Meribel Mottaret and Courchevel, and is not cheap.
We took advantage of the pass to ski the Val Thorens area, and we also skied to Meribel one day, Courchevel another day, and Les Menuires on a third day.
Ted, Alice and Lindsey at the bottom of flocon
The start of day three
On the way to Meribel
Roddy at the top of a run
The airstrip at Courchevel
Using special gloves which Shaun gave me for Christmas, I held the tablet in one hand, and skied down to Lindsey. The problem was that it was so sunny, I couldn’t see anything on the screen of the tablet.
Above is the view from the chalet we stayed in, in Val Thorens.
The other three couples staying in the chalet were widely travelled. One had just flown in from Thailand, where she’d been working for a few weeks, to London, where her boyfriend met her at Heathrow and drove them all the way to VT. Another couple were living in Singapore, and had had a week in London before going on to VT. They were due to fly back to Singapore at the end of the week, and then one of them was continuing to Sydney to give a presentation. And the third couple spent their time between a village near the Pyrenees and a house near Leicester. Most of them had skied in Val Thorens in the past.
Each evening, the chalet girl cooked a super three-course meal.
A typical starter
On the chalet girl’s night off, we went to L’Augerge des Balcons restaurant, where I enjoyed a fantastic fillet steak:
What a great time we had last week, skiing in Val Thorens. There was more than enough snow, and the runs were excellent all week. I think I only skied over two tiny patches of ice during the whole week.
In the distance, Val Thorens
Lindsey coming off a lift
Mid-week it became very cold – down to minus 27, but we were able to ski every day, and only Tuesday was rather bad, due to poor visibility. So we spent most of that day in the pool and sauna.
We booked through Inghams, and stayed in the Chalet Amelie, which was excellent. The chalet girl was called Vicky, and she did us proud with her fantastic baking and cooking. Every afternoon there was a new cake on the coffee table, followed by aperitifs, canapés, and then a superb three course meal. Chalet girls don’t get paid much, I believe, and sometimes they put in 20 hour days. On the last evening it was agreed that we’d all put in €20 per couple for her tip, which I thought was rather stingy, but I was absolutely knackered from skiing all day, and incapable of further discussion.
View from our chalet balcony
Here’s a video of Lindsey skiing down to Menuires:
I spent a very pleasant couple of hours looking through the photos in Somerset Cricket: The Glory Years 1973-1987 by Alain Lockyer, with text by Richard Walsh.
From 1979 to 1983 Somerset won several trophies in one-day cricket, having never won any silverware before that time. The team included Joel Garner, Peter Roebuck, Vic Marks, Ian Botham, Viv Richards, Brian Rose, Peter Denning, Merv Kitchen and Dennis Breakwell. In 1986 Richards, Garner and Botham left.
The foundations of the winning team were formed in the late seventies, when Brian Close captained the side.
This book features the players, the games, the grounds, the incidents and the fans.
In 2010 I blogged about the T20 match we went to at Taunton – a great game, which even Lindsey enjoyed.
Santy and myself have just had a paper published in Learned Publishing, the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January, April, July, October; ISSN 0953-1513 (Print), 1741-4857 (Online). Since January 2008 articles in Learning Publishing have been made freely available 12 months after their first publication.
Marketing OA journals now that authors are customers: the role of RSS
Learned Publishing, Volume 26, Number 1, January 2013, pp. 51-56(6)
Chumbe, Santiago; MacLeod, Roddy
Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
ABSTRACT: The article discusses the emergence of authors as consumers with considerable purchasing power in the publishing chain of a new publishing economic model whereby open access (OA) articles are available free of charge to all readers, whilst revenue to cover publication costs comes from authors’ fees. Some early evidence suggests that publishers are engaged in competition for the new consumers, and their efforts are shifting from marketing and selling subscriptions, to marketing and selling publishing venues (OA journals). Within this context, the article suggests that RSS is a very important cost-effective marketing tool if used properly and can play an important role in the marketing and dissemination process of OA articles, in particular when those articles are published in hybrid journals. The article presents real examples of TOC RSS feeds produced by leading publishers and shows that the benefits and effectiveness of those RSS fees are directly related with the availability, quality and richness of its content.
Naturally, we found out that the paper had just been published from Following Learned Publishing via JournalTOCs.
Yesterday saw an excellent turn out for the Portobello Promathon, and a lovely sunny day as well, but with a bit of wind from the west to make the last mile feel more than a mile.
Out of 315 finishers, I came 248th in a time of 34:34
No Longer’s time was 29:13
The winner was Ross Matheson in a time of 19:34
Last year, out of 384 finishers, I came 302nd in a time of 33.30 and the winning time was 18.53
The year before I came 167th out of 237 finishers, in a time of 32.44
I’m definitely getting slower! Due to my support team being off doing her own run, there are no photos this year.