This week… Tarzan, treehouses, and traceability

News of a new luxury treehouse resort drops into my inbox this week. The Treeful Treehouse Eco Resort is set to open next spring in rural Nago, on the north side of Okinawa Island in Japan, one of the world’s Blue Zone Regions. Think secluded private rooms with air conditioning, nestled amongst the jungle canopy. Tarzan never had it this good.

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This week… botany, boredom and British paintings

Something has definitely shifted but I’m not sure if it’s a sign of lethargy within the tourism industry or just my expectations. Lately, I’ve been receiving a few of the usual seasonal press releases about Halloween, and a trickle relating to the annual light shows for the Festive Season, but they feel half-hearted. The tourism industry is trying it’s best to run business-as-usual but it feels off-kilter. It’s like trying to ignore the elephant in the room. Halloween, for instance, pales into insignificance beside the terror of real-life at the moment. I find myself wishing that someone would come right out with their marketing and say “this is a crap situation, and you probably don’t feel like dressing up or putting up the festive bunting, so let’s do things differently.”

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This week… bling, boats and broken biscuits

You know how news bulletins always end with a ‘feel-good’ story? Well, this week I’m opening by shining a light on positive news, inspired by the contents of incoming emails recently focusing on paying it forward. Sometimes we’re not in a position to repay a kindness directly but a time will come, in the near or distant future, when we’re able to pass on that goodwill to another, and possibly in a different form. It might be as simple as passing on a theatre ticket you’re not able to use or a voucher for a complimentary coffee. It always lights up my day when it happens to me and I enjoy paying it forward when the opportunity presents itself.

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This week… tea, tunnels and Turner

The first thing I check out, when I check-in to a hotel room, is the bathroom. Not the view, the hairdryer or even the mini-bar. Whether I will be enjoying my stay begins not only by checking out the shower, the fluffy towels and guest robes, but also the layout and design, the lighting and the flooring. I imagine it’s very shallow of me but I simply can’t help myself. This week, I confess, I’m obssessed with the beautiful bathrooms at Nobu! There’s no hope for me, I have bathrom viewing compulsive disorder. Is that even a thing?

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This week… life’s a balancing act

I think it’s safe to say that by now I’m totally confused. This number has gone down, that one has gone up. Wear a mask here, but not there. Travel to this country but not that one. Quarantine, no quarantine, and, yes, hello quarantine, again. Some people are back at work, some are simply refusing to give up working from home and many are losing their jobs (including a family member this week). It’s a mad house. I watch reruns of the Bourne film series and take myself off to the beach (safely, of course).

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This week… adjusting

This week my mind has been decidedly on food. I grew up eating fruit and vegetables my dad grew in the garden, supplemented by produce shared by the community. One person in the neighbourhood might have an abundance of Victoria plums and another a plentiful supply of rhubarb, and as children we were encouraged to fill our baskets. We gathered nuts and berries from hedgerows, collected windfall apples (while watching out for dozy wasps, drunk on fermented apple juice) and went scrumping for cherries (keeping an eye out for the irate farmer). I cannot recall where that last scavenge took place but in the spirit of making amends, I apologise. What can I say, I was only around seven or eight and the luscious, ruby red, low-hanging cherries were too much of a temptation.

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This week… under lockdown (fourteen)

Travel highlights this week included taking the car to the garage for a check up after weeks of sitting idly in the car park. A second trip out was to the local Household Recycling Centre. I kept tripping over the old hoover in the hall after it blew up a few weeks ago and it had to go. I’ve also been doing my civic duty (ahem) and went shopping online with a £100 M&S voucher (courtesy of my new broadband supplier, a gift for switching, thank you!).

Small potatoes you might be thinking but actually it’s a start in my coming-out-of-lockdown process, and it felt good to be doing something normal again. Venturing out it’s clear that despite people’s attempts to appear upbeat, we’re all a little jumpy. In the UK the hospitality sector is scheduled to reopen on 4 July but the worldwide news is troubling. Fresh outbreaks of the virus in many destinations has meant reapplying the brakes. Staying at home forever isn’t an option, however, and this week I feel the need to make a bid for freedom, however tentative the initial steps.

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This week… under lockdown (nine)

This week has been up and down with a little more emphasis on the down. The good news though is that I recognise the triggers. The conflicting reports in the news, rampant negativity online and grocery deliveries that have senseless substitutions. And who ordered Branston pickle, for heavens sake! (Too sweet for my taste). Oh, that would be me I guess. This week I take control of Me Inc. and actively seek out positive news and activities. Enough wallowing, get a grip.

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This week… under lockdown (eight)

There are a number of questions going the rounds this week with a central theme. How keen are you to get out into crowded spaces again?

With lockdown cautiously easing around the world, including here in the UK, it seems that emerging from isolation isn’t quite so simple. Are you undaunted by the thought of crowded airport departure lounges? Will you be rushing to see the latest film at your local multiplex cinema as soon as we’re able? I realise this week that re-entry is an entirely personal matter.

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This week… under lockdown (seven)

This week I should have been in Slovenia and, pre-lockdown, was looking forward to exploring the local cuisine and magnificent countryside. Instead, I travelled there courtesy of Zoom. Set in the foothills of the mountains, the Soča Valley reminds you instantly of The Sound of Music. You get the picture, lush green pastures set against a backdrop of snow capped mountains.

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