Super Nice

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2009

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Super Nice

Super Nice
Nice is boring.
Super Nice is strangely interesting.

Nice is a stroll in the park.
Super Nice is a ride through the forest.

Nice is a ‘thank you’.
Super Nice is a gift of home-made pepparkakor.

Nice is neat and tidy.
Super Nice is covered in mud.

Nice is a pleasant chortle.
Super Nice is laughing until you get cramp.

So long, nice.
Hello Super Nice.

Find your inner Sven

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2009

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Find your inner Sven

Find your inner Sven
The Swedes make great explorers. Their long dark winters might well be the reason. Växjö in the south got just 22 minutes of sunlight a couple of Decembers back. Phew.

Enough to make even die-hards pack their bags.

One of Sweden’s finest explorers was Sven Hedin. Back in the early 1900s he discovered the Trans Himalayan mountain range (crossing it eight times, once disguised as a Buddhist pilgrim), unearthed parts of the Great Wall of China and located the sources of Asia’s biggest rivers.

He was also an accomplished photographer, geographer and illustrator – meticulously recording everything from mountain heights to native plant strains and animal species. On one expedition he even measured the dimensions of all his camels.

Even today his notes (there are, appropriately, mountains of them) help interpret satellite images of central Asia. But his motivation wasn’t cash or fame (although in 1977 Volkswagen did name a camper van after him). 

It was that nobody had ever set eyes on these places before. The vast blank spaces on the map marked ‘unexplored’ were just waiting to be filled-in. 

So what’s left for the Sven Hedins of tomorrow? Well, and this is oddly comforting, there’s actually quite a bit. Vast African deserts, Congolese jungles and swamps, polar islands and plenty of unclimbed mountains – Tibet’s Gangkhar Puensum possibly being the highest. 


So if this winter starts getting you down, maybe you should go and do a bit of exploring yourself.

Chris Boddy

Illustration: Alex Robbins

Give a man a loaf of bread

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2009

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Give a man a loaf of bread

Give a man a loaf of bread
Give a man a loaf of bread and you feed him for a day.


Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.


But give him a loaf of bread and some fish fingers and he can make fish finger butties.

Bad moods get lost in the woods

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 September 2009

Born too early to die old

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 September 2009

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Born too early to die old

Born too early to die old
Getting up early used to be difficult.

But I think I read somewhere that the older you get, the earlier you wake up. Which gets you thinking that as you age, there’s something nagging away at you, telling you to make the most of things.

Then I read another thing. It said that somewhere on Earth, a person has been born who will live to be 200 years old. Technology and medicine will align in future years, and give us the power to treat an increasing number of ailments. So there’s a man or woman out there who will still be alive in 2209.

Seems like quite a way away. 200 whole years. Think back 200 years. What would the person born in 1809 make of 2009? Everyone walking around with Bluetooth headsets, riding on their Segways, wearing shoes with plastic bubbles in the heel.

I was born in 1973. And I’m guessing that if I’m still around in 2073 I’ll be doing pretty well. You will note that I have counted myself out of the race to be 200 man (or woman). I was born a little late, and anyway, I have a feeling that Model 200 Man (or Woman) will have been born in Japan (something to do with all of that green tea and clean Mount Fuji air). I’ve got the wrong geography.

But I reckon I can squeeze some extra days out of my allotted time. And I think it has something to do with getting up early. I know I can glean more from a day if I’m up with the binmen. 
I can get most of my work done by 8.30am if I’m being honest – no interruptions, no phones ringing, no people whizzing past the window on a Segway to distract me.

Life could get longer if I watch less shit telly, set my alarm an hour earlier, take a stroll in the cool morning air and consider my future. I can make that happen, with the help of a superior alarm clock.

Tick tock.

Dan Germain

Short footnote – this was written on the 05.41 train from Didcot 
Parkway to London Paddington. Living the early morning dream.

Just the way it is

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 September 2009

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Just the way it is

Just the way it is
Where there are hills, there are bikes
Where there’s concrete, there are skateboarders

Where there’s toast, there’s butter
Where there’s tea, there are biscuits*

Where there are paddling pools, there’s laughter
Where there’s kids, there’s hope

Where there’s chickens, there’s eggs (and rats)
Where there’s fish, there’s otters

Where there’s common sense, there’s harmony
Where there’s words, there’s pictures

Where there’s work, there’s fun
Where there’s fun, there’s work

*except at howies

It's all about the people

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 September 2009

Categories:

It's all about the people

It's all about the people
Before we left for Sweden it was all about Sweden. I was nervous about the people bit. The places were going to be new and exciting, but people are hard, people are complicated. For the most part it’s like this when you go away with a bunch of folk. 

But there’s something about preparing and eating a meal that brings people together.

By the time we were onto the rhubarb crumble we felt like a family. Eleven days later and it felt like we’d been together a lifetime. We saw amazing scenery. Pine and silver birch trees, glassy black lakes, blue skies and misty mornings.

But after a busy day shooting photos, give us a table to sit around, some bread and butter and we could have been anywhere.

Jon Heslop

Ten things we can learn from Sweden

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 September 2009

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Ten things we can learn from Sweden

Ten things we can learn from Sweden

1. Trees are precious.
(Their economy depends on them)

2. Drive slower.
(They have way lower speed limits than us)

3. Mend things.
(We met a chap called Bengt who collects and fixes up old bikes.
Seemed like most of the Swedes we met along the way share this philosophy)

4. Be ‘super nice’.
(That’s one of their favourite phrases)

5. Do it yourself.
(A ‘super nice’ guy we met called Robert had built himself some amazing backyard trails)

6. Democracy works.
(Sweden is number one in the Global Democracy Index rankings)

7. Women make good leaders.
(They have the highest percentage of women in national government positions,
they were number one in the Global Gender Gap Report of 2007)

8. Respect your mother.
(Sweden is number one in the Global Women’s Index rankings)

9. Enjoy the outdoors.
(They take time to make the most of their amazing surroundings, usually as a family)

10. Embrace other languages.
(Swedish is not the official language and most speak English, quite happily)

This is your pilot speaking

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 September 2009

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This is your pilot speaking

This is your pilot speaking
You can see them in your mind’s eye; the young, bright-eyed pilots, who take off – one after the other – in order to carry out their mission. They fly through the night, crossing borders and territories, filled with the courage and will power that comes from knowing that what they are doing is right. Undaunted, they plough through the clouds; without fear, they dodge enemy fire; without hesitation, they continue towards their goal like the true heroes of history, who know that the future is what you dream of today.

They know that someone must undertake to navigate through chaos, that someone must dare to loose their foothold for a shortwhile, that someone must fly through the clouds to get a bird’s-eye view of the world, in order not to sink into earth-bound resignation. They know that without daring and ambition, it will never be possible to find new solutions to old problems.

Risky flights are needed to turn chaos into order – and order into chaos, when necessary. And I, where am I in all this, as I am not the one sitting with my hand on the control column in the small, exposed cockpit? I sit in the Tower, like a flying instructor who makes sure that the young pilots take off successfully. I give directions; I study the sun and the stars. I incite and I ground. I am there, a voice in the ear, when the aircraft nose dives and an emergency landing is the only possibility left; but I am also there when the wheels hit the runway, and yet another victory can be celebrated. I am there with my cool head and my warm heart. Because I cannot imagine a more meaningful place to be, now that darkness threatens to swallow us up, no matter where on this Earth we live.

Hanne Vibeke-Holst
Kaos Pilots – Denmark
The best school for the world

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