Mini-movie: Week Two (with a cold)

Christmas & New Year

Phone mini-movie

This is so much easier than writing a blog post 🙂

December mini movie

Thanks to my phone for creating it 🙂

Crossing Moldova on a Horse

Ian, hey
So, your ass have to be on horse on 2 pm.
You better wear comfortable and thick cloths

Also you will clean the horse and saddle him, so dress clothes that is not your favourite 🙂

I have decided to try and ride a horse across Moldova next summer and this is how it starts.

Marina, my only friend in Kyiv who rides (horses) has kindly offered to help me and today is my first lesson at the Hippodrome in Kyiv. It’s the end of November but Kyiv is still unusually warm and although it’s grey and raining, it’s not snowing or frozen. This is a bonus because it could/should be a lot colder.

Anyway, Maria’s message was delightful not just because I can finally start this journey and finally get my ‘ass on a horse’ but because I wasn’t really expecting it to happen. Maria is a wonderful and beautiful person but she’s also less than reliable and has a (very Ukrainian) tendency to cancel things at short notice.

Not so today.

So, it’s now 11:45 and I’m relaxing on the sofa and ‘googling’ all the things I should have googled before deciding to try this journey.

How far can you travel on a horse in a day? 40-60km
How long is Moldova? About 400km
Can you cross a border on a horse? Not easily
How long does it take to learn how to ride? 10 to 15 lessons (but apparently this depends on loads of things)

As instructed I am not wearing my favourite clothes.


To celebrate the launch of the 2015/16 RSA Student Design Award briefs, designer Ben Terrett talks about how design is changing the world, and how the internet is changing design.

RSA Spotlights – taking you straight to the heart of the event, highlighting our favourite moments and key talking points.

In this excerpt from the event ‘From Persuasion to Usability: Design Meets the Internet’, award-winning designer Ben Terrett talks about how design is changing the world (a bit) and how the internet is changing design (a lot), as well as design in the Cabinet Office working across government on GOV.UK, which won Design of the Year and a D&AD Black Pencil.

The dysfunctional Ukrainian political machine

For anyone interested in Ukrainian politics (yeah, I know it’s a niche area), and anyone who is disappointed with their own national politics, this article provides a rare but interesting glimpse into the machinery that governs (or perhaps fails to govern) Europe’s largest country:

“…In order to insure there is no personal accountability for anything however, the old Soviet practice of vizirovanie, where any decree, protocol, draft law (whatever) requires dozens of signatures from within the Cabinet of Ministers administrative empire and from within often numerous ministries themselves, means no individual is responsibly for any single decision – and if the draft law, decree or protocol (whatever) is exceedingly dubious, or corrupt, or clearly promoting a vested interest, then delegate the signatory to the relevant ministry intern or administrative clerk to insure absolute deniability and unaccountability. The entire point is that lots of people can sit around in circles and all point the finger at each other, and also get a share of any nefarious cash on offer.

There is also the issue of the Verkhovna Rada committees.

The amount of behind the curtain horse trading to chair or have undue influence on certain committees defies belief. Those behind the curtain have much to gain from controlling committees or buying/renting enough MPs on those committees to either pass, fail, or forever stall legislation at the committee stage before it even reaches the Verkhovna Rada for a vote. Numerous committee meetings don’t take place because MPs designated to a committee simply don’t turn up in the required numbers to meet the “number present” protocol demands – with no disciplinary consequences…”

Scary Mass

My brother Pete (the Temp) has been in Kyiv for the past 10 days for a series of workshops and gigs. It’s been a fun week and a good excuse to get out and see the city.

Yesterday we took our bikes and joined a Halloween-themed ‘Critical Mass‘ bike ride through the city.

Here’s the video 🙂

Here’s the route…

14th October

Since late 2013 and the start of the Ukrainian revolution, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been fighting to save their country from the corrupt, criminal, psychopathic and violent. Many thousands have died and countless more have been injured or left without husbands, wives, lovers, friends and children. These Ukrainians (and a few brave foreigners) fought so that people like me can sit in Kyiv drinking coffee and talking about travel apps, so that Podil’s hipsters can ride around on their bikes talking about tattoos, and so the noisy kids in the school next to our office inherit a country that is both freer, safer and more prosperous than the Ukraine of the past 20 years.

Perhaps, as a result of their fight, a future me wont sit here in Kyiv feeling sad that so many of his favourite Ukrainians are abroad. Perhaps a future Ukrainian will be able to live, work, travel and study with the ease that we can in ‘the west’. Perhaps the gap that exists between Ukraine’s obscenely rich and nefarious and the tragically poor will be reduced by enough to provide basic support and shelter for those who currently have no access to effective healthcare or social support.

Perhaps or perhaps not, but as today is ‘Defenders day‘ – here’s to everyone who fought and continues to fight for a better Ukraine.

Enjoy your day-off and Slava Ukraini!


On 6 September 2015 I arrived in Odessa 2100km after leaving Budapest a month earlier.

Along the way, there were:
27 sunny days (+ 1 rainy day)
7 countries
1 puncture
3 million lemonades
2 tired legs

It was hard work but a lot of fun and cycling was a great way to travel but also soak-up some of the atmosphere of life along the Danube which is, for a river, ridiculously long.

Here’s the final selfie as proof 🙂

Odessa selfie - 6th September 2015.

Odessa selfie – 6th September 2015.

One day in the future i’ll post the videos too, but for now its back to the real world and back to work…

Budapest to the Black Sea: Day 27. Resting in Zatoka

I once asked Dylan, the Enhlish guy I met at the start of my trip, what it was like to go running after riding 5,000km around the UK. “Its weird” he said. You’re heart and lungs are ok but youe legs feel really strange. It kinda made sense and today I discovered that the same is true for walking. I decided to explore Zatoka by foot and had to give up because I was walking like a freak. I have actually forgotten how to walk like I used to walk or perhaps I’d developed muscles in cycling places and this was interfering but whatever the reason – it was weird. Dylan was correct.

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