Shetlands OOO

Here be wifi.

This is the last Omnium-Gatherum blog you’ll receive until the July 1st weekend. I’m out of the office, basking in the sunny Shetlands, Orkneys and Faroes.  Before leaving, I wrote my ‘Out of Office’ email note and almost said I’d be off the grid. But no one really is any more, certainly not our friends on this trip whose most urgent question wasn’t “Here be dragons?”, but  “How fast is the wifi in Tórshavn?” Maybe it’s time to rejoin the Flat Earth Society.


1. Alarmingly accurate facial recognition. Yours for $29.95 a month at PimEyes. So where it says “upload a photo”, do just that (preferably a shot of yourself) and you’ll be shocked and amazed at what pops up. And none of it’s even from social media. But what’s to keep you from uploading someone else’s photo, like your Ex? Actually, you can do that too, right now. But there are big issues here, as the New York Times learned when some of their reporters tried it.

2. Starbucks defies the laws of physics. Watch very carefully as a ‘tall’ holds as much as a ‘vente.’

3. A bomb lands on Buckingham Palace. The brilliant Olivia Colman reads a letter written by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother to her ‘darling’ mother-in-law, Queen Mary, recounting the events of September 13, 1940, when German bombs hit Buckingham Palace when King George VI was in residence. Originally read at the Royal Albert Hall in 2019.

Colman’s veddy posh voice is fencey, for sure. But it seems the Queen’s accent has grown less so over the years.

4. Gold in them thar hills. At least you won’t freeze to death trying to get rich with bitcoin or even Dutch tulips. Here’s a reminder of how hardy we used to be back in the day when there were strange things done ‘neath the midnight sun by the men who moiled for gold. And still another reminder of how the past can be brought to life.

5. Three vital ‘How-to’s. First, how to speak and write. Then, how to get on a jury, and finally (and I really do mean ‘finally’) how to fall to your death and live to tell the tale.

Speaking of not falling, here’s Charlie Chaplin attacked by monkeys while walking on tightrope in The Circus which won him his first Academy Award in 1920.

6. Books by women aren’t for men. The Guardian pointed out that “on average, women will read roughly 50:50 books written by men and by women; for men, the ratio is 80:20.” So they asked some famous British male authors like Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie to choose their favourite female fiction. Given that the first Carol Shields Prize for Fiction will be awarded this year, let’s get some  Canadian male writers to enthuse about their distaff colleagues in the same way.

7. Not another travel app. But a travel risk app. This one’s for big companies. But here are 13 more for just people.

8. A last word on the Queen’s Jubilee. The CBC has an amazing tale of how they broadcast the first overseas event televised in North America on the same day, June 2, 1953.

9. A life well lived. Here’s part of the wonderful life of Mary Smith whose obituary appeared in The Globe and Mail this month.

10. Not weed; weeds. Jennifer Baichwal produced Manufactured Landscapes and The Anthropocene Project, and is, along with her husband Nick de Pencier, one of the great documentary-makers alive today. Her next film is Into the Weeds, an exposé of the effects of “Roundup”. It may still be on at a theatre near you. Otherwise, try online.


Summer is selling out. Don’t say ‘I’ll book it later’ and

be caught You Know Where.


Join us on the mountains this summer.


We all thought last summer we’d really get out there and do something truly new. We’d really travel again. Treat our family. See just how gob-smackingly beautiful our country is.

Most of us were off by a year, or two. But this year…well, this August we want you to join us on one of the easiest and most exhilarating adventures anywhere – heli-hiking in B.C.

No skill or endurance is required. Just a sense of adventure (which may have been dormant in your heart during COVID) and a desire to smell the wild roses. And just as there are no conditioning or skill requirements, there are no age limits either. You can be, 8, 18 or 81 and be enlivened by the whole thing. You can be a marathon runner or mountain climber. Or you can also be wearing your Medic Alert bracelet the entire trip, as five of us recently did. You can bring your partner, your grandkids, your bestie.

We’ve taken friends heli-hiking for the past few summers and all of them (and I mean all) have come home raving about how gorgeous, different and wonderful it all was. And from door to door, the whole amazing experience is just five summer days.

So yes, Heaven can wait. But can you?

For more information on this and other RamsayTravels adventures, click here. And, please also forward to your like-spirited friends.

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