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Outsider on pause, June 2014
13 June 2014

It's become a desperately looked-forward-to annual ritual, the one week of the year that I actually get to go away and relax without having to worry about work or site deadlines, or the collection of mouthy cowboys on the comically inept building site just feet from my back door. I tend to take my vacations abroad, in part because I love the experience of visiting other countries and cultures, but also because it's the only way I can get a complete break from the things that are winding me up at home. If I'm in the UK I still feel in reach of those who would pester me with queries and requests for work. If I'm clambering up to the crater rim of Mt. Vesuvius in the baking Italian sun, as I hope to be next week, I'm not going to spare a thought for the impossible demands and seemingly endless frustrations of my current day job.

Of course I could haul my laptop with me and spend a couple of hours each day keeping the site ticking over, but I won't. I have an iPad for my AV recreational needs, and even that feels like weight I'd rather not carry. And as I discovered last year, just because a hotel offers free internet access, that doesn't mean it'll be via Wi-Fi or even working at all. It's also worth noting that when I finally get to spend a relaxing week with my girlfriend, there's no better way to trigger terse words and angry glares than opening my laptop to start typing out news stories or work on reviews. And frankly it's nice not to have to do so for a week, to be able instead to sit and read, go for walks, visit local restaurants and bars and just enjoy where I am.

This is one holiday I definitely need. I've been banging my head against problems at work with such ferocity over the past few weeks that I'm currently one nose hair away from punching someone out. It probably doesn't help that after making all the arrangements to transport myself and my companion to an airport we never planned to fly from in the first place (long story), I discovered almost by chance that I had the wrong departure day. Had I stuck to my plans, I'd have missed the damned plane.

All of which does mean that the site will effectively be on pause from Saturday 14th June through to the following Sunday 22nd June. If we were a bigger concern with a full-time writing team, then someone else would take over the running of the site for that week, but we're not. We're small fry and have never pretended to be anything else. And we're not posting new reviews every day. We're only off-air for a week, and despite everything I just said, the site will not be completely out of my mind while I'm away. I have two reviews on the go and will be aiming to complete them for posting on the Sunday I return. Camus is preparing an interesting looking article, and I have a particularly large retro review that I've been sitting on for some time that I'm hoping to make some serious progress on. I do enjoy writing, and sitting by a pool on a warm summer's evening so far from home, an open bottle of local wine at my side, is just the sort of atmosphere that I productively respond to.

As in previous years, I will attempt to tweet the basics of any news stories that I pick up while I'm away, but this depends heavily on the availability and quality of internet access at my chosen hotel. Brochure information suggests that access may be restricted to a single communal area, which could mean a single, five-year-old PC that you have to book a slot to use, or (hopefully) that Wi-Fi can only be used at this particular spot. If I do have access I'll post a tweet to that effect on the Sunday morning before I head off in search of fine pizza and fifty different flavours of delicious ice cream. Those of you who are not on Twitter (all power to you) can pick up the tweets in the left-hand sidebar on the site's front page.

If you're at all curious (and I can't think why you would be) and I do have net access while away, I'll post a few holiday related tweets on my own rarely used feed at @jagd_slarek. These will not be as-they-happen comments, as I refuse to pay out extra dosh for access to the net on my mobile phone abroad. Not that I could use my current phone if I did – it's been dropped too many times, has had the screen replaced twice (by me), and the front glass now has so many cracks in it and so much dust behind it that you can't actually read the display in the sunlight. The camera's also broken. Time for a new one, methinks.

Anyway, thanks to you all for reading the site and (hopefully) sticking with us during the next week of inactivity. We shall return soon, with new content and news. And watch out for the tweets.

Friday 13th June 2014