365 photos [71 - 77]

There's meant to be a light breeze hitting Long Lake tomorrow so I thought I'd better publish this week's photos early before I get launched into the sky by Mother Nature's almighty slingshot, never to be seen again.

I've been moved onto the ice cream stand full time because the summer is ending and staff are leaving town in preparation for school or college or whatever else. This is great because I prefer working at the stand, mostly because of the free food allowance. I've been refining the above sandwich all summer and I think I've finally reached perfection. It contains ham, Russian dressing, Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onion and pickles, all in exactly the correct proportions. I could quite easily eat one of these every day for the rest of my life.

A couple of Serbs and I drove to Glens Falls, about an hour south of Long Lake, on Monday to go shopping. It was interesting to witness civilization again after almost three months trapped in the middle of nowhere. I bought a much needed suitcase from TJ Maxx (not a typo - that's what they call it over here) and a few other bits and bobs. The next time I leave Long Lake - next Tuesday - will be for good.

The happiest slice of onion I have ever seen.

Me and Veljko were getting ready to close the ice cream stand one quiet evening when a busload of Christians showed up and ordered several cowfuls of ice cream. Their order totalled over $130, the second most expensive all summer, and they didn't leave a tip. They also sung loud Christian songs on the porch after they'd finished eating their ice creams, as if to deliberately rub salt in my wounds.

The saga of the random powercuts ended this week when Jason, the town handyman, came round and swore at some electrical components enough for them to fix themselves. Now my room stays light and my food stays cold!

Europeans on bears.

Beautiful. I will miss Long Lake so much.

365 photos [64 - 70]

Here are some more rectangular grids of coloured dots arranged to look like places in America.

The power in the trailer has a frustrating tenancy to cut out at random intervals without warning. We took a camping lantern from the store to make it easier to see things, but the situation isn't ideal. Since this photo was taken, the power fixed itself then broke again.

Being in America can make an Englishman feel very rich, but this little stack of tips from the ice cream stand is probably worth about £5.

I discovered a lovely new beach at the end of a dirt track behind the post office. Here's me and Lazar having a wade.

I'm always lucky with the weather on my days off.

The massive caterpillar I found beside the road. I felt a bit sorry for him because his front two "segments" were deflated. The lens cap is there for size comparison, because lens caps are universal in size.

Friday was Dave and Leigh's last ever day off before they leave camp next week, a sad occasion we marked with mini-golf (Dave secured a comfortable win) and a trip to that beach I discovered the other day. I'll miss Friday afternoons with these guys, but we've already made plans to travel together in September. More on that soon.

John's Columbian friend is visiting Long Lake for a couple of weeks and needs somewhere to stay, so I'm switching rooms with him because there's a bunk bed in mine I don't use. Goodbye room.

365 photos [57 - 63]

It’s week ten already which means I’ve only got three weeks left here. That’s ridiculous.


My friend Josh keeps sending me miscellaneous items from England. In the most recent package, I received (amongst other things) a damaged bowtie, some chopped onions from where he works, a Lego man, and this scratchcard worth £2! I’ve since returned the scratchcard so he can claim my winnings, get them exchanged, and mail me back the dollars.

We sell live fishing bait at work. Usually people just want worms which are easy because they’re already packaged for sale, but earlier this week we ran out of worms so everyone wanted shiners instead. Shiners are sold by the dozen so I spent a fair amount of time in the back room counting and trapping awkward numbers of them like 48. It’s all good fun until you drop one on the floor and it starts thrashing about and you have to try to pick it up.

If I had to give this photo a title, it would be “massive coward”. It was taken on the way back from my unsuccessful expedition up Owl’s Head mountain.  I never made it to the top of Owl’s Head for a number of reasons: I didn’t bring enough food, I didn’t bring enough water, I underestimated how far away the trail head was from my house (over an hour), and I almost stood on a massive snake. The snake incident scared me so much (when it happened I made this weird, involuntary yelping noise I didn’t even realise I was capable of making) that I immediately turned back. Clearly I’m no Bear Grylls.

A good advert for Heineken. It was my Serbian friend Milan’s birthday on Thursday so I spent the evening in their apartment drinking beer and dancing to Serbian rap music. To help further visualise the scene, it might help to listen to this in the background, a song about Belgrade I’m not embarrassed to admit actually quite liking. It was an awesome night.

Friday nights are traditionally spent at the Adirondack Hotel. It’s a nice feeling to walk into a packed bar and know 80% of the people there, such is the tininess of Long Lake. One week there was some friction between the locals and a group of outsiders which escalated into a full-on brawl. I wasn’t there to see it but I heard from my friends that literally everyone got involved (including women) and that chairs, bottles and people were thrown across the room and off the porch. An exceptional “Photo of the Day” opportunity missed.

It seems Greyhound are about as good at printing tickets as they are at running timely bus services. I’m in the process of booking transport and accommodation for my month-long tour of the country, which gets underway in September. Very, very exciting.

365 photos [50 - 56]

Last week I asked for your suggestions for things to photograph because the ideas barrel was getting seriously low and a man can only scrape for so long before causing damage to the barrel's interior. I received a few suggestions but ended up taking plenty of interesting photos anyway so didn't actually need them. Thanks anyway. I'll save them for a week with less material.

We made an ice hand at work using a disposable glove and some water. It reminded me of this thing we used to do at Burger King. We used to hollow out tomatoes, inject them with tomato ketchup until they were full and then freeze them, thus "repairing" them.

My friends from home had a big party on Monday night and I attended for a couple of hours via Skype. From left to right: Josh, Tom, Wilson, Hopper, Pat, Nic, Lawrence, Alistair, Keith, Chris, Greta, Pete, Andrew and Dan. The only person absent from this photo was the extremely drunk host, Owen, who was slouched somewhere just out of shot grumbling to himself about nothing in particular. Loads of fun and an excellent substitute for actually being there. Thanks, 21st century!

Hoss's Ice Cream Stand (where I work) sits literally across the street from its rival: Custard's Last Stand. And there's a third ice cream place about a minute down the street. In a town with one qualified doctor and no supermarkets, there are three places you can buy ice cream.

Me pretending to be a bird and John pretending to be a fish.

I came across this large, rusty valve by the side of the lake. There wasn't a sign to explain its function so I assume it just drains the whole lake. I decided not to turn it because I'd probably get in really big trouble.

Dave and Leigh came round for another round of mini-golf, now a weekly tradition. This time Dave won, bringing the scoreline to one-one-nil. This photo was taken outside the "school" hole, which is flawed because the balls get stuck underneath the school building, requiring the use of the so-called "hook shot" to release them. Dave pioneered the "hook shot".

Some berries. Very happy with this photo, everything is just right.

365 photos [43 - 49]

Week seven was probably my most fun so far, but I hardly took any photos, so the ones included here aren't very interesting. I really don't know how I'm going to keep this ridiculous project up for another five weeks while I'm still in Long Lake. Gladly accepting your requests for things to photograph. Leave a comment. Please?

Sunday was the day of the big Hoss wedding. I worked for eleven hours (including three hours at the wedding itself) and joined the party after closing the ice cream stand at ten. I think it was the best party I've ever been to. It was on a beach with unlimited free beer, amazing food, a huge fire, and lots of merry Americans. Amongst other ridiculous things, I swam in the lake with Matt (the groom) who was still wearing his tuxedo, I was offered a job in San Francisco (which I would have accepted if my visa lasted longer) and I was taught how to smoke a cigar properly.

Sometimes the sky looks like Turkish delight.

This is probably my second favourite 50 Cent piece, after "In da club".

It's hard to see because there aren't any people in the photo, but this bear is only slightly shorter than me. We have to wheel him out every morning and in every night. It would be much easier to use a real bear, which we could chain to the railings, but the killjoy safety inspectors/police/PETA/customers would probably complain.


Dave and Leigh came round on their day off. We were going to play minigolf but it rained solidly for four hours so we stayed in and watched "Breaking Bad" (with Hal from Malcolm in the Middle) instead. Notice the reef thing in the background which is so ancient it bleeds down the wall.

Completely ran out of ideas so took a photo of my feet.