Thursday, December 29, 2005

Looking forward to a Happy new year

Well its 07-00 and once again I am sitting at the compbox blogging. I have Catherine Jenkins (a C.D. gift at Christmas) Quietly singing "I vow to thee my country" and I am inspired to Blog. I have already comntemplated the last year, No! I have sought deeply into its experiences and have come to the conclusion that It was indeed a good year for my family and I. I have regretted that its hasn`t been for some and I have sincerely hoped that 2006 will be a good year for them.

Right! thats enough in depth soul searching for now! Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cathering Jenkins has just hit the High "C" in "Un bel Di" (one fine Day) Gosh! I find this early morning music session very inspiring, thinking back to my youth, it was on another plane that I was inspired at this time of the morning. I am now being treated to "Canto della bella" I am minded to stop trying to think what to ramble on about this morning and just languish in her voice, Ecstasy is indeed a dry word when listening to the beautiful voice and music before me today. Now Its A.L.Ws "music of the night" from Phantom of the opera. I realise now that am slowly becoming intoxicated!

2006 will be my sixty third year so for a new year resolution, I was thinking about becoming more responsible for my actions, words and deeds. No more will you see the Rob of old singlehandedly taking on the two young boisterous and agressive young men in the Brighton McDonalds, who were Agressivly throwing food at the subdued customers.

From the commencement of 2006 the Rob of the past will moderate his actions and deeds and set himself into the role of old gentle man! No longer will he venture out into the rough south coast seas, just to see how his boat (and indeed himself) peform. He will stop Blogging and so no longer booring the few great people that read his blog anyway. How does that sound?

I am now listening to Andrea Bottichelli and Sara Brightman singing "Time to say Goodbye" which was played at the furneral of one of my past PAs and I am feeling sad once again!

Thats it no more pissed off crap Get on with life no more futile New Year resolutiions. live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today a friend died!

Today at 04-32 a friend of mine passed on. He had been suffering from Liver Cancer for about three years when it finally took him away.

He was very brave throughout and knew that it would eventually terminate his life when he was first diagnosed and given three months to live. He was a fighter right to the end. A fellow boater he had a chequered past and had sold land in Patagonia, had been a private detective of some note, as well as a first class artist, his last commission being three painting of famous battle ships at war of which he produced a photographic likeness of them in action, less than three months prior to his death. He was indeed a very talented man.

Towards the end of his life he moved into a mobile home. He lived frugally with his one extravagance his boat which now has sadly fallen into disrepair. I shall miss him and hope that other “friends” luckier than him will read about his departure and believe that they, as “down” as they are at the moment, and for what ever reason, will fight against their bodies natural way to “take the easy way out”.

That they will gain strength, by following his example and fight for all that remains good in life, for as long as it takes, moving on to the unexplored future and not dwelling in the mental cancer of the past, that can rot ones ability to live life to the full.

Safe journey Gerry!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

RIP Simbad

I had a friendship with a chimpanzee many years ago and can relate to him, even now, more so possibly than the few friends that I currently have. His attitude to life, like mine was basic and his needs were few. Both of us needed stimulation in our lives to keep us active, food in our belly and a warm bed. He was a Young blade then, as was I, and daily I used to visit him in his domain and sit talking and communing with him.

We would start with him posturing in a wrestler like stance with his knuckles pointed down to the floor and where I could see them, he would make himself as big and as fearsome as possible (and at 15 years old that was really something to see) I would sometimes play with him by performing similar stances and run up and down the side of his cage until he decided that he`d had enough and that we should now groom each other and then I would sit with him so that he could pick at my hair (what there is) and so that I could reciprocate. I would mouth the “grooming mouth” and make the grooming noise and our friendship was assured. He was a great friend and always there for me when I needed him (he had no where else to go, bless him!)

I was fortunate enough to know him for at least fifteen years, I had discussed my career changes with him and political tactics for promotions and his advice was always correct. He would sit quietly and look at me with those beautiful, dark, bright eyes and listen to everything that I quietly “discussed” with him as if he fully understood. His Mate would sit some distance away and keep herself amused as if knowing that he needed this special contact as much as I. He was a really beautiful Chimpanzee the best looking male in the UK at the time, (unlike me)

He was an intelligent ape and when I installed a contraption to keep him and the Gorillas amused, that had a rope crossing the roof from his enclosure to the Gorillas enclosure with a Tyre hanging on both ends he used to sit patiently and wait for the Gorillas to walk under the tyre and drop it on them much to their humiliation, he used to catch the gardeners out too when they cleared the Gorillas deep litter.

One day however the male gorilla grabbed the tyre before he could let it drop pulling it sharply and he shot up twenty feet into the roof of his enclosure with much screaming and ariel posturing like a trapeze artist that had somehow worked a clown routine into his act.

I loved that old boy he really was a character. I went to visit him one day and I found his Keepers trying to revive him he was laid out on the floor of his enclosure lifeless, I was told that he had been posturing at his keeper and for no apparent (then) reason had dropped dead and fallen off his climbing frame. Even now I can relate to him and his manner of departure, but not his life, he should have been free to run as far as he liked, to climb as high as he liked and to do what he wanted. Regrettably as a wild caught baby and long term captive chimp, that could never have been.
R.I.P. Simbad

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Bah Humbug! well thats Christmas finished

I`ve now had sixty two Christmas`s and I am beginning to think, that will be the last time I celebrate it at Home. Next year I will be in the Caribbean ( or somewhere else) and my family can make their own arrangements. Sure I loved having my Grand kids around, but a daughter who`s Boy friend isn`t with her at Christmas is a haemorrhoid. Happy families :o)) .

Madison, my grand daughter, whose first Christmas it was, sat in one of those springy chair thingies and just burbled with delight, her little face and cheeks were so hot and red from her teeth appearing, I felt really sorry for her but she was such a delight. The rest of her family managed to throughly enjoy the festive spirit as well as cope magnificantly with both kids.

My adopted daughter Kim arrived just before lunch, she had a great time and was throughly adopted by Elliot as his auntie, she spent most of the afternoon playing with and entertaining him.

My task for the day was to prepare the vegetables, wrap the presents,top everybody up with refreshment, keep the washing up down to a minimum requirement and provide the fare (thats what Dads do isnt it) I have to say that I kept the "washing up" virtually to a non existant level and eficiently "whipped it away" (at the suitable moment of course, I didn`t want you to have visions of me removing it as someone was still eating, although it got close) washed it and replaced it in the cupboards like a phantom, Yea right!! more like with lots of sighs ,crashing and banging etc :o)) In the evening I was subjected to all the "soaps as both girls are addicted and my wife wanted to watch "Madagaskar" a CD she recieved from someone else who also wanted to watch it, so I sat bored for three and a half hours dreaming of my return to the sailing life and went to bed at ten oclock throughly Boored (its whats expected of me I guess!) it was a girly evening and my Girls had a great time! My son and his family went home in time to get the kids bathed and to bed in their usual routine, and now its morning!

My new year resolution will be, to not have a Christmas at home for a while and to be somewhere hot and preferably alone at the time. I`m not a too solitary person normally but I have to say that the thought of it today is quite exciting :o)).

At about 20-00 My Foxes appeared at the sound of my voice and ate heartily. spending some time with me and left about 20-15 The Vixen turned around as they left, as if to let me know that they were grateful, and they both dissapeared into the night. I stood there for a moment savouring the pure atmophere before I returned to the festivities, realising that deep downI am truly a feral sort of person and could quite hapily return, possibly one day soon, to a nomadic life on the sea.

My grandsons first train set! Ok its only a Thomas the Tank engine set but it is a train set. Much excitement from both young men as it neared completion and then after five minutes use it was stacked away for return to his bedroom for further investigation. Worth every penny just to see both of their faces when they unwrapped it. Posted by Picasa

Christmas :o((

Well up at 06-00 and vegetables all ready and prepared for lunch. Time now 12-15 and awaiting arrival of adopted daughter( anytime) and son and family (13-30) who are walking round. Dinner ready for 13.30 and all on schedule, including wife one foot off ground and rising, having downed her first glass of wine, so far! Daughter lying on setee texting (for the 30th time) boy friend in Aus, on Holiday, atmosphere tense and I am hidden away Blogging. Phew!!!!!!!!

I`m awaiting the next loud call to go and do something, must keep quiet shhhhhhhhh!
We have opened our presents. Jointly ( my wife and I) we got a lovely cofee machine (from our daughter) so I can drink Latte at home and now don`t have to go out to "Costa" ;O(( and I personally recieved Clarksons book the world according to Clarkson. I haven`t written The world according to Rob so it will have to do for now. The person who said Christmas isn`t about presents was right in our house, Te, he. I`m really looking forward to seeing everybody but I have just recieved the news that my son has just "done his back" his wife has "done her shoulder" Elliot has a "tooth coming through" as does Madison. so where do I go from here. Down to the boat maybe :o(( :o(((( oh well! happy Christmas everyone :o))

Saturday, December 24, 2005

May I wish you all a very happy Christmas holiday

To everybody who reads this "and those who don`t" I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy new year!!


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas Party (already)

On saturday night my boat club held its annual Christmas party. We turned up at six thirty to find the club decked out in Christmas decorations, holly and lights, the comitee had worked really well to get it ready along with many members (I was not one of them Im afraid). We took out seats at nicely decorated tables and enjoyed the wine and conversation, I did a spell on the bar and the new till was comfounding everybody who came across it. I was asked at the end of the evening what I thought of it and replied by saying that it was great, but that I had managed to ring up a thousand and fifty pounds instead of one pound zero five pence :o)) the food arrived and just as I finished my stint on the bar it was being cleared away so I grabbed some and sat down, ready for the show. It was brilliant!

It started with a guy, Frank (an old fellow mariner whom I have known for years as owning a joinery business) Playing a number of Akker Bilks numbers on his clarinet, Hard to sing along to these, and then he came out with his Sax and did a number of really hot swinging numbers which got the show off to a really great start. The band in the background were miming and with long wigs gitars being played with bows (bows and arrows types) tennis balls on sticks for percussion and a tea chest base played by someone out of the blues brothers, that the Muppets put them to shame. Dut da, dut da da da dah, (repeat)

Two fellow members mimed to some songs and I was hard pressed to (having extensively checked out their lip sink) form any opinion as to whether that was true or not, they were both really Good! Our membership secretary, Bill, who took the club by storm last year as a cleaned up version of Jethro performed a solo skit originally performed by Dereck and clive. he was great and very professional, as they all were (except the band).

The finale came as a surprise. A board covering the whole of the small stage swung down from the bar ceiling, with material covered holes cut into! it now faced the audience (it took the place of the curtains) It was then announced that this would be the Weybrige Mariners tribute to Queens, Bohemian Rapsody). The music started up and with the first "Queen" note (a bit late)
a "somewhat comfounded looking" glove puppet appeared in the form of a Duck, in the middle hole singing the lead (freddy Bulsara`s) others appeared in the form of sooty, sweep, popeye etc ,ets, nine in all. Brian Mays equivalent, resplended in curly wig, even had a flashing guitar when he did the solos, half way throgh one glove puppet pulled out a gun and shot another one and it all went downhill from there. We all really laughed and enjoyed the sillyness. A bow was taken by all at the end of the show, with noisey stamping , clapping and cheering following

The Disco started in earnest and I believe that at sometime everybody was up on the dance floor dancing (that is the worth of a good disco!) We personally left at about eleven thirty and the party was just getting into its full swing. I went to the club on the Sunday to assist with the clearing up and the new Commodore remarked that this was a really different sort of party this year as "there wasn`t a fight" of some sorts ;O((

(I wasn`t there last year but apparently two grumpy old male members , aren`t they always decided to settle some differences outside the club, which was of course eventually sorted by all, with a bit of sabre rattline and a bloody nose, what a shame!)

Both my wife and I enjoyed the evening and will go to the next year one, (something that as members of this and other yacht and boat clubs we have never done before)

I might even take part. I have offered to do my barbed wire chinese rings act, resplenant in gold vinyl cat suit, as shewn at the street entertainer festival in Ghent last year, Te he! or my Blues harp expertese as busked at Putney tube station last year too. God help them should they accept and encourage me :o)). I can only play one tune (dixie) and I never did get the rings undone spending hours with the barbed wire shredding my catsuit as I tried to escape, Hospitalization was nearly the order of the day :o)) but wire cutters sufficed (spoiled my rings though)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

One for Kate

“It does bother me, that the tendency to sedition is disguised and used in the name of politics ,and its true values” (Ardie 1978)

I believe, bearing in mind that the Cuban missile crisis was about this time, that what he/she is actually saying is that those who support and instigate the political correctness of all/any situation, are guilty of trying to "destabilise" the country, and further, are guilty of "sedition" ?

Ardie found!

"The attritionista`s job is to destabilise, but they can only do this if you let them!" (Ardie 1978)

Holidays at Christmas!

Holiday at Christmas:-

I wish I was on one!
I love the food and,
Drink the wine,
but really miss the sun.

So australia Canaries and israel,
think of me upon this time,
while I sit here just composing,
This Bloody awfull Ryme!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Nearly at Christmas! two of them now Posted by Picasa

My Grandson last Christmas! we have tried to stop him drinking so much wine! Posted by Picasa

Christmas last year

Was only yesterday!!!!! I had just finished reconditioning my boats 250 hp Volvo turbo diesel and my trip to the Dunkirk little ships rally was a plan on the horizon. Where will we all be this time next year? I have to ask.

I shall, probably still be moaning about Blogger allowing adverts at the bottom of my comments page (as I can`t get to grips with getting rid of them). I will also be reading "fish" if she hasn`t got fed up with me and my comments , Yvonne,Candi, and of course now Kate,

I havent got anything planned yet! soooooooooo if anybody has some Ideas I would be grateful!
I am not considering "Going to hell"!!!!!!! well not as yet anyway! so no comments in that veign please :o))

This is the first time that we won`t all be togeather as a family on Christmas day as my son now has his own growing family and obviously choses to spend it with them, and so it will be just my wife, daughter and "adopted Daughter"although I feel that we may see my son and his family in the Morning, briefly for "present exchange" and I am looking forward to that. Te he! I am really a big Kid at heart when it comes to christmas (or any other time, if it comes to that). My dog and I used to sit under the christmas tree on Christmas morning until we were told sharply to "Leave" and then we used to gnaw at the corners of the presents to try to ascertain what was in them. I miss the old Dog particularily at christmas. Sadness ................... Right shake that off and get on with life.

What did one snowman ask another snowman?....................................................................................................................................................
Can you smell Carrots? He he ha hahahahhahahahahahahahahah Well I thought that was funny :o)).

Right seriously now! its about this time that I start to think about the real meaning of Christmas or whatever it is called in other Lands? Over the years, being the jaundiced individual that I am I have decided that it is a time for Families to come to geather and do what ever they do and for card companies and retailers to grow fat on the profits of original story. (Well fairly original anyway!whatever language its written in and whatever claims it makes I also remember those who died for a "just and good cause" and remember what Ardie says about War " the Triumph of the right might over the wrong right!" I think of all the man made religions that really have to work hard on the "day/days" and those that don`t celebrate.

I think of all the immense wealth that keeps some religions in a powerfull and all manipulating position across the World and those that don`t have wealth, just belief in a story, but still fullfil the same need.

I think about those religions that allow people to be Killed in the name of their "Lord" and I am Sad Very Sad! I think about the blessing of the bombs in World war two the blessing of the young KamiKazi pilots as they left for Pearl Harbour I spare a thought for the Peace activists who risk their lives in the name of Peace, and are likely if not already dead from the hand of a "Holy Saviour"

I turn my thoughts now to what I can do? and decide that there isn`t much except that I should become a better person! I don`t do to others anything that I wouldnt except should be done to me, well mostly ( I do complain, whelmently if something isn`t right, but then again I suppose that it used to happen to me!) I do drive people off the road if they Piss me off but then sometime they win so it happens to me. I dont cheat or Lie ( much) I do wind people up but only sometimes. Generally I am not too bad. I will try harder in the future! I certainly will continue to tell my Foxes that I don`t intend to feed them anymore and that its for their own good !! But I will still keep an eye on them and make sure that they lead as natural a life as any other "Urban fox" Wow!! its a good job I dont live in Churchill I would have been eaten by now :o)) There I go again!!

I will still continue to Blog but I will probably change my personna by actions and become ???? What to do???? I will think of something! My life is booring at the moment so its time perhaps?? I certainly will continue to think about foreign ports and long sea journeys (well longish anyway!)
I will never become religious, maybe indulge in some soul searching in an meditive way, but of my own style. I will continue to practice accupuncture on myself and reap its benefits.

My family always comes first, but I will have to make some descisions regarding my health and in the fullness of time, I will try to improve upon it with perhaps Tia chi or a retun to my bags in the garage which always fire me up and make me feel better, who Knows?

This is getting to be a new years resolution which its not intended to be, I guess that being bored! I am rambling and so its time to close!
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Monday, December 12, 2005

I have just switched on my patio lights

and there for all to see are "my" three (only three now!) beautiful foxes looking back at me covered in frost and in front of the now iced up bowl of water. Soooo, I have broken the ice and poured hot water into the bowl and fed them a little something to keep them going for a short while,

I called to them and the Vixen came immediately and gently took the food out of my hand with the other two another ( this years cub) vixen, and the old Dog fox, staying back until I threw the food to them. They then ate it all and after I had closed the doors , they all came on to the patio and drank from the bowl. Their coats are really thick and conditioned now, so hopefully they will get through the winter OK.

As I closed the curtains they were sitting in a line peering in through the window, so I gesticulated to them, (how you do that I couldn`t begin to explain) that they had all the food that I was going to give them tonight and the Vixen got up and turned slowly and walked away with one look back as much as to say I will be back! the other two followed and they all dissapeared into the night.

I guess that I am anthropamorphic (spelling) as I have always talked to my animals from Elephants to shrews from Californian sealions to Gorillas and they seemed to understand a little, so I don`t find it strange for me to talk to the vixen whilst I am feeding her and explain that I won`t always feed them as they have to fend for themselves and she looks at me with those all seeing eyes and something is getting through into her head and I really believe that she knows! if not from my actual talking to her, from my actions , maybe facial expressions and or my tone of voice! that I won`t always be there for them. :o((

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Short trip to Brugge

I have just got back from a short trip to Brugge which I throughly enjoyed, it was good to see the other side of the Euro life. I found it very calming as the pace of life there was very easy. I was amazed at, like the dutch, just how many people actually cycled on "Proper bikes" not like those in the UK where, unless your a*se is in the air and your teeth are being jarred out of your head, you are not "in". The security as well , most bikes were not locked and all of them had lights fitted that worked.

It was however a bit daunting when you stepped out into a one way street to cross, having made sure that there was no traffic coming and a bycycle shot past you from behind going the wrong way (which I now believe they are allowed to do) Phewww ! Wipes brow!that was close. The cobblestones must make cycling in the wet a nightmare but they don`t seem to slow down at all.

I just loved the horses on the carriages they were so well behaved and well looked after. As for the restaurants the food was brilliant and the service second to none, local Belgium beef stew, I recommend most highly (you have to try a local dish) . The absence of vegetables on the menues was a little surprising too. We ate in a restaurant that had lobster in a tank at the door and I felt so very sorry for them! (I just can`t help it!) as we passed them, (so sad! funny, lamb doesn`t bother me, but lobster?????)

I got "verdigrease" just looking up this tower! Posted by Picasa

Does the population cycle anywhere? not much! Posted by Picasa

Chocolates, chocolates and more chocolates, Mmmmmmmmmm! Posted by Picasa

There are boat trips along the canal in the summer. Posted by Picasa

Great buildings, fantastic roofs Posted by Picasa

Just got back from a few days in Brugge what a great old city, with loads of churches, and the best carriage rides ever in Polish built carriages. I loved the horses! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 02, 2005

Are we being over regulated and if so why

If I want to change my gas boiler, I now have to go and pass a course and join an association; if I want to install an electric plug in my kitchen I have to do the same, Why? There are so many examples of this sort of regulation in my life today that lead me to believe that the age of discovery, at least for us English is well and truly dead.

I have to ask myself will the era of greatness now emerge from the third world countries and beyond where such regulation doesn`t yet exist. Is such regulation, a not so covert, means of regulating what discoveries we are allowed to make to a level plane, a plane where no one country in europe will be better than any other. Where no competition of any sort would be likely to end in conflict, to universal unintelligent drudgery, where academia and its highly inteligent inadequates, will rule and be the only persons to be able to make "great findings" Where for the most part, people like us can only ever be able to hold a job ( true meaning: Just Over Broke) and unlike that which we are meant to believe, the pyramid is in fact now inverted and the one true worker actually supports the majority of others. for example, health workers insurance salesmen, shop keepers, dentists,Bankers, police, transport, professors, teachers, soilders, etc Do I need to go any further? I think I am making my point?

We have gotten ourselves into a downward spiralling situation. Our politicians tell us that civil servants deserve to retire at 60 and because of this the majority of us will have to retire at 68 instead of 65 why? because we live longer or because they have fudged our pension fund? I hesitate to think. we regularily divvi up out international funds to those countries who are more adapt at extracting said funds, for example every frenchman is a farmer and attract a subsidy every Spaniard is a fisherman or wine producer and the country has poor roads so off goes more of our funds. Why can`t we go back to producing our own food, steel, coal, commerce, etc Why because we have forgotten how to do so! To be continued

Some pillock

Some pillock in an orange overall in B&Q asked me if I wanted decking?

So I got the first punch in !!

Now I`m banned from the store and I will miss the pensioners discount day :o))

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why do I think that today will be a good day?

Well! "I woke up so I`m on a profit from the start" (Ardie). Its crisp outside and the heating is working (so it has to be a good start then). I`ve had my first cup of tea and opened my compbox, read my usual Blogs, they are all good too, so its getting better and better.

I suppose my careful approach to each day could be attributed to my respect for life and possibly near death experiences I once had, when I ran out of air diving at more than 150 feet off the eddistone light, eventually arriving at the surface unconcious, blood pouring out of my nose and ears. Sure gave me a new respect for the sea and life in general. Or maybe its because of a more recent occasion when, I was given a further second chance in the form of a Titanium valve replacement in my heart, some six years ago, who knows but it sure makes you thankful for every day and builds in you a great respect for life in general believe me! No I don`t think that I`m some kind of James bond just a grateful lucky guy who f*uc*ked up occasionally, was lucky and life was very, very, kind to me.

I have been trolling through the boat ads looking for a new boat (to me that is) I rather fancy buying one from the states as they are so much more available and really much better value, they also have air conditioning in many of them and are much nicer fitted out. I would need to pay VAT on it in Horta (the Azores) before finally bringing it to the UK, dream on Rob! who knows!

I find Blogging a great release! I wonder if that is the real attraction to many others out there who actually get as much from it as I do? even though I am not very prolific at it and generally ramble on (like now).

I would really like to go out rollerblading today ( at 62 can you believe it? ) but there is a problem well two actually I don`t have any blades and the roads here are crap so thats off :o)) maybe next year, Oh I forgot! I can`t skate either! I`ll stick to trolling the boat ads :o))

Ive finished the re-furb of my downstairs shower room but it hasn`t turned out how I would have really liked it to its quite minimalist with the sort of coldness associated with that style, Magnolia walls white porcelain and tiles and Birch wood floor, all it needs now is a Japanese round wood tub and a couple of Kunji on the wall? Oh well perhaps a bit of dressing will warm it up and take away the sterility of it.

My daughter has just rung from the "posh lounge" at heathrow to say that she is just about to get on a plane for Cuba, how the other half life eh! I have always wanted to visit Cuba and live amongst its inhabitants for a while, they seem such a confident and happy people, so giving and respectful, One day Maybe one day. Well its 08-00 and light so I must get about my day Maybe I will read after I have replaced the upstairs bathroom fan with a new one (waiting to be done) maybe I will go to the cafe for lunch "The worlds is really my winkle" Te he! :o)) Who said that?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Todays comment!

"I want to be needed, and need to be wanted" ardie 1976

Dont we all ?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

same seating area, other end

 Posted by Picasa

The seating area in my wheelhouse; I just wanted to remember what it looks like! roll on the boating season. Posted by Picasa

I wonder!

There is an old saying that goes something like. "Life punishes us by actually giving us what we want" If this is true, I have been punished all my life. I sit here not wanting for anything, or do I ?

Of course I would like a bigger boat but it doesn`t really matter if I don`t get it. Sure I would like great health but then that, I can pretty well, control? and if I can`t for any reason its beyond my wishes anyway!

Am I strange? or just normal! Am I a realist that accepts life and what it brings without question, do I lack drive and or enthusiasm. I think not I go about my life with gusto I am always looking forward to something even if its only the completion of my chores or another post in a friends blog, my grandchildren and children visiting, even just sharing somebodys comment in my own blog makes me happy. If this is purgatory or the punishment of life there is something strange.

I see others with great sadness and mental pain, anguish and helpless sorrow, Why should I be allowed to be happy, why should I be allowed to accept others into my life? I do, of course, understand that one day it will all suddenly end and I will awaken into a sort of Dantes inferno. But then I guess that the other addage that "life doesnt let you be happy for too long" may hold true as well?

What can I do to help others who are unhappy? should I actually try to help? it would make me even more happy, if I was able to assist in some way! perhaps I am being selfish? could I just say to the alone and unhappy "allow others to come into your life enjoy their presence don`t try to bind them, dont try to reason with or blame yourself as to why they leave, just accept that it happens and move on! make your life interesting (unlike mine) so that others will want to step through its door, actively seeking out an entrance into your life, don`t push them away with demonstrations of sorrow and self pity".

I ask, am I responsible for similar actions in that I believe that I am happy and therefore don`t attempt to assist others into my life, should I, indeed, beleive that I need to do so?

Soooooooooooo! I am going out today to bring others into my life, where do I start? is it with a positive attitude or a caring smile? a gift or funny introduction or is it by just being me. It certainly seems to me that being who you are, gives people an instant acces into your life and tells them if they actually want to "visit" you. so I musn`t be miserable I musn`t bore, I musnt write drivel ??? (what am I doing now?) I shouldn`t lay my feelings out in the cold for others to pick at like Crows after they have read about them and been allowed to think just how lucky they are, Making the descision not to be of any further interest.

Do I look at life and being me, say to myself I am lucky! I love life! I love people! I love what I do and do what I love, I want you in my life I have so much to offer, I may enjoy you being there, will perhaps someone, anyone, hear my quiet pleading, my plaintif mantra? will they be led to my life?

Now I have a real problem Do I want them there? at least its my descision now

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Animal stories (I have known)

When I first joined my last employers, major zoological exhibition, I had been working there for at least a day when a wild(ish) boar escaped (you know the type with long curly tusks) I arrived at the scene to find that the Boar was running around in a public area and so (being fully inexperienced in the ways of animals) tackled it to the ground, hiked its legs from under it, (as you do) and held it, with difficulty, on the ground. The Keepers who had a ropewith a slip knot in it, slipped it over its snout and told me to let it go, whereupon it tried to get up and shaking its head got out of the noose, I told the Keepers to get a sack and put it over its head which they did and struggled for a little longer. the head keeper wacked a sedative into it and it all calmed down. I got up and the animal was unceremoniously carried back to its cage. As I walked back to my office in disaray and nursing a broken Diving watch glass (dont you always) people started to pat me on the back as I passed saying greaet job and bloody fool and such like. It wasn`t until the Zoo manager visited my office to thank me for my assistance that I found out just how dangerous a wild boar can be!! never again!!! Yea right.

I was "safety gun", whilst tranquillising a polar bear, I had fired the dart into its rump and he was going down slowly, as he should. The pool had been duly emptied of water (because they always fall into the water when "tranked" so for safety its emptied) in the pool which is some 15 foot deep are some steps cast at one end. The bear slipped into the steps end of the pool and promptly fell asleep? I, armed with the usual 4.55 handgun and the vet, climbed down a rope into the now dry pool, the vet armed with a short scaffold pole tapped the polar bear gently on the nose whereupon it Immediately sat up looked straight at me, waved its huge front legs and turkey plate sized paws. The Vet, who was obviously much more experienced than me in matters of sharp exit from animal enclosures, climbed over me and using me as a ladder scaled the sloping pond walls, I was still standing there with the gun, shakily, pointing between the bears eyes when I realised that I was laying against the pond side and that the bear was starting to quieten down and finally "go under" the vet calling from the now securely shut bear house called out, "are you OK! Rob" I answered rather nervously, but I don`t think he actually heard me, after what seemed like an eternity he reappeared over the edge of the pool (I had no way of getting out as the walls were shere and the bear was sitting on the steps) andhe climbed back down into the pool, using a keeper held rope and did what he was originally going to do. Talk about an experience, given that the bear, whilst young, was fully grown and real mean.

It was Christmas and we needed some publicity so I dressed as Santa and with a carrot in my mouth a national press photographer, situated outside the enclosure, was taking copious photos of me stood in front of a fully grown Giraffe with a carrot in my mouth. Its great head lowered down until level with my head and gently took the carrot out of my false bearded mouth.
Snap, reload, snap went the camera and a "hold it! hold it!" from the photographer (how the bloody hell I was supposed to hold it Ill never know!) all of a sudden the beard (which obviously being designed more for use with kids than Giraffes and had massive elastic attached to it so as not to be easily detached from its wearer) started to lift away from my face as the giraffe straightened up to a point about three feet away when the elastic finally snapped.

The resultant slap on the face jarred my teeth loose. The Photographer uttered "Brilliant Got that" and sitting on my Arse in the middle of the enclosure, I nearly passed out with the pain. The Giraffe lowered it great head once again chewing heavily on the carrot and was now poised over me peering deeply into my eyes in wonderment at what she had done to this wierd human. The picture was never published, as it was thought that kids might be affected by it, what with father Christmas wearing a false beard etc, but the one of me as father christmas mouth feeding the giraffe with the carrot was! Dont have Christmasses like that anymore.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Booring blogs ( seemingly a speciality of mine :o(()

Yesterday (Sunday) we went out to a friend’s house for lunch and indeed “had a roast”. Those attending ( six of us) were long term friends whom we first met some forty years ago, when as members of a “Diving” club and impoverished newlyweds, we used to travel all over the south coast or the UK “wreck diving” and depleting the fish and crustacean stock :o)) Yummy!!.

We hadn’t seen one set of friends for some five years and it was truly a surprise to find that they haven’t change a bit. They have just sold their houses in the UK and are moving to southern Spain to live. They have also sold their Bentley because they would have to pay some form of tax if they kept it out there so they will buy a new one and have it first registered out there(how the other half live eh!?).

It’s amazing that even though we haven’t met for some years we immediately fell back into chatting and berating each other as though we had met last only yesterday, it is however sad to find out that a lot of joint “friends/associates2 (whom they kept in touch with when we didn’t) have departed this world, it brings one up with a jolt to learn that some of those joint friends whom were thought to be invincible and expected to live forever are no longer around. Ho hum! That’s life.

We arrived at 14-00 and didn’t leave until 20-00ish and the time went so quickly I don’t think that any of us “drew wind” and talked and talked like “old fish wives” (who cares we all really enjoyed ourselves)

On Sunday morning I attended my boat club annual general meeting which went OK with the exception that the new Commodore is, I believe, inadequate for the job, but the only one to put his name forward for the post, suffice to say that he was voted in successfully. As with many clubs not many members want to get really involved. Ok they will turn up for the AGM but not for the working week ends, at the last one about twenty regular members turned up out of about one hundred and twenty.

We have just negotiated a new thirty year lease on the premises and so the subscriptions will have to rise a small amount to accommodate the increase in outgoings. Most members feel that this is OK but a few will leave as a result, I fear!

Over the past few years a few of the older members have developed and fiercely defended a policy that it is wrong for the club to generate any revenue other than subscriptions and so functions etc have never really been allowed to have a surplus that could assist with the financial running of the club, and so we have depleted funds “at the bank” to such an extent that membership prices must rise. We really have to generate some enthusiasm from members! I do not feel that the new Commodore won’t be able do this, It is immediately apparent, from the shortage of committee members that he may be struggling in his task I hope I am wrong and wish him the very best!

Today I continue with my refurbishment of the ground floor cloakroom/WC with the laying of another wood floor, having “boxed” in all the exposed pipe work and plumbing, I am hoping that the new floor will give the impression of it being larger than it already is (an illusion). What a bloody boring blog it is (always is?).

Its early morning 05-00 and I am typing away about “not much” dreaming about sailing away to distant lands. I have finally convinced myself that I will sell my current Motor cruiser and buy a sail boat. I have further decided that I like the look of a few of the American (far eastern, heavy built) boats. I do favour steel but tend to think that it does effect the aesthetic design a little, compared with a heavy moulded GRP one (although if I have one built in steel I would be able to overcome any problems in that field) Whilst I love my Motor cruiser my time restrictions and need to “get back home on time has now gone, when I retired, and so a gentle, exploring and economic journey is more of the essence in today’s climate. I fear that my wife would not accompany me as much, as she doesn’t like sailing because the world does tend to be mostly at sixty degrees, and Mal de mer strikes quickly for her! also she was put off a little with a few serious storms, experienced early on in her sailing career, in a 25 foot boat in the English channel, sailing with a then very inexperienced, though safe, skipper.:o((

Friday, November 18, 2005

Winters here!

It`s Saturday 05.00 and the frost is laying heavy out in my garden, winter is well and truly here! Foot prints criss cross all over the lawn, where the foxes have been busy searching for food. I reduced and eventually stopped feeding the young family quite some time ago to encourage them to move farther away and to learn to support themselves, which they have done. Their coats which were really Suffering from the effects of mange have now all become beautiful and with their vivid markins it is easy to identify them from The large wary male to the youngest of last seasons cubs. I notice that there is now more signs of digging under my large garden shed so they are getting themselves ready for a hard winter and the possibility of more cubs next year so I will have to take some action to avoid this if possible by either having them neutered (which would be expensive) Killing them (not an option for me!) or moving them to another area some distance away. I do feel a little guilty having fed them, but to counteract that feekingI believe that I would have rather kept them alive and made them healthy than let them starve (I know! I know! its natures way, but not in my garden, OK :o)))

Our roses which were, believe it or not, in full bloom have now been zapped by the frost and are looking fairly sorry for themselves, Iam aboutto embarke on the usual home maintenence and today I am modernising the ground floor MC and shower room :o(( (Id rather be on my boat!)

With regard to the boat I have snugged it down for the winter with dehumidifier`s and heaters in the cabins and tubular heaters in the engine room so she will be happy for the winter. I guess that in Late january I will start to get her dressed for the season and look forward to it.

We are of to Brugge in a couple of weeks time on the Eurostar which will be good for Christmas shopping. As a matter of interest (to me only as nobody reads my blog Ahhhhhhh! )I was the millionth customer on the Tunnel link (well me and a whole train load of celebs , not including me of course!) I was given a certificate and a weekend in a French chateux "all found". At tht time it was possible to stand a £1 coin on edge on the walkway and it would remain there for the majority of the journey so I will try that again when we go, I bet the wear has set in and it doesn`t last five minutes of the journey now. Well winter is definitely here in the UK I wish I was in a hot country, or maybe I should go back to bed? Nah! I`ve got work to do, that makes a difference !! do I hear you say???????? Onwards and upwards!!!!! ZZZZZZzzxxx snore........ :o))

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Not really a good photo of the chip, but its not visible now anyway! :o)) Honest guv! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 12, 2005

My Blog for today!

Well I am now back from the boat having had a very singular and selfish couple of days, eating when and where I chose. Rising late and walking and talking to everybody who would give me the time of day (not many, at age sixty two, six foot one inch in height and sixteen stones in weight).

Yesterday I laid a new Oak floor in my conservatory and this morning I have just finished the edging/cover fillets around the edges, with quite a few intricate “mitres” (I served an apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner, working on for at least five years after finishing, so I haven’t done too bad a job) and was repositioning the furniture which included a heavy metal picture frame with beautiful photographs of my much loved grandchildren in. As I moved a gate leg table the leg closed and the table folded the frame impacting with the floor on its sharp corner. Upon closer inspection I found (you guessed !) a chip in my new floor, where was it (you guessed right again) right in the Blo*dy middle of the F&%$£* Floor!! :o((((. It was a sizeable chip about five mills square. I had taken such care to lay the floor to the best of my ability and now this had happened. I contemplated suicide! Nah! Not my style I contemplated removing fifty percent of the flooring and replacing the board, finally I contemplated filling the chip which I decided was the best way to go so I mixed up some two pack resin and added various, spirit, wood stain to make it the right colour, sort of a baby sick colour, and made good the chip.

Isn’t this really a lesson for life? In that no matter what you do, there is always something or somebody that will spoil it for you if you aren’t careful, and I wasn’t

I am now on my knees looking hard and I really can’t see the chip repair so I am well satisfied with the result, although it is still a bit like having soiled goods!

The overall result of the new floor along with the new furnishing has really lifted the area and when I extend the wet heating into it later on in the year, it will bring it into the all season benefits of the house.

I was watching a program on the TV last night that looks at different countries with the view of people buying holiday homes there and last night they were exploring Poland. They showed three suitable properties which were truly amazing, well built and lovely dwellings. The big thing that I thought the program really “brought across” was how lovely Poland truly is! also how nice the people are (I already new that from my Polish friends anyway!) It really is a hidden jewel in “Europe” One day I will get to visit (soon I hope) and maybe have my dream, fourteen metre (steel ) long keel, ketch built there!

“Dream as though you are going to live a thousand years
Live as though you will die today”

Monday, November 07, 2005

I`m Bored!

So I am off to the boat today for a few days, I haven`t got any real work to do on her so I will visit the Pavillion, museums, churches, the Lanes, markets and gunshops and do the sort of thing that I enjoy and fuel her up for the winter. Its really going to be a "selfilsh visit"I will eat in my favourite restaurants, rise late (fat chance as I`m always awake by 05-00) and sit on deck in the evening drinking tea and reading (if its not raining) What more could I ask for I am indeed very lucky to be able to do what I want, when I want!

When I return I have to fit a new floor in the downstairs bathroom and the same in the conservatory. Small price to pay to get away for a few days. The 16th is my wifes birthday she`s 30 years and 11680 days old (she will kill me for saying that te he!) so this Sunday we are having a family Lunch/Dinner and my Daughter is bringing he new Man to meet us so! I have been warned to be on my best behaviour, it would seem that this is the one (but then the others were?) I really don`t understand I only had one girlfriend and then I married her and we are still married! (yea right! believe that and you will believe anthing) I didn`t have many ( not with my looks!) anyway. Oh well! I`m off to the boat now.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Anthonys been found

The Police have located Anthony in a hospital some 16 miles away. They notified the Cafe proprietor and his wife, this morning, who have asked for further information. This is currently being witheld as they are not Family (justifiably I guess?) I am told that he is very unwell and possible suffering from a Kidney complaint believed at this moment to be an infection, he is also dehydrated but better than at admission. I am so glad that he is at least safe but why 16 miles away? given that he couldn`t walk. I still have serious misgivings in our so called welfare state and national health service, with whose use, I wouldnt be alive today (thank God for "private medicine it has given me some 10 years so far and many, many, more to come)

"Dream like you are going to live for 1000 years,
live like you are going to die today",

Friday, November 04, 2005

Getting old

At the cafe I use (a greasy spoon) there was a customer called Antony, he was about 78 years old and travelled everywhere on an old bike. Antony`s wife had long since pre-deceased him and he would use the cafe for some sort of social release as well as regular meals. The table he regularily occupied often held several other elderly men, who used the cafe for much the same reason that Antony did. Slowly they either ceased visiting for whatever reasons and eventually there was only Antony and one other elderly Gentleman, Eric left. The Table that used to often creat so much laughter and happiness had grown dim.

Today I found out that Antony had gone missing, and that Eric and the cafe proprietor had called the police to check out his house, the social services and Age concern too. The Police checked out his house with Eric and The Cafe Proprietor but Age concern and the Social services really didn`t want to know, from what I can disern, from their lack of interest, he wasnt found there.

What I have to ask myself now is should I have taken more notice of Antony`s lack of interest in food and his ever more ailing demeanour? I have to say that I was too interested in my own situation to have cared very much. My "Im alright Jack" attitude being ever present.

Is getting old really a case of getting on with it or do you get out of life what you put into it? If that is the case then I guess that I will get old alone and have to put up with it, should I live that long.

So far everybody at the cafe has been trying to locate Anthony but the main fear has to be that he has taken himself off to die, he obviously never felt very good in the latter months but never complained, his recent habit of not eating and only just drinking some tea was spotted by the Cafe owner who thought it would pass, I have to say that I wasn`t aware but then again what would I have done? Nothing I guess, just like the Social services and Age concern. Is that to be the way of the modern British society? will we, effectively, take our old and ailing out into the snow to die? this is the UK, 2005 isnt it? I do hope he is found soon and OK.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Shutdown!!!!!! Maybe locked out?

I hadn`t posted for about a week, while I was away and did so two days ago! However nothing would enter inon my site. I had duly written it all and published what you see and still nothing. So I closed the site and reopened it using the same address and everything and it now works OK! strange eh? I guess it just locked out

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Homeward bound! mission completed

I have just this minute arrived back from the Isle of Wight, where I have been assisting a friend repair and refurbish an ancient jetty in an ideallic creek on the north north east of the Island. He, at present, lives aboard his steel cruiser in the Medina river and is soon to move to this refurbished jetty.

One problem with working on a job like this is the time of high water and in this case it was
12-00 and so we had to start early at 06-00, which the torrential rain did too! By the time we had got ourselves kitted up in waterproofs and rubber boots, we were ready for anything! so off we went into the mud. We took bets as to who would be the first person to fall over when our feet got stuck in the mud and who would be the first to loose a boot ! well as you can guess it wore pretty thin as we all did one or the other most days.

We started the works by demolishing most of the collapsing structure and dragging it up the embankment and into a large heap for the owner to cut up for fire wood (Phew!!! that was lucky as we don`t have to "cart it away")

The jetty was at least a hundred years old ( probably more) and had been repaired so often that there was "stumps" of what looked like stone sticking out of the creek bed where the origional jetty had been built and the truncated wooden supports had now all calcified into a sort of fossil. The timber for the refurbishment was duly delivered from a real old time agricultural joinery works housed in a succession of Oak barns way out in the country, down a mile or so of rural lanes. The owner of which was a real gentleman and helped us to decide upon what sort of timber and the sizes that we neeed.

We had to "pile drive" new vertical stakes into the creek bed, which were four metres long, so you can imagine what had to happen for this to take place, we set up a pair of step ladders on the creek bed with some of the old boarding to prevent them from sinking into the mud and we perched ourselves at the very top and manhandled the "post rammer"( which weighed at least twenty kilos). The steps were virtually "alive" and every time the rammer impacted with the post the steps nearly fell over, casting those perched on the very top, head first into the mud. We had eight such posts to "Ram" and had finished them by mid morning, this gave us time to install some of the cross members and the diagonal braces and start to build the longitudinal structure that was to eventually take the decking. The high tide came and went and we waded in about two feet of water before we had to stop work and take to the high ground and start to construct the main longitidinal supports.

As we lined up each pair of supports we traversed along them to access the next set and so on until the tide had gone out fully and we could access the underneath. There were several large holes beneath the mud so that as you slurped your way along underneath the jetty you would suddenly disappear down another foot or so into these holes, as this happened a plaintif cry would be heard saying "I`ve found another hole" everybody did this more than once. By the end of the first day 21-00 we were soaked to the skin, covered in mud and stinking or creosote (Orodichloro-benzine) but satiated with the thought that we had done a really good job so far.

On the second day we continued working our way along the platform, having re-visited the workshop for the rest of the material we finished the first stage of the platform( up to the end of the narrowest piece) The rain didnt stop and the severe wind (about force eight) really drained us of energy, we however seemed to regain our strength when it came to going out on the "Raz" in the evening. As we went back to the boats we reflected that we must be absolubtely mad! We finished the platform and all its fixings and had fitted the water supply and electricity by last night (wednesday) and so we celebrated our success by going to the Bistro and my friend getting slightly inebriated. He is really looking forward to moving around to his new mooring in December where I sincerely hope he will be very happy.

Whilst working on the jetty I noted many species of water birds along with voles, water rats, Egrets, Dippers and so may other species that my memory can`t allow me to name, it truly is a wonderful spot, so bleak and lovely and little more than a quarter of a mile from the open sea. My friend who is single and quite a self sufficient sort of character will fit right in with the solitude and rugged demeaner of the creek.

Another view of the creek, across to the ferry terminal, taken from the very end of the now completed jetty. Posted by Picasa

Note the foot marks on the right hand side and the depth of the mud. This job certainly made me re-think the title "Skipper" Posted by Picasa

How straight is that? just the end ten metres to finish. Posted by Picasa

A view up the creek Posted by Picasa

A view past the jetty to the solent a lovely spot with Egrets and many other species of water birds Posted by Picasa

The jetty refurbished with new planking and some supports Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 10, 2005


I am back at home now! as I thought I was due to take the boat to the Isle of wight on Thursday to help a mate re build his dock for a week. I made a mistake and it is the following week. Don`t you just love it when someone who is supposed to be an expert (like me on navigation etc) makes a fundimental mistake that they should know better about, te he! So I am now captured and lumbered with cutting the grass, repairing the roof and shopping Oh! and a christening of a friends young lad "Benjo" I am looking forward to that, Oh! and I have to install a new boiler!! Blahhh Yawn! Back to the boat I think! "What"!! "Im not playing on the computer" "Tescos?"" "how many?" "yes dear!!!" Got to go! :o))

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Ode to the south sea!

The stripey snake is hunting among the coral heads
she swims from side to side searching under every ledge
at lunchtime when the school upon the island closes
under the wooden campshed she meets the children and reposes

They laugh and play around her as she swims between their legs
and stroke her skin along its length as she brushes round their heads
They know that she is friendly and them she will never bite or kill
as their parents used to do the same and play with her at will

Taken from a true life pacific island experience.
Crap poetry though :o))

Wifi Whoopee!

Finally I have managed to get my laptop connected to the local area connection LAN and now I am permanently connected on the boat ish. I can now get weather forcasts and shipping etc as I require them, not to mention being able to send e mails (I said not to mention that)

Yes as you guessed Im bored! Im sitting here at the Laptop listening to the sound of my heating, Yawn!Ive read all the sites and searched the web and now Im Bored bored bored!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Friday, September 23, 2005

Gnasher about to eat a fender, note the nappy evacuation pump kept handy Posted by Picasa

Gnasher and Grumps make breakfast Posted by Picasa

A photo of my Marina note the blue sky Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 22, 2005

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Brightons song

Here I sit on the first floor of an internet cafe, watching the people passing and listening to a group of street singers, singing mostly clasical leads from La Traviata through most others. They have been at it for over an hour and are doing it for the "Save the children fund" I sat for nearly an hour, watching in wonderment at the voices of these seven young gifted men.

What could I do to equal that? Certainly not singing. I have thought of jumping out of a plane without a chute and getting someone to fit one on as I fall, but I`m not sure that I would trust many of my friends to do that :o)) Its a great day here with the sky clear and the air warm. the background noise gives me a certain, much needed, feeling of belonging.

I went to the preview day of the Southampton boat show yesterday and marvelled at the super yachts and equipment available also at the fact that someone can actually afford these Bhemoths. I had a good look at the "Nordhaven 47" and believe that it was the best motor yacht at the show, but failed to see how on earth the, bathing platform, boarding ladder can be lowered into position with the handrail in position. Oh well its off for cofee and a trip back to the boat. Great Saturday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Londons song!

A song for london

The countries mad the party`s wrong
The strangers get the goods
Being born her makes no difference
But you never thought it would?

Zip guns in out city
Bombers on our street
Don’t you come to London
If you can`t stand the heat.

Crack is king in one place
And skunk another too,
“Shooting up” in Holloway
Is just what, they like to do.

Zip guns in out city
Bombers on our street
Don’t you come to London
If you can`t stand the heat.

Drive by`s fit the evening
With gun sounds in the dark
Jogging gets you killed
If you do it in the park

Zip guns in out city
Bombers on our street
Don’t you come to London
If you can`t stand the heat.

The turf is insecure
with gang rule in the frame
The boys all need respect
And life aint a fucking game

Zip guns in out city
Bombers on our street
Don’t you come to London
If you can`t stand the heat.

Ardie 2003

Monday, September 12, 2005

D day veterans visit the Boat club

Some years ago the "Vets" use to hire a river boat for their annual "trip and reunion" and visit a pub/restaurant opposite out club boathouse. Over the following years it was thought that it may be better if they arrived at our club in Dunkirk little ships, so the Association of Dunkirk little ships, and the vets got together with our club and yesterday was yet another of these successfull unions.

At mid day plus, the first of the little ships were spotted "on station" ready for its docking at our landing stage and the disembark of its precious cargo.

With a piper playing in the background, sweetie and "H" ( commodore and lady) were ready to greet them as representatives of our club, along with the secretary and treasurer and a few committee members scouts and sea scouts.

The 1940s re-inactment representatives were resplendant, dressed as the guard of honour in the form of 10 privates and one officer ( also with two "wives" resplendant in fourties style dress) of the surrey regiment (long since disbanded).

Armed with sand bags various machine guns and carrying out their arms drill with "lee enfield mark threes", they presented arms as the first of the "ships " arrived.

The beautifully maintained "ships" docked faultlessly and were tied up by the assistant commodore Francis, a larger than life character in all ways, (who also runs the local sea scouts group, who incedently served the meal and cleared away) accompanied by another comittee member who also runs a scout group taking the bow lines. The first vets to step ashore did so only after they had stood to attention and returned the salute of the" guard of honour" officer. Whilst age had taken away their sprightly bodies, they stood erect and saluted with precision and prde.

Sweety and H recieved them as old friends (which they are) many a tear was forthcoming from both those on the pier recieving them, and the vets.

As the boats arrived and left, discharging the vets to our hospitality the vets were greated by no less than our president (of the club, who is still getting over major surgery) and four local Mayors, and their respective mayoral consorts.

The Ships crews , with their vessels now safetly moored opposite the club, were collected by our ferry the "Len Outrim"and after everybody had recieved their customary greeting, grace was said by our president and we all sat for lunch. An organist played songs from the fourties and after lunch a "sing song" took place with our very own vereran taking the lead with much enthusiasm.

A speech was made toasting our club and its members ( repied to by our Commodore) for the hospitality and a special thanyou given to the ladies who prepared such a scrumptious meal, which was recieved with the words " our pleasure you are all very, very welcome!" coming from Shelia the lead "cook" . I noted that there wasn`t so many vets this year and asked a couple where their friends were from last year (half knowing what their reply would be) and was told, with much sadness, that so and so had died or was in hospital at the moment.

In a moment of reflection I thought about exactly what these old and many infirmed, guys and gals had done for this country and its populace and was so grateful that in a small way I could be part of this celebration of their lives.

All done! it was time to go, and with reluctance, we began prying both ourselves and the vets away from our "celebrations" each of us spending much time saying farewell and shaking hands. The Ships collected their souls from the embarkation pontoon a few at a time, and with great sadness, much waving and promises of a repeat visit next year, they were gone. As the last boat vanished into the distance, once again I reflected with sadness on just how many of these great characters would attend next year?

Saturdays 40s night at the boat club

My boat club held a fourties night on Saturday, where we were expected to arrive in fancy dress. Well you guessed it! as ever grasping the chance to make a fool of myself I dressed as a shepherd looking furtively, very much like a spy.

When inevitably asked "what the hell I thought my dress had to do with the fourties " I explained/asked, that they had shepherds in the fourties didn`t they? and also, spies"I was therefore a "Shepherds pie" (Boom Boom to quote BB) Fish and chips were the order of the evening along with a professional jitterbug dancing team who assisted us oldies in the manner of their preffered dance. a great night was had by all.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Well! I came back from the boat today, and have already been to the cafe for lunch. My mate George who likes to travel the world in his dotage has purchased a Tom tom vehicular GPS. if you knew george you would know why I am a bit concerned. He is the most compbox illeterate that I have ever known he is even worse than me (and thats saying something) > I have been trying to locate a company that would sell me a 200mm syuare piece of clear Perspex (plastic) for a job that I want to do on the boat. I called on george who offered to navigate me to a company using his new Tom tom system. What I didnt know was that he hadnt set it up yet and for him to do that we would take the trip in my car so he could set it up. Which we did however when he made a correct entry he expected me to help him sort it and doing that and driving at the same time wasn`t too good. We arrived at the company, to a breathy "you have arrived" from the box. I told George that another friend of mine (paddy) who has the same system had his car broken into the other day and the bracket stolen (which costs £50-00 alone) so he is now paranoid about leaving it anywhere and carries it around like a child. What a great system even when we tried to confuse it it calmly told us to either "turn around when next you can" or gave us directions to the next place to get us back on the right road again. I`m impressed. what a pity I hadn`t got that on my last run up the channel. I can see it now! "in 27 miles you turn half right and on into the princes channel" etc etc! perhaps not! I think I will stick with my independent Gps, my compass, charts, sextant and Radar :o))

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sweety and "H" take a boating holiday

Let me start by setting the scene! both the people named above are real and lovely people they are however quite different from the everyday ones that one meets, Having been brought up in a rough part of the world I can relate to H and also having a lovely wife too, I can fully understand why a rough diamond like him loves his Sweety so much. I picked them both up at a quay in Surrey somewhere and went with them down the Thames and around to Dover. I assisted Sweety with the navigation showing her how and when to use the charts and how to plot a safe course out of the Thames estuary, I also gave H some tuition regarding pilotage and the safe use of a 600 hp chunk of floating plastic including ettiquette when passing other boats, rowers and fishermen. In return they got me up at 0200 to start the journey in pouring rain and forced me to eat large fried breakfasts prepared by sweety to standards higher than the Ritz. Copious tea was also on the menu, usually provide at the point when one was thinking that the weather couldn`t get worse than this! Sweeties constitution and ease at sea are now legiondary.

On the whole they were great students and are now really good friends. H has a very chequered past and is very easily recognisable he is also extremely ridgid about not having his name in print or any photos taken of him. Sweety is lovely and looks like an older version of Haley Mills, she has a beautiful temperement with "nothing being too much trouble", I can see why they both get on so well togeather.

On the way down the Thames we encountered thick fog in the estuary which followed torrential rain and a small swell. The GPS packed up as we were about to enter the Princess channel and left us heading for the sand bank, a quick chart plot confirmed this and I opend up my computer programme in time to head south and into the correct channel Phew! (not as bad as it sounds).
We had been sitting on the fly bridge controlling the boat, as H doesn`t like to be inside for any lenght of time (something to do with his past) and were sitting under a plastic sheet to keep some of the rain off our waterproofs (dont ask why) and make things a little more "comfortable" every five minutes ( possibly a small exageration) the hatch would open and sweety would present us with another cup of tea or a bacon sandwich! I`m beginning to like this crew and the cruise.

Given that we started the trip in the dark and with rain, the dawn was now quite appealing even though fog was now present. I told them that it would soon burn off and kept an eye on the Radar for large and small ships. Three hours later it was still foggy and we were turning at the Margate bouy heading for Ramsgate to fuel up before it finally lifted. The whole trip so far was an education for S&H and there was a lot of carefull inspection of my facial expressions to see if I was really concerned or just making out that I was really quite at ease with the situations presented to us during that leg of the voyage. I guess that progressing slowly with a cautious eye looking, usually unseeingly, into the fog and with the punctuating wail of the fog horn as an accompanyment came as a strange experience to them. We approached Ramsgate where we were going to get fuel but as we arrived long before the fuel berth opened, we tied up on the inner pontoon for about 30 seconds as every other berth was taken, unfortunately the swell was too much and we crashed and bashed about and decided to attend the Dover 24 hour (we thought) fuel berth.

Our route took us around the Goodwin sands on the shoreward side, so the swell was a little less, being protected, somewhat, by the sands themselves, as we approached Dover we hailed the port control on the RT and were asked to wait for a few minutes for a Sea cat (Known by the staff as a superseasick! and yes I have had a go on the wheel of one) to enter after which we can enter. The sea state by now was roughish and turning broadside to the sea during our entry was fatal as Sweety spilled a cup of tea whilst hanging by one arm to the flybrige stairs, only toimmediately go back down and get another one. we hit calm water as we passed the harbour wall in the west entrance and proceeded to the fuel pontoon. We gassed up and left for our destination, Brighton. We called up port control and gained permission to leave and turned into a sea that was confused and about a force 5, passing Folkstone and approaching Dungeness which H commented looked like a larger version of Belmarsh prison as seen from a custody wagon??? We rounded Beachy head and passed Newhaven which was presenting us with various lights (it was now dark again and about 21-45) I asked Sweety to confirm from the chart that the lights were correct which she did (I cheked later) and we passed them about a mile off. we were now heading for Brighton proper and a whole lot of lights presented themselves. I checked the lights at the entrance of the Marina and we approached at about 12 knots half what the vessel does at full speed. I asked H to scan the many lights and see if a green or red flashing light was present to which he replied I see it its red now green oh! its amber now! no its red. He then looked at me and we both started to laugh as he had been relaying the sequence of the local traffic lights te he! we fell about and then sweety appeared with a salad sandwich for us both wondering what was going on. She had been quietly plotting our course as we went along having now mastered the GPS and honed her plotting skills. Eventually the correct lights became evident and we turned in and having contacted the Marina, crept to our berth. S&H have friends in the marina not to mention me and they came out to take the lines. The berth that we were allocated was a foot larger in beam than the boat and H made a fantastic job of berthing it. We all had a cup of tea and turned in for the night.I had arranged for a Yachtmaster Instructor, I know, to take them both out for a couple of days and assess them and their boating skills with the intention of certifying them to a suitable level of RYA standard.and he was due in the next couple of days which gave me enough tome to polish and hone the skill that they both already possesed. The next day we went out and practiced bucket overboard drill and with much reading of the manual they conqured the Williamson turn which H now calls the Wilkinson turn. Sweety was magnificent and a natural at this she showed no sign of stress and once told how to do something she did it time and time again without any problem. H and I spent some time on the navigation and course plotting which he mastered immediately and I proclamed them ready for the assesments.On the first morning of the assessment they both asked me if they would get the ICC international certificate of compitence, to which I replied that I thought that they would do better than that, they said that they would be happy with the ICC if they indeed got it. I left them alone after the examiner arrived and two day later in the afternoon they came along to my boat jumping for joy and shouting, I got a big hug from Sweety and a life threatening handshake from H and was told that he obtained the Coastal skipper and that Sweety obtained the day skipper and that they were "over the moon". we celebrated that night and prepared for a trip to foreigh parts within the next couple of days. H & Sweety attended the Casino a few times and I believe lost a lot of money, a rare thing according to H, he said that he "couldn`t pick a fight let alone pick a number" They generally enjoyed their time in Brighton and I returned to take them to foreigh parts (Hornfleur was the destination but the weather had been bad and it was decided that Boulougne would suffice and it held memories for H??) . We departed in calm weather having an uneventful trip across the shipping lanes, arriving in force 5 winds. We settled onto a berth in the Marina yacht club and duly went to the supermarket for the usual chese bread and pate. I could smell diesel during the crossing and H said that he was finding it in his bildge so we decided to investigate that and couldn`t find any obviously real reason for it. I decided that we should call into Dover on the way back and ask my mate Nigel the Marine engineer to look at it. We left Boulougne at about 11-00 and passed Cape Gris nez in a force 7 with confused seas. I had both H and Sweety looking at me with eyes like saucers asking me if this was rough and looking for reassurance to which I replied yes its rough and uncomfortable but the boat and crew will deal with it admirably! but would they like to call into Calais which is only another 8 mile or turn and cross the shipping lane for Dover as planned approximately 21 miles, to which Sweety replied without hesitation, go for it! Im not bothered and H agreed. As we left the vicinity of the cape the comfused sea calmed down a bit and the wind dropped a little and we crashed on our way to Dover. We were met by Nigel who diagnosed a damaged anti surge diaphram on the starboard diesel pump (always the most awkward to get at being between the fuel tank and the engine block). Being late on friday we could not obtain one and would have to wait until monday morning. We tried and exhausted all the sources that both I and H had gathered over the years even Volvo didn`t have one in stock (according to theior computer). On monday I located one in Broadstairs and we taxied over to get it (It also turned out to be a friend of Nigels too as it happened). In the evening Nigel fitted it and at 0600 the next day we departed for Surrey via the Thames estuary. Sweety and H decided that they would like to go back via the four fathom channel, which has sand banks on either side. H chose the time of departure so that we could enter the channel on a rising tide which we did. Sweety navigated and took photos of seals on the sand banks and we passed Wapping police station where a friend of mine works (much waving from her) we didn`t stop and carried on under Tower bridge to Hammersmith bridge which we passed under without having to lower the Radar arch, we progressed up to the Richmond half tide lock which was just opening as we turned the corner at Scion reach, and into the Teddington lock. H had really sorted out the tides well, with no stops or waits for tiday anomolies etc. we arrived back at their berth at about 1800 and I was duly sent home in a taxi. Much enjoyment had by all parties. I am so proud ot those two having obtained their certifications achieving much more than they really thought they could do. I was treated like a king, and they were so grateful for my assistance that they doubled my fee!

Obviously I have flitted through the trip without as much detail as there was, but hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as I did taking part.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Todays the day for a swim!!!!

I have been sitting on my boat in Brighton for a while awaiting a call to move the delivered boat farther around the coast, Tomorrow we are off to Hornfleur in the Seine estuary. This is as a part of our return to their Thames Mooring at Shepperton. I am sitting in the internet cafe net-riding for something to do. I have decided that whan I get back I shall take my boat out and moor a couple of miles off and swim for a couple of hours the sea is great and the sun is hot and I have nothing else to do.Yaaawwwnnn! what a Life?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Who`s got new memory then??

Not me my compbox! it goes like an express train and no more Blue screen crashes (so far that is).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Blogspot is getting tiresome

Why oh! why does it take two days for me to get a blog published these days???? "Why I Blog"

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Why do I Blog now

Every day that I arrive at home I immediately check out my Blog and my e-mails. Often I am disappointed and have no comments or mails to read. I thought today was going to be one of those days, in fact it started off like that so I mailed a couple of people that I hold in very high esteem and received an immediate reply, so things were looking up!

I have been asked to skipper a luxury motor yacht for a few days and look forward to joining her on Thursday in London. During the last week I was also tentatively offered a job teaching sailing to non sailors and may consider that for the rest of the season. I am told that I am a good teacher, but who knows. I would have thought that as a single hander, mostly, my qualifications should have included a little bit of client relations as well too, but who knows maybe they are right.

I find that blogging is a great way or bringing together all that you have done and rationally re analysing just what sort of person one really is For example I have a great deal of experience in life as do most people of my age and take great pleasure at being able to assist where given the opportunity. On other occasions I obtain great satisfaction reading about others adventures half thinking to myself at the time “I should have done that in my youth” perhaps I still will?!!!!!!!!!! in the meantime its back to my task of checking charts and tidal heights as I have to get the vessel under a couple of Bridges and through a few sandy channels before I get her to the open sea (without going aground!)

I guess that I have become one of the many that can gain enjoyment by living through others eyes, by reading about their experiences and relating them to my own. I really hope that in the meantime I don’t become a bore and will try my very best not to do so and I do apologise if I already am.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ever tried to ride a unicycle?

Many years ago! (isn`t it funny? I used to be able to say a couple of years ago :o))) I decided that to raise some money for a charity along with many others, I would try and ride my sons unicycle around the Theme park I ran ( don`t let my ex boss tell you anything different, he only took all the credit :o)) ). So I spent about four weeks hanging onto the washing line and generally falling badly on the paved area of my back garden. I never really got past being able to do a twenty metre burst which involved a spectacular crashing dismount. I did however raise about eight hundred pounds from contractors other Managers, and friends. I later found out that most of my staff had also donated to the sponsorship. How the hell my son rode it everyday to University I will never know but he told me it was great for "Pulling" (his words and nothing to do with my escapade you understand). I managed to get around the park but fell off about a million times much to the hilarity of my staff. There I was making a fool of myself for a charity! well £8oo wasn`t to be sniffed at was it?.

The previoust year I had announced that I would walk stilts around the same park, and manufactured a pair of stilts from 100 mm drain pipe, yes they were flimsy but they worked. I went up to the circus, with them, and "instructed" the owner to teach me how to do it. his immediate reaction was to laugh telling me that I must be mad, and asked how long I had got to learn.

When I told him two days he just laughed even harder. I asked him again but in a somewhat more subdued manner as to why he was laughing. He told me that he couldn`t remember how long it had taken him to learn ( Circus owners can usually do most things required to build a Tent and often several acts. the stilt walking amongst other things was used to fit the side walls of the big top) but it was a lot longer than two days. Oh well! I said would he try which he agreed to do. He went to get a coat and I progressed into the big top and started to put the stilts on, sitting on the fourth row of the seating. when he came back he showed me that I actually had to be seated at almost the same level that I would be walking at which was about 6 feet so, first mistake made, I moved onto the band box which overlooked the stage and was at the right height. He told me that the only way to the ground now was either by grabbing on to something and lowering myself with help or to fall badly so he directed me to look at the quarter poles of the big top and told me that traditionally Circus stilt walkers learnt their trade by walking from one pole to the next and back untill they were proficient .

Well I stood up, with help, and felt sick with the vertigo I took my first step and promptly overbalanced but was held upright my the circus owner. This isn`t going to be easy I thought.
W ell to cut a long story short. Eventually I managed to walk fully around the circus using the quarter poles for support and yes I did fall quite a few times (the pro wrestling helped me a lot with that) and I sprained a wrist, but dont you always?

On the day of the proposed fundraising I had, promised or collected, fourteen hundred pounds in sponsorship. My secretary had bullied all the contractors to give generously and the staff had come up trumps chasing their friends and families. I had spent an hour back in the big top trying to walk unaided and without the use of the quarter poles and found that I could almost get about unaided.

At the appropriate time for getting ready I was approached by the circus owner with a smartly pressed bundle of clothes. He told me that whilst I had defeated the odds in learning to walk stilts, I really didnt look the part and so here were some clothes to add to the illusion. The parcel contained a proper lenght set of trousers newly manufactured and a clowns jacket and wig that were the late Coco the clowns props. I was over the moon and with help got kitted up and out on to the start line which was the other end of the park. The circus performers all to a man/woman shook my hand and said how they admired my learning so fast, telling me to break a leg, can you believe it and they meant it too, and off I went. I headed for the lamp posts and made a late descision to miss the first one and see if I could make the next one and so on and all of a sudden I was back at the start/ finishing line. No I hadn`t gone the wrong way round I had actually completed the course. I was really chuffed, everybody clapped and sitting on on an Ice cream stall roof I regained my breath ( not from excertion put pure fear of failure) I went back up to the circus to dismount and rejoined the party later. I gave the stilts to the Circus owner who said that they were the best pair of stilts that he had ever seen (sicophantic old bu**er but I loved him!).

It was two years after when I was trying to think of a scheme for the next fundraising that I was told by my secretary that the sponsors of the previous years thought that catching a bullet in my mouth might be a good one and that they had only sponsored me to watch me get hurt. Now isn`t that unkind?? :o)) The charity got well over the fourteen hundred pounds that I initially raised and I thought it was time to step back and "quit while I was ahead" What a booring life it is now. :o(( not

Its my birthday today 62 years old and feeling like I`m twenty (millenia not years) Te he!