Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Home & Away again

If you have been wondering where I have been over the last three weeks, I have been very busy.

Generally relaxation time for my Wife and I is measured in television episodes watched. Up until Sunday we had watched a grand total of one episode during our break. That is to say we had only had 50 minutes of time where we were not visiting, travelling, missioning or otherwise engaged.

We leave New Zealand on Wednesday and while I am not teary eyed just yet, it would be foolish for me to say I am not a little sad. I do have some amazing photos to share but as they are connected with the Wedding we attended I shall not be disclosing these until a later date.

New Zealand remains a fantastic place. People are nice here. I could sum up much of my European travels so far by saying "XXXX is amazing, shame about the people" New Zealand is amazing and it does have amazing people.

amazing burgers as well.

and amazing pizza.

and amazing special coffee, hic.

Segway NZ blog

When I am in New Zealand I like to Segway where ever possible. I have even been to know to live in a house of personal transporters and salespeople.

Segway NZ now has a blog and it is a perfectly readable source of Segway related news. In fact it is now my number one source for Segway related news.


Monday, 26 April 2010

Richard and Jana's Wedding Speech

This speech is what I spoke at the Wedding. It is missing a small hastily added paragraph which is in the official video which may see the light of day in the future. This speech is unique in that it was created completely at sea. The sea is a great place to write speeches, rough weather aside the lack of distractions and outside interference make for a powerful prism.

I have the honour of having witnessed the first meeting of Jana and Richard.

Using my formidable powers of deduction I can pin point this as happening about 12:15 am on the 28th of April 2002 at a location of 36.85 degrees South 174.764 degrees East give or take a sub atomic particle.
Or two.

The antics of this morning have already gone down in history. I do believe there were sparks and like all Gibbs affairs there was the faint smell of burning wood.

My wife and I travelled 9127 nautical miles to be here. 6,445 of them were by sea. This speech was conceived off the coast of Sicily, matured in the gulf of Aden and bore fruit in the Maldives.

Free wine aside, and what incredible wine it is.

Why are we here ?

Well, everybody that knows Richard is an incredibly caring, witty and smart guy.

He also has a bottomless capacity for dispensing helpful advice.

After listening carefully for close to a decade I thought this would be a very opportune time to repay the favour with some choice bullet points.

I will be available for one on one sessions after formal proceedings and am happy to clear up any questions any one might have.


-Always Surround yourself with good listeners. If people are not listening, talk louder.

-Yawning is the brains way of flushing itself with cool air. If people are yawning, their brains are malfunctioning and they are not as cool as us. Obviously.....

-If you are going to tell people about the car accidents you were in that were not your fault don't tell them while you are driving.

-Please keep other peoples clothes on

-Cats do not need to be encouraged to meow. Ever!

-Wearing a camera around your neck does make you look interesting but it can also make you look annoying.

-Encourage your wife to go shopping.

-Finally your wife is always right,,,,,, When she is not always right there is always beer

With this infallible knowledge I am sure Richard and Jana will go on to foster a wonderful marriage.

I am also sure I will be receiving some more advice soon.

Thanks once again to everybody who has been a part of the wedding.

Gang signs

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Explaining "Gang Signs"

To be bluntly honest, I have spent much of last year struggling to understand other cultures and to be understood. So much time has been spent doing this I have not coined many memorable phrases. I have certainly not started any internet grass roots campaigns like the hugely lauded success initiative from last year.

New Zealand it seems, is the best place to launch campaigns like this. The people are funnier, more versatile and seem to love getting behind good ideas.

On Saturday just past I was overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of people that had turned up to have a few drinks with us. One of our more urbane friends entered the periphery and I felt obligated to greet him in an urbane way. Sadly whilst I have been known to wear velour, know what a blunt is and listen to hip hop I had no physical gang sign that I could gesticulate with.

In fact the only sign based thing that I do these days is play Rock Paper Scissors.

Exhibit A

Never being one to let details get in the way of anything I greeted my friend with the words "Gang Signs". Being a suave individual he was quite chuffed about this and I spent the next five minutes explaining the milisecond of thought which had gone into it. I then proceeded to tell each and every person I saw the rest of the weekend and it seems to be catching.

So the next time you want to appear cool, funny and maybe a bit kooky greet someone with;

"Gang Signs"

They will not forget it.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Crew Bio #3 Peter "Deck Dad"

Peter is one of our engineers. He was with us for a week when I started before he went home to his wife and the Birth of his first child.

Hailing from Split, Croatia Peter is the latest wedge in my ever expanding worldwide net. A smart and gregarious man. Peter often pops up out of a hatch or doorway to give free advice and critique the hard working but not always mechanically sound deck department. He often does this whilst puffing on a cigarette, such a debonair engineer is Peter.

My first real memory of Peter was during our very drunken bowling night. I was quite grumpy and not enjoying the bowling at all. Peter made some reassuring drunken noises and I felt better instantly.

Peters background is in commercial shipping and he us full of plenty anecdotes and comparisons. He explained the lodgings and vast spaces afforded engineers on commercial ships. The resounding advantage is being able to cure dead fish outside your cabin if you so desire and smoke everywhere.

It is through Peter that I learned one of the great secrets of modern sea bound engineers. They are walking reset button pushers. In a less than guarded moment Peter confided that they often do not know what they are doing but resetting machinery works a lot of the time. Sounds just like computers.

The deck dad moniker comes from this never ending torrent of information. He also likes to slap us on the back and will always change the music playing no matter what we say. He has also been known to fall asleep in the lounge watching TV. Just like Dad.

Some useful Peter quotes.

Engineering is all about the reset.
You know what I would do ? Let me tell you.
What is wrong with you ?
You should not drink too much fizzy water, I like beer but I would not drink it all day.(using twisted Deck Dad logic we can deduce fizzy water is as bad as beer).

Peter is a fun guy to work with but he is camera shy. I did want to get two photos of him. One was to be a busy photo where he had his ear muffs on. The other was a relaxed photo where he was smoking and had his ear muffs off. Using my formidable powers of persuasion I was able to find this photo of him drinking dangerous beer.

Next up we have a very zany crew member. In the short space of a month he has had more incidents ever thought possible. He is also South African. Stay tuned.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

New Zealand!!!!

Well after a turbulent last day in the Maldives it was nice to get into an Airplane and get the hell back to New Zealand. Turbulence Dan? surely you are talking about sour weather? Maybe I am but some things are best left unsaid and unread.
Our flight home was a two stage affair. We stopped in Singapore and gorged on Belgium chocolate and free internet. Please add internet to your list of things that go well with chocolate. Singapore airlines did a good job of looking after us and we were soon on the ground in Godzone.

The international terminal has had a facelift since I was here last. It has more capacity and seems a bit smarter. I had forgotten how good looking everybody in New Zealand is. Even the customs dog handlers looked positively radiant.

We had a very special friend pick us up from the Airport. She drove us home very smartly and even offered to stop at a garage so I could get a steak and cheese pie.

New Zealand, it does not get better than this.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Still here

My first real charter experience has been very nice. We have had brilliant weather and a pretty nice schedule. We have four more days and then it will be time to tie things down and get aboard a plane to New Zealand. I am so excited I think I will hug the ground as I step off the plane and be trodden over by other eager travellers.