The grabbing hands grab all they can

Heads up to my old mucker Connor.  He dropped me a line today asking if I was ok as I hadn’t posted for a while.  When I checked, it has been almost 2 months.  A tad too long me thinks.

Lets put that right.

Where was I last time ?  Well, in the last couple of months I sold my house in Portugal, I am sure I wrote about that before.  I have also officially returned to the UK.  Not only returning, but adding immensley to HMRC pleasure, I have also started two new businesses.  If we are chums on facebook, you would most likely have received an invite to like my new venture.

The business went live as of 1st September and I am currently sitting in Gatwick Airport waiting for a flight out to Buenos Aires and then onto Uruguay so that I can join my first customer, a sailing yacht called Pumula.

You can read about her here  Pumula

A small craft by my standards but also high tech and complex, hence the captains request for an engineer of my stature to do the trip from Montevideo around the tip of South America and up to Valparaiso in Chile.  If the incoming new engineer impresses the captain with his skills during that trip, I will get off and head home.  If not, the skipper will ask me to stay on for the delivery between Chile and Tahiti. Two very big trips for a novice engineer to undertake, hence my attendance to help him along.

I see the Canadian premier is in a little trouble this week – for black facing 18 years ago.  Interesting.  People say black facing is racist.  I struggle with that a little bit.  The old definition of racist according to the OED was ‘a belief that a race is inferior to another’ and I just don’t see how black face fits into that category.

For a couple of reasons.

If you were a racist and hated black people – why would you black up ? Surely dressing as any character, regardless of colour is an aknowledgement of their achievments ?

In the instance of Trudeau, if you are dressing up as a person of colour ( I use that term not for political correctness but purely because it covers a broad range of races), for that dress up to be effective, you would need to be of the same colour skin surely?  Let me give you an example.

I want to go to a fancy dress party as the great, Mohamed Ali – floats like a butterfly stings like a bee, his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.  If I want to go as Ali and  I go white skinned, how will people differentiate between say Ali and Henry Cooper?

Its an interesting question.

You might even argue that if only naturally black skinned people could go to fancy dress as Ali – where’s the equality in that?

I coupled that statement with another thought.  If you were a black person going as Henry Cooper, would you white face to prevent the reverse confusion?

I managed to watch a BBC interview linked below.  I watched this with interest, as, people of colour (again for the wide coverage rather than PC) all suggested they had no problem with this.  Some stating it was a long time ago, others stating that he should be judged on what he is achieving today.

I was interested in those views because we are being told that blacking up is offensive to black people.  I didn’t see any black people complaining.  What I did see was one white woman complaining how wrong it was.  It does give power to my thoughts that all of the noise is not a serious defence of right and wrong, but nothing more than a political points scoring exercise.

The danger with that?  The normal people of the world get tired of hearing it. So when there is a real case of racism to be answered, our ears are numb to the call – numb and deaf.

Dont take my word for it though – see this interview for yourself here.

BBC Interview

 

Now, all of that aside

 

I walked into the duty free section at Gatwick Airport tonight.  Duty Free areas a shit now aren’t they.  They force you to weave your way through all that shit that you never want to buy.  Sneaky really – trying to lure you in with bright lights, pretty girls and the false promise of cheaper goods than you can get on the high street.

It is my least favourite part of the airport if I am honest – I would rather lick random toilet seats than pass through there.  Tonight though – it was, very briefly, a very pleasant experience all owed to an old song I heard while walking through – I almost stopped to listen.  A very brave and smart person put this on the playlist for a duty free shop selling perfume – but I don’t care, I appreciated it.  Bravo

D’arcy rocks.  This one’s for you Connor – speakers at 10 please !!

 

Fuck – music was good back in the day!


Some things are just too good to be true

Reading the BBC news site this morning and I found an article about women having sickness issues after breast implants.

 

You can read the full article here

 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49033715

 

The governing body is the  ‘British Association of Asthetic Plastic Surgeons’ or BAAPS to use their acronym.  I found myself wondering if it was 1st April.

When that association was formed, did no one realise the irony of the acronym?


Fifties or Funerals

Bobbing gently off the east coast of Sardinia at the moment – just had a thought.

Logged into FB this week to two event requests for 50th Birthday celebrations. Now, it only seems like yesterday when it was all 18th’s, 21st’s and the odd 25th (easier to get bar extensions).  Now all I seem to attend are 50th celebrations or funerals.  A sign of getting old I am afraid.

Another sign of getting old is clothes shopping.

Last Friday I had an interview.  As it was for a Tug Boat engineer I was opting for smart casual rather than business formal attire.  A pair of corduory trousers would be the go I thought.  Maybe a nice golden brown/tan colour.  About right for a gent of my years.

Next thought was where would the best place to find such attire?  Sainsburys – without a doubt. Aparently not.  Stretch Chinos seem to have taken over the world!  Tescos perhaps?  Nope, stretch Chinos really have taken over the world.  Next, my optimism spread to M&S.  More stretch Chinos, or, a trouser that would have been at home in the mid 70’s.

Getting frustrated now, I decided my next best option was to slum it in TK Maxx.  Has anyone ever found anything of use in that place?  What a mess. At least there were other options than stretch Chinos but sadly you see something you like and they just don’t have it in your size.

Walking back to the car, head hanging heavy and wondering where else I could try that wouldn’t cost me a weeks wage for a pair of trousers, I saw a sign through the gloom.  There, shimmering through my cloud of man shopping depression was a sign……a sign in lights……there was hope……..it was called………..NEXT.

My first thought was – no way, there is no way anything in there was for me.  I was desperate, I ventured in, and as always when you are man shopping – headed up the stairs.

It only took a handful of seconds before my optimism was completely shot to shit. Wall to wall Chinos.  Stretch Chinos at that.  To really rub it in – skinny or straight fit, just like the supermarkets.  Then, a second glimmer……..MY SIZE !!

No way, it wasn’t going to be was it? was it really about to happen – I , me, could actually find myself buying something from Next.  That got shot to shit pretty quick too. Problem being – Extra Skinny !!!

Come On !!!!!!

My problem is big feet see.  Put me in a pair of skin tight anything and I do look like a 9 iron from Tiger Woods golf bag.  A pair of size 12’s poking out of the bottom of a pipe cleaner is a good analogy.  I much prefer a boot cut for a couple of reasons.  Primarily it helps cover my clown sized feet but they also have hippy undertones, I like that.

Completely miffed with life now, I was hoping that the 12 year old would come out from behind the till  and ask if he could help me.  At which point I would have bent my elbow, gently raised a pointed finger towards the ceiling speakers and asked ‘Can you turn that shit down?’

I interviewed in a pair of jeans and a casual shirt and was instantly offered the job.

Aint life a peach !


Watch Your Back

Fifi – Are you working ?

 

A simple question I asked while on the phone today.  I was talking to the local Taxi driver who has been ferrying the crew around on the boat.  Only afterwards did I realise that anyone overhearing that conversation would have quite naturally assumed I was talking to a hooker.

Fifi was my ride to the hotel.  My journey home started today, Wednesday 5th June.  I should arrive around lunchtime on Saturday 8th June – quite an epic journey.

Let me tell you something about Tahiti…………..cor blimey its expensive.  I sat at a roadside restaurant on saturday afternoon having a bite to eat, waiting for a live music festival to start.  A glass of red I thought and cast my eyes eagerly over the wine list.  My first impression was that my french was not as good as I thought.  That says £15 for a bottle, not a glass right?  Oh no Johnny Foreigner – thats £15 a GLASS.  I nearly shat my pants – thank Dibnah I checked first instead of uttering to the wiater as I sat down  ‘Vin Rouge á la Maison s’il vous plaît‘.

That would have turned out to be a £50 bottle of house red FFS!  Not being the extravagant type, a bottle of red normally comes in under 7 quid for me, quite happy with a soft, fruity and superbly chilled Merlot with a touch of vanilla and dark fruits accompanied by an also perfectly chilled bar or purple Milka.

Chilled red I hear you cry – why yes of course.  None of that wine snobbery for me.  If you like it, drink it, and always drink it the way you like it.  Never been one to suffer peer pressure.

I have two long flights ahead of me tomorrow.  The first leg is 8:30 followed by a second leg of 10:30. Let me share a thought.  I am not one for using the toilet on aeroplanes.  I always worry that just as I am dropping a log, we would hit a patch of heavy turbulence.  The plane would shake vigorously, separating me from the toilet seat for just long enough that my freshly laid turd could sneak out of the gap between my buttocks and the toilet seat.  As the turbulence continues, the now liberated turd would bounce around the cubicle leaving spatterings all over me in the process.  The turbulence would then stop.

Like a scene from Mr. Bean, I would then emerge from the cubicle splattered in shit with wet toilet paper hanging off my clothes and limbs and have to return to my seat for the remainder of the flight.

I have a special tactic for such occasions – It’s called ‘holding a poo’.  Tomorrow I plan to hold a poo from Tahiti to San Francisco OR from San Francisco to London, either one on its own, quite a spectacular feat.

I do have a 4 hour lay over in San Fran which should be more than enough time to release the beast if the turtle head is threatening to touch cloth.

Anyway – enough talk of poo.

A wave of nostalgia came over me late last week and I watched a bit of comedy from around 20 years ago.  Its hard to believe that it has been that long since the Staines Massive graced our screens – but believe!

Two of my favourite Ali G interviews are below – I only wanted to show one but couldn’t decide which. You wouldn’t get away with it today.

 

 

 

 


French Polynesia

Howdy.

Felt like dropping you a line – well more to the point I was kinda prompted.  First electric shock today for years, I took it as a sign.  My left forearm was tingling so bad, felt like I had slept on my arm.

Enough of that nonsense.

Arrived in Tahiti the other day, I can’t remember when exactly, I have been grafting in the heat since arrival.  Couple of the crew are already bearing the surfing scars of hitting the reef.  I think we may head out to Teahupoo at the weekend to watch the mentalists tackle the wave.  I will be seated firmly in the taxi boat!  Want to know why?

 

 

see?  I got more sense than those fools.

I will be heading home again on 8th June but in the interim, plan to explore Tahiti a little in my free time.  Before I do that, let me warn you of a little known con at airports and a little something that also made me have a little more faith in humanity at the airport too.

Duty free – why do people fall for it?  On my last trip out of the country I took a photo of the new Galaxy phone in Dixons duty free at Gatwick.  I also screen dumped the same phone from the Samsung UK website within a couple of minutes of taking that photo. See for yourself

Duty Free

 

 

Samsung Website

 

 

Please tell me, UK duty is still at 20% and hasn’t suddenly changed to just a flat £20 instead?  If that Dixons phone was really duty free from the Samsung price, it should be around the £665 mark.

I remember years ago when I used to fly out of Mallorca and take fags back for Ms. Cooper, they were always cheaper at the local tabacconist than they were at the airport.

Further more, let me explain why you get asked for your boarding card when you purchase something at the airport.  If your destination is outside of the EU, the tax can be reclaimed.  That tax is normally ‘reclaimed‘ on your behalf by the person that sold it to you, whether that be Dixons or Boots or WH Smith or some other chain.  Naturally, they don’t bother to chase you down and hand you that refund back – it simply sinks into the pockets of their share holders.  There is no legal requirement for a retailer to ask you for your boarding card at point of sale.

So I had a little shock when flying out to Galapagos.  At Heathrow, I noticed that Boots were offering instant tax refunds at the till for transactions over a fiver.  Jolly good show chaps.  I never actually checked my receipt to see if they applied it but I hope they did.  Heathrow Terminal 2 – truely duty free.

So whats on when I get back?  I reckon its beer time boys and girls…….stand by for an invite

 


Closing Doors

Way back in 2002 (back in the day) I hit the Algarve beaches for the very first time.  Me, Alex Faggotpants Clifton and a young Ryan Morgan from the neighbours in Benn Street.

The following year, it happened again, this time with two more bell ends tagging along.  It was late on a very sunny Sunday afternoon in September (2003) as I was contemplating the drive back to the airport from Praia da Cordoama that I decided to move permanently.  By November the same year, my house was sold, along with all of its contents that I deemed I could live without. I was back, surf board under arm and ready to live a little.

Today, I signed over the house I bought here in Portugal to a young Portuguese couple.  Like most locals, they are priced out of the market by foreigners with more money than them.  It felt good to sell it to them, knowing they will build a home and grow a family there – rather than have Johnny Foreigner use it as a holiday home twice a year.

Sure, I got less money selling it to locals – but it felt a lot better in my heart.

In those 17 years away, many of you reading this will have paid a visit, some more than one, a few – paid far too many, just couldn’t keep you feckers away could I.

There were many good times had.  Some monstrous bar bills accomplished, several questionable ladies kissed, ample scuba diving excursions and of course many many many waves caught and ridden, all with varying degrees of success and grace.  Above all else, a myriad of memories have been created and a multitude of friends made from more cultures than you could shake a stick at.

I used to scoff at people who would brag about how travelling will broaden you mind.  I have to hand it to them though – they are right.

There is always a lump in my throat when I get off the motorway and get closer to Sagres, a warm feeling, fondness, a longing. In Portugal, they have a word for it – Saudades.  It seems quite apt that the language can accommodate all of those emotions in just one word.

Years ago on my weekend surf trips to Cornwall I used to get a similar feeling, close to Truro on the A30 when you plug up that last hill before sighting the wind farms for the first time.

Almost two decades of memories have been made.  I owe that opportunity to two people and a very simple act of kindness.

A young Ryan Gurnsey who departed 20 years ago, and a not quite so young Indian lady called Sandhya Desai, who, seeing me struggle with the early departure of Ryan, simply took the time to ask me one morning if I was OK.  The conversation that followed kept me from failing, kept me focused and ultimately gave me the hunger to chase something new.

I wondered what song might sum it all up as I drove back to Faro Airport this afternoon. I racked my brains for something suitable but drew a blank.

As if by magic, a Tuuuuuuune appeared in my head (it seems all those nights stella’d up with faggot pants in the clubs wasn’t a complete waste)  I was home alone one saturday morning in Benn Street somewhere between 2000 and 2002 with no-one to play with.  I decided ‘Fuck it – I am going Surfing’.

Typically, Cornwall was a 4 hour blast but on this day, it would take me 8 ½ hours.  The track you are going to be treated to next was just cueing up as those wind farms came into sight with the sun sinking low behind them on a delicious Cornish Saturday evening.  The surf was shit by the way………

Goodbye Sagres old friend – I don’t know if I shall see you again.

 

 

So that tune – I had to dig hard to find it.  Put your headphones on and enjoy

 

 

 

Its time for a new door to open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I couldn’t resist

Just ploughing through some recruitment pages after a tip off I received yesterday and found this little gem.

 

English Language Requirement / Certification

English is the working language onboard all our vessels. Any applicants who do not hold a UK issued Certificate of Competence must be able to demonstrate a high level of understanding in the English language by passing the ISF Marlins English Language Test at an MCA recognised test centre. This also applies to UK CEC holders. Our requirements depend on the area of operation and flag of the vessel. Please note our requirements for each vacancy. Online tests are not accepted.

If you are unable to produce an ISF English Marlins Test Certificate with our minimum requirements, please do not apply, your application will not be concidered.

For more information on the ISF English Marlins test Click here.

 

I just had to email them and tell them they had a spelling mistake in the penultimate paragraph – I don’t suppose I will get a job with them !!  Maybe it was a test – I passed with flying colours?

 

 


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