Tag Archives: south of france

Explore your nether regions

I wanted to write something snappy and witty but instead opted for the drudgery of mediocre boredom – shit, did I just say that ?  Well, one more week in the South of France and then we depart for Mallorca.  Not a moment too soon if you ask me, 6 months in France is enough for anyone.  John Thaw may have managed a ‘Year in Provence’ but he was a highly paid TV actor. The reality is it is all too fashionably anal for me.

Last weekend I managed to disappoint myself.  A parkrun with the aim of setting a new PB but missing it by 10 seconds.  That is harsh, I can remember a couple of occasions when my concentration slipped.  When that happens, you slow down.  I reckon I would have had it if I kept my concentration – maybe next time?

Also gave the mountain bike some love this last week.  Overdue some head bearings, pedal bearings, bottom bracket, front brake pads and new handlebar grips – they were all pretty worn out.  I also fitted a damn fine second-hand back tyre that I sponged off of The Yates who was upgrading so I am on a flying machine again.  I am going to try to squeeze a 44T on the front again though – that 42 just doesn’t unleash my legs.

3 months until the Great North 10k – and I am fully intending to set a new record there.  For those of you with Runkeeper, you will be able to track me again in real-time as I race against those Gurkhas one more time.  My last run, I managed to catch and pass two of them even though they had a 3 minute head start – I was impressed with that even if you weren’t.

But for now I have nothing more to say.


Gunk my old friend – we will meet again.

Weather woes

So here I sit, alone, on a 14 million euro super yacht in Cannes at a time when England play the mighty Australia to stay in the world cup competition.  Should be an exciting time right?

Not so

Currently there is a huge thunder-storm sitting directly over the boat, lashing it with hailstones and 40 knot winds.  That alone is not so bad.  I mean, a huge electrical storm directly overhead and I am sitting inside a carbon fibre boat, now soaking wet with a mast nearly 50 metres closer to the storm than everything else around me.  You shouldn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that carbon is one of the most electrically conductive materials known to man.  Risky business this yachting lark.

But please spare a thought.  My TV connection is via satellite, not through a fibre cable under the road.  Storm clouds block satellite transmissions perfectly.  Electrical storms interfere with the signal, then block it, just to be doubly sure you can’t watch it.

No problem, Radio 5 live – I streamed the Welsh game on my phone on the drive down.

My french IP address gives me away – cannot stream the game on 5 live – of course they never told me that, I was listening to the build up right up to kick off when they cut the program.  So now I am reduced to the text only stream on the BBC website and now England are 3-10 down !!!

And the storm just knocked out my shore power too – still, I can use the heat from the generator to dry out my pumps that got wet in the storm 2 days ago.

I think I will stay inside until tomorrow and fix the shore power then.


Yachting is such fun

Keep your little battifarra in your pants !

Where the hell have I been?

Frankly I am not sure.  Most recently, I sailed on one of the largest sailing yachts in the world, the Maltese Falcon to help deliver from Monaco to Athens.  I often wondered what this big bastard might sail like and I was surprised, it sailed well, although not hands on enough for my taste. www.symaltesefalcon.com

Then last week, I drove down to the South of France for a few days of interviews and dock walking. I had 3 interviews, all of which I thought would be good jobs, so good in fact that I actually took my bike and dive gear in the back of the car expecting to leave them on a boat as I had accepted their offers but as it turns out, I didn’t want any of the jobs.  1 of them, a 47 metre motor yacht ( I know – the dark side) was going to the Maldives and Seychelles for the winter which I really fancied.  Fortunately, when I met the outgoing engineer, I knew him, and he told me that the boat spends nearly all of its time at anchor and never goes to the dock – that for me was a no-no so I disappointed the captain the very next morning.

Nº 2 was equally weird, a South of France based boat paying strong money that sub contract all of the engineer work.  When I asked the captain what the engineer actually does, he couldn’t tell me anything.  Now call me old-fashioned but if I am being paid well, I expect to work for it, not sit around bored, twiddling my thumbs.

Nº 3 was an old shitter that I knew of from Mallorca, a Turkish built boat that was extended by 3 metres in the Spanish yard and took 3 years to complete.  The engineer on board didn’t know he was leaving but I wanted to see on board before making any committment.  The captain couldn’t arrange this though so I drew a blank straight away.

After finishing in France, I thought I would drive across to Italy and hit San Remo, Imperia and then Genoa – all proved fruitless on the face of it but who knows what might come of the visit in the future.

So now, I am sitting in Charleroi Airport in Belgium waiting to fly to Mallorca for a few days.  I am seeing a boat in the morning called Andromeda la Dea before flying to Valencia on Tuesday evening to meet an old gaff rigged schooner called Adix.  For the sailors among you, the gaff rig is a real hard-core sailing boat – you can take a look at the link below – it is a thing of beauty under full sail though, even I have to admit that.


Their summer programme for next year includes a circumnavigation of the UK, very exciting but also very chilly.

Driving up through Switzerland on the way from Genoa to Brussels is always a treat.  The temperature dropped to 3ºc at the entrance to the Gottard tunnel, increased to 26ºc in the middle of this 10 mile long tube and then at the exit, snow – it was epic.

I also managed to trigger 2 speed cameras in Switzerland, over there they flash red, then another just over the border in France.  My car was running so smoothly that I had to call Rue to see if his was as smooth as mine – it certainly was.  Just as I was explaining the 3 cameras that had caught me and we were both having a chuckle – FLASH! camera Nº 4 got me too.  Right now, I am thanking the Lord of Gatso that the UK currently has a non disclosure pact with the rest of europe – imagine, that could have been bye-bye licence all in one trip.

So now, Charleroi Airport and the tiresome wait for Ryanair.

I did notice a heavier than normal presence of the ‘Moron Shuffle’.  That walk in the airport where people with unfeasibly large bags, shuffle their feet at half a mile an hour with their jaw agape, blissfully unaware that other people exist or are trying to get around them.  They change direction or stop dead without thought for the carnage that they cause behind them, their fat bags tangling with everyone elses until they eventually decide to stop dead in the middle of the entrance to the passport check – not unsimilar to the Congo myth of Mokele Mbembe or roughly translated ‘one that blocks rivers’ these selfish mother fuckers can think only of themselves and see as far ahead as the end of their nose.

I wonder if the Belgians actually have on their national curriculum a lesson on anti spacial awareness and anti social behavioural techniques

Fuckwits – all of them

Anyway – an hour until lift off – I need to poo

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