Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Snaps From Hobart

Click any to Enlarge

Quote/Unquote

"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought of a fool tan to open it and leave no doubt"

And as a bonus for today, another quote from the same chap:

"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."

- Mark Twain

April Fool's Day

Said to have been originated with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in place of the old Julian effort in 1582, April Fool's Day (or All Fool's Day) was once celebrated as the New Year's Day.

It evolved into its present form through several centuries and influenced by several cultures, it now infers fun and frivolity associated with Spring, with practical jokes and pranks being the order of the day.  Taken from Poor Robin's Almanac in 1760:

"The first of April, some do say, is set apart for All Fool's Day.

But why the people call it so, Nor I, nor they themselves do know.

But on this day are people sent, on purpose for pure merriment"


Got to say, that doesn't do much for me as poems go.  Load of cobblers.  :o)

Crashing For the Weekend

It's proving rather difficult to arrange accommodation in Auckland this coming weekend for all manner of reasons.  Firstly, we are not linked to the outside world for longer than 10 minutes a day and so cannot check out suitable options on the net.

Then there is the problem of landing around midnight which means that by the time we clear customs, passport control, immigration whatever and get a bus (if they're still running) to the city centre it will be very stupid o'clock in the morning and most places don't offer 24 hour reception.

Luckily for us, our pal Duncan (see Savong's School and make a donation to this incredible cause) and his partner have sent us a number of options of places to stay and hopefully we can sort this out soon enough.  Even better, they have offered to look after some of our luggage while we travel around the islands.

Even after dumping as many clothes as we can after the cruise, we still have plenty left, but by leaving one bag with D, we can travel much more lightly which makes life so much easier.  We have land back at Auckland before we fly back, so we can collect our excess baggage then.

Not only that, but Duncan has also offered us his office facilities to let us Skype, email, connect to the internet, whatever while we're around.

Brilliant; top man, indeed.

Alcohol Abuse

With rising figures of early death through alcohol abuse, the UK Government is considering raising the age of legally buying alcohol and entering a licensed premises serving alcohol. 

Currently both minimum ages are 18 throughout the land but a Labour "think-tank" has proposed raising the age to 21 for off-sales and 25 for people allowed into pubs and clubs.

Still in the early stages of debate, public consensus is being sought and further details and information can be found at  www.twentyoneplus.gov

Relaxed Dinner

As we are docking overnight, the restaurant announced that they would be having a "sit where you please" evening and so I got into my long strides (for the second time this cruise) and we did the "proper" dinner thing.  As ever the food was first class and so was the company; a delightful elderly lady who had just celebrated her 74th birthday, the day before.

We had great dinner conversation and aside from her insisting that any time we passing Wogga-Wogga (sp?) she would gladly put us up for as long as we wanted, she told us tales of her previous cruises.  By the sounds of it she's covered almost the entire world and loves it.

Unfortunately she travels on her own and after my mishearing that her husband had "moved on" and thinking he'd karked it, it turned out he left her after fifty years of marriage and since then, she's been having a ball.  What a top chick and if that's not inspiration to travel, what on earth is?  :o)

Why, Just Why?

I have to say that I find it ever so amusing that the majority of people who get off the ship to sight-see leave their lanyards on, displaying to all and sundry that they are cruise passengers.

If this was Asia, they would find that all prices would be at least treble the going rate for a local customer.  Why advertise you're from out of town?

Hang on though, maybe that explains why everything in this country is so dear- they are all tourist prices and as soon as we set sail, all the costs drop back to normal.

Lucky for the Trees it's Easter

The amount of wrapping paper used this Christmas is long enough to circle the globe four times.

The Best Beer By Far

We ended up finding a little distillery called "The Lark", which specialised in wine, whisky and ale and so we treated ourselves to a drop of "Moo Brew Bitter".  At AUD$ 8.20 a pint it was outrageously expensive but ever so good and it was difficult to tear ourselves away and have another.  But we did, because at over five quid a pint we can spend our cash on better things.

Like accommodation in NZ, for example... :-(

Rubbish Collection

With fortnightly bin collection now the norm throughout the UK, there will soon be a new option available- at a price.  Private bin men are being recruited to offer a stand-in service on alternative weeks and anyone with a van can apply.

Full training, uniform and materials will be supplied as long as you own your own transit van but it will need to meet stringent health and safety regs and any mods will need to be met by the owner of the vehicle.

In return, these new "mobile, recycling-opportunity inspectors" can then levy their own fees for picking up recyclable rubbish from their neighbours before taking it to the local dump.

However, be warned.  They will also have the authority to check through your waste to ensure all materials are recyclable and if if, they will be able to issue fines.

Anyone wishing to apply should make enquires at their Town Hall.

Hobart, Tasmania Then

It was all rather nice and well, not quite so Australian.  Very European, in fact.

For a start, they actually allowed us to walk on and off the boat, despite it being a working marina and on our return, security was more than a little lapse. I could easily have smuggled off a packet of peanuts off the ship too, no one was too fussed.

The town was big enough to walk around for an hour or so with plenty of shops, malls, restaurants and sights to keep you occupied and the weather was glorious. 

We're also wondering if Tasmania actually counts as a separate country as it is its own island.  Probably not as it shares the same currency but you'd be forgiven in thinking it wasn't Oz as it is by far the most European place we've been to in our month of touring this continent.

Definitely worth a visit.

Suicide Bombers

You know when they report on the number of casualties when these scum set off their bombs?

Do the figures killed include the bomber or just the innocent victims?

Fill Yer Hole

We just watched this rather interesting piece on BBC World.

Following successful trials in Baden-Baden, Germany, councils in south east England are going to raise funds for road maintenance by getting local citizens to sponsor pot holes.

After decades of fighting a losing battle against wear and tear on public highways, the Brits are following their German cousins by getting the public to stump for partial costs of re-filling open holes in the road- in return for having a small placard placed by the site.  If the person is willing enough to pay extra, they can even choose which colour they prefer.  The mayor of B-B, Herr Holengef├╝ller said:

"it came to us during a staff meeting in the local Beirkellar when someone said they would happily pay for a seat at the bar if they named it after him. 

Before we knew it, the idea had snowballed and we launched "Operation Lochengestopfen" ("Hole Filler") and so far we have raised in access of 3.6 € million in just the last six months.  People are crazy over the idea and love the colour option scheme.

We offer cost price for standard black/grey, cost +10% for green/brown, cost + 20% for blue/silver and if you really want to push the boat out, cost + 50% for any colour you like.  One person has a patch of red and yellow which set him back 12 000€ for the privilege.  It looks a bit odd but it brightens up the place and he loves it."


Councils participating in the scheme include Kent, Essex, Norfolk and Middlesex, but expect the project to be rolled out nationally if results mirror those in Germany.

Really?

Click to Enlarge

I wonder just how truthful this notice on board really is?  Distasteful; yes, rude; naturally, ill-mannered; of course, unacceptable; most certainly, but against the law?  I wonder how that would stack up in court...

Hobart, Tasmania

No doubt everyone will be talking about "Tazzie" but we're really excited to be arriving in Hobart, which has been a long term goal for us after being ardent fans of Chris Tarrant's Capital Breakfast Show.

The town sits between two mountains, Wellington and Nelson and beside the Derwent River.  It was first inhabited by a mix of crims and army bods back in 1803, under the command of Lt John Bowen who came up from Sydney.  It is Australia's second oldest capital city and it hosts the tough Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

The only other factual I can dig up is that it has Australia's first legal casino.

OK, it may not sound like much, but if you check the photos out (they will be around here soon enough, depending on upload times) it really does look pretty and the best bit is that we are docked over night and only set sail tomorrow at 16:00.

This will allow us ample time to see exaclty what Tarrant was raving about.  :o)


Michael Foot

Just picked up on the news that Michael Foot has died at the age of 96, as I was idly flicking through a local paper in the library.

I then noticed the paper was well over two weeks old.  We're hardly keeping up with the latest news, are we?

Freebies

We've made firm friends with a number of staff and crew on board, none more so than the guys in the bars.

As we were trying to get through the scrummage of people wanting to meet the captain, one of our waiters ran up and asked us if we wanted a drink.  We said we were just off to grab a bite to eat but he excitedly told us the first one was free and he could send it to our table.

Isn't that sweet?  How's that for service?  Perhaps our reputation is preceding us?

Raylene Starr

It was billed as a comedy musical act and that should have been enough warning to us to steer well clear. Foolishly we ignored our survival instincts and took seats.  Big, bad mistake.

Opening with "Land Down Under" with mashed and mangled self-penned "lyrics", this lurching transvestite gargled the song at Motorhead volume, tottering around the stage like some Frankenstein on smack.  Dressed in what looked like the fabric from a deck chair as a poncho and with hair in rollers, it took a few minutes to realise the she male was in fact a burd.  *shudder*

We gamely stood ground for fifteen minutes looking for anything to gouge eyes and ears out with, but it was in vain as all sharp instruments had been confiscated by AQIS and on board security.  Instead we were treated to this freak horror show- and now I am describing the audience, who were braying like demented donkeys at every utterance of sexual innuendo and sledgehammer double entendres.

It was like watching a nauseating episode of "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" meets "Last of the Summer Wine" meets "The Vicar of Dibley".  Anyone want to throw up yet?  Now you're getting close.

We left and rued not taking up that offer of a free beer, what a ghastly night.

Hot Off the Press

Click any to Enlarge

We haven't docked yet, nor have I posted the blurb on Hobart, but already we have a few arrival shots of where we are going to land today.

As American As...

Cherry pie is more popular than apple pie in America.

I'd be happy with either and have certainly had both while on board; with ice-cream.

Captain's Cocktail Party

It was open invitation to met the big C as he had his farewell soiree for this cruise.  Held in the central Atrium of the vessel over three decks, he dutifully pressed wrinkled and loose flesh wherever the groupies fainted at being in his presence.

We didn't attend but we passed through on our way to dinner, but I did catch a glimpse of the man, resplendent in his formal whites and hat.

It was only later I realised it wasn't the captain; rather the head chef...

Farewell to Burnie

Such is the importance of tourism to Burnie, that we were sent on our way by a band of pipers and drummers with the Mayor and his wife seeing us off.  Apparently we are the last ship to dock in port for 2010 and passing passengers spend several million dollars ashore every year.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

That's Burnie Then

Click any to Enlarge

More Security Nonsense

As the dock in Burnie we have moored up in is a "working" one, we are not permitted to walk through it.  Instead, we are herded like school children into a shuttle bus that takes us around the houses and sets us off in the town centre.  It takes about fifteen minutes but to walk would take less than five.  Go figure...

Anyway, on the way back we are stopped outside the harbour perimeter and we then had the fiasco of watching guards check out the underside bus with sniffer dogs, while equally fat (sorry, burly) blurks came marching on and requesting that they see our cruise cards.

This whole charade was then repeated once we arrived at the boat, thirty seconds later, when another team of c(r)ack SWAT militia stormed our little mini bus to check for illegals, bombs, a packet of crisps.

The best thing about this? Burnie has a population of 19 000, give or take 500 either side.

This security bollocks is starting to wear a bit thin now...

posterous.com

Just about the only programme worth watching BBC World for is "Click".  Catching it is a bit hit and miss (mainly due to differing time zones) but we stumbled across it last night and Blogging was mentioned. I happen to be a fan so I watched with interest.

Apparently there is a new kid on the block which allows just about anyone to begin their utterings in cyber space but sadly I couldn't have a look see as we have no internet connection.  Apparently all it takes to start is a post to their website and you're off- they do all the setting up for you and you can post, add pictures, links and just about everything you need to make a first class Blog.

A bit like this isn't.  :oD  Try here:


Disturbing

The primary cause of death for male Swedes between the ages of 20 and 23 is venereal disease.

Getting Closer

For Spurs, after Man City win 3-0 last night.  As it stands now:

Team P GD PTS


1 Man Utd 32 51 72

2 Chelsea 32 53 71

3 Arsenal 32 40 68

4 Tottenham 31 28 58

5 Man City 31 19 56

6 Liverpool 32 21 54

7 Aston Villa 31 11 51

8 Everton 32 8 49

9 Birmingham 32 -4 45

10 Blackburn 32 -15 41

Geordies On Top & Having Fun

Championship leaders Newcastle United move four points clear at the top of the table after a hard-fought win over promotion rivals Nottingham Forest.  The Toon won 2-0, which leaves them right at the top:

Team P GD PTS


1 Newcastle 39 46 83

2 West Brom 40 35 79

3 Nottm Forest 40 21 70

4 Cardiff 39 17 62

5 Swansea 40 2 62

6 Leicester 39 9 61

7 Blackpool 40 12 57

8 Doncaster 40 4 55

9 Middlesbrough 40 9 54

10 Sheff Utd 40 2 54

 

Gesundheit

The average cold last four days.

Clearly written by a burd.  Man Flu lasts at least a fortnight.

Really, Really Exciting- Honest

Formula One is not boring, according to seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who explained his reasoning in a three-hour presentation using 75 monochrome text-based acetate slides and a wooden pointer.


The sport has come in for significant criticism following the processional opening ‘race’ in Bahrain, which for large sections resembled a leisurely drive through a London suburb by twenty middle-aged women.

The feedback has led to organisers rethinking the new rules and hinting that for the rest of the season the cars may be required to tow elaborately decorated floats around the circuits in an effort to make the processions a more pleasing spectacle.

Head of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone “We simply thought, if we’re going to have a procession of 20 cars going round and round, let’s give it a Mardi Gras vibe, yeah? I’m 79 you know.”


“We’re thinking bright colours, dancers, maybe some samba music. Each car pulls a float around the circuit, and we’ll award points for the best decorated - Ferrari have some wonderfully gifted decorators you know. Have I told you that I’m nearly 80 by the way?”


Dull



Motor-sport fans have criticised the rule changes for 2010, with one stating, “If I wanted to watch cars driving round and round in a orderly queue, I’d spend my Sunday afternoons in Tesco’s car park.”

“I want to see the drivers doing things that I can’t with a car. Yet I overtook more cars on my commute to work this morning than Jensen Button will all season, maybe you should point a camera at me?”


However, Schumacher said changes were not necessary, insisting the races will become more interesting, “just as soon as the drivers get used to the new rules, and then….oh sod it. Who am I kidding? It’s dull as hell and everyone knows it.”
 
NArse

Pope Porkies

Vatican warns media to stop basing reports on things that definitely happened

The Vatican newspaper has launched a scathing attack on the world’s media after it used ‘facts’ to report that a Vatican office that was definitely led by the Pope, definitely ignored a complaint about a priest over some definite child abuse.

A Vatican newspaper editorial said the media claims barely even referred to “faith”, choosing instead to base the attack on the Pope around things that had “definitely happened”.

The editorial continued, “Facts are not something the church deals in, for blatantly obvious reasons, so we don’t think you should use them when reporting on us - it is only fair.”

“Look, if the Church only dealt in ‘facts’, the Bible would be about a page long and it would simply be a list of places that were definitely around at that time, plus maybe the names of a few kings.”

“That’s what your so called ‘facts’ do you see, they make everything boring and real.”

Proof

A Vatican spokespersons went on to explain that just because a series of facts points to something having happened, doesn’t mean it definitely did.

He said, “It’s the exact opposite of how we work, actually. There are many things which we say definitely happened, despite a complete absence of any factual evidence whatsoever.”

“So when you take that to its logical conclusion, lots of factual evidence must mean that it definitely didn’t happen. Right?”

“Just because you have proof that someone reported to then Cardinal Ratzinger about some proven child abuse, and further proof that no action was ever taken, doesn’t give you the right to say he ignored it. It might have got lost in the post.”

“Look, we are men of God, we have absolutely no reason in the world to lie about this.”
“Actually, thinking about it, the Italian postal service IS very unreliable you know. You should print that, definitely.”

NArse, of course.

Shocking

1.00 GBP = 2.11006 NZD
(United Kingdom Pounds to New Zealand Dollars)
 
I can't believe how poor the pound is abroad.  McBroon you utter bastard, when are you going to bugger off and let someone run this country properly?

Touche

What's the point of havin' a rapier wit if I can't use it to stab people?


- Jeph Jacques

Two Things We Still Have to Experience

Statistically speaking, it is safer to travel on the roof of a train in India than the back of a rickshaw in Shanghai.

At least, it used to be.  India is cracking down on roof travel...

Still Dry

Despite warnings of heavy rain for Melbourne, as soon as we stepped on shore, the sun came out and it turned warm again.  Ditto here in Burnie, Tasmania and we can expect more of the same in Hobart, where we shall dock tomorrow around midday.

It's also the only place we shall stay overnight, so we can take our time to explore what has always been a place we have wanted to visit.  And the reason for that?  It's all down to Chris Tarrant.

Many years ago before he hit the main stream and became a household name he used to Dj on Capital Radio.  We have always been fans of Capital, even when we moved back from London to Southend and we continued to listen in, particularly to his breakfast show.

I'm not sure how he stumbled across Hobart, but he began to plug the place and eventually he even broadcast some live shows from there, encouraging people to have a look see for themselves.  So, we are finally about to.  :o)

On Board Security

Much fuss is made about returning on board and we have to have all bags and possessions X-Rayed before passing through the metal detector.  The slightest shriek of the alarm brings forth a grumpy security gadgy who dourly frisks you and as usual, wastes everyone's time when he finds nowt.

I've yet to be stopped as I literally carry nothing and wear about the same.  Flappers, shorts and a T.  However, until recently I have forgotten that I carry a few banknotes in my pocket held together with a money clip.  A metal money clip.

I wonder why that hasn't set the alarms ringing?  Pretty poor metal detector if it can't pick that up...

Back On Off-Line

All seems well again after we re-loaded our Gmail off-line application on shore.  We can now post up in peace and not watch the pennies drain while on board and still keep you up to date with our adventures.

Saying that, we are currently in Burnie (Tasmania) sitting in their rather swish library which is offering us free connection.  Wifey is trying to find us somewhere to live when we land in Auckland on the weekend, which is proving a bit more challenging as we land around midnight.

I'm just making the most of having access to the inetrnet again.  :o)

Monday, 29 March 2010

Quote/Unquote

A husband is like a fire, he goes out when unattended.

- Evan Esar

No Mobiles

While only recently gaining widespread popularity, emoticons (:-D) have been used since the early 1800s.

As if- the inetrnet wasn't around then...

Happy Birthday

To yet another long term pal, Tony "Bones".  Hope you're having a great day and we wish you all the best.

Melbourne Slang

Can you believe that the on-board literature has deemed it necessary to translate the following terms to assist visitors to the city:

Hello, friend- G'day, mate

Well done- Good onya

True, real- Fair dinkum

Seriously, I kid you not.

It also goes on to suggest tipping rates; 15-20%. Yeah, right...

Drop Off Point

To help return library books out of lending times (mostly all the time as it's usually closed) they have a cupboard with a slot in the top to drop the books through. The librarian will then come along, empty the cubby hole and replace the title in the shelves for further lending.

Small problem. The cupboard is usually left locked as the librarian forgets or can't be bothered and so the old biddies raid the cupboard and grab all the books before they are cleared off the system. Not good if they forget to return them or are partway through their read at the end of the cruise and they happen to fall into their open suitcases...

Leading Ladies- The Answers

Vivien Leigh

Ingrid Bergman

Eva Marie Saint

Joan Fontaine

Greta Garbo

Marlene Dietrich

Bette Davis

Jeanette McDonald

Ginger Rodgers

Heddy Lamar

Barbara Streisand

Elizabeth Taylor

Ally McGraw

Faye Dunaway

Norma Shearer

Mitzi Gaynor

Shirley Maclaine

Judy Garland

Greer Garson

Natalie Wood

As Per the BBC

Tottenham cruised to victory in their FA Cup semi-final dress rehearsal with Portsmouth to extend their points advantage in the race for fourth spot.

Peter Crouch nodded Spurs ahead from Gareth Bale's cross and the striker and Tom Huddlestone then hit the woodwork.  Niko Kranjcar clipped in a second but the hosts barely got out of first gear.

The visitors, who can now be relegated next week if results go against them, went close through Anthony Vanden Borre and Michael Brown but were never in it.

It leaves Portsmouth 14 points adrift of safety with a possible 18 left to play for - and their season really is all about that Cup date at Wembley on 11 April.

Redknapp confident Pompey can bounce back

Spurs, on the other hand, are still very much fighting for honours on two fronts, though this tie looked less a battle and more a training-ground exercise against a Pompey side lacking in belief and energy.
The Londoners moved five points clear of Manchester City in fifth, though Roberto Mancini's side have a game in hand.

This was a match that always looked a home banker, even if Spurs have been guilty of the occasional lapse at White Hart Lane this campaign with defeats by Wolves and Stoke.

It might have been different for Portsmouth, though, had Vanden Borre made the most of the first real chance of the game when he found himself clear in the box only for keeper Heurelho Gomes to save his tame effort.

Grant 'proud' of Portsmouth effort

Instead it was something of a procession for Tottenham - even if it took them until the 27th minute to break the deadlock.

Bale, who tormented Pompey throughout, ended one of his many marauding runs from left back with a delightful cross that Crouch nodded in from six yards.

Michael Dawson headed a David Bentley cross wide soon after, while Spurs hit the woodwork twice in a minute through Huddlestone's crunching long-range effort and Crouch's clever swiped volley.

So it was no surprise when the hosts doubled their lead, debutant Kyle Walker laying the ball back to Luka Modric, the Croatian's shot blocked, and Kranjcar - like Crouch, a former Portsmouth star himself - impudently flicking in the rebound.


For Spurs it was almost too easy, although a lapse in concentration at the back afforded Michael Brown a golden chance to reduce arrears, only for the unmarked midfielder to scuff his shot from six yards.

It was a rare moment of levity for the travelling fans, though, with their team - undoubtedly missing the ineligible Jamie O'Hara - all too often going through the motions without the necessary application.

The visitors' cause was not helped by what looked like a serious ankle injury to Hermann Hreidarsson, though Tottenham's occasional over-elaborate approach ensured the score remained respectable.

Bentley did at least sting James's palms with a long-ranger, while Sebastien Bassong should have done better with an unmarked header from a corner that he directed straight at keeper James and Crouch slid a golden chance wide in stoppage time.

Crouch sympathises with Portsmouth

Portsmouth, to their credit, created the odd half chance in reply, a Younes Kaboul tackle denying Brown inside the box and Kanu scuffing wide when well placed.

But their day - and arguably season - was summed up by the sight of Danny Webber and David James having to go off injured in the closing minutes, leaving Portsmouth to finish the match with 10 men.

And so Spurs manager Harry Redknapp's only gripe could be that his side did not go on to win more convincingly.

However, with matches against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City to come, they have far tougher tasks ahead of them as the season hits the business end. 


Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:
"It was a difficult game. Coming into the game I had a funny feeling it was going to be a tough one but, once we were 2-0 up, the game fizzled out.
"It's a vital three points for us - we've got to keep picking up points. We've got a tough run-in against the top three but we can give anyone a game.
"Gareth Bale is unbelievable. He can run and run and never even looks like getting tired. With his stamina, pace, ability, and that left foot, he's got everything to go on to become one of the best players."

Portsmouth boss Avram Grant:
"At the moment, it looks like we have a problem for the semi-final, because at the moment we only have 10 fit players, but we need to wait and see.
"We are not going to give up and will continue to keep fighting despite everything. We are trying to be professional and keep the spirit of the game, to play with pride for the supporters.
"We came here short of players, with guys out of position, and played well. I am very, very proud of the boys."

Tottenham Beat Portsmouth

And we are now firmly in fourth with a few points clear- for the moment. There are just three things wrong now. Manchester United, Chelsea and The Arse, all of whom we have to play back to back in our next three games.

Clearly we won't be expected to gain any points but this is certainly our pivotal point of the season. We will e found wanting. :-(

Today's Different Thing

Just as I was saying that the food menu is fast becoming “samey”, they stick on frog's legs.

I had to try them after 45 odd years of being picky with food and can report that they are OK. Leg meat is better than the sparse calf meat but both are a little bland,despite chef's attempts to make them a little glamorous.

It's now been ticked off the list and I doubt I'll make a huge effort to try them again.

Leading Ladies

An example of the age group this ship caters for, is this nice little quiz where you have to match up the leading lady with the head blurk. Is there anyone of them who made a colour filum? See how you get on anyway:

Gone With the Wind- Clark Gable

Casablanca- Humphrey Bogart

On the Waterfront- Marlon Brando

Rebecca- Laurence Oliver

Camille- Robert Taylor

The Blue Angel- Emil Jennings

Queen Bess- Errol Flyn

Rosemarie- Nelson Eddy

Top Hat- Fred Astaire

Algiers- Charles Boyer

The Way We Are- Robert Redford

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof- Paul Newman

Love Story- Ryan O'Neil

Bonnie and Clyde- Warren Beaty

Romeo and Juliet- Leslie Howard

South Pacific- Rossano Brazzi

The Apartment- Jack Lemmon

A Star is Born- James Mason

Random Harvest- Ronald Coleman

West Side Story- Richard Bayner

Routers Back on Line

All good again today- just as we leave to go ashore and hopefully find a cheaper internet cafe on land. Oh well, at least I can email from the comfort of our own cabin again.

Lessons On Board

Talk about coining it in, these guys don't miss a trick.

If you're an IT spazz and can't work out your Outlook from your look out, they run mini computer lessons (an hour only) on board in the internet cafe. But cop for the prices:
  • Create digital movies for CD/DVD: AUD$ 28
  • Edit digital video: AUD$ 28 
  • Word processing basics: AUD$ 28 
  • Email with ease: AUD$ 34
Maybe I should have charged for my time after all?

The Love Boat

Princess Cruises had their maiden voyage in 1965 with a single ship that sailed to Mexico. Today, they carry more than a million passengers each year, calling at almost 280 ports around the world. It can offer cruises from seven days to one hundred and seven days with 150 itineraries.

It became famous when The Love Boat was filmed on board the Pacific Princess in 1977 and as you know, I am still waiting to watch a full episode from the continual re-runs they are showing on board. Failing that, I can even buy the entire series from the souvenir shop for a “discounted price”, no doubt.

The Kangaroo & Emu



It sounds like a name for a pub but it's the emblem of Australia and supposedly adopted as both creatures are incapable of going backwards. I assume that is meant to be a kind of rousing mantra to locals to inspire them to always/look move forwards.

I remain to be convinced. ;-)

Three Weeks Is Good

But the fourth week on board is now dragging a little as we've become used to the boat, its facilities and everything is becoming a little deja vu. Same opulent food, same re-runs of filums, similar entertainment, same bars, same old people...

I'm certainly not complaining but I think it's a little too long and three weeks would have been ideal.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Over and Out

OK, we've posted up a few more bits today but that's it.  More tomorrow if we go ashore and find a cheap internet cafe but that's weather depending.  Rain stops play and all of that.

Enjoy.  :o)

In the Old Days

Archaeological evidence suggests that man made an attempt to domesticate bears with limited success.

I can see the idea of them being pretty good guard dogs but the food bills would be pretty high.

*Shock, Horror* I Disagree

I'm not sure this is entirely directed at the older generation but it does seem to occur more frequently with them. Or perhaps we've only had the silver tops for company over the last few weeks that we've forgotten what youthful conversation is all about.

Anyway, why is it that when you disagree with someone's opinion, they immediately accuse you of being rude?

“That was very hot today, young man”

“Well. we're used to living in Bangkok and have adapted to warmer climes. It averages around 32-35 C most days there and while today was warm at around 25 C, we're used to much hotter temperatures”.
 

“There's no need to be rude”

Really, this is how people react when you dare to have a different opinion.

It's the same when you decline an invitation. If you dare to say “no” without a plethora of made up excuses, they get all indignant and take it as a personal affront. I'm sorry, an invitation allows the person to decide yay or nay. If you're going to get all upset at being declined, don't even bother asking.

A BIG Hand For...

...The bus driver.

Eh? Wot? Come again?

It's stupid enough clapping the pilot on landing a plane, but for a driver who has crept along at 40 kmph (and I can walk faster than that) the old bids break out into raptures of adoration? Oh, per-lease. Get a grip.

Snooze. Lose

As you'll now, patience is much needed when trying to get back on board. You have to queue to get past security with their one X-Ray machine and one metal detector (and one assistant who, if you set the machine off. will manually frisk you before allowing you to pass) and of course, you have to move like a snail due to the inability of the older generation to walk at a reasonable pace.

Yes, pensioners will have limited mobility which is why there is a huge industry for walking sticks, wheel chairs and other aids to get incapacitated folk moving- so why don't they use them?

Do they ignore such vital equipment to avoid looking foolish or untrendy? Have they looked at themselves in the mirror? Purple hair, garish, ill-fitting clothes, socks with sandals and ridiculous hats are just the start of it.

Anyway, the secret to a quick getaway is to sit as close to a door on the bus as you can and then get into the embarkation queue as soon as you can.

In Adelaide we were unfortunately right at the back of the bus but as we stopped, no one seemed inclined to want to get off and just sat in their seats, applauding the driver. They were probably waiting for him to give them the all clear before they creaked into action but I took the opportunity and was at the door with wifey in tow.

God, the comments and dirty looks we got for daring to get in front of any of them. Talk about hostile natives. It was a toss up between answering a couple of the more audible sarky barbs back or getting on board first. We just legged it. :o)

Haigh's Chocolates

Apparently not just the best in Australia but just as good as the famous Californian chocolates. Hhmm, if I were trying to impress with likening to global standards, I'd be going for Belgian or Swiss, not American. I'm sure they're fine (not tested, I'm afraid) but comparing them to a marque I've not heard of (and instantly forgotten) is hardly inspirational...

Odd Plugs

Remember I was puzzled why the ship was kitted out with Thai-style power sockets? Apparently they have the same plugs in North America so that explains that one then.

Closed- Go Away

You'd think that if you are a sleepy pokeville town with inhabitants of tree or four that when a huge ship arrives with over 2 000 passengers you'd make a bit of an effort to cash in, wouldn't you?

It appears not.

For all the markets that each town is “really famous” for (according to the burd who gives daily lectures on what to see and do when we get to our next destination) are always closed when we dock in port.

I'd have made an effort to open up and perhaps make a buck or several but maybe the Aussies really do get paid too much after all and they just can't be arsed?

But Not That Good

We bumped into the conjurer the next day as we were trying to disembark. Naturally we were not allowed to go down the nearest gangplank; we had to find the correct one on another deck (despite it being totally empty and the sentry was bored off his skull) and the magician was none too impressed either. He walked off and asked us where the exit was, saying he hadn't a clue.

He can't be that magic then, can he?   :o)

Hey, Presto

Another good night out as we watched a comedy magician on stage. Not comedy as per the late great Tommy Cooper, but comedy as in joke telling while performing card tricks and the like.

He was a young chap called Kamal Bhusman, who involved the audience and kept us all entertained for the entire show with witty, light-hearted banter and some really good bits of “magic”. Definitely worth going to see.

Smaller World

You may recall that we had some luggage appear by our cabin door when we collected our new passengers in Sydney a few weeks back. The reason for that was that the initial and surname of the person were identical to wifey's.

It gets even more uncanny. Not only does the lady in question bear the same initial but also the same name (first and surname) and it turns out she is in the stateroom directly next door to us.

Adelaide The Free

Unlike most of Eastern Australia, the settlers in Adelaide weren't crims but religious dissenters and free of all Plod records. Which is why the guys in white hats were determined to stand apart from the rest of the country and establish a more sophisticated and cultural environment.

Colonel William Light was the architect of the town and he situated it along side the River Torrens around 1840. Due to the number of religious folk, numerous churches were built; so many in fact, that Adelaide is referred to as the City of Churches and has around 100 of them in its vicinity.

It is Australia's fourth largest city and currently has a population of 1.1 million. Nearby you'll see “The Mount Lofty Summit” which has imaginatively been likened to Adelaide's Mount Everest. It also was one of the first settlements to have a judicial system and its own Copper Farce.

We really liked the place and hopefully we'll be uploading some pictures shortly to give you a taste.

Adelaide in Pictures

Click any to Enlarge

Adelaide, Not Adelade

Note the extra “I”. Yes, I have have missed it out in one of our posts earlier but that was a typo and I can't be arsed (or afford) to trawl back to correct it. So I am merely mentioning it here to ensure you are all aware that I can spell correctly.


Mind you, they probably have some kind of “adorable” nickname for it like Ado or similarly revolting.

Weather Still Holding On

No doubt about it, it was getting chilly in the evening on board since we cruised further south and having left Bunbury/Albany. Still T weather during the day (and dry) but at night you would need to garb a jumper or similar.

Happily, that seems to have been just a glitch as our arrival at Adelaide yesterday was greeted with temperatures in the late twenties and once again the sun was grinning its head off. The forecast had been “over cast and temperatures from 11-16 C.

They have also announced that Melbourne is likely to be very wet and stormy tomorrow but seeing as we have already tramped around the city for a few days before we embarked on this cruise, if it's shitty when we get there, I'm staying in bed.  :o)

Quote/Unquote

Love can be sordid only if you work at it.

- Brooke McEldowney

Crow's Nest

There are more species of bird in South America than in the rest of the world combine.

The Going Gets Tough

There we have it. Yesterday was not good in the world of IT and all things associated with it. No satellite signal, Off-line Gmail still not re-loaded despite much cost and effort and to cap it off, the aft of the ship lost all its wi-fi routers. Guess where we live?

Things are looking better today though, we have a signal of sorts (slow), the internet cafe manager has refunded me my lost time (top man) and we've been assured that the routers will be back on line later today.

In the meantime, I'll just have to go jogging around the decks. Yeah, right. I'm off to the buffet...

Racist? Not Us


I took this picture off the back of a bus recently as it made me chuckle.  A tribute to Sammy Davis Jr and the dancer is white?  :o)

Friday, 26 March 2010

Accommodation Woes in NZ

Despite repeated attempts to contact the Base Hostel in Auckland, New Zealand, for confirmation of our reservation upon arrival on 3rd April, no one seems inclined to get back to us.

Not wishing to be left in the lurch we've now cancelled our stay there and will be looking elsewhere.

Another reason to pull out is that on reading the small print, the price quoted was per person and not per room. In other words they wanted to charge us NZ$ 320 each for the four nights, which is well over three hundred quid. For a hostel? Sod that, we'll find a hotel for the night and start our Magic Bus tour earlier.

I suspect New Zealand is going to be even more expensive than we predicted and we may be returning back to Bangkok sooner.

Oh, well, every cloud...

Thursday, 25th March

Today's on board bash is going to be a New Year's Eve party, starting tonight at 23:00 and which will include a massive balloon drop and steamer throwing session.

I am aware the Chinese have their celebrations in February but I have no idea why the Australians have decided to have another knees up in March, a week before Easter...

UPDATE: Speaking with our insider, it seems that all Princess cruises will have a New Year's Eve party on board during each voyage. To me, it seems like yet another ploy to rake in the cash and try and hit wet sale targets. We'll be giving it a miss.

New Map

Correction

It is more than just a tad confusing keeping up to speed with all these changing time zones, so much so that all the previous progress maps are incorrect. They started off OK but what threw out the figures was our non-appearance at Cairns (due to adverse weather conditions) which would have gained us another half an hour in time.

As we didn't, we've been out by 30 minutes (on the maps) since then, and so we now bring you the bigger, brighter and accurate version.  See next post.

Left or Right Hand Drive?

Drivers in South Africa drive on the left in the western part of the country, and on the right in the eastern end.

Women just drive all over the place...

Ar, Me Hearties

Just like any industry, being at sea has its own customised language. Here's the gen:

AFT- rear/stern of the ship

AMIDSHIP- middle of the boat/lengthwise

ASTERN- behind the ship, ship moving backwards

BEAM- boat's width or widest point

BOW- front of the ship

BRIDGE- where navigation and handling of the ship is done

BULKHEAD- shipboard name for a wall or partition

COMPANIONWAY- flight of stairs

DECK- floor; inside or out

DECKHEAD- ceiling

DRAFT- depth of ship below the waterline

FATHOM- nautical measurement of depth. 1 fathom = 6 feet

FORWARD- toward the bow/front of boat

GALLEY- kitchen

GANGWAY- boarding ramp

HELM- ship's steering apparatus

KNOT- nautical speed. 1 -1/6 land miles per hour

LEE SIDE- side of boat sheltered from the wind

PITCHING- motion of the ship where the bow rises and falls

PORT SIDE- left side of the boat as you face forward

STARBOARD SIDE- right side of the boat as you face forward

STERN- aft/rear of ship

TONNAGE- customary measure- in displacement of ship size

TOPSIDE- upstairs, upper decks

WINDWARD SIDE/WEATHER SIDE- side of boat exposed to the wind

One Final Attempt

I'll give it one last go to get Gmail working and as I watch the dollars per second drain into the crapper while it "reinstalls", I may have a few posts lying around that could be uploaded.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

It's Kaputted

One final 'live" blog/email before it's lights out.
 
Not content with the lack of connection, our Gmail account has stopped working off line and with prices on board, we shall be unable to continue to update as regularly- if at all.
 
Maybe on shore from time to time, but quite probably it will have to be when we land in Auckland in April.
 
It's been fun, but all good (?) things must come to an end, right?

Mensa Answers

  1. 24 H in a D- 24 hours in a day
  2. 26 L of the A- 26 letters of the alphabet
  3. 7 D in a W- 7 days in a week
  4. 7 W of the W- 7 wonders of the world
  5. 12 S of the Z- 12 signs of the zodiac
  6. 66 B of the B- 66 books of the bible
  7. 52 C in the P (WJs)- 52 cards in the pack (without jokers)
  8. 18 H on a G C- 18 holes on a golf course
  9. 39 B of the OT- 39 books of the old testament
  10. 5 T on a F- 5 toes on a foot
  11. 90 D in a R A- 90 degrees in a right angle
  12. 3 B M (S H T R)- 3 blind mice (see how they run)
  13. 32 is the T in D F at which W F- 32 is the temperature at which water freezes (and that should be pure water)
  14. 15 P in  a R T- 15 players in a rugby team
  15. 3 W on a T- 3 wheels on a tricycle
  16. 100 C in a R- 100 cents in a Rand
  17. 11 P in a F (S) T- 11 players on a football (soccer) team (the "s" put me off, there is only one kind of football)
  18. 12 M in a Y- 12 months in a year
  19. 13 is U F S- 13 is unlucky for some
  20. 8 T on a O- 8 tentacles on a octopus ("an", surely?)
  21. 29 D in F in a L Y- 29 nine days in February in a Leap Year
  22. 27 B in a N T- 27 books in the new testament
  23. 365 D in a Y- 365 days in a year
  24. 13 L in a B D- 13 loaves in a baker's dozen
  25. 52 W in a Y- 52 weeks in a year
  26. 9 L of a C- 9 lives of a cat
  27. 60 M in a H- 60 minutes in a hour (again, "an"- it's cheating!)
  28. 23 P of C in the H B- 23 pairs of chromosomes in the human body
  29. 64 S on a C B- 64 squares on a chess board
  30. 9 P in a S A- 9 provinces in South Africa
  31. 6 B to an O in C- 6 balls to an over in cricket
  32. 1000 Y in a M- 1 000 years in a millennium
  33. 15  on a D M C- 15 men on  a dead man's chest
  34. 6 S on a D- 6 sides on a die
All done?  Good, now go and do some work. 

Mensa Teaser

I'm sure you've seen these before.  It's where you are just given the letters and numbers of famous sayings, acronyms, abbreviations and you have to work out what they mean.  Apparently if you get 23 of these you are a genius.  I didn't but wasn't too far off.  My downfall was I am not a religious person, so aside from a big clue, if you are, you may well clean up.
  1. 24 H in a D
  2. 26 L of the A
  3. 7 D in a W
  4. 7 W of the W
  5. 12 S of the Z
  6. 66 B of the B
  7. 52 C in the P (WJs)
  8. 18 H on a G C
  9. 39 B of the OT
  10. 5 T on a F
  11. 90 D in a R A
  12. 3 B M (S H T R)
  13. 32 is the T in D F at which W F
  14. 15 P in  a R T
  15. 3 W on a T
  16. 100 C in a R
  17. 11 P in a F (S) T
  18. 12 M in a Y
  19. 13 is U F S
  20. 8 T on a O
  21. 29 D in F in a L Y
  22. 27 B in a N T
  23. 365 D in a Y
  24. 13 L in a B D
  25. 52 W in a Y
  26. 9 L of a C
  27. 60 M in a H
  28. 23 P of C in the H B
  29. 64 S on a C B
  30. 9 P in a S A
  31. 6 B to an O in C
  32. 1000 Y in a M
  33. 15  on a D M C
  34. 6 S on a D
Answers soon.

Round the Table

Not a big gambler in fact, I don't.  However, it's always good to know shit to impress your mates and so here are the odds on the Roulette table with a 0 and 00 wheel.
  • straight up- one number, 35:1
  • split- two numbers, 17:1
  • street- thee numbers, 11:1
  • corner- four numbers, 8:1
  • first five- five numbers, 6:1
  • line- six numbers, 5:1
  • column- twelve numbers, 2:1
  • dozen- twelve numbers, 2:1
  • black/red- 1:1
  • odd/even- 1:1
  • 1-18, 1:1
  • 19-36, 1:1
Good luck.  :o)

It's Been Said

No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one.

- Elbert Hubbard

While that certainly was the case in the old days, it no longer holds true for us now.  Saying that, I am rather looking forward to getting back to Bangkok after we finish in New Zealand next month.  I am quite homesick.

Right Up For It

We are now totally prepared for any more snow, claim councils

We are now totally prepared for any more snow, claim councils thumbnail

Councils across the country last night spoke out to assure local residents that should any more snow fall, they have finally taken all possible steps to be completely prepared for it.

Following significant snow fall in December, and criticism of their lack of preparedness, councils across the country put their rapid response teams to work, which has lead directly to today's readiness announcement.

One council worker explained, "After a couple of months of planning, we have ordered and received extra stocks of grit, so should any more snow fall in the coming weeks I can assure residents of our parish that all roads will be gritted to sufficient standards."

"I swear to God, I'm not even kidding.  If two feet fell tonight we would be totally okay about it."

"I think this shows that when something needs doing urgently, you can rely on your council to make it happen.  Eventually."

Expensive

Another council member was at pains to explain how expensive it had been to procure all of the extra grit they seem to think is still required.

"It's actually quite expensive to get hold of extra road grit in March, but monetary considerations should be secondary when the safety of our residents is at stake.  Especially with it being election year and all."

"One issue was storage, so we had to find a way to make room for all this extra grit until we need it."

"We discussed it during our weekly rapid response meetings - the ones that didn't get postponed anyway - and in the end we made extra room by emptying a number of reservoirs which contained nothing but fresh water."

"We discussed it, and we can foresee absolutely no need whatsoever for all that extra clean water in the coming months.  No, no, you're welcome."

I've missed NArse.  :o)

Hardly Ablesons

Love them or loathe them (and I for one, despite not having owned one, am a fan) , Harley Davidsons have a strong marque rep in the world of two wheelers but sadly, just as with the global motoring industry, they are facing a downturn in sales.

Certain models (Sportser and V-Rod) are going to have a reduced production run (closing down for 14 weeks) after Harley revealed a 91% dive in profits for the second quarter of the financial year.  World wide sales have slumped by 30% and there are planned redundancies for 700 production staff and 300 white collars.

Funny how no one seems to be bailing the motorcycle industry out, isn't?

Word Play

If can goes to could, why doesn't may got to mould?

Micro Breweries

This seems to be a big thing here, which is fine by us as the normal Aussie beers are pretty much cack.

We found this little place in Fremantle down by the harbour and it is entirely the kind of place we used to seek out and enjoy back in the UK.  Unfortunately though, we come down to the delicate issue of price once more.  Can you believe that a pint of the special at Little Creatures will cost you a whopping AUD$ 9.80.

That's well over six quid a pint and it's not as though they have to factor in transportation costs, they brew their beers directly on the premises...

Wonderful venue though.

Legit Letter Taken From Local Paper

"Initially I thought your recent front page story 'MP wants recycled water on tap' (March 13, 2010) was the fake ad.

Bit then I realised all politicians are full of shit and XX (name withheld by us and you'd not have heard of them anyway) probably means all pollies need to top themselves up on a daily basis.

If this being the case a direct line to parliament house would certainly be in order to remind the bastards of what they like to dish out the electorate on a continuous basis.

It may give them all a different outlook on life, albeit a shitty one.

As to the fake ad - page 4 'Publicity agent for hire'.

Keep up the good work."


I have no idea about the original article, even what the writer is trying to say here, but I am rather amused/surprised that such down to earth language is permitted in print.  It certainly makes a change and it beats the silly asterisks papers use to censor naughty words (which I find wholly condescending) but the craft of decent letter writing is clearly a thing of the past.

I'm not sure I approve yet. Perhaps the author could pen something a little more aggressive against McBroon and I can decide then?

24 Hour Bar

This cruise ships likes to refer to itself as a hotel and in many ways it is.  Unless you want to find a bar.

Unlike food, which really is available all around the clock, obtaining a beer or any other type of alcoholic beverage is not so easy.  Most of the bars will serve until midnight and we have one nightclub "Wind Jammers" or similar that will crawl on until 02:00, but after that, you're on a dry streak.

Which probably isn't such a bad thing.

All Forward

Leaving Albany tonight at some point when we're all hopefully asleep, we lose an hour and go back to GMT + 9.5.

I suspect we will also lose the odd half an hour before we reach Adelade on Saturday (27th)

Paying the Bills

Click to Enlarge

I do believe I have discovered how our Australian cousins can afford to live here...

Oh, Do Me a Favour

Having passed through more security stops than Checkpoint Charlie and having flashed our cruise cards more often than Danno in Hawaii 5-0 one is finally allowed to get on the gangway back on board.

Here there is usually a hold up as a bottle neck develops as the oldies have a seizure at some point due to altitude sickness, or they suffer sun stroke or amnesia and we have to wait until they regain their composure.  As we inch along the rope ladder of a bridge, we are further subjected to delays as people suddenly think they are at a supermarket check out when the reach the X-Ray machine.

They seem absolutely amazed that they have to place all objects to be screened on the conveyor belt, similar to when being asked to pay for goods and then realise they have their purse at the bottom of their shopping, now full of shopping.  Panic ensues, and they start to flap at being requested to give up their items for X-raying.

After at least half a dozen attempts they will finally pass that stage before once again causing an M25 like jam when going through the metal detector.  I'd rather sit on broken glass than have to endure this every day...

We finally get our chance to pass through all the security devices and once again there is no hitch.  Until we encounter yet another bored/over zealous worker who demands wifey removes her hat.  The flat, baseball style cap, which has successfully just gone through the metal detector without warning sirens or strobe lights.

What on earth do they believe that she has under there?  Plastic WMD?  A 3 litre box of wine?  A deadly hair clip?

Too much people, far too much.

That Will Be That Then

As usual things just can't be left alone and we have to have meddling.  I've just heard that gaining your full motorcycle licence in England is going to become even more difficult in 2013.  While it may just be rumour at the moment, the whispers are suggesting that they (Brussels) is going to ban solo riding if you're a learner.

Currently one can ride up to a 125 cc bike on your own with just "L" plates but if the Europrats insist that you need to be accompanied by an instructor, it will prevent 150 000 riders from staying on the roads, which is around half the UK bike buying population.

Other nasty things in store include raising the DAC minimum age level to 24 (currently anyone over 21 can do their test on a bigger bike to avoid restriction- it's called the Direct Access Course) and adding further power restrictions; 15 bhp for two years, another two years at 47 bhp and then yet further training and another test to obtain an unrestricted licence.

This will bring about the extinction of two wheeled transport in the UK and that is an outrage.

Besides, if we have to face these Draconian measures to prevent road sta-testicles, then the same should apply to a car driving licence.  To not do so must surely be a case of blatant discrimination.  Time to go to the courts.



Rapidly Shrinking

And with the amount of food aboard, I'm not referring to my waistline.  No, the AUD$ to £ exchange rate.

We recently scraped in a meagre 1.621.  :-(

Cooling Down

As we head eastwards, it seems to be getting a bit nippier in the evenings.  It's still hot during the day, but one can notice there's certainly a drop in temperature.  However, according to the ship's forecasts (and these are ones you can trust) we should still avoid any of the freak storms and foul weather that seems to be following us around the country.  Which is good.

Lost in Space

As you'll know, we have a TV in the cabin and we are certainly using it to catch up on the filums they show, most of which have only just come out at the cinema.  We also get a few live channels such as ESPN (not the real deal, I suspect it's ESPN 2 and geared to Aussie tastes), TCM, Boomerang, Cartoon Network CNN and BBC World.

Over the last few days we've lost transmission and I assumed it was due to not being able to pick up a signal.  Turns out this may well not be the case and it's down to the same reason the casino is closed.  We are not out of Australian waters and so cannot show certain transmissions until we reach international waters again.

Which is a bummer as we have no way of catching up on the news (forget the internet, it's waay too expensive) and I need to know if Scooby Do has knacked the baddies.

Godard Prints

Click any to Enlarge

Unfortunately some of the pictures were behind glass and the flash may reflect off, spoiling the view.