Saturday, 29 August 2015


I'm using The Old Girl's Mum's Compaq laptop as I've been unable to blog using my Apple Air laptop for some reason and using the iPad is a pain because I can't add images to the posts which, as you know makes them bloody boring because my readers probably only look at the pictures finding the words a bit difficult to understand. As they probably read out loud or at least move their lips when reading this limits them accessing the blog while in social situations.

When are your readers ever in social situations you might ask, and of course you are correct.
Robert aka Second Fiddle aka Grandad aka Godonlyknowswhat most likely hides in his shed to read and write blog posts.
This would be OK but his sheds ( or at least the one at his workplace) doesn't have a light source which might explain the unusual spelling and incomprehensible grammar he uses and of course the regular blog deletions.

The other 50% of my readership, Richard of RBB can read but by the time he gets to reading my posts is probably too pissed on chardonnay to even move his lips while reading which makes big and brightly coloured images essential.

Here goes: a trial image.

Se that?


Good let's move on.

I've been walking around a lot in York  and, contrary to what Godonlyknowswhat thinks we haven't got a car here.

The streets are cobbled though and at some point I twisted my knee and found it hard to walk. As the gym I go to is a 20 minute walk away I bought a second hand mountain bike off a trading website to get me around. Although my knee is now mended I still ride the bike about.

This is interesting as I haven't ridden a bike for many years. They say it's easy - "just like riding a ...." and I've taken to it well. The interesting thing is that like Richard, I've complained in the past about bloody cyclists taking up the road and annoying motorists. Ha!

I don't wear a helmet as it's not compulsory here and York is a very bicycle friendly city. Thee are many cycle lanes and, when there aren't the motorists actually drive slowly behind without tooting, gesturing or dangerously overtaking (well Richard of RBB doesn't live here you see).
I wear shorts and a tee shirt and a cap (not a Yorkshire flat cap like Andy Capp) and not those disgusting advertising covered lycra.

The thing is though I'm getting a sore bum from riding, especially when going over the cobbles so I kind of envy those twerps in their padded lycra pants.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Have you ever been caught in a loop where common sense and logic seems to have 'flown out the window'?

Joseph Heller captured it brilliantly in his novel Catch 22. 

I've been experiencing something similar here in UK. Good old UK. Well, old anyway. It already makes me glad to be a New Zealander and to be returning to NZ in January.
New Zealand is an early adopter of technology and we, as a small and new nation aren't locked into out of date conventions and inflexible standards. There is a lot of common sense in the way that businesses and institutions go about the daily grind.

Here, in the UK, businesses and institutions labour under ridiculous and proscriptive legislation and rules and, when they limit their ability to conduct their business they merely shrug and say "it's the rules".
Well fuck that I say ( and have said it to real estate agents, bank employees, service providers, policemen and little old ladies - not really to the policemen).

So, what's brought this on?.
I've been here a week and The Old Girl nearly a month.
She's working here and earning good British pounds.
As part of living here for the next 6 months we've needed a few basic things like: bank account; accommodation; telephone; Internet; gas and electricity - you know, basics of modern living.

Let me tell you how it goes here.

You want to rent a place to live.
The letting agency says "great" show us the money. When you pull out a wad of bills they say "oh no. Money laundering. No can do. Show us your bank account".

After a lot of cajoling and guarantees from The Old Girl's employers plus cheques and credit card transactions the letting agency 'let' us lease a flat. We sign an agreement for 6 months. It's a contract. IT'S A FUCKING BINDING CONTRACT.

We go to a bank. In fact we approach at least 6 banks to open an account. All of these wankers bankers tell us that they cannot open an account for us without proof of an address. The FUCKING BINDING CONTRACT apparently isn't good enough they want an electricity bill ( not Web produced like most of the world trade with) but hard copy posted via snail mail.
Now to get an electricity bill posted to you presupposes that you have an account, at an address and you've been using the service for weeks or a month. OK? But ....
Problem is ......... To open an electricity (or gas) account you need ..........? Are you keeping up? Yes, you need ........  A FUCKING BANK ACCOUNT!

Catch 22.

Next, broadband accounts.
You cannot open a broadband account with the major providers without - a bank account, a proof of address like a bloody electricity account and, get this, proof that you've lived at the address for 3 years. FUCK!
On top of this the telco companies (greedy bastards) require a minimum contract of 12 months.

  To do business with electricity companies, banks, and everything else means you need an Internet account.

So, totally frustrated I went outside of the telcos and to a Noel Leeming type store and bought an off the shelf wifi modem. It works so I'm now in business Internet wise.
We still don't have a bank account or an electricity account so might end up living on the streets but at least I can blog and relieve Richard of Robert's poetic ramblings.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


Ring ring ring ring ....

ME:  Hello

RICHARD: .... and he marched them down again..

ME: (Oh shit)...I mean Hi Richard. How many verses is that now?

RICHARD: I'm up to 127. Shelley suggests that I practice them in the garage.

ME: That's a good idea. Why don't you do that?

RICHARD: We don't  have a garage...   hey!

ME: I'm just heading out the door. Can you e-mail the rest of the song?

RICHARD: We're off to W(h)anganui to annoy some other people and I just wanted to say 'bon voyage".

ME: OK. Say it then.

RICHARD: Say what?

ME: Bon Voyage.

RICHARD: Yeah thanks but it's only W(h)anganui with a 'h'.

ME: An 'h'.


ME: Never mind.

RICHARD: Safe travels my old friend.

ME: It's only the bus to Newmarket to meet up with Mike. I've probably missed it now.


ME: Never mind. Keep up the singing.


As you can gather Richard (of RBB) phoned early this evening to wish me a safe trip.

Nice that.

He seems to have a fixation on The Grand Old Duke of York for some reason.

He wants to know if he's still there, how many men he now has and whether the hill is still climbable (marchable).

I said I'd have a look when I'm there and report back.
Well, I said that but probably won't.

Funny though. When I was in Toronto last year I went to The Duke of York pub..

 ...and had one of these:

..which is apparently a Yorkshire beer.

Go figure.


Not this.

But I've only got a few days before I head off.

I'm flying on Sunday to UK via Hong Kong.

Flying in to Hong Kong used to be like flying in to Wellington or Queenstown on a bad day.
 The planes used to have to drop down quickly and seem to fly in between skyscrapers.

The new airport has solved this problem thankfully so all should be OK.
I've got about a two and a half hour stopover which is very manageable.

I arrive in Manchester at 7AM Monday and will then get a train to York. I haven't booked this yet as you never know how long you'll be held up at Customs nowadays. Hopefully there won't be a problem and there'll be plenty of train options. I'm really looking forward to meeting up with The Old Girl.

She's taken a lease on an apartment in The Old Brewery which is in the inner city close to the Minster.

This seems appropriate for us but I don't think there's a pub there anymore. It's an historic brewery that's been converted to apartments. She says that it's right by cafes, shops, bars etc. Should be good.