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22 June 2017

 

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The Hallowed Pork Pie

 

The demand from Vanessa that we only fly Premium from now on is testament that it was worth my last years’ bonus being splashed out on airfares.

The Dora the Explorer conference can’t have been on this year as our flight to Hong Kong was not full of Dora lookalikes of all ages as was the last time I flew in this direction.  It was fairly uneventful as flying goes but the early morning champagne before breakfast for the honeymooners was much appreciated.  Not sure what the plebs in cattle class were eating but you know it is going to be good when you get a menu to choose from and 2 kilos of chilled cutlery each time a repast was offered. My suitcase weighed in at 19 kilos but of that 19, the contraband chocolate and all things Pineapple Lumps accounted for 9 kilos.

Holy crap.  The flight from HK to London was a very long 13+ hours.  We took off early morning, a little late as we had to wait for some rough weather to pass but as soon as we did, we were offered a light meal as opposed to a breakfast then the lights went out and we were in darkness including the shades on the windows all closed.  I think the little HongKonese staff toddled off to bed themselves, so the movies got a thrashing again.  Very weird indeed.

First day on the loose (Wednesday), we headed to the nearest sizeable town to sort out phones and stuff and to let the wallet open and close freely.  Praise the Lord, pass the tambourine and Hallelujah in no time at all, we had found the mini pork pies that I covet so so much. As they were priced at 3 packs for a few pounds, we took them up on their offer.  At the point of writing this, I have report we have lost a pack so are down to a dozen of these morsels.  V has declared her love of them too so competition for them is now at all 4 of us vying for them.  Before we could settle down, we were frog marched to the ‘Allotment’ where we saw the politics and selfishness of fellow gardeners first hand.  Using sprinklers thus taking water pressure away from others… how inconvenient.  The lads have been very industrious with vege and fruit growing.  We are being force fed strawberries and berries and salads almost hourly.

Today saw us toddle off to Camden town to indulge in the wacky markets.  It took me back to the days of strolling through the Cook St markets in Auckland with Annie Wyness ….incense and beads competed with the obligatory t-shirts, hoodies and food stalls.  But they had much more and V managed to but a top from nearly every stall even though she has a suitcase full of them already. One can never have too many tops and jandals.  We did a lot of walking in the middle of the road as it seems safer that way with all the mad men running down pedestrians.  The poms seemed to appreciate it and tooted at me often.  I think they had empathy for us or they were just pleased to see us. Waving to them just seemed to encourage more tooting….what a friendly bunch we thought.  We avoided all potential bomber looking people or those with big coats and backpacks …. Can’t trust the bastards is our motto.  Anything that looked like a rubbish bag was also treated with care.

Going wine tasting tonight ….because we can and is our want. Tomorrow is unplanned at this point but an early night tomorrow as we are off to Champagne at stupid o’clock Saturday morning.  The things we put ourselves through in the name of culinary research!  A quick weekend trip and a stopover in Dunkirk to soak in the history…. Well it’s on the way.  Apparently there is also an obligatory stop required in Calais before loading the car on the train, to a supermarche for some duty free alcohol.  We are not wasting any opportunity.

Take care, we are…. V and Me

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June 2017

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I will always give you an opportunity to placate me, especially when you have displeased me so.

 

As we commence the pre packing planning and procrastinating that is mandatory when preparing to travel, I am reminded of a situation that was never resolved to my liking and thus helped us to decide not to travel with Emirates airline this time and any time in the near future. We had been told how fantastic they were and there were new planes and shiny knobs and buttons to amuse us, comfy chairs to lounge about in and hot and cold running hostesses to attend to our every want.  Based on that, we booked with them to take us to Great Britain and back including a 3 day stopover in Dubai to drink in the ambience.

 

And that is when it all turned to shit.

 

The issues:

We were late taking off and therefore late landing in Sydney, missing our ‘slot’, where we changed planes. Waiting in a line to reboard for over an hour, not able to sit just made us later and us more tired.  Never mind, we had a long-ish stopover in Bangkok which we were both looking forward to even if it was only in an airport.

 

As we approached Bangkok airport, by now most annoyed at the gaps between the seat in front and mine. My knees were now being skinned by the back of the seat of the fully reclined passenger in front of us. We were so close to the runway, you could see the ground crew ready to service our shiny new plane, we suddenly powered up and headed for the sky again so as to miss a small plane on the ground crossing our path.  The flight had been a good one but we were still running late….apparently.  We were instructed to stay put, awaiting further instructions like we were waiting in the school hall about to be released to our classes. Not allowed to use the toilets even to empty the contents of our pants after that close call on approach.

But no. the plane was refuelled, restocked  and cleaned around us as we stood in the aisle and little people swept and brushed our seats and emptied the seat pockets with our stuff they deemed rubbish. Only to pile it on to the waiting elephants they rode to the plane on. (We couldn’t actually see the elephants but we knew they were out there). Pity we didn’t see this as my book I was reading may have stayed in the pocket for me to continue to enjoy. But we were making up time apparently.

 

A lovely flight ensued to Dubai where we landed at the airport we were looking forward to spending a couple of hours shit, shaving and shampooing and to buy some duty free for our hosts whom had told us were very thirsty! As we entered the terminal having been shuttled from the plane, we heard our flight being called to move immediately to gate…..as far as fucking away as it could be.  So now fully x-rayed, the loo beckoned and right now was how my bladder explained it.  So running was in and shopping etc was out.  Arriving at the gate sweating but now bladder issues dealt with we then had to sit for an hour before we could board.  But on the bright side, we had caught up all the time we had lost on the first legs of our journey.

 

An uneventful flight to London saw us arrive at the terminal eagerly wanting to start our holiday. Let’s go!  As we approached the baggage collection area with its carousel that tempts me to ride every time, we heard our names called out and to immediately proceed to the information counter to the side of the room.  As great as it was that our journey had caught up the lost time, our baggage hadn’t and was now having a wee break in Dubai …without us!  Never mind we were here and the suitcases would be delivered to the apartment tomorrow.  Oh well, never mind.

 

I had now been in the same clothes especially undies and socks for over 24 hours by now so a quick trip to M&S in the morning saw us topped up with essential attire components. We both changed in the stores changing rooms and stowed our dirty, and I mean dirty stuff into the shopping bags.  My testicles were as happy as they could be, cupped gently in brand new slightly knapped cotton undies and my feet were equally happy with their new mates.

 

Several phone calls and days passed before we were reunited with our wayward luggage with Emirates fobbing us off because they contract such services to a man in a white van type operation. It was their problem.

 

The homeward journey the reverse direction and stops with the break in Dubai to get closer to our desert selves. Arriving early in the morning, our pre-ordered chauffeur was there to meet and transport us.  Things were looking up.

 

Arriving at 5.30 in the morning to catch our ride home, we were advised that the flight had been cancelled even though the day before we had confirmed and chosen our seats. Left for over 2 hours whilst they sorted things out which is Arabic for I’ll forget you two and get on with more important stuff like keeping my uniform curtains that are attached to my hat out of my eyes.  We were eventually allowed to fly on the last 2 seats available to Christchurch…. One of us at the front of the plane and one down the back.  A little bit of ‘outside voice’ came out and suddenly we were sitting beside each other at the very back of the plane.  I also had to be convinced that a connecting flight to Auckland to be reunited with our car had been organised.  The look in her eyes, hiding behind her curtain told me otherwise however.

 

The whole journey to Christchurch had queues up the isles beside us with people wanting to deal with their own ablution issues and talk loudly. When I checked why they weren’t using the toilets in the middle of the plane, I found them to be full of blankets, pillows and assorted flight paraphernalia.  I know them to be full as when I tried to peek in, a whole lot fell out into the isle. Which is where I left them.

 

Once we had renegotiated a flight back to Auckland from Christchurch as I knew was going to be the case we praised the Lord that we were now on an airline that knows about customer service. Air New Zealand delivered on all its promises and got us back to Auckland on time …including our somewhat independent luggage.

 

After weeks and weeks of our travel agent failing to be able to make contact with the airlines’ representative in NZ, I took over and finally after another few weeks made the connection to a woman claiming to be the New Zealand managerwhom was prepared to listen to my concerns.

 

‘What is your problem? We got you there and back safely, our job was done’. She calmly brushed me aside.  I did manage to wangle a top up of airpoints that made our total enough to redeem for a return trip to Australia.  This small token hardly made it right in our eyes and why did I need to have to ask for some recompense?

 

And your chance to win me back Mrs Emirates was not taken by you and therefore why my business with you will be only by necessity, not choice. Did you want a second chance?

II

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27 February 2017

I had an eventful night last night which mostly I’m not keen on repeating.

Jumped into bed and apart from a bit of Linen Olympics from time to time, I normally like to go to sleep asap. No faffing about for me. But last night V returns from the kitchen with a story about the cockroach lying on his back but very alive that I ‘should’ remove from this world. Usual method is a free lesson from the Kerry school of Cockroach diving where diving lessons are held in a flushing toilet. Getting back in bed she then notices a spec on the ceiling that she believed to be a baby version of the kitchen cocky…. and I could get out of bed to dispatch it if I like. If I like my arse! I thought ignoring it was the best action but how wrong could I have been…. of course I would love to get out of bed again and dispatch it.

Once back in bed and light off with Linen Olympics even after all those ‘Brownie Point’ earning activities not likely until another day….the familiar sound of a bloody mosquito could be heard. I pretended not to hear it thinking if I did, she might too but from the other side of the bed I was advised that it wouldn’t go away by ignoring it and that I should alight from my bed and obliterate that fucker too ….which I kind of did. A quick brush of the headboard as I got back into bed dislodged a bit of fluff which then caused a loud scream from V as she thought some other creature was going to get her, launching a deadly attack from her pillow. I didn’t even comment on how the fluff got there so soon after the housework was supposedly done.

Meanwhile Jeff is in and out of the cat flap doing his Bruce Lee impersonations as he single handedly eradicates all stray cats from the yard. How dare they venture on his turf? Then once all lights are off once again and the obligatory good-nights are completed he starts that horrible cat scaring sound. The one that sounds like a child crying. It sounded awfully close. You guessed it…. I apparently would like to investigate. So once again, the sheets are flung aside and I made my way to the en-suite because that was where the noise was coming from we deduced. Surely another cat had not got inside? Opening the door slowly so I could catch the marauding stray and here Jeff the cat is, .sitting on the sink giving arse hole’s to the ginger tom in the mirror. Removing Jeff from the bathroom quietened him down and miraculously, the cat in the mirror disappeared too!

I am praying for a quieter night tonight or that Linen Olympics are held early.

A Brief Tale

Posted: September 23, 2015 in I've been Thinking...

The Only Undies Worth It

When Undies Let You Down

So how long should a pair of undies last?

I’d had this particular pair of navy blue Jockeys for around 5 years.  Not sure of the exact time I bought them but am confident to say these pair of briefs have supported me and my testicles in particular for at least 1500 days.  There was no twang or suchlike, it was more like a gradual letting go.

Now men’s undies are pocketed by design to cup and support the boys.  I need to know where they are and boxers just let them roam like some free range organic chicken which I find unacceptable and uncomfortable at times.  This might be seen as new age or liberating but in times of urgently needing to pee, I do not usually have time to go on an adventure, looking for where the boys have travelled to.  Rummaging around my underwear is no help to me at all.  The trunks-style garments whilst built and supportive like a brief, I do find myself rolling the hideously short legs back down from their puckered state which seems a waste of the extra material used when the skimpier brief provides the default shape all along.

Now as the day progressed, I noted that the left nut was uncomfortable at times.  This was especially so each time I sat down.  Operating like some Jack-in-the-Box, I would rebound from my attempt to sit, standing upright again where I then ‘adjusted’ myself before attempting another sitting manoeuvre.  The pain emanated from old Lefty partially escaping from the briefs via an ever increasing slackening of the leg elastic previously unnoticed even when slipping into them in the morning when I dressed. It took several ‘adjustments’ to understand what had been happening. Sitting or standing, it mattered not.  It was uncomfortable and Houdini nut reminded me often.

A fully escaped testicle, rendering it a commando nut would have been more tolerable and I know this from experience.  The partially liberated model was not at all pleasant and the increased fresh air it enjoyed, far from a turn on either.  I discovered the extent of the issue when undressing in the evening.  A limp leg on the left of the under garment was clear to see.  When I examined it closer (but not too close as there was a day’s wear with these), the right leg was showing the result of in excess of 1000 days wear.  Not as bad as the left however which surprised me though.

You see, we males have a preferred side when fetching the tackle to use the urinal. I tend to use my left hand to create the opening by pulling on the right leg of the brief so the right hand can extricate the required length to enable a pee without creating a dribble down my shorts (a surprise pea if you remember them) but allow it to stay warm as the cold will almost certainly result in an embarrassing wet patch due to natural shrinkage.  All this extra stretching I would have thought would result in right leg failure, not left leg.

I bet Dan Carter doesn’t have these issues especially as he is left handed too.  Mind you, he must get many pairs thrown at him as payment for his advertising of the said garments thus reducing the average age of his unmentionables. So I was forced to do a check on all briefs of a similar age and to my relief, there were no other suspect elastic found.  It was like completing a Warrant of Fitness usually reserved for a motor vehicle.

You will be pleased to know that both nuts are tucked away safely where I left them, well supported and showing no ‘Shawshank Redemption’ tendencies.  I think they are all good for at least another few years I hope.

I had a sensory overload in Shanghai

Posted: September 21, 2014 in France 14

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                                                                                                                                                      Shanghai Skyline

 

I had a sensory overload in Shanghai.

I arrived in light showers which slowed me just a little on the first day (Friday).  It meant that I had to dodge umbrellas that were at an unusually low height.  Not being a giant myself, I have never had to avoid so many potential eye-pokes in one evening.  I had arrived in a damp but loud Hobbiton.

I had never been proposed to as much, touched by eager lovely ladies or their pimps in one stroll down any main street in my life either.  The next day an aussie I was recanting this story to remarked that he hadn’t been approached once.  I told him it was his accent and my good looks and physique that was the difference.  He just nodded, not knowing how to respond I suspect.  I think he thought I might have been right. These woman were happy to stroke more than my ego to get my attention …which was great for the first two or three hundred times.  I learnt that being polite was just a come on to them so I became impolite and the stroking stopped for the next 50 metres.

Shanghai is a smoker’s paradise closely followed by an expurgator’s one too.  To dodge the second hand smoke was one thing but to then hop around like some Highland fling proponent, avoiding the spitting required the agility of an athlete …then add in the low flying umbrella tips and unexpected stroking meant I was wired by the time I got back to the hotel. Just when I had my ‘moves’ sorted, the absolute disregard for any form of road signal by scooterists, motorists and pedestrians lead to much tooting, shimmying and ‘fuck that was close’ moments.  The only thing that has changed in the three days is that the umbrellas went away once the rain stopped only to be replaced with parasols (which looked the same to me) when the sun was out.  Scooters, especially the electric ones that would stealthfully come up behind me in silence from all directions even on the crowded footpath then blast their screechy horns forcing me to empty my bowels into my fresh undies!  I learnt to blend in as a form of protection and direction.  It was a bit like the dwarfs and me.  I felt quite superior at times with my height and round eyes.  This was a false feeling as I now stood out and it just encouraged the strokers and the pimps.

It amazed me how quickly these pimps could go from offering cheap watches or foot massage to full on ‘happy, happy time’ massage.  Within 5 secs the full illustrated menu was out there for me to choose from like I was choosing between beef or chicken on a stick.

I tried welks in the shell, duck head (whole and described as ‘in Chinese manner’), whole squid on a stick, blow your head off wasabi and bbq’d my own dinner at some side street café.  I tried Juan’s game of restaurant roulette hence being the only westerner among at least 50 ‘locals’. Not totally sure what protein I cooked at my tabletop bbq but I did a great job of it I thought.  I declined on the sweet fungus liquid at the dessert table as it looked hideous and smelt worse.  Another trip I thought.

It is Sunday 4pm as I am writing this.  Not sure when I will be able to send it as the hotel internet is being monitored and every time I log onto facebook, it mysteriously drops off.  I am waiting for my taxi to whisk me to the airport.  I hope to get my lunch there as the queues around here are horrendous and even the KFC menu is written in some form of hieroglyphics with no translation available.  Finding the loo is exciting.  The usual pictures of a man and woman can sometimes mean a lift (not sure if two woman want to go) and sometimes it leads you to wonderfully kept bathrooms.  Many corridors that look like they should be suitable places for loos in the malls turn out to be just that…corridors or cleaner’s ‘offices’.  I’ve met a few cleaners in the last couple of days!  I saw a woman pull the pants down of a 2 year old in the main shopping precinct, grab his willy and he piddled there and then amongst the throng.  I lined up but she seemed less interested in my dilemma.  MacDonalds, Starbucks and the usual suspects don’t all necessarily provide facilities.  I’ve unnecessarily purchased coffee only to find out they have no loos ….a trap for the inexperienced.

I met a real live Parisian baker yesterday.  I stumbled on his recently opened Artisanal Bakery just off the main precinct.  We were able to bonjour and bonjournee like real Frenchmen.  I left the baguettes alone but his tarte du pomme and pain au chocolat had to be tried to quality assess as is the international rule.  They were tres bon and we are going fishing when he visits in a year or two.

I’m not sure if I like this place.  It is very different, very colourful and as I found out, very tactile.  I have enjoyed my time but have not felt at home.  That is a great feeling for a giant like myself.  I get home within a day where I will miraculously shrink in stature and the anonymous touching and invites will stop.  But I will feel at home.

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                 Dancing in the Street

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 Flower wall at the Bund

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My hotel in the background …the tall building

Heading back to Pomgolia

Posted: September 16, 2014 in France 14

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The TGV at Gare Montparnasse

On my way back to the UK.

A leisurely drive to the Bordeaux railway station was punctuated with the necessary wee stop at a motorway service centre. We had been on the road for an hour so it was to be expected really.  And while we are there, why not try some more of France’s food …it had been two hours since we did our best to eat our way through what was left in the fridge.  Chocquettes, €2,50 for six seemed a bargain.  Like little profiteroles in size but made from a pancake like batter and covered in some healthy sugary concoction, accompanied by yet another café au lait, I was set for at least another hour or so.

The TGV back to Paris is a 3 hour blast at over 250kh!  So excited were we that the hour we had to fill in before take-off saw us find the nicest eatery I’ve been in at a railway station as some kind of celebration.  Before I knew it, a glass of cold and refreshing rose was in my hands and then a sandwich that had melted cheese over it and béchamel sauce and ham inside accompanied by what looked like half a lettuce as a salad arrived.  It could be called a salad as there was a cursory baby tomato atop the lettuce. Dejeuner had been sourced.  This train is so quiet that in a straight line you don’t know you are moving if it wasn’t for the green blur on the other side of the window.  It is only when it lurches around a bend that the forces start to help you appreciate just how fast you are travelling.  I suggest that all Ford drivers experience this on the train…. you will never in a Ford.

The Metro across town to the Gare du Nord had us checked in and ready for leg 3 of the journey….Paris to London. The seats on these trains if you are lucky enough to score a table configuration where two face two and share a table, are too close together and knee rubbing is the order of the day.  With all the pretty ladies on the train, I got to knee ‘dance’ with my brother!  I was forced to drink on the train, paying over €20 for three little bottles (glasses) of red wine and one of water.  I could have bought 5 bloody bottles (normal sized) back in Hautefort.  It was very nice and thanks for asking.  We finally got home at just before midnight but adjusting the clocks back an hour to London time seemed to make it earlier than it was.

I now have 3 days in London left.  I can sense a trip to the supermarket to see if they have any Melton Mowbray pork pies (a long shot but one I am willing to try), some wine and might as well check out the patisserie section as one has become accustomed to.  I do have to get a few things before I leave England and I am hoping that I will be able to vote at New Zealand house when I spend the day riding the tube and popping up wherever I feel the urge….. like some crazed Meercat.  The Hard Rock café is my concession with regards to touristy things.  It’s kind of more like a pilgrimage for me going and ogling at the guitars and rock memorabilia… and they serve food!

To my surprise, most of my clothes still fit.  My new undies are working well and there are no complaints from down below. I will however need to visit the lingerie section of Marks and Spensers as my moobs have developed like some eager pubescent girl.  As I am such an active person, I thought I’d be best with a couple of sports numbers!

See you later,  Kerry

France 14

le Macerater has been Mastered

Posted: September 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

DSC_0285                                                                    A Little Winery in St Emillion

It’s nearly time to leave and I’ve finally mastered le Macerater.

The toilet system in France is pretty special to say the least.  At least this time I have not met any ladies waiting to take my euros from me every time I’ve wanted to take a leak.

20140904_000358  The Scenic Urinal

The outside urinals like the one outside the railway station main entrance in Bordeaux are fantastic.  One takes a piddle in the sun, protected from view from the shoulders down to the knee. Sun on your shoulders, relieving the pressure is to be enjoyed.

20140905_070145 The Squatter

Then there are the traditional ‘squat and deliver’ models.  Due to my lack of skill, direction and possibly just talent, I avoid these as I am forced to remove any clothing that might act as a net!  Then there is the issue of ensuring the subsequent flushing actually flushed the said moonfish away. There are no  sticks or implements to aid this.  Then we have these wall hung urinals that are noticeably spherical in shape.  Piddling anywhere other than dead centre results in a whirlpool effect which inevitably results in splashes to oneself.  A target marked at the appropriate spot should be part and parcel of all rounded shaped urinals. Maybe scented or music played when the target is hit…just a thought.

And then there is le Macerater.  Looking like any normal domestic toilet bowl,only with an electronic switch/button on the left hand side, just below the seat. It’s only when you sit down and realize your ‘dangly bits’ are taking some kind of swim, that you realize this bugger is a bit different.  The water level is about that height at rest  Now macerating to me is something I thought meant to marinate or suchlike.  Something I might do to my strawberries in balsamic etc not soaking my bits in toilet water.  So once said deposit is made, one pushes the button and all hell breaks out.  This pump that I think was ripped from an aircraft loo, sucks it all away and minces it up before sending it to the great sewage system that France is famous for.  Whilst a little wash might be nice if the temp was ok (and it is), you would have to think twice about pushing THAT button whist still seated or you might be able to test the depth as well as the temp on your next assignment.

Went back to a village market Saturday morning in Salat.  This is the home of the foie gras and truffle sellers.  Some additional purchases had to be made and I’m going to take a punt that I will get them through customs when I return.  All the stall holders are forcing their wares on you as you try to pass and I feel sorry for them so stop and chat ….and of course agree to try their saucisson or their pate, confit, foie gras and even the pretty ladies pushing their home made walnut tarts and gateaux. We had to have a stop in the middle for a café.  That is how hard I’m working.

I was put in charge (by myself I might add) to organize a restaurant booking for Friday night.  I rang three places before a successful booking was made.  There I was on my phone bonjouring and bonsoiring madame and trying with my best dozen word vocab to book it.  I was able to tell them my name, the day, the time and that we wanted dinner as opposed to lunch!  I was very proud of myself.  Thank god they understood my ramblings enough to come back to me in broken English to confirm.  I’m bloody bilingual alright.

Tonight is the harvest festival.  There will be fireworks to close but before this there is the town petanque competion and then the highlight for us….moules et frites.  (mussels and chips!). This is all to celebrate the harvest of the walnut, the pumpkin, the onion and the melon.  Not sure where the bloody mussels fit in but who am I to quibble?

We leave France sadly on Monday to travel back to London.  On Thursday, I start my journey home.  In the meantime I will continue to avoid le Macerater, aim straight at the urinals and enjoy sun on my shoulders outside the railway station in Bordeaux.

France 14