The barque STS Tenacious left Melbourne, Australia, with me onboard, on Monday 4 December at about 1100 hours, bound for Auckland, New Zealand. Before arriving in Melbourne, the ship had sailed out from Southampton in the United Kingdom. Her departure from Melbourne was the beginning of the long trek back home via Cape Horn and the Falkland Islands.
I was on Tenacious because the Jubilee Sailing Trust emailed offering a berth for the voyage from Melbourne through to Auckland. I had just six days to get it together and fly across to join the ship. Getting it together was a bit of a mission, not least because of the travel insurance requirement. None of the readily available providers did other than draw breath and then decline as I described the voyage and the ship.
Calamity, calamity. Sydney had found a shopping list, but not the shopping list. J looked at the home perm kit and then looked at me. After a time she said, well this won’t go to waste. Stupid bird. How could I have been so gullible.
Yes well, J really got stuck into me about not losing the list. Syd was banging on about it too. Getting it from both sides was a bit much. I was tempted to ask J what she was doing about her fringe. As for Sydney, hmm, better not to ask.
This is the Paris apartment we rented for about three months back in 2014. It was small. To give you an idea of size, the bed was bigger than the kitchen. The apartment was five floors up (no lift) and, being in the ceiling, would have been where the hired help lived. It was though, in the 5th. If you want to know more the go to More travel, less travail.
Memo to all shareholders, staff, and the cartoonist
As promised this is the announcement I signalled to you yesterday. I am excited to announce the Morning Squawk will now be published on Instagram sydneysquawk (no caps, no gaps) as well as on https://redbeakdiaries.com/ which is probably where you are reading this.
Thank you to those who contacted me following yesterday’s letter about today’s announcement. I was surprised at the number who believed there would be a change in cartoonist. This cannot happen because any sacking of the current cartoonist would result in him spending more time with his family. Imagine.
Good morning. Following a robust policy and operational discussion, the management team has decided to make a major change with the Morning Squawk section of our publications holdings. A full disclosure of the changes (and they will be substantial) will be made at 9 am tomorrow.
In the meantime the advice of the directors is to retain individual shareholding and not be tempted by the ludicrous offerings currently being made. Please be assurred that there is no truth to the rumour that the shares will soon be downgraded to junk bond status.
I apologise for this morning’s cartoon – there again I have felt like appologising for the cartoons on a number of occassions.
With kind regards
Ps No there isn’t any ‘you know what’ – the dolt forgot to buy it.
Spiky is a rescue lemon, transplanted in 2017 from friends M & A’s garden to make way for a kitchen renovation. Rather than see him relegated to the compost, we thought we’d try relocating him. For more, see Spiky the rescue lemon.
I’m enjoying friend M’s daily recounting of life in Covid-19 lockdown at Lockdown Wellington 2020. It’s such strange times. No point in me recounting my days. There’s very little variation from one day to the next to life in the bubble. It’s a matter of hunkering down and getting through. Daily walks were a bit thin on the ground for me for the first couple of weeks or so, but now (because I have a step counter) I’m trying to get an average of 10,000 steps a day. Not too difficult. Even today, when I didn’t go for a walk, I managed over 6000 steps. And that’s because I spent a fair bit of the day in the garden, digging, lifting, shifting in my version of garden musical chairs.
I’m walking rather like tin woman tonight – a combination of today’s gardening on top of a bit of an overstretch (for me) of more than 14,000 steps on Wednesday (though I know that’s chicken feed to my cyclist and serious walker friends). But it wasn’t the step count, per se, that caused the aches but rather the endless steps down from Amritsar to Rangiora Street. I knew it would be tough on the knee but wasn’t quite so prepared for the effect on the calf muscles. Still, I’m grateful I could do it. If you want the details about the gardening musical chairs, check out Haphazard Gardener.
A day of remembrance tomorrow with Anzac Day. Among those we’re remembering is great Uncle George, my grandad’s brother who died in first world war. We have a memorial medallion with his name on it, as was given to all next of kin of service personnel who were killed in the first world war. So young.
We spent the last of summer travelling around the lower North Island, avoiding Highway 1 as best we could and taking time for detours along the way. We took a fortnight – last week of February, first week of March – and snagged what arguably was the best weather of the summer. Lots of lighthouses and beautiful landscapes and coastlines.
I recorded our journey in a daily blog, Lighthouses and Landscapes. In these days of Covid-19 lockdown, I thought it would be a good project to convert the blog into a journal, as I’ve done with some other trip blogs. But this time, with much help and encouragement from friend M from T, I decided to make it an online-only journal rather than one to be printed. You can check out the results at Lighthouses and landscapes. North Island road trip 2020. For best viewing, use the Full Screen view.
What is there not to like about omelettes. Particularly if the omelette is paired with a home-made apple and carrot sausage patty (don’t panic yet, I use readymade sausage meat). The apple and carrot sausage recipe is next up in the cooking department. I made them this morning and took a heap of photos. Now, in the meantime, cook you and your partner an omelette and serve it up with . . . hmm, some bacon maybe.
Thank you for all those who have sent cards, flowers and chocolates in the belief that the Sydney’s Morning Squawk artist suffered a nasty injury through falling over in the street. Please be assured that the artist is in rude good health and will get an editorial clip around the ear for worrying so many people. In addition, please be assured that Sydney has never been harmed in the production of the cartoons.
The offending cartoon passed the editorial process through some sleight of hand on the part of my staff. There are now comprehensive protocols, processes and policies in place that will ensure this situation will not recur. The artist did offer to resign, giving as grounds a desire to spend more time with his family. I knocked that on the head tout de suite.
In the meantime, I have enjoyed the chocolates. Remember to continue to send all cards, flowers, and chocolates to the editor and never directly to the staff.
These are the links a two-part journal of our 2017 holiday in England and France. The first month, Part 1, was on the narrowboat Tulip. This was followed by a few days in Guernsey and then three weeks in Bretagne – one week in each Vannes, Quimper and Roscoff (Part II).
I came by them in one of the UK’s most prestigious op shops. They came complete with a label attesting to this. The label was authentic because it was handmade. They have caused some arguments with J saying they are PJs because they do not have pockets. I countered by saying that Scottish judo exponents wear a sporran and anyway you would never see pockets in a kilt. Sadly, I didn’t make this reply till two days later. I hate it when my best rejoinders fizzle because of a time lapse.
So often travel turns out to be travail. At least this is what happens to me.
I will give you an example. A few years back on a previous French trip we determined to go to the Airbus factory. The instructions for getting there seemed clear, as did the instructions that required visitors to register online for a tour of the factory. Needless to say, we didn’t manage to register for the tour and we got lost on the way.
The good side, though, is when we finally arrived at the factory, a tour had just started. And two of the registered particpants hadn’t turned up. The reception staff slipped our 80 euros into the till and shuffled us into the recently started tour. It was all in French, which suited J but left me occasionally bewildered, often baffled, and sometimes klutz-like.
And so to this book. This is my story about the 2014 journey to Paris and beyond. J, who travelled with me, tells her story in another book. Her writing is much more travel than travail. She tells of the places we went to and the things we did. I guess there is a place for that in travel writing.
I have been thinking. Early morning walking can be a bit hazardous. The danger comes when others hove into view and one cannot be sure that the oncoming has seen you. Now, at sea, at night, there are very definite collision avoidance instructions; you know red to red go ahead and other rhymes (red over red the captain is dead and red over green sailing machine). Don’t be fooled, there is nothing cute about these. They are intended to avert calamity.
My idea is to adopt nav lights for walking in less than optimal visual conditions. So, I would have a red light on my left shoulder and a green light on my right shoulder. To complete the ensemble, I would have a white light shining out my rear. This lighting configuration would signify a person walking at walking speed. When the person was of a younger ilk and was either scootering, running, jogging, skateboarding or in some other way being propelled along the footpath, they would have the same lighting configuration with the addition of an all-round white light on top of their head.
Now the Government needs to mandate this form of lighting to ensure safety on our streets. I will email the Prime Minister about this. I reckon it will be law by sundown; so, look out your lights.
Typical that we discover a great cafe on the day before we leave a place. There on the corner of Homer and Smith, just a couple of blocks or so from our hostel in Vancouver, we came across the Buzz Café, in an art gallery. It has vegetarian and vegan food, good coffee, and a super nice ambience. (Vancouver, 2015)
Nothing but confusion followed by confusion. J says yesterday’s pic was all wrong in the caption department. She said it’s not her who is over-catering – she said she said it is me who is over-catering. I said no I am not over-catering. She said yes you are, you are cooking too much!! And then she called me a ‘dolt’. Four weeks of this – I ask you.
My purple salvia is a star plant in the autumn garden. The bees, honey and bumble, are loving it. As soon as the sun’s out, they get busy. Impossible to get a photo that shows how many, but on a warm day like today, there’s at least thirty at any one time.
The salvia is crowding the path but I don’t want to cut it back while it has so many bees. This salvia (actually, there are a couple planted together) was transplanted to this sheltered position against the sunroom in spring 2018 and it has bloomed continuously since summer 2018/19. It didn’t take long to reach the eaves. It gets trimmed regularly to make the path useable, and it bounces back quickly. It’s easy to strike cuttings from the prunings. My guess is the parent salvia will be short-lived given its vigour, but hopefully I’ll have replacements growing elsewhere.
Some aspects of lockdown are very confusing. One of my jobs is catering. Been that way for years, ever since J served up a cabbage leaf, carrot and a knife. She said it was a DYI coleslaw. Sydney, by the way, means a fish and chip shop when he squawks about chippies. The chippies label is a hangover from his days following us around overseas.
Back in the day, on holiday in Paris, we found Dose cafe on rue Mouffetard. They served coffee just like at home. It became a regular morning stop. We would occupy a table near a power outlet, fire up the computers and sit drinking coffee and writing. I felt very chic when we did this. I hoped the locals would see me as a Hemingway type figure, and J, to me was just like the author of Travels with Myself and Another.
Sydney was stretchered off, straight back to the SPA (Seabird Protection Agency). He is now under sedation for a sore beak and will not, I repeat, will not be allowed to leave for several days. And he will be limited to nothing more than Scrabble. Knowing Sydney, though, it will soon turn to squabble. A phone call is bound to happen, maybe J and I could sneak off.
It seems Sydney hit soft sand at speed, broke off the nose wheel, and catapulted out the front. The silly fool forgot to fly. The phrase silly fool is from my grandfather. As a child I remember him describing old Wattie as a silly fool to my grandmother. I never knew who old Wattie was but I certainly knew he was a silly fool. As a child that phrase rolled around my tongue for years.