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Archives for August 2008

Move along, nothing to see here

Move along, nothing to see here, this website is closed, Tom is watching TV at home in Brighton. Go travel and make your own blogs.

Next time something annoys me I'll probably use this to rant about it (watch out the abrahamic religions, you irritate me) other than that concider this website closed. I will of course be dillagently re-editing all my posts and fixing typos untruths dodgy positioins and running a spell checker over the whole site. Well maybe tommorow.......

Position: 0° 0' S, 0° 0' W | Posted: Thu 28th August 2008

OMG the Pomms are winning..

Have any of you attached ANY significance to the Medal Table of the olympic medals and more to the point the relative possitions of Austrailia and Great Britain? We're doing quite well for us, sailing's helping. Were above the aussie

Its produced yelps from all the Aussie papers. Editorials incuding "Pommies Winning, how the hell did that happen" and the cartoon below.


According to the Ausie's we're doing well cos we pinched their coaches and techniques Which is probably true, sporting ecelence is a major aussie export.

However yeah the ashes between Austrailia and England I can get into that rivalry, but world wide games we're happy to see the Aussies get on we don't think the competitions just between us and them. Now beeting the french and germans THATS important.

Position: 33° 51.1' S, 151° 13.3' E | Posted: Tue 19th August 2008

Its not a yacht

Sunsets on Sydney Harbour

Its a dinghy with a cabin. Mind you the cabin is in Mei's garage (weighs too much).

Just moving it back to the mooring we got a score of 10.9knots on my GPS, got 10.2 yesterday, aiming straight into to a bay with rather a lot of wind. Gybe was "interesting".

Should have been warned, when restoring the main to the boat and fitting the reefing line I asked Matt "Where does this go?" he replied "Dunno, never used it".

I've been on yachts before, the usual rule is when the stanchions get wet then your over powered, Matt on the other hand seems happy with the TOP of the stanchions under water. This results in wet arse when when you tack and lean on the rail.

Nice view from up here

Matt claimed, (later, in a pub) that he did reef once. But in his defense(?) he is claiming it was 40 knots (F9 going on 10) at the time.

I'm not a celebrity, GET ME OUT OF HERE.

The harbour is awesome, though there is a small marine excusion zone around the opera house. Apparently an americas cupper kind of rammed it. It may be archetectuarally stunning, but its certainly not streamlined. Makes a mess of the wind.

Going racing tomorrow, 2 handed, is there a strong wind warning? DOH!

Those about to die salute you.

httpSee the photos here

Position: 33° 52.3' S, 151° 14.6' E | Posted: Wed 13th August 2008

Radiator Springs

I think I see the problem....

When I were a lad we used to break down all the time, could fix anything, with chewing gum. When we could aford chewing gum, upper classes would pay us half ha'pney a week just to chew it for 'em. Tell that to the youth of today when whats left of their laptop screen keeps a swichin off randomly in a loverly little town left behind when the freeway took all the tourists away waiting for a new fan and a radiator for there camper van and they won't belive it. Anyone seen the disney cartoon cars? I've seen it repeatedly my Godson loves it, well this place might as well be radiator springs. In my case litterally,

Oh dear laptop screens gone again. Can't see.... Help where's the submit button.

Yep the amazing self repairing laptop has died and reserected its self again, nearly. How many more lives has this thing got? I'm in The Corrigated Cafe in Pete's Ridge (filled the radiator up and drove off quickly before all the water had a chance to run back out again). Waiting for a new radiator to come from Sydney. The fan on the front of the engine flew off, a massively over engineered fan if you asked me When it came off the radiator didn't stand a chance. last night the NRMA bloke, having been told by his dispatcher, that my fan belt had gone, sugested I nip up the hill to the "Country Club" and get a snack. I do love these call centers staffed by computer controled automatons. You tell 'em exactly the problem. So that everyone knows the score and the computer sofware, probably with drop down boxes, then wrecks all your decription so a confused bloke in a hi vis jacket turns up with a fan belt. I describe the problem they hear "bla bla bla fan bla bal bla" and behold a fan belt.

The country club worried me, I thought golfing trousers members only "hello, nice to see you, could have you killed, I own Devon" in reality this is Austrailia, so it was full of truckers in hi vis jackets saying things like "I was doing a dollar thirty, this fella came passed in the wet doing a dollar fourty at least". I think a dollar fourty is 140 kmh......

Food was good (thai green curry) and beers 3 dollars 70 a schooner. Pretty good. Stayed over night in the car park.

Yesterday went (by accedent) to an RAAF base and visited the fighter museam. Not quite duxford. But they've some cool stuff and it looks much better when you have the noise of F18 Hornets taking off just out side.

Theve the number 1 aussie buit Mirage I fighter, another, french buit mirage an ausie built Saber, a Glouster meteor, a Mig 21 foxbat (I think tis a foxbat, forgetting my Tom Clancy) a DeHavalnd early jet, which I should remeber the name of but can't and a couple of others, more in a hanger being restored.

Nice toy

The also have several gatling guns removed from their mounts, trully scary pieces of kit. Many with their leccy motors wired to a button so they spin.

The place was slighly runind by the historic collecion of Japanese airoplane related video games, but at least they were partly drowned out by the Horents taking off. The other thing they appeard proud of was a fiberglass replica spitfire that was too be honest a bit pants. I doubt it would even have fooled a WWII battle of britain movie luftwaffer extra at 30 thousand feet...

They have a couple of cockpits you can sit in. Not really designed for the likes of me, there's a reason Tom not-very-tall-really cruise got cast for top gun. Bigger bloke wouln't have fitted. Its no fun being an adult. You fiddle with the dials and try and pretened to be giving them a scientific, educated apraisal, whilst really wanting the just wiggle the stick like a 5 year old and make machine gun noises, knowing that you can't do it cos there's people looking.

Going to Bondi today (radiator allowing), the Bondi YHA is cheaper and advatises free surfboards. Hope they have wetsuits too tis a bit nippy down here. Gonna ring up the bloke with the spares, comming from Sydney. Hopfully it won't be a PFY* with a fan elt**. haven't had an apologetic telephone call for a while, maybe he's broken down?

* PFY = Pimply Faced Youth, see BOFH
** One of the previous many deaths of Tom's Zombie laptop was the demise of the B key. Its not exactly cured just in remision.

Position: 33° 19' S, 151° 14.1' E | Posted: Thu 7th August 2008 |

Wine Tasting the Hunter Valley

Dunno who the lass on the righ is....

Been out wine tasting. Read drinking. Some of it was right good. Roos in the road, chilli schnaps (eugh).

Took in a cheese factory (yum), 5 wine tastings at various vinyards. Many of them fortified. White Port? Recomended. Fizzy red wine? Georgeous. Mind you it was 40 bucks a bottle.

The last one was the chilli schnaps place. Didn't enjoy it, had to wash it down with half the tasman sea. Yep thats a sensible thimg to do after drinking wine all day, go surfing.

Recomened the Newcastle Beach YHA, open fires, 5 ucks surfoard hire. Nice. All the people here have been great. ack to Cow and Chicken tommorow.


Position: 32° 46.5' S, 151° 18.4' E | Posted: Tue 5th August 2008

Evil Cow and Chicken

Not the tallest tree in NSW

Cow and Chicken is sitting in a garage, with its lights on, the fuse resolutly refusing to blow. I KNEW this would happen.

I've checked into the YHA in Newcastle, even in midwinter the locals don't wear jackets. Actually they do and whine about the cold. More over I can unserstand their accents. Not like the real Noocastle at all. Staying here tonight and going on a "winery" tour tommorow, guess that means I'm staying tommorow as I'm not spitting it out, foul habit. I don't like drinking and driving, and even if I did I'd want my tail lights to work so I didn't get pulled over.....

I always meant to write some system to send updates to my website instead of uploading the database lockstock and both smoking barrels each time. Its got quite large now, takes a while to upload. Thought rather than do it properly I'd cheat and compress it before I upload it. Then I thought does WinRAR compress from the command line? Of course it does. Does WinSCP operate from the command line. Of course it does! Does WinSCP have a sycronise swich? Of course it does. After 2000km in garish van and before that 14000Nm on a yacht I've finally reailsed what should have been bloody obvous, my database exporting batch file could quite happily have not just exported the database, but compressed it and uploaded it as well not to mention shunting the blog ilustrations up automatically. Time to implement 5 minutes.


I'm an idiot, I'm now going to have to find an internet again and test this.

Now someone must have measured EVERY tree in New South Wales, cos they know which one is tallest. Not sure why they bothered there's billions of them. The one pictured right is NOT the tallest tree in New South Wales. The tallest one wouldn't fit in the viewfinder either but since there was no scale in that picture it could be a bonsi from really close or the tallest tree from miles away. FYI i can see over C and C, just, so that makes the van about 6ft high.

Ther'es another wicked camper outside, the slogan on the back reads "Reality is only an illusion that occures due to a lack of Alchohol" better do something about that, sinanara.

Position: 32° 55.1' S, 151° 48.1' E | Posted: Mon 4th August 2008

No real mechanics available

whats this bit do?

Now Wicked campers come with 24 hour roadside assistance. Which it turns out is a bloke called John. Nice guy. Say the fuse on the tail lights of your van keeps blowing, who ya gonna call? John. When he gets round to finishing a conversation about wenching. He calls you back with the advise that you could ring NRMA, an acronym whose true meaning I'm not familure with, but they're the Auzzie RAC or AA.

According to John, when he'd finished talking to the police (whether this was "roadside assistance", or personal I forgot to ask) he informed we they wouldn't be interetsted cos it was a weekend and the car still drove. He also told me NRMA stood for:

"No Real Mechanics Available"

Add one Cow and one Chicken

So just like the RAC then. The modern driver having deteriorated to the point where they can't change a wheel, or use a pair of jump leads without pathetically calling some spotty teenager in a high vis jacket has erroded the service here too evidently.

"We fix 9 out of ten breakdowns at the side of the road" isn't saying much. So can I. Nine out to ten breakdowns are flat tires or batteries, loose wires, out of fuel or water. Any fool can fix them. No I'm not a member of the RAC.

bridNad Cow.jpg
bird:"I wonder if thats a Misubisi?"

John said "Which van you got?" my mouth, as you all know, engages before my brain, so I replied "Cow and Chicken", rather than some licence or code number. Actually that was what he wanted cos he went "oh one of the mitsubishies". Wicked have a LOT of vans. Either he knows them all or this ones got prior. If your bored at work right now you can browse my gallery and the one on wicked's website comparing the state of Cow and Chicken on each. Now it was news to me it was a mitsubishi. There's a large dent on the front where the badge should be. Its probably imbeded in a roo someplace. Or possibly a tree.

That was 5 paragraphs of "I've got no lights" damn I'm good, wish I could have waffled like this in my GCSE essays.

Well its getting dark, there are scary noises out side, I'm in the Mayer Lakes National Park about 100kn north of Newcastle, wher dear john is too find me a mechanic tommorow. I'm NOT going to be moved on by yogi the park ranger cos I've got no lights.

Came back past Port yesterday. Called Al and Jackie, arrrgh I just can't bring mys self to spell jackie with a y. Sorry Jack. Just to check that I hadn't left anyhting at their place. And stopped with 2 teenagers by a river at Lauriton. Now they saw the van and said "at least we know your not the cops", latter it turned out round the fire, they probably weren't suposed to camp there and they'ed "found" the wood "lying arround by someones house". We call that a wood pile where I come from.

Big Bird

Been to Seal Rocks (man pelicans are big up close). And the gloriously named "Booti Booti" national park. Some nice town and Taree. If you come to Oz give Taree a miss. I did spend some time at the Aussie version of Halfords there that was the highlight of the place. Gonna make all the fuses into a necklace. Wear it with the T-Shirt I'm gonna make that says "I drank Tanna Dry".

Tommorow I'm going to Newcastle, to offload that most irritating of problems, an intermitant electrical fault, on someone else and I'm going to pronounce it like a Gordie. "Haweah leek, me fookin teal leets deene fookin wurk", to which the mechanic, if he's got an ounce of commedy and or geordie in him will point at the van and say "looook at thee size of that Heffer"

Well the scary bush noises have been scared off by what sounds like a Hells Angel convention with broken silencers. i'm off to investigate.

Intened to stop and find an internet tommorow while the vans getting fixed.

Position: 32° 24.5' S, 152° 27.2' E | Posted: Sun 3rd August 2008

Tom tops out?

Cow and Chicken at 4300 ft

I took a tour of GC ages ago, been up the top of southern St Lucia and up the volcano in Vanuatu. However today I hit 4600ft, according to the GPS. Dunno what that is in meters but its a lot. Its higher than england, all of it*.

It did occure to me, do you have to let air out of your tires if you go too high? If so at what point? I mean will they blow? I mean the fenders on Jackal, infaltable things that stop the dock hitting the boat. They wen't all the way from the nice warm med and then when we got them to Coffs harbour they were all flat due to the air cooling and contracting.

Only the national parks today. Dorrigo, one beginning with B, another with rivers in it, and a couple more, there's too many to keep straight. I'm really racking up the miles though. Van's odometer says 200 odd k. Thats the trip one. I forgot to set it when I picked up the van. Drove to Glasshouse NP, around it, to Malulaba, back a bit up to Irwins Zoo back to Brisbane Via some mountains and a National Park. Back to Bris Vagas then re-set it. Before the above list I said 200ks thats having been round the clock. I've done at least 1500ks, its costing a fortune in fuel. I don't own a car in the UK, so I concider me self eco friendly. oops... Going to have to plant a tree or something after this.

say no more, they love me.

Any way in Armidale. Still 3000 and something feet up. Took alook at the map the altitude and rang the YHA. Too cold for the van up here me thinks.

Stopped in the Rainforest at Dorrigo NP at lunch time took another walk, this time through towering rainforest. Lots of photos, may make a gallery, not today. However none of the pictures are very satisfactory. You can't see the wood for the trees. Never can you get the entire tree in the viewfinder, their hundreds of feet tall and too close together. Put em with the flying fish, the milkyway at night and the other things you cannot see on this site. You'll have to see it for yourself.


More water falls, 2 in Doriggo rainforest. One 4000+ feet up the New England Plateau. This one was huge. Had to climb over more hazard warning do not enter bloody warning tape. Grinds teeth.

Going to split now, go online and try and up load this little lot, then search out a nice warm pub with nice cold beer. Got too many photos in this post already, I've had to leave out the huge McMurder sign in the middle of nowhere, listing the kilometers to the next three Maccydees. Crap food in 78, 168 and 190km. This is where I get sued by McLawers for McLibel.**

*Probably I'm off line so can't check, if I'm wrong email me.
**The opionions expressed in this email are the personal opinion of the Author who knows a good burger when he eats on, others may disagree, but the're probably fatter than him.

Position: 30° 31.2' S, 151° 41' E | Posted: Fri 1st August 2008

The Pub with no Beer

The Aussie pub culture is a Myth. Brisbane's best pub is the Fiddlers Elbow in City Backpackers. The rest are soulless over prices and full of suits wtith silly coluored ties. Brabane only has a hand full of pubs (against brighton's hundreds). So i wen't in search of a true ausie pub, just in time it turned out.

Now thats a pub sign

"The pub with no beer" is a clasic folk song by a guy called Slim Dusty. Know to Al (Pom) but I admit not to me. Not suprising really, my folk song knowlege begins and ends with Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Resteraunt. How ever I saw the brown sign with "The Pub with no Beer Brewery" on it and decided to give it whorl.

It was indead a clasic aussie pub, full of locals. For locals read rednecks. I'm pretty sure I can say that, didn't look like they use the internet much. In fact, the plasma screen had been spry painetd brown, with is wires tangled out of it like a 1970's BBC science fiction show. The spreaker cones exposed. The pub sign was an entire tree with the name chainswed in and the beer was EXELENT.

Stayed over night on the Village Green accross the road. The new landord is comming in and ripping the Brewery out to put the owners accomodation back in. Shame really. The locals seemed to like me. Not sure they were convinced by the Lady's motorbike rally that came through a few days back. "Dike's on Bikes" they called 'em.

Got Hangover, 2 capachinos is a Cafe in Nambucca Heads helping, need petrol (again) driving off now.

Position: 30° 45.7' S, 152° 44.7' E | Posted: Fri 1st August 2008

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