The Hobart Injection

People I know used to talk about the ‘Heathrow Injection’ – A non existent mythical injection apparently received by southern hemispherical travelers upon arrival in the UK to commence their OE which loosely translated to the fact that they would instantly gain about 15 lbs in weight, lose any resemblance of healthy skin tone and suddenly gain an addiction for liquid carbohydrates usually served in pint glasses.


I am going to hijack that phrase and turn it into the ‘Hobart Injection’ – Likewise, it’s a theoretical thing but the symptoms are exactly the same, I’ve had about five weeks back in Hobart whilst I’ve been training with the AAD and due to the fact that most of my time is spent catching up with old colleagues it’s safe to say that I don’t quite feel as healthy as I should, the fitness levels have decreased somewhat and there may or may not have been a couple of days where I struggled to deal with a mild headache due to the ingestion of some ‘meed’ whilst enjoying a local farmers market. That said, I’ve had a few good days out walking in the hills which is something I don’t get to do much of in Brisbane these days.

Walking in Tassie

The AAD is a bit of a ‘club’ to say the least, if you’ve been South before it’s kind of hard to walk around Hobart for a day without bumping into some old ‘compadre’ and spending a bit of time catching up, I happened to be at a local ‘establishment’ a couple of weeks back and could see approx. thirty folk, from different expeditions all milling about in differing ‘states of mind’ (some started their milling a little earlier than others) but all were very happy to see each other and be introduced as part of that common ‘club’.

In terms of training it’s been the usual necessary routine, Fire, Search and Rescue, Vertical Heights and Rescue at Heights etc. Whilst not a lot changes in this respect it’s good to be reminded of what information you thought you’d retained but more importantly I always find it’s the best way to start bonding the Wintering teams before we hit station and get to work out ‘who fits where’ in the groups social & operational structure. The old saying of ‘every year is different’ is of course very true, not that what we do differs that much more that ‘who’s on the team’ affects every part of our social interaction on station with each other.


I had the job of putting together the fire team ‘rotation’ last week to pass on to our station leader, it’s a fairly simple roster consisting of three teams of six people, each week a team assumes the duty role and as such they abstain from alcohol and respond to any (hopefully false) alarms during their time on ‘watch’. What I’ve learned from past years is that whilst you can easily form a ‘technical’ fire team from the abilities of the available people but what you do need to look long and hard at is the social side of who’s on each team, how you think they’ll work with each other and whether the team is evenly balanced in terms of ‘chiefs and workers’ etc. To be honest we’ve got a fairly good bunch this year and I don’t suspect any problems but then I’m bound to say that aren’t I as they’ll likely be reading this post on Facebook and I need to be careful what I say haha! 

Pre-Departure leave is now pretty much over – This leave is granted by the AAD to allow wintering expeditioners the chance to return home for a short period before they head south to catch up with family and friends etc. I headed up to the Sunshine Coast with the family for the week to get as much Vitamin D as possible, hired a house near the beach with a pool and good facilities so have been pretty spoilt in terms of my final week before heading away. I seem to have spent most of my week off either ill or asleep though so don’t feel I got the best out of it!

Pre-Departure Leave

So tomorrow morning I fly back to Hobart ready for the ‘hurry up and wait’ of next weeks pre-departure briefings and ‘hanging about’ whilst we get ready to go. As I understand it the Wilkins runway is groomed and ready to receive the A319 we just have to wait for the conditions to allow this to happen. There are numerous conditions that need to be met, i.e. the runway needs to have been at a temp below -5 for a certain amount of time etc, all of these stars will need to align and we’ll be standing by ready to hop on board when someone presses the go button. Whilst I’m due down on the first flight of the season on the 28th of October delays can and most likely will happen, watch this space.


For the remainder of today I shall continue to threaten the kids about what not to do over the next year and a bit in my absence, threaten Ellie about what not to do to the Landrover in my absence and threaten the cat just because it hates me.

Cheers for now..


The ‘Tarc’ – Trip Three, Week One…

Arriving in Hobart was a bit of a shock this week, I left Brisbane on a beautiful Queensland winters day at about thirty degrees and landed in about fifteen degrees of drizzle in Tasmania’s capital. I’ve been slowly acclimatising to the temps of my temporary home this week and may even get used to it by the time I’m due to leave! Being in Hobart does act as a good staging post before heading South though, I’m not wearing shorts everyday like I would be at home, I’m back in long pants and jackets so have had to drag all my old New Zealand clothing out of the boxes in the garage and sort them out for living here for six weeks.

So if you’re new to this blog then you’ll need to know that I’m back in Hobart having started work for the Australian Antarctic Division again – I’m heading South to Casey station soon to commence a contract as a comms officer whilst being one of the 70th ANARE expedition Wintering team. This’ll be different from my last trip to Davis station a few years back, for one I’ll be flying there instead of going down via ship and it’s going to be a pretty busy Summer by the sounds of it too. Casey will have helicopters on station this Summer which is not normally the case and as such it sounds like we’ve got a rather hectic schedule of operations for the Summer season. I like Antarctic Summers, it’s always very busy, there’s always something going on somewhere to get involved with and you rarely get chance to sit back and take a breather, it may be something to do with the twenty four hour sunlight that seems to give everyone the extra energy they need to get through the work, even though you do need to stick a cleverly engineered bit of cardboard up in your room window to block the light out when you do finally decide it’s time to get some shuteye!

Right now though I’m still in Hobart, I’ll be here for about six weeks in order to do some training and catch up on any new changes to the AADs operating procedures likewise I’ll need to re-qualify and re-train in any risky activity tickets such as working at heights, vertical rescue, fire training & use of breathing apparatus etc. Fortunately I don’t have to undergo the full three and a half months of training as I did the first time I took part in the 67th ANARE at Davis, not that I mind, I’m rather fond of Hobart, it’s a small city as cities of the world go but it’s got a nice feel to it – It’s an outdoorsey type of place, people are always getting out and running, mountain biking, sailing etc, my type of environment I love it. I went down to the Saturday market at Salamanca this morning just to get a feed and take some pics, I watched a few of the buskers and usual things going on and then walked back via the wharf – The Aurora Australis and the L’Astrolabe are both alongside the wharf at the moment as last weekend was the Antarctic Festival in town, hopefully the Aurora remembers to bring all my thinks when I next see her at Casey station around Christmas time this year!

Hobart Market

I picked up all of my Antarctic Clothing from stores this week, as a ‘Winterer’ I get given tonnes of kit to take with me which takes up rather a lot of room so I need to sort through it all and decide what to send down on the ship and what to take with me on the plane. As I’m flying when deployed I have a luggage limit of 55kgs in which to bring everything I need to last me until the ship arrives in December. In terms of stuff I don’t need I’ll want to get all the really heavy winter clothing, Baffin boots and other bits and bobs and get them consigned to the ship for delivery to me later this year – Now whilst I do of course need some warm clothing for Summer you’ll be surprised at how most of us really only wear normal day to day clothing with just an extra layer of thermals underneath to keep the chill off during the majority of the Summer months. I will of course have to get my work clothes and the standard ‘survival’ kit taken down with me on the plane but the priority is my camera equipment, twelve terrabytes of hard drives, a few laptops and some things to play with to keep me amused, anything else isn’t really needed until after the ship arrives.

Paperwork and Packing

My first week (or four days) has been mainly about settling back into the ways of working at the AAD, catching up with any changes and mostly saying saying hello to everyone you bump into as you walk the corridors. We got stuck into assisting with a bit of work installing some comms equipment into a pair of new Hagglands  destined for Davis station this week. Basically the front drivers cab has an array of navigation and communications equipment attached to a ceiling plate which includes GPS, Radar, Iridium Satphone, VHF radio etc, interestingly one of the Haggs had been sprayed pink which I later found out was for Breast Cancer Awareness and will be used to raise money somehow – Both Haggs were being fitted out by the mechanical section so will arrive on station literally spanking new……They won’t look like that for long….

Settling in and Working on the New Haggs

So not much more to report at this stage, I’m heading out for a walk tomorrow (Sunday) so will no doubt ache on Monday as it’s been a while since I did any distance that involved any really endurance undertaking – I want to try and keep that up as it’ll be pretty busy once we get off that plane, it’ll be hard to find time to get work done let alone train!

Till next time



Southbound Again

When I was listening to music as a teenager I had one band in particular that I used to like that nobody else did at the time: Dire Straits – They weren’t fashionable, they weren’t ‘pretty’, they were rough as guts and Mark Knopfler (lead guitar and vocals) sounded like he was singing from inside a musty drain filled with rats and empty cigarette packets. Knopfler was the key songwriter for the band and it has to be said he was bloody good at it. For those who can’t remember, Dire Straits did the ‘Brothers in Arms’ album, you know, that blue one with the old steel ‘Dobro’ guitar hanging in the sky on the front cover that probably 80% of the world owned at the time. People mainly found themselves owning it due to it being the first ever album to be recorded digitally and pressed onto the new fan-dangled format which was Compact Disk when the rest of the world was still using analogue equipment – Anyone who’d just invested in a CD player in those early days had no option but to buy it unfortunately and thus Knopfler became a very rich and sought after man. For most people, their listening to Dire Straits probably finished there, I went a bit further though and eventually bought all their albums over the next twelve or so months (delayed mostly due to financial issues and the embarrassment of having to sneak them home so my mates wouldn’t find out) and with it I started to enjoy some of their lesser ‘known’ songs, and in my opinion the much better one’s too – Every wannabe guitarist needs a hero and at that time for me it was Mr Knopfler’s style of playing that did it for me.

The reason I’m harping on about Dire Straits is that on their first album (Dire Straits – Dire Straits………I know, originally eh!) they had a song called ‘Southbound Again’ which Knopfler wrote because he was constantly travelling South from his home in Newcastle in the UK to visit record companies in London whilst trying to score the band a recording contract…Anyway, that song has been running through my head for the past two weeks as I’m about to do the same again myself, and it’s a very fitting tune..

I recently came back from Suva, Fiji  after a two month contract there with the World Food Programme (UN logistics and telecommunications cluster), I had a great time, met some good people and generally learnt a bit about the UN and how it all fits together in terms of supporting countries in need of assistance during or after a disaster strikes. I was due to stay on with a contract extension when fortunately or unfortunately (yet to be confirmed!) I received a call from the AAD again offering me a winter position at Casey station. I had to take a bit of a risk in leaving the Fiji role as by heading home I still wouldn’t be guaranteed a place at Casey unless I passed the medical but let’s be blunt, if I fail a medical for any reason then I’ve got bigger worries overall! I got home on the 12th of August after a series of flights, one of which included the pilot wearing his Puma jacket whilst flying through a storm and throwing a bottle of water back to me as in flight refreshment. Suva was an interesting place to work and live though very different from what I think a lot of us expect it would be like.

Once home I had to go through a whole range of post mission medicals and psychological assessments from Fiji only to be followed with a range of ‘pre’ expedition medicals and psychological assessments for Antarctica which took up the best part of a week to get through with constant trips into Brisbane and numerous other desirable places.

By the way, did I ever mention how much I hate blood tests? Did I? Probably not! – The bain of my life is blood tests, they’re a necessary evil for what I do but they are my worst nightmare, about five years ago if you told me I was due a blood test in a month I would have a whole month of anguish, mental trauma & worry and would snap at anyone who came near me….Nowadays I’m not so bad, having had so many in recent years I’ve now developed a coping strategy and have stopped blacking out and throwing up on nurses – I do still try and break my fingers in the side of the hospital bed to try and take my focus away from the needle as it gets shoved into my brachial artery…(all my hairs on my arms are currently at full attention whilst writing this…I will now change the subject!). So to summarise, firing squads: fine, blood tests: not so good.

Having been back a few weeks now I’ve had the ‘all clear’ for the medicals and received my contract this Friday so other than insulting people (highly possible) or breaking a leg (No skateboarding for me) prior to departure I should be on schedule to start work with the AAD shortly. The plan at this stage is for myself to commence training at AAD HQ in Kingston on the 13th of September, I’ll be put through the usual rounds of training e.g. fire team training, boat handling, search and rescue, ropes rescue and tower climbing which the full winter team have to partake in. Alongside that I’ll also be training in the technical stuff that I need updating on for the AAD systems which include everything from learning the helpdesk software to having a day’s training on how to fix the X-Ray machine in the eventuality that it breaks down. This should see me through to late October where I get a week at home for pre-departure leave with the family and then back to Hobart again for the usual process of ‘Hurry up and Wait’ whilst we hope for the conditions to be perfect enough for us to all board the A319 and fly direct to Casey station for the start of the big contract.


For those who read this blog last time I was wintering down South this is a different station to before. Before I wintered at Davis but this time I’m heading to Casey and whilst the systems and people are similar the stations have many differences. Firstly you’ll remember that last time I headed South I was sailing aboard the jolly ship & icebreaker the VNAA ‘Aurora Australis’, the main reason for that being that resupplying the cargo to all stations is carried out via ship and that the most efficient way to get staff to Davis is aboard that ship with all their ‘many things’ – Casey is different, it is home to Wilkins runway which is a CASA approved skiway located approx 65km inland from Casey station on the ice plateau itself. There are many regular flights in and out of Wilkins from Australia throughout the summer season where folk are dropped off and picked up with great regularity – Casey station becomes something akin to a transit lounge at a busy modern airport though with usually longer waiting times, a distinct lack of McDonalds and the likelihood of cold feet whilst stood hoping that the aircraft can land – Still, the view is much better and the home brew is free…

My two weeks at home have been fairly busy asides of medicals and windows updates, I’ve discovered that George can do nothing other than talk about skateboarding and Tony Hawk, I have found that my car has had it’s electronic handbrake replaced with a screaming sound and I’ve also concluded that the cats still haven’t learnt to enjoy being tortured. So for now I have two weeks left back at home to relax, typically this weekend I have man flu so this is highly likely to be my last ever blog – I believe I may not make it through the night, my carcass is likely to be tossed out onto the nearest passing milk float in the morning to be discarded into the Brisbane river with all the other unfortunate men that could have likely contracted this evil pathogen this weekend, Gawd bless us….

I’ve heard that it is possible to survive man flu, it has been done, If this is so and I manage to pull through I will be away next weekend on Stradbroke Island with Stan and four of his teenage mates for Stan’s 15th Birthday, god help ‘em is all I can say….Not many of them have met me properly yet, I have a feeling they may well be in for a shock.

My last weekend at home is Stan’s actual birthday so it’ll likely be spent counting down the time before I disappear so they can all cheer and pop the champagne corks as I head off down the driveway on my way to the airport. Between now and then I have to pack all my stuff and get it couriered to Hobart, continue to update all the computers at home so that they stay working for the next eighteen months and generally browse the internet in search of those last minute ‘camera bargains’ that you know damn well are going to happen.

But until such time as I’m needed in Hobart I shall relax and sit about




Land Ahoy!!

Well that happened quickly…

So it only seems like about half an hour ago myself and Ellie were thinking about the possibility of ‘buying a bit of land’ and then, well, would you believe we’ve gone and committed to buying something and signed an agreement.

Now whilst we’ve only signed an expression of interest at this stage the only real way back now is if the sellers pull out (unlikely as they’re land developers) or if we suffer some sort of financial disaster (will try not to) – Basically next week we’ll get the full contract come through which will require a slightly more significant down payment and then we wait until Oct / Nov before the land becomes available to build on……Oh wait? You mean to say you think we know what we’re buying into? Err, no….It’s all from a plan that actually hasnt been dug up, flattened and turned into anything vaguely resembling a well prepared ‘lawn’ at this stage…


So, what did we get? Well, currently we live on ‘acreage’ which funnily enough as the name implies is roughly an acre of rented land and house space which we’re kind of enjoying – The current rental rolls downwards to the river and as such loses about 40% of it’s usability as it gets close to the bushes that border onto the river (Trust me, you don’t really want a nice clean area and a ‘jetty’ on your property into the river as once a year you’ll get a bill from the council when they want you to come and pick it up downstream after yet another biblical flooding) – So the new place is 2214m2 which roughly equates to just over a half acre of land, however, it’s totally flat land, all usable with no muddy rivers or bushubs in site.

Lot 63 Disclosure Plan

As mentioned it’s a new development in Karalee which is where we live now, the benefits of which will be that we aren’t right at the end of the rivers oxbow and now don’t have to drive 15 mins to the shops, to work, to air cadets and the freeway everyday – To be honest I reckon it’ll save $10k a year in fuel and not having to bump into the many million speed bumps & roundabouts along the route – But the main reason, and this is going to sound quite sad, is because shortly after the land is provisioned it will be connected up to NBN…INTERNET!!!!….Now, as a Father of two internet hungry little bleeders and the husband of a wife who has a direct VPN feed to the Daily Mail (of which I consider to be the least accurate journalistic organisation on the planet) this is actually a substantial advantage in life worthy of moving. As it stands Internet access in Australia is utterly dreadful, I mean, seriously, we have some amazing modern infrastructure in terms of road and rail networks and nobody seemed to realise at any point that whilst these things are being built, maybe we should chuck a bit of fibre in a pipe at the same time??   I mean, come on, even in the UK back in 1989 I was pulling fibre into buildings around London so they were ready for the information age and the UK cant even decide if they want to be part of a continent or not?


I digress….So the land bit has been selected, it’s on town water and sewage which, unlike other parts of Karalee will save a bit of money on installing those systems etc. The main thing now is to start looking at ‘what house’ to put on that land. There are so many to choose from in Aus, plenty of ‘off the peg’ designs all of which you literally sign a contract with a supplier and they build the whole thing from foundations to putting up the washing line, though it makes sense to have a look at the reviews of all of these companies as when you read some of them there’s no way in hell you want some of them putting up the foundations let alone the washing line….

I have many ideas….All of which involve the following imagery…

Being the horrid, belligerent, evil person I am I’ve selected to start putting a tender together that three companies can bid on for the work in the hope that we’ll get some extras thrown in for free (e.g. solar power, stone kitchen worktops, platinum finished washing line etc) – We have some idea of what we want but there’s so many things to choose from sometimes I almost think it’s better to let the companies meet our needs and give us a plan.

Anyway, from my perspective I want the following:

  • A firepit in the garden with a log pile to just have a fire and cook marshmallows with George as and when I feel.
  • A large shed to do ‘manly’ things in including playing darts, drinking beer, playing pool and pretending to do maintenance things to a car whilst wearing an oily vest.
  • Provision of a swimming pool in which to survive a Queensland summer because to be quite honest I shall be useless from the months of October through to May if one is not installed.
  • Somewhere to park the camping trailer
  • Building of a house – Optional


Oh well, this will give me something to provide a planning focus until I get back from Fiji – See you in six months 🙂












This certainly wont be a long post but hopefully one that’s a little more interesting than the rants of the last 14 months whilst at home in Brisbane. It would appear that I’m finally back in the realm of gainful employment though some would certainly argue that it doesn’t count as a ‘proper job’ – However, if the bank credits are going up rather than down I guess that’s good right?

So I did a couple of courses with a company called RedR back in February, these were with a view to being able to get registered with the UN rapid deployment teams in the event of a humanitarian response requirement – Ultimately the people on the register have a ‘skill’ that’s in demand, they’re the sort of people who’ve traveled fairly extensively and have already been deemed ‘suitable’ and correctly ‘vetted’ to be able to deploy at short notice.

I finished the long selection process recently and literally within a couple of days of being accepted a register role came up that required an ICT Officer to head to Fiji to assist with the recovery process post hurricane Winston earlier this year….Long and short of this story is that I applied, was accepted, dodged a few visa / passport issues and am now sitting in an apartment in Suva about to start my first full day of work tomorrow morning – Bula!

I feel like I’ve been away from home months already, I left Brisbane on Thursday morning and flew to Melbourne (RedrR’s head office) – Had a meeting there for a couple of hours and then had the day free to explore the city (and take some pictures as shown below) before catching the red eye from Melbs to Nadi overnight followed by a short haul across to Suva first thing Friday morning…All went fine apart from me forgetting to select the seating tick box that meant I had to sit behind the row with the screaming baby on the overnight leg….For that reason I spent most of Friday morning unconscious in my hotel room before rocking up to the office in the afternoon for a couple of hours to meet and greet some of my forthcoming colleagues. Being as I’m ‘comms’ I fall under the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster which is run by WFP (world food programme) – The UN cluster system is a new thing for me so I’ll need to be a little diplomatic over the next few months (one of my naturally endearing strong points I’m sure you’ll agree…)

I really only have a small idea of what the work entails and for reasons of security won’t be posting it up on here but it should be interesting and purposeful which makes me more driven and focused, likewise it looks like I could well be here a bit longer than the initial two month contract but that’s yet to be seen!

I’ve met up with some of the other RedR deployee’s all working here under different guises and will say that it’s been a rather social weekend, Friday night was my ‘induction’ at the Holiday Inn hotel whilst Saturday night was slightly more subdued and resulted in watching the All Blacks pull back some good play by the Welsh and an even more shocking win by England….(pictures below…)

So, it’s Sunday night, I’ve had a swim in the pool and am relaxed and ready to face tomorrow’s new day….Wish me luck..:-)

Cheers (and Bula!)





Gear Review – Nissan Tilda Latio (2004)

This is a new feature to my blog to date, not that I’m looking for sponsorship (However, Nikon feel free to interject at any point given as how I have spent more on your kit than I probably have bringing up two children…) – No, this ‘review’ is more for the fact that I would like to get any knowledge or wisdom that I have learnt out there so that the general public can be better informed about what products adorn the market for them to spend their hard earned monies on.

Today’s Gear Review will be just that, some information about a thing…A thing that some of you may have used yourself even, I’d love to hear any other bloggers reviews that can support or likewise contradict what I’m saying as the more opinions on things the better….Today’s ‘thing’ comes to you courtesy of me hiring a car whilst in Wellington, not a short term loan, five weeks in total I believe which basically means that I went super budget…Let me begin.

The Nissan Tilda Latio


Firstly, that name – Whilst in Japan Nissan kept just the name ‘Tilda’ for some reason, however, South East of Japan in the early days of 2004 the car was called a Tilda ‘Latio’….I just looked that up, I don’t know why, I guess I just needed to find a true fact about the vehicle before I berated it. I thought of various things that reminded me of the name, like all car manufacturers these days the name itself has no real meaning apart from that of a similar title to a property management company in Latvia…Personally though I have named it the ‘Felatio’ and think this would have been a more appropriate title given how much it sucks…

Features: None

No really, it doesn’t have any – I expect this would be up there in the offerings for the Top Gear ‘Star in a reasonably priced car’ category of least exciting vehicles I have ever traveled in and I’ve been in many vehicles in many countries in my life to have seen a vast array of ‘low’ quality automobiles some of which I’d even owned myself. If this were a supermarket it would be ‘Pac N Stack’, if it were a brand of Stereo it would be ‘Khuntsui’ it’s just one of those ‘nothing’ totally forgettable vehicles that whilst it will likely be very reliable (and according to other reviews it is) you will not remember the journey unless you drove into a bus whilst gaffa taped to the bonnet with a gimp ball in your mouth stopping you from screaming.

The only exciting thing I could remotely find was not actually put there deliberately to be an exciting feature – For those of us who are not American you may have come across the option to have driven a manual car a few times in your life (or even prefer to like I do), for those who have done so you will of course realise that you need a thing called a ‘clutch’ to disengage the gears from the spinning noisy box at the front whilst changing between gears – For those familiar with the act of disengaging a clutch you will have come to realise that the pedal to do such an act is done with the left foot….

Have a look at this picture:


Now the handbrake on the Felatio is the left pedal and you press it in to engage it (then take your foot off) and then you press it in again to disengage it…where it releases. Now whilst that is a fairly simple action in itself, for someone, like me, who occasionally drives his wife’s equally shit car (Which is a manual) I unfortunately don’t always pay full attention to the controls of the car and tend to do all the drivey stuff instinctively……Like changing gear etc…. So coming up to a junction I drop down a gear….except I don’t, I now slam on the handbrake of which there is no release until I slam my foot on the pedal a second time to narrowly avoid death from behind. Likewise when dropping a gear to overtake on the freeway I perform a fancy skiddy stopping manoeuvre and instantly panic at the tail gaiting Kiwi driver who’s teeth I’d seen in my rear view mirror only seconds before going to change gear…

For that reason alone the car has been exciting but not by design….


From the front the Felatio looks a bit weird, it reminds me of the robot face ‘Theo’ that was mounted to the chest of ‘Twiki’ (the other robot) from the 80’s TV series ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’…I haven’t been able to get that impression out of my head for the past month….


If when they designed the car it happened to be ‘let’s design a car that looks like a character from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’ day then I wish they’d made the effort and decided that this one was to be modeled on the character ‘Wilma Deering’ instead as I’m sure it would have sold far more as my following example hopefully explains.


The Stereo:


Quite frankly I took one look at it and I’ve not bothered to turn it on once – If there were an earthquake or sudden flash in the sky that possibly constituted an atomic ‘white light’ experience I might then consider trying to use it to discover what Civil Defense warnings are happening but other than that I can only assume that this is a theft deterrent.


The Paint Job:


White, covered in bird shit, lacking in some areas, possibly also to provide a theft deterrent system.




Five if you include the steering wheel though it should be noted that the steering wheel does not come with hub caps cable tied to it, maybe that’s on the next model up..


Navigation System:


Well it has windows if they count? You can look out of them to see where you’re going which at the grass roots of navigation does count for something. Other than that there is none, I did bring my own GPS as I always do just in case and when I went to stick the ‘sucker thing’ on the window it has just a nice enough curve to it that it wouldn’t stick on…..anywhere….So the GPS sits in a hole in the centre console which I can’t read when handbrake stopping whilst I change gear…


Garbage Storage:
This is where the Felation comes into a class of it’s own I have to say, I found that the garbage storage facility has a vast capacity that after even four weeks I am nowhere near filling to a point where it needs to be emptied. I expect that even next week when I drop this beauty off I’ll still have plenty of room for at least a couple of trips more and that this capacity would cater for even the most ‘refuse’ dependant of carpet fitters transport needs..



Get out and walk.

Oh OK, I can’t be that unkind, it’s got the acceleration of a ‘Walking Dead’ zombie and you can probably likewise kill it with a stick of rolled up Blu Tac but it’s got me where I needed to go albeit rather embarrassingly at all the squealing from the water pump and brakes as I turn corners and randomly brake when trying to change gear…

It cost me $1300 NZD for 5 weeks and of that I paid $19 a day for the car and $11 for the no quibble  insurance, they were the cheapest on offer…
Would I use them again? Most certainly but I’d probably ask them if the ‘Felatio’ was available first, if they say ‘No’ great, but if they say ‘Yes’ I might have to fly to Auckland and see what cars they have there I can drive down instead…





Australia V New Zealand (uh oh!)

Ooooh, there’s so much scope here to upset everybody I know in one small blog that I don’t even know where to start….That said the Aussies won’t care because I’m a pom and the Kiwis will completely take it the wrong way anyway….Uh Oh, I’ve started already….:-)

OK so the purpose of this blog wasn’t to discuss the age old head to head that always seems to appear during a bit of ‘cross the ditch banter’…More for me to bring up the conundrum of what I’m trying to decide is currently best for the family and why – Calm ya tits!

So I just booted out our tenants in our house in NZ – They decided that they would like to dick me about with payments e.g. rather than paying upfront for the month they wanted to pay in a couple of instalments across the month, and then the instalments came late etc, the end of the lease was coming up and I just thought it would be a good time to call it quits and reclaim the house whilst I’m not working so we can choose to sell it etc.

So I arrived in NZ yesterday to get the keys for the house…Hmmmm, interesting, water damaged wooden floor, ripped carpet, neglected garden and air conditioning units which are broken etc, not happy….There’s wear and tear to the inside of the house that I accept that to some degree, plus it’s something I can fix myself, bit of paint and filler here and there, I don’t mind that….It’s when I hand my house over to a leasing agent to look after my house and they let it go to pieces that I get pissed off – I may have possible been a little too frustrated when doing the jet washing of the deck…

As you can see from the pics, this is certainly not how I would have handed them the house so I don’t expect it back in this condition, especially when I’m back to sell the place and have prospective clients lined up for Saturday morning….Arrrrrggghhhh!!

So I went for a ‘chat’ with the leasing agent this morning, I was met by two of the staff who asked me what I thought, I told them obviously that I wasn’t pleased and then we went through the list of what we all thought had been damaged by the tenant etc in reviewing their final report on the condition of the property after the tenants had vacated…..They thought the place smelt of dog and needed a better clean basically……err Yes, it does but what about the rest? I mentioned the water damaged floor, nobody had noticed it, I mentioned the ripped and frayed carpet and nobody had noticed that, I mentioned the broken air conditioning invertor because of the neglect of the back of the house and they hadn’t realised that it was not working…………WTF! Anyway, to cut a long story short, they pretty much told me that it was my responsibility to maintain the property wheras I pressed them that it was their responsibility to tell me what needs maintaining in my absence as they are the people looking after it on my behalf….

A difference of opinion ensued, I stopped the meeting and sat there ‘steaming’ with anger at their ridiculously defensive comments only to say that the best way forward was for me to leave, contact my lawyer and review my options…..Before I started swearing….I think they were a little bemused as to the expression of ‘death’ on my face…

So right now I’m in a place where I need to get my house in a ‘sales like’ state for this Saturday whilst being advised that tradesmen need to come round and give quotes for the work that I say needs doing, It then needs to go to trial, get approved / not approved to the amount of the quotes I’ve had provided (and likely adjudicated over an eight week period) all in the time in which I’m supposed to be selling my property. Now, whilst I fully understand the need for full & proper adjudication in order that monies can be settled I do tend to get A BIT PISSED OFF when I’m told that photographic evidence of the claim won’t do and that I should leave the property in its degraded state whilst the judiciary processes are still in action….

“No, piss off, I’m selling my house because the bell end I leased it to needed to look after it better…”

It’s such a shame that leasing agents don’t act as the ‘go between’ in a fair and conditional manner supporting and defending both the tenant and the landlord in an equal fashion.

Anyway, back to my main point (ooops, extended rant there!) I’m here in NZ currently tidying my house where we haven’t lived for four years….but, there’s still signs of when we were here, when the kids were in those years when they were growing up in the outdoors, playing in trees, skateboarding on the driveway, visiting the neighbours and freely, happily exploring our little bit of land that no longer seems to happen where we now live.  Now that’s not a knock of Australia, Aus has it’s pro’s and cons the same as NZ does it’s just sad to know that a lot of memories exist in this house that could / would be good for the kids to revisit after so long that might re-ignite their passion for being outside again.

Revisiting the Aus / NZ argument, Aus has fantastic beaches, weather, camping facilities etc but when you live inland it’s so friggin hot that most of the time the kids just want to play indoors on their computers and there the irony of having beautiful weather is completely rubbed against you, it’s too hot, too humid and you can’t move…Whereas I’ve just spent a whole day working in the garden in NZ, I got mild hypothermia, got soaking wet in the rain, missed the warmth and all my clothes are soaked for tomorrow….But, I did a full day’s work in manageable temperatures….I know next week too that I’m going to throw my pack on my back, head into he hills for a week and just keep walking for days / hours….The weight will fall off, I won’t get too hot and will only need two litres of water a day to survive, if I tried that in QLD I’d be dead by 9AM………..But camping on QLD beaches, OMG…..

But hey, it could be worse, I could be a life insurance salesman in Milton Keynes, fuck that….

My dilemma…Hopefully my blogs will become more interesting again soon, there is the possible hope of a return to the ‘Tarc’ but that may or may not still happen….TBC..