Dog Days

Good news:   Honey has been found.   She hadn’t been far at all.   In fact she was at home all the time:  locked in the barn.   Red faces all round for us… there we were combing the countryside waving her squeaker thingy and calling her name…

She’s a bright dog:  if only she had the brains to BARK!

Nice to have her back though.

Mad yachties

Reading the story of the Velux 5 Oceans race today, I was reminded that years ago at school, when I was part of the sailing team, we were denied the same recognition as the rugby team as we were not deemed to be a ‘real’ sport.   Hence we were not allowed the privilege of signing ‘The Colours Book’.

We’d won every match that year:  the only school team so to do – a feat repeated for several successive seasons.

Needless to say this rather inflamed the Master i/c sailing, Mr Beach (no kidding) to the point of him threatening to ‘deck’ (geddit?) the Deputy Head.   He was not happy of the inference that Yachting was not adequately ‘macho’.

Consequently several weeks later, when rugby was cancelled due to bad weather or something, I found myself the host of the First 15 down at the lake on games afternoon….. seems Bob Beach had a score to settle…..or at least we did – on his behalf.

It was a cracking day.  A tad wet, I’ll concede, but blowing dogs of chains straight down the lake.   A yachties dream – we were in heaven – a good breeze was not a common occurrence on a small inland lake.

Pretty soon we wised up to our task:  to scare the proverbial out of the rugger buggers.

Easy peasy.    Screaming downwind, broad reaching across each others bow waves to increase the spray soaking the new crew, while we implored them to ‘hike harder’, lest we capsize.  It was a good afternoon.

I recall we signed The Colours Book quite soon after.

So, for anyone who still thinks yachting is for the faint hearted, take a look at this picture:

60 knot winds, with seas to match, you are racing downwind in excess of the urban speed limit in a 60 foot boat with no brakes.

On your own.   In the dark.

Rugby anyone?

Chicken and Dog Run

On the one hand the weekend was a great succes and, with the completion of the chicken run, we can look forward to a significant increase in the egg department.

On the other hand it was not, as our beloved Honey has absconded.   Always one eager to chase a rabbit, we fear she nipped out of the gate pursuing something of interest and has become lost and disoriented, in a new environment.   The heavy rain after lunch will have made it impossible for her to follow her scent home.

We’ve called all the local farmers, alerted the police and our neighbours and the kids have made ‘Lost’ posters for display in the village shop.   She’s ‘chipped’ so hopefully will be found and returned to us.   Being a Hong Kong hill dog, we know she is quite resourceful and intelligent… as long as that does not extend to chasing local sheep….

On another note we had a visit from Mr and Mrs Panther, drank too much wine (and Armagnac in my case) and popped over to Urchfont on Sunday to smack a few clays.   For the record the results (out of the ususal 50) were:

Panther:   30    Tricky:   16    The Fisherman:   10

So, sitting there with a cup of tea looking a little smug it gave us some pleasure to hear that Top Gun of the morning was a pigeion shooter with a score of 47.

Age and Treachery

Mornin’.   Hope you are all sitting comfortably with your morning vat of Starbucks.   Today’s post is courtesy of Singapore Tim.   A story with a moral in it:

A wealthy old lady decides to go on a safari in Africa, taking her faithful, aged poodle named Cuddles along for company.

One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long,  Cuddles discovers that he’s lost. Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having him for lunch.

The old poodle thinks, “Oh, oh! I’m in deep doo-doo now!” Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap the old poodle exclaims loudly,

“Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?”

Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees.

Whew!,” says the leopard, “That was close! That old poodle nearly had me!”

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So off he goes, but the old poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up.

The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.  The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, “Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what’s going to happen to that conniving canine!”

Now, the old poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, “What am I going to do now?”, but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn’t seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old poodle says:

“Where’s that darn monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!”

Moral of this story…

Don’t mess with old farts … age and treachery will always overcome youth and inexperience!    B.S. and brilliance only come with age and experience!

Think about that as you go about your business today!

The Earthquake Friday 13th

Friday 13th was not particularly memorable – unless you were in Hawaii.   San Fran Sean’s evening went well and the weekend continued in fine style until Sunday morning… when the earth really shook for him:

The party started off in my hotel condo with 3-4 bottles of Bollinger… then to Vino’s… great little wine bar… Chuck Furuya, the owner, did us proud… copious amounts of champagne… nightcaps on the beach at Duke’s… great evening… The attached photos show we took over the bar!!!…

Then… I suppose it had to happen sometime… and natural disaster on a Friday 13th weekend!!!… On Sunday a 6.6 earthquake off the coast of Hawaii (the big island) at 7.08am… woke me up!!!…

It wasn’t bad enough that a storm blew in on Saturday evening… very warm but raining… Plan A for Sunday was sailing if it was sunny… Plan B was go hang out in Hank’s bar in old Honolulu if it was raining…
We didn’t even have a Plan C!!!… Earthquake???… who plans for that!!!…
Here’s a few odd little facts… Power went out around 7.10am… came back on in Waikiki at 8.12pm… that’s THIRTEEN hours….
Last big earthquake to affect Oahu/Honolulu… 1975… that’s 31 years ago… and yes… reverse 31… THIRTEEN….!!!!!!!!!!!!

It rained on and off all day Sunday… I had Bollinger and caviar in the fridge… I was in great shape… after the sun went down Waikiki was crowded and DARK!!!… a few bars were open… cell phone networks were overloaded… Quaffed a few cold ones in the “Big Kahuna”… when the lights went on you could hear the cheering all over the city… very cool…

Needless to say, a Friday 13th to remember… Don’t you just love it!!!!!….

How will he top that next Friday 13th?

Oscar Wilde and the Futurists

It was Oscar Wilde’s birthday yesterday – well OK, it would have been were he still alive… so for the picky I’ll start again:

It was the anniversary of Oscar Wilde’s birth yesterday and I was reminded of a particularly good party about 15 years ago in Hong Kong.

It was titled The Oscar Wilde and the Futurists Party and we all had T shirts for the event.   I still have no real understanding of what this was all about, but I do recall the evening quite vividly.

It was Andy’s birthday and he and Frank (at the time they were or had variously been my flatmates) organised the event.   The night commenced on a Junk with a plentiful supply of booze as we cruised out to Po Toi for the ubiquitous banquet.    Vast quantities of Tsing Tao later – and clutching a case courtesy of the restaurant – we stumbled back to the boat and headed out into the darkness.   We anchored out in the bay and all went for a swim.   It was probably about midnight, pitch dark, we were all seriously the worse for wear.

And no one drowned or even died.

But the strongest memory I have is for the quote.   We were each given a quote and we were either Futurists or Wildes.   We had to learn it and be able to recite it on demand.   I have absolutely no idea why.   But I do remember mine:

For hours and hours we had trampled our atavistic ennui in to rich Oriental rugs.

Strange how the mind retains the most useless information for years.

Oscar Wilde is often quoted and with good reason:  he was prolific:

Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event.

Quite.  But not always.

Friday 13th – Champagne Day

Regular readers will recall my friend San Fran Sean who, rather than be miserable on Friday 13th, celebrates by hosting a party and only drinking Bollinger Champagne.

He’s sent me an invite, which I am happy to share….. If you are passing I’m sure he’d be delighted to share a glass…

In 2002 I celebrated both Friday 13th in Hong Kong.

June 2003 was celebrated in San Francisco.

The two in 2004 were in Vancouver B.C. and Miami

May 2005 was in San Francisco and January 2006 was also in San Francisco, where we set a new record of 63 bottles of Bollinger.

October 2006 is in Hawaii

Some people consider this to be an unlucky day. I do not! In fact, I have been celebrating Friday 13th for 29 years (May 1977) by sharing Champagne with friends.


October 2006 I will be hosting a party in Honolulu with friends and celebrating with copious amounts of Champagne.


Vino Wine Bar, Honolulu, Hawaii

8.00pm…. You know the date!

Why not celebrate Friday the 13th yourself?   We’ll be raising a glass or two of Charles Heidseick this evening.

Nanny and Ageism

The nanny state continues to be unable to resist interfering in all that they should not.   But their actions are of little consequence if common sense prevails and people get on with their lives.   Unfortunately there are plenty of muppets for whom the new rules are an opportunity to make a fuss over nothing.

The issue that has me wound up today is the insurance firm that has stopped the circulating of birthday cards for staff to sign, amid concern that light hearted “ageist” comments could unwittingly breach the new age discrimination laws.of ‘ageist’ comments.

The Employment Equality (Age) regulations 2006 came into force on Oct 1, prohibiting direct or indirect harassment or victimisation on the grounds of age.    If there are people who think that a birthday card could in any way constitue ‘harassment’ they are in need of help.

A member of staff said: “I think it’s stupid really. People like to joke about other people getting older, and it’s only a bit of fun.”   Precisely.

An employment law specialist said: “Gags in birthday cards about people being ‘over the hill’ will need to be curbed.”  Oh, get stuffed.

Are all the greetings card manufacturers are going to have to run the text past their legal departments to ensure compliance?   Are we going to have to buy cards with ‘Warning: explicity material’ labels on them?

This is pathetic.   Use common sense and good judgement:  legislation for such things is for the mindless.