Hong Kong – City of The Eastern Dream

My second visit in recent but the Memsahib’s first. As an old sea dog we were able to secure accommodation at the Kowloon Mariner’s Club. This was, indeed , commodious, and satisfied all our needs. Just a few minutes stroll from both Nathan Rd and The Star Ferry.
We set out for a wander and crossed, by ferry, to Hong Kong Island and walked to Wanchai, took refreshment and then back to prepare for a foray to  the ‘shoppings’.

Since my last visit four years ago, the city has continued to grow at an alarming rate. Redevelopment is now so intense that buildings of les than twenty years of age are being demolished  and new constructions are started.

However, after a visit to he renowned Ladies Market at Mong Kok, back to base for a rest before dinner and an early night.

the following day out to Lantau Island via the 360 Crustal Cable Car. It did exactly as it claimed – a glass edifice a bit like Roald Dahl’ s ‘Glass Elevator’  but suspended from a cable. Quite an odd feeling looking down through the floor several hundred feet to either water or vegetation.

Glass Floor

The monastery itself is  remarkable for the size of a Buddah built on a hill. The temple below is most attractive and the usual accoutrements necessary for worship, joss sticks of varying sizes corresponding to the seriousness of the sin that forgiveness is being sought, flowers & fruit for offerings and, of course, pencils with rubbers in the end.

After some perfectly disgusting food, we descended from the mount and returned to Hong Kong intending to take the Peak Tramway to the top of Mt Victoria. Sadly, all the world and his neighbour was in a queue to do the same and as the waiting time was in excess of an hour and it was very, very hot; we abandoned the quest and booked a Harbour Cruise instead.

Big Buddah

Our trip around the Harbour coincided with the Light & Music Spectacular which takes place each evening. It depicts, through the use of the aforementioned media, the story of Hong Kong.


The story was totally incomprehensible, but the music & lights display filled us withe awe (awesome).

And so to bed after an interesting day.





Published in: on April 1, 2014 at 2:42 am  Comments (1)  

Departures & Arrivals.



Almost a week has passed since the last post, ‘to coin a phrase’, and many miles have been travelled.

After leaving the extremely pleasurable excesses of Hamilton, we journeyed on to Waitomo to spend a night at the famous Waitomo Caves Hotel and to visit the caverns which are famed for glow worms. We did and they glowed for bus, splendidly. The night passed in the quirky WCH and we led the following morning, to return to,vase in order to pack up our belongings redact to vacate the following evening prior to departure for Hong Kong.

The morning of departure found us at they town pool for a final aquarobics session, followed by a coffee and cake! Then lunch withnThe Skipper. 

After supper that evening we were transported to Auckland International Aerodrome for our flight to Hong Kong. We bid our farewells and entered the departure lounge to be told that we had been up-graded to ‘Premium Economy’.

the flight was fairly uneventful and both the Mem & I managed some sleep.

we arrived in Kong Kong at 6am the following morning.




Published in: on March 29, 2014 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Twenty Four Hours of Indulgence & A Walk in The Park.


Invited to the Skipper’s & Mrs Skipper’s friends, Carolyn & Mike’s near to Hamilton for the night. They live in an area that could, apart from the temperature, be easily mistaken for Surrey or Hampshire. The terrain is quite flat and the land is divided up into residential blocks with every house different. Even the area names reflect the English Home Counties.


The kindest of hosts, they plied us with food and drink and, consequently, we slept very well.


After a good breakfast to Hamilton Gardens on the edge of the city for a walk and nose about. The gardens were full of awe and people. We enjoyed a pleasant walk by the banks of the Mighty Waitomo.

We then set off for our ultimate New Zealand destination – Waitomo and their famous Glow-Worm Caves.

Before we arrived in Waitomo we stopped at a kiwi, bird & eel sanctuary in the town of Otorohanga. Finally saw a brown Kiwi! Must say, a strange creature to name a population after.


However, now at Waitomo Caves Hotel preparing for our evening excursion into the caves.


Published in: on March 23, 2014 at 4:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Corrie For Lunch & Wings Over The Tasman.

Mrs M, Skipper & Jackie

Yesterday we made ze journey to ze Pacific Ocean and made ze swimmings.

We drove from Patumahoe about 100 of their kilometers to the far side of the Coromandel Peninsula to have a swim and to see some old friends from years ago, The Newties.

We took with us two dogs, white highland terrier, Jacky and old stager, the reliable but ageing Libby.

jackie is young and frisky; Libby is aged, incontinent with defective legs, but she is loved by all.

As she doesn’t walk very well, The Skipper tends to carry her everywhere – weighing 35 of their kilograms, this is not easy.

However, we enjoyed a good swim in the ocean, much to the amusement of the local inhabitants.

Piscatorial exercise being complete, we repaired to ‘Chez Newtie’ for a delicious luncheon. Ther followed a tour around their little town, fond adieus and the journey bak home in time for an evening Aquarobics session.

The following day, Friday, following morning Aquarobics, to coffee with other sufferers. After to Pukekohe East Airfield  and into WL for a brief aerial sortie through Waiuku.


Published in: on March 21, 2014 at 5:50 am  Leave a Comment  

A Close Encounter With Big Dave’s Sister – And a Happy Outcome.

A Close Encounter With Big Dave's Sister - And a Happy Outcome.

Into the town of Pukekohe this morning with The Memsahib & The Skipper, lately back fully recovered from The City of Angels.

Printed copies of drawings for ‘Tikitimu’ in preparation for the laying of the keel in May.

I decided that a haircut was in order and so to ‘Big Dave’s’ for a short, back & sides.
However, Big Dave, whom I first encountered in 2010, was out and his charming Sister did the honours. After a few minutes of clipping and cutting Mrs M & The Skipper appeared and decided to direct operations.
This lead to the trimming of all hair above the neck, including nostrils, eyebrows & ears.

All in all a satisfactory outcome, although I have yet to decide how I will explain this base deceit to Rita, at Sidcup Barber Shop, who has looked after my hair for nearly a generation, and who is familiar with every follicle.

As solace, to an adjacent Sushi Bar to wallow in cold rice & raw fish.

Tonight to nearby ‘Masala’ for dinner with sundry friends, the purpose of which is to celebrate the Skipper’s No1 Daughter’s birthday. Fun for us but not so much for her as she is with child and subsequently on the wagon.
Odd really, my Late Mama smoked 20 a day and had a generous quantity of Gin each day – It hasn’t really affected me. (I don’t believe).

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 4:05 am  Comments (2)  

A Bit Moist

During the Skippers enforced absence in The City of The Angels, smitten with vomiting and mildly discomoded by earthquakes of 4.5 magnitude, I have tried to make myself useful.
As I was encouraged by the award, some weeks ago, of my ‘Pool Maintenance Man – 3rd Class’ badge, I thought it opportune to seek betterment and to work for ‘ 2nd Class’.

The pool is in something of a sorry state following the Passage of Cyclone Linsi through here earlier this week. There was a great deal of floating & sunken debris. In addition the water level was way above that which is right & proper.

I removed and cleaned the filter, skimmed the surface with the appropriate net and removed many leaves. I then used the cleaning hose to siphon off about 2″ of water to bring the level below the overflow/filtering outlet. Are you all following this?

Then my problems started. I fixed the hose to the brush which scours the bottom and sucks up any debris. This has a long aluminium pole attached to it to facilitate its operation and manipulation at depth.

Sadly, the hose came off the head, and the brush and pole sank to the bottom. I had no alternative but to don my bathing drawers and to enter the water and recover the implement. This I did, but despite being summer, it was rather cold.

When I had assembled all the impedimenta, I found that the hose was blocked with leaves. To cut a long story short, I cleared the pipe and put the gear away, ready for another attempt later on.

I Went inside for a restorative large pink gin. Perhaps it is my karma to remain a 3rd Class Operative?


Published in: on March 18, 2014 at 1:47 am  Leave a Comment  

The “Iron Duke” Would Have Approved!

And so, two days in NZ’s capital. After a brief 55 minute flight from Auckland and a short taxi ride, arrived at our serviced flat in Central Wellington.
A stroll through the city took us to The Quayside and a late lunch overlooking the Old Port.
To dinner later at ‘General Practitioner’.

After a nights sleep, ascended the hill behind the City by cable-car and walked back through the extensive and beautifully laid out Botanical Gardens.

It is quite interesting to see on sundry monuments, how many of the founding fathers were from Lancashire & Yorkshire.

After a coffee to the Wellington Museum and we were most impressed by the layout and content- we later found out it is amongst the top 100 museums in the World.
It tells, comprehensively, the history of this young country.

Mrs M & Mrs C then left me so that I could visit the NZ Parliament Building.

The Government Centre is like Gaul – divided into three parts – the youngest of which is, in architectural terms, the most controversial. This part, The Beehive, was designed by Sir Basil Spence and built in the late 60’s.

There is a school of thought which surmises that the shape was intended to emulate the habitat and attitude of bees; industrious, diligent and harmonious. I would, given the nature of politicians, probably discount this theory!

Many of the customs and practices of this parliament reflect, directly, those in Westminster. There is, though, one distinct and substantial divergence. They have abolished their upper house. Sadly, even this has not really improved their legislative process, their term of office is a short three years – hardly sufficient to introduce and pass any new laws.

The tour was quite comprehensive and worthwhile.

After brief refreshment, in the form of Monteith’s Summer Ale, at ‘The Old Bailey’, back to HQ and the Lady Wife.

As the weather has deteriorated with the arrival of the cyclone which has tracked down the West Coast, we ordered a meal to be delivered to us.

We have set calls for 0600 tomorrow and are hoping that our flights back to Auckland will take place.

Published in: on March 16, 2014 at 8:56 am  Comments (1)  

Water & Music

imageSince the last entry, the Memsahib & I have not been idle! Apart from assisting with domestic matters we have found time to exercise, fish, check on a lighthouse and attend a rather splendid concert.

 Exercise first; we have attended aquarobics twice this week and have also swum once. The instructor is a martinet, but not related.

Earlier this week, we set sail into Manakau Harbour in the Skipper’s study craft to look for dinner. We had taken the precaution of carrying with us the telephone number of the fried fish shop which is adjacent to the slipway at Clark’s Beach. Armed with the appropriate tackle and bait we set sail. Four hours later we returned with sufficient fish for a filling meal. A selection of snapper, gurnard & kahawai. The result of this was that we needed to obtain only chipped potatoes.   On or two devoted readers while find the next piece of interest.

We visited Manakau Lighthouse which had been ‘rescued’ and re-built on a new site. Originally established in the 1860’s after the loss of HMS Orpheus and over 120 hands.

The fourth part of this post refers to a concert we attended last evening at Auckland Town Hall. Given by Auckland Philharmonia conducted by Eckehard Stier. The theme was Remembering WWI and the programme included Butterworth, Vaughan Williams and the centrepiece, Elgar’s Cello Concerto played by Li-Wei Qin. Very moving concert followed by a musical entertainment in another part of the Town Hall which comprised of popular songs from that era.

Published in: on March 14, 2014 at 12:23 am  Leave a Comment  

The Golden Age of Motoring (Replicated).

The Golden Age of Motoring (Replicated).

Question. Amongst you ladies, who would not jump at the chance of a trip to the Ocean in an open topped vintage sports car in balmy and sunny weather?

Well, Mrs M & I have just returned from such an expedition.
We covered about 140 of their kilometres in about two and a half hours – a gentle pace, and all I felt was a sense of discontent added to a sore left ear caused by constant harassing over the temperature and the fact that her coif was disturbed.
This surprises me because to start with she was elegantly attired and wore a pashmina in the style of Indira Ghandi. As the journey progressed a poncho was added and for the final leg a fleece over the entire ensemble. By this time she resembled a little old lady or perhaps an Islamic woman in a burka.
Upon return to base she removed each layer, swearing that she would never undertake such a journey in a similar conveyance again.

I finish by asking a rhetorical question: Is this the spirit and fortitude that won us an Empire?

Answers, and volunteers, on a postcard please to……….

Published in: on March 8, 2014 at 2:04 am  Leave a Comment  

East Coast Interlude (Not Skegness).

East Coast Interlude (Not Skegness).

By T Car yesterday from Patumahoe to Katikati which be on the Bay of Plenty, so named by Captain Cook for the abundance of all things and the friendliness of the Maori people encountered there.

We came within 15 of their kilometers to our destination when we lost all coolant from our main engine. We managed to nurse the motor into a nearby garage where a burst heater core was diagnosed. A temporary repair was made and we sought our lodgings which proved to be quite palatial and very friendly.

After a brief sojourn in the hot-tub, a twenty minute drive into a nearby village to have dinner. This was accomplished in daylight, the return, on unfamiliar roads, in an unfamiliar car was stressful.
The average Kiwi driver is totally impatient. Unless you move at the maximum speed permitted you are harassed and bullied with both lights and horns. Most of the main roads are rudimentary in terms of surface and width, although places to pass are frequent. For some reason, they’d rather remain behind you and carry out this ritual persecution.

Anyway, we arrived safely at the head of a trail of irate drivers to whom I raise a figurative single finger!

A good night’s rest and having had a good breakfast, off today to explore a nearby town for curios and artefacts.

Published in: on March 6, 2014 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment