Archive for September, 2008

Welcome to the new format

September 13th, 2008 1 comment

I finally took the plunge and stopped hauling out notepad and ftp to update the website. I suspect these are partly why I have been so slow at providing updates.

If there are broken links or images please use the base url – that is where the old site is in its entirety. I have, however, copied the content and will sort out the piccies as soon as possible.

Happy reading and welcome!!!


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A Mountain Walk – 24 September 2000

September 13th, 2008 No comments

Liechtestein’s Furstensteig Mountain Walk

I was fortunate on the weeked to find time to walk in the glorious moutains of Liechtenstein. Having taken the little video camera with I captured some shots so that you can share the experience.

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My friend GJ who showed me the way
GJ again
The Furstensteig walk begins at Gaflei – a small village at about 1600m which has a dilapidated 60’s era hotel recently been taken over by a philosophy society. From there the path leads steeply upwards to the craggy cliffs.
The path winds around the face of the cliffs often only 1 foot wide with a cable to hang onto. Moutain goats and dogs seem to enjoy it – for humans it may seem a little scary! At places the original path has disappeared due to the erosion of the relatively soft rock.
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Another view
The mountains are stunning from up here. The two views below show the front and back of the Furstensteig – quite different – its a bit like a wave – quite steep and rocky in front and more gentle and green over the back.

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The pinnacle
The view to the north

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The Steg valley

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day and well recommended if you are in this part of the world.



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Arthur meets Miami – 1 May 2000

September 13th, 2008 No comments

This report from my good friend Geoff on the antics of the last few days. Notice how this page seems to change about once a year at the moment? Far cry from the weekly missives of old! Now – Geoff – take it away!

Arthur Meets Miami

by your Guest Author, Geoff

Luckily I didn’t have to work last Friday, as Arthur wuz in town. In cooperation with the nation’s enemies, he arrived on a 6:00am flight on Thursday morning, which really is the best time to invade any sleepy state. Arthur decided that the best place to attack Miami is from the south, so in a rented red Mustang he “sallied forth” (his words) to the Keys, originally aiming for Key West, but ending up just south of Marathon. I worked. Arthur stopped for lunch and a beer, and I stayed at work. He lay on the beach in the sun while I worked, and even swam in the Atlantic while I worked. I worked some more while he enjoyed the sunshine in the convertible on the way back. But then revenge, we (Jade and I) ambled across the road to Monty’s for a beer while Arthur drove back up to our apartment in Coconut Grove. Let that be a lesson to you all.

Check out this page about this.
Thanks also to Funtastik
After we rendezvoused at Monty’s, the executive committee decided we should go to SoBe (South Beach) for dinner before dropping off the red beast. After a short drive past several valet parking attendants, a short phone call to Henry (whom I hope has put the cat out) lead us to Delanos Hotel, apparently the birthplace of Roman style decadence. Or least they spiked our drinks with hallucigens so as to make us believe that Salvador Dali lived and worked there recently. Very good dinner, Jade got offered a large sum for certain services (declined :-), and Arthur and I proved that we can still get lucky by finding some people less competent than ourselves at the pool table. Later, after dropping off the car and finding a taxi back here, we rounded out the evening at Murphy’s and the Tigertail. Whooof.
On Friday morning Arthur and I went swimming at the Venetian Pool. This public pool was built back during a building boom in the 1920’s and is more like a Grecian Spa than anything else. A few laps helped clear the head before lunch at Texas Tacos with some Mexican beer. Check out Venetian Pool
Later, while Jade cooked one of her amazing curries, Arthur and I ambled down to Scotty’s bar down by the yacht club, for a few beers and watched rich people have their boats dropped in the water by large fork-lifts. Back to eat the curry, yummo, then across to Monty’s again for Pain Killers (if you want to know what painkillers are, please come visit us and we’ll introduce you to this Miami invention). I danced while Arthur maintained a steady supply of Pain Killers. This might have been fatal, and on Saturday morning there was certainly some timidity amongst the troops. Thanks to Montys Restaurants
Then some real fun – Arthur rented a motor boat for Saturday morning and we sallied forth (again, don’t ask me why) into Key Biscayne, up under the Rickenbacker Causway, past Bayshore, on out the harbour mouth, a short ride past the beaches of SoBe, and then south to the northern tip of the Keys. The first thing we saw living in the water were a couple of sharks chasing fish, so we decided to go swimming (a bit later, really). We saw lots of nice soft corals, and two lighthouses. Back to return the boat just after midday, I retired hurt (an old war wound started to play up) while Jade and Arthur had lunch and wine at Monty’s. By that stage it was getting perilously close to Arthur’s birthday, so he sensibly decided to spend it on an aeroplane, flying back to Europe. Elian’s gonna miss you Arthur – come back soon!


The story Miami was talking about at this time


Thanks, Geoff, for a wonderful time. I could live in Miami! Recommended visiting.



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22 May 1999

September 13th, 2008 No comments

Family Update

I have heaps to tell you all about Lanzarote (in the Canary Islands) and skiing in France, but for now I will just pop up a few pictures taken at the draw today so they are at least a bit more recent than the last lot. Will purchase a capture card for our new video camera soon and then hopefully be able to digitise some more pictures for everyone.

Oliver is getting bigger daily. He has started walking around holding onto things, and, rumour has it, was recently seen standing without holding anything! He is now about 10 months old. Talking he is not, unless you consider a few “dada” sounding gurgles to be talking.

Skiing in France

Anton did us all proud in Flaine – for a 4 year old he skis really well. Only real problem is when he gets tired and yours truly has to carry him down piggy back. We had a great week – end of March – spring skiing. Sunshine every day, good company, skis, skidoos, sleds and all the good things. Anton met his cousins (aged about 10 and 6) for the first time since he has been old enough to communicate and was dubbed “Number One Cool Dude” shortly after meeting. They had a great time together.

Short one for today. Will do better soon (honest!).



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23 July 1995 – London

September 13th, 2008 No comments

Now here’s an interesting question. I dont know if any of you have ordered a take-away pizza lately? Here in England (and no doubt in the US as well) they ship the pizza with a small plastic gadget which looks like a 1 inch high table, and is (I guess) designed to keep the lid off the pizza. The question is; to what use should this useful little gadget be put once the pizza has been consumed? I think we will have to have a little competition over this. The winner gets a pizza at the restaurant of my choice. Email your answers to [email protected]. Closing date for entries is 31 August 1995. Just to get you going, here are some suggestions:

  • Table for mice
  • Table for very small people
  • Thing for holding potatoe upright while its being nuked (microwaved)
  • Thing for placing eggs in when you take them out of the fridge and place them on the counter

Arthur junior grows older and consequently larger on a daily basis. It is quite something to watch him learn about life, learn how to grab things and how to aim his regurgitation such that it lands on the only clean stretch of clothing. It amazes me how I have become more conscious of babies now. Went to a rip-roaring party on Saturday nite where there were two other babies. Suddenly its time to play the old comparing and “spot the best looking baby” game. Who would have thought?! At least he’s learnt to sleep the night through.

Had occasion to visit the King Lud again on Thursday night. I’ve mentioned this pub many times in this column, but for those of you who are not regulars, The King Lud is at the bottom end of Fleet Street here in London. It’s a very popular pub, serving a huge variety of English real ale. Thursday was very hot here in London, which resulted in me opting for a continental lager (Stella Artois). Consequently (5.5% consequently) I got a tad trashed to say the least. All in good fun.

So the kiwis go 1 up in the Bleddisloe Cup series. This is an important series down under. For my money the ozzies played better, and deserved to win. The ref’s indecision swung the game in the last 10 minutes when he reversed (sort of) a judgement – and told the ozzies not to try for the posts. The game went downhill for the Wallabies from there. Demonstrates the huge amount of psychology that is a part of these games.

Got to go – hectic at the moment. Remember, if you drive around London, watch out for the guys on bicycles. One of them may be me!

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16th July 1995 – Where is Liechtenstein anyway??

September 13th, 2008 No comments

Spent time in Europe last week. Rather a lot of fun actually! Had dinner in Hotel Sonnenhof in Liechtenstein – fearfully expensive (Williams helped the price) and very good food. Have to recommend the Schlossle (on the hill below Sonnenhof). Landed up there on the way back down the mountain from Sonnenhof. Sitting outside in the fresh mountain air sipping fine Swiss beer. The picture on the left is Hotel Schlossle.

On the way back through Zurich we stopped for a beer at the Baroulac. Reputed to be one of the finest hotels in the world, it nestles on the shores of Lake Zurich. Very up-market, and no doubt the rooms are priced as such. Food and drink seem to be fearfully expensive everywhere in Switzerland, probably because of the strength of the Swiss Franc. Sipping a beer on La Terasse, it all seems worthwhile.

While I’m here I have to mention Scruffy Murphy’s again. I did make a note in a previous column about this pub, but I think I called it erroneously Messy Murphy’s! A small Irish pub in Fleet Street, it serves (of course) fine Guiness and Murphys, and is extremely well decorated. I had a Guiness and Beef Hot Pot there last week, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I have to add a very strong vote of support to Grey Fox’s cry for recognition for London’s cyclists. I too ride a bike to work, and couldn’t agree more with his sentiments. Surely it is time for the council and government to implement the most obvious solution to London’s traffic jams and pollution – put in place some decent cycle ways. I break the law on a daily basis by riding along the Thames tow path on a 3 metre wide pavement where bikes are not allowed. This is because I dont believe that I am a problem to the pedestrians, and I am not prepared to risk my life on the adjoining stretch of road. It’s time for change!

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Child labour? 9 July 1995

September 13th, 2008 No comments

The Eagle got a job last week! Yes I know he’s only 2.7 months old, but thats no reason for him not to pull his weight (10 lb) around the house! He went modelling some arbitrary thing and was paid vast amounts for a close-up of his hand. Now that’s what I call productivity. £35 per hour to hold a pretty (adult) model’s hand and try and look interested. He fell asleep. Has to learn…

On Saturday we went for a jolly on the Thames. This entailed hiring a motor boat and chugging along from Walton-On-Thames to Staines for lunch. We had lunch at a pub called The Swan in Staines. Situated right on the riverfront we were able to tie up in front and go inside for an extremely pleasant lunch. Recommended!

Then it was back to The Fox in Walton-on-Thames for a few before heading home.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting The Coach and Horses in Whitefriars street (EC4). Apart from a small debacle over the taste of the bitter it was a pleasant pint and a large plate of Shepherd’s Pie. Another pub which caused a much larger hangover was Babuska’s Vodka Bar in Blackfriar’s road. They serve these flavoured vodka things which don’t taste too bad at all and contribute in no small way to a total loss of all sensual perception and an immediate danger of nausea. All in all jolly good fun?!?

Short one this week – much on the go. If you haven’t already added a pub to the guide why not [email protected]. You too could become famous!

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Henley Regatta – 2 July 1995

September 13th, 2008 No comments

Yesterday was the finals of the Henley Royal Regatta. Henley is to rowing what Wimbledon is to tennis. To get as far as the start line in the preliminaries is an achievement, and to progress to the finals an honour.

The place to be in Henley is the Stewards’ Enclosure. Tickets are hard to find, and expensive, but it does have an excellent view of the finish, and of course one should be seen in the right places …

Henley is held on a 2km stretch of the Thames near (you guessed it) Henley. You brave the traffic jams for hours to eventually wind down the narrow lanes to the riverside. Farmers open their fields and collect money at the gates. Prices range from £5 (if you are far from the river bank) to the £15 that I paid for a car space next to the river. This was essential for me so the Eagle could sleep in the car!

Having parked we laid out the picnic stuff on a stretch of river bank, thus laying claim to the space. This is quite important, as when the hordes arrive the bank becomes very crowded. The activity on the river ranges from the strenous pulling as the teams compete, to the much more tranquil punters gliding up and down the bank. Most people are dressed in the obligatory blazers and ties, lending a genteel air to the proceedings. Later in the day I met a colleague at the famous Remenham Club, and we went through to the Stewards’ Enclosure to see a few finishes. I was in the Fawley Bar when the rain struck, and weathered the downpour with far too many beers. England in the summer…

Went sailing on Saturday after which I went with the rest of the crew to this rather nice pub by the riverside. The Butt and Oyster is at Pin Mill (on the banks of the River Orwell). Very pleasant place for a few pints of Tolleys which is brewed in the vicinity, and I believe they serve excellent food, though I have not tried it! Relaxing on the river bank, pint mug in hand, life could be worse!

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Rugby World Cup 24 June 1995

September 13th, 2008 No comments

Maybe this column should be retitled “Last week in South Africa”! What a weekend for the South Africans! Not only the honour of hosting the Rugby World Cup, but also the prestige and glory of winning it, against the odds (or should I say against Lomu?). It was an absolutely brilliant game. Going down to extra time at 9 all, 2 fast penalties saw the teams at 12 all half way through extra time. Then a brilliant drop goal by Joel Stransky (“you beauty” in the words of Francois Pienaar – skipper) sealed New Zealand’s fate. Now all that remains is for the hangover to clear and the winnings to be collected!

Yesterday (Sunday) was sunny and warm. For the second time in this column I will bravely state that summer has arrived. Having said that, it is cool and cloudy here at the moment, so perhaps that was summer after all.

This is the season for all the outdoor things that are done here in the UK. Because of the vagaries of the weather they are all crammed into a very short period of time. Last week we had Ascot. I believe Grey Fox was seen there, top hat and tails galore. This week we have Wimbledon Tennis and the rowing at Henley which I will be going to on Saturday. Had a great time last year, sitting on the banks sipping champagne and eating strawberries. The season closes off with Cowes Week yachting in early July.

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Sailing in Harwich – 19 June 1995

September 13th, 2008 No comments

What a weekend! 2 great games of rugby, and it’s a NZ – SA final. The Kiwis are certainly a daunting prospect at the moment. Lomu is virtually un-stoppable. I reckon fear was a major ingredient in Sunday’s game – if the English had played the first half as they did the second the score would have been much closer. Any bets for next weeks game?

I went sailing off Harwich this weekend. Harwich is a small town in the mouth of the Thames, on the northern side. The boat which I sailed on is a 45′ Barracuda – generally known due to its appearance in the british TV soap “Howards Way”. We had a great time and managed to deal with the other boats in a reasonable convincing manner taking line honours on Saturday in 30 knots of breeze, and just losing by 10 seconds on Sunday (still 2nd from about 80 boats). After each race there was a mad dash up the river so as to find a TV where the rugger could be watched. Saturday’s game was delayed, so we managed to watch all of it. On Sunday we unfortunately missed the first half. I guess I should mention the marina pub – The Schooner – for completeness. If you are not sailing from Woolverstone Marina I wouldn’t recommend a special trip!

There is a house in the marina which faces the river called the Cat House. Apparently in the old days this part of the coast was ideal smuggling territory. The incumbent of the house was a Ms Catchpole who fell in love with a smuggler and used to keep an eye out for the Revenue Inspectors (Customs). If the coast was clear she would place a large china cat in her bay window where it was visible from the water. The smugglers knew if the cat was absent not to land with their goods.

Eventually the men from the Revenue department twigged on to this scheme and Ms Catchpole was send to Australia (as was the fashion in those days). She subsequently married the British Governor-General in Australia!

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