Archive for the 'Family & Friends' Category

Baseball with the Boys

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

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Saw the Philadelphia Phillies go down to the Atlanta Braves 4-0 on chilly night. Neil, Alan, buddy Cameron and I shivered through the opening game of the Baseball season for the Phillies. Oh well – great company!

Philadelphia Vessels – Trip with Neil

Sunday, March 8th, 2009


Trip for Neil and I to Philly to visit and tour vessels moored at the Philadelphia riverside. Nice day, good times.

Skype-ing with Alan from Tokyo

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

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Talking with Alan this morning, he’s on vacation in Tokyo, showing me his new camera lens.

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Alan, leaves Oz for Seoul Korea

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

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Birthday Flight

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008


Off to York Pennsylvania for a Birthday Lunch. Yummy.

Mum’s in Town!

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008


Colin, Denise and mum are amongst us and we’re taking advantage of fabulous weather to go flying, trip-ing, concerts, taking in local foods and delicacies. Breakfast flights to Ocean City New Jersey and to Lancaster Pennsylvania, dinner at Buddakan, a day in Washington DC, Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt concert, Lynne riding, Colin taking an aerobatic flight….. all made for a busy, action-packed but really enjoyable week.

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Leaving Philly

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Lynne just departed Philly this evening, en-route to see her mum, and a brief vacation/holiday in Southport. I watched her flight depart, right/middle on the display below, USAir734, an Airbus 333 at 12500 feet and climbing at 417 knots, en-route to EGCC-Manchester UK.

Miss you already Lynn-ie!! Hey – take care of her over there!


G’day Mate

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Alan and Cirque land in Aussie


Dralion Australian tour dates:

Sydney – Opens July 16, 2008
Canberra – Opens October 23, 2008
Brisbane – Opens November 27, 2008
Perth – Opens January 28, 2009
Melbourne – Opens April 9, 2009

Low and Slow over PA

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Lynne got a ride with Roger today, flying low and slow in his Piper Cub over the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside.


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Spencer at 101

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

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This past week saw Spencer’s 15th birthday come and go. The chart on the wall in his vets office says he’s the equivalent of 101 human years old. The event passed without a telegram from Her Majesty but with much reminiscing on our part.

He joined us just two years after we’d moved to the US. We were still decorating, furnishing, discovering. He immediately added a lot to our daily lives, as he has done since – each and every day.

He’s now deaf and his sight is somewhat limited, his bodyline showing the lumps and bumps of his age. What he lacks in these areas he makes up in character and determination. He takes long walks everyday, always anxious to be part of the family team. Jackson (young’n) displays a good deal of respect and reverence for his mentor and very good friend. They are the best of chums, delighted to be in each others company – which says a lot for both.


We keep wondering, with increasing concern, if this is Spencer’s last summer with us. So far he hasn’t shown any interest in leaving us, quite the opposite. He and we have had a great time together, long may it last.

Watching Roger

Thursday, April 10th, 2008


Lynne calls me at the airport. “Hi. Watcha doin’?”.

“…. watching Roger” is invariably my response.

There are certain places, and certain people that naturally draw others in. At our local airport we have both – the place is ‘The Ghetto Hangar’ and the person is the occupant – Roger.

After a flying trip, when the aircraft are hangared, wiped-down, pre-heats attached, cowling blankets placed, and log books are updated many pilot gravitate toward the Ghetto Hangar, and Roger.

He’s always working at something. One of a disappearing breed of aviators capable not only of displaying exceptional flying skills but also in the construction and maintenance of airplanes. A specialist in Piper Cub J3’s (flying and building) he has a number of projects underway. At the time of writing he’s repairing and re-covering the wings of a Piper Vagabond, circa 1940’s. The airplane is a metal tubular frame, with fabric covering the flying surfaces, the engine is a 65hp Continental. The expertise, skills and know-how to accomplish all this is hugely rare. And the quality in the work he turns out is just incredible.

Rogers additional accomplishment is in maintaining a pot of excellent coffee – available all-day, and some beers for sunset enjoyment. Dropping in to Watch Roger at work while enjoying his coffee you get to see this craftsman in action and learn a good deal from him and his stories and anecdotes (and dreadful jokes!). His stock of cold beers, accessible only when all flying is complete and all aircraft are hangared, is in-part replenished by his visitors (like me) who are happy to gather at the Ghetto Hangar, sitting amongst some of America’s aviation historic aircraft (Piper J3 Cub, Piper Vagabond, ErCoupe, Whitman Tailwind, Skybolt bi-plane) and recount the aviation accomplishments of the day.

A great end to the aviation day.

Soggy Bottoms

Friday, February 29th, 2008

The trips ashore and back to the boat during our recent BVI sojourn brought the most fun, the largest laughs, the wettest clothing – all as we dinghy-ed about the place. No trip went by without someone getting wet, and even the warm Caribbean waters at 80 degrees feels cold when you’re not expecting it, and resulted in shrieks and shouts as waves broke over the front or sides of our yellow Caribe . The windy days brought the most action and even careful control of the outboard failed to avoid some of the wave actions. Of course having eight in a dinghy made for six (we think) was a cause of much of the inflow. Add to this the trips we made at night, as we went ashore for dinner, dressed somewhat more formally than in the day, only to return in the dark to search out our boat having downed several Pain Killers, Dark & Stormy’s, or the equivalent didn’t exactly help keep the waves out of the Caribe. With the boat lights and a flashlight in-hand we giggled as we sought out Hakuna Matata amongst the moored boats, fending off what seemed like tsunami-like waves from our already wet bottoms.

And yet more entertainment was provided by our entry into and egress from the Caribe dinghy. In short, in the seven days we tried it we never really got it right. This despite several experiments involving lines (ropes), front-loading, side-loading, wrist-grabbing, in calm and in rough seas. All this resulting in much fun amongst we eight and to those that had the luck to be able to watch our antics from the safety of their neighbouring boats or restaurant seats.

Ashore, you could often tell those that had, like us, dinghy-ed ashore. Identified by their soggy bottoms and wet shoes, carrying plastic bags of valuables we all shared the camaraderie of the of the dinghy ride. Proud we were, of our damp patches.

But, and for the record, it has to be said that this years performance was an improvement over last year, when the same crew member took two (or maybe three) dunkings from the dinghy, much to the amusement of the drier crew members.

Still, a lot of fun! Well worth the soggy bottoms.

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Sailing BVI 2008

Sunday, February 24th, 2008


Annual excursion, sailing in the British Virgin Islands underway, with friends Keith (skipper) and Ann (skipper-ess), Peter and Ro, Pat and Diane.

The now traditional first-night dinner of Island Roti’s, washed down with equally traditional but substantially more potent Pain-Killers (made of rum, fruit juice, rum, fruit juice, rum etc) was a great start to the eight day trip for us all.

We’d made ourselves at home on the good ship Hakuna Makata (Swahili; No Worries), a Beneteau Oceanis 523, and slipped our berth at Nanny Cay the following afternoon, and motored to The Bight at Norman Island for our first overnight mooring of the trip.

After cooking aboard we spent a windy night and woke to a tropical rain shower, not an unusal combination for this area.

Still blowing the next morning we opted nonetheless to raise the sails for a challenging sail down Drakes Channel to Spanish Town at Virgin Gorda. The sailing was fabulous, with a heeling boat and variable wings at around 20 knots. We passed the Queen Mary enroute, an elegant and understated ship, unlike other cruise ships that reminded us of klingon vessels.

Spanish Town was a stop on the way to our most favourite place and one of the best places on earth – Bitter End, at Virgin Gorda. Unable to get a slip at Bitter End for the first night we moored offshore and dinghy-ed ashore for dinner. Eight of us in the inflatable was a squeeze and the hilarious antics of getting in/out and staying dry as best you can was the highlight on the night.

A three night stay at wonderful Bitter end was enjoyed by all, relaxing, dinghy-ing about and – just fun.

Sailing to Jost Van Dyke was planned but winds required us to a more sheltered mooring at the beautiful Cane Garden Bay at Tortola, with dinner ashore at Quitos. The next morning we dashed back across to Small JVD, to visit the Bubbling Pool – which wasn’t, due to low tide. Duh! Oh well, off to the Caves at Norman Island for some snorkeling.

We were back in Nanny Cay that afternoon, reluctantly ready for the flights home the next morning – another memorable trip!

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Lynne at the helm, and our Crew of Eight


Bitter End, our boat in the slip, blue cover

Alan was amongst us…..

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

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English Food – a bad ‘wrap’?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007


For a country with just 6% of the population owning passports the US has a surprisingly well developed negative opinion of English food. We’re here in Southport England, our previous home-town before moving to the US, enjoying the wonderful comfort and unique company of family and friends, but also catching-up on the fine foods and the best of beers we’ve missed. No tortilla or flour wraps here, the wholesome and flavourful foods served in pubs now equals that of many English restaurants and is simply a treat for us. Meats, pies, with correctly cooked vegetable and tasty potatoes are the usual fare, and come at very affordable prices. Matched with unsurpassed beers including Old Peculier [sic] and Old Speckled Hen served pulled by hand and at cellar temperatures – not chilled -make the whole experience such a pleasure for us.

Fish and chips at The Swan is a must-do for us, and I made two visits on this brief trip. Melt-in-the-mouth cod, mushy pea’s and chips – all freshly cooked and served piping hot accompanied by buttered white bread and a generous pot of tea…..just wonderful.

I suppose it’s what your used to, the foods of your childhood that breeds the biases that results in our lingering taste for the familiar, badly missed when we can’t get them. And that leads to us being more critical of the ‘local’ foods available to us, and that become substitutes. There isn’t much American food that I dislike. But it’s all still a substitute, until our next visit home.