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50 Reasons to Hate the French
I know me t'interweb two point nowt and I want me chuffin' Big Fat Feed of RSS fed to me.
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There's No "You" In Qantas
Rob, driving, and Rob, thinking of an appropriate swear word.







I have no idea why I get so excited before major international football competitions involving England, since my lasting memory of all of them is bitter anguish when we go out.

This feeling is reasonably well illustrated from the accompanying photo, although it was actually taken two or three days before England went out to Evil Cristiano Ronaldo and cohorts in 2006.

Incidentally, the picture was sent via a comment on this here very blog by Jason, whom I taught to dive in Canada, and his wife Melissa, whom I taught until she threatened to call the Mounties to investigate my visa status if I made her take her mask off in 12 degree water again. The Mounties take a very dim view of such things, if memory serves, and are often to be seen wading into the Skookumchuck Rapids on mooseback and whacking itinerant Limey's in the nuts with ice-hockey sticks.

Note to self: remember to complete the set by shoehorning Labatts and maple syrup into next tawdry Canadian stereotype.

Anyway, in the four years since the photo was taken, Jason and Melissa now own their own dive shop, Silver Divers, whereas I spend my days shivering in front of a laptop, wrapped in a sex-pest-style dressing-gown and fur blanket, breaking up the monotony of nicotine gum with the occasional cigarette and hangover.

Rob Soutar, seen here driving the boat, is the owner of the dive school I was at and also about my age. He didn't assure me when I left that if he ever needed anyone to once again teach the Canadian people how to swear properly, he would give me a call, although I'm sure he meant to. I'm still waiting.

Looking on the bright side, David Beckham is six weeks older than me, and what's he ever achieved?

So, my greatest fear at the moment, apart from having my head pop right off due to a BP of 180/110, is losing to Australia in the knockout stages. I went to see them play New Zealand the other day where, typically, they scored the winner with literally the last kick of the game and crowed about it afterwards for 44 years. The most irritating thing about it though was the enormous banner proclaiming "Good Luck Qantas Socceroos", which misappropriation by a soulless corporate entity almost had me handing in my Australian visa except I don't have one yet.

Bizarrely, the Kiwis were all very pleased with themselves for only losing 2-1, which isn't an attitude you read often in the Daily Nazi Mail.

Anyway, come on you Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation England.

Rob
Dive Worldwide PNG
Comments on this post:
03/06/2010
Jamesbert McFadden grieveth the Gauls.

No comment.

A Scotsman
H2O Dive

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Sphygmomanometry
Relaxing at the Doctor's with Rob







I got thrown out of my visa medical today.

It was going quite well, really, until I arrived.

I'd managed to sneak around the flat without waking Marina up and got myself to the centre of town without any complications, found the building, found the office on the fourth floor and then realised I'd left my passport at home.

So, I had to call Marina. I pointed out that I had been very quiet until the phone call, but I think she's one of these "every silver lining has a cloud" sort of people.

Anyway, in the medical office there was a bit of filling in form action coupled with a bit of being barked followed by some sitting around. Then things hotted up as I got to wee in a cup (not sure if I've done that sober before), lose some blood and have high-energy photons fired through my chest cavity.

Difficult to keep up with the high octane action in this blog sometimes.

The real excitement, though, started when I got examined by the doctor. The thing is, if you want to receive a high blood pressure reading, the best time to do it is whilst you're sitting in your pants and the female doctor's just punched you in the nob by accident (so she says).

Dr Olivetti The Shaman Firth take note. If you then want to get an even higher blood pressure reading from the patient, just tell them you're redoing it because the first one was too high. Then look at the reading for the second one with visible concern and say "I'm afraid we're going to have to do this one more time".

Apparently, the third one was, in her words, "a record". I asked her what the prize was. She said it was the immediate termination of the medical and I wasn't allowed to leave until I'd found a GP to see me that day. She also advised against any activity that didn't involve lying down completely motionless. She should've taken my blood pressure again then, really, if she wanted to see the last record smashed.

I had to walk home anyway, because Marina wouldn't answer her phone to me. Later, she said the news made her hypertensive but to be honest, that's not a competition she's going to win.

Rob
Catfish Dive & Safari
Comments on this post:
25/05/2010

ok I thought I would leave a comment now that your BP may have gone down. The Incredible Hulk always made you dive behind the settee and its possible your BP has been high ever since you were six because of the stress caused by this weekly event. I remember it well.

Rob's Mum
e-med Arabic
26/05/2010

And yet you still kept inviting him round, every single week.

It's the anger I remember the most, mum, the anger. If he turned up now, I'd be right back behind the sofa.

Rob
e-med Arabic
27/05/2010

Francis Jeffers has been released by Sheffield Wednesday. I'm trying to track him down for my purpose.

You and he have two things in common. 1)Sheffield Wednesday (up the Owls). B)Diving. Therefore you will be able to help me.

Can I have his phone number or that of his agent please?

Thanks.

Jonathan
Diving Chamber Treatment Trust
28/05/2010

Jonathan,

I wish you luck.

Lamentably, Mr Jeffers had his phone confiscated from him as he kept injuring his fingers whenever he tried to use it.

Rob
H2O Dive

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Expletive








Expletive expletive expletive.

Expletive.

Rob
Reef Jewellery
Comments on this post:
03/05/2010

very informative, I know just what you mean

IJ
e-med Arabic

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
This Is Awesome. Where's The Dynamite?
Blue swimmy things, blue liquid and non-animal living material (not blue)







Poor Knights is outstanding. Turns out the only thing it has in common with Seven Sisters Station is that the Northern Line doesn't run through it.

Jacques Cousteau himveryself rated Poor Knights as one of the top ten [places to dynamite reefs, ride turtles, harpoon whales and hack-up sharks with axes] in the world. I'd go further than that and put it in the top 9.9. I'm tempted to write a trip report on it for the mag, except the last one I wrote was so bad I had to hit myself repeatedly in the face before anyone else did.

Instead of that, I will say this: Go there and dive it. Stop what you're doing and do it now (extreme attempts by Mother Earth to curb global warming notwithstanding). Blue water, 19 degrees, 30m+ visibility and everywhere you look are those things that swim around [fish - Ed]. There's more colours than a page of your favourite book after a child's been at it with crayons. It's easily the best cold water diving I've done. And I include Wraysbury in that.

So, I'm driving down to Wellington tomorrow. I'm driving because I want to see the scenery, although I could have flown. No, really, I could. Could have just hopped in an aeroplane and flown there. Through the sky. I know what you're thinking: "witchcraft". But it's not. It's just a very fast and convenient mode of transport that we have down here in Antipodea and are able to utilise at will. Whenever we feel like it.

Unfortunately, I'm back in a hostel in Auckland today. Somebody is playing a guitar in the communal area. I need some Kryptonite for hippies. I guarantee this is what's going on in his head:

"Hey, I have a guitar, I can't play it very well, but who cares, right? It's about the spirit of the thing, yeah? OK, No Woman No Cry. How does that go again?"

Actually, I do encourage that "it's the spirit of the thing" attitude. Particularly with regard to air travel and as long as he's on his own flying the plane over a shallow part of the ocean somewhere. Preferably close enough to shore so that we can dive the wreckage.

Rob
Dive Worldwide PNG
Comments on this post:
21/04/2010
Jonathan before getting a tan

Hello Rob. I haven't checked in in a while. I've been really busy you see, what with everything else in the world still being in existence.

Anyway, it's my loss. I liked the stories about your parents.

I went snorkelling in Aruba. When I live there you can come and visit and go diving while I do something else. Anyway I got sunburned as you can see from the photo.

I was on BBC World Service yesterday, but as you are an ex-pat living in the World you will have heard it. I just want to say thanks for listening.

Jonathan
Blue O Two
21/04/2010

Good to hear from you, Jonathan. And I mean that literally: I did indeed hear your lucid three hour presentation on the fortunes of Stirling Albion this season. Perhaps a few less random sound effects next time, although it was nice to hear MC Hammer again.

Anyway, you'll be delighted to learn since you last checked in that I'm no longer addicted to Championship Manager 2008 on my phone and have moved on to Fifa 2010. The Mighty Wednesday are currently third in the Premier League. When, oh when, will the real Wednesday realise that all they need to do to ensure success is put the setting on "easy" when they play their games?

Come to think of it, that must be what other teams do when they play us.

Rob
Adventure Divers La Manga
29/04/2010

Rob,

may i be the first to wish you and the Tuesday, or it it Thursday , the most 4 leafed clovery, Oirish beejesus luck against the Palace on Sat. ITS YOUR CUP FINAL and thank God you have one. Win and its Scunny away, lose and its off to Rochdale.

Nice

T Venables
Blue O Two
29/04/2010
Why Supporting Sheffield Wednesday Rocks

TV,

Glad someone appreciates the stresses inherent in what I believe Sir Sarah Ferguson referred to as "noisy bumhole time".

All I've been getting from Marina all week is: "Stop grinding your teeth", "Enough with the nail chewing", "I thought you'd quit smoking" and "How did you manage to drink an entire bottle of gin before breakfast?"

It's all about effective management...

Rob
e-med Arabic
30/04/2010

My bumhole is also primed for an eruption:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_div_1/8653115.stm

Jonathan
Diving Chamber Treatment Trust
01/05/2010

Go the Binos / Beanos / Bee Nose!

Rob
H2O Dive

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Fush and Chups
Auckland







Whenever you tell people you're going to New Zealand, they always say: "Got to the South Island, that's where all the awesome stuff is. Just the South Island. No, not North. South." And then they'll pause for a moment, perhaps suppress a belch, I don't know, and then say "South Island". Then walk away.

I'm a free thinker though: I've been taught that by rote, and furthermore I'm a maverick and have been known to start crossing the road whilst the green man is flashing. And so, I'm in Auckland. You can see a picture of it up there on the left. That's the view from my room.

I'm staying in the bit of town that has all the strip clubs and drug dealers. Well, you have to call ahead to check on these things. It's a bit like Brixton. Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against Brixton. I lived there and thereabouts for at least three years of my life. It's just that I wouldn't necessarily want to go there on holiday. Actually, Brixton is a bit unfair. It's more like Tottenham. Anyway, it would be a narrow-minded sort of simpleton that would judge an entire city on the two or three streets of it they had actually seen.

Auckland is rubbish. So is the whole of the North Island.

It's a small town. I've bumped into the local drunk three times since I've been here. That only usually happens when I look in the mirror. It's a small country as well. I had to declare my dive gear as a potential biohazard on the way in. Customs didn't seem bothered.

Actually, that is the only difference between the whole country of New Zealand, plus all neighbouring islands / watery bits, and Electric Avenue in Brixton. The people are astoundingly friendly.

I have to go. I'm off to Poor Knights, which will doubtless be like Seven Sisters Tube Station. Expect more soon.

Rob
Dive Worldwide

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
This Way Up









(iPhonoclast version)

Marina and I went to South Australia for Easter in order that I could learn naughty driving habits from Delirium Tremens and that we might partake in some gentle swimming around underwater.

Highlights of the trip included but were not limited to:

Getting 35 miles out of Melbourne and realising we (by which I mean I) had left our dry / wetsuits at home.

Arriving at the dive site to realise that we (I) had left my camera in the motel, thirty minutes away.

Tucking into a cheese pastie with a hangover as large as a Pink Floyd song is long, to discover that it was a delicious non-specific meat pastie. Being vegetarian (but not gay), I should have complained but I'd already thrown it against a fence.

Walking 800m along a beach in full drysuit in the noonday sun and swimming out for 25 minutes so that we might then descend the two metres to what could only be described as a dive site because it was underwater. After four minutes, we gave up and made the return journey back. That was the same day as the pastie. The one with the hangover.

Ewens Ponds, which some (Marina) insist on being the real point of our trip (and not so that I can accelerate to 140km/h whilst laughing maniacally and overtaking a pensioner), was stunning though. It's a series of three freshwater (no, really) ponds, five to ten metres deep, connected by two excellent streams that you can just about stay submerged for until you get tangled in the plants.

The video on the left is at the end of the first stream, as you enter the second pond. As you'll notice, it looks a bit like the world, but sort of upside down.

Australia, innit.

Rob
London School Of Diving

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Separated at Birth
Dude, where's my teeth?







You have my mum to thank for this, although I'm not sure whether her remark of "Is that Jaws from James Bond?" was a wry observation or an honest question, since she doesn't know what a Quentin Tarantino is.

I meant to post this a few days ago but I bought the wrong kind of bread and became distracted by the ensuing discussion of "what kind of a son would buy bread with bits in rather than normal white sliced bread like what we have in England?".

As a result, as well as not being particularly funny, the picture opposite is also no longer topical what with the Oscars, like Avatar, having faded into a distant memory.

As an aside, I took some footage of ickle baby seadragons at the weekend. I even set the white balance properly. I thought you might be bored of them by now but if anyone has some sort of debilitating urge to see them, please comment here and I'll post ten-seconds' worth. I won't hold my breath, though.

Rob
London and Midlands Diving Chambers

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
****ing Tourette's
Diagrammatical Illustration of the Daily Mail Mindset







I had wondered why my parents timed their trip to Australia as they did: early enough for me to not yet have a work visa and to still have a host of relocation concerns, but late enough for my money supply to be laughably indiscernible. But now I know why.

It's so we can spend vast amounts of cash taking them to places so that my dad can tut, sigh, swear and complain. I knew he was skilled in this field before, of course, but it was only as we drove down the Gr'Ocean Road that I discovered he's been working on doing all four at the same time.

So, as we meandered along the boring inland bits of one of Australia's top five tourist attractions, you'd hear a "Tchaaah - [expletive]!" from the back every time there was a bump in the road. Just to clarify, the "Tchaaah" is a mixed tut and sigh, the whole expression counts as a complaint and the expletives are randomly selected from a sadly limited range of "Christ" (with optional prefix of "Jesus"), "S**t", "Bloody hell", and there was one F-bomb when I took a corner at 5km/h too quickly for his liking.

It's a very long road. Marina had to suppress constant fits of giggles.

Luckily, he only keeps this behaviour up whenever he's awake. He slept through the coastal parts of the (Great Ocean) road.

It's astounding, actually, what he manages to complain about. Flies for instance. Not collectively, which might evoke one or two understandable grumblings from even the most patient of people, but each individual fly. Every time he sees one. Every single time. Also, he has a top that "attracts crumbs" [when he spills them down his front], that got him going for a few minutes. He doesn't like the fact that half-pint glasses are called "pots". And the weather is either too hot or too cold, but I'm sure by this point you'll already have worked that out.

So, his new nickname is "Tourette's", and I've often wondered how my mum's gotten this far through life with him without developing some sort of cunning mental defence mechanism. Then, the night they arrived she said this: "It's funny, isn't it, that in England, in June, it's quite warm, whereas in Australia, in June, it's quite cold. And yet it's still June. It's impossible to imagine, isn't it? In England, at Christmas, it's cold and it snows, but in Australia, at Christmas, it's quite warm and they'll have barbeques and things. Whereas in England it would be really cold because it's in the middle of December. Christmas. Cold. Or warm in Australia. It's amazing, isn't it? You just can't get your head around it, can you?"

So, that'll be the mechanism then. Permanent bewilderment.

Rob
Blue O Two

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Not in Texas
Prediction: Pain







My parental unit has arrived and will be staying with us for two weeks.

Rob
Dive Worldwide PNG
Comments on this post:
03/03/2010

That's Keith Richards that is... or is it Jagger or their bas*** demon offspring genetically engineered by that bloke out of Devo [70.s US bio-punk rock sextet].

My way of foreshortening a parental visit is to start showing them nursing homes.

AtT

Agrippa the Toilet
Adventure Divers La Manga
04/03/2010

Or just post a blog like the one titled "****ing Tourette's" above...

Rob
London and Midlands Diving Chambers

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Tank Me Right Up








I expect you woke up recently and thought "My life has changed irrevocably for the better" and yet you probably didn't know why. Well, now you do: London and Midlands Diver have become one.

That's right humans: we are now Tanked Up Magazine.

No, it's not the same: shut up, you're wrong. OK, well, bits of it are. The good bits. But the forces of evil have been replaced by THE shark man of Blighty: Richard Peirce and a clever marine biologist type chap, Dr John Carlin, who's here to explain what those little things you keep seeing swimming around underwater are (clue: they're fish).

I'm still here though. Sorry about that. Put your complaints on a postcard, scan it and attach it to an email to myself or editorial@ tankedup etc. Or fill in the little comment form below. Or just sign up to the RSS feed, so you can wade through a tide of tedium on a regular basis.

So, we finally got to dive the HMAS Canberra last weekend, which is the "jewel in the crown" of Victorian diving. I think they mean the state rather than the queen, who, I believe, is dead (Victoria, I mean, not the new one. That's how rumours get started. Anyway, you heard it here first).

It was a good dive. Well, it's a bit clean (there were only two fish on it so far and they were boring: you'd think the people who sank it would've sorted that out by now), although everyone tried to make up for it by vomiting copiously during the surface interval. Not Marina though. She wasn't sick, no. Five times off the back of the boat.

Speaking of the surface interval, I had a brief but amusing conversation with a young dive boat lackey who was trying to get us into the water quicker on the grounds that "after 45 minutes, your body is clear of nitrogen". Considering our first dive was to 25m for 47 minutes, I felt inclined to disagree with his reasoning, based as it was on the desire to get back to shore before the end of happy hour. Still, we had to get in fairly quickly to stop someone (not Marina) from regurgitating her oesophagus.

The second dive was better because we had a look inside. And the bridge is displayed videometrically on the left there for all to see. Back on shore I discovered you can set the white balance underwater. Perhaps that might come in useful in the future, I really don't know.

Anyway, Tanked Up. Your diving dreams made paper. Get it while it's hot, it's delicious.

Rob
Aquamarine Silver
Comments on this post:
14/02/2010

hola, quiero presentar mi modesto blog de submarinismo en Ibiza, en el pretendo crear un mapa de los mejores puntos de inmersión apoyado con fotos y video aparte de información varia. Espero que os guste.

subgateibiza.com

toni
e-med Arabic
14/02/2010

See! I told you we were going international.

It's a very nice looking site, all about diving in Ibiza, in case anyone's thinking of taking a night off the Es.

That would have been funny 20 years ago. No honest, it would.

Anyway, it's a good site and it translates into nine (yes, 9) different languages, one of which is American, so have a look.

Rob
e-med Arabic

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
I know me t'interweb two point nowt and I want me chuffin' Big Fat Feed of RSS fed to me.
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