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H2O Dive
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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Rebrand?  Dimwit.

The day before yesterday, I appeared as a contestant on the Australian version of Countdown.

It's called Letters and Numbers over here, despite being identical to the point where it even seems to have the reincarnation of Richard Whiteley on it, and my performance would best be described as an anagram of this. No, not hits.

Strange day. They film five episodes at once and I was the fourth contestant, so I'd had seven hours of nervous adrenaline before it was my go. My other excuse is that the clever girl what does the numbers and that was quite hot and nearly looked at me once so I could tell she fancied me. She can't spell though.

Neither, it transpires, can I.

Anyway, the bloke I matched up against was on his fifth episode and he had a little beard I didn't like. As if that wasn't enough, he decided to get all fancy in the first round with a seven letter word which, the mathematically inclined will be forced to notice, is one better than the six letter word I was rather proud of. What's wrong with these people?

I was preoccupied with fulfilling a lifetime ambition to spell out a swearword via the judicious selection of consonants and vowels when it was my turn to pick the letters. Sadly, the closest I got was accidentally spelling "gunt" with the last four letters and we had to refilm that bit and swap the n and t around for myopic viewers unable to view an uppercase G correctly.

The hirsutic didn't win another round. "Take that, beardo!", I yelled, as he scuttled away crying having gotten the conundrum wrong at the end, in much the same way that you would expect of someone that can't even manage such a basic task as checking that the nine letters they've rearranged in their head are correct before pressing a buzzer.

I got to sit in the champion's seat after that because I was a champion and it was the only appropriate place for one such as I. A champion. Championing over those around me.

Next up was another Pomme who I'd been hanging out with all day. He was a nice kid; beardless, if you will, but his major problem was that he was much better at the game than me.

Fortunately, he was extremely nervous. "I expect you're very nervous", I said, by way of calming him down, "what with it being your first time on TV, playing against a seasoned professional and vanquisher of Beardo".

We were neck and neck for a round or two. Then he won a round. "You're sitting in your seat wrong", I told him, but it didn't help because he won the next round as well.

A common practice in any household containing me, is for someone (me) to shout "You f****** t***" at the TV during Countdown when a contestant does something retarded like use one letter twice. In fact, I could hear myself shouting those words from six months in the future when the show will be aired, as I declared I had made the word "rebrand" despite there being only one "r".

I was soon 20 points behind and desperate. Inexplicably, my co-contestant (The Enemy) managed to make a couple of errors himself, so we went into the final Conundrum with me four points behind.

In times of stress I find it's always best to panic. I saw the word "migrating" in the conundrum. Clearly The Enemy would see it too, my brain squealed, and it was imperative that I press the buzzer before him. No time to check if I'd got it right.

"Migrating" doesn't have an "o" in it. The conundrum did though. Five seconds later The Enemy buzzed in with "migration". Perhaps we had a laugh about that later, what with us both being Pommes, I don't remember. I was too busy mentally self-harming over my inability to deal with stress and the fact I didn't even manage to spell out "tits" with my letter selections.

I'm fairly sure it's the worst thing that's happened in human history. I did win a dictionary, though.

Denney Diving
Comments on this post:

1) Do you mean 'Pommes' as in the French word for apples, or 'pommies', the Australian word for British?

2) Shut up Jonathan?

50 Reasons to Hate the French

1) I'd always taken "Pommie" to be the adjective of "Pomme" as in "Pommesque". However, I have no aversion to being an apple, providing it's a French one and not a Mac.

2) Probably best if I shut up.

50 Reasons to Hate the French

Mr. Rob,

There appears to be a marked lack of something called 'diving' in your recent amusing and hilarious life exploit/musings.

We subscribe to this column to gain a vicarious thrill in reading of your diving exploits, gaining a momentary sense that we might actually have a life.

In the meantime, we have discovered photographic evidence of the existence of the fabled 'massive prawn' of the antipodes, as first documented by Prof. S. Lee esq. ( If only the lackey's technical capabilities extended to actually being able to attach it to this missive). Please don a diving mask and find one forthwith.

David & Seirian
H2O Dive
Footnote 1: Strayan Prawns Biggerer than English Prawns from a lecture by the same name: Lee, S, 2009.

D & S,

I hereby submit my own scientific evidence that Australian prawns are at least four times as big as English prawns, as first documented by, ironically, the least fishesque half of Lee and Herring.

London and Midlands Diving Chambers

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

Hard Nuts
It's a noseplug.  You still have to equalise...

I did a thing, finally, it was by accident though. I went hard-hat diving.

I believe this is what happens when you combine hanging out with chamber technicians with not having The Ordnance (one of the cheapest pubs in London) five minutes walk away.

Officially I only went along to take pictures but after convincing the man who made the rig that I was a competent diver (despite being a flimsy PADI instructor), coupled with a spot of gastroenteritis on behalf of one of the intended participants, I got to cover myself in metal and step gracefully beneath the waves.

The last bit's a lie, obviously. Well, not the metal bit. There's an awful lot of that. Brass and copper on the helmet and neck attachment thing (to give it its technical name), huge lead weights around the waist and big lead boots. It's quite heavy. Really quite heavy.

I'd heard once that if you fall over, out of the water, in one of these suits you've no chance of getting back up again on your own. If I'd been stupid enough to fall over I'd probably be able to confirm that was true. If, say, I'd come back up the ladder after the dive and tried to take the last two steps in one go, tripped and swung round onto my back, to find myself very much pinned to the floor like an especially feeble cockroach, then I'd be able to confirm that rumour.

I can't, of course, which the picture's I'll be posting under this entry as and when I get them will prove.

Anyway, there's only two bits of advice I have for you if you ever give hard-hat diving a go. Firstly, don't try to prove how you're a natural at something you've never tried before by using just a tiny amount of air, because what will happen very quickly is that you start to blackout on the seabed from a carbon dioxide hit and then if you decide you ever want to get those 14 remaining stars on Super Mario Galaxy 2 or finish off the last two series of The Wire, or do whatever else it is people like to do (look at trees etc.) you'll have to turn up the airflow to the maximum and take a moment to recover forcing everyone on the surface to call you a twat and then have to apologise to Marina for calling you a twat, which means she then has to say that's OK, she knows it better than anyone.

The second bit of advice is not to attempt to deflect embrarrassment for trying to be macho with the air by trying to be macho with getting out of the water at the end by missing steps on the ladder because you'll fall over on your back and resemble an especially feeble cockroach until someone rescues you.

Awesome experience, though. Like being underwater with a goldfish bowl on your head yet dry at the same time. Or on the moon with a goldfish bowl on your head, except the moon's covered with water and you're dry at the same time and not popping. Or in your lounge with a goldfish bowl on your head except...

London School Of Diving
Comments on this post:
Beetle, not cockroach, thanks.

Not under any circumstances being rescued.

H2O Dive

If this doesn't make it into a future Photostory, nothing will.

London and Midlands Diving Chambers

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

England The Not Quite So Brave As Sir Lancelot
Brave Sir Robin Trying Not To Lose Against Algeria

England are the worst team in the history of football and are even less skilful than in the olden days of footballing yore when 9,000 men would beat each other to death in order to attempt to transfer a piece of rock from one Godforsaken Midlands village to another and no one ever scored a goal and the kit was rudimentary at best and the Nike adverts were, well, they were still very far removed from having anything at all to do with the game but Wayne Rooney looked fit.

And I still have to get up at 4.30am to watch the games. Fortunately, Marina gets up and watches them too.

Things I like to do whilst watching the game:

Watch the game whilst breathing through my mouth and drooling slightly.


Things Marina likes to do whilst watching the game:

Flick through a magazine.


Paint toenails (normally her own and usually ones still attached to her toes).

Make tea.

Ask me if I want tea (I don't).

Get up.

Sit down again.


Ask me which one is England.

Put a (there's no "you" in Qantas) Socceroos flag in front of the TV.

Quiz me with regard to the status of the gas bill.

Ask me if David Beckham's playing.

Tell me that David Beckham is handsome.

Move her legs around a bit.

Inspect her thumbnails.

Make another cup of tea.

Ask me if I want a cup of tea (I don't drink tea).

Ask me who's winning.

Check Facebook.

Tell me what people are up to on Facebook.

Ask me if I'm friends with Mat on Facebook (I am).

Tell me to stop swearing.


Ask me why England haven't "kicked a goal".

Ask me why David Beckham's wearing a suit.

Tell me that David Beckham is handsome.

Ask me if I'm being quiet because I'm in a mood with her.


Remind me to buy cheese the following afternoon.


Poke me with a finger and ask me if that's annoying.

Request quantification on a scale of one to ten as to how annoying it is when she pokes me with a finger.

Ask me how long's left.

Ask me why the England keeper let the ball go into his own net when his job is to stop the ball from going into his own net.

Consider purchasing shoes.

Discuss shoe purchasing options with me.

Ask me if we can afford new shoes.

Ask me why not.

Declare shoes will be purchased regardless.

Check toenails are dry.

Get up.

Sit down.


Fall asleep.

All of the above.

Adventure Divers La Manga

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

Tanked Up: (Un)Official "Scuba Diving Magazine Which Was Formerly Known As London Diver" Of The World Cup
Dazed and Confused

Right, given that my current existence is devoted to the World Cup and that I am forced vampirically to sit up all night to watch it, this post is likely to be a bit light on all that "divey stuff".

Being somewhat stranded from the England hype over here (but slap-bang in the middle of the "we didn't deserve to lose 4-0" hype; which is true, incidentally, as 6-0 would have been a much fairer result), I was a bit surprised at the outpourings of vitriol on the Grauniad website following the 1-1, particularly as I thought we were going to lose (2-0 to be precise. Goodbye $5; I could have nearly bought a can of Coke with that).

So let me tell you this: I've watched that game twice now, once at 4.30am and the repeat the next day at 2am, and not only was I sober both times, but England weren't that bad. No, honestly, they weren't. Yes, the USA were awful, but so were Holland, Italy and France (obviously).

As for the Septics' goal, given that for the first half Steven Gerrard seemed to be playing every position on the pitch on his own, we should probably blame him for the goalkeeping error. Mind you, if I was him, I'd have refused to play and taken the ball home with me ages before that. Maybe I'd have pinched Jamie Carragher's walking stick and burst his colostomy bag on the way, just to make sure the only man further out of touch with the game than Nike ("Write Your Own Slogan"), could take no further part.

Anyway, before anyone tries to dispute this here anti-Englishness, I call my first and only witness, the Giant Scotsman (guardian of Clarabel, the Kitler from Post #54). For many years, said Giant has proclaimed that if he were granted one wish and one wish only, it would be for the single use of a time machine that he might go back to Wembley in 1966 and take the place of the Russian linesman, declaring Hurst's famous effort to have not crossed the line.

He said this after the game: "I thought England were alright".

I rest my case.

London and Midlands Diving Chambers

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

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.

Aquamarine Silver
Comments on this post:
Jamesbert McFadden grieveth the Gauls.

No comment.

A Scotsman
H2O Dive

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

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.

Comments on this post:

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
Adventure Divers La Manga

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.

Diving Chamber Treatment Trust

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?


H2O Dive


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.

Adventure Divers La Manga

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


Expletive expletive expletive.


Dive Worldwide PNG
Comments on this post:

very informative, I know just what you mean

H2O Dive

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.

Dive Worldwide PNG
Comments on this post:
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.

Blue O Two

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.

Adventure Divers La Manga


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.


T Venables
Adventure Divers La Manga
Why Supporting Sheffield Wednesday Rocks


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...

Blue O Two

My bumhole is also primed for an eruption:


Diving Chamber Treatment Trust

Go the Binos / Beanos / Bee Nose!

H2O Dive

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

Fush and Chups

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.

Dive Worldwide PNG

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.

Scuba Trust

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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