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e-med Arabic
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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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
Adventure Divers La Manga

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
Catfish Dive & Safari

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
Diving Chamber Treatment Trust
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
H2O Dive
04/03/2010

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

Rob
50 Reasons to Hate the French

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
H2O Dive
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
Blue O Two
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
Adventure Divers La Manga

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

 
The Scorpionlike Nature of the Baby Jee
Rob Doesn't Get Stung (For a Change)







I've been busily working away on the shiny new site for the brand new mag: Tanked Up or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Fact that LDM goes national, so there's been little blogation happening here recently, which I sincerely think you should just get over and move on with your lives.

January was rubbish anyway. The highlight, as I'm sure you'll all agree, was this dessicated scorpion, which didn't even kill anyone.

February, though, is already a vast improvement and has already seen our first dive on the HMAS Canberra, which really is the stuff of legend. Albeit, a very recent legend, since it was only scuttled in October.

My brother uses the word "scuttled" as a euphemism for "had sex with", but I mean "sunk". Well, that dive will be the subject of the Tanked Up Launch Blog. I know you're excited. I can smell the wee. Oh, that's me.

Fear not though, the new site, like the new mag, is essentially the same but betterer. And national. Actually, gonads to it, it's global, I've just decided. Intergalactic, actually, should any citizens of Alpha Centauri feel inclined to pop over and grab a copy.

So, until then, I'd just like to leave you with this little tale:

A few days ago, we were summoned to our doorstep by some junior Christians who were conducting a survey in the very earnest way that you would expect. Luckily, Marina volunteered to respond to their quizling natures, whilst I hid in the spare room and tried not to listen. I could't help overhearing though (I had a glass to the door: unnecessary, really, since it was open, but I think it helped to unsettle the kids since they could see me). Here then, was the highlight:

Junior JC Fan: Question 3. Do you think that Jesus was the son of God, a great leader, a prophet, or something else?

Marina: I think he was the son of God.

Junior JC Fan: Question 4. Do you believe in God?

Marina: No.

Rob
e-med Arabic
Comments on this post:
09/02/2010

Nice blog - about time too. I've already wet myself in anticipation of Tanked Up, but it's just tea. I'm drinking it out of a 'Hot Wheels' mug I was given (out of pity) by a friend for Christmas - I think it's a kiddies mug & not for adults - what sort adult would be incredibly excited about getting a collectable 'Hot Wheels' mug full of sentiment & nostalgia?

Anyway - I know I've got a big gob & it's a small lip, but I do get quite a lot of spillage as a result.

I take it they scuttled the wreck the right way up of course......You never know with them lot Down Under...

Howard Sawyer
e-med Arabic
09/02/2010

They did sink it the right way up, although before we went, someone told us there was a slight list towards the starboard side but it was unnoticeable.

And indeed it was. Unless you had your eyes open; then it was really obvious.

Rob
London and Midlands Diving Chambers
10/02/2010

About time too. Thought you were sitting around in the sun and had forgotten about us poor sould freezing our bollocks off in dear old blighty. God knows what is happening in the rest of the galaxies. But then as Marina doesn't believe in Him. Who the hell knows what its like out there. No time to get too philosophical I am off to get a drink.

Rob's Mum
50 Reasons to Hate the French
10/02/2010

I think you might have had enough already, mum.

Rob
H2O Dive

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

 
Mittens
Bored shrimp







I hope the little baby Jesus brought you everything you wanted for Santamas this year.

I was tolerated by Marina's family this time around, which made a nice change from being snowed-in to my Grandmother's house in the Peak District with four people who are determined to be as miserable as possible. I missed being bought socks though. One year my gran bought me a delightful pair of multicoloured mittens. I was sixteen. Everyone agreed that they were awesome and the barrage of punches I received from my friends was due to envy.

They still have the Queen's speech over here and it's identical to the one broadcast on my gran's TV at the volume of a 747 landing, although my mum refuses to believe me. I think my mum is working on the theory that the Queen is speaking directly to her. Quite why anyone would want an old lady to wander up to them and say "Troops" is beyond me, let alone put it on TV, but that's modern society for you. I blame the internet: they should put some porn on it.

Anyway, I was bad; I ate a prawn. I had to do it. I'd just met Marina's grandparents, and upon discovering I'm vegetarian, they were clearly wondering if they should have bought me multicoloured mittens for Christmas. I had already asked Cooking the Catch's Andrew Maxwell if there was any such thing as an environmentally-sound way to catch prawns and although he was very polite and replying via email from the other side of the world, I could still hear him laughing at me. I've illustrated this with a picture of a prawn (I've been doing some boring dives recently) that's about life size, so you can see there's not really a market for them diver-caught. So, yes, having encouraged dredging I feel like I went into a china shop with a baseball bat and smashed my way through all the shelves until I found a cup I wanted to buy. Actually that sounds awesome and I'm going to try it.

For me, the highlight of Christmas Day was when Marina's uncle announced he'd had enough of being cooped up in a small cupboard-like space all his life and decided to stretch his legs. I think he was expecting a bigger reaction, but when you're 44 years-old, have never had a girlfriend and you like shopping, suspicions have already been raised.

He probably bought his own multicoloured mittens when he was sixteen.

Rob
Regaldive

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

 
Opera?









(iPhonoclast version)

I've been in New South Wales (so called because it looks like South Wales but newer and completely different) for the past ten days and they don't have any computers in Eastern Australia so I couldn't do a blog. I would apologise, but you're easily distracted, so look at the video of the cuttlefish instead.

We went through Sydney, where you'll be surprised to learn there's an Opera House. There's also a bridge, but I've seen bridges before, so whilst other members of the party were looking at that, I checked the latest news on my phone.

"Where's Hawk's Nest?" I asked Mixmaster Darrington of LDC fame, who's back in Straya for Santamas. "Where we're going", he replied, "why?". I showed him the report of a great white shark attacking a boat there that morning. Then I showed it to Marina. Fortunately, the report was illustrated with a picture of a great white jumping out of the water, so I could point out to her that the rubber one in Jaws, which I'd made her watch a few nights previously, was quite unrealistic.

Marina got a bit angry: "Why would you show me that?", was all she would say. Clearly she was frustrated that now there's been a sighting, the probability of us encountering a great white whilst in the water was drastically reduced. "Don't worry", I reassured her, "it says here that they're seeing up to ten a day now that they've imposed fishing restrictions in the area". She's started talking to me again now that we're back in Melbourne.

Sadly, the biggest things we saw on the trip were dolphins and kangaroos (not at the same time), but the diving was awesome. Unfortunately, we were camping which means you're constantly exhausted thanks to the kookaburras. These little chaps, like most birds, like to get up before sunrise and they have a distinctive call that many people say sounds like a laugh. And it does sound like a laugh. It's the cackling, howling laugh of a madman. A madman or a chimpanzee. A vengeful chimpanzee, driven beyond insanity by years of disfiguring vivisection. A vengeful, maniacal, horribly mutilated chimpanzee with a machete. And it's 4am. Why would a malicious, maniacal, mutated chimpanzee be cackling with evil, hooting glee whilst lurking outside your tent at four in the morning with a machete? I did postulate a theory or two in response, but none of my solutions were conducive to a restful slumber. Fortunately, Marina wasn't woken up by the kookaburras.

She was being kept awake by nightmares about sharks.

Rob
LDC Training
Comments on this post:
21/12/2009

This comment was posted in response to a letter published in this article. All comments are welcome.

Dear Rob and Gordon (Ramsey)

Please don't read too deeply into the letter that Lorraine Hill from Friends of Cardigan Bay sent you,myself and many other local fishermen have been fishing scallops responsibly in Cardigan Bay for over a quarter of a century,returning to the same healthy fishing grounds year after year,scallop stocks are as healthy,if not healthier now as they have ever been - if this is not a well maintained sustainable fishery,then I don't know what is!

Cardigan Bay plays host to a rich and varied array of wildlife,we've witnessed for ourselves increasing numbers of dolphins in recent years and the local media reported large 'super-pods' of up to 1500 dolphins off the West Wales coast this summer.The local tv news only recently reported that the seal population was increasing with a threefold increase in the amount of pups born this year.How can this be I wonder if we are to believe what these so called 'environmaentalists' tell us? The Bay's marine environment has to be vibrant and healthy and the food chain in tact or how else could these populations be increasing?

Our livelihoods are under an ever increasing and real threat by the naivety and ignorance of these people.

Yours sincerely

Mark

fishing vessel Harmoni MR7

Pwllheli

Mark Roberts
London and Midlands Diving Chambers
21/12/2009

Dear Mark,

Thank you for posting your reaction to the letter I published in my article in the last edition of Cooking the Catch.

I think that the points that you make are very valid, and I hope that the readers of the magazine do not for a moment believe that all fishermen operating in Cardigan Bay are doing so in an unsustainable manner, however there is another point you make which does actually raise a degree of concern.

You mention that there are increasing numbers of dolphins and seals in Cardigan Bay - this is itself is something to be concerned about, as it is an indication that the balance of the food chain is actually changing. If Cardigan Bay has not historically been the home to large numbers of dolphins and seals, then the fact that they now thrive there is a sign that there has been an increase in the numbers of species on which they feed, which ultimately, (somewhere down the line) means something else has been removed from the food chain.

I think that ultimately, whether or not scallop numbers in Cardigan Bay are being managed well is not actually the issue at hand here (although it is certainly something that has been in the press a great deal recently) Personally, as a chef and a diver, my concern is more that the fishing methods used are actually detrimental to the undersea environment - this is something that I am afraid cannot come into question here - having seen the results of dredging first hand, (and as a chef, knowing the difference in taste between dived and dredged) I can only say that I am in favour of the hand dived - they taste so much better (less gritty) and leave the sea bed looking like there is something living there!!

Kind regards,

Chef!

Andrew Maxwell
Diving Chamber Treatment Trust

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

 
Get Orf My Pier









(iPhonoclast version)

There's a couple of weedy seadragons for you then; keeps you happy. But it almost went so wrong.

Basically, I was a bit warm in my drysuit and I decided Marina didn't need any help gearing up, so I hopped in quickly for the dive. Then, because I had to wait around for so long on the surface because Marina couldn't get geared up on her own because there was no one around to help her, I decided to check the housing on the camera, which is something I've never bothered to do before. It was steadily filling up with water.

Fortunately, the waterline was just below the actual camera, but then I had to wait around for ages whilst Marina took all her gear off so she could fix it and then had to float around for even longer whilst she geared up again. Seriously, if it's not make-up and hair it's a twelve litre steel cylinder and ten kilos of integrated lead. It wasn't the last problem her flimsy, girlie ways would cause that day though.

Mere minutes into the dive (54 to be precise), Marina decided she wanted to come up. It transpires she was getting bothered by quite a big ray (see comment below), which kept reminding her of great white sharks. Ridiculous since no one has been attacked by a shark in the state of Victoria for four years and the attack on that occasion was at least fifty and maybe even sixty metres from the actual spot we were diving.

We got out anyway (because the battery in the camera had died), but this involved climbing a bit of a rickety ladder which lacked any handrails at the top so you have to drag yourself horizontally across the ground when you get there. It's two metres or so up and can be a bit tiring, which is why I grabbed Marina's tank valve to help her up the last bit. I seemed to just be getting in the way though, so I let go after a few seconds. Turns out that was all it required for her to lose her balance and tumble back down the ladder into the water. Women have foul mouths on them sometimes.

Best not to help at all, really, which is the conclusion Marina came to with my driving. She made me do it. Don't get me wrong, I drove once in Canada, three years ago until everyone asked me to stop, and before that for a bit in Queensland, seven years ago, until I reversed into a wall and before that for at least a week in 1993, so I'm quite experienced. I just don't like it when there's objects around or I have to change gear or steer.

If, for example, there was a jerry-can of two-stroke diesel mysteriously sitting in the middle of the road and I was piling towards it at 80km/h whilst making driving noises (unnecessary, apparently, because the car does them for you), I'd probably just drive over it. I've seen it done with rabbits: they duck and the car passes harmlessly over them (but not the wheels. They make an exciting bumping / crunching sound). Jerry-cans, though. They have a different approach altogether, preferring to get lodged on the front axle instead of ducking. This generally makes an unpleasant scraping noise, but the diesel looks good in the rearview mirror as it spurts down the highway. I don't think they have a problem with fires in Victoria though, so it's probably OK.

The night before we came across some parked cars in the middle of the freeway and some girls who were trying to coax a koala into something that resembled bushes and didn't have cars doing 100km/h along it. The koala was having none of it and kept running (well, waddling) off in circles that, although they were ever-increasing, always ended in the middle of the carriageway, which it appears was the best place to sit down and look adorable.

Fortunately, Marina was driving, so it didn't end up on our axle, and there was no water around for me to accidentally drop it into. I think it was just hitching. If it had been down to me we'd have picked it up. I was a bit hammered though, so it wasn't down to me. Which is a shame, because driving is probably like dancing and I'm bound to be 37 times better at it when I'm drunk.

I think that's the best idea I have ever had.

Rob
Aquamarine Silver
Comments on this post:
29/11/2009

(iPhonoclast version)

I asked a girl out once whose surname was ray. She had blonde hair and looked a bit weird but her tits were quite big.

She said no.

Rob
Adventure Divers La Manga
04/12/2009

Rob - your blog on weedy seadragons - that was at Rapid Bay? No leafy's?

Nice to hear there's someone who's driving inspires as much confidence as mine.

Lady friend in the USA let me have a spin round the block for 10 minutes - never asked me to share any of the driving to Yosemite...I tell you the car pulls to the right & what a stupid side to put a gear stick on!

Control freaks, the lot of the them.

You press on regardless & hold your end up, fella ;-)

Howard Sawyer
e-med Arabic
04/12/2009

Hi Howard,

It was under Flinders Pier, which is down on the Mornington Peninsula. Mornington's a bit like Cornwall: some beautiful bits with a few Newquay's thrown in just when you think you're enjoying it. No leafy ones this time although I did see one once. I was inexplicably staring at a bit of seaweed for half an hour and then it moved.

Back in 2003, when I was in Port Douglas, I ran out of money whilst doing my Divemaster course and ended up delivering pizzas. That was when I reversed the boss's car into the wall. My nickname was "Employee of the Month".

What I remember most though is the guy who showed me the ropes. Lovely fella, he was very understanding about the driving thing and kept saying "It's OK mate, you just have to get used to driving on the left". I didn't have the heart to tell him that's the tradition on UK roads as well. Particulary since I kept making his head bounce off the windscreen whenever I applied the brakes or changed gear.

Rob
London and Midlands Diving Chambers
10/12/2009

Rob,

It's not funny to count down the seconds to the tram's arrival. For six minutes. Out loud, using only odd numbers. Never do that again.

Marina
London and Midlands Diving Chambers

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

 
P(l)ants
Do you have one of these, exactly the same, but alive?







It's really quite hot at the moment. So much so that I spend all day working in just my pants. Luckily, I work from home most of the time, but it gets very embarrassing when I have to go out for a meeting in the city or something: I think everyone else tends to feel terribly overdressed.

Anyway, the other problem with the weather is that when we first moved into this place, the landlady asked us to look after her plants for a couple of months. At first this was quite easy, because it rained every day. Now that we've hit drought season though, the plants seem to be receiving substantially less water.

Marina has intimated that perhaps, since I spend all day sitting around in my kegs, I could have taken it upon myself to feed the plants from time to time. I tried to claim that they were cactuses and hence didn't require liquid nourishment, but as you can see from the photo, I may have been lying.

Unfortunately, you can't tell from the picture what the plants used to be. Next time I'm forced to engage in some sort of similarly responsible behaviour, I'll take the photo beforehand, so that when I kill them I can go to a plant shop for replacements (if such a thing exists. Perhaps you have to wander into the wilderness or something).

I'll take the same approach if ever I have to babysit. I can wander into an orphanage with a photo, point at a child and say: "I need one of those, but smaller and in blond".

Rob
Ocean Leisure
Comments on this post:
24/11/2009

Vid-e-o blog

Vid-e-o blog

Vid-e-o blog

Vid-e-o blog

moremoremore......

Ron Hubbard
Adventure Divers La Manga
29/11/2009

Ronaldo,

Here's some lightning, just for you. And the seadragons above are Thetan level four.

The stingray isn't though. She's in league with Xenu and has no tail.

Rob
50 Reasons to Hate the French

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

 
Here There Be Dragons (x20)
A parrot, for Ed again.







I counted twenty individual weedy seadragons under a Melbourne pier on Thursday. So did Marina. Great dive.

Unfortunately, we had an argument before we left concerning leaving the packing until the last minute. In order to prove that it's quite possible to pack absolutely everything required fifteen minutes before leaving on any given journey without forgetting anything, that's exactly what I did. And, might I add, I did it successfully. Everything packed, nothing forgotten.

Except the phone charger.

And my jeans.

And all my socks, the suncream, and my sunglasses.

Oh, and the waterproof housing for the camera. Nice parrot, eh?

Rob
Diving Chamber Treatment 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.
Showing 31-40 of 98

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