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Life away from home

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  As you get older things change. Not right away you understand but in a creep-up-on-you kind of a way until one day something happens that makes you realise that things, that is you, have moved on.  I once heard the actor Timothy Spall being interviewed post a big cancer scare which he'd recovered from after plenty of unpleasant treatment. He said that you knew when things were normal again when, on coming home from the hospital all the little things started to bother you again. It's a lot like that when you are away from home with a ship on deployment. When you get home it's as though someone has pressed your personal reset button as all the usual tings don't bother you as much. Then you acclimatize once more and things go back to normal, much in the way Timothy Spall described. We're now just over halfway through our time away here in Singapore and thoughts of returning home have bubbled to the surface once more. Being away doesn't become any easier the older

Tiger!

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  Yours truly waiting for the tour to start Hello again! It's been an interesting few weeks since I last posted. The number of daily COVID cases here in Singapore have been increasing steadily and we have experienced a couple of the dockyard workers on board having tested positive as well. Whilst all the ship's company have thus far tested negative this latest episode has reminded us all just how close to home the whole COVID piece is and the effects it can have on us all. As for what effect it has on our programme between now and getting home remains to be seen. On a more positive note we managed to get to do the Tiger Beer brewery tour and it was a good day out. The highlight was the 2 hours we had in their 'Pub' at the end of the tour with a fair few freebies (Included in the price of the tour at any rate) thrown in for good measure. It's a big old place and I am becoming rather fond on their product now too.  Just in case you were wondering what you were there f

More life in Singapore

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  The view from our back window As promised here are some more photos of where we are here in Singapore. We are staying close to the Sembawang dockyard in accommodation used primarily by Expats and other nations' Defence personnel. It's fairly basic but is much the same as serviced apartments back home and does the job quite nicely. The Sembawang dockyard isn't very far away where there's an American Naval Exchange (NEX) store as well as a social club (Called the Terror club after HMS TERROR) where you can get something to eat as well as have a swim in the pool. Just not today though as it is throwing it down as well as flashing and banging just for good measure. My bedroom I'm sharing the apartment with the Command Warrant Officer who is nice and quiet so things are nice and peaceful. Indeed I'm writing this to you on the first full day off I've had since we arrived as things have been busy pretty much from the word go. Having said all that it's good th

Life in Singapore

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  One of the floating dry docks here in the yard - That's not us in there in case you're wondering Greetings from Singapore where we are now firmly embedded within the Tuas Dockyard undergoing a maintenance package as part of HMNZS CANTERBURY's 15-year docking programme. It took us some 2 weeks to sail here from Auckland where we had a delayed start owing to one of the ship's company (That'll be me then...) testing positive for Covid... Thankfully the second test proved to be negative (As did the retest of the first sample they took) so we managed to set sail and 'Go West!' (With quite a lot of North thrown in too for good measure). It made for an emotional rollercoaster 24 hours though! As some of you will remember I was taking some Leave Without Pay a little while back but the sitting Engineer Officer on CANTERBURY has gone off to take some well earned parental leave and as such I was asked to step in and take the reins for a few months. This I was quite h

Taking stock and learning from others

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  Em with the MG on Queen Charlotte Drive A few weeks ago I embarked on a bike trip up to the North Island which was cut short owing to an issue with the Moto Guzzi. Although the snag was fixed promptly by the dealer where I bought it from in Wellington I'd missed the the event I was going to attend in Auckland - A shame but such is life and I was actually glad that nothing went seriously wrong and I lived to ride another day. In a way it actually allowed me to do some more rides closer to home and enjoy a few of the other things on offer to us here in Marlborough, one of which is enjoying our lovely little MGTF which I bought last year. Buying the car realised a long-held desire to own one of these which were launched in the mid-1990s when I was an impoverished student at Southampton University. It's funny how when you have little or nothing to your name such things stick in your mind so vividly - Just over 10 years ago I nearly bought one in the UK but instead bought a Merced

Out and about with Oscar

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  Oscar at the top of Mount Vernon Hello to you all and welcome to my latest blog. I know it's been a little delayed in getting to you but I've been both out and about and I suffered a couple of technical hitches which held things back a bit. Firstly let me introduce Oscar, my soft toy mascot/travelling companion. Oscar has been with us for a while now and is named after the Great Dane we owned back in 2003/2004. Sadly we were forced to give the real life Oscar up for adoption when we were both posted away from home so this little guy is the soft toy memory of that lovable big doofus and I try to take him along on my rides to share what we see. View from the pathway inside Wither Hills Park As part of my desire to explore Blenheim a little more I recently went to Wither Hills Park and did one of the day walks on offer. t took me to the summit of Mount Vernon which offered a fabulous view across both Blenheim (The Wither Hills are located to the South of the Town) as well as Clo

A few sights from my travels

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  The Enchanted lookout As promised I've been out and about in the local area since being on my LWOP. Attached are some photos of the local area on the route up to Mount Patriarch which is situated in the Mount Robertson range here in Marlborough.  Above is a spot called the 'Enchanted Lookout' which is some 1160m above sea level. It's accessible by public road though it's unsealed and best tackled by something with some decent ground clearance or, in my case, a Suzuki DR650. A biking buddy of mine and I went up there earlier this week and it is, quite frankly, life affirming. It's quiet, beautiful and all within 80-90Km of our house. Ideal! It also reminds me very much of a spot I spent some time in as a youth growing up in South Africa. Ngodwana (Google it to get the full lowdown) and the surrounding area is remarkably similar and my only regret from living there is that I was too young to go out and about dirt riding in the local forestry area in territory su