Friday, 22 January 2010

Outward Bound.

Bound is Bound Outward again. On February 9, 20210, I am booked to fly from LHR (Heathrow to you) to SYD (Sydney) and do not plan to be home again until March 20 when the grass will need cutting.

If February 9 is D-Day this is D-17. The organisation that has gone into my trip and indeed is still going in is comparable with D-Day Planning.

My acquaintance Admiral Ritchie, formerly Assistant Hydrographer of the Navy was on D-Day in charge of the party that lasid the buoys to mark where the Mulberry Harbour was to be parked. He was there very early in the morning and the Harbour was duly mored in the right place, an achievement of considerable technical skill in the most peaceful conditions. In Southampton where my family lived there were rumours of concrete barges being built - no one knew what for.

Then everybody knew. It was a brilliant and successful device to provide an instant harbour to land quantities of heavy vehicles. Admiral Ritchie is still around and aalways wears a red tie.

I digress. I shall tell you sbout Conundrum another time, or you can look it up.

I go from Australia after a brief rest to New Zealand to visit my relations and a university visit. My plan for my rest day in Sysney is to do what I have done before and take the ferry across the harbout to Manley to go out to Manley Beach on the Ocean side of the harbour. There I shall look for a cafe where I can sit in the shade looking at the sunny Pacific Ocean, eat seafood salad and drink cold beer. Last year my similar plan met alas wet and not very warm weather. I went to the Art Gallery and looked at one of my favourite pictures "The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon". Look at it on the Web. It has everything.

There is a serpent in every Eden. The swimmers on the beach at Manley swim within the shark nets. Nowadays I do not have to photograph such places - the Web has pictures ready for you.

It takes almost the whole day to get to Auckland and on the 150 miles to Napier. It seems a long time until one reflects that it took Captain Cook some months. As the plane flies over the watery waste one wonders if there really is land ahead as Capain Cook must have wondered. The reports of earlier navigators has been one suspects vague and it was not until Cooke with the chronometer that gave him his exact position landed and spent some weeks taking astronomical observations that a precise latitude and longitude could be establshed. Your Satnav today does it instantly of course.

Napier in Hawkes Bay on the east coast the North island claims to be the Art Deco capital of the world. Following a disastrous earthquake and fire in 1931 the town centre was rebuilt almost entirely by two gifted architects in the contemporary style in the contemporary style. I hope again to attend some of the events in the annual Art Deco Festival weekend.

Many people attend the gatherings in the gardens on the Marine Parade in period costume and some of you may remember my own picture in boater and blazer. I felt I lent a touch of authenticity to the occasion. The parades of vintage cars are astonishing.

I do try in this blog to write about interesting things and people without too much about my own doings and of course I respect the privacy of my hosts.

Lots to do - must have Oz Visa and print list of addresses. Need some cash too - $AU and $NZ more expensive than before. Using the Big Mac Index - the price of a Big Mac Burger is a guide to the general price level we have:

UK $ 3.32 £2.06
US $3.15 £1.95
NZ $3.08 £1.90
AU $2.44 £1.51 - something wrong there.

That cheers me up as a prospective traveller but not what is was.

It is all because unemplyment causes in Britain a shortage of labour. This is not just facetious. Once people are out of the job market it is hard to get them back. One reason is the very high marginal tax on the extra income from work as opposed to social security.

Enough for one posting.

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear you have safely arrived. Broadmayne, unsurprisingly, continues cold although yesterday (Sunday) was quite sunny and sunny enough to cause me to venture into the garden for some (gentle) digging. Not yet quite digging for victory although given the extremely parlous state of the UK (and European) economies one wonders whether we shall be eventually driven to a sort of WW2 existance(minus war).
    On a more cheerful note(s)(literaly)there is increasing activity among the garden birds with some most exquisite birdsong. Blackbirds are squabbling over prospective mates and great tits have been inspecting our bird boxesa harbinger of Spring.