Archive for the ‘United Kingdom’ Category

British AirwaysI was flying back to the UK with British Airways who actually have a really bad reputation for dealing with surfers. In particular they regularly refuse to take surfboards on their passenger flights, so I was a tad nervous that I might end up losing another board on the way home.

However to give credit where it is due I was pleased that they loaded my board without issues and more importantly without any charges. I had a great seat for the flight back with loads of room too, and was looked after by a stewardess call Holly who had spotted my surfboard being loaded and wondered how anybody could have been surfing in Cairo.

London Taxis Lined Up On SidewalkBeing able to join the tiny residents queue at immigration for the first time in a year was a delight too, but things went downhill from there. Straight away I had to put a jumper on for the first time six months.

Then after clearing customs and collecting my baggage I spent an hour freezing in a cab rank waiting for a taxi big enough to carry my board, only to hear words I have not missed in my year away when one finally arrived. “I ain’t ga-ing dan there!” London cabbies don’t change and I can’t say I have missed them that much!

Left LuggageI am in too good a mood to let it bring me down though, but have to form a plan B, which entails going into the city on the Heathrow Express and leaving my bag at Left Luggage in Paddington station.

I know from past experience that carrying a surfboard anywhere on public transport in central London is a nightmare and I can easily collect from there on my way out of town later in the week, so it will save me a lot of grief.

Roast-chickenHowever the price of leaving the board there is as extortionate as I remember everything being before I left on my travels, so I console myself with my first Cornish pasty in over a year.

Ditching the board means getting out to my friends Richard and Hannah in south west London is a much easier prospect though, and it doesn’t take me long to get there.

It is great to be back and I was cooked a fantastic roast chicken dinner later in the evening to remind me of why it is so good to be home. (You can’t get proper gravy anywhere else in the world!) There may also have been a drink or two involved!

Share

Middle EastI have no idea how they are going to resolve all the current upheaval here in Egypt. Almost everyone I spoke to while inside the country suggested that strong leadership was needed, although nobody had a decent answer for who or what that might be.

This diagram of many of the conflicting power struggles in the Middle East might give you some idea of what a conundrum the situation is. Given there has rarely been peace in this region for much of human history, I’m afraid I will not be holding my breath on a solution being found.

WP_20131130_006Despite this and all the hawkers making a play on your wallet I would like to see more of this country once things are more settled.

The towering minarets of the mosques and temples, Luxor and other areas rich in monuments from ancient Egypt, and all the wildlife available could easily tempt me back in future. However I only had a few days available to visit Egypt and it is time to move on once more.

union-jackIt will be my last flight of these adventures. The flight home.

I will be landing back on British soil at midday today after which you can contact me for ever after on +44-7775-746861.

Share

happy-birthday

Happy birthday to my buddy Neil.

This blog would not be happening without his assistance, and he is also the only one to fly out and join me this year, so I hope you are having a great day fella.

Will be raising a glass to you from here.

Best wishes

Rob

Share

Get Well Soon Dad

Sending lots of love to my father who has had to undergo a horrific operation today.

I hope there are no more complications for you, and that you are feeling a bit better soon.

Lots of love

Robert

xxx

Share

Marathon_birthday_cake

I wanted to say Happy Birthday to my brother Gareth.

I’m still blown away by you marathon time dude. Sub three and a half hours is just awesome.

Hope you are having a great day.

Rob

Share

DadA quick note to send lots of love to my father who has been in the wars once more.

He really hasn’t had any luck lately so I hope he is feeling better soon.

XXX

Share

london-surf-film-festThe London Surf Film Festival is currently running back in the UK, and friend of mine has produced a movie for the short film category. She has captured some great footage of the surf in Madeira, which picks up fantastic waves in the middle of the North Atlantic.

The prize for the category will be won by viewer votes, so please take a look for yourselves at Nell’s movie, and vote for the film if you can here.

Share

Fiji WeddingI post this some what late but hope that Adam passed on this message for me on your big day.

Dear Allan and Lucy

I am really sorry I can’t be there to enjoy your special day with you both, but as you know I am currently chasing waves on the other side of the world at the moment. I write this from Fiji and hope some of the sun shining here joins you for your wedding day.

It really seems like yesterday that Allan came home to my flat in East Dulwich after a night at the Phoenix and Firkin in Denmark Hill station and couldn’t wait to tell me about the girl he had met that evening. However that was twelve years ago and so much has moved on since that time. It isn’t even called the Phoenix any more!

Really wishing you both a fantastic day and all the happiness in the world for the rest of your lives together with your beautiful family. I will look forward to catching up with you all when I get back.

Much love.

Rob

Share

Pete Kraus SurfingI first met Peter Kraus (who you see here tearing it up back in the day) walking down the street in the early eighties. At the time he was our milkman, and because he was keen to get his round finished so he could get on with one of his adventures later in the day he asked if I would help him with the remaining deliveries for the princely sum of £1. That would have bought an 11 year old me a lot of sweets back then so I jumped at the opportunity.

We hit it off straight away and I ended up helping him deliver his round at weekends, during my holidays and even sometimes before school for the next four years. I can honestly say it was the only job I have ever had that I looked forward to going to each day, purely because we had so much fun together. It is also the reason why I have never been one for laying in bed for long, and always willing to get outside in the elements regardless of the weather because I am so hardened to it.

Stunt MilkmanPete was the first person to treat me like an adult, and continued to do so even when I was getting myself into all kinds of trouble that caused many others to give me a hard time or turn their backs on me. An example of this might be that he gave me my first driving lesson.

The reason for this was that if I drove the milk float then he could catch up on his bookwork as we went down the road. However I very much doubt that the local police would have been as impressed as I was with an eleven year old driving a motor vehicle through traffic on public roads. Pete trusted me though, and I should point out that my later efforts at driving the milk float off a cliff had nothing to do with this time. The results you see here were all my own work, but if I remember correctly he had actually managed to write off a couple of his own in his time.

One day we were out on the round and he told me that there were probably going to be good waves today, and asked if I would like to try surfing. He had got into it himself years before and still loved getting into the water. Prior to that time my only concept of surfing was the Old Spice aftershave advert and the titles to Hawaii Five-O.

sexwax_originalgreenAfter getting the all clear from my mother to go we went to Pete’s house to collect the gear. I can remember the mild alarm I had upon seeing a block of sex wax lying around while I waited there, wondering what it was and then being told to bring it!

We drove across North Wales and down to the end of the Llyn Peninsular to go to the beach, where it was Pete’s spare wetsuit and his old board that I was using in the session I have described in the Why? page of this website. It was nearly thirty years ago, and I still remember almost everything about that trip, and have never lost the love for riding waves that that day gave to me. It is a debt I owe to Pete, which I will never be able to repay.

The two of us went surfing a few times after that, and also invented the sport of urban surfing a milk float where we would take turns to climb out of the moving vehicle, climb up on the roof and surf it down the road. One of my most amusing memories of my childhood is going past an elderly lady brushing her teeth in the window of the first floor as I surfed along at eye level on the roof of our float. She didn’t have a clue what was going on but waved back when I saluted her on the way past.

It would be a few years before I was legally allowed to drive, and get myself to the beach but as soon as I could Pete was only too willing to give me an old board, surf magazines to keep the stoke alive between sessions, and a wetsuit because he knew there was no way I could afford to buy any of it myself. Regardless of the fact that the water temperature was less than 10C I surfed in that tatty old Rip Curl shorty for years.

Peter Kraus & Dick Van StraalenAs I moved on into university and then further away from North Wales with work we always stayed in touch and occasionally bumped into each other at the rugby. He was as ardent a Wales fan as I am, and always entertaining company.

Sadly over time he became troubled with illness, and his way of beating his own path didn’t always fit in with the conservative perspective of others. Despite this, his passion for environmental issues managed to get him elected to be a councillor for the Green Party, and by all accounts he caused mayhem insisting upon more radical approach to the way things got done. I know a lot of people didn’t approve of the way he went about things, but it always made me chuckle. You need mavericks to change the established order if it isn’t good enough and I thought it might be just the kick up the back side that any of the other politicians needed.

The last time I saw Peter was shortly before I left London. You can see him in this picture taken in my flat with the 7’2″ Dick Van Straalen board he had given me some twenty years earlier. He was in town and asked if he could have his board back. I have treasured it for the interim period and had it on display in my lounge, but could not refuse the request. Your first board is like your first child and any surfer would understand that he was the only person I would ever have given it up to.

We had a fun time together during his brief visit, and he read me a load of the poetry he had written recently, and he was surprised to find that many of the bands I have discovered by myself were some of his favourites from back in the day.

We have been in touch throughout this trip of mine, which simply wouldn’t be occurring were it not for Pete having introduced me to the sport that I love. He wanted to know about the waves I have been riding, the places I have stayed in and has even been good enough to put me in touch with several people so that I might get a bed for free on my way around.

Peter KrausAs a consequence of all the above I can’t tell you how upset I am to report that Peter has taken his own life.

Rest in peace Pete.

You were too colourful for this world in more ways than one.

I’m sure that the water is warm and the waves are pumping wherever you are.

Share

Falls WalkwayWhilst at Heaven on the Planet I am staggered to hear via email that my jacket, which you see demonstrating its wonderful waterproof  capabilities at Iguazu Falls, has resurfaced back in New Zealand. I have annoyingly bought a replacement already so it is now on its own way back to the UK.

You can catch up on its own exploits at www.aroundtheworldineightypostoffices.com

The tale involving some duct tape and the franking machine is outrageous!

Share
css.php