Time Bandit

10 January 2018
31 December 2017
29 December 2017
29 December 2017
17 December 2017 | Essential Ski Wear 2017
15 December 2017
08 December 2017
07 December 2017 | The Blue Mountains
03 December 2017 | Eliana Dave
01 December 2017
27 November 2017
24 November 2017
21 November 2017
18 November 2017
14 November 2017 | Blackwattle Bay, Sydney
11 November 2017 | Bimbadgen Winery, Hunter Valley
08 November 2017
06 November 2017 | Calm Before The Storm, Port Stephens
03 November 2017
01 November 2017

Three-In-A-Bed Romp

10 January 2018
Did that get your attention? That classic tabloid headline - usually reserved for footballers and our political elite. However, I'm delighted to say that yes, finally, it's been my turn. Anne, me and a wee wriggling hot water bottle of a grandson. Not much sleep but he's a warm wee soul. Not that keen on being at the bottom of the bed keeping my feet warm though.

We need all the heat we can get. As followers will have gathered by now, it's cold here. My pal Trevor is hard at work back in Australia, on the Gold Coast to be exact, re-modelling his son's front yard. Poor lad. He's sweltering in 30c. Further south, Time Bandit is in 40c, apparently Sydney's hottest day since records began.

I need some of that. Desperately.

2017-2018 Time Portal

31 December 2017
It's weird. Really weird. Our boat, parked in Sydney, along with our Southern Hemisphere friends have already enjoyed and celebrated New Year. And yet, we're just leaving the house to go to the warm up for our New Year. Weird, but good because, Southern Hemisphere friends who have already stepped into 2018; is it OK?

If there's anything we should know about, please let us know in the next couple of hours.

Time Bandit and Friends 2017

29 December 2017
It seems like a long time ago we left the fireside of Opua Cruising Club and headed for the islands.

And what fun we had! Hope you enjoy.


I'm Freezing!

29 December 2017
Well, its been and gone. The Christmas festivities, family, food, fun and frolics all consigned to the fading memory banks for another year.

Its been great being home but, know what,.......I'm cold. Really cold. After eleven months toiling under the tropical sun, day in, day out my skinny wee frame is suffering horribly in the dark, drafty, cold and damp. And that's just in the house.

Way back, when my poor old pop was in "the home" there was a dear old biddy whose obsession was to go around opening the windows. Not a big deal in the summer but in winter, the staff would having apoplexy, dashing around in her wake slamming the windows shut before any of the other guests got the flu.

It's been like that here. All my family and friends, who seem to have thicker blood than me, gaily throw open the windows embracing the arctic blast the follows. As soon as their backs are turned, I unwrap myself from my duvet, shuffle over to the windows and slam them shut. Five minutes later, click, creak and.......whoosh. Another blast of icy air and the house temperature plummets to a bracing new low to cries of delight and, "isn't that fresh Scottish air just lovely". As the room temperature drops, so does my core temperature. Heating seems to be an unnecessary extravagance.

I'm like Sanka from Cool Runnings (in the Rasta hat).

Meanwhile, outside, the Canada geese are wandering around the fields looking slightly bemused, if not pissed off as, having flown thousands of miles to get away from the arctic winter. Guess what! It's here.

Boys Toys

17 December 2017 | Essential Ski Wear 2017
Now, when I were a lad, I went skiing in Long Johns, a pair of jeans, a couple of woolly jumpers and a jacket.

It seems things have moved on somewhat.

At coffee break in the mountain huts, if you can call places with electric sliding doors, triple glazed windows and elevators for those that can't manage the one flight of stairs to the plush, wifi enabled restaurant, a hut, it's been interesting, if not amusing to watch folk peel off their layers and, once refreshed get tooled up again.

It's a bit like watching a group of SAS or Delta Force get ready for "an Op".

First, on goes the full length foam, and no doubt Kevlar, back protector. Next is the cross chest harness but instead of a Colt 45, in goes an avalanche transponder, its red light blinking to say, "look guys, I'm a cool off piste, hard core powder hound". Jacket follows and on top of that goes a James Bond style avalanche air bag equipped rucksack. Finally, a Porsche styled helmet gets plonked on their nut complete with its bronzed, metallic flip down visor that wouldn't be out of place on a fighter jet.

In the end, off they go, clumping out the cafe looking like a cross between Bravo Two Zero, Ninja Warriors and Top Gun........and ski off down the blue run.

They were probably more at risk from catching a dose of my Man Flu while queuing for overpriced spaghetti than anything else.

Me? I'm all dolled up in the latest gear. Ian has a pal, Scott (www.ScottWebster.co.uk) who is a highly accomplished and experienced mountain guide. In fact, he is the youngest guide to be employed by the British Antarctic Survey, employed to keep the scientists from falling down big holes, "out in the white". In his spare time he's put up numerous first ascents in Antarctica. As a result, Scott gets his hands on all the latest gear, some of which I've been wearing, cutting a dash among the glitzy folk of Val d'Isere. The problem is, Scott's about two or three inches taller than me so I'm skiing with my legs looking like a skateboarding dude's baggy drawers and when I get off the chairlift, the seat of my pants follows about three seconds later. But my stunning style, both fashion and skiing weren't compromised. Mostly. Yesterday morning for our warm up first run we skied onto one of the chairlifts. Just as the chair swung around and scooped us up the attendant sticks his head out ze door and says, "Eeez only Black. OK?"

"Bit friggin' late" says I in my best Franglais, clutching my baggy drawers as we go up the hill, me crying like a baby.

Anyway, we survived, ski trip is over, back home and legs still like jelly and of course, a severe dose of Man Flu.

Bring on Christmas.

Vive La France

15 December 2017
Vive La France

You have to give it to the French. Who else could sell snails and bone marrow for dinner?

With a stunning bit of passage planning I booked a thirty three hour China Southern Scareways flight home landing just in time to fly out to la belle France. At least, that was the plan until an engine fell off on the runway at Sydney or something. An initial two hour delay turned into twelve so that put the ball on the slates.

In the end, I managed to change flights in china, rerouted via Heathrow and recovered enough hours to get a nights medicated sleep before heading out to Geneva or a fly in fly out ski sojourn.

So, mistake number one; flying around the world before going skiing. Mistake number two; thinking doing a few squats and a fifteen minute bike ride each morning for two weeks prior would get me in shape. Mistake number three; going with someone who makes a living as a personal trainer.

But we're here. I survived day one in some of the best snow they've had in December for many a long year and, the digs aren't too bad.

In fact, pretty high tech. Electric kettle, TV with remote and, best of all, the loo doesn't have a light switch. It has a "motion detector".

Now, how clever is that!

Wait a Minute

08 December 2017
....... at last. Guys are swimming. Guys are sailing.

My friend Arthur says it's cold in Scotland. Anne confirms. 2c and snowing.

Here, the bad weather has passed and its situation normal. I even had to get up at the crack of dawn to varnish the floor before it got too hot.

I then gate crashed the local, card only bus to come up the coast a bit for lunch with Randivag. All local public transport operates cash free and apparently it's essential to possess an Opal card. However, kind Mr Macdonald, the driver let me ride for free as I was from out of town. As long as I promised to buy a card which I shall do shortly. Meanwhile, waiting for Sven and Lisa I will just watch the locals go about normal weekend activities.

So far that's been kayaking, surfing, cricket, tennis and Christmas shopping. Seems weird in the sunshine and heat.


07 December 2017 | The Blue Mountains
Well, that's me back on board, a bit over a thousand miles in seven days. Well, actually not on board right now. Outside Cammeray Remedial & Sports Massage shop to be exact, about to be rubbed and robbed.

In the last two days I went from under ten degrees and drizzle coming over the Snowy mountains to thirty six degrees across the Blue Mountains. I can tell you, that's a real challenge for the wardrobe, not to mention the deodorant.

Motorcycling is a risk sport and that I guess is part of the fun. In Australia, my two greatest fears were firstly, the Jumparoos and secondly Harley Davidson riders.

Jumparoos are like kangaroos except they have an exceptionally poor sense of timing.

My theory, is that when kangaroos have had enough of living in the bush and want to experience the bright lights of the big city they join the Jumparoos where they train on the skills required to get to the cities. As they can only bound along for a short distance and as the cities are hundreds of miles away, the Jumparoos practice leaping into passing vehicles. They lurk in the roadside bush and, as a car or motorbike approaches, they tense their powerful hind legs and, the intention is, at precisely the right moment, leap onto the passing truck or bike.

And this is where their poor sense of timing comes in. Judging by the carcasses lining the roads, most seem to get their timing wrong. You certainly don't see many Jumparoos in the city so I doubt many make it.

Fortunately I managed to avoid picking up or hitting one of them but it did keep things a bit stressful, always on the lookout for them, poised, ready to jump out the bush, hence the massage.

As for the other hazard, one reason I chose to rent a BMW is that it comes with a music system. Riding for long days it's jolly nice having your iPhone on shuffle, enjoying all your tunes many of which you haven't heard in a long time. The hazard is, stopped at the traffic lights, a group of hairy gorilla Harley riders pulls alongside, all leather waistcoats, chaps and tattoos.......and aaarrrgh.....your system shuffles onto Lady in Red.

Not very cool.
Vessel Name: Time Bandit
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 45
Hailing Port: Largs, Scotland
Crew: Anne and Stuart Letton
ex dinghy and keelboat racers now tooled up with an ocean going boat and cruising around aimlessly, destination Nirvana... Currently entertaining ideas of two hulls so TIME BANDIT IS FOR SALE https://www.theyachtmarket.com/boats_for_sale/1555170/ WWW.TIMEBANDITFORSALE.WEEBLY. [...]
Extra: 2017/18 Left NZ in May '17 cruising Fiji, Lau Group, Yasawas, Vanuatu and New Caledonia before heading for Australia to land cruise and sit out cyclone season down Sydney way.
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/timebandit/profile
Time Bandit's Photos - Bits of Fiji
Photos 1 to 7 of 7 | Main
Suva local veg market
"Tesco" for wealthy Suva locals
Foraging for food
Foraging? Not quite!
Cruise ship passengers about to get a culture shock
Anne and Fin before the big game