Time Bandit

14 January 2017 | Anne adopting the squaw look to fight the Welsh freeze.
24 December 2016 | Car Hove-to in the Christmas Breeze
22 December 2016 | Largs, Scotland at 11:30 AM!!!
16 December 2016 | Stirling Castle peaking is over the neighbours house. All of 7c
10 December 2016
06 December 2016
02 December 2016
28 November 2016 | The Kitchen
22 November 2016 | The Heroes
16 November 2016 | Whangarei Town Basin
09 November 2016 | Town Basin Whangarei
06 November 2016 | The Northland Coast
01 November 2016
01 November 2016
01 November 2016

The Other Cruising Community

18 January 2017
This is a fine picture of my brother during the "nap" phase of the rigorous and exhausting training programme he undertook prior to his P&O cruise.

Fortified by a bowl of, not too hot puréed meat, soft vegetables and potatoes Eric managed the 25 metre sun lounger shuffle, beating several cruisers to the recliners where, after his wee nap he was well set for the next challenge, organised queuing. Queuing for a trip ashore while wondering if he really should have risked skipping that visit to the Mens Room.

However I was recently assured my vision of these cruise ships as floating care homes was somewhat erroneous. Consequently when one docked yesterday as we passed through Auckland I paid special attention to the demographics of the guests and yes, it seems in fact, I may be wrong.

While yes, the majority were past retirement, and rightly so as we can't have today's yoof skiving off and not paying the taxes to fund our retirement and health care, it seems it's not wholly an age thing. It's more that they are simply in "cruise" mode. My new theory is that the shuffling gait that can often be associated with the old and infirm actually stems from the fact that, having gone to sleep on island X or city Y, overnight, while they are fast asleep (other than the four trips to the loo), they wake up totally confused looking at a yet another new island or city in their 10 day "Cities of Culture" or other misnomer, cruise where, after the obligatory queuing they are dumped on the dock or street dressed in their pressed, long shorts, quite uncool Hawaiian shirts and brilliant white "adult" Nike Airs, blinking in the sunshine wondering where the hell they are now, where their mates from dinner last night are and where the hell should they go.

It's at this moment we, the other scruffy cruising community members usually catch sight of the shuffling mass of confused humanity and it's this that leaves the impression it's the cast of One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest rather than the previously decisive, energetic and successful business people they probably were and probably still are outside the organised shuffling that seems part of big ship cruising.

That's my theory anyway. (Can you tell it's raining today and our Grand Tour of New Zealand is on hold for 24 hours while we go and shuffle round the town wondering where we are?)

14 January 2017 | Anne adopting the squaw look to fight the Welsh freeze.
Welcome back to all our readers and welcome to 2017 and more pages of inane drivel.

We've been 5 weeks in the frozen north and PHEW! Twelve hours after leaving freezing London, freezing Wales and freezing Scotland we arrived in overcast and steamy Kuala Lumpur and finally I think it might be safe to take off my thermal vest.

On the flight home I decided there should me a new "movement " KWAP"; Keep Weans (babies and young children for non Scots) Aff Planes.

Last night I was plotting with a 4 and a 6 year old how we could muzzle two old dears who blathered all flaming night. All at full volume because, as old folks do, they turn their hearing aids down so their old crony doesn't deafen them.

There was very nearly another murdur.

Three more hours to kill then off for the next 12 hour haul to Auckland. While I'm not clairvoyant I can see it coming.....the two old dears sat right behind me.

The joys of travel.

A Stooshy & a Win

24 December 2016 | Car Hove-to in the Christmas Breeze
A Stooshy in Sleepy Largs

Up with the larks this morning. They blew past the windows at about 50 miles an hour in a tumble of drookit* feathers.

Pretty wild up here at 56 north. If we were at the antipodean equivalent we'd be taking our turn at the outside of the Emperor penguin circle.

Up early to go for a swim and to buy reading specs. (The print on all these new modern books is just SO small).

Arrived at the pool at crack of dawn, hoping to get in and out before the 12 year old came in to embarrass me..... but it was shut. For the first but not to be the last time in the day I got a look that obviously questioned my sanity.

Och. We don't open 'till 9. Would you like a wee timetable? All said at the pace and volume reserved for old codgers. Faced without a choice I thought I'd go for a coffee. Shut. Don't open 'till 9:30. So went back to the pool car park, strapped down the car and sat in the howling wind and rain 'till "small Scottish retirement town" opening time.

Back in the pool, there was now a queue of nine early morning risers all waiting with practiced indifference as the two staff members sat at their hi-tech desks under their all powerful clock, all watching and waiting on the second hand to make its painfully slow way to click the minute hand vertical to the magic 9.

Last through and last in the water I was faced with the old codgers all swimming in THEIR lane. I gave it a couple of lengths swimming around and avoiding the regulars, as happy to see me, some out-of-towner, as to see a poop in THEIR pool.

"Screw this", I thought. I'll have a sauna and see if I can stretch in the steam room without falling of the bench. It was cold.

THAT WAS IT. Enough. Got dressed, asked politely for my money back, suggested they try lane swimming, like every other pool in the world and left in stooshy**

Left for the marina for breakfast and to pick up some stuff I can't be bothered hunting for in New Zealand. Brilliant 12 teachers are in ahead of me for end of school celebration. "Might be a wee while" says the waitress. Brilliant.

Anyway, got my stuff and headed back into town to buy specs.

Boots £18:90 or £30 for two. Stuffed and locked in plastic packs that needed an engineering degree to open so you could try them on. Pulled, tugged, even looked fir instructions but in the end gave up in disgust. Round corner is the Pound Shop. Everything for a pound.

"How much are these specs?" I asked. Looking me in the eye like I'm a moron, having walked into a shop called The Pound Store, under a giant sign that said, "Everything for a Pound" he says with a hint of fatigue, "A pound". He was polite enough to drop the "you dummy" from the reply but I could see him thinking it.

That was the first of my life enhancing results this morning, and it's only just gone 11. Next, at the swimming pool, out of a choice of some 250 lockers I chanced upon number 112 and found a pound coin! A WINNER. Fair made my morning and a great start to Christmas. Hope you have a relaxing stress free enjoyable Christmas.

*drookit - soaked, wet through
**stooshy - tantrum, bad mood

Set For Everest

22 December 2016 | Largs, Scotland at 11:30 AM!!!
Some readers might remember I put my back out in July in Papeete. I've been hobbling to recovery since then and latest scheme is swimming.

So, early this morning I'm in the pool with the old codgers, all budgie smugglers and back hair you want to take shears to. Chewbacca in trunks. Them, not me.

Anyway, up and down the lengths I went thinking I was doing fine given my daily exercise programme died in July when, with hardly a splash, a 12 year old did a tumble turn beside me. After a few minutes when she was doing two lengths to my one I slipped out the water before getting further embarrassed, stretched a little to show I'd been working real hard before she showed up and headed for the steam room.

Steam rooms; great places to get a gentle stretch.....unless you slip off the narrow, wet plastic bench. With that, I headed for the cafeteria. £1.50 for a paper cup of coffee out a machine. No way. So I headed out into the wild to iconic Nardini's Continental Cafe. Now, it's winter here and I headed out into 35 of the forecast 90 mph winds. These come later but I'm OK tucked up in......
- thermal simmit (vest for non Scots readers)
- Long sleeve Rugby shirt
- Fleece
- Down jacket
- Goretex overjacket
- Hat
- Scarf
- Hood

There's folk go up Everest in less.

Happy Christmas To All Our Readers

18 December 2016
Thanks for following the Blog, sometimes referred to as "The Cynics Guide to Cruising". We hope you enjoyed some of it.

If you have 5 minutes, here's a summary in pictures..... (no woffle from me).

Ahhhhhh choooooo

16 December 2016 | Stirling Castle peaking is over the neighbours house. All of 7c
Sneezes and Colds

Is the saying, "When America sneezes, Europe catches a cold"?

As we flew home that saying was uppermost in my mind as what seemed like countless road warriors, dressed in their battle worn dark blue suits, returning from their days efforts at the corporate grindstone, sneezed, coughed and spluttered their way home.

Now, historically, in pretty much any form of public transport, if someone sneezes, I catch a cold, at least, but, it's usually full blown man flu.

That trip home was like a flying poor house.

To date, it seems like I've survived, possibly because I did a fair impersonation of a Japanese tourist or a Bedouin in a sand storm, travelling with Anne's scarf wrapped around my breathing orifices. I might have offended the cougher next to me by tightening my wrap every time he spluttered but tough, it wasn't him going to be Pat and Mick over Christmas.

However, having been home in the dark northern latitudes for over 48 hours, it's maybe more likely I'll get trench foot rather than pneumonia.

Showing Off

10 December 2016
324 channels and there's nothing on the television so, at risk of boring you all, here's some videos from 2016

Bashing through a squall in the Bahamas

Passage Planning Time Bandit Style

10 December 2016
Such is our level of passage planning, right up until we heard this in Juky 2015, we were going to spend 2016 in the Caribbean. When the lyric hit "downhill run to the Marquesas" we thought, "Must be an omen. Why not?" And off we went. Simpls!Your text to link...
Vessel Name: Time Bandit
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 45
Hailing Port: Largs, Scotland
Crew: Anne and Stuart Letton
About: ex dinghy and keelboat racers now tooled up with an ocean going boat and cruising around aimlessly, destination Nirvana...
Extra: 2016 Transited Panama Canal early February '16 bound for Galapagos (March), Marquesas, Pacific Islands and New Zealand for November '16
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/timebandit/profile
Time Bandit's Photos - Main
An interesting perspective on evolution in the Galapagos.
23 Photos
Created 7 March 2016
18 Photos
Created 30 September 2014
Mediterranean Spain to the Arctic Circle
67 Photos
Created 12 August 2013
Scraping and sanding hull back to gel coat for epoxy and Coppercoat treatments.
6 Photos
Created 3 February 2013