Monday 24 September 2007

Medical Day Today

It's been a while since I had a medical but the nurse turned up on my doorstep today to examine me before I could have an assurance plan accepted.

The details:
5' 11.25"
17st 2lb
136/84 (blood pressure)
680lb (lung pressure, which is apparently a terrific result)
Urine - clear

All I need to do is lose a bit of weight! Easier said than done.

Sunday 22 July 2007

The Pain & Agony

So the Open Championship encouraged me to haul my clubs to the driving range at Ballyearly today. I parted with £4.50 to get a hold of a large bucket of balls and I proceeded to spray them all over the range.

In fact, I sprayed the ball in almost every direction but rarely the one I intended. Not only would the ball fail to go in a straight line, it also failed to go very far.

Driver - 160 yards
3 wood - 160 yards
5 wood - 160 yards
3 iron - 160 yards
5 iron - 140 yards
9 iron - 110 yards

Not very impressive. I'm thinking that a round of golf will be limited to a 9 iron, 5 iron, wedge and putter. Not worth my while taking anything else!

Wednesday 18 April 2007

Flying Experiences...

I fly a lot - on average, every other week.

I've flown a helicopter - actually taken control of the machine, which was great. I've flown as co-pilot in little 4-seater Cessnas which was a terrific experience. But I have had some dodgy flights:
  • Flap failure, 2 failed attempts to land at Belfast City Airport and an emergency landing at Aldergrove. FlyBE - Q400 Dash 8.
  • Engine failure, 55 minute flight to Glasgow over the countryside rather than built-up areas. Greeted by 4 fire engines at the end of the runway. FlyBE - Q400 Dash 8.
  • Aborted landing at Belfast City Airport - pilot was too high just before touch-down and was about to "over-shoot". I knew we were too high as the B&Q sign at the warehouse just before the runway as it was normally 50 feet below the plane but this time it was about 150 feet below. FlyBE - Q400 Dash 8.

Poor FlyBE... I actually like them and their staff.

Sunday 1 April 2007

For the record!

Most of "my musings" are travel related - in fact, airport related.

It got me to thinking about all the places I have visited and I thought the time was right to create a "list" of those places:

Countries (bracketed figures are visits)
Spain (5)
France (4)
Italy (2)
Portugal (2)
U.S.A. (2)
Australia (1)
Belgium (1)
Germany (1)
Greece (1)
Netherlands (1)
New Zealand (1)
(In reality, I've also visited Singapore and Thailand although I never got out of the airports!)

Paris (2)
Amsterdam (1)
Athens (1)
Atlanta (1)
Barcelona (1)
Brussels (1)
Melbourne (1)
Montpellier (1)
Munich (1)
Rome (1)
Sydney (1)

Monday 26 March 2007

More Airport Madness

What is it about me and airports?

Maybe it is a symptom of the fact that I spend too much of my time milling around airports waiting to head off to some "over-subscribed" meeting with a bunch of people who like the sound of their own voice?


I've seen couples having arguments in the past and it is mainly unpleasant to witness. While standing in the check-in queue at Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci Airport last week, a couple were having a right go at each other right behind me. The language was colourful to say the least - the entire range of swear words was being used in almost every sentence.

Some unsavoury gesture was made, however. At least, I can only presume that some physical movement prompted the next statement from the "wife":

"Don't headbutt me, please don't headbutt me in the middle of this airport"

I don't do domestics... at least, I don't do other people's domestics! But I was truly horrified at what I had heard that night.

People never cease to disappoint.

Monday 12 February 2007

Airports Are Jinxed...

.... or maybe it is just me.

Everytime I get to an airport, something odd seems to happen. Admittedly, the oddness is random, but something always seems to happen to me that makes me feel compelled to make a note of it.

This week, it was the turn of check-in at George Best Belfast City Airport.

The check-in assistant took my passport and read my name and then said:

"What a lovely name you have. That's beautiful"

How do you react to that? How do you react when it is a 'bloke' that said it?

Sunday 21 January 2007

Sense of Humour Bypass

Maybe it's just me, but I don't seem capable of getting on with airport workers - or more precisely, passport control and check-in!

I was returning to Belfast via Glasgow recently and my mobile phone went just as I was about to check-in. The check-in assistant was obviously unimpressed with my multi-tasking because when she asked my if I had packed my bags myself, I answered:

"Yes... and there's nothing sharp in my hand luggage and nobody gave me anything to carry on board".

She reached my boarding ticket towards me and just as I was about to take it, she withdrew ever so slightly and said:

"Is there anything sharp in your hand luggage?"

"No" I replied.

She withdrew even further.

"Has anyone asked you to carry anything on board?"

At least this situation was scary! In the States, the officer at passport control inspected my passport and asked me if I was entering the country for business or pleasure.

"Business" I replied.

"Have you brought anything to this country in relation to your business?" he asked.

"Just my intelligence" was my reply. Not the wittiest of comment, I thought!

"Would that be military intelligence, sir?" was the startling response and a response that immediately made me feel very nervous with so many HomeLand Security officials nearby carrying pretty sophisticated looking weapons.

Wednesday 17 January 2007

American Madness - Part III

Americans love their big cars and they don't come much bigger than a Hummer.

I was fascinated at the sight of one of these beasts when it pulled up outside my hotel. It was black and the alloys gleamed.

The driver of the Hummer got out and it was obvious why he owned a Hummer - he was only 5' 0" in height (if that). He opened the rear passenger's door and took out a stool. Nothing odd in that so far. However, he proceeded to set the stool down at the back of the Hummer and stood on it in order to open the boot!

Now, I'm sorry... having to carry a stool around with you so that you can reach the handle of your boot sounds like the car isn't practical!

American Madness - Part II

My colleague and I were wandering in the direction of the hotel bar one evening and I offered to buy him a drink. He was feeling rather thirsty and decided that he would like to start with a mere orange juice. Strangely enough, I was thirsty but decided that a beer was in order!

"Good evening, how's your day goin'?"

The attractive young girl behind the bar was obviously trying hard to make the question sound sincere.

"Fine, could I have a beer and an orange juice please?" I asked.

"Yeah, sure". She proceeded to pull me a pint of Heineken but stopped half-way up the glass. Uh-oh, I thought!

"You did want this half and half, didn't you?"

(It is me?)

American Madness - Part I

I was recently in Atlanta on a business trip - I was previously unaware that Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world by traveller numbers!

I thought I would take the opportunity to buy myself an iPod - 80GB, black. The Apple store in the nearby shopping mall seemed like the ideal place for unloading my dollar-filled wallet.

"Hi there sir, how's it goin'?" was the greeting I received from the overly-smiley shopping assistant.

"Grand, thanks." was my unimaginative reply.

"Oh you're European, right?" - how did she guess based on my short & snappy response?

"Yes, that's right. I'm from Belfast."

"Oh cool. That's in Germany, right?"

Wednesday 3 January 2007

Gender Crisis

I'm a bloke.... I do blokish things.... I buy blokish things...

My Tesco clubcard has my name own it - a bloke's name...

Tesco must monitor my purchases - alcohol, razor blades, steak, men's clothes...

My receipts rarely show salads; air freshener; bleach...

So why, oh why, did Tesco think it appropriate to give me a voucher for extra clubcard points the next time I purchased a packet of Always Ultra?