Thursday, December 14, 2006

What do you expect, if you hang out with Refinery Engineers?

Greetings dear Reader from New Zealand!

First chance this Chap has had since developing military strength jet lag to get aboard the blogsphere and tell all about the joys of the new Jet-Set lifestyle I am living. Too, too much to go into any kind of detail, but let me summarise the first part.

Flew Virgin, got upgraded. (Nice girls!) The champagne does wonders for the flight, and there is clearly no limit to ability of charm alone!

5 Hours in San Fransico, ate a prawn burrito.
Surprisingly our Colonial chums could teach our airport johnnies a few things about having a suitable number of kiosks open, as rather than the queues one is given to expect, I cleared customs and immigration in about 2 minutes.

13 hours on Air New Zealand. Nasty. Good film though - 'The fastest Indian in the World'. About a chap who tinkers with Motorbikes (As chaps are wont unto do) who has a whip round, goes to Bonneville and steals the Land Speed Record from Johnny Yankee. Fellow is a Kiwi, and does it for Empire. Sound fellow. True story too.

Finally, finally get to Auckland, and get to luxuriate on Yacht.

Or So I thought.

My Host, in his weekend attire.

Lloyd - with whom I am staying, is one of those chaps who doesn't believe in luxuriation. Oh No. Being an engineer, his yacht is not host to normal things one would find aboard a vessel in the Great South Sea on the Far Side Of The World. (Gin, Mermaids etc).
Sandpaper, wire and more screwdrivers than B+Q. I console myself with a shower and extensive use of his facilities.
I am disturbed to find there is as much sandpaper in the heads as there is best-quilted. I knew poor Lloyd suffered from a touch of the Farmer Giles, but he is clearly taking drastic steps.

And so - I find myself on The Far Side Of The World. On a Yacht. In a cabin with 11 miles of coaxial cable, industrial fittings and sawdust for company. This will not do.

As a True Born Chap of the empire one is torn between facing hardship with resolution and defiance or stating this this Will Not Do, and leading an expedition of locals and fellow travellers on a quest to Sort It Out.

Instead I decide I shall hire a large motorcycle and visit the Northland.

There followed a brief day of getting one's bearings, purchasing sim card for my electric wireless telephone, and negotiating with an artisan for the rental of said machine. Said throbber hired, I agree with my host that I should meet him in a couple of days closer to his refinery, for a few ales with some of his chums.

And thus followed three dreamy days of high-octane-peg-scraping-fly-swallowing adventure in the hills of the Northern tip of this stunning country. I cannot begin to describe the countryside, but I shall some it up by saying it is like crossing Wales with Hawaii. Sheep, hills, tree ferns and a surfeit of mussels.

Finally I arrive in his local town, and after seeing off several pints of local ale awaiting his arrival we set off for a meal with the chaps with whom he works. Solid, Antipodean Oil Engineer types. A little salty round the edges, but sterling chaps.

We dine upon some rather good steak and prawns, and these fellows seemed to get the bit between their teeth. After a number of ales, and strangely enough, wine, I am reliably informed that they will take me to 'Heaven'.
Naturally, I was astounded at such a proposition. They didn't strike me as the types, and I said as such.
No, no, they assured me, it is what passes for a nightspot here. My expectations were somewhat of what to see in a similar establishment in London, you know - theatrical types and the sort of fellows who over excercise and prefer one another's company. But not that. It appeared to be a bar, with normal pool tables.
There did seem to be a curious contraption in the middle of the dancefloor though. It seemed to be a shiny metal pole.
My curiosity got the better of me so I inquired - 'Does this place serve as a fire station perhaps?'
'No Mate!' they cried with some good humour. 'It's for the two dollies over there to dance in the nuddy with!' He said, indicating two young ladies of what appeared to negotiable affection, and wearing clothing that seemed to be fashioned from the net curtains of a doll's house.
Almost immediately there was an announcement from the disc-jockey's enclosure.

It seemed that the two young ladies would remove their tops if they acquired fifty dollars in tips, or disrobe entirely if they raised a hundred. At once they started walking about the establishment with a chipped beer glass touting for change to raise said sum.

I thought to myself, 'hello, takings are down.......'

At once, one of the fellows became animated and annoyed. He strode over to the manager and started having words.
He presently returned in a bit of state, feeling somewhat aggrieved as to the monetary arrangements.
'It said on the flyers they would be in the buff by midnight, and now they want extra money and it is a quarter past!! Come on lads, lets not hang around here and be ripped off!'

At this, we left the establishment and I returned to the Bed and Breakfast I had rented for the evening, musing on the predicament. I should have expected no better really.

And now dear reader, I shall go, I am due for dinner with my host, as we are to plan three days of torture. Or as Lloyd calls it 'Outdoor actvities'. Volcanoes await.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Fear and Loathing in West Sussex

I find there is nothing quite like a well earned hang-over for focusing one's thoughts.

This Chap, dear reader, is currently luxuriating with a decent grade 2 eye-twister. This has been developed with a reasonable amount of Cremant, Cru Beajolais and other things of which Nanny would sternly disapprove.

Co-conspirators with whom I am sharing the first weekend of my long absence from the Big-Grey are also leading this Chap desperately astray into non-chappist activites. To whit: attending an establishment of 'acid-house' music, whilst under the influence of said exotics. It is is enough to make one's stout country tweeds feel a bit sweaty.

However, I am sure the cut of one's suit is no barrier to 'reaching for the lasers', and I am certain that by the end of the evening one's brogues will feel a tad heavy.
It does mean spending an evening rammed in with the underwshed and overscented, who no doubt will suffer from chemically induced friendliess. In the name of cross-cultural harmony I look forward to shaking them warmly by the hand, and sharing a cultural cheroot or two.

Guido would be proud.

The downside is that I am in Brighton - which seems to have a surfeit of arcades full of shiny machines, and gangs of Burberry clad ruffians drinking lager.

In 'Hunter S Thompson' style, I intend to keep you posted in gonzo fashion. I wonder If I shall awake tomorrow in a hotel suite with a giant lizard's tail attached.

Mind you it is nice to be beside the seaside......

Friday, December 01, 2006

I was so angry, I nearly forgot my cufflinks.

If I am to get more readers, a friend tells me I should get more sweary. Like
Devils Kitchen Mr. Eugenides.

Now, as much as I love their blogs (I really do) I am not sure I could conjure up such a delightful stream of colourful invective.
I shall be off to NZ soon, and I will be free from the Big Grey's portal restrictions (I blog from work). I shall be regaling you with tales from the Great South Sea, rather than more and more annoyances from the back of the handcart in which we are all sailing in. Hence the political comment will be light, but the Chappy content will be high.

As you will have notice, I drift aimlessly between tales of Chapness, and an increasing sense of disquiet as to what is happening to this fair country.

The problem is that whilst a mild mannered chap tries to rise above the issuances of those grubby politicos who pick my pocket, my Chappy lifestyle is being eroded, my rights ever infringed and my free expression ever curtailed by our so called lords and masters.

I would normally recline for an afternoon with the hookah and some decent Lebanese, and let the hallowed smoke soothe me into a state of elegant apathy. Now all we get from Lebanon is faked news, as Nanny doesn't like us intoxicated, but wants us to support her sordid agenda when her arch Manipulator struts about the Levant wishing he was important.

I am forced to work for a living, to pay for the underwashed to have satellite dishes, as their situation - according to the anti-Chap Toynbee - they are poorer. Not mark you, because they can't eat (They seem to grow plumper) but because I enjoy a decent bottle of Nuit St Georges instead of lager top. Hence the better I live, the worse they feel therefore I should give them more. Envy seems to ooze from her pores like quicksilver does from the pores of a syphilitic Gosport brute. (Ironic really - she earns a small fortune printing this filth and sends the fruit of her pestilential womb to a decent public school)

As you know, a Chap would normally let these things wash over him. We are generous in spirit, nature's first libertarians, and anarcho-dandyists at heart. Who could not have felt a flutter when St. Gustav went on the home service this morning and lambasted Mr. Flintoff for failing to wear an appropriate blazer at tea in the Pavilion? When faced with vulgarity (or Australians) a sharp crease in the flannels and a well knotted tie will strike terror into the arid fibres of their souls.

In the good old days, thieves fell into two classes. Firstly: brutish types in cloth caps, but with honour and deference, who could be engaged for a few guineas to 'persuade' a disagreement with a colleague or petty bureaucrat to come to a swift conclusion and crack the safe in the betting office for good measure. The second, a true gentleman thief of the raffles persuasion - who would only steal the finest gems from well insured widows, leaving only a calling card and a glove for her to treasure.

Nowadays their mantle is changed. It is in the form of the armies of bureaucrats, and politicians who think I will be happier if they steal my time, money, property, future and liberty for what they say is a common good - for I am not all-knowing enough to know what I want for myself. Nor is anyone else for that matter. I awake in the 21st Century to see that institutions I once trusted are now part of a 'news agenda' gushing forth what the godless socialists want us to think. They want to monitor what I say here as well.


I can drown my sorrows in Gevrey Chambertin no longer, for no amount of foie gras, fine wine or gin can quench the fire in my belly today. With a heavy heart and the muscle tone of an elastic band, I rise from my desk and say:

'This will not do at all.'

When The Few faced out across the moat at the gathering forces of darkness, did they think about inclusiveness agendas, five a day outreach, diversity training and a risk assessment?
We must cast off the shackles of Nanny, for what she tells us is good are merely the chains that bind us.

Dear readers, join me. The time is now here to join the Chap revolution. St Gustav and General Darkwood led the march to civilise the city. We must now fight for a values of good tailoring, freedom of intoxication and the right to think what we do.

Time to rise up.

Time to slay Nanny.

We have nothing to lose but our rizlas.

PS: Thanks to the two of you who suggested I slink off with a copy of the South China Morning Post. Good read, thank you. However, Suzie Wong has gone down hill, and I reckon the form for Sha-tin is rigged.