Saturday, 23 July 2011


The Needles, Isle of Wight
Channel hopping,
Passage making,
Sheet pulling,
Wind blowing,
Knot tying,
Wave bashing,
Line throwing,
Wind chasing,
Mile building,
Porpoise spotting
Gannet soaring,
Pot dodging,
Chip eating,
Micro brewing,
Beer drinking,
Tea swilling,
Alderney Harbour

Chocolate nibbling,
Tale telling,

Poole Quay

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Fit for Freedom.

Another week at work, so not too much to tell you about on here really, but as I'm off to do some sailing shortly I thought I would take the opportunity to jot down a few ramblings as getting to a PC next week will be the last thing on my mind, as well as being quite difficult, as I head towards the Channel Isles (weather permitting) .
After my visit to Billingsgate Fish Market last Friday, it was  a dash back to Suffolk to take part in the final (running) race of the Friday 5 Race Series held in the local area.  
Me during a steeplechase race, many years ago!! 
Each of the 5 races is 5 miles long and to take part in the Series, competitors must compete in 4 out of the 5 races to count for the Series' prizes and as I had a DNF on race number 4, I had to finish race number 5 to be eligible for the additional medal and also to get an overall placing in the Series.  Well I'm pleased to say I did finish (35:56 - not my best time, but ok), although I had to hobble the last mile to the finish line due to a calf injury, however, as I haven't really raced for about 10 years I was chuffed with myself.  I'll let you know my overall placing once the results are published.  (Update 15/07/11: I came 12th in my age group)
One of those loud bangs.

Many of you may not know this, but before being discharged from the British military it is necessary to have a medical examination: firstly to ensure that they haven't broken you too badly and secondly to make sure you are fit to be released back into the wild.  I had my examination last Monday.  Up until now I had thought I was progressively going deaf as a result of all the loud bangs and rifle shots that I have been subjected to over the years, however, as it turns out if I wanted to join the RAF today, my hearing is still good enough to do so!  Anyway, it looks as if I am fit enough to be released and to enter into the big wide world……so next January… out civvy street!!! 
My next blog entry will probably not be until the end of next week, hopefully with a few tales from the high-seas - whatever you are up to in the meantime, have a good one! 
PS - We have recently shot through the 2000 'hits' mark on this blog - "Thank you" to everyone for your support - please do keep visiting.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Something Fishy.

We are often being told that we should have more fish in our diet and that will certainly be my aim once I set sail.  

To catch, prepare and cook the local fish, wherever I am, is an attractive  prospect (and will save me a few pennies, which is a bonus).  However, in order to do this I need to develop a few more skills in this area and whilst I count myself as a reasonable cook, my experiences of ‘the catch of the day’ only stretch as far as what you can find in Tescos or on the menu of the local pub or restaurant.

So to start the ball rolling, I took myself off to Billingsgate Fish Market at 0430 yesterday morning for a course in fish preparation and knife skills.

Once there the day started with a tour of the market itself, guided and informed my a gentleman call Charlie; a self-confessed, self-trained, life-long fishmonger who, after National Service, decided not to work on the railways around Stratford like the rest of his family (if he had, he might well have met my Dad), but instead went into the fish trade.

Charlie has seen it all and knows it all and I could think of no one better to give us the tour.  We were shown how to choose the best fish, what to look for, how things should feel and smell and some of the tricks of the fishmongers’ trade.  We also had a crash course in fish recognition and introduced to some of the less heard of species. 

One of the most poignant things that Charlie pointed out to us was how the British choose their fish by sight, not by taste, preferring to have a white tasteless fish rather than something that may be grey, but more flavorsome - unlike other parts of the world.  But things are starting to change in the UK, slowly.

After breakfast we met Adam, who for the next 5 hours gave us instruction and guidance on how to gut, gill, descale, skin, pin-bone, fillet and slice both flat and round fish.  He made it look so easy. At the end of the day we were given a whole salmon each which we all prepared into various cuts (see the photos) which is testament to Adam’s skills as a teacher.

Salmon - before
Salmon - after

It was a steep learning curve, but a throughly enjoyable day that I would recommend to anyone.  Billingsgate Training School run a number of other courses, including cookery courses, and judging from the smells coming from the kitchens, the standards are high.  As a bonus, we all came away with cool bags full of the fish we had prepared and I am another step closer to living the dream!

Friday, 1 July 2011

It's the weekend - have a great one.

Before the weekend starts, I just wanted to share a quote with you that I have recently read:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--"Wow! What a Ride!"
It’s the weekend now - enjoy!!!!