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Wet and Wild in Keswick!

Wet and Wild in Keswick

ROO:

When Rik and Debbie from the Newlands Activity Centre got in touch and asked if we would like to come and visit them and experience some of the wildest adventures in the Lake District we jumped at the chance. They were fans of Tony’s travel books… so having read about how clumsy and accident prone he is I’m surprised they thought abseiling and kayaking was a good idea!

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On the Road Again!

G’day Adventurers… Roo here! It’s my turn to take over the blog because Tony is busy writing!

Bay window
Tony working hard in a Slovenian apartment!

It’s been a very busy couple of months for us. I mean, Christmas is busy for everyone but we also had to pack up our entire lives on NYE and cram it into a storage unit in preparation for our next trip overseas… As usual, we declared that we owned far too much stuff and yet couldn’t seem to part with any of it… Luckily it fit into the 3m by 3m storage unit we’d paid for. But only because it was also 3m tall!

Storage Unit Full
VERY FULL!

It was hard leaving Perth this time. Even though we were looking forward to 6 months of adventures around Europe, my dad is selling the family home up in the Perth hills. Read the rest of this entry

‘The Missing Chapters’ Part 1

Okay… hands up if you thought this would never happen? Yes folks, I am here to bring you the FIRST in a series of blog posts dedicated to the fabled ‘Missing Chapters’ – the ones I cut from ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’ (and all the other books) for a wide variety of reasons.

I’ve been promising to release these for what seems like years… What’s that? It’s BEEN years? Oh, right. Yes, well… um, sorry about that!

But at long, long last, here they are! And I have to say it’s been quite exciting for me, lifting the lid on all these stories I wrote so long ago, none of which have ever seen the light of day. Some are short, some have no discernable end, some ended up irrelevant in the grand narrative of the book… and some I loved dearly, but had to cut out simply because the Powers That Be decreed my book was WAY too long to ever get published… Ha!

So, here’s how we’re going to do this: I’ll introduce each new chapter with a brief explanation of what’s going on, perhaps adding some insights as to why it ended up on the cutting room floor. And then I’ll unleash the chapter in question, with very little editing…

I apologise in advance for the crudeness of the writing. I haven’t looked back at ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’ for quite a while, but I hope the final version was more polished than these early excerpts. Still, I’ve written and learned a lot since those days… perhaps it’s time for a thorough going-over?

Anyway! Without further ado, here is what could have been the very first chapter of ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’. Reading it, I think you’ll see why I opted for the current, cut-to-the-chase version. Actually, the real reason is: Mum convinced me it was better that way! My original intention with this start was to set the scene, to describe my journey to Ecuador and some of my encounters along the way. Whereas Mum’s opinion was, “Bollocks to that! Start at the good bit!”

Which of course I did. Eventually… Right! Buckle up. Here goes 🤗

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Aftermath

So, the dust has settled on my latest incident of outright stupidity.
Am I wiser?
Stronger?
Permanently cocooned in bubble-wrap?

No – not yet, at least! I certainly feel like a bit of a plonker, though 😉 Here’s what they did to me:

Jaw Xray

Note the metal plates, which fixed the split down the middle of my jaw. This has caused some loss of sensation in that area, presumably due to nerves they had to cut, so a few of my more exaggerated facial expressions are now off the cards.

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Back To The Future

Guess what? It’s OUT! I’m now officially a sci-fi author!

Earthwarden Cover

But DON’T PANIC! As the legendary Douglas Adams would have said. If you’re not a fan of science fiction, you don’t have to buy it. In fact, I’d rather you didn’t! Here’s why:

Amazon is pretty much SkyNet. It knows what you’ve bought, and when – and it uses this to predict what you’ll want next. Then it throws that stuff in your face as often as possible, like the worst kind of enabler.

What happens when a huge bunch of memoir readers buys a sci-fi book is, Amazon starts recommending that book to other memoir readers. And when those people don’t buy it – because why on Earth would they? – Amazon deems the book a failure, and stops recommending it to anyone.

But for anyone who does have at least a passing interest in exploding spaceships and the like, the book is here:

Earth Warden on Amazon

And it’s currently available for just 99c/99p!

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Now That’s a Jaw Breaker

Hi folks!

So what’s going on with you? I’m sorry, that was rhetorical, what with this being a blog post and all. Feel free to answer it in the Comments though!

What I meant to say is, here’s what’s going on with me.

Yup, you guessed it! This is a progress update on Life, the Universe and Everything – specifically as it pertains to one particular idiot living in Perth, Australia.

First: the news! (Hang onto your lunch.)

I considered doing this as a video blog, but chose not to because a) Roo is away metal detecting with her Dad, so I haven’t washed in a week, and b) I’ve broken my jaw in three places, and am currently eating all my meals through a straw.

Wait a minute – how???

Well, because I’m an idiot, I managed to fall over at a party. “But people do that all the time!” I hear you cry. Alas, never one to settle for convention, I did it around 8pm, after just one drink. Amazingly, Roo had been away for less than 12 hours at this point! I also fell over in the garden – which is what makes the damage so impressive…

I told you to hang on to your lunch:

Split in Chin

How hard was that grass?

Yes, that IS bone you can see in there! Nine stitches (my first) and two metal plates (ditto) later, I have braces on what’s left of my teeth, and a load of elastic bands holding my jaw shut. If you’re wondering what the mucus-like substance in the picture above is… well, it’s mucus. The hole went all the way through you see, and whilst the bleeding stopped after a couple of hours, saliva from inside my mouth kept dripping out through the hole in my chin. Which is delightful, I’m sure you’ll agree! DAMN that grass…

Silver lining: I can’t talk (Roo will be overjoyed when she gets back!) – and I’ve already lost more than 4kg in my first week of an all-liquid diet… Read the rest of this entry

Drifting Part Four

It wasn’t a complete disaster.

We spent our second night moored alongside the idyllic Blackmere Lake, which Roo had been looking forward to photographing. She wasn’t disappointed – the leaves were turning for Autumn, making for some gorgeous pics. They were also falling into the canal by the bucketload, fouling our propeller and slowing our already agonising crawl to the speed at which dinosaur turds fossilize.

Black Mere Lake

 

Having reached the southernmost point of our journey, we now had to turn the boat around. Canals being somewhat narrow, this can only be accomplished at specific places, called ‘winding holes’. Apparently this is not a place you ‘wind’ like a watch (which would make sense), but rather a place you ‘wind,’ like the stiff breeze that we’d been battling since Llangollen. This one was a semi-circular bite out of the opposite bank, into which we guided our nose. Between the boat’s somewhat delayed reactions and my Dad’s instinct to do exactly the opposite of what was required, I think we turned that boat around by the power of swearing alone. Read the rest of this entry

Drifting Part Three

This is Part Three of our Canal Boat Odyssey. Parts One and Two can be found HERE and HERE respectively 😉

Towel Sign

We spent a total of four nights on board the Henley.

In hindsight we probably set ourselves way too big a journey, because we wanted to go all the way from the hire place in Trevor to the picturesque Black Mere, and then return back past Trevor and go all the way to Llangollen in the other direction. It didn’t seem that far on Google Maps… But we hadn’t reckoned with the boat’s average speed of around 2km per hour. At one point we were overtaken by a mother and daughter, out for a casual stroll along the towpath. They moseyed past us, and disappeared into the distance, leaving us in the dust. Over an hour later we finally caught them up – but only because they’d turned around and were coming back again! I think on our biggest day, we managed a staggering 12 miles…

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Drifting Part Two

Area we got stuck

Before we get started, here’s some rules about canal boat conduct:

  • Always pass other boats on the right.
  • Always pass other boats at walking pace.
  • Do not intentionally ram other boats at top speed.

And while we’re at it, here are a few facts about the boats themselves:

  • They are long and narrow. Kind of ram-shaped.
  • They are bastard impossible to steer. Impossible!
  • They have absolutely NO BRAKES. NONE.
  • They hate you.
  • They want you to die screaming.

Putting all that together, you might gain an insight into the first few minutes and hours of our boat stewardship.

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Drifting – Part One

Side-of-boat

Four adults on a relaxing, 4-night canal boat cruise. What could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, when three of the adults are Slaters, things are bound to get interesting…

It’s always been a dream of ours to try living aboard a narrow boat, and drift along the English countryside on the canals, occasionally winding a lock up or down. It all sounds so relaxing…

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