Friday, 9 March 2012


We are currently sitting off Shetland hide from a storm, we are in the South East and the views are spectacular. We will probably still be here until tomorrow, as the weather is still un suitable for us. The crew made me a cake, and the survey team did me a birthday card which everyone had signed which was nice, and the Inspection Coordinator, Gina, got me a robot key right (with posidrive and blade screw driver, and most importantly, a bottle opener) and a set of puzzles.
26 days and I will be back on dry land.

Happy Birthday to me....

Today is my birthday. The crew bought me a robot key ring and a small box of puzzles, it was really nice of them to do that.
The cook also made me a cake, sadly I can not eat it as I am diabetic, but it was the thought that counts.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Sitting near Lerwick waiting for better weather

OK, today all I have had to eat is soup of various different types. My engineer did not make it to the ship and so the previous engineer has remained on board, which means he is not very happy. Unfortunately I am on days so I am on the top bunk which I really do not like. However, I have made arrangements for alternative sleeping arrangements.
Sold two more books, we are back to the drip and surge sales, I expect quite a few more sales at the weekend, as this is how it seems to work.
We are hiding from a storm at the moment and so we are sitting twiddling our thumbs. The weather is due to drop off in the next few days and then we can head to the job site and start work.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

On the Boat

Well, I am on the boat and this seems to work, so while it does I will add blogs each day.
Last night I had a chicken wrap for tea, this morning I had cheerios and part of the breakfast on the plane coming to Aberdeen. For lunch I have had a soup.
Sorry, but I don't blog about work, so this lot may become a little dull, I warn you in advance out of respect!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


As I will be offshore from tomorrow morning, I may not be able to get online to fill out this Blog. I will update it when ever I can but it may not be very regular. Sorry if this is the case.
I have totally finished packing my bag, I have put it in the hire car ready for the morning and I am now sorting out stuff for while I am away.
I am a little miffed that I can not find my radio license, as I wanted to take it with me, but hay ho, you can not have everything.
I am going out in the car this afternoon to play radios again, I am going to see just how far I can reach on simplex. Catch you later

Tuesday bag packing

I am off on the ship from tomorrow, it will be in Clipper Quay in Aberdeen from 0800 onwards and will sail probably mid day.
My girlfriend has just a job offer from the Crowne Plaza hotel in Muscat, the offer is not bad, it could be better, but it will allow her to support her kids. As I am now on the housing list (at last) I am now in the queue for a house, I am down in Band D, but at least I am on the list. As soon as I get a house it will be time to start putting money away so that I can afford to do the fiancee visa and get Abel over here. Even on minimum wage she will earn more after tax than she is getting in Oman, and with her abilities it will not be long before she rises in any company.
I am still worried about how well I did on the course last week, I am just hoping and praying that I got the 70% pass mark, it was not an easy course, not for me, it was a very steep learning curve as my knowledge of accoustic positioning was sadly lacking to start with.
I have begun another book, and this one is an easy one to write as it requires very little in the way of research, it is fiction again, not as dark as my "Organs" book, but it covers a lot of the daft stuff that has happened on surveys over the years, no specifics (put away the super injunctions - no names!!!!), just the silly stuff.
Just about finished the packing, I am now waiting for the hire car to arrive so I can be ready. I am planning an afternoon out, probably playing with my radios again.
Last night I had a chicken wrap, I wanted a subway, but could not be bothered to drive out and find one!
I am off to the doctors in a few minutes to pick up my medicines. Catch you later

Monday, 5 March 2012

Monday Morning, I go offshore Wednesday

I am off on my travels again on Wednesday, I will be up at 0500 on Wednesday morning for a drive to Heathrow, then a flight to Aberdeen and a taxi ride to Aberdeen harbour to join the ship, Skandi Olympia. I will be taking my 2m/70cm radio with me as I was informed by my project manager that as long as A) I remain within the law of the country I am in, and B) I follow the instructions of the marine crew, I can take my radios with me and operate from the ship. OK, I know, on 2m & 70cm's that means basically while in port only, but hey, that's fine with me.
I doubt I would be allowed to operate the ship's HF radio, but you never know...
I have been into town to buy all my bits and bobs, but I have to go in again as I forgot a couple! I have the obvious like sea sickness pills, indigestion etc, but no head ache tablets and while I can get them from the ship's chief mate if I need them, it is just easier to take my own.
I started packing the bag this morning, I have put all my PPE into vacuum bags so they take up less space. I want to take my laptop, but it is a bit big, so I am going to take all the data I have on my laptop on memory sticks and continue to write my books offshore when we are not working. I have several new story lines and I still have the story of the love of my life, Abel. But that is a huge undertaking as I have so much to go through. Over 1000 text messages, 1500 emails and go knows how many IM's and Facebook messages. It will be a tome when it is finished, but I think it will work. Abel is going to proof it for me, after all, it is as much about her as about me.
I have decided I am going to start fitting out the shed as my radio shack when I get back, but nothing permanent, as I am now registered for a council house (or social housing as they now call it). This great news.
I took mum shopping this morning and got my peanuts for my snack attacks offshore. Dry roast, I would prefer the normal ones, but I have to watch the fat content. Dry roast are OK, but they do smell like farts when you open the packet. Not the best smell in a small room on a rolling ship...
OK, food.
Last night I had a bowl of soup, home made, onion, carrot. tomato and garlic, with a chicken stock cube and a rasher of bacon. It was nice. I tried to do it without any oil, but I had to add some sunflower oil while I was doing the onions.  It was really nice.
This morning I had an omelette, not my favorite and I still feel a little burpy as a result. I won't do this again. Cereal while on board is the new plan, porridge, museli or one of the bran cereals, not looking forward to it, but it has to be done.
Mum has not got the hang of small portions yet, but I am working on it. She is not sure about this small plate thing, but the bottom line is you can not get a lot of food on a small plate, so it is perfect.
Lunch will be one of her casseroles, she was chopping onions when I last looked. It will probably be with the remainder of the pork roast from yesterday.
I am planning to go out this afternoon, partly because I still need a few things for the offshore bag, but also because it is near the start of my working month and I always take a day off before I start work, so tonight will be either a BMT or BLT at Subways. Yum. It probably should be a BMT, as it is a lower fat content, but no cheese, either way I think it is too much. It is better without the cheese (Am I saying this? Stop me someone!).
OK, got to go, I am doing the outline on one of the next books.
1. I am working on the book about me and Abel meeting.
2. I am working on my dark book about a government that takes ownership of your body at death.
3. I am working on a book about my brothers sculpture - yes, still.
4. I am doing a fiction book on a survey job, not sure about how this one will pan out, but it is one I feel drawn to doing.
Catch you later

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Saturday and Sunday food diary

Yes, I know, I forgot to mention it!
Breakfast yesterday morning, Cheerios, no bannana, ran out.
Lunch I had "gujohns of cod" with a salad and baked potato. I am sorry, I don't know the spelling of these goojons, but they were basically tiny strips of cod (maybe) in a light batter, other than that, I have no idea. They were nice.
Last night I had a cheese and sandwich spread sandwich, an apple and about a quarter of a 100gm pack of cashews.
This morning it was meant to be a porridge, but I settled on some variety of corn based breakfast cereal.
Lunch was roast pork, roast potatos, cabbage, carrots, apple and gravy. No crackling, which was a real shame!

Girl Friend and Baby Sitting

Last night I was baby sitting for my eldest over in Milton Keynes, she went to work at about 2200 and came back at 1100, that was one hell of a long night for her. She is looking for a new job, one where she can work less hours, for three days a week and earn a bit more money. She is putting herself through university, so she can only do three days a week, my son helps out with some of the baby sitting, but he needs time to study, so when I am back I do what I can as well.
I am proud of her and hopes she finds something soon.
My girlfriend has had a bad back for the last few days, she has pain killers but they are not really helping that much. I hope I can raise some money in the not to distant future and get her over here so that she is not wearing herself out in the Middle East. She works really hard and is paid peanuts, for what she does she should be paid three or four times what she gets. Unfortunately while I am mired in debt, I can not help her out.

Books to date

Yesterday I was at the Daventry museum where I went to attend a special event amatuer radio station with the call sign GB5XX which was being put on to coincide with a special early days of short wave broadcasting event being run by the museum. Daventry was the first proper short wave broadcast station and I used to workt there.
While I was there I met some old collegues which was really nice, these included Trevor Gandine, Iain McGregor, Phil Richmond, Dave Adams, Dave Dymott and Mike Littlewood. Sorry if I have spelt anyones name wrong, but I am dislexic (if that is how you spell it!). Also sorry if I have missed anyone out, put your name in a comment if I have missed you!
It was great to see all the old kit again, even if I did initially mis identify some of it! It was 20 years ago.
I really enjoyed myself, I also got round to giving the kind man who is offering me some brilliant radio kit a down payment. I am sure he would prefer if I gave him all the money at once, but as regular readers will note, I am somewhat broke at the moment. But, I am paying off my debts and they will be all gone in a couple of years.
I have had a total of 780 books dowloaded so far. I am happy.

Friday, 2 March 2012


OK, I have finished the course and I really do know more about the operation of USBL systems, and calibration in particular. I will have to wait a few days to find out if I passed the exam, so fingers crossed.
Breakfast on wednesday was cheerios with a banana, lunch was a BLT sandwich at sub way and evening meal was a bacon sandwich on EasyJet with a diet coke. No peanuts, I forgot them.
Thursday breakfast was a variety of instant porridge that had been left by someone in the crew house. It was dire, awful. I will have proper porridge next time! Lunch was sandwiches from Fugro. Evening meal was spicy chicken noodles with my classmates.
Today, Friday, I had bran flakes, well I was not having the dust in a box again! It was actually better than the instant porridge, but you know what, I think I missed the point with the porridge, I think it is meant to taste like porridge for an instant, and I just missed the instant when it did!
Lunch was fugro sandwiches again, and a diet Irn Brew, odd drink, OK, but odd.
Tonight I am going to have a wrap before I fly.
Tomorrow I will be at Daventry Museum for the amateur radio thing, come along, you may find it interesting.