Monday, December 24, 2007

London Photo Walk

On Saturday I caught up with Toni Louise for a wander around London to take some quick snaps of the place.

We decided to meet at St Pauls and I was disappointed to find the apostrophe cafe had closed down for good. This was the cafe that I spent about 3 hours every day for a few weeks surfing the internet and sipping coffee while gazing out the window at the passers by and St Pauls.

It's where Jusso and I made the plans for the reunion, booked flights and train tickets and secured couches to stay on.

It's where Lana and I sent out numerous emails for modelling jobs, and where I found my job at Squiz on Gumtree.

Oh well, all good things must come to an end.

We met up just before sunset and raced to Millennium Bridge in just enough time to catch what was a pretty amazing sunset....... for anyones standards.

From there we just roamed around and took photos where we saw the occasion. We eventually found ourselves at and had a glass each of house (big spenders). A couple was kind enough to let us sit at the end of the table, and when the waiter came to take away their left over platter they offered it to us.

4 whole pieces of cheese and a french loaf. Hmmmm, should we be posh and let it go, or backpackerish and eat the lot.

All I can say is that was some damn fine cheese.

The Thames from Millennium Bridge at Sunset

Moon through the winter shredded tree's down by Embankment on the water

"Don't leave the path" from An American Warewolf in London came to mind while I was walking through thick fog in the park on the way home.

Candle lit Wine and Cheese at Gordon's Wine Bar

Just looked kind of cool

Friday, December 21, 2007

Best laid plans of mice and men................

I swear this time I didn't even utter the words "nothing could possibly go wrong".

I suppose when you look at it nothing actually went wrong, it just never happened.

Today started really well too. I was up late putting a project plan together to send a client first thing this morning. I probably could have got away with an bit of an earlier night, but I filled the work in with quick chit chat with Maddy as we shared stories about our past.

And when I woke up this morning! You know those mornings when you wake up before your alarm and you're already wide awake and ready to tackle the world, well it was one of those mornings.

All my clothes had dried over night and were ready to stuff into my bag, the camera battery was charged and I remembered to put it back in the camera before packing it, I even remembered to pack my toothbrush and passport. (although I left my england to aussie electric convertor for the laptop, lucky there's 3 other aussies at work).

I got to work and had a great breakfast, the client was really happy with the project plan and things were going great guns. I had a great lunch and an offsite meeting went quickly and with purpose.

The boss put on christmas carrols, food, champe's and beer for everyone and I got my train in time to the City Airport (my favourite airport in the UK).

I got off the train at the right stop and saw the line of people with luggage coming out of the doors. I looked to see airline tags on the bags and realised that the luggage carriage was broken again (last time I had to line up for 40 minutes to put my luggage on the flight).

Fortunately this time I only had a carry on bag! No line for ME!!!!!

I touched the screen to start the automated ticketing system and entered all the details, but it said it couldn't process the ticket at that time and to line up. Pigs arse, you should see the line!!!! I tried again with the same result....... As I went to attempt it a 3rd time I started listening to the very cute French girl explaining that a flight was cancelled.

Hope it wasn't my flight she was talking about.

Fortunately it was the flight to Berlin.

When I glanced up to the monitors I could certainly see that Berlin was cancelled. As was Frankfurt, Belfast, Munich, and every single other flight that was departing City Airport.

Due to bad weather they had grounded all the planes. Bad weather! It was a bit of fog. I'd have flown. Todd would have flown.

I made my few phone calls to tell Chani and Phil the bad news then worked out that I couldn't get a refund, but I could book another ticket for another time.

I'm now on the way back to work where there's still beers in the fridge to post this, have a few beers and head back to have a few quiet bevies an a bit more of a catch up with my new house mates.

Dublin for the Weekend

It's on again. I'm flying out tonight via the best airport in the UK, city airport, and getting into Dublin around 9.30

This is not a filming weekend though, my partners in crime are Miss Chani Mortimer and Mr Phillip O'Donnell.

There's sure to be many a pint past my lips and many an old story retold in the pubs or Ireland. I'm sure one or two new stories will be cropping up as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My first football game

Yep, I did it.

I called it football, not soccer. Un-Australian maybe, but both teams had aussies playing for them and by the end of the night rol's and I were insistent on standing up for West Ham rather then turning cheek.

The night started off as well as I could have hoped. Dave and his girlfriend Susan organised some Carling Cup tickets for myself and Rol's, West Ham United Vs Everton in the Quarter Final at West Ham's home ground of Upton Park.

We met at the Upton Park tube stop and wandered up the road in the freezing cold winter wind in search of some Hammers merchandise, a warm pub and dare I say it, a warm beer! (it was that cold).

I picked up a beanie and a scarf and we all picked up a couple of beers around the corner from the ground. We tried to get into the popular Hammers bar, but it was popular and 6 deep at the bar so we ducked around the corner to somewhere less busy.

It wasn't long before we were through the first two beers and looking to head over to the ground to watch the game, but not before the was a bit of a scuffle in one of the other rooms in the bar which saw a bunch of young fella's come running into our section and quickly removing scarfs and beanies to, I guess, become less recognisable. The police told them to cross the road and keep there heads down and they should be fine.

I'd hate it if a police officer told me I "should" be fine.

That's right, I'm a card holder now

We wandered over to the ground, found our enterance and seats just in time to cheer the hammers running out onto the pitch and to start my first rendition of "Blowing Bulles", which pretty much consisted of me singing "Blowing bubbles in the air" at the end.

Upton Park

The beginning of the game couldn't have started any better with Cole taking random lob into the box on his chest, turning to beat the keeper and slotting it into the back of the net. That saw me jump to my feet and scream out with nearly as much passion as I would for a Glen McGrath LBW shout to remove Tendulkar for a duck.

Celebrations after Cole's Goal

That was it. West Ham seemed to just give up as Everton out played them for the remainder of the half and were unlucky to only get an equaliser.

Half time saw me desperately lining up in the loo's to relieve a pint of water and two pints of beer........ and then desperately trying to race the girl in the line next to me to order the last two pies.

There were ups and downs in those races, and in the end if I had to lose one of them I'm glad it was for the pie.

Roland and I settled for a couple of hot dogs and half a pizza each, and of course a beer to wash it down. We looked around and couldn't help but smile at the........ lets call it the variety of fans that flooded the outer halls at half time.

Now I've been in the outer at the MCG on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Ashes test, but it wasn't as mad packed as the isles during half time at this game.

We made it back to the seats, and fortunately West Ham made it back into the game even though the Ref was doing everything in his power to keep them well out of it.

Unfortunately a simple mistake by the keeper and defender allowed Everton to put away the easiest of winning goals in the 88th minute which then lead to half the crowed leaving the ground.

We walked out on the losing side, but it was an awesome experience to be cheering on the home team in such a great stadium, with such great seats.

We were going to head straight back to the tube, but seeing as there was a pub right outside the tube stop it would have been stupid for us not to at least stop for one beer. While we were in the pub there were a couple of girls walking around trying to flog off pirate dvd's for £2 a piece. We laughed as the guys next to us bought a couple, and then jokingly said where are the stick flicks.

Well apparently they weren't joking as the girls reached into their bags to produce twice as many dvd's with such great titles as "Cliff Banger" "Butt Bandits VII" and numerous others. After much, much laughing at the situation, and at the guys saying if they had a DVD player they would have bought the lot, we wandered onto the tube for the trip home.

Normally stories would do well to end here, but fortunately Roland and I decided to make more of night for it.

We sat on the train with plans to head back to London Bridge and then onto the Norther Line back SW. We sat near three other guys and one of them soon brought up West Ham (we were still wearing West Ham Beanie's and Scarfs) and how Lukas Neil wasn't as good as Tim Cahill.

Initially we thought they were West Ham fans and were saying as Australian's Cahill was better, but we soon found out that they were in fact Everton fans hell bent on stirring up trouble. They pinched the beanies off our head and made a quick game of keep it off us before we took them back off them.

It would have been wise to put them away, but at that stage I'd be damned if I was going to hide the team I supported (having seen all of one live game..... idiot).

Most of it was banter, with the 3 of them trying to chant us off the train at each stop, but it could have gone pear shaped on a couple of occasions..... like when we found out that they were Everton supporters and Roland told them they were a long way from Liverpool, they pointed out we were a long way from Australia. Fair call really.

Another time may have been when one of the guys said my west ham gear would look better laid out on the ground at the next tube station, and I mentioned that he would look better in a similar situation.

And finally, when we suggested that they were either too poor to afford, or too scared to show their true support for their team by not wearing anything that represented Everton.

Seems silly now, but at the time we may as well have been life long West Ham supporters and weren't budging a bit.

I had to laugh though, we'd actually got onto the wrong tube and weren't heading for London Bridge at all, so we wouldn't have been in the situation to begin with. And to compound my laughter we could have got off at Moorgate but it was during one of their chants to get us off the train, and even though it was our stop we didn't want to give them the satisfaction of thinking they'd won (they'd already beaten us at the game, couldn't give it to them twice).

All in all it was an awesome night, especially seeing as we stayed out of trouble and got to cheer west ham for 88 minutes of the game.

Come on you Hammers!!!!!

Surfing Vs Working

It doesn't seem like much of a contest but the last few weeks Surfing has been give a huge touch up.

I draw the line today though, after I got an email from Mum asking why I haven't been keeping this updated. I thought I moved out of home 7 years ago to stop the nagging (only joking mum).

I do have a bit of tale to tell, but unfortunately long hours spent in front of the computer for work make me less inclined to spend much time in front of it out of hours. However, I do believe last wednesday's nights trip out to Upton Park to watch the Hammers is more then worth a few minutes of key stroking.

So don't loose hart, that story and more (a trip to Ireland this weekend included) will be coming up shortly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ireland gets big waves again

Or at least so I'm hoping.

I'm on a waiting call at the moment to book another trip over to Ireland to add to my collection of surf footage, although it's going to be tough to beat the last session.

While the swell doesn't look to be anywhere near what hit on 1st December, it is decent size and the right direction for a few spots. If the wind can hold off for the weekend we might luck out and get something special again.

But if that fails, I can always turn to plan B. Get drunk on guinness in the pub! Fortunately a good mate of mine from Darwin is going to be around the place over the weekend so it'll be a good chance to catch up on the past 6 months and get a few bevies under our belts.

Of course, I'd rather do that after a days filming in the cold, but if I have to drink all day then who am I to argue!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

No more Couch or Floor Surfing

Over the past few months of travelling I've been blessed with a mixture of a great bunch of old friends, new friends, and strangers.

Since I moved out of the famous Margaret Street just after Easter of this year I haven't had a permanent place of residence, and instead of the usual story of having to stay in Hostels around the world I was taken in to the home of both old friends and strangers.

I've now moved into my own room in Clapham and I'm looking forward to being able to repay the favours that were so generously bestowed upon me.

So here's a HUGE thank you to the following friends who gave me a roof over my head

Darwin - Phil

Darwin - Kylie and Paul
Brisbane - Reanna
Hawaii - Myles

San Francisco - Chip/Sean
Santa Barbara - Sara & Billy
San Diego - James

Nicaragua - Sherri

London - Roland, Rich, Cres, Mel
Dublin - Jusso
Munich - Larissa
Munich - Kita and Lana

London - Roland, Rich, Cres, Mel
London - Michaela, Toni-Louise, Danni, Lana and Kita

London - Rachael
London - Michaela, Toni-Louise, Danni, Lana and Kita

London - Michaela, Toni-Louise, Danni, Lana and Kita

....... and finally my new flat mates Sarah, Gary, Maddy and Lauren!

Again, thanks to everyone that took me in and looked after me, you've helped me travel for longer and have better experiences then I ever though was possible.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Surfline pick up XXL Ireland footage

A big thanks to Surfline for picking up and posting the preview footage from the huge swell in Ireland last weekend.

The full clip will be available in a few days.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Big Wave Surfing in Ireland - the end

Well it's come to the end of my weekend adventure away.

Today there was no surf footage, which is a little disappointing. On the other hand I was able to catch a couple of different breaks and met a couple of locals that I'll come back to have a surf with, and it also gave me an opportunity to soak in both the country and what this weekend was all about.

Spending time with friends and family is special, but at 5 am this morning when I had a message through from a mate saying that he had beers with the members of The Cat Empire, the concert that I forgo to come over for this trip, I realised that I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else in the world.

I had on 3 pairs of socks, pants, jeans, singlet, thermal long sleeve top, tshirt, zip up jumper, hooded jumper and the sleeping bag, all the while the car was shaking because of the wind and I could here the pitter patter of the rain on the car roof............. and I was loving living every minute of it.

Sometimes you just need to have an incling to want to do something, and you should grab on to that incling and live the shit out of it!!!!

Live it, love it, always remember it.

Big Wave Surfing Ireland - Kilcummin, Mullaghmore, Easkeys

Update: The crazy Irish West Coast has now unleashed a new beast, Prowlers.

Prowlers is the latest uncovered big wave spot, watch the guys surfing Prowlers here

The past 24 hours have been awesome!

I finally got onto the flight a few minutes after it was supposed to be arriving in Dublin, which is actually the best way to take a bunch of normal people, put them in a room together and watch the bitchy and sniediness take control.

The flight was pretty quick. I was asleep before the demonstration, work up briefly for a snack and some water, and again when the plane was losing alittude (or we were flying through a storm, I was tired and can't recall which one) and just in time to look out the window and see the lights of Dublin before we landed.

I grabbed the car without any hassels at all and managed to find my way to Mullaghmore just after 3am. Not bad going seeing as I got to the car desk just after 11pm. I drove around the headland trying to work out where the wave was going to be breaking, and it turned out I was pretty spot on.

It was a pretty tiring drive, definitely should have grabbed an IPOD tuner, but the Ireland radio was good enough o keep me awake.

I stopped off at a Tesco's on the way to get supplies (and had de ja vu of our wicked camper adventure), bread, banana's, water and a few dc's to break up the drive a bit.

In the morning I woke up and was FREEZING!!!!

I was told that the tow in surfing guys would be there at dawn, and silly me thought dawn was about 6am...... but seeing as the sun doesn't rise forever here it's actually quite late (could have used some more kip too)
Houses upon the hill looking over Mullaghmore

I met a surf teacher who was looking on at the waves before anyone went out there and I was filled in with the good local areas that would hold a good size swell like this.

After a bit of time the jet ski's came out with the tow in surfers and they begin to check out the waves.

I was slightly disappointed about the size of the waves from where I was standing, after all I'd flown over especially to check out HUGE surf in Ireland, and now I was getting slightly above standard.

Of course, when one of the surfers actually got towed in to one of the huge waves I was able to see just how big the swell was....... and while it can ALWAYS be bigger this was a good size.

I spent a couple of hours trying to get feeling back in my fingers and toes......and somewhere in that time I think I pressed record once or twice to get some footage.

After the jet ski's radio in to get more fuel I decided to get 15 minutes kip, and when I awoke the film crew that was there and all the surfers were gone.


So I head on further up the coast and checked out Bundoran - The Peak, which was maxed out and no one was there.

I decided to head back to Mullaghmore to see if they were heading back out and stopped off at Tullaghan but with no luck. I missed the turn off to Mullaghmore so decided to head on down to Black Rock Light House at Rosses Point but that wasn't doing much at all.

The guy I had called the day before said that Easkey's might be 15ft so I stopped in there to yet again find no one surfing.

I was beginning to think that all the warnings on the radio for big waves and the dangers of being near the beach had got to the Irish, but they refilled my belief in them when I got to Kilcummin.

The waves were beautiful and of good size, and there were some really good surfers out there surfing the shit out of the waves.
Irish Surfer's carving up Kilcummin

I stayed there for an hour and got some really good shots (or so I think) until it got dark and I headed back to Kilala for a couple pints of Guinness and some warm food.

I've driven back to Kilcummin and am going to sleep in the carpark where the surf break is so I can sleep right the way through to 7am before getting up, grabbing the camera, and catching some more great footage before I begin my long drive back to Dublin and flight back to London.

..... woops, I nearly wrote "flight back home" instead of London then.

Finger crossed the swell will still be good size tomorrow and the surfers can put on a show for me.......... and once I get the footage cut a show for you all.

Big Wave Surfing in Ireland - flying there

Stage one is complete......... I managed to get out of work without having too many beers that I ended up missing my plane (I only had one).

I braved the peak hour tube service and have made it out to City Airport without too many problems.

The plane is delayed about 45 minutes so I'll fight off my tiredness for now and make sure that I get on the plane. The good news is that I just heard the speaker calling a couple of people to get on the flight was was leaving soon, if only they had done that on some of my previous flights.

I found a guy through a few google searches that is trying to run a "Tow in" jet ski safety course and called him this afternoon. He's given me the name of a couple of spots for big waves and the best time to catch them.

After filming in the morning I'll be driving down to where they are surfing/towing and meet up, hopefully I might even get out on the water to get some footage (in a boat though, not on the back of a jetski).

Before I go I have to do a quick apology to Holly. She's a legend and got me a ticket to the Cat Empire tomorrow night and we were supposed to be hanging out this weekend with the rest of the rowdy bunch.

Unfortunately she also mentioned there was a huge swell hitting Ireland and the rest of the UK...... so here I am, two days later sitting at the airport ready to embark on an adventure to get some epic footage. Sorry Holly, but thanks Holly.

Oh and a quick thank you to Kristian as well. He was the one that suggested that I take a camera travelling with me around the world, and without that slight nudge I wouldn't have filmed killer barrel's at Puerto Escondido (Mex Pipe), the awesome surfers at the magical Barra De La Cruz, the magnificant Mayan Ruins and surf adventure through Mexico, the Edinburgh Wicked Camper road trip and now this, hopefully the best footage yet.........