Netflix One-Off Special


It’s early June 1994, life as we know it was much different, the weather was massively variable, a rail strike was hurting the country and Fred West was blissfully unaware that he’d soon be huge news.

Mobile phones were in their infancy and in many ways; life was simpler.

Not for a section of the Norfolk Broads though.


The Groom – (TG)

The Best Man, an architect and otherwise intelligent man in his late 30s – referred to here as That Fucking Idiot (TFI)

The Biochemist (Bio)

The Accountant (TA)

The IT Specialist (IS)

The Builder (the wealthy one, also the drunk – TD)

The Place

The Norfolk Broads, particularly Wroxham and the surrounding area

The Venue

A fifty foot long Broads Boat hired by TFI from Blake’s Boatyard, at the time a smallish independent operator. they’ve long since disappeared but the boat looked a bit like this.

Scene – Day One: Early Morning

A group of six men in their 30s meet at roadside for a minibus to take them to Norfolk, they’re all fairly well dressed, all have a small bag for extra clothes and are standing around a stack of beer that’s nearly six feet tall. There’s also a portable stereo that is already playing a mix of music that seems designed to annoy others.

TFI – ‘are we all ready for this, got all your stuff?’ He leers at The Groom

TG – ‘just remember the rules, try to tie me to anything or shave anything and I’ll murder you and dump your body overboard’

Everybody looks at their feet.

Four hours later – The Boat.

Boatyard Guide – “Right, are we all listening, you need to be really careful, this is a big boat and some of the sidings are covered in iron. You need to make sure that you undo the awning if you’re taking the roof back. This is how you go forward – and backwards, keep the speed low and steady, don’t do any sudden turns. Make sure you take the key out if you leave the boat.

Everybody – nods and ‘yeah, OK’

Boatyard Guide – ‘OK – let’s go’

He executes a flawless and very fast 180 degree turn and jumps off the boat.

TFI takes the wheel, beers are opened and everybody dumps their bags in the cabins while ‘Right Next Door To Hell’ blares from the CD Player.

Ten Minutes Later

TFI to The Groom – ‘Let’s take the roof back!”

TG- ‘Don’t forget to….’


TFI – ‘What was that?’

TG – ‘That was the awning ripping out and flying into the river, you stupid cunt’

TFI – ‘What?’

TG- ‘That’s our deposit gone and you’d better hope that it doesn’t fucking rain now’ – he takes a long drink of beer while the others inspect the broken woodwork.

One Hour Later

The boat is moored at a pub, our heroic band are spending money as fast as possible while bemoaning the fact that the pub is too quiet.

Another Hour Later

Everybody is back on board and TFI takes the wheel. He guns the throttle into reverse and slams the boat into a siding. Ignoring the crash, he spins the wheel and embeds the iron siding into he boat a few feet above the waterline – there’s now an eight foot gash in the skin of the boat.

Everybody – ‘whatthefuckyoustupidcuntwhatthefuckinghellTWATCUNTyoufuckingidiot’

TFI -‘Well that was how he did it in the boatyard’

TG ‘Why don’t you go and ask him to do some draughtsmanship for you for fucks sake. You know that we now owe THEM money don’t you?’ Another long drink is taken and a quiet sob can be heard.

Two Hours Later

Two of the cases of beer are now empty and the boat has now taken on the air of a group of Death Row Prisoners trying to enjoy their last day.

IS -‘Hang on there’s a boat full of women there, they’re waving at us… OI, TFI, get us closer’

The two boats draw alongside and IS, TA and TG jump across with two cases of beer. The music on our boat gets louder and people frequently jump between boats. It’s agreed to moor up in Wroxham and find a pub.

4PM Day one.

Both boats are moored up, there are no other boats nearby and everybody is well on the way to being ever so slightly drunk.

11PM Day One. Wroxham

Everybody goes back to the boats for a party having offended a large number of innocent tourists trying to have a nice time in the pub. The circle around the group becoming wider and wider as the level of offensiveness rises.

1AM Day TwoOur Boat

The girls have returned back to their boat along with IS who’s on a promise, TD is asleep on the jetty, Bio is wandering around aimlessly and TA is ranting at The Groom about the lack of reliability of TFI. ‘He’s a fucking menace and I’d like to drag him behind the boat tomorrow, it’ll be safer for all of us and… I CAN’T GET IN THE FUCKING CABINS…. WHERE IS HE?WHERE’STHE FUCKING KEY………’

They jump onto the Jetty and TA is still shouting -‘THERE’S A LIGHT ON IN THAT FUCKING CABIN I’M GOING TO…….

There’s a muffled splash and TA appears coughing and struggling as he’s walked off the jetty into the river in the dark.

TG is doubled over laughing hysterically – TA has to be rescued by BIO and TG is still laughing as he coughs his way aboard, drenched and filthy. Luckily TG had a huge sweater on board and TA is able to strip down to boxers and have a warm top as they trudge to the girls’ boat.

1:15 AM Day Two – The Girls’ Boat

Girl One – ‘Oh thank god you’re here, can you take him back with you? We’ll make you a bacon sandwich each..’

TFI -‘Hello’

Everybody – ‘YoulockedusCUNTofheboatdCUNTyoufuckingidiotCUNTwherearethekeys?’

1:45 AM Day Two

Everybody but IS is back on the boat and soon asleep.

7AM Day Two

The group gather on the deck and look at their sad little boat, something hideous has been spilled on the deck and has left a deep stain, there’s bottles and cans everywhere and the quiet little berth that was empty at 4PM the day before is absolutely surrounded by families on boats .

They’re also outside a Police Station.

Bio makes a cup of tea for everybody while TFI decides that he’s going to play his new AC/DC album again – or more to the point, he plays ‘Heatseeker’ Again and again. Bellowing out the word Heatseeker occasionally. By this point, it’s not clear if he just enjoys it, is having a mental breakdown, is still drunk or is just winding up. TG thinks it’s a combination of the last two.

IS boards the boat to thunderous applause and the group are now becoming aware of the crowd of boats around them. They’re also surprised at the goodwill they’re being extended, one boat is offering more bacon sandwiches which are gratefully accepted and there seems to be nobody upset at last night’s noise. One older couple said it made a nice change and that they were listening to the music while having a bottle of wine on deck..

9AM Day Two The group decide to brave Wroxham to find a proper breakfast and are soon fascinated by this unusual little backwater.

And that nearly everything is called Roys.

There’s a general store and a toy store amongst others.

And rather bewilderingly, Miss Roy.

It’s all a bit too much for Bio, who wants to ask random people in the street if they’re called Roy. The group drag him into a cafe and over breakfast, they discuss the day.

The Groom will call his dad (from a phone box) and arrange for him and a few other people who couldn’t make the whole trip and tell them to meet at…

A discussion is held.

Nobody can be bothered to move, so as long as the group aren’t barred, they’ll take residence in the pub again for the day.

TA and Bio spot a huge mannequin of a butcher and pose for photos with it, annoying the actual butcher in the shop as they take pose after pose. They giggle to each other as they walk away.

10AM Day Two

The group enter the pub sheepishly, not entirely sure if they’re welcome and are greeted by the landlady.

‘Morning lads, we’ve restocked with bottled beer after last night, want a drink on the house?’

TG – ‘Yes please, six Becks please.. Listen, we were a bit, we loud last night, sorry if there were any issues.’

Landlady – ‘You spent more last night than every other person in the pub combined – even if you double their spend. Stay as long as you like, just don’t start a fight or burn the place down and we’re good’

Grinning, she walks away.

TA – ‘She’s right, we need to top the whip up, we spent nearly £500 yesterday’

Everybody tops the fund up and the drinking begins again.

12PM Day Two – The girls pop in for a drink and to say goodbye and good luck and they leave the pub in a cloud of giggles into the sunlight.

The Jukebox is topped up with enough money to ensure that nobody else will get a choice in music until evening and the group settle in for a gentle afternoon of drinking, talking and playing word-based drinking games.

One goes like this.

A word is said …..

‘The’ perhaps.

The next person has to add a word “Giraffe”and the next person has to add a word as well as saying the previous words.

The Giraffe went out into Soho to buy the monkey from the bar one of those rare orchids that can not be seen unless you watch a film with dark clothes and a cup of cold piss from a zebra – fuck what was the next word?’

2PM Day Two -The game comes to a shuddering halt when TFI unwittingly brings the group close to hysteria.

‘Outer. Space. Outer Space is. Outer Space is Dodgy’

The group set to drinking in earnest and at:

3:30 PM Day Two –

The Groom’s dad and a few others, including a designated driver walk in. Ironic cheers and shouts of ‘hello you old cunt’ can be heard. He sits with the group as beers are ordered and looks around nervously at the people already giving dirty looks to the group.

Dad – ‘christ, keep it down a bit, you’ll get us all barred’

Everybody – loud laughter, cries of ‘fuck off’

Dad – ‘I mean it, some of these people look really pissed off’

TG – in a kind and gentle voice – ‘Don’t worry Dad, we’ve been given a green light to do anything we like by the landlady as long as nobody gets hurt. We’ve already spent more today than Wiggy over there will spend in a fortnight’

Dad – looks round nervously and sees a man in a bad wig glaring back at them. – “fucksake keep it down..”

TG – ‘What for Wiggy, Wiggy can fuck off if he doesn’t like it’

The group – ‘Fuck off Wiggy’

Six grown men collapse into giggles at the horror and outrage, they’re beyond reason by this point and the newcomers realise that the only thing to do is to drink hard and fast.

Dad – ‘How’s the boat?’

TG – ‘It’s fucked, we probably own the boatyard a couple of grand and it’s still only Saturday, that’s one of the reasons that we haven’t moved – so that mad cunt’ he shrugs at TFI ‘ can’t cause any more damage’.

The afternoon progresses and at one point TA and Bio go to get more cash.

5PM Day Two

A loud commotion can be heard outside and a butcher is shouting at the sky, his mannequin seems to have decided to leave home and take up a spot on a jetty across the bridge.

TA and Bio are giggling.

7PM Day Two –

A vote is taken and it’s agreed that the now extended group will go and find some actual food. IS runs out and checks that a table at the local Indian Restaurant is available and the group walk over. Cries of ‘Heatseeker’ and ‘Wiggy’ can be heard throughout the town.

730PM Day Two – Indian Restaurant Wroxham

The group are ordering and ‘Dad’ confesses that he’s never had an Indian meal. The Manager comes over to help him choose food, while all around huge amounts of Naan Bread, Tikka, Rice, Jalfrezi, Vindaloo and Phaal are ordered, along with thirty bottles of beer to get started.

Dad – ‘What should I have?’

Manager – he has a pleasing West Country accent – “whatever you like, but I’d go for something gentle or even something with chips if you like.’

Dad – OK, I’ll probably go with something with chips, but I keep hearing them order Phaal and laughing – what is that?

Manager – leans in and whispers – ‘don’t even try it, it’ll burn your fucking arse off’ – he walks away grinning

10PM Day Two – The Groom’s Dad and others now have a two hour drive back to Essex and beery and loud farewells are said. The car drives away to cries of “Wiggy and Heatseeker’

The group go back to the pub and actually behave themselves.

1AM Day Three The Boat

Nobody has thrown up, lost any keys, fallen in the river, stolen anything or even shouted, the group go to bed and agree that tomorrow they’ll head upriver before their welcome runs out.

9AM Day Three The Pub

The Group go into the pub to say goodbye. They’re given a fond farewell and leave the bar, stealing a few souvenirs along the way, including the signs from the toilet doors.

9:30 AM Day Three The Boat

The boat is now back on the broads without incident, it’s a blisteringly hot morning and The Drunk, Keeper of the Beer makes a sad admission.

TD – ‘We’re out of beer’

TA – ‘What, how?’

TD – ‘Well, we fucking drank it all I suppose’

Bio – ‘No, what he means is, that you were supposed to fucking tell us so that we could buy more yesterday’

TD – ‘Sorry’

Bio and TA in unison – ‘Cunt’

TG – you do realise that it’s a fucking Sunday and we’ve got hours to go before we can buy some more?’

TFI -‘Let’s put some music….’

IS – leans across the CD Player, ejects the AC/DC album and skims it at a passing boat. ‘Fuck off we’re never playing that fucking track again’

11AM Day Three – Maps have been consulted and the boat is heading for a small pub with a berth and there’s a shop within half a mile.

Bio – ‘I can’t take any more of this’

He climbs onto the roof of the boat and waves at other boats on the river, having caught their attention, he strips off completely and dances completely naked for at least fifteen minutes, cupping his genitals and shouting general abuse at boats passing by.

The madness passes and he climbs back down.

Bio – ‘Where’s my clothes’

TG – ‘About a mile back I think, they were sinking when I last saw them’

Bio storms off to his cabin while the boat veers dangerously as IS is laughing too hard to steer.

The owner of a small cabin cruiser takes it upon himself to lecture the group on river safety and retreats quickly in a hail of abuse and empty bottles.

12PM Day Three Riverside Pub

TA and TG decide to be the grown ups and walk to the village shop while the rest of the group get the beers in.

TA -‘Why the fuck is TFI your best man?’

TG – ‘Well, I proposed at a black tie do for Trafalgar Day in his solicitor’s garden and he caught me unawares – and drunk too I suppose. Still his heart is in the right place, even if he is a fucking nightmare. He booked this because his girlfriend told him that it would be safer than us all flying abroad, I don’t think that it occurred to her just how badly we can fuck things up.’

TA – it was funny but why did you throw Bio’s clothes in the river?’

TG- ‘Did you see those scars on his legs?’

TA – Yeah, they look newish

TG – ‘They are, the mad cunt tried to hit me out of the blue on a night out with IS and TFI and he wouldn’t stop, so I accidentally put him through a shop window. He was lucky for a couple of reasons, I thought it was a wall behind me and a piece of glass as big as your arm missed his neck by an inch. ‘

TA – ‘Fuck me, but….’

TG – ‘I dusted the silly cunt down and we went to the pub, the landlord called the police and I told him to go and get a cab, He wandered off and by the time that the old bill turned up, IS and TFI were there and we just fronted them down as they couldn’t prove anything. Then they were all grinning and there Bio is standing behind me, covered in blood and looking stupid. When I asked him what he thought he was doing, he just told me to Fuck Off. We were lucky that we only had to pay for the window.’

12:15 PM Day Three The Broads

TG and TA walk into a tiny village store.

They gather up a mass of sausages, burgers, steak and bread. They pick up two portable BBQ units and as much beer as there is on the shelves.

TA – to Shop Owner – ‘Do you have any more beer?’

The shopkeeper goes to the store and leaves the assistant, a young lad, to start the till.

TA – ‘We’ll take all your porn too please’

The assistant blushes furiously and the shopkeeper returns with two more cases of beer.

TA and TG stagger to the nearby pub to get a beer and call a taxi, there’s no way that they can carry all they’ve bought back to the boat.

12:30 PM Day Three Village Pub

TA and TG stagger in with their load and order a couple of beers from the splendidly bewhiskered landlord who’s naturally curious as to what’s going on.

TG- ‘I’m getting married in a few weeks and we ran out of beer on the boat, so we’re moored at the pub on the river and we’ll have a BBQ later today.’

Landlord – ‘Lovely, well, if you want a drink later. I’ll be having a lock-in’


They leave the pub after a short while and take a taxi back to the pub on the river.

1:15 PM Day Three – TG and TA are walking through the pub garden, four well dressed, obviously wealthy and local women are sitting at a table and one of them calls out.

‘Where are you going with all that?’

TG- ‘It’s my stag do, we’re having a BBQ on the boat later, you’re welcome to join us. ‘

The women exchange glances and have a quick chat, they scribble something on a piece of paper.

‘No, you’re OK. BUT. If you want, we’re having a garden party at my house, here’s the directions by water. I’m Jane by the way. Maybe see you there later.’

TA and TG smile broadly and after dumping the food and booze onto the boat walk into the pub, the remainder of the group are at a corner table. Cries of ‘Heatseeker’ and ‘Wankers can be heard.

1:45 PM Day Three Riverside Pub

IS – ‘Are you joking, we’ve all been invited to a party?’

TA and TG – ‘Yes’

IS- ‘could it be a joke?’

TG – Yeah, or a Deliverance type thing, we should have a go though.’

2:45 PM Day Three – The Boat

The group have been following the river for a while now and the prospect of this being a joke or worse seems to be becoming more real, the river has narrowed and is covered over by trees, somebody is humming ‘Duelling Banjos’ as the boat moves slowly into:

2:55 PM Day Three – The House

A private mooring outside a large house, the group walk through the gate into:

2:56 PM Day Three – The Garden

A huge garden, there are over a hundred people there, a marquee and a band is playing soft live music. The group immediately tone themselves down, separate and join the party, champagne is free-flowing and everybody relaxes. It’s a wonderful, unexpected surprise and the hosts are incredibly warm and welcoming.

4PM Day Three – The Garden

Jane to TG – ‘I hear from my dad that you’ve had a few dramas on your boat, it sounds awful, he said that you’re really upset?’

TG – ‘Oh that was your dad, he seems really nice, yes, the boat is pretty fucked if you look at it and the worst of it is that it’s all stupidity. I’d be less upset if we’d had genuine accidents, we’d still have to pay, but the boatyard has a ton of work to do, so they can’t even turn it around when we go back tomorrow. It’s all a bit depressing. ‘

Jane – ‘Sounds it’ She cocks her head and gives a little smile. ‘You don’t know who we are do you?’

TG – ‘Er…. No…. erm.’

Jane – ‘Well you know that you hired your boat from Blakes….’

TG – ‘Fuck me – no..’

Jane – ‘Yep, my dad is Mr Blake, you’ve just told him everything, I’d have a drink if I were you. Also if you want company tonight, me and the girls will join you at the other pub – see you there at seven?’

TG wanders off, legs slightly buckled at what’s happened.

5PM Day Three – The Boat

Is now moored back at the pub and the group are drinking bottled beer as fast as they can, tomorrow is when the boat goes back and they’re fucked. There’s very little conversation.

6PM Day Three – Village Pub

The group enter the bar and shake hands with the landlord, they order drinks and wait for Jane and the others. There’s a small group of young locals giving them dirty looks, but nobody can be bothered to even look at them by this stage.

6:55 PM Day Three – Village Pub

Jane and her friends join the table, one of the locals calls out but they totally ignore him and an animated conversation ensues.

10PM Day Three – Village Pub

The pub will close in a few minutes, TG and TD have to visit the toilet to make room for the lock-in drinks. There’s a tap of TG’s shoulder and he turns to take a punch in the face from one of the locals. It’s not a good one and he licks a tiny drop of blood from his lip before grinning at the local.

TD – ‘We don’t want any trouble, don’t hit him back’

TG – continues to grin at the local

Local – ‘you were asking for it, flashing your money around and hanging out with those rich slag…’

TD has punched him through the door and he’s lying dazed and beaten on the bar floor.

The group have taken up scattered positions around the bar – ready for a fight, the locals that were being hostile seem stunned. TG waves the group to get them to stand down.

TG – to Landlord – ‘We’re so sorry, this little wanker just sucker- punched me, but it’s best if we leave I suppose, but just to be clear, he can’t punch his way out of a wet paper bag and I was going to let it go – He called Jane and the girls slags, we’re not taking that…

Landlord – eying the locals carefully – ‘It would have been nice to drink with you tonight, you seem like good men, I’ll make sure these little shits don’t follow you, although it might be nice to see them try, good luck lads, hope the wedding goes OK.’

10:10 PM Outside the Pub

TG to Jane – ‘Sorry the evening ended like this, it’s been a genuine pleasure to meet you all and we’ll all ‘- he nods at the group ‘remember your generosity and niceness for a long time. Please tell your dad that we’re sorry and that we’ll pay for any damages without argument, just give us the bill. ‘

They hug and all parties go their separate ways

8AM Day Four – The Boat

TG is steering and the boat is now heading back to the boatyard and the reckoning of the bill.

Bio -Anybody want breakfast, we’ve still got all that food, I’ll cook.’

Everybody nods

8:30 AM Day Four – The Boat

Bio has appeared with cups of tea for everybody and there’s been a sound of clattering and sizzling of frying pans for a few minutes, the smell of bacon and cooking meats permeates the air and the group begin to smile.

8:32 AM Day Four – The Boat

The smell of cooking has been replaced by the smell of burning plastic and smoke and flames billow from the galley bellow, TG stops the boat and runs below to see:

8:33 AM Day Four The BoatThe Galley

The Galley roof on fire, there are two portable BBQ units on top of the stove and they have spilled burning charcoal everywhere and creating small fires on the floor. Bio is having a minor meltdown and is panicking.

TG throws the fire extinguisher at Bio and grabs the BBQ units with the oven gloves and throws them overboard. A haze of extinguisher gases comes from the galley.

IS – ‘I don’t suppose you saved any sausages?’

8:36 AM Day Four – The Boat

Bio – arising from the galley, scorched and sooty – ‘Behold’

A plate of sausage sandwiches

10:35 AM Day Four – Blakes Boatyard

TG to the group – ‘There’s no point us all being here, take the stuff to the bus and me and TFI will see how bad it is.’

The Group trudge off and TFI and TG watch the same boatyard hand that gave them the boat walk towards them. he doesn’t look happy, there’s still an occasional whisp of smoke and the boat looks as if it’s come from Dunkirk.

TG – ‘Hi, there’s a bit of damage…’

Blakes Man – ‘WE KNOW. WE KNOW…. I have a message for you from Mr Blake’ He sneers and squints at TG and TFI. ‘Have a great wedding, please never come back.’

TG – ‘Is that it?’

Blakes Man – Yes, go on piss off’

TFI – ‘About our depos…. TG- ‘Shut the fuck up and let’s get out of here’

They walk to the minibus, the sun is shining and TG is grinning like an idiot.


This is all fiction right*, Hey Netflix, I’m available for discussion if you want to film this.

  • Every single word is true and I’ve forgotten some of it

We were lucky enough to meet some extraordinarily generous people who turned a trip into an experience that’s lasted in my memory for over half a lifetime and I thank them all.

A note from our Chairman

‘Right then Human, write all this down.

Just under three years ago, you came to see me for the first time, you brought that black dog and another human who’s since vanished – bit of a pattern with you by the way, how many came and went in 18 months or so? What? Move on? Yeah OK.


I was in that place in Warrington and I confess that it wasn’t going that well, I’d been in for a while and had already been through two other human homes with erm…. bad results. I bit one of the bastards as they were holding me down while bringing that bloody hoover thing near. What?

Yes. I know. I bit you a couple of times too. But it was all scary. You took me in a car, another strange house, new smells and new rules.

But, bit by bit, we got used to each other and I wasn’t as scared anymore. I know you like photos and if you look at the ones that Warrington took, it’s obvious that I was scared and upset all the time.

Since then, we’ve done so much.

We’ve gone all over the country and I’ve been able to play on beaches on different coastlines, run in forests, climb mountains with you and have the space to go off by myself and make new friends.

Yeah I know he nearly killed me, but it wasn’t his fault, he was a bit panicked and I don’t remember much apart from flying through the air and waking up at the Vet with you telling them that they couldn’t stop you coming in to the room with me, (something about a disease, blah blah), but it was only a cracked rib and I made sure that they wanted you to come and get me as soon as you could.

The fact that I couldn’t walk for a while was an issue and although I’m glad that you got me fixed, TWO OPERATIONS… TWO.. That wasn’t fun. Thank you I suppose. It was nice of you to sleep on the floor with me rather than caging me up. I suppose..

But, all in all. It’s not been too bad, I have days when I’m not overly happy that you brought HER in, she’s a bit big, a bit young and a bit pushy. I’m glad that you finally worked out that the last operation gave me arthritis and give me something every day so that I can actually run around.

And now we have the new house, more space than ever before and you don’t disappear as much as you used to.

So. To sum this up, you’ve done OK in the first three years, lots of work to do, but I guess that I’ll stay.

Well done Human…….’

Hopeful Hound

I’m in Adelaide as I write this, I was in Sydney yesterday, fly back there tomorrow evening and will be back there for a day or so before I finally fly home.

The timezones are messing with my head, it’s half an hour earlier in Adelaide than Sydney and nine hours ahead of London in Sydney. I went to bed at 10 last night and got up at 4am today…

Or… I went to bed at lunchtime yesterday and got up before dark. It’s all a bit strange.

It’s a work trip, it’s not been horrible, but for large parts of the day – or sometimes, the whole day, I’m a stranger in a strange land. I don’t mind that too much, I’m happy to stay in the shadows when it suits and I don’t feel any burning need to meet or talk to people.


Occasionally I’ve felt like a ghost, flitting my way through the living, walking quietly, unheard and sometimes unseen.

It doesn’t help that I miss these two monkeys and worry about them and all the people back home, but needs must and I’m doing everything I can to make this trip a success, doing hands-on IT work and playing geographic politics so that we can actually make some real changes.

I could easily be negative about the whole thing, but, in truth, this is a great opportunity to fix some things that would otherwise be very difficult and to do some long overdue catching up. I’m very fortunate that I have a few friends in the Sydney area and have done beers and dinner with them, along with a very special Sunday lunch where I caught up with a couple that I haven’t seen for over 10 years.

We drank, we reminisced, we discussed the dead and the living, we drank, we discussed ageing and the issues with ageing parents, we drank, we discussed careers and the trivial minutiae of living in Sydney / rural Shropshire, we drank, we discussed my stag do and the unique way that our Norfolk Broads boat was returned to the boat yard – holed above the waterline, missing some of the roof and scorched by a fire, we drank, we looked at old photos, we drank, we discussed their wedding and the beautiful location above a river where the ceremony was held – just opposite their house – and we laughed.

I left their house feeling as if the previous ten years somehow hadn’t happened, it was a great moment and I’m still smiling now.

We all need a personal connection sometimes, what’s struck me while I’ve been here is how friendly people are when you do talk to them and how much they seem to want to help, to be supportive, to make a connection, it’s probably due to the lockdowns and extended restrictions, but it’s evident in every shop and bar.

And it’s nice.

I’ll go for dinner (beer) with some Australian colleagues tonight, fly back to Sydney tomorrow night and go for drinks and dinner with my friends on Thursday before I fly back.

We’ll make a few more memories, laugh some more and hopefully they’ll be over to the UK this year.

I can introduce them to these two then – that’ll be interesting *

* possibly terrifying – but it’ll definitely be memorable. (I Hope)

Deities and Dogs. A Reprise

Once upon a time, a while ago, my life was travelling.

I spent months at a time in India for work, coming back to catch up for a week or two before going off again. It was interesting but not really fun.

Apart from the things that were off the wall, unplanned and more random than I could ever imagine.

I met the god Shiva a number of times and he made sure that I knew he was around – see..

Eventually that all calmed down and I haven’t been out of the UK for over two years.

And I didn’t want to.

I still don’t really. These two little monkeys have filled my heart in a way that I didn’t think possible, but needs must.

So I’m off to Australia.

And like everything in my life – it’s not simple. I’m unvaccinated and the Australians have been very, very rigid about travel. It was all very fraught.

But at the last minute, they’ve opened up travel and mine is pretty much the first flight out.

Blind luck?

Synchronicity ?

Or is it, as one of my colleagues commented without irony, a deity giggling at me?

The bastard.

We’ll see.

I already miss the doglets.

But life is still out there. And it has to be lived.

Schrodinger’s Dog

A while ago, I wrote this….

Tears in Rain

A lot’s happened since then. I had a garden office built, went solar and invested in a Tesla Powerwall so that I could de-disk electricity supply issues.

I also adopted Cairo as a friend for Milo, had a couple of breaks and have effectively given up my day job to help steer a huge programme across a number of companies that fall under the group umbrella.

Coincidentally, the company that employs me has an issue that needs somebody from the UK to go to Sydney to untangle some issues.

I was asked.

I said that I could. But. Oh damn. I’m unvaccinated. Shame really. This wasn’t disingenuous, I’ve been twice and don’t need 48 hours on a plane or long days abroad at all.

And I don’t fancy leaving the dogs for ten days either… Cairo in particular frets when I’m gone for even a day.

Except. New South Wales entry requirements on their website says this.

So it seemed that I could go. The thing is that this trip ties in nicely with the new role and i can get a lot accomplished much more quickly than if I don’t.

Remember, I’m unvaccinated, at first I was hesitant, but that position has hardened over the past year and there’s no chance at all of me taking it now.

So I applied for a visa that allowed me to work for a while and was pleasantly surprised to find no vaccination questions and it was granted within a minute – very impressive.

Flights were booked via Etihad and I found a nice hotel near the office.

I then contacted business people and friends in country to sort out meetings and beers.

So far, so good.

and then…..

Australia requires you to fill in a Digital Passenger Declaration, but you can’t do that until seven days before you fly, So I filled mine in while on holiday with the doglets in Wales, it’s a simple document and it clearly gives an outcome.

Except it doesn’t. I fully expected to be told to fuck off – as I don’t meet the current standards for the federal government according to the DPD.

Except I wasn’t. But there’s no way I’m taking a risk at check-in as to whether I can fly, but luckily, the airline has a service that can do this for you.


Only 72 hours before the flight.

So I tried to call. I got an automated service that told me nothing. So I tried live chat. Frustrating and quite sad in a way

So I tried a few other numbers and eventually talked to a human. Probably in India. They told me to check their website. The call didn’t go well.

I have a good friend in Sydney and he spent three hours on the phone with the authorities. He sent me a mail.

This basically stopped me cold, I did try to ring the consulate, but they pointed me at the same number as my friend.

So I had to wait until this morning to fill out the online form for the airline.

That was seven hours ago, I doubt I’ll get an answer today.

I genuinely don’t care if I have to cancel or not (part of me would like that). But the Australians seem even more fucked up than I ever thought possible.

I’ll wait for the outcome as to whether I can fly, but until then, I’m neither flying or cancelling.

Schrodinger’s Passenger.

And then. And then.

Within an hour of my self imposed deadline to cancel the flight on Monday 4th July at 14:30 – the Australians dropped all restrictions and tests. For the day of my flight.

Tomorrow 6th July.

So off I go.

You couldn’t make this shit up.

Welcome to 2022.