Categories Archive

Bring me my arrows of desire !

Posted on: January 21, 2016

In keeping with the theme of using a song etc as a title here we go again.


Now bear with me on this one. There aren’t many pieces of music that sum up the spirit of Britain more than what Jerusalem does. In fact in my opinion it should be the national anthem, however, I digress.

I’ve now been out in Spain operating the ‘The Good Ship Atlas’ for around four months and generally speaking things are going well. I’m commuting, so to speak, every couple of weeks or so back and forward from good old Lancashire out to Spain as I have various commitments that dictate my movements.

So……now to the point. Despite the crap that gets churned out by the media that Britain is on its arse and is full of benefit cheating, bone idle scumbags….. it is actually a good place where MOST people are actually decent.

The British work ethic of getting off your backside, rolling your sleeves up and getting things done is something to be proud of unlike out here in Spain. Not wishing to tar all Spaniards with the same brush I have to say that trying to get things done, not just on time but in a reasonable time is VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE. If you think the maze of red tape in England is bad, try doing things in Spain. Further to that, they are second to none at moving goalposts even though you may have made agreements.

Over the past few days I’ve been trying to put together a package so I can offer a combined sailing & golf holiday week where people who play golf and like a bit of adventure can enjoy a few rounds of golf in different locations to which we will sail to during the course of the week. Now trying to obtain the necessary information from the various places has been to say the least somewhat difficult. Out of 14 golf courses I contacted only 6 have so far bothered to reply and this is even after sending a couple of polite email reminders to them all. Getting a reply was one thing, getting the exact information was the real challenge. Anyway, I’m almost there now and should be able to post full details soon.

Another prime example (and there have been many) was yesterday when I had arranged to lift the boat out for some maintenance. To cut a long story short, this didn’t happen because IT WAS RAINING ! Suffice to say, after me sailing around the marina in the p*ssing down rain I was getting a little tetchy and ended up throwing mu doll out the pram.

Unlike most British businesses, the Spanish do not seem to give a toss about customer service so I could honestly say that any Brit wanting to relocate would leave the Spanish standing as far as getting things done and even just turning up on time.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not anti being in Europe I think there are more benefits to being in the EU than not being in it. That said, we do need a leader/government with more of a backbone that the one we have now. One that will stand up and say to the EU and say:

“Listen, cock…..we’re happy to be in the Euro club but first of all lets get a few things straight etc etc”.


Our present leaders tend to just say what they think the public want to hear and do the things that will not lose them votes rather than doing things for the common good of all. It seems more empahsis and favour is given to the minority to the detriment of the majority.

You may also think that Health & Safety has gone too far in the UK? In a few cases it has and has actually removed responsibility from the individual to have some common sense and not be a complete idiot. Here in Spain the festival of the Three Kings is celebrated early in January and one of the activities is sweets being thrown into the crowd…. but after a risk assessment it was deemed not to be safe so they must now be given out in other ways.

In summary, after being arsed around by the Spanish for quite some time I have lowered my expectations on how they should perform and what I expect from them because no matter how you try to persuade them to get their arse in gear it will only ever be in THEIR OWN TIME and in THEIR OWN WAY.

Be proud to be British, in particular if you’re from the north……and if you’re from Lancashire….beat your chest with even more pride !

Riders of the Storm

Posted on: December 7, 2015

First of all, here are the next names that will be used for future storms:

Eva, Frank Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake & Katie. There are more but that should see you right for a while.

Btw This is another trend that has come over from America along with Trick or Treating, eating burgers,  Black Friday and speaking ‘Gangsta’.

Okay. The bad weather and flooding what has happened this weekend is terrible and I feel for the ones affected. That said, it really grinds my gears when we have all the balloons on TV reporting on something they know jack sh*t about.

When you have rain of virtual biblical proportions for weeks on end, combined with continued low pressure and strong winds…..things like this WILL happen irrespective of the crap people talk of it being caused by GLOBAL WARMING. The planet has been warming since the last ice age. Put into the equation more people, more houses, more driveways and this will result in the buckets of rain falling on already saturated ground. The water has to go somewhere and the idiots who keep saying the flood defences aren’t enough should take note. Call me old fashioned but if you live near a river there’s always a chance you will  be flooded. Likewise if you live near a volcano there’s a chance you may get some slight disruption now and again.

How high are you going to build a wall? All you will be doing is moving the problem to somewhere/someone else. Further to this, the problem would have been even greater had this occurred next weekend when we will be on spring tides. They could build bigger flood defences but this current cycle of bad weather might not occur for another 100 years, then again it could happen next year or even next month

It’s what we call NATURE and saying that the government, council etc should do more is complete crap. Nobody can control what Mother Nature decides to throw at us. For obvious reasons I know a bit about weather and why/how things happen unlike some of the morons reporting on it who just want to stir the hornets nest and see who can be blamed for it.

If it happened to me I probably wouldn’t be too pleased but as long as there was nobody injured or worse then I just be getting on with contacting my insurance company and arranging sorting it out.

I will now step off my soapbox.

Ps It would be nice to hear what you think about it.

Pps. When we have crap weather like this it makes me even more pleased that I’ve moved the business to Spain.

How many Award Nights do we need ??

Posted on: November 11, 2015

As the title suggests my question is:

How many  business award ceremonies can there actually be?

This post will possibly ruffle some feathers so I’m not naming any particular person or award ceremony. I’m just speaking generally.Perhaps many people are being diplomatic or are just a tad wary of saying something on this subject but seriously, how many business award ceremonies do we need.

More to the point I would honestly like to know (although I have a pretty good idea myself) which ones people think actually have some merit?

Are awards where you actually nominate yourself worth anything? As far as I’m aware, though I welcome somebody correcting me, there is only one set of business awards where you don’t nominate yourself.

Please bear with me on this as I am aware of the kudos and PR value of receiving an award for doing something, being somebody or achieving something but when you have to nominate yourself or your own company THEN pay to go to the awards night is it really worth it. Again, please bear with me because I will get to the main point eventually. There are many of the awards that unless you are buying a table and splashing out some hard earned dosh you have no chance of winning.

It seems some of the people who organise these events have hit on a real moneyspinner. Again I’m not directing this at anyone in particular and I’m not naming anyone but there are definitely some of these ceremonies that are purely for the purpose of raking in the wonga!

Further to this, not only are there more and more award ceremonies springing up on what seems like a weekly basis but the ones that are already established are constantly thinking of new categories and extending the number of people in each category.

Call me old fashioned but unless I’m totally stupid the bulk of these are for profit and nothing else. I’m actually quite jealous. What a brilliant idea:

1. Invent an award ceremony.

2. Do a brilliant job with the marketing and PR for it.

3. Get people and companies to nominate themselves.

4. Invite companies to buy sponsorship packages in return for judging.

5. Charge everyone else for attending the awards night.

In addition to this I know for a fact that one particular bunch of these award night organisers have actually said to someone I know and respect very well that if you join their particular ‘group’ and take a table or two at the awards night then they will stand a VERY good chance of winning.

The problem with there being so many awards and most of us knowing that unless you are actually prepared to, in all intents and purposes, buy the award and/or be very friendly with the organisers/judges it dilutes the credibility of them and in many cases makes them a joke. All lot of the people I deal with in business and meet at various events think the same.

I can think of many examples of people or companies that have won certain awards who had they not been ‘well in’ with the organisers and/or sponsored an award category then booked a table or two on the night would not have had a cat in hells chance of winning.

Further to this, can you REALLY have impartial judging when you have judges from people and organisations who are actually sponsoring categories?? Also, there are some of the judges that don’t exactly have much sharp end experience of business. At least when I start mouthing off I speak from a wealth of experience in both life and business.

There is definitely a case of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ with these awards nights. I really think that many people are sh*t scared of saying anything like

“your awards are a complete load of bo****ks”

because it might affect any future standing in any business awards they might nominate themselves for or are just perhaps too busy kissing arses.

Sorry to be somewhat brusque with my language but many who know me know that I will tend to say what I think and not try and curry favour with anyone. I’d prefer people taking me for what I am rather than have to buy some of these awards that are flying about. Don’t get wrong, I’ve been to loads of these awards nights and had a very good time but I’ve never had to pay as I’ve always been invited and I bet after this I don’t get anymore invites !

I’ll take that though, it’s about time people started to stop letting themselves be sheep herded into some of these events.

I would really appreciate some feedback on this as to what people actually think about it because most I speak to are of the same opinion.

I would also like to know, and be honest, which ones you rate and think are worth going for because, you know what?…..There a ain’t many!

In my opinion there’s possibly one, maybe two of these awards that actually carry some weight and are worth going in for, and the rest of them….you’d be better taking the staff out for the night or better still (and I’ve honestly only just thought of this) come on one of my sailing holidays.

In the end though I suppose it’s a case of each individual weighing up whether it’s worth swallowing their pride and spending their money to buy some of these awards because it looks good to the people who don’t know how the world goes round and can be an exceptionally good marketing tool and PR stunt for the purchaser  winner.

Hopefully nobody will take offence by this post but if they do I suppose I can rest my case.

So…..let me have some feedback and if you have any free tickets for these awards nights then give me a call because I enjoy a night on the lash ;-)

Terrorist….Don’t Travel ???

Posted on: November 9, 2015

With what looks like another terrorist attack in Egypt there seems to be the usual knee jerk reaction by way of stopping people travelling there. It was the same when there was the attack on tourists in Tunisia earlier in the year.

Taking the most recent attack in Egypt if there was a lack of security would it not be better to slightly improve it?

Stopping people travelling to places after there has been terrorist activity doesn’t do anything apart from cause more problems. You have as much chance of suffering a terrorist attack in the UK as proved by the 7/7 attacks and the Manchester bomb. Would the Trafford Centre or Blackpool Pleasure Beach not be just as tempting a target for some brainwashed Jihadi nutter?

I personally say “business as usual” as far as travelling goes otherwise they have won. Simple as that !

More often than not it’s a case of closing the door after the horse is already down the road. I’m not saying go skipping to the airport with gay abandon just don’t be put off because once one place has been attacked the next target will probably be in a different place. It’s just something we have to learn to live with.

In modern times we have had some form of terrorism blighting our lives for years. We’ve had Baader Meinhof, IRA, Black September, Tamil Tigers etc and even the Welsh Nationalist Movement who firebombed English owned homes in Wales. Wherever you travel you can be at risk from something so if you want to be completely safe stay behind your own front door.

I’ll not waffle too much on this subject but suffice to say if anyone is worried about travelling abroad then I suggest you’d be just as likely to be hit in your own part of the world as you would on a beach in Spain.

Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!

Posted on: September 28, 2015

Now that I’m finally moored up in La Linea after what was a whirlwind voyage from the UK with a fantastic crew I actually feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

The voyage itself can only be described as EPIC and leaves me with some wonderful and amazing memories.

As I write this update the sun is setting over the Bay of Gibraltar and where I sit typing at the chart table on board the yacht I glance up and see the golden rays of the sun slicing through the portlights. The heat of the day has decreased and a light breeze is arising and wafting that unique smell of Mediterranean air mixed with the fresh smell of the sea.

The crew have departed and are awaiting their flight back to the UK. I have been browsing through some of the photos and videos we took during the voyage and I feel blessed. Blessed that is to have such people to share such an adventure.

As I reflect back on the time at sea it reminds me of the Talking Heads song, ‘Once in a Lifetime’ where he is saying about the journey through life and there comes a point where you sit back and say to yourself  ‘How did I get here’ ?

One moment I was a 16 year old school leaver humping bags of cement around a builders yard and the next I’m a 50 year old starting another new adventure doing something I love in a land of what feels like an endless summer.

Over recent weeks we have endured stormy weather that pushed us to the edge of our physical and mental boundaries and have had the liberating freedom offered by being out sight of land for days not knowing what is happening in the ‘real’ world. That really is a sense of freedom and proper escapism. We had the pleasure of seeing some beautiful sun rises and as it followed it’s route over of heads seeing it set and turn the horizon into a flaming masterpiece.

I have done longer voyages but this one will stay cherished in my memory after the absolutely brilliant experience with some of the finest people on the planet. When we reached our marina and finally secured the mooring lines it was actually a bit of an anti-climax. By that I mean there was no punching the air or group hugging we just sorted ourselves out individually and then got ready to go out and celebrate our achievement………..and celebrate we did!

The true feeling of success will come the coming weeks when we each reflect back and think of the life and times on board with each other in the experience of a lifetime.

I’ve already posted some of the pictures and videos but there will be many more to come some of which are hilarious, not least the video where we are all singing and drinking (drunk) in bayonna after crossing Biscay.

Tomorrow  and the following few days I have a few jobs to sort on the yacht as this weekend sees the first of our charters and straight after that I have the first group of people coming out training for their Skipper licence. I will be back in the UK on October 21st for a couple of weeks then return to do some more charters in November.

Some people might say I am lucky to be doing what I do & where I do it and yes, there is possibly a bit of luck here and there but generally it’s been about me getting off my arse and grafting for what I want to achieve and having the focus and determination to carry on even though there have been problems, some massive problems in fact, but in life we all have problems and challenges of varying degrees during everyday life and it’s about how we deal with them and move on that gets the results.

So keep your focus and…………….. CARPE DIEM 

We go tonight !

Posted on: September 17, 2015

After being weather bound at Milford Haven for 5 days we now have a reasonable window for good sailing conditions to head out into the big, blue wilderness of the Atlantic and cross Biscay. Our original plans have changed (as they generally do when sailing) so our planned first stop of Bayonna may now be missed if we are making good way so our next stop could be the beautiful Portuguese town of Sesimbra.

The first leg from Fleetwood was quite challenging to say the least. After a good first day of sailing the weather changed for the worse….and then got EVEN WORSE. During the hours of darkness of Friday night/ Saturday morning we faced some pretty horrendous conditions. The saving grace was I suppose the fact that it was dark so we couldn’t see the size of the waves coming our way. The only time we got a view of the waves was when the bow of the yacht was hit by a wave and threw a tsunami of sea water up into the air and along the yacht. All this enhanced by being in the middle of severe gales that were gusting up to 50 knots.

Every crew member did their bit and performed well during the challenge. I can say that when my watch finished at 0130 I was absolutely both mentally and physically drained. So much so that when I retired to my cabin I slipped into a virtual coma which is very unusual as I don’t tend to sleep very well whilst on passage.

I decided to leave entering the river to the marina until daylight hours as I deemed to do it in those conditions during darkness would have been a bit too risky not least the fact that there were numerous large tankers and cargo vessels in the area.

For anyone wishing to track out progress you can follow us on

Just search for Atlas by typing in the mmsi number of 235091719

This tracker works via VHF signal so it could be that for certain times our position will not change until we come back into range.

All being well my next report will be from some foreign shore!