Writing this in Heathrow lounge.

Despite Volcanoes, airline pilot strikes and other events, it appears I will be leaving at 930 for Melbourne.

Will write more from Singapore if I get a chance. Last time was extremely dodgy  in terms of actual time in the Airport. And I have to buy some cigarettes for a friend. Because I simply do not have enough to carry.

I brought two suitcases and a carry on suitcase and a laptop. I have no idea where the weight came from. I was wondering if it was clothes….. Certainly there are presents for people but nothing for me, relatively speaking. Other than Doctor Who DVDs I haven’t got anything for myself.

And yet, the luggage kept building. Fortunately didn’t have to pay excess luggage (I was 2 kg over and they didn’t weigh my carry-on, thank you God.)

Just so you know, the tennis elbow is taking a major hit today.

More from Singapore. Maybe.



Last full day in Britain. Have spent it going to Winkleigh to visit graves and thatched cottages.

Have spent the day packing and unpacking. My first pack was 8 kg over weight… eek… but have now managed to get it 3 kg under weight. No idea how i managed that. Sending a 4 kg parcel to Australia does not equate to a 11 kg loss.

Not knocking it. Much more to do so this is short and sweet today.

Really sad to be leaving. Far more than last time.

Perhaps this may not apply to American readers, but the Australian and New Zealand (and English, natch) readers would be aware of the genius that is the Devonshire Tea.

Cornwall has recently trademarked its cornish pasties so that, unless it is made with Cornish ingredients and/or in Cornwall, a baker cannot call it a Cornish pasty. It’s just a pasty. Curiously this is a seriously big deal here in the UK.  While I agree it is positively anal, I am also aware of the steaming piles of excrement I have been served that allegedly is a Devonshire Tea.  As such I am advocating Devon trademarks the tea name. This would, also, be a big deal.

A Devonshire Tea is a pot of tea, milk, sugar if you will, two scones (either plain or fruit), a pot of jam and a massive pot of Devonshire clotted cream. Something like this:

Did you spot the fatal error in the presentation of the Tea? Yep, not enough cream. The pot should be twice that size.  You don’t mess with Devonshire people when it comes to their cream, as the tea shop owner found to her horror when she presented this measly amount of cream to the table. I’ve never seen a group of old aged pensioners bay for blood before.

The ideal of the proper Devonshire Tea is to smear a bit of jam on the scone, then pour teetering piles of cream onto the scone, preferably bigger than your mouth. The problem with a proper Devonshire Tea is you need clotted cream. If the cream is not thick enough that a spoon can stand up in it (and no, really whipped doesn’t count) then it’s not a proper Devonshire Tea.

That’s not to say it’s not nice to have jam and cream on scones. It’s bloody nice in fact. It’s just truly sublime here. And I’d encourage all of you to visit this magnificent county and have a proper Devonshire Tea here. You will thank me.

Leaving, Sorta

Technically I am due to return to Australia on Thursday. The Iceland volcano may have other ideas. I would be dead pleased if I did get stuck here. Great excuse. So knowing my luck, there will be no interruption.

The nice news is I do not have to get off the plane and start work. Hurrah. I was expecting this. No, I get a whole day off to acclimatize. I am very chuffed.

Been spending the last few days in Exeter saying bye to people. Went to my beautiful Stepsbridge today then had lunch at the Nobody Inn (cute name), a beautiful 19th century pub. The architecture was magnificent. Wonderfully there was a 93 year old regular, complete with his own chair perched by the bar, who had a pint of beer and shot of whisky kept continually topped up. In his younger day, this regular looked not unlike Winston Churchill. I think that would be a nice way of ending, being the local legend at the pub and always kept liquoured up. All the staff and locals adored him. The barmaid teared up when we discussed his passing.

No one reads the blog on a Sunday so I’m having an easy post. Here instead are some pics that I took and liked on the trip.

My friend, Wayne, told me the Rapture was going to occur today. I was miffed really. Firstly, I didn’t know it was going to occur. I’d missed that completely which is really annoying. It had been predicted, evidently, by this man who has a history of getting it wrong, bless him.

Secondly, it would be at the same time as  Doctor Who.

Guess which one annoyed me most.

So I was told it was going to occur at 6pm and it’s 6:05 and I didn’t notice anyone floating off. Presumably no-one floated off in earlier time zones such as Australia or New Zealand as they probably would have mentioned it on the news. The most annoying thing about the day is that Doctor Who has been delayed for 45 minutes for some crap reality show.

I refuse to take that as a sign.

Poster Boy

While in North Carolina, my friend, Joe, took me on a field trip to South Carolina where his job entails him changing over movie posters and other assorted items.

Never have been to South Carolina before however if you talk to NC folk, they will tell you your IQ drops fifty points as you cross the border. There is an amusing animosity between NC and SC. I didn’t notice this, I must say, however did notice that petrol was 30 cents cheaper than in NC. Taxes are higher in NC. Really gotta wonder about the IQ points….

Anyways Joe has access to the best movie posters ever. Posters the height of his body and I got to change them over. I begged him to say the poster below had fallen off the back of his truck so I could sell it on Ebay. I would have made squillions selling this poster as there is a certain element of gay men who find him very doable.

Sadly, Joe has morals. Say goodbye to squillions.

However we then put up this poster which, again, I wanted to fall off the back of his truck.

Again, no deal. Far too moral, that boy. How will I afford the next holiday at this rate?!

Grave Matters

Spent the day visiting graves of long ago relatives. Fascinating measure of  cultural identity, graveyards.  The British graveyard is, at times, completely forgotten and in disrepair. Given the age of the graveyard it is not at all surprising as the relatives that buried their kin are now long dead too. However the most recent graves have this fascinating cultural quirk of adding garden gnomes, giant plastic bees, scarecrows, lanterns and other paraphernalia along with the requisite flowers and religious statuettes.

For example (and I’ve cropped the names out for the sake of privacy, hopefully,)

In my minimalist mind, I find this over the top. However it is a clear indication of love and care and affection for the departed person. As such who am I to question it.  I do, however, find it a curiousity. It seems a recent thing (ie last 20 years or so) and, in the same way that a hundred years ago graveyards were defined by fields of gray slate, so will today be defined by accessories.

However, in Switzerland, graves are defined completely differently. firstly they are tightly packed, tombstones are within inches of each other. presumably due to the lack of space available?  And instead of fields of grey slabs, these tombstones are works of art. the more ornate the better. Truly Swiss graveyards are amazingly beautiful

For example:

Bit of a difference, really.  To be honest, I prefer the Swiss version. I just couldn’t afford to be buried there, I’m guessing.

Teensy weensy blog post today just to let anyone who cares that I got from Charlotte to Exeter alive but rattled after 24 hours of non stop travelling. Normally it doesn’t take that long but, to my extreme annoyance, I arrived in Toronto to find that I could have indeed caught the earlier flight to London that I chose not to select as I figured I would be late for it. Or something. Do not expect grammatical excellence. I have had two hours of sleep.

So I was watching all the people board the earlier flight and looking forward to my three hours of waiting for my later flight. Toronto airport has evidently won the award for the most improved airport. You wouldn’t know it to look at it. It’s got three shops and no toilets between the 17 million miles between the airplane and customs. My wee was past my eyelids by the time I’d cleared customs.

Flying is fine but sleep is elusive. I’d have slept on the bus home but it was equally packed. And I was sitting in front of the toilet so whenever anyone went to the loo my knees kept getting hit. And the bus was filled with people with prostate problems. Even the women.

I will go to bed now. My aunty is torturing me with watching the British Soap Awards and I can feel my brains seeping out my ears.

Saturday 7th May

I had the pleasure to be invited to guest-facilitate the The Christian Support Group For Gay/Bi Men Ages 20-39. The blurb on it in Gay Charlotte reads as follows: Facilitated by Jim Green, M.Div, Psychotherapist. A Ministry of Wedgewood Baptist Church. This group offers an opportunity to discuss scripture, prayer, emotional well-being and relationships with other gay men, plus social events. Free of charge.

This is a multi faith group for Gay Christian men. It is run by my friend Jim Green who is a respected counselor in Charlotte.  We organized this by email while I was travelling Europe. On the way to the group he clarified with me what my spiritual beliefs are. I suspect he was pleased I had some and that I wasn’t a satanist.

America is a fascinating place when it comes to religion. I discussed with the group the difference in religion here and in Australia. In Australia churches are largely dying. My friend is an Anglican priest and if he had a congregation of 100 people he would be very pleased. I am sure most people in Australia would admit to having some faith. Very few actively practice however and the congregations are rapidly diminishing and tend to be aged to dying.  America, at least the experience I have had, appears to be an expanding church community. The congregation appears to cover all ages from birth to death, a thriving family (of all descriptions) community. Extracurricular activities appear to be the norm, including this amazing group I attended on Saturday night.

The group consists of roughly 20 plus people, all of whom are in different stages of their journey in coming out and negotiating the trickiness that is living life as a gay man.  The topic I was asked to cover was “what does every gay or bisexual man need to know?”  It’s a very vague topic and, in usual Nigel style, I rambled about myself mostly then touched base with the topic in the last five minutes. I had done the AIDS walk that morning and had talked with the people walking as to what they would offer as advice as to what every gay/ bisexual man should know.

This ranged from being given the phone number of one man to give to the group; to being told there is a such a thing as internet inches; to being told it is a straight, straight world; to being told to always use condoms.

My advice was more simple. Be true to yourself and love yourself. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. Jim and I then led the group in a discussion of monogamy in gay relationships; coming out stories; God’s and His influence on us; the imbalance of equality..

The group was dynamic and interesting. Each person had their own story; each person their own level of confidence in their identity at the moment. I was overwhelmed by the positives of the group. Their support and respect for each other.

All the while I kept thinking, “I wish this had existed for me when I was their age.” Truly I think my whole process of self-worth and self-esteem would have been so much the better for that support. I was pleased to have been asked to present at such a great group of people and would love the opportunity to return.

So I was thinking that and “I really have to move to Charlotte to run the 40 to death group.”