Waitangi Day pub crawl

February 4th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

An estimated 4000 Kiwi revellers have marked Waitangi Day in London with the annual pub crawl around the city’s Circle underground line – and won police praise for it.

The event, marked in London for decades, began with a minute’s silence for Jacob Marx, 27, a Kiwi lawyer killed in London last week. He suffered fatal injuries when a sign outside a shop in North London’s Camden Rd fell on his head.

Young men then bared their chests in a chilly London for the traditional haka while others caroused in Kiwi-themed costumes, dressing as sheep, Marmite jars, Fred Dagg, EQC inspectors or Kim Dotcom.

Confronted with the spectacle, bemused Londoners took to Twitter. Alex Johnson wrote: “Kensington is overrun with thousands of Kiwis in sheep outfits. Apparently it’s the Waitangi Day Pub Crawl. Weird, but go #newzealand!”

Police looked forward to the annual celebrations, Inspector Bruce Middlemiss told 3news.

“The crowd have been fantastic, absolutely fantastic. There aren’t too many nations who can have 5000 people on a pub crawl and result in no arrests. It’s been extremely good-natured and New Zealand should be very proud of them, I think.”

Excellent. Kiwis do know how to have lots of fun but not be pillocks.

This is in marked contrast to last year when a Kiwi complained to the New Zealand high commission of being ashamed by the display of debauchery.

Actually it isn’t in contrast at all. The Police said almost the same thing last year. The only contrast was last year one lone person e-mailed in an inaccurate description of the pub crawl. It was later shown that he had said on Facebook that he intended to complain about the pub crawl before it had even occurred!

I recall this story because the Dom Post ran a massive front page story on the basis of this one inaccurate unsubstantiated complaint, and how by the end of the day their online version of the story had basically backed down on it as hundreds came forward to say it was well behaved – including the Police.

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Back in England

June 28th, 2011 at 7:15 pm by David Farrar

Had to head back into England for the stag party. We detoured off the M4 to Bath for lunch. Didn’t have much time to look around, but seemed quite a nice city.

The stag do was very civilised – a black tie affair at one of the private clubs.  Gin and tonics before dinner, wine during dinner and port after dinner. Lots of very funny speeches.

On Saturday headed to the famous Portobello Market in Notting Hill. It is huge, and has different sections ranging from antiques to fruit & veg to new goods to fashion to second hand goods.

We grabbed lunch at the aptly named Duke of Wellington pub, where this photo is from.

The apartment for the weekend was on Tower Bridge Road, and they lifted the bridge for this boat during our stay.

Sunday was the start of the drive up to Scotland. We drove via Cambridge and spent three hours looking around there. This is the Round Church, more formally known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

In the UK they are very unimaginative with their street names. Almost every castle we went to in Wales was located on Castle Street. This church was on Round Church Road and the parking building was on, yes, Park Street.

This is inside Queens’ College, Cambridge. What a wonderful place to study at.

The River Cam. As you can see there is almost a traffic jam with all the punts. They have touts asking you every 50 metres or so whether you want to punt on the river. They were almost as bad as the touts in Egypt. It would be nice to punt on the river, but only if not crowded.

The famous Mathematical Bridge, at the back of Queens’.

After Cambridge we drove to Darlington, where we stayed the night. There are no photos of Darlington as there was nothing to see!

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London Talk and Drinks

June 25th, 2011 at 5:22 am by David Farrar

I’m back in London for two days. About to head off to a black tie stag party tonight, and tomorrow night am hosting with Rotorua MP Todd McClay, a pub talk on the latest in NZ Politics.

The event is on Facebook.

If you are in London and free early Saturday evening, come along to the The Old Star pub next to the St James Tube. It’s address is 66 Broadway, Westminster, London SW1H 1DB. We’ll be there from 5.30 pm in the Upper Function Room and probably wrap up around 7.00 pm. I suspect a few of us will head out to dinner afterwards.

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London Day I and II

June 20th, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The flight to Auckland was very amusing as I was in Row 1, which has no screens to view the Richard Simmons safety video on. So we got assigned a stewardess to talk us through the safety demo (not that I need it). Anyway we convinced here not to do the boring safety briefing but to emulate the Richard Simmons video, and she did. It was hilarious as she did all the moves and recited the words off by heart.

It turned out she was one of those who starred in the video, so no wonder she knew it well. It is one of the things I like about Air NZ, that their staff are friendly, and have personality.

Very happy to have my standby upgrades confirmed in Auckland. Slept most of the flight to Hong Kong. Had 90 minutes in Hong Kong, most of which was spent in the Thai Air lounge massage chair. Those things are seriously good.

Didn’t sleep on the flight to London from HK, but got to see five movies and four TV episodes – plus emptied my e-mail inbox which had several hundred e-mails to file or reply to. There are some advantage to having no calls or incoming e-mails to distract your for a day.

At Heathrow had a stroke of luck as Anna’s plane landed at the same time as mine (was meant to land three hours earlier but was delayed), and we ran into each other in the luggage hall. As both our cellphones had flat batteries locating each other in the main terminal could have been challenging.

I had booked the rental car through Economy Car Rentals as they were so much cheaper. Basically 16 days rental for 450 pounds, including GPS. Their local partner was Easirent. We found out that they do not have an office at the airport. They send a car for you and take you to their office around 8 miles away. Office is not quite the right word – imagine a small piece of land, with a fence, and one of those portacom buildings in the corner of it. I started to work out how they get to rent for such a low price – almost no overheads.

Despite the cheapness of the lot, the car was fine. In fact it was brand new – only 300 miles on the odometer. The car was a Prius, which Anna (who votes Greens) was very happy about, while my focus was on more practical matters such as the fact there is no ignition key.

It takes a while to get used to a car with no ignition key – you just push the start button. It would be a bad key to leave unlocked somewhere. But once I got used to that, I have to say it handles very nicely and the built in GPS is excellent – even tells you which lane of traffic to be in for intersections.

Headed into Aldgate, staying at the Marlin Apartments there. Nice view from the 12th floor.

Caught up with Shane and Erica (whose wedding we have come over for) and after dinner went to two local pubs. The first was the Captain Kidd pub in Wapping, which has a garden bar next to the Thames. Very pleasant. Sadly the UK is third world with its closing times and despite being Saturday it closed around 11 pm.

We then popped into the Town of Ramsgate pub for a further hour. Both pubs are those classic English old pubs in neat brick buildings.

On Sunday went to Islington to try and arrange local connections for my Blackberry, iPad and laptop as paying roaming charges would bankrupt me quickly. Was planning to go to a Three store, but it was by a Vodafone store so I thought I would try them first as I was with Vodafone NZ for all three.

The store manager was brilliant, and he gave me just what I needed, for far less than I expected to pay.

For just 10 pounds I got a local sim card for the Blackberry which not just gives me free data for a month, but local prices for calls and texts. It is actually cheaper for me to call phones back in NZ from my cellphone in the UK, than it would be if I was back in NZ. A good reminder of how outrageously high local mobile charges are.

The iPad only cost 5 pounds to get me a mini-sim with 500 Mb of data. Compare that to $10/MB roaming charges.

The laptop was a bit more complex, as using a local sim would mean deleting my software for Vodafone NZ mobile connection back home. I decided to leave it as is, and just use hotel wireless.

If you are travelling to the UK in future for more than a few days, I absolutely recommend getting local sims. It will save you heaps.

People trying to contact me should note that my NZ phone number is effectively turned off for the next two weeks – calls and texts will not get through. If you need to call or text me, then e-mail me for the UK phone number.

Had a nice walk around Islington. They had a flea market operating so I hit the second hand bookseller’s stand. Islington is a very nice suburb – hadn’t been to it before.

Now back in Aldgate. A quiet dinner tonight and off to Cardiff tomorrow. We deliberately haven’t planned the trip in advance (apart from the wedding) – we choose each new location from the one before. So probably in Cardiff for a couple of nights and then might head to elsewhere in Wales.

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Sir Keith Park

January 29th, 2009 at 2:57 pm by David Farrar

Many Kiwis will not have heard of Sir Keith Park, but they should.

In the Daily Telegraph, Tony Benn and Lord Tebbit call for a permament memorial to be established for Sir Keith.

Sir Keith was born in Thames, joined the NZ Army and fought in WWI at Gallipoli. He transferred to the British Army and then the Royal Flying Corps. He shot down 14 planes during WWI.

In WWII he was promoted to Air Vice Marshall (equal to a Major General) l and was in charge of No 11 Group RAF that defended London during the Battle of Britain.

After the war he was promoted to Air Chief Marshal (equal to a full General) and returned to NZ in 1946.  He was elected to the Auckland City Council and died in 1975 aged 82.

Anyway Benn and Tebbit say:

In a combined political career stretching to the best part of 100 years, the two of us have rarely agreed on anything. But on one issue we have discovered common ground – the need for a permanent memorial in London to Sir Keith Park, the Battle of Britain hero.

London is the city that he helped save and the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign is shortly to submit an application to the planning committee of Westminster City Council to erect a memorial statue to this great man. It is an application that we both fervently support because it would give long-overdue recognition to a man whose achievements have never been properly recognised in this country.

Even today, despite the efforts of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign, a surprising number of people have never even heard of Park. But he played as important a role as the great Admiral Lord Nelson, who dominates Trafalgar Square, in securing the freedom that we enjoy today. As Hitler’s army gathered in the Channel ports in 1940 in preparation for his planned invasion of Britain, the Luftwaffe was fighting a battle for control of the skies over southern England. Hitler needed to achieve air supremacy for the invasion to go ahead and the only thing preventing him was the stubborn Royal Air Force.

Had we lost the Battle of Britain, Hitler would have been able to knock our country out of the war, either through a direct invasion or prolonged aerial bombardment. The consequences would have been horrific both for Britain and the wider free world.

Now people may say how much is due to the commander. Well he led from his plane – not a desk:

Sir Keith was the unsung hero of the Battle of Britain. Commanding 11 Group Fighter Command, he was responsible for the defence of London and south-east England and his squadrons bore the brunt of the fighting. His role in the battle led the then Marshal of the RAF, Lord Tedder, to say after the war: “If ever any one man won the Battle of Britain, he did. I don’t believe it is recognised how much this one man, with his leadership, his calm judgment and his skill, did to save not only this country, but the world.”

We can be very proud of Sir Keith.

There is a campaign page where you can go to and support the campaign for a suitable memorial in London to Sir Keith.

The planning applications have just been submitted to the Westminster City Council for a tribute to Sir Keithto be erected permanently in Waterloo Place (next to the Athenaeum) and also a temporary version on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square. The statue of Sir Keith will be created by Wellington’s Weta Workshop.

The Park Memorial campaign is currently calling on Kiwis to lend their support to this final stage by sending letters in support of the planning applications to the Westminster City Council. The campaign is aiming to generate as many letters/emails as possible backing the planning applications.

Supporters can visit the campaign web site at http://www.sirkeithpark.com and in the left hand column there is a click through banner that takes you to an email letter of support. All you have to do is drop your name into the profoma and e-mail it off (takes less than 60 secs). Note it works better in IE than Firefox.

I’ve just sent a letter off myself.

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Kiwis in London

November 7th, 2008 at 3:09 pm by David Farrar

If you’re in London and looking for a place to watch the election, there’s an Election Day Champagne Brunch being held on Saturday at 10am downstairs at The Southerner pub, near Temple tube. A plasma screen has been specially wired up to watch coverage via the Internet.

Supporters from all parties are welcomed and expected. The event has been organised by the Kiwi Greens in London.

Afterwards there’s the opportunity to watch the end of the Lord Mayor’s procession which passes by outside The Southerner; the Lord Mayor’s show finishes with a firework display at 5pm from a barge moored in the Thames.

Saturday 8th November, 10am – 2pm

The Southerner, Essex Street, Temple, WC2R 1AP http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Essex+Street%2C+Temple%2C+WC2R+1AP%2C+London%2C+United+Kingdom

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=28986285735

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Drinks in London

June 22nd, 2008 at 9:34 pm by David Farrar

Quite a few people have said they are keen to catch up for drinks in London, so have arranged a pub get together.

We’ll meet on Monday evening from 6.30 pm onwards at the Speights Ale House. It is at the Temple Tube Station, postcode WC2R 2PH.

Now at the Southerner 210 Strand, London WC2R 1AP due to closure of the Ale House. It is just around the corner from the Temple Tube Station.

Details will also be posted on the Kiwis in Britain Facebook Group.

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Boris wins

May 3rd, 2008 at 12:23 pm by David Farrar

Superb – Boris Johnson has beaten Ken Livingstone by 53% to 47% (very close to YouGov prediction).

Labour MPs are saying Gordon Brown has six months to turn things around or he will face a coup.

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The London Mayoralty

May 1st, 2008 at 1:23 pm by David Farrar

Iain Dale blogs on the different poll results just prior to the local body elections in England. The polls open tonight our time and I expect results late tomorrow morning.

You Gov has it at Boris Johnson 44% and Ken Livingstone 36%. If no one gets 50% second preferences are allocated and on second preferences from the Lib Dem candidate mainly it becomes 53% to 47% for Boris.

Mori however has first preferences Boris 38%, Ken 41% and second preferences Ken 52% Boris 48%.

A lot of interest in who will be right. You Gov does Internet polling and Mori phone polling. You Gov has a pretty good accuracy history but that is no guarantee. What they do tend to agree on though is the higher the turnout, the better it is for Ken Livingstone.

The Livingstone campaign has actually complained to the UK Market Research Society about You Gov. This shows how seriously people take the expectations game.

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Boris leads in London mayoral race

March 25th, 2008 at 1:37 pm by David Farrar

Boris Johnson is leading Ken Livingstone by 12% in a recent poll.  That is amazing as Livingstone was regarded as unbeatable at one stage.  The election is on 1 May 2008.

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