Thursday, 31 March 2011

Last day of March? Really?

I am off very early to the Seychelles tomorrow (via Paris).

As we didn't film in March, we are all raring to go. The weather looks good in the Seychelles - hot, sunny, low humidity ... I might even get a suntan! Haha!

Today was spent preparing for tomorrow. I remember when I first started this show, I packed everything "just in case" ... Now it's just what I need ...

Dare I say it, I have missed both Tim and James!
Leica blog written for next Monday - I think my photography is getting better!

P.S. Still no internet at home/office .... And thank-you, but prayer did NOT work!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

India wins the cricket! Due to the lack of internet again today, I have been listening to the BIG game on the radio .. In my car ... That way if anyone calls, Bluetooth will pick it up ... Hands-free work/cricket ... I like!

Also today, I received my annual dose of Robert Graham shirts/jackets/trousers ... I am a lucky boy!

Finally - the website - has a new "app". We get tens of thousands of downloads every week of our videos. There is now over 6 hours worth of clips.

Until today you could not book a stay from our site - now you can. A "book it" button with every clip sends you to the individual hotel/resort website ... And voila.

We are NOT a travel agency and we do NOT take a slice from any booking made. We are trying to give something back to the hotels/resorts we feature ...

Anyway - yet again - no photo ... Sorry ...

Tomorrow I will be in a Seychelles "state of mind".

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sadly once again I am writing my Daily Diary from my Blackberry.  British Telecom (the national telecoms carrier here in the UK) has committed the ultimate snafu and I will not have broadband for not one, not two, not five, but TEN "working"days!!!!

I had planned to write about Heinrich Heidersberger... the famous German photographer this evening but that is not going to happen as I can't upload photographs! Maybe tomorrow ...

Congratulations to the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong that opened today! It's quite a hotel ...

One issue could be that I am on a detox diet ... No sugar, no cake, no chocolate, no alcohol, no coffee, no tea ... I feel like a monk ... I have only ketchup for company! Haha!

Monday, 28 March 2011

The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg. I am not sure that I actually told you much about it last week. I was just so busy and doing so much ...

OK - so Wolfsburg. It's 80 kilometres from Hanover and around 200 (due west)from Berlin. I arrived at Hanover Airport and was driven to Wolfsburg - on the Autobahn. That should have been a 30-minute car journey - sadly it wasn't ... haha!

Autostadt is set on 25 hectares of land ... housing the world's largest factory (50,000 + workers) ... the show pavilions (Disneyland for petrol heads) and the hotel.

The RC features 174 rooms (including 21 suites). It's a modern design ... and for a property that is 11 years old, looks like it was built yesterday.

Kraftwerk (power station) is the name of the spa. It also refers to "kraftwerk" which is the enormous power station opposite the hotel. It is 70 years old and pumps out enough energy to make up to 3000 cars a DAY! There's a gym, jacuzzi, treatment rooms and an amazing outdoor pool. It's heated to 29 degrees so even those with mental issues can swim there during the winter (moi). Natalie is the therapist to ask for ... fabulous!

There's a 3-Michelin starred restaurant run by Sven Everfeld. He's a nice chap. There's the Grill for normal lunch & dinner, a breakfast room and lobby food. A cigar and whisky bar sits (Newman's) is a huge "draw" ... I did partake ... a couple of times ...

The staff at the RC is outstanding ... friendly, attentive ... and English-speaking! Ha!

Five kinds of guest here:
1) those picking up their new cars in person
2) businessmen for Autostadt
3) Football fans & players for the nearby Wolfsburg FC ... who are in need of a Pele or two
4) visitors to Autostadt
5) foodies for Aqua

Impressed overall? Oh yes I was ... !

Cold day ... but lovely in the pool ...
The Wolfsburg Harbour (next to the pool) is also a swimming pool in the Summer. The water is drinking-quality. The biggest hotel swimming pool in the world? OH YES!
My other car is a silver Bugatti Veyron!
The highlight of my suite - the brilliant bath!
And free toys!

View of Kraftwerk and the hotel at dusk ...

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The human spirit guides us to believe we can do anything. Well,we ... I ... can't!

I have been having "issues" with wireless in my house. I was advised to buy a "range extender" which I duly did and it has taken me over two hours to get exactly nowhere! I have followed the instructions to the letter ... but something is just not happening.

Do I:
a) send back the machine and say it is faulty
b) call in the computer guy
c) connect and hope that it sets itself up automatically
d) pray

At the moment d) is the best option.

SO - I am home - at last - with my new car! Yay!

After my few days in Wolfsburg surrounded by new VW, Audi, Skoda, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Bentley cars, it was nice to get one of my own. Thankfully I did not have to drive to Sweden to pick this one up, instead down to Cornwall ... which was actually rather lovely.

A MAD week is upon me - culminating with a flight to ... the Seychelles! Yay!

Oh - I have some new rather groovy stationery ... courtesy of my German friends ... the ObamaDollar notepad ... haha! "Yes we can" ...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

What a disgrace! I am watching live footage of the "spending cuts march" in London and while around 250,000 people have been peacefully campaigning, there are a bunch of complete and utter idiots attacking shops, banks and hotels.

What would the parents of these morons think? They would be appalled and amazed that their idiot offspring are acting in this way.

Personally I think the Government here need to look at what and how they are cutting jobs, benefits & services BUT some of these people don't deserve a voice ... possibly jail.

Anyway - several hundred miles to the south west of England, I have been enjoying warm sunshine, manicures, pizza and CAKE (grrrrrr to the latter). If only everyday could be a holiday!
Truro Cathedral
Could have been the location for my first job
What is going on here?
Seagull courting ... or bullying!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Greetings from Cornwall - the southern most county in England. I am just a few miles from the most southwestern point of the country. The weather is splendid - a wee chilly but the sun is shining and the sky is bluish.

So - I am back in the UK after a rather wonderful time in Wolfsburg. More on that over the next few days.

This Cornwall trip is a kind of weekend escape/break for me ... no work if I can help it!

This time next week, I am off to the Seychelles ... whoo-hooooo!!

at the Phaeno yesterday! space age styled windows ... strong - thankfully!
a box of mirrors!
30 degree incline!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

It's time to say "thank you & goodbye" to Wolfsburg, the Ritz-Carlton and Autostadt.

The Diary is rather early today as I am flying back to London and not sure when I will have time to write it ...

Up early and in the pool. It was freeezing outside but warm inside the pool ... it was a wonderful way to start the day ... himmel.

From there it was over the canal and railway to "Phaeno" ... a hands-on science & technology park set within a sculpture. The architect Zaha Hadid designed this amazing "space-age, Titanic, airship, train station" building ... and within it sits 350 "experiments" that are simply amazing! Mirrors, smoke machines, strobe art experiments, magnets ... you name it, it was there .. along with 3000000 kids clamouring to play with them. This is undoubtedly the most amazing "science" installation I have ever been to ...

Lunch was in Autostadt with Lino Santacruz - the Head of International PR at "Car City". The food was Japanese and tasty! From there he took me to the test-drive centre where Paulo Duarte taught me how to drive an assault course using a VW Touraeg. Crazy, incredible, exhilarating ... I think I may have scratched his 4 x 4 though! Oops!

OK - VERY sadly, time to go ... more tomorrow and this weekend about Wolfsburg! I have so many photos and experiences to share ...
30 degrees banking ... whoooaaaaahhh!
Phaeno .. what does it look like?
Plasma ball ...
Paulo and Lino
Ahhh ...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sven Elverfeld - 3 Michelin starred chef - GENIUS. I have just finished an awesome dinner with RC Wolfsburg General Manager - the lovely - Edith Gerhardt and Julius Hahn from the PR & Marketing Department. We had several courses punctuated with pinot noir and other lovely wines. Yum! Brittany sole, champagne cream sorbet and spiced pigeon were highlights. Aqua is a MUST for foodaphiles. Who would have thought that Wolfsburg would be home to a 3-star chef?
First up today, I met up with Julius and we headed to the Kunstmuseum to have a look at the "Art & Fashion - Between Skin & Clothing" exhibition. Gerda Pohlmann from the museum showed us round. Two weeks ago, the gallery featured a Giacometti exhibit. This museum is one of the most famous in Germany. There were many interesting pieces ...
including some bonkers ones from Viktor + Rolf. This is a "dream" coat - practical it ain't!
From there we popped over to the Wolfsburg Castle. The city is 70 years old but has its roots from the 13th century. The Castle is the only building to have survived the centuries. It's seen battles (Sweden and France) and was a private home until the 1940's when it then became a city monument. It's now home to art galleries and the art institute of photographer Heinrich Heidersberger. I am going to dedicate a Daily Diary entry to him next week .. his story is just amazing.

What a day!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Greetings from Wolfsburg, Germany!

I am staying at the Ritz-Carlton hotel which is an integral part of "Autostadt" - Car City.

VW - Volkswagen - owns several brands: Seat, Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Skoda and Bentley. This 25-hectare site celebrates the brands in spectacular fashion ... and is also home to the world's largest factory - which employs around 50,000 people. Basically anyone who buys a new VW can come and pick it up in person ... and look around this "theme park" at the same time (& stay at the hotel).

The VW factory has its own 70-year old coal fired power plant (which features the world's longest building brick wall) and produces around 3000 vehicles a day.

The Autostadt opened in May 2000 and attracts 2 million visitors a year - not only those coming to pick up new cars but also to enjoy the attractions. Autostadt owns the luxury hotel which is managed by Ritz-Carlton. More on the hotel tomorrow ...

My flight to Hanover was short and sweet. There was then an 80 kms drive along the autobahn to this "motor vehicle enthusiast's resort".

I have to say that my home airport - Gatwick - is the most soulless, dull and dreary airport in the world. Whoever now owns this airport MUST do something to make it world class (again) not the dismal failure that at the moment it is obviously so.

I was greeted warmly by the RC ... and after a quick lunch sent to explore Autostadt. My guide was the wonderful Myriam Menzel who took me on a fascinating whistlestop tour of the attractions. I am NOT a car person but I was impressed by a silver Bugatti Veryon ... and erm - the cheesecake in one of the restaurants. Tim and James would LOVE it here!

The weather today was stunning which made the afternoon all so good. It ended at 2 x 60 metre tall glass silos that fit 400 vehicles in each. These silos are filled during the day and emptied at night ready to be handed over to their new owners in the morning. There is an excellent "ride" that takes you up and down inside one of the silos ...

Back to the hotel for a swim in the outdoor pool that is heated to 29 degrees! It was chilly outside but so lovely in the water.

The hotel keeps feeding me ... I feel like a bloated seal (nothing new there I hear you say) ... more of that to come tomorrow at the 3 Michelin-starred restaurant - Acqua ... yum!
I like driving in my car!

THE Bugatti Veryon

With Myriam

Monday, 21 March 2011

Readers of this diary know the answer!!! You KNOW you do!

Very little to report today as I have been doing loads of little things ... Which equates to a lot ...

I am back in Surrey where my only contact with the outside world is by Blackberry! I think if I am spending more time here, I need to get a dongle.

I have a very, very early start tomorrow ... But it will be worth it.

I hate a Blackberry diary - maybe I should use my Galaxy Tab ... But first I need to learn how to use it!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

I am exhausted! I woke up this morning in a field - clothes all ragged and the faint taste of something bloody (or was it dried ketchup?) on my lips. Of course last night was a full moon ... and a "super moon" t'boot! The WereVarun obviously came out in me! Grrrrr!

Thankfully it didn't rain ... you know how much I/werewolves abhor the rain!

It's been a STUNNING day today! YES! Spring HAS sprung ... the bees have been buzzing, the butterflies looping and Moo has been sniffing at everything in the garden! My old blind pooch loves this time of the year as all the spring scents make her feel like a pup again. In human years, she is 85! Awwww ....

Wandered down to the South Coast where - as it was such a lovely day - the fishermen were dredging the harbour ... and preparing for a busy season.

Another bizzy, bizzy week is upon me ...

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Home for the weeekend! Yay!

Am very excited as there's a "super moon" tonight! It last happened 18 years ago ... the Moon will be soooooo close that you can almost touch it!

So - the Malaysia edit. It is going well. I like the colours - especially the rainforest on Tioman Island (very green) and the sand at Tanjong Jara (very yellow).

Oli has a new editing facility - in Clapham/Batterea/Nappy Valley - 15 minutes from central London. It's very Oli ...

The problem we have is that it's less that 100 metres from EVERY junk-food brand known to man. Great.

Someone please staple my lips together!!! Leave just enough room for a "whisky straw" - please!!
Oli in his new lair. Batman he may not be ... but Editorman he is! What super power that gives him is unknown ... even by him.
with Captain Mokh and Gigi at Dungun ... Malaysia
Off for a wee dive!
Monitor lizard looking cheeky!
Happiness ... a lush, green (and playable) golf course!

Friday, 18 March 2011

It's Friday! At last!

I have been in the editing suite with Oli all day. He has nice new facilities in Clapham ... which are not quite finished so we are surrounded by Polish workmen. Even though it's cold and heaving down with rain, they are working hard and non-stop ... unlike us! We have been eating rubbish and goofing about (creatively) all morning!

Last night was a hoot.

I met up with James McBride - President of YTL Hotels (Malaysia) and Puri (Nira Hotels) at the latters Indian restaurant in Covent Garden - Moti Mahal. Surely this is the BEST Indian food in London ... courtesy of Chef Arora. No "fusion" food here ... just good, tasty, traditional Indian fare. We drank some pretty nice wines ... a few bottles are on show below ... great evening!

I can't stop eating at the moment. It's NOT good. I need to stop being a Tellytubby and more "a lean, mean fighting machine". Maybe I should take up running again ... hmmm ...

OK - weekend - with my Papa.

sommelier and "some" of the quaffed wine - numnumnum!
James and Puri
a colourful Covent Garden street
James and me at Tanjong Jara
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