Monday, 4 February 2013

USA 1990 St Patricks day t shirt

Sunday 4th Feb Aukland 

Well – who would have thought – I couldn’t believe it’s happening, light bulbs popping like good uns.

Me and Pat went to the Irish club and it’s changed our lives quite a bit. We met Brian who I met at the wharf. He wanted an Irish T Shirt but I had sold out. He said he lived in New York. I suggested he brought a camera to the club and photographed it. He could then set up in New York and make a few bob. He was there tonight and I took my T Shirt along – he photographed it and got me a beer.

Bryan C Flynn

Long Beach, New York

I took his address but obviously had no plans in visiting the USA in the future.

Later in the pub people were talking about the Irish T Shirt. New York is the place to be, especially around Paddies day, so is Boston, Chicago etc. Me and Pat started joking but the upshot is we are virtually 100% defo going to New York to flog T Shirts. I reckon I will be in NY for 2 weeks at least – fly to Boston and everywhere. I am so excited – it’s like starting all over again. Sod the South Island and the Hong Kong 7’s – WHAT A STORY. I couldn’t do it on my own. We have to go very, very soon. We will have to work so, so hard. It’s Feb 4th today and St Pat’s day is 17th March. It will be all go. Hopefully it will be better than U2/Lions / etc all together.

Monday 5th Feb

Didn’t get much sleep last night, T Shirts, shamrocks, Jacky Charlton, Sweatshirts, Megalopolis and millions of people running through my mind. We are just off to the American Embassy. I looked at my passport and I have got an indefinite multiple entry in it so I should be ok – Probably queues, queues, queues. Weather lovely. The biggest shock of getting to the States will be that it will be freezing.

3.00 Been to town – we have already paid for our ticket. Auckland – Honolulu – San Fransisco – New York – London. God I am excited. We will have a day in Rotorua tomorrow and fly out from Auckland on Wednesday at 9.00. The flight cost us $1,162 which we both reckon is a bargain. I can’t wait to get to New York and get started up. My legs are killing me from my run yesterday. I have got to get fit again. I haven’t done anything for months. Just think in 2 weeks I could be playing rugby again. Not looking forward to the cold at all.

Wed 7th Dept Auckland 9.30pm

Wed 7th Arrive Hawaii 6.45 am

Friday 9th Dept Hawaii 10.30pm

Saturday 10th Arrive San Fransisco 5.18am

Monday 12th Depart San Fransisco 10pm

Tuesday 13th Arrive New York 6.10 JFK

March 16th Depart NY – London Heathrow

Tuesday 6th Feb 4.00

First thing I have got to stress in view of where I will be next week is the heat – it’s absolutely boiling – difficult to get to sleep last night because of the humidity. Last night we had a meal at La Barossa – Me, Sally, Pat, Sioned, Awen, Jane, Mike and Julie, Mike and Lynne, Wendy and Carl. It was quite a good laugh. We took BYO and all had stupid hats on. Me and Pat were performing our Medley of American songs.

After the meal – back to the flat – Wendy acting drunk and Sally being hysterically funny – ripping into Wendy with no mercy. The worst thing about traveling is you meet someone you like and if you move on you don’t give it a chance – the someone I like obviously being Sally not Wendy. Back home it was really hot – we taped Black Adder and Faulty Towers.

I phoned Sally this morning – being a bank holiday – it was Waitangi Day – 150th anniversary of the treaty of Waitangi – agreement between Pakeha and Maori – I digress. We were going to go to Rotorua but there are no trains. The bus took 4 hours. I will hopefully see her tomorrow before I go.

Today is, as I said very humid and boiling hot. I will go for a run later though. We spent all day festering around. Sioned, Awen and Jane left to hitch down South. On Sunday afternoon I had planned to be on the road also – but things change.

Last Day in NZ

Wednesday 7th Feb 8.45 am

A little bit of a cloudy morning but will probably warm up later.

Yesterday evening me and Pat went for a run. That Bullock track hill murdered me. It was so hot – no cloud cover at all, sweating like a pig. Festered around for an hour – had a chat on the phone with Sally – basically filling in her diary as she had got behind.

We went down the Albion in the evening – very quiet, talking to Paul – the man with the secret money making idea he wants to keep to his chest. Also Moraid, the girl who arrived a few weeks ago – lived through the San Fransisco earthquake – she is so confident now after a couple of weeks. Also in the pub were the girls who stitched us up on John Perigo’s car in Sydney, who we saw on the way up to Queensland. – I have got her Cardiff address. Pub bloody shut again at 10 – the landlord is a pig in that pub. We went on to the Terrace bar and chatting to Moraid/ Paul about shirts in USA. They told us about the Gaelic games in the USA – God that would be a killer.- they were very pessimistic about going around skyscrapers flogging them. Me and Pat are trying to get as many contacts in the USA as possible. Give them a bell as obviously there will be different Irish communities.

Today we have got loads to do – pick up our tickets also importantly get some insurance. I want to get some rugby in so insurance is very important. Also pack up a load of stuff and send it home.

As I write this Wendy is droning on and on – God she is boring.

9.30 Just about to take off – running around like a blue arsed fly all day. We went to pick up our tickets – our flight had been cancelled and we are now on Continental. I went to the bank and changed all my money to $US – I have got about $1500. I had a meal in the rugby tavern and said goodbye to Roger and the others. The most eventful thing of the day was in Traffico. I went to get my $60 they owed me. Basically the boss wasn’t there and they weren’t authorized to give it to me. I could cope with that but they were really smug about it. I tried to speak to Mario and he wanted to speak to one of the girls and she put the phone down. I was getting very stroppy and she wouldn’t let me ring again. She snatched the phone off me, so I ripped a page out of the phonebook to get the number. I was really angry – there was no way in a million years I was going to get paid.- I had explained I was flying out later that day – they were so smug so I just swept my hand along the counter and pushed all the jumpers on the floor and kicked over the stands – I have always wanted to do that. She threatened to call the police. I was furious. Ripped off for $60.

I got some photos out – OK but only half came out.

Home by taxi, showered and packed. Taxi to Sally’s who was seeing us off. – I bought her Stark as a present (Oh yes, I just remembered – me and Pat both nipped into Interflora) I got a rose for Sally for Valentines day – also included, to the disgust of Pat a poem by Robert Frost “Two roads diverge in a wood” Jacko would love it)

I packed. We went through our check list – Everything AOK BUT we got to the airport and I realized I had forgotten my ticket. – Much stress from Pat and Sally and a quickie phonecall to Nicky who thank god brought it around.

Went to the bar and had a beer while watching the street. Hardly a tearful farewell – I will see you at home. – I will as well. As we were boarding the plane it hit me that I had left behind my tent. I am determined to leave everything I own at a different place in the world.

So – it’s leaving Auckland and off to Honolulu – what a story. I am looking forward to ringing mum from Frisco.

Feelings on Auckland? Fairly boring place. My routine which I enjoyed was Albion Tuesdays, Newton House Wednesdays and the Rugby Tavern on the weekend. The around the world yacht race was good fun but I got beat by the competition. The Commonwealth games were great. I should have perhaps have gone to a few other events, but I was working. The people I met were great and will hopefully see them all again. Different groups. My drinking mates’ pre Christmas were Grant, Gibby, Patti and Jim – The Jocks. All Tory, Prod blue nose bastards, but a brilliant laugh and we had a great time, especially in the rugby Tavern with a million stopovers. Then also Pre Christmas was Siobhan – a really good laugh. Not my type at all but great company. Always stirring about Cath McCardle, Paula and Chrissy. I made a really good move going to the Irish club and getting involved with that crowd. People like Michael O’Malley, JJ were really good company and I enjoyed the chat of the oldies like Cath Doran and her mates. I got to like Irish music in Sydney and enjoyed more of it in Auckland. Also thinking pre Christmas was U2. I really like Graham. I think he made quite a bit out of me but I could hardly complain. Also on the shirts I met Trevor down the market – his FART t-shirts’ selling like hot cakes. – An absolute prick of a bloke.

Pre Christmas also obviously were my flat mates – Time for a character assassination. (I will leave Wendy till last)


Mike interviewed me. – I really wanted to get into the flat on the strength of his personality. Very keen on rugby – season ticket holder at Auckland and obviously gave me loads of stick during the All Blacks tour of Wales.

Mike’s keenest interest is fishing that does nothing for me. I only went out once for a couple of hours – freezing, boring and I never caught anything. He can give stick and take it which is great. His biggest problem is his 39 year old girlfriend who he worships. – I suppose if he is happy that’s all that counts, but a very deep relationship with too many ties – 16 year old daughter etc. Mike really wants to do a European trip. But he won’t. I reckon the only time I will see him again is when I go back to New Zealand again to see the South Island. (Because I’m missing it chasing money in the big apple).


21 really good looking. A real good laugh who has obviously got money behind her. Gorgeous car with plates NICKY 1 on it for her 21st birthday. Really tried to make me feel welcome – inviting me to her mates 21st after a couple of weeks – and my confidant in the house as Mike was never there. When talking about Nicky you must mention Greg – A Yachty – again with a few bob behind him + a good crack. Nicky at the moment is looking to move out because of …………


What a nightmare – she is a bit of a misfit – even though she tries well, she will always balls things up. She never got off to a good start by trying to shove Christian Union literature down my throat on the first day. The easiest girl in the world to wind up. To describe Wendy is to say she is really wimpy. Everything she does – dress, mannerisms, choice of reading, company and conversation is wimpy. I used to get home see that Wendy’s bike was not there and breathe a sigh of relief because I wouldn’t have to get bored by her.

She had a bit of a shine for me which I couldn’t understand because we are poles apart and not in a million years would I be seen in the same company let alone a date.

She, like a lot of other Christian Union people sees herself as very pious but in a way they are very evil. For example all her really twisted notes – getting rid of the couch, the awful note when the girls got in. I’ve got no time for her and the best laugh over the last week was when Sally crucified her after she had a few beers. Not a girl I would like to see again. I probably made it clear.

That was all pre Christmas. After Christmas the Jocks went and thankfully Awen, Sioned and Jane were my new mates. Also Mark O’Brien – he is really going places with his MONSTAS. Mike and? came on the scene. The Kiri disaster hit and I started seeing Sally. Only 19 but a real riot of a laugh and really good company.

Pat came over and within a couple of days I was no longer going to the South Island but am off to New York – what a brilliant story.

½ an hour from Honolulu

God knows the time because we crossed the International Date Line. We are going to arrive 6 O’clock am on the same day that we left, so today is the longest day in the world. So – its Wednesday 7th all over again. The film they showed last night was Parenthood with Steve Martin which was OK. Our seat didn’t have a view of the screen so me and Pat moved. When we got back the Old Boy sitting next to us had stretched out so I had to go back. As we descend I am having to start equalizing again. It’s still dark outside. I hope Hawaii is nice and warm. Hawaii!! – Its impossible to believe that last Wednesday Mackers hadn’t even got to Auckland. I was planning on hitching down to the South Island. I got a couple of hour’s kip on the plane but missed out on the coffees when they came around. We will both be very tired today. We have got to find a hotel for tonight.

Pat is having a nightmare – In his diary Anne has left a little smiley face. Instead of cringing with embarrassment and burning the page he is all in for “Oooh look what a lovely thought” he has got it bad.

6.45 – landed safely – We have just had our first Aloha – I can see me getting cheesed off with that by the end of the couple of days. – Everything is getting corny already. Some bloke just said “I hope you have a safe day in Paradise” – Arggghh. The old boy next to us suggested leaving a rucksack in left luggage – brilliant idea. – Still funny to think we are starting Wednesday again. Got here before we left.


9am First impressions of Hawaii are not too favourable – Windy and raining + the hotel is stinking. Glad we only paid for the one night. Crashing out till 1 now as I am knackered.

8.30pm Not impressed with Waikiki at all – much, much too commercialized – after traveling up the Queensland coast we are much too spoilt. Give me an empty beach like Byron Bay, Mission Beach, Cape Tribulation anytime compared to Surfers Paradise or Waikiki. We went for a walk along the beach. May get some body boards tomorrow if the weather is ok. Had a great meal as we were both starving. The side salad filled me up. Every intention of going for a run, but that’s all gone for tonight. I have got to get the fitness going. The fattest man in the world.

Thursday 8th February

Last night was a good laugh – we had some sandwiches with these three Aussie girls and went over the Rose and Crown pub. Started on the pitchers and stayed till the close. Hope that’s not going to be typical for every night in the USA but I suppose we could do worse. Funny that in my year in Oz we hardly met any Aussie girls but once you start traveling you bump into some.

We are now looking at a completely different Hawaii than we saw yesterday. We have hired a jeep between 5 of us and we are now looking at a gorgeous beach – Hanauma bay – palm trees, beautiful bluey green sea. Quite a few people snorkeling – I can’t wait to get in the sea. Our jeep only cost $60 between us – It doesn’t matter if we crash it as it is on Pat’s credit card.

Behind me is a huge dormant volcano called the KOKO crater – its shape is very impressive and all tree lined – It looks far too steep to climb. I also found out we are not on Hawaii at all – Honolulu is on the island of Oahu – no wonder I couldn’t find the Mauna Loa volcano. There are Island of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai. Oahu and Kauai + a few others- Sea looks gorgeous.

3.00 Gorgeous snorkeling. The coral is dead but there are zillions of fish – some grew to quite a size. Me and Pat went in while the girls sunbathed – we hired snorkel, mask and flippers for $5 – bargain. We came back for the girls to have a go but they weren’t keen so I went back in and saw a sandy camouflaged sandfish. I played with him for a few minutes – dropping sand on him and annoying the little bugger till he moved, then I followed him and started again. I saw these blokes with a bag of peas. They were dropping them down and attracting loads of fish to this hole. It was ok until I heard them speak. “Hey you guys there is a whole bunch of fish in this hole.” Americans again. I can’t complain as technically we are in the 50th state, bit there are so many Polynesians about you find it different to relate it being in the states.

Pat has become the most boring man on the Island – complaining we are only getting one Tuesday when he was used to getting two days of everything.

7pm – we decided not to go north as the weather could have turned nasty – we will hopefully go up tomorrow and see the Bonsai Pipeline. We drove to Pearl Harbour but they wouldn’t let us in without military permits – went to the memorial but it was closed. Early evening we went to a place called “Smorgys” – all you can eat for $7.97 – all five of us pigged out, so my fitness is on hold for another day. – we were thinking of going for a run earlier but no.

Friday 9th February 12.40 Hawaii

Woke up this morning with a hangover – what a laugh this world tour is. Getting drunk in as many places in the world as possible. Last night we went to see a ventriloquist called Freddie. Excellent ventriloquist – quite a good show but ruined by the fact that he was really, really racist. The funniest thing of the evening was that he really murdered Pat. – He really got a pasting. An eventful night as at the end we got accused of “sharking” this woman for a beer – there is no way we could have done – the reason she was upset was because we weren’t tipping her – different culture see. We moved on to the Rose and Crown and then back to the back packers for some wine.

Daft really because we have missed another day on the Island. We won’t go north today as it is too late – will probably go down Waikiki beach, get some big boards and go into the sea.

9.00 Sitting in Honolulu airport waiting for our plane to take off at 10.30. On TV is a baseball game. We spent the afternoon at the beach – fairly warm. The surf was very low so I didn’t catch any waves on the boogie board. Very rocky beach. In the evening me and Pat went for a meal – seafood salad and a clam chowder for entrée. Before that we phoned up Paul Jordan from an international phone centre. The bloke said do you realize that it is only 3am in Britain – we both said “Good” at the same time. No answer, it rang for ages so we phoned back after the meal. He wasn’t the happiest man in the world getting up at 4 to answer the phone. The other thing we did was get 3 really tacky photo’s that look really funny of me and Pat surfing the Banzai pipeline. Pat is the only pro surfer in the world to surf in his Jeans. We’ve one with us two standing on the board, one with Pat on my shoulders and on the third with me leaning off the board.

So we will be hitting San Francisco for three days soon. We will obviously be tired, but I am hoping to do a few things, namely ride on the trolley car up the big hill. 2. See the Golden Gate and it could also be a good idea to see the Giant Reds in the Giant Redwood forest or whatever it’s called. One thing that could be a major concern is the weather. We have been really been spoiled over the last year – I am not looking forward to the cold at all.

I am still very very confident about the T Shirt venture in New York.

Saturday 10th February – San Francisco 8am

Backs to the wall we are in Frisco! Very tired, we had very little sleep on the plane last night and got in about ½ 5. We couldn’t lock our stuff in the airport as we were too early. First thing was to stick a jumper on because of the cold. It wasn’t freezing – in fact it was quite a pleasant bracing morning because it was very stuffy on the plane. We had a bit of a laugh getting here because the two English girls (very la de da) who were on the plane had a word with the bloke in the Limo and it cost the same if all 4 of us to use it than the shuttle bus. So we arrived at the Youth Hostel in a stretch Limo – style eh? Had a few photos naturally. The weather is foggy which is as it should be according to all the text books.

The Hostel looks very clean, but being a YHA we can’t have a room till 4, which is dreadful because we want to kip in now. According to the bloke at the desk – another of the most helpful blokes in the world is the Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown today – see how we feel later.

4.30 Very impressed with the bay area of Frisco. From the YHA we took a walk through the park. We were forced to leave the hostel between 2-4. Before that we got out our sleeping bags and crashed out on the most comfortable settees I have ever seen in a hostel. As we walked through the park we could see the Golden Gate Bridge – what a sight – the sky was really blue, but the fog hadn’t lifted from the water so the bridge rose above the fog and it was like seeing the sky upside down. For a bonus we also had a view of Alcatraz, again misted in fog. I am quite looking forward to visiting Alcatraz.

We were starving so we went into Safeway and went to the serve yourself salad area. You take what you want – they weigh it and you take “it” away. A bargain for only $3.40 for a really filling meal. We sat with the la de da girls when we ate the grub. They were very difficult to talk to – so different from the Aussie girls who were on our wavelength. These two had painful accents and were obviously travelling on mummy and daddies money. Me and Pat went for a walk cos we were freezing. I was going to describe it as a lovely January morning at home – Correct I suppose, but it is Feb.

We walked towards the bridge along this parkway. Quite a few people flying kites, roller skating along, working out etc. We also took a walk along a few streets and saw some of the earthquake damage from October 17th (who would have thought I would have been here – I just looked back and I did make a note of it) There were buildings being propped up, signs about trespassing – obviously everybody had abandoned their houses. On some of the worst ones were signs in yellow paint “SEARCHED” – some just had “S” on the door – all interesting stuff.

We had a walk back, then I phoned home. DAD “What the bloody hell are you doing in San Francisco?” – I gave a quick explanation and had a chat to mum. I told them I went to Hawaii and they could hardly believe it – I don’t think it has sunk in for me yet either.

It looks like the Giant Redwoods are out as it is 4 hours in the car and 8 hours in a bus. Still we will “do” Alcatraz – Isn’t life a laugh at the moment – not too happy about the cold though.

Fantastic news – Dad told me that Nelson Mandela is being released at 1.30 UK time – what a hero

Mandela released

Tyson knocked out

10pm – went out to see the Chinese New Year parade but never made it. The news of the night was not Mandela but the fact that Tyson got knocked out by a nobody. Buster Johnson – nobody has ever heard of him.

Sunday 11th Feb 8am

Just got woken up – what a difference between a YHA and a backpackers in Oz. In a YHA you are treated like a little kid – lights out at 11, doors locked at 2. Everyone up at 8. You must do a chore. – Hostel closed between 2.30 – 4. We are supposed to be on holiday. I honestly can’t see me and Pat volunteering for our chore – we are bound to shark them.

We went for a pint last night and wore the Irish shirt. Really good response – most encouraging that about 4 people wanted to get one.

Weather again looks gorgeous, but a bit cold. Bloody winter. Mum thought we were a bit daft leaving summer for winter

This is a joke. The whole place is a hive of activity of people running around doing chores. A bloke came in and told Pat off for still being in bed and to report to the kitchen at 10 o’ clock. The bunk overhead was empty so he asked Pat where was the occupant. Pat said he didn’t know. The bloke said “Darn I’ll get him tomorrow” I was writing postcards not on my bunk but on someone else’s. The bloke checked the number on his sheet of bunk numbers. He gave me a big thumbs up and a smile as if to say well done and went out. Me and Pat collapsed laughing. The bloke was only about 20. I can see me and Pat getting thrown out for being naughty and not doing our chores.

12.45 On the ferry to see Alcatraz prison ($7.50) weather cold and foggy – as it should be to see Alcatraz I suppose. Bad news this morning is that Dai Young has gone North. Another one of Wales’ best players. – We are playing England next week + will probably get stuffed.

Monday 12th February 9.45

Weather very sunny but also a chill in the air. I really enjoyed Alcatraz – a cold and damp place. It’s a national park and the ranger who welcomed us onto the “rock” was the spitting image of Sue Mitchell. Loads of stick off Pat as she started chatting up every bloke there. Tart (Bitter, bitter, bitter)

We started off by seeing a slide show and the long walk up to the cell block. The highlight of the trip was the guided tour. Really well done. I couldn’t have coped with an American guide being questioned by sycophantic tourists. The tour was on tape so you could go at your own speed and stop for tacky photo’s if you wanted. Me and Pat had photo’s in Times Square, Broadway, CD square also in the prison cell sitting on the bog. We saw the cell of the birdman and the dining area etc.

On the descent we tried to avoid the most boring man on the rock Don Hurley who was plugging his book on childhood reminisances.

Once we got out we were knackered, cold and hungry but we couldn’t go into the hostel till 4.30, what a nightmare. We festered and festered, had another clam chowder and pizza and eventually killed enough time to get into the hostel.

We phoned New York and Bryan seemed quite pleased to hear from us. We will get a taxi for about $25 and Siobhan should be at the house to meet us.

Down to Safeway’s for some grub and we both crashed out about 5. Far too early as I had about 5 hours kip and couldn’t get back to kip then. God knows what we are going to do - probably go on the cable car and into town. I am quite looking forward to hitting New York and getting started on the T Shirts. Rough aim is to get them on the streets by next Tuesday – our cost must be about $6-$7 selling about $15 - $20.

5pm – just killing time in the hostel before my flight at 10. – bus booked for 8.30. Today we went to the centre of San Francisco – talk about hills. Weather was gorgeous – very sunny, cloudless sky, but it was freezing if you went in the shade. I got some photo’s developed of Hawaii and Frisco. Pat’s camera had a ‘mare, reversing tables on dodgy cameras. We took a trolley bus – clanging away to the centre and had a look around. – Like any other city I suppose. I bought myself a wallet and Pat cashed in some travelers cheques. I am really looking to moving on so we can “set up business”. – still very confident, only thing that could go against us is the weather. God knows how cold it will be when we arrive at 6am.

San Francisco is supposed to be full of queers and we have certainly seen our share of camp effeminate men – especially the shop assistants.

We got away without doing any chores this morning. A bargain. I hate the coziness and chumminess of the YHA compared to a backpackers. Being woken up at 8 and a lock out between 2 – 4.30 and then having to be in by 2 – they can shove it. Last night someone came around with a torch to check we were all in.

The American accent is driving me around the bend. The newest one which is really annoying me is that if for example you get a cup of coffee and you say thanks they all say in a sugary sickly way “yourwelcome” (one word) – AAAAARGGH. If it happens too much I will stop saying thanks.

9.45 Just boarded the plane. It is absolutely freezing out. New York is supposed to be much colder. Our Taxi driver to the airport was assuring us that San Francisco doesn’t really have a winter and as he was saying it he was swerving to avoid Polar Bears and Penguins. He was warning us how violent San Francisco was. Early on in the evening I read every magazine and paper in the YHA to kill a couple of hours. Mandela was the story of the day- released yesterday + it showed his speech. To conclude it he repeated what he said in his trial 27 years ago – showed up that he hadn’t backed down, but the government had. What a hero he is.

So it’s goodbye San Francisco. A very picturesque place, obviously 2 days doesn’t give it a chance – I sent the usual guts full of postcards. I am not looking forward to the NY winter at all.

I forgot to mention that Pat broke my diary – he is not in my good books at all.

Aims – when we get to New York has obviously set up the shirt business as soon as possible – it looks like sweatshirts will be high on the list – also fitness- I want to do something every day – hopefully beat Pat in squash and badminton to go with my recent tennis and table tennis triumphs. Swimming is also on my list and maybe some gym work, but I can’t see myself doing too much running in the cold. I want to play some rugby but it will be very social as I haven’t got all that much time and I may be flying to Boston or wherever there is an Irish do some weekend

Delayed for 20 minutes – Capt. Just told us that we never had enough fuel, very slack. I was in charge of fuel all across Australia – I will give him a few tips. Those 5 gallon cans are very handy. Mackers reckons that a 5 trillion gallon Jerry can is a bugger to get off the roof rack. Another good tip is get some honey oil.

Tuesday 13th February New York 9.15am

Really shattered – we got in about 6.30, which was 3.30 on our body clock because of the time difference. – Had very little kip on the plane at all. Weather not as cold as expected.

Me and Pat got into a taxi and the bloke reckoned on $82 fare so we got out immediately. Siobhan and Brian reckoned it would be about $25. We then had an offer of $47 from a limo and finally down to $30 from another taxi which we took.

Got to the house – no answer so we let ourselves in- they have got a dog who is a real pain. Siobhan got on the coffees and then we both crashed out till about 3 but the dog kept getting in the room and disturbing me – the sod of a thing.

I sharked myself badly because I got in which I thought was the best room but Pat got the room which locks to keep the dog out and also the one with the TV – 32 channels on cable.

I phoned up T Shirts and it looks like we will be paying $4.50 a shirt – that will be great if we can get rid of them for $15. $8 for sweatshirts – sell at $25 – try to get the ball rolling tomorrow – all I want to do now is sleep.

Thursday 15th Feb 9.45

Just woke up to the dog diving on me. Yesterday me and Pat went to Valley Stream with the shirt and put in an order. We have got to go in again and front up 50% of the cash. We went to the library first and got a stronger map for the front. Got back and were dragged to the pub “The Inn” – so again our threatened run was put on hold. Good news is that Liam Brady is giving a talk for two days so we will be there. Weather very cold.

I got my card off to Nan for her 70th birthday. I must remember to phone on the 20th or I will never forgive myself.

Me and Pat are becoming real yuppies – we have paid a deposit to go on a days ski trip next Wednesday – it should be a good laugh but I have never been before so it could be really embarrassing. Last night talking to a bloke about the T Shirts – typical New Yorker “ Hey, I like you guys – I don’t even know you” – I am sure we will see a lot more of Pete. After the pub we went over to one of the neighbours. He let us in and me and Pat picked up his wife for a Valentine’s kissagram job. – Then, he released his mad budgies. I think today we have got to go back to Valley Stream to pay half the shirt money. The bloke “Bob” doesn’t seem to be that “with it” for some reason. Not half as keen as Greg in Sydney or Graham in Auckland.

Weather looks really cold out. One of the obvious problems of being in Long Beach is that we are a fair way out. Yesterday was murder waiting for a train – we will have to use the timetables much better – looks like an hour to town (The Apple). The advantage of being here is obviously safety – hopefully not much violence, crack etc in Long Beach.

It is immediately noticeable in all the papers the concern of drug abuse compared with anywhere else I have been. It started immediately on entering the States. – The customs man “Do you do drugs?” “What is your attitude to drugs?”

Midday – Oh the cold. We just ran for the train to Valley Stream. I have got to get gloves, a hat and a scarf or I will die. For the first time in months you can see my breath – my ears, hands and even teeth are freezing. We must be mugs leaving Auckland and leaving Hawaii – really hot to get to this climate.

7.30 Me and Pat have just been for our first run in the States. – Freezing cold, drizzle. I enjoyed it more than the heat in Auckland. The run was about 22 mins along the boardwalk. We hope to go for a run every day.

10.30 A quiet evening in. We saw a good film. “Billy young guns” on the cable. The dog was a good laugh – on his back snoring away. A couple of dead days before the shirts come in. We may do more sightseeing and ring around to get some shirts in different functions.

Friday 16th Feb 12.45

A lazy day in bed – didn’t even stir till 11 – no real incentive because we have no work to do until the shirts come out and it’s freezing out. The warmest place to be is in bed. We were thinking of doing the tourist bit today but it looks like we will be happy just doing the washing and going to the post office.

9.30pm – The lazy day continues – Siobhan made a cracking chicken dinner. Me and Pat wolfed it down because we had an appetite from our run. We did the boardwalk run again, but this time the other way. God it was nearly twice as long. The cold AAAARGH. My hands especially were freezing but were ok half way through. Did a few sit ups after woods. Out to a few pubs tonight but it looks like a very late start. Posted a million letters today but doubt if I get any back. – Jacko, the Jocks, Sally and home. Playing rugby tomorrow is England, Wales. Odds are heavily in favour of England being in Twickenham.

Me and Pat spent an enjoyable 10 minutes pestering the dog getting the swine back for waking me up in the morning.

Saturday 17th February 10.45 At home now Wales are playing England at Twickenham. Two years since we had about 30 people on the floor at Gravel Road. Funny – 2 years ago if we would have lost I would have taken so much stick with teaching in London, but if we lose today Pat might make a passing comment to wind me up but no one will really care. I will phone home later to find out the news.

Fairly sunny day out – hopefully we will go into the city today and have a look around and do the tourist bit.

Last night wasn’t that brilliant – we went to all the local pubs in Long beach and they were fairly dead. Brian was out of his tree, so Siobhan brought him home. – She wasn’t that happy. I woke up this morning again with the dog crawling all over me – bloody thing

8pm Freezing out – that wind is so cutting. News of the day back home is that Wales got absolutely stuffed by England 34-6. 34-6 can I even imagine the stick I would have taken at home. 34 -6 that’s a crucifixion. In the other match Scotland beat France. I phoned home and have a $10 chat with mum and dad. They didn’t realize I had an address in New York – I think they thought I was staying in a hostel.

We caught a train to New York. Change at Jamaica to Penn Station. We then went on the subway. A really wrecked black woman asked us for money. Pat gave her 25c – but she wanted a dollar, so he had to cough up the 75c he owed her.

We got the tube to Battery Park and got the ferry to Liberty Island. We had a few photo’s of Manhattan and some of the Statue of Liberty. Today there was no cloud so it was freezing on the ferry. More photo’s of the statue and then we joined the queue to the crown, but it would have taken two hours – it was too cold so we went for a coffee, some post cards and the ferry back. The statue of Liberty wasn’t half as interesting as Alcatraz.

I bought a watch for $20 much to the amusement of Pat who thought I got sharked. Back on the tube. I was not comfortable at all. One weird black bloke singing for Jesus up and down the carriage. Another bloke pulled out what I thought was a knife but it was a comb.

We got to Penn Station and we had 20 mins to wait for the train so we went up onto the street. God, talk about culture shock. It was really cold. People asleep with blankets in the auto bank place. Loads of street stalls selling chestnuts and scalpers offering Knicks basketball tickets. We also stopped for a few minutes to watch the black Muslims ranting on and on. It was a relief to get on the train. The train had a completely different atmosphere than the subway. I felt really safe on the train and very ill at ease on the subway. We had a 20 minute wait again at Jamaica – Freezing.

The walk back to the house was perishing – got to get some gloves at least. Siobhan has got a turkey dinner on. We will have to make some meals next week.

I am really looking forward to get the shirts so that we can do some selling, but I can’t see myself going to Penn Station to sell them.

World news is that loads of the exiled ANC leaders are planning a return to South Africa now that the ANC is not banned. God it’s cold.

Pat has lost his glasses – looking everywhere for them – he gives me stick for losing things. Mackers’ cousin phoned from Queen’s so we may go over to visit them. She hasn’t been into the city for 20 years!!

2am A quiet evening in. Saw on cable Whoopi Goldberg introducing Billy Connolly – Yanks have never heard of him. – No beard. Followed by Clint in the Dead Pool. Weather in the freezing temperatures now.

Sunday 18th February 3.45

Another Lazy day – Got up at 12 – went over the diner for some grub – got the NY times, about 14 ft thick. Came back to watch Papillon but couldn’t find it on the cable. No report of yesterday’s rugby in the paper. Spent the afternoon festering – may go for a run, and take the dog to the beach later. Very sunny out but very cold – Last night the dog’s water bowl froze over. Why did we leave Auckland?

11pm – nothing to really write about – I wrote a really wrong letter to Nolesy, took the dog for a run around the block and then and then we went for a proper run along the boardwalk. It took 32 minutes and really is a killer, but obviously no hills. The wind is really cutting. I would say that it is more enjoyable than running in the sun as you soon warm up. We saw Papillon which was on at half 5 and had a couple of cans of Bud.

Hopefully we will get the shirts tomorrow. I can’t see it but there is a possibility – Tomorrow is a bank holiday because of “Presidents Birthday” – our problem is all our money is in travelling cheques. I must remember Nan’s birthday on Tuesday and give her a ring.

Monday 19th February 6.45 pm

Highlight of the day was getting up at 8 O’clock – the dog diving on me again – bloody thing. Me, Pat and Brian did a shop $103. Pat will pay half – at least we are paying our way a bit.

Phoned up for the shirts and as expected they are not ready. They said late tomorrow or Wednesday. Going by experience you can read into that Thursday or Friday. Festered around all day. It is freezing out.

We had a bit of a laugh when Brian’s mate Danny came over. He has a girlfriend from Aberystwyth so I phoned her up and said I had talked to someone in the Farmers Arms in Aber – he had given me her mum’s number in Cirencester and she had given me her number in New York. Me and Pat were at JFK and were waiting to be picked up. She didn’t quite know what to say and asked me to phone back in 5 minutes. Danny phoned in 5 minutes and said she was in a real panic. – Brian said we could stay here so the story is still going.

Mackers made the grub, my turn tomorrow. We are going skiing on Wednesday. Got some of the gear.

I wish we had the shirts.

11.30 – another quiet night – I was keen to go for a pint, but I started watching a really good film “Principal” with James Balushi, which killed the evening with out resorting to the pub. There is supposed to be a cold spell coming (Not sure what is supposed to be now?) – I am not looking forward to it. Hoping for some mail tomorrow.

Tuesday 20th February 3.30

Same old story – shirts still not ready. They will hopefully be ok to pick up tomorrow – me and Pat are going skiing so we will have to ask Brian to get them. I don’t see why he can’t as he is in 3rds on it. Up this morning at 10 – Freezing out. Pat is having loads of trouble cashing his travelers’ cheques because they are in Australian dollars.

I went to the post office and posted some post cards and letters. I got $20 in quarters. I phoned Nan as it is her 70th birthday, but there was no answer. I also phoned home but there was no answer there. Probably out with Nan. I will try to give her a bell again in a minute. To go out I wore Brian’s ski jacket, so I was fairly warm despite the cold.

I made the grub today. Green salad and tuna/pasta salad

11.15 Just been down the Inn to find out when the ski trip is on tomorrow. We have got to be there at 5.45 am. Not happy about that at all. Borrowed all the equipment – only thing to hire is ski’s and boots.

I phoned Nan earlier to say happy birthday – it sounds like she had a great day. I said I would see her before Christmas, but I will be back before then (explain later) I also had a chat to mum – spent a fair bit of time chatting to Catherine.

Plans for the near future: Hopefully as from tomorrow I will be flogging shirts like a good un + I can make some money. At the moment me and Pat have tickets to London on the 26th March. One thing I really want to do is go to the Hong Kong 7’s on the 31st March – 1st April. If I kept my ticket it would mean getting back on the 27th and leaving for Hong Kong on the 29th. I would be home for a day. St Patrick ’s Day is on the 17th I could aim (if I made some money) to get home on the 21st so that I could have a couple of days at home. – bugger off for the Hong Kong 7’s and then come home through Asia – again setting up the Irish shirt in Cardiff so when we get home we could go over to Ireland in June for the world cup and sell them over there. Again only ideas but it will be interesting to see how it works out. I would really like to go to the Hong Kong 7’s – could be my only chance. All the time in between I could do supply teaching.

Wednesday 21st Midnight

A very full day. Two real stories. Skiing and T Shirts. Me and Pat were up at 5 and got to the Inn at ¼ to 6. We were buggering around till ¼ past 7 which was very frustrating as we were knackered and could easily have had another hour in bed. There was no snow in Pennsylvania at all. I wasn’t impressed, but when we got to Camelback there was artificial snow.

Pat thought he was the boy wonder because he had skied a week in France before. I paid for a lesson but I wish I hadn’t as no one checked. I did the beginners job then started down the “bump” like a man possessed. The funniest part of the day luckily no one witnessed. It was on the bunny slope. I shot down like a bullet – I couldn’t stop and wiped out a complete fence. I honestly couldn’t stop laughing. A 13 year old girl also fell – looked at her mates and said “It wasn’t me – it was that man over there – he is worse than Sarah” – The shame.

After dinner I took my second lesson on the slopes – making Father Christmas turns. I did fine on that so it was up to the green with Raj.

I was pleased with my performance on the green slopes – I did about 5 runs – it was exhilarating – I was on my arse a bit.

Thursday 22nd February 11.30pm

I’ll finish off yesterday, I was obviously ½ cut. The green slopes were a bit of a shock – I thought it would be less steep than it was. I was tumbling over like a good un. Skiing is very, very exhilarating. At some point you come to a point of no return and some how you recover – brilliant. I didn’t like the ice on the slopes at all. Because we had borrowed all the gear I was as warm as toast – really, really enjoyable.

We got back at 8 – got to the flat and at last the shirts had arrived. We went to the Inn and there was a Guinness promotion. I was disappointed we only sold 3 but I had a really good night.

Today – feeling rough all morning. Me and Pat went into town – a few things to do. First we went to Queens to this Irish shop, but the woman had been called out earlier so it was a wasted journey. We then went to Manhattan – Pat had to get money as all his $$ were in Aussie currency. We then had grub. We were at a loss so we stood in the street and sold very few. Then onto a wild goose chase around Manhattan to Tommy Maceys bar – dead. Then into a few bars in Queens after getting lost a million times. Grand central is an amazing place. There are homeless everywhere. I didn’t feel quite as threatened as Saturday but still very wary. All told we only sold 10 shirts and both of us are very tired – again very disappointing. We will “do” the Bronx tomorrow. Might do the tactic of using one of us as a plant, especially if Brian is with us.

The other thing that is really annoying is we phoned up Bob for more shirts and he is insisting on us paying a deposit again + they won’t work weekends by the look of it, so we are going to dump him and have a word with the Long Beach bloke and tell him the crack. We need to phone up any time and get them printed, even if it means us going in and printing them.

A few things to do tomorrow. Get a poster printed for the shirts, get bags for the shirts. Pat will go in with $250 to order more shirts and I will go into the West End of Long Beach and get him to set it all up. I am absolutely shattered but it is better than sitting around all day like we did last week.

Friday 23rd Feb 12.30

Up at 11 – lay in because we are working nights now (sort of). The dog had dragged the rubbish bin into the cellar, so we smacked his arse and chucked him out. Bloody thing.

7.00 Writing this on the train to the Bronx. A wee bit different from Auckland. A fairly interesting day. I went to the library and got the map and went to see Luke. In the West End of Long Beach. – Much more helpful than Bob. The deal with Luke depends on us getting the shirts, but hopefully it will be a lot faster. Pat went to Valley Stream and paid for 80 more but they won’t be ready till Tuesday.

I got the photo of the shirt and made up a poster, which isn’t that bad. I also sold some shirts to the Irish shop in Long Beach for $10 each. The other thing we did was get plastic bags and packed a shedfull of shirts. We are staying in the Bronx tonight – In a friend of Brian’s house – Pauline – which will be fairly handy. Fairly cold out – I did all the running around on a bike which cut the time in half.

Saturday 24th February 1pm

Didn’t sell many shirts in the Bronx last night – about 9. It looks at the moment that flogging in pubs is not working very well. We got soaked as it was bucketing down. I was on club soda all night – haven’t had a drink since Wednesday – with the work we are doing I might stay on the wagon till after St Patrick’s Day. Last night we stayed in the Bronx in a friend of Brian’s house – glad of it as it would have taken about 2 hours to get home.

Woke up this morning to snow, but it has brightened up a bit now so that it’s gone. – We went for a lovely brecky and then to an Irish gift shop in the Bronx, “The Celtic Connection”. We had to hang around for an hour so we went over the pub and saw the first half of the Wales/England game – England so dominant. We then got our first big order on the shirts. 15 T’s and 20 sweats. Take them around next week. We also left him one of each to hang up so hopefully we will get repeat orders from that. He was suggesting taking World Cup 1990 off it and they would sell for ever. An idea I suppose when we get back home but I would have to have a word with Jacko.

We are on the tube now going to Manhattan + we may try to work our way through every store in Manhattan on the St Patrick’s day parade route + see if we can get some type of response.

6.00 another wild goose chase. We walked up 5th Avenue – full of really high class shops like Gucci – that wouldn’t dream of taking our shirt even if we asked them. We saw a bloke flogging sweatshirts on the street with Hard Rock Café on them - $10 for a sweatshirt. We stood for about 5 minutes trying to flog shirts but it was freezing.

One thing I forgot to record yesterday. We were walking through Manhattan between stations – we saw what I am sure must have been a “crack” deal or some other dodgy substance. We walked along a fairly unlit street and passed a deep doorway. – 3 blokes “dealing” in the door one on the door itself and another being the most observant person in the world (for some reason) – looking this way and that. Me and Pat didn’t try a citizens arrest – but, head down, arse up and carried on walking.

Midnight Spent Saturday night in – I was keen to go out, but Pat wasn’t. Watched Escape from Alcatraz – been there!. Also we phoned Gildethorpe and spoke to Sue Daly. We also phoned Mike Ede, but he wasn’t in again. We gave him the usual message and his flat mate said “Where from this time?” We also rang Paul Jordan about 5 times but he wouldn’t answer. Weather is freezing. It’s been snowing a bit but it’s stopped now. Sue Daly said she had just been down the beach. One thing I am worried about is I can’t find the ski mask I lent. I have got to get that soon. Pat had a phone call from Anne – he is seeing her in Indonesia in April. I haven’t heard from Sally yet – surprise surprise. God it’s cold.

Sunday 25th February

The days are creeping closer to Paddies day – we have yet to make our fortune. – Always seem to be shelling out. Weather today was bitter with a capital B. - didn’t snow too much last night but it was on the ground. I had to nip over the shop for milk – God it was cold. Got up at 10, at 1 me and Brian went into the Lower East side and picked up 5 Dozen sweatshirts and 3 dozen T Shirts. We also got 3 brilliant running tops with hoods for $9 each. I took them to Luke and he said he would start the screens tomorrow – hopefully they will be ready Tuesday evening. I wish!! The qualities of the shirts are 1000% better, so we will probably keep collecting them ourselves.

We got back and gave Brian’s mate Danny a hand getting this kitchen into a house. – I was frozen. Mackers got two Woody Allen films from Danny. Love and Death – which I haven’t seen and Manhattan. We stoked up the fire a treat. I love making fires.

We were going to go to the pub and hopefully flog some shirts but it was simply too cold. Plan of attack tomorrow is for me to go to Brooklyn and Pat to go to Queens to different Irish shops and get some orders. We also want to make a phone call to this woman from Hallmark cards which I reckon could be big if it came off. Why did I leave Auckland? It is freezing.

Monday 26th February

Another fairly frustrating day although we did clear a few shirts in an Irish shop called Gibbons in Queens. Up at half 9 – absolutely freezing out. I was frozen as I biked to a shop in Long Beach, but the woman wasn’t there. I had to empty the ice from the dogs bowl and replace it with water. You should see his face when we are about to leave and we chuck him out. Basset Hounds look fairly miserable even when they are really happy, but to face the cold he just lets his jaw drag to the ground and his eyes look at you. Mind you it is so cold if I were a dog I would put up a better fight.

We got on a train to Queens and gave the woman 16 shirts and got an order for 12 sweatshirts so that was nice but it was the highlight of the day.

We walked to the end of 5th Avenue but there were no pubs there at all. We will have to split up as its pointless both of us doing the same places. It is so cold out!!

Nothing doing tonight. No real events in the diary and too cold to go out. Tomorrow we are hoping to pick up shirts off Bob the Nob and some off Luke. I suppose Luke’s won’t be ready even if I am prepared to go in to help.

On the news there was a piece about severe storms again in Bristol – so Cardiff would have got a hammering as well. Britain has really taken a pasting tonight.

For a laugh we will phone up Jordan again – It is 3 in the morning and he refuses to answer the phone, but we will phone him every day till he answers.

Tuesday 27th February 3pm – snowing

Up at 9 and showered. Pat went for a run, but I jipped out. Too cold – I did some tidying up. I did some phoning around – I couldn’t get in touch with Nancy from Hallmark cards – I am sure they would take a lot. I phoned Luke and the shirts will be ready tonight. Pat phoned Bob and the shirts are ready to be picked up.

A good laugh watching the dog. He had the leftover soup, so I boiled it up and put it in his bowl. It was far too hot but being a greedy fat git of a thing, he piled straight in and couldn’t figure how to gulp it down without burning his toungue.

Me and Pat were going to go to Valley Stream to pick up the shirts, but it was daft as you only need, so I am now a packhorse. I have filled my rucksack and a bag with shirts and I have to wait 20 mins for the train back. It really is a pain getting in and out of the place + the fact we have to do it twice because of the deposit. I hope Luke does a good job as I don’t want to use Bob again. Tonight there is a soccer tournament in Queens that we will hopefully go to and please god shift some as it is fairly slow out. Weather wise it is cold but not as bad as yesterday. It is snowing.

I am hoping to get some mail today – haven’t had any for ages. With the shirts we will probably drop our prices for the Irish boys to get some turnover and then up them for the Irish Americans on and around St Patrick’s Day

Wednesday 28th February 8pm

Not that a productive day – saved by a good deal in the night. Pat phoned Gibbons Irish store and she blew us out for the 12 sweatshirts. – Wanted to drop the price – we wouldn’t. We picked up the shirts from Luke – much better. He has made a much brighter orange, which is better and the print is better.

I flogged 1 of each- T Shirt and Sweats to Futons in Paradise and Pat biked for an hour on a wild goose chase. In the early evening me and Brian went to Far Rockaway – sold 2 sweats, then did a lovely deal in the Saloon. – Wants 12 sweats and 12 T Shirts – paid $150 and owes $162 – so we have about $500 in the kitty.

Thursday 1st March – St David’s Day 12pm

No big parades in New York for St David’s day – the Paddies have all the big parades sewn up.

I am writing this on the train going to New York. We are off to Wall St to peddle our wares. Up this morning at 9 and biked over to Luke’s place – filled a rucksack and a big bag full of shirts and cycled back. Last night we went to The Inn and sold 8 shirts including the hooded one off Siobhan’s back. Quite a good laugh with the owner getting stroppy that we were flogging gear in his pub. The kitty now stands at about $700. Weather wise today was quite pleasant after the recent cold spell. I am getting stick about being always too optimistic and Pat is exactly the reverse. I am always taking a huge bag of shirts everywhere whereas Pat will take one or two. To be fair Pat is usually right but twice I was justified yesterday. In the Saloon we didn’t have enough to give him and in the bar last night we sold out of Sweatshirts. Next time I will just have to take all the stock.

I had a letter yesterday off mum – fairly interesting but normal type of news. – Everybody is getting married. Claire Norman, Ian and Patrick Dacey (not to each other) and Deborah Hasset.

Friday 2ND March 11am

Bad start to the day. Brian took the jeep into work. Phoned the house. I phoned the T Shirt shop and they close at 1 so Brian can’t pick them up. He wasn’t happy at all. We have at last got an early train. I am again very confident. Hopefully we will sell out this week. Pat will be happy if we sell about 3. Weather wise – very pleasant winter’s day again. I have got gloves today though because obviously being in Manhattan the sun can’t get between the big buildings. Tonight it’s off to see the Wolfetones with all our stock. Last night we went for a Chinese meal at K O’s – very nice and then on for a club soda in the pub. We had a coffee in Barry and Lisa’s house – gave them a sweatshirt each.

3.10. We are winning. Our first real result on the shirts. Me and Pat stood in Broadway from 11- 2.15 and cleared a bag full of shirts each. I have about 2 and Pat has 4 left. It was fairly cold, so I have two sweatshirts on. Quite a few blacks were buying them as well. I got told by the police that I couldn’t sell on the street so I went and had a chat with Pat for about 5 minutes and then went back. Luckily I never saw the copper again. He asked me if I was Irish – I said yes – it helps. If any Yank asks me and PAT we just agree with them. Our problem now, as I predicted is we probably won’t have enough shirts for tomorrow’s parade in Hoboken. I can’t think of anything we can do about it.

On the tube on the way to Penn Station another bloke came begging. You could hear a voice down the end of the train “Excuse me I am handicapped + I live in the subway – please can you spare a nickel or Dime” then went on with “Have a nice day” and all that. He shuffled along the train and we did give but I don’t know what to think. To be honest there is a bit of revulsion as well as a lot of pity. – There are so many people on the streets begging – it puts it into perspective that me and Pat probably made about $200 in about 2 hours with our first real “result” on the shirts.

Reading Pat’s diary and he makes the point that we could be home in about 3 weeks. Apart from seeing everyone again, I don’t want this particular trip to end. My main long term plan of attack is to firstly do well on the Irish T Shirts – I think we will as long as we can keep getting the shirts. I really want to go to Hong Kong to watch the 7’s but I can only do it if I can make these things work. My ticket to London is on the 26th of this month, what I want to do is bring it forward to something like the 20th – fly into London arriving in the morning, so I would nip into Gunnersbury + say hi, - stay till dinnertime and then go home to Cardiff. I can’t imagine what reaction I would get if I said I was only staying for two days and then going to Hong Kong. If the flight was early in the morning, I could stay in Gravel Rd. I have also got to think about getting a permanent job next September. I think it would be too easy to go back to Gunnersbury, although it would be a lot easier. I don’t want a really rough school as I want to teach, not fight the kids all the time. My first priority is to get a driving license. It is getting ridiculous at 26 not being able to drive. When I tell people they just look at me in disbelief. I am very confident of walking into a teaching job, but I don’t feel I will be happy doing it for the rest of my life. I would like to do a “Devaney” – take all the computing qualifications I can get and then get out with a proper wage rather than the peanuts with all the crap you have to do every night, weekends and holidays – Joke. Another thing I would like to be is a rep on a holiday bus going through Europe. When I get home I will have to make a more up to date CV. My last one is about 4 years old.

Saturday 9th March 9am

We are definitely winning. We went to Queens last night and brought home over $300 – if we can keep this momentum up in the next two weeks I will be Hong Kong bound. We are off to the Bronx now to deliver that big order to the Celtic connection. We are then off to the Hoboken St Patrick’s day parade, our problem is we have very few shirts left.

10.30pm The Hoboken St Patrick’s Day parade was a dead loss – about 5 men and their dogs watching it. – Any Hoboken robber would have had a field day as the whole constabulary was there. We only sold about 4 shirts all day. A fairly cold day. We went to the Bronx in the morning – had a brecky and collected $460 from the Celtic Connection. – We were given a brilliant idea by the bloke in the shop- so obvious that it is hitting us smack in the head. Exactly the same shirt – without the world cup on it and change one of the flags to the stars and stripes. – The Irish Americans are the ones buying the shirt anyway, not the Irish, so it would really work well. Pat is thinking of spending all next summer in the USA travelling to all the Irish exhibitions – I’d have to think seriously about it. It would be a good laugh travelling the states but it would have to start for the St Patrick’s Day Parade. – For the big earner (hopefully) and then through the summer. So – if I got a teaching job I could only take it till February. Not sure about how I would feel about that. It would be easier for Pat as he is self employed, but as he says, - Life is more interesting on the road – not paying taxes etc. We went for a few beers in some pub in Hoboken and then for a meal. I phoned home and Wales lost again – to Scotland 13-9 – Try by Emyr. – What a season. Big clash now in a couple of weeks. Scotland and England are both playing for the Grand Slam + Wales and Ireland are both fighting for the wooden spoon. I will have to get one to present to Jacko if we get the correct result.

I am writing this on the train – getting back from Hoboken – it’s a real drag. We have got over $2,000 to spend on shirts tomorrow.

Sunday 4th March 8am

Just woke up – no Lecky but its on now. Had another idea for a T Shirt- I think it is brilliant . Basically it’s a rip off of the cartoon in the Auckland post – The idea is an England Grand slam T Shirt.

It will be quite expensive to set up as it will be four colours. An English rugby player whacking the 4 nations on the arse. Red, green, navy and light blue. Maybe 5 screens on the front – black as well. We could get a big advert out in Rugby World – set up a box office. Ring up Jeff Taylor immediately and get him to do it. Pat will probably want in as well – so that will keep costs down. If England don’t win then Scotland will have the slam and I could do it for the Jocks. For shirts it would be better if England won as there are more of them.

Got home last night to a letter from H. She is marrying Jon on November 10th. Do I want to come to the wedding – will I be home – YES.

11.30 Brian and Pat have just gone into town with $2,000 to spend on shirts. – We phoned Brendan O’Shea and he is paying $8 a shirt and spending $1,200 so he will have 150 shirts. Not a bad deal.

I phoned home and had a chat to mum and dad ($20) it will be great to see them in a couple of weeks although they will go nuts if I hopefully go to Hong Kong within about 3 days. I have got Jeff Taylors phone number so I will give him a ring later. We are off to the Bronx later to Lehman College and hopefully get rid of the last of the shirts.

4.30 On the way to the Bronx. I phoned JT twice but he had his answering machine on. I also phoned Joan Fuller a ring. We took the shirts around to Luke and he is working on them now. He printed a shedful to take to Lehman so we can take the “good stuff” i.e. Fruit of the Loom shirts rather than the rubbish that Bob gave us. We are much more organized than on Friday. We will actually be there early, but on Friday we got the break of having a table to sell off. Hopefully we will get another table tonight. – Inside the hall. We are staying in Pauline and Tom’s tonight.

Later on the Tube It’s a real nightmare on the tube – don’t feel threatened at all but seeing how people live when they are at the bottom of the pit. Walking through Penn Station you can see loads of people lying on the station at 5 O’clock for the night with a blanket over them. As we left the tube station a bloke with a stick announced to the whole carriage that he wasn’t an alcoholic or on drugs but he was starving – where do you look? I gave a handful of change – hardly generous, but what can you do? What would have happened if at the next station someone else came begging? It’s really awful. I feel ashamed a bit to have money, especially as we have 3 bags of shirts and if things went really well we could make about $200 in a night doing very little work.

It looks like Pat won’t be in on the Grand slam T Shirt. I think to repeat the cartoon 4 times would be boring so I could have the slapping the arse of one country, my Lions cartoon for the other and I would have to work something else out for the other two. Ideas could be a handoff in someone’s face and scoring a try in the last one.

½ 8 Another balls up, our planning is atrocious. I cannot believe we are making very simple mistakes. We caught a taxi to the Lehman centre and people were streaming out. – it started at 3pm – we looked at a poster and it clearly said it started at 3. We were only there 2 minutes and we sold 7 sweatshirts – there were about 2,000 people there apparently, so so so frustrating. On a positive note we only had about 50 of the poorer quality shirts. I am sure we would have got rid of them. We are making basic mistakes which are costing us a fortune.

We then went over to Pauline and Tom’s and Ger’s house who we were supposed to be staying with in the Bronx, but there was no one in. We were only going in for a coffee anyway. Pat’s quote sums it all up. “Just a night for F**K ups”. I am bored on this tube – not that I’d be happy if anything exciting happened. Time it’s taken to get to Long Beach = 2 hours – similar from driving from London – Bristol. Hopefully if we get our connections we will be back in the house by 10. So we have had 6 hours of waste.

I have got to get a new walkman.

Tomorrow we will go back in town for my job on “Wall St” – hit the dinnertime mkt then have an hour off and get them coming out of work as well. Needless to say I’m freezing.

Monday 5th March 2pm

On a train again, if we get a result on these shirts on St Paddy’s day no one can accuse us of being “lucky” – this is really hard work. After Friday’s result and Saturday’s disappointment + Sundays disaster we had another bad day – reason is it’s freezing. Me and Pat stood near Wall St for about 2 hours and we were unable to continue – it’s just too cold. Be fair, selling T Shirts when it is snowing is a bit beyond. We were going to go to the offices but is says no soliciting. I got warned by the police again so I moved for about 5 minutes.

We are thinking of going to Springfield Pennsylvania on Wednesday. It would be about 3 hours away – I may ring Heiler or Matty Lagowski.

I have also got to get a walkman as travelling on the train is so boring. I posted Nana’s birthday card today and I will phone her on Thursday.

Pat is laughing at the fact that we only sold 4 shirts in town – I, again brought the whole stock in. A rucksack of sweats and a bag of shirts. My rucksack needs sewing up. When I get back I will have it replaced as it’s under a lifetimes guarantee.

Tuesday 6th March 9am

Snowing out – not exactly T Shirt weather. Thank god we went into sweatshirts as well. After last nights wild goose chase into town I spent the evening on a wild goose chase with Brian running around every pub in the world having a club soda and not selling at all.

I phoned up Pan Am and hopefully I will be able to change the dates of the flights to the 19th which will be great if I can get to Hong Kong. I phoned up JT and he has got to run around finding info on the T Shirt.

6pm – A freezing cold day – really heavy snow all morning. I went for a bike ride this morning and dropped off 6 sweats off with Gerry to take to Islip. Get money Friday.

I then went to town – stopped off at Queens and sold Mary Gibbons 9 sweats – she dragged me down to $15. I got a daily mail (yesterdays) I then went to town and changed my ticket to the 19th. We had to pay $50 each. Siobhan priced my ticket to Hong Kong $500 but that’s BA – hopefully Cathays Pacific will be cheaper.

Me and Brian went and picked up a load of Sweats and T Shirts.

I phoned Jacko and he is through all the rigmarole of applying for residency. I will see him two weeks Friday in Cardiff for a beer, He had to have an AIDS check for his application – he hasn’t got it. Tomorrow it looks like me and Brian will be going to Pennsylvania to Philly to flog shirts.

God it’s cold.

In Grand central station I also got yesterdays Times. It is sickening how sycophantic IT IS TO Thatcher.

Good news is that Celtic beat Rangers in the cup. Big news is the Poll Tax. It is so unfair.

Wednesday 7th March 10.30pm

Another disastrous day on the Ireland shirts – they are starting to build up. Me and Brian went all the way to Philadelphia and sold 0.

Fair play we had a laugh though. We arrived at the place and the boss wasn’t there – we conned the people that we were with the Wolfetones and conned them into giving us a table. We were about to set up. I went to the loo and I could hear the boss “Jesus H Christ – what the f**king hell is this?” There was our table and the Wolfetones. He said to me “Are you with the Wolfetones?” I was saying well………….. Brian just disappeared. He wanted to see contracts and everything – so we buggered off. A journey home – back by ½ 9 what a waste of a day.

Pat is in Manhattan – hopefully he will have done well – but I doubt it.

Got back and Brendan O’ Shea hasn’t picked up the shirts – says he will pick them up on Monday.

The more I think of it the more I am looking forward to going home for a few days – The price of a ticket for Hong Kong looks like $550 – which is fairly steep.

No mail again. I was expecting a bit that should have come via NZ. I know Jacko, Kevin and Sharon sent letters to Auckland + I am not happy at all not to get a letter off Sally.

I am not quite sure whether to get my ticket for Hong Kong over here or wait till I get home. I definitely want to go – obviously we have got to do well on these Irish shirts – I know Pat will laugh after our result today but I am fairly confident.

Thursday 8th March 8pm

A really, really enjoyable day at last – a fair result on the shirts, did some sightseeing, took in a ball game and had a postcard from Sally. Up about 9 – cold out but not as cold as it has been. I phoned Nan – her 85th birthday. I told her that I would be home on the 20th and she promised not to tell anyone. She said she would try and “Cling on” till I got home.

Me and Pat got our bags together and Brian gave us a lift into town. We started selling very fast outside the World Trade centre – had some photo’s and then got moved on to our normal spot – “Broadway” The shirts went OK – more T’s than sweats. At ½ 2 we went for a pizza and then the tube to the Empire States Building. – An enjoyable couple of hours – more photo’s at the top. Equalizing coming down. Unfortunately we missed most of the people coming out of the offices, but we still sold a few. We then went to Madison Square Garden and saw a college basketball game. Really enjoyable – and only $10 – we moved to these brilliant seats. We saw the Uni of Pittsburgh beat the Uni of Boston. The best laugh was photo’s especially one of the most georgeous blonde cheerleaders. Me and Pat had the pom poms and she was in the middle – hopefully it will come out.

We bought the Today newspaper and the London Times – both yesterdays, and so sickenly right wing and sycophantic towards “we who are a grandmother”

All the news is the Poll Tax – huge demonstrations and loads of arrests.

Home via one beer, and a postcard from Sally from Hawaii. I had given up on her. She obviously had the flower (and poem) for Valentines Day and my card from Hawaii, but nothing else. I am pleased to see that she is travelling through the South Island. Tomorrow’s plan of attack is off to town early.

Friday 9th March 8pm

Another very good day in town. Up at ½ 9. Brian gave us a lift in to town. Pat was at the world trade centre, I was at Broadway + Brian picked up 7 dozen more T Shirts. Pat won the badge of employee of the day. I won it yesterday. Brian gave us his shirts and took the 7 dozen to Luke for printing. In the afternoon I got moved on by the police and went to help Pat. We virtually sold out of T shirts and only had Large sweats left, so we knocked it on the head at ½ 5. On the train home I wrote a letter to Sally suggesting she travels through Asia with me.

Tonight Brendan O’Shea phoned and he is coming around to pick up the 150 shirts he ordered. We made about $500 on that deal. We are going to the Inn tonight for a beer or two and tomorrow we are going to the Rockaway Irish Parade. Hopefully send Brendan to New Jersey or somewhere with his.

8.20 Just been watching the news about Britain and the Poll Tax. All the violence at the protests in London. All those people who ignored the miner’s situation. Exactly the same response by Thatcher. – Left Wing militant activists – so predictable.

Every paper will have the government line – one or two people will be highlighted as an example of the extreme left etc. Then they will fly the flag – how wonderful the police are – good councils etc. If there are any demonstrations on in Cardiff when I get home I will go. When the Poll tax was introduced in Scotland no one said a word. The people of Britain deserve it. They voted her in their droves and ignored the other protests. God I hate that woman – Ditch the Bitch.

Sunday 11th March 10am

Yesterday was the Far Rockaway parade – a bit of a result but not a resounding success. It was very, very cold. We got a taxi. – God that place is very, very rough. Pat went home early and I went on a lone mission to sell, sell, sell. I got waylaid in the rugby bar chatting to the ruggers. I got rid of all the Sweatshirts in the evening. Funny that the T Shirts were selling in Manhattan and we couldn’t get rid of sweats and the reverse was true yesterday. It poured down with rain last night so hopefully it would have cleared up for the Golden City St Patrick’s Parade, then on to Liam Brady tonight.

We have all taken back our initial investment of $400 each so everything now is profit. We have a guts full of sweats and 7 dozen T Shirts to pick up.

4.50 Just come back fro Garden city – a pleasantly sunny day – shifted about $450 worth of shirts – Virtually all T Shirts today, hardly any sweats.

I had a pleasant surprise of 2 letters waiting for me when I got home – One off Mary Carson’s – married on May the 26th – Invited to the wedding in Brighton – I will probably go. Also a letter off Catherine – she says the Poll Tax in Cardiff is £250 – called Thatcher a cow – good O’Brien political thought coming through from young Cath.

Brady tonight doesn’t look too promising.

½ 8 – Brian phoned up and Brady is defo out as they have the official ones. Pat is going to see the presentation tomorrow in Queens. I may go but I don’t really care. I gave Cathy a ring who I met yesterday and she is driving over to Long Beach for a beer this evening.

Just been watching American home videos on TV. Very funny – bound to catch on all over the world.

Monday 12th March 11.30

On the tube going to work on Wall St. Last night I took Cathy – or rather she took me in her car to The Inn and the Chauncey’s. She was telling me about the reason she can’t travel at the moment is because of her student loans (which they are bringing into Britain). She has to pay $500 a month for the next 10 years!!. Tonight I will stay in Manhattan and hopefully get to see Les Mis, but if that is not on the cards I might go to the flicks, perhaps to see My Left Foot – which has had rave reviews.

Weather is very mild and forecast is the same for next week so me and Pat have gone for T Shirts rather than sweatshirts. I am fairly optimistic and Pat is pessimistic because it’s a Monday and he has come to really hate flogging shirts.


Looks like I have missed the connection to Jamaica, so I want to get home for 2 – disadvantages of a big city. A fairly tedious day flogging t shirts – fairly cold. My biggest moan is I have developed a sore throat and it’s getting worse and worse and worse. Niggling doubts whether I will be fit for work tomorrow.

I am fairly bored with selling shirts myself. Give me a proper job. Cold and boring all day. Myself and Pat kept getting moved on. It looks like we will have to get more T Shirts, but we have too many sweatshirts – especially the large ones. I called for Cathy at her office and we got the tube to Les Miserables.

It was brilliant again. London, Sydney and now New York!!!

The show finished at 11, so now is the problem of getting home. I couldn’t really let Cathy go through the city on her own, so I had to go miles out of my way – I left her on the train with two stops to go in a “safe” neighbourhood. Another really nice girl who I may not see again because I am moving on – ships passing in the night + all that. One notable event in the theatre. When we were giving in our coats in to the cloakroom the woman in front of us had a fur coat + the bloke refused to take it – or anything with fur on – quite right as well.

I was hoping to get the 12.24 train but as it turns out I was lucky to get the 1.24 train as I went to the wrong stop and the next one is not till 3.24. I am absolutely knackered.

Tuesday 13th March 1pm

First really absolutely gorgeous day we have had and my throat is murder, I am a bit fluey – no real enthusiasm for doing anything so everything can just fester. In the diary is the Chieftans but I just don’t fancy going at all. I hope this doesn’t last for long. Last night we had a letter off Mike Ede.

3.30 – we phoned up Mike and had a chat for about 20 mins. He is very jealous of the things we are doing. – As it should be. We asked him about the poll tax and there were more huge riots in Islington. Mike couldn’t give a toss as he was paying rates anyway – He always was a Tory. I feel really, really rough.

Other world news is in Russia – Lithuania is trying to secede from the USSR and Gorbachev is gaining more power – some critics don’t trust him but at this moment in time I feel he is the strongest and best world leader in the world. Mandela would also be up there.

6.30 Siobhan has just come home from work with a quote from London Heathrow – Hong Kong on British Airways. Leaves Mon 26TH March 9.15 and gets in on Tuesday March 27th at 5.30pm – the price is £339 or $554.79. I am very tempted to take it as it would be fait accomple + I would have to do it. That is only one way so I would need money to get home.

Wednesday 14th March 9.20

Full cold now. – although my throat is better. Weather is absolutely georgeous. Me, Pat and Brian are all loading up to go to town. Hopefully to do well, but I think that tomorrow and Friday will be the big days. We have so many sweatshirts it’s untrue.

After yesterdays feeling of “I have got to go to Hong Kong” today I am having second thoughts. $600 to see a 7’s tournament – I would really love to go but the argument against going is that if I say travelled through Asia in April/May it would be in school time – when I was able to earn some cash doing some teaching. I could travel in August + I couldn’t gain any money from it at all. I think I will be offered a job in Gunnersbury because of the turnover of staff – I would be willing to do it till the end of term but there is no way I want to live in London. My main priority when I get home is learning to drive.

6.14 Sitting on the train on the way to Long Beach – Isn’t commuting fun. I feel rough as sin as my cold is right in my head now- I just want to go to bed. We did have a bit of a result today. I just scraped in winning “salesman of the day”. I got rid of 24 T Shirts and 4 sweats. We had grub in Houlihans which was quite pleasant for a change. Salad much better than Pizza’s and burgers. Tom and Brian worked. Tom has turned out to be a liability. He is never a salesman. On Saturday at Far Rockaway he sold 1 sweatshirt and then spent the $20 on a taxi home. He only sold 7 T shirts today but he was getting rid of them for $10 – so effectively after wages it was $8. I felt really tight only giving him $10 but we bought him grub and he never turned up till gone 1. This afternoon was really dead and after the gorgeous morning it clouded up and got really cold – I wouldn't be surprised if it poured down tonight. - Hope it doesn't rain tomorrow.

Later on the train – bored, been thinking all day of what to do when I get home – I would really enjoy being a rep on a travel agency for the summer. I will go to places like Top Deck, Thomas Cook and the infamous Club 18-30 and see what the crack is. It would be a good way to see Europe during the summer

11.30 – A quiet night in in which I spent most of the evening blowing my nose – god I feel rough and heavy headed. Weather outside is rain ad drizzle.

Papillon McCann

Thursday 15th March 10 am

A gorgeously sunny day – we are catching the later train because yesterday no one sold anything for the first hour. Weather forecast for Thursday Friday and Saturday is showers. Hopefully they wont materialise at all

10PM – an eventful day

I had an “arrest” assisted victory in the T Shirt seller of the day competition. Things were

going OK but at dinnertime Pat hadn't turned up which was unlike him as he is usually the first to finish. We waited and waited then me Brian and Tom went for a meal in Houlihans. I was flogging shirts where Pat usually is (outside the World Trade Centre) and a bloke bought a sweatshirt off me and said “You got away then?” I said “What do you mean”and he said that he saw Pat being arrested – What a story. Pat got charged with illegal street vendoring and resisting arrest. Apparently the police from the Port Authority came up to him and said “Have you got a license?” Pat said “Shall I move on 2 – Which is resisting arrest.

I went straight to the station and the cop said “I can guess whose friend you are. - I was wearing the Irish sweatshirt.

Luckily Pat had 1 phone call – Siobhan, whose dad has some clout and he was able to “Spring him”

Actually it wasn't funny at all – although we are all in hysterics now. Without Siobhan's dad Pat was facing at least a night in the Brooklyn detention centre. That would have been a nightmare – Just think of ll the real criminals in New York. Crack, murder etc. - Pat's fellow jailbirds were another vendor selling cuddly toys and some poor bugger who got caught jumping over the fence to get on the tube free.

Friday 16th March 10pm

All loaded up for what will hopefully be big day in town. It will be a worry if it is not. I will hopefully finish without being arrested Pat was up and out at 7 wearing a collar and tie for his court appearance at the Manhattan Criminal Court (for it his he). What a story to take back One of the main reasons he could have stayed overnight in the cells was because he is not a citizen. They took his photograph 4 sets of fingerprints (dabs) and read him his rights It goes without saying that terminates Pat's short T Shirt career. Weather is very pleasant so hopefully we wont get the forecasted rain. I am quite looking forward to the parade tomorrow, hopefully we wont have too much stuff to get rid of and I can enjoy it! We had a letter off Sharon saying that Colm knows about us being here and wishes us best of luck.

In the kitty is about $2200. I've virtually decided not to go to Hong Kong now – I will have to get some supply work I suppose. God just think that after nearly 2 years of traveling it's nearly all over What a laugh it's been.

One story of yesterday which was funny but nothing compared to Pat's escapades was Tom's efforts – He only sold 6 shirts yesterday so I gave him “my place” outside the bank in the afternoon. I think he sold 1 but after waiting for Pat to be released we walked past and he had left a sweatshirt hanging up.

11.30 On the train on the way back to Long beach. I suppose a very successful day. I took about $300 in the morning and $200 in the afternoon. I think Tom sold about 4 but he had a good meal at lunchtime. Pat went to court and all the coppers couldn't believe that anybody could be charged with anything so petty – he has to go in on Monday. They were recommending him to rip it up and leave the country.

In the evening me and Pat went to see the Pogues. McGowan was fairly sober and it was much better than in Auckland. I have got to get a Celtic Shirt. I did some flogging of shirts so I left for the encore. Big mistake as I only sold 6. Me and Pat were in the “scrum” most of the night – behaving like two 19 year olds at the Jam. Was a bargain at $10

Big day tomorrow cos of Paddies Day. I am really looking forward to it. We have only got sweatshirts to sell really. If Pat wouldn't have been arrested we would have done more T Shirts but we will get rid of what we have and see what we get.

Saturday 17th March St Patrick's Day

Big day today – we have $3000 in the kitty anyway so we are winning. Good news is that it is fairly cold so the sweatshirts should go well. Really bad news is I can't find my camera anywhere.

7.30 Absolutely shattered – sitting on the train on the way back from town with an empty bag which is brilliant. We all sold out but at times Siobhan Brian and Eileen were virtually giving them away. We got to town far,far too late – there were millions of people – you could hardly see the parade. Virtually every single person was wearing green. I doubt if I will see more impressive parade. It certainly beats the Lady Mary contingent at the Corpus Christi parade in Cardiff.

I phoned dad early in the day: big big surprise Scotland bet England 13-7 what a turn up for the books. I thought England would stick 30 on them. So Scotland win the Grand Slam.

I asked for the Wales, Ireland score and it is being played next week because all the Yanks had booked up the Dublin hotels because of St Patrick's day.

That is really brilliant now, because it means me and Pat can go to Ireland next weekend to see the game so we can tag another week onto our travels. I am really looking forward to going home now. I am absolutely shattered.

Monday 18th March 10.30

Just got out of my pit – god I was really tired yesterday – a fantastic parade. Home tomorrow – a few things to do. Haircut, new daps, new jeans. I have been looking at last years diary and it's coming up to Easter – hopefully St Peter's will be having a tour to somewhere in Britain over Easter. If they are – I am “in”. What a good couple of weeks to look forward to – what with the Irish trip and hopefully a tour.

1130 – I phoned Jacko and he looks like he is off to Australia in a month so I will have a weekend in London as well.

Finances – I have got $1800 to take home – I will have to get a job straight away – spend a few bob on clothe tomorrow. Ii had to pay a phone bill of $170 – nightmare

I phoned Madison Square Gardens to see what is on tonight and there is a hockey game – The Rangers are playing the Cannucks. I defo don't want the blue noses to win – it would be a a good crack to go.

11.30 Not too impressed with seeing my first Ice Hockey game. Rangers were beating Vancouver 4-2 with 6 minutes left. It was very fast which was impressive and the third goal was a gem. Also some really good scraps but something seemed to be missing. It is all the hype and the repetitive tapes going on and on and on and on. The crowd seemed to be very plastic, clapping twice in response to one tape and 3 times in response to another. The train was leaving Penn Station t 10.10 or 11.10 and both of us couldn't give a monkeys who won so we left before the game had finished. I can't remember any sport in which I had felt like that. I have started doing some packing but I still have a bit to do. This time tomorrow I will be on a plane and it will be nearly all over apart from Ireland which I am looking forward to.

Monday 19th March 1pm

Well; I am ll set for the off now. I am ll packed. I hope I haven't forgotten anything over here. I got myself a new pair of daps. A “NY” hat and had a “going home” haircut. Pat has gone to town to sort out his criminal activities at the Manhattan central court. The postman has been and nothing again. Sally said on the phone last week that she wrote me a letter so it will have to be sent on. I was to get jeans but couldn't find any. I am just waiting around for the flight.

3.30 Freezing. Pat got a $25 fine with no criminal charges - what a waste of time because of some jobs worth copper. Especially in a city like New York where there is so much crime. We went for grub and got Siobhan some flowers. Our flights have been reconfirmed and at the moment it is due to leave on time.

Just about to take off – luckily Brian gave us a lift to the airport – just as it was starting to rain.

So it’s goodbye to New York – my impressions are it is definitely a dangerous and dirty city. Every time you opened the papers there were stories about stabbing, murder and violence. They all seemed to have a common denominator – CRACK. – that stuff is so cheap. $5 a vial apparently.

So the UK beckons – very mixed feelings. Of course I can’t wait to see all the family again. It will be great to surprise them. On the negative side – what do I do now? I am bound to go back to teaching but I am entering a profession with no real hope. Teaching is, and will continue to be dragged downhill. Still it will be better than selling bloody T Shirts. I want to get my driving license very soon. It is to my shame that I haven’t got it yet.

Bad news on the plane is that it is fully booked so that there are no spare seats to spread out. I have got dad a litre of Glenfiddich and mum a litre of Bailey’s. – Pat will take the Bailey’s through customs for me. I will go to Gunnersbury for the morning before getting the bus home. I am quite looking forward to seeing SW lads again and Nolesy, Caroline, Jim, Bob etc. Hopefully I will be able to get in before school starts or otherwise I will interrupt their lessons. I am also sniffing for some supply teaching if I can’t get a job in the travel game over the summer.

¾ an hour to landing

This is a specially designed flight to completely bugger up your system. It’s only 5 hours so they mess around for the first 3 hours giving you drinks etc and just when you decide to go to sleep the captain says there is no point in going to sleep as there are only 45 minutes left. Pat has decided to go to Gunnersbury for the day as well for a laugh. Weather in London is supposed to be foggy. I want to go back to Australia already. They are waking up all the foreigners now to give them a landing card. All the poor British don’t have to fill them in. We have just got to pay zillions in Poll tax

Reading the guardian on the plane – so much has happened since I left. Poll tax and student loans. They are trying to do away with child benefit etc. She has got to go down in history as an evil bitch. God I despise that woman.

Other unbelievable changes have been in Eastern Europe directly attributed to Gorbachev, and of course the best thing Nelson Mandela has his freedom. Other events have been the increase in environmentalism.

Other increases is the size of my gut and the decrease of my pate (I am bored)

Just looking out of the window I can see some serious dawn taking place, it’s strange that we didn’t have to pay any poll tax at the airport on the way out.

10 mins to landing

We have just been told to stick on our seatbelts. Ridiculous really. Thinking of Billy Connolly’s advice. Can you imagine crashing into the side of a mountain, how would a seatbelt help? Everyone shouting together, “Go away nasty mountain”