Remember remember the 5th of November…

Evening all!



So i wasn’t planing on doing a post about the 5th November/Guy Fawkes/Bonfire night thing, first off because number 1. i’m not out watching the fireworks as it’s too damn cold (i am in Scotland after all!) and number 2. I didn’t have any real opinion or thoughts about it that i wanted to chat about.

However…after listening to the fireworks going off continuously in the distance for the last hour and a half, it gave me some interest.

I should really start off explaining first off what it actually is as i think some folk either don’t celebrate it or have probably not even heard of it. Truth be told i’m not sure what other countries around the world observe this particular day, i would imagine it would be mainly the UK and the Commonwealth. I also believe films such as V for Vendetta have helped expose it to more people i guess?


So, here in the UK every year on the 5th November we have ‘Guy Fawkes night’ or ‘Bonfire night’ and it all started back in 1605 when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the Houses of Parliament in London. To celebrate King James l surviving the gunpowder plot, bonfires were allowed to be lit around London (in modern times you’ll probably see an effigy of Guy Fawkes on the bonfire). Modern day fireworks are used to give a grand display as if the plot had actually went ahead and blew Parliament up. There is a lot more history and backstory related to this fascinating event but i wanted to keep the post relatively short and lighthearted.

Of course nowadays whilst the day is still commemorated, the event is more of an organised family thing with city councils putting on organised firework displays up and down the country.



So who else observes this strange day?

Also how do you feel about celebrating this day?


Off for a brew…



Throbbing Thursday…

‘Throbbing’– Something that can be described as cringey/bit too keen or even possibly irritating/annoying. I have had one of those days. ‘Today has been proper throbbing’

The reason for this day being…a wee bit gash, is due to my recent bad news from a job application i had submitted a month ago. Now, i left the Navy in September with certain plans in mind and a clear understanding of what i needed academically for this new job i wanted.

Unfortunately, almost 16 years after leaving school i have just found out that my math grade…is below the requirement…bugger.

Now i would just like to stand up right now and make a confession here folks…

My name is Nicky…and i cannot for love nor money ‘do’ Math.



I truly cannot even begin to fathom fractions, decimals are dicks and don’t even get me started on percentages. It’s not like i have always been rubbish at Math, in fact at one point in High school i was in the right class for me, everyone was at the same stage, we were all progressing at the same rate, no one was being pushed too far or left behind, the teacher was really good as well and for once i genuinely felt happy and comfortable in a subject i was always weak at.

So where did it all go wrong i hear you ask?

Well apparently i was doing so well that i got pushed up into a more advanced class…great, absolutely…erm…great. Now don’t get me wrong i was proper chuffed to bits that the teacher felt i was good enough to get into the top class, it gave me a little boost you know?

Unfortunately, my ‘chuffedness’ wasn’t to last long, as i found myself slowly, little by little falling behind in a class i was just not ready for. Eventually leading me to lose all confidence and get put down into an even lower class than what i started off in!  To top it all off, if i had remained in that original class…i would have eventually gotten the grade that i am now 16 years later having to study for!!!

Hindsight is an incredible thing, i heard it often throughout my teenage years but never really took much notice of it, i imagine a few other folks have had that same experience.

Now something i will always do (and i believe the military ingrained this into me) is if i ever mess up or make a mistake, then i’ll always be the first to hold my hand up and say ‘yep, that was my fault, i cocked up!’  I would never expect someone else to take the blame for my failings. So whilst i don’t blame the school or the teachers (who were just doing their job) i just wish that i had been either kept in that original class or returned to it after it was obvious i couldn’t keep up with the workload.

This is where hindsight comes in…

As an adult, there is a helluva lot i would like to say to my ‘High school self’!

That may be the understatement of the year! (I will probably go more in depth in a later blog about this scenario as i think i’ll get a good rant out of it!)

I would say to teenage me…

First off, put that down it’s not yours.

I would tell me that i need to speak up, i know it’s difficult and doesn’t feel right or natural  but you need to tell the teacher you are struggling otherwise they wont be able to help you.

Secondly i am aware that Math is your/our weakest subject, that is why you need to concentrate MORE not shy away and keep quiet when the teacher asks questions and you just hope the bell hurries up and rings.

This subject is what will cause you the most problems in future, most if not every decent job nowadays requires a decent level of maths grade, just because you have the minimum required to get into the Navy doesn’t mean you should stop there and rest on your laurels, because believe it or not at some point you are going to leave the navy to pursue a different career choice and that choice needs a better grade than the navy did! (You’ll still have a blast in the navy though!)  traditions-drunk-sailors-tradition-demotivational-poster-1283194325

I’m not saying these things lightly or for fun, believe me Math is the last subject i would relate ‘fun’ with, but unfortunately employers look fondly on certain grade levels…never mind the fact that i have completed 16 successful years as an adult (still alive and kicking!) with 7 of those years as an air engineering technician working on Naval aircraft (very skilled and technical job) without ever needing to use anything more than basic maths skills…

This is not me being ‘down’ on math or anything but realistically speaking in all my time as an adult in the big bad world, i have never needed to use any math more advanced than basic adding/subtracting/multiply/divide. Percentages maybe at a stretch but certainly not pythagorus, what is the area of the circle, formula etc

Now before anyone jumps on me for saying that last bit let me just clear this up: Yes i understand why that may be useful for other folk, say someone who is interested in pursuing a career as an architect maybe or some sort of engineering, but myself personally have never required such skills.

But i am digressing…

An important point to make is that while you’re at school, you have all the time in the world to study for Math, you don’t have a job or a house or any money worries to fret over, that’s what the parental type folks do. You are being given all this time during the day to get this stuff squared away, yes you have social things on in the evenings or weekends every so often but you still have all this opportunity to study and get good grades and it’s practically right there on a silver platter for you. ‘Adult me’ has to think about work…to earn money…to pay for a car, a house next year, everyday things and so on and so forth.

So now, young teenage me, here i am 16 years later feeling absolutely gutted that the job i so desperately want is now set back a good 2 years whilst i try and get this damn grade improved at college.

Yes folks, hindsight is a hell of a thing,

On the plus side i now have 2 years to train for the fitness test!




Off for a brew…






Whatever Wednesday ;-)


Tonight it’s ‘Whatever Wednesday’ and this blog is sponsored by my mother’s amazing brew making skills (yep i like it milky…i am a heathen) in an extremely old Slipknot mug i’m pretty sure i’ve had for at least 10 years i think?

Brew is being guarded by Lance Corporal Red, he’s pretty nails by all accounts.

shadowsfall_threads      Music wise i have Shadows Fall currently flowing sweetly through the speakers. Saw them at Download Festival a few years ago (ok maybe quite a few years ago now!) For anyone that hasn’t heard of Download, it’s a pretty decent 3 day metal fest that takes place in June every year at Donnington Race Track in England.

So a little bit about me…

I was born and grew up in Dundee, Scotland, which is an ok-ish place i guess…it’s not the most fancy place i ever been but the family are here so here i am too!

I left home at 20 to join the Royal Navy in 2003 and after 8 weeks basic training at HMS Raleigh (Torpoint in Devon) i officially passed into the RN as an Air Engineering Mechanic.

From there i went on to Initial Training Group at HMS Sultan where the Navy trains the Marine and Air Engineers. I learned all about aircraft, theory of flight, electrical, radio and mechanical systems and a whole other bunch of stuff! The thing that made my time at Sultan stand out though was that it was there i met i girl who was several weeks ahead of me on the senior course and who i happened to be sharing a 4 man room with, that girl would become my best mate and we would over the years share a hell of a lot of adventures, stories and drunken escapades!!!

After my course at Sultan i then went to a navy air station down in Helston, Cornwall to learn all about my new chosen aircraft, the Merlin Helicopter.

I would spend the next 7 years at culdrose working on 824 and 814 squadrons, enjoying the Cornish life (seriously if you’ve never been to Cornwall – GO! Helston has a delightful tradition in ‘Flora Day’ where the whole town gets involved and has a parade, music and dances around the streets, there is a whole town party atmosphere and best of all…the pubs open earlier and you can pretty much walk out of one pub with your pint, sit out on the street with everyone to chat, watch the parade or just have a bimble around and you can guarantee pretty much EVERYONE you know will be there getting on it!

I loved my time down in Cornwall, it’s an amazing place and has a real laid back feel to it, but unfortunately i had to leave to start my next phase of my Naval career which was train to become a photographer!

That’ll do for now, i’ll continue on next time!

Off for a brew…








First blog post

Right first post, so best not cock this up!


What’s up everyone! My name is Nicky and i’ve started my blog ‘A brew and a blether’ with the intention of sharing some of my experiences, thoughts and pretty much just chatting about whatever comes to mind (as if you were sitting down with an old mate having a good old catch up) – for future reference i have a tea white 2 please!

A little about me, i served in the Royal Navy for 13 years (left in Sept 16) so not that long ago! I will be sharing some of my experiences, photos and stories with you all.

If you or any of your friends/family are considering a military career then i would be happy to answer any questions or worries you may have (as long as it’s UK Armed Forces, sorry i have no idea about how it works for other countries! I could probably hazard a good guess though)

Whilst i was in the Navy i trained to become a professional photographer, so i will be sharing quite a lot of pics from not just my time serving but also some of my personal portfolio.

After 13 years sailing around the world i have such a huge love for travel and can’t truly express the feeling i get when i go somewhere new and just explore! Fun fact – I have been to all 7 continents (yep including Antarctica!)

I also want to talk about subjects such as art, music, films, books, computer games and many more.

Like i say if there is anything you want to have a blether about then send me a message and i’ll feature the questions in an upcoming blog and i will try and answer as best as i can.

Right, think that’ll do for a first post, all the best!

Off for a brew…