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Current status is:

Position Score
1 -1 Dave
2= -9 Me Dec
4 -15 Alex
5 -26 Pease

Pease seems to think that England will win by 12 at Croke Park. He is a nutter.

Predictions for this weekend are:

Me Dec Alex Pease Dave
France vs Wales France by 5 Wales by 9 Wales by 6 Wales by 8 Wales by 3
Scotland vs Italy Scotland by 10 Italy by 6 Scotland by 8 Italy by 5 Scotland by 8
Ireland vs England Ireland by 10 Ireland by 12 England by 4 England by 12 Ireland by 9

Last week, I pondered whether to head East via Central Asia (Tashkent, Samarkand – Uzbekistan; Bishkek – Kyrgystan; Almaty – Kazakhstan) or via Russia and Mongolia (Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Lake Baikal; Ulaan Baatur). The simplest way, of course, would be to go one way (e.g. trans-Mongolian) on the way out, and the other (Silk Road) on the way back. The problem comes that I don’t want to come back that way, I want to head off to Tibet. Or Japan. Or Cambodia. Or, you know, anywhere that’s not back to Russia. This is also not entirely due to the fact that getting visas for Russia is a royal pain in the arse. You need letters of invitation and precise itineraries for everything. Or, you know, to be be Ewan McGregor.

At the same time, I could go down to Kazakhstan, faff around that way for a while, head back to Moscow and then head East. But going back on yourself just feels wrong when travelling. Just as flying does.

Bah. I’d also quite like to go on a tour. I’ll probably be travelling on my own quite a bit and, well, I’m mildly insufferable and am unwilling to inflict myself on, uhh, myself for large periods of time. However, tours seem to be split extremely between slightly more active Saga trips and legions of drunk Australians. Why is there no middle ground?

Should probably learn Cyrillic too.

An improved performance by England, but they still lost. A similar thing could be said for Declan this week. Current leaderboard:

Position Score
1 -1 Dave
2= -9 Me Dec
4 -15 Alex
5 -26 Pease

Western United States
Eastern United States
Central America
Great Britain
Northern Europe
Western Europe
Southern Europe
North Africa
South Africa

…are all the Risk territories I’ve visited. 15. That’s pretty poor. Even worse, I’m nowhere near getting a continent.

So after Round 1, the leaderboard looks like this:

Position Score
1= -5 Me Dave
3= -17 Alex Ant
5 -18 Dec

Predictions for this weekend are:

Me Dec Alex Pease Dave
France vs Scotland France by 12 France by 23 France by 19 France by 15 France by 13
Wales vs England Wales by 15 Wales by 10 Wales by 9 Wales by 10 Wales by 8
Italy vs Ireland Ireland by 20 Ireland by 29 Ireland by 27 Ireland by 13 Ireland by 12

With the Six Nations beginning tomorrow, it seems an appropriate time to lose some money to Declan. Or someone else. But most likely Declan. Anyway, the rules of the game are simple:

Each person puts £10 in.
Winner takes all.

For each game pick a winner and by how many points.

+5 for the right winner
+10 for the exact right points difference
-1 for each points difference out

e.g. England vs Italy guess England win by 10 points.

If England win 23-13 – +15
If England win 23-12 – +4
If England win 23-15 – +4
If England lose 23-13 – -20

Winner is the one with the most overall points at the end.

Predictions for the first round are below:

Me Dec Alex Pease Dave
England vs Italy England by 10 England by 15 England by 17 England by 15 England by 13
Ireland vs France Ireland by 7 France by 8 France by 5 France by 5 Ireland by 3
Scotland vs Wales Wales by 10 Wales by 12 Wales by 8 Wales by 10 Wales by 15

When travelling overland to Beijing, where do you start from?

St Petersburg?

While going through Siberia and then Ulaan Baatur would allow you to pick up Ural, Yakutsk, Irkutsk and Mongolia on the way – which is worth at least one extra army per turn, would it be more interesting to cut through Kazakhstan and visit Samarkand and Almaty?

If you were to visit every province on a Risk board and play Risk there, in the spirit of the game would you be honour-bound to start in Australia? (Or if you were a thinking man, in South America).

Is New Zealand the largest island not to feature on the Risk board?

Is my interest in travel being rapidly overtaken by my interest in Risk?

Recently, my work has begun to… fade toward tedium. I’m not saying that this is a direct result of my (not particularly dynamic) company being bought by another (even less dynamic) company, actually, wait, no, that’s pretty much exactly what I’m saying. There are lots of complexities about this takeover, but despite an abundance of naive optimism on my and many other’s parts, the new entity appears to be moving towards a conservative, protectionist base.

The result of this decrease in pressure at work is that I have more time outside of work to let my mind wander. And when my mind wanders it goes straight to travel (especially when Roxane‘s having so much fun). So over the next few weeks, I’m gonna start looking at journeys, organised and not, looking at countries and cities I want to visit. Yup, it’s an excuse to perve over maps. My current top ten places I want to visit is below, it’ll be interesting to see as I read and investigate how these change.

Top Ten Places to Go (in no particular order)

New Zealand

*Countries I’ve previously visited