The Ever so Slightly Mad Roundabout


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No doubt you've googled "melbourne" and "collingwood", and arrived here by mistake. First off, yes, I have the same name, and yes, I'm in the same city, but this website has absolutely nothing to do with the pies. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's continue.........

Right, You've landed in my world. I am Frank Collingwood, youngest son of John and Pat, brother of Chris, Gerard, Pete and Teri, father of Chris, Jason and Marc. Now a resident of Melbourne (Australia, not Florida), but previously of Auckland (NZ), Frankfurt a.M. (Germany), Stone Cross (UK), Stevenage (UK), London (UK, not Ontario), Johannesburg (SA), Durban (SA), Pietermaritzburg (SA) and Bulawayo (Rhodesia). My two favourite passtimes are scuba diving and flying, with flying taking the front seat at the moment.

I moved here permanently in Jan 2004, after seperating from my ex-wife. I wasn't new to Melbourne though, having been over since May of the previous year, flying back to NZ for weekends. Now to confuse some more.......I'm not a sheepshagger, and was only in NZ because the company I was working for in Germany went bust. I'm not German either, but was in Frankfurt because my skills were needed there, and the UK Telecoms industry was a bit wobbly. But.......I'm not British either (Well, I am, we'll get to that later), having arrived in the UK as a backpacker from Seth Efrika just over 10 years ago. I'm not South African either, having been born in a little country called Rhodesia.

"Where?", I hear you ask

Rhodesia. A country which doesn't exist anymore. So, seeing as the only passport I have is British, and the place which really played the major part in forming me as I am today was England, I consider myself to be English. Simple.

Update: I've been back in Auckland since Jan 2005, it was just all too hard being so far away from the boys. I'm enjoying the contact with them and look forward to the weekends I have them.

UPDATE 17/10/2006: Some spammer scumbag has been sending out spam with forged headers showing the sender as being from the domain.


Now that I've got that off my chest, if you are receiving spam that seems to come from an address on my domain, please check very carefully the IP address where it actually originated from, that is where you will find the culprit, and where you need to complain. If you don't know how to read email headers, just google it, there's plenty of information out there on the web.

::: Wednesday November 14, 2007 :::

The BIG monitor

The DVIator arrived from the US today. This is an interface to adapt the proprietry Apple ADC monitor connector to DVI, USB and power. Why do I need one of these? Well, I got myself an Apple 23" widescreen cinema display, which has an ADC connector.

I suppose I could have quite easily have cut the plug off the monitor, and soldered the required plugs on myself, but I didn't for several reasons:
1. The PSU required is 25V 3A, a costly beast
2. My time.
I calculated that $56 plus postage for the DVIator came to less than the cost of my time and PSU.

I now have the new monitor and my old 19" LCD side by side, running off a Radeon X1600 Pro graphics card, and am enjoying the screen real estate. I have just played a game of Command & Conquer, and Doom 3, and the quality of the Apple display is awesome, as it should be at 1920 x 1200 pixels.

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::: Tuesday November 06, 2007 :::

Transferring a pension from the UK to New Zealand

Recently I contacted one of the local firms who specialise in transferring pensions from the UK to New Zealand. This company claims on their website that one shouldn't go to the smaller firms as they didn't have the expertise, had hidden charges, yadda, yadda, yadda. So I set up a meeting.

Along came the day of the meeting, and, clutching my paperwork, I made my way to the cafe where I'd agreed to meet the "consultant". He took me through their process, explaining their fees, and explaining that there'd be two sets of fees, one for each of my pensions. As they charge a percentage, with a minimum charge of NZ$1500 per scheme transferred, half of my smaller fund would have gone in their their transfer fees for that fund alone, let alone the fees for my other, much larger, scheme. I questioned these charges, and was informed that there was an awful lot of paperwork, it was a very complicated process, the funds had to be transferred into a qualifying fund to avoid UK tax of 55% of the fund (Which I already knew), yadda, yadda, yadda.

A few days later, I was in my bank, and on the spur of the moment, asked to see an adviser regarding a pension plan. "No worries", was the reply, and the next day, I met with one of their investment advisers. He was well aware of the fact that the plan had to be one approved by HM Governments tax man, in order to avoid the 55% tax, he got the paperwork done to start the plan, and told me to expect some correspondence from my UK pension providers.

A few weeks later, a questionnaire arrived from one of the providers; I filled it in, and forwarded it to my banks investment adviser to complete the pension plan section. A day or two later, a similar questionnaire from the other provider arrived, along with a request for a certified copy of my birth certificate, which was treated in the same way. A few weeks later, the money was transferred into my new NZ pension plan.

The total charge for this?

The princely sum of NZ$ 0.00

So, if you're transferring your pension, it pays to talk to your bank, rather than to the scalpers who charge lots of money to do what amounts to bugger-all

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