Tuesday, 6 December 2016


I played tennis again today. The local tennis club meets on Tuesday mornings and last week Rod and I went along and signed up.
We bashed balls around for a couple of hours before deciding that we could do this.
I must admit that the old joints were a bit stiff afterwards and I had to soak in the bath afterwards.

Today my play was a bit better but I managed to hurt my wrist. It's bloody sore and I had to get a wrist band and voltaren tablets from the chemist.

Looking up the internet I discovered that there is such a thing as Tennis Wrist. I'd heard of Tennis Elbow before but not this. It's a sort of tendonitis at the lower ulna area and even the great tennis players get it so I'm in good company.

It was really hot today - a scorcher. We play between 9AM and 11.30 at which time it is just too hot to play. I went home and then straight in for a swim as it was nearly high tide. The water was beautiful - very refreshing.

I hope the wrist comes right by next week.

Monday, 5 December 2016


Welcome to the Prime Minister Selection Panel where candidates must pass the mandatory pronunciation stage before progressing to the next level.

As you know Shonkey the outgoing Prime Minister could never properly pronounce New Zealand which has led to embarrassment around the word and given comedians like John Oliver fuel for mockery.

We have of course thousands of applicants and will process these in small batches.
The first batch will be led off by Shonkey himself.

Shonkey:  "Nyoo Sillund"

Bill English: "Nyu Zullind"

Pam Corkery: "New Fuckin Zeeland"

Paula Bennett: "Newzland"

Amy Adams: "New Zeelind"

Don Brash" "Singapore"

Gerry Brownlee: "Nah Zullin"

Judith Collins: "Neeow Zeland"

Gareth Morgan: "My Zealand"

Roshan Nauhria: "New Zealand"

And the winner of the first round is .........

Sunday, 4 December 2016


When I was a kid I used to do a paper round in Wellington.

People of my generation (born in 1952) will remember this as 'paper boys' were a usual sight around the suburbs between 4 and 6pm Monday to Saturday.

In Wellington we delivered The Evening Post which was a decent regional daily now a casualty of media enterprise rationalisation and printed media decline at the hands of the new 'social' media.

When I came home from school I would get my 'paper bag' - a canvas satchel that could hold up to 40 or 50 newspapers. This had a shoulder strap that could accommodate most weights except for those very heavy Thursday and  Saturday papers which were expanded with sports and racing news. I would, at about 4pm wait at the nearby bus stop for the newspaper delivery van to drop off my delivery items. These were pre-sorted by the individual route - a horrendously expensive and (commercially speaking) inefficient delivery system by todays standards but, at the time worked.
I would load up and set off. My route was a few streets in my neighbourhood, delivering The Evening Post to subscribers. It was a pretty easy job made only difficult by winter weather (rain, cold and thunderstorms) and by the 'gangs' from neighbourhoods at a distance from where I lived.

The 'gangs' at this stage weren't the GANGS that we have heard about from the 1970s onwards.

The neighbourhood 'gangs' were clusters of kids of all ages that lived in the same street or couple of streets near to where they lived. Generally the were quite inoffensive but were a bit territorial as indeed I, my brother and friends were.



On my paper delivery route, which was about three or four streets away from where I lived was Mana Street which had a group of feral kids known (not surprisingly) as the Mana Street Gang.
I was at this time about 10 or 11 - grown up and street-wise. I used to plan my deliveries with a leisurely run through the 'safe' streets and then a quick dash down Mana Street which had a dangerous, curving walkway in the middle. This walkway was downhill for  me and surrounded by bush.  On many occasions I was ambushed by the Mana Street Gang who would challenge me and try to beat me with sticks and throw rocks at me. There were always three of four of them - enough to make it threatening. Now this didn't happen every day but it did happen enough times for it to be of concern to me. At one stage I took to wearing a shoulder protection harness that I got from some neighbours who were American football fans This obviously was far too large for me and looked ridiculous but it gave me a measure of security and, when carrying those heavy Thursday and Saturday papers, stopped that satchel strap digging into me.

I remember on one of the Saturday deliveries, with a heavy load of papers,I was unable to quickly navigate the 'ambush gully' and the Mana street Gang who were hiding in the bushes jumped out on me. They were brandishing wooden swords which at the time were the aggressive toys of the day and which we all made.

These ones were pretty good and the leader of the Mana street Gang had a pretty impressive one. It had silver studs along the 'blade' and across the cross-piece which made it look a bit more imposing than it really was. When they jumped on me and rained blows, as we were all pretty close I was able to bash into them using my heavy paper  bag as a weapon and winded a couple of them. The cumbersome shoulder harness worked out pretty well as the guy with the fancy sword was shaken by the fact that he failed to deter me and I was able to wrestle it away from him and make my escape.

The next day, Sunday, I decided to modify the captured sword. My dad had a great garage that was chock-a-block with tools and work benches. I added to the silver studs with cut-off lead headed roofing nails that were both bigger and heavier. The result was a wooden sword cross knuckle duster.

On my next delivery day, Monday, I was ready in case those Mana Street jokers came at me. I had practiced my routine with some fancy swings, jabs, parries and feints which were made all the more difficult because of the weight of the sword. I had it hidden in the satchel ready to draw. I raced through my other streets delivery and was all hyped up for a confrontation. My heart was racing and I must admit that I was a bit shaky.

As I approached the pathway where the previous confrontations had happened I grabbed the handle of my sword ready for the inevitable ambush. Nothing happened.  When I approached the driveway of the next house a woman stepped out and she gave me a bit of a fright. I jumped. She put out a reassuring hand and said that she had witnessed the Saturday encounter and wanted to apologise for her son's and his friends behavior. She called to them to come out and apologise and, duly, four of these little bastards scrotes penitents emerged and mumbled sorry to me. I left (keeping the sword) and never had a problem again. Soon after I was 'promoted' with a paper stand job on Saturdays on the corner of Grey street and Customhouse Quay making more money in one 2 hour shift (from tips) than the 6 day paper round job.

I must admit though that I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get a chance to scone those bastards with my modified sword. From my point of view they deserved a 'skelping'.