Sunday, 29 March 2015



 Remember this?


 I was thinking of it yesterday as I was flying to Whangarei.
I was sitting in 10A in Air NZ's Bombardier which was the emergency exit row and I was looking out below the wing at the landing wheel mechanism.



It was intriguing watching the hydraulics operate when the mechanism was operating on take-off and disengaged in the air.

I was thinking of the things that can go wrong.

Watching as the plane ran down the runway I was impressed at how the wheel mechanism handled the pressures and stresses imposed by the velocity and the bumping from contact with the tarmac.
Peering closely I could see all of the external components - little hydraulic valves, connecting joints, hinges, flanges, etc, all rattling and moving and I though "Gee, I hope that they're in good nick"

Fortunately, Air New Zealand has a really good maintenance programme, discipline and record and I think, leads the world in this.

I felt reassured but couldn't help thinking of that old kid's radio programme (1947) that I first heard in about 1959. It resonated.

Mind you, in light of recent developments, aircraft maintenance is second to terrorism and the fact that our lives are in the hands of a pilot who may or may not be suicidal.


I had a great weekend up at our Northland house.
Having taken advantage of some really cheap Air New Zealand flights I was able to fly again to Onerahi for only a little more than the cost of the bus that I usually use.

The weather was great and in fact on Saturday afternoon it was so hot and with no wind that on a walk I felt a bit faint.
Arriving back home I was hot so went for a swim.
The harbour was as flat as a millpond and the water still relatively warm so for me (a wimp when it comes to getting in to the water) it only took about 5 minutes to get in up to my neck. I was still wearing my glasses and cap as I hadn't planned to dive in. If I had I'd have worn my serious swimming gear.

I frolicked about, swam (head above water) floated and did everything except pee in the water for about 40 minutes. Magic! Even more so since it's almost April and definitely Autumn.

Arriving home this evening I managed to get our TV in the apartment to accept PRIME TV. This involved wheeling the TV away from the wall and positioning it in the doorway out to the deck. Reception is better and I can now watch the cricket although at this stage (Australia just starting their batting) I don't know if that's a good thing.

Hey! A wicket. Australia 2 runs for one. Brilliant. I take it back.

Home-made pizza and  Hawkes Bay Chardonnay - what could be better?

The weekend had a sour note though as on Saturday afternoon the local fire station's siren (an old WW2 alarm) went off and looking out I saw black smoke across the bay not far from the fire station.

A house burnt down to the ground in a matter of half an hour. No-one hurt thankfully.

It makes you think.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

OK WE WON.....

on the last or second to last fricken ball!

Bloody hell!

I don't have SKY TV and Prime doesn't work in the apartment so I relied on getting updates from the computer. It really looked like we were down the drain but then........

This is what happened when that 6 was hit.

Sky Tower let off fireworks.

Well done those despicable money grubbing bastards.

Sunday, 22 March 2015




Good song that.

To complete my weekend I went to the Auckland Art Gallery today.

Billy Apple has an exhibition there.

This is Billy Apple the Warhol inspired New Zealand artist who has dabbled at the fringes of the art world for half a century.

He cleverly and cynically employed a 'sell-out' strategy selling pieces of art that were IOU's, cheques, signatures and all sorts of crap. It was kind of funny once or twice (like Dick Frizzell's stuff) but when overdone is a bit boring.

It didn't discourage the noters and the 'unsure' art buyers who would pay money for it "just in case".

Quite frankly it doesn't do a lot for me.

It didn't do a lot for my mother either.
In 1975, Apple brought his installation sculptures to New Zealand. In Wellington he set up one of these in the Taj Mahal (which is now a Welsh bar) in Courtenay Place. It was a small art gallery then and previously was  public toilets which I guess suits Apple's works.

The installation he set up was his broken glass one that he had used in New York in 1970 where a lot of the poseurs and 'unsure' collectors raved about it.

My mother had heard about a 'famous' artist having an exhibition so went to view it.
She stepped over the tiny rope barrier (she was a bit short sighted bless her) and crunched across the broken glass.
"Heavens" she said "who put that here, it's a bit dangerous"
Apple who was on the other side of the room screamed at her to get off his valuable artwork.
Mum said that if it was his then he should get a broom and sweep it up.

She got thrown out of the gallery.


I wandered around the rest of the gallery and saw a great exhibition on German political art through the centuries and a photographic exhibition of some funny portraits.

A few of them reminded me of Robert and Richard.

This reminded me of the skeleton in Robert's closet window

This one reminded me of Richard for some reason

And another of Richard wearing a funny hat

Leaving the gallery I wandered through the adjacent Albert Park which is always lovely and especially so on a sunny afternoon.

There was a film crew there filming some kind of Chinese superhero thing which was a bit of a laugh.

It's all go in the city I tell you.