Sunday, 31 August 2008


I haven't complained much recently and I don't want people to think I'm going soft - I've just been busy. It doesn't mean that there haven't been hundreds of annoying things happening to me over the last few weeks. Take Taxi drivers (away please!). I remember when it was a treat to travel in a taxi. It was an expensive way to travel and the driver was aware of this and treated his customer with respect. Sometimes he would converse with you or at other times (unless he was Australian) would respect your wish for privacy and keep quiet, only making discreet enquiries as to the destination. A simple street address was sufficient with only on rare occasions an accompanying suburb (when it was a new street) needing to be added.
That all seems to have disappeared now unless you use Corporate Cabs which still have the old values but are more expensive and generally have to be booked well in advance.
The other night I called for a taxi which to be fair did turn up relatively quickly. I was going for a 25 minute journey to an established North Shore address in a very well known suburb. I may as well have been asking for an address at the other end of the universe. After map consultation we were on the way. Forget polite conversation. Forget silence as well. What I got was half an hour of the driver having a loud phone conversation in Ukranian or some other Eastern European nonsense with his wife or girlfriend (I couldn't even eavesdrop as there was no English spoken).
I ask you. Am I paying good money to sit and listen to gobbly-de-goop in one of the word's ugliest languages (Afrikaans, Dutch and American is worse though).
Taxi drivers seem to have a different road code to drive by. Stop signs are treated as Give Way signs. Give Way signs don't exist and red lights seem to say 'hurry up and get through'.
Well we got there eventually (more map consultation - hey shouldn't this be deducted from the fare?)
Now I'm thinking. How the hell do you get your own back from a bad experience in a cab. There's really no way as you can't tell everyone else about this particular driver. I have come up with an idea though. You should carry a piece of fish with you when travelling by taxi. If you have a good experience then take the fish home with you and cook it or give it to the cat. If you have a bad experience then slip it under a seat or in the map pouch at the back of the seat in front of you. In a couple of days the fish will get really ripe and the bastard driver probably won't be able to find it (or notice it if he is one of those bad-breath, B.O. infested farters). His potential customers will notice it though and won't step inside.

Saturday, 23 August 2008


7.15PM the phone rings. Is it the Old Girl ringing to say she will be late? Is it an emergency?
No, as usual when the phone rings between 6PM and 8.30PM on a weeknight it is probably some unsolicited advertising or promotional call offering home finance, holidays, special furnishing deals or a market research company wanting to know how often you go to the toilet.
Generally the calls are from somewhere in India or the Philippines. The Old Girl always asks them where they are calling from and won't accept anything but the truth on this - she's tough.
Although my name is The Curmudgeon I still find it hard to be too rude to these annoying callers as I know they are just trying to make a living.
Recently we have adopted a new way of dealing with the calls -obfuscation and obtuseness.
When we realise what the call is (Indian accents asking May I please speak to Mr...etc) we may do any of the following:

Caller: May I please speak to Mr...
Us: (delay...) Hello
Caller: May I please speak to Mr..
Us: Hello...Hello.. Is anyone there?
Caller: Yes Hello, may I please speak to Mr...
Us: Hello...Hello...Damn it. I'm sure there's someone there.. Hello.. Hello...

This can go on for a while with the caller getting more and more frustrated until they hang up.


When we realise what the call is we say, "Just one moment" and put the phone down and finish dinner or watching a TV programme. Generally the caller has gone once you get back to the phone 15 minutes later.

and this is the one I like best

Caller: May I please speak to Mr,..
Us: Right! I've been waiting days for you to call you Bastard. We ordered that (garage door, curtains, carpets, elephant ..whatever) weeks ago and still the bloody thing hasn't turned up. What are you going to do about it., We don't have time to wait around (etc etc for about 2 minutes) Generally the caller rings off.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


AS I said busking as a sport at the olympics would be OK as long as it was combined with Archery.
Rumour has it that St Sebastian was a Bass Player and we know what happened to him.
I wonder if the marksman won a Gold Medal?

Sunday, 17 August 2008


I love the Olympics and ever since I was a kid have looked forward to the 2 week spectacle. I take as much time as I can to watch all sorts of events (but of course especially the ones New Zealand is involved in - I am so proud to see us at number 15 on the medal tally ahead of so many other countries).
Its a great feeling being a mixture of nostalgia and excitement and unnusual in that we are exposed to so much sport on TV nowadays its a wonder at all that the Olympics can command so much respect and attention.
I find it a shame though that the great ideals are being diluted by the inclusion of sports and so-called sports that in my my don't meet the criteria. It used to be tennis and soccor that I thought don't need to be included. Now it is white water kayaking, handball, beach volleyball, trampoline and other weird and unnusual events.
What's next? Tiddlywinks, darts, snooker or that old University games event to 'chunder mile' running, drinking and pie eating event.


Well why not since Robert's been banging on about the Catholic Catechism and its virtues even while there's a backdrop of priests, b...