Thursday, 31 December 2009
Commerce, politics and religion promises you new and exciting discoveries and wish fulfillment. In reality it will be the same old crap, slightly differently packaged but will cost you more. People younger then you will see these offerings as having a bit of pizazz but you, a year older and a bit more jaded will start to see through the flimsy wrapping and frayed edges but, to keep face, will grin and bear it.
Anyway, have a god time, don't drink too much and remember to check the local council regulations before letting off those fireworks.
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Counting The Old Girl and I we have 9 adults and one child staying with us between Christmas and New Year and another 2 coming on New Years Eve. I'm glad that we have 'more than one pot to piss in' to paraphrase Man Of Errors and that we have enough room to fit everyone without feeling cramped. We feel that we have given the house a good work-out.
The weather has been pretty good so that kayaking, swimming, fishing and walking have been the daily activities. TV has only been on once (Mad Men on Sunday night). Eating and drinking has been high on the agenda in the evenings with everyone retiring relatively early, exhausted after a big day.
Sunday, 27 December 2009
There is something infinitely relaxing about being beside the sea (unless its Bali on Boxing Day). Tidal changes, the sounds of lapping water, shimmering reflections, diving gannets, jumping fish and bobbing boats all offer gentle distractions. We lived by the sea in Point chevalier also and enjoyed that as well. What I have noticed already over this holiday period is a different sound. The sound of children. Children screaming with delight. Children play-fighting. Children arguing. Children forging new friendships and alliances. Children enthusiastically embracing what is around them. Where were the Point Chevalier children? I know that they existed as every school morning their mothers blocked the streets with their 4W-drive vehicles delivering them right to the school doors. After school and on weekends the precious babies were locked up inside or barricaded in back yards (never front yards) for safety. Are these the same children that the parents have brought on holiday? I don't think so. These kids have the confidence to jump off the diving platform, paddle kayaks, snorkel and to ride horses. I love their sounds of laughter.
Monday, 21 December 2009
Having moved North I am once again astounded at the different reality that can be found in such a small country as New Zealand when you move from one part to another. I first discovered this when we moved from Auckland to Christchurch for 6 years. (Previously, moving from Wellington to Auckland was not as fraught as I had not reached an age to be 'settled' much as Richard found I guess when he went to Taumaranui). Christchurch society was so different to Auckland and was aggressively defensive - something that we were bewildered by since I was born in Wellington and Lynn in Aberdeen so we didn't see ourselves as Aucklanders or indeed as having any particular 'place' that defined us.
In Northland we haven't found the aggressive anti-Auckland attitude yet but have noticed many subtle differences. I am already aware that I have done more than physically moved location, I have stepped into a different way of thinking. At Lynn's company's Christmas dinner the other evening, when asked what I am doing I responded that I was being a kept man. This, in place of perhaps the usual "I am unemployed' response found great favour at the dinner table with architects and engineers all wanting also to be 'kept men' and imploring their better halves to oblige.
This reminded me of that great Peter Sellers film Being There (Hal Ashby dir.) where Chance the gardener (Sellers), after a lifetime of tending a secluded estate ventures into the 'real' world. Chance's naive comments are misinterpreted by worldly and jaded politicians as being visionary (the satire is in that modern politics and media hinge on 'sound bytes' and slogans because audiences cannot concentrate for more than 15 seconds).
I felt that I was in the mirror image of this movie in that I am going to the garden not leaving it but the 'worldly sophistication' of Auckland gave me the pithy 'kept man' throwaway that hit the innocent spot.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
OK I'm old but I'm still lucid.
I do find it hard to adjust to the confusing proliffeation of television programmes now that overlap so much that it is hard to keep track of start/stop dates.
In the past great series like Brideshead Revisited, Smiley's People, Edge of Darkness, Cracker, Boys from the Blackstuff, Auf Wiedersehen Pet etc. were easy to follow as you knew which channel they were going to be on, which day of the week and at what time. Nowadays, with 27+ channels to choose from and with them all repeating programmes and series very quickly and with great frequency it is difficult to identify the important three Ws - which channel, what day, what time. There are some great new series on (somewhere) but I am never sure if I have caught the first or last series. Also, the very best of them, probably because high quality means low ratings, are on at godawful times (The wire for example was screened at 1AM on a major channel.
Its like The Pictures (or cinema definitely not movies) screening times (don't get me started! - ed). In the good old days you knew where you were. The Pictures were on at 11AM, 2PM, 5PM or 8PM. You couldn't get it wrong. Now they are all over the bloody place. Jeez!
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Christmas is almost here and once again I won't be properly prepared for it. It is very unlikely that I will send out Christmas cards; I will not create a Christmas letter; I will forget to buy presents for some people; I will forget to telephone others; I will most likely get grumpy later in the afternoon on Christmas Day; I will probably drink more than is good for me; it is possible that I will say 'Bah Humbug' at least once over the Christmas weekend.
I know that this will annoy and even upset some people. I will be adding to the sense of loneliness and isolation that some frail souls feel. They will feel neglected and be miserable.
I should do something to stop this happening but I am lazy and self-centred. It will be my fault entirely.
I am truly sorry for what I will do and I beg you all to forgive me for this.
I promise that next year I will be better organised and that this will not happen again.
I will try and make up for my actions, perhaps by purchasing some gifts in the New Year sales or sending out an Easter card.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
We've all heard of books like "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, ' and some of us have read Gloria Steinheim, Germaine Greer and Erica Jong. Most of us of a certain age have seen the cultural changes that successive generations, even decades, bring.
The Myth Of The Sensitive New Age Nice Guy Fact, fantasy, or just another asshole in a different clown suit? by a woman who "is not bitter"
The sensitive new age nice guy, generally wears his hair in a ponytail, and is in touch with that side of himself he thinks of as female. Although he says he wears no armor, he wears his issues on his chest; and so to have conversation with him, you must get through that invisible chain mail vest. He reads an awful lot, about what women want, in fact -he reads too much. (I heard one quoting pages once, and couldn't swallow my lunch.) Where he gathers all his information, has left him with a rather stunted imagination he's an impossibly boring new age creation completely incapable of cerebral masturbation. But he is a master of doormat manipulation Some might say I'm being a little rough, after all he's just trying to be kind, a gentle, sensitive, understanding, sweet man is really a good find. A genuinely caring man, Well, of course there is nothing wrong with that, It's just the lines falling from his mouth come out sounding..... really flat. He's having a hard time with his identity, he talks about his different boundaries he never yells, always says please, and around him all you feel is guilty, guilty, guilty. Now as much as I'd hate to hear: "Hey baby what's your sign", it's no more entertaining than a self help book quoted line for line. He likes to cook, he likes to clean, he has a very low self esteem. He finds it difficult to be prince charming But I'm not Cinderella, honey, and the prince is so dull it's alarming. He doesn't understand why women don't like "the too nice guy" overlooking of course, what the "too" might imply. In fact it's one of his most annoying traits, besides "The Joy Of Sex" quotes he makes. Almost as bad as the "I'm a lesbian in a man's body" fakes. He'll just never understand exactly what it takes. "Touch yourself and show me how you like it done" "I'm not hurting you now am I hon.?" SHUT THE F**K UP AND LET ME HAVE SOME FUN !!! (Some new age nice guy sex-therapist-with-a-book is the real guilty one!) Now, caring about how your partner is feeling Is definitely an idea that is very appealing, yet if this is what a woman is screaming: ( While ripping off your clothes) "Oh Yes! do it! F**k me now!" simply shut up sweetheart, and do what you are told. He finds with women he better relates, and yet somehow he rarely dates. He says he understands women's issues, he also knows what it's like to be used. He cries at soppy movies so you'd better have some tissues. He knows EXACTLY how you feel ( he secretly reads Daniel Steel) And though he'll never pass a watermelon through his rump, nor does he bloat during that time of the month, he has noticed that on a regular schedule he gets into a grump! He's secure in his masculinity, so he's not threatened by a dominant personality. He's attracted to women who come off assertively, and since he can't make a decision for himself it works out perfectly ...at least theoretically. He's supportive of your sarcastic angstful poetry, but, even so, he just won't find it very funny. He'll point out the spelling mistakes rather promptly, but not because on his ego you just went stompity, stompity, stompity.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Remember when news at six was important. Worth watching. Informative. Those were the days.
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Eophytes grow in our native trees. They are a sort of parasitic plant that attach themselves to the branches. The picture is of a Pohutakawa tree at the water's edge just down the road. It is quite striking.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Sunday, 22 November 2009
....resort to pornography and salacious pictures of scantily clad women.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
It has been a busy couple of weeks moving all of our stuff into the new house and getting settled in. The Old Girl is back at work. She has been splitting her time between the office up here and Auckland. We may have to consider buying an Auckland apartment if she spends a lot of time there. The Wine Guy has been a pain in the arse. He is moaning because there isn't a wine cellar in the house like the custom built one we had at the other place. I dumped all his boxes of wine in the basement below the house and it is now all unsorted in wooden crates which makes it a bit of a lucky dip when selecting a wine. I wish he would piss off.
I've been quietly looking at job sites to see what employment may be on offer up here in the far north. There doesn't seem to be a lot except for medical, car sales and engineering so I may have to re-list myself as a marketing consultant. What I have noticed is that a good few of the advertisers preface the job availability with "Are you passionate about...". What? Passionate about selling vacuum cleaners? Are you passionate about driving a night soil cart? Are you passionate about manning a vodafone kiosk? Give me a break. Maybe, given the standard of job search personnel I could become one of those.
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
On the weekend I noticed that a car had hit a ditch or something on a country road and had seriously damaged its front wheels and suspension. It was parked by the side of the road and apart from the front damage was relatively unmarked.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
McLeod Bay where I am moving to I am happy to say has a sort of historical connection with me. I really like the place and in a strange sort of way it is like going home. The bay is named after Rev. Norman Mcleod who, in 1855 settled there with a large group of fellow Scots. These Scots originally came from the West Coast of Scotland and at first emigrated to Nova Scotia, leaving there after drought and famine decimated the community before sailing to Victoria, Australia and ultimately New Zealand. My lot, the McDonalds were part of that journey and, as they were boat builders, would have been involved in building the sailing ships that took them from Nova Scotia to Australia and New Zealand. The McDonalds that I come from stayed on in Australia (farming at Tullamarine, Melbourne) before finally making the journey to Marlborough. Other McDonalds, some sort of kin, made the earlier trip with the McLeods and settled at Whangarei Heads. There is a McDonald's Island in McLeod Bay - a sort of gigantic sand bar that disappears at full tide. I like this connection. The place name suits.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Tony and Alison are getting married in February.
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Friday, 23 October 2009
Saturday, 17 October 2009
I've sold the picture framing gallery. This means I can leave for the North without having to worry about it anymore.
Saturday, 10 October 2009
Friday, 2 October 2009
I may be a Curmudgeon but underneath I am quite sensitive. Richard and his sidekicks' disparaging comments about my picture framing has finally got to me. I am abandoning the picture framing. Today we sold our house in Auckland and bought another one in the far North to get far away from all the derisive laughter and snide comments.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Monday, 28 September 2009
The Old Girl went to Christchurch this morning on the 6.40AM flight. She'll be there for a couple of days on business. Last week it was Rotorua and a couple of weeks ago it was Wellington. Air travel, indeed any sort of travel is so commonplace nowadays that we no longer think that of it as special. When I was younger it was special. Even when I was at University if I went anywhere it would have to involve the relatives at the destination meeting me at the airport and farewelling me there as well. I couldn't go anywhere without my mother saying "you must call in on Aunty So and So". As I've said before - things have changed and not necessarily for the better.
Saturday, 26 September 2009
I guess that we’re off his Christmas card list. What do you think Bin Hire?
Friday, 25 September 2009
The gunners manning the 88 flak gun now configured for ground attack were dirty and tired. They were part of 8 Company, II Battalion of the German Fourteenth army. They had been driven north after the Anzio landings and now were engaged in the fighting retreat going up the Eastern coast. They had been pushed over the Arno River, surrendering Florence to the Allied 8th army and were now defending the approaches to the Uso River. Having arrived there with some time to spare before the approaches of the New Zealand Division who were leading the extreme right flank of the advance, they had created their firing plan and zeroed in their targets – the river approaches. All they could do now was to sit and wait.
Pat awoke to a medical orderly helping him into a vehicle. The man had roughly bandaged his arm and taken steps to stop the bleeding. He looked around him and saw the broken and bloody forms of his comrades. They were being hastily evacuated from the dangerous position with the helpers warily looking out for any further shelling. He was taken to Florence to 6th NZ General Hospital where his wounds were operated on, dressed and his arm put in plaster. The analgesic medication relieved the pain but also made everything a bit fuzzy around the edges. When Jane put a soothing hand on Pat’s brow and asked how he was feeling he was a bit disoriented. He thought that he was back in Marlborough and that he must have fallen off his horse. Jane was his sister you see, Senior Nurse Jane McDonald. When he realised where he was he and Jane had a great reconciliation, swapping stories of their respective campaigns. Pat was the envy of the other patients as he definitely received preferential treatment. All too soon though he had to leave the hospital and rejoin his division. There were many more rivers to fight over on the way towards the Po river and ultimately Trieste.
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Sunday, 20 September 2009
No, not a line from a Mills and Boon novel but Murray Mexted waxing lyrical about one of Giteaux' penalty kicks in the Australia New Zealand game last night.
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Friday, 4 September 2009
Some particular cases of book burning are long and traumatically remembered - because the books destroyed were irreplaceable and their loss constituted a severe damage to cultural heritage, and/or because this instance of book burning has become emblematic of a harsh and oppressive regime. Such were the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, the burning of books and burying of scholars under China's Qin Dynasty, the destruction of Mayan codices by Spanish conquistadors and priests, and in more recent times, Nazi book burnings and the destruction of the Sarajevo National Library.
Some particular cases of book burning are the result of unacceptable material according to generally accepted moral, community and or religious standards; for example child pornography.
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