Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Things are a bit slow in picture framing world which is a natural follow on from the recession. I guess that framing pictures is not high on the list of essential household spending. The heavy rain that we have been experiencing also means that customers don't want to bring their artwork out (except for watercolours and that 'Monsoon Girl' print. Ha Ha ... that was picture framing humour).

I was talking to Richard of Richard's Bass Bag (the original one) today and he unwittingly (easy for him to do - ed) gave me a good idea - busking. Richard said that he is going to do some busking including performing in restaurants. I thought that if restaurant customers could sit there and be rendered senseless by listening to boring bass playing then why can't they sit there and be entertained in other mind-numbing ways. The answer is a picture framing demonstration. I think I'll pack up some materials and go visit some restaurants and pitch my idea to them.

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


A week after John Key sends more troops to Afghanistan to help the Americans and bends over on the Letterman show saying that New Zealanders love America, Osama Bin Laden sends out a message warning countries to not forge alliances with the United States and to withdraw their forces from Afghanistan.
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.

‘A’ Squadron of Divisional Cavalry, now part of the New Zealand 6th Brigade was making a slow and expensive progress after the battle of Rimini towards the mouth of the Uso. The enemy had laid a great deal of demolition material (obsolete bombs and shells) and many mines. Already a couple of Staghounds and some trucks had been destroyed with some loss of life. ‘A ‘Squadron needed to clear a path for the tanks and armoured cars and to find safe crossing of the rivers with the Uso now of paramount importance. Orders were coming down from RHQ to push on so, after quickly clearing the remaining mines Lieutenant Spiers and Sergeant McDonald went ahead on foot to reconnoitre the approach to the river. They met up with 10 others from other units and began to work out a crossing plan.
A single 88mm shell burst amongst them. Spiers and seven of the men from the other units were killed instantly. Patrick (PHA) McDonald was lucky to be amongst the four who were only wounded, if being knocked unconscious and having your arm sliced open from wrist to shoulder is lucky.
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.


Someone you don't want to invite around for a 'pot luck' dinner or to involve in a staff get-together is Richard (of Richard's Original Bass Bag).

While other people spend hours planning and cooking an interesting dish, Richard looks for the specials at Countdown and buys cakes that are past their use-by date.

Just be thankful he doesn't bring along any wine.


Times are changing and not always for the best. I grew up during a time when anything was fixable and you didn't need to be a rocket scientist to do so. We could recondition our cars at home and there wasn't much we couldn't do to keep household appliances going. A fix-it standby was often wire. If there was nothing suitable in the garage there was always a coat hanger in the closet. These multi-purpose items could help get better TV reception, substitute as a car aerial, temporarily hold together broken furniture and unblock drains. Last night the dishwasher went on the blink. I knew what was wrong with it - there was a blockage somewhere inside in the drain pipe. I went to get a coat hanger but was dismayed to find that all of the hangers we have are 'newfangled' contraptions made of wood and or plastic that are totally useless for anything other than hanging clothes on. What is the world coming to?

Thursday, 24 September 2009


I can't stand those beautiful women who have gone through life expecting everyone to defer to them. This is most noticed when they are in queues, cars or as pedestrians. They blatantly break rules and are used to people (males) letting them get away with what they are doing. They generally have a big smile on their face. Yesterday I had just one such who decided to cross the road in front of me while I was turning with the lights. She stepped out in front with a big toothy smile. I gave her a dismissive gesture and the smile changed to a scowl that would curdle milk.

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.
I thought that I'd had enough of rugby, having been disappointed at how the All Blacks have been playing. Too many new players, too many mistakes and not enough razzle-dazzle. Well, last night's game has given me a reason to follow them again. Its not just about the winning (although that's good) its about how the game goes and whether it makes for good watching. I enjoyed it.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Roger is a friend of mine who was one of my workmates at the wholesale wine & spirit business.

Roger was crazy and probably still is even though he has a responsible job in Government.

Here are some of the things Roger did:

At Te Horo beach one night when we were having a bonfire/BBQ casually said that we should take cover as he had thrown a box of sparklets (the CO2 cylinders used in soda dispensers) into the fire. We ducked as they successively exploded sending burst metal cylinders flying like shrapnel, each one capable of taking a head off.

Pillioned us down Taranaki Street to Courtenay Place on his motorscooter. There were 3 of us.

Made a bomb and blew up a neighbours front door.

Dropped full cartons of Nederburg sparkling wine off the mezzanine floor down to the warehouse below. The trick was to see how many corks blew off. The top of the carton was opened and, if the carton fell perfectly even and hit the floor square then at least half of the corks would fly straight up.

Set fire to a kitchen at a party we had gatecrashed by lighting Bacardi 151 (75% alcohol spirit).

Would set his stereo blasting from his house in Wadestown, drive across the valley to a reserve and listen to the music which he said sounded marvellous, particularly Arthur Brown. Did this several times until the police followed him to the reserve and said that the neighbours were complaining.

Made a blowgun out of PVC piping and fired lollies at a traffic cop sitting on his bike across from the wholesalers causing the traffic cop to fall off his bike.

Much, much more.


My GP gave me the news recently that I have a genetic blood disorder and made an appointment for me with a specialist. Being a hypochondriac the idea of a rare genetic disorder had some appeal and had the promise of calling in more favours from the Old Girl than just having 'man flu'. The specialist said that I have Haemochromotosis and that it affects 1 in 400 people to varying degrees. Not so special after all. Basically it is an accumulation of iron in the blood which can, if untreated damage internal organs. Good old fashioned blood-letting is the solution so I have been going weekly to the Auckland hospital out-patients to give a pint (a whole armful) of blood.

Interestingly one of the side affects of this disorder is that mosquitoes don't like to drink it. Maybe its too heavy and they can't fly away. A walking mosquito can't function too well.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Things are usually pretty quiet at the picture framing gallery - its the nature of the business. The most exciting thing to happen is if a pane of glass cracks.

Today there was a real drama. Two elderly customers got into a heated argument over the selection of the mat colour for a watercolour they wanted framing. I distinctly heard one of them say to the other "Muriel, you MUST see that pink doesn't suit either the frame or the picture"

I didn't get in between them. I ducked for cover. After an uncomfortable quarter of an hour a compromise was reached and Gladys agreed to 'Colonial Rose'. They headed off home. I bet that Muriel didn't get a chocolate biscuit with her mid-morning cup of tea.

Friday, 4 September 2009


Wikipedia says:

"Book burning (a category of biblioclasm, or book destruction) is the practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, one or more copies of a book or other written material. In modern times, other forms of media, such as phonograph records, video tapes, and CDs have also been ceremoniously burned, torched, or shredded. The practice, usually carried out in public, is generally motivated by moral, religious, or political objections to the material.
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.

Richard's bass bag has contravened all moral, community and religious standards (with the exception of child pornography). Maybe its time to light those fires.


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...