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

Full House

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


Poor Robert.
Its not just Richard but now even Vicars are making fun of his God.

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.

Mea Culpa.

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 difference between the sexes always makes for fascinating reading - whether they exist or not.
The old attitudes (not entirely extinct) of a man's place and a woman's place being separate and distinct and lines not to be crossed was alive and well through the 50's and only just starting to show cracks in the 60's (watch Mad Men on TV which handles this well). Generally now, in Western Christian countries these attitudes are seen as out of place and inappropriate.
Poor old men though can never get it right. They are always out of sync. A SNAG (sensitive new age guy) probably thinks that all his empathy, understanding, sensitivity and 'honorary womanhood' puts him in good stead with women. The problem is that women have moved on from the 'pretty in pink' objectification to a much stronger and confident role that does not put up with the past modelling. Men adopting such a stance are reviled. Maybe in another couple of hundred years men and women can just be themselves and hopefully get on well together. Mutual respect is the key.



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 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.
Today news at six, 5.30, 7, anytime is a patchwork of cobbled stories. The producers of this crap admit it themselves in that they put in the rider ' full coverage of this story can be found on the website www.....). They know that the viewers are bombarded all day by 15 second 'sound-bites' on radio, TV, cell-phone, websites, blogs, Face book (Faeces book - ed), Twitter and all sorts of 'noise'. It used to be that the true stories reached people by 'village' news. Well today 'village' news doesn't stand a chance.
This why we get rubbish on Headline News about whether Tiger Woods' wife clobbered him with a golf club and breaking news about some silly tart who let her 2 y.0. lock her in a cupboard. Firstly why didn't the stupid slag boot the door open (leveraging the body against the back wall and kicking with the feet can break through virtually anything) and secondly how come crap stories like this take precedence over important political, social, humanitarian and economic issues. At least it puts to bed the urban myth about desperate mothers lifting cars to save their babies I suppose.

To save readers time I have written your comments of umbrage already.


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...