Friday, 30 September 2011


I was channel surfing and came across The X Factor which is yet another of those bloody Simon Cowell American TV programmes about wannabees  looking for the big chance. Apart from the ageing nutters most are from the younger generations (in plural because I am now officially an old fucker) and have been brought up being told how wonderful they are.
question: Do you think that Frank Sinatra's, Judy Garland's, John Lennon's, Thelonius Monk's and Miles Davis' parents (to draw from millions of super accomplished artists) told them in their formative years that they were 'brilliant', 'the best' , "'awesome' etc.? I think not. I'm not saying that encouragement is a bad thing but when overdone it can be destructive. Having young people coming through with over-inflated impressions of their capabilities is destructive - the others around them in the sense that it can be bloody annoying, and to themselves in that at worst it can lead to disillusionment amd maybe suicide.

I can't think of any good that has come out of 'instant'. I hate instant coffee. Instant noodles and other types of instant foods are unsatisfying and most likely dangerous to health. I know that we all want instant wealth:

and I am guilty of buying those lotto tickets every week but we have to get away from this. The new culture we are breeding is dangerous and unhealthy.

We need to nurture a sense of achievement and accomplishment in our young people that will........

oops, sorry, I've got to go. South Africa vs. Samoa game is starting and I need my fix........

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Yes, we ran out of money. Hey! It was good while it lasted. The Old Girl working all hours. Me playing golf and lazing about, but all good things come to an end. Yesterday I went to Auckland for a job interview. Today the owner of the company rang me to tell me that he wanted me to join his company.
I was conflicted. Yes, I was happy that he chose me. Yes we bloody need the money, but, work. What the hell is that? I'll have to get into training. I agreed to start in November. That will give me time to organise my stuff. And to tell the cat. We will keep the McLeod Bay house as a weekend place and live in Auckland during the week which is really how The Old Girl has been living for the last year. Now we will be together a lot more. By the way, the "I'm back baby, I'm back" clip is because I have re-entered the wine industry having chosen to leave the real estate industry untouched (the white shoes don't suit my navy blue chinos)

Monday, 26 September 2011


The Old Girl went to Auckland today. While I'm going to miss her (I will go to Auckland myself on Wednesday), it gives me a chance to do things that are usually forbidden. I'll spare you the unsavoury details but share with you that I can play my "70's Music" that she doesn't have an affinity for. Tonight I have left the TV off (all crap anyway) and dug out some old favourites. I just played Hot Tuna's 1970 album Hot Tuna. Great with a half bottle of 2004 Penfolds Kalimna Shiraz. Here is a a taste of the album with Hesitation Blues.


* Against Annoying Acronyms And Abbreviations

I have always disliked acronyms and their overuse in all kinds of industry is a bugbear of modern day living. Text messaging using txt particularly pisses me off. I have a 10 year old cellphone which I won't change because it opens out to a QWERTY keyboard so that when I send a text I write it out in full with correct spelling and full punctuation. More recently I am annoyed at internet abbreviations.

This 'LOL' crap and "OMG' and all the stupid acronyms really get to me. Often they are associated with stupid little smiley or sad faces made up by symbols from a keyboard. Fuck! 
It shows how people are becoming lazier with their writing and spelling and frankly not using the brains that they were born with. This stupidity (along with most Hollywood movies, American TV, modern formulaic music, fast food, reality TV and celebrity gossip magazines and websites) simply lowers collective intelligence of the general public - YOU. Surely there must be a backlash soon. As it is there must be many people who get annoyed when they say hi to someone and receive a 'lol' or similar back. 

If there isn't a return to good old fashioned values then the answer may be to resort to something tried and true.

Sunday, 25 September 2011


After Second Fiddle's 'interesting' post showing him whistling while he fiddled (the mind boggles) I looked up whistling on the internet and found this sad specimen. Oh how life was simpler in 1967. Anyone and anything could get on TV - hey, wait a minute that sounds like 2011 and american Idol, the X-factor and America has talent.

In the comments on the following video the one I liked best is:

"I wonder what his medals are for - I guess dick-headiness, fuck-wizardry and being the world's biggest delusional fanny. On a lighter note he looks a bit like a young Jim Dale."

Saturday, 24 September 2011


"Ladies underwear going down"

Man of Errors' latest post here took me back to my days growing up in Wellington. I remember the old Kirkaldie and Stains department store. I also remember the ones that he is too young to remember - DIC, which used to be close to Kirkaldie and Stains in Lambton Quay and James Smith's which used to be on the corner of Cuba Street and Manners Street. These were huge, multi-floored operations with, as MoE says, escalators and lifts with uniformed attendants. I remember the old guy (probably younger than I am now) cracking us up by saying in his strange way of speaking "Going down. Ladies underwear first floor" If he ran the words together it used to sound funny and rude (hey, we were only 10 or so OK).
Friday late night shopping was an occasional chance to spend our weekly pocket money (2 and 6 pence). James Smiths had a great restaurant that occupied the best part of one floor. Fish and chips on a plate with lemon and a salad was a treat at about a shilling. These department stores had a vacuum system for handling receipts and money. It worked by the sales assistant putting the customers money and the hand-written docket into a small tube (metal or glass) which was then put into an overhead pipe that ran , with many tributaries back to the central office where a cashier would stamp the docket and return with the correct change. The small tube could be seen whizzing away through the larger pipe. We used to find this fascinating and would stand there gawking until we were moved along. Modern point of sale equipment is not half as exciting as this system was.

Man of Errors made reference to Bill Bryson's The Thunderbolt Kid where he quoted:

"That was the glory of living in a world that was still largely free of global chains.  Every community was special and nowhere was like everywhere else.  If our commercial enterprises in Des Moines weren’t the best, they were at least ours.  At the very least, they all had things about them that made them interesting."
There were very few chain shops when I was a kid and certainly no global ones. I remember the first McDonald's in Wellington. It was in Courtenay Place Richard and opened in 1979. Everything went downhill from there. Bryson's observation is apt. Global retail and global brands rob communities of their own sense of place. I remember feeling this when coming across Irish pubs and McDonald's restaurants in France years ago. I was looking for 'authentic' experiences and at every turn was a bloody global franchise spewing out pap.
As a kid in Wellington we had local soft drinks. It was only later that Coca Cola was added to with a range of other drinks like Fanta. Our local was Thomson and Lewis.
We didn't have national bakery brands either. Each town and city had its own bakers and brands. Things have to move on I know but it is a shame when the 'improvements' bring along loss of culture, identity and the sense of belonging.

Sunday, 18 September 2011


Over the last two nights I have had some seriously disturbing dreams.

Friday night's one had Richard (of RBB) in it. For some reason he and Gary Vincent, someone I vaguely knew 20 years ago (a friend of a friend) came around to play snooker and wouldn't go away. They were both enormously fat, smoked like chimneys and demanded beer, wine and snacks. The only way that I got rid of them was to wake up.

Last night I dreamed that TSB, another blogger on the bus station network whom I have never met in person, came around to visit. He brought his lap-top with him and sat in a corner working on his blog. He was unkempt and looked like he had been sleeping rough for some time.

As if this wasn't bad enough, for some reason he brought an old sofa with him. It was tartan coloured and full of holes. It was also infested by rats that when I banged a shoe against it proceeded to swarm out and take over the house.

Robert, you did the Psych degree at University. What does this mean?

Saturday, 17 September 2011


I'm just back from Auckland. I went down yesterday to meet up with The Old Girl. As she is off to Christchurch on Monday she stayed in Auckland through the weekend so I went down for a 'date' last night. We went to the Crowne Plaza in Albert Street for a glass of wine and some tapas. The Crowne Plaza, as I've said before has a very good wine list. Expensive, but you get a good pour and there are some top wines - Seresin Pinot Noir for her and Trinity Hill Chardonnay for me at $19 a glass each. The tapas dishes are great - tempura prawns and asian mini spring rolls. Wonderful. The Australian rugby team is staying there and we saw a lot of familiar faces including these two partners in crime.

It is said that O'Connor looks like Justin Bieber.


From where I was sitting he looked more like Michael Myers.

From there we walked down Queen Street to Queen's wharf and 'Party Central'. The atmosphere was good with all facilities working well and everyone in a good mood that the showers didn't dampen.

We watched the All Black's beat Japan on one of the (very) big screens that are in place there. What a great facility. Free viewing with nearly as good an atmosphere as being at the game. All those miserable knockers should just get a life.

Sonny Jim going for a try (or maybe he didn't pay for his sushi)
On the way back to the apartment we stopped off at Vivace in High Street for a glass of wine and more tapas. Deep fried mushrooms and shrimps for her and Mediterranean lamb meat balls for me. Delicious. If you are in Auckland this is a must visit place. Affordable, interesting and very spacious with a great atmosphere. They serve good wines including a good selection of European wines. A French Merlot for her and a Rioja Creanza for me.

This morning we went to the new Auckland Museum (refurbished and recently opened). This is stunning and leaves for dead some I've been in in Australia and USA. Spacious and well designed it sets off the artwork very well. The Gallery collection is on show along with some loaned/donated works including the generous donation from Julian and Josie Robertson who have gifted works by Picasso, Cezanne, Matise, Gaugin and Mondrian among others. The gallery design incorporates the neighbouring Albert Park beautifully with dramatic views of the trees seen through tall glass windows at the top of staircases and from many of the gallery room's windows glimpses of the park, the band rotunda and the vegetation. The Old Girl bumped into an architect she knows and he confessed to hardly noticing the art as he was fascinated by the building.
Another nice trip.

Friday, 16 September 2011


Up until the '90's there used to be a government sponsored apprenticeship scheme running in new Zealand. In many trades and industries a good system ran where young people were given training and employment under supervision.

There was a set period of time and task accomplishment criteria to be met before the apprentice was unleashed upon society and clients and customers. The scheme was good and made a lot of sense. Free market thinking kiboshed this as it did with lots of good things that operated well in this country. Young people now are either left unemployed after leaving school or thrown in the deep end in employment. How often have you been frustrated in retail or service industries by some nincompoop who neither knows nor cares what they are doing?

I was waiting for Police Ten to come on to TV2 last night and caught the tail end of Shortland Street. This is a very long-running local hospital drama that I have never chosen to watch. I was appalled at the standard of acting. It was not only bad in relation to expected standards of acting in prime time TV drama but would be bad when compared to local repertory or school concert performances. Why the hell is this the case? The producers don't give a fuck as they believe that they have a captive audience and are using this show as a training ground for new talent. Fine, as long as this 'talent' is kept behind the scenes until they are ready but no, the poor old viewer is subject to this, sitting squirming with no other choice. Bastards!
Other examples of the public being subjected as captive market to poor service and performance is in the utility industries. Just get on the phone or web and try and get some sense out of the first-line operatives in a telephone or electricity supplier. No wonder they out-place their call centres. Sheesh!

Thursday, 15 September 2011


It has been nice reading the stories of kind New Zealanders who have helped out International rugby visitors over the last couple of weeks. No doubt these are honest, hard working and tax paying citizens. It is a pity that for every one of these there may be a lazy, selfish and mean spirited bastard who is likely to leave a bad impression with visitors.

These idiots have already exhibited their troll-like behaviour by disrupting train transport, attacking the waka rowers on opening night and who will no doubt beat, rob and otherwise rip-off tourists when they travel around the country.
These idiots (sorry if I sound reactionary but statistics are on my side) are likely to be living off the state in some way or other and unlikely to be contributing to the economy. Their behaviour could actually lead, in the long term, to the state being unable to support them if we don't continue to be prosperous. As we know the benefit of hosting such a large sporting event as the Rugby World Cup is not in the immediate revenue (which is budgeted as a loss) but in encouraging tourism and creating future business opportunities. Every visitor who has a good experience is likely to tell at least a dozen others who may visit in the future and who may buy New Zealand branded goods. This is what puts money in the coffers. To ensure that visitors go away with a good impression of the country everyone basically has to be on their best behaviour particularly the idiots who are likely to fuck it up. Sounds simplistic? Well it is really but some people need things spelled out very simply for them to understand. The Government should be bluntly informing New Zealanders to behave for their own and their children's good in the future.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I was born in Wellington and lived there for the first 28 years of my life. I loved Wellington and still do although it hasn't been my home city for a long time. I have lived in Auckland, Christchurch and now Whangarei and see myself as a New Zealander in general rather than of or from any specific region. When I was living in Wellington I had no dislike for Aucklanders. The only time that regionalism was an issue was at rugby games when obviously Auckland (or Hawkes Bay, King Country or Canterbury) would be the 'enemy'.

I cannot understand why there is a bias against Auckland and the people who live there to the point where the derogatory terms Dorklander or JAFA (just another fucking Aucklander) are used. When we lived in Christchurch for about 6 years I got sick of the terms when mentioning to people that we had come from Auckland before living in Christchurch. The in-bred idiots who made the comments didn't have the sense to ask where we were born (me Wellington and The Old Girl in Aberdeen), they would just blather on about their pet hate - Auckland.

Shortly after moving up North, I went to the season opening of the local bowling club and when telling some people where we had moved from I overheard some unidentified coward say "JAFA". I haven't bothered going back to that club. I was annoyed as I thought the one-eyed parochialism was confined to the South Island. The regional idiots that have a downer on Auckland don't bother to look at statistics which show that Auckland generates more in terms of country revenue including taxes but actually gets back less per capita than it puts in to the national economy. A 2005 report shows that Auckland received less than its share in terms of total population and only half of the fuel taxes generated out of Auckland comes back there for transport investment.
It would be good if the citizens of Christchurch, when their city is rebuilt, give a thought to the provenance of the rebuild money whether from government, donation, grant or insurances and discover that Auckland will be giving the largest amount.

Get contribution from the rest of the country

Saturday, 10 September 2011


We watched the Rugby World Cup opening on TV at the Auckland apartment while watching and listening to the fireworks display from the balcony.

The videos above (filmed from my Canon G 5 still camera) don't do justice to the dramatic display. It was world class I must say and the fantastic spirit shown by the local residents (mostly overseas students in the university area) was great to experience.

Today (Saturday) before coming back to McLeod Bay we breakfasted in town at The Depot before exploring the Wynyard centre and Party Central.

The Depot is a new place owned by Al Brown (of Logan Brown in Wellington) and is definitely worth going to. We have been several times for 'dinner' (it is like a tapas bar with lots of yummy small dishes to choose from) but this was the first time for breakfast. We had bacon rolls and coffee. Sound simple? It is but ... done perfectly. The freshly made soft rolls filled with very good quality bacon with a spicy relish was all that you would want. No tired bits of tomato and lettuce poking out, just excellent quality simple ingredients. Oh, and very good coffee in small cups so they were strong and flavoursome, not big buckets of weak crud.

Wynyard Quarter
The newly developed Wynyard Centre in downtown Auckland is great and will be an asset to the city. It shows off the hitherto locked away best parts (like Wellington's wharf area) and is open and spacious. It will always be a good place to visit and today, with the RWC events still going on (music, food, shows, carnival atmosphere) there and on Queen's Wharf where 'The Cloud' and the big rugby ball are on display was truly wonderful.

All this and a glorious Spring day made for a good day out.

Back up North I went and practised my new-found golf stroke and we are now about to sit down to a nice meal with a good bottle of wine.

Friday, 9 September 2011


I have to do a big clean this morning before heading off to Auckland. You can only get away with the cosmetic stuff for a while - you know - moving the furniture to make it look like you've vaccuumed, dusting around plates and objects on sideboards, putting bleach in the toilet and in the shower - that sort of stuff. No, this morning I have to AAARRGH! clean the toilets properly.

Thursday, 8 September 2011


National Party indication as to where we can go

I'm going down to Auckland tomorrow to meet up with The Old Girl and to drive her back up North on Saturday.
We will watch whatever we can see of the World Cup Rugby opening and fireworks display on Friday night. Going by today's news reports it will be too crowded at the Viaduct and Queen's Wharf area. We will hopefully see the fireworks from the apartment in Mount Street (that bloody awful Sky Tower is well in sight from there) or go to the top of the Old Girl's work building (ASB tower). We are not going to the opening game but will catch up on the 'buzz' at a wine bar somewhere.
I have planned on arriving at about 4PM but now am worried at a total traffic gridlock.

I remember when there was that helicopter and plane crash in Auckland when the aircraft fell onto the motorway at 'spaghetti-junction'. Nothing moved for hours.
At least if I do get stuck I hope that that bullying bastard Tau Henare might try and muscle his way in front of me and give me the finger. Not that the female complainant has been a pushover but he just might find that he can't bully men the way he obviously bullies women.

'Get out of the way. I'm driving here"


"No ball!"

I had my first ever golf lesson yesterday - bought for half price on one of those daily discount sites. It was tremendous. In less than half an hour the pro had eliminated the banana-type slice that I have had with my drives for the last 40  plus years.

The Good News

I can now drive straight down the fairway and with the straightening of the shot gain at least 50 metres maybe more. I calculate that I will knock off at least a dozen shots per round and maybe more.

The Bad News

I now no longer end up in the creeks, bushes and on the fence-lines as much so will not be able to fossick about as much as part of my normal game. The result: no time for finding golf balls. The Old Girl will be pleased as she will get the laundry sink back.

(I practised this morning and was hitting really straight. When there was no one behind me though I detoured to the lagoon and found 15 balls. They were muddy and slimy but, once soaked in the sink with some bleach should come up pretty good.)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


A couple of things today reminded me of the weird retail practices that abounded when I was young. The first was TSB in his blog mentioning that he remembers buying biscuits from a tin and taking them home in a brown paper bag. I remember Dad buying Griffins biscuits in a very large tin. It was a square tin with a round lid! I couldn't find an image of one. It wasn't like the sampler tins of today. They used to stand about 60 cm high and were about 30 cm wide.
The other thing was eating a frozen Mars bar. I like these type of things cold and, putting them in the back of the freezing compartment keeps them out of sight of The Old Girl who frowns on me eating such stuff.

Frozen Mars bar.
I was reminded of our corner grocer in Vogeltown where we spent our pocket money. In those days there was a price difference between items off the shelf and items in the fridge. A coke or a buzz bar 'off-the-ice" was always a penny or so more expensive. Either old Mr Walker the grocer thought that the buzz bars and coca cola were eating up his electricity or he was just being usurious, ripping off a captive market in the summertime.

This probably didn't happen for TSB in Scotland (summertime as well as chilled confectionery) so here are some images for him that will remind him of his childhood.

Deep-fried Mars bar

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


The Old Girl rang and suggested that on Friday instead of flying direct back from Wellington she would stop off in Auckland and that I should drive down and meet her. As it is the opening night of the Rugby World Cup it makes sense. Not that we are going to the opening game, but because Auckland city is going to burn $3 million of fireworks. As we have an apartment in Auckland we as ratepayers are contributing to this idiocy.

We might as well enjoy it though because it is unlikely we will get another RWC here, or a Commonwealth Games and certainly neither an Olympic Games or a Soccer World Cup. Auckland will look pretty good on the night.

We should be able to see quite a bit of the festivity from the apartment and,

with luck that god-awful Sky Tower that dominates the view will blow up.


I drove The Old Girl to the airport before 6 this morning. She is off to Wellington. It was quite misty around the bays and, in the hollows, downright foggy. I offered to stay around at the airport in case the flight as cancelled but she said "as long as you stay in the car and don't come in to the terminal. You look like a homeless person." Charming!.
Admittedly I was wearing my favourite Marks and Spencer pullover that I have had for twenty odd years. It is full of holes and is gradually coming apart at the seams but it is comfortable.

I have to take her car into town today to have the windscreen replaced which for some reason will take several hours. I will have to wander about town to fill in time. I said that I would wear the pullover to which she suggested that that was OK as she wouldn't be with me and besides, I could get free lunch at the City Mission.

Monday, 5 September 2011


I checked out the web re this question and it seems they can't. Well, no surprises there but how does the duck know that it has all its ducklings accounted for?
Today I was golfing (again) and it is now the season where there are mother ducks trailing their little families. No sight of Father ducks - they have obviously buggered off having done their business.
When I went down to the stream to look for golf balls (again) I disturbed one of these families which waddled off in a row across the fairway away from the stream. Mother duck quack-quack-quacked to get her charges in line and stayed quite close continually quacking.

 I looked down into the stream and there was a little duckling who had gone the wrong way down the stream and now was battling its way upstream. It could hear its mother calling but couldn't get out of the stream. As I didn't want to scare it into going downstream again I stayed perfectly still and let it go past me against the flow. It eventually found a less steep bit of bank to climb up and it ran across to join its mother. When it was there the mother stopped quacking and set off with now 10 ducklings in tow.
 Now how did it know one was missing. The Old Girl says that a mother duck having reared the ducklings instinctively knows each one by sight, smell and sound. she is aware of the absence of any one. I guess this is right and I feel sorry for the poor mothers who lose ducklings as the attrition rate is quite high. Do they stay around for ages looking?

I guess Richard (of RBB)'s ducklings have turned up again looking for food. I suggest that he counts them and leaves a note for the mother.

Saturday, 3 September 2011


"Maybe I should take up landscape gardening" I said to the Old Girl as she was inspecting my latest handiwork - making some steps in the garden. After she had recovered from a severe bout of coughing she suggested that my skills lay elsewhere. Where I don't know as she didn't elaborate. I learnt my carpentry, landscaping, building, painting and other 'around the house' skills from my father. He had his own plastering business and had a good reputation doing great work around Wellington for many years. Like most tradesmen however when it came to doing things around his own house he was as rough as guts. Strange expression that. There is not much explanation as to its derivation except:
 Rough As Guts
Rough as guts is Australian and New Zealand slang for coarse, uncouth.
Found on

I know that my steps are not pretty but they are practical.

Friday, 2 September 2011


Big heads. We've all met them. Those types that because of positions of power, media exposure or some accomplishment think that they are so much better than anyone else. As I've got older it bothers me less and less unless it is some wanker who has ripped off the community like those tossers who were jailed yesterday for fraud ( and whose lawyers had the gall to say "M'lud, my client(s) are truly sorry for what they have done". Lawyers. They deserve a post on their own). No,  nowadays they don't concern me much but when I was working I admit I used to be irked. Last night I saw one on TV who irks me. It was Jayne Kiely the one time athlete and too long media 'personality'.

Years ago when I was living in Christchurch and used to commute every week to Auckland I was a regular on Air New Zealand. I remember on one occasion going to my seat which was a regular one I booked about three or four down on the aisle (more legroom). Ms Kylie was sitting in it. I told her that she had the wrong seat to which she indicated the middle one next to her and suggested that I sit there. I said no as I had especially booked the aisle one. She huffed and scowled and with bad grace moved over (to the seat that she had booked). A short while afterwards a cabin crew member came along and said that they had an upgrade seat for me in business class. Now this is a one hour and twenty minute flight so I didn't need business class so suggested that the celebrity Ms next to me could have it to which she did in fact bolt to. The guy in the window seat  looked over to me and said "good riddance". I smiled and we settled down for the flight. Now this was in the late 1990's and I still think of this when I see JK on TV. She has not left me with a favourable impression.


I like John Oliver. His retakes of the news are insightful and very funny. Have a look via the link below at his latest review of Facebook...