Saturday, 29 October 2011

FRIDAY MAY 24 1968

Location: Inangahua
Date (NZ Standard Time): Friday, May 24 1968 at 5:24 am

Epicentre: 41.76°S, 172.04°E
Focal Depth: 12 km
Maximum Intensity: MM 10
Magnitude: MW 7.1
Casualties: 2 killed
GeoNet Summary:DetailsMapsShaking MapsMost of New Zealand felt the earthquake that struck the town of Inangahua in 1968. It was centred about 15 km north of Inangahua, but intensities of MM 4 and greater were recorded as far south as Otago and in almost all of the North Island, with the exception of areas in the north-east. Close to Inangahua, where intensities reached at least MM 10, the quake caused widespread destruction. Fortunately, the area’s small population meant casualties were minor, but most structures, including wooden houses, roads and bridges, suffered extensive damage in the quake. Underground pipes broke under the strain, and railway lines twisted and buckled, derailing two trains. One hundred kilometres of track later had to be replaced.The quake also triggered large landslides in the surrounding slopes, one of which claimed the lives of two people. Inangahua and Westport were evacuated when another massive slip dammed the Buller River, raising the river 30 m above its normal level, causing fears that a sudden failure of the dam would flood these downstream settlements. Due to the number of roads and bridges that had collapsed or been blocked in the quake, including the newly constructed Buller Gorge Highway, 235 people had to be airlifted to safety.Numerous aftershocks followed the quake, including 15 that were magnitude 5 or greater and occurred within a month of the initial shock.

I remember this day. At the time, in my lifetime this was the strongest New Zealand earthquake. We felt it in Vogeltown, Wellington where I was living. The images in the Evening Post that day and The Dominion the next were disturbing: A car fallen into a hole in the road; twisted railway tracks; roads subsided; bridges damaged; waterpipes broken; and three people dead.

We were used to earthquakes at this time. At school we had earthquake drill in primary and intermediate school. I don't remember having them at secondary school but I do remember, at St Patrick's college in the 5th form (1968 as well), an earthquake striking during the day and the prefab classroom we were in bucking and bouncing, scattering books, desks and students everywhere including I'm pleased to say the sarcastic English- teaching priest who had make fun of my précis of "The Admirable Crichton" when I said that one of the characters cracked epigrams. There was a continual flurry of earthquakes in Wellington through the 1960's and early 1970's kind of like what Canterbury is experiencing now. We got to know the signs. I vividly remember on day, at home when all the birds in the tress fell silent. The chickens in our henhouse stopped their clucking. The cats and our dog disappeared and then I heard a roaring sound. Our house was in a street that ran down towards Berhampore with a view right down to Island Bay.

Standing at the roadside looking downhill I could see the road rippling like a wave coming toward me. It was kind of like someone grabbing a long, narrow bit of carpet and, holding it at one end, flicking it to send a rolling ripple all the way along. I stood transfixed until around me the ground shook and I could hear the house banging and bumping. It was scary.

A couple of years later, in Taranaki Street where my parents lived in an apartment atop a small 3-storey brick and concrete building, I remember one early evening when an earthquake struck that one of the walls was actually moving outwards as the building was swaying. Instead of just crumbling the bricks and the mortar holding them together had some kind of elasticity that allowed them to bend rather than shatter. I truly believe that we were lucky as if the intensity had been greater I'm sure that the wall would have collapsed carrying away my mother and sister who were sitting on a couch placed against it.

I truly feel for the Christchurch residents. Not only have they had their lives shattered by the two main earthquakes but the continual worry from on-going quakes must be a nightmare.


...... you could all make fortunes in USA pedalling out rubbish like this:

When I used to go to overseas conferences with the wine company I worked for that had been taken over by a big American conglomerate, they used to have' key-note' speakers like the jerk in this article, who, having just released some guru-type twaddle that got featured on Oprah, Letterman or the other waste-of-space television media, would be invited to the conference to expound on it. A free book came with the excruciating two hour presentation (the last one I went to I didn't bother attending and went for a walk instead going to the auditorium at the lunch break). The worst of these was Bruce Jenner the ex-Olympian who gave a 'motivational' talk. He was like a bo-toxed version of John Key.

Ooops, sorry, wrong one ....

Nope, wrong one .....

Found it.

Friday, 28 October 2011


I have to admit that I haven't had as strong a commitment to voting for Labour this election as I have in the past. This by no means is an indication that I favour Mr shonkey John Key though

who resembles a shark more and more as time goes on.

The Old Girl reckons this is because of his 'dead eyes' and I think that she has something there. Sincerity, assuming there is any and I don't, just cannot shine through.

Tonight's election opening addresses on TV One was quite telling. National's was all about Key whether by the endless film clips of him with various dignitaries or him standing in front of an audience pretending to be the driver of the recent and planned changes that this government have in for us. The trouble is that he doesn't engage well with those eyes staring fixedly at a potential next victim. There is no warmth.

Labour's video presentation was impressive. I feel that they created a positive link between the solutions to the problems in the past and an intention to continue to strive to improve the quality of life for the majority of New Zealanders. Downplaying Goff, whether deliberately as the coup advocates believe, or because they choose (sensibly) to not make this an ego-trip for the leader as National is doing, seems to work. (Are they setting young Stuart Nash up to be future leader?).

The Greens came across as being well intentioned but ineffectual. Certainly not to be trusted with the silverware.

I have been believing over the last few years that there is not a great deal of difference between National and Labour in their ability to run the country. National, allowing boofhead Key to dominate has certainly changed my thinking now. I will vote Labour again with great confidence knowing that they are serious and not cartoon characters.


The laughing clowns that were a game of 'skill' at fairgrounds when we were young. The clowns (several in a row) swivelled from side to side. You put a ping-pong ball in its mouth which went down and travelled out of a tube behind him to bobble and bounce through a maze and would be channelled down to a possible prize-winning  capture point. It was obviously 'doctored' so that only minor prizes could be won but it was fun trying after giving up a shilling for a couple of balls.

I was reminded of this when making a comment on TSB's blog and was looking for images of scary dolls See here:


Richard of RBB posted a nice image of a bass player in his latest post.

He also has a great poster for his next gig with brother Chris which I assume his daughter created

This got me searching for other bass art images. Here are some (note some are not double basses but are interesting):
















Thursday, 27 October 2011


........................ we accumulate.
I'm packing up a few things that we need to take to Auckland, not much as we fully intend to leave our Northland house fully equipped and will try to live minimistically in Auckland during the week.
In the bathroom, while putting things in a travel bag I stopped to look at this:

It is our toothbrush holder and is a ceramic modelled on the torso of a voluptuous woman wearing a rather risqué something or other (I don't go much in for sexy lingerie - I prefer my women naked).
I looked at it for a while as if seeing it for the first time. It seems to have always been there and I have taken it for granted, putting it in the dishwasher when needed and twice or three times a day sticking my toothbrush in it (steady - ed.). Looking at the base I now notice that is named "The Cozzie" and is signed by Freya Posey and has an Australian stamp on it. A quick search on the internet was not enlightening (one must be careful when typing in voluptuous woman's torso in lingerie as the results can be quite an eyeful) so I cast my mind back and I think that we bought it in an arts and craft store in Newtown, Sydney many years ago. I'll have to ask The Old Girl as she has a much better memory than I have.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


I start work full-time again next week so have been practising going to bed early (well before 11PM) and getting up at 6.30AM. Its a bit of a fankle but I've just about mastered it.

The trouble is that after a couple of months of crappy weather it has now turned out really nice up here.

This is the view from the bedroom window this morning:

It hardly inspires me to pack up and move to Auckland.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Inspired by:

And Nuova Lazio indiscriminate traffic ticketing.

Lower Hutt City Council Traffic Fines Department after hours telephone contact officer: "Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring ring ring  ....."

Richard (of RBB) 's residence: "Dum de dum de dum de dum  (some unbelievably boring noise for about 20 seconds - ed) .. we'e not here right now, leave a message .... dun de dum de dum..."

Lower Hutt City Council Traffic Fines Department After Hours Telephone Contact Officer: "Hello. Hello. Hello. Damn it. They're never fucki... Oh, hello. its Officer Dmitri Petrokonovich here from the Lower Hutt City Council Traffic Fines Department after hours Department. I'm your Lower Hutt City Council Traffic Fines Department after hours telephone contact officer. (Oh fuck it, see : 

 and now, after typing out all this I'm happy to acronymise it  to LHCCTFDAHTCO- ed). You haven't paid your traffic fines and I'm calling you to advise that if you cannot give me a credit number authorisation for you fines immediately then we will proceed with court action."

Richard of RBB: "Whaa?"

LHCCTFDAHTCO: " I said that as you have accumulated a significant number of traffic fines we are now going to take court action unles you give me your credit card details immediately and clear the fines thus saving all of us a lot of unnecessary trouble."

Richard of RBB: "Whaa?"

LHCCTFDAHTCO: " Are you Richard (of RBB) residing at 10075 PineTree Falling Place Nuova Lazio?"

Richard of RBB: "Whaa? Oh, yes ..whaaa?"

LHCCTFDAHTCO: "And are you the owner of a 2008 McLaren F1, blue coloured with the registration number FKURINGO?

Richard of RBB: "Whaa? Oh! No, whaaa?"

LHCCTFDAHTCO: "And my records show that you have accumulated 127 parking infringement notices in and around Nuava Lazio shopping mall parked most often on the handicapped reserved parking area outside of the Pink Pussy Gentleman's Speciality Entertainment Club"

Richard of RBB: "Whaa? Oh! No, whaaa?"

LHCCTFDAHTCO: "And furthermore our traffic speed cameras have recorded you travelling at excess of 287 kilometres per hour on several occasions all of which have been travelling away from Nuava Lazio High School"

Richard of RBB: "Whaa? Oh! No, whaaa?"

LHCCTFDAHTCO: "And our roving traffic patrols have recoreded you as holding up traffic on at least 75 times in the morning because you have been travelling at less than 15 kilometers per hour . On all of these occasions you have been travelling towards Nuava Lazio High School"

Richard of RBB: "Whaa? Oh! No, whaaa?"

LHCCTFDAHTCO: " Have you anything to say about this?"

Richard of RBB: "Wh...... no, its a fair cop. How much do you want?"


Well  the peely wally wee jock visitors have gone. We had another wonderful weekend. Our friends are very generous. Everytime that they visit they seem to think that they are part of the Berlin blockade relief force.

Obviously they perceive Whangarei Heads as being so far at the back of beyond that they bring every manner of supply with them.

They are like the Red Cross arriving in the nick of time to save us. I'm not kidding. They are not like the normal visitors who bring some bread, a bottle or two of wine, some treats and some sausages for the BBQ. No, these visitors, this weekend, brought: a whole beef fillet; a gourmet butterflied fillet of lamb; a delicatessen smoked salmon fillet; 3 different types of expensive butcher's sausages; 3 different styled packs of delicatessen bacon; cream; vegetables; tomatoes; potatoes; butter; milk; chocolate; beer; soft-drinks; biscuits; potato chips;  cheese; and, (like coals to Newcastle), 8 bottles of wine! Well, you would think that they are scared that we will feed them gruel or some vile microwave instant meals or something. In the past when we have had them at Christmas times we have stocked up on hams, turkeys,
lamb fillets, salmon etc only to find that Snap ....

 .... they have brought the same. This weekend we did a really big shop but were cautious about what we bought. We did get a butcher to 'butterfly' a lamb roast, bought chicken fillets and gourmet sausages along with all the fancy trimmings but kind of expected/feared that the C- 54's would arrive with supplies. And they did, as usual. They explain it  as liking to bring goodies because they have such a good time in a relaxing setting. OK.

So, from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon we dined sumptuously, drank copiously, played  delightfully (snooker, cards, bush walks) and watched  the two rugby games. Good friends and good memories.


Sometimes our media just get too carried away and whip up frenzy among the simple minded public. Stephen Donald came on late in the RWC final, performed adequately as is expected in rugby at this level and kicked a relatively easy penalty kick that Weepu probably would have as well. Now we get all this hype about Donald being a hero that saved the day etc. Well excuse me but a penalty kick is worth 3 points and a try is worth 5 points so in my view it is Woodcock scoring the All Black's only try who should be lauded much more than Donald.
Now if Donald's kick had been something like this one then it would be worth all the talk
See :

Bizarre Rugby Penalty Kick

Monday, 24 October 2011


A box of birds
That Kiwi expression is very apt this morning as New Zealanders all over the country will be cheerful and in good spirit.

Not a good day for roosters though.

No doubt we will be seeing a lot more of the silver fern flag flying. This was interesting seeing the black flag with the silver fern being waved more than the actual nNew Zealand flag. Is this significant? I think so. For a long time now there has been discussion about changing the flag to something more unique and representative of the country. I'm for that but don't like the black imagery as I don't believe that black defines us as a fresh new place in the Pacific. I'd like to see something along these lines:

Anyway, the win, played with great spirit and the French rising to the occasion so well and creating the nail biting tension of the last few minutes (thank that mythical being that the play was in the French half for the last few minutes) will give the country a real shot in the arm in confidence and hopefully community spirit. Well done those men!

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Following old Richard's example I went hiking today. In New Zealand we usually say 'tramping' but to be fair it was an easy walk and so more like a hike. Around where we live there are lots of bush and marine reserves to choose from. Today we went to Bream Head reserve with some friends who are staying with us for the long weekend. They are Scottish and had peely wally legs. They have been in New Zealand for about 8 years so their skin, once blue is now nearing white so there is some improvement.
We did the Smuggler's Bay/Busby Head walk which is pretty easy but just the thing for people who have had too much wine the night before.

The views of the harbour on one side and the open sea on the other looking out past the Hen and Chicken islands are spectacular. Smuggler's Bay is where contraband (alcohol and tobacco) used to be illegally landed in the nineteenth century. I always imagine finding a crate of old whisky in a sand dune here.

At the top of the Busby Head walk you can look down one side at Frenchman's Island which has a cavern inside and a big door on it like something out of Tolkien. Smugglers used this as an observation post.
On the other side looking out East you can imagine where The Niagara blew up and sunk after hitting the German mine in WWII.

This walk goes through lots of light bush and little cabbage tree plantations. Birds like Kereru (wood pigeon), Tui and Fantails fly in and out of the trees. Every time I saw one I would sing "B-b-b-b-b-bird bird bird, do the bird.." See:

for which I would receive a punch on the arm. Oh what fun.

Trashman Bird is the word Live 1963 год

I've been driving The Old Girl crazy this morning playing this over and over. She has threatened to lock me out of the house. I can't figure out why.


Saturday, 22 October 2011


Oh, oh, its happening again. Richard (of RBB) is using his old alter - egos again and, disturbingly, some new ones.

We explored the problem earlier:

and after that things seemed to quieten down a bit. Admittedly our subject didn't delete his alter-egos but he did leave them dormant for some time.
I was concerned enough to phone him earlier in the week to enquire as to how he was doing. He wasn't home when I called and I was diverted to an answering device that had the most disturbing sounds imaginable on it. Beneath a low, rumbling, strumming sound came an ethereal voice that said "We cannot come to the phone right now ..." WE? The hairs at the back of my neck rose and I had a bad feeling.
I left a message and thought about the significance of this for a while until he called back. Trying to keep the conversation initially at banter level I eventually brought in the topic of blogs. He said "We haven't been keeping our blogging level up recently as our bass practice is placing a burden on us" WE, OUR, US? This was of concern.Knowing that his head is full of personalities all dangerously vying for attention I decided to mention the seemingly most innocuous one - Anselme.

Richard (for at this stage it was still Richard (of RBB) who was dominant went on a long dialogue of how Anselme was his friend (he said freund), lived in Germany, played in some sort of orchestra that frequented cafes, grew tomatoes and lived a quiet peaceful life. I couldn't help thinking that there was a lot of wishful thinking going on here and that this "Anselme' was the ego Richard would like to be to escape the manic  and aberrant activities of his others. Not wishing to alarm him I pretended to agree that 'Anselme' was real and was a thoroughly good fellow. I confessed to having left a 'Fuck!' comment on 'Anselme's' blog and apologised for my rudeness and said I would remove it which I subsequently did. This seemed to please the old guy and as he was calm thought that this was a good time to end the conversation.
I think that we, as the bus station blogging community should consider an intervention. Perhaps we could get someone to dress up as the fictionalised 'Anselme' to lull him into a feeling of security. Does anyone know of a tall, bald man?

Friday, 21 October 2011


No doubt you've seen the television advertisements for the new Smirnoff vodka and cranberry juice in the 2 litre 'convenient' packaging.

What fun. This 6.4% alcohol (stronger than the average export lager) mixture of vodka and cranberry juice has been described by top as having no bubbles to cause a bloating effect later in the night so that you can drink more of it. The lack of carbonation is also said to make it quite a light liquid which goes down very smoothly. It has been described as being like a raspberry cordial and you really can't taste the vodka! Right. Who is the target market for this then do you think? Adults? Women in their 20's who, having been brought up watching Sex in the City and the fancy women drinking Cosmopolitans (vodka and cranberry cocktails) aspire to be sophisticated and gorgeous? No. It is no doubt pitched at the young girls who want to party and who cannot afford to buy vodka cocktails or glasses of Chardonnay.

 This 2 litre monstrosity costs $19.00. If we assume that a normal size glass is about a hundred ml then there are 20 glasses of this in the box, more than enough to get bladdered on.

or worse,

Thanks Mr Smirnoff.
At least Drinkwise, the alcohol watch dog in Australia is annoyed at this product. See:

But, as they say, its all about profit.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


"Oh, puns, we (teachers) don't do puns. We do twisted cynicism, obvious and blatant slurs, idiosyncratic eponyms, and even straight-in-your-face insults. But we don't do puns."

Said TSB

It reminds me of this song...........


Does anyone remember the 60's TV series Branded where Chuck Norris Connors was unfairly labelled a coward and drummed out of the army?
Anyway that was my experience today. Not to be branded as a coward but there were aspersions cast on my cleaning abilities. The Old Girl is having a few days holiday and, as she does, checked up on a few things around the house. She actually looked under things and looked up above eye level. Horror of horrors she discovered dust and cobwebs. After a lambasting, in the middle of which I went out and used the weedeater again so am now a bit shaky see:
 she telephoned the woman who is the tenant of the other McLeod Bay house we used to own and arranged for her to come in once a week to do some basic housework. Now I know how poor old Chuck felt.


Second Fiddle has taken up painting and not the door surrounds which he should be doing. No, he has discovered oil painting and is actually quite good at it see here:

His depiction of the people on the wharf here:

reminds me of Lowry:

an English painter who I have long admired (I have some nice tea mugs with his illustrations on them.

Keep up the good work Second and when you build up a portfolio I'd consider buying one.


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...