Saturday, 31 December 2011


Sorry about the Serutan advertisement.

On Christmas eve I broke a tooth which I have been having repaired by the dentist. The crown preparation has been done with a temporary crown inserted with the real one being ready in 2 weeks. It is a porcelain gold construction. At $1500 I wondered if it shouldn't have been made from platinum.

Today The Old Girl broke a tooth. The molar on the same side as my broken one but an upper one. She will have to wait like I did until Wednesday for dental work. She will also get a crown done and no doubt this will cost about $1500. We looked at each other and laughed, wondering, at our ages what other bits are going to fall off.

Sunday, 25 December 2011


I've probably bored you before when talking about where I live but I never cease to be amazed how beautiful it is up here and how uncrowded it is. It is like the place has never properly been discovered. Most people who travel up North I am sure by-pass Whangarei to go to Pahia and Russell, never thinking to head out East towards the coast.
If they did they would discover Whangarei Heads and the many beautiful bays that nestle the huge  and magnificent harbour.
When leaving Onerahi, the airport suburb of Whangarei you travel along the Whangarei Heads Road that runs out to the Heads alongside the water.
The first bay that is found is Tamaterau.

This  gives a taste of what is to come.

Next is Parua Bay.

Parua Bay
Parua Bay is a huge bay with the largest population.
Here is what it looks like at night.

After Parua Bay the road cuts inland a bit before reaching McLeod Bay where I live.

Next bay along is Little Munroe

followed by Tauarikura

Taurikura by day

Taurikura by night

then McKenzie Bay

McKenzie Bay

and lastly Urquarts Bay where my sister lives

Urquarts Bay

Over the hill is the dramatic Ocean Beach where surfers play and Orca and Dolphins are often seen frolicking.
We went there today for our walk. The smaller first part you arrive at where the surf club is was crowded (must have been about 30 people there.

Walking left along the beach for about half a kilometre and going around the rocks we went along the second part of the beach for about 2 kilometres and there was no-one there.

Skirting the rocks at the end of this part we reached the third part of the beach which gores for about 5 kilometres and again there was no=one there. We waked about a kilometre, found a great spot to watch pounding surf and had a picnic lunch before returning. We found an amazing bucket washed up. It was plastic about the size of a laundry basket with rope handles. we filled it with seaweed for the garden and carried it back.

Thanks to the photographers who posted their photographs of this area on the internet. II will do the same with mine soon.


Ahh the joy of being at home away from the city.
Shorts and T-shirt will be de rigeur for as long as I'm here (unfortunately not long enough as I will be working the non-statutory days). We've had a nice Christmas morning here, exchanging presents, corn fritters and bacon for breakfast and listening to a nice selection of music - Pachebal,  Vaughan Williams, Gregorian,  Albioni  etc. - festive and Christmassy without being tacky.
I had to rescue one of my favourite shirts from the rubbish - "It makes you look like a bag a of busted arseholes" said the Old Girl, not for the first time - but I like it.

We are off for a long walk along Ocean Beach soon and a picnic lunch before visiting the neighbours for drinks and then a big Christmas dinner (just the two of us) with Champagne, Pinot Noir and trifle!

Saturday, 24 December 2011


Well, Richard's curse really.
I'm afraid I wasn't very sympathetic over the big wuss old jelly-belly Mr wimpy Richard's toothache and looming extraction a few weeks ago and now it seems he has cursed me.
I broke a piece off a large molar today while eating a ham sandwich. A bloody (almost) sandwich. How the hell did that happen? It was freshly baked bread, nice and soft, with a delicious piece of moist and fat free ham with hot English mustard inside.

 I suppose that the tooth had been weakened by the big chunk of hard Thornton's toffee that I had crunched up earlier.

This stuff is great. The 'Mother-in-law' sent some with the Christmas pack from Aberdeen along with Gold Bars, Caramac and all sorts of other sweet British stuff guaranteed to ruin your teeth. I'll have to send her a note telling her that it worked.

Murphy's (Sod's) Law of course dictates that you break a tooth during the Christmas closure for most dentists. I rang around and discovered one close to my work in Auckland that is open between Christmas and New Year. Well, they weren't open today so I had to leave a voice message (dentists haven't discovered e-mail yet).

I'll have to be careful what I eat between now and then. Soft and mushy stuff I guess which is OK when it comes to trifle but crunchy roast potatoes might be a bit of a struggle. Bugger. I could put the Christmas roast meal in a blender and suck it up through a straw I suppose.


Written by young things (or sad old bastards pretending to be young things) that invariably say things like "If you're single then expect some wonderful news this week"

The trigger for that was watching the wonderful  Getting On TV programme this evening where Jo Brand was talking about her horoscope one morning being totally different to what her daily life was like.

Getting On is one of those sublime British television comedy dramas that will endure in the same way that The Office, The Thick of It and Yes Minister will endure. Interestingly Peter Capaldi the wonderfully ascerbic Malcolm in The Thick of it directs Getting On and some of the characters act in both shows.
"I don't usually cry after sex. Before and during, that's a given but.." - a line from Free Agents another good British comedy. You can see I'm talking about UKTV here.

Which brings me back to Fridays. Bugger all that TGIF crap. I like Fridays because they are Fridays. Most of my working life I have worked Saturdays so Friday doesn't mean the end of a working week. Why do I like them?
Some random thoughts are:

  • Ivanhoe. The TV series screened on TV in New Zealand in the mid 1960's. It was on Friday nights at 6.30. Brilliant. The neighbourhood kids would play after school, have tea and meet again after Ivanhoe and relive our favourite moments.
  • Fish and Chip lunches at school. They have never been better since. The orders were accepted at 'playtime' (the mid-morning break). The goods were ordered and picked up at lunch-time. In big boxes. The wrapped parcels we all squashed together and different flavours and aromas infused. You might have ordered fish and chips with vinegar but the meal would be flavoured/tainted with battered saveloys and Worcester sauce or oysters.
  • Friday nights at The Grand in Willis Street Wellington when I was at University. Meeting up with friends, having a few beers and the expectation of a party. Brilliant.
  • Wines after work in the 'cellar door' of the wine companies I have worked for. A chance to try new vintages, old vintages, trial offerings etc.
  • Late night shopping in Wellington when I was  a kid off to spend my pocket money.
  • OK - the TGIF mood that fellow workers who don't work on Saturdays get.
Well, Friday wasn't so good for him

I like Fridays because I get away from work and the city and back to our house up North. It is also, as you can see from the comments above, the best TV night with those good British comedies.

Getting back to horoscopes, who doesn't sneak a look at those things? as Jo Brand observed they are usually written about love, romance and riches. Jo Brand's character in Getting On is a nurse aide in a geriatric hospital. Her horoscope doesn't say "old Mrs McGrundy is going to have a whoopsie in her bed today and you have to clean it up". Do you know I once studied Astrology? This was at Victoria University in the 1970's. I actually studied lots of things at University - law, architecture, computing, seismology, history, renaissance art, French, English, education, physics and philosophy. The astrology classes were in the evening. I 'studied' this because a young woman, Veronica (yes Veronica just like in the Archie comics) was doing it. Garth Carpenter was the tutors name. He was big in Astrology in New Zealand at the time. I think that Robert Muldoon used to use him as an economic forecaster.

Anyway, creating astrology charts was bloody boring and Veronica wasn't interested in me (probably gay) so I gave it up and got uselessly diverted in another direction.

I've lost my train of thought now (damn Veronica) so here's what Richard (of RBB) would do.

Friday, 23 December 2011


No, I didn't crash and kark it on the way. Besides, according to Christian Doctrine and the Catechism I'd have gone in the other direction as I have committed these most heinous sins over the last few years:

  • Haven't attended Mass every Sunday
  • Taken the lord's name in vain
  • Coveted my neighbours wife (in thought not deed)
  • Coveted my neigbour's ass (well, he doesn't own a donkey but see above, I've sneaked a look at his wife's arse.
  • I've stolen (apart from glances at the neighbours wife's arse) many images from the web to use in my blog posts

I haven't done any of the other things that the commandments forbid me to but hey! The year hasn't finished yet.

Back to paradise. I have just driven up to McLeod Bay from Auckland. The Old Girl is baby-sitting the Godson tonight in Auckland so she is driving up first thing in the morning. It has been a busy week, well every week is busy nowadays that I have taken up (gasp) working again. The roads were pretty good ( I took the back way via Highway 16) so made good ground - 2 hours 15 in the Rover. I can do it in 2 hours 10 in the peugeot because it is newer and safer on corners.
Driving around the Whangarei Heads road to McLeod Bay was magical. Honestly, I could just feel the stress leave my shoulders at the first glimpse of the Bay with Mount Manaia in the background.

Just to make sure that the stress was going to leave I quickly took a bottle of Nobilo Gisborne Chardonnay 2008 from the fridge as a precaution and poured myself a bifg glass while preparing home made oven baked chips and pan-fried snapper (caught from the waters I can see out of the kitchen window.

Life is good and I'm looking forward to catching up on what Richard's Bus Station derelicts inebriates down and outers hangers around fellow travellers have been doing. Lack of time and the vagaries of indifferent telecommunications during the week prohibit me from keeping up to date.

Sunday, 18 December 2011


Well, you don't need to as I can tell you.
There have been 1,786 hits on this post here.

The Little Rascals

I guess quality and content of a post is not important it is just the heading that can attract attention.


A Well-Planned Retirement - From The London Times:


Outside the Bristol Zoo, in England , there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 coaches, or buses.
It was manned by a very pleasant attendant with a ticket machine charging cars £1 (about $1.40) and coaches £5 (about $7).
This parking attendant worked there solid for all of 25 years.  Then, one day, he just didn't turn up for work.
"Oh well", said Bristol Zoo Management - "we'd better phone up the City Council and get them to send a new parking attendant . . . "
"Err . . . no", said the Council, "that parking lot is your responsibility." 

"Err . . . no", said Bristol Zoo Management, "the attendant was employed by the City Council, wasn't he?"
"Err . . . no!" insisted he's not one of my employees said the Council.
Sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain (presumably), is a man who had been taking the parking lot fees, estimated at £400 (about $560) per 
day at Bristol Zoo for the last 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over £3.6 million ($7 million - or $280,000 every year for 25 years)!

And no one even knows his name!

Saturday, 17 December 2011


"Stranger than fictionLarger than lifeFull of shades and echoesIt's the story of my life"


When I was looking for an image of underpants for the previous post I found 'Captain Underpants"

and in turn this took me to a Captain Underpants website where a strange guy Dan reports on strange bits of news. Now whether true or not, more likely not, this tickled my fancy:
"Old Man McGumbus, 103 and former World War II grenade specialist, was driving his 1986 Buick down Main Street when a deer sprang out in front of him. McGumbus clipped the deer, and it damaged the right headlight of his Buick. Infuriated, the old man went into the trunk of his car and grabbed his M203 Grenade Launcher, which  fires a 40 mm grenade. McGumbus, wasting no time, spotted the deer in his sights, whispered the words to himself, “God damn hippies,” and fired. In an instant, the deer exploded into hundreds of pieces. There were deer guts everywhere on Main Street and splattered on some of the cars parked on the side of the road. One of the cars splattered was Bert Pickles, who drives an MG, he is 24 years old and plays in the rock band, “Cool Before It Was Cool.” Pickles yelled out to McGumbus, “Hey Old Man! You messed up my MG!” To which McGumbus replied by loading another grenade into his grenade launcher and said, “That MG? THAT MG YOU GOD DAMN HIPPIE!!!” McGumbus fired and blew up the MG, causing a severe fire that needed to be put out. There is a YouTube video online of McGumbus walking in slow motion with his grenade launcher through the fire like some kind of 103-year-old Terminator. No arrests were made."
Borrowed from here

I guess old Dan has a bit of a fetish about grenade launchers (and underpants).
I bet he likes this clip:

Bozo on the end of a Mk 19

Sunday, 11 December 2011


Underpants. Modern underpants. Why does the bloody brand tag have to be on the outside?
When I was buying underpants (nowadays the Old Girl has taken over this task) the manufacturers always put the brand name inside, at the back, at the top where you knew where to find it. Invariably it said 'Jockey' and sometimes 'Haines'. 'My' underpants unfortunately are getting a bit threadbare as some of them are well over 20 years old. I continually have to rescue them from the rubbish bin but, as the assortment is growing fewer I suspect that the Old Girl has rumbled to my fossicking.

Why is this a problem? Well, now that I have to wake at the crack of dawn again (7AM), shower and blearily search in the underwear drawer I find myself putting the damned (new) things on back to front and don't notice until later.

OK, not relevant to the post but I thought this was funny

Saturday, 10 December 2011


I remember when living in Christchurch the couple next door, in their seventies, would crank up the radiogram on Saturday nights and boogie away into the wee hours (or until 9.30). There is a great radio programme on National Radio on Saturday evenings where 'the oldies' request music. No doubt I'll be tuning in soon.

CD's and entertainment is not the exclusive domain of teenagers with their mind-numbing music.

There is a hell of a lot out there that doesn't get written up in Melody Maker, Rip It Up and Rolling Stone but which is meaningful to (probably) more people than the supposed target teenage market who bootleg, copy and otherwise steal it anyway.

The prompt for this rant   post is the CD I bought at Countdown supermarket the other day. It is 'A Kiwi Journey' which has music and historical narrative from prominent Northlanders. It has been made as a fund-raising initiative for Project Promise with which I have been associated.

This is a very good cause aiming to raise $3m for an oncology centre at Whangarei Base Hospital. I am going to buy more of these CD's for Christmas gifts. I really exhort (with an 'h' not a 't') you to buy one of these and support a very worthy cause.

OK, its not rock and roll and won't make the top 10 charts but it is a good listen and a good reminder that there is a lot of good stuff out there that doesn't get hyped up. If you are too young (yeah right) to listen to it now then buy it, put it aside for a few years and enjoy it in your dotage.

Thursday, 8 December 2011


On Monday night after dinner I looked through the offerings on TV but was disappointed that there was nothing that looked interesting. Mad Dogs, the British series about aging blokes on an adventure in Spain had finished the week before with no adequate replacement.
I settled on Criminal Minds having heard or read some hype about how good it was - award winning and all that. Boy it was crap. Bad acting, Bad writing. Bad Direction. Bad filming. I persevered for about 10 minutes and gave up in disgust. I looked through the DVDs that The Old Girl had brought down from our collection up North and was overjoyed to discover the full series of Cracker the outstanding Robbie Coltrane series written by Jimmy McGovern.

 Now this was something. I watched the 'Mad Woman in the attic' episode in two parts. I was gob-smacked. I hadn't seen this for quite a few years and it was still great. Good acting. Good writing. Good direction and good filming.
I feel sorry for our younger generation. They are seduced into watching rubbish that is dressed up in marketing hype which is really watered down versions of what has been produced before. This is not to say that all new stuff is rubbish as winessed by The sopranos, The Wire, Dexter and Treme (although all of these feature initially on HBO) but the other bullshit that is presented as quality drama is really forensic porn.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


Oh no. All the usual crap mainly driven around retail sales (and, nowadays just that - bloody SALES - where the moronic retailers discount stuff BEFORE Christmas).
Hopefully, amongst all the dross will be the good things like Mike, Tony and I catching up for our yearly pre-Christmas lunch, letters and cards from old friends, re-runs of some good UK TV programmes (Morecombe and Wise springs to mind) and the tasteful Christmas displays in quality stores like Ballantynes, Kirkaldie and Staines and Smith and Caughey.

But, one of the great things about New Zealand Christmases (well in the North Island anyway) is the flowering of the Pohutukawa trees that generally start in the first week of December. We are working in Auckland during the week and coming home to McLeod Bay on weekends. Last weekend the trees by the bay were not in flower. This weekend they are getting dressed for Christmas. Magic.

Pohutukawa tree starting to flower - view from the Kitchen Saturday 3 December 2011


Courier companies.
I have problems with them at work when trying to get them to pick something up we want to send.
I have problems with them when I'm driving as their drivers continually cut in front of other cars, double park in busy lanes, ignore traffic signals and generally drive like idiots.
I also have problems with them when something is delivered at home. They operate between 9 and 4. They call at your house and, surprise surprise find no-one home as it is a working day. They leave a card saying that the item can be collected from their depot between 9 and 5.30 Monday to Friday.
Right. Have courier companies not grasped that nowadays mot householders are at work. Why can't they change their operating hours to suit the bloody customer? Oh, I see, their customer is the organisation who sends the stuff. People like Vodafone. It is not the poor bloody sap who receives the parcel. That person has to hang around all day or take time off during a working day to drive miles to pick the item up. What the hell is wrong with having the depot open to say 7PM or on weekends?

When wishes come true


OK, call me stupid but when I signed up for 'Naked Broadband' with Vodafone I thought that I would be getting a broadband device that didn't require a fixed land-line. How silly of me. They of course have another product named Mobile Broadband. I of course assumed that this was a way of accessing the internet from your mobile not the bloody computer. When signing up via Vodafone's very complicated and consumer unfriendly website I entered the information that we were just moving into a flat that had no telephone, that we didn't want a fixed line phone and wanted broadband to suit. On Thursday (see Gripe #3) I arrived home after work to find a courier card at the door saying that they tried to deliver a parcel but no-one was home. The parcel could be collected the next day between the hours of 9AM and 5.30PM at their depot ON THE OTHER SIDE OF BLOODY TOWN! On Friday I collected this at lunchtime to discover that it was a Vodafone fixed line modem that is of no use to me. Today, Saturday I received an invoice for the damned connection. SHIT! (sorry, scatology). Look, I know that I am not good at new technology but I'm not a slug at it either. I work with a computer at home and the office and generally know my way around the ether. What if I was an O.A.P. (no jokes please)? How the hell does a novice to the computer world negotiate the miasma-filled labyrinths that these geeks create?


At my age there are so many things to complain about that the little annoying things get passed over. The problem with these little annoying things are that they are often a regular niggle we we tend to put up with them.

Gripe #1. Why does washing up liquid have to be so bloody foamy nowadays? In the old days you squirted a bit in and it soaped the dishes nicely. The bubbles were sufficient to do the job and still allowed you to see into the sink and differentiate between glasses, dishes, pots and very sharp knives. This new-fangled stuff acts like a bubble bath and the foam goes about a foot higher than the top of the sink as you run the water and threatens to engulf you.. I reckon that dishwasher manufacturers have somehow taken over the dishwashing liquid companies and are making this horrible crap to drive is all into buying their machines. Bastards!


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...