Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Our Auckland townhouse is opposite a primary school and from the top floor I can see the teachers arrive to work in the morning (well, not all of them obviously - I only notice the attractive young women).The thing is that they start arriving from 7AM!. Now I know that the school day is 9AM to 3PM and that the students don't start turning up until 8.30 at the earliest, so what is going on here? A witches coven? Poker school?

Sunday, 26 February 2012


I was all set to go for a swim today after our walk.
I even put the swim-gear on:

Note the 'rashy' swim top to protect from salt spray and sun. The hat to keep the fierce rays from burning and the designer swim goggles aerodynamically designed to make me faster in the water. All set to go.

The Old Girl walked out into the water to waist depth before diving in and swam off to the diving platform anchored in the bay.
I stepped into the water ........ it was bloody freezing!

I scarpered back into the house with the Old Girl's shouts of 'Chicken!" ringing in my ears.

When she eventually got out of the water and came inside she called me a 'Big Wussy Pants'.
She obviously is still unaware that blokes have got very special parts that do not take well to being immersed in very cold water!

It seems to me that our short-lived Summer is fading away as the bay's water temperature is a sure sign of approaching Autumn.


Not these women, obviously
The Old Girl and I played pool last night. She is quite good at it and enjoys the game. Getting her to play snooker though has allways been a hassle. "Its too complicated" she would say or "It takes too long". The best is "you are mean and hide the white ball behind the colours just like you used to do when we played croquet" The last refers to the large garden and lawns we had at our Christchurch house where we had a croquet lawn. I used to knock her ball out of play into the rose bushes.

See here

Last night I taught her how to play snooker. It went generally well but she would get distracted like when The Killers 'Human' song was playing, she had to dance to it. "You can't not dance to this song" she reasoned!

Same song, different occasion. The Old Girl on right dancing with her mother
So, the game was held up while she 'danced', even cajoling me to loin in at the slow bits.
Back to the game. I can't work out why she can't find tunes on the i-pod to play when it is my turn. No she decides to do that when she is supposed to be playing her shot - so, the game is delayed each time. "Thats very unfriendly" is the frequest protest when I snooker her although when she snookered me on two occasions I didn't hear a murmer from her (maybe the odd silent snigger).

The good news is that even though she lost the game she is keen to try again so we can make proper use of the table. Snooker is a much better game than pool.

Saturday, 25 February 2012


I buy a lotto ticket each week. I buy into the fantasy of rags to riches. I would like to have the security of having money in the bank and not having to be concerned about how much money is coming into the household each week to cover the outgoings. Who wouldn't? My fantasy of riches though is not having a flash boat and fast cars (although I would like to give a Maserati a spin). No, my dream is to be equity and cash secure to be able to give of my time voluntarily to use my business and life experiences to help others. And, if I had enough cash, to be able to set up trusts that I could administer to help worthy causes. Now that would be truly rewarding.

I am pissed off at the current Lotto TV advertising campaign. You know. The story about the guy on the yacht who loses his Lotto ticket in a storm and his dog Wilson jumps overboard to retrieve it. Wilson returns home after a while to find that his owner has moved on and so gives the ticket to a down and outer. OK. Fair enough. The yacht owner probably had insurance, lives in a comfortable house and has found a new companion. The down and outer needs the dosh. But, the down and outer , as seen in the follow-on ads in the story, has embraced the selfish. me-me values and wastes the money on flash cars, planes, women and god knows what else. Where are the values?

Mind you, this not a one-off in dodgy values for Lotto. Remember the odious advert that told the story of a soldier being taken in and protected by a comely young (French or Italian) lass who safeguarded him from Jerry? When he won Lotto years later he went, flowers in hand, back to that place and, when she eventually came to the door he saw that she was now an old and not very attractive woman. He hid the flowers and scarpered. Laugh? No, not funny and Lotto and its advertisers should know better.

"Pick me. I'm a silly old bastard and a lech to boot"

Monday, 20 February 2012


* Four Seasons in One Day

Well, perhaps it was a weekend and really, maybe only two seasons but the weekend just gone was memorable.
On Friday, out West in Auckland there was an amazing thunderstorm in the afternoon.  In new Zealand we are used to 'sheet' lightning. This was 'forked' lightning that seemed to strike the ground. maybe it did because at work we had 4 power outages in an hour. Obviously the storm had upset something.
Driving up North that evening we struck intermittent rain flurries and, just over the Brynderwyns the rain was so heavy that travelling at 100Km plus was not just silly nor dangerous it was just impossible. We slowed and slowed and then, when a crack of thunder and a flash above us convinced me that Second's mate upstairs was intervening we pulled over to the side of the road to wait it out. Dozens of cars behind us followed suit including a police car. It was interesting watching the 'gung-ho' jokers barrelling past the line until they saw the police car and then they pulled over. Idiots. When we  gauged it safe we pulled out and went on our way. I said to the Old Girl that this was just like the storm of exactly a year ago see Here:

when Whangarei Heads was isolated. Sure enough when driving around the 'Heads' water was coursing off the hills and the drains were overflowing.
The house was secure though and although we had a bit of rain during the night the weather was settled the next day. Settled? It had positively decided it wanted to live there. The sunlight was marvellous, wind was minimal and the water was still as a millpond. We went swimming. That evening the mist came down in the afternoon and then miraculously lifted. Mount Manaia, the striking mount to the East of our house was blood red. I'd never seen it like that before. The red sunset out west has shone on it before but never like this. It must have been something to do with the mist and the strange atmospherics - spectacular cumulus clouds and weird forms in the sky.
On Saturday night we had more thunderstorms and rain so we thought that Sunday would be a washout. We were wrong. Sunday was magnificent. Late morning we headed off to the surf beach, Ocean Beach. There was a surf tournament on there and boy did they pick the right day. The surf was big and extremely frequent with waves coming in one after the other hardly giving you a chance to regain your feet. The Old Girl boogie boarded and I body surfed. I got dumped repeatedly and nearly lost my clothes. I emerged from the sea like a Kraken, scaring little children with my streaming eyes and nose not to mention that my 'rashie' shirt had ridden up way above my midriff and my shorts had come down dangerously below my hips.

Back home, after lunch I mowed the lawns and weeded the garden. Having gotten all hot and bothered again we went for another swim in our bay. Magic. all too soon it was time to head off back to bloody Auckland and work on Monday.

Sunday, 19 February 2012


Now I don't want to be a policeman but I have noticed that the standard and frequency of posting on this blogging community has slipped to dangerously low levels.
Richard's Bass Bag. once a reliable source of new information with daily posts has slipped badly over the last month. Now infrequent the posts are too full of musical references and worse, double bass performance downloads.
Second Fiddle, temporarily promoted to First Fiddle until Richard gets drunk and demotes him still has his fixation with do-it-yourself (home improvement - not what you were thinking) but now that he is self-employed has cut down on the posting frequency. This of course is of no importance as the posts, as usual are junked at the end of each week.
TSB has somehow rapidly slipped into dotage and has been regaling all and sundry with disgusting and disturbing revelations about the symptoms and effects of his decrepitude. Not for the faint-hearted so be warned.
Some other previously regular contributors have dropped out or only appear occasionally to make a commet or write a short, angst-ridden message before disappearing again.
Only MOE has increased in frequency and fortunately has not lost his ability as a good essayist. Distubingly though he has created alter-egos, a sure sign that Richard's Bass Bag is a bad influence on him.

Saturday, 18 February 2012


Second Fiddle, in a recent post on his blog (now sadly deleted - oh what a loss to humnity) referred to Come Dine With Me the UK reality programme that has five people cooking for each other on consecutive nights in their own homes. This is a recent addition to the onslaught of cheaply made, never-ending ridiculous scenarios that have ambushed television and is inexorably dumbing down the offerings making it even harder for quality programming to shine through.

Apart from not getting a look-in because a dumbed down viewing public watch this crap and therefore the ratings go up and of course programmers schedule more of the shit, quality TV costs more so producers default to the cheap to make reality formats. I've said before that some of the best TV dramas coming from the USA are on the HBO pay for view channels. The best UK stuff when it does get purchased by our programmers often gets buried at odd times of the day or night.

Anyway, back to Come Dine With Me. I like it. I just watched 2 and a half hours of it this morning (5 half hour shows shown at the same time.) It is good television. Putting 5 different people who haven't met before together for an entertaining challenge is inspired. This is not one of those execrable cooking contests, nor is it  Big Brother or Survivor idiocy, this programme explores the dynamics of strangers interacting with each other and exposing their personalities, strengths and weaknesses. The selection criteria is pretty obvious. There is invariably; a bitchy one; a snobby/pretentious one; a nice one; a gay one and one of life's losers. The whole thing is held together by viciously funny and apt observations by a commentator. It really works as a UK programme with the different social classes, regional accents and generally interesting and funny people to draw from but I doubt that the USA version and the soon to be made New Zealand version will be much cop. But I could be wrong. The German one looks interesting. See:


Tuesday, 14 February 2012


and such great lyrics


I note that nearly 60% of those polled by Yahoo think that Valentines Day is a load of cobblers.
I've never really cared about it but have bought the odd card or flowers.
Years ago when I was flatting in Brooklyn someone put an anonomous Valentines card in the letterbox. The card and envelope were done out in cut out letters the way a stalker would do it (I presume).

Thinking it was from my girl-friend I proudly put it on the mantelpiece. When she turned up and saw it she was much displeased and demanded to nkow who sent it. I was totally innocent and said so but I don't think she believed me.

Anyway, Valentines Day today is moot as The Old Girl is not talking to me. I don't know why. Honest.

Monday, 13 February 2012


I thought that I heard a snippet on National Radio this morning about the high number of teachers who have been suspended for drunkenness, violence and inappropriate sexual behavior in front of or with their students. Tonight when searching for this story on the web I couldn't find it and wonder if I imagined it - my head being full of the stories of NLHS.
In my internet trawl however I found a few examples of sacked teachers.
The first seems to be an overreaction from a nanny state (of the USA)

The second seems reasonable as who wants to look at this joker in his birthday suit.

In new Zealand however Rachel Whitmore was sacked for posing in her underwear and birthday suit. Now she is easy on the eye and was not even at school (although apparently she was draped across a desk).

I wish my teachers had looked like her.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


.... said The Old Girl, I thought unfairly when I laid out my masterplan of reducing my working days from five to three days per week.
I carefully set out the pros and cons ( puttig a lot of emphasis on the pros) to show how reducing my working hours would:

  • Enable me to keep an eye on our family home up North therby reducing risks from burglars and the elements
  • Put me in a lower tax bracket meaning the take-home pay will be not that much different
  • Mean that we won't need the two-bedroom townhouse we are renting and can make do with our one-bedroom apartment.
  • Won't need to pay for a cleaner at the two-bedroom townhouse.
  • Won't need to pay so much for the little girl up the road who feeds the cat each day up North.
And here was what I thought was the clincher but was when she deivered her aforementioned line:
  • Won't ned to pay the weekly housekeeper up North because I can do all the vaccuuming, dusting and cleaning ..........................................................................................................................
She narrowed her eyes (devastaing that is) and I could see that she was not convinced about my altruistic intentions.

To be fair though she is right.
I have established that the combination of lower weekly outgoings and lower tax bracket will only mean that we have $26 less per week coming in but I must admit that a big contributor has been the feeling that I don't want to work 5 days a week.

For those thinking that I am being unfair to my employer let me say that by reducing my hours by 40% will enable the company to employ an additional person 5 days a week with no extra outlay. This will be beneficial to them and take a lot of administrative load off me enabling me to concentrate on the major issues which I am good at.

My Old Girl. with whom I have spent the most delightfullast  24 years said ... "OK".

So here we go to our next adventure.

Saturday, 4 February 2012


Yesterday was the date denoting that The Old Girl and I have been together for 24 years. To celebrate this, when we arrived in Whangarei last night instead of heading for the Fish and Chip shop we went to the best restaurant in the area. We had a great meal with Champagne and Martinborogh Pinot Noir - two of our favourite wine styles.
I was thinking this morning how well we get on. We have different interests but share enough to make for a loving and harmonious relationship.
Last night we both selected the same dish a beautifully prepared and presented dish of fresh Terakahi pan fried and served on a salmon potato rosti with a buerre blanc done with chardonnay. Delicious. Often though we disagree on foods. I have set opinions on when food should be eaten and how it should be done. I have to admit though that she is a better cook than I.

Here are some of the things we differ on:

Avocado. Tolerable in guacamole and dips but please don't put this squishy slimy thing in salads or in my sandwiches.

Butter. OK in cooking cakes and souffles, greasing baking dishes or re-enacting favourite scenes from Last tango in Paris but not to be spread on toast. That's margarine's job.

Carrot. Must be cooked and an essential ingredient in mince.

Dunking. A hard biscuit has to be dunked in coffee or tea. So what if at least half the time it falls in and becomes a sludge at the bottom of the cup.

Eggs A poached egg or indeed any kind of cooked egg is a breakfast meal. It is not for dinner or any time of day after noon.

Fried bread. This is not an unnecessary indulgence. Some of the finest chefs in motorway cafes have spent a lifetime (albeit a short one) perfecting this.

Gluten free pasta. Or gluten free anything. Why not just chew some sawdust it would be tastier.

Haggis. Sometimes your Scottish heritage has charm. Not when this monstrosity is introduced.

Ice cream. That ice-cream you find in the fridge (flavoured ones, not vanilla) I bought for you. Honest.

Jam. Jam can be used on toast, in sandwiches, as a pie filler and to disguise the taste of medicine. It has fruit in it so must be healthy.

Kidneys. With or without steak this stuff should never be released (see 'O')

Lentils. They sound disgusting. You like to cook things with them I always say "Yuck" but I end up eating them and liking them.

Marmalade. Marmalade is for toast only. Only seriously weird people would consider using it in a sandwich.

Noodles. You have to be off yours to think I'd like these better than mashed potato or pasta.

Offal. Should stay in the offal-pit down on the farm. Enough said.

Porridge. Instant is fine. Creamed oats also provided that sugar and cream is added is fine. Using coarse rolled oats and adding salt (no sugar) is just plain ascetic.

Quiche. Admittedly you make a bloody nice one but don't tell anyone that I eat it.

Rice pudding. You love this sludge. Did you go to a boarding school? Give me a real pudding any day.

Sugar. Raw sugar only may be used on Weetbix.  Brown sugar on the other hand is the only type for porridge. White sugar may be used in baking.

Tuna. In a toasted sandwich with banana. Delicious and stop looking at me that way.

Uncooked fish or meat. If God intended us to eat raw food She wouldn't have given us fire. No, I won't go to a Sushi restaurant with you.

Vanilla. Vanilla Ice-cream is not a flavour.

White Pudding. Or its cousin Black Pudding. What cannibal thought this mess up to be edible?

Xmas cake. Look, I know that yours is a healthier alternative but Christmas cake without the almond icing is just another fruit cake. OK?

Yams. Kumara is tolerable but those tasteless watery yams are an insult to my taste buds. Give me a good old potato any day.

Zabiglione. Hey, its Italian. It must be good for me.


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...