Wednesday, 30 April 2014


Why do women use make up all the time? They don't do it to impress blokes as most blokes I know prefer their women 'au naturelle'. They must do it to compete with other women.

The Old Girl has a pack of wax strips. They are for some sort of masochistic exercise  hair removal. The brand is Parissa. The woman pictured on the pack is absolutely gorgeous. She doesn't appear to be 'made-up' at all (but I could be wrong).

I decided to check out who the model was who was 'brave' enough to appear 'au naturelle'. Her name is Missy Peregrym  and she is a famous Canadian model and actress.
Here is what she 'normally' looks like.

I prefer her natural look.


when I looked at the pictures in my Google account, as I'd used them once in blog posts and thought I'd never use them again, I deleted the whole bloody lot.

Of course they were linked to all the blog posts I've done so they all disappeared.

Including the image for The Curmudgeon and The Curmudgeon Express.


Tuesday, 29 April 2014


Mmmm. An unusual line that and a disturbing image ensuing.
NOT MINE! I hasten to add. It's Scott Walker from his album Bish Bosch.

I guess he must have been having a bad day.

I haven't. I've been inside doing 'chores', reading, watching Dad's Army on You Tube (you have to be quick as soon after someone posts an episode the copyright nazis delete it), attending to correspondence and listening to music. We don't have any CD's here but have an iPod player (what a bloody marvelous machine this is - as good sound quality as you can get from any small stereo) and three iPods. The smallest (mine) has a lot of my favourites that The Old Girl loaded on for me. The mid-size one has more of my favourites and a lot of The Old Girl's favourites (unfortunately a lot of crap I don't like). The third, the Holy Grail is The Old Girl's newest and most powerful one. It seems to have just about every bit of music ever made (hyperbole I know but the collection is amazing). Normally this gem is tucked away safely in her suitcase, backpack, handbag but she left it behind today. Joy!

Anyway, Bish Bosh is on her new iPod which is strange as she reckons that it's the ravings of a demented lunatic.

I like it. See here:


I'm cooking dinner at present (roasted vegetables, corn-on-the-cob and stir-fry vegetables) and listening to the Yardbirds Heart Full of Soul album.

No need to hack off my gonads.

Monday, 28 April 2014



"I’m actually pale blue: it takes me a week of sunbathing to turn white."

                                                                                     -Billy Connolly

I'm quite pale skinned myself, not as bad as the Scots but until I moved to Northland five years ago I never really had decent suntans. I went from white to sunburnt  very quickly and from there to flaking skin and white again.

Daily exposure to the outdoors and sunshine all year round darkened me nearly all over as my usual outdoors wear was shorts and if it was colder, shorts and tee shirt.

Having been living in Toronto for the last seven months, five and a half months of which were the coldest winter in recent times means that my long wanted tan has disappeared.
My white legs are enough to frighten small children and animals.

I must make an effort now that Spring has arrived to get out in the trusty shorts and tee shirt again.

Sunday, 27 April 2014


First time I've ever seen this. Sometimes, amongst the dross trawling the internet uncovers treasure.


Not these:

But these:

Most of us have a personal space requirement that when people come within it (uninvited) we become uncomfortable.
Psychologists have defined this thus:

•Intimate distance - 6 to 18 inches
This level of physical distance often indicates a closer relationship or greater comfort between individuals. It often occurs during intimate contact such as hugging, whispering, or touching.
•Personal distance - 1.5 to 4 feet
Physical distance at this level usually occurs between people who are family members or close friends. The closer the people can comfortably stand while interacting can be an indicator of the intimacy of the relationship.
•Social distance - 4 to 12 feet
This level of physical distance is often used with individuals who are acquaintances. With someone you know fairly well, such as a co-worker you see several times a week, you might feel more comfortable interacting at a closer distance. In cases where you do not know the other person well a distance of 10 to 12 feet may feel more comfortable.
•Public distance - 12 to 25 feet
Physical distance at this level is often used in public speaking situations. Talking in front of a class full of students or giving a presentation at work are good examples of such situations.
I know that I require a greater distance than other people do basically because I am not a very social person. I'm sure that Second Fiddle would require even more and probably be more comfortable if everyone was in the next room.

I guess we've all experienced the close talker, the person who just has to press up close to have a conversation. Invariably, as you back away a bit the person follows with a step so that eventually you're pressed up against a wall or some barrier and can't retreat any further. The amazing thing is that the close talker seems oblivious of the discomfort that he or she is causing.
In my experience this close talker usually has halitosis or a disturbing array of nasal hairs or both.

One of the few times that invasion of personal space is not uncomfortable is on public transport when it is busy. It still is not desirable but is acceptable when people crush up a bit.
Last week on the subway I was travelling during the middle of the day when it wasn't busy. There were plenty of seats and lots of standing space.
As I was only going a few stops I stood near the door and leant against the bulwark of the carriage. People came and went and then a woman, aged about 25 go on and instead of moving down the carriage or taking a seat she stood close to me. Very close. Uncomfortably close. Now she was attractive (I can still notice these things) but I would have preferred if she had moved away a bit. After 3 stops I was able to exit at my station.

At least she didn't have bad breath or rampant nasal hair.

Saturday, 26 April 2014


Marcel Proust, in Search of Lost Time (also known as Remembrance of Things Past) discussed involuntary memory by recounting the story of a madeleine (small sponge cake) invoking memories from decades past.

This morning I attended a dawn service commemorating ANZAC day. Over the last 55 years I've attended maybe 40 of these in either Auckland or Wellington. The first I remember was when I was about seven and was at Wellington's Cenotaph at the bottom of Lambton Quay. It was dark, cold and mysterious. I was with my dad and we stood solemnly during The Last Post, the prayers, the wreath laying and The Rouse.
At the end of The Rouse the artillerymen fired the howitzer. BOOM. It was the first time that I'd seen or heard one of these and it scared shit out of me. I jumped, much to Dad's amusement. The service was over and we shuffled/marched along to the railway station with the rest of the crowd for coffee, tea and scones.

This morning's service was held at The Canadian Forces College in Toronto which is a sprawling miltary college covering several acres at the north end of the city. Some nice speeches were made by the Australian, New Zealand and Turkish consul-generals. The Last Post and The Rouse were played (recorded unfortunately) but no howitzer blasting away which was a shame but I guess that given that ANZAC day is not a Canadian event, early morning cannon-fire might make the locals nervous.

We went into the reception rooms in the college's main building which were stately and had coffee and bakery goods including some cheese and vegemite pastries - very Ocker!

There were no madeleines but the coffee which some people laced with rum (Bundaberg) that someone dispensed took me back to that first ANZAC dawn ceremony I attended. At the railway station there were long trestle tables set up holding cups of steaming hot and dark coffee. The aroma was wonderful as the coffee (and tea) was laced with rum. Dad let me try some and I thought then what a perfect drink to warm the cockles. It wasn't strong but the rum flavours and aromas mixed with the coffee and milk imprinted on my memory.

Now, whenever I smell this combination I am in Wellington on April 25th 1963, my remembrance of things past.

See an older post by The Wine Guy  here:

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


I went walking today which was unfortunately around the time that the local college kids were out in force. These little bastards have no respect for anyone, let alone old geezers like me. They walk on the footpaths (pavements) four or five abreast and are totally oblivious to anyone else. I noticed that other pedestrians had to move out of the way, sometimes stepping onto the road to accommodate them I don't appreciate bullying in any form and don't like rudeness so .....I decided to join them by being rude and a bully.

 I held a line in my walk but unlike the guy in the Verve video above I kindly kept to one side of the footpath (pavement) leaving ample room for people coming in the opposite direction in ones, twos or threes. If they were in fours or fives then somebody had to give way and it wasn't going to be me.

 In the 150 metres to the corner I collided with three groups. The first, a group of four girls busily chatting came straight towards me. I held a line and - boomph - shoulder bumped one of the girls on the end of their row who had made no effort to move out of the way. She got a big surprise and said 'sorry' which is more of an automatic response from Canadians (they are famous for saying sorry, than anything meaningful and sincere.

 The next group were boys, four of them and once again the guy on the end got it. He was aware of me but kept coming on so I dropped and slightly put forward my shoulder which he got in his chest - 'oomph' was what I heard not 'sorry'.

 The third group of five were girls. The one coming directly at me was talking on a cellphone. We collided which given the relative differences in our sizes was like Jonah Lomu running over Mike Catt.

 Was I sorry?

No way.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Last weekend while in London we went to see the stage play The 39 Steps.

This was a rollicking good ‘boys own’ adventure played for laughs. It had none of the seriousness of the original writer John Buchan nor the ‘noir’ of  the Hitchcock film. There were lots of references to Hitchcock though with at one stage a Hitchcock shadow appearing.

The play was a slapstick comedy but the brilliant acting with four actors playing over a hundred parts between them carried the day.

Back ‘home’ in Toronto I downloaded John Buchan’s original novel onto my iPad and am re-reading it after 44 years (it was a compulsory read at school).

I am amazed at how the values of the times (written in 1915) have changed so much.

Buchan was First Baron Tweedsmuir PC GCMG GCVO CH and as well as being a novelist was a historian and Unionist politician who served as Governor General of Canada. He served as a private secretary to the colonial administrator of various colonies in Southern Africa and eventually wrote propaganda for the British war effort in the First World War. After the war he was was elected Member of Parliament for the Combined Scottish Universities before the Canadian appointment.

What comes through in The 39 Steps is his conservatism, racism, mysogynism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and snobbishness. Not overtly, but just seamlessly integrated into the characters attitudes which in a way makes it more shocking. Contained in the plot line are references to International Jewry instigating financial and political unrest in Europe and looking for war to line their pockets. This remember was 1915 and when looked at in the context of 1930’s Germany the attitude is very disturbing.

Buchan also has his main character refer to the Prime Minister of Greece as a Dago. Quite naturally, not even intending to be offensive, It was just how stiff-upper-lipped British people saw the world at the time.

I'm enjoying reading the book even though the main charcter is a pompous git and, as I said, the values are a bit naff because times and attitudes change. If I were to get on my high horse and refuse to read this then where does it end with appreciating and interpreting art. I'd have to join those tossers who wouldn't keep a golliwog in the house or forbid their children reading Enid Blyton because Big Ears and Noddy shared the same bed at times.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Arthur Brown - dance

A while ago I wrote a Post on 'Dancing' and referred to Arthur Brown's brilliant but unappreciated album 'Dance'
See Here:


I've just found his title song on the web:

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


we got back to Toronto on Sunday after being in Scotland for 3 weeks.
When we left it was snowing. Still. In late March. It had been snowing since October last year.
Whilst the snowfalls were becoming lighter the daily temperatures were still between minus 5 and minus 20 degrees depending on wind-chill. The edges of roads and footpaths were still heavily iced and, with the so-called thaw it was dangerous to walk under high buildings because of the big chunks of ice that would fall to the ground.
This is what our neighbourhood looked like 3 weeks ago.

When we arrived on Sunday, two days ago it was plus 20 degrees. There was no snow. The ice had ALL GONE!
Yesterday (Monday 14th April) I went walking around the city in shorts and tee-shirt. It was warm. Very warm. If I'd been at home in NZ I would have taken the tee-shirt off but I didn't want to frighten the natives.
Our neighbourhood looked like this:

Today (Tuesday 15th April) the temperature plummeted to minus 4 degrees. It snowed. There was an ice storm overnight. Our neighbourhood looked like this:

Yesterday while putting our travel suitcases away into storage (19 floors below our apartment) I decided to pack up and store:
  • snow boots
  • gumboots
  • furry hats
  • heavy coats
  • gloves
  • hats
  • thermal underwear
  • various underlays
Today when I went out shopping I wore the warmest gear that I had in the apartment:
  • long trousers
  • shirt
  • jumper
  • lace-up sneakers
I froze.

Bloody weird country!

Friday, 4 April 2014


Is there such a thing as a good death?

I doubt it as regardless of how pragmatic we are somewhere, deep down we all believe that we will live forever.

Today we buried The Older Girl (The Old Girl's mother). Well, when I say we buried her it was actually a cremation at Aberdeen's only crematorium.

The Old Girl, in her usual efficient and capable manner (thinly disguising the tremendous upset she was experiencing) conducted the ceremony and delivered a moving eulogy. I was very proud of her. Her strength and honesty was a revelation to the attendees who were used to the platitudes normally delivered by priests, vicars and celebrants. I added with a small eulogy and read out letters from distant relatives. Afterwards some attendees approached me and said " well that was different" (hopefully in a good way).
We, and The Older Girl were not wrapped up in religion and didn't want all the "Jesus saves" and "being embraced by god" claptrap that mars some send-offs

The Older Girl left us earlier than expected (March 27th 2014 at 79 years). We spent 3 marvellous weeks with her at Christmas/New Year only a couple of months back and we struggled to keep up with her when walking around the city. She is/ was fit and an accomplished hill walker.
In her lifetime she has travelled extensively, lived in Scotland and New Zealand, had a great interest in people and new places and embraced living to the full through music, wine, food and dance.

 ................. A good life.


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...