Thursday, 29 October 2015


We're going to see Alabama 3 in Holmfirth in December.
These are the guys who put out a couple of great albums a couple of years ago and David Chase used this song as the theme song for the Sopranos series:


Holmfirth is where The Last of The Summer Wine series was filmed and where I visited a few weeks back.

It's a 'Camel and a packed lunch' getting there, particularly to attend a late night concert so we're planning to stay in or around Holmfirth and getting a rental car to travel there.

That's the plan.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015


I'm getting used to this 'on my own' thing. The Old Girl and I  have, over the last year and a half managed to spend our time apart in two three different countries.
I'm reminded of this song that I hadn't heard for well over 20 years.


The Old Girl has had to go back to New Zealand due to a health crisis of a friend.
She will help out with their house selling plans and relocation plans back to Scotland as well as spend some quality time with them.

It will only be for 3 weeks which is a doddle compared to the previous two 6 month stints but even so I miss her already.

She left last night and the apartment seems really empty without her.


I played Gilbert O'Sullivan's song just now (I should have done it before I posted) and realised that it's not at all what I want. I'm missing The Old Girl because she is away for a few weeks and I really enjoy her company. She hasn't buggered off and left me.

I think this song better suits the situation.

Carry on,


Sunday, 25 October 2015


The first sports team I was involved in was when I was about 6 years old.
The sport was rugby league.
The team was Marist.
The place was Wellington.
The coach was Colin O'Neil, one of the greats of Kiwi rugby league.

In my very first game, after a ruck (well, just a jumble of little kids who all fell over at the same time) I emerged and, with ball in hand ran for the try line and scored under the posts.

I kind of looked like this:

But really felt like this:

Job done and wait for the applause.

None was forthcoming because I'd run the wrong way and 'scored' under my own posts.


I was reminded of that today when I went to my first English football game (soccer) at the local York grounds.
The home team were playing some out of town bastards who had the effrontery to come to York to challenge 'our lads'.
I rode my bike to the venue and looked for the entrance. I espied a barrier of police vehicles and police in combat gear so knew that I'd found it. I asked a constable if I was at the right place and she said:

 "Aye lad, t' gate's o'er there. Are you home or away?"

"Whaa?" I replied. " I'm from New Zealand"

"Then you're a York supporter" she said with a smile and directed me to a gate.

I locked up my bike and went through the toll gate expecting to pay £18 as per the advertised tariff.
The attendant said "Pensioner?".
I immediately replied "for sure" and removed my cap to prove my decrepitude by the evidence of my remaining few grey hairs.
"12 quid" he said which pleased me and I headed off to the terraces behind the goal posts.

The game had already started and was 15 minutes in with no score.
I found a good spot to stand and within minutes a team in white strip came bearing down on the goal. There was a bit of a a fumble and the goalie couldn't stop the ball gently bouncing into the goal.

I cheered and clapped.

It took a nano second for me to realise that I was the only one there cheering and clapping.

Looking around my fellow spectators looked like this:

Mmmm, I thought.

Yorkshire's emblem is the Yorkshire rose which looks like this:

White right?

On the pitch there were two teams, one in white and the other in red,

I assumed that Yorkshire City was the team in white. Right?


They were the jokers in red.

After another 25 minutes of play, 15 minutes of interval and 15 minutes of the second half with me feeling isolated, York City equalised and I was able to clap and cheer for the 'right' team.
My neighbours seemed to thaw out a bit and, when York City secured the match with another goal appeared quite friendly at last.

I wasn't bothered as I had to make a fast getaway anyway to see a real football game, albeit on TV live - New Zealand vs South Africa. I cocked up my timing and arrived home at the interval. New Zealand down to South Africa!
Could have been and I still have raw memories of seeing NZ lose to South Africa in the final when I was in South Africa in 1995.
Still, a nail-biting second half saw our guys beat those Yarpie bastards.......

Hold on, with that attitude am I any better than these guys?

Sport huh!

Still we won.

Go the AB's!

Friday, 23 October 2015


Check out this story via the link:

I don't know why I bother cycling out to the gym and doing an hour workout when I could be doing this.

All that I need is a nice Chianti (with or without the fava beans).

Thursday, 22 October 2015


I went to the Railway Museum yesterday.

Boy what a great asset to York this is.

You don't have to be an Anorak to enjoy it.
I took lots of photos of some really impressive trains:

From this:

Through this:

To this:

There was a bit of everything for all, including Nuova Lazio residents:

My favourite was this one:

I liked this sign. It kind of made me think of Richards Bass Bag

When I got home I was a bit tired from all of the walking about (the site is massive)
The Old Girl wasn't very sympathetic, having been at work all day.
She said that I'm out of practice of walking because I ride my bike everywhere.
I remonstrated that I ride my bike very fast and it's good exercise.

"Yeah right" she said "I've heard that little old ladies overtake you"

There was no answer to that.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


Not to here.

I don't know who the hell Jonah is.

But 80 steps to here.

Little Italy deli and restaurant just around the corner from where we live in York.

On the way home I counted our paces from the front door of the restaurant to the front gate of our apartment building. 80 paces.

Yes, we did drink a bottle of good Chianti, but only one, so the paces were reasonably normal.

Now what struck me about this wasn't so much that we are surrounded by pubs, cafes, restaurants, and cake shops where we are currently living but the absolute proximity of them.
When we lived in Toronto it was exciting living in a busy, cosmopolitan area that was a hub of residents, commuters, workers and tourists all being catered to by bars, cafes, restaurants, diners and pubs and to me at the time these were all tantalisingly close. The closest though was probably at least 100 metres away - a camel and a packed lunch away!

Well, compared to York anyway.

In Auckland we are lucky to live in the central city area close to the universities. Now while there is a Japanese restaurant in the building on the ground floor and a decent Malaysian restaurant next door all of the other eating places within walking distance (from 50 metres to say 400 metres) are all cheap and cheerful Asian ones - Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean - which are OK but not normally where we want to dine especially if we want a decent glass of wine with our meal. To get to a reasonable Italian restaurant we have to walk a really long way or get a bus or a taxi.

Up north, in McLeod Bay the nearest eating establishment is a takeaway cafe (the best fish and chips in the world) which does, on weekends but early (closes at 8PM) do roast dinners but this is about a half a kilometer away all uphill!

Anyway, back to Little Italy, we enjoyed our meal and the wine and will make sure we take advantage of this and other establishments while we are here.

No designated driver required.

Friday, 16 October 2015


I've become lazy lazier over the years particularly when it comes to clothes and dressing.
After many years of working in a corporate environment where dressing in business attire, tie included was the norm, I've slipped in to really casual wear on a daily basis.

When we go out The Old Girl often say's to me

"Put your grown-up clothes on"


"I'm not going out with you dressed like that matey"

The shorts and tee shirt works well in Summer but in Autumn and Winter tends to get strange looks from passers by and shop staff.
In York, being northern England the days are becoming shorter and noticeably cooler.
I can get by with jeans and, to cover a multitude of fashion disasters - jackets and woolen coats.

I don't like wearing shirts though, especially collared shirts and it seems to me to be pointless when, if it's cold, you have to wear a jersey or jumper over the top of them.

The other day though I discovered this ideal combination.

It's a jumper that has a shirt top and collar sewn into it. I can wear a light tee shirt underneath but for all appearances it looks like I'm wearing a proper 'grown-up shirt underneath.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015


It's been a funny old week.
The weather here is finally starting to turn colder which is surprising to me as I thought that it would have been colder a long time ago.
We've been having a sort of Indian Summer.

During the actual summer the days have been quite long and so it's been quite light late at night. This makes getting to sleep a bit more difficult.

With Autumn and now Winter approaching I thought that would change - but no. Due to some freak weather patterns the Northern Lights, normally only seen from way up north of Scotland has been a bit of a feature.
Nice but it makes getting off to sleep hard.

One of life's mysteries I guess like "what do the Japanese do with all those photographs they take?"

And "why does Richard (of RBB) get involved in police car chases.?"

And "why does Second Fiddle use small furry rodents as building tools?"

Sunday, 11 October 2015


I saw this busker performing in a square in York.
It was pretty clever as he manipulated the puppet to play the tint violin.

Maybe Richard (of RBB) could get a mini-me made to play a tiny double bass.

He does, after all, have lots of experience in playing with his little feller.

Friday, 9 October 2015


I'm reading a Michael Dibdin book And Then You Die.
This is one of his Aurelio Zen series that are set in Italy.

These are well worth reading if you haven't already and a decent TV series was made from them.

In this book Inspector Zen while on a long distance flight was musing about the difference between Protestants and Catholics and the fact that he preferred Catholics.

"Protestants were an enigma to him, all high ideals one minute and ruthless expediency the next"

"You knew where you were in a catholic culture: up to your neck in lies, evasions, impenetrable mysteries, double-dealing, back-stabbing and underhand intrigues of every kind"

Thursday, 8 October 2015


I went to Holmfirth last week.


Yes, Holmfirth in the Holme Valley in South West Yorkshire. I took the train from York to Huddlesfield and then the bus to Holmfirth.
I went on my own but maybe should have teamed up with these two old guys who seemed to be going in the same direction as me.

"Eh up. Want to make up a threesome?"

Why Holmfirth?
Because this is where Last of the Summer Wine was filmed, in the town and the surrounding villages.

It's a very nice town and the countryside is spectacular. I took a tour and visited many of the places that I recognised from the TV series.

The little bus struggled its way up very steep roads and wended its way through the dales from small village to small village with the driver pointing out locations where episodes were filmed and stunts performed. Magic.

I had a cuppa in Syd's Cafe.

which is kept just as it was on screen

I had soy milk in my Yorkshire tea which I doubt that Ivy would have approved of and Syd would have called me a big Jessie.

The actual houses that were used in locations are exactly the same and the area seems timeless.

Nora Batty's place above and Compo's down below.

I'm glad that I did this as I've always liked this programme with it's whimsy. It was good going to a place like this and seeing that it was real and not too commercialised and coming away not being disappointed. It was a great day.


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...