Saturday, 26 November 2016


....and ask someone.

This is a refrain often said by The Old Girl when I'm out and about shopping, travelling (getting lost) or visiting government departments.

Today I decided to tackle the ferns and flax that have taken over the garden at the side of the house to the point that the path is closed off.
The last time I did this was about three years ago before we went to Canada and the UK. The tenants were good about everything else to do with house maintenance but obviously never used the path that runs along the side of the house.

I began with the tools in the toolshed. Actually I just made that up to impress 'Two Sheds Robert'.
I don't have a toolshed. I have tools scattered about :

  • In the laundry
  • In the woodshed
  • Under the house
  • In the gas bottle box on the deck
  • In the garden (sadly all rusted now).
I'm not very good at DIY, home maintenance and looking after equipment.
The clippers, shears and other things were all bloody hopeless and couldn't see to the ferns let alone the flax.
I looked up my mate Google and checked out hedge clippers and trimmers and everything electrical and seemingly labour-saving. Google told me that The Bosch ISIO III was the man so off I went to town. I called in to Mitre 10 Mega first and found a Bosch ISIO III  at the handsome price of $119. The young salesperson who came along to advise me said that it could definitely cut through ferns and probably cut through flax but he didn't exactly inspire me with confidence in his gardening abilities so I thanked him and headed off the Bunnings. I found a Bosch ISIO III there as well for $124 but before acting on their price-matching promise I asked the older German gentleman whether it could cut through flax. He was horrified and told me that goodness no, that just wouldn't happen. He said that the only thing to deal with flax was a curved Japanese tool that Bunnings didn't stock but which could be found at the Stihl store.
I thanked him and went out to find the Stihl store which he had vaguely indicated as 'out there somewhere' and I couldn't find it. I should have asked him.

I decided to go to the farm goods store named Our Place which is a big warehouse type shop dedicated to supplying everything that a farmer needs ( or more likely the amateur lifestyle block ex-city people). On entering the store I was about to do my usual of wandering around trying to find what I want, not finding it and wandering out but I was greeted by three women at the counters. They asked me (not quite in unison or I would have suspected that they were Sirens) what I was looking for.
I confessed on the spot that I was looking for a curved hand-tool for cutting flax. One of the women said that she knew exactly what I was looking for. It was a Niwashi. I looked at her and said that she had to be kidding. No she said and wrote the name down on a bit of paper and even drew a little picture of what it looked like!
At this stage I thought that I'd slipped into a scene from Bob Dylan's Highlands song where the waitress knew what he wanted before he ordered and suggested that he wanted a hard-boiled egg.
I, like old Bob in the song said good, give me one but like the waitress in Bob's song, my salesperson said that they didn't have any Niwashis. She did however suggest that Mitre 10 Mega Store might have some.

Off I went (back) to Mitre 10 Mega Store armed with my little piece of paper with the name Niwashi written on it along with the cute drawing.
I avoided the helpful young chap and went straight to the garden tools section....and.... asked someone. An older woman this time. I asked her if they stocked the Niwashi to which she said yes and, surprising myself, I asked her if it was good for cutting flax. She replied that it went through flax like cutting butter and that she had been using one for four years.


Job done.

All good and on returning home (by this time it was about 4PM) I got stuck in. The little tool sliced through the invasive flax, ferns and other pesky vegetation like that proverbial butter.
I hacked away for a while until 5PM called heralding the distinct possibility of a cold Chardonnay.

Looking at the work of less than an hour I was pleased and now know that I'll be able to do this over a few days.

I've learned something today.

If in doubt - Ask someone!

Thursday, 24 November 2016


Click here:


I love Summer.
It's still a few weeks away from official Summer but up North it's happening NOW.

The Pohutakawa trees out front are flowering and I've already been in for two swims, yesterday and today. Me. The wuss who takes ages to get into the water.

Tonight I made a 'Summer' meal. Tuna steak, baked potato and a rocket, pear and parmesan cheese salad.

This took no longer than 10 minutes to prepare and cook:
  • Scrub a small/medium sized potato (Agria), prick and microwave for 4 minutes.
  • Wash some baby rocket leaves, finely slice a pear, shave some parmesan, mix in a bowl with a light sprinkle of a good Balsamic vinegar.
  • Lightly pan fry a small tuna steak (keep it red in middle).
  • Put on plate and, voila (sorry no Italian), a superb Summer meal.
Looking at the cost of this (for one but not much more for two or more) we have:

  • Potato - maybe 20 cents
  • Salad - $1.50 of rocket, 50 cents worth of pear and maybe 50 cents of parmesan and 20 cents of Balsamic - total $2.70.
  • Tuna - $3.00.
  • Total meal - $5.90 max.Total meal - $5.90 max. 
As I ate this, with each mouthful my body felt good. My gullet and I'm sure over the next few hours my heart, colon and bowel will rejoice.

Let's compare this with any sort of take-a-way meal that I could have had (and which unfortunately too many people this evening have had).

The cost of the sugar, fat, carbohydrate and poor protein in a hamburger (with chips) or KFC cremated chicken (with chips) or some sort of taco (with chips) would be a lot more than $5.90 per serving and I guarantee that the vital organs of the consumers would be screaming "No, not more of that shit'.

OK, so I ruined the 'feel good aren't I the bees knees' feeling by downing a few glasses of wine (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) but will refer you to the phenomenon of the Mediterranean Diet which is the balance of wine with healthy food.

Better than drinking those sugary drinks that are pushed by the Take-A-Way outlets. that cause way more problems than a few glasses of wine do.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


I'm discovering that even though I'm getting as old as Methuselah, in some ways I'm just a 'babe in the woods'.
There are things around me that I just don't understand.
here are some of them:


What the fuck is this all about? This modern phenomenon of people who select and spin records (badly) at dances and social gatherings and go by weird nicknames who become 'stars' and release collections of their 'hits' are idolised and get paid huge amounts of money.


Anorexic skanks who don underwear and prance about in high heels get labelled 'supermodel' and get paid ridiculous amounts of money. They get drunk, drugged up and behave badly but still seem to be role models for generations of impressionable young people.


Overpaid TV and Film actors.

Especially those from USA. They are the new 'aristocracy. They also get drunk, drugged up and behave badly but still seem to be role models for generations of impressionable young people. In the UK (or what used to happen before the lure of big bucks in USA) acting was a profession with journeymen actors (from the ordinary to the sublime) got paid wages. If they were good they bought their own house and a car. They didn't buy six or seven mansions around the world, own private jets and have million dollar parties.

Social Media

OK, I blog but I'm bewildered by all of the platforms that other people (mostly young people) communicate daily hourly by the minute with friends family associates and 'friends' (those thousands of strangers who link to them).

Pike River body retrieval

Why can't the 'powers that be' just let the family members go in and retrieve the bodies.
Make them sign waivers that they do so at their own risk with no call back if they have an accident or indeed don't come out.

This is just the start but I have to go and cook my tea.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


This morning, while I was lying in bed in our Auckland apartment (14th floor) I noticed a video camera mounted drone hovering outside the window.

I looked at it for some moments, thinking that it was operated by engineers checking out the building before it occurred to me that engineers wouldn't be doing this at 6.50AM.

I called The Old Girl who was in the bathroom and alerted her to it. When she came into the bedroom and I pointed to it, it sped away north back towards other buildings around the university.

Now I know that I look pretty hot in the morning so maybe, as it is International Gentlemen's Day, the drone operator was a woman who wanted to get her jollies by checking me out.

Like this?

Or like this?

.....or, it was operated by some Peeping Tom deviant who gets his jollies from looking in apartment building bedroom windows to sneak a peek at young female students in their knickers.

I think the second scenario is more likely.

I reported this to Auckland City Council in case there have been other incidents and so it could go on record.

Unfortunately this 'invasion' is becoming more prevalent. The activity currently slips between the cracks in our legislation and police offences as, peeping into a window is a criminal offence but using a drone-borne video camera isn't. This needs to be sorted.

To make it worse, currently a householder cannot take action against these drones as shown by the guy in Waikanae who stomped on one when it landed after having been filming his children. He was sentenced and had to pay compensation to the scrote who was driving the damned thing.

Go figure.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


Ring ring ring ring .....

Donald:  - "Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello (hey Mike, no-ones answering down in Noo Zeeland) Hello. Hello. Hello. Dammit. And I've got the best words too. Hello...."

John:   - "Hiya. This is John from Nyu Sillund. I'm not in at the mo. Pliss leave a mussage."

Donald:  "Goddammit. Mike this guy wants me to leave a message. I'll tweet him later"

(Donald puts phone down but forgets to disconnect it properly....)

" Hey Mike. Where the hell is Noo Zeeland anyway. Isn't it somewhere near Fiji? I like Fiji. Great water. I think I'll build a hotel there. Hey, don't those Feejeans wear grass skirts. Ha ha, you can grab their pussies easier that way. Ha ha"

Mike Pence, noticing that the phone line is still connected lunges forward to turn it off...

Mike:  "Fuck. Not again...."

Sunday, 13 November 2016


Yes, I know that you think that the title of this post refers to the inexplicable election of Donald Trump as President of those United States of America (soon to be known as the Altered States of America) but you are wrong.

Yes, the guy above has certainly 'stuck it up the arse (or ass) of America this last week, and, from the safe distance of New Zealand we've still felt the unwanted intrusion but what I had on Friday was an even greater intrusion.


My GP on my last visit a couple of weeks ago told me the results of the Waitemata Bowel Screen test I took.
She said that it was positive.
I looked relieved and started to say "good, I'm...." before realising that in this context 'positive' is not the result you want. She suggested a colonoscopy to check 'what's going on down there' and that I could go on a waiting list for the free hospital treatment that we are all entitled to.
The problem is that the Waitemata Bowel Screen test has identified hundreds of people who need to have a check on 'what's going on down there' and basically there aren't enough qualified specialists to run the tests. It requires proctologists and 'Misters' with a lot of other 'ologist' suffixes to be trusted with running little cameras up people's bottoms - not at all to be trusted to nurses, especially female nurses even those with many decades of experience so - a long waiting list. Go figure.

Fortunately I have Southern Cross medical cover which enabled me to 'jump the queue' for the medical procedure and I was able to secure an appointment within two weeks. Securing this appointment in such a quick time though is not without its costs. Southern Cross medical insurance costs us many thousands a year and I often wonder when I'll get a 'return'. The procedure costs about $3000. My insurance means that I get this for 'free' but have to pay an excess of $500. The Southern Cross consultant cheerily explained to me that once I pay the $500 excess then I won't have to pay that excess again for any other surgeries or medical emergencies over the next 12 months. 

Oh Joy.

So, the colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy involves ........... on second thoughts (that's not a reference to Second) .... you don't want to know.

The best thing about a colonoscopy (and I suppose any medical procedures) is the drugs.
In this case I think that it's Rohypnol or something similar. This is the 'Date Rape' drug of choice for perverts, rapists and 'men-about-town' out there.

I must admit it made me feel quite marvellous and to not be at all perturbed that some stranger(s) had inserted an invasive device up my back passage while I 'willingly' slumbered on.

I think that the procedure was positive ..., no negative pos  ... fuck I don't know ... the doc (Mr) told me afterwards that it was OK and just confirmed that I had diverticlae which I knew anyway and that my GP would be in touch. I think that's what he said as I was still under the effect of the Rohypnol or whatever the yummy stuff he had given me so if he'd said "all is OK and I fondled your balls while I was down there" I probably would have  said "that's all right, you're welcome".

An aside: Marist Brothers and priests should put this drug into the drinking water at schools - it would save them and their new pope a lot of hassles.

Now I wait for confirmation from my GP but I think that my arsehole is OK.

I don't think that this arsehole is OK though.

How the hell can you elect a guy that makes fun of someone with Aarthrogryposis as Trump did when mocking Serge Kovaleski.

Saturday, 5 November 2016



 Well, it's over. Guy Fawkes Day celebrations anyway.

Years ago Guy Fawkes Day meant a lot to me. My brother and I and friends from the neighbourhood used to really get into it. I've blogged about this before.

See here:


Tonight, for the first time in years I bought some fireworks. Not many, just a pack of 4 Roman Candles - the type that fire exploding balls up into the air, a bit like the old (now banned) skyrockets. The pack cost $20 so it was $5 a candle. Each candle fired 7 balls (although I'm sure that one fired 8) which meant that I got 28 or 29 bangs for my $20. Pretty good.

I bought them to impress The Old Girl who is up here this weekend. Or so I thought.

The Old Girl wasn't very impressed. Bummer!

"Is that it?"

She didn't go down to the beach with me (across the road from the house) where I'd set up my launch pad. She said that she'd prefer to stay on the deck and watch from there.

Earlier in the evening I'd prepared my launch pad. I took one of the building blocks from the step arrangement that I''d built a few years ago.

I fossicked under the house and found a piece of plumbers pipe and proceeded to cut it to a desirable length - about a foot, so that I could anchor it inside the builder's block and put the Roman Candles in.

When I came back in the house The Old Girl said:

"What were you doing under the house?

I answered:


She said:

" I heard the sound of sawing. I don't like it when you are sawing something. There's likely to be an accident"

I need to explain here that I'm not a Robert when it comes to D.I.Y. and not even a Richard. In fact I'm crap at it and the Old Girl has no confidence in me at all in this regard.

I waited for dark and, to be honest, to see if any other idiots in the street were going to let any fireworks off. None were so, I bit the bullet and went down to the beach and fired off the 'candles'.
I admit they were OK - fiery and noisy. I'd gone down to the beach to let them off rather than doing so from the deck as I had an awful feeling that I'd set light to the Pohutakawa trees in front of the house. From the beach where the tide was out I was clear of anything flammable (except for the boats resting at anchor).

It didn't happen I'm happy to say

After I finished some neighbours down the street set some off too but I think that they were, like me, slightly embarrassed about the whole thing.

Generally I sense that the Guy Fawkes firework thing has had its day. There isn't the excitement anymore, the fireworks are expensive and the PC brigade has pretty much taken the fireworks out of the hands of children who get bored if they can't fire them off and terrorise their friends. Bangers or crackers were outlawed years ago which really were the best thing about the day.

So, for me, this is the last time that I will ever buy any fireworks.
Coming back into the house The Old Girl said that Willow our cat had been frightened and was hiding behind the couch. Years ago she used to be fascinated by fireworks and used to watch them from a window. I guess then that it's over.


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...