Thursday, 29 June 2017


Sox, sorry, I mean socks.

It must have been Richard (of RBB)'s latest post that confused me. See here:

His post, while being insubstantial did remind me of a couple of things.


Nelson College is in the news with the school looking to limit the wearing of long socks and short skirts by girl students.

One teacher said something or made a disturbing joke about the socks being "creepy porn-video looking". The girl in question disputes that the socks are 'sexual' and is making a documentary about "the sexualisation of socks".

Man, this is weird on so many levels:

  • What goes on in the mind of teachers
  • Is watching porn videos part of the pedagogy requirements
  • Do students make documentaries now when something happens at school
I must however put voice to the central issue.

The sexualisation of socks.

The Nelson schoolgirl disputes that long socks can be seen as sexually alluring.
The Nelson schoolteacher sees the long socks as being 'porn video-like.

To me the truth is somewhere between.

When I was in the 7th form at school, at a community dance in Karori I met Beth, a nice girl who was a 6th former. We got on well, danced and talked all evening and went back to her place.

'Going back to her place' in those days, especially when I was still at school wasn't the same as it is today. For one I was with good friend Tony who insisted in coming along. Second we were driven there by Beth's mum (who later drove Tony and me home). The after dance get together then was chaperoned.

I kept up with phone contact and Beth invited me to a dance a week or so later in Lower Hutt.
Tony of course insisted in coming along so on a Friday evening, after school we took the train out to the Hutt (by-passing Petone) and found the hall where the dance was. I (we) met up with Beth who introduced us (me) to Helen her friend from school who was also in the 6th form. Helen had long blonde hair, was gorgeous and ...... was wearing a very short tartan skirt and white socks that went up over her knees. Aaaargh!

I was captivated and Helen and I seemed to dance together all evening leaving Tony to dance and talk with Beth. This turned out to be a happy arrangement as Beth and Tony had similar interests - he was/is weird and she liked weirdness and Helen and I (and her short skirt and long socks) got on well together. For the second half of the 7th form Helen was my girlfriend. I spent a lot of time at her house (with her family dammit), going to events and friends parties and the sort of innocent, quasi-sexual things that catholic boys and girls did at that age in those times. Tony similarly 'went out;' with Beth who he referred to as his 'beth friend' (I told you he was weird).

The thing is though ........ those socks certainly were not a non-sexual item of clothing.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017


I'm down to an hour and a half a day now until the end of this week and then I'm free. FREE!

I did my hour an a half this morning before setting out for a walk around the bay.

The day was so nice that I then went out and played 6 holes of golf. For winter the course wasn't too bad. The recent drainage work done means that it's not boggy anymore. Being winter of course meant that the fairways were 'slow' with no roll but I played really well.
It's been a glorious day with no wind, blue skies and only cold when in the shade.

Here's a photo I took of the 11th green par 3 which I parred!

Richard (of RBB) apparently has seven more working days before he retires.

Let's hope that he takes up golf to pass the time and keep a reasonable level of fitness.
I think that there's a golf course in Nuova Lazio.

Monday, 26 June 2017



It was January 1963 I think. I was at Marist Brothers Newtown school in Standard 4 that year.  I would have been about 10.

One of my best friends at Primary school and Intermediate was David Throll. We lost touch at Secondary due to the streaming that separated classmates from Intermediate into separate classes in the 3rd form. This was a shame as a Few of my best friends ended up in other classes.

We generally only socialised at school and school events so it was unusual for David (Throll as I called him - we only ever used Surnames in those days) to invite me for a day out on our bikes.
The plan was to cycle to Petone which for me at that time was a big adventure. Petone was the dark side (still is?) and was only ever approached as a throughway to somewhere else.

My mother was concerned and I had to assure her that it was perfectly safe and that we would be careful. her concern I guess was that I'd been hospitalised twice already from bike accidents. This was a few years before Tony Gilligan (4th form at St Pats) was killed while riding his bike on the Hutt Road. If this had already happened there was no way that I'd have been allowed to go.


I think it was a Saturday when we set out. Mum had prepared a nice lunch (sandwiches and fruit) and I had money for a drink. Believe it or not FANTA had only just been released in New Zealand at this time and the Nazi drink was very popular. It was only sold in small bottles so hadn't yet done irreparable damage to the teeth and health  of New Zealand kids.

I remember riding from Vogeltown  to Courtenay Place to meet Throll. It was mid-morning.
We rode to Aotea Quay and contemplated going along on the Hutt Road but even in those days on a Saturday seemed a bit too busy. We found a cycle and walking track at Kaiwharawhara that went along the harbour side of the Hutt Road out to Petone. This was safer than riding on the road but in terrible repair. I was afraid of getting a puncture because the track was littered with broken glass and sharp railway-line stones. I've never understood why people smash bottles on walkways. Yobboes!

The cycleway was like this which is how it still was in 1978

This is what it's like now

It was a nice day with no wind except for some cooling breezes and riding around the harbour was really nice. Somes Island was off to the right. This was a bit of a mystery as in those days the public could not visit it. For a 10 year old this of course added to the mystery. What was there? Germans? Evil scientists? Dangerous animals?

At Petone we rode along the Esplanade. This is still a nice feature of greater Wellington and long may it last AND be kept in good condition. We rode past The Gear Meat Company with all its disgusting smells. Little did I know that I'd be working there some tIme in the future.

We mooched around the Esplanade for a while, went to the end of the wharf, tried to ride our bikes in the sand (not advisable) until we were hungry. We bought our FANTAs at a nearby dairy and had lunch by the Wellington Provincial Centennial Memorial (now known as The Settler's Museum.)



after our lunch we kept riding along The Esplanade to Seaview where the oil and motor companies were still alive and well at the time. We went past Todd Motors (Roote's Group) little knowing that I'd work there one day in the future.
The Esplanade and general area of Petone and Seaview was great for bike riding as, unusual for Wellington there were no hills - it was all flat. Our misgivings of the area weren't realised as we didn't get accosted by any rough fellows - they all lived in Garden Road Northland.

We'd ridden further than anticipated and it was well into middle afternoon so we rode back to Wellington which, after our endeavours was a bit harder going as the wind had come up - in our faces. At Courtenay Place we said our goodbyes and I rode my way,  all uphill - Tory Street, past the Winter Show, up Hutchinson Road to Vogeltown. It was well after 5 and I'd said that I'd be home by 4. Tea was soon on the table which was well received - probably 'casserole steak', mashed potatoes and green vegetables followed by apple crumble and ice cream. Bath, some TV and then bed.

A great adventure. Another Perfect Day.


The Old Girl has  been up here recuperating for 5 days now - 3 weeks to go.
Normally she is in Auckland during the week and spending 3 day weekends at the house. For a month she will be spending all week a the house - with me!

Now this is good for company and essential for her post-operative recovery but it allows her to keep an eye on my housework practices. To date the result hasn't been favourable.



1. Vacuuming.

     Just moving the furniture around doesn't count.
     If you change the bag it will have more suction.
     Corners have to be done.
     Still visible cobwebs.   C minus.

2. Floor washing.

    Too many streaks.
    What were you using in the hot water?
    The mop has to be cleaned before using.   B minus

3. Toilets. 

    Really! Really? It looks like a student flat. Dunedin students!
    Just using the toilet brush isn't good enough nor is just squirting in some toilet cleaner.
    The bowls have to be scrubbed. FAIL D

4. Bathrooms general

    See comments as per floor washing.  B minus

5. Bath and shower cubicles.

    See comments re toilet bowls. FAIL D

6. Kitchens.

    We are supposed to cook and eat in here! Really!
    Is there something wrong with your eyesight?
    If this was a restaurant we'd be closed down. FAIL D

7. Outside porch at back and deck at front.

   It's lucky that we've been having gales that blow all the leaves and dirt away. 
   That's all I'm saying.  B minus

8. Window washing.

    They don't look like they've been done since you got back from the UK. FAIL D

9. General observation.
    Effort and aptitude is definitely lacking. Could Must do better in all areas.

              Overall C Minus.

OK, only 3 weeks to go.

Sunday, 25 June 2017


Richard (of RBB) complained earlier about perfect day reminiscences. See here:

Personally I just think that he needs some encouragement to get his memories down in print so I've created a template for him to follow.
All he needs to do is to expand on the bullet points.

'A Perfect Day' by Richard (of RBB).

  • Woke at 5.30 AM
  • Went to the toilet
  • Made a couple of instant coffees
  • Went to the bog again as the coffee went right through me
  • Had more coffee
  • Used the bathroom for a shower (and the bog again).
  • Checked the blog for comments.
  • Checked other blogs and left comments.
  • Wrote a new Post on my blog.
  • Checked this for comments (none yet)
  • Practiced Duolingo
  • Practiced my fiddle
  • Practiced my bass
  • Shelley yelled at me to go outside
  • Practiced going outside
  • Prepared dinner (spaghetti)
  • Ate dinner (spaghetti)
  • Opened wine (chardonnay)
  • Drank wine (chardonnay)
  • Opened more wine (chardonnay)
  • Sent rude email to older brother Chris.
  • Sent an apology to older brother Chris.
  • Put rude comments on Rob's blog
  • Put rude comments on The Curmudgeon's blog (will delete in the morning)
  • Entered an argument on Facebook with Robert
  • De-friended Robert on Facebook
  • Went to Robert's blog to put more offensive comments but he had deleted all posts.
  • Went to bed.


A Grimy day in NYC

We woke to the clanging and banging of rubbish bins on the street outside. The Americans call them trash cans. We had a B and B basement flat somewhere on West 53rd Street, just off 10th Avenue . It was nice - compact but with everything we needed for a few days in The Big Apple. It was late autumn, nearly winter and it was cold. I remember that even though we'd come down from Canada where snow had started falling a few weeks before we still had to buy some extra warm clothing in New York. A wooly hat for me and gloves for her. The NYC cold tends to be sleety freezing rain cold not the white fluffy snow type as seen on Christmas cards.

The 'trash can' orchestra morphed into morning traffic sounds; the roar of delivery trucks; slushy sounds of taxi wheels on the road; the occasional yell or call from a pedestrian "Hey Mac" (Who, me? "Whyncha watch where ya' going" etc. We decided to get up and hit the day.

We had nothing planned and decided to go wherever we decided on the moment. After ablutions and coffee (tea for her, not for me as we didn't have soy milk) we headed outside - up the short flight of stairs from the basement entrance, on to the street now littered with 'trash cans'. We did our civic duty and righted a few that were near our entranceway and trudged through the slushy ice and snow that was gradually disappearing from the footpaths (pavements). Thank Robert's god for our Canada experience and the awakening to the fact that in North America you can dress as elegantly as you like in the winter but make sure that you have solid footwear. We had bought ours in Toronto - good strong lace-up walking boots that were warm, dry and robust with decent treads.

We found a diner easily enough as there are plenty of these deli-style eating places and loaded up on hot and tasty fare that was tasty and affordable. The ambiance was great with a fug from cooking steam and smoke, damp people drying and thawing out and a general hubbub of conversation and yelled out food orders. It was straight out of the cinema (movies).

Feeling full, warm and content we headed out to the nearest subway station - a subset of Penn. This was everything you'd imagine in a secondary station. It was deep underground, dirty and dark with unfriendly barriers all about. We found a vending machine that worked and purchased downtown tickets. This was about 10 in the morning and we were glad it wasn't midnight.

We rode the train on the blue line, changing at the Financial District to theGreen Line which took us to Bowling Green. We got out here and mooched around for a while. It is close to the bottom end of Manhattan and isn't as bustling as mid-town. It was a grey day but luckily there was no wind or rain so, dressed warmly we wandered around taking in the sights - the ports, ferries and Ellis Island in the distance.

Bowling Green Station

From here we walked back to the Financial District and saw the still-incomplete tower of the new World Trade Centre. It was a vast improvement on the still-smoking ruin we'd seen 10 years before.

The redevelopment over 12 years was amazing and I'd like to go back in a couple of years to see the final creation. It was way past midday by now so as our walk had made us hungry we found an Italian eatery and had some delicious pizza and small bowls of pasta washed down with a fairly decent Chianti. American pizzas aren't the over-the-top variants we see here in NZ. The ones that we've had are simple but very tasty on a thin base. Just the thing for a snack and to accompany a nice red wine.

As they say "No good deed goes unpunished" so the delight of the simple lunch was counterbalanced when The Old Girl directed me to Century 21 the huge discount clothing store.

This place is pretty amazing. There are others (a few in Toronto we'd been to) but the Manhattan one is very comprehensive.They take in out of season, unwanted, distressed stock etc from the fashion houses and move it through very fast at greatly reduced prices. Thousand dollar 'creations' can be sold for fifty bucks. We went our separate ways and I found an Italian green leather jacket with red trimming. It was very swish and was marked down from $2000 to about $200. I almost bought it but luckily The Old Girl turned up, saw me trying it on and told me that I looked like a gigolo. I didn't buy it, opting instead for some knock-down socks and underwear. The Old Girl of course had loaded up on tops, skirts and a nice jacket which. as time has proven were a very good buy as she still wears them.

The Old Girl sensed that I'd gone past my tolerance for shopping so we headed back this time on the Yellow Line to Broadway. It was late afternoon and getting dimmer as I was so we went to a wine bar that we'd been to on previous visits. This is right in the Broadway theatre area and has a great wine selection. A glass of champagne revived me and we sat at a corner table looking out at the magnificent lights and huge entertainment advertisements.

As we were close to our apartment on 53rd Street we went back to drop off our purchases, had a rest and then changed into some nicer clothes for the evening. We walked from West 53rd to West 44th street to Birdland.

The weather was packing in so we took umbrellas and wore coats for our walk along, once again slushy footpaths (pavements). We had dinner at Birdland and watched a great jazz orchestra while enjoying another bottle of Chianti. (NYC must consume millions of bottles of this).

A short walk home and bed - another great day. to remember. A perfect day.

Saturday, 24 June 2017


 It's just a perfect day ....

Time for a new series and this time not one that involves bitching and moaning.

Perfect days - hopefully we have all had them and, even more so, hope that we've all had plenty of them.
I'm going to trawl through my memory to bore regale  inform you of them as I remember.

Not today, even though it's been OK. We've been indoors all day as the weather is a bit crappy but I've brought in wood, set the fire and will cook frittata for tea. This with wine and followed by listening to the All Blacks/Lions Test on the radio (The Old Girl will watch a DVD) will be the evening.

Perfect Day # 1.

The first one involves The Old Girl (it has to as she's hovering about, albeit on crutches and might read what I'm writing).
We were living in Christchurch and, one winter's weekend we decided to drive to Mount Cook (Aorangi).

One of the great things about our years in Christchurch, apart from the lovely city that it used to be, was the opportunity to get to the great scenic parts of the South Island relatively easily and cheaply.
We left early on a Saturday and drove leisurely to The Hermitage, taking in the scenery and stopping for lunch at Lake Tekapo. At the edge of the lake is an old stone church that is an iconic New Zealand tourist attraction but still great to see. We were there late morning on this day and luckily it wasn't being swarmed over by busloads of tourists.

From Tekapo it was  a shorter drive to Lake Pukaki and then to The Hermitage at Cook. Lake Pukaki is where the end of the glacier falls into the lake which is milky and belies the extremely cold temperature it must be at. We stopped and marvelled at the disintegrating glacier. The day was lovely - blue sky and crisp clear air.

At The Hermitage where I'd made a booking the previous day we checked in to our room which had a balcony with a view looking up the valley to Aorangi. We dumped or luggage (one bag for an overnight stay) and changed into shorts, woollen tops and robust tramping boots and set out for an afternoon walk. Cook (Aorangi) is, like most of the other New Zealand mountains (Ruapehu, Tongariro, Egmont (Taranaki), Ngaruhoe, Tapuaenuku etc), magnificent. The majesty doesn't come merely from its size but from some kind of spirit that it has. A stillness and brooding kind of like a challenge - come and see me if you dare - kind of thing.

We walked closer to the mountain for a couple of hours seeing only one other person. The sky was still blue and the air crisper. The mountain stillness seemed to amplify any small sound - screech of the keas, rifle-shot crack of breaking stone, distant rumble of a mini-avalanche, the crunch of our boots on the track.

We returned to the hotel in the late afternoon flushed from both the walk and the experience we shared. A hot bath, change of clothes, wines before a blazing fire, a great dinner and looking at the stars from our balcony before bed completed the day. A perfect day.


This wasn't our only visit to Cook (Aorangi) or Tekapo as, living in Christchurch made the region accessible and each of the previous and successive visits were memorable,
Before Robert objects to some kind of 'class privilege' I must say that there are stunning parts of this country that are free to visit and only requires petrol money or a bus ticket to visit. We took the opportunity to drive to Queenstown, the passes, to the West Coast, south through the Rakaia Gorge, north to Kaikoura and Marlborough and Nelson - all over for just the cost of petrol and accomodation (some cheap and cheerful and some swanky).

Feel free to write posts on your blogs of your own Perfect Days.

Friday, 23 June 2017



Nice song and great version by Nina Simone but I really meant sea-lion.

There's apparently been a sea-lion in our bay over the last week. This has been while I was in Auckland so unfortunately missed see-ing it. I'll keep looking.

My neighbour Rod said that it has been sunning itself during the day on the swimming platform just out from our house.

My question is: How does it get up on the swimming platform? This thing has a wooden ladder attached for swimmers to climb up on it as it is a few feet above water level.

Does it put its paws up on the platform and haul itself up?

Thursday, 22 June 2017


I drove down to Auckland yesterday to collect The Old Girl. She's had her hip operation and. after a weeks recovery in Auckland in hospital (3 days) and at the apartment (4 days) she's ready to come North. My job is to hold her up here for as long as I can while she convalesces. In my mind this should be at least 4 weeks but I know that she'll be itching to get back to work in a fortnight. I'll have to take on the role of gaoler, virtually keeping her locked up.

We drove up this morning through driving rain and high winds as Northland and north of Auckland has been stormy. In my absence overnight a storm has wreaked havoc in in the area. Where we live it: set off the house alarm;  tossed brooms and tools around that were on the back porch; ripped open the doors to the basement. I'll have to do some handyman repairs tomorrow (The Old Girl can't object as she's on crutches and I'll have to be given approval to use her drill and toolset).

I've made a fire and the house is warm and cosy. My prisoner The Old Girl is sitting comfortable, enjoying a glass of Pinot Gris and looking forward to dinner. Let's hope that this can last for a month.


(Prudes walk away now).

This morning in Auckland while The Old Girl was getting ready for our drive North I went to a supermarket to buy provisions to last through the weekend.
After doing the shopping, as I hadn't had breakfast I went across the road to a cafe for a coffee and a cheese scone (delicious).
The seating in this cafe was below the footpath level and had large windows. When seated at a table and looking out the window you are looking upwards at the pedestrians. When said pedestrian was a woman in a shortish skirt the view was - up that skirt! Now today is the day after the shortest day and, in Auckland was a cool and blustery winter's day. All the pedestrians were dressed for inclement weather including the women in the shortish skirts who wore leggings underneath.

I was reminded of a friend who, when a schoolboy was caught standing under the school steps looking up the girl's skirts. He'll be right at home in this cafe - especially in the summer.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017


...... you might as well go the whole hog.

"Wellington tyre-slasher jailed for 22 months, claims to be 'proud' of his actions"
A Wellington man was jailed for 22 months for slashing the tyres of cars parked in residential streets near Wellington airport. The screwdriver-wielding vigilante slashed tyres on over 100 cars in a bid to stop people parking for free near the airport and thereby stopping residents from being able to park near their own homes.

Compare that with this:

Dairy owner incensed at home detention 'joke'

A Northland dairy owner who was bashed over the head with an iron bar has been robbed many times including having his elderly father slashed by the knife-wielding robber couldn't believe that the judge gave the offenders 5 months home detention.

What the fuck is wrong with judges?

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Narcs - Heart and Soul

I heard Heart and Soul sung by someone else on National Radio this evening.
It took me right back to the '80s.
A great song thats's integral to NZ life and culture.


The sum of civilisation is usually acknowledged in art artefacts that are unearthed or otherwise discovered,

I remember an outstanding television series The Ascent of Man written and presented by Jacob Bronowski in the late 1960s. This was seminal. For TV watchers used to the direst UK comedic crap like On The Buses or USA diatribe like - well, anything - this erudite and elegant series captivated audiences of every demographic (even the younger ones as it was 30 years before Facebook and all of the other social media shit).

Obviously there are many examples of beautifully crafted art, history, philosophy and even religious writings and film and we all have our favourites. For me one of the best example of well crafted essays were those presented on radio by Alistair Cooke with his Letters from America series. No-one to my knowledge has followed up on this when Alistair retired and died soon after. This is truly lost art.


These things went through my mind last night as I was listening to the radio with The British and Irish Lions playing the Crusaders in Christchurch. Yes, you heard, I was listening to the broadcast as I did last Wednesday to the Lions vs Blues game as we don't have television in our house.

This took me back to the days of my childhood when we listened to the All Black's playing - if home games it was Saturday afternoon - if overseas games it was often the middle of the night. There was something magic about this.

Old Winston McCarthy nailed it in his commentaries and he was like the 31st player on the field. No-one could do better at the time.

Later Keith Quinn built up a reputation but he wasn't as good as Winston and wasn't he the guy who got into trouble for making the sexist comment about the grunting tennis star?

The commentators on Sports Radio try their best but it's not the same as Winston. That's also a lost art.

                                                          IT'S A GOAL


Thursday, 8 June 2017


I did a course today at the local council offices. It was training in Civil Defence.

The course was very well organised and presented. It was a full day from 8.15 AM to 4.30 PM and didn't have any lag-times. The whole thing was engaging and interesting. It's a certification course so if I remember everything I learned then I'll be able to pass the on-line test and become certificated.

Being a 'lock-in' all day course we were catered to for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Very well. In fact very, very well. I never have morning or afternoon teas as I usually work from home and lunch is usually a slice of toast or a small sandwich.

Today's fare consisted of:

  • Cheese scones and savoury scones; blueberry muffins and walnut muffins; with butter, cream cheese or whipped cream for morning tea.
  • Salads, mini bacon and egg pies, mini quiches, wraps, sandwiches, samosas and other delectables for lunch.
  • Fresh tropical fruit  platters or chocolate brownies, iced cakes or home made-looking biscuits for afternoon tea.
Now I'd had a blueberry muffin and a cheese scone for morning tea (lucky that The Old Girl wasn't looking over my shoulder) so when it came to lunch I had one of those mini bacon and egg pies and a sandwich so by the time afternoon tea came by I wasn't hungry.

Everything looked so bloody enticing though so I had some fruit - slices of pineapple, mango, kiwifruit, mandarin, apple, pear and some grapes. I left the biscuits, cakes and brownies alone.

At the end of afternoon tea, as we were about to leave the cafeteria on the first floor to return to the conference room on the second floor I looked at the table still groaning with the weight of the said chocolate brownies, iced cakes or home made-looking biscuits. I coveted them. It's been ages since I've eaten stuff like that and I lusted after them. Lusted! I thought about grabbing one or two for supper at home but then (civil defence training kicking in) I thought about the logistics of getting them home. We were in a council staff cafeteria on the first floor. Our conference room was on the second floor. I was on the first floor. My jacket (with voluminous pockets) and my satchel were on the second floor. There was no way that I could cram a few treats into my trouser pockets without being seen or without damaging the treats.

And then I remembered this:

When good friend Tom left me high and dry at a wine industry meeting where, on his and the organisers suggestion, I took a few treats home for The Old Girl's aged aunty only to end up feeling embarrassed.

I went home, sans treats and remembered that I had a community citizens association meeting to attend that evening. So, late in the evening as I write this, feeling peckish, I'm munching on some dry crackers that were in the pantry.

Thank god for the chardonnay that was in the fridge.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


I watched The Longest Day last night, the 1962 film that has left a lasting impression on me. I was about 11 or so when I watched it as I used to love going along to all the big films of the day. See here:

It was a big American production of the 60's so can be expected to be full of crap like:

  • Using big name actors even though they are past their 'use-by date'
  • Using actors who are patently too old for the parts
  • Using contemporary 'pop 'star's who can't act
  • Using flippancy and humour in situations that don't call for it
  • Overdoing the pathos
  • Inserting actual anecdotes that when acted seem a bit glib

But...... the film used more than one director and the British and German sequences are particularly good.

For its time the action sequences are marvellous - made before computer animation and enhancement.
I recommend this film.


Inspired, I today started re-reading Antony Beevor's D-DAY - The Battle for Normandy.

I like Beevor's books. They are histories, researched and presented as such but written in an interesting and readable style. I've read a few of his - Stalingrad, Berlin, Paris After the Liberation, The Battle of Crete, The Battle for Spain and others.

This is good stuff and at 591 pages should keep me occupied for a few days (now that I'm nearly unemployed). And, yes Richard and Robert, there are pictures in it.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

JUNE 6th

I'm watching The Longest Day tonight.

Well, being June 6th you sort of have to don't you?

Monday, 5 June 2017


Tomorrow I officially start on one day a week with my job.
This really means that I'll be invoicing for 8 hours a week. It doesn't necessarily mean that I'll be stuck behind a computer all day on any one day but it does mean that I can give up blocking out my entire mornings for the benefit of 'the company'.
I'll be able to play tennis, golf, go walking at any time of the day if I want. Hell, I might even play the piano (just kidding). I'll play the bagpipes.

This halcyon won't last unfortunately as I'm only contracted to do this for the month of June.
After that 'the company' has told me that 'contract work' will be available that "may even provide more remuneration than I had working 20 hours a week". Yeah right. I've read Richard's and Robert's blogs. I know bullshit when I hear or see it.

Anyway, tomorrow is the start of the big adventure. Either that or the slippery slope down into poverty, dispiritness, boredom and depression. Mind you, living by the sea in the 'Winterless North' is a good place to do all those things.

In August I'll receive the inaptly named 'super' to help offset all the bills but may still have to consider some way of supplementing this meagre income.

Sunday, 4 June 2017


Look, I'm not a prude and I use bad language, blasphemy, scatological references and prurience on a regular basis. Just read some of my old posts like this one:


But sometimes, being an adult comes with responsibilities and you just have to conform to some reasonable social norms.

Last night I went to the British and Irish Lions rugby game against the Provincial Barbarians.
After a couple of days of atrocious weather - thunderstorms, torrential rain, cold etc - Whangarei turned it on with a clear windless night with a stadium that had a perfect playing surface.
The event had brought out a maximum capacity crowd with parents bring their children of all ages to enjoy an event that only happens say twice in a generation. Bewdy!

Unfortunately there were some pissed idiots who haven't really grown up and will probably never do so. I was there with a friend's son who is 10 years old and was really enjoying the game. It was like watching it on TV with him next to me as he kept up a running commentary that was really useful as he spotted things that I missed.

What I couldn't miss though is somewhere up behind us where we were sitting on the grass embankment some arsehole, sounding middle aged, was yelling out obscenities even before the game started. These were along the line of - "C'mon youse Lions cunts, ya don't stand a fuck'n chance youse cunting wankers" etc. repeated regularly at full volume.

What's the point of this? Couldn't the idiot see that he was surrounded by a friendly crowd full of little children all out for a nice evening?

Somewhere down in front of us, a friend and neighbour reported of a drunken woman similarly shouting out things like "Fuck off back to England you cunts - you're fucking hopeless" etc. Again while surrounded by families who otherwise were enjoying the atmosphere and spectacle.

Friday, 2 June 2017


I saw a disturbing image on the front cover of The NZ Herald today. It's that of an Auckland dairy owner supplying a customer through solid security grilles.

This is what we've seen for many years in USA, UK and other countries where the criminal elements run rings around the police.

It's dispiriting and is a very visible symptom of a failed society. The recent crime wave of armed hold ups of dairies, service stations, convenience stores and even fruit and vegetable stores is making it very dangerous for hard working small business owners to operate.

It makes me very sad as I always thought that we in New Zealand would never have to resort to this.

Thursday, 1 June 2017


* Just kidding.

On Saturday I'm going to see the British and Irish Lions play the NZ Provincial Barbarians team at Whangarei. I'm looking forward to it as I've only missed once seeing the Lions when they've played in New Zealand during my lifetime.
I bought tickets via a friend up here who said he could get some on-line. I trusted him so ordered two - one for me and one for the old Girl. They seemed cheap but I just assumed that was because Whangarei, being a regional ground would be cheaper than the big city venues.
The tickets turned up this week and Rod gleefully presented them to me. Gate: A. General Admission. No seating. WTF! I said to him why no seats? They were good value the cheap bastard said. I should have known - this is the man who takes his wife to  a cheap cafe for their wedding anniversary. Now I don't mind standing on the terraces, it takes me back to the early days but - the Old Girl is going for a hip replacement operation in a couple of weeks and no way will she be able to stand for a couple of hours on a sloping embankment.

I contacted the stadium and the council who run it telling of my predicament and asking if there was provision for mobility impaired people. I said that I was prepared to pay extra if a seat could be found for her. The bastards haven't had the courtesy to respond. I gave the ticket away.

It's forecast to rain on Saturday but no matter. It'll give me a chance to wear my Backhouse stockman's coat and my rain-proof Aussibush hat. The Old Girl usually laughs when I get kitted out in these but she won't be there this time.


Now I'm not a big rugby fan but I do like watching the internationals or when international teams play local teams. I think that rugby has got a bit out of hand in recent years but do like seeing the All Blacks play, especially the World Cup games. Unfortunately they have become just so expensive to go and see compared to yesteryear.

Second to the Rugby World Cup, the British Lions (now the British and Irish Lions) are the best games to watch.

The last time they were here was in 2005.
Even then the price of a ticket was becoming outrageous but I had the good fortune to work for a wine company. I had negotiated some sponsorship with NZ Rugby Union and in addition had secured wine supply to the Wellington and Christchurch stadia. I was able to watch the matches free:
Christchurch where NZ won 21:3.
Wellington where NZ won 48:18.
Auckland where NZ won 38:19.
It was a great series with a huge number of British supporters visiting which pleased the hospitality and tourism industries no end
Everyone was happy - except perhaps the Lions and their supporters.


The Lions previously visited in 1993 - a full 12 years before. I don't recall a lot about this tour other than the fact that once again it was great for tourism. I was running a specialty wine and spirit supply company to major tourist hotels and restaurants and remember that their business was booming. I saw the Auckland game which NZ won 30:13 and was lucky enough to watch it as a guest in the DB Breweries corporate box at Eden Park.


The previous Lions tour was in 1983. I saw one game in Auckland where NZ won 38:6.

Rugby was under a bit of a cloud back then, it being soon after the 1981 Springbok Tour which tore New Zealand apart. It wasn't fashionable to be at a party trying to pick up an attractive and intelligent woman and saying that you were off to see the AB's play. Oh well. C'est La Vie.


In 1977 The Lions were here. It was a short jump between that tour and the 1983 tour. Maybe the NZRU in 1983 were looking to recreate interest in the game after losing so much support over that bastard Springboks tour. I'll have to read up on that.
I was living in Wellington then and didn't see the game which NZ only just won 16:12. I was still working at Wrightson's Wine and spirits then (along with Robert) and as the game was in the afternoon I couldn't go as I had to work (not that driving the delivery truck was much work). I think it rained heavily that day which might explain the low scores.


The Lions were in New Zealand in 1971, my first year at Victoria university in Wellington. I was playing rugby for Athletic then (under 19s). I was pretty good at rugby but in the open weight grades got hammered by the great hulking brutes that were entering rugby around this time (not Richard, he'd been playing for a while and these guys were even bigger).

I don't know how I got to go to watch them - either the local games were cancelled or I was injured (probably the latter).
NZ lost! 3:13. A sad day for New Zealand rugby. The country was in mourning.

I had to buy my ticket to the game and sat in the famous Millard Stand, way up high looking down on the players. Scary but exciting too. The stand used to move in the wind and in big games, like the Lions was crowded and most likely very unstable.


In 1966 I was in the 3rd form, my first year at secondary school at St Patrick's College Wellington. The old school in Buckle Street. This was a great college with history and a solid reputation of scholasticism. Richard will probably disagree on that but then he probably wasn't in one of the top classes. It unfortunately was populated by Catholic Priests who pushed their arcane and incomprehensible religion down our throats Richard will probably agree with that but I'm sure that Robert will disagree.

Anyway the Lions were in New Zealand in 1966.

I got in free!

I can't remember who organised it but some neighbourhood friends and I had jobs selling rugby memorabilia - rosettes and flags - outside Athletic Park. This stuff of course was crap and I doubt that any have survived (paper flags on sticks and paper rosettes with a big sharp pin) but it was expensive. Whoever was marketing the stuff knew what they were doing as the target market was the pissed blokes making their way into the park. In those days there wasn't a franchise for selling alcohol at sporting events. Rugby games were played at about 3pm in the afternoon. The prevailing licensing laws closed pubs at 6PM. This meant that the rugby supporters would tank up at a local pub before the game as they weren't guaranteed to get out of the venue and back to a pub after the game before pubs closed. 6 O'clock closing!

Many supporters then were arriving at Athletic Park pissed and loose. They freely shelled out about half their cost of entry for a stupid flag that they most likely dropped in the concrete urinals. As a result of the high profit margins we sellers, in addition to our wages (about ten bob), got free tickets.

NZ won 16:12. Close.


The Lions visited New Zealand in 1959.

I was 6 years old. I saw the Lions play in Christchurch. NZ won 22:8 which was good as in those days, pre fancy-schmancy special seating areas everyone crowded on to terraces. The attendance was massive like UK football games. There was bugger all crowd control in those days so if there'd been a riot or big fight it could have been disastrous.

Christchurch rugby crowd 1959
My mother was born in Eiffelton, near Ashburton in Mid Canterbury so all of her relatives were based in Canterbury. On one of the many trips we had down there from Wellington this one coincided with the Lions tour. My dad took me along with him to the game with two of my uncles. I remember that everyone was dressed in woollen clothes, long grey overcoats and hats (was it colder back then? Someone should tell Donald Trump).
As said we all stood on concrete terraces - no seating. Dad and the uncles had quarter bottles of whisky with them (do they still make those? I haven't seen them for years). I don't know where the people (almost all men) went for a piss - certainly not the rank urinals - maybe they just had a leak where they were standing.
At age 6 this was the biggest event I'd ever been to (The Blanket Show that Dad promised having never eventuated) and it was very exciting.

Ralph Caulton who was later to be my boss at Wrightson's Wines and Spirits scored two tries.

I still remember it. Standing on the terraces. Moving with the crowd. Excited voices announcing something unseen.

I'll be doing this on Saturday in Whangarei. Wearing a long overcoat and wearing a hat.

By the way, the ticket I've given away is to a nine year old boy, the son of a friend of Lynn's who is staying up here with his mother this weekend. He is a real rugby fan and a very very good player (future Richie McCaw type). He is over the moon about seeing the Lions play. I hope that he will have great memories like I have.


The Wine Guy has a new post  HERE . With regard to this: He wishes to state that he did not have imbibing relations with this wi...