Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dog on a lilly pad

Dog on a lilly pad
Sounds like the title of a Monet painting. I received a phone call from a neighbour who also lives next to Sullivans Lake. Apparently her little dog went missing the other day. She looked everywhere to no avail then suddenly spied the pooch sitting on a mat of lilly pads in the middle of the lake.
Horrors... but thankfully the said lake is quite shallow, allowing the lady to roll up her trousers and wade thigh deep to retrieve her little lilly loiterer. Unfortunately the lady, although delighted that her dog was saved, has developed nasty looking spotty things on her legs. If you saw the Lake you would know why this has happened. It is the most toxic waterway in our town, fish are dying, ducks are sick and the water is not water at all, it is green smelly stuff.

Maybe the little dog intended to make a sit-down protest, their definitely needs to be one.
P.S At last something is being done, the Council have raised the water level and had a field day retrieving dead ferral goldfish. It's a deffinate start.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Seeing is believing

Ever been stalked?

My appointment with the optometrist, was more than disappointing, it was annoying. My new spectacles would not be arriving until early the following week.
Walking back through town, I could not help noticing I was being followed. It was embarrassing; one of those situations where you know someone is there but you cannot look straight at them in case they are genuinely going at the same speed and to the same destination as yourself.
He was on my left, perhaps a pace or two behind. I still had not got a good look at him but decided to take evasive action. Turning quickly, I waited for the traffic to ease and began crossing the busy street. I was not sorry to see the chap swing off to the left and walk away in the opposite direction. Coincidently as I turned and glanced back over my shoulder, he did exactly the same; it was then that I noticed just how large he was.
I told myself off for my judgemental attitude, ‘who cares if the poor fellow is slightly overweight’ I mumbled, ‘we all have our problems and who am I to judge.’ That was the end of it, or so I thought as I happily put the incident out of my mind.
Imagine my astonishment and annoyance to see that the cunning fellow had also crossed the road and without me noticing,he had somehow snuck around my back and was now walking on the opposite side of me.
‘I suppose he thinks I would not notice him... The fat fool’, I muttered to myself, ‘not the brightest glow worm in the cave’. Glancing out of the corner of my eye I was intrigued to notice that whoever this cheeky fellow was, except for the hugeness, he looked quite familiar. He was copying my every move, I stopped, he stopped; there were other people around and I did not want to make a scene. I tried staring at him, put my hands on my hips in an aggressive stance and stared eyeball to eyeball. He did exactly the same. Lucky for him, I soon reached my destination otherwise he would have got the old one two, the quick heave ho.
As I disappeared into the pharmacy I questioned myself as to whom this grossly overweight person could be. Did I owe him money? Was he a distant relative? Perhaps an under-cover policeman? I laughed at the thought, ‘It would have to be a very large tarpaulin to put that gargantuan under cover’, I mused.
Thankfully he did not follow me into the Chemist; I doubted that he would have successfully negotiated the shop door, full on or sideways. His tummy looked like he had swallowed a prize winning pumpkin!‘How could a man let himself go like that’, I questioned.
The pharmacy had one of those ‘speak your weight’ weighing machines. I imagined if my tubby friend had stepped on, you would have heard, ‘one at a time please’ or ‘for heaven’s sake get off!’ It was an old joke but one befitting my unbelievably humongous stalker.
My decision to leave, if possible from the rear door of that shop, was sound thinking. I would do my business then make good my escape.
‘Excuse me young man’, I called to a somewhat feminine looking attendant.‘Can I help’ he replied in an equally feminine tone.‘I hope so; I need a cheap, temporary pair of spectacles, the strongest magnification you can find'. As he aproached me to point out that I was standing right next to the spectacles display cabinet, I notice he was wearing a dress, then I glanced to my right and to my horror spotted the bulbous one, somehow he had got into the shop, I’d had enough, this had to be finished once and for all. We faced each other; put our fists up and with violent determination, I rushed forward, straight into... the full length mirror.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

let kids be kids

Let kids take risks, who can recall, climbing a tree, starting to fall.
Under a bridge, testing acoustics, racing a friend at riverside pooh sticks.
Eating a worm, catching a frog, peering and poking an old rotten log.
Pinching an apple, your friends wouldn’t tell. Ringing a door bell, running like hell.
Jump off a bridge, walk on a wall, not even thinking perhaps you might fall.

Let kids be kids, give them a bike, remember the joy, what it was like.
You were on your own, you did not know, that guiding hand had just let go,
Remember when you glanced around, you lost momentum, hit the ground,
So what, You needed a plaster, got back up and rode much faster.
Let kids be kids, don’t you see, growing kids need A and E

Let kids be kids, for goodness sake, over protection is a huge mistake
Let them play, act the fool, don’t wrap them up in cotton wool.
Get kids outside breathing fresh air, give them a challenge, teach them to dare.
Remember your childhood, when grazing your knee, left a scar for all to see.
Embracing some danger is bound to cause strife but let’s prepare kids for surprises in life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lights, action, it’s Christmas.

Like it or not, Santa Claus is here to stay, every male from the cradle to old age will experience the five ages of Father Christmas;
You are not aware that there is a Father Christmas,
You believe in Father Christmas,
You do not believe in Father Christmas,
You are Father Christmas,
You look like Father Christmas.
Fathers be warned, questions about Santa will be asked, they are designed for no other reason than to catch you out.
Today’s five year olds are savvy, they are not children, they are small adults and we, the more mature species must not melt like quivering jelly fish as the annual onslaught of Christmas questions bombards our feeble imaginations.
Not any more, oh no. Fathers will never again find it necessary to resort to, ‘Ask your Mother’.
The secret is to parry those difficult questions that cut and slice through our intellectual ego, with a shield of techno mumbo jumbo. This Christmas, your small human bean will stand with mouth open, gazing in admiration at your intellectual superiority.
Memorise these questions and answers, then destroy.
‘Dad, why are there so many Santa’s?
‘Clones, son, they are all false Santas. The big boss Santa gives the orders from the North Pole’.
‘Has he got a cell phone’
‘No, son, it’s his whiskers, they are fibre optic receptors.’
‘Dad, how can a jolly fat Santa fit down our chimney?’
‘Flue injections, Son. He injects himself, his cell metabolism shrinks, a bit like the Incredible Hulk only the opposite, and bingo he can slip down every flu.’
‘What if you don’t have a chimney, do you miss out on presents?’
‘No in those cases Santa uses a low tech system, he goes through the door’.
‘Dad, how can Santa’s elves make presents for all the children in the whole wide world?’
‘Robots Son, E.L.F stands for Efficient Life Form. They can make ten Barbie dolls in a split second, a thousand bikes in an hour’.
‘Wow!… Dad, How can Santa get to every house in the whole wide world, in one night?’
‘Warp speed, just like in Star Trek. In fact, like Captain Kirk, when Santa has dropped off the presents he says ’Beam me up Sooty’ and up the chimney he goes.
‘Dad, where does the tooth fairy live?’
‘Go ask your mother!’

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Loitering within tent

A word of advice for anyone contemplating a camping holiday...don’t!
No matter how idealistically stimulating it sounds to up sticks and head to the great outdoors this Summer, take it from one who has often loitered within ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

To leave the comforts of civilisation in order to enjoy the benefits of living under canvas and savour the delights of ‘roughing it’ is madness in the extreme. I should know, I have been man against wild, I have laid on my back in the middle of a cold and blustery night, staring up at the stars, wondering where our tent has gone.

I have squeezed through a tent flap, into the cold forbidding night, like Captain Oats of the Antarctic, whispering to my wife that I am just going for a short walk. Dressed only in my pyjamas, swan dry, track suit and beanie I have fumbled my way through a dark wooded area, wishing that I had not drunk all that liquid the night before.
I remember the night well; it was foolish to venture bare footed into unchartered territory. I managed to tread upon the only nodding thistle within a five square mile radius and I discovered that at night small but sturdy, pointy tree branches move surreptitiously from the upper part of a tree to groin level.
My definition of camping is ‘learning to stay alive in a hostile environment’.
The adventure stories, tales of daring-do and books about the great outdoors fail to mention that the number of giant sand flies in any given location is dependent on whether or not you remembered to pack the Dimp. Keep a bottle of repellent in your pack; you will not see hide nor hair of a biting insect, conversely leave the Dimp in your medicine cabinet at home; you will be eaten alive.
My wife is usually very well organised, she cannot help herself. This is a commendable talent but one that totally falls apart when we go camping. Oh she plans alright; she plans beyond the call of duty.
One summer we decided to pitch our tent at Ocean beach in Hawkes Bay. Everything was loaded onto the back of our Austin Gypsy truck. Mattresses, pillows, coolie chairs,fridge, Labrador (he slept in a pup tent) and chest of drawers! I kid you not; we took a fully laden, six drawer chest of drawers on a camping holiday! The fact that I was in charge of securely roping the load and then loosing it all on the Havelock roundabout, is neither here nor there.
Who could forget our summer holiday at Hahei in the Coromandel? We wanted a good night’s sleep so purchased the very best double blow up mattress we could find. I pumped it up, the kids, Labrador and I jumped up and down on it. Having had an exhausting first day, we retired to bed at eight thirty. By nine fifteen we were on the floor. I had to pump it up again. I pumped that bloomin’ mattress up six times in the night; goodness knows what the neighbouring campers thought about the huffing and puffing emanating from our tent. By morning we were all deflated.
Then there was the piece de rĂ©sistance, the final curtain to camping holidays. Waihau Bay camping ground produced the wettest two weeks on record and we were in the middle of it. Everything was damp, the food was damp the clothing was damp even the damp was damp. We awoke in the middle of the night suffering from a lack of oxygen. It felt like a giant Hippo was sitting on our faces. ‘Get off John’ my wife gasped. Turned out to be rain water, a huge reservoir filled the roof of our tent and threatened to engulf us. We heaved it into the air, spilling gallons upon the neighbouring campers.
Camping anyone? Never again!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The amazing, hilarious wonderful bottom.
I have often wondered why when you mention certain words to small children they giggle uncontrollably. Take ‘bottom’ for example, a somewhat obscure word that is used to describe the base or end of an object. ‘The bottom of the boat’, or ‘put it in the bottom drawer’, are perfectly sane sentences not at all amusing least of all to children of average intelligence. Not so when the same word refers to the end or base of a person. In that context the quite ordinary, unobtrusive word, ‘bottom’ takes on a life of its own. The ordinary common or garden bottom for some strange reason becomes highly hilarious to small children. It’s a known fact, the more you say it the harder they laugh. This same phenomenon is not produced with similar meaning words like, rear-end, bum or backside. Why is that? I suppose the word posterior could be considered mildly amusing but it does not deliver the same impact as bottom.
As a child I well remember clutching my stomach, falling on the floor in convulsions of merriment at the mention of someone’s bottom. (do I need therapy?) At family get-togethers a naughty older cousin took great delight in making up a rude rhyme about my poor Uncle Otto. He always waited until I was standing next to my Uncle and then whispered in my ear, ‘Otto’s botto sits on potto’. Although the rhyme would not have won any poetry competitions or placed my cousin in the running for the youngest ever poet laureate, to me it was the funniest thing I had ever heard.
Talking of whispering reminds me of a very funny story that was told by Irish comedian, Dave Allen. His father did not like the word ‘fart’. The first time Dave heard the word was when he was about three years old. He was watching a cowman milking and the cow farted. ‘What was that?’ He asked. The cowman replied, ‘The cow farted’. It was just a word; as if he’d said ‘what’s that on the tree?’ and he’d said ‘bark’.
Dave’s family had a dog called Tuppy, because he was bought for tuppence. One day as Dave walked past him, he heard the same noise and said ‘Tuppy farted’. His father said, ‘Where did you hear that?’ and Dave said ‘It came from his bottom’. Young Dave’s dad had a way of getting around the word. He would say, ‘Who whispered?’ and everyone totally accepted the euphemism. That is until one day when Dave’s Granny, said, ‘Come here David and whisper in Granny’s ear’.
Frankly I am surprised that marketing gurus have not pounced on bottoms as a sales gimmick. Kids would not be able to resist jellied or chocolate (perhaps not chocolate) or lolly pop bottoms. As a child I considered the late great Spike Milligan to be the greatest comedian in the World for his famous words in ‘Badjelly the witch’. ‘His trousers fell down, and off he went to bare bottom land.’ We should thank him for creating glorious, spluttering, irrepressible mirth in the minds of young children. I thank the man from the bottom of my bottom, and I take this opportunity to propose a toast saying ‘bottoms up’ to my Uncle Otto on behalf of all naughty words that make us laugh...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Real Estate defined

According to recent Government statistics, our town, Whakatane NZ has had a population increase of a mere 10 persons in the last three years. Could it be that all these people have become real estate agents? Did you know that there are in excess of 40 such agents in our fair town. Could we be the second ‘city of sales’.
Rumour has it that residence may now use their old wheelie-bins to cater for those ever increasing real estate pamphlets. What a grand idea, instead of displaying a mailbox sign ‘No Circulars’, the large bin could display much more meaningful information, such as:
I do not want to sell my home. You are not my friendly real estate agent. I don’t even know you. Who are you anyway. I don’t care that Mrs. Smith has sold her house. Clear off hairy legs.
In case you do want to buy a home here are some helpful definitions.

CROSSLEASE: When someone buys a cheap house at Lake Rotoiti (a very small settlement) and brags to their mates that they have got the bargain of the decade, then discover that they have to pay a lease fee to the owners amounting to $12,000 per year. This makes them very angry. This is a cross lease.

UNIT TITLE: ‘unit’ is an abbreviation for a ‘ewe nit’ which as every shepherd knows is a small head louse found on sheep. Obviously a ‘unit title’ is when the shepherd sees one of these lice on a ewe and addresses it as one would address a titled person, E.g. ‘Oi there’s one of them head lice watzernames on that sheep.....come out of there right now yer Majesty.’

OPEN PLAN LIVING: Dad ran out of firewood he’s too broke to buy a load so chops up all the doors in the house and chucks them onto the fire, you now have open plan living.

PANORAMIC VIEW: If you stand on the roof, on a chair, on a large copy of Webster’s dictionary, you catch a glimpse of Ohiwa Harbour.

VIEWS FOREVER: The complete works of William Shakespeare on top of the Webster’s.

ENSUITE: There is a covered walkway from the house to the long drop toilet.

FORMAL LIVING: Dad wears a suit and bow tie at home.

REFURBISHED: This house is badly in need of some tender loving care, the owner couldn’t build a dog house, he is what is commonly called a cowboy.

Final advice for those about to take the plunge into house purchase, did you know that the word mortgage literally means ‘death grip’ or ‘strangle hold’ Kiwis will be relieved that our reserve bank are not following the upward movement of various other countries borrowing rates. Let us hope that the head of our Reserve Bank, Dr. Alan Bollard’s interest is not enhanced when he hears the throttled gurgling of first home borrowers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wow! Talk about variety, this activity is not only a must do experience of a lifetime, it is five amazing acts rolled into one big drama.

It was about time I took advantage of a tourist activity that is right on our doorstep. I discovered that Whakatane’s unique WHALE AND DOLPHIN WATCH, incorporates a physical, spiritual and going by the reaction of my fellow watchers, an emotional experience.

We were blessed with a fantastic day, calm water and clear blue sky. Appropriately, ‘Blue Sky’ was the name of the ten metre passenger launch that took us along the Whakatane River, over the bar and out to sea.
Greg Rackham, the Skipper is an experienced launch man with a canny knack of being able to track down pods of our target species, the Common Dolphin. I was fascinated to discover that a work-up of Gannets, invariably reveals the presence of dolphins.
We scanned the Bay for those tell tail signs and although on occasions dolphins take a little longer to find, a large pod was soon sighted just east of Moutohora (Whale) Island. There must have been close to two hundred. They gathered around the boat, jumping, twisting and turning , slipping in front of the bow then zooming away like grey and white torpedoes. Although Greg kept the launch at a brisk speed , those amazing animals appeared to keep up without even trying.
For us the day had only just begun. Kitted out with snorkel and fins, we sat on the stern of the boat, while the Skipper anticipated the direction of the pod. Greg is always careful not to get ahead of the leaders and disrupt their forward path. He approached the side of the pod, where there was a high concentration of dolphins, then expertly adjusted the boat’s speed in order to give us the very best opportunity. Forward a bit, gently does it, then stop all motors and it was, ‘Go…go…go!’
The visibility was amazing, I could see the animals right below me, I lost count at forty. I heard them whistling, a high pitched eerie note that in dolphin language probably said, ‘look at that very large human’ or perhaps 'Help...Orca!!'
This has got to be on top of the ‘bucket list‘. I strongly recommend it to anyone from eight to eighty years. Anchored in a sheltered bay at Moutohora Island we enjoyed a hot drink and snack while Peter told us about the successful Kiwi and ancient Tuatara re-introduction to the pest free island. On the rocks, just across from us, fir seals were basking in the sunshine. When they are in the water you can swim with them. On this day a few of our party enjoyed snorkelling around the rocky shore, while others relaxed on the boat, content to take in the mystique of the bush clad island.
Time for home, or so we thought, the Skipper had one more treat in store and we were not disappointed. Greg took us close in at Otarawairere Bay to see if we could find Moko, the friendly bottle nosed dolphin. We found him off Westend Beach, the cheeky animal was playing with a large Kingfish, he put on a show just for us, a fitting finale to our five hour trip with Whakatane’s WHALE AND DOLPHIN WATCH.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Whitebait...It's that time of the year

It’s that time of year again. Drive down the Wainui Road around the Cheddar Valley and you will see them. They remind me of herons, sitting motionless along the river bank. Talk to them in whispered tones, do not expect eye contact. Unblinking, they study the mood of the river. Sometimes they are in pairs. In town they would be called Darby and Joan, but here in the country they are Eb and Flo, the river folk. Precariously balanced on tiny fold up chairs, the male of the species scans the murky water for a tell tale ripple. Eb has been sitting at this spot every August for the last ten years, this is his secret posi’. Flo is happy with her book until her partner lets out a triumphant whisper and is galvanized into action. She knows the routine, the Mills and Boon is quickly discarded, she grabs the specially designed bucket (there is a small hole in it). Eb is alert, his senses are reeling, his mouth is watering. He moves faster than a speeding sloth, skillfully scooping the huge net through the water. There is a flash of silver as not one, but two, unsuspecting whitebait (smaller than the last joint on Eb's little finger and thinner than a turkey quil) are lured into the mouth of the net.
‘One each’, exclaims Flo, as her hero wrestles the catch to the shore.

Some years ago we lived in the small village of Edgecumbe, adjacent to the Rangitaiki River. Now I had heard about the whitebait delicacy and I was keen to try my luck. I acquired the obligatory net and made my way to the river bank. Imagine my excitement when by lunch time I had scooped two large buckets full.
‘How’d you get on this morning?’ Enquires Alf, my neighbour.
‘I got two,’ I reply, ‘what about yourself?’
‘Better than you,’ says Alf, ‘I got five, almost enough for a fritter.’
Now I am thinking, (quite wrongly) I got two buckets, Alf got five, his one fritter will not only feed the whole population of Edgecumbe, when he tosses it out of the pan there is likely to be a total eclipse.

Maureen and I had whitebait fritters for breakfast, lunch and tea (the kids would not touch them) In fact we devoured enough to sink an aircraft carrier. Number two’s was off the agenda for a week and a half. My wife thought the best part of the fritter was the egg it was cooked in. Truth be known, I was catching the wrong species, they were bigger than the elusive sylph like delicacy and I was puzzled by the fact that a not so small, gray and somewhat gritty fish was called white. I could hardly believe my ears when I heard that whitebait was fetching up to $150 per kg in local shops. Goodbye mortgage thinks I, as the little critters are placed in snap up bags ready to hit the local consumer.
Experienced white-baiters reckon they know their piece of river so well that they can almost smell them coming. The point to ponder is this, whitebait is great for eating, but when they are ‘Smelt’ they are only good for fertilizer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I haven't run out of ideas, I'm just busy with

While searching through the old glassie archives, I found this bit of nonsense

Well, our national newspapers have done it again. They have reached into the archives of the mid 1970’s to pull out the letter ‘O’.
Years ago there appeared to exist a kind of alphabetical terror code that filled folk with fear and trepidation. The second world war started the whole process with the ‘A’ bomb. Followed by the evacuation of troops on ‘D’ day. The ‘H’ bomb soon reared its ugly head. Thankfully there was a light hearted and refreshing interlude, when, courtesy of the James Bond movies we became acquainted with ‘M’ and ‘Q‘.
This was the start of the A to Z phenomena becoming completely out of sync. We’ve had ‘X’ men movies, Mr.’T’, the ‘A’ Team. ’C’ Change and more recently, the scourge of our country, ‘P’. There has been an attempt by true Kiwis to start at the beginning again by finishing every sentence with ‘A’, ‘A’. This attempt failed miserably when the powers that ‘B’ decided to christen the youth of today, The ‘Y’ generation. (‘Y’ ? )
Before I reveal the significance of the letter ‘O’ try this small exercise, it will help you with texting & yor skul wrk wil gt tp mrks b coz no 1 wnt 2 no ow 2 spel ne mor.
“A, B, C D goldfish?”
“M N O goldfish”
“S A R, C D B D eyes”
Now, if you successfully deciphered this cryptic message you have joined the ‘Y’ generation, and I can now warn you of the media plot to re-visit the letter ‘O’.
I refer, of course to the ‘O’ Zone. Yes, it’s back! That hole in the sky where ultra violet rays are tumbling through, en masse to attack unsuspecting Kiwis.
I find it more than a little coincidental that at this time of year the letter ‘O’ drifts menacingly across the pages of our national newspapers. Note the following from NZ Herald…1/10/04 ‘Ozone hole over Antarctica poses risk for New Zealanders this summer’…..17/11/05 ‘NIWA research said that the Ozone hole over the Antarctic was relatively large and it’s intensity nearly as high as it’s ever been’…..24/9/06 ‘Record Ozone event’.
Have you noticed that this naughty Ozone hole favours the Antarctic region and actually has done since the beginning of time.
Now, my theory is this. When Emperor Penguins get in huddles, up close and personal, they have a huge problem with body odour. To counteract this annual event they are using copious amounts of spray deodorant. Polar bears are not blameless in the matter of releasing harmful CFC’s into the atmosphere. Flies, yes, nasty blow flies invading snow caves. Polar bears think it is really cool to grab the Mortein and zap the buzzy things.
We must protect ourselves from the burning summer sunshine, that’s for sure, but do we need all the fear mongering? The so called Ozone hole, we are told, is 3000km. Long and 200km wide, give me a break!
When I was a young fellow, our local village ran a ‘Country Fayre’, a wonderful English tradition and a chance to make a few shillings from a cake stall or coconut shy. We came up with a wheeze that for very little outlay would make us rich. We put a sign outside a small tent, inside the tent we placed a chair. People paid us half a crown to walk through the tent, look at the empty chair, then exit at the other end. We had them queuing all day to ‘Come And See The Invisible Man’. What has this got to do with the so called Ozone hole? We are all being taken for a ride, ‘A’.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The black and white

Driving home the other day (I admit to driving fast)
My mind a hundred miles away, as other cars I passed.
An oncoming truck sounded his horn and also flashed his light,
I treated all of this with scorn then saw the black and white!
With heart in mouth, I had the shakes, I really don’t know how,
I slowed the car with squeal of brakes and missed that silly cow.

Friday, August 6, 2010

computer illiteracy

“Hi, how can I help?”
‘I can’t open my mail box’
“Have you got a virus?”
‘No, I always talk like this,’
“Is there a virus attached to your mail box?”
‘Snails and a few leaves,’
“As a screen saver?”
“What’s on your desk top,”
‘Papers, an empty tea cup, a couple of pens and right at the back, Uncle Gerald’s ashes.’
“What icons on your desk top?”
‘Photo of Maureen and I on our wedding day, it’s the one where I’ve got my foot up on the back of the chair, looks like she married a guy with one leg.’
“The problem could be your hard drive”
‘It looks more like rust. Shall I move the mail box then?’
“What do you mean?”
‘Shall I take my mail box off my hard drive?’
“If you do that you will not get mail.”
‘Don’t be stupid, I can use the neighbours while mine is fixed’
“Has he got an apple?”
‘For all I know he could have a juicy pair, What have apples got to do with mail boxes.’
“I can help you if I have the right information! Have you got an apple or Hewlet Packard?”
‘I used to own a Harley.’
“For Heavens sake.. What kind of computer do you own?”
‘I don’t… Couldn’t understand the lingo if I had one.’
“Why the hell did you ring Mr Computer?”
‘I thought I’d dialed, Hire a Hubby’.

To the kind people who I have never had the pleasure of getting to know and yet feel a certain animosity toward. To you of the technological age, who have nothing better to do with your time than send me ridiculous email messages, I say thank you, thank you, Why? I hear you typing.
My answer, not through your preferred media but through this column, is because while you are bothering me you are leaving everyone else alone. I do not care that by confirming receipt of your intrusion into my personnel computer and sending said rubbish on to fifty five of my best friends, I will have good fortune for the rest of the month. My good fortune will be when you leave off sending me emails. The horror of it all is that what you are doing is tantamount to witchcraft…yes.. witchcraft. The threats outlining the ghastly things liable to happen to me if I do break the chain are evil and most probably illegal.
Many thanks to the long lost member of my family who actually spells their name quite differently to mine, many thanks for dieing in Nairobi and leaving me $300 million dollars. I am so grateful to the Solicitor, Mr Snackletoss who took the time to track me down after discovering that I am the last living relative of the deceased. I am touched that you are willing to take a mere 5% of the inheritance. As requested I am forwarding my bank details, Jelly Bean Trust, Bank of Toyland, Notonyornellie, New Zealand.
While I am on the subject, let me take this opportunity to tell the medical organization who have an insatiable desire to see me growing my unmentionables, ‘Mr Rudey is quite happy the way he is!!’ So put that in your floppy disk.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vote Glassie for council...

This should do the trick (see my profile notes)
Who could resist this honest, friendly persona?
No answers required!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Before and After photos of cousins. Amazingly still going strong after 60 years.

I'm the teddy bear kid fifth from the left, my sister Sue is on my
left. She lives in Vancouver with her super family. Robin, on the far right has lived in Africa most of his life but has now settled in UK.

Incidently, the Denne family tree stretches back to 1065. I have a copy of the whole document, with family crests and occupations.
Robert de Denne is first on the tree, he was a butler and taylor to
Edward the Confessor in 1065. Four of the cousins are Dennes my sister and I are Glasses. Our Mum was Esme Denne. Jessica (on my right) Hester (third from right) and Robin (on the end) their Mum was Molly Denne.

Monday, July 26, 2010


It’s not that I have run out of ideas, oh !! no no no, I just wondered if I could write about absolutely nothing. (“He’s done that every week for the last twelve months,” I hear you saying) I remember doing the duties of auctioneer at a charity auction some years ago. People had been generous with their donations and we had fifty odd lots going under the hammer. Problem was, lot number 16 had been withdrawn so I had a choice, move from lot 15 to 17 or the alternative, much more challenging, attempt to sell nothing. I did the latter and bidding for lot 16, absolutely nothing at all, was spirited and brisk. We achieved a last bid of sixteen dollars, and attempted to squeeze a further donation from the new owner of nothing, by offering to gift wrap nothing for a small charge. Which brings me to another incident in the business of nothing. An ancient Aunt of mine told me the story of her cruise ship holiday to the Islands. In those days the huge liners anchored off shore and passengers wanting to explore a particular Island were ferried in by life boats. Just before departure the Islanders would paddle out to the ship and barter with the passengers. My Aunt was offered a large box of Island chocolates, all she had to do was throw the required coins into the sea , watch the islanders dive for the money. The box of chocs would be pulled up to the boat on a string. Auntie opened the sweets after they had put to sea and discovered neatly packaged, mouth watering, nothing.
Farmers in Europe continue to receive subsidies, one such payment is for setting aside up to thirty percent of an individual’s land area. The subsidy is, not surprisingly, called ‘set aside’ and has been available to farmers for many years. Currently you can earn $459.59 per annum for every acre of land growing absolutely nothing. Americans living in the Texas rice belt collected a whopping $37million in crop payments a couple of seasons ago. The secret to drawing part of this substantial subsidy is knowing that your particular (large or small) plot was at some time during the last 65 years growing a crop of rice. If such is the case you will also receive an annual payment for growing nothing. Speaking of the USA, I once read a wonderful story about an American farmer who found out that he could make a reasonable living by not rearing hogs. He discovered that the government subsidy for not raising 50 hogs was $1000, being a prudent investor he decided to begin his business venture by not raising 4000 hogs. He had no idea which was the best breed not to rear but he did find out that his 4000 animals would not eat 100,000 bushels of corn. As luck would have it the government were also paying farmers for not growing corn which meant that he could claim payments for not growing the corn that he was not going to feed his 4000 hogs.( Nothing ventured nothing gained.)
I can happily report that nothing has been very kind to us over the years, we once bought a house for next to nothing and we actually were given a house for removal for absolutely nothing. Mind you, we spent the whole of one summer doing it up and eventually sold it, minus expenses and made nothing.
I heard a story the other day about Ma and Pa’s frequent trips down to Levin. Apparently
Pa was quite partial to a wee tipple and frequently stopped the car to, supposedly, check the water temperature. The bonnet was lifted and the bottle that cheers was surreptitiously guzzled.
Hard to believe but Ma did not realise that on this particular model the motor was at the rear of the vehicle. Pa had a great trip, Ma knew nothing.
Our second daughter has the final word, having been given an empty envelope she announced, ‘There’s something not in it’, which is delightful toddler logic for ‘nothing’.

Friday, July 23, 2010

For Dawn and countless others

True friends

There is a time in latter years
When you reflect and perhaps regret
That a friendship you had, has disappeared
Just when it happened, you forget.
The friendship, well, it just declined
You felt it go but did not care
The love you had lagged far behind
The phone went dead, you did not share.
It is not too late, re-kindle the flame,
Make every effort to get in touch
Excuses are pride, it would be a shame
To lose a friend who meant so much.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pals from Kent farm Institute days and an assortment of cousins


What a lovely lot Giles,Miles,me,Russ,Pete,Kath,Ian,Henry,Liz,Val,Filly.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Many have heard the term, progressive marketing. Basically it is a cunning plan to manufacture products in such a way as to insure their complete demise in the shortest time possible. Obviously this system keeps the wheels of commerce turning and lines the pockets of the producer as the poor old consumer is forced to replace specific items.
The only exception to this rule, as far as I can see, is the resilient, old fashioned push mower. They seem to go on forever unless one makes the fatal mistake of lending yours to a family member. ‘Sure’, you say, with a jovial demeanor, ‘Of course you can borrow my old push mower, it belonged to great Granddad you know’. Sad to say the next time you see this wonderful old relic (not Granddad) is when said family member appears in your driveway with the broken handle in one hand and what appears to be a sort of twisted metal art form, from Picasso’s neo surrealism period, in the other.
Progressiveness can be a double edged sword, it may be good, it could be bad.
Some years ago we managed a large holiday camp. There were a number of accommodation blocks all consisting of eight small cabins. There were extensive lawn areas that had to be regularly attacked with a tractor driven mower. While mowing one day a stone flew into a window in one of the cabins. It was a small crack, easily fixed, or so I thought. As I removed the broken pain I found that the frame was rotten. The whole job became a nightmare as I discovered dry rot in the sill and the surrounding weather boards. One rotten board led to another. In the end the whole back of the cabin block had to be repaired and re-built. So for the sake of a small crack in a tiny window an expensive progression had occurred.
This brings me, in a rather round about way to one of my pet hates. Counselors, not, I hasten to add, Town councilors (I’m saving them for another column) I’m talking about untrained and often unqualified, advisors who make it their business to pounce upon the smallest crack in someone’s life and proceed to delve into every nook and cranny until the poor soul is either totally bewildered or at the very least absolutely convinced that they were abused as a child. Sometimes these folk, having had their weatherboards of failure and self esteem ripped off, are incapable of re-building their lives and are filled with the proverbial ‘no more gaps’ (valium) and left to cope with life.
Out of the mouths of babes there is often wisdom, our son once made a profound statement, ‘Why does there have to be a reason for everything?’ A question that I now aim at (often self appointed) counselor’s who have not experienced life, or worse, are content to counsel other people while their own lives are a disaster. Sometimes it’s better to put up with a tiny crack in the window of our lives. A small irritation in an oyster shell can turn into a priceless gem. To progress means to proceed. For some it may be an uphill struggle and a helping hand will be necessary. Choose that hand carefully and leave the past where it belongs, in the past. I hope our progression in the new year is positive, every step, will be easier and a step in the right direction if we happily accept who we are, warts and all.
To end on a lighter note, Mr Michael Hill (golfer) decided to put a one hole fairway on his Arrowtown deer farm. Having done that and with his game much improved he determined that two holes would be more fun. It was, so he got rid of the deer, established a nine hole course which then progressed to an eighteen hole course which progressed to an exciting international tournament for the benefit of New Zealand… Now that’s what I call being progressive.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What's that you say?

No doubt about it, some of our farming Kiwi-ism’s sound ridiculous to an outsider, a mystery and an education. Most industries have their own language, but sheepdog language is a cut above the rest.
If a visitor to our country heard a sheep farmer telling his dog to ‘Get in behind’, they would surely block small children’s ears. ‘Get behind’, I can understand or ‘get in’ is fine if you want the animal to jump into the ute.
Then there’s ‘Come-by’ and ‘Away to me’ and that other South Island dog command, ‘Welago’; sounds like a breakfast cereal but no, it is a message for your multi-lingual, very intelligent collie to go left and surround a flock of woollies.
I became fully conversant with this very peculiar language during my sheep farming years.
Thankfully, I was born with a naturally loud whistle that was not dependent on my having to put two fingers into my mouth, to call my dog. Spare a thought for the shepherd who having just assisted birthing of one of his flock is forced to get his dog’s attention by the fingers in the mouth method.

I once owned a large huntaway called Sam; he was prone to disobedience which forced me into the fairly common ‘coarse command’ method (swearing profusely). Until I discovered it was not altogether his fault. On a routine trip to the vet, (the dog not me) I was informed by the veterinary surgeon that Sam was totally deaf. Whistling and bellowing had no effect upon the poor animal. From then on I resorted to wild gesticulating. Flailing my arms around in the middle of the paddock, pointing left or right, made me look like a traffic duty policeman with a bee down his shirt. If anyone had seen me they would have thought that I had gone completely bonkers. They would have been convinced that my dog was also barking mad because old deaf Sam spent most of his time walking backwards so he could see my hand signals. I resorted to a suggestion by a well meaning idiot, which was to give the dog a hearing aid. Sam was never the same after he peed on the battery and received a very nasty shock.
Talking of strange language and sayings, for sheer amusement you cannot go past some of the English cockney tradesmen. They have a talent for putting what they want to say into one word. In London the Rag and Bone man could be heard but probably not understood by outsiders.. ‘Ragbollbowe’ Which translates into ‘Rags, Bottles, Bones.’
Then there was the friendly fish guy in Dymchurch by-the-sea, his cry was completely indiscernible to any but those in the know, ‘Coclemusselwelk’, easy to follow in the written word but a foreign tongue to the ear.
One of the strangest mixes of words came over the loud speaker on Ashford Railway Station in Kent England. The next train stop after Ashford was the village of Wye after that came the picturesque village of Chilham then down the track to Chartham and finally to the City of Canterbury. The Station Master had a strong Kentish accent and believed in the economy of words; outsiders were always taken aback when they heard the destination announcement, ‘WHY KILL’EM and CART’EM to CANTERBURY!’

Monday, June 7, 2010

Grave business

I was amazed by a news report about a young sky diver who cheated death after both his parachutes failed. The fortunate fellow landed in a blackberry bush and miraculously escaped serious injury. Every terrifying minute of the fall was recorded on his ‘head cam’. Being a keen wordsmith I was intrigued by the five words the poor lad uttered just before he hit the ground. They reminded me of those immortal words that appeared in the Times obituary column on the death of John Le Mesurier (Dad’s Army). I quote ‘Today I conked out’. What a marvelous exit.
Many will recall the famous last words of Admiral Lord Nelson just before he ‘conked out’ on H.M.S Victory’s deck at the battle of Trafalgar. A cannon ball had smashed onto the deck a mere two feet from the Admiral,
‘Missed me Hardy’ exclaimed Nelson to his second in command. Deafened by the roar of battle, Hardy mistook ‘Missed me’ for ‘Kiss me’ and responded to the request with considerable fervor. The shock was too much for the Admiral’s, British stiff upper lip and the rest is history.
Dr James Dobson related the story of his dear mother’s demise. Apparently she wrote her own epitaph, the words can be seen on her grave stone in Louisiana. ‘I told you I was sick’.
Young parents should keep a record of the things their children say. Kids logic and comments can be hilarious. One of ours, at a very young age, picked up an empty envelope, peered inside and boldly stated that,
‘There is something not in it’. This statement has become our family catch phrase which, most will agree, is appropriate for my column.
Speaking of ‘out of the mouths of babes’ and continuing the theme of death and distraction, I must tell you a true story about a very unique burial service. Living adjacent to a cemetery sounds grave but to a certain young mother it was dead funny. This lady witnessed many internments, as did all the children in the district. The Minister’s words wafted over the neighbourhood so often that many of the local kids knew the burial service off by heart. Pottering in her garden, one day, the young lady was amused to see a drama unfold just a few yards from her back fence. Half a dozen children were gathered around a small mound of earth. The dear departed was a, ‘loved to death’, Barbie doll. (incidentally I have never heard of ‘dead Barbie’, conjures up a bonanza of ‘Barbie accessories’) The poor doll was lying in a shoe box, mourners had obviously studied the real thing and were playing their parts with much sobbing and reverence. The appointed, six year old Minister, could be heard reciting the committal word for word. The Mother was impressed with the performance from one so young and listened intently to catch the final prayer… ‘In the name of the Father and the Son, in the hole ’e goes’.
Meanwhile you are probably wondering about those immortal words uttered by our parachuting friend. What, I ask, would you or I say as we plummeted to earth at alarming speed. A prayer maybe, a meaningful statement that would guarantee your place in history. Recorded for the whole world, by our sky diving hero just before imminent death
‘Oh shit, I’m dead, bye!!’

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

inpenetrable packaging

Let me first introduce you to my Uncle Ernie, not a true uncle, just a friend uncle. He’s one of those family friends, you know the sort, too much of a friend for the kids to call Mister and of an age, where it would be disrespectful to call him just plain Ernie.
His neighbour called me on a cell phone, ‘It’s Ernie,’ she said, ‘E’s gone to the ‘ospital’.
The line was bad. What followed next, sounded like, ‘E ’s ’ad a fight with a tooth brush!’
I told her I would go and see him but first needed to know if his best friend was okay.
‘What about Mrs. Williams?’ I queried,
‘She’s right as rain’ came the reply, ‘But Ernie says she needs feeding’.
Mrs Williams, has been Uncle Ernie’s closest companion for many years. She is very obese and bereft of large clumps of ginger fur which she leaves behind every time she squeezes through the cat door.
He was sitting in a small room at A and E. The right side of his face was bandaged, his hand covered in thick gauze and apparently, although thankfully hidden from human eyes, a giant band aid covered his upper thigh, a mere two millimetres south of his particulars.
‘What happened?’, I sympathised, Uncle Ernie beckoned me to come closer, not because of any secret squirrel stuff, more due to his total embarrassment. I suppressed a smile.
He was going to lodge a complaint, was determined to make a stink. He would write to Fair Go, contact Paul Henry and send a text message to Helen Clark. I tactfully informed him that Ms Clark was no longer Prime minister. ‘I know that’, he muttered, ‘the U.N should be told’.
Uncle Ernie was in a bad way, of that there was no doubt. The culprit was something we have all encountered; ‘Impenetrable Packaging’.
He had purchased a new tooth brush. He could not get to it, it was hidden in an extra strength, moulded synthetic clamshell packet. Ernie attacked the seams with a pair of scissors. It seems the seams were double thick, super, child and adult proof, nuclear devastation resistant, reinforced plastic.
The tooth brush grinned at him. He put the package on a chopping board and stabbed it with the scissors. The handle broke. He grabbed the carving knife, the sharp one. Forgetting his old carpentry teacher’s advise, ‘Both hands behind the cutting edge’. … the blade rebounded off the package, into the floppy piece of skin between his thumb and index finger.
Thankfully the tooth brush, safe and sound inside its force field, was not splashed with blood. Uncle Ernie hurled the packet across the kitchen and watched, horrified as it bounced off the wall and connected with Mrs. Williams’ tail as she hurtled through the cat door. ‘Me…Ow!’ She exclaimed.
With his left hand wrapped in a tea towel, the determined man placed the package into the vice on his garage work bench and cranked the handle. He was now suffering from ’Wrap Rage’. He smashed the package end with a claw hammer. Thankfully the razor sharp piece of plastic, moving faster than the speed of light, narrowly missed his eye ball. Uncle Ernie’s face was now bleeding.
He wondered why they did not use plastic packaging as a heat shield around the space shuttle.
He grabbed the large pruning shears and sliced the packet in the wrong place. The contents spilled out, in two pieces. Wounded and bleeding the old chap conceded defeat by letting the open pruning shears slip from his hand straight into his left thigh.
Poor Uncle Ernie, his neighbour was right, he certainly did have a fight with a tooth brush and sad to say, he lost!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Listen to the whisper, don't wait for the brick.

‘Listen to the whisper, don’t wait for the brick’ …..
Have you ever had a feeling that something or someone was giving you a message, it was for your ears only and you sort of sensed it rather than heard it. Not necessarily something bad. It could have been as simple as a sudden change of mind.
When driving your car, you have suddenly slowed down for no particular reason. Then right around the next bend you are confronted by a large herd of cows, or there is a dog in the road. If you can recall a similar incident then you have definitely heard a whisper. You may believe that angels are talking to you, children may think they are hearing from an imaginary friend. Christians know the whisper as the promised helper, the Holy Spirit. You may simply call it intuition. One thing is undeniable, there is a whisper that prompts us to stop, look and listen. What we need to do is listen to the whisper, don’t wait for the brick. In other words if you miss the prompting you may regret it later. This whisper is not terrifying, it is a gentle nudge. It is not an audible voice but unless you get into the practice of listening for it you will be missing out on one of life’s wonderful resources.
We have all at some time or other said, ‘I heard that but I just did not listen’. Some people talk about a ‘gut feeling’, this is the whisper. Do apply for that job, do phone that friend, do get a check up.. etcetera… Let’s not bring in the word ‘premonition’ because this often means foreboding, it usually comes in the form of a dream or vision. What I am talking about a still small voice that guides the human spirit. It is a good, well meaning whisper. If you remember our Edgecumbe earthquake in ‘87 you will be aware that there was only one death. Sad as this was, the deceased actually died of a heart attack and not as a direct result of quake damage. A true story regarding that disaster has always stayed in my memory. A devout Christian phoned his Pastor on Saturday night to say that he would not be in Church on Sunday. He explained that he had been told (the whisper) there was going to be an earthquake and that he was to set aside a day of prayer, specifically to pray that there would be no loss of life. The quake struck on the afternoon of March 2nd. Seven minutes prior to the major shake something quite unusual happened. The district was hit by a substantial, pre-jolt. School children and factory employees evacuated to safety just before the main shock. Miraculously no one was killed. Just a coincidence, or had someone listened to the whisper. What I am talking about is a feeling in the heart, deep down in your very soul. You cannot explain it but it has caught your attention. Not really your conscience, that is more of a moral reminder or maybe a guilt trip. This whisper tells you to open the door slightly and if it opens wider, go on through.
A farmer will hear the whisper and in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason , get up and go check that his stock are all right. A mother will settle her infant into bed and then hear a whisper that says I had better check again.
However you recognize the whisper, know this, it is on your side. It is yours and yours alone. You can share the benefits of it but it is a blessing just for you. If you do not know what on earth I am talking about then you need to find a quiet place and just listen. Listen to the whisper don’t wait for the brick.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wonderful Sounds (South Island holiday)

Sometimes it is a mistake to revisit places that you once called home.
If you have moved on, ploughed fresh furrows you did so for very good reasons. If you lived life to the full in that place there are bound to be a few regrets when leaving and a twinge or two when you return. No regrets, is a good maxim for life but not a very honest one.
We left the Marlborough Sounds in the late seventies, now we were to return on a trip of nostalgia. Maureen booked a bach that would give us three days in a peaceful bay in the Queen Charlotte Sound. My decision to recall some of the ‘not so good’ memories would dispel any regrets and it was with this intention we boarded the Cook Strait ferry for passage to the South Island.
It is April 1976 and the day of our final departure from the Sounds. You know it’s going to be rough in the strait when the crew start fixing shutters over the forward windows. As the Aratika nosed anxiously out of the relative calm of Tory Channel the first huge wave hits. Half way across the Strait another monster smashes into the stern with such force, the steel vehicle doors twist. For our family, two toddlers and a baby it was the trip from hell. The sailing took twice the usual travelling time and then we were stuck on board for another three hours while engineers tried to release the damaged doors.
March 2010, We could not have asked for a better Cook Straight crossing. There was hardly a ripple on that sometimes notoriously rough piece of water. The Sounds followed suite, dead calm, the only waves being the surprisingly passive wake from our passenger ferry.
1976 Picton was nothing more than a sleepy hollow. Oxleys Hotel, the main watering hole offered traditional Kiwi fare. There were a couple of other non-descript restaurants and a chicken take-away. Water transport included a three-day-a-week mail-boat and, a couple of water taxis. Most vehicles coming off the ferry ignored the town and headed south to Blenheim and the Christchurch highway.
2010 Picton is an exciting gateway to the Sounds. The character facade of Oxleys has been cleverly and tastefully integrated into a modern three storey accommodation complex. The quality of boats and launches speaks of opulence with a touch of one-upmanship. Older timber hulled work horses of three decades ago have been replaced by luxurious sea-going thoroughbreds with flying bridges and state of the art twin four stroke outboards. Travellers now appreciate the uniqueness of the sounds and many launch companies vie for the tourist dollar.
A number of the tourist enterprises of our day, Furneaux Lodge, Portage and Curious Cove (which we owned), are still in business. We look back on mostly good, sometimes bad days. The winters were our quiet time, wonderful except for the frequent storms. The insurance company hated us. Most years meant a claim for damaged buildings and lost boats. I remember one blow being so strong a frail lady guest went into orbit.

Remembering the fickle Sounds weather, it was prudent to check the forecast. ‘Fine for a couple of days then strong Southerlies’. They say Wellington is windy; the Sounds will out-blow it anytime.
The first two days are sunny and very warm the water is like a mill pond. We have found the perfect bay with bush backdrop, sandy beach, peace and quiet, just cicadas for company (they start up at 8am). This is heaven; the regrets are nagging a bit. Maureen is boasting about catching two fish this morning. I’m on the deck ignoring her and watching a fast moving black cloud. The temperature drops dramatically, the cloud looks ominous. I move the boat off the beach while Maureen clears the deck and shuts doors and windows. Here it comes, a southerly blast across from Port Underwood over the Tory channel and straight into our Bay. Violent, angry waves with white horses force small boats to seek shelter. Huge willy-whirls rise like dust storms off the water. Wellington City cops the bulk of the storm but the Sounds get a good battering. For Maureen and me it brings back memories, but no regrets.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Overheard in the bedroom

The deep, guttural laugh was coming from the large patterned trunk at the base of the bed.
‘And what is so amusing’? questioned the Tallboy, who was standing on the wall opposite the window.
‘I got him again,’ chuckled the Box Ottoman, ‘last night when he came back from paying a little call, he left all the lights off, fumbled for the bedroom door, walked too close to the bottom of the bed and whamo !! I got him again’.
‘You certainly did’, said the Dressing table, not wanting to be left out of the conversation, ‘The last time I heard that kind of language was when he was demonstrating the John Clease silly walk to his kids……’
The drapes, who had just been hanging around, were drawn into the conversation, ‘Oh yes, I remember, I do remember, he did that high kick thing, swung round too fast and broke two toes on the……..’
‘Tell us’, interjected the Bedside cabinet,
‘I am telling you!!’
‘No,’ boomed the Tallboy, ‘he means it was the Tellus, he kicked the Tellus vacuum cleaner, it was right behind him, talk about bend it like Beckham, he fell on the floor in agony, the kids fell on the floor laughing and the Mistress had to drive him up to A and E.
‘Funnily enough,’ boasted the Ottoman, keen to get the story off his chest, ‘Funnily enough, I do believe the Mister broke his little toe last night, in fact,’ he continued, ‘the way he was hopping around on one foot he would have done justice to dancing with the stars’.
‘He probably saw stars’, reflected the Full length Mirror.
‘I could have helped’, a muffled comment from the Bed Cover,
‘How?’ they chorused,
‘I could have removed his hurt’.
‘What rubbish,’ retorted the Ottoman, ‘You are just a plain old Bed Cover’
‘That’s all you know, you…you… box of stuffed blankets’, Bed Cover, knew she‘d fluffed it and tried again, ‘You blanket box of …er stuff…’
The Drapes pulled themselves together and sided with the Bed Cover
‘There’s nothing plain about that cover’, they protested, ‘she matches us beautifully, we go together, everyone likes us, the pillows are always chatting about how alike we are….’
‘You’ve heard pillow talk’? mumbled the Tallboy, adjusting his drawers.
‘We certainly have and they say that Ottoman is as useless as those fancy coloured, round pouf thingies that the mistress insists on putting on top of them.
‘You’re a pouf’ said Ottoman,
‘Well’, interrupted the Dressing table, ‘I am afraid I have to agree with Drapes and Bedcover. My drawers are full to bursting, the Mistress is always trying to keep the Mister’s clothes tidy but he fires them into me, willy nilly, socks all miss matched, pullovers folded the wrong way, bits of paper, loose change and golf tees stuffed into my little top drawers. I tell you the poor lady is fighting a loosing battle’.
‘What’s your point?’, an indignant Ottoman.
‘My point is that you have all that inner space pathetically half loaded with a couple of old, never used blankets, you are more ornament than use and you are quite capable of taking your share of my overcrowded drawers…. And, as the Mister discovered, your feet stick out!!’
‘You are forgetting,’ said Ottoman, almost blowing his lid, ‘You are all forgetting, that I am beautiful’.
The whole bedroom was in an uproar, the dining table and chairs could hear the laughter from the other end of the house. The full length mirror got all misty, the Dressing table laughed so hard two of her knobs fell off and the books got shaken off the Bedside cabinet
It was Tallboy who managed to calm the situation.
‘Listen, you guys, it seems to me that this has got completely out of hand. It all started when Bedcover made a highly questionable statement, so we will give her an opportunity to explain herself and then perhaps we can settle back to normal.’ ‘Bedcover,’ Tallboys voice of authority, ‘Can you please furnish us with a plausible explanation as to how exactly you are able to take away the Mister’s hurt?’
‘I’m a counterpane’!!

Friday, April 16, 2010



I would rather be hit by a tram
Than eat a plate full of spam
Sickly, Putrid, Absolutely Mucky
Definitely not food, more like a sham
Awful, ghastly, completely yucky.
Don’t give it to Sadam
A weapon of mass destruction is spam.
With spam Hitler would have won the war
It tastes like wet cardboard and wool from a lamb
Once sampled you will never ask for more.
Strangely Pale Abstract Meat
That’s spam
To make it they use a very old ram
Mix in cold cabbage and dead elephant feet
Then force it at gun point into a can

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Queen under Locke and Key

The “Head of State Referenda Bill” has been introduced into Parliament by Keith Locke of the Green Party. Politics and the Monarchy may never be the same again….

I shall not make a pun out of Mr Locke and our Prime Minister, Mr Key.
Although I am sorely tempted to unlock a treasure chest of amusing anecdotes about doors, if I did you would probably think me more un-hinged than you first imagined. Any writer who resorts to making pathetic puns about names like Locke and Key is a absolute knob. Even if I was short of writing material and in a complete jamb, I would never handle myself in such a manner.

Having put every ones mind’s at rest regarding the blatant and most annoying use of puns I happily shut the gate on the subject … Oh sorry! quite inadvertently I have used the word ‘gate’ which probably has a lock and key and is therefore a pun…silly me.

You can call me a right royal dip-stick, which brings me back to the aforementioned Mr Locke who is probably not a dip-stick but appears determined to see the demise of our English Royals. He has tried to introduce a private members bill to Parliament, it is called ‘The Head of State Referenda Bill’ which is a bit of a mouth full. A shorter version was suggested but Mr Locke objected to calling it ‘The English Bill’ for obvious reasons. (Bill English is deputy leader for the opposition)
Mr Locke wants the dissolution of the Monarchy, Mr Key prefers to retain the status quo.
According to recent surveys, New Zealand is about 50/50 on the proposal.
Reminds me of an old Goon’s script, where Spike Milligan as ‘Bluebottle’ has decided to go into business with ‘Colonel Bloodnock’ (Peter Sellers). The conversation goes something like this…
‘We will share the profits, 50/50’.
‘No’ protests Bluebottle, ‘Half or nothing, you cheating swine’.

I digress; the question is, should we dismiss our British birthright in the form of the Royal Family when everyone is well aware that Prince Charles was very fond of the Goons. (Oh I’m in a silly mood today!)
Seriously folks, consider for a moment our English heritage. We speak the same language, we have the same type of parliament, English law is the basis and structure for our legal system, even our local council administrations are run on a well proven British model. Think of the ramifications. Not many people are aware that the word Republic spelt backwards, brings out the word ‘Cilbuper’; is that what we really want?
Get rid of the Monarchy and say goodbye to any more chances of our sports people coming fourth in Commonwealth Games events. Knighthoods would be stopped, The Governor General would lose his highly paid job.
The Queen is accepted and respected, she loves corgis and has visited New Zealand a couple of times. How many of us have sat mesmerised as she delivers her riveting Christmas Day speech? Or gasped as her husband, Prince Phillip, once again successfully inserts his size eleven Hush Puppies into his own mouth.
I am amazed that Mr Locke, a dyed in the wool Greeny, has been so eager to dismiss the first in line to the British throne. Was it not, Prince Charles who baffled his subjects by becoming a raving tree-hugger in the seventies. And the people laughed at him, pointed at his sticky out ears and ridiculed his tendency to greenness. Come on Mr Locke be happy that your Private Members Bill has disappeared. (I’d be happy if my power bill did the same) Take a look around, get with it, we live in an enlightened age, New Zealander’s have grown to accept Queens.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

'GOOD', Thanks

I thoroughly enjoy people watching. When my better half is invading ladies clothing stores, I like nothing better than to sit at a café table and absorb the diverse assortment of passing pedestrians. I am allowed to do this because as with most hunter gatherers a walk around ladies shoe shops and clothing stores sends me into a zombie like trance. As I shuffle from shop to shop the only sound I make is a sort of grunt of sympathy to the other walking dead. Not a pretty sight, hence the ever fascinating people watching.
This rewarding pastime is further enhanced by the gathering of conversation snippets, a kind of pedestrian eves dropping. I especially like the various forms of greeting. The traditional Australian and New Zealand, ‘Gooday, howya going’. followed by the stock Kiwi reply, ‘Good thanks’.
I have noticed that this word ‘good,’ seems to cover every contingency. ‘How are you?’…‘Good’. ‘How’s your wife?’…‘Good’. ‘How’s business?’ …‘Good’. The dictionary describes the meaning of the word as, commendable; proper; suitable; honest; just and adequate. ‘How’s your wife?’ ‘Adequate, thank you’. Doesn’t quite fit the bill, does it. I did a bit of research, suddenly this much used ‘good’ word made a lot of sense. The Greek word for ‘good’ is kalos which translates to mean, ‘in a good place’.
People watching in a Doctor’s waiting room can be a lot of fun. I went in for a warrant of fitness the other day and was quite intrigued by the human drama of it all.
For a start, have you noticed that, on arrival, most folk try to avoid eye contact. One usually has to report to the receptionist, she invariably asks in very hushed tones, ‘Who are you seeing?’, you whisper the name of your physician. No one is listening, all have eyes glued to a 1964 Time magazine or the very fine 1955 National Geographic full colour feature of the half naked Yubabuba tribal women washing their loin cloths by the banks of the Lesser Dunnapiddle.
Just as a refreshing sense of invisibility envelopes you, the said receptionist bellows at six decibels, ‘WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?’
‘Well it’s me… you know…er..’
You are now the centre of attraction, you could not have been more conspicuous had you leapt onto the counter and sung a chorus of ‘Knees Up Mother Brown‘.
On my recent visit I found a seat next to a gentleman who was wearing one of those neck brace things. A very pregnant (triplets at least) lady was on my right. Unable to unearth a magazine that was priced post decimal currency, I glanced up and to my horror, sitting just past the large one with child, was someone who’s name I should have known. Our eyes met across that crowded womb and the traditional, doctors waiting room, conversation began.
‘Oh… fancy seeing you here, how are you?’
‘Good thanks !!’ Mercifully the acquaintance had also misplaced my name. There it was, that ‘good’ word. He was definitely not ‘in a good place‘. What would happen, I wondered, if they put up another one of those information posters that adorn the walls of Doctors’ surgeries. You know the sort, ’Do not smack your children’ and ‘You may now smack your children’ and soon to be changed to, ‘Permission required from your children before smacking’. This new poster would read, ‘Patients must tell the truth.’ Imagine how exciting and entertaining the waiting room experience would become. The question, ‘How are you?’ would be followed by a wonderful organ recital. ’Oh it’s me kidney’.. ’My Liver’s playing up’.. ‘Bad lungs’.. ‘The old ticker won’t tock’. My organs are just fine, I muttered to myself as I entered my doctor’s rooms. His greeting was short and to the point. ‘I need to check yer prostate’.
‘I’d rather stand, if you don’t mind’.
‘Not prostrate', replies the Doctor, '…oh...never mind’, he seemed annoyed but questioned me again.
‘How’s your Flo?’. Silly old fool, he has forgotten my wife’s name is Mo not Flo.
‘Good thanks’.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Last Male Bastion

What has happened to chivalry? Bring it back, I say. Let gentlemen be gentlemen once more. Remember when it was the height of rudeness for gentlemen to remain seated, when a lady entered the room. Was it not considered chivalrous, when walking along the pavement, to make sure ones lady companion walked on the inside, the gentleman nearest the road. The reason being to save her from being splashed by a muddy puddle.
The problem is, most of today’s ladies hate being treated differently to men. Offer your seat to a woman on an overcrowded bus, she thinks that you have either gone balmy or there‘s a bomb scare. Are men, in restaurants, politely pulling the chair out for their female companion, and not sitting down until she is comfortably seated? I doubt it. Sadly we men are losing our knight in shining armour, image. We are no longer called upon to fix a tap washer, change a light bulb, empty the ash bucket. Males are fast becoming redundant.
I wonder if there are any sensitive, defenseless ladies left, who when confronted with a mouse, still stand on a chair and scream? Not on your Nellie. Today’s genteel member of the fairer sex is more likely to grab hold of her personalized (pink) AK47 and blast the living daylights out of the harmless rodent.
It is not going to happen. The world has moved on. Sir Walter is never again going to lay his cloak over the puddle for his queen. Maybe we can enjoy a little compromise here. Perhaps the ladies will allow us to open the car door for them, of course, they will be in the drivers seat but so what, it’s the thought that counts. No, I must think again, we have passed the point of no return. What next…. they will probably take over the blokes shed. Bad enough that some of them watch rugby, now they have their own teams. They drink beer straight out of the bottle. Heaven help us, there are now women boxers !!The world as we know it is doomed, doomed I say. Women are wearing pin striped business suits and successfully, doing the business. Actresses are now actors. There are women prime ministers, women vicars, women truck drivers, plumbers, mechanics, judges, surgeons, garbologists and 747 pilots. But wait, thankfully there are still some male bastions. Have you ever seen a woman, male nurse? No !! What about a woman King !! Ah ha!! (that’s no good, King Tut. became a mummy)
Have no fear, my male friends, there is a place where we can meet, a secret male domain and I am not talking about the rugby changing rooms. Hidden behind, what was once a ‘gentlemen’s only,’ outfitters (but now, inevitably, also boasts a female department) where once the male of the species could have their inside leg measurement taken without fear of being disturbed. Where a man could unobtrusively, purchase a pair of jockeys or long johns without being told by the wife that he should also purchase socks. Hidden behind this establishment at the Eastern end of the Strand (look for the red and white pole.) is a small room where gentlemen can sit, read the newspaper and happily leave every page in a hell of a mess, without fear of retribution. It is here that for a small fee, good honest Kiwi blokes can catch up with rugby scores, political intrigue, local gossip, plus hear and share the latest jokes.
I am not a raving misogynist, believe me, I love the ladies, one in particular, who is actually reading this, over my left shoulder. I do not want to split hairs, I wish to state the bald facts. Ladies, you are free to emulate any male occupation, go unopposed into every part of every New Zealand town. All we ask is that you avoid these secret rooms. Whenever you see a red and white pole, be reminded, certain parts of town are private. You have stripped us of most male strongholds, allow us to keep our private parts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dear Tom Jones

I am always telling my children and grandchildren to write thank you letters. After a weekend in Hawkes Bay last year I thought I had better practice what I preach .

Dear Tom Jones,
I am writing to thank you for your appearance at the Mission concert in Napier. I was tempted to suggest that yours was a brief appearance, given the arrival of at least six pairs of ladies knickers upon the stage during your performance. I did notice that a lady fan took the opportunity to dispatch one of her high heels in your direction. (Was it the face lift or were you genuinely surprised). Do not get too excited regarding this fresh demonstration of adoration, a hundred years ago audiences threw their hats, fifty years ago it was gloves and handkerchiefs, two decades ago it was panties and it appears that your stage career is now, sadly, reaching the point of no return…shoes. Of course it may well have been a case of misunderstanding. Let’s face it anybody wanting to rock to the sounds of a 68 year old may act young, even feel young but will be suffering some of those ageing woes such as hardness of hearing. ‘Try throwing your shoe’ was in fact her friend saying ‘I’m going for the loo’.
I need to put your mind at rest regarding the naming of your band. Although it is unwise to attempt to introduce anyone who’s name you do not know, especially before an audience of 27,000 people, we have all experienced that temporary loss of memory. Do not be concerned with your embarrassing faux pa. I am convinced that the trombonist, who’s name you did actually forget (in front of 27,000, or was it 28,000 people) will always be remembered for the simple reason that right there on the stage in front of …you know.. he was allowed to remind you what his name actually is, so good on you Tom for giving old whatsisname, the trombonist, his moment of fame.
I am wondering what you thought of the other acts, sometimes they can outshine the main event. I thought Annie Crummer and the group ‘The Cats Away’, were excellent. However when Jimmy Barnes came on, as the warm up singer, something told me that the cats had come back again and they were doing terrible things to my lug ‘oles. Still, old Jimmy is a grand old rocker and he did not have a hernia as he screeched out some great old hits. I thought I perceived a new instrument sound but realised it was the reverberation of creaking bones as baby boomers began shaking their booties and popping their corks. I will say, Jimmy really did warm us up and I was particularly impressed with the announcement at the end of his performance that Mr Barnes would be available for autographs. I was going to give him mine but by now we had cracked open our second bottle of Merlot and I was concerned that if I fell over in the vineyard none of my intoxicated friends would be mission me and I would finish up in next years vintage.
I must say, Tom, I was intrigued by your very attractive gray shirt that gradually turned a sort of dual gray and black during your performance, my wife loves that wet look. She almost passed out when you gave us a fleeting glimpse of your chest. Personally I could not comprehend what all the fuss was about until I read on the net that those chest hairs of yours are insured for $3.5million. (My grandkids are fascinated with my long hairy eyebrows, do you think State would consider a small policy, say around thirty quid).
Now Tom it’s not that I think you are passed it…oh.. No, no, no.. there is still a bit of that old spark in your performance but sadly you were not exactly ‘burning down the house.’ It pains me to say, you are no longer a ‘sex bomb.’ The bomb bit is still there but ‘why, why, why, Delilah,’ don’t you call it a day. You’ve made $170 plus million and ‘it’s not unusual’ to be loved by someone when you are worth that sort of coin. I admire your resilience and fortitude Tom but now is the time to retire to ‘the green green grass of home’. If you insist on continuing your career and trying to do that sexy walk thing….well Tom, without wanting to be unkind, to put it bluntly, Mary is not going to be there to greet you when you step down off the train.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

'The curse of the stolen hog bristles'

We have all heard of skeletons in the cupboard. Well prepare to discover all your ancestors heinous crimes courtesy of a web site instigated by the famous Old Bailey court house in London. Just punch in a name and be ready for a shock. I did just that and am completely mortified and ashamed to declare that on 10th June 1801 a certain Thomas Glasse was indicted for feloniously stealing, ‘three pounds weight of hogs bristles to the value of eight shillings.’ Now I am convinced that in this world things tend to catch up with you. It’s a case of an eye for an eye or in this instance a bristle for a bristle. When I considered the ramifications of such a dastardly crime, I came to the awful conclusion that the injured party, a certain, ’John Allen, brush maker’, could well have been of a mind, in his moment of distress, to lay a hex on future generations of the Glasse family.
Being a Glasse it was my job to see us through the dilemma.
I spent some time reflecting.
It is a bald fact that as men get older their hair has a habit of fleeing the cranium. This phenomenon is often counteracted by ever increasing, voluminous amounts of bristles sprouting forth upon the eyebrows. If you happened to be driving in our little New Zealand town of Whakatane last week you may have witnessed an attack upon a local officer of the law (who just happens to be my son in law) Apparently his eyebrows had become so bushy that his whole family wrestled him to the ground and well and truly plucked him like a chicken. Was he a victim of the curse of the hogs bristles? It got me thinking.
Has my brother Rotundo (named after my Italian Mother’s maiden name) fallen foul of something that happened over two hundred years ago?
Under the pretext of checking a suspicious looking mole just behind his left ear, I was staggered to see veritable bush reserves flowing from his auditory canal. Copious clumps of unruly ear fuz appeared to be multiplying faster than the mangroves in Ohiwa harbour. I realised that Rotundo was so concerned with the diminishing foliage on his head that he had not noticed the increasing hairiness elsewhere. The situation was desperate. I sent a coded message to the family, ‘We need to spend a day at the orifice, hair today, gone tomorrow’ The family took immediate action, purchased a weed whacker from the hardware store, ambushed the hairy one and proceeded to blaze a trail through the undergrowth. It was like venturing where men fear to tread, we discovered things that were missing, presumed dead. Rotty’s school cap, half a pair of sun glasses, a man with a stop/go sign, an ear wig and a sizable piece of Ruby Wax.
As we hacked our way toward my brother’s brain, for no apparent reason, our thoughts went to Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.
Imagine how delighted we were when both ears were completely free of bristly impediments and by shining a penlight into his, now naked lughole, we could illuminate the clock on the opposite wall. The battle was almost done but one further challenge presented itself. Nothing gets up peoples noses more than hairs. Many famous identities have had moderately hairy noses, Nostraldamus, Snozzal Durante, Goobychev to name a few. Rotundo, had enough wiggly spiders legs up there to furnish Ruud the bug man with a whole season of TV shows. They just had to go. With the immortal words, ‘Beam me up Snotty’ on our lips, we got to work. As each follicle was tweazered out tears fell from my brother’s eyes, visible proof that at last he can breathe easy, released from the curse of the stolen hogs bristles.