Thursday, December 29, 2011

Well I tried to do the video thing and made a complete blog of it. Who cares, never mind.

New Zealand Summer has been a disaster so far, except down south where they are getting temperatures in the thirties. Here in Whakatane, rain and more rain. It has not stopped us from doing the family thing at our Lake Cottage. Twenty three, ages ranging from six years to eighty six gathered for the annual celebration. The laughter and general hub bub had to be heard to believe. I must be getting a bit fossilised (at 66years), Maureen and I were happy to get home for a bit of peace.

The trout fishing was a dead loss until I found the secret to success. Having used every imaginable lure I was just about to give up but decided to put the rustiest, most worn out and colourless spoon lure onto my line. That did the trick, landed a beauty and have since smoked it and devoured it... delicious. I shall probably require a tetanus shot.

Anyway its still raining, Maureen has headed off to work at the local information office and left me instructions to vacuum the house, clean the windows and prepare for our Christchurch visitors who arrive tomorrow.

If anyone is out there, have a good one, let's hope the world settles down in 2012.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

farm sitting

Oh boy,
Friends have just arrived with a magnificent ham for our Christmas. John and Trich live on a riverside 20ha twenty minutes drive from us. We house sit their farm when they want to get away for a break. I volunteered for the task for two reasons, firstly theirs is a character home with old world charm and secondly because the Waimana river runs a mere fifty yards from their back door. Trout abound in that river, I have caught a few; its a lovely spot with secret deep pools where our grandkids can swim. I have to use the four wheel farm bike to take hay to the cattle at the end of a bush framed valley, its lots of fun and of course the kids love to blat around the home paddock pretending to be Evil Kineval. I have a video of them this space.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


He’s done it again. We hoped he might exercise a modicum of restraint this time but when I spied him precariously balanced on his roof, I said to my wife, ‘looks like he’s checking the Christmas lights.’

Our neighbour has once more demonstrated to the whole street, nay to the whole of our town, that Ex- pat. Canadians really know how to illuminate. Now do not misunderstand me, I am all for the traditional seasonal celebrations, however when it is reported that our neighbours massive array of coloured lights, wreaths, flashing Santa and nodding reindeers is numbered, along with China’s great wall as one of the only two earthly landmarks visible from outer space, one has to wonder at the sense of it.

Now you are thinking that I am a mean old scrooge, and what’s wrong with festooning ones abode from gutter to garden and all points in between with New Zealand’s answer to Las Vegas; the city that never sleeps. And you would be right except for the fact that as soon as the lights are turned on we become the neighbours who never sleep. You see this Canadian chap, arrived in New Zealand with all his Christmas illuminations fully prepared to brighten the Southern hemisphere. Unfortunately, he had been kept in the dark regarding the fact that Canadian power outage is not compatible with ours. There is no way he would be able to plug his 110volts into our 240v system. This was a shocking revelation to the gentleman but he re-fused to pull the plug on turning his home into a cross between the milky-way and the Christmas Coca cola advertisement.

‘A converter’ I hear you say, a gadget that will simply allow the Canadian system to up-grade into New Zealand system. Brilliant. ‘Watt? Says my neighbour, ‘I have a far better plan, one that will cost me next to nothing, will not drain the national grid and will allow me to run my lights from 9pm to 11pm every evening for the twelve days of Christmas.

His plan, unlike his lights, is not very bright. He has installed a generator, a noisy, drumming motor that thumps out its monotonous droning from his corrugated iron roofed garage, situated a mere seven paces from my deck. Gone are those special evenings of peaceful fellowship and quiet reflection that my wife and I so much enjoy. The reflection is certainly there from 9 to 11 but peaceful... no way.

To be fair, he’s not a bad neighbour and it is a time of good will and peace amongst men. So we have come up with a plan that will not only allow us to celebrate with a Christian attitude but will counteract the constant hum from his dreadful machine. We will put our speakers on our deck, and wind Susan Boyle up to the utmost decibels; that ought to do the trick...power to the people !

Monday, December 5, 2011

Uncle Boris will not get a Christmas card this year...

Sorry that I am repeating myself but I found one of my old Christmas blogs and thought it worth another shot...

To tell you the truth, we are re-thinking the whole jolly business!!

Christmas has crept up on us and as I put pen to paper, not a single card has been written, not a tree felled and not a cake baked. We have received some cards, I had no idea that the local bank liked us enough to wish us Seasons Greetings and a prosperous New Year. I am surprised they missed our anniversary and birthdays. You begin to realise that the whole world has gone completely balmy when you receive a, ‘Have a happy Christmas’ greeting, from someone who will actually be sharing Christmas day with you. The whole business has become stressful to the max. Do we send Great Uncle Boris one out of the budget pack or an expensive one with lovely words? Who actually reads the words? It crosses our minds that maybe we should follow our English friends’ example and support a worthwhile cause. Will anyone notice that we have spent a small fortune on a card supporting the ‘Outer Mongolia, dumb animals trust, for the preservation of three legged Yaks’, I doubt it.

Then there is the dreaded Christmas card entrapment. Although we have not actually seen this lovely couple since the eighties, for two decades Christmas cards have been religiously dispatched between New Zealand and the USA. Hallmark have made a fortune out of us.

I am now beginning to doubt that the couple in question are still with us. I am thinking that their annual festive card is now in the hands of a ghost writer. Over recent years their Christmas greetings have given a strong hint that we are not first on their ‘people to keep in touch with’ list.

They actually missed us out in 2004, although we sent them a very expensive card which had a lot of glittery stuff and played jingle bells when opened. We wiped them out in 2005 but were surprised to receive one from them, a very small card in a used envelope, we think it was the same envelope that had contained the jingle bells card. They did write a Christmas message, something about their Afghan hound dieing after attacking and eating our musical card. Apparently the poor animal was allergic to the glittery stuff and succumbed to a fatal attack of tinsel-itus. They signed their names as Mr. and Mrs. which seemed quite formal. Of course we sent them one in 2006 because they remembered us the year before. We removed them from the list in 2007 but were horrified when we got one from them. It arrived too late for us to reciprocate prior to Christmas. I remember we opened the card together and you know those times when a husband and wife say the same word at the same time… well, ‘bastards’!! was probably a bit strong. Anyway, just to pee them off we sent them an Easter card. That seems to have done the trick, a shame to lose touch with such good friends….

I am a bit concerned about the Santa Claus business. Having told our Grandchildren not to talk to strangers, I have a twinge of concern when forcing them to sit on the lap of a strange, big fat , bearded, red person. Something is telling me Oh Oh Oh . I did hear about a small child who went into Farmers mega store and was asked by Santa what he wanted for Christmas, he told him. The very same day the child met Santa in The Warehouse store; same question, same answer. That evening the child and his mum happened to be at a Christmas party. Once again Santa asked the child what he wanted for Christmas. The child was growing weary of all this and spoke to Santa in a loud voice,

‘I’ve told you what I want three times, why don’t you write it down’. It’s true, there are so many Santa’s about there is a real danger of kids becoming Claus-trophobic.

(A special blessing to Cro and his Cronies who writes an amazing blog about the wonders of nature, the beauty and happenings in his little French corner of the World. Happy Christmas my old school chum. I was reminiscing and recall that when we were at The Abbey School as small people in short trousers we (along with Michael Coles) established ourselves as a disruptive mischeveous little band who called themselves 'The Imps'. May we still be a little naughty, laugh 'till we cry and thank God for the whole jolly business of life.

God bless you and your family as you celebrate the birth of Jesus, the greatest gift of all.