Monday, October 7, 2013

Yummy Scallops..mmm!

We went with friends to the Scallop festival in Whitianga; a charming seaside town in the Coromandal District.

Had a great time...5000 people, lots of wine, scallops of course and all manner of yummy sea food.
There were a number of bands, both jazz and rock.

They ran a competition for the best 'Scallop ode' although I missed entering, I gave it a go and got printed in the local rag.

The Mammoth Mollusc. By John Glasse.

I went for a dive with my fisherman mate,
We planned for 5 but left at 8,
We soon found our spot in Mercury Bay;
A special place where the scallops lay.

My friend said c’mon let’s make haste
As he strapped lead weights upon my waist.
As down we dived for scallop gold
The strangest sight we did behold.

A scallop we spied half hidden by weed
A mammoth mollusc we both agreed.
‘It’s huge, it’s enormous,’ gasped my mate
Twice as big as a dinner plate.

We both tried to lift it but had no effect,
So my mate said to me, ‘hang on just a sec,’
He was up to his boat then back down again,
Clasped in his hands a large anchor chain.

With the chain tied round that invertebrate,
The boat engine grumbled and so did my mate
For that clam stayed put, nothing would budge it,
So I said damn and me mate said fudge it.

We tried one last time by using a shackle,
Then hooked the chain to the boat’s block an’ tackle,
Calamity ensued as pulley and cable,
Started to bend and appeared most unstable.

‘That’s it’ cried my friend I will not be beaten,
This super sized scallop is going to be eaten
He bashed that old mollusc with a two by four
While I grabbed a spanner and bashed it some more.

The only thing hurting was our fisherman’s pride
Then the shell began opening; we both peered inside.
Hard to believe but I can’t tell a lie
There sat a crab with a beer and a pie,

‘Good morning,’ he said, with a wave of his claw,
‘All of that banging has made my head sore’
His pincers pinched me and I began screaming,
Then I heard my mate’s voice, ‘Wake up, you’ve been dreaming.’

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

'weigh to go'



Matt Glasse (35) and his sister Sarah Crawford (43) grew up on farms in Hawkes Bay and the Bay of Plenty. “We rushed about playing with our two sisters, helping Dad and doing the things farm kids do. ”say’s Matt “It was a healthy lifestyle; we were just average size kids.”

Sarah remained slim into her teens and early adulthood, whereas Matt remembers sitting in assembly at high school, thinking...“my thighs are twice as wide as the other guys.” By the time he left school and entered the work force he was 6’ 4” and affectionately known as ‘Big Matt’.

Self conscious, Matt confesses to eating too much and avoiding exercise. “I hid my body beneath bulky jackets even in summer. I ate everything in moderation, McDonalds, KFC and Burger King. I considered Pizza Hut ‘All you can eat for $10.50’ a worthy challenge.” he jokes.

In 2006, married, living in Rotorua and about to become a Dad, Matt, weighed in at an alarming 163kg. “I suddenly realised if I ran around with my first child I would probably suffer a heart attack.” Something had to change.

Failing to be impressed by costly dieting options, his GP provided the answer. “The doctor prescribed four words, ‘Energy in, energy out’.” Matt explains “It was very simple; I had to either change my diet to take in less energy, or exercise to burn the energy off.” He decided to concentrate on the ‘energy out’ option, as well as some dietary adjustments.

Matt began by walking around the block, widening the circuit a little each time. Following some months with this regime he began to jog then run. When he moved with his wife and two girls to Whakatane in 2008 he was running up to 10k, 3 times a week.

Meanwhile Sarah, living in Ngongotaha with husband Andrew and three children weighed in at a life threatening 175kg. “The weight had just loaded on bit by bit, year after year.” Sarah confesses, “I felt like life was passing me by, I was deeply ashamed and I covered my lack of self love by being the quintessential fat jolly person.”

Sarah got what she calls ‘My 41 year old shocking reality check’. She tearfully admits, “One day I just didn’t recognise the person in the mirror, I got so angry with myself for letting this happen.”

Despite her busy life as wife and mum, Sarah began walking daily in the Rotorua Redwoods. “I found it very hard at first but after a while began to enjoy the exercise, now my daily walk is amazing.” She adds, “I drastically changed my diet, watching what I ate and how much.”

Encouragement from friends and family and her strong faith were invaluable. “People could see a change in me and their positive comments washed away the old negatives.”

Brother and sister began their journey with a combined weight of 338kg. Today they joke “We have each lost the equivalent of twice the weight of our 89 year old Nana.

Matt has lost 53kg; he feels good at just over 100kg but believes he should still lose a further 10kg. Sarah lost over 80kg, she hit a plateau a few months ago at 95kg but her weight is slowly dropping again. She also would like to lose another 10 to 15kg. They have literally walked the talk.

Now Matt enjoys energetic, fun times with his two daughters. He has competed twice in Whakatane’s Toi Challenge race and is planning to take on a marathon.

Sarah says “Until you have your own ‘light bulb moment’ and realise that this is not merely a diet, or an exercise regime, it is a forever lifestyle change...nobody will convince you to stick with it.”

When Matt completed the gruelling 18k Toi and Sarah finished well up in the placings at this year’s Rotorua quarter marathon, their family were there to cheer them over the finishing lines. An amazing achievement and one that personally makes me so proud...

I was there, I’m their Dad.

Matt’s says:

1. Don’t do it for other people, do it for you.

2. My motto is ‘add an hour’. Get up one hour earlier and walk.

3. Make a graph of your weight loss.

4. Motivate yourself ‘get up, get motivated and get moving’.

5. Don't make excuses NOT to do it, have reasons to do it.

Sarah’s says:

1. You do not need special equipment or a personal coach,

2. Scout out your local walking tracks, explore them, enjoy them.

3. Get out and exercise every day.

4. Make wise eating choices and use restraint.

5. When you hit a plateau. Push through.

I'm back!!

Well I have to say, I have been somewhat short of inspiration. Must bite the bullet and just write.
I was intrigued by Cro's recent blog featuing a UFO. Reminds me of the time, in the late 70's that Sky Lab was predicted to fall from space and land somewhere in NZ. It actually crashed into the wilds of Australia but I will never forget opening our bedroom curtains on that fateful day.
We had just put down a new lawn and were proud of the fact that fresh green grass was begining to emerge.
Peering through the window I gasped at the sight before me. There was Sky Lab in all its glory. The bottom  of an old washing machine,SKY LAB USA, painted boldly on its side, he whole contraption half buried in my beatiful sward. Topped by an anscient TV arial and USA flag.  A great practical joke by a crazy friend of ours.

I was thinking UFO's and came across an old photo of our daughter and grandkids, that you may find interesting. Have a close look at the gun barrel, if that's not a face in there...

Monday, September 9, 2013

 Greetings from NZ. Land of milk powder (we are not talking about it) and honey ( even our bees are feeling poorly)

Well we are not perfect... not even 100% pure.
But we can play rugby and our sailors are doing ok in the America's cup.

As for me and my darling... we are thriving on life at the Lake. M busy painting, me still catching bigger and bigger rainbow trout.

In other words, in case you were wondering, we are still very much alive and kicking. Spa pool, Merlot and Grandkids keeping us young.
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Monday, April 8, 2013

I am amazed at how many satellites you can see. Relaxing in our open air spa the other night we counted ten. Of course there are hundreds maybe thousands zapping here there and everywhere. Granddaughter Ashlie called them 'Happy lights' because she did not want them to be sadder lights.
We often catch sight of shooting stars, some are spectacular but if you blink you miss them.

Now I have written this I can hear my friends saying...'For goodness sakes, get a life'. Oh well, retirement has its quieter moments and I have to is pretty darn good. (We also play a lot of scrabble...sorry!)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Proof that men do not look you in the eye!

Every job has its funny experiences and thank goodness for it.  Laughter is good, like a medicine and looking back on my almost three decades of property auctions I can honestly say I have often been medicated with mirth.

No doubt in my mind that the most amusing incident of recent years was when a lady bid for the wrong house. The auction took place in rooms at the real estate office.
I was auctioning a house in a none too beautiful district. Sadly the property was being put up as a bank forced sale. The reserve price laid down by the bank (but not disclosed to the potential purchasers) was very realistic and although the house was in an undesirable location and badly in need of TLC, much interest was generated.
The auction got under way with three buyers keenly bidding. One lady had arrived late and missed out on hearing the reading of the conditions of sale. However the real estate salesperson knew the woman and assured me that she had been into the office a few days prior and had received a copy of the conditions.
One bidder dropped out and I was left with two ladies, the late comer and a younger woman. The late comer out-bid the younger and I bought the hammer down with a flourish...sold.
I thanked the people for their attendance, wished them all the best for the coming week-end and heard the agent (Russell) congratulate the successful bidder, adding that he was sure she would be very happy in her new property at Awefultown.
I heard the scream!! could not think for the life of me what the matter was, then heard the distraught buyer say...'Oh God! my husband will kill me.'
Turns out the property she wanted was to be auctioned by me on the following week, she got all befumbled and bid on the wrong day for the wrong house.
Rules are rules and mistake or not, the poor lady would have to buy the house. Unless we could track down the under-bidder, the younger lady.
Now here's the thing. Normally an agent will be aware of the names of all the bidders. This time the agent failed. At first, this did not appear to be a problem because  Russell explained that he had been able to get a good look at the lady and could identify her, only problem being that he had not been looking at her face. Apparently the lady was well endowed and that was all the agent had focused on.
Out into the street he went, (not a big town) to find a lady whose mammary measured up to his memory.

Yes he found the lady!  She bought the property for five thousand dollars less than the auction price, and, thanks to a very sympathetic bank, the bidder was able to face her husband. 
MEN !!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Home owners liberated from financial death grip

  Most people have come to realise that the word ‘mortgage’ literally means ‘death grip’.  What a lot of folk do not know is that a home mortgage scheme, instigated and introduced  back in 1989 has set over 270 NZ home owners free from this financial strangle hold.
Over three decades ago two of our local churches namely Whakatane Christian Fellowship (Liberty Centre) and the Whakatane Baptist Church saw the potential to help people toward home ownership without the burden of having to find crippling mortgage interest payments throughout their adult lives.
Most of us spend our working lives, and beyond, paying off a bank mortgage and when we finally get free we watch our children commence the same cycle.
These church groups asked, ‘What if there was a way to circumnavigate this financial treadmill.  What if there was a way to release borrowers from having to pay interest when you lend them money?’ 
 They did the sums and through prayer, perseverance and determination found the formula for success.  Since then a growing number of potential home owners have discovered that such a system (named Liberty Trust) is open to every New Zealander no matter their belief, creed or race?       

No, it is not a scam or some magical formula.  It certainly contradicts the norm and when you grasp the potential and ongoing benefits for generations of families you have to admit the whole idea is simply brilliant.

Back in those early days a survey was conducted among church members.  Through this, it was discovered that the average mortgage amounted to $35,000 and together the surveyed group owed $2million.  Collectively they would be paying a further $7million in mortgage interest over the remaining life of their mortgage (yes, interest payments were exorbitant back then).  The challenge was to implement a fool-proof system which had the ability to turn such massive interest payments into a benefit for borrowers and their families. 

In a nut shell this is how Liberty Trust worked; each family (or individual) contributed at least $20 per week into the trust fund.  As soon as there was enough money in the kitty the first family (by ballot) would re-finance with an interest free mortgage. That family would then re-pay their mortgage (interest free) to the fund until their loan was re-paid.  They were still paying the same monthly payments as they would have on their previous bank loan, but now both the interest and principal were paying off the loan.  This meant the borrower was able to repay their mortgage many years earlier and thus save a fortune.

At the start of the scheme The Liberty Trust attracted 100 applicants and was administered by 5 volunteer Trustees.  The figures showed that the last contributor would receive their interest free loan after twelve years.  Sceptics said such a system would not work, they were wrong, it worked back in the eighties and with care and fine-tuning is still relevant and very much alive today.  Along the way changes have been necessary; the ballot system for acceptance of loans has been circumvented and is now replaced by a fairer ‘first come, first served’ basis.  Participants are now able to choose how much they will donate.  
The Bible calls interest payments 'usery' If you talk to the people of Liberty Trust they will tell you that they are no longer caught in a crippeling 'death grip' (mortgage) situation. God’s word is truth and the proof is not only in the $20million that has been lent and re-lent to families all over New Zealand but also in the testimonials of people released from a financial death grip.  Samantha (our daughter) and her husband Greg took up the challenge. They will soon be completely mortgage free and able to plan for their children's higher education. For this family, Liberty Trust has proved a blessing indeed.                                   


Monday, March 25, 2013

Where has it all gone?

I am so proud of our kids. Of course, they are no longer kids, in fact the four of them have given us a virtual army of grandies.
Sarah, our eldest has managed to shed an amazing 70 plus kilos. She has done this through sheer hard work, walking long distances every day and watching her diet; not touching one of those many weird diet fads that cost you the earth and get you back to where you started.

I watched her finish a quarter marathon last week. Amazing effort she looked fantastic and came in well up in the field. Yes she used to be a big girl but now has not only changed her looks, lifestyle and outlook on life...through her facebook site (sarahandandrewcrawfoski) and a weight loss blogg (weighout), Sarah is helping many ladies with the same problem.

Our son, Matthew was also a big boy. Tall (well over six foot) but very over weight. That was five years ago. You should see him now! Matt shed 53kilo by the same method...just walking, and he has kept the weight off.
We will not talk about the parents!!! who have now become the larger members of the family. Yes, we must do more walking.

What I did wonder was... When folk go to the gym and say they have lost a couple of pounds or a kilo or three, WHERE DID ALL THAT FAT GO?
Is it hovering around in the ether, lying somewhere in big splodgy lumps or is someone employed to gather up the stuff. Is there a 'waste' management department a greenie who swipes every fallen kilo of overweightedness and turns it into bio fuel.
Oh well, something to think about.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Well swipe my little pink booties... I have been trying to get back on to my blog for the last two months. I have found the secret passage at last. In the words of the old 'Famous Five' tv programme (a send up of Enid Blighton's well known kids stories)
'Look!! Timmy has sniffed out a secret door, perhaps if we pull this overhanging branch three times it will open... stop it Timmy' said Julian... 'stop doing that to my leg...'
 'Come on George', said Dick,
'No sha'nt' grumbled George, 'Anne and I are going to see Aunt Fannie, she has promised us lashings of ginger beer...'

Anyway, this has nothing at all to do with my desire to once again begin blogging. Sadly the only person reading my blog has gone on holiday and I an sure that having found my scribblings covered in cobwebs he has given up in disgust.

New Zealand is currently draught distressed. All provinces now declared a drought zone and most councils have instigated water rations. Poor old farmers are suffering but the tourists are having a hiho time... best summer for many years.
We are now living midway betwixt Rotorua and our old stomping ground, Whakatane. Lake Rotoma, which is known as the gin lake (nothing to do with mothers ruin) due to its pristine water is looking wonderful. The summer revelers with their wretched surf skis, thumping music and shrieking kids on their bouncy water biscuits, have all but disappeared. This fact has raised the timid rainbow trout from the deep and onto my Tasmanian Devil lure.  Caught a 57cm beauty yesterday, smoked it with a bit of salt and brown sugar... Deee liciousss.

Tomorrow is roading day. We have a long drive to our elevated house site. It is so rough by the time I get from the house to the main road I have to put my teeth back into my mouth. My wife, who is fed up with the bouncing, has become so damaged by it all that she failed her warrant of fitness and will need a rebore.
So we will be raking and spreading shingle, grading it with Andrew's (son -in-law) digger and mixing dry cement in with the top few centimeters. We tried this system once before and as long as you put plenty of water onto the drive having compressed it thoroughly, you end up with a very firm surface.

That's about it for now but for anyone who is interested (is there anyone out there?) I have written a historical/fiction novel. Set in England in the Mid sixteen hundreds. I will put a couple of chapters onto the blog 'home page'.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

well well I'm back again. Not fallen off my perch as sugested by a certain Frenchman (adopted)

maureen and I have moved yet again. This time ( I believe it is move number 31) we reside in a small cottage over looking glorious Lake Rotoma in the Bay of Plenty district of North Island New Zealand.

M having reached the signifficant age is now drawing a well earned pension and God bless her for that!!

Our days are spent fishing for trout, landscape painting, golf at the local course and playing scrabble. The latter of which leaves me as the dumb loser nine times out of ten.

The spa pool (hot tub ) is up and running and following our nightly ritual of lying in the altogether staring at the night sky, we have noticed a sudden lack of bird and insect life and often hear the odd possum or wallaby screaming in fright at the sight of our nakedness.

Life is pretty grand, although we wonder how we had time to work. Our days are full to overflowing and best of all we live a mere 35 minutes drive from our children and numerous grandies.

hope all is well with whoever reads this, catch you next time.