Thursday, December 26

barricades and barbecues

I've survived another night in NZ, staying with the trusting outlaws, who happily leave their doors and windows open all night. I've had to barricade my bedroom door. 

It's Xmas morning, and New Zealand's main worry is whether the rain will spoil barbecue plans. I agree with them - at least if everyone's out in the garden, you can get peace to watch the TV. 

I read a quote: Christmas is that special time when the whole family gathers in one place to look at their smartphones. 

In this country there seems to be a church on every second corner. Most of them are tiny, and look like ordinary houses. You learn to tell them apart by looking at the apex of the roof - a TV aerial means a house, but a cross means a church.

Friday, December 20

wet wet wet

It had been raining for weeks, and blocked gutters were sending waterfalls off the roof and under the house. I copped a Scottish-style drenching while up a steel ladder in a thunderstorm, using my hands to scoop out years of moss, leaves, and mud. And even some tiny bonsai trees, naturally-stunted

Meanwhile, someone I live with had offered kindly to sit reading near a window, in case I fell off and injured myself. But she was so immersed in her book, I wondered if she would even notice if there was an emergency. At one point I leaned down from the ladder and banged repeatedly on the window for her to come out and help. No response. Apparently she "didn't realise" I wanted help. Probably she thought I was just saying hello, or practicing drumming. It's an easy mistake to make.

Monday, December 16


The summer holidays have begun, a time of free simple pleasures. (Muddah faddah kindly disregard the last post). The beans are popping up.

Those are snake beans, but there's also soy, borlotti, and this monster, an Egyptian hyacinth bean, which is edible when young but poisonous when mature.

The silver beet is looking juicy. Probably the slugs, birds and possums will agree.

Yesterday I finished the book about the history of the periodic table. Fascinating, even if some sections brought back school memories of incomprehensible chemistry classes. 

As reward for finishing that, I'm now immersed in this Irvine Welsh, before the film comes out here. One druggy summer in Edinburgh, working as a dish washer I rubbed shoulders with ruffians (and the drug squad).

Saturday, December 14

first world disasters

I'm not one to complain.

Losing your job is a major life event. But so is not losing your job, when you've had your heart set on being sacked (with a handshake).

Then I lost a dear friend and confidant, my smartphone. Diary gone! Umpteen passwords to change and loopholes to close. Trying not to think of the embarrassing and compromising material now out there in the public domain.

On the way home last night I went shopping to buy myself something nice, as consolation. Then I realised there's nothing I want. Nothing! You'd think that's a sign that life's perfect, wouldn't you?

Sunday, December 8

3 captains, or 4 if you count the cricket guy.

I had an email from Rodders.

On 8 Dec 2013, at 10:33, Rodders wrote:

Must admit that it confuses me that, the creekit about to happen, you
are concentrating on sleeping.  Surely, you should be doing Our Prayer
for Cap'n Cook and the boys?

Coincidentally, last week I spent a day walking from the spot where Captain James Cook landed, later passing the place where former class captain Albert first lived after he landed, to end up at the shack where Cap'n Kev now lives (he came ashore and sold the boat).