Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Gas Grumbles

I have been so busy tweeting, Facebooking, watching videos on Youtube and whatnot that I am forgetting about my poor old blog! All this social media stuff is quite time consuming. It does allow you let off steam though. I posted to Facebook immediately over a very annoying incident when Steve tried to take a taxi to get our empty cook top gas bottle filled. The driver refused on the grounds of ‘dangerous goods’! Fortunately he found one that would take him and the bottle. Gas bottles are heavy when full and the filling station is some distance away. So much for carbon footprint – It’s just another way to discriminate against those of us without cars.


Filed under Disability Issues, Media, Miscellaneous

Time out down south and across the Tasman

I have been a bit slack about my blog lately, partly because I have been away without access to email. A lot seems to have happened in the last few weeks. My time been particularly taken up with family.

Towards the end of September I spent time with my mother, returning to my rural roots in Canterbury. I took the guided tour around my brother’s new state-of-the-art dairy operation on land that would be as dry as a bone were it not for irrigation. It seemed so strange that I had to pinch myself to make sure this was really true and not a cold-induced hallucination. I wondered what our father would think. Growing up in a traditional Canterbury sheep and cropping farming family we had always scorned “cow cockies” But although Dad was deeply conservative when it came to the behaviour and dress standards of teenage daughters he was never closed-minded about new farming developments. I suspect he would approve.

On Sunday Mum and I went to church. But instead of attending the beautiful neo-gothic St Johns we drove to Lake Coleridge under the lee of Mt Hutt, (Maunga Whare) on a lowering gray day with snow on the tops. The service was a homely spring festival, belied by the temperatures which were distinctly mid winter. A small group of people in a semi-circle around a comfortably crackling fragrant wood fire in the little community hall sang hymns and said prayers which had been refreshingly rewritten for the rural congregation. So instead of “We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land” we sang, “We plough the fields with tractors, with drills we sow the land.” It was a delightfully informal service, with one reader being moved to pause and mutter darkly “we could do without them,” to a reference to possums.

The warmth of the service continued in a hospitable high country home nearby where I found myself discussing the inappropriateness of young disabled people living in rest homes and the finer points of web design over a substantial morning tea in an environment where the views from the windows were equaled by the artwork on the walls and a pleasing modern interior of a house that blended satisfyingly into the landscape.

From Canterbury it was a flying visit home to fling the merino out of my bag and substitute some light weight cotton and head off to Brisbane to join other family members for a short holiday. It was below ten degrees in rural Canterbury and hitting thirty in Brisbane! There was relaxing, shopping, swims in the apartment pool, some river trips and of course good eating and drinking, and catching up with a friend.

And then back to the coal face, with two days of workshops and meeting, and a good old freezing Wellington southerly. Just as well I am a tough southern woman!

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Travel

Montana poetry day

Today in Montana Poetry Day so I thought I would join in the fun with a little offering of my own. I dedicate it to New Zealand Post – we received a second copy of their wretched survey the other day.

A curse on all spammers

(This can be sung to the tune of ‘A Policeman’s Lot is not a Happy One, with sincere apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan)

When your inbox is full up with stupid spam
Stupid spam
And your modem has got treacle in its guts
In its guts
When your favourite website’s gone down yet again
Yet again
You think that finally you will go nuts
Will go nuts

It is then your thoughts turn to cursing spammers
Cursing spammers
You curse each and every spammer in the world
In the world
You imagine whacking fingers with hot hammers
With hot hammers
And picture heights from which they should be hurled
Should be hurled

You imagine anatomic amputations
You wish horrible diseases on their heads
On their heads
You hope they are attached by evil monsters
Evil monsters
And that there are live piranhas in their beds
In their beds

You wish them lethal currents down their wires
Down their wires
(But let the fatal moment not be quick)
Not be quick
You hope for something hot and sharp and pointed
Sharp and pointed
Up their fundamental orifices stick
‘fices stick

Perhaps the worst thing that can be wished upon them
Wished upon them
Is a diet of their own annoying stuff
Annoying stuff
Their computers spewing never ending spam
Ending spam
Despite despairing cries of that’s enough!
That’s enough!

So spammers electronic also postal
Also postal
I have got you in my never failing sights
Failing sights
Just remember that I’m really out to get you
Out to get you
And my curse will get you one of these dark nights
These dark nights

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From Waitangi to Wanaka

I have been revelling in having more family around me than I have had for a long time. Both daughters were at home and we have family for the UK here as well. It has been full on socialising with good food and wine, and a bit of work squashed in around the edges.

Enjoying my family and holidaying with them have been responsible for the lack of posts over the last few weeks. We travelled around the North and South Islands mostly by car which was very cool for someone who doesn’t drive.

We stayed at motels ancient and modern and visited places as diverse as the Bay of Islands where the weather was warm and the sun shone, and Lake Wanaka where it rained, and many places in between.

We introduced our English rellies to tuataras and the summer pleasures of birds and bush at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary and the culinary delight of Bluff oysters. Yum! Visitors are always a good excuse to sample great kiwi kai and wine! I will really have to start swimming again!

We tried the paddle steamer on the Wanganui or is it Whanganui river. The Waimarie is pleasantly slow and rather smutty – I mean coal smuts not the other kind. It was interesting to learn something about the history of the river, but I suspect it was sanitised.

Visiting the Govett Brewster gallery in New Plymouth was noisy and rather challenging with some very modern art – not quite sure about the continuous rounding up of the same mob of sheep, but I really like Len Lye’s work and look forward to visiting the planned Len Lye Centre one day. (The web site is hideous I have to say though.)

At the kiwi house at Otorohanga and I got closer to a large speckled kiwi than I have ever been to any kiwi! Another horrible web site.

We dove straight through Auckland (for once) and headed north to the Bay of Islands, stopping to see the huge graceful swamp Kauri carvings just outside Wellsford. The best bit for me though, was the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi. I understand that 80% of visitors are from overseas, yet there is so much of our own history there that I was very surprised by that figure. It is really worth a visit, and should be a ‘must do’ for all kiwis.

After all that, I took a flight to Christchurch with a change to some southern scenery. Omarama was our destination, with a call at Geraldine and Lake Tekapo on the way. The McKenzie County is just as breathtaking as I remember it, even with very little snow on the tops. Trees were beginning to turn; we ate salmon from the local salmon farm, watched our host and hostess water ski from their boat in late afternoon sunshine and spent an evening soaking steamily under the stars in a hot tub with scented wood smoke drifting lazily from the heating chimney. (They said they have an accessible tub and they are keen to attract older and disabled customers so check it out southerners.)

All good things must come to an end. Our UK rellies have gone home and our globe trotting daughter has set off on the next instalment of her OE, while the other one is immersed in work to save up for hers. Sadly I have no excuse now not to be working.

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