Thursday, November 28, 2013

Weta Workshop, Richard Taylor

Hi there

Here's a story I have told before but there is now a little add-on to it.

A couple of years' ago, I was walking around Miramar, Wellington, and approaching Weta Workshop,  From a distance I saw someone hard at work cleaning the gutter, complete with spade and wheelibin.

"Poor guy," I thought, "The Wellington City Council have got him working on a Sunday."

I got closer and I saw that there was a 'Weta' sticker on the bin.

"Poor guy," I thought.  "Weta have got him working on a Sunday."

I got closer and saw that ... it was Richard Taylor!  The Richard Taylor.  Yep, nice guy Richard Taylor, everyone-adores-him Richard Taylor.  Boss of Weta Workshop Richard Tayor, the bloke who along with Peter Jackson, Jamie Selkirk, and Tania Rodger, had the guiding hands behind the"Lord of the Rings" movies.

And he was cleaning the gutter?

He told me that Sundays was the only day he could get at the gutter because cars were parked there all the other times.

The add-on bit I was telling you about is ...  My friend, AJ, is a teacher.  In class one day a teen boy had dropped some litter on the ground and didn't bother to pick it up.  AJ trotted out my Richard Taylor/wheelie bin story ending up with, " even Richard Taylor isn't above picking up rubbish."

The suitably-chastised kid picked up his litter.

I took this photo on the day Prince Charles visited Weta Workshop.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A day at Hataitai Beach

Hi there
It was a sunny, warm, blue-skies time at Hataitai Beach last weekend.  Many of my beach friends had turned up and half-a-dozen of us were sitting on the deck silently contemplating the newly-painted wall of the changing shed.  The graffiti had been nicely covered up with what appeared to be a blacker paint than before.

Another of our number dripped out from the sea.    She looked at us looking at the wall.  "Watching paint dry?" she asked interestedly.

Our dripping friend is an actress and stage director.  She's pretty well up with one-liners.

When J and I are lazily swimming, having what we call our 'committee meetings', our subjects can be deeply serious, or very light-hearted.

On this day, we got to talking about national dances.  J originally came from England and she was moaning over the fact that, at school, the class were forced to dance around the may pole, holding dangling ribbons, with boys going one way, and girls the other.  I commiserated with her.  At my school we'd only been in to skipping rope.

Our minds wandered across to Irish dancing.  J tried to demonstrate the-arms-at-the-side-while-you-dance thing that is a big part of Irish dancing, but this proved difficult whilst treading water.

"Morris dancing is bad enough," she said.  Oh, the subject was back to England.   I agreed with J that Morris dancing wasn't overly-macho. 

"All that hankie waving and bells-on-toes ..."   She ruminated, "I wonder who Morris was ....?"

And we were off again.  Suggestions rampant


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Beach friends meet-up.. Plus... Hobbit 2

Hi there
Yesterday (Saturday NZ time) was a truly lovely warm cloudless day in Wellington.  Many of my summer friends turned up at Hataitai Beach and we chatted nineteen-to-the-dozen about the winter months.  It is so great to see folk that you havent seen since last summer.   Everybody agreed the water was warm-ish and those whose first time it was swimming this season got in with barely a whimper.  We've given up counting swims for this month, J and I have had so many of them.  Today, I'm a fraction sunburnt.

.The Wellington City Council have already painted over yesterday's graffiti that was on the changing shed's wall  There was a 'wet paint' notice but, as everyone knows, of course, when such a notice is on display nobody, repeat nobody, can resist some finger touching.

I see that Red Carpert Tours, the tour group that takes tourists around NZ searching out everything related to the "Lord of the Rings" movie will be having an exclusive dress-up night at the Roxy Theatre in Miramar next month, immediately prior to the midnight screening of Hobbit 2  (I still can't pronounce or spell 'Desolation" or "Smaug" - I had to look up the spelling just now).  What's the betting that some high-ups from the movie will be guests that night?

That reminds me, when I drove past Mt Ruapehu a couple of months ago, the mountain just looked so beautiful.  All snowy, pristine, wintery.  Mt Ruapehu stood in for Mt Doom in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hataitai Beach Changing sheds...graffitied!

Hi there

It's so sad that there are folk who don't mind ruining other peoples' enjoyment of things.  The changing sheds at Hataitai Beach have been graffiti-fied.  And they were only freshly painted for the summer.  J's loved one was sitting against the shed wall whilst we were swimming this morning (Friday NZ time), and J and I kept making jokes about how he was responsible for it all, and where had he hid his spraycan?   The Wellington City Council tell me they are on to it ....

Luscious ladies wearing stripes

Hi there
I was in an upmarket shop some time back and I spotted a sign attached to a rack of dresses: "For Luscious Ladies", the sign read.  So much nicer than many signs that announce "For the Fuller Figure".

Up until last November when I hurt my foot I was borderline 'luscious'.  Then I couldn't walk much for a year - all I could do was eat and sulk - and now I am most definitely 'luscious'.   And isn't it a delightful word?  Doesn't 'luscious' conjure up visions of Marilyn Monroe, and Jane Russell, and, Ava Gardner and, Betty Grable and,well, I guess all those fuller-figured lovelies from the fifties?

I was watching a tv programme last month and the news guy announced that for years the fashion boffins had been wrong and it had now been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that wearing  horizontal stripes did not - repeat, not -  make a person look fat.  Quite the reverse, in fact.

What?  Stripes will make me look .... thinner???  

I rushed out and bought two stripey tops.  And do you know what?  I think they're working.  I suddenly feel all svelte and slinky. 

Makes sense, too, because now that I think about it, I can't recall ever having seen an overly-rotund zebra..

Picture of zebras gathered at the edge of a river in Tanzania
national geographic picture

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

new Air New Zealand television commercial

Hi there

I've just seen the new Air New Zealand Middle Earth television commercial.  It's centred around the second Hobbit movie and coincides with the film opening next month.

I'm probably wrong but it appears to have been filmed at Queenstown Airport.

Oh, J and I have well completed our minimum number of swims for Hataitai Beach in November.  Today our old friend, Dressing-Gown Man, was at Hataitai Beach.  It's nice to meet our beach buddies again every summer.  Today was very warm and I loved it at the beach.

There were, maybe, half a dozen people in the water, but practically all of them were standing thigh-high in the sea and chatting away.  I've noticed this phenomenon over the last few years at various beaches around the country.  Hardly anyone actually swims anymore.  A lot of folk like to run like mad into the sea, do a fast dive into the water, swim overarm for half a dozen strokes, then... that's it.  They stand and talk doing the thigh-high-in-the-water thing, or hare back to the shore.

Here's a recent pic of my little Wednesday dog, Coco.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Oriental Bay, Wellington, New Zealand (plus NZ's Got Talent)

Hi there

Wellington is famous for not only the wind, but its hills, too.  Tourists often wonder about how houses are built in such precarious positions.  I think we resemble San Francisco a great deal.   I believe people in San Francisco call their beautiful old houses Painted Ladies.  We have lots of Painted Ladies around Wellington.  My favourite ones are in Oriental Bay.

A friend's husband is on New Zealand's Got Talent semi-finals tonight (Sunday NZ time) and can be voted for up until Monday night - details on TVNZ's NZGT websiite or  He is KurtX and plays a re-adjusted harmonica.  He will also be performing tomorrow Monday 18 Nov 12.30-1.30 pm outside Telecom, 50 Willis street.

Oriental Bay.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Walking to the Sunday Markets

Hi there

Now that my heel only hurts about 10% of the time, I'm back to gentle walking.  I've had my plantar fasciitis one year exactly.  Unhappy anniversary to me.

There was a bit of a glitch last weekend.  I decided to walk over Mt Victoria to the Sunday food markets that are right next to Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand.   I used to do this walk at least once a week prior to my bad heel.  Takes about an hour.

This time, however, I didn't know how well my heel would hold up, so I decided to drive my car as far as Evans Bay (3 kms from Miramar where I live) , and walk from there.  I would bus back to my car from the markets.

I was as happy as a kid in muck on both the walk and the exploration of the markets.

I caught the bus home and didn't think to look in my garage till the following morning when - horrors! - who had stolen my car?

Yes, alright, you've figured it out.......  I'd forgotten I had left my car at Evans Bay!  The sitcom queen struck again. 

Alzheimers, anyone?

Sunday market:  Te Papa Museum in background

Chaffers Apartments posh-nosh markets (in the old Herd Street Post Office building) about100 metres from the vegetable market 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Why are t-shirts made soooooo looooooong?

Hi there

Here's one of life's most important questions?  Why do manufacturers of t-shirts make them so long?  Souvenir T-shirts, especially?

The first time I went to America on an extended trip, I desperately wanted to buy souvenir t-shirts.  In the end, I left the States without buying even one   I'd tried on dozens.   It wasn't because the shirts weren't cute/pretty/colourful/or symbolic, it was because all the t-shirts were far too long for me.  They were either modelled for giraffe-like super-models.  Or men.

I am, in old language, 5ft 1in.  I used to be 5ft 2in - I guess you grow shorter as you grow older...

On my last trip to America, I was determined to buy a Las Vegas shirt.  I settled on one from the upmarket souvenir shop at the MGM Grand.  A blue shirt with a glittery multi-coloured lion's head on it.  I had sneakily tried this particular shirt on the year before and abandoned it because of length.  It came down to just below my knees.  This time, I determined to make it shorter.  I would cut off about six inches, then re-hem it approximately another two.

But I am so tired of chopping off bottoms of  t-shirts and having to re-hem them (sloppily) by hand.   Over the past couple of years, there have probably been about 7 shirts in total.   To add insult to injury, I can't sew.  I sort of do an uneven back-stitch tacking sort of thing and I get completely lost whenever I reach a seam.  At school, my mother did my Clothing homework for me, and she got 2 out of 20 from the teacher for the attempt at  pyjamas!

Oh, and it's dresses, as well.  In the shop, the hem often flounces around me on the carpet  and it looks like I'm standing in a puddle.  If I chopped off the ankles of trousers, I would lose all sorts of added prettiness, like buttons, ribbing, cuffs, bands, designwork..

Well, no more.  You hear me, you manufacturers' of  t-shirts?   New Zealand, America, Hong Kong - I don't care where you come from or where I purchase your t-shirts.   Short ladies (and surely there's more of us than sky-high models of 6ft tall) are on the verge of revolting.

I can be very revolting when pushed..

Here's the MGM shirt that I have chopped the bottom off, quite jaggedly I admit with rather blunt scissors, then hemmed up not-too-well.   I'm too ashamed to let you see the stitching.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Those bleepin' security bleeps in shop doorways....yet again!

Hi there

Yesterday was Thursday.  Thursdays are when the Farmers Department Store usually have their sales. 

As I entered the store, there was a bleeeep...   Three of us were simultaneously crossing the threshhold which meant we all walked between the security poles.

 Of course, the Farmers' security lady swooped on me.  I'd actually made it into the lingerie department before, puffing like a steam engine, she caught up with me.  Oh goodie, my physicality must be improving.  Power walking, now that my plantar fasciitis was getting better, was truly paying off.

Frustrated, I threw my bag into the security lady's  hands.  "Take it!"

"I'll just see about deactivating this," the security lady said.  And disappeared.  Off to South America, who knew?  If so, she wouldn't get far with what was in my bag... an umbrella,and  a wallet that contained three bank cards inaccessible to anyone without a pin, and approximately $20 from my money-box;  good luck, girl with that.  The weight of all those 10 cent and 20 cent pieces in my shoulderbag had already given me backache getting from Miramar to Kilbirnie.

I fingered through some camisoles as I waited for her return. Oh,  I'm a sucker for camisoles.  I reckon that camisoles are often prettier than normal shoe-string strap summer tops -

She was back within three minutes.  "Here you are.  Everything's good."

Not with me, it wasn't.  I stomped out of the store.  Curse you, Farmers, for being one of my favourite clothes shops.  I'd love to say I'm never going to darken your bleepin' door again, but, sigh, I just can't see that happening ...  however, I will be jolly cross.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Exhibition of Weta artists at Rona Gallery, Eastbourne

Last night I mixed with the Weta artistic elite at the opening of an exhibition at the Rona Gallery in Eastbourne.  The exhibition is on for the next couple of weeks and the artworks/sculptures are for sale.   (See more detailed information on earlier blog).

"White Cloud Worlds"  - the books that feature much of the incredible artwork on display - can also be bought.  Author Paul Tobin is a well-known film concept designer.

I particularly like the art of Sacha Lees who is just about New Zealand's foremost fantasy artist.  On her website (, you must look at  "Triple Self Portrait with Family (in the style of Norman Rockwell)"; it's in her "Biography" section.    For those who are too young or can't remember, Rockwell's family-at-home-and-at-play paintings graced the covers of the American magazine the Saturday Evening Post for many years mid-20th century - his pictures were very much loved by people around the world.

At the exhibition, I was also impressed by the work of Gino Acevedo, senior  prosthetics supervisor and visual creative effects art director for Weta.

Below: On left: well-known NZ artist Richard Ponder.  Right: Gino Acevedo

below:  author Paul Tobin

Sunday, November 3, 2013

More about those penguins

Hi there

You wouldn't believe it......   I was at the chemist's this morning, regaling the  assistant with the intrepid tale of "How I Swim at Hataitai Beach all Through the Winter..."   And without any prompting from me, the woman started reminiscing about the time she saw some penguins there! 

What?  Penguins?  How embarrassing is that?  And one day after I rubbished the "watch out for penguins crossing" sign at Hataitai Beach?

This woman said that one night, half a dozen years' ago,  a penguin scurried across in front of her to its nest under an upside down rowboat on the sands.  Another penguin went to its nest in the rocks. 

It looks like I could be soon joining those binocular-carrying penguin watchers crouched in waiting behind the flax bushes,

In the photo above, Hataitai Beach is on the right.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hataitai Beach - penguins?

Hi there

J and I got in our 1st swim for November at Hataitai Beach today.  The water was the warmest so far this winter/spring.
There is a sign on a lamppost at Hataitai Beach that warns motorists to be careful of penguins crossing.  What?  Penguins crossing?  I have been swimming at Hataitai now for about 30 years, passing it in my car for the same length of time, and daytime or nighttime I have never seen one penguin.

Perhaps a Penguins Crossing has superceded a Zebra Crossing.  I mean .... penguins... zebras ... they're both black and white, yes?    But the notice is facing away from the crossing.   So, I'm still perplexed.

There's another penguin sign further along the road at Balaena Bay, maybe a km away from Hataitai Beach, and another one, I think, at Breaker Bay.  Is this a ploy by Wellington City Council to bring in tourists?  Do sightseers sit on the grass verge opposite Hataiati Beach, hidden behind the flax bushes, binoculars at the ready, waiting of an evening for hordes of little penguins to waddle across the road?  How sad.