Monday, May 30, 2016

Weta at the Zoo

Hi there

A week ago, there was a day of entrance-by-gold-coin-donation at Wellington Zoo.  I trotted along and was surprised how much the zoo has changed in the 10 years or so since I last visited.  It's rather like a mini-Melbourne Zoo (but without the elephants).  Quite green and lush.

I remember when I was a child there was the chimps' tea party at the zoo.  Of course, it's horrendous to think of forcing beautiful animals to do something like that today, just to amuse us.  I'm glad it's not like that now.  However, the chimps' tea party is part of history and, as part of history, the past should be recognised as happening, even if we are embarrassed by it. 

Wellington Zoo have openly recognised their past.  Alongside the present chimps' enclosure, there is a plaque, produced by Weta, that shows the nineteen-fifties chimps having a tea party with their keeper. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mary Potter Hospice Street Collection


Last Friday, I stood for quite a few hours outside Cafe L'Affare in Wellingon.  I was soliciting (oh, I never tire of saying that!). 

With my little collection bucket, I was looking for donations for the Mary Potter Hospice.  Cafe L'Affare have the most generous patrons.  But, oh dear, last Friday ...  it rained.

And not just your spitting, or drizzling, or on-and-off rain.  It poured throughout the whole last hour I was standing there.

And it was freezing cold.  And the wind was howling.  And my brand new umbrella blew inside out within the first five minutes.  And there was no verandah above Cafe L'Affare ...

At the end of my shift, I was absolutely positively soaking, and shivering.  My shoes were squelching, my hair hanging in wet rat-tails.  My fingers were so frozen, I couldn't move them.  I stumbled onto the Miramar Heights bus to return home.

As the bus trundled past Hataitai Beach, I thought I saw a movement in the sea.  I had to wipe the window to get a good view, and peer in between the high wild waves.

It was "The Young One" in the water, an apprentice winter swimmer who is dying to show old-hands, J and myself, that she can definitely make it through the next few months.

What stamina!  What guts!  What an attitude!  I was huddled in that bus, freezing cold, sitting there in my soaking wet woolly hat, mittens, and scarf,  The wind was howling, the rain was pelting down, and The Young One was proving her mettle swimming across the bay in completely wild weather.

Should we allow The Young One sacred polar bear status (we have a t-shirt we could present to her) before we've even hit the real winter months?  I'll have to think about that....

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Desert Song - the Red Shadow

Hi there

There are many super-heroes in movies nowadays.  Spiderman, Batman, Ironman, Superman, Antman ...  I could go on  ... and on ...

but -  when I was a kid I fell in love with Al Kabar The Red Shadow as portrayed  by singer Gordon Macrae in the movie of the operetta "The Desert Song".

Sigh.  Swoon.  The Red Shadow was everything my nine year old heart could pine over.  He was handsome and romantic, with a voice to entice the angels out from the clouds. My super-hero rescued maidens, trounced baddies, led a heroic bunch of rebels called The Riffs, and strode across the desert all moody, masked, and gorgeous.

When The Red Shadow dramatically swished his robes, and slipped on that shawl-type disguise thing over the bottom half of his face and his eyes were twinkling, I fell in love for the first time in my life.  I was so jealous of Macrae's romantic interest, Kathryn Grayson. .

I saw the movie seven times.  My love for it never waned, not even when my ballet teacher was an extra in the New Plymouth amateur presentation of "The Desert Song" and I wasn't,  and a donkey did a poo on the stage;  the dancers adroitly stepped around the mess.

Three years' later, I was in to rock'n'roll and operetta was out.  No more sighing over Gordon MacRae.

Kids are so fickle.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mt Ruapehu ... Mt Doom, Lord of the Rings

A couple of weeks ago, I drove along The Desert Road.  Once I drove this road in such a fog, I couldn't see my car's bonnet (hood, if you're American).  Another time, the rain was so bad, I again couldn't see the bonnet.  So scary when you're driving an awful road for about 40 minutes.  I won't travel The Desert Road in the winter.

But I love looking over to Mt Ruapehu which stood in for Mt Doom in the movie "The Lord of the Rings".

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New Technology

Hi there

I'd like to talk about new technology ...  no, wait, I don't know a thing about new technology, so I better talk about not-so-new technology.

I can't even handle not-so-new technology....

I bought a couple of landline phones last month, unboxed them, plugged them in ... and couldn't get them going.  The instruction book is obviously aimed at 6 year olds;  I wish I could catch up to their learning capabilities.  I couldn't even programme (program?) in the date and time which was point A on page 1 of the instruction book. The phones are back to sitting in the box they came in.  What's next for me?  Shady Pines Rest Home?

I saw a commercial on tv for a new car.  It has a digital screen with all sorts of icons on it.  Have I missed out on the fact that nowadays a certificate from NASA is a necessary requirement when out driving, rather than a kiwi license?

Today I have sent for My Computer Guy.  My computer problem will, of course,  end up being fixed by just the press of a button, and My Computer Guy's bill will be extremely high.  Sigh.  If I won Lotto, I would definitely hire a live-in Windows 10 expert.

Or ... I guess I could go rob a bank for extra funds, but that's only if I could figure out how to circumvent  hidden cameras, trip alarms, invisible light beams , DNA samples,  eyeball scanners, and secret codes...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Storm last night

Hi there

There was a really ferocious storm in Wellington last night.  Here's a pic I took this morning of a boat that was blown onto the rocks at the foot of Wellington Airport runway, on Cobham Drive.

And ... today (NZ time) is Friday 13.  Unlucky?  Well, I came haring back from taking the photo, put the photo card into my computer and nothing happened.  I have been four hours trying to import the picure.  I do hate Windows 10.

Monday, May 9, 2016

My stupid diet

Hi there

I've only been on My Stupid Diet for a couple of days but my grumpiness has jumped up several notches.

Today I snapped at the dental receptionist and the hygienist.  I raged about dental prices.  I don't know whether I was emitting the wrath and, perhaps, reincarnation of some long-dead feared warlord but the dental people actually reduced my bill.  Were they quaking in fear of me?  Probably not.  Most likely, they wanted me quickly out of the surgery before I turned the waiting patients into rebels-against-the-system.

My swimming friend, J, keeps wanting to feed me a Snickers Bar.  She's positive the Snickers Bar will turn me from an angry gremlin back into my sweet adorable self.

Chocolate?  I'm dieting, darn it!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Watching Weight

Hi there

Today, I started dieting (again, yes, yes, again, again, again!!!). It won't be a diet as such, more a cut-down.  I'll try to cut down on potatoes and bread, and definitely Pepsi Max.

Yeah, I know I've tried to get off Pepsi before, and I've always gone back to it.  If I can just survive those first three weeks without Pepsi, I know it will get easier.

What with cutting down on food and Pepsi,  it's going to be hard.  Today, only three hours into my diet, I snapped at my swimming friend, J.  Gosh, J, I am soooo sorry.  It's a good thing, J, that you are a warm, gentle, loving and forgiving person!

I was away at Ohope Beach all last week.  About 22c the whole time, and no rain.  The sea was like Wellington's sea in the summer. Quite warm. Here's a pic of Port Ohope:

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Hi there

When I was working, I never bothered about listening or viewing weather forecasts.  No amount of good or bad forecasts were going to change the fact that I had to go to work.  Sun, rain, gales, storms, I slogged it into the CBD for an 8 am start.

But now that I am retired, I watch and listen to the weather forecast as if my life depended on it.  I power walk, hike, cycle, holiday, and swim, all dependent on the weather.

I have been known to listen almost hourly on the radio for the weather , watch many channels, one after the other to be assured I have the best forecast going.  My swimming friend, J, is fond of ten day forecasts.  They're always wrong!

We are now over a month into Autumn, and the weather is pretty good.  I passed a bushy-shrub thing yesterday, bursting with Autumn berries.  It was overhanging from a garden into a reserve.  I worried so much about children eating these berries.  I was told when I was a child never to touch red berries.