Saturday, April 29, 2017

My Newtown Past

Hi there

There are lots of places in the world with the name of Newtown.  I grew up in Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand.

My mother grew up in Newtown.  My grandparents grew up in Newtown.

In the later 1800s(ish), my grandfather used to ride his horse to and from work in Courtenay Place, where he worked for the council.  Courtenay Place was maybe four km from my grandfather's Newtown house.

I remember my grandmother telling me that Granddad would always stop at John Street on the way home, to let his horse drink from the water trough that was there.

Whenever I pass through the John Street area in Newtown nowadays I always think of my granddad , his horse, and that water trough.  We've certainly come a long way since those days..

Above: here's a pic of modern day John Street area; it's on the edge of Newtown.  And I don't know why I say "modern day John Street" because the area is historic, still with its wild west-style shop verandas and wooden buildings.

(Photo taken from the net)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

My Palmerston North Visit

Hi there

I took a flying overnight visit to Palmerston North last week.  But I didn't actully fly of course - PN is only a couple of hours away from Wellington - I went by car.  I was in Palmerston North to see the stage musical "Chorus Line".

I'd seen "Chorus Line" over twenty years ago in Wellington and even bought the CD.  I had a great memory of the show.  But goodness I am so used, nowadays, to seeing hi-tech shows like "Matilda", "Billy Elliot",  Priscilla, Queen of the Desert", "Sister Act" that "Chorus Line" just seemed so ... ordinary.

The plot is about a group of young people auditioning to be in the chorus line of a big Broadway show.  There is a black background, and the auditionees stand in a row and each one tells the director his or her story, mostly via song.  The director, calling out questions, sat in the audience (right beside me!).  This show was often boring.

How sad that we, as show-going people, expect more in a show nowadays than just acting and singing?  We expect to be entertained with lasers, and pulleys, and flying cars, and umpteen changes of costumes and scenery?

...Whilst in Palmerston I wandered around The Square.  It was the school holidays, and there was a temporary ice-skating rink -

Friday, April 21, 2017

seeing things that aren't there?

Hi there

I was driving out of the city last week and I read a roadside sign -  "Emergency Shopping Area".


Oh, wait!  It doesn't say "Emergency Shopping Area".  It's "Emergency Stopping Area".  Blame my stupid eyesight -

But, hey, wouldn't it be great to have a real emergency shopping area in a lay-by off the motorway?  I could be on my way to, say, a job interview and I suddenly wish I wasn't wearing my grey trousers (the ones with the huge pink polka dots on them).

But I'm approaching the "Emergency Shopping" sign.  With a squeal of brakes, I turn in to buy some lovely black trousers.  Phew, saved.....   

Friday, April 14, 2017

Forgetting words as you get older

Hi there

Sigh, with age comes forgetfulness.  My friends and I "lose" words.  In mid-conversation, words suddenly  disappear from our heads. However, about 2 am, maybe a good half-a-dozen hours after such a conversation,  I will wake up with a start and triumphantly shout "Crumpet"!   It's so good to know the word has not gone forever.

I have just watched veteran actor Ian McKellen talking to tv chat-show host, Graham Norton.  McKellen hesitated twice while he searched for words and I thought of a phone-call I'd had this morning with my swimming friend, J.  I was trying to get her to identify an object with a name to it that, all at once, I couldn't remember -

"It's big.  It moves around a warehouse.  A guy sits on it," I said.

She didn't have a clue.

"It carries cartons.  It's got prongs."

"Prongs?  Prongs..."  my friend ruminated for a time.  Then she screamed, "A FORKLIFT!"

"Oh, yes!"

What are friends for if not to help you out in a word-forgetting crisis?  I swear I will repay her.  Just wait until she has such a memory block - I will be there in a trice with my Pocket Oxford, if not my memory...

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hataitai Beach ... thing?

Hi there

I went for a swim today.  The sea is getting colder.  There was a big storm last weekend and seaweed, twigs and branches have been coming in with the tide.  A few days ago the sea was a terrible chocolate colour.

There was this weird thing in the shallow water.  Was it a starfish?  Seaweed?  A rock with a starfish and seaweed on it? 

There were yellow baubles on the top of the thing.  Were these ... sting-ray eggs? 

I gave up wondering  ...

PS, one day later ....  when I went swimming today there were hundreds and hundreds of lovely little starfish in the water.  It was hard trying not to step on them.  It looked like the night sky upside down.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Hi there

In my last blog i was writing about lamp-posts. But what about signposts?  A few years ago I was walking along the footpath at the back of Wellington Airport, at the Cook Strait end, next to the sea ...

The gale force winds were howling right at me.  I pushed into the wind, head down, eyes to the pavement, inwardly cursing the fact that I lived in Windy Wellington. Thank goodness I was wearing a cap to protect my eyes from the grit and sand swirling everywher-


I had crashed into a signpost.

Rubbing my sore head, and furious with myself for being such a klutz, I read the sign:

               Watch For Low-Flying Aircraft

It should have read 'Watch for Low-Lying Signs'...