Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm waiting for the angels of Avalon (Led Zeppelin)

Jacky is pictured at her regular ex-pats' coffee mornings at Villaggio with two other kiwis - Julie Telfer (wife to Ritchie) and Jan McFadyen (wife to Graeme). It was Julie's last one before she headed back to Nu Zild.

The clamour to fill the silver box continues. Among the latest additions is Adam's oud.

For the second time in my life I experienced the magic kingdom of musical coolness*. Jacky and I went down to the souq to get Adam his present from Qatar - an oud. We walked in to the oud emporium and did our usual inspection of the merchandise (the ouds' owner told us when we finally bought Adam's one that it was the sixth time we'd been in since December 09!!).

We settled on a beauty, haggled a decent price, and left after a lengthy conversation with a young Qatari man about oud playing who happened to be in the shop with his (I think) girlfriend. [Sidebar] I got to talking to the girlfriend, who was dressed in usual Qatari woman's abaya and hijab, and nearly fell over when she indicated in a strong American accent that she was indeed from Chicago!

Anyway we left the souq - me with the oud in its case slung oh so casually over my back. Wow - the reactions I got walking home (similar to when we brought Najma home). Guys actually walked out of shops to talk to me about ouds! I explained proudly that it was for one of my sons. Man - you can't beat musical coolness.

*Yes - the first time - well that was when Roger took me to buy my cherished blues harp from a shop by the Queen's Arcade after I'd seen Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee play Nambassa in 1979. It's been a while between coolness moments then.

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, May 24, 2010

Express yourself (Madonna)

Wo baby - almost there, almost there. I love this moment before the kick off - all the expectation, all the hope and dreams intact. Interesting ad from Nike (they didn't see Ronaldinho's non selection happening did they).

Monday, May 17, 2010

I was 21 years when I wrote this song (Billy Bragg)

A huge happy birthday to Samantha Mary Purdy who was born 21 years ago on 16 May 1989. I remember it well!!

Happy birthday Fanfa! It was great talking to you on the phone. I can't wait to see you and Jade and Adam and Keegan in July. I miss you all a lot.

Love and peace - mum and dad

Friday, May 14, 2010

Blue is the colour, football is the game

A sports round up - blue was the successful colour this year.

Rochdale are promoted to Division 1. I've written about the mighty Rochdale a lot this past year and it seems almost a dream that they won't be battling it out to survive in the bottom of Division 2 for another year.

Arsenal don't play in blue (but I had the blues at crucial times watching them) and so they had to settle for third in the premiership. Thank goodness we finished above Spurs - that would have been unthinkable.

Chelsea do play in blue and so they won the title and kept the scum from winning it again (that counts as faint praise). I was a little disturbed to see the celebratory picture in the Gulf News of the smiley John Terry family (wife very much present and correct - does she not have a brain?).
The Auckland Blues have had a decent run in the Super 14 - by decent I mean not embarrassing as the last few years have been. We've won as many as we've lost.

Okay - so that's the football season wrapped up, right? Uh uh - the fantastic spectacle of the World Cup is nearly upon us.

I'm picking Nu Zild to go all the way!! Yes - all the way back home after losing its opening games. But we are there - and I'll be cheering them on as I did in 1982 while staying in a freezing cold house in Hastings with a mad Scottish family, but that's another story!

June 15 is the NZ All Whites vs Slovakia game.

Go the kiwis!

Specifically:James Bannatyne - Team Wellington
Andy Barron - Team Wellington
Leo Bertos - Wellington Phoenix
Andy Boyens - New York Red Bulls
Jeremy Brockie - Newcastle Jets
Tim Brown - Wellington Phoenix (vice captain)
Jeremy Christie - FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
Aaron Clapham - Canterbury United
Simon Elliott - unattached
Rory Fallon - Plymouth Argyle
Chris Killen - Middlesbrough
Tony Lochhead - Wellington Phoenix
Michael McGlinchey - Motherwell
Glen Moss - Melbourne Victory
David Mulligan - unattached
Ryan Nelsen - Blackburn Rovers (captain)
Mark Paston - Wellington Phoenix
Winston Reid - FC Midtjylland (Denmark)
Ben Sigmund - Wellington Phoenix
Shane Smeltz - Gold Coast United
Tommy Smith - Ipswich Town
Ivan Vicelich - Auckland City
Chris Wood - West Bromwich Albion

There are a fair few fellow Mt Albert Grammar Old Boys in that line up (as well as Rochdale old boy Bertos) so we should do okay.

Ka kite ano - love and peace - Wozza

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

And it seems like, and it feels like, and it seems like, yes it feels like, a brand new day, yeah, a brand new day (Van the man)


Function: noun
Plural epiph·a·nies
Etymology: Middle English epiphanie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin epiphania, from Late Greek, plural, probably alteration of Greek epiphaneia appearance, manifestation, from epiphainein to manifest, from epi- + phainein to show
Date: 14th century
1 capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ

2 : an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being

3 a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b : a revealing scene or moment

This post is inspired by a comment from Jade in an email - that I'd changed. She's pretty perceptive. I think I have - certainly from the 2009 version. I think I've undergone another epiphany (of the number 3 kind). This has been prompted by living in Doha (away from people I love and with time to think), visiting Westminster Abbey in February (a revealing moment), and seeing a way forward without my father's direct guidance (an intuitive grasp of reality).

I didn't realise how much all of this had added up until I was listening to a song on my p-pod while riding an exercycle in the gym at Legends' apartment. I had been thinking about Jade's comment when the song came on. I replayed it about 6 times because it freakishly sums up my feelings of the moment (every line has a peculiar apposite resonance) and maybe helps Jade understand the (newer) me.

Van Morrison - Brand New Day:

When all the dark clouds roll away
And the sun begins to shine
I see my freedom from across the way
And it comes right in on time
Well it shines so bright and it gives so much light
And it comes from the sky above
Makes me feel so free makes me feel like me
And lights my life with love

And it seems like and it feels like
And it seems like yes it feels like
A brand new day, yeah
A brand new day

I was lost and double crossed
With my hands behind my back
I was longtime hurt and thrown in the dirt
Shoved out on the railroad track
I've been used, abused and so confused
And I had nowhere to run
But I stood and looked
And my eyes got hooked
On that beautiful morning sun

And it seems like and it feels like
And it seems like yes it feels like
A brand new day, yeah
A brand new day

And the sun shines down all on the ground
Yeah and the grass is oh so green
And my heart is still and I've got the will
And I don't really feel so mean
Here it comes, here it comes 0 here it comes right now
And it comes right in on time
Well it eases me and it pleases me
And it satisfies my mind

And it seems like and it feels like
And it seems like yes it feels like
A brand new day, yeah
A brand new day

We fly home on July 4th and will be back in the 'naki on July5th.

Ka kite ano - love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's a natural fact, that I wanna come back (Al Green)

Our week in Doha has centred on discussions about what next in life's big adventure for Wozza and Jay Pea.

How come? Well mainly because my work contract is coming to a close at the end of July and we have had to think about what next.

Remaining in Doha is not an option - I have loved every minute of working here with the Qatari school leaders and my Cognition co-workers but there has been no job opportunity for Jay Pea here - for lots of reasons that I won't expand on here - and living in Doha without a job focus is a non starter.

New Zealand is always home base so we've discussed that too - all of the immediate family are there or will be soon when Fanfa and Jesse return from San Francisco.

Another option is to continue the general globe trotting but that is both unsettling on the family and expensive. A long term move to the UK has been a thought for some time but that doesn't help with the need to be around immediate family.

What we've come up with, in fact, is a return to Nu Zild in early July... for a little while. How little is a moot point and reliant on a number of things.

Apart from all the family considerations, I've been hankering after some more university study for some time and I think the planets are coming into alignment for that. My brain has been very active of late - thinking about areas of research, and I'm starting to look forward to it. Jacky is keen to get back to nursing and earning a crust. We also miss the animals a lot - Bazil is with Sallie and Finn and Soda are in boarding school at present.

On the other hand we are still keen to further explore the world as well. Living in Qatar has given me a totally different view of Muslims and Islamic culture. In many, many ways they have got it right! The western view has been (probably irrevocably) altered by the September 11 attacks - no one who ever saw that atrocity unfold on TV will ever forget it - but talking and sharing the educational hopes and dreams with my Qatari friends has been an unforgettable experience. One I will never forget. Reem and her husband, very generously, gave Jacky and me a framed excerpt from the Holy Quran - it will have pride of place in our Stratford home and I will remember all of the wonderful people I've met here every time I look at it.

What I have seen in Qatar is a whole world away from extremism. Without the influence of drugs and alcohol they have a safe family dominated world that is heavily influenced by their regard for the Holy Quran and daily prayer. I will be sad to leave that and go back to a hedonistic, devoutly materialistic world again (yes I know the people here love their cars and land cruisers). A news story from NZ about a promising Year 12 student at Kings who has died - probably from alcohol poisoning - tells me all I need to know.

And so the decision has been made. We have a month and a half to gear up for our return. This has so far involved the purchase of a silver box (galvanised tin). It is a beast as the pictures show.

It will soon be full of shoes, cushions, CDs, pictures, coats and knick knacks from our recent travels around England, Belgium, Dubai and Doha, instead of me.

Ka kite ano - Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Oww! I feel good (James Brown)

The books just keep on being read. I'm currently having my brain rearranged by Paulo Coelho again. His companion volume to The Alchemist is called Warrior of the Light and it is fab and gear. It's a manual for living and is a bosker addition to that peculiar, loosely called, genre of self-help books. I'm sure I will dip into this one in the years to come (see for a sample).

I was reading the Gulf Times a couple of days ago and when I say read I mean my eye was flicking over the page as my fingers were turning the pages (my usual habit). A headline to a tiny story buried on page 4 registered a few seconds later (as I reached page 8) and so I turned back a few pages for a closer look.

The headline was
Emir donates
20mn euros
to Comoros

That was intriguing - I had no idea who or what Comoros was but 20 million euros is serious money to donate. Here's the story and see if this impresses you as much as it sure as heckfire impresses me:

HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad
bin Khalifa al-Thani has don-
ated 20mn euros to the
Comoros to pay off salary
arrears owed to civil servants,
the president of the island
nation said.
"I can confirm that the money
has been paid in to the Co-
moros central bank." President
Ahmed Abdallah Sambi said
on Sunday during a speech,
adding that wages would be
handed out to civil servants
during the week.
The Emir visited the Comoros
on April 22 and promised to
pay off nine months of salary
arrears for civil servants.
It was the first official visit by
an Arab head of state to the
poor Indian Ocean archipelago,
a politically tense state which
has been rocked by more than
20 coups since independence
from France in 1975.
A delegation from Qatar
arrived last week to hand
over the money.

Wow! I mean, seriously - WOW!! I know I shouldn't believe everything I read but in the absence of evidence to the contrary - WOW!! There are a number of things here aren't there? A first visit by an Arab head of state; the Comoros is poor; this was for civil servant wages; the Comoros is politically unstable; it's in the Indian Ocean; officials handed over the money; it was a donation; this is 20 million euros!!

I am seriously impressed. I know there are always underlying agendas at play but come on! He didn't have to visit. He didn't have to listen. He didn't have to promise and he didn't have to act. I am seriously impressed!

This story made me feel great. Sometimes (sometimes) the world we live in is a good place to be.