Tuesday, October 30, 2012

God bless the child who's got his own (Blood Sweet & Tears)

You've had news and pictures of Keegan, Jade and Samantha (and her fiance) recently.

A reminder... 

J M Purdy; K W Purdy who both love seeing their
photographs on my blog.
J Rowbotham; S M Purdy actually DO love seeing themselves
on the blog.

Poor Adam must be feeling a tad overlooked so today it's his turn.

Adam was recently given 20kgs of rice, which was nice.

It was payment in kind from his school principal for work done on his farm.

The principal at the school in Japan where Adam is working also has a sideline business as a rice farmer. He asked Adam for some help to harvest his crop and Adam said, "Sure, I can do that".

It meant Adam drove a kind of rice harvester for the day and had dinner provided for him (and Ashleigh who was also invited for the dinner part).

A Hope feeling at home in Japan.
Adam didn't expect anything but was delighted with the 20kgs of rice. Apparently the price of rice there is like dairy products here - hellishly expensive!

A L Purdy on the rice harvester thing.


There you go Adam!

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spring is here, the sky is blue, whoah oh oh, birds all sing as if they knew (The Dixie Cups)

I am thrilled to be able to announce to the blogosphere that Samantha has accepted Jesse's recent proposal of marriage!!

Jesse did the traditional stuff brilliantly (seeking my permission was a classy start), including the one knee proposal in (by Jesse standards) romantic circumstances.

This was not totally unexpected news but it was joyous none the less. Wozza's world has not been the most fun filled place of late and Fanfa's news has well and truely rescued 2012.

Jesse and some of his fantastic family have been whanau members for some time, but they now move up the whanau ranks from 'American friends in America' to 'outlaw' status. As well as my sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law I will soon be able to add son-in-law to the whanau map. This is exciting stuff!! 

Jade is equally excited for Fanfa and for the wedding as she'll be the maid of honour. Of course, mother-of-the-bride (soon to become a, shock horror, mother-in-law), a.k.a. SWMBO, is over the moon with this news as well.

Luckily we love Jesse and his family so I can sincerely say a big 'welcome to the family!

Rest assured we will be getting prepared for the nuptials by sussing out the various relevant movies over the coming months - Father of the bride, Maid of honour etc, and looking forward to getting the Rowbotham and Purdy families together somewhere in the world to celebrate in style.

I leave you with this segment from Seinfeld (everything can be traced back to Seinfeld!)

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oye coma va mi ritmo (Santana)

The catch ups with old friends continue.

My friendship with Margo and Clay goes back 32 years when I met the phenomenally talented duo at Auckland University. Margo was finishing off her masters degree while I was starting mine. She then started her PhD. Meeting and befriending Margo led to meeting and befriending her partner Clay.

The planets came into alignment, celestial choirs swooned, a bright spotlight hit me (think The Blues Brothers scene in the church) and Also Sprack Zarathustra boomed out of the cosmos.

I'm not sure if I adopted them, or they adopted me. As a teenager I loved American culture and having Clay (from Seattle) and Margo as enthusiastic experts on all things cultural was immense for me at a crucial time. We found that we shared a love for certain types of music and in our discussions they educated me into new worlds of art and culture and new ways of thinking. 

We became really close friends as our friendship developed. When I married SWMBO in 1984 Clay was my best man and Margo the MC. When Keegan was born they became his godparents.

That's close!

We've always kept in contact, but, because of our years living overseas (UK 2004 to 2006; Middle East 2009 to 2012) and in Stratford (2007-2009), we haven't actually seen each other for about 10 years.

It was great to meet again at Auckland University's Business School with Keegan, Jade and SWMBO also in attendance.

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, October 22, 2012

A new level of confidence and power (Pantera)

Spring weather in Nu Zild during October/November is always a trial. Windy, wet, sunny, hot, cold, calm - often all on the same day, especially if you happen to be in the Auckland region as we now are. Lately we've had a fine day followed by three wet and windy ones.

I went down to Palmerston North recently (huge thanks to Graysy and Jansy - two stellar members of the whanau who looked after me for a few nights) and brought Jade back to Waiheke to enjoy some peace (love) and quiet before her exams start next week.

We had a lovely day on Saturday and tried to take full advantage. Brian's place on the island overlooks Sandy Bay - a great place for exploring rock pools, paddling about and walking around the bays at low tide, so that's what we did.

  L&P - Abu Keegan

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tell me how do I feel? (New Order)

Leo Bertos in blue September
As the whanau knows we have had some sobering moments during the last two months.

When I worked at Cambridge High School I described working with Alison Annan as having a bucket of cold water thrown over my head; a big stimulating of the senses act, in a gigantic wake up call kind of way. More and more cold water shake ups seem to be coming thick and fast these days.

Our week days have established a kind of systematic routine (even when we have visitors like Jade who is staying on the island for a few days). Is 'systematic routine' tautology at work? It may be. Jacky has her Auckland radiotherapy appointments at the Mercy Hospital each morning.

We get up earlyish and Brian delivers us to a ferry terminal on Waiheke. From there it takes 35 minutes to sail across where Keegan picks us up from the Auckland Ferry building and delivers us to the hospital (when he can't we catch the Hospital bus). Jacky has her zap and we get morning tea before Keegan takes us back to Queen Street and we catch a return ferry, then another bus back to Pope's Corner in Oneroa (a part of Waiheke Island). We walk home to Brian's place from there. SWMBO needs to walk for a bit each day and then rest. We eat early (for her tablets to work) and then Brian gets out his movie collection on a gigantor hard drive and we select a movie to watch ( we laughed when GI Joe ended with the audience standing up in front of the credits!).

Up to last week I hadn't considered that men would also be undergoing radiotherapy at the Mercy. Up till then I'd sat with the women patients who have to change into a blue smock prior to their zap, but then, last week, I sat with an overweight middle aged guy wearing a shirt and tie and a blue apron around his lower bits I was a tad shocked. Keegan was too.

It was blue September recently - a month dedicated to getting men to have their prostate checked (yes - been there done that in case you're wondering). There were a series of adverts and such during September but I reckon all it would take would be a sobering visit to this waiting room to convince any men who didn't think it was a good idea to have regular checks in this region.

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stop me if you think you've heard this one before (The Smiths)*

Adam, Ollie, SWMBO and Teenie
SWMBO and I visited another old friend this week - Tina and her husband Adam with their two year old son, Ollie. Tina very kindly provided us with lunch and even took us to and from the ferry building. She's a great girl is Teenie.
Ollie provided the entertainment and we had a wonderful afternoon catching up. Last time we saw them Ollie was in a pram, now he runs about shouting 'abuse' (thanks to his grandma), 'lady Yacky' (to SWMBO) and emptying the cupboards.

Jade rang me during the visit and asked if it brought back memories, and blow me down if after a while it did. Most involved a two year old Adam eating weird stuff after escaping from his cot in the early hours of the morning (sitting on the floor eating flour from the container in the kitchen with a large amount on the floor as well as in his mouth is a vivid memory).

After our visit we headed back to Waiheke Island where we are staying with the Minister of Defence (as my Arabic mates would call him), my father-in-law - Brian Smith.
The beach at Oneroa on Waiheke.
Life on Waiheke (unkindly but not inaccurately called the Cadbury Isle by Aucklanders) is...different. If you ever wondered what became of the Woodstock generation - 8,000 of them ended up on Waiheke!

It's slower in general, maan, although the jalopies still hurtle around the corners at times, friendlier, and much more alternative than life on the Auckland mainland (about 35 minutes away by ferry).

SWMBO and I are walking a lot each day - part therapy, part adventure, part necessity (we don't have our own car on the island), and it feels a little like walking in Dubai at times - a real lack of pedestrian friendly roads, a place out of time, and plenty of sand.

It does give us an opportunity for sightseeing though. I have been impressed by the variety of letter boxes on display and so I decided to compile a bit of a portfolio (I hope you are impressed Jesse).

Somehow the home made, quirky, innovative, humorous, weirdly creative letterboxes sum up the Waiheke experience quite nicely.

And my favourite on what appears to be an empty section of land (as in there is no house attached to the letterbox)

Love and peace maan - Wozza

* The title this week is an in joke that only my children will fully understand - SWMBO's maiden name was Smith and 'Smith humour' has legendary status in our household.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

No I won't be afraid, just as long as you stand, stand by me (Ben E King)

The end of the movie Stand By Me has this scene:

The final thing he writes - about the friends we have when are twelve - is very effective as a piece of movie making but not strictly accurate in my own experience.

[I no longer keep in contact with anyone I knew when I was 12 and I suspect the same is true for you (dear reader). Let me know if you do - I'd love to know.]

The sentiment of the Stand By Me ending holds true though - there is nothing like the friends we have at seminal moments in our lives. For me it's the friends I had when I was finishing school and starting University.

I had a coffee catch up this week with two of them - two members of the Wozza whanau: Greg Knowles and Kevin Simms.

Greg has known me since 1973 when we were at Mt Albert Grammar in Auckland. He sat next to me while I was doing a chemistry test (I was a first year fifth former, a year younger than me - he was in the 4th form doing a geography test and glancing at my pathetic attempts to answer the chemistry questions). Somehow we bonded from that point onwards.

Kevy I've known since about 1977, our first year at Auckland University. Greg was doing a science degree and I was doing arts. Kevin was doing commerce. Somehow through Greg's network we all met up at various coffee bars and in the recreation centre. The group that included the three of us expanded from time to time to include Helen, Phyllis, Linley, Anthony, Kevin P, Brett and others.

We all go back a way - to a great time in our lives. We were all still living at home and happy to be doing that. We were growing away from our parents though and about to sever the home ties for good, but not yet. We were studying (well Greg and I were, Kevy was enjoying life for a while yet) and we were forming friendships that, I know, will last our lifetimes.

As old friends will do, we picked up our friendship this week from where we left off last time we met. For me and Kevy that was in the early 1980s, Greg and I have kept in touch a bit more.

It was weird how quickly that happened - Greg, Jacky and I were waiting for Kev to arrive at the cafe we'd arranged to meet at and we saw a guy walking away from us in the distance. Greg and I both instantly recognised the Simms walk and when Kev did his trade mark practice cricket/golf shot with his umbrella I was transported back in time!!

It took no time to click back into a familiar mode of conversation - foundered on our love of music, our bizarre sense of humour, and our shared history. Close friends tend to have a way of locking back onto comfortable thought patterns and pretty soon we were finishing each other's sentences and talking in shorthand.

It was a great catch up with old mates. Just what I needed.

Love and peace (special shout out to the early 80s rec' centre crowd) - Wozza