Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I read the news today, oh boy (The Fabs)

In praise of old fashioned newspapers, you know - ones that are actually printed.

It's so nice to be back in a country where you can visit a newsagents, corner shop, whatever, and choose from a quality selection of daily newspapers.

Mr Patel's shop opposite Patrick and Randy's house in Ferntower Road (a.k.a. Shire central in Highbury/ Islington) has a nice selection that includes the biggies: The Independent, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and the greatest paper in the entire world: The Guardian.

Within 30 seconds I can leave their front door and buy a newspaper... every day if I so wanted (and I do).

That's pretty damn cool.

Back in NZ I never bother to buy a newspaper - I read The Guardian online instead. There, the local papers (and I include ALL NZ papers in that description) are rubbish. Sorry, but they are.

But even reading The Guardian online is not like the real thing - flicking through a paper and reading stuff I had no idea was there before I bought it.

[To wit: read this - it's great! and I never would have seen it online]

When I read online I scan headlines and maybe read one or two things before heading to the English football stories. I scan them and maybe read one or two involving Arsenal or the train wreck that is Chelsea right now. 

When I buy a print version I take so much longer to read it. I read stuff I never would online and I relax as I'm doing it. A nice cuppa goes down nicely.

Yes, I know - I'm a simple soul, but I really miss that experience.

Making the most of it right now!

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, December 26, 2015

You're the skin I never want to shed (Train)

In praise of Bed and Breakfasts.

I love staying at B and B's in England, Wales and Scotland (haven't tried one in Ireland yet because I haven't been there but I'm sure I'd love them too).

SWMBO and I much prefer the B and B experience to staying in motels/hotels.

The buildings that house them are quirky and the people who run them are quirky and the people who stay in them are quirky because they prefer to experience quirky.

In my experience no two B and Bs are the same. The breakfasts, the decor, the people and the rooms - different every time. And that's all part of the appeal and the charm.

John Cleese obviously stayed in a few and studied them thoroughly. Fawlty Towers is a genius creation that taps into all that quirkiness I mentioned. We've experienced small degrees of Fawltyness over the years.

Our most recent one - The Courthouse in Betws-Y-Coed (pronounced Betoos-er-koyd which means prayer house in the wood) in Snowdonia National Park (North Wales), is at the awesome end of the scale.

It's run by a lovely couple who genuinely seem to love what they do - which is basically, meeting people, putting them up in their (big) house by the river in Betws-Y-Coed and serving them breakfast. A simple transaction really but made extremely pleasurable by their efforts.

We've spent three days here over Christmas and it's been a wonderful experience. 

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, December 21, 2015

With a Ho! Ho! Ho! and a Hey! Hey! Hey! it's Santa's super sleigh (Will Freeman's dad)

As you know I'm a fan of and the various groups I follow via that site. One such group is called Coffeelicious

Recently they presented a writing prompt that I thought I'd have a go at.

Call it my Christmas message if you like.

The idea is pretty simple - write a Christmas letter to someone you miss in five paragraphs.
Dear DMP 
Christmas, as you know, is a difficult time for me. First I have to get through early December (your anniversary this year made it 32 years) and there are the usual Christmas decisions about family celebrations and when I look around and don't see too many of my family left my jealous streak emerges.
So what have you missed? Well in the early days - our own family celebrations. The first one in 1983 was just me and the gorgeous Miss Smith. Along came Keegan just in time for Christmas 1984, then Adam just in time to get in on the Santa sack action in 1986. The expansion continued when we had five of us to feed for Christmas dinner in 1989, then a fulsome table of six by the end of 1991. By then Christmases had settled into a routine of the usual morning scenes, which you would have loved. Sometimes they included grandad and your old friend, Nita.

We made our own traditions and routines: visits to see Santa, holiday meals with the outlaws, and trifle bowls that multiplied as the years progressed. And then suddenly having the six of us at a Christmas table became a rarity and life went on (within me and without you) as the kids developed their own lives and their own Christmas routines.

I catch myself looking at your photographs and then wondering what you would make of my life since you’ve been gone. I think you’d approve of all the big stuff: the life decisions and the battles fought along the way. That’s important to me. 

And so to this - the toughest part of the letter to write: the last paragraph. Again, this Christmas is going to be just me and the gorgeous former Miss Smith. We’ll be away from our family, a long way away, in Snowdonia, but thinking about them all, without a doubt. And I’ll be thinking about you, and getting through another one without you as best I can. 
Love – as always - your buddy – Warren.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

L.A. is a great big freeway, put a hundred down and buy a car (Hal David)

In praise of Heathrow airport!

Recently, SWMBO and I went from one extreme to another. One day we were cruising Santa Monica Blvd (as you do) with Fanfa and Jesse after travelling alone the Anaheim to L.A. freeway. 

There were cars everywhere. Open spaces. Blue skies.

A short ten hour plane trip later and we were in London public transport heaven: the London Underground and a London black taxi. It got dark. It was wonderful.

I love flying into Heathrow.

They've revamped the arrivals area and it's different (much more open) but still great (I did like the compactness of the old arrivals as celebrated in Love Actually)

We arrived to be pleasantly surprised by the new arrivals and after a flutter of OMG it's changed, I found the Cafe Nero and WH Smith (for the Observer, being as it was a Sunday).

The Cafe Nero was fabulous! So was The Observer - a REAL paper.

Next was a refresh of our Oyster cards and onto the Underground. SWMBO is still talking about the grin I had on my face as the Piccadilly line train headed into the station.

Love and (contented) peace - Wozza

Saturday, December 12, 2015

When you meet temptation and the urge is very strong, give a little whistle! (Jiminy Cricket)

Coming to you from my Hilton Anaheim hotel room. 

We've been on a stopover before heading to London's winter wonderland.

Anaheim is wonderful - everyone is helpful and pleasant and polite (and loud - Americans LOVE to talk, all the time - they don't do silence).

The politeness is a shock to the system. I was aware of saying 'thank you' a lot and I always got a 'You're welcome' back. This from Disney cast members and the public at large. Quite, quite wonderful really.

There is so much to love about America but the super sizing of food and drink is NOT one of them. 

No wonder their is rampant obesity here - I asked for small of everything and got NZ large sizes - apart from the hotdog which was just right!

SWMBO and I spent Thursday at the happiest place on Earth. Disneyland is a wonderful stopover for us. We were last here in January 2007 with Fanfa and Jade when the park was pretty empty.

This time we're visiting this side of Christmas and OMG - what a difference. Long queues (fast tracking rides is a great way to not queue though) and the vastness of humanity was the order of the day. I did notice that everyone seemed to either come from Seattle or San Francisco (Seahawks, Giants shirts everywhere).

We had a blast though, doing the rides (SWMBO loved the horse drawn carriage ride down main street) and eating hotdogs and ice cream sundaes (we never do that at home) - Star Wars stuff in particular was incredible, we spent ages in the mega shop after the Star Tours attraction.

Temptations everywhere and we gave in to quite a few!

Love and peace - Wozza

(Next post stars Samantha Purdy and Jesse Rowbotham!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear (Ben E. King)

Credits: Jens Lelie (Unsplash)
It's sometimes interesting to speculate on what might have been. 

I come across articles from time to time about the choices people make. Recently, this one from caught my eye and my thoughts turned to my own decisions.

Unlike a friend of mine who found himself in the wrong queue and ended up as a teacher (a shout out to P.J. - a fine human being and a great English teacher) I decided on that career when I was 12 years old. I wasn't faced with two forks in the road at that point.

Having found my bliss, from that point on, my path has been set. 

I finished at Mt Albert Grammar School, having failed School Certificate the first time and Bursary (in Year 13), and went off to Auckland University intent on a Masters degree in English (Auckland because my parents lived there and I had no need to leave home).

My pathway lead to my first job (no choice was involved - I only had one positive interview) in New Plymouth where I fell in love at first sight with a beautiful girl. We married and started a family.

My career and life decisions since that one age 12 have been dictated by pragmatic responses to family situations in the most part, but the pathway has remained.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

My teaching career eventually lead me to the position of Principal for a few years and it was then that I was faced with a two roads situation. 

One road, the safe one, was to remain on the well traveled path and remain a Principal. The one through the undergrowth was to accept a contract to work in The Middle East as a consultant.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

In the end I rather selfishly did what I needed to do. I wasn't happy and knew that wasn't about to change and I needed a fresh start after dad passed away in 2009. So SWMBO and I went to Qatar and then the U.A.E. and it was amazingly fabulous.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

The danger at the time was that I would be giving up my teaching career and subsequently it proved very difficult to get back into it in 2013.

So - no regrets Coyote? Well maybe one.

I have flirted with the idea of doing a doctorate for thirtyish years off and on.

It wasn't an option back in 1993 because I had a teaching studentship and they'd already been a bit prickly when I told them I was going to do post graduate work.

In between Qatar and the U.A.E. contracts I was in the middle of enrolling at Waikato University to do a PhD in English (or education - I was still thinking). The idea was that SWMBO would earn our keep while I studied but Cognition kept asking me to reup and after a while, I did.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

After The Middle East (and a sidebar stint in China), I accepted a Head of English position at Woodford House and there have been no regrets about that either.

I'm not sure about what's next. Maybe the road less traveled needs another go? Time will tell.

"You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need"
(The Rolling Stones)

Love and peace - Wozza

Friday, December 4, 2015

I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn (Bob Dylan)

When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed.

Perfect! As a metaphor it was right up there. 

I'm pretty naive but even so I can't be completely blamed for my total inability to read signals, can I?

And that particular day had held so much promise too.

Ah well. Never mind. Mustn't grumble. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sum sum summer, well it's almost summer (Celebration)

After experiencing three scorching days in a row last week, I think it's safe to say that summer (in Nu Zild) has arrived. 

That means I tend to break out the short sleeve shirts for work, say goodbye to the singlets and start listening to reggae - as I type this Magic Transistor have played about a dozen (and counting) reggae songs in a row so far - Keith Hudsen and Philip Samuel We Will Make It is just the latest.

At least I can do this for a week or so before flying to Los Angeles and then on to London for our winter Christmas. Then it will be a case of breaking out the polyprops.

This is the perfect arrangement for me. I'm not a fan of NZ summers: way too hot; Christmas just feels all wrong; sleeping is a nightmare; and my snoz always getting burned. 

All up - it's not cool, literally!

I much prefer the winter weather in England - dark afternoons, a snuggly warm inside Christmas, maybe some sleet if I'm lucky and snow would be a bonus!

But I'll leave the summery background on the blog to remind me what I'm coming back to in February.

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Sacred days, sacred nights, sacred time (Phil Manzanera)

Presenting zen garden 2 at Rochdene:

What I especially love about this is how much of it comes from recycled sources:

  • The chair I made from old fence standards
  • The agapanthus were surplus to requirements at Woodford House so I brought them home
  • Bricks and gravel was moved from the front of the house where a deck is going
  • The fencing on the left was originally on the right (you can see the concrete footing is still there)
  • Other bushes were transplanted from elsewhere on the section
  • The Buddha's plinth was from an old roller at Red Phoenix Farm
  • The picket fencing on the other side of the Buddha was repaired and moved from elsewhere at Rochdene
  • The Buddha came from our time in Stratford
  • The trellis over the Buddha was also from an area at the front of the house that will be decked at Christmas
  • The large rocks came from Red Phoenix Farm
  • To build up the area, dirt came from a pile of top soil in the paddock you can see

The only things I actually bought for this project were some alkathene for drainage, some weed matting for under the stones and six hedging plants.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off (Taylor Swift)

Bill Bryson is one funny guy!

As you may have gleaned from these posts, SWMBO and I will be travelling to the UK for the Nu Zild summer holidays.

We'll be avoiding the rampant radiation over NZ and embracing a, hopefully, cold, bleak, wintry Christmas in London and Snowdonia. WAHOO!!!

In preparation I have been reading Bill's latest love letter to that small island - The Road To Little Dribbling. It's a sequel to one of my favourite books of all time - Notes From A Small Island.

He's a rather witty bloke and at one point in this latest book he advocates that 'everyone should be allowed to a have a dozen or so things that they dislike without having to justify or explain to anyone why they don't like them'.

Here's mine Bill:
  1. People who say any of the following expressions: 'drill down', 'going forward', 'unpack', 'roll out', or 'skin in the game'. 
  2. Anyone who thinks we're on a 'learning journey'.
  3. Big dogs.
  4. People who don't return shopping trolleys to the proper place.
  5. Misogynistic rap music.
  6. People who talk loudly into their phones or computers in departure lounges at airports.
  7. Burning my tongue on coffee that's too hot.
  8. People driving under the speed limit who give you the finger when you pass them.
  9. Cold callers.
  10. People who eat noisily.
  11. Buying a CD that I already own.
  12. José Mourinho.
Love and peace to all (yes okay - even José) - Wozza

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Inch became a light year, it was pathetic (Aimee Mann)

Cold Cold Cold - the sequel.

Long version:

So here I am, about to end the seven day cycle of last Wednesday's mild sore throat to raging razor blade can't swallow can't sleep can't talk nothing seems to work hellish raw red full on pain throat. 

Then the nose starts running. Usually.

Except this time it joined forces with the death on legs sore throat which has refused to play ball and get itself replaced with a drunny dose.

All looked dire until SWMBO (a.k.a. Nurse Jacky) said she had some antibiotics 'in the cupboard' that I should use until I got to the docs. 

You should know that SWMBO's collection of medicines, potions, bandages and first aid kit is almost the match of my father's collection when he was alive. And he was a chemist!

Anyway, after  five days the antibiotics either worked or I've survived the life cycle of a cold. By the time I got to the docs on Monday the sore throat felt in retreat so I stocked up on my flight medications as well (another story for another time).

Short version: I've had man flu.

What have I been doing during this enforced rest, I hear you ask?

  • Looking in despair at my Fitbit step count - verdict: pathetic!
  • Reading (finished the rest of the twelve Trigon Empire volumes, London Under, Tina Fey's Bossypants, started Richard P Feynman's The Meaning Of It All, Bill Bryson's The Road To Little Dribbling).
  • Drinking endless cups of tea (the heat seemed to work, a bit, for about ten minutes then I needed another one).
  • T.V. - caught up on recorded stuff SWMBO doesn't like (I have to make the most of the sympathy card when it's played  - shows like Fargo, all things sport, but, drat - would be an international break in the Premier League wouldn't it! Instead an endless parade of international rugby coaches saying 'like hell' to the English job - yawn)

Back in the harness at the brick factory making widgets today.

Slight cough and sniffle - Wozza

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cold cold cold (Little Feat)

Head swimmy, muscles achy, nose runny, with razor blade throat, head achy dullness, heavy lidded eyes.

Yep - either a change in the seasons cold (mmm a chill) or Jade passed on something last weekend.

I've spent three days fighting it with Vitamin C max out, Berocca, and throat lozenges. Night and Day tablets have masked things so that I can make it through a school day.

Somehow I've managed to cope driving home in a near hallucinatory state. In bed early, to wake at 2am and lie awake for hours hating to swallow. It hurts maan.

Have any of the meds helped?

Nothing doing! I have a life cycle to get through say the bugs attacking my system, and you're gonna have to lump it sunshine.

Coincidentally, it's been freezing! We've actually had a fire going - it's been that cold with southerlies bringing rain, dark clouds and weather straight from Antarctica.

Misery guts right!

Sniff and cough - Wozza

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ah... the grass got a little greener on the other side (Elvin Bishop)

SWMBO and I have just had a weekend in Wellington. We missed the All Black celebration parade but not the rush hour madness.

It took us 45 minutes to move from the Terrace exit to our Hotel in the Cuba Mall. That's about four streets. We were lucky!

Traffic in the other direction was completely grid locked. I thought about Murakami's 1Q84 as I watched from the passenger seat (when the girl gets out of the taxi on the overpass and walks down a rickety ladder to an alternative universe - I know where he got that idea).

Yes - SWMBO drove us down to Wellington and I'm a terrible passenger! I get bored. Then I get niggly. Then I get frustrated niggly and bored!

Being in grid lock and frustrated niggly and bored is the pits!

But anyway we got there and had a spiffing time: books from Unity and records from Slow Boat; a waterfront walk; JB HiFi for the new Beatles CD/DVD and Mad Men set; exotic teas; breakfast and morning tea out and about all added to the spiffingness.

So, Jade is visiting us at the moment and when we returned home she asked me if I could ever live in a city again.

In Nu Zild? No. 

I like visiting Wellington for Unity Books, Slow Boat Records and such and staying centrally is great for all that but I would get over it quickly if I actually lived there. It's too small!

No way will I ever live in Auckland again - and Christchurch/ Dunedin/ Hamilton hold zero appeal for me: either land locked or too far away.

And they are not even really big cities on a world scale. We lived in Wuxi in China with a population of over 6 million - it doesn't count as anything like a big city in China!

Nope, if it's a big city again it would have to be overseas. Of the big cities I've visited, I'd live in London, Dubai or San Francisco without any problem: vibrant places that are much closer to the action with major book stores and/or music hubs (a major bookstore is a must).

But for me now it's the bucolic scene outside my window that you see above - sheep and horses, luscious green grasses, trees and distant snow flecked hills. Looking good Hawke's Bay!

Love and peace - Wozza

Thursday, November 5, 2015

You could say she has an individual style (Jefferson Airplane)

In praise of: The London Underground

I've just finished London Under by Peter Ackroyd and it didn't put me off the London Underground at all!

Ackroyd's book is about all sorts of things that exist under London, the Tube is only one chapter but he doesn't appear to be a fan.

Unlike me. I love the Tube!

The buskers! 
The smell ( and yes I know it's made up of grotty stuff but I still love it)! 
The iconic architecture! 
The egalitarianism! 
The history! 
The constant movement! 
The anonymity! 
The quirky announcements! 
The map! 
The poems! 
The Oyster cards!

I love it all! 

Can't wait to get back to it in December.

Love and peace - Wozza

P.S. check out these great photos of the Underground from the 50's and 60's.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

We can be together, ah, you and me (Jefferson Airplane)

Sometimes the sporting gods smile on me!

What a weekend of results for my teams!

The All Blacks

It's hard for non kiwis to really understand what the concept of All Blacks means to New Zealanders. We love our team and we always want them to win in style (think Brazil in football terms).

It's our national game and even someone like me who's been besotted with Football from a very young age, even someone like me played rugby at Primary School and I was apt to say I wanted to kick a ball like Don Clarke.

A rugby mentality marries well with our stoic, humble kiwi natures. Rugby has become the embodiment of our metaphorical rugged individual persona.

We're also hard to impress! Our team has to smash the opposition (as they did today and against France recently) for us to lose our normal cool.

The difference with Aussies? Their flanker Michael Hooper effected a turnover under his posts in the first half. He flicked his beautiful hair back and then grinned to a teammate.

THAT's the difference between Aussies and Kiwis!

The ABs are a remarkable team and they are champions, always, but today they are World Cup Champions.

What of my other teams?

Arsenal F.C. also had a very good day - 3-0 away at Swansea.

Rochdale F.C. had an away draw at a tough place - Southend.

All in all a pretty great weekend!

The glow from winning the rugby World Cup is going to last a fair while.

Love, peace and big smiles - Wozza

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I'm walking on sunshine, whoa (Katrina and The waves)

In praise of: Fitbit.

Is it a watch? Is it a pedometre? Is it a heart monitor? Is it a sleep monitor? Is it a calorie counter?

Um...yes, it is!

I've flirted with the idea of one of those fitness tracking bracelet thingys for a while. 

I couldn't resist any more and during some retail therapy on the long weekend SWMBO and I both took the plunge.

Hey, I'm my father's son! He loved gadgets and he would be VERY impressed by the range of data coming my way from my Fitbit bracelet.

Once it's synced it gives a huge range of breakdowns including my fitness times, sleep activity, and general daily exercise.

I haven't set any specific targets yet but that will be fun too.

It's light, with a great robust strap and unlike my smart phone, the battery lasts for 5 days. Amazing! Oh, and I don't have to wear my fluro Nike sweatbands while it does its bits!

All that and it looks pretty cool too. 

The only downside is my lovely watch (you'll remember the watch story from the Middle East I'm sure) has gone into temporary hibernation until I can figure out how to wear both devices.

Being right handed it's natural these things go on my left hand. Sigh. Problems, problems.

I'll get right onto that dilly of a pickle and get back to you!

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Deliver us from the stormy sea (Alun Davies)

All hail Unity Books!!

One of my recent purchases there was Boris Vian's Red Grass.

I had mentioned to the guy that I was a fan of Haruki Murakami and wondered if he could recommend anything similar.

He came back with an armful of contenders. One of which was Red Grass.

Written in 1948-1949  Red Grass is similar to Murakami's work in that it's written in another language and translated (French in this case). 

It's also phantasmagorical and wonderful!!

Here's a paragraph of Vian's style for ya:
Beyond sinuous swaths of shade gleamed shiny, coloured stones, vague reflections, spots of clarity that faded away in response to the unpredictable movements of the earth. Like the light of an opal, or one of the mountain crystals that emit a golden dust when someone tries to grasp them. Like octopi. Like a sudden and savage flash of emerald. Like the tender traces of a colony of degrading beryllium. Lil walked in short little steps, thinking about the questions she would ask. Her dress obligingly, or rather flatteringly, took its cue from her legs.
So, so cool!!

Must dash - have a great book to read!

Love and peace - Wozza

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form (Bob Dylan)

I struggled to buy some Isopropyl Alcohol recently.

Went down on a coffee run from work and popped into the chemist for some contact lens cleaning stuff and...oh yeah - could I have a big bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol please?

Being the professional school teacher that I am, I was, of course, dressed in my customary shirt and tie holding a tray with two take out coffees on it.

I must have looked dodgy.

Suddenly the shop went quiet, the nice lady serving me looked at the floor and a man in a white coat approached me from his platformed area behind the counter.

BTW - I'm with Seinfeld on this. Why do they need to be higher than us? And what's with the white coat anyway? Are they performing such delicate operations up there they need to be dressed in sterile white coats?

My dad (a pharmacist) would have liked that!

Anyway - he walked purposefully towards me and sizing me up as a potential deviant, asked what I wanted the Iso..A for!

Clearly he thought my shirt and tie and coffees were an elaborate cover.

"Um - it's records", I eventually offered.

Apparently the stuff can be used for other purposes!! Who knew?

He smiled, so I managed to score three bottles of the stuff. 

Spent today cleaning up a stack of vinyl I got from a local second hand dealer (among all the dusty Val Doonican, Ivan Rebroff, James Last and Nana Mouskouri there were a few pearls that he let me have for my appraisal) and now they are playable at least. 

Jobriath (a pretty cool find) is a little crackly but hasn't stuck yet and the crackles add a layer of character. 

Thanks Mr Chemist!

Love and peace - Wozza

Friday, October 16, 2015

I'm like a bird (Nelly Furtado)

Some days the fates work in your favour.

For some time I've been meaning to get a replacement drivers' license after my Nu Zild one was lost in the U.K. a few years ago. I've been using my U.K. license since then but it expires soon so needs must.

I've been dreading it. Nu Zild bureaucracy is one thing but officious nit picking shop 'assistants' are an entire other thing. 

SWMBO and I have also been renewing our English ancestry visas and the British immigration office responsible for that show how OTT things can get: we have had to send off our NZ passports, birth certificates, answer a 77 point questionnaire and do a load of other things as well. It now takes four to six weeks to get everything, including the visas, back.

Very daunting. 

It also meant I had very little documentation to take with me to the Hastings Automobile Association (AA) to get a replacement license; just my cancelled passport and a wing and a prayer.

Imagine my delight then, when I fluked the (maybe) one sane sensible person who works for AA. She was incredibly helpful and accepted my cancelled passport.

I was in a daze - sort of waiting for the 'but...' and I think she could sense my amazement as she told me it was no point being pedantic about it. Huh?

Then we discovered my license had indeed expired in 2012 but that didn't faze her either! Eyesight check and photo followed in a blur.

I wondered if the door to the AA had opened on to Narnia for a while but she gave me a temporary license and told me I'd get the new proper one in the post soon.

I'm still pinching myself. Did I dream it? Nope - just checked - the temporary one is still in my wallet.

Maybe...just maybe...there is still hope.

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, October 12, 2015

Advice for the young at heart - soon we will be older (Tears For Fears)

I'm going to sound like a grumpy old curmudgeon during this post. I just know it!

Recently, SWMBO and I went to Wellington during our break from work. We always stay in central Wellington and wander around places like the waterfront and Cuba Mall.

I enjoyed our stay - I always do as I visit old haunts like Slow Boat Records and Unity Books.

Wandering around though, I was struck anew by how unattractive the latest trends are and how deeply unattractive smoking is ( a lot of it too - we see smokers less and less around Havelock North and Hastings).

Apart from smoking, I'm specifically talking tatts, piercings and hair colour. 

I fail to see how a ring through the middle of the nose is either a good idea, hygienic, or attractive. News flash - you just look STUPID!

Tattoos also have me mystified. I don't get it. At all.

And then there are the sad middle aged overweight women trying to be hip and home dieing their hair green or red or pink (or all of the above). Same news flash ladies!

Having said all that, visiting this alternative universe IS interesting for the buskers, the homeless panhandlers, the young university students caught up in the first flush of independence, the knowledgeable shop assistants who give a damn, the variety of ethnicities, the weird and the fact that SWMBO and I stand out like sore thumbs (BTW I literally have a sore thumb thanks to Tango - maybe that's why I'm vaguely grumpy at the moment).

Enuf. After a dose of blandness in central Hawke's Bay I'll be pumped for a return trip pretty soon I suspect.

Love and peace - Wozza