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