Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lean sideways on the wind, and if it bears your weight, you are a daughter of the Dawn (Mervyn Peake)

Lounge to Brynderwyns
Nature Watch Part 2: On the inside out.

Roch-dene in a winter repose. I love it here. Looking out.

ART room looking north


 Love and peace - Wozza

Sidebar - week 24, book 28 was Unknown (Didier Van Cauwelaert). Yes, the book that inspired the movie starring the great Liam Neeson and the very wonderful January Jones. Actually the film only uses the opening premise (car accident, amnesia) and then creates its own fiction. The book is vastly different and I wasn't impressed with either the plot, character development, or writing. Sorry Didier.

Week 24, book 29 is currently wowing me completely though - Gun Machine (Warren Ellis). More on this next time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Storm's coming up Ani (Jira)

View south-west towards Maungaturoto
The much anticipated return of nature watch

Part 1 - Outside now: Roch-dene has been a little battered of late by rain, wind and frosts.

The ground is boggy and the horses are unamused by puddles, especially Grace (they are definitely enjoying the new yards as their overnight stay out of the water).

But the sun peeked through recently for a few days, and the blossom outside the ART room was another hopeful sign that winter is in retreat.

Sunset on the Brynderwyns from the front porch

Beetlebaum and Gracie - nice and dry

A new hope
Love and peace - Wozza

Sidebar: Week 23 book 27 Let's Go Crazy - Prince and the making of Purple Rain (Alan Light). 

To celebrate, I rewatched the film again and, apart from one or two laugh out loud bits, both the film and the music stands up pretty damn well after 30 plus years. 

At any rate, it's way better than Under The Cherry Moon which is absolute drivel!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

They danced a tango up and down until the yellow dwarf went brown (Mervyn Peake)

Rereading books is not really a thing for me. I can only think of one that I've read three times - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, as my readers already know.

Many years ago, when we left NZ to live in England for a spell, I sold a lot of stuff - books, records, CDs. From time to time I have regrets about that - when I go to find an album I know I own, DOH! or a book that should be on my shelves, DOH!!

The Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake was something I read back in the late seventies for pleasure, and then for study at Auckland University.

This week I read his A Book Of Nonsense (week 22 book 24) and had an urge to reread Titus Groan, and Gormenghast (and to complete the set Titus Alone - maybe I'd get the gist of the third book now).

I have a feeling that in this post-truth-Trump-Brexit world the coiled malevolence of the characters would make a lot of sense right now.

The lead up to week 22 was taken up by book 25 - Maestra (L.S. Hinton) - a potboiler about art swindles and femme fatales; appropriately bought cheap from the Warehouse. I'd started, so I had to finish.

Now tackling Philip Roth's The Humbling (book 26). Jacket says it's a 'thoughtful meditation about life and increasingly death'. Should be fun.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The winner takes it all (ABBA)

Draws. The British and Irish Lions and All Blacks fought out a series draw after the third test ended up at 15-15.

The drama of sport? It felt more like a cosmic joke. 

A tantalising win for the AB's seemed on offer until the bizarre French referee ended the game in a complete anti-climax.

Leaving aside the cowardly decision by the ref to change his mind after another annoying check with the video ref (too many refs spoiling the game), the hollow feeling we all felt because of the result was interesting.

Americans can't stand a drew. Someone has to win.

Other sports can't stand a draw. Someone has to win.

So we have overtime (NBA/ NFL/NHL/MLB), or a tie-break (tennis), or a penalty shoot out (football/ hockey), or something else entirely to break the deadlock.

Why? Because we need someone to win, to dominate, to provide bragging rights, to satisfy some deep need/craving we have.

On Saturday night Steve Hansen trotted out the 'kissing your sister' analogy again - I really don't like that tired joke. Something vaguely off about the hint of incest involved.

Instead, I do love the genius opening to Woody Allen's Stardust Memories movie (which turns out to be a movie within a movie by Sandy Bates of course):

That's the feeling, precisely, of a draw. Somewhere - there's another train, a better existence, a win, that we gaze at longingly, but it's out of reach - impossibly on a parallel track. We long for it, and we try for it anyway, but without success.

In the end Lions and AB fans were all together wandering aimlessly around a rubbish dump while gulls circled in the sky.

Love and peace - WNP

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

If there's a rock show at The Concertgebow...we'll be there...Oo Yeah (Wings)

December 16!! Oo Yeah! SWMBO and I'll be there!!

Maybe (whisper it) the final ever opportunity to see Macca in the flesh so, you know, it has to be done, no matter what the cost, no matter what the sacrifice.

Oo Yeah!!

Love and peace and two thumbs up - Warren Ono Purdy

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ketchup soup and puree, don't get left behind (Paul McCartney)

Hats off to the Minister of Defence (and his gorgeous daughter) this past week!

Brian Smith (a.k.a. Smithy, a.k.a. Minister of Defence, a.k.a. the father-in-law) has spent the last two weeks hunched over my 1953 Ferguson tractor repairing and restoring it to life. 

His beautiful delectable sexy eldest daughter (a.k.a. SWMBO, a.k.a. Light of My Life) has been assisting, while I have been hunkered down at school, bringing home the bacon (and beer).

Lawdy mama! He was successful. The patient lived!

In other news (a.k.a. random thoughts): Paul McCartney tickets go on sale this week; August and the Jerry Seinfeld show got a month closer; July means Keegan takes off for China; SWMBO offered a new job in SCBU; Jade and William are done with being star witnesses; SWMBO's new glasses are cool; loving Gotham season 2 on Netflix - amazing production values...

...tomorrow is the weekend and I get to hang out in Abbey Road Three again and, weather permitting, harrow the paddocks on my rebuilt 1953 Ferguson tractor.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering and it's all over much too soon (Woody Allen)

Hope you're keeping up with the 50 books in 52 weeks countdown. You're not! For shame.

We're up to Week 20 and Books 21: Memories Dreams and Reflections (Marianne Faithfull) and 22 The Wishbones (Tom Perrottahave come and gone. 

I especially enjoyed Marianne's collection of thoughts, much as I did her first autobiographical effort. Mick Jagger still looms large over her memories and that's cool.

The Perrotta novel was taken a punt upon because the back cover said - The American Nick Hornby. Which turned out to mean he was working the same sort of subject matter as High Fidelity, rather than a reflection of Nick's style.

I'm onto number 23 this week: ...but we need the eggs (Diane Jacobs). It's subtitled 'The Magic of Woody Allen'. Published in 1982, it's a look at Woody Allen's films up to and including my favourite - Stardust Memories and before the Mia Farrow person life tabloid meltdown/train wreck.

SWMBO hates Woody but I find his work hilarious and fascinating. Reading about him can be a chore but I love being reminded of these classic movies.

Love and peace - WNP

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Got to try to find a way (Led Zeppelin)

Literally, a rose between two Purdys - Graham Purdy, right.
Four things my dad never told me

#1 Dad never told me to be loyal

Loyalty is part of my DNA. My parents displayed loyalty on a daily basis. My mum and dad were super tight. My dad stayed with the one company for all the years of his working life after I was born. He retired early from Burroughs Wellcome but not before going through all sorts of moves over under sideways down (to quote The Yardbirds). He remained loyal to them, throughout it all.

#2 Dad never told me to be honest

In June of 1975, when I was 16, I stole something that didn't belong to me. There was no 'talking to', he made me keep the item (I still have it) and I have not stolen anything since. I felt deeply ashamed that I'd let myself and the most honest man alive down. I won't ever forget that feeling.

#3 Dad never told me that I should honour my mother

Growing up, I couldn't connect with my dad's mother and I told him in an immature way that I hated having to go to see her every Saturday morning with him. He simply let me know that it was his mother. He didn't tell me that I should also honour her but I could tell by his example that I should. 

#4 Dad never told me to be a stickler

Values are tricky. They peel off your parents and worm their way into your psyche. My dad was the quiet, steady sort and his values found their way into my core in many ways. I can't help but be a stickler.

(This post was inspired by Dan Rockwell's post celebrating Fathers' Day in UK and US - thanks for the call Samantha!)

Love and peace (miss you dad) - Warren

Thursday, June 15, 2017

There's been a hoot-owl howling by my window now for six nights in a row (Michael Murphey)

I spent a week at Fieldays one day this week and realised a few things:
  • I still HATE the way they join field and days to make the non-sensical 'Fieldays'.
  • Wozza's world and Fielday's world don't normally intersect - except in this case - when supervising my Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) students at their stall in the Innovation Tent.
  • Farmers (bless 'em) are a special breed - who knew that there could be so many variations and industrial mechanisms for pumping water?
  • Farmers like gadgets - the bigger the better. Forget 'like', love.
  • Aucklanders (I'm a born and bred but can't/won't live there no more) are insane to put up with that traffic every day. Took me five hours each way. 
  • Ole Timey, real Nu Zild was on show big time - Swanndris, gumboots, floppy hats or baseball caps, beards and stubble (I was going to go for the yucks and say, 'and that's just the women' but that would be a cheap shot and I'm better than that).
  • The cringe factor still exists - Rural Bachelor of the Year contest anyone?
  • Nestled as it is in the countryside near Hamilton, Mystery Creek is well named and well placed for Fieldays.
  • This was my first, and last, visit.
Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I can tell you been hurt by that look on your face (The Osmonds)

Been thinking about that slightly embarrassed guilty feeling I had when buying the Donny Osmond autobiography.

I would say, we all have those kinds of feelings from time to time. But who knows, could just be me!

These are not guilty pleasures, more guilty non-pleasures: the kind of items  avoided because of their severe lack of the cool cachet, the kind of things my mates back in the seventies and eighties would have riffed on mercilessly if I'd have expressed interest, the kinds of things I would have dissed them big time for too. 

They are the kinds of things I won't buy, or if I ever do I want to carry them out in a brown paper bag.

They are not to be confused with stuff that I just hate and would never buy - top of the list, James Last style muzak springs to mind. 

Instead, people like Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond and groups like The Osmonds, and Abba are examples. 

Mind you, some of them have turned into guilty pleasures since then. Things like the deeply uncool The Carpenters or The Partridge Family.

It's a cruel (stoopid) world.


SWMBO's response to me reading the Donny Osmond book was interesting: why on earth are you reading that?? Donny Osmond?? He's horrible.

I think he'd be the first to say he's not perfect, the book certainly details much inner soul searching about his public persona (the one SWMBO was reacting to), and even his self deprecating humour gets a bit strained throughout the run down of his successes and failures.

Hey - he's a human being and he allows us to see glimpses behind the mask in the book. Kudos for that Donny!

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, June 5, 2017

The queen of the scene ( Blue Blood)

Jade (staying this weekend with Keegan) is not a fan of my book run down but I need to track my goal for the year (50 books in 52 weeks 'member). Sorry Jade. It's gotta be done - it's a large part of my day to day.

So, yeah - week, um, 17 and Book 19: Eight Days A Week (Graham Hutchins) and Book 20: Life Is Just What You Make It  (Donny Osmond) mean I remain on schedule.

The Hutchins book supposedly traces the Beatles 1964 visit to Nu Zild but that's only a fraction of the book. All of it is really poorly written and largely made up of various talking heads who were there or there abouts. Dull!

The Donny Osmond autobiography is actually pretty good. 

I grew up with the Osmonds on TV, both as guests on Mr Moon River's variety show or The Donny And Marie Show (although I've never owned any of their records). 

Donny is only two months older than me (we both turn 60 this year) and when I picked up the book in The Piggery, I became instantly interested in reading things from his point of view.

I did feel a little self-conscious buying it. I don't know why. Well, I kinda know why. I still have that vague snobby feeling (same snobby feeling that means I refuse to buy an ABBA record) but really, not many people remember much about The Osmonds these days so it was all a little silly feeling like that, I guess.

Love and peace - Wozza

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ain't too hard for me to jam (Michael Jackson)

Week 16 and Book 18: Slam (Nick Hornby) joins the party.

It's a return to About A Boy territory and style for Nick with Slam. Part of the haul from The Piggery a few weeks ago, I have avoided this book for years.

The skateboard schtick doesn't spin my wheels but hey, this is the guy who gave us Fever Pitch. So, I'll bite.

Nick can write, so I'm quietly enjoying the book. The teenage angst and the teenage pregnancy themes are convincing and well handled but...for me, it's not as accessible as About A Boy, and doesn't trouble Fever Pitch at the toppermost of the poppermost of Nick's back catalogue.

Fever Pitch. Now THERE'S a book!

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Let the Midnight Special shine it's ever lovin' light on me (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

A week for finishing things 1 - F.A. CUP
Phew - finally a reason to celebrate this season (you'll have certainly noticed the dearth of Arsenal related posts). The best whole game I've watched for a long while and we showed great resolve to come back from Costa's equiliser I thought. 

In reality we missed a sackful of chances - shoulda been at least 3 nil at half time, but in the end we hit Chelski on a bad day and WE WON!! Wahoo!!

A week for finishing things 2 - Habibi 2 is done - well apart from a supporting post for the middle of the roof and some cosmetic adjustments that is. 

Put it thus: it's my last photo in the maker series that has graced these very posts for the last two months.

What is this thing about posting photos of the improvements we make to our dwellings? I've noticed on Facebook that this happens.

It's blood sweat and tears and a celebration, I guess. I'm reasonably happy with Habibi 2, given that I am a pretty ham fisted builder.

You be the judge. Here's a recap.

...and here's Grace and Beetle Bomb's view:

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's build a house where we can stay, add a new bit everyday (The Housemartins)

Hey team - wotcha!

Feeling a tad cream crackered today - the SWMBO horse yards (a.k.a. Habibi 2) are nearing completion. It seems I've been working on them FOREVER but in reality only three weekends and a disrupted week of the last holidays.

The roof is the problematic part - the actual yards are a breeze (being my third edition) - as I'm not a builder. ANNOYINGLY, I make mistakes because I'm not a builder.

Plus everything takes me longer BECAUSE I'M NOT A BUILDER!!!!

The piecemeal building programme has driven/is driving me nuts. All my tools and all the materials have be put away after each day's use.

Last night I cam home from school, spent an hour putting up the anti-penultimate sheet of roofing iron, before darkness descended on me. GGGRRRRRRRR.

Still, the end is in sight - a couple more nights and a weekend to hang the gates should do it.

Okay - rant over - time to luxuriate in my favourite version of the Housemartin classic by the most wonderful Zuni.

Love and peace - Wozza

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won (Shakespeare)

At the moment, I'm really enjoying Thomas Oppong's writing via

A recent post focused on starting the day with purpose.
Many successful people spend the first hours of each day alone, to reflect, think, meditate, create or read. Find something that motivates you and look forward to it every morning. 
Time management starts right from the minute you wake up from bed. You are most active and productive in the morning, hence the need to do everything in your power to make the first few hours count.
Leaving aside the 'successful people' thing, my first few daylight hours have remained habitual for the last 20 or so years.

Blame my children for that. I needed to carve out some Wozza time before the hurlyburly of the day began. And when I say hurlyburly I mean kids' hubbubrazzledazzlenoiserush.

This has evolved but the basics remain the same. Waking around 5am, I start with a shave and deoderising regime (I hope that's not too much detail), then move to breakfast.

For some years I would turn on the TV and tune into Sky News from the UK but these days I read whatever book or Mojo magazine is the current one before heading to the computer and doing my daily blogpost (this one was today's).

More ablutions follow before dressing for work if it's Monday to Friday, waking SWMBO to say goodbye, and pootling off to work in the Purdmobile (a.k.a. Rapid Roy).

I arrive at school around 6.45 and start the day by meeting with Trevor, our groundsman/caretaker/handyman.

By the time we've finished more people arrive and then it's full on until around 4pm - when the staff head off home and I can hunker down to do some work for an hour or so.

Full on. So that's why I need Wozza time from 5am until 6.30am.

And Thomas is right - I look forward to it every morning.

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I should have listened, baby, to my second mind (Led Zeppelin)

A few more books to document from week 14:

Book 14: The Future Of Learning (Mark Treadwell) Check out my Baggy Trousers post for this one.

Book 15: Meditation (Franz Kafka)

Book 16: I'm With The Band (Pamela Des Barres)

Book 17: What The Buddha Taught (Walpola Rahula)

I picked Meditation up from The Piggery recently. It's a nifty little volume combining Kafka's seemingly random musings/meditations with some great photos from the late nineteenth century.

Here is his meditation on Resolutions:

To lift yourself out of a miserable mood, even if you have to do it by strength of will, should be easy. I force myself out of my chair, stride around the table, exercise my head and neck, make my eyes sparkle, tighten the muscles around them. Defy my own feelings, welcome A. enthusiastically supposing he comes to see me, amiably tolerate B. in my room, swallow all that is said at C.'s, whatever pain and trouble it may cost me, in long draughts.
Yet even if I manage that, one single slip, and a slip cannot be avoided, will stop the whole process, easy and painful alike, and I will have to shrink back into my own circle again. 
So perhaps the best resource is to meet everything passively, to make yourself an inert mass, and, if you feel that you are being carried away, not to let yourself be lured into taking a single unnecessary step, to stare at others with the eyes of an animal, to feel no compunction, in short, with your own hand to throttle down whatever ghostly life remains in you, that is, to enlarge the final peace of the graveyard and let nothing survive save that.
A characteristic movement in such a condition is to run your little finger along your eyebrows.
Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, May 8, 2017

I'm tipping over backwards, I'm so ambitious (Talking Heads)

Recently, I added this link to my Jewels For The Thirsty blog - the suggestion being to read books you normally wouldn't.
Here’s a reading challenge: Pick up a book you’re pretty sure you won’t like — the style is wrong, the taste not your own, the author bio unappealing. You might even take it one step further. Pick up a book you think you will hate, of a genre you’ve dismissed since high school, written by an author you’re inclined to avoid. Now read it to the last bitter page.
But what exactly in this bizarro world would be a book that I would normally hate?

As I'll usually give anything a go, I'm struggling to think of something. 

What would you choose?

First thing I tried to do in a recent visit to The Piggery (quality second hand book shop in Whangarei) was to think of a genre that I haven't tried. I wandered around for about an hour, ended up with an armful of books I wanted to read, but nothing that was a reading challenge as outlined above.

I'm up for a challenge, so, after some further musing, and after the current pile, I'll give it another go next time I make it in to the vast urban metropolis of Whangarei.

Love and peace - Wozza 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

That weren't no D.J. that was hazy cosmic jive (David Bowie)

I've always been fascinated by astronauts and their journeys to the moon. I'm not sure, but I think it started with The Jetsons. I could really relate to Elroy and loved all those speedy rocket cars. 

The Jetsons with Astro.
The word 'astronaut' is so evocative too. My mind would freefall.

Anyway, the fascination culminated in 1969 when my dad tuned in to the Apollo 11 landing on the moon via radio (NZBC wasn't up to the bizness of broadcasting it live back then) and we listened in wide eyed fashion.

Now this - a film about Apollo 17 - the last time we visited the moon, popped up on one of my Walrus Gumboot news feeds.

It's a great little film - take a look...

The Last Steps | A Really Great Big Story from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

(Seth Godin takes over: 

And then we got bored!
Six missions after Apollo 11 amazed the world by going to the moon, Apollo 17 was the last trip.
It fell off the cultural radar. Flying to the moon, driving around and getting back safely wasn't interesting enough, apparently.
And the miracle of the internet, which connects billions of people, instantly, is something we all take for granted after less than a generation.
Is it any wonder that your magnificent Facebook post or clever tweet isn't racking up ever more likes?)

I like Seth. He makes sense and he writes succinct pithy posts. They overflow with pith!

Sadly we had to say goodbye to Mo and Bottle - actually, on the same day I posted that last post. His real owner turned up - ironically, our lovely neighbour. She thought they'd flown away and joined a flock of Lorikeets.

Then she hear them squawking at our place.

Love and peace - Wozza 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

I have no patience for lactose, and I won't stand for it (Jerry Seinfeld)

Bottle (the male - shaped like a..well, bottle) and Mo

Two new Purdy family members to introduce during this post - Mo (really Maureen but shortened to Mo - like the first Mrs Ringo Starr - Maureen Starkey) and Bottle.

These beautiful Lorikeets decided to adopt us (we checked everywhere - nobody reported them lost) by accepting SWMBO's hospitality (cheap dates - it only took a bit of chat - they repeat phrases they've heard, and some apple).

We grabbed an aviary off TradeMe and hey bingo - Mo and Bottles are happily eating their daily fruit and thanking their lucky stars!

Projects are usually a big part of my school holidays and these ones conformed to the pattern.

Weather and various interruptions (our over-night trips to Russell and Auckland) meant that the horse yards are an on-going proposal. 

The digger guy didn't get to our place until the end of the first week - then that process took three days - digging out the top soil, putting loads of lime stone down as a base and then loads of quarry dust on top.

After that I got onto concreting in the posts with the help of the family heirloom. It looks a tad weird because, in a cunning plan - put a tail on it/ call it a weasel, the posts supporting the roof are sloping down to join the garage roof's gutter system (that in turn feeds the water tank). Cunning, right?

Next steps involve the framing for the roof, putting up the iron, and rails for the two yards. For that I'll need some fine weather and some time!

While waiting for the digger guy, we decided to get stuck into the kitchen redecoration - the before and after shots indicate the replacement of all the Formica surfaces and eradication of all the varnished wood.

Before - dark, heavy varnish...


Apart from all that we managed to catch up with old friends and three of the brood during the break: Adam and Ashleigh (we hadn't seen them for two years), Keegan, Jade and William. We saw Fanfa last Christmas, so we feel reasonably caught up!

And, now - so are you!!

Love and peace - Wozza

Monday, April 24, 2017

Love like lightning, shaking till it moans (Paul Simon)

Week 11 - Book 12: The Hottest State (Ethan Hawke) 
Yes - that Ethan Hawke.

Another book from the recent grab at The Piggery in Whangarei. 

Hawke's name attracted me. I enjoyed Boyhood and this book - fiction but the protagonist is a conflicted young male actor, made me think of Hawke's character of the dad in that film.

It traces the arc of a love affair - not really my favourite thing unless done by a master like William Goldman. Although patchy, it's generally well written and who hasn't had a first doomed love affair like the one Hawke describes between William and Sarah.

Readers should be able to identify with the intensity of the feelings exposed and the nutty things William does. I know I did!

My lost copy!
Week 11 - Book 13: Mother Tongue (Bill Bryson) 
I left a copy of this on a Thai Airways flight about thirteen years ago. I forgot to retrieve it from the seat pouch! Doh!

I hadn't finished it and I was very much put out.

I had been enjoying it immensely, and was delighted to find a second hand copy in a Keri Keri bookshop on the weekend, during our 33rd wedding anniversary road trip.

The new one!
Bill is funny, knowledgeable, erudite and entertaining. 'Nuff said.

I easily picked up from where I left off thirteen years ago. It's warmly recommended, but as an English teacher, I would say that!

Here's an example of the juicy stuff waiting for you:

"To be fair, English is full of booby traps for the unwary foreigner. Any language where the unassuming word fly signifies an annoying insect, a means of travel, and a critical part of a gentleman’s apparel is clearly asking to be mangled.”

It's a jolly good book.

Love and peace - Wozza