Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stonehenge 1979

There are more questions than answers about Stonehenge, situated on the plains just north of the cathedral city of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. It’s unknown how people moved the huge stones there as the chalky plain was not the source. Obviously these ancient people were smart, industrious and determined.

It is very old but how much we don't know. Scientists bandy figures around but reality is we can only guess. It's reason for existence is even unknown, although it seems to have had spiritual significance. If we could talk to the builders or those who lived in the area at the time we could sort out the mystery.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Always Get A Second Opinion

Whilst in China, an American man is very promiscuous and does not use a condom the entire time he is there. A week after arriving back in the States, he wakes one morning to find his private area covered with bright green and purple spots. Horrified, he immediately goes to see a doctor. The doctor, never having seen anything like this before, orders some tests and tells the man to return in two days for the results.

The man returns a couple of days later and the doctor says, "I've got bad news for you, you've contracted Mongolian VD. It's very rare and almost unheard of here in the US, we know very little about it."

The man looks a little perplexed and says "Well, give me a shot or something and fix me up, Doc."

The doctor answers, "I'm sorry, there's no known cure. We're going to have to amputate."

The man screams in horror, "Absolutely not! I want a second opinion!"

The doctor replies, "Well, it's your choice. Go ahead, if you want, but surgery is your only option."

The next day, the man seeks out a Chinese doctor, figuring that he'll know more about the disease. The Chinese doctor does the examination and proclaims, "Ah, yes, Mongolian VD. Vewy ware disease."

The guy says to the doctor, "Yeah, yeah, I already know that, but what can we do? My American doctor wants to cut it off!"

The Chinese doctor shakes his head and laughs. "Stupid American docttah, always want opawate. Make more money dat way.... No need amputate!"

"Oh, thank you!" the man exclaims.

"Yes," says the Chinese doctor, "Wait two week....Fall off by itself !"

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Nature Programmes

I used to enjoy watching nature programmes. They were produced with the understanding that children would be watching and any gruesome events they may have filmed ended up on the editing room floor. I agreed with that, as watching lovely animals being killed isn't what I have ever wanted to watch.

Now it seems a change has taken place. If I turn to a channel that features wildlife, it invariably involves predators making a kill. I am sure apologists for such will say that it is reality. It happens so why shield people and even young children from reality?

The same logic would dictate that if a documentary is made about a city, then it must include detailed footage of all that goes on. The red light district and seedy sex industry, closing time at late night bars, graphic images of the results of car accidents and even some information about extortion and the criminal world that operates in these cities. After all, we don't want to shield even the young from the reality of what city life is, do we?

The fact is some human behaviour isn't suitable viewing as indeed is some of the animal variety. The increase in tolerance to things that were once deemed unpleasant but now accepted or even enjoyed shows deteriorating standards in virtually all areas of humanity. I for one don't watch the animal shows anymore.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


A peak in the Lauterbrunnen Valley is named Schilthorn. It was made more famous in the the 007 classic, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ which was filmed here. The cableway from Stechelberg takes you to the peak of the Schilthorn (2970 m).

Climbing up to Schilthorn from Mürren

Arriving at the Schilthorn viewing area

I notice a shady character lurking. Looking for 007 perhaps

Back to the valley. A long way down

Friday, September 18, 2015


In the the Lauterbrunnen Valley is Mürren, small village only accessible by cable car. It is typically quaint and you expect Heidi to come around the corner of a chalet saying Grüezi. At it turned out the place was quiet and we encountered no one that day.

At the end of summer, the herds come down to lower land and put into shelters.
This is done in an elaborate way as seen here, in a procession.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


The Trümmelbachfälle is Europe's largest subterranean water falls and are located in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. It carries melted water from the Jungfrau down to the valley. As much as 20,000 litres of water per second cascades down. These pictures were taken some time ago when I visited.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Wisdom For The Nuns

In a convent, the 98-year-old Mother Superior lay dying. The Nuns gathered around her bed trying to make her last journey comfortable. They tried giving her warm milk to drink but she refused it. One of the nuns took the glass back to the kitchen. Then, remembering a bottle of whisky, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk.

Back at Mother Superior's bed, they held the glass of warm milk to her lips. The frail Nun drank a little, then a little more and before they knew it, she had finished the whole glass down to the last drop. As her eyes brightened, the nuns thought it would be a good opportunity to have one last talk with their spiritual leader.

"Mother," the nuns asked earnestly, "Please give us some of your wisdom before you leave us"

She raised herself up in bed on one elbow, looked at them and said: "DON'T SELL THAT COW!!"

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Selfish Corporate World

The corporate would like you to thing the customer is king. Don't believe it. The dollar is king, oh and pleasing the shareholders. An example? Oh, I'll give you one, albeit subtle.

I just rang a large bank in New Zealand to ask when my new credit cars was coming, as the existing one is nearly expired. I was asked by a preprogrammed voice to put in a number off the card. Then my date of birth, then street name I lived in etc. Then I was asked what the query was about, followed by other questions to refine my reason for the call. I was finally put on hold to wait for an operator.

Eventually a live human arrived on the line and I asked my question, which was resolved in about 15 seconds. I was asked if that was all? Well, no. I understand that the person on the line doesn't set company policy so in a very kindly voice I continued.

You can't blame her. She just works there.
"May I put a suggestion forward?"

"Of course" she assured.

"All I came for was to ask a simple question that took seconds to resolve. To get here I was subjected to a series of questions that were unnecessary for this call. I am sure some callers have to be confirmed but many not. Why not ask the security questions only when required? It seems to me your company values its staff's time much more than it does its customer's time. Could you please pass that observation on?"

"Yes, certainly sir".

I thanked her and hung up. I though my 15 second enquiry cost me several minutes and cost its staff member just 15 seconds. By putting me through hoops 'just in case', it saved staff time. The assistant can then process more calls per day, which means less staff required and reduced cost. That saving then goes to the shareholders dividend.

The price? Thousands of customers who spend far more of their precious time than needed to increase corporate profit. I can understand profit drives capitalism. Just don't pretend that I or my time is important to you. The bottom line is all that counts is profit and pretending I am important. I know its a selfish world and no one does selfish that better than the corporate world where money and greed is king. Just saying.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Toilet Door

Sleeve or tissue. Why dirty your sleeve?
In New Zealand, every public toilet pushes inwards and when exiting the facility, a handle is provided to pull the door toward you. Can you see where I am going with this? Hygiene. I always wash and dry my hands well but as I approach the door to leave, I look at the handle and think of previous users that didn't bother to clean their hands.

One could argue that a door opening out into a corridor could bump people walking past although most I see have an alcove around it. The fact is that either way the door opens it could bang into someone. Opening any door should be done with the realisation that another person is possibly about to enter. If a person collapses in a toilet room in your house and lands against the door, an outward opening door would allow access. It may be impossible to get to them otherwise.

Occasionally toilets do provide a devise to open the door with your foot. One has recently been installed for a ladies toilet in one place in our town but the male toilet didn't get one. Wow, what happened to PC? Anyway, another option would be to provide a receptacle for paper if one used a sheet of it to open the door that way. I really think it needs addressing.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Some Home Craft

My wife enjoys making things and knitting or crocheting is something she likes doing. Some of it is around the house somewhere, other items end up with friends or donated to charities for raising funds. Here are three items recently made.

A blanket for a child
A small wrap for a baby
Two more baby wraps

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Kilt

When I was a lad (preschool age), we were living in Australia. I don't remember this incident but my mother told me and thought it was funny.

One of the neighbours had emigrated from Scotland to their new land and their wee lad was given a kilt to wear. He obviously realised he was dressed differently to everyone else, which makes you wonder why parents would do that to a child. Anyway, my mother was near the kitchen window and heard this conversation.

"Would yer like meh kilt Ray?"

"No I don't"

"But yeh would look so good in it Ray"

"I don't want it. What would I want it for?"

"But Ray..."

He continued trying to give his precious kilt to me, but to no avail. Even at that age, I could tell it wasn't a fashion statement I wanted any involvement in. My mother laughed in the house as she heard the conversation continue, as he keenly sought to offload the 'precious' item.

I don't know why he had to wear it and he must have expressed that opinion to his parents. Making your children stand out as different in such a way isn't a good thing. He was clearly embarrassed. Thankfully even at that age, I had enough fashion sense to know what not to wear.