Monday, December 24, 2018

I Don't Think So!

I was thinking of applying for a card that gave me a discount on a certain product. I went along to the website to check it out and if satisfied, sign up. When I got there I was horrified.

The card was so large, it had to be carried in two hands. I would struggle to get in in the car. What's wrong with a card that fits in the wallet like all the other cards? I can't imagine it being popular, being upsized as it is. I thought to myself "I don't think so".

Behind the smile is frustration

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Making Bread

Making your own bread is the way to go. The ingredients are as natural as you want them to be and the freshness is the best. With a modern breadmaker such as the Panasonic one we have (the best IMO), the success rate is 100%. All the kneading is done for you. All you need to do is add the ingredients.

A good yeast is important. I use Tulip which may or may not be available where you live. Whatever you use, if it works for you, then fine. You can experiment with other ingredients but I would suggest do a basic loaf for a while at first. Once that is successful, then add one new ingredient at a time. That way, you can tell if things don't work out well, what the problem was.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Cape Campbell (Marlborough, NZ) Revisited

In a previous visit, I took some pics that can be seen here and also here. The reason is that a major earthquake took place since and the seabed around the cape was raised. Someone unfamiliar with the area wouldn't notice but the rocks going out and the north is now prominent.

The walk from Marfells beach is quite long.
Part way there and the lighthouse is in the distance

The stairway up to the lighthouse

Finally there

There it is in all its splendour

Looking out you can see the lifted seabed


Now to the north and again the same effect

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The 'Why' Person

Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die.

The 'Why' person needs to know why. You would think that is a basic human wish, to understand the reason behind something. In reality, there are less of them around than one would imagine. This becomes apparent if you try to exercise this desire.

I recall at school wondering in what sort of job a certain thing we were learning would be used in. I asked the teacher, then saw this quizzical look come across her face. It was soon replaced with a flustered, irritated one. The terse response was approximately along the lines of "Never mind about that, just learn it". I realised she had been trained to teach a subject of which she had no idea how it could be applied.

When dealing with people in customer service situations it surprises me how many are only trained to answer standard questions but not understand 'why'. That becomes apparent if one doesn't accept textbook answers but asks additional questions. If I'm saying or doing something, I want to know why. It reminds me of the story that can be read by clicking here.

Governments like compliant citizens who obey without question. Soldiers are not encouraged to question anything. Companies are too often found deficient when it comes to staff training. However, humans are endowed with an amazing mind and a desire to understand things. If we find we don't ask questions very often, is it because we have become too passive? How about thinking more about the meaning behind things. Become a 'Why' person!

Thursday, November 15, 2018


New Zealand whitebait are very young fish that are caught during their migration into freshwater rivers after their larval stage at sea. They are caught near the mouths of rivers using a large, hand-held net. It's a seasonal activity with strict periods allowing the more common fish to be caught while sparing the less common species.

I recall as a child watching them being netted around jetty piles on the North Shore of Auckland. presumably prior to their returning to a freshwater river. There were so many of them, they were very inexpensive. Some would catch so many, they couldn't eat them all so would dig trenches in the garden and put them in as fertiliser. This was a practice that disgusted my parents, who felt it was wasteful and disrespectful of this bountiful resource.

Today you wouldn't see whitebait in anywhere near the numbers that were back then. It is now a delicacy and commands high prices to the point that when available it is the most expensive fish on the market. Many make quite a financial bonanza out of selling them. We know someone who catches whitebait but doesn't eat many nor sells them but occasionally passes some on to a few close friends. We happen to be of that number.

My wife turned our gift this year into fritters for a nice lunch treat. Below is a picture of that. Yes, we did enjoy them.

Saturday, November 3, 2018


I went fishing with Rod and Annette.

I go nuts over cashews.

I went into a car dealer and the salesman said: "Take a SEAT".

A work colleague always had a telephone to his ear to make the boss think he was busy, but there was no one on the line. What a phoney?

I was talking to an expert about insect nests. His name was Anthony Hill. He said, "Just call me Ant".

A gymnastics instructor provided a schedule for all his pupils. When one objected, he replied it was important to be flexible.

I am very good as a lifeguard at the swimming pool. I fact, the boss says I've really made a splash.

At work, we always agree with each other. When we decided to carpool, we were in one Accord.

At a meeting, we were invited to stand if we were able. So I remained seated, although funnily everyone else seemed to have that name.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Spelling Blunders

Sometimes spell check doesn't work because the wrong word typed is a legitimate word. It can be embarrassing. Here are a few examples.

On a job application to a boss who is vertically challenged:

"Look forward to hearing from you shorty" (shortly).

Writing to someone known to grovel to important people:

"I hope your meeting with the visiting CEO goes well toady" (today).

Communicating with a well-endowed woman:

"I understand you are really busty" (busy).

To a heavy person:

"I expect a prompt reply as you are known to be fat" (fast).

A note to a man named Raymond:

"May I call you Rat?" (Ray).

Finally a message on the computer:

Monday, September 10, 2018

Akaroa, Banks Peninsula

If you're still wondering where the place is, it's near Christchurch, NZ. It's a historic town that now trades on the fact that some French settlers who were dropped off there. Much of what they built has long since gone, but the place is a relaxing, picturesque location.

We drove south from the city of Christchurch, down to Lake Ellesmere. There we saw swarms of small insects forming towers that looked like bushes that didn't have a trunk. This went on for some miles but I didn't stop to photograph them. I'm not sure what they were and if they would come out well.

We arrived in the town, which seems to be in two sections along the waterfront. We walked about, enjoying the warm sun, clear blue sky and absence of any wind. it was certainly a change from busy Riccarton Rd where we were staying.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Birds Of A Feather

They say birds of a feather (or type) gather together. Well seeing as it wasn't roosting time, I'm not sure why so many wanted to get together on the top of this tree at the same time. It was a case of standing room only. Others were hovering around but having to go away with insufficient room to land.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Games & Puzzles

I found the cryptic clues were making me say cross words.

The board game, on the other hand, was so much fun, it was monopolising my time.

I opened up a challenging jigsaw but it soon had me puzzled.

My partner in cards wasn't very good and I wanted to tell her, but I didn't have a heart to do so.

I was enjoying musical chairs but there was something wrong with the mp3 player as it kept stopping. Never quite enough chairs either.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thought For The Day

Chocolate reminds me of toilet paper..... never breaks in the right place.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis' Hanging Around 2018: Part Ten

As to where a monarch caterpillar will decide to attach can be strange and amusing at times. We had one attach to some wire (see here, lower pic) and another on a kitchen towel (see here). Well here are two more, one on a tap hose connection and the two on a garden chair.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Monarch Butterflies 2018 : Part 9 (Mating, viewer discretion)

I was walking past a swan plant and a recently hatched butterfly flew into the air. I may have disturbed it slightly. But that was nothing to the disturbance to come. It was joined by another butterfly in the sky and they fluttered together and went down to a bush. That's where they started vigourously mating. There was more wing flapping than I expected. I quickly grabbed my iPad and took a few shots before the pair departed.

I have never seen such before and I wish I had taken a video but there wasn't the time to do it. The whole process was about a minute maximum. Here are a couple of shots of the amorous couple.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Monarch Butterflies 2018 : Part 8 (Miniaturisation)

When a caterpillar emerges from it's tiny egg, it's so small you can only see it if you have amazing eyesight or a magnifying glass. Yet from the get go, it knows how to move around without falling off and has immediate dexterity. It understands the need to eat and gets on with that. It sheds two skins as it grows and at a certain point knows it has to create a latch point to hang from.

It then becomes a chrysalis, an amazing transformation in itself as it wriggles to shed the striped skin. It then settles down to hang for a while. When in this state, how does it turn into a butterfly? Quoting Scientific American:

First, the caterpillar digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. If you were to cut open a cocoon or chrysalis at just the right time, caterpillar soup would ooze out. But the contents of the pupa are not entirely an amorphous mess. Certain highly organized groups of cells known as imaginal discs survive the digestive process.

Once a caterpillar has disintegrated all of its tissues except for the imaginal discs, those discs use the protein-rich soup all around them to fuel the rapid cell division required to form the wings, antennae, legs, eyes, genitals and all the other features of an adult butterfly or moth.

If that isn't something beyond comprehension, I don't what would be. What controls the process of that soup like substance to start turning into body parts that will work in superb precision with its tiny brain is amazing. It is not taught how to use its parts to fly, navigate, find food, mate and know where to lay eggs. It's all inside the programming inside the tiny creature that emerges from the tiny egg. Here is a picture below of a young caterpillar. The creative genius behind this cannot be from a random accident.

Can you see it? Look closely at the green seed sack

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Monarch Butterflies 2018 : Part 7

They've been moved outside now as they mature.
Nice to get of kitchen bench back too

Can you spot the three?

Three more ready for take off

This one has slightly distorted wings

It has since taken off but took some time to do so
and has not gone far. Hopefully it will make it

Monarch Butterflies 2018 : Part 6

An summary of the number of Monarch butterflies that have taken wing.

12.03.18 : Two
13.03.18 : Seven (Nine)
14.03.18 : Five (Fourteen)
15.03.18 : One (Fifteen)
16.03.18 : Three (Eighteen)
17.03.18 : One (Nineteen)
20.03.18 : One (Twenty)
23.03.18 : Two (Twenty two)
27.03.18 : One (Twenty three)
30.03.18 : Four (Twenty seven)
31.03.18 : Two (Twenty nine)
01.04.18 : Eight (thirty seven)
02.04.18 : Four (forty one)
03.04.18 : Two (Forty three)
04.04.18 : Two (Forty five)
05.04.18 : Four (Forty nine)
06.04.18 : Three (Fifty two)
07.04.18 : One (Fifty three)
09.04.18 : Two (Fifty five)
11.04.18 : One (Fifty six)
12.04.18 : Two (Fifty eight)
14.04.18 : One (Fifty nine)
15.04.18 : One (Sixty)
20.04.18 : One (Sixty one)
23.04.18 : One (Sixty two)
28.04.18 : One (Sixty three)
29.04.18 : Two (Sixty five)
30.04.18 : Two (Sixty seven)
02.05.18 : One (Sixty eight)
03.05.18 : One (Sixty nine)
04.05.18 : One (Seventy)
05.05.18 : One (Seventy one)
06.05.18 : One (Seventy two)
09.05.18 : One (Seventy three)
14.05.18 : One (Seventy four)
15.05.18 : Two (Seventy six)
21.05.18 : One (Seventy seven)
24.05.18 : One (Seventy eight)
18.06.18 : One (Seventy nine)

Now below isn't the best of pictures (blurry) but it shows two caterpillars wandered off the swan plant and latched onto this nearby succulent plant.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Monarch Butterflies 2018 : Part 5

With so many predators, where we live the only way to have any survive is bring the eggs inside. This rearing process is a commitment, especially with about 90 of them at various stages. If you are the sort to lose interest or get distracted with other things in life, better not to start.

They need food fresh. They are voracious eaters which means they defecate like there's no tomorrow. That means cleaning up regularly or some sort of catchment system. That too will need emptying from time to time.

If that's all good, then if you need to help them survive, then go for it. It is so rewarding to see the monarch butterfly take off into the wide world. They will come back again and again to your garden in the future. We know as others say they never see any despite having milkweed whereas we see see them so often around breeding time.

The two in the middle are having a good chew on the stalk.
They also eat the flowers but mainly the leaves

Another shot of the diners.
Guess what the two lumps behind the top one are?
(the end with the shorter feelers)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monarch Butterflies 2018 : Part 4

The first two butterflies have arrived. Many more will follow soon but the first ones are always special. Two girls near where I live have named them bumble and stripes.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Monarch Butterflies 2018 : Part 3

The monarch butterfly menagerie is going well, with a dozen now in the chrysalis stage and a few dozen more as caterpillars. One of the caterpillars wandered off from the plants and attached itself to a nearby towel.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Pessimist

The pessimist sees the bad in everything and while its understandable at times, if such feelings persist then the attitude in itself becomes a problem. So how does such a person think?

Things are going well right now? Yeah, well this is just the calm before the next big storm.

Have you ever been at a party with a drink in your hand and no one to talk to? Well, it happens to me all the time.

If we look after our health, we can then look forward to being old, longer.

Some people hate Monday, but I don't know why it's any worse to any other day.

They say money talks. I know mine does. It says "Good-bye".

We need the good times to remind us how terrible the bad times really are.

I hate spring because it reminds me of the hot summer to follow. A can't stand autumn because I know winter will soon be here.

My glass would only be half full no doubt because I would have spilled the other half down the front of my new shirt. I can see it now.

Why am I the one to sit on the park bench and right on a piece of freshly chewed gum?

I have got to have a 'plan b' because 'plan a' will never work. Mind you, 'plan b' probably won't work either.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Why I Don't Live In Norway

When my parents had decided to emigrate from the UK, one option was Canada because dad had a brother who had already gone there with his wife. My mother said if she was going anywhere, it had to be a to a warmer climate than Britain. No flies on mum.....until we got to Australia.

Anyway, I have a friend who lives in Norway. She sent these pictures to show me what it is like in winter time. I don't like hot weather but then I'll take that over freezing any day.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Dry Cleaning Business Gone

When a dry cleaning business suffers a fire, there are so many people affected. It will have clothing, drapes, bedding and even wedding dresses perhaps that are affected. So many issues to iron out for a multitude of persons. Ironically the shop next door was named 'Blackmore'. It certainly lived up to its name. The dry cleaning business owner will just put it behind them, press on and rebuild.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Monarch Butterflies 2018 : Part 2

The second stage of the process is the chrysalis stage. It starts by the little critter attaching to a stork or leaf and curling up. In a couple of days it then splits out of its skin and a chrysalis case is already around it. It is initially slightly elongated but soon compacts to the shape it will remain.

Below there are some already in the chrysalis stage and others waiting to go. By clicking on the word
"Butterflies' to your right, there are other years you can follow, with photos and even videos.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Monarch Butterflies 2018 : Part 1

This is our third year of caring for monarch butterflies. The previous two years we have released about 20 butterflies per year. The problem was predators such as wasps and ants have been eating the eggs and small caterpillars. So in 2018, we have been taking eggs off the plants and bringing them inside to hatch and mature.

So far we have over 30 eggs and caterpillars on the go and with more of the season to come, who knows what the number will reach? They require replacement of the leaves regularly, which isn't a problem for us with several plants to take cuttings from. The other thing it they eat like mad and of course that creates loads of droppings.

We get around that by putting the cuttings in a bottle with water, then placing the bottle in a larger container to catch their waste product. As we have the critters on the kitchen bench, its ideal to contain the little balls as they fall.

Below are four pictures. First an old butterfly comes to lay eggs. This one looked worn out but the others are in good condition. Second is an overview of our menagerie, the third the larger caterpillars and finally the newer arrivals. Earlier years can be looked at by clicking on 'Butterflies' on the labels to the right. We will keep you posted on how things develop.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Bikes Across The River

Sometimes the only way across a river is carrying a bike. It's nice when rocks have been positioned to assist. No wet feet. My wife's bike...

...then back for mine.