Thursday, 31 May 2012

Is this a Message from my New Wife?



Authors in Schools

Junior Authors at Ngatea School

Every Wednesday during school terms Peter Blakeborough has a lunch time appointment with the members of the Ngatea Primary School Writers Club in the Waikato region of New Zealand.
From Left to Right: Gabrielle Leonard-Hansby aged 11, Sheridan Morighan  aged 12,
Charlie O'Neill aged 6 and Kaylor Hood aged 9. Three other members were not present.
The students who range in age from six to twelve may be members of the world’s youngest budding author group. The group first met on 21st March 2012, as a joint venture between the school and the Hauraki Plains Probus Club, and already their writing and story-telling skills have improved. Peter expects that some will become published authors before they leave school.
Each student has his or her own laptop computer and they use Google Documents to share their stories with other members and the group leader for comments and help.
Peter would like other authors to start similar writing clubs in other schools.

Blogger Blakeborough Married

Surprise Wedding Bells at Country Music

Hauraki Country Music Club members and members of the public attending a country music day in Ngatea, New Zealand, recently were in for a surprise when two members, Winifred Webb and Peter Blakeborough were married on the stage part way through the program. Members were expecting to hear country music entertainer Graeme McCardle. 
Winifred Webb in the audience
 before getting hitched
Peter Blakeborough as MC
early in the program 
Invited wedding guests were seated in a separate reserved area in case someone let slip that something special was about to happen. Guest artist, Graeme McCardle from Helensville, had completed his first three numbers when the curtains were drawn and a solo artist played in front of the curtain while the stage was quickly reset.

The abandoned bride
The groom walking onto the stage at gunpoint
The secret was so well kept that when the ceremony got under way some members thought it was just an act. It certainly looked like an act when the bride, dressed in country attire, stood alone and forlorn on the stage. The groom had failed to show up and had to be rounded up by a gun toting Sheriff Geoffrey. Eventually, Peter walked onto the stage with his arms raised followed by the sheriff and agreed to go through with the marriage.

Marriage celebrant, John Sanford, had a gun pulled on him (a smaller gun than the sheriff’s) just to make sure that he conducted the ceremony to the groom’s satisfaction. The vows and rings were exchanged and the register signed in short order and the bride and groom’s cowboy hats fell to the floor when they kissed.

Peter then sang, tongue in cheek, Put Another Log on the Fire backed by Ian Colhoun on the keyboard and Graeme McCardle on the guitar, while Win made suitable expressions of surprise and mock distaste before heading for the stage door arm-in-arm with her witness.

The ceremony ended with the cutting of the cake while Graeme McCardle sang a tribute to the happy couple.
The happy bride

She's not sure what to do with
the cake knife

           The happy couple

Graeme McCardle dedicating a
song to Win and Peter

There's Gold in them there Bulges

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The First Green Party

Political Party Marks 40 Year Milestone
3:00 PM Wednesday May 30, 2012

Green Party co-leaders Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons in 2005. Photo / File
The world's first green political party will this week mark the anniversary of a movement which altered New Zealand's political landscape 40 years ago.
On May 30, 1972, politics student and former journalist Tony Brunt held a meeting at the Victoria University Students' Union, where he railed against mindless economic growth and called for a party with values-based and environmentally conscious policies.
That evening, the Values Party was formed. Though green movements were beginning to spring up overseas, including in Australia, Values was the world's first green party to run at a national level.
On Friday, former Values members will gather to remember the world-leading creation of the party. The Values Party is also the subject of a new book by columnist and conservation advocate Claire Browning, Beyond Today: a values story.
Mr Brunt told the Herald that the party's members were quickly written off as "idealistic extremists" by the ruling National Party.
"A lot of what I said in 1972 seems really simplistic and naive in retrospect - talking about zero population growth, zero economic growth, technology control."
But he believed history had proved most of their environmental concerns right: "There's also the whiff about it, looking back, of backing the right horse, of getting on board modernity's biggest bandwagon when it was just the size of a skateboard," Mr Brunt said.
The party captured 5.3 per cent of the vote in its first general election in 1972, but gained no seats under the First Past the Post system.
Despite being at the heart of the anti-nuclear movement, homosexual law reform and the campaign for MMP, it never made it into the Beehive, and folded in the late 1980s.
Peter’s Comment
The party lived on in the Green Party and entered Parliament for the first time in 1999 led by Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald.
I was a National Party candidate when the Values Party was launched in 1972. Several years later I joined the Values Party for a short time.
Tony Brunt and later leader Reg Clough were sincere crusaders but they lacked a pragmatic enough approach to capture a controlling share of the electorate.
In 1972 the country was ticking along quite nicely, even with a tired government that had been in power for 12 years. The people were not ready for zero population growth and zero economic growth. How do you tell someone that they should not have a new house, another car or start a new business that would offer new jobs?
The answer to that is that you can’t tell that to the voters. They want something for their vote and they know that zero policies are just as outrageous as the Social Credit policies of the time. Both parties were bound to fail sooner or later.
For the last four years New Zealand has been in recession with population and economic activity barely growing. The Values Party advocated something far worse than that. They wanted a permanent recession with all indicators firmly on zero.

More Email Bigotry

From John Harrison MBE
I liked this, because it actually is a True story that wisely debates an extremely twisted concept that even Islam has failed to note.  See what you think - fear factors aside.  We all gotta find a way to get along on this globe.

With Muslims establishing their own schools, one wonders how their kids will acquire our values and be able to successfully integrate into our society.

This incident happened in London.

The Uncomfortable Definition of an Infidel....

FACT:  Islam is the fastest growing religion in the UK

Last month I attended my annual training session for maintaining my security clearance in the prison service.
There was a presentation by three speakers from the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who explained their beliefs.

I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say about the basics of  Islam, complete with video.

After the presentations, question time.  I directed my question to the Imam and asked:  'Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a Holy War against the infidels of the world and, that by killing an infidel, (which is a command to all Muslims) they are assured of a place in heaven.  If that's the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?'

There was no disagreement with my statement and, without hesitation he replied, 'Non-believers!'

I responded, 'So let me make sure I have this straight.  All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not a follower of Allah, so they can have a place in heaven. Is that correct?'
The expression on his face changed from one of authority to that of a little boy who had just been caught with his hand in the biscuit tin.'

He sheepishly replied, 'Yes.'

I then stated, 'Well, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope Benedict commanding all Catholics to kill Muslims, or the Archbishop of Canterbury  ordering all Protestants to do the same in order to guarantee them a place in heaven!'
The Imam was speechless!

I continued, 'I also have a problem with being your 'friend' when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me! Let me ask you a question. Would you rather have your Allah, who tells you to kill me in order for you to go to heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love you because He will take me to heaven and He wants you to be there with me?'

You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam remained speechless.

Needless to say, the organizers of the Diversification seminar were not happy with this way of  exposing the truth about the Muslims' beliefs.
Within twenty years, ie. 2031, there will be enough Muslim voters in the UK to elect a government of their choice, complete with Sharia law.

Everyone in the WORLD. should be required to read this, but with the current political paralysis, tolerant justice system, liberal media and P.C...madness, there is no way this will be widely publicised.

Please pass this on to all your e-mail contacts.

John Harrison MBE. MIDSc 

Peter’s Comments

I’ve travelled in a couple of Islamic countries and no-one tried to kill me. So when I read this I immediately suspected that it was just another urban legend with no basis in fact.

I Googled John Harrison MBE MIDSc and the only thing I found was this circulating email. I did, however, find two John Harrisons with MBEs but both are deceased, one since 1690 so it couldn’t have been either of them.

John Harrison MBE MIDSc is a fraudster or an extreme racist. If you really have to forward his email please remove all previous addresses to beat possible scammers and spammers. And remember, it's the lies and hatred of people like John Harrison that start wars that kill millions of innocent people.

The Changing Face of the News Media

New Zealand Journalism 'In Crisis'
Newstalk ZBMay 30, 2012, 7:58 am

An Auckland University political scientist says independent journalism in New Zealand is in crisis.
Dr Joe Atkinson says there's no certainty it will survive and he's more pessimistic now about the sector than he's ever been.
He was speaking as the Bruce Jesson Foundation calls for nominations for its journalism prize, aimed at independent journalists.
Dr Atkinson says metropolitan newspapers are failing commercial enterprises and their desperate efforts to slow their decline by going down-market are almost bound to alienate the only readers they can now rely on and who still trust them.
He is scathing about New Zealand television saying that with the imminent closure of Television New Zealand’s TVNZ7, it no longer aspires to any higher purpose than bottom-line profitability.
And he says even the internet has not fulfilled its early promise.

Peter’s Comment

It is only print media journalism that is in crisis. Print newspapers, once the only source of news (apart from town criers), have failed to compete with their later rivals; radio, television and now internet news.

Dr Joe Atkinson claims that the internet has failed to live up to its early promise, but has it? News on the internet is about equal in popularity with television and radio news while print newspapers are a distant fourth and falling further behind with each slimming edition.

In every generation there will always be a minority who will not have the latest gadget in the house. Today that gadget is the computer and for early generations it was television, telephones, radios and before that cars. Print media is kept from gasping its last by a dying minority of diehards.

The Wright Brothers knew something when they switched from making bicycles to building aircraft. Although, if your name is Murdock, you could probably keep your print empire alive by employing phone hackers.

The world of print journalism is a desperate place. Elsewhere, journalism is alive and well and looking to a brighter future than ever before.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Weird Texas Justice

Texas Honor Student Jailed for
Missing too Much School
Published May 28, 2012
A Texas honor student with two jobs has been jailed for missing too much school. Diane Tran, 17, an 11th-grade honor student at Willis High School near Houston, was reportedly sent to jail for 24 hours Wednesday by Judge Lanny Moriarty. (KHOU 11 News)
It’s unclear how many days Tran missed, but state law permits only 10 absences in a six-month period, according to the station.
'All she does is work and go to school.'

Tran works full-time at a dry-cleaning business and part-time for a wedding planner, KHOU reports. She has been supporting her brother and sister since her parents separated and her mother moved away. Tran’s father often works too late to come home, the station reports.
"I can understand if a child is staying out of school, running around, a bad kid, getting into trouble, taking drugs," Mary Elliot, one of Tran's bosses, told ABC News. "I can understand why he would slap them into jail for 24 hours. But Diane doesn't do that. All she does is work and go to school."
Elliot says that Tran is a straight-A student, but that she sometimes oversleeps because of her hectic work schedule, and misses class.
Judge Moriarty told KHOU 11 News that he intended to make an example of Tran.
"If you let one run loose, what are you going to do with the rest of them? Let them go, too?" Moriarty asked the TV station.

Peter’s Question
What school did that judge go to?

The Future is Here

Dreamliner Plane Arrives in New Zealand
NZ Herald 29 May 2012 Grant Bradley
Plane enthusiasts flocked to vantage points around Auckland Airport today for a glimpse of the first passenger-carrying Boeing 787 Dreamliner to land here.
The 787 touched down soon after 3pm after a flight from Sydney as it neared the end of its six month "Dream Tour" which has taken the aircraft to around 40 destinations.
The plane had around 35 Boeing staffers, representatives from customer airline, Air New Zealand, and journalists aboard.
Boeing says the interest from the public has been enormous wherever the high tech aircraft, made largely of carbon fibre, has landed. Plane spotters blocked motorways in Santiago, Chile when the plane put down there and in Istanbul, Turkey it was mobbed by spectators on the runway apron.
"It's like being a rock star," said one staffer. "Except they're interested in the plane, not us," she said.
The plane that arrived in Auckland today is an eight-series aircraft capable of holding about 250 passengers. Air New Zealand has 10 of the larger nine-series on order, due for delivery in mid-2014.
They promise 20 per cent greater fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs but the programme is running about three years behind schedule.
The airline has voiced its frustration at the delay and its programme director Kerry Reeves was aboard today's flight.
He said from what he experienced of passenger comfort in the demonstrator aircraft, the wait could be worth it.
"The openness of the cabin with its bigger windows and decor gives it a sense of freshness."
* Grant Bradley travelled on the Dreamliner courtesy of Boeing and Air New Zealand.

Peter’s Comment

In the late 1950s the introduction of the jet age with the Boeing 707 brought air travel within the reach of millions of ordinary people.

When the Boeing 787 Dreamliner goes into service it will represent the greatest step up and forward since the 707. Millions more people will then be able to fly.

Air travel today is the most cost effective and environmentally friendly means of transport ever created and that is why so many people are able to fly wherever their dreams or business take them.  Bring it on, Boeing.

Photos of Crims

Judy Walsh Commented on Facebook

So they want to put gruesome images on cigarette packs . . . ? Why not pictures of obese children on McDonalds packaging? Why not tortured animals on cosmetics products? Why not photos of victims of drunken drivers on beer and wine bottles? Why not pictures of dishonest, thieving politicians, enjoying our money, on tax returns? Although some of you may agree, I’ll bet none of you copy n paste.

Well, there it is, Judy, copied and pasted!

To the above list we could add photos of drug pushers outside all schools, photos of convicted lawyers, car dealers, real estate agents, loan sharks, shoddy builders, rapists and child molesters. But hang on a mo.  There would be so many photos of crooks, swindlers and screwballs that we would all be guilty of driving while distracted.

Judy Walsh is the very capable and popular president of Hauraki Country Music Club which meets on the third Saturday of the month at the Ngatea Memorial Hall, Ngatea starting at 12.30 pm. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

KiwiRail Petition

Overlander petition gathers steam
Newstalk ZBMay 27, 2012, 7:17 am

A petition urging KiwiRail to scrap its plan to take small towns off the route of the Overlander is gathering steam.
More than four thousand people have signed the petition, which is going to Parliament on Tuesday.
KiwiRail wants to rebrand the Overlander as the Northern Explorer, with stops at just four North Island centres instead of 16.
Rangitikei District Councillor Richard Aslett is also part of the local tourism body.
He says a lot of effort has gone into cycle-ways which would be wasted if the trains don't stop, because the plan is reliant on people coming on the train with their bikes from main centres.
The petition's supporters will take the train to Wellington.
It can still be signed at

Peter’s Comment

Another email petition. Could someone please tell these people that there is a proper format for petitions and it does not include email versions with names that cannot be authenticated.

Furthermore, people love trains, but do they understand why hardly anyone uses trains these days as passengers, or for sending freight? Probably not. Railways cannot compete with road or air transport for cost, speed or efficiency. Railways belong with the horse and cart era.

I wonder how many of the petitioners have ridden on a train this year or even this century. Probably not at all for many. But trains are nice – for other people to ride on and pay for. So sign the petition.


Man who fathered 30 kids says he needs a break - on child support
Yahoo! New ZealandMay 21, 2012, 7:53 am

And you thought Octomom had her hands full — a US man who has fathered 30 children is asking the courts for a break on child support.
Desmond Hatchett, 33, of Knoxville, Tennessee has children with 11 different women, reports WREG-TV.
The state already takes half his paycheck and divides it up, which doesn't amount to much when Hatchett is making only minimum wage. Some of the moms receive as little as $1.49 a month. The oldest child is 14 years old.
Hatchett explains how he reached such a critical mass: He had four kids in the same year. Twice.
Back in 2009 when Hatchett was in court to answer charges that many of the mothers were not receiving child support, he had 21 children. At the time, he said he was not going to father any more kids, but he ended up having nine more in the past three years.
The state cannot order Hatchett to stop making babies. He hasn't broken any laws, according to the report.

Peter’s Comment

With six pairs of boots in the family each pair will be handed down five times to another Hatchett. Hatchett may not have broken any laws but he can certainly break records or, to put it another way, no-one can bury the hatchet like Hatchett.


Antarctic ice melting from warm water
7:36 AM Thursday Apr 26, 2012 NZ Herald

Antarctica's massive ice shelves are shrinking because they are being eaten away from below by warm water, a new study finds. That suggests that future sea levels could rise faster than many scientists have been predicting.
The western chunk of Antarctica is losing 7 metres of its floating ice sheet each year. Until now, scientists were not exactly sure how it was happening and whether or how man-made global warming might be a factor. The answer, according to a study published in the journal Nature, is that climate change plays an indirect role - but one that has larger repercussions than if Antarctic ice merely were melting from warmer air.
Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, said research using an ice-gazing NASA satellite showed that warmer air alone could not explain what was happening to Antarctica. A more detailed examination found a chain of events that explained the shrinking ice shelves.
Twenty ice shelves showed signs that they were melting from warm water below. Changes in wind currents pushed that relatively warmer water closer to and beneath the floating ice shelves. The wind change probably is caused by a combination of factors, including natural weather variation, the ozone hole and man-made greenhouse gases, Pritchard said in a phone interview.
As the floating ice shelves melt and thin, that in turn triggers snow and ice on land glaciers to slide down to the floating shelves and eventually into the sea, causing sea level rise, Pritchard said. Thicker floating ice shelves usually keep much of the land snow and ice from shedding to sea, but that is not happening now.
That whole process causes larger and faster sea level rise than simply warmer air melting snow on land-locked glaciers, Pritchard said.
To download a no obligation, free sample
of this great read, click here

"It means the ice sheets are highly sensitive to relatively subtle changes in climate through the effects of the wind," he said.
What's happening in Antarctica "may have already triggered a period of unstable glacier retreat," the study concludes. If the entire Western Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt, which would take many decades if not centuries, scientists have estimated it would lift global sea levels by about 3 metres.
NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati, an expert in Earth's ice systems who was not involved in the research, said Pritchard's study "makes an important advance" and provides crucial information about how Antarctica will contribute to global sea level rise.
Another outside expert, Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said the paper will change the way scientists think about melt in Antarctica. Seeing more warm water encircling the continent, he worries that with "a further push from the wind" newer areas could start shrinking.

Peter’s Comment

So now we have another point of view which leads us to believe that the melting of the polar ice caps is not just hot air.

The polar ice caps weigh trillions of tons and, like a moving ship weighing thousands of tons, it takes a long time and a great deal of space to turn them around. The polar ice caps may have been melting since the last warm age in the fifteenth century when there was almost no industrial activity to blame.

Furthermore, sea-levels and coastlines have been changing, not just throughout recorded history, but even before man walked the planet. Sea-levels have changed not just by three metres, but by thousands of metres and even whole continents have come and gone and will continue to come and go without any assistance from man.

Anyone who cannot accept this basic principle should then accept that the dinosaurs must have been very industrious creatures during their time on earth.


                                                 Don't Get Angry, Get Even
Everyone knows how irritating mobile phone users are when they fail to exercise a bit of discretion and when they think the whole world needs to know their business.  Well now, when you have suffered as much as you can stand you can now get you own back.

Here’s how.

After a busy day he settled down in his train from Waterloo for a nap as far as his destination at Winchester, when the chap sitting near him hauled out his mobile and started up.

"Hi darling it's John, I'm on the train . . . Yes, I know it's the 6.30 not the 4.30, but I had a long meeting . . . No, not with that floozy from Accounts.  With the boss . . . No darling, you're the only one in my life . . .  Yes, I'm sure, cross my heart . . .”

This was still going on at Wimbledon, when the young woman opposite, driven beyond endurance, yelled at the top of her voice.

"Hey, John, turn that bloody phone off, and come back to bed!"

Monday, 21 May 2012


Oil running out? Perhaps not

By Ken Ring | View ArchiveMay 21st, 2012, 8:45 am

To assess oil reserves we must ask two questions. How many barrels of oil were in the ground before we started extracting it? How much have we taken out so far?
We will never know the answer to either question.  So how do environmentalists know we are running out? In fact there is no hard evidence of a lack of crude oil in the world. 
Simply do the maths. Global oil use = 31.5 billion barrels per year.  One barrel oil =42 U.S. gallons. One cubic foot = 7.48 U.S. gallons.  One cubic mile = 147.2 billion cubic feet.  So the volume of oil consumed by mankind annually =  (31.5 x 42) / (7.48 x 147.2) = 1.2 cubic miles of oil per year.  
The volume of the earth is 260,000 million cubic miles. If by volume a millionth of the interior of the earth contains oil, there is enough to last 260,000 years. But if 1/250,000 of the earth is oil, which is only about the volume of the Mediterranean Sea, which does not seem unreasonable, at the present rate of consumption we can drive our SUVs around for another million years. 
Yes, a million years. So are we being screwed by oil companies big time? Do they create false shortages to keep prices high? Oil and renewable resource are words that do not often appear in the same sentence.
Economies of entire countries ride on the fundamental notion that oil reserves are exhaustible. If oil is not finite, the panic to find alternatives would be over and the first casualty would be the international banking system, backed up by the US dollar which is governed by the cost of oil.
When we can’t see the whole picture, no one knows if we are using up something faster than it was created. Even to say known reserves of X will be exhausted by period T at current consumption rates is to deny that new reserves will be discovered during T. 
In nature, everything recycles, so it is highly unlikely that oil is the sole exception.  It is more probable that oil is renewable, alongside oxygen or water. If it can be established that the amount of oil returned to or remaining in the earth equals or exceeds the amount extracted from it by humans using it, then any oil “problem” disappears. 
And the evidence is more of oil running in than running out. In Eugene Island in the Gulf of Mexico production slowed from 15,000 barrels a day to about 4,000 in 1989. The field is now producing 13,000 barrels a day and reserves have rocketed to more than 400 million barrels from 60 million. Eugene Island is rapidly refilling itself, perhaps from some continuous source miles below the Earth's surface.    
The world contains far more recoverable oil than was believed even 20 years ago.  Western geologists claim the world's supply of oil is a ‘fossil fuel,’ a biological residue derived from crushed animal and vegetative matter.
The greatest oil pool, the Middle East, has more than doubled its reserves in the past 20 years, despite half a century of intense exploitation and relatively few new discoveries.  It would take a pretty big pile of dead dinosaurs and prehistoric plants to account for the estimated 660 billion barrels of oil in the region.
Just when we thought we were running out of oil, technology came along to extract oil from shale rocks in the mid west and Canada.  Brazil recently went from 17th to the rank of 10th biggest oil producer.  China alone has recently made 10 major new discoveries.  India is finding energy offshore. Russia is a major producer.  Mexico made a huge offshore discovery it has yet to tap and NZ has found oil near Southland. 
New technologies now recover oil from formerly useless resources, like Canada’s vast “tar sands” which already yield over 1.3 million barrels per day for the US, and from previously impossible geography like the deep blue sea miles beneath the surface. The somewhat buried reality is that oil may not have come from dinosaurs or forests smashed under rocks. 
Russian scientists believe that oil is "a-biotic", continuing to be replaced by chemical processes in the crust of the earth. Russia is the world’s largest oil producer and natural gas producer, and claims the fossil-caused oil theory is an unscientific un-provable absurdity, but this idea is has not found traction in the West. To the Russians, oil on earth is limited only by the amount of organic hydrocarbon constituents present deep in the earth at the time of the earth’s formation. They say oil is formed deep in the earth, in conditions of very high temperature and very high pressure like that required for diamonds to form, and may, along with gas and methane still be being formed through asphalt volcanism.  
Despite media beat-up, oil spills from tankers and rigs eventually disperse because crude oil contains microbes which break it down. That is why we refine oil – to kill the microbes. Spillage has occurred over thousands of years, and oil even receives mention in The Bible; pitch being used on Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6:14).
Amidst rising costs at the pumps, one thing is certain. The Arabs are not silly. If alternative fuels are found the oil barons will either supply them too, or simply lower costs per barrel. Politicians too, will keep the cost affordable or risk political oblivion. We needn’t stress over it.  Neither price nor supply will stop us driving our cars around.  
Peter’s Comment
The above is unverified but it makes a lot of sense. I was first told, sometime in the fifties, that the world was going to run out of oil in ten or twenty years.
Oil is one of the cheapest liquids available and the people who sell it have to be creative to keep the price at a level that makes it profitable. The oil problem of the future will not be in exploration and supply, but in convincing the masses that they should keep on buying it.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


A Postmaster’s Resignation

The Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister of New Zealand
Parliament Buildings
Dear Sir,
I hereby beg to be relieved of my position as Postmaster in the small community of Matiere several kilometers west of Taumarunui in the hills and backblocks of the King Country.
You may recall from your school lessons that the King Country and Waikato was where the Maori King and some Brits had a bit of a scuffle back in the 1860s. So that’s where my little post office is, Matiere in the King Country, and I’ve been postmaster here since just before Colin Meads played for the All Blacks.
Incidentally, Colin came through here once on his way to a game. Apparently someone told him that Matiere was a pretty important place – even had its own post office – and Col, who had a brand new fountain pen, decided to drop by and sign some autographs. The whole town (nine people) turned out to see the great man and he left his Ford Zephyr idling for forty-five seconds while he signed his name nine times and then drove away in a cloud of dust and small stones. I forgot to mention Matiere still has only a one hundred metre strip of sealed road, but that’s not right in town but outside the councilor bloke’s house a few miles away. But I digress, Prime Minister.
I want to explain the current situation here in Matiere. When you get to Taumarunui you turn left and go up into the hills for about half an hour, give or take. First building you come to will be old Jack O’Connor’s hay shed – there was a house there too but it burned down in 74 – about another six kilometers down the road you pass the old concrete pad where Tom Wilson had his gas station. Tom went broke and went bush in the crash of 87 and hasn’t been seen since. Thieves posing as creditors broke in and took the 1930 Chev that Tom was holding awaiting payment for repairs carried out in 65.
After the concrete pad you’ll come to the old Country Women’s Institute hall. You’ll recognize it from its 45 degree lean. The next building will be on the left and it‘s the post office. It’s about half the size of the Ohura public toilets and if you miss it you’ll be on your way out of town.
I’ll leave the key (no pun intended) under the door mat. You’ll find a good supply of stamps, telegram forms and motor registration forms – not that I’ve had to use any motor registration forms since the last cop here died back in 92 and wasn’t replaced because of budget restraints.
The old building is getting a bit shaky these days but the safe is pretty sound. In fact it is so safe and sound that I haven’t been able to get anything into or out of the safe since nearby Whangamomona became an independent republic a few years ago. The combination for the safe is 673942 but I’m not sure now what order those numbers are supposed to be in, or which way you have to turn the handle between numbers. But don’t worry about that because you’ll have plenty of time to figure it out. There’s not much else to do around here. Even the cemetery hasn’t had any activity since Hans van der Suicide was buried there after his wife ran off with a debt collector in 97.
But to get back to the post office, you’ll find some coal in the old dog kennel out the back – I was promised electricity back in 85 – the dog died in 89 when I could not longer afford to share my dinner with it. If the stove starts drawing too much air just pull the damper handle and shut the little service hole-in-the-wall and that way you’ll keep the heat in and make the coal last longer too. And don’t stack any papers in the corner near the window because just above there’s a bit of roof that’s been missing since Cyclone Bola in 86.
I had one traveler came through here last year – obviously lost –  a bit eccentric  he was, asking mysterious questions about broadband and internet, or some such. Couldn’t make head nor tail of him. I had to explain to him that we’ve been a bit cut off from the outside world since Harvey Mitchell put his truck through the telephone lines back in 99 while he was coming back from the Whangamomona pub. Anyhow this traveler bloke insisted that the recession had started back in 2008 and I said, “Yippee! Matiere leads the world in something. We’ve had a recession here since 1953 and I haven’t been paid since 2003 when I made the last cash sale.”
I’m not sure how this letter will get to you, Prime Minister, because I haven’t had a regular rural delivery since Henry Ramsbottom retired about the same time that some duck shooters killed my pigeons. But I’ve gone to all this trouble to explain everything so that in the unlikely event that this letter of resignation actually gets to you and you set out immediately for Matiere, you may have to step over my bones to enter the building.
On the other hand, if you find me alive, even if only barely, I will pass on an excellent idea for stimulating the economy – you could drive me down to the Forgotten World Highway to Whangamomona and buy me some beer.
Meanwhile, I resign effective immediately.
Your obedient servant,
John Letterman
PS: Due to the really severe nature of the recession, could you make that a row of double whiskeys?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

This is Beyond a Joke

Mobile Phone Rudeness

One of my pet peeves is the constant use of mobile phones by people while driving. It is downright dangerous.

But it’s not just while driving. Mobile phones invade our privacy, interrupt service in stores and decent people like me just have to put up with it.

No one seems to know how to say, “I’ll call you back when it’s more convenient.”

It has really got beyond a joke. Even when you want to relax at the beach you just can’t get away from goddam mobile phones. 

Recently, at the beach, I just had to sit there and listen for over an hour while a woman talked into her mobile phone while she pranced back and forth right in front of me.

It was so distracting that I couldn’t concentrate on my book.

Just look at what I had to put up with.


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A Rattling Good Yarn

Rattlesnake Bites Customer 
in Wal-Mart
A Wal-Mart customer is recovering after he was bitten by a rattlesnake in a garden department of the store chain.
Mica Craig said the reptile pounced as he was shopping at the store in the north-western US state of Washington.
The 47-year-old stamped on the serpent and was later treated at hospital with anti-venom, after his hand suffered serious swelling.
Wal-Mart apologized, and said it was investigating how the snake had entered the store in the city of Clarkston.
Kayla Whaling, a spokeswoman for the chain, said: "At this point, it appears to be an isolated incident.
"We are working with a pest management team, which is conducting a sweep of the property to ensure there is no additional rattlesnake activity."
Another customer, Maria Geffre, told Reuters news agency the snake was at least 1ft (30cm) long with four rattles.
Mr Craig said the serpent attacked as he reached down to brush away what he thought was a stick from a bag of mulch.
The purchase was intended for his marijuana plants, which Mr Craig said he was licensed to grow for medical reasons.
Peter’s Comment

Ah-ha! So that’s it. Wal-Mart stocks everything, even marijuana protecting rattlesnakes. Sam’s Walton’s bones would rattle in his grave.