Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Heathrow's Myrtle Avenue:
A plane spotter's paradise
By Andy Dangerfield BBC News, London
BBC News spent an afternoon with plane-spotters
at Mytle Avenue near Heathrow

As tens of thousands of Olympics spectators arrive in the UK via Heathrow Airport, few of them would think that they have spectators of their own.
But they do.
From a small residential road in west London, the arrivals are being closely watched and, in many cases, photographed.
Myrtle Avenue looks like your typical suburban street: pavements shaded by trees; semi-detached houses; family cars parked on driveways.
It is only when you walk to the end of the road that you notice a patch of grass where dozens of middle-aged men are sitting in a row, armed with binoculars, flasks of tea, high-frequency radios and expensive cameras.

Plane-spotters need good books 
to read while they wait
PO Box 110, Ngatea 3541, New Zealand

The conditions are ideal. The sun is shining and the grass is dry.
A rumbling noise reverberates in the distance. There is a buzz of excitement in the air.
Suddenly, a gargantuan Boeing 747 appears from behind the rooftops and flies directly overhead.
The men snap furiously on their cameras and scribble in their notepads.
Seconds later, the plane will have landed on Heathrow Airport's south runway, a few hundred meters away.
Myrtle Avenue has become a prime destination for aviation enthusiasts since the closure of the only official area in Heathrow for plane spotting.
Until 2009, aircraft lovers would congregate on the roof of the Queens Building - next to Heathrow's Terminal 2 - to watch planes take-off and land.
But the terminal was shut down two years ago, with the buildings demolished to be completely rebuilt, and since then plane spotting pilgrimages to Myrtle Avenue have been on the rise.
One of the dozens who were there on a weekend morning was Samy Mamoun, who is originally from Sudan but now lives in Golders Green, north London.
"It's a perfect place for plane spotting," he says. "We love watching the take-offs and landings.
"We look out for the types of plane - their airlines and logos. We're particularly looking out for the A340s, the A380s and Boeing 777s - all the big, heavy planes."
"And the Boeing 747 of course - she's an old lady now," he adds, with a sentimental tone.
The plane spotters deploy a multitude of tactics to identify the aircraft - they look for the type and position of their engines, the number of vapor trails they leave, and even listen to the distinctive noise the aircraft make.
Mr Mamoun has travelled far and wide to pursue his hobby. He has been to Amsterdam and Paris - and as far afield as Dubai, Addis Ababa and Cairo. More on BBC News
Peter’s Comment

Plane spotting is something I find hard to resist. Mention an international airport or an obscure country airfield to me and I’m ready to go.

I’ve watched take-offs and landings in hundreds of places including SYD, HNL, LAX, JFK, LHR, DFW and dozens of places where the three letter designators are less than famous, or non-existent. I’ve been to places where aircraft appear from behind a mountain 30 seconds before touch-down.

But at the opposite end of the world to Heathrow, my favorite spotting place is Wellington International Airport in New Zealand.

An Air New Zealand Boeing 777
touches down at Wellington International
on a nice day

Not only does WLG have a wide variety of aircraft, from home-builts to B-777s, but it has a relatively short runway with sea at both ends. Wellington International can have cross-winds and turbulence to test the most proficient pilots.

The surrounding suburbs are hilly and scenic and abound with excellent vantage points, some quite close to the action.

Wellington is one of New Zealand’s busiest airports, but amazingly it has not had an injury accident since opening in 1956, in spite of lots of Youtube close shaves.


from Hannah Peterson at Lifeinsurancequotes.org
Call them at (877) 896-2032

July 30, 2012 by Staff Writer

People are living longer, healthier lives than previous generations, which means your retirement years could last a lot longer than you think. And if you’re smart (or just lucky!), you may have figured out how you’re going to keep your finances in shape for the rest of your life. But have you thought about how you’re going to keep yourself entertained? You’ve just freed up at least 40 hours out of your week, so it’s time to find something you really enjoy. If you don’t take time to do what you love now, when will you? If you’re looking for a place to start in your quest for the perfect hobby, try one of these eight activities that retirees love.

1.   Volunteering:

After working for 40 years, retirement can sometimes make you feel like you don’t have a purpose anymore. You don’t get up and go to work every morning to make money and provide for your family, so what are you contributing? This is a hole that is easily filled by volunteering. Choose a cause you’re passionate about or one that uses skills you already have, and you can feel good about the way you spend your time in retirement. Check community bulletin boards, ask around at your church, or search the web for organizations looking for help.

2.   Gardening:

You’re probably spending a lot more time at home now (unless you’re one of those RV-ing retirees), so it makes sense to beautify your property as much as possible. Whether you want to strive for a prize-winning rose garden, want to give your house some curb appeal, or have the desire to grow your own vegetables, gardening can be enjoyable, fulfilling work. You’ll have to get your hands a little dirty, but the end result will pay off.

3.   Beer brewing:

If you can grow your own vegetables, why not also make your own beer? Beer brewing is easy; you can start small with a kit purchased online and work your way up to bigger, better equipment as you get the hang of it. You can try your hand at different stouts, ales, and lagers, and share the rewards of your hobby with friends as you sit around talking about how awesome retirement is. And don’t worry about overdoing it; you don’t have to get up for work in the morning!

4.   Art:

Many retirees, particularly those who just finished working very structured jobs, see the coming years as the perfect time to flex their creative muscles. There’s no more worrying about profit margins, uptight bosses, or whether your time would be better spent advancing your career, so let your imagination run wild. Sign up for painting classes, get a sketchbook, or find a pottery wheel and put your hands in some clay. It’ll help you relax, even if you’re not any good!

5.   Writing:

This one’s another creative endeavor, which can be perfect for anyone if you choose the right writing project. Many retirees, for example, might enjoy writing their memoirs now that they have time to reflect on their lives. Even if you have no intention of getting it published, your memoirs can be a great gift to leave behind to your children and grandchildren. It could even end up being passed from generation to generation. Poetry, short stories, and research-heavy non-fiction can also be great side projects to consider.

6.   Woodworking:

Though you need some equipment to get started, woodworking is a favorite among retired people who are handy with a hammer. You can make furniture and dozens of other home accents using your favorite wood, and give the extras to family and friends. If you’re just getting started, get to know the guys at your local lumberyard, and make sure you have a few essentials, like a circular saw, a power drill, a jigsaw, and a sander. Some communities even have woodworking clubs you can join so you can share equipment and stories over the buzz of your scroll saws.

7.   Puzzles:

Puzzles, like crosswords, Sudoku, and any kind of brain teasers, are a great idea for retirees. You’ve got a lot of life left in you, so it’s important to keep your mind sharp for your next 20, 30, or even 40 years. These types of puzzles have been shown to stave off Alzheimer’s, and the earlier you start, the better for your brain. If you get really good, you could even compete in theAmerican Crossword Puzzle Tournament with the fastest puzzle-solvers around.

8.   Exercise:

For those of you who kept putting exercise off because you were too busy, you’re out of excuses now. This is the time to find an exercise that you actually enjoy and stick with it. Don’t get discouraged if you try a few activities and still don’t like them. There’s something out there for you that will keep you active for years to come. Try bicycling, swimming, golf, or an aerobics class for starters.

Peter’s Comment

I’m actively involved with at least half of the above hobbies, and several hobbies not listed, as well as working part-time. I could say beer making is a hobby too, but I only help drink it occasionally. At seventy-five I feel good enough for another seventy-five years.

To the above hobbies can be added reading. Don't forget reading.

Reading gives the body a rest 
and keeps the brain alive
Great reading is available from

PO Box 110, Ngatea 3541, New Zealand


Authors in the making at Ngatea 
Primary School in New Zealand

The Ngatea Writing Club at work

The children of Ngatea, New Zealand, have been busy members of their own writing club. One day each week they give up part of their lunch-time to develop their writing skills. Their ambition is to become published authors. 

Below I've posted three of their fictional stories, each with just a little editing and I think they are pretty good. 

The Blue Duck
The Blue Duck
By Gabrielle Leonard-Hansby

The Blue Duck is a dark slate-grey with a chestnut-flecked breast and a paler bill and eye. The pinkish-white bill has fleshy flaps of skin hanging from the sides of its tip. The male's call is an aspirated whistle, and the female's is a ratling growl. It is born with a green beak for just 8 hours after birth; where it then develops to its final colour. The Whio lives in fast running water. it loves fast flowing mountain rivers.

My name is Peeky and I’m a Blue Duck, or Whio.
On a nice sunny morning I was out in the sun looking for some food to eat as I was very hungry and hadn't eaten for a day and a half.
Then I saw the ultimate danger.
It was a red wolf and I tried to fly, but I couldn't get away quickly enough. It got closer and closer and I was getting slower and slower. I was heading for the river and just before I stepped into the water to drift downstream everything stopped. The wolf had got me in its meat-eating mouth.
A hunter came and I heard a very loud noise and then the wolf fell over dead.
I struggled to free myself, but I was trapped. The hunter picked the wolf up, let me go free and he took the wolf away with him. Thank god for that.
I was to live another day.

Restless Spirit
by Isabella Machiavelle

Jake screamed and fainted as if a ghost was there, but there in front of my eyes was a transparent ghost.
The ghost it looked like a thin white sheet that was hovering in front of the stable door. What was it, or who was it? I desperately wondered. Why was it the first time I had seen it on my farm? I had been living there for 6 weeks. This is where the mystery began.
Jake woke up again from being unconscious for five minutes. He froze. The ghost had not moved from the first spot we had seen it.
It was as though it was trying to tell us something, something  we couldn't understand.
Was it telling us something was going on in the stalls that we didn't know about? Or was it taunting and teasing us? This we did not know.
By now most people would have run for the hills but we were too scared to move so we stayed put, staring at this mysterious creature.
It was somehow staring back.
Finally I drew up the courage to talk.  
“What are you who are you what do you want?” I asked desperately as it continued staring, mainly at me.
It finally moved, not slowly, but fast.
I thought it was still around somewhere, perhaps behind something, but we could not see it.
Later, at 10pm,  six hours after we had our first sighting of the restless spirit, we were still silent, jumping when we heard a sound.
Jake came out of the kitchen and said he had called the cops and they didn't believe him. Who would believe an eighteen year old boy after so many prank calls by other teenagers?
The ghost was around again in front of the tv. It was staring not at me, but at Jake, telling him to shut up and not to tell anyone.
Two sightings in one day. Was this ghost telling us something? Something must have happened in this house long ago, but what was it?
Why was there no warnings from the agency and nothing in the newspaper?
Were we the only ones who knew that the ghost existed?
The ghost was moving closer and closer to Jake, but it stopped and turned at the sound of my horse screeching in a way I had never heard before. It was as though there was another ghost in the stalls harrasing the stock.
The ghost quickly scampered away into the darkness.

Rainy Days
by Kaylah Hood

I look out through the creaking window, hoping to play outside. I look down and see that big puddles are forming below.
“Oh, I can’t play outside today,” I say with disappointment.
I look around my dusty room, puzzled and trying to find something to do. After a while I decided to rearrange my room.
I started off with moving my mirror, but stopped when I saw a portal or huge hole in the wall.
I look around the room to find the things I could use I grab my pillow, blanket, teddy, story book, flashlight, food, clothes and my Nana’s lucky charm that she had given to me just before she died.
The police thought she had killed herself, but I thought otherwise!
I wrote this note to tell where I was going:

Dear whoever is reading this,

     I have gone on a journey to another universe. I won’t be long.
Yours Sincerely
Rosey Diamond

I then place it upon my pillow and walk away heading toward the portal.


A hill in the life of an Australian
road train driver
From Derek Hebberd in Western Australia

Derek Hebberd training to be a snake catcher

“Lester and I doing a run from Perth, Western Australia to Tom Price (1,300 kilometers along the Great Northern Highway) with a triple road train. The hill in the video has an eight degree gradient and if you miss a gear change and have to stop, you have to break up the road train to get started again. But, with Lester driving we got over the hill with no problems.”

Click the link for the video:

More trucking action and adventure in
Highway America
by Peter Blakeborough
Available from

PO Box 110, Ngatea 3541, New Zealand


How far can a driver travel while
pressing GHI or PQRS?

Far enough to die instantly!

They found his head in the back seat and the phone still in his hand.

Smart people don't text and drive
Smart people don't ride with drivers who do

Don’t mess with the press and
don’t have a vision of television

A British journalist slammed the US television network NBC after his Twitter account was suspended following scathing attacks on the broadcaster's delayed Olympic coverage.
Guy Adams
The Independent's Los Angeles correspondent Guy Adams said his account was suspended as a punishment for publishing the corporate email address of Gary Zenkel, an NBC executive in charge of Olympic coverage.
Adams on Friday tweeted his outrage over NBC's decision to delay broadcasting the opening ceremony in order to catch the primetime audience.
Speaking later on Los Angeles talk radio station KNX 1070, the journalist said he was "utterly outraged" by the coverage, and accused the broadcaster of "treating the people of America with contempt".
Adams also said Twitter had bowed to pressure from the broadcaster, claiming he had not contravened their rules.
"I'm of course happy to abide by Twitter's rules, now and forever," he said in an email to Twitter. "But I don't see how I broke them in this case: I didn't publish a private email address. Just a corporate one.
"[It's] quite worrying that NBC, whose parent company are an Olympic sponsor, are apparently trying (and, in this case, succeeding) in shutting down the Twitter accounts of journalists who are critical of their Olympic coverage," he added.
NBC Sports later released a statement saying: "We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives," the Independent said.
Peter’s Comment
The headline says it all. They have more power than any individual, until individuals band together.

No censorship here
PO Box 110, Ngatea 3541, New Zealand


10 Classic Books to Read with Your CheadiRng BABYSITTING SIBLINGRSReadingMOST POPULAR SERVICES
Reading to your children is the best 
start in life you can give them
Reading with your child is an enjoyable activity that many parents love to do with their kids, and according to the U.S. Department of Education is one worth doing often. The U.S. Department of Education has stated that it will not only help her learn to read, but it will also help her to be successful throughout all of her education and onto her career.  Check out these classic stories that you may remember from your childhood and read them with your children.
  1. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe published in 1719.  This book is about an adventurer who ends up being the only person to live through a disastrous ship wreck.  He survives alone on an island for almost 30 years, and the story offers an important lesson about learning to rely on yourself. The lessons can be applied not only to Crusoe in the novel, but also to any challenges your child may face.
  2. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Rudolph Wyss published in 1813.  Amazingly enough this is another story about a ship wreck.  Back when these stories were written the big adventures happened on the high seas.  This story is about a family that survives for 10 years on a deserted island.  The details of how the family adapted to life on the island are marvelous and by reading this story you can reinforce to your kids how important it is to use their imagination in their everyday lives. 
  3. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie published in 1904.  A classic story about Peter Pan who, as a baby, was rescued by fairies and taken to Neverland.  He becomes the leader of the Lost Boys, and wants a life with no responsibility and the ability to play all the time.  When Peter goes back to London he gets involved with Wendy and her brothers.  He takes them with him to Neverland and they have lots of exciting adventures with Captain Hook.  
  4. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas published in 1844.  Set in France, this story is about a young hot head, D’Artagnan, who comes to town and fights with each of the 3 musketeers.  A musketeer was a soldier that carried a musket.  He ended up finding that they had a lot in common and he joined with them on an adventure to retrieve some diamond earrings for Queen Anne.  D’Artagnan is begged to do this task by the woman he’s in love with and convinces the 3 musketeers to help him, as they bind together to protect the kingdom.
  5. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis published in 1950.  Four children are sent to the country during World War II to keep them safe.  The children are bored, and end up playing hide and seek one day, only to find that the wardrobe that young Lucy has hidden in is actually a doorway to another world called Narnia.  She convinces her brothers and sister to come with her to Narnia.  They are all shocked and amazed.  What further amazes them is that they learn they are to become the kings and queens of Narnia.  But before that can happen they have to defeat the witch, who has made it Winter all the time, and bring back Spring.    
  6. A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne published in 1864.  There’s something about having to follow a map that leads to great adventures, and this fabulous science fiction novel starts out with just that.  The map leads to an opening that goes to the center of the earth.  Professor Trevor Anderson, Sean, and their guide, take off to find Trevor’s brother.  During their trip they find dangerous and fantastical animals and risk their lives to find a lost world at the center of the earth.
  7. Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving published in 1820.  A curious story about Rip Van Winkle who was kind of lazy and wandered around having fun.  He ran into a bunch of guys bowling in the woods and ended up staying with them enjoying the games and the drink.  After he drinks this strange liquid he sits down under a tree and falls asleep for 20 years.  When he wakes up the world around him is quite different. 
  8. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll published in 1865.  The book is very different than the Disney version of this story.  Alice gets bored as most children do, but Alice decides to follow this white rabbit down his hole.  She ends up in Wonderland and eats and drinks all sorts of magical things to make her big and small.  In the end she makes friends with many strange characters and learns that maybe her life isn’t so bad after all.
  9. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain published in 1876.  Tom is a sneaky sort of boy and likes to play tricks on people.  During the story he is told he must white wash a fence.  To avoid this task, he manipulates people into doing his job for him.  He embarks on other adventures that teach him a few lessons in the end.
  10. Heidi by Johanna Spyri published in 1884.  Heidi loses her parents and becomes an orphan.  She is sent to live in the mountains with her only living relative, her grumpy old grandpa.  Over time she wins him over with her bright personality and the two enjoy living together in the mountains.  Then it’s decided that Heidi needs to attend school in the city and take care of a girl in a wheelchair.  This girl ends up becoming Heidi’s best friend and then Heidi is forced to make the difficult decision between staying in the city with her friend and going back to her mountain home with her grandpa. 
Peter’s Comment
Early readers become fast learners and successful people.  I’m living proof of that. My mother read Pinocchio to me once and I was soon writing my own books. 

That's me, proof reading my first book. Fiction, of course.

Monday, 30 July 2012


Strange and funny laws in Canada
by Marc Phillippe Babineau Created on: September 29, 2009

There are many strange and funny laws in Canada, as there are in many other Countries, and most of them are left over from decades and even centuries ago. When the land was first settled, many laws were made to placate the people who were being dumbfounded by rude and ignorant people. For instance, it is illegal to drag a dead horse down Younge Street (one of the more infamous streets in Toronto) on a Sunday. Maybe they meant politicians, and why would dragging a live horse down the street be legal?

Vancouver, BC

In Etobicoke (a suburb of Toronto), it is illegal to fill a bathtub with more than 3.5 inches of water. Maybe a decent law here, as many babies die yearly from drowning in bathtubs while their parents had to attend to something else, leaving their baby in the tub for "just a minute or two". Staying with the "not on Sundays" rules, in Ottawa, the nation's capitol city, it is illegal to eat ice cream on Bank Street (the major shopping street in downtown Ottawa) on a Sunday.

Some laws, funny or silly, do make some sense, though. For example, in British Columbia, it is illegal to kill a Sasquatch. I guess you would have to find one first, and if you did, and shot it, you should be fined for being so stupid! A live Sasquatch would command hundreds of millions of dollars to rich collectors. Staying out west, in Alberta, it is illegal to use dice to shoot craps. How else can craps be played? It probably would have been easier to just make playing craps illegal. In Victoria, B.C., buskers (street entertainers) are not allowed to give children balloon animals.

In Quebec, if you want to put english on your store or business (or any) signs, the french must be at least twice as big as the english lettering, and both french and english must be displayed. You can place french only signs, but not english only signs. As well, in Quebec margarine must not be the same color as butter. And, in the beautiful city of Quebec City, a very french-influenced city, you can not swear in french (mon dieu!).

The Eastern Provinces, otherly known as The Maritimes, have their share of the silliness. In New Brunswick, it is still illegal to drive a car on the roads. Talk about a get-rich-quick scheme for the province if they decided to start enforcing that law! In Nova Scotia, again almost making sense, it is against the law to water your lawn while it is raining.

Canada-wide, it is still illegal to remove bandages from your body in public. If they fall off in public, do you get a reduced sentence? In Calgary (Alberta), when you are let out of prison, they must give you a gun, bullets and a horse, so that you can ride on out of town. Good idea, but a little late, and why the guns and bullets to a criminal? For safety's sake?

That is what laws are made for, for public safety. Giving criminals guns and bullets when they are released from prison might just send a wrong message. Seems that giving politicians the right to make laws should be against the law as well, sometimes.

Peter’s Comment

Canada, like many other places, may have some silly laws but it is a beautiful country with friendly people and I treasure my memories of traveling there.

Read about strange happenings with the law in
The Life and Times of Freddie Fuddpucker
by Peter Blakeborough
PO Box 110, Ngatea 3541, New Zealand


Outback Australian Truck Drivers
doing the Business

This is not a job for softies. Click the link for real trucking action.



Read about the adventures of a Kiwi truck driver in America

Highway America
by Peter Blakeborough
PO Box 110, Ngatea 3541, New Zealand

Consumer Warning: You won't put it down until you turn the last page!