Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Crockpot (slow cooker) delightful chicken.

So you hate cooking at night after a hard days work. OK the, just prepare this one either night before you go to bed (it only takes a few minutes to chuck into the slow cooker) or do the same in the morning before you go to work. If you do get it ready at night, just stick it in the fridge and take it out and turn it onto low before you leave for  the slave pits.
Take any number of chicken drumsticks (skin on or off is your choice). Place them in the slow cooker. Chuck in a spoonful of ginger (fresh or from jar, doesn't matter) the same of chilli, lime juice. soy sauce and a small can of coconut milk. If you have lemon grass (yes, I grow my own) put a stem that you have crushed in to the mix. Turn it on at the lowest setting and forget about it until you get home. It won't overcook although the longer you leave it the more likely it is to fall to pieces. that doesn't affect the taste one bit. If you are making larger quantities, just increase the ingredients. I liked it so much, I can feel it coming on for my Xmas dinner when I hope to have a few people over.
Give it a try and let me know how it worked. Your bank balance will love you when you have good home cooked meals.

Treasury and Parata in an unholy alliance---just what do they plan for NZ education?

Education has always been a difficult portfolio for Minister in Cabinet, no matter what party holds that position. Political agendas are often hidden in the detail and it is only when the public’s ire is stirred that we get more of the picture. The latest claim by the NZ Herald that Minister Parata is being advised by Treasury to ‘slowdown’ changes and to keep them secret for as long as possible to lessen the impact. Yes, the words may not be exact but the intent is obvious. Parata and her cohorts are about to unleash widespread changes in NZ education that are based on political philosophy emanating from the ‘right’ and driven by monetary considerations more than what is best for our students.
We have seen this Minister drive policy in an arrogant manner many times now and if the reports are correct then we are in for a torrid time. The two unions will not just sit and take what comes, particularly the PPTA. Whilst they have not always endeared themselves to the public and especially the Government, they do nave the interests of their ‘charges’ at the forefront of any actions they take, despite what politicians claim.
Expect upheaval within the education sector if Parata pushes her agenda and tries to change the New Zealand education system to one that benefits those at the top and penalizes those who have less. This lady just does not get it! There are many reasons why kids fail and no amount of cheap fix- ups or policy announcements of the type she promulgates will make any difference, especially when she tries to spend less to get more. In this case ‘less is not more,’ it is simply a shoddy attempt to save money, all under the guise of ‘educational research’ that she has dragged up from some failed system overseas; like the Charter School experiment and increased class size proposals.
Yes, keep an eye on what is about to happen and use your votes wisely at the election next year. A message to any ‘wannabe Government;’ tread carefully my friends, because you too have had a few hiccups in the past and if you have not learnt, then the students of NZ lose even more. Someone has to stick up for them and value the work of teachers. Let’s look to politicians who really care about our students.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nearly seven months after bariatric surgery---the verdict! It's all the 7's now---77.7 kilos.

If anyone asks me whether my bariatric surgery journey has been worth it I have an easy answer. That answer is a resounding yes. If you asked me if I would recommend my journey for you, I would not say yes quite so loudly, because I am not you. What has worked for me does not necessarily translate as a fix-all for others. Each person considering BS should get good advice from their doctor and do a great deal of thinking. My experience has been relatively easy and I was well prepared. I leant as much as I could about the process and I had lots of support from family, friends and the medical fraternity.
From a medical point of view, my health issues have either hugely lessened or disappeared altogether.
Type 2 diabetes---gone. No medication needed.
High blood pressure---way down--normal with very little medication required.
Sleep Apnoea--gone. No CPAC machine needed now.
Cholesterol-----normal and medication soon to be ditched.
Other issues---under control.
Energy and fitness---walking is fun now, not a chore and the dog thinks it's great.

Financial and fashion considerations: My food bill is way down and my clothing bill way up. I have had to ditch three lots of clothing but now that I have settled on about 77 kilos (I lost 42 kilos which represents about 33% of my body weight---BMI down from 41 to 26.
I now feel that I can make plans. I have always dreamed about buying a campervan. When I weighed 120 kilos, just getting into the van was an issue. Now I can easily climb up and driving it would be easier. I just have to sell heaps of books (Hint hint--download them on your Kindle or reading App by accessing my website and following the link before I even think seriously about buying a fully contained campervan. Then, I can hit the road in my weekends; fishing, writing and seeing NZ in full are dreams that now seem possible.
I could not have done this without the incredible support from my sister and my partner. Then of course there is Perdy, our crazy Jack Russell. Being able to keep up with her is a reward that has to be made in heaven.
In summary, I feel that I haver a second chance in life. yes, food is still important and very enjoyable, just the ration has changed. The world really does look brighter. I am happy to talk to anyone direct about 'my' experience but I will never say what is good for you. That has to be your decision. Contact me via my website and follow the link.

Just, get on with the job of 'fixing' Auckland, Len Brown and forget about the noisy 'hollier than thou' brigade.

Yes, we all know Len Brown used poor judgment when he allowed himself to be ruled by the regions of his body below the belt, but now it’s time to get on and deal with what we elected him to do---‘fix Auckland.’ He laid the basis for this in his first term and surprised a few opponents by what he achieved. Leave his family to deal to him re his recent transgression and let’s all move on. If we don’t we risk the on-going development of Auckland, simply because an irate group wants to see political blood on the floor.
Now is the time to complete and further the transport needs of Auckland, to address some ‘social’ housing issues and to plan for a future whereby Auckland truly deserves the name, ‘Queen City.’ Auckland is going to grow and even of the ‘regions’ of New Zealand follow the example of our biggest city, we are still going to see Auckland be the main recipient of the increased migration from overseas. Auckland is diverse and Len Brown’s understanding of that term is hard to fault.
What we don’t need is to see  night after night on our TV screens, the screams from strident protestors at every public appearance or the grandstanding ‘screechers’ at council meetings, all there solely to pass judgment on Len Brown. If they wish to do that, then maybe they should cast their eyes just a little further to other politicians and leaders (business an Governmental) and the war would be ‘on’ in every sense of the word. We want our leaders to govern, manage and plan for a better future, not get bogged down in looking over their shoulders, should something come up about their past. Focus, Len Brown, and keep doing (in your elected role) what we put you there for!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Don't bend over too far, Mr Putin. Yes, we know gays are welcome in Russia, just for the Olympics!

Fabulous dears! Isn't Mr gay Icon, Putin wonderful, making gays welcome to Russia for the Winter Olympics? I can hear gay people all over the world getting  ready for a gay old time in every sense of the word that 'was,' but after the Olympics, good God my dears, watch out! Don't dare talk to anyone under 18 or you will be charged with spreading gayness to the youth of Mother Russia. It's OK, for the brief period when the world actually takes notice of what is happening in Russia, Putin and his cronies will be so sensitive and use words like 'sexual orientation,' before throwing up at their dachas. They will smile and appear to be welcoming, underscoring the policies that all must follow. Will Russians be sucked in by Putin's cynical manoeuvring to placate the world press? Of course most of them will. Why should they give a stuff about the plight of Russian gays? They have enough on their plate. Those who dare to speak out only need to look at what happened when Pussy Riot did their thing in a church, not the most sensible way to endear themselves to the Russian authorities. The Olympics will be like the old 'show trials,' staged to fool public opinion, both inside and on the wider international stage. Come the end of the Olympics and Russian gays will head back to the closet from whence they came, to hide or face the wrath of  Putin. The sad things is that most Russians simply don't  or can't care. Those who do, will need to look over their shoulders. Back to the past for a dim future!

Good on you, Mike Lee!

I applaud the actions of Mike Lee re his reaction to the plaque the Auckland waterfront and its depiction of ‘thugs’ who help to bring about the end of the 1023 strike by workers fighting for their rights. This was at a time when workers were struggling to achieve the most basic of living standards. That the ‘strike-breakers’ be put up there as ‘lovers of Auckland’ is beyond belief when we see the current struggle of workers to keep those hard won rights in many sectors of the economy. That anyone could deny the rights of workers to struggle for a living wage, either in the last or now, is tantamount to supporting the ever widening gap between those at the top and the huge majority who are having to struggle to make ends meet. That the plaque featured in an Auckland setting is doubly insulting, given the real situation faced by many Aucklanders and a Government that does nothing to support the Provincial areas to remain viable. Well done, Mike Lee. That is what we elected you for.

'USA not spying on me', says Prime mInister Key!

I had to hold on fast and true to my steering wheel as I listened to PM Key being interviewed on the radio this morning. He was asked if he was being spied on by the USA. His response really did test me. What utter arrogance. His reply that he ‘knew’ that he wasn’t being spied on by the USA was pathetic, not just in the manner of his reply and the smugness that dripped from every orifice, but in his body language that oozed through the airwaves. Come-on Mr Key. Who in the hell do you think you are, if you think that you have some sort of special relationship with the USA that transcends that of every other leader in the world. Oops, maybe I am wrong! Perhaps you are so insignificant in that the USA ranks you so lowly that you do not warrant any particular attention. I better apologise then for not recognising your ‘actual’ stature. Damn, I should have known that mentions of NZ in the Lonely Planet are about as good as it gets re mentioning NZ in anything re the USA. So, go back to your enjoyment of living in the belief that you are ‘special to the USA and that they do not spy on you because you are--- ‘special.’ Nah---you just don’t rate!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Forget Russia's claims about Greenpeace 'piracy,' and just look at Tournament Parking in NZ!

I know that many people are angry at the Russian Government's original claims that Greenpeace activists were carrying out 'acts' of piracy and even now that those charges have been reduced to 'hooliganisms,' we only need to look closer to home to see the money grabbing selfish and nasty company that is taking extreme action re parking. That company is Tournament Parking and despite being a signatory to some sort of code of conduct, it constantly appears in the media as being a total bully.
When a man took action, and yes, damaged one of their clamps they immediately charged him. Their actions are being repeated on a daily basis. It is time that the Government manned up and passed legislation to force this company and others who clearly  carry out acts of piracy, all in the name of profit gouging to play fair. Force them to return to a more 'New Zealand way' of conducting business and not emulating the actions of a despotic Government. Tournament Parking should be ashamed of themselves and the public should avoid wherever possible using their facilities, even if that means, dare I say it, taking the bus or train. Either way, we must give them the message that 'enough is enough.'

Saturday, October 26, 2013

New Zealand's 'friends' attack us in Afghanistan! The message? Come home, now.

The latest attack on our soldiers in Afghanistan by so-called 'friends' send a message we should have understood and acted upon ages ago, but we insist on following the good old USA in its failed endeavour to bring 'democracy' (whose style?) to this 'non-country.' I can hear the howls of anger from those espousing the need to protect women and girls from the Taliban. But should our boys and girls die for this---cause? What thanks has the 'West' ever received from countries where an 'intervention' has taken place, especially in the Middle East?
NZ follows blindly when the USA roars and our personnel willingly jump into the fray and families back in NZ suffer when their loved ones die. I know that we have sent our armed forces overseas in the past, but all too often in the 20th and 21st century and the conflagrations have been decidedly those in which the USA has decided what is best for these countries and more to the point, in the interests of the USA.
 In Afghanistan's case, they are flying in the face of history. No nation has ever won in this God forsaken country, going back to the British Empire, the USSR and now the USA and it's 'allies'!
Yes, we could keep pouring troops and resources into the region and the Taliban or some 'warlord' will dismantle the 'reconstruction' efforts and refugees will continue to arrive on the shores of our near neighbour, Australia, bringing some of the discontent with them.
How about we only send  forces to nations whose people clearly state that we are welcome. Arriving at this point, would of course be difficult to asses, given the complexity of local politics and religious mania that so often prevail. Put simply, we do not belong there! Bring our people home!

Snowden sends a message to people demonstrating in Washington about USA spying on world leaders.

I watched and listened with interest about a news item that states the support of Snowden to demonstrators at a rally in Washington, expressing outrage at the activities of USA spy agencies. He said that it represents misuse of power, a threat to democracy and it has gone on for years. We also hear increasingly strident calls from the leaders of countries whose leaders have been 'spied on.' The list grows every day.
 Obama has hardly countered the accusations with  any enthusiasm leaving one wondering if he is fully aware of the rampant spying that is obviously taking place. We all know that the USA has many enemies and that a nation must look after the safety of its citizens but I can't see why the alleged spying on so many leaders helps in this cause.
Of course, other nations also play the 'spying game,' but they lack the sophistication of the USA. We can assume that China and other nations must be rubbing their hands with glee as the focus falls off their particular activities.
I do not support the 'big bully brother' attitude of the USA, but I can understand the fear inspired by the recent 'anti-American' attacks around the world. Any nation has the right to defend itself, especially when the 'attacks happen on their own soil and at their embassies around the world. The reasons for the world-wide 'anti American feelings have been the subject to passionate debate for years and the reason for this have not been learnt, either by the USA or its 'enemies.'
That Snowdon makes his statements from Russia is a bit rich though. He would be far more believable if he chose a 'real bastion' of democracy and truth. Russia---yeah right!

Pirongia has so much to offer.

Not only is Pirongia a beautiful little village, not far from Hamilton, it is also the centre of a district that has so much beauty and places to visit. I shall let the pictures speak for themselves. Unfortuanalty, I couldn't take Perdy as she would have wanted to play with the pet goats and hens at my friend's place.
Entrance to the lovely park.
We followed the pathway.
This stream has trout in it!
So Tranquil.
Having a little 'sit down' after reaching the camp

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Talk To Me, coming to a Kindle near you soon.

‘Garry’ is the enigmatic host of a talk back radio show, continually battling with his boss over his ‘style’ as he goes about his daily show. The fact that he has many followers leads to a situation that he could never have imagined. Outside his working hours he loves to take his crazy jack Russell to the ‘park’ where both of them have a group of friends, canine and human. The ladies Garry has met not only listen to him on the radio, but they stumble upon a dramatic situation that they cannot leave alone. Unbeknown to them, they are messing with something that could potentially take them to places they usually read about happening to other people, not them!
The plot thickens as events take a sinister turn, leaving Garry and Spot (the Jack Russell) facing a danger that brings the ‘ladies’ to the point of---“if we don’t do something, then who will!?
Talk To Me is a cynical, funny and at times dark expose of the talk back radio industry. You will want to take it to bed and read until the wee small hours of the morning---before you turn on the late night ‘talk back radio show.’ But will you? ---after reading what could happen if you get ‘too involved?’

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why does the USA 'spy' on the world as well as on its own people?

It seems that hardly a week goes past without hearing about yet another country taking exception to the fact that USA has been spying in some form or another on the nationals of other states as well as its own citizens, both within the USA and those overseas. Why this should come as a shock is quite surprising. The USA has always been involved in various forms of espionage and it is only recently that we have learned the actual extent of ‘some’ of this spying. Even allies are not exempt. In the last few days France and Germany have expressed a level of disquiet over the spying conducted by American sources. Huge numbers of electronic snooping has been admitted to and the Governments of the countries affected have made their feelings public.
It is the sheer amount of data collected by the USA agencies that shocks. Even this little item could be subject to ‘surveillance’ so I had better be careful
 Let’s get real. The USA is not alone and it has been doing this for many years, simply because it can and it has the capacity to enter into all aspects of our lives. Why it does it is another question altogether. We a;; suspect a sinister motive but given the history of various ‘movements’ around the world and their desire to ‘hurt’ the USA, one can hardly be surprised at the actions of the USA.
They ‘do it’ because they can and their ability to enhance their operations is increasing at an incremental rate. We cannot guarantee that anything we do is private. How far will the USA go? That is anyone’s guess.
Other nations will catch up to where the USA is now, if they haven’t already. There have been allegations made, even in NZ that China and other nations (some our ‘friends) have been involved a level of espionage and those claims go back years.  The old adage that ‘big brother is watching’ is a reality not a figment of anyone’s imagination. We better get used to the fact that we are being watched, for whatever reason and if one wishes to avoid such surveillance, then they will need to enter a time warp and divest themselves of any electronic devise or live a life that is so far below the ‘radar’ that they may as well ‘not exists.’
My conclusion: There is stuff all we can do about this phenomenon so we move on, cry out from time to time and just get on with life. Can we be angry? Yes, of course and do what we can to lessen the impact of Uncle Sam and Mother Wong watching us. I just don’t know how! Maybe, we should be ‘watching’ them.

Postie shops and servcies to be curtailed but not in the countryside!

Why are we surprised to learn that postal services will be cut in the cities but not in rural areas? Oh yes, the Government will trot out all sorts of excuses to try to justify this very ‘uneven’ decision whereby the rural areas will not face the same drastic cuts. One can only come to the conclusion that the Government has assessed the impact of its electoral chances by choosing the direction it has and that it has an entirely political agenda. It is about survival, nothing else. The old belief that some ‘services’ should be provided on the basis of a ‘social contract’ have long since gone out the window; something both main parties have been guilty of to be fair, but it is the National-led Government that is the current culprit in the abandoning of what New Zealanders have taken for granted in the past.
The question now remains as to whether Labour and its ‘friends’ will reverse the carnage if given the chance. I suspect that Labour in particular will ‘fuddle’ the words it uses around the area of postal services. They will play a canny game and may not come out with a clear and open policy. That is the test of their mettle. We shall wait and see, but in the meantime, the old expectation of being able to go down to the corner and post letter along with other essential services, has long been consigned to the dustbins of nostalgia.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The bushfires in Australia---- hang in there, my friends, and family.

The terrible bushfires in NSW, Australia are worrying to say the least. The fact that some of them could join up to form sort of super fire causes even more concern. Living in the ‘bush,’ has always presented difficulties and one must always be ready to respond when the ‘season’ comes around. It feels like that season is becoming increasingly dangerous and elongated. Is it that the spread of Sydney into the ‘bush’ is contributing to the latest examples of nature ruling? The Blue Mountain Region has always been a popular haunt for visitors and Australians but this year it looks like a disaster area.
The pictures of the smoke, smog, pollution; call it what you will, coming out of Sydney remind me of the pictures we see of cities in Asia with their massive pollution problems.
I do not know what the answer is. Does Australia need to look at where it is best for people to live, safely? Yes, the ‘Original’ people could live with ‘nature’ in all its forms, but modern day living just does not suit that particular environment. The resources need to fight these massive fires are almost beyond Australia alone. We in New Zealand have and will always help, but ultimately Australia has some very important questions to face in regard to increasing its population beyond the main cities, into the ‘bush.’ Mother Nature will always be the winner against ‘humans’ puny efforts. We wish you well, Australia.

Aucklanders' average pay now NZ$1135 per week---just what does that mean?

It was reported in the NZ Herald that the average pay for Aucklanders is now $1135 per week. That sounds like a lot of money in NZ terms but there are a few things to consider before you all clap your hands in glee as we also hear reports that unemployment is significantly down.
Firstly,’ average’ can be a very misleading term. It is slanted by the fact that top incomes are included and those numbers skewer the figures to make them appear unreasonably optimistic. There are many people earning well below that figure and it is in this group that the announcement held little in the way of hope. For those in the hospitality, food and beverage and caring industries, along with other occupational groups, the figure are all but a lie. Yes, cold hard facts can be interpreted to make the scene far rosier than it actually is.
Take the higher cost of housing and transport, just to mention two factors re living in Auckland and combine that with the above extrapolation and you get a more realistic picture about what it is likely for so many people living in Auckland. Their chance of ever owning their own homes is poor at best.
So, before the Government begins its inevitable crowing re these figures, just take a breath and have some thought for the reality so many Aucklanders face every day. For those who don’t care about Aucklanders, just remember how deeply they stuck their hands into their pockets when it came to helping those in the southern city that ‘shook’ so badly.
Figures and statistics be dammed. Tell the truth, but yes, be hopeful for a better future.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Right wing council members are just taking it too far!

The Herald has reported that at least two so-called right wing council members have refused to meet with Mayor Brown in the light of his ‘activities.’ This is just going too damn far. They were elected to do a job and if the reports are true, then they should do what they have called Brown to do---resign. To take a holier-than-thou attitude into the council chambers, is childish, priggish and plain ignorant. We expect them to represent their wards and enter dialogue, no matter what their personal views are on moral issues. If they continue in this manner, throughout their terms then Auckland is the loser. Just how far should personal beliefs come into the picture when it comes to running a city? Shame on you, narrow minded jumped up fools!

PM Key pushes for smaller pay increases for MPs.

Many people who read PM Key’s statement about the need for smaller, if any pay increase to the MPs of New Zealand would think a bit before they rich in and say, ‘Great, about time!’
I do not have a gut reaction to his idea because I know that most MPs put in many hours for what can be a very transitory tenure, especially in more marginal seats or if a ‘list MP is way down the list. I do not blindly jump on some sort of ‘bash the MPS band wagon and blithely say they are all the same or that they are leaches on society. I defy anyone to come up with a better system.
What I do find a bit rich (excuse the pun, if it is one!) is that Key makes this announcement. Like---he needs a pay increase?  He can afford to give most of his salary away given his financial status. I won’t go not how he earned such status but it is all very well for him to postulate re the position of many other MPs. Quite a few, and that may even include the odd National Party MP (?) have come from reasonably humble positions before entering Parliament. They do not all spring from positions of ‘advantage.’ So before PM Key shoots his mouth off about MPs not getting a rise, he needs to see the bigger picture.
I know that many reading this will have little sympathy for my treatise (That’s a bit rich, calling it that!) because they come from a position that negates the very worth of most politicians. Hell, we need them and if we have many we dislike, or have issues with, then we know what to do---without guns. Just use the ballot box and keep pressure on MPs to preform and give back to society. Key’s latest statement is merely a desperate attempt to connect with an issue he sees as ‘vote winning.’

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I am just no damned good at ---'posing.'

Yeah, I know--I ain't 'model' material, but I am feeling one hell of a lot full of life now---six months post bariatric surgery. The only problem is that I have to change my wardrobe, yet again! Bugger!
 120 kilos minus 42---78 now!

Mr Key's dumb arse statement! 'I wrote it down and put it in the top drawer.'

Really Mr Key? You have a whole batch of notes you have written about the dirt people have given you about Labour MPs? What a ridiculous 'come back and kick me in the butt,' statement. You had quite neatly side-stepped the L:en Brown affair and I thought you had acted quite 'stately' in taking that stance, but then-----you come out with this stupid politically inane statement.
Lets take it as a given that no party is free from skeletons or nasty secrets. Do you really think that your utterances on national TV are anything more than a feeble attempt to embarrass Labour, or any other party for that matter? I was flabbergasted when I heard you rant on with that silly look we have come to know and try to appear 'above the crap' that people get involved in? Anyone with half a brain knows that such statements will place you in that vulnerable position that you would wish to avoid, simply because your own politicians in the National Party, to say nothing of those who are 'allied to you,' will no doubt exhibit very human failings and then some. You have unleashed a 'monster' that will come back to haunt you as you head towards the morass that National is about to crash into, next year. Just when I thought you were handling a 'situation' quite well (I know that many who read my blogs will laugh at my 'nice' statement---or throw up!)  you make this gigantic political faux pas or to put it bluntly--you put your foot, both feet in your mouth. I don't mind; it just means that we see you for who you really are! A word of warning to Labour et al---don't get too cocky, because you too are more than capable of fecking up!

Sometimes signs are just too small---especially for a Jack Russell!

A few weeks ago, we decided to take a trip to Tauranga. It was a beautiful Monday morning and on the way it seemed appropriate to let Perdy out for a run. U had given her a brief ‘sojourn’ down at the Onehunga Bay, where I was hoping I could ‘take the edge off’ her manic behaviour prior to travelling.
We stopped at the home of the Fig Tree Café, hoping to enjoy a nice coffee and a slice, but being Monday, it was closed. He’ll, they deserve a break eh! We settled for a takeaway coffee from another establishment and then walked along the road to a huge park, where we released Perdy so she could run and cavort to her hearts content. There were no other dogs present. Maybe the village just doesn’t have dogs. Oh well, she would have to be happy with whatever time she had and chase her ball while we sipped our coffees.
I didn’t know that Perdy had plans to embarrass me. Yes, she did have a little poop and I assumed that the other picked it up as I remembered seeing them bring a little blue bag for the obvious purpose of collecting Perdy’s poop. In the meantime, Perdy managed to manoeuvre me into a very guilty position, where unknown to me the accompanying picture was taken. I received it today from one of those who had travelled with us. Perdy---you knew that was happening! If you can’t see the picture, go to my website and check out this blog.   Follow the links from ‘blog.’

Desperate Housewives comes ot New Zealand. Thanks USA!

OK, I just said that to get your attention, USA. Life is not really like the scenes we see played out on our screens as in Desperate Housewives, or is it? It certainly isn't like that in little New Zealand is it? Those funny, somewhat sinister scenes we all like to laugh at and then cringe as we recognise something that we know is just below the surface, seem to attract us like a moth to a bright light. Recent events in New Zealand, and Auckland in particular add weight to the possible unity of the darker side of human nature, especially when it comes to power and politics. You only need to read my recent blogs about the goings on around the mayoral elections in New Zealand's 'Queen city, Auckland and you will know what I mean. I judge not and merely observe and of course comment. It is said that some bloggers (certainly not me, as I hardly rate re readership numbers, unfortuanalty) have contributed to the whole affair as they drag the secret affair of the Mayor onto the main pages of our newspapers and onto our TV screens. The Desperate Housewives analogy is just circumstantial rather than factual and just a tool to describe that 'potential weakness in us all,' that at times come to the fore and asserts itself in ways that go way beyond our control. Such 'newsworthy' chapters in the lives of our leaders would be better left in the bedrooms and hotel rooms rather than divert us from the tasks that have far more meaning. Why do I write about it? Why---because I am both annoyed at a leader I like and angered at the nasty politically based plots to unseat and debase the democratic process. One wonders why the other 'candidate' and his cronies, who protests from afar does not front up and challenge the target of the 'reports' we hear each day. There will be many losers in this political but very human fiasco!
New Zealand; must we follow big brother USA in everything? Yeah, I guess that's a whole lot better than other models in other far off places, like---I won't go there!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fifty shades of grey or something like that in Auckland.

Things really are looking like something that one would read in a risqué novel. Damn, I wish I could write something that resembles the 'goings' on  that we are being subjected to each day in Auckland. Forget about Italian Prime Ministers cavorting with exotic dancers, or French and American Presidents indulging in extra-curricular activities. We have it all here in Auckland, the home of JAFAS (JUST ALOT OF F--ING AROUND SYNDROME) and Mayor Len Brown. Initially, many Aucklanders threw up their hands in real or postured horror, invoking high morals or lack of as their measuring stick. Then the worm started to turn as we heard about the orchestrated attempt, possibly during and after the victory of Len, to denounce, embarrass and pressure the winner of the election to quit. Palino and his camp have been left with as much egg on their face as the Mayor. The latter has fronted up and has a task ahead of him re credibility, both with his family and the citizens of Auckland,but the former is conveniently on holiday and is only releasing comments through second parties, and we have Slater, the infamous blogger (even his father is in on the act now!) adding his 'factual account to the pot. The youngish lady at the centre of the 'scandal,' is being chased by both sides, mainly the right wing group behind the ugly smear campaign. Secret meetings arranged to pressure her to release yet more details, from intimate texts sent in, during and before the 'heat' of the passion, to accounts of the whereabouts of the actions that have made some laugh and others cringe, are now making it onto our TV screens. As the saga unravels I am sorely tempted to rush off a story and get it released on Kindle but then I realize that my utterances here are more than enough. Balance will return but it is anyone's guess as to which big trees in the forest will fall the loudest! Pity about the saplings underneath though.

My first solar oven cooked dish---asparagus and fennel with butter and herbs.

I finally did it. I cooked some asparagus with fennel and herbs in butter and garlic. I GOT THE OVEN TO JUST OVER 100c and it took about 70 minutes. Wow it smells good. Now, what's next?
It's misting up.

My slip of the tongue (or fingers) was correct about Palino.

My mind seems to work in strange but maybe prophetic ways. I have been calling Palino (the main opposition candidate to Len Brown for the Auckland mayoral race) Palimino. Is that not a horse? Well my slip is correct in that he is a bit of a dark horse if media (I mean the NZ Herald, here) reports are correct. I rest my case and now feel quite comfortable re my silly typing error! We are going to hear a great deal more about the 'dark goings on', re the election and its aftermath! And those actions are little to do with who slept with who. They are the issues we see and criticise for elections held in countries that we have often had distain for. The message---look closer to home when it comes to corrupt practices.

Eden Coffee comes to the party again!

Last week I used one of the 'clicks on the card' from Eden Coffee, to get my beautiful coffee beans and this time I asked the wonderful barista to grind them for me. He was a bit worried that the grind would be too fine for a domestic coffee machine and as it turned out, he was correct. Given that I have only just got my machine back (from a place in Penrose) after servicing, it was really hard getting through the week without a real cup of coffee. By the time I get home form work, Eden Coffee is closed of course and I didn't wish to purchase any other brand! I mean, I can use the machine but because it is too fine, it only dribbles out and sets up a counter pressure whereby the steamer pours copious amounts of water out, making a wet mess on the bench. I gave up and manned up to the fact that I just wouldn't get a cup of home-brewed coffee for a week.
Today I went back to tell 'my' barista of my terrible woes. he saw me coming and knew what I was going to tell him. Not only did he give a new packet, freshly ground for free but he offered to take a look at my grinder. hell;, I didn't know you actually had to clean them! I also admitted that I am thinking of getting a new coffee machine in the near future. Mine is Italian and quite simple (but not cheap) but getting it serviced at $200 a time is getting a little tiresome and I am not even sure that the latest effort from the outfit in Penrose is all that good. I shall listen very carefully to my barista when it comes to the new machine. He won't let me buy crap or anything that won't give me anything but perfect coffee. Life is too short for bad 'coffee experiences.' Thanks again, Eden Coffee!

Len---stay there---the plot is becoming dirtier and more nasty---DON'T give in to the righteous twits!

It is becoming very clear that the plight Len Brown finds himself in (yes by his own making, even by his won admission) has a dirty and quite sinister side to it. Even the NZ Herald, not known for it's backing of left-centre candidates, in any sort of election, is publishing details of some pretty dark stuff. Today's revelation  that Palino met with Len's former lover in a car park in Mission Bay two days after the election is significant in itself. That Palino seems to have gone to ground and that his backers and supporters seem to be involved in various ways re the youngish lady in the centre of this fiasco, is also very telling.
For a while, even I have been portraying the affair in a less than serious light and going as far as saying that the only real victims in this would be the family of Len. Only he can make amends if they are welcome in this matter.
There is a more sinister side and that is the question of the part played by those who wished to denigrate Len's victory in the mayoral election by resorting to underhand methods. They are bringing the whole democratic process into disrepute, far more then the actions of Len Brown. If for some reason Len does resign, then it must be a given that those same parties who now play the 'we are squeaky clean' game, should also disappear into the wood work from whence they came. That would only be fair---the trouble with that of course---who would we vote for re our mayor then? Maybe John Minto, but the unfair baggage he is labelled with, from people who cannot see past their
'rugby pasts,' would most surely get in the way.
So---Len---stay with it. I believe the tide is turning in your favour after you accept the 'slap' you deservedly need.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

100,000 hits but not that many sales!

100,000 hiys on my blog sounds like alot but it does not represent many sales. That's OK becuase I love writint my blogs. There are now over 14,000 of them! What surprises me is the number of countries who read them; the USA by far the largest representation, followed by NZ, then Russia and Australia. Then there are countries that really surpize me like the Ukraine or Jersey. Now even China is getting inoon the act of actively reading my blogs. For me it is all about reaching out and inviting commnets re  my blogs and of course, about pushing my books. Now that one book is on Kindle and another to follow in the nextfew weeks, it is much easier and simpler for people to access my books. All you need is a Kindle or a reading Ap on your tablet. So----go to my website and download ROSKILL and please write a review. Talk To Me will be out very soon.

'Don't lose any more weight,' they said.

Today is about 6 months and 2 weeks since my bariatric surgery. In that time I have gone from 120kilos to about 78 kilos. So, I have lost over 40 kilos in weight. I feel great. I do not have sleep apnoea, high cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes. I sleep better, have more energy and enjoy a new zest for life. My food bill is way down and my clothing bill is high. I can actually chose things to wear that I like rather than go into a shop and buy whatever fits; not then having to throw away a t-shirt because I didn’t see what was printed on it. I mean, how could I have missed words like, ‘I’m not your bitch.’ So untrue! I used to buy first then look later. It’s not 4XL anymore; it’s more like Medium.
Now, I can make plans for the future; a real one, involving the things I thought I would never do, like buying (finance permitting) a campervan in a few years time.  Maybe I will be able to travel and not worry about squashing out the person sitting next to me in then plane and not having to drag around a CPAC machine because of the sleep apnoea.  Now, I have energy to keep writing and extend the number of books I am working on. Above all, I will be able to collect and use my Gold Card; giving me free travel around Auckland.
Would I recommend my journey to other people out there struggling with weight issues? No—it’s not that simple. My solution is not for everyone. I can say that it worked for me but that is as far as I would go. You have that conversation with your doctor and do what’s right for you. Take a look at the before and after pictures I have put up. Yes, I really have lost enough weight. Any more and I will look haggard, so it’s now going to be a few more snacks so I can stop the loss in its tracks. Now, it’s keeping up with my new life style. Do I miss the old days when I ate, and then some? NO----not one bit!
Finally, I am very happy for people to contact me if they wish to talk about things in more depth. No, I don’t think I will write a book about it---there are enough out there now and my blogs will be enough for now.

That walk was dmaned tiring with all that weight!

My picture for my first book launch!

And now, 41 kilos lighter. That's enough now!

Lets leave the sleeze behind for a while and talk about something wonderful!

We all know that the Kiwi is an endangered species, not the people or the fruit, but the bird. There are relatively few left on the mainland of New Zealand and in some cases with a few sub-species, almost none. There have been various attempts, many of them successful to establish this iconic bird on some offshore islands in rat-free and other pest-free environments. I very much doubt that most Kiwis (the people) would object to the high costs of these initiatives.
After all the sleaze behind the on-going Len Brown ‘affair’ and the muckraking by his political opposition, I was very happy indeed to read  about a ‘sign of hope’ for our national bird today in the New Zealand Herald. My eyes were immediately drawn to the picture of a park ranger holding a kiwi in her arms like a baby and the accompanying report that for the first time in many years some Kiwi eggs have been found in a reserve north of Auckland.
I hope we read more of these hopeful events and that the Kiwi comes back from the verge of extinction. Does this story not warm up the cockles of your hearts and bring about a repositioning in your attention, away from the seedy, nasty reports of the ‘games people play.’ It most certainly does for me. Go Kiwis!

I'm just the 'gal' in the middle!

Call me names why don't you. All I did was to look for love. Isn't that what everyone is looking for. OK, I thought I would be the 'Mayoress.' Mmm---that sounds so nice. Yeah, I know, I also tried it on with his  'opposition.' I was only looking after both possibilities. You can't blame a gal for wanting it both ways. It's not my fault it all went to custard. How was I to know that I would end up being a 'porn' in the middle of two very clever men. Maybe I would have been better off going for one of their wives. That would have got the media going to say the least!
Now, I am being chased by those same 'players,' all trying to get me to 'tell all.' Are not my text 'releases enough? It's not like I am getting paid for this! It's all gone so horribly wrong and now I am being cast as the villain. I think I will move to Wellington. Now that I'm famous, surly one of the big wigs down there will 'want me, need me.' Yeah, that sounds good. This time, media---leave BRITNEY ALONE!
This little blog was sponsored by all the little people who are the real victims in the games men play!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Should we expect more from our politicians when it comes to the 'bedroom' or anywhere esle they chose to do their thing?

I am tempted to be a little risqué when I write this little offering. After all the details we have heard lately about the Len Browns affair and the righteous indignation about his lack of judgment and morals, one would think that it would all die a natural death.  Honestly, some of the comments are pukish in their aim. The holier than thou stance taken by some of these overzealous twats is enough to make me think  the collateral damage is much closer to home for him rather than having any real effect on society or Auckland City. I am not condoning Len’s actions or trying to lay the blame on the unfortunate ever so innocent recipient of his attention, but the resulting furore leaves me wondering if we are capable of reaching beyond the narrow confines of our restrictive thinking practices.
All this affair has done is to unleash a possible tit-for-tat response from those who have been labelled as immoral amongst other nasty names. One only needs to look beyond and within our shores to find similar examples of ‘leadership entanglements’ with sexual partners, some far more sinister and damaging to both parties.
Take the premiers and presidents of some of the larger nations of the world and fill in the dots; you get the picture, I am sure. The USA, Italy and France have all had their seedy leadership rompings, made very public in the not so very distant past. What would the paparazzi and other media feed on if it was not for the frenzy such actions provide.
The question remains as to how much these shenanigans affect the running of our nations. How wrong could things go if a high ranking official, responsible for nuclear ‘button pushing’ was in the throes of a passionate affair? The mind boggles at the possibilities.
Len hardly has his fingers on any button other than undoing his own, so therein we can observe the real victims of his actions. I suspect that each day, if not each hour is going to fill us in with yet more details. I am looking to the time when Len and the rest of us can get on with life. Enough already!

Now that the cat's out of the bag, lots of peple will be heading for the hills!

Yes, Len Brown has a great deal to answer for to his family and whether his partner will be able to ‘forgive’ and move on has yet to be seen. The real victims are not some ‘group of moralistic voters’ who claim that they cannot see a man who has transgressed in the manner Len has, as being a suitable Mayor for Auckland. They have very short memories; just look to Clinton for that.
One has a huge sense that there is much more to this whole sorry affair than has so far appeared on our media. We are now hearing reports that the lady involved in the sandwich is ‘regretting going public’ and only did so after she lost in her attempt to gain a position on a local ‘Board’ and after Palomino’s flailed attempt at the Mayoralty. That there has been a concerted attempt by parties linked to the National Party is also of concern. John Key has of course distanced himself from any involvement; even coming out as being supportive of the work Len has done for Auckland.
The orchestrated attempt by the right to discredit Len Brown will have its consequences; ones that they are stupid not to have seen coming. Now that the gloves are off, expect some fireworks aimed at them. This is the nature of politics; the nasty and dirty side. All ‘sectors’ of politics are capable of displaying this unseemly trait and it feels like people never take head from the lessons of history.
I do not know whether Len will survive, but I feel is obvious is that a ‘beast’ may have been unleashed, all in the name of individual’s ‘lust for power.’ The dust will settle and life will go on and nothing about human nature will have changed. The ‘moralists’ will feel vindicated and will sit around supping their gins and teas, waiting until the sword falls on one of their own, as it surely will.
Len, take time to be with your family then get on with the job that you were elected to do.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mayor, Len Brown is in deep trouble!

Without a doubt, Len Brown is in trouble over the ‘allegations’ that he conducted an affair with a council employee. If this had been ‘out there’ during the election campaign, there is little doubt that the final result would have been different, not necessarily re the winner but most definitely in the margin between the two main candidates.
I can see both sides of the ‘post-election’ argument. I hear the moralistic overtones and the ‘judgment’ as to Len’s character. I also understand the doubts that many people now have about Len’s suitability for this job. I ‘hear’ those who are angry that they gave their votes to someone they now see as ‘damaged goods.’ However, I have a real issue as to what is driving the clamour to have Len removed or for him to resign. There is little doubt that some of the ‘noise’ is coming from those supporting his main rival in the run for Mayor.
What gets me is that many of the ‘denigratory’ comments are coming from those who didn’t bother to vote anyway. To those in this 60%plus sector of the electorate, I say, keep your comments to yourselves. If you didn’t bother to vote then you can hardly claim the right to have your say now.
I say the main victim in this sorry saga, is the family, not the electorate. Len can do his job (and I have heard the plethora of utterances on talk back radio from those who say he can’t) regardless of his other activities. If his family ask him to resign, then fine---follow through. We have seen many leaders, in governmental positions and in private companies, transgress on moral grounds, but they still continue to deliver re their tasks. Len can do the same.
Let us not hear only from those who may have a political or moral agenda. Let us wait until Len works through this and if he arrives at a position whereby he wishes to take us back to the polls, then (apart from the expense) so be it. I hope that it does not come to this.
To his opponents who seek to gain from the sorry affair, then they should take a look at history; it does indeed repeat. If they cast their stones Len’s way, there is a strong tendency for a ‘rebound effect.’ I have a very uncomfortable feeling about what is driving some of the stridently judgmental opinions. When mud is thrown at the fan, it tends to ‘come right back at ya!’
Let us all take time to let the family come to terms with what has happened and then, go from there. Nothing is going to silence those critics of Len Brown, but hopefully we shall get the bigger picture over the next few weeks. Auckland City can wait until that has happened.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Just a pack of rubbish!------or is it just another new task?

Back in the ‘old days,’ many Aucklanders had one dirty old rubbish bin. They put that pout on the roadside and if remember correctly, as it was sometimes my job, the bin was actually quite small. My dad used to make some compost and he also burnt some rubbish in the back yard.
Now of course things are very different and they are about to get even more complicated. We may have up to three bins with all sorts of restrictions about what goes in which bin and will need to limit some ‘recyclables’ to less than 5%.  I doubt whether many of us could even spell recyclables in the past never lone actually know what such ‘things’ even were.
Over the next few years we are going to all need to know exactly what ‘goes in which bin,’ or we will face the ire of council workers, who will at least ‘educate’ us as to the correct procedure. Can’t you just see how some households are going to handle this most difficult of tasks. Can you not also see the huge number of bins crowding our verges on collection days? Picture the plethora of colourful bins, some with stickers on them ‘telling us that we have done wrong.’
I think it is going to take time. It is all very well for the council to tell us that we need to compost and recycle. Just imagine the scene at some of the tower block apartment buildings. It’s going to be one big mess and people are going to get really frustrated; both with their own ignorance and unwillingness to co ply and with the increasingly highhandedness of the authorities.
I am not confident as to what is going to happen. Cities are not like the countryside, where the solutions are more apparent and a lot of us are going to find the ‘new way’ very hard to comply with. Gone are the days when we just chucked it all in the same bin, and then wheeled it all out onto the footpath, glad to be rid of the smelly concoction.
So ‘city fathers/mothers’ and other minions doing their jobs for the good of us all; just be a little understanding with us as we continue to learn and possibly transgress your new rules. Yes, I know it is all for the best and for a cleaner and greener community. No one wants to keep seeing filthy and smelly dumps that our children will have to deal with in the future. It’s just that we will need time and understanding as we learn the rules for the ‘brave new world.’

Sunday, October 13, 2013

'TALK TO ME' is going online soon.

Yes, you can still buy a hard copy of TALK TO ME and ROSKILL. I have a few copies and they available from my website--   You can also download ROSKILL as a kindle version for a very low cost. All you need is a Kindler or a tablet with a Kindle App. That is available free as a download.
TALK TO ME is about to go digital too, very soon. Watch out for the release on Kindle. It is in the final stages of 'production. It will be great having two books on Kindle and more will follow.
So---what is TALK TO ME  all about. I have listened to Talkback radio for many years and I have a love hate relationship with it. Sometimes, it drives me nuts listening to the comments of those who ring in and the 'stirring up' by the hosts. Can you imagine what would happen if a host is 'stalked' online? Worse still, his beloved pet is 'endangered?'  TALK TO ME is an irreverent send up of the talk back industry. If you are offended by the material or story line in the book, then I make no apologies. After all, I am not responsible for your 'reactions.' Only you can decide if there is a smidgeon of 'truth' in my story. Hell, even Perdy (Spot in the book) likes it when I read it to her!
I shall keep you posted and you can help by passing on the link to my website to all of your circles and 'friends. Help me beat the big boys in the publishing world and keep on downloading ROSKILL.
Perdy (a.k.a. Spot)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Think, listen and watch before you blame 'new' New Zealanders for missing out on that dream house!

We have all heard various politicians and media stating that the high price of housing in Auckland is driven by overseas buyers who can afford to 'blast' locals from the competition when it comes to auctions. You know the scenario: You go along to bid on a home that you have fallen in love with and have your guaranteed lone in your back pocket. The bidding begins and very quickly the price has surpassed your means. You though you might have had it but suddenly a voice from the back of the room announces a price that leaves you high and dry, yet again. Your options are limited. Unless you head for an area you had not previously considered, your plans are dead in the water. It happens time after time and your chances to become a home owner are rapidly receding. You look for someone to blame and on the way home from your latest failed attempt to purchase a home, you hear a caller on Talk back radio blaming a certain ethnic group and claiming inside knowledge about how these 'groups operate. That feeling is stronger when you hear a politician on the news 'backing up the previous claim and you enter a world verging on 'hate' for these 'carpet baggers.' Time to take a break and think, my friends. Yes there may be an element of fact behind some of the claims about what happens at an auction re bidding practices. How are we to know that someone hasn't been planted to up the prices. Sure, that's illegal but it is also difficult to prove that it is happening.
Today I listened to my hairdresser as she relayed her experiences around auctions and trying to get her foot on the ladder of home ownership. With the latest law changes whereby one needs a 20% deposit and the current high prices, she was starting to think that she and her hard working partner were never going to achieve the Kiwi dream. I felt for her and wished her well in her search. There she was, working hard  on a Sunday, to try and save. Traditionally, such hard work paid off for Kiwis, whether they be NZ born or new to the country. Like many other 'Kiwis, she is trapped in that hard place----getting together a deposit and winning an auction, where she has to go up against 'developers' and investment groups. She sounded like any other Kiwi just trying to get a fair go!
But, she changed the subject and we talked about her homeland and family---China! We had much in common. SO---think before you jump to conclusions about who, what and how the situation for many people is changing---for the worse. Lay the blame on factors other than 'race.'

First home buyers in Auckland have little to hope for.

Reports that first home buyers in Auckland are beginning to give up on getting their dream of entering the property market. The new rules about needing a 20% deposit are simply playing into the hands of investors and speculators. For those 'fat cats' who cry 'foul' when anyone talks about imposing a capital gains tax in order to cool down the demand for investment properties, I say, how about thinking of your fellow citizens for a change? If a significant sector of society is locked out of the NZ dream of owning a home, then expect social disruption as those who are doomed to stay at the bottom seek other answers. We can not have the gap between 'those who can and those can but dream,' ever increasing. Something has to give and when it does, maybe the greedy will take a plunge of epic proportions. To the politicians I say,' get your act together (but not ACT!) and provide a more hopeful playing field.' It is in the interests of us all to have the maximum number of our people with a real stake in the economy. Home ownership along with stable employment are vital factors to achieve this goal. The later of course is another factor in that an increasing number of NZers are employed on a non-permanent basis; called in only when needed. How can they ever save for a 20% deposit?
Of course for some the best action would be to leave Auckland and 'if' they can find employment in the provinces, move there, where the homes are more affordable and life is a little less stressful. I hope that David and the Labour Party is watching and comes up with policies that veer in a new direction. Tine will tell!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dare I say it?----a glimmer of hope in Afghanistan.

My heart went out to the people of Afghanistan, in particular to the people of Kabul. They were gathered together in a stadium, formerly used but the Taliban to administer harsh Sharia Law punishments on those they saw as transgressing their ideology.
The people in the stadium were living as we in most other countries, take for granted. Men an women were in attendance, together;  a woman dressed just like any Kiwi would do to sing to the crowd; her face was not covered and she was not subjected to ridicule for entertaining the crowd.
The two teams on the field were playing football and they adhered to the 'rules' of the game. There were no bombs, no deaths and the result of the game was accepted by all. Oh for this to be translated into the lives of ordinary Afghans; that they could believe that this occasion in the stadium was 'normal' and the huge helicopter that appeared over the crowd was not necessary. Have they not suffered enough! Could it be that the future holds something resembling normalcy in this war ravaged nation? What stand s in the way of that dream? -----A group of 'men' claiming that they have a God given right to rule in a way that does not include all citizens and a way of life that would not allow for the happy scenes in that far off stadium in Kabul. Perhaps sports really is an antidote for the excesses of politics and religion!

Bye bye big jackets!

I remember buying some really nice jackets over the last few years but now they simply don't fit. I look like a vagabond wearing something he has 'lifted' from' a burglary! No, I am not selling stolen items; I am getting rid of stuff that hangs loose. I gave away bags an bags of other clothing, but the Visa bill got too high when I brought my new wardrobe after the bariatric surgery 6 months ago so I am financing my visit to the shops, be they online or local. I am sticking ridiculous prices on them and making the Trade Me auction last only 2 days and I am insisting that the buyers pick them up. That will annoy those bidders outside Auckland, but for a few dollars, I just don't fancy packaging and posting. They are so cheap I doubt the prices I get will even cover the visit to the post shop. Oh well, I guess I may still be giving them to the hospice shop or the SPCA if they don't sell. Now, what else can I get rid of! Nah---I'm not gonna put up pictures, you will just have to go find on Trade Me.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Ok, this is a scienticiaclly based experiment. Six months ago I had bariATIRC SURGERY. nOW 41 KGS LATER and very much healthier I decided to have a couple of glasses of wine to see what effects the said beverage has on my typing performance. I will not spell check this ort check what I have written . Mmm--casting my glance so far, I seem to be doing OK. I know alfrerady tta I feel good---well a bit ripped to be hinest. I know tyat my typing is not the best and neds a bit of tweaking at the best of times os the result of two standard drinks of a good NZ white Pinot Gris is quite telling.
I am awaiting the wonderful dinner that I think is home cooked 'butter chicken' along with a medley of streamed veggies and rtice. That will be followed by a sponge cake with cocnut icing that I had for lunch with some lovely lady firndfs I met a few years ago while wlaking my dog. Perdy is looking at me now, wondering what I am doioing. Perhaos she things that I am  wrigtin another book about her. Sher knows that she is the 'satar' of my next book to go online in the next few weeks, TALK TO ME. I WAS VERY CAREFUL ABOUT typing thyat title. Does this story need a moral or a  purpose? Caours enot. It is a simple example of   (Damn, how did those italiscs appear?)
As I look back at all the red underlined errors that I said I would not correct, I think I have proven my point. For me, even tow snmall glassdes of a quality NZ wine have a huge effect on my typing -- I challenge you all to conduct the same experiment.
To those dopes who say that they are not affected when they drink, partake of other illegal substances, I say---get real.
I can smell the butter chicken. From past expecribnce, I know that it only takes a bit of food and I return to norm,al whereby the typing isd just a little better!   I typed thast really slowly!

A walk on the 'wild side.'

I looked out the window this morning and wondered if Perdy would still want her walk.  What a silly 'wondering.' Of course she did. After a quick breakfast (yeah, I know, I'm supposed to eat SLOWLY) we headed towards a park/reserve in Blockhouse Bay where I had taken her yesterday. She loves the combination of grassy glades and bush. The reserve also has a stream meandering through it where she can wash off the mud and stains form her usually white body. The reserve has also had a reputation as being one where some whacko dog-hater has left poison to kill dogs but I see the signs have gone now to be replaced by new ones warning of 'dog thieves'  in the area. Hopefully, Perdy's natural distrust of people, unless they have a dog will keep her safe.
Perdy was off like bullet, running and watching for me to chuck her ball. Even though the wind was getting up and the rain starting, the reserve felt clam and serene, despite the busy road on the border. We alternated between crazy 'chase the ball gamers with exploring in the trees and even found a path we had not gone down on previous visits. Perdy jumped in the stream and we returned to the cart, satisfied and at least some of her energy spent.
Now I have dropped her off home and I am going to lunch with two lovely ladies I have met as a result of Perdy. I am not taking her because I would actually like a relatively quiet time at lunch and not be bothered by three crazy dogs---Shush----- don't tell Perdy. She thinks I am going to work.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The solar oven has hit 100c plus!

Now that I know the solar oven is capable of hitting 100c and maintaining that level consistently I shall be able to try out some 'real cooking.'  It will need to stay at that level or higher before I attempt meat though. Today, is my day of testing and if the weather is OK tomorrow I shall try a savoury mince recipe.
The Bay leaves I dried the other day, were very successful at 70c; anything more would have burnt them. I am looking forward to drying some of the berries I grow and other fruits and herbs. Hell, if I was a gun toting maniac, I would almost label myself as a 'prepper.' But, I just don't have the 'skill' those guys and girls have! With my solar power, perhaps all I need to be at least a 'greenie.' I am sure those of you who know me are laughing your tits off!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Boil-up with my twist and a tweaking.

I have heard various friends almost going into rapture when they talk about going home to a good old-fashioned boil-up. There would be very few Maori families out there who don't appreciate the idea of a weekend boil-up. As with most 'traditional' recipes in many cultures, each family has its won spin on the family favourite. Fro the most part, a boil-up consists of pork bones (maybe beef too) purchased from a 'favourite butcher (or even 'home kill') stuck in a large pot along with watercress or puha, various vegetables and possibly some salt and pepper. The idea is to keep it simple, cheap and with the addition of of some 'doughboys' near the end of the cooking process, the family has an easy meal.
I well remember a friend cooking the above version at school one day and the smell went right through the administration block, causing the principal at the time to jokingly banning us from doing that again. Of course, the Maori students, knew exactly what we were cooking and their smiles spoke volumes.
Yesterday, while I was shopping at the Aussie Butcher, I came across some water cress and a few metres along the aisle, I spotted some meaty, not too fatty pork bones. 'Flash,' my mind went: Maybe I could do what that clever chef does on Wednesday night TV, where he takes a 'favourite recipe and gives it a twist and a tweak.' I rushed home with my very cheap purchases and excitedly announced that I was about to 'experiment' with my version of a boil-up. Did that cause  equal excitement at home? No---not really, just a raising of eyebrows and a resignation that I was going to do something different----again! Here's what I did and yes, I know the 'purists' out there are going to have me 'hung drawn and quartered.'
I found my biggest pot. Damn, I shouldn't have sold that huge one on Trade Me.
I washed the pork bones and placed them in the pot.
I added the pork bones.
In went the water cress---heaps of it!
I chucked in a chopped carrot and an onion.
In went a little salt and pepper.
But, then I added some chilli flakes, garlic, a piece of ginger and a dash of Paprika, nutmeg and a pinch of sugar.
I also biffed in small bacon bone.
After boiling the kettle I poured that over the mixture until it covered everything nicely.
I slowly cooked the mix for three hours and turned it off.
Was it good?  Hell, yes! The fluid was divine and the meat just melted in mouth.
Why is it that families insist on buying crappy takeaways night after night when they can cook (the original versions) something as cheap and tasty as the 'boil-up?' Mrs Brown tasted my version and she said, 'That's feckin nice.'
Honestly, It was magnificent!