Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Carry on camping

Portrush to Armagh
Portrush to Dublin
Portrush to Brittany
Portrush to Portstewart

Currently doing some much needed computer maintenance. Some of you might recall before there was ethernet there was sneakernet. I am running up and down the stairs from the cellar to the living room with my USB stick - I have to call this something else - when I remember what I really, really, really need from the Desktop to this little notebook.

Anyway I wanted to remind myself to write something about camping - no, Virginia, not the hand on the hip sashaying kind of camping - but real honest to goodness uncomfortable sleeping bag nonsense of the great outdoors.

More later - honestly

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Dream fiction writer

I'm sure we've all done it at some time - dreamed the plot of a novel or maybe the canvas of our next painting. In the still dark morning I woke up convinced I had cracked not only the plot and the characters of a short story but that I had written the bulk of it. I was also convinced I remembered every word of it - how could I forget? It was as fresh as a daisy, forgetting was not a possibility. I just needed to fall asleep to get the remainder.

I fell asleep dreamed the end of the story and then went to Las Vegas played a one armed bandit I had never seen before and hit the jackpot.

I woke up broke and storyless.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Royal Society of New Zealand

I like the look of this:

Manhire Prize

Manhire being Bill Manhire of Victoria University and maintainer of the Creative Writing Programme at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand.

Last year I obtained an Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing from Aoraki Polytech in sunny, down-town Dunedin. Two days a week, five at the beginning of each term, we would gather, we twelve plus our guide (she hates the word teacher) Diane Brown, on the sixth floor of Radio Otago House. In the stuffiest room on the planet we would practice our art, fulfilling the urge to create.

When it came to graduation I do not believe I have had a happier or prouder moment than when I mounted the stage at Dunedin Town Hall to receive my Certificate.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

An apology from the heart

Dear NZSA/PEN Otago/Southland Branch colleagues,

I have failed you.
Some of you, I know, depend on the weekly newsletter update, to keep in touch with life in something called the wider world. Forgive me.
The real correspondence secretary will contact you with the time and place of the ceremonial snapping of my Swan Fountain Pen (a family heirloom) to denote loss of status and face.

It will probably take place in the Octagon before the schools get out and the children invade the area below the Robert Burns statue to swap gossip and the latest chemicals for their Friday and Saturday nights out.

Believe me it is the last time I put my hand up for anything. For those of you who were not at the first meeting of the year - there were many absentees (you know who you are) - a question was asked: would anyone like to do backup, a Plan B, for the occasional time the correspondence secretary was absent or otherwise engaged?

Muggins here stuck up his shiny freshly washed paw thinking: I could do that!

When the time came to do it all circumstances had changed. Muggins had moved house, no longer had the same ISP and could not send the newsletter as a list due to restrictions on the size of his new internet mail provider.

Most of you, it would be fair to say in my defence, know nothing of your e-mail clients and their vagaries. Three of you cannot receive mail from my server. Is that my fault?

Oh, coffee's ready (to be continued)

Saturday, 19 July 2008


Cheering crowds of Australian teens were warned of the dangers of depraved sexuality in their society by a man wearing a dress.

Neither his holiness, Pope Benedict XVI - vicar of Christ - nor his ecstatic followers showed any symptoms of irony recognition.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Never did find out

I don't know what the scuffers were doing in Stuart Street.

There was nothing in the ODT
that I could see.

What would cause
them to gather
inside a legal chambers entrance
and park their cars almost
on the pavement
causing us to slow down
and stare into their eyes -
strange, cop eyes?

Those eyes say: We know you,
we know all about you.
Keep your nose clean pal,
or you'll hear from us
sooner than you think.

Monday, 14 July 2008


Climbing wall - Cadbury's chocolate
Policemen in Stuart St. (what was that all about?)

Saturday, 12 July 2008


I am posting this from the magnificent Pine Hill/Liberton/Dalmore suburbs of Dunedin. I know views aren't everything. I love the motorway.

We got moved on Monday morning. Two new men appeared and disappeared just as quickly. We weren't worried. They had got a call back to the yard to swap trucks. The truck they would be bringing back was smaller which given the problematic access proved to be a blessing. It was good to get shifted

Saturday, 5 July 2008


We have been packing to move house for the umpteenth time. Yesterday - Saturday - was meant to be day the movers came to shift us. Naturally it snowed. Just as well really as the mover's office hadn't passed on the peculiarities of our location to the two inappropriate men who turned up.

It's not just that we live on a hill on a badly maintained gravel road but the distance from our house to where they could park the truck is considerable. The men had not been given this information. Our concerns were probably treated as neurotic by the people in the office who never get out into the field to see conditions for themselves.

The older of the two, who was also the driver, sized up the situation pretty sharpish and we decided to abandon the project for the day. He said he would have to get a third man and try again on Sunday or Tuesday.

Today is a beautiful day. From my window I can see across to the harbour cone - the snow has gone. It looks like he wasn't able to organise a team of three. We cannot contact the office which advertises as being open seven days a week. We have left messages, called the contact numbers on the answer phone and can get no-one.

In an information rich society this is pretty rich.