For blogs with less than 300 Followers

For blogs with less than 300 Followers
Thanks to Hestia's Larder for this delightful award.
(For Blogs with less than 300 Followers)

Friday, 30 July 2010

Friday night thoughts

I've been reading many blogs tonight, not just the usual circle, but much further afield. Quite educational, so many viewpoints, many expressed clearly, but I'm a little saddened how little wit and humour is out there.
Too many people really take themselves too seriously. My minor philosophy on life is always strive to have fun, to see the funny side of any incident if possible.
Some of life's bumps and thumps are too sad to have any funny side. The death of a child for instance.

I cam across this:
"A Happy Atheist"

How fortunate I am to be atheist indeed,
I don't have to pray to any god with heed,
Nor do I follow a religion with irrationality,
Living secularly, I enjoy the world in true reality,
Without religion I am not morally corrupt,
My freethinking and logic do not disrupt,
My fellow infidels may agree with my psychology,
That the ultimate oppressor of freedom is theology

By Brandon Seger"

As an agnostic since I was 14 years old, I cannot take any religion too seriously. I looked at all the evidence in 1964, decided that there was really no way to decide on any faith using simple observed rationality, therefore I decided there and then to forget all about it unless someone discovered new evidence.
I am not an aggressive atheist, and I am usually harmless. Unless someone (normally a Christian fanatic)tells me I am going to burn in hell.
I usually laugh it off, but aggressive Christianity, or any other proselytising religion makes me angry and a bit sad.
How can they be so certain.
I said earlier that I am not an aggressive atheist, so if someone discovered a 5000 metre monolith on the back side of the Moon, or on Cydonia on Mars,

saying in letters 10 metres wide and 100 metres deep, incised with micron level accuracy, the words, GOD WAS HERE, then I would be relieved. Proof was present. The problem of which set of rules to then follow would become really problematic.
Maybe I could set up my own little religion, taking bits of other beliefs to fit my own preferences.(If Ron Hubbard could do it, so could I)

My new church site

Perhaps sacramental wine from the Catholics (The Wine Guy could advise on vintages), but not the little dinky glasses in use at present. I would propose a bottle each, with half bottles of Malt(Laphroig)

on Holy Days (every other Friday).
Add in 3 wives per man as per Islam and/or The Church of the Latter Day Saints.
The penultimate section of the service would be a nice thank you to the now-proven God for Sunsets, flowers, little girls singing and dancing on a late summer meadow, yeast,self-repair mechanisms in DNA replication, and then as a finale, a thoughtful request that a little intervention in wars, disease, floods and storms, cancer and ageing would be nice, if that was OK.

Wouldn't it be nice to know.

Friday Quickie


Off to Nuova Lazio High in 10 minutes. I'm understudying our departing UnterFuhrer so I can be ready in 2 weeks to take over the onerous duties of relief setting.

To the non-teachers out there, one of the peculiarities of the teaching profession is this business needing to have a trained or semi-trained (or sometimes a warm body)person to take over the running of a class, and to be responsible for that class's learning and teaching if the normal teacher is off sick or on a course.

A great fear in a school is having a class sitting in a room without a teacher, or even worse, having a horde of unsupervised kids running around the corridors.

What most people and parents don't realise that many of these relief teachers are completely unqualified, and simply employed by the school to "baby-sit" the class.

Anyway must be off.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Dog Food

Richard (of RBB) has been telling us all about his new friend and companion, Fluffy (of RBB), and I was thinking about pets when I arrived home last night.
I noticed that my beloved had left 5 bags of shopping at the bottom of the stairs, and it now became my job to carry them up and load the groceries and stuff into the appropriate cupboards and shelves. I don't mind at all doing this chore, as my beloved has 3 prolapsed disks (caused by years of lifting patients when she was a nurse)and carrying weights, especially upstairs is very painful for her.

As I was putting away the dog biscuits and doggie dental chews, I noticed the blurb on the front of the packet.

"Lamb and Mint flavoured for maximum enjoyment."

Who's enjoyment?

We spend millions making dog and cat foods, some of the ingredients could easily be used in human foods (like the soya meal in the biscuits), and the morality of feeding pets before starving children introduces uncomfortable questions of morality.
Yes our pets are affectionate (we think).
Has a cat ever said "I love you mista?", or dog volunteers to go out on a walk alone in the pouring rain?

As humans we tend to anthropomorphise observed animal behaviours and superimpose human emotions onto the animal.
We don't know, but probably assume that all of the pets we keep (probable exceptions of fish, spiders and snakes)have emotions identical to ours.

Anyway this business of pet food flavours. Lamb and mint is a human favourite, so is "Chicken in a thick and tasty savoury gravy" or "Delicious salmon with traces of Dill".

I have observed my little dog, when out on a walk, sniffing and trying to eat;
dead bird
cat poo
decomposing roadkill rat/possum (it was very flat)
apple core

Dog's do not seem to be very discriminating when it comes to food. They seem to have one rule. If it's edible, scarf it down as fast as possible.

So I think that the pet food manufactures put the nice flavours on the packets to entice the humans who actually buy the stuff.

And how do we know the flavours are accurate. Do you try the Lamb and mint flavoured biscuit, or the salmon and dill? As far as we know it could really be "cat poo and fish guts" flavour, or even "unidentifiable material found in the bottom of a skip" flavour.

Sometimes people are weird.

I can speak with some experience on this as I work with

Richard (of RBB)
The Basket Guy
The Computer Guy
Man of Errors

and until recently

Nicola (of Nicola's Travel Bag )

So I can really recognise weirdness when I see it.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


I'm very relieved that Richard (of RBB) is feeling OK after his confrontation with a blackbird.
I'm also relieved that the water is back on chez TwistedScottishBastard. So nice to have a really long hot shower. It's strange how expectations differ. When I was a boy in Scotland, a weekly bath was quite the norm. My family prided itself on our cleanliness. We had two baths a week, and changed our underwear every other day.
Looking back now, I wasn't aware of any especially bad smell, but I think that we must have all smelled.
The reasons for what we would now see as unhygienic conditions were based on economics and technology.

Most homes then did not have washing machines, families used communal wash houses. Water needed to be heated by fires. Either a wetback boiler in our household coal fuelled fires, or copper boilers fuelled by wood or coal for the communal wash house. It took time, effort and money to heat and wash, and all three were in short supply in the UK in the early 50s, still recovering after the war.
I can still remember the excitement when my Dad had our first electric immersion heater fitted.
Showers were virtually unknown, it was a bath. Either plumbed in in a bathroom, or a tin bath dragged into the kitchen, and filled from the kettle which was always kept simmering above the coal-fired kitchen range.

I now feel uncomfortable, to the extent that my skin feels like it's crawling, if I don't have at least one shower a day, and I really need one before going to bed, or I just feel unclean.

So nice to have instant, almost unlimited hot water.
So nice to be able to wear clean clothes every day.
It's easy to forget what it used to be like, and what it must be like for a very large proportion of the human race.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Waterless in Silverstream

Got home, knackered as usual, looking forward to a cozy meal with my beloved.
However, on my arrival I was told that our neighbours were having a problem with their water mains, and during the repairs silt and mud began to appear in our water supply.
So within 5 minutes of getting home, I was in overalls and gumboots, trying to get the stuff flushed out, with little success.
So we had dinner, with all the taps in the house running, and getting lower and lower flows.
By the time dinner was finished, so was the water, except for one garden tap out at the front of the house.
We contacted the plumbers (actually our neighbours did)and they promised to be out at 8:30 am tomorrow.

So until then it's back to settler days.
Huge pot of water boiling on the gas stove.
Garden hosepipe rigged to the one working garden tap, for kettle filling, hand washing and toilet flushing.

Sponge bath with lukewarm water rather than a long hot shower.

Brushing my teeth with our emergency earthquake water supply.
And so to bed.

Just one footnote. While I was trying to get suitable images for this blog, I was shocked, shocked to discover that lots of men seem to find getting a sponge bath rather erotic.
Mostly Brits and Germans by the nature of the sites.
Must go back to some childhood neurosis.
Glad I'm sane.

Richard almost with a Brown Paper Bag

Richard as never seen before

Second and I were commenting on the ability of Photoshop to create artistic renderinng of a simple picture of Richard (of RBB) holding a cat. Some of the results can now be shown.

Colour Pencil

Cut Outs



Patchwork Quilt

Palette Knife

Under Water

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Better Fuzziness

As requested.

Pet Sunday

Richard (of RBB) started it.

This is Samo

This is me and Samo. After a few drinkies. Me I mean, not the dog. Drinkies I mean.
Oh, you get the drift. O.K.

EXTRA Richard (of RBB)'s Watercolours

Richard and Fluffy

And for his pretty daughter (and Fluffy)

Serendipitous Sunday

We went to a Birthday party yesterday, and didn't get back until later. Then the Boks were playing the Wallabies so the rest of the evening was all set, so no time for blogging.
But a strange occurrence at the party. The birthday boy (BB)was celebrating 90 years, and had about 30 odd friends and relatives around. Plenty of food and drink. Later many of the other guests had left, and 3 or 4 of us sat down with him for a little drink of whisky.
I always enjoy talking with the BB. His memory is sharp, and he can tell a good story. We were talking about travel.
One of the party recounted his various trips to Europe, and all the Kiwis chipped in with various stories about Big OEs to Europe, mostly the UK. BB then told us of his first voyage to the UK, at the start of WWII, when he joined the RNZN. He was telling us of his journey via Canada, and of travelling then to the UK on a ship, the SS Ceramic, going up the Denmark Strait, between Iceland and Greenland.
Now what is weird is the name of the ship.

The SS Ceramic entering Lyttelton.

I had never heard the name SS Ceramic before that day, it's a bit unusual.
It's so unusual that I remembered reading about it that morning. In another blog, Clive had mentioned that he travelled back to NZ from the UK on the SS Corinthic, and when, out of interest, I had Googled the name, it led me to a site which showed that the 4 ships, operated by the Shaw Savill shipping line included the SS Ceramic (all the ship names ended in ic).
I'm in my late 50s.
I had never read or heard about that ship before Saturday.
Yet had a discussion on it by two completely unrelated people on the same day.

BTW The BB told me that the SS Ceramic did not survive the war, being torpedoed on a return voyage to NZ.

Friday, 23 July 2010

German Style

one of the regular bloggers restarted a slightly heated discussion of differences between Scotland (the land of my birth) and Germany.
He alluded to that item of Scottish National Dress, the Kilt, as being slightly odd.

Lets just look.

Which one do you think looks sillier.







See it doesn't matter what they wear. GIRLS LOOK GOOD

Boys in Lederhosen just look daft.

Boys in Kilts look great.


So tired. Slept right through the alarm, so I'm getting a late start to the day.
Only time for a quick coffee, slice of toast and a blog.
Liked reading about Richard (of RBB)'s Fluffy. I miss our cat, even after I had to dispose of it. (See the case of the Cat and the Paracetamol)

The ex-Führer of Nuova Lazio returned from his command of the Afrika Corps for a quick vi st (and gloat).
In his current incarnation he's not teaching, just advising teachers and principals and modern educational practice (Kiwi Style). Sounds like he's doing a good job, and his situation is giving him and Mrs.ex-Führer a lovely expatriate life style.
I don't think I could take the 480C summers though. We may moan (a lot) about the cold and wet, but 480C is a bit extreme, even in the "winterless North" where The Aged and Grumpy one purportedly lives.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Thursday, and the worst is (probably) over

We're over the half-way mark, and we've survived. Exhaustion levels increasing, but I think I'm getting used to it, as I don't quite feel as bad emotionally.
I feel a strange excitement as my new mobile phone gets activated today. It is stupid to feel anything about a piece of technology, but it's one of those free ones from Telstra, and there is nothing quite as satisfying to a Scotsman as getting something for free. The feeling can only be surpassed by getting Whisky for free. That way lies bliss.

Just finished updating my website last night. I started it a couple of years ago initially as a practical teaching tool, to allow me to experiment with HTML, then I started to add on some pages about New Zealand, then used it as a repository for photos of us in Kiwiland, so my family and friends back in Scotland and around the world could look at the photos with needing to download them.
Feel free to have a look. I would be grateful if you could comment on any mistakes you spot about New Zealand, or if you have any extra vocabulary you want added to the language section.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Oh God, I forgot it's WEDNESDAY

Yes, it's that day of tortures.

The day we teachers get a strong reminder of what our pupils go through during a class they really don't want to be in.

The day we teachers get a dose of our own medicine (probably Castor Oil)

The day we get PD.

I don't mind the Bring and Brag, I think I mentioned it before, but we can all learn from practical examples of good and bad practice.
It's the "New Directions in Pedagogy" type of thing that makes me feel ill.
The junior Führermädchen in charge is really trying her best, and to be fair, she is making a better job of it than the previous dedicated Führermädchen.
But it is still mind-numbingly BORING.
The only good thing about Wednesday is that it is my TWO PERIOD DAY, yahoo, yahlay.
I can spend it as I see fit.
I could have an extra cup of coffee in the staffroom annex. (The Shed)
I could have a nap sprawled across several chairs in the staffroom (done many times by Ross Selwood of immortal memory)
I could read a book.
I could plan out some work, do some marking (every day; marking, marking, marking), make some resources for me or for my department.
I could go and observe another teacher teaching (the best way I think we learn new and better techniques)
I could go and volunteer to take another teacher's class, so they could get a break.(just joking, I may be mad, but I'm not daft)
Time to go.
I hope all my readers (if any) enjoy their day.
Mine's going to start bad.
Before PD

After PD

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Teaching Tuesday

Back to the grind.
Nuova Lazio opened for business yesterday, and after a full day teaching, I'm knackered.
No more coffee breaks when I want to.
No more quick catnaps on the couch.
No more couch.
Continuous personal interaction for 5 hours.
I think this is why we get so tired. I think I've mentioned this before, that I've never felt so exhausted as I do after a day of teaching.
It's not particularly physically arduous.
I've spent long days doing hard physical activity, like a 30 km march with full kit, or sawing up a bloody big fallen tree for firewood. These activities leave muscles aching, a bone-deep weariness that a nice hot bath can fix.
A day of teaching leaves you drained, not so much as physically, but emotionally and mentally.
You have been trying to control a pack of kids, relating and emoting to over 200 individuals in 5 hours. I think it's the one area misunderstood by non-teachers.
I mean, how hard can it be to stand up for 5 hours and talk to kids?
They have no idea of the levels of interaction taking place, and the constant mental alertness which is an essential part of a teacher's armoury.
Think back to when you were at school.
Do you remember how it seemed that your teacher had eyes in the back of his/her head?
That's the situational awareness being expressed.
A good teacher knows what's happening in class wothout always having to turn around.
It's a survival tool.

(I do remember a teacher in my first school in Scotland who used to glue mirrors on the wall beside her whiteboard, so she could keep a constant check on what was happening behind her. I thought it was a bit extreme. When I heard her mention to a colleague that she could see if any of her pupils were sneaking up to stab her in the back with a knife, I realised she was quite mad. Paranoia is quite normal in teachers, with endless suspiscion, but this was a bit extreme.)
Back to the grind.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Lunch at Logan Brown

For those poor inhabitants of Aoteroa who do not abide in or near Wellington, my commiserations. Here in the capital we have a great restaurant, Logan Brown (LB), which once again has gained the accolade of Best in NZ.
Normally we don't eat out at posh restaurants very often, not just because of the cost, but because I really hate dressing up, and that is one of the reasons LB is so good.
It's not stuffy.
It's got a great atmosphere.

The old bank building in Cuba Street helps, and it has been thoughtfully decorated in subtle colours. It's not garish. The waitstaff are attentive and courteous, but not pushy or smarmy. They don't wear ties, but a neat smart uniform, perfectly in tune with the general ambiance, which is mart yet casual.
We observed many diners in suits and ties, some in suits without ties, some in polo shirts, some in tee shirts. A huge mix, all comfortable with each other.
LB are offering a winter warmer Bistro Lunch at $39.50.
This is a 3 course lunch from a limited choice menu, and includes a glass of wine.
We had:
Freshly baked bread roll, butter and olive oil/balsamic dip
Blue Cod croquettes with avocado salsa
I had Belly pork braised with spices and black pudding, while my beloved had the turkey confit.
We also ordered a side of roasted Portobello Mushrooms (extra)
We both finished with the Lemon cake and vanilla marscapone.
The wine was a Cloudy Bay Riesling.
I had an espresso to finish (extra)

The total bill for the two of us was $95.
The portions were not large but adequate, and the food was really well cooked and presented. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and will return again.
I know that it seems a lot for a lunch, but think back to the last time you went out for a cafe brunch. We went to what was "The Screaming Turtle" in Petone, and for the usual mix of egg, bacon, hash browns, coffee etc, we payed about $40, only half of the bill at LB.
LB is good value, I would recommend it.
Booking essential.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Site Meter