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)

Thursday, 31 March 2011

No Flies on Me

Another normal day at Nuova Lazio High. Or so I initially thought.

All morning there just seemed to be something different, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


In January, my beloved and I went back to the UK to see friends and family.  My son  (he of the pierced earlobe and tattooed forearm showing a delightfully rendered image of the Mexican Day of the Dead with the addition of a Chinese script which he was told meant "May the Lord Bless You" but which really says "I've got a Bastard of a Cold") went back as well, but because of other commitments (Not Guilty Your Honour) had to take another flight. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Every time I leave Nuova Lazio High to head home, I send a text message to my beloved, telling her of my love, devotion and hunger. 
This efficient method of communication ensures we keep in touch and also that my Dinner is ready when I get home. (Please understand that this is in no way an order to my beloved to MAKE FOOD, just a gentle transfer of information and intent)

Monday, 28 March 2011


Survived the cold and the weekend, and girding my loins for another stimulating and exciting week of teaching at Nuova Lazio,

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Rhinovirus sucks

I've got a cold.  I've had the cold for the whole bloody week.

Did I take a day off work?


We Scottish blokes don't wimp out so easily (unlike some of the kiwi girls and boys who depart at the slightest sign of a sniffle.  Although I must admit that Richard [of RBB] has struggled gamely on, nose dripping bravely)

Friday, 25 March 2011

Learning Conferences

This is of course, BLASPHEMY
Well Done

We're not teaching at Nuova Lazio High at the moment, we're having a series of individual Learning Conferences (LCs) with pupils and their families.

Some people may think I'm a reactionary, cynical and twisted old bastard, but this innovation, which replaces the traditional Parent Teacher Evenings is mostly successful and I think it really is worthwhile.

Me?  Bitter, Twisted and Cynical?

The downside is that they run during the day, and working parents find it difficult to get away from work.  We were planning on extending at least one of the days into the evening, but our Union, the PPTA, banned all work after 5:30, so we couldn't. (They lifted the ban last week while we consider the newest pay offer, but it was too late to change the planned times)

One major difference in the LCs is that the pupils do most of the work.  Well before the LC date, the pupils, with our help, complete a booklet about their goals, and the method they want to use to achieve them. This is used as a starting point to the discussion, with the subject teacher's comments, attendance statistics and a collection of the student's work being used to demonstrate his/her progress.  It's a lot different form the old days, when the adults get together, without the kids being present, and the teacher telling the caregiver what a lovely hard working child they had.  (There were plenty of more negative reports, but just for a change I'm trying to be positive)

Even some of our more difficult pupils fronted up at the LCs, and it was really heartbreaking seeing some of these poor little sods trying to get a glimmer of affection and approval from their caregivers.  Sometimes the observed behaviour of the caregivers explains a lot about the pupil's behaviour and attitude.

But some of the students and some of the caregivers never turn up. They just don't seem to care.

Blind rubber ducks just don't care either
Because I don't have a form class this year, and this first set of LCs are based around the form classes, I didn't have to attend my own LCs, but was supposed to "help out" a less experienced teacher in case they ran into trouble.  Seeing as the teacher I was assigned to has been teaching in the UK for many years, I was entirely superfluous, which was just as well, as:

  1. I have a terrible cold at the moment, coughing and sneezing everywhere
  2. Some reports were not printed (I know not why) and I had to produce them rapidly before the LC started.
  3. Some reports had missing comments, and had to be reprinted, after the teacher had added his missing comment,

Sometimes trying to get teachers to do something is like trying to herd cats.  I think it's because we're so used to being in control in a classroom, that we don't like taking instructions from anyone else.

Herding Cats with Cowboys
Never mind, I got a lot of work done, and I've almost finished a new Achievement Standard assessment.  What fun!

Keep trying to guess the answer to Why?  That bag of Jafas is up for grabs.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Why? (Prize Guaranteed)


As Richard [of RBB] has often mentioned (with I think a tinge of bitterness in his voice), my little blog has been screaming ahead in the viewing stakes.

Up to now I couldn't really explain it.

Horde of Foreign Types and Lascars

Was it a horde of "Johnny Foreigners" trying to upgrade their English skills by reading some finely crafted prose?

Pack of Pupils "studying" Drama

Was it hundred pupils of mine trying vainly to find a chink in the armour of my control?

Begone, foul TSB

Was it Ringo and his team of Slander Lawyers trying to find something actionable in my memoirs?

A lost, bewildered expat Kiwi, trying to find a link to home from Hastings

Was it packs of bewildered expat Kiwis, desperately trying to find a link to home, paddock and Tip Top Ice Cream?

He's a fan
So's He
The lowest of the low is a fan as well

Was it aficionados of the female form, using my vast collection of slightly smutty, mostly beautiful and (entirely legal and all above the age of eighteen Your Honour) pretty images of lovely ladies?

(Getting closer)

Indonesian Bichon-Frise Worshipper

Was it some sort of weird cult of Bichon-Frise worshipers in Indonesia?

(Very hot now)

My Geeks

My full-time team of computer consultants, statisticians, electronics engineers and geeks have discovered the secret. It wasn't what I had thought at all.

I'll give you a clue.

Apart from the old faithful Richard [of RBB] (affectionately know as either the "Bus Stop" or the "Double Bass Freak"), The Curmudgeon (who seems to be on some sort of a death thing at the moment) and the new entrant of Hestia's Larder (I have no idea what is going to appear next, but you can bet it will be very amusing) most traffic is being directed via Blogger and Google search engines.

Most hits are coming from Google Indonesia, and they are image searches

What are they looking for?


If any reader guesses correctly I will give them an actual, physical prize. If you live locally (and you still want to be found) then I'll give it to you personally. If you live further afield or even abroad, I'll mail the prize to you, cutoms and biosecurity laws allowing.  Contest closes in 1 week from date/time of posting

The prize?

Something every Kiwi loves.

Especially the name (Unless you live in Auckland)

Jafas.  Don't you just love 'em

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

I Love my Wife (4)

The Juicy Bits get a hammering 


WARNING: This post contains items of a vaguely sexual nature, and may offend those of a highly sensitive and anti-heterosexual character.

Any men who have not yet figured out that the WOMEN have the upper hand or how life really works should not read any further.

If my daughter is reading this, DON'T.
Log off and go and make his tea; you really don't want to know what happens between your Mother and Me in the Hours of Darkness.

[continued from yesterday]  [last one on this topic]  [Promise]

I was aware that the ledger still didn't seem in balance.  I had to do something really nice for my beloved.  I considered various strategies which have been successful in the past.
Giving her breakfast in bed
Going out for a meal
Going out to see a film
Going for a romantic walk in the woods, illuminated by the golden light of the setting sun and holding hands like young lovers.
Cleaning out the goldfish pond

Wasn't in the mood for any of them really.

Then I knew.

When I was a little boy, living in Glasgow,  we used to go for a holiday or a short break to a lovely little place called Millport.  Well actually the town is called Millport, the place is an island called Little Cumbrae.  We used to get a train to Largs and a ferry to Millport. 
Now Millport didn't have a lot to offer in those days (and I don't think it's improved much in the intervening 50 years) it had a Pier, at least 2 pubs, a fish and chip shop and a couple of rather stony beaches.  So to keep us amused,
My Dad always suggested the same thing. 

We'd cycle around Millport (he meant the island, but nobody called it Little Cumbrae. It was Millport to all but the most pedantic.  Even teachers)  This was a popular pastime.  Few of the locals had cars and cycling was the main method of transport.  The whole island was about 1 mile by 2, and the whole road around the island was only about 5 miles long. 

We hadn't of course brought our bikes with us, but there was a very large bike hire shop in Guildford Street and that's where we hired our bikes, trikes and on one memorable weekend, a tandem

Something went wrong with the steering on the tandem.  I have a mental film that keeps replaying at moments of stress. It shows this huge machine, made I think from abandoned scaffolding and left-over pieces of a Tiger tank, veering off the road towards the beach and sea. 
My Mum (at the front) screaming at my Dad (at the back) to stop pedaling and start braking. 
My Dad (at the back) screaming at my Mum (at the front) to stop steering them to a watery death.  It was really very amusing.  The splash was gorgeous.  The icy silence that descended on our little family for the next few days was strange, but somehow restful.

It was a very popular establishment, with (to my 5 year-old-eyes) thousands of bikes of all sizes and types hanging down from the ceiling in bits of wire.
Cycling around the island was very popular because it fulfilled most of the criteria for a Scottish pastime.
  • It was educational (you discovered parts of your body ached much more than others)
  • It was relatively healthy (Plenty of fresh air and midges [a particularly nasty type of biting gnat])
  • Nobody really had fun (met with the dour Calvinistic Principles.  Fun was discouraged, and forbidden on the Sabbath)
  • It was cheap.

Main Criteria for Scottish Pastimes
This all flashed through my mind when I was deciding how to rebalance the Ledger of Life.
I had bought my beloved a bright red Chinese built Tricycle for her birthday(see Courage, which tells the tale of our first cycle ride together) and she was always nagging reminding me to go out for another ride again.  The weather was lovely; Sunny with a pleasant breeze.
I offered this idea to my beloved who smiles and accepted with alacrity.  We I loaded the bikes into the trusty Isuzu Bighorn (Look guys, if you're going to buy a FWD, get a Bighorn. Do you have any idea of how satisfying it is for a guy to walk into a bar and say "Mine's a Bighorn?")

We drove to the Hutt River Golf Park  to park and offload the bikes.  My beloved looked out at the 5 or 6 people in the area. "It's too busy" she said.  "We can go to Trentham Park instead"
6 people too busy?
I knew she was a little nervous about riding in public (I had a standing invitation from the Trentham Cricket Club to return.  They said seeing my beloved propelling (cycling was a far too mundane term to use) her trike along the pathways was the best entertainment since the New Zealand Cricket Team (The Black Caps) beat the Australians by 9 wickets in 1990), but 6 people?
Ah well, thinking about the Ledger and the Balance I drove to Trentham Park, where we I off-loaded and re-assembled her tricycle.  It was too large and clumsy to fit in the back, even in the cavernous interior of my Bighorn.

Off we went, perambulating along the nicely paved roadways in the park, and once my beloved had regained her confidence (badly shaken since the incident of the overtaking pedestrian) we set of on the 5 km route to Upper Hutt.

Since we had decided to go on the bike ride on the spur of the moment, I hadn't bothered to get changed, so I was still in my trusty Army shorts, floppy bush-hat, sandals, and my favourite grey (The Warehouse $3.50) T-shirt, slightly grubby and bearing the Honourable stains from an encounter with an oily bike chain and the remnants of yesterday's Bolognese sauce.

I soon discovered that my shorts, utilitarian and normally comfortable as they were, were not designed for bikes.  They gaped at the wrong places.  Their inherent bagginess acted like some sort of animated funneling system.  As my knees rose to their apogee, the inner side of the shorts shot out to form a funnel.
Faithful, but a trifle baggy

At the start I was quite pleased, thinking that they had their own built-in loin-cooling device, as the pleasant zephyrs were directed to my nether regions.
Then the first (of many) insects were so directed, to the detriment of my bicycle riding and steering concentration (almost ran over a Corgi) and to the condition of my Juicy Bits.
Then I discovered one of the real reasons that dedicated cyclists wear Lycra (or as my beloved delicately refers to them, Condom) shorts.

Condom Shorts

One of the things my gaping shorts funneled was the gaze of a red faced girl walking her dog.  Funnily enough she wasn't red faced until she came within sighting distance.

After the 10 km bike ride, I also discovered another major disadvantage of the trusty Army shorts.  They were too commodious, too baggy.  Things could move that I didn't really want to move.  Add the rather hard and uncomfortable saddle, and the result was squashed bits that strongly objected to being compressed.  It hurt.

I noticed as I put the bikes into the back of the Bighorn that my beloved was moving in an odd way.

Sore, but not as bad as this poor bastard's hand

"You OK Dear?" I asked.
"No".  "I'm sore"
"What's sore Dear", I enquired, "Your back gone again?"
"No!" she exclaimed, "The other bits"
Ahhh.  All was now clear.  She had been suffering from the same similar discomfort as me.  Her little Juicy Bits had indeed been hammered, which was odd, as I had ensured that her trike had a large, and I thought, comfortable saddle.  Seemingly its shape rubbed things that should only be rubbed by a licensed therapist (Me) but after 1½ hours of continual rubbing they were rather less juicy and rather more sensitive than a militant dungaree and Doc Marten wearing lady with tattoos and multiple piercings at a Baby Oil aficionado convention.

Just as well.  I don't think my own abraded equipment was going to be doing much for the next couple of days.

Such is life.

By the way.  I didn't mention what my beloved was wearing.  Some incredibly tasteless person had given her a pair of leggings.  Have you any idea what a pair of leggings does to my beloved's lovely but admittedly ageing physique?

There should be a law passed banning the sale and use of such apparel to any person over 40.  And over the average weight for their age.  Some things are best left to the deranged fantasies of the perverted, and not exhibited in public.

Lastly, because I may have to undertake another bicycle ride in the near future, and I really DON'T want to wear Lycra, but I also DON'T want to have more abraded and abused Juicy Bits, I did some research.  And came across this customised cooling and padded cushion.
It's true you know.  You can get anything on the Internet.
Cool, but not necessarily stylish

Monday, 21 March 2011

I Love My Wife (3)

The Juicy Bits


WARNING: This post contains items of a vaguely sexual nature, and may offend those of a highly sensitive and anti-heterosexual character.

Any men who have not yet figured out that the WOMEN have the upper hand or how life really works should not read any further.

If my daughter is reading this, DON'T.
Log off and go and make his tea; you really don't want to know what happens between your Mother and Me in the Hours of Darkness.

[continued from yesterday]

So, deciding to make amends for my transgressions, I set out in the morning to completely strip and clean my beloved's SMEG cooker.

I then:

  1. removed the oven door and dismantled it into its component pieces
  2. removed all of the grill trays, drip trays and baking trays and sheets
  3. removed the top heating element
  4. removed all of the control knobs
  5. removed the cast steel trivets
  6. removed the burners and dissembled for more detailed cleaning
Everything I could, I crammed into the now emptied dishwasher and ran it on the hottest, most energetic cycle. (Just because I was doing this as a type of penance, didn't mean I couldn't do it smart)

 Everything else was individually plunged into very hot water, and scrubbed with steel wool and cream cleanser and then thoroughly rinsed.

Then I started on the interior .


Everything was scrubbed, rinsed and dried

Baby Oil always gives the best finish.  Even on Stainless Steel
The exterior was scrubbed clean, and when dried was given a very light coating of Baby Oil. Sounds odd, but I've found it gives the best finish on Stainless Steel.

Finally everything was reassembled, checked for cleanliness and then tested for operational use

Five hours after I started, I had a next-to-new oven sitting gleaming in the sunlight

Then exhausted from my labours, I had a long hot shower to remove the grease, and collapsed onto the couch to vegetate in front of the TV.

That was when it happened. 

The shock.

The horror.

Good for me
I heard muttering from my beloved who was now cooking our evening meal on my newly cleaned cooker.  The phone went, and she answered it. (I was too tired to move.  Honestly.  The ice-cold glass of Guinness in my hand couldn't be moved in case the froth disappeared.  It was vital I stayed where I was) It was an old friend of my darling, and they soon got chatting.  I smelled the burning milk at the same time as my beloved.
Quickly draining my Guinness (priorities, always priorities) I shot through to the kitchen, grabbed the pot of milk which had just boiled all over the now non-pristine (actually black, sticky and steaming )cooker, and shoved it in the sink.

Not Good for the Cooker
I really love my wife.  But sometimes she makes it a wee bit hard.

And now we come to the Juicy Bit.

Having restored my natural superior balance in the Ledger of Life, (and waiting for the disastrous mess to cool down) I was watching TV again (with a fresh glass of Guinness in my hand) and became aware we were watching Master Chef New Zealand.
The instructing chef was showing the contestants how to cook and prepare some mussels (Excellent quality available in NZ).
He (Simon Gault) steamed them gently over some onions and white wine, and as they opened in the heat, he demonstrated how the gristly foot could be removed.

Not what I expected
The cooked mussel looked very tasty and I commented to my beloved "Hmmm, that looks very juicy"

At this point my beloved sniggled (a combination of giggle and snigger; a rare occurrence in itself) and she whispered, "It looks like a cl****is"
"What?" I couldn't make out what she was saying.
"It looks like a cl****is" she repeated.

For once I was thankful that my son (who has been at home, living with us now for 6 months) was engrossed in some god-awful exceptionally violent computer game in the corner, my expensive Stereo Headphones clamped to his skull, and couldn't hear a thing.

I wished I couldn't hear a thing.
I wished I hadn't heard what I thought I heard.
I wished I was in the computer game and being pulverised by a 30mm Rail Gun, rather than listening to my wife utter the word "cl****is"

Just in case you aren't sure what the word is, it's one of the "C" words that are not normally used in polite society.  And it doesn't rhyme with PUNT. It rhymes with that lovely little inoffensive animal, "Slender Loris".

What could I say?

"Really Dear?"  (I didn't add "are you sure?".  Some things are best left alone.)

I think she's right you know. 

Whatdo YOU think?

I'll never be able to look at a Bivalved Mollusc ever again.

Not unless the lights are off.

Maybe with some romantic music?

Next Instalment:  The Juicy Bits get a hammering.

I Love My Wife (2)

WARNING: This post contains items of a vaguely sexual nature, and may offend those of a highly sensitive and anti-heterosexual character. 

Any men who have not yet figured out that the WOMEN have the upper hand or how life really works should not read any further. 

If my daughter is reading this, DON'T. 
Log off and go and make his tea; you really don't want to know what happens between your Mother and Me in the Hours of Darkness.

[continued from yesterday]

I considered my options.  On the one hand, my transgression was not that (from my viewpoint) severe.  So I was late, not that big a deal.  But I had been late every day this week, and I had missed our Friday night swim (The family that swims together, clings together and very probably, drowns together)

I ran down the list of jobs remaining undone.

A Man job, seemingly
Lawns to be mowed (This was really considered a MAN job, and so it wouldn't count in balancing the Ledger of Life)
Dusting the high places of the house
Strip & Clean the cooker
Fix the little wooden chair

I'd vacuumed the house only last week, so that was probably not good enough for a positive ledger balance, and I really hated the high dusting.  (I'd bought my beloved an extending fluffy dusting wand for her last birthday.  What more did she want?)

Her perfect Birthday gift

OK.  The cooker.  It was a big job, at least 3 - 5 hours depending on the size of the grease, oil and carbonized remains deposits.  But I couldn't just rush in and offer, that would be too obvious.  I had to use subtlety here. 
(Note to blokes.  Subtlety is an essential tool in our constant battle for love, tenderness and occasional intimacy.  There are actually times when a bigger hammer just won't do the job.  I know you might find this odd, but it is true.)

If I just came out now, and offered to clean the cooker, then this would be taken as an expression of guilt, and under the strange rules ladies operate under, the credit value of such work is ZERO.

Subtlety, remember, subtlety.

I went away and got changed before we had tea, and thought carefully as I examined the paint, blood and other stains on my trusty Army shorts.  Subtlety.

After we had eaten, and as I was washing and putting away the dishes, I casually mentioned to my beloved that there appeared to be some burnt deposits on the cooker.
She agreed.
I offered to clean the cooker, thoroughly.
She accepted.


Come on, I'm a bloke, what did you expect?
It took a real effort of will not to use the 20lb sledge hammer lying cleaned, oiled and ready for instant use on the tool wall in the garage.

A bloke, using a bloke's tool, to do a bloke's job
Next installment.  Sex, and my beloved shocks me with her language.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

I Love My Wife

This post contains items of a vaguely sexual nature, and may offend those of a highly sensitive and anti-heterosexual character. 
Any men who have not yet figured out that the WOMEN have the upper hand or how life really works should not read any further. 

If my daughter is reading this, DON'T. 
Log off and go and make his tea; you really don't want to know what happens between your Mother and Me in the Hours of Darkness.

I love my wife.

I really do.


No Question.

But sometimes to quote a friend from Yorkshire, "She makes it bloody hard"
Nothing to do with the text, but a very cool picture.  It's a bloke sort of thing

I was late home on Friday, finalising the reports and the relief for Monday, and my beloved had been looking forward to going swimming, as we had previously arranged.

The report checking was taking a lot longer than we had planned, so I texted my beloved to let her know I would be a bit late.  The first signs of trouble appeared in her reply.  No XXXs.  We always suffix our texts to each other with XXX.  I know it might appear a bit silly and teenager-like, but we do love each other (normally) and show it in little ways. 

We hold hands while walking in the park, we kiss every time we see each other after having been away (trips to the toilet do not count) from each other for any length of time.
We ignore each other's little faults and peccadilloes. 
I ignore her always leaving the toilet seat down and her addiction to Women's Magazines. 
She ignores me always leaving the toilet seat up, farting in bed, in the garden and on the couch, drinking too much whisky (on the odd occasion) and glancing surreptitiously at pretty girls wearing tight clothing (the girls, not me) when out in the car.

So not getting the XXXs meant she was annoyed.  How annoyed I'd find out.  I wasn't daft enough to actually phone her and find out.That way lies madness, despair and the very strong possibility of physical damage. (to the bloody phone after I had hurled it against the wall)
I was really quite late, getting home about 6:45 pm, and I could tell by the small, fixed, smile my beloved was bestowing upon me, that she was unhappy.

We still kissed.  Even when we are really angry with each other, we still kiss. 

I strongly believe that even if my beloved came into a room and found me standing over a dead body (please let it be Ringo) with a smoking gun in my hand, she'd still give me a little kiss.

If she came into a room and found me standing over a live woman with something else in my hand she wouldn't.  She wouldn't because I'd be out the window before she could get hold of a gun, smoking or otherwise.  Actually I jest, as I have never even thought of any hanky-panky with anyone, male, female, animal or even mineral (including plastic blow-up fantasy dolls) since we married 34 years ago. 

Ohhh.  I had a thought.

No, that's not 100% true.  The very occasional thought, vaguely sexual in nature may fly through my mind if I ever spy a pretty lady (never, I should remind everyone, never any school girls.  Ever.  I mean it.  I may be a bloke with normal bloke-like thought patterns and reflexes, but I'm not a perve, I'm a teacher) but the speed of the thought's transit approaches that of light.  So I see and think C. (Bit of a scientist joke here.  You can read it up on the internet.  Try wikipedia )

So we kissed.  It was just above the bare minimum  acceptable to us, about 3 on a 1 - 10 scale.  She really was upset.

This meant I had to MAKE IT UP.  I don't mean lie to her, I mean do many of these little things that make her happier.  Maybe dig out the mental list of little jobs she has mentioned to me in the past, but that I had put-off, forgotten and ignored.  I had to re-balance the virtual ledger that was life, and I'd better hurry.


Balancing is important

Never, ever let the lady choose the method of re-balancing, you might end up in deeper trouble than when you started.

Examples of what ladies might want on their list of re-balancing options:
  • neck-rub
  • foot-rub
  • whole body massage using rare oils and unguents
  • accompanying them shopping for shoes
  • blow-drying hair
  • vacuuming and dusting
  • weeding the garden
  • walking the dog when it's raining and the dog has diarrhoea
  • going to church
  • discussing our relationship and sex

Examples of what blokes might want on their list of re-balancing options:

  • vacuuming and dusting
  • polishing our shoes
  • weeding the garden
  • checking the oil, water and tyre air pressure for her car
  • Giving the large cooker a complete scrub down and de-grease
  • holding hands
  • cooking the evening meal
  • going out for a meal
  • having a drink and relaxing (imaginary)
  • sex

Find out what happened in the next exciting episode of:  How the hell does this work?
Just a hint.  It may well include SEX.

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