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New Zealand 1982 - continued.


Monday 25th October 1982


Today is Labour Day which for me means no work, no wheels and it’s still raining and raining try to read but not concentrating.  TV is unwatchable even the cat is bored.  But for ‘tea’ it is baked beans served with heated up leftovers wrapped in pasta all nicely served in pea soup – so not all bad!.  What I wouldn’t do for a pie and a pint up the Vic’ in Oxshott, Marcia’s clean sheets and a clean fridge.  Thank the Lord its work tomorrow.  Maybe I should learn to cook.  Dotty invites me to join a coach party at the weekend to Palmerston North with her mates – thanks but no thanks – ungrateful sod.


Tuesday 26th October 1982


Temperature climbs to 5 degrees centigrade, beginning to feel, believe it or not, undernourished; clothes feel like they don’t fit any more.  Wonder if I will be allowed to ride the company bus to work – the driver grudgingly allows me on, feeling like a refugee.  Wonder if this bus stops at Cobham!  My task today is adding up columns of numbers checking on hours and blokes but I don’t complain as the sun has come out.  Collect photo’s after work – if it wasn’t for the photo’s being late I wouldn’t be here and enjoying NZ!  Despite my situation I am beginning to feel as though I’m in ‘control’ of events rather than the other way around.


Wednesday 27th October 1982


A touch warmer, invited to sit in at a progress meeting but not a lot of progress being made.  Drop in the Waitara Hotel for a beer after work – nobody to talk to but the meal is a tad better than Dotty’s.  Dotty usually goes to bed with the radio blaring so I creep in to her room and turn it off trying not to disturb the cat curled up around her neck. Not a pretty sight!


Thursday 28th October 1982




Friday 29th October 1982


Invited in for chat with the boss (Terry Sherry) and tells me that the contract will be ending at the end of November which is good news so a good reason for a few more beers at the Hotel with Dave and Keith who then invite me round for a pleasant evening at Dave’s strumming his guitar, they are impressed with my 'flamenco'.  Dave drops me ‘home ‘at 1am.  Creep in trying not to disturb the cat.


Saturday 30th October 1982


5 am.  Dotty crashing about getting ready for her day out with The Toast Mistresses to Palmerston North which means the cat and I have the place to ourselves.  The sun is out and Dotty has left me a hard-boiled egg for dinner so things are looking up.  Keith calls to invite me to join them for a visit to Fama-Rama a sort of horticultural show which again is appreciated.  The displays of crop sprayers (aircraft) are for me the best bit.  Steak and eggs at Sisarich’s Restaurant on Main Street is my choice tonight but something has given me a headache, Dotty arrives at midnight trying to be quiet but fails miserably.


Sunday 31st October 1982


Clocks forward one hour (remember its springtime in NZ).  Headache not responding to pain killers so try to ignore breakfast and Dotty’s Sunday morning noises until 10.30.  Dotty excels herself for lunch with cold sardines on toast.  In the afternoon Dotty takes me for a short ride (bless her) to visit Les’s place, Les is a likeable old Kiwi with a yard full of junk, his son turns up with a sheep shearing machine and proceeds to demonstrate his sheep shearing skills on a scruffy old sheep that was loitering about minding its own business amongst the junk.  I decide to stroll on down to the nearby beach and wander amongst the drift wood and oily black sand thinking about what happens next, Oz is about 1500 miles over the horizon?  Stroll back to Dotty’s for a Mutton Chop and potatoes followed by two hours of the Rolling Stones on the TV which does nothing for my headache so decide to seek out a chiropractor in the morning.

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At Fama-Rama horticultural show.

Hard working crop sprayer - note helicopter hopefully avoiding the crowd.

Kathy, Keith, Dave and family at Fama-Rama.

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This is Barry demonstrating his sheep shearing skills, notice straight back and straight legs.  New Zealand Lamb.

Montage attempt at Waitara looking down McLean St,  Waitara Hotel on the corner first building on the right over the bridge (now flattened and called The Waitara Town and Country Club) thankfully.



Monday 11th January 2016


Just like to interrupt this riveting story as looking at Barry reminds me of me every day doing an exercise.  All those of us with back problems need only to work on your hamstrings, in other words touch your toes keeping your legs straight (or try) whenever is convenient – on the platform, at the bus stop, anywhere.  After a few weeks you will find you will be able to get your head between your knees with straight legs, just like in the last scene of Billy Elliot, or those Sadler’s Wells Ballet dancers – no more back problems - promise.  Stretch those hamstrings.  I’m very old and very supple.  Living proof!


Monday 1st November 1982


Now it’s the neck and back giving me gip, not much sleep.  Dotty and the bus driver can’t live without a radio blaring all the time.  Manage to locate another Physio’ and make an appointment for tomorrow.  Grey day.  Jim the Texan joins me on my ‘rounds’ at work who is louder than a radio and doesn’t have a volume control.  Terry informs me that my contract will be ending in 4 weeks.  What?  WHAT?  Wouldn’t have started the job if I’d known that?  What if I’d brought the family out?  Just settling down, making friends, liking the job and now I’ve got to go home?  Suddenly things are looking up, not to say positively rosy.


Tuesday 2nd November 1982


Thick fog, all internal flights grounded so couldn’t get anywhere even if I wanted to.  Hallam Eames apologise for contract only being a few weeks – maybe some recompense  -  like paying my fare home for instance (I don’t let on that I already have a return ticket).  Very busy and satisfying day checking iso’s and spools.  Perhaps I should explain that this job involves juggling hundreds of isometric drawings of pipes (A3 size drawings which indicate north, south, east, west, up and down but not to scale) and the spools are transportable sections of pipe that the fabricators are welding together and transporting to site.  I visit the two fabricating companies every day to check on progress.  One of the fabricators is very welcoming, open and friendly and the other isn’t.  I am suspicious.


The physio cracks my neck a few times followed by a hot lamp for half an hour which doesn’t help much.  Another beer after work waiting for the chemist to open so I can collect the photos, the chemist opens and closes while I’m watching The Melbourne Cup on the bar TV next door – bugger.


I plan to attempt another visit to Gerald over in Tokaanu (The Long Haired Pom) next weekend but he’s not answering the phone -bugger.


Wednesday 3rd November 1982


Finally manage to contact Gerald and this time make sure I note his address.  Pop in to New Plymouth to arrange car rental for the weekend.  Telephone home and speak to Marcia and the children, they sound in good spirits and cheer me up no end, although I am already cheered up to some degree.  Dotty picks me up in Waitara after picking up my photos and a bottle of wine – lucky to catch the shops open!  Barry’s wife Vervian pops round to introduce herself, she has a leg covered in open sores apparently the doctor has advised fresh air for the problem – poor Vervian.  Watch Nanny and Bounder on TV feeling very relaxed as things seem to be clicking into place.


Thursday 4th November 1982


Busy day running around checking on progress also visit the Bank to check on the balance – a bit better than I thought.  Splash out on a bar of soap before the shop closes.  Vervian picks me up and runs me back to Dotty’s.  Saw a News item on TV about the IML Group in Gisborne (remember I sent a CV there way back) must get to Gisborne at some point as I know a family there.  Dotty out for the evening – probably come back noisy.  I must have eaten something during the last couple of days!  I’m not suffering I just mean I haven’t noted anything down – must have been good.


Friday 5th November 1982


Warm sunny day.  Another busy day achieving.   Gerry calls to invite me over for ‘tea’ on Wednesday?  ‘No Gerald, I will be with you tomorrow lunch time and you invited me to stay the night – remember?’  Mmmmmm?


Keith kindly offers to drop me down to New Plymouth after work to pick up the rental car for the weekend.  This time it’s a Toyota Starlet.  Keith and I drop in to the Weston Hotel to meet Dave and Peter for a beer, I’m not sure who Peter is but he insists on buying me dinner, very nice meal but the service is diabolical. Beginning to feel a bit guilty about enjoying myself, the prospect for tomorrow is a tad more than exciting.  Lots of fireworks in the sky as its Guy Fawkes night – didn’t realise that NZ celebrated November 5th.  Dotty out for the night, early to bed, this time it’s the air raid siren that wakes me up as something has caught fire – probably a bonfire.


Saturday 6th November 1982


The plan for today is try to find Gerald in Tokaanu a distance of about 180 miles via Inglewood, Stratford, Hawera, and Whanganui and then via Highway 4 and 47 up to Tokaanu.  There are shorter routes but I want to see a bit more of North Island.  So with a full tank I set off at 06.15 looking for sign posts but they are few and far between so back to first principles with a compass and watch.


Managed to get to Whanganui without seeing any open restaurants or road side eating establishments but passing through interesting looking towns and villages.   Spot a 1930 Morris 15 – 6 for sale in a garage which sparks my interest but not just now.   Find Highway 4 out of Whanganui heading into ‘the route of 1000 hills’.    Fortunately a shack advertising breakfasts eventually appears which is very welcome.  Also manage to find the BBC World Service on the radio which reminds me of faraway places – but I’m already in a faraway place!


The next 50 miles or so is through not only the 1000 hills but hundreds of different types of scenery, gorges, rivers, falls, scrub, valleys and tortured landscape of one sort and another which obviously has been bent into place by years of volcanic activity – very striking.  All the grassy bits, which are many, are fenced off and holding back a few million sheep – no footpaths.  The road is a good surface and the Toyota responds well on the fast, twisting road.


Eventually reach Highway 47 heading east towards Tokaanu but decide to take a detour up to Mt Ruapehu and the ski areas but only get as far as Chateau Tongariro as any further is on hard packed snow and the little Toyota  doesn’t like it.  This area is called The Tongariro National Park and is vast.  Back down to Highway 47 and on to Tokaanu and The Kuratau River Mouth where Gerry lives.  Arrive at 11.30 having clocked 380 km (235 miles).

Chateau Tongariro 3740 feet above sea level.                         Toyota Starlet at ground level.



Wednesday 13th January 2016


Last night on TV (8pm BBC 4) was a very beautiful and disturbing story about a lovely lady who swims with and studies The Orca (Killer Whales) off the coast of New Zealand.  Beautiful, because the backdrop was lovely New Zealand and disturbing, because pollutants of our seas are threatening many species – including us.  Dr Ingrid Visser who happens to live near Whangarei (they pronounce it Vungeray) travels the waters around New Zealand in her rib studying the Orca.  In the background of many of the shots was Marsden Point Oil Refinery where I worked back in ‘82 no doubt still pumping out gunge and fumes -it is only one of thousands around the planet which we can’t live without and for which we are all guilty.  How do I explain this to our little Lottie?



Saturday 6th November 1982 (continued)


Hello Gerry, in order to describe Gerry and his situation I would only say that compared with Dotty, she was a Princess and her place was a Palace.  Gerry, as I said, was a neighbour to Marcia in Perivale back in the 50’s and emigrated to NZ.  He was single, some 10 years older than me, a builder and had built his own house.  His décor was faded old English Newspapers half stuck to the wall – very chic!


Within 10 minutes of my arrival he took me out into his garden and introduced me to a wild cat snarling in a metal cage.  Now as many of you know I am not a lover of cats but the next few minutes I felt sorry for this cat – wild as it was.  Gerry calmly lifted the cage and dropped it into a large rainwater tank, the tank ‘boiled’ for many minutes before stillness.  Gerry presumably had staged this to impress me with his disdain for the wild – but I am at a loss to know why.


We then conversed for some hours drinking tea and whiskey.  I was keen to treat him to a meal at his local restaurant as anything from his kitchen would have been fatal.  Gerry accepted my invitation and donned his going out sweater which was rigid.  I noted that the waiter in the restaurant (which was the same one I visited on my previous visit) ushered us into an out of the way corner as he obviously knew ‘The Long Haired Pom’.   Back at the house, more tea and whiskey and loud one way conversation until the early hours.  The pillow was decorated with a nice pattern of cigarette burns.


Sunday 7th November 1982


Gerry comes into my room with more tea and whiskey and sits on the bed continuing his one way conversation.  Eventually we stroll out into the sunshine (phew!) and down to the edge of Lake Taupo.  It is now 10 am and 75 degrees F.   The lake is lovely in the sunshine; it is 520 feet deep and 1200 feet above sea level – just for the record!  By 12.30 I have my case packed, decline the offer of lunch and leave Gerry to his hermit like existence of which no doubt he is very proud.


Another fantastic, scenic drive avoiding the Possums and the melting tar via Route 4 of 150 miles back to Waitara and the lovely Dotty.  Her microwaved greasy chicken is the best and I have a couple more letters from home – how much better can it get?


Monday 8th November 1982


Return car back to New Plymouth and hitch a lift in somebody’s van back to work.  Satisfying day but rapidly get cheesed off back ‘home,’ however Dotty tries to remedy the situation with a large plate of sausages and mash followed by prunes and custard.  Is she getting amorous?   Arthur Daly in ‘Minder’ on TV takes my mind elsewhere.


Tuesday 9th November 1982


Dotty complaining about me using too much hot water – quite rightly.  Whatever next?  Another busy day checking invoices.  Dotty invites an old dour Scottish no nonsense couple round for tea.  They have fixed ideas about everything including NZ and tell me that ‘all the best Kiwi’s have gone abroad and only the trash are left’ – her words not mine.  They explain that many of the place names in NZ are Scottish for a reason and they were here first.  So there.  There are others other than Scottish of course, like the Maori for instance but I say nothing, switch off and write another letter home.


Wednesday 10th November 1982


Dotty and the radio competing for maximum volume at breakfast, I tune the radio to a classical station, Dotty turns it off and microwaves up yesterday’s porridge – just for a change.  Call Rob who owes me some money for the job at Whangarei but no answer.  Two letters back ‘home’ a cheery one from Marcia and one from Dave Williams about the job in Gisborne – could be another interview.  Nanny and Bounder on TV complete an OK day.


Thursday 11th November 1982


I am informed that I am definitely not needed at work after November but there may be work for me back at Hallam Eames Head Office in Auckland if I want it otherwise it looks like some sort of compensation package.  Negotiating honourable exit.  Dotty on the wine again.


Friday 12th November 1982


3am thunderous rain on the tin roof at least I think its rain – it could be lava!  News of my lay off gets round to one of the fabricators I visit every day (the one I get on well with) John the boss of Newcan Engineering offers me a job paying $30.000 p.a. plus car plus house, I am somewhat taken aback.  I seriously consider the offer but I’m afraid I’m too far down the exit road to change course now and bring my family to New Zealand, nevertheless I am chuffed with the offer.  Call in at the airport to check flights to Gisborne – could be another option!.


Manage to negotiate 6 hours overtime tomorrow.   Allan from Hallam Eames calls to offer me $660 compensation which is equivalent to my fare home or work back in Auckland until Christmas.  I don’t take long to make up my mind.  Terry offers to pick me up for the overtime tomorrow morning – what’s happening everybody is being extremely kind to me?  Back ‘home’ there is even a letter from Marcia, she sounds OK but she doesn’t realise yet that 2 weeks tonight I could be on my way home.  Take a stroll down to the beach to collect my thoughts which get blown away by the thunderous surf.  It’s Coronation Street and Butterflies back at Dotty’s.  The cat is unmoved with my news.

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32 Ihaia Strret, sadly no pictures of Dotty or the cat.


On the black beach at Waitara dreaming of faraway places - like New Malden!

Saturday 13th November 1982


Apart from the 6 hours overtime spend most of the day working out how best to retrieve money owing to me from the job up in Whangarei.  Also decided what’s missing in New Zealand – its footpaths.  No access to woods or ‘common’ land or fields it’s all fenced and out of bounds except to sheep.  You can of course drive miles to a National Park if you so desire.  Cold evening, cold night, cold radiators and cold cat.


Sunday 14th November 1982


Woke up with a rotten headache – must have been the wine Dotty was feeding me.  Generally wandering around Waitara wondering.  Wander round to ‘the freezing works’ crowds of sheep doing the same thing except the sheep are not looking too happy as they only have a one way ticket.   The sun is out but so is the wind.  I’ve heard of windy Wellington but not windy Waitara. My favourite for Sunday lunch, a tomato sandwich, finish with an ice cream and chips down at The Dairy.  Dotty invites a pleasant Dutch couple over but Dotty is the loudest.  


Join the queue for a tour of the Waitara Freezing Works.


Monday 15th November 1982


Neck playing up again.  Letter to Rob requesting money still owed.  Call Dave Williams about the job over in Gisborne, he offers to put me up if I can make it.  Splash out $2 on a haircut!  Warm and sunny outside but bloody cold back at No 32.  Sneak a boiled egg while Dotty’s out.  Another letter home.  Thinking about getting out ASAP and not waiting to Friday week.  Don’t be silly.


Tuesday 16th November 1982


Pop in to the Travel Agent on my ‘rounds’ and ask them to book me on ANZ flight Saturday week, they call back to say the flight is fully booked – bugger – but they have provisional booked me on BA flight on the Friday which means I’ll lose a day’s pay – bugger.  But at least it will mean I will have completed my ‘round the world’ trip, plus, the fare is a tad cheaper than ANZ.  Bought a few souvenirs.


Wednesday 17th November 1982


Snowed under with bits of paper at work.  Dave arrives with a cheque.  Telephone Allan back in Auckland, he offers to pick me up at Auckland Airport and buy me lunch – a lovely gesture.  Dotty not feeling too well but manages steak, mushrooms and chips for tea – another lovely gesture!  I write a letter home most days but I’m not telling I’ll be home next week.


Thursday 18th November 1982


Picked up flight tickets after work which is a good feeling.  I suppose I had better start thinking about what I’m going to do when I get back but the feeling doesn’t last.


Friday 19th November 1982


Awake at 4.30 to the sound of howling wind and rain (again).  Pay a visit to the bank on my ‘rounds’ to arrange a money transfer = not much.  I am informed that I won’t be able to use the company bus next week - ********.  Discover that Jim the Yank (actually he’s Canadian) who is due to take over my job is quitting, he disappears never to be seen again – curious.  Have words with Terry who offers to pay me for next Friday – another nice gesture?   He also offers me 4 hours work tomorrow.  ‘Home’ to a nice plate of fish, chips and peas – from the Dairy.  One week tonight I will be up, up and away……………..


Saturday 20th November 1982


Dotty kindly runs me in to work – a quiet morning at work checking the books.  A relaxed walk back to Waitara, a distance of about 2 miles, taking in many trashy back streets.  Starving.  Pop in to Sisarich’s for sausage egg and chips and buy a bottle of Kiwi Fruit Wine.  Another letter from home and the wind is howling.  I decline an offer from Dotty to join her and her friends for the evening, I sense that she is a touch disappointed as she has made a reasonable effort in front of the mirror.  Turn on a concert programme as soon as she is out the door.  Dotty back early with Barry and Vervian, chat till 12.30am and off to bed.   1am Dotty turns the radio on, loud, as there is some ****** rugby match she wants to listen to on the other side of the planet – I think the other side of the planet can hear her radio.


Sunday 21st November 1982


A final Sunday morning stroll down by the river watching the dinghy racing, back to Sisarich’s for 50 cents worth of chips but there is a power cut so no chips.  The wind is still howling – probably flattened a few dinghies.  Dotty invites me to join her strawberry picking, this time I accept and she allows me to drive her car back.  Chicken and strawberry flan tonight - separately!  Early to bed.  Can’t stop writing letters.


Monday 22nd November 1982


A good night’s sleep for a change.  Weather warming up but still very windy.  Sun very high in the sky now as the North Island is semi tropical – lemons on the trees.   Arrange a ride in to work with Garry.  Busy day includes banking some spare cash – lucky.  Still no money from Rob for my first job.  It’s ‘Minder’ on TV tonight which Dotty and I watch together – cosy?


Tuesday 23rd November 1982


Dreaming up schemes to make a fortune back home – Executive Air Travel is my favourite.  New Zealand not looking so bad after all – wonder why?  Wind still howling.  Dave arrives at work with some more money for me, thanks Dave.  Even Rob calls and condescends to pay what’s owing but I won’t get the cheque until Friday, ask him to send it to Hallam Eames office.  Telephone Eric and arrange a fare well meeting on Friday.  Thinking about arranging a ‘shout’ for the lads on Thursday but the beer is disgusting.  Another letter from home – they seem to coping OK – they still don’t know I will be back very soon.  Beat Dotty at chess.  Write baggage labels with my own address on – never thought the day would come.


Wednesday 24th November 1982


A final drive round the fabricators saying goodbye, most of them wish me well  – touching.  A final visit into New Plymouth for a few more souvenirs and back to Dotty’s to pack my case – didn’t take long.


Thursday 25th November 1982


A quiet day saying goodbyes but not quiet down in Waitara as its market day, lots of crazy people about selling piles of junk.  Buy another bottle of wine and stroll back up the hill to Dotty’s for the last time.  She has excelled herself this time with a Chinese no less.  Rob calls to say he has posted the cheque – left it till the last minute.  An evening of dreaming about faraway places through which I will be travelling tomorrow but right now it’s a final dose of Coronation Street followed by Tenko.


Friday 26th November 1982


Made it.  Goodbye to Dotty and the cat – she’s lovely really – shame I didn’t get round to enjoying her motor cycle.  Dave on time to pick me up and run me down to New Plymouth airport for a mid-morning flight to Auckand.  Middle aged lady in the seat next to me still homesick for England after 20 years in New Zealand – very sad.  Allan picks me up and runs me in to downtown Auckland for lunch and also to meet Eric who updates me on his many projects.  He tells me he has bought another ‘section’.  Collect my cheque from Rob, finally arrived in Allan’s office.   Eric kindly drives me and my bag to the airport.  Thanks Eric – see you back in New Malden!  The creepy crawlies emerging from my piece of souvenir driftwood in my case don't seem to bother the customs officer.  The ‘British’ Boeing 747 is provisioned on time ready for its eager passengers who include Cliff Michelmore and a BBC film crew who have been filming a travel programme in NZ – wonder what they had to say?  


Still flying the BOAC 'Speedbird' emblem.

Just for the record I designed parts of the Wing Leading Edge and Variable Camber Flap back in 1969.  Impressed? 


9.30pm local time, goodbye New Zealand and head for Melbourne (4 hours) and then Perth (3 hours 40m) so far with 4 seats to myself – lucky?  Then on to Bombay (or Mumbai) an interminable 8 hours and 35m (seems like 18) in blackness occasionally lit up spectacularly with electrical storms all around.  Tiny babies screaming, watched all the videos 6 times over.  Can’t find a socket for my shaver.  Finally touch down in Bombay at 5am local time and its 80 F already.


Allowed to wander round a ‘bazaar’ like terminal which seems odd, the place is littered with humanity, eventually find a disgusting toilet with an electrical socket which actually fits my razor but it has bare wires and under somebody’s loincloth.  But it works!  Back to the 747, this time no spare seats as the place is heaving with humanity most of them on their way back to Southall.  We have 412 people on board.  One poor soul next to me spends the whole flight shaking and praying.  Manage to arrange a visit to the flight deck (remember?) as I thought my old school friend, who is a 747 captain, may be in charge but sadly not.  


Slowly but surely the Arabian Gulf, Turkey and The Alps slide beneath the 747 then the Captain informs us that a diversion because of fog may be on the cards – bugger.  The approach to Heathrow is initiated on the autopilot and she kisses the runway in 200 metres visibility.  Fanbloodytastic.


The taxi driver wants £23 to Cobham – daylight robbery so catch the 727 (bus) to Surbiton Station and taxi from there.


So that’s that then!



Saturday 16th January 2016


On reflection.


For my family and I New Zealand didn’t have what I was looking for.  Of course there were many aspects of New Zealand that I didn’t experience but the fact that (even in this reduced digital world) it is such a bloody long way away from everything and that isolated feeling will never go away.


I understand that the Kiwi’s are among the most travelled people in the world which may say something about New Zealand.


I regret that I didn’t see the South Island, experience more of the Maori and their culture, get involved with the feverish sporting and ‘All Blacks’ world and I am sure many other ‘strata’ of New Zealand life – like the thriving ‘Victorian’ way of life and the love of ‘the old country’.


Names in this diary have not been changed so to any of the characters who happen to be reading this, thanks and I love you.


Thanks particularly to Hallam Eames and Partners for everything and also John at Newcan Engineering for the job offer, personally I would have taken it but I know I would have been out voted by my family.


Friday 22nd January 2016


My NZ story went viral again yesterday with 47 hits.  Some NZ Haka did 13 million!  You can but hope.


Thursday 28th January 2016


Today I woke up with my favourite person, had a full English, my lottery ticket won the jackpot, rode my Harley Davidson in the sunshine down the A24 - without a crash helmet, flew a Spitfire up the Mall, had lunch with Tim Peake, spent a great afternoon in Yosemite Park, bought a lovely country cottage, enjoyed a cup of tea with another favourite person, offered a job in New Zealand, enjoyed a pint in the Plough and read somewhere that all our worries are over.


P.S. None of the above is true except that I did wake up (I think), I won't be taking the job in New Zealand and I hope your worries are over.


Friday 29th January 2016


It sounds like a bucket list but not much chance of realising any of it now – you can but hope (again).


It’s somebody’s special day today but he didn’t quite make it – I hope he managed to tick off his bucket list.  Goodbye Joe.


Saturday 30th January 2016


This weekend here in the UK it is the annual RSPB ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’.  You are requested to log the number of birds seen in your garden over one hour and submit your results.


In our house it always leads to an argument about which is the correct method.  Do you count the number of birds you see in your garden? Or do you count the number of birds you see in your garden?


All I would say is that I haven’t seen my favourite bird for a long time.

Sunday 31st January 2016


I do have a picture of my favourite bird but to save any embarrassment (or jealousy!) this is a picture of my second favourite bird.  It is a common or garden crow which, to me, is the most elegant, graceful and has the most amazing aerobatic and flight capabilities. If anyone has a radio control crow – I want one. Please.  

Tuesday 2nd February 2016


Now I know this is of no International or National importance but about 8 years ago I designed and built a Wendy House for our twin granddaughters, they now have outgrown it so I have recently refurbished it and moved it into our 2 year old little Lottie’s back garden.  It is called Dingley Dell has a brass elephant door knocker (handed down from grandmothers Wendy House) has two floors with a stairway and it will soon have an extension with toilet, central heating, new kitchen and log burner. Full planning and building regulations approved.  Impressed?  


Continued on Page 8 

Dingley Dell

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Image of crow temporarily removed.