Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bilbo Cruise.

Years ago I caused consternation in the mind of a previous wife after perusing a copy of Premiere magazine & suddenly announcing (true) that someone was planning a movie based on the Bridges of Madison County - a favourite of Mrs Llew #1.

She asked "Do they say who is going to be in it?"

Quite offhand, and untruthfully I replied "It says they're rewriting it to suit Tom Cruise."

Later, as she was sealing the envelope with the torrid words of profanity to the studio in question, I had to admit that I was fibbing. I can happily report that the news that Clint Eastwood would star met with tentative approval at least. By now she wasn't prepared to believe me when I said it was being rewritten to include a gunfight & car chase so that Clint felt comfortable with the script.

But anyway. Here's my prediction for the Hobbit film, should Sir Peter Jackson not make the cut.

Bilbo Baggins - Tom Cruise - I figure they can save on the special effects to make him small, especially when paired with

Gandalf - Clint Eastwood

Elrond - Morgan Freeman - it's written in Clint's contract these days, that Freeman has to play his best friend in every movie he's in.

Pingepoo - Katie Holmes - Elrond's other daughter, who develops a crush on Bilbo

Smaug - Andy Serkis, in a nod to Jackson.

Just my thoughts - take 'em or leave 'em.


Mission Accomplished!

After several days of phone calls to some reticent guy called Richard in Waikanae, the deal was struck. 2 ewes & two ewe lambs (it's important they are ewe lambs, as rams are bigger & harder to handle, and need "things" done to them so that I don't have even more lambs next year & end up REALLY overstocked). All I needed to do was hoof it up the coast, give him a call when I was 30 minutes away, hire a trailer & meet him at the farm.

So I did. I'd spent the evening before loading up the car with stuff to take up to SunnyO for Christmas, then I unloaded it again because I'd forgotten to put our removeable towbar on & it's in a cunning hidey-hole underneath the baggage area, put the towbar on, locked it in place & loaded up the car with: a punga fern that was cut down & has recovered enough that we will replant it, a big wicker basket, a segment of telephone pole (long story, it will be useful for something), a few odds & ends from the basement that are no use in kelburn, but will be in more rural climes, and a truckload of new bedding.

The next day I left work at 12.30pm, ran a few errands, whizzed back home to change into farming gear (so as to not look like some city wuss when I met Richard), picked up the dog (more rural cred), and sped North.

At Paraparumu I spied the perfect trailer. I hired it. Then I discovered that it wouldn't fit on the towbar the dealer assured me was standard when we bought the car - hey, the bike rack fits OK what gives?. I got a refund & shot round to the hire centre the garage recommended to discover they didn't have any trailers that fit a 2 inch (as opposed to 1.7/8 inch standard) either.

Then I decided, "Bugger it" if necessary I'd load them in the back of the car & stuff all the baggage, & dog in the front seat with me & hope that either they could all hold their bladders & bowels for the short trip, or that the tarpaulin I laid down would save the interior.

Just in case I stopped at every garage between there & Waikanae & asked if they had a trailer that would fit.

And LO! The Waikanae BP did. SO I was saved.

When I met Richard, after passing the farm & doing a very impressive 3 point turn with a trailer on a rural road... he said that I had a choice - 2 ewes & two lambs, or 2 ewes, and 3 lambs... he had one with twins.

I hummed & hahhed - I don't want to overstock the place as I mentioned, but Mrs Llew had offered that in case the two wethers die of old age soon, I should consider getting 5 new sheep, so I said "OK". After all he was offering them for the same price as 4.

The new sheep!

The new sheep!-1

The new sheep!-2

The new sheep!-3

The new sheep!-4

The new sheep!-5

I had to grab the first ewe & heave her off the trailer. Her two lambs hurled themselves off after her & buried themselves underneath her, their little tails wagging madly.

Say what? Tails? I hadn't noticed that, they're supposed to be docked. And then on closer inspection I realised "OHMIGOD! The two "T"s! Tails & Testicles!" That bastard Richard had sold me a couple of ram lambs, & I can see why they were cheap, it saved him having to do "things" to them to make the "wethers".

But rejoice, I rang our shearer & explained the situation, he said "No problem" he'd visit & do those "things" to them & all would be well.

I don't intend to watch, but hey, this is NZ, rams lose their knackers every day & seem none the worse for it.

Later, I ran into a neighbour, Mary, whose husband is Master Tim (my fencing master - Anthony Hopkins to my Zorro - lots about them way back at the beginning of this blog), she had already noted (ex farm wife that she is) the two "T"s, and suggested that Tim might pop over later & do "things" with his teeth. I politely declined the offer & told her Alan the shearer was onto it. I'm presuming Alan uses approved implements for the task. We're trying for "humane" around these parts.

The new sheep!-6

The new sheep!-7

The new kids got themselves accustomed to their new home, but the old guys, George & Otto were nowhere to be seen. They were of course, holed up in the forest. Although they knew something was up because at one stage I saw them peering through the fence at the new arrivals.

So I went & chased them out. They were curious, but nervous. They sneaked up on the two ewes & sniffed at the back of them, as animals do, then ran off when they turned around. But stayed fairly close. I guess it's the storming phase for the new team.

The new sheep!-8

The new sheep!-9

The new sheep!-10

The new sheep!-11

The new sheep!-12

Last I saw of them all, they were heading up into the forest to explore the rest of the property.

Wilma & I left them to it & headed back to Waikanae to return the trailer.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bagpipes - a cruel joke on the Scots?

Right, before I start... off on a tangent... over at PA System they're looking for the Word of the Year. Bagpipes isn't it, but don't you think that just the sound of it evokes... I dunno, something Heath Robinson? something suffering chronic emphysema? something that ate the perishable bits & someone had to compose Silent Night? Or maybe not.

Anyway, I loathe bagpipes. I have long suspected that bagpipes, like kilts, were an elaborate practical joke played on the Scots by the English, in revenge for the Scots being a troublesome & pugnacious bunch (ie, by standing up to them). While we're on that - click through that link & notice how William Wallace looked nothing like Mel Gibson. Astonishing isn't it? Further, the real Wallace was a giant of a man, Mel is er... well he probably looks up to Tom Cruise.

William Wallace would not have worn a kilt & played the bagpipes. (Disclaimer - I have no idea if that is true, but it should be).

Until quite recently today there was one wailing away outside Astoria, 4 storeys down from where I am sitting. Mercifully, he has gone now. Can we not get some law enacted to restrict them to Highland Games in the provinces?

I'm keen to hear John Key's views on this.

Bagpipes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Voter seeks someone to vote for.

You can only have some sympathy for the dilemma the true conservative is facing right now.

Voter seeks someone to vote for. «

Might I suggest the Maori Party?

BTW: Great cartoon in yesterday's DomPost

Monday, November 27, 2006

New Sheep

Yay! Some guy not far away is selling about 500 sheep - ewes & ewe lambs (which either means there is something in the water/pasture affecting the birth of boy sheeps... or something medieval has happened to them. I'm guessing the latter.)

Anyway, I'm down for two ewes & two lambs. I made sure the property was lamb proof the other day. Now I just have to figure out how to get them between Waikanae & SunnyO. I don't think Mrs Llew will be happy for me to cram them in the back seat of the llewmobile.

In the nick of time too - the two lonely old gents on the property are nowhere near keeping up with pasture growth... it's a jungle out there.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Will wonders never cease!!

Jerry Bruckheimer & Tony Scott have made a decent film!!

Review: Deja Vu

In less surprising news, Casino Royale is apparently terrific.

First Annual Wellingtonista Awards Voting | the wellingtonista

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of sheep--and skips--and selling-houses--
Of Wellingtonista Awards--and things--

I've been remiss sorry - busy. Remiss not just here, but over at the Wellingtonista, at where I am rumoured to be a valued member. I can't recall when I last posted though...

Anyway, get on over there & cast your vote in the First Annual Wellingtonista Awards. There will be prizes. There will be ceremony... there will be martinis... there will be buffed & scantily clad beautiful people...

First Annual Wellingtonista Awards Voting | the wellingtonista

On a more sombre note, I got a call last night from Master Tim at SunnyO, another sheep has died, the last remaining ewe, Pearl. Like the other two who lay down & died over the last two years, she just laid down & died. Fine one evening, dead in the morning.

These sheep are quite old now, as far as I can tell (about 8), so I guess it's to be expected. Although I believe they CAN live much longer. I do find it slightly odd that all the girls popped their clogs first, we've got the two boys left now, George & Otto.

I'll call the local vet & ask if there's anything weird happening with sheep in the area, but I really do suspect that they've gone of natural causes - they're well fed, sheltered, recently sheared & drenched, have shown no signs of the usual ailments that kill sheep.

Anyway... We need 3 or 4 new sheep to keep our two old boys company. Anyone know of anyone with 3 or 4 youngish (at least 1 year old) ewes (they're slightly smaller, less belligerent & easier to handle than the wethers) that need a new home? In the Kapiti Coast area?

Onto other things now - we finally sold our surplus house in town. Yay!! I have resolved never to be a landlord again, too many houses to maintain takes its toll.

We had the place "homestaged", that is, furnished while vacant, because the estate agent assured us that makes for a quicker sale.

They did a brilliant job - after the tenants moved out we were a bit despondent at the state of the place, not that they damaged it in any way (aside from a big stain on the carpet), it just looked run down & grubby, which is a testament to my neglect as much as anything the tenants did or didn't do. And we had a slight plumbing problem that necessitated some repair & relining of the laundry, and replacing the rotted laundry tub.

Once we'd cleaned it though, and had bits fixed, and furnished, the difference was remarkable. It was transformed from a student flat to an executive home!

And the homestaging was fantastic, Sally, has a wonderful eye, and supplied not just furniture, but flowers, soap, towels, fruit, paintings, rugs...

We briefly discussed staying there for a few days to enjoy it.

And it sold quickly, for a fair price, and we are content. And so is our bank.

On the actual real homefront news... we engaged two huge tasks last weekend - I had 6 metres of compost delivered kerbside, for our new garden beneath & beside our newish cardeck, and the same day, had a massive skip rolled in so that we could empty our large basement of junk.

By Sunday evening, the skip was filled completely, and about 5 metres of compost was lugged to its resting place and our new garden planted out with box hedge & roses. We'd planted the weeping pear some time before & can report she is doing well.

Monday & Tuesday I could hardly move. But it's gotta be good for you right?

Interestingly, I can see that even though the skip is bursting at the seams, neighbours are sneaking their rubbish onto it hoping that we won't notice. Although last night, I was at the gate, quietly watching some guy with a bag circling our skip, I thought he was looking for someplace to stow his bag. But in fact, he was sizing up some of our junk, which he extracted, smiled contentedly, turned & went to walk away with his treasure. He saw me then, didn't blink an eye, and so I said "Help yourself!".

But now I can report that we have a most impressive & roomy basement, there is still some stuff to go, firewood for instance, which we will donate to the next door neighbours who have a fire, some terracotta pots, huge!, which we have argued about - I see no reason why they cannot be utilised somewhere in our garden, Mrs Llew sees no reason why they cannot be perched on top of the pile of rubbish for removal. And a very old bicycle. Which I haven't dragged out yet, it looks like something from WWII, or one of those old UK period TV series, you can imagine Francesca Annis biking all around Somerset or someplace.

But then I suppose I imagine Francesca Annis doing lots of things.

That bike would make a wonderful project for some kid who enjoys tinkering with, and renovating old bikes. Yeah. Right. Mrs Llew will certainly disagree, but I reckon it could make a marvellous & remarkable climbing frame for some decorative plant, somewhere in the garden. Either that, or mounted on a swivelling pole, it'd make a great & notable weather vane. I'll take sensible suggestions.

And that reminds me of something irrelevant, but something I was thinking about the other day, something that a lecturer told us when I was studying Tess of the D'Urbervilles. And that is, how the invention of the bicycle was a major turning point in the evolution of society - it brought affordable transport to the masses, those who couldn't afford horses & carts. Suddenly people could travel beyond the boundaries of their villages. They could conduct business, socialise, marry beyond the confines of their immediate family... etc etc.

Fascinating eh?

Monday, November 13, 2006

That's what I call driftwood.


Unconfirmed rumour has it that Tom Hanks' stranded Fed-Ex troubleshooter in Castaway built his makeshift reaft from driftwood washed up on Otaki Beach.

Whether that's true or not, Otaki sure has its share of mulch, wood, planks, logs, and as you can see, whole trees washing up. It's usually worse after a big storm.

This one takes the cake though, we saw it from miles away & had to go investigate. It's taken with the phone, so not the best images, but if you look carefully you can spot a happy dog checking it out, and get some idea of the size of the thing.

I have wondered in the past just how such large trees get washed so far up the beach, and this one strains credibility.

There's a fair amount of water traffic off the beach, swimmers. surfers, kayakers, fishing boats, and inflatable dinghies... I wonder how many encounter submerged objects like this?




Thursday, November 09, 2006

Check this out!

I want one too.

Grabthar's Hammer: Tiki-Tiki

Although if you click through to the Stuff article, that looks disconcertingly lke Jenny Shipley in that tub to me.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The worst ever kids' TV show

Sorry, there's something amiss with the Public Address site, where I would direct you to David Haywood's scholarly thoughts on the best kids' TV shows ever. I recommend you check out his links to legendary footage of moonbabe Gabrielle Drake changing her clothes in a cut from Sylvia & Gerry Anderson's UFO.

I'll toss the link up later (done), but meanwhile, here's my pick for the WORST kids' TV show ever.

D o u b l e D e c k e r s

Apparently this was a US/UK collaboration, and depending on which fan site you visit, it was either a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic; or a major hit in the UK, but failed to fire in the US. Alternatively you have come here, and you can take it from me that the show would have sucked from wherever you viewed it.

It featured seven ethnically & physically diverse, all singing, all dancing, London poppets who have a clubhouse in an old double decker bus.

The double deckers were led by Scooper, played by Peter Firth, who went on to achieve a few years of fame later in his career. And the show was, I think, an attempt to cash in on the success of the Partridge Family.

I cannpt even think of the theme music without coming over nauseous...

Get on board! Get on board!
Come and join the Double Deckers.
Take a ticket for a journey,
On our double decker London bus.
Ring the bell (ding! ding!),
Toot the horn (honk! honk!),
When you ride with the Double Deckers.
Fun and laughter is what we're after,
On our double double double decker bus.

If David Haywood nostalgically opines that they don't make 'em like they used to... the Double Deckers will make you feel glad.

Friday, November 03, 2006

What the test post was about

Clarification as promised... I was just posting to see how quickly this site popped up in the "Last Post" feed at the brand new Public Address System.

And either it didn't, or I missed it. Oh well.

But go & take a look, it's Public Address Interactive, everyone's there already, probably you as well.

Public Address | System

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

test post

Heh heh... clarification later. SO I may as well ramble a bit.

you know what? I was told off for trying to reaffix the big Beware of the Dog sign to our gate last night & forced to visit a local shop & stock up on junk food for visiting... kids.

As it happened all we got was one group of really young-uns & their olds, who got an assortment of really bad things for their optimistically large sacks (I dunno, I had a bunch of raw carrots, potatoes & parsnips all peeled & cut up & soaking in lemon infused water & no-one, NO-ONE wanted them. Kids these days.

Anyway, I happened to be out walking the aforementioned Hound of the Llewervilles (my family name) when they came & I got a frantic call from Mrs Llewerville, "Artichoke!" (my given name) she screamed "I fear we may run out of things to give kids!"

"Never fear Tantula", I said "When we're down to the last few barrels of airplanes I'll make a run to the shops again."

And I carried on my way.

When I got home, some 3 hours later, I found that there had been no more kids at all, and we still had some 50 kilos of fruit bursts, airplanes & snickers sitting just inside the front door.

Later, another bunch of kids did arrive, led by our very own 14 year old, Marmalade, she announced she would be late for dinner, but not to worry, she was already feeling sick.

And they swanned off into the night, a motley bunch of adolescent M&Ms, superheroes, ghosts and god knows what the rest were.

in my day, in the old country, we didn't Trick or Treat, we stayed at home, the 2nd to last house in a cul de sac bordered by a disused canal on one side, and spooky woods on the other. We dunked for apples & shit like that & watched my dad roast chestnuts on the open fire.

In fact, I recall one of those moments you get now & then, when something really painful happens to someone & you really want to just burst out laughing but you have to choke it back because there is actual agonising pain involved.

Have I told this story already?

Anyway, if you have roasted chestnuts, you know that they're not done until they pop.

Well, all my dad's chestnuts popped except for one, so he fished it out of the fire with tongs, and carefully used his teeth to try & hurry it along.

And it popped.

And it was days before the blistering died down & he could talk properly again.

End of ramble. There was something else I meant to mention, but it's gone now. SO later dudes!

BTW: Some kid left us with this - what do you call a snail? A booger with a crash helmet.