Sunday, September 23, 2012

Empirical teaching on a stormy day

Last Monday was one of those days which bustle up from Antarctica and inflict their weather on us without consultation.

Sunday had been balmy and springlike, but on Monday morning there was an e mail from Glenavy School, the weather forecast was for gales and storms, don't bother coming in. So I snuggled down by my fire and listened to the southerly gale hooting through with thunder, lightning, rain, hail sleet and anything else it could find to throw at us.

When I reported to Glenavy school on Tuesday the children were bubbling with excitement about the storm. There were books and stories available on the shelf but the high excitement was because their teachers had taken them out into the storm!

They showed me photographs of them, all wrapped up in wet weather gear, and scarves and jerseys and underneath the photographs were the children's impressions of being out in a storm; exciting stuff.

Tangimoana was not at school that day so she drew this picture of what she saw from her bedroom window.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I had my characters all worked out.

Ivor had suggested I make the main male character a helicopter pilot running a deer recovery operwation in the High Country.

My main female character would be a United States Army Colonel.

But about five thousand words in to my first draft a neighbout pointed out that I had the setting wrong. There are no feral deer in the mountains of our east coast. I would have to set it in Fiordland.

I did a bit of fiddling and then as I had them telling each other their back story they really switched things around.

HE says he was a sergeant in the Ready Reaction Force, N.Z. Army. o.k. I said, but your name, Kyle Blaze is American.

You got it wrong, he told me. My mother is from California, she met my Dad when he was backpacking through the States on his gap year. Three years later he went back and they got married. He actally grew up in Temuka.

So choose yourself a Kiwi sounding name. I told him.

Then the Colonel butted in like the bossy female she is. You can call me Blaze and the sergeant can be Glover, we'll just switch. And while you're about it can't you make me a bit younger or Kyle a bit older? Ten years is a hell of an age gap.

I'm writing a thriller, not a romance I told them.

Then I want to hunt deer in his helicopter she said.

No way. He said.

I've got my pilot's license and I can use a rifle. After all, I am a U.S. Army Colonel.
They were still arguing when the rain started.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


My sister Patricia, aged 91 years, died last week.She had s good life. drove trucks for the Army in WW2, married Stan and raised four fine children, passing on the gene for red hair which she inherited from my father.

I searched on line for the cheapest air fare to Wellington and found Jetstar with only carry on luggage. The flight up was without incident, the small plane comfortable and so I booked my return flight with them.

Pat's funeral was exactly the way she would have liked, reverend but not religious. We sang her favourite songs and her grandchildren carried her casket out to 'We'll meet again,' Her choice I think. Her children and my childrem met with the easy friendship of cousins.

Thursday I went shopping with senior daughter in law and in the evening the Davies had a family dinner at the Petone Working Men's club. On Friday eldest son, Frank, drove me to Alicetown from where we caught the airport bus,free to pensioners, thanks to our gold cards. I reported to Jeststar.

"That flight's been cancelled. You can rebook on the same flight to morrow, or we can refund your fair. There is an Air New Zealand flight to Christchurch at 5 o'clock."

We joined the Air New Zealand line until a staff member came down and told us the 5p.m. flight was full. So we went back home. Frank booked me on to an Air New Zealand flight for Saturday morning while I tried to contact daughter in law Audrey who was to meet my plane and hand over my car so I could drive back to the Kaik. In my in-box was a note from Jetstar saying my flight had been cancelled. It had been sent at 11.30 a.m. when I was already in the airport. at their counter. I sent a reply pointing this out.

MEANWHILE Frank in his office was shouting,


He explained later, if one shouts or swears it trips the automated tape and the caller goes straight to a humen operator. I was booked on the 10.30 Air New Zealand flight to Christchurch.

I rang Son Terry in Christchurch. He and wife, Audrey and son Carlwyn were booked to fly to Auckland by Jetstar on Friday evening, but by a lucky coincidence their flight had been cancelled and they were flying out on Saturday evening, so Terry would pick me up in Christchurch.

Son Eric picked me up from Frank's and drove me to Wellington Airport. We had a lovely scenic flight down and I headed home to my crib at the Kaik. Only to find a message from Carlwyn, they were stranded in Auckland. Their Jetstar flight had been cancelled.
My main social activity this week end has been hearing the experiences of other people who have had similar experiences with Jetstar.

To their credit they offered me a $100.00 travel voucher. but from now on I shall fly with Air New Zealand.