Friday, September 27, 2013


     My neighbour Don, the Philosophy graduate, knocked on my door before 7 a.m. this morning.He had experienced an epiphany. a Eureka! moment and he wanted to pass it on.

     ""They've started already!" he declared, "Those B***** (people with peculiar sexual habits) at Auckland Yacht Club! They've already got billions out of us taxpayers and now they've got their fists out for another 1.3 BILLION to fund the next challenge, because they lost the cup and they won't be getting all the boat building business they were expecting.".

     " Ï've got an idea for a story for you."

     Neighbour Don is an exremely intelligent man, widely read and a great raconteur, but his skills are verbal, he chooses not to slog through hours of writing like I do. This is the story line he gave me:

     "You are a writer. You have been researching and following the crews on Emirates New Zealand and  Oracle. You have spent four years gathering information and have nearly completed THE GREAT NEW ZEALAND NOVEL When it hits the bookstores it will earn millions.. That's from the film rights alone. The final chapter was to have been the triumph in San Francisco.

      "But we lost and your book is down the gurgler. So you send a demand to Trade and Industry for 1.3 billion dollars to reimburse you for all your wasted expenditure and lost revenue." He stomped off , springer spaniel at his heels, heading for the beach.

       He has a point. Yachting is a great sport, but what went on in San Francisco was entertainment not sport. Those who invested in Team New Zealand were taking a gamble. They lost. If I bet $10 on a racehorse and it loses I do not expect the TAB to refund my stake do I?

      But I hope some of our gifted young writers do write something fictional based on Team New Zealand. What about a whodunnit based on the plotting behind the scenes; Nicky Harger please get busy.

     Or a folk tale, Team New Zealand  a crew of divinely handsome heroes, like King Arthu's lot. They train and practice until they sail that yacht with the superb efficiency of a formula one racing car. They counter the mutterings and plottings of the villainous Oracle gang who are all descended from Cinderlla's stepmother

     At the last race the yachts are bow to bow when Oracle, using some dastardly ploy while sniggering into their moustaches, stops Team New Zealand dead in the water. Without hesitation Dean Barker and his merry men leap overboard, settle the yacht on to their superbly muscled shoulders and walk on the waters of  San Francisco Bay to the finish line,  calling a cheery greeting to Oracle as they stroll past.

  Pity Margaret Mahey is no longer with us.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Hollywood café, North Beach

    Hyatt North Beach has no dining room. It does serve expensive room service meals ordered by clicking a cursor on your TV screen .

   There is a Starbucks at one corner,

                BUT ACROSS THE ROAD                 

                                                     HOLLYWOOD CAFE!

is, open from 6.30 to 11.45 a.m. People stand in line even in drenching California fog, waiting to write their name on the waiting list alongside their preference for seating I (inside) O (outside) or E (either).
   The staff wears casual yellow Tshirts and jeans. Some are clearing dishes and wiping tables, others are refilling coffee cups, taking orders and carrying food from the small kitchen. It is remarkably quiet, yet cheerful.

several pages in a leather folder. reads like a roster of dead film stars.

the James Dean  is bacon, two poached eggs, a bowl of fresh banana, mango, pineapple, oranges. grapes, blueberries; a side plate of fresh toast and as much coffee as you like.

The Clark Gable  is the same but the bacon has been cooked in  some kind of honey sauce.

The Audrey Hepburn is pancakes and syrup with fresh fruit. I did not get around to eating the
Vivien Leigh

The inside pages offer a plethora of sausages, corn cakes, waffles but I was just too busy enjoying James Dean to read any further.

   So if anyone is thinking about returning in 2017 for that billionnaires' shell game on San Francisco Bay, the Hyatt is a nice hotel, clean and hospitable with a swimming pool on the third floor, Fishermans wharf is within walking distance and the Hollywood Café is worth the cost of the trip. Forget about the yachts.