The Kebab & Calculator
20 February 2021 at 02:13 #71433winston @winston
@dentarthurdent Your daily trips to the beach sound like heaven to me right now. I am up to my waist in snow and my best friend is a Snowman. I have been assured that it is OK to talk to my snowman but not OK if he talks back. We are in lock down but since we are snowbound it makes little difference, there is no where to go.
Mr. Winston and I have been watching a series called “Wild New Zealand” and your country is so beautiful and the wild life is wonderful , weird and fascinating. I will admit that the magnificence of your islands captured so beautifully in this series sometimes brings me to tears. Don’t even get me started on kiwis and penguins with angry eyebrows, I think I am in love. Lucky, lucky you!
@janetteb I really hope you get your break, we can all use one! I am missing my daughter but it will still be months before we can travel. Thank goodness for phones.
Our politicians in Ontario are like willow trees and they bend in the wind of public opinion instead of listening to doctors and so our numbers are still bad. I wish they were tougher right from the start and we might be doing better.
Oh well, they don’t know that the Doctor always knows best.
Stay safe.20 February 2021 at 04:51 #71434
@winston Snow sounds like heaven to me. there is something quite magical about snow. I am always looking at photos of snow on the Guardian. I love snow even though I really feel the cold and right now, as we swelter through a mild heat wave, snow is especially appealing.
If something does go wrong and we have to cancel again at least we will have had the fun of planning and I prefer to feel safe. In times like these leaders do need to be strong, which is why the Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews has become bit of a hero to many Australians. He is weathering the abuse of Murdoch media and the federal government and standing his ground. During the bad outbreak last year he did press conferences every day and answered all the media questions. As a result this latest outbreak in Victoria appears to be contained and with only a few days of lockdown rather than a long period of suffering because once Covid is out there it spreads so fast.
Stay safe and well and I hope that the situation in Ontario improves soon so that you can be with family in person again.
Janette20 February 2021 at 05:43 #71435
@oochillyo Well, the beach is our current reward for being in the upside-down half of the world. Six months time, it’ll be the other way round. So I do rather like to make the people ‘on top’ feel a little jealous when I have the chance 🙂
I think we were lucky with covid, two ways. First, obviously, we’re an island, so easier to isolate – what is normally a bit of a drag (can’t go anywhere without a 3-hour flight and then the place is full of Aussies, no offence intended Janetteb 🙂 becomes an asset.
And second, the country was not split politically, and Jacinda Ardern was popular (helped by the opposition party having just had a meltdown, that happens from time to time, but their new leader, Judith ‘Crusher’ Collins, was eager to establish a profile of being appealing and taking the moral high ground). So there was no big groundswell of discontent or mistrust, and nobody in the opposition could see any mileage in sabotaging Covid measures. At a different time in history it might have been different.
‘Wild New Zealand’ does of course show the better and more spectacular parts of our country, not the boring flat bits full of houses or cows. That said, we do have a pretty good supply of scenery. That’s one reason I like Piha beach, it’s on the west coast, with plenty of cliffs, wild surf, and ‘bush’ (native forest). I love England but I can’t think of any areas of England that are quite so ‘wild’, other than some fairly bleak uplands.20 February 2021 at 06:09 #71436
@janetteb Snow. I love snow too, in the right context. Fresh snow is lovely. Old snow turns to slush, which is no fun at all.
When I was a kid in southern England, I used to be disappointed that we hardly ever had a ‘white Christmas’. Just didn’t get snow there. Here in Auckland we never get snow either, (it was reported once on the Waitakere Ranges a century ago), we get a few mild frosts but I’ve only once ever seen ice on the puddles. 200 miles south on the Central Plateau it’s another matter, they get plenty, but spasmodically.
I was in France and the Alps in 2014 with a group of friends and we loved snow. We drove up every Alpine pass we could find, and if there was snow at the top it was obligatory to go for a barefoot walk in it.
I do agree that planning is half the fun, now we have the Internet and everywhere has websites. In 1990 I took my wife to England and Switzerland, and it took months to make a couple of bookings. In those days every Swiss town had its own tourist office which published an excellent booklet which listed all the hotels and pensions, with a map and rates, but it still took a long time to set up by snail mail and telephone. Now we have the Internet and email. In 2017 I did my ‘big trip’ from Vladivostok to Lisbon by train, then round the Alps by rental, I made bookings with two airlines, two car rentals, RzD (Russian Railways), Deutsche Bundesbahn, SNCF (French), RENFE (Spanish), and Eurostar, and about 30 hotels/backpackers mostly on Booking.com. Took me days and days to do (and research my route) but it was interesting. Also, cheap 🙂 Couldn’t have been done in 1990, not for my budget, travel agents existed but they wouldn’t have known about many of the places I stayed (how could a $25 a night pension afford a percentage cut for a travel agent?) and nor could any travel agent have afforded the time it would have taken.21 February 2021 at 03:48 #71437blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
@janetteb Yes, snow is magical. When it first falls. Then, it is powder snow, and it is lovely to walk through. But then, as @dentarthurdent points out, it turns to slush. But worse, it freezes, and it stays like that seemingly forever. Impossible to drive through and impossible to walk on. Unless, of course, you embrace the idea of lots of accidents. Like so much of life, it is magical when it is fictional.21 February 2021 at 04:29 #71438winston @winston
@janetteb and @blenkinsopthebrave It is absolutely beautiful right now , a marshmallow world,winter wonderland. Especially today when it was bright and sunny it was a treat for the eyes,,,,,from the window in your warm house with the fireplace crackling. My poor snowman is up to his snowy waist although he doesn’t mind the cold but I do. Mr. Winston ice fishes but I do not because brrrrrr.
Stay warm or cool but stay safe.21 February 2021 at 05:00 #71439
@dentarthurdent, @blenkinsopthebrave @winston, True snow can be quite disgusting when it has been lying about on roadsides and banked up on pavements for weeks or months. Perhaps it takes more than one snowy winter to loose its appeal.
We spent 14 months in Sweden. IT was snowing when we arrived but by the time we were able to buy a car the snow had virtually gone. Late in autumn we were told by numerous people, that “this weekend change to snow tyres.” Being “newbies” we did as advised even though the sun was shining and there was not a hint of cloud in the sky. Sure enough mid week it snowed, and snowed and snowed. The trains were delayed, the buses stopped running and my partner was stuck at the end of the train line station, in -17c. I had to drive down to rescue him. The rood was like a winding white ribbon with abandoned cars banked along the slide all the way. There was a jackknifed bus half hanging in a ditch. Out on the freeway it was eerie. There were no other cars at all. Never having driven on snow before I took it very carefully, doing about 30 k all the way but I got there safely, rescued my partner and drove back, thinking, “here am I from dusty South Australia driving through the snow while the locals have all parked and fled.” I did not know if I was just being incredibly stupid or not. Turned out that nobody else had changed to snow tyres the previous weekend. Apparently the same thing happens every year. So the lesson was do as the locals say not do as the locals do.
so still love snow but I do understand why it loses it magic at times.
Janette23 February 2021 at 21:44 #71440nerys @nerys
Most of our snow is gone. But this is what it looked like in our neck of the woods on Sunday:
That’s my photo. I’ve posted quite a few of them to our televised weather service network.24 February 2021 at 04:07 #71441
@nerys that is a beautiful photo. Thank you for sharing the link. Snow is so photogenic. Much more photogenic than dust. I also love the effects of mist. The first time we visited Avebury it was early morning in January and very misty. I love the images of the stones looming out of the mist. Next time we visited it was sunny and they did not have the same sense of magic but it was fun to watch the boys playing in the ditch which children must have been doing for thousands of years.
@dentarthurdent. Re’ your comment about how different travel was before the days of mobile phones and internet. It certainly was. I wrote a book based in some of my experiences travelling in the 80s but wanted to update it but could only bring it forward to the early 90s before it all changed. My partner and I were travelling in the USSR, (last week of) and Europe in the winter of 91-92. It feels as though that was a century ago, not just last century. And now just the ability to travel feels like a wonderful, lost thing. It is not just Covid. Our sons cannot afford to do what we did in similiar circumstances. When I was the age of our youngest I was hitch-hiking around Europe and then working in London. He can’t even get any kind of student allowance. When my partner and I did the TransSiberian we were both full times students. I also worked part time. It is impossible for our kids in the same circumstance to save that kind of money. They cannot even afford a flat. I am glad that they went overseas when they were young as they may never get to do so again. It makes me very sad.
Janette24 February 2021 at 21:09 #71447Devilishrobby @devilishrobby
Oh my Giddy aunt they’ve replaced Jodie with……. Gordon Ramsay ( don’t panic not really) just turned the telly on and his new TV game show the set looks like a Tardis control room at first glance lol. 🤣😂🤣😂 the Doctor does a game show 🤪🤪🤩🤩🤪🤪25 February 2021 at 05:15 #71449
Considering that Gordon Ramsay is the only other TV personality whose vocabulary approached Malcolm Tucker, I found that entirely credible. 🙂25 February 2021 at 06:10 #71450
I found the freedom of travelling in Europe in the last decade, marvellous. I was used to arriving back in NZ from the Cook Islands and going through our tedious antiquated bureaucratic border controls – laboriously filling in Arrival Cards and Customs Declaration (penalty for incorrect statements), queueing for Immigration, queueing for Customs…
So when I first arrived in Paris in 2013 (from NZ via Abu Dhabi), I suddenly realised with a gulp that I hadn’t filled in my arrival card and customs declaration – but that was because they hadn’t been handed out. The French didn’t bother with them. I collected my bag, wandered through a door marked ‘Sortie’ past a bored-looking agent wearing ‘Douane’, expecting to find myself in the Customs hall, and found myself – outside. I just could not believe one could enter a country so easily. It was quite disconcerting, I half expected a gendarme to pop out of nowhere and detain me for having evaded some procedure. 🙂
And later on, on the Col de Montgenevre, the Mont Cenis, the Little St Bernard, and Ribellasca/Camedo on the Centovalli road, there were these big imposing Customs buildings – all closed and shuttered. Nothing is so delightful as the sight of a disused customs post 🙂 I *love* Schengen! I’d just never heard of it till that trip.
Will Covid put a damper on that, long term? I do hope not. I very much hope the vaccines all work. But it’ll take a couple of years at least for things to recover.27 February 2021 at 10:35 #71452
@dentarthurdent I hope you have made it down to Christchurch and are not caught in the new lockdown.
Janette28 February 2021 at 00:06 #71454
@janetteb Thanks, yes, I made it to Chch. I flew down to Wellington on Monday and caught the ferry and train to Christchurch on Tuesday. (This is NOT the most sensible way to go, I could have flown all the way for about the same air fare, but I enjoy the journey).
We’re heading back to Auckland in about two weeks so hopefully this lockdown will be just over by then. Auckland is Level 3, rest of NZ is Level 2. In any case, at Level 2 travel between regions is OK, the Cook Strait ferry will operate, and since we live in Auckland we’d be allowed back into the Auckland Level 3 area to go home**. And at Level 2 here, I can still go to the beach. So at the moment, I’ve just managed to dodge the lockdowns (by luck, not design, all suspicions that I am the evil mastermind conspiring with the Illuminati and the New World Order to manipulate Covid for my convenience are hereby denied and anyone propagating such calumnies can expect a knock on their door at midnight).
**Provided I can supply proof of address. Answering this message prompted me to check the regulations. I binned some old papers in the car yesterday, how unwise, and now they’re at the bottom of the recycling bin… rather than go dumpster diving, I just downloaded a bank statement and I can get it printed out for 20 cents at the local library. So thank you for that, you may have saved me an impasse with ‘border control’ in a couple of weeks’ time!
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