The first book I bought | WordPress.com

This post is inspired by two if Caron Dann’s recent posts The first book I bought and The toy I always wanted…but was afraid to ask for

The first book post really got me thinking about the first book that I bought with my own money and I can not remember or even have an inkling of what it might have been…possibly I was a later starter into buying my own books because we always had lots of books at home and my mum’s parents also had a big library…Christmas and birthdays always included books so it may be that i never felt particularly compelled to buy any myself for some time. Our holiday crib at Wakouaiiti was also close to the local tip and we used to scavenge discarded books from here all through summer…loads and load of Readers Digests which offered good and very diverse reading material…

Looking through the survivors from back then, I did find…

DSCF7403…these SBS books which we used to buy through our primary school…this was the first time that I recall having a fairly unilateral decision making ability although my parents were still paying for the books…these are all well read and I hoping to introduce the twins to them soon…

DSCF7404…these which I remember sifting through the book bargain bin at Woolworths or MacKenzies in Thames Street to find…a bit of an eclectic mix but all again well read and dating from the early 70s…

DSCF7402We used to go to all the various local church and other fairs and fund-raisers and these were also a good source of ten cent books, again well-read and from that same era around 1973-74…around the same time, I also discovered book exchanges and would sift through the shelves looking for anything that looked a. interesting and b. affordable. Although I chewed through a lot of pulp fiction during this phase (from the mid-70s until the mid-80s – joining the Army seems to have killed this past-time off), this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as I found that pulp fiction is not necessarily bad fiction; and reading that which was bad fiction helped me develop a taste for that is good fiction…

It’s not that I did not have the means to buy my own books before this: while Caron was struggling to save her miserly 10 cents each week (she is correct: that IS a miserly amount for that time), I thought I was hard done by with 50 cents a week at the same time, and supplemented this by lawn mowing and other part time work. In addition to having access to a wealth of books from other sources, books also competed with other resources for my meagre resources.

At first it was Matchbox cars and the runner-up Corgi series and i think that I could buy one a week with the pocket money…

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Survivors

…and then, one day in about 1973 when I was feeling particularly flush, I bought my first Airfix model for the princely sum of 99 cents from Martyns Cycle Shop …and for the next five or so years, models were the major consumer of my income such as it was at the time…

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That first model was the Folland Gnat in the upper right above…for nostalgia sake, I bought another last year, going out of my way to ensure that it was not the new-tool release and was gutted to find that the rockets that made the original so cool had been removed from the mouldings…

The Fiat G.91 (top left) and Hs-123 (bottom right) are box Airfix classics from the 60s. Today they are considered pretty crappy but they were pretty cool in 1973…I bought and built both of these while staying with a friend in Waikouaiiti, the result of our pea-picking and possum hunting expeditions…both were painted using oils left over from his older sisters paint-by-numbers sets…DSCF7400The Supermarine S.6 was 10th birthday present; the Wildcat was a gift from my Dad after a work trip; he took me to Mr Conn’s cycle shop in Oamaru one school holiday afternoon and I walked out the proud owner of the Auster Antarctic; the Tiger Moth was a summer holiday acquisition from the little bookshop in Wakouaiiti; and the Lysander I bought while staying with my cousin in North Oamaru – we cycled into town along the railway cycle track, having to make the Friday night round trip before it got dark as we didn’t have lights on our bikes…

This scrapbook surfaced a few years back from one of my many boxes of ‘stuff’ – in it are many of the covers and instructions from those hastily assembled models, few of which were not assembled and painted by bedtime on the day of acquisition…I’m glad that it has survived the years because it holds many memories…

Back then, I was never that shy about asking for something that I wanted – not that the asking ever did much to increase my chances of getting it. In fact, the only time that I think I can definitely establish a casual effect between cause (asking) and effect (receiving) was with this really super cool water pistol that had a periscope mirror that could see round corners and a swivelling nozzle that would (allegedly) let you shoot around corners. I bugged everyone about it and my Mum’s cousin, Murray, who was staying with us at the time, bought it for me. Of course, it didn’t work as well in the flesh as it seemed to in the ads and it was soon broken and eventually disposed off…

That was a nice thing that Murray did but generally I’m not so sure that it is a good thing to succumb to much to childhood asking and bling-hunting…looking back, I was never unhappy with birthday and Christmas surprises and I think that is half the funny of both giving and receiving: that surprise when peeling back the wrapping…one of my favourite Christmas surprises was this…

Revell Ju-87B 1-32 boxartIt is a seriously sized box and I really thought that I was dreaming when I found it at the foot of my bed…my parents must have ordered it in as I had never seen anything like it in any of the model shops that I had been in…I still have parts of it that surface occasionally in my spares box (yes, I have come back to this hobby); I don’t remember what happened to the main airframe in the end but it suffered numerous indignities during its life with me, including an attempt to motorise the propeller with a (too) powerful electric motor than almost took a finger off when I connected the power…

Most definitely the best toy never asked for…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea | The Daily Post

 

I was brought up in Oamaru, on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island so I guess that the sea has always been a part of my life in one way or another…this is what Oamaru Harbour looked like around the end of the 80s. In the 60s and early 70s, it had been a busy little coastal port with (small) ships regularly coming in for loads of wool and other produce – my uncle was a truckie at the time and I remember how cool it was that he could park alongside the ship and dump his load of grain directly into its hold…

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This is the feature known as Matanaka at the northern end of Waikouaiiti (keep up with the place name pronunciation, you foreigners!!) Beach – we had a bach about a mile inland on the main access road to this end of the beach and used to come here every summer in the 70s and would as often ride horses along it as play in the surf…

Matanaka as seen from Beach St in Waikouaiiti.

Cutting forward to the late 80s – I think that this is the beach at Kuantan on Malaysia’s east coast – we stopped over here for a night during the Great Thailand-Singapore Bike Ride…we arrived in Kuantan mid-afternoon and had a ball body surfing – right up to the point that we got back to out hotel and Dan Flan pointed out the big rip…uh-oh…
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I spent some time in Vietnam in the late 90s – this is the famous China Beach. At the time it was still many miles of unspoiled white beach and I have been afraid to go back in case it has been spoiled by commercialisation or industry. I used to sit here all day and read my one English book (on its 6th or 7th go round by this stage) and watch the MiGs and Hips fly in and out from the airbase by Da Nang…every couple of hours, I count count on a couple of local kids dragging a bucket of ice and Coke along the sand to keep me refreshed…Vietnam 22

Swimming with dolphins off Akaroa…sometimes it’s a bit or miss as to whether the dolphins will come out to play but that did this day – this is a must-do if you are in Akaroa…

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Crossing from Stewart Island back to the South Island – don’t know why I even bothered to invest in breakfast…

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Muri Beach in the Cook Islands, during our honeymoon…quite happy to spend the day just paddling around the lagoon…
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Taken from the Manhattan Beach Pier in LA on one of my stopover days on a business trip to the US…I catch the tram-bus to Manhattan beach for a donut breakfast and then spend the rest of the day shopping at the malls around El Segundo, my mission being to only have enough US cash left for a chili dinner at LAX before my flight home…I love these piers that let you stand behind but above the surf line and watch the waves roll by…
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea | The Daily Post.

 

 

 

 

Daily Prompt: The Full Moon | The Daily Post

 

A random selection of night times
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Key Bridge, Washington DC

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Raurimu snow

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Flanders Museum in Ieper, Belgium
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Raurimu rain

Mark and Ricki's Wedding - Fiji 20

A Fijian lagoon

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Moonlight Over Raurimu

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Oamaru Christmas Light House

A random selection of night times Daily Prompt: The Full Moon | The Daily Post.

Cool things I got for my birthday 2013

My birthday was actually quite a while ago, but I have been meaning to write this since…partly by way of acknowledgement but also to show what cool people I have in my family… boysown

Many ,many years ago (so long ago that we need to use two manys, and that’s not too many!), I saw an article in Look and Learn about a revolutionary jetplane-submarine that the Americans were developing. This Look and Learn issue was one of a batch that we had acquired at a St Lukes Church jumble sale and dated back into the mid-late 60s.

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Just for situational awareness, this is what St Luke’s Church looks like…

It had a couple of drawings of what such a device might look like in action but I never saw anything like them again, until I opened this gift from Carmen…what a score!!!! Who gives a fat rat’s that she bought it in the Op Shop and it probably didn’t even cost a dollar? I like these old annuals anyway but to find one with the ‘sub-plane’ from so long ago…yeah baby!! Coincidentally, I had just finished reading Attack from the Sea, the story of the US Navy’s attempt in the 50s to develop a credible sea-based airborne attack force and so was quite on top of this subject…it’s quite sad that had the sub-plane been scratched on the back of a napkin just a few years earlier, it might have made it at least to the mock-up stage…but I digress…very cool pressie numero uno…

Image These two are pretty cool and are responsible for me writing this post …they were staying with us for the first week of the school holidays and hadn’t been here for more than half an hour before charging into my study to announce with some concern that ‘ice had turned to stone and I better come quick‘…OK, busted, yes, I had a teeny-weeny Glenfiddich while watching Shout At The Devil the night before and had left the glass on the coffee table…

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These are the ‘stone ice’ in question…my parents gave them to me…I’m not sure if it was just a particularly insightful guess or whether I had mentioned at some point how much I hate the ice in my drink melting and diluting it, especially when it is almost finished but these things rock! They only take a few minutes to chill down in the freezer and hold their cold for quite a while, certainly longer than the life expectancy of the average drink…

ImageThis is the way cool birthday card made for me by my nephew, Toby in Dunedin…it is so cool that Aunty Carmen grabbed as soon as she saw it and framed it to share with everyone who visits us…

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Toby and his younger brother, Arlo, also sent me these two pressies…the first, the Kermit green thingie is a USB port that plugs into the cigarette light of the truck and it is an absolute lifesaver. As many of you will know, I like to listen to Audible talking books when I am driving any sort of distance on my own, including doing laps on the lawnmower. Unfortunately my current MP3 player, a Creative Stone+, only lasts about 8 hours which isn’t enough for some one way trips and definitely not enough endurance for many of the round trips I make…

The sonic rocks are just cool…you can use them for lots of things ranging from the mundane like holding the grocery list on the fridge door to tossing them around and, yes, they do sizzle as well as snap, crackle and pop…I keep them hidden away most of the time because they are just the sort of uber-cool thing someone might think they have a greater need for than me…

And, finally, because I too am a cool member of my family, I gave myself this, a simple but effective paper model that will upsize quite nicely I think…one of the very first carrier-borne torpedo bombers, not so much cool as very very scary trying to get one of these off and back onto a carrier in the immediate Post-WW1 period…

So thanks to all the cool people who made this the coolest birthday….

Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree | The Daily Post

Carefree school days…late 70s and early 80s…the Cold War chilled…tragedy was Erebus and the death of John Lennon…TV was McPhail and Gadsby, BJ and Bear, and Battlestar Galactica…who knew that the ‘boy gets girl’ ending of Star Wars was going to become a ‘sensitive’ subject for Luke and Leia…petrol was 60 cents a litre (we finally had our heads around this metric stuff) but this actually worked out to about $2/litre in today’s dollars…the nation had its last leader for twenty years…3

Chris O'Neill and two young relatives on the river at the reunion picnic

Gabrielle, Louise and Lawrie at home

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree | The Daily Post.

Daily Prompt: Singin’ in the Rain | The Daily Post

Daily Prompt: Singin’ in the Rain | The Daily Post.

I normally don’t have time for the Daily Prompt but the rain in the last week or so, especially after the super-long and dry summer, has been phenomenal…Raurimu 020

We normally get quite high flow down the driveway which splits as it approaches the house and diverts off down the hill on either side…this morning I had a look out the back of the house when I feed the dogs and noticed that water was starting to flow up to the back of the house. I grabbed the spade and scraped out some encouragement for the water to go elsewhere…

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Tonight, I am rather glad that I did as this would be flowing under the house otherwise – sorry, already got internal running water!

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This is the water flowing the other way away from the house this evening, around the front of the spa and eventually into the pond next door – until *cunning plan* we build our own pond…

Meanwhile, on the mainland…this is the northern approach to Maheno, just south of Oamaru where I was brought up. ‘Normally’ this part of the main road would be some metres above the scraggly little creek that runs under the road…not so scraggly now…
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…the pub is behind the Clark’s Mill sign on the other side of the railway berm, fortunately only the basement is flooded but the beer is still cool…

…and slightly east on the coast, this is the Kakanui Bridge, normally well above the river level…apparently the bridge shakes every time a floating tree hits it…

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And that yellow and blue is what wearing hearing on the roof at the moment…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background | The Daily Post

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background | The Daily Post.

I spent a number of hours (yes, really, but more as a part of concurrent activity as I waited for other things to occur e.g. keyboard buffer to clear so I could eke out a few more letters before it clogged up again; waiting for DVD Shrink to process a file so I could upload the next one etc) trawling through Picasa looking so an image that did the background thing for me.

It was a struggle because I don’t seem to have many pix where the background is even that clear let alone, has some potential meaning, message or other attraction. Finally, I managed to go firm on four examples, known from this point on as the ‘also rans’, that can be seen at the bottom of this post.

What happened was this. I export images from Picasa to a holding folder – this also adds a watermark and reduces the longest edge to 600 pixels, and also makes the image a nice web-friendly size – and from here, I drag and drop the images into my WordPress media library. As I opened up the holding folder just now, I was struck by the composition of this image of the Tupperware Terminator (my name for it, not theirs so don’t try ordering a Terminator from Tupperware – who knows what you might get!) where to me the background with our driveway and inferred different pathways left and right at top and bottom, just adds so much more (still working on more what) to the image…so here we go for ‘Background’…

DSCF6486The also rans

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1 RNZIR Thailand to Singapore Bike Ride august or September 1988 – the only thing that I rode, as tour photographer, was inside the van. I only just noticed today, almost a quarter of a century later, that I snapped myself in the foreground of the background of the foreground in this shot of the mighty Hi-Ace fording a flooded road during the monsoon…1-23-2011_032

Redcastle nestled in the background of St Kevin’s College, Oamaru where I went to school. It’s all changed now from this fairly idyllic shot (mid-90s)…anyway, if you have any problems with me, blame these guys… (just kidding!)DSCF2176

USS New Jersey in the background of this shot taken from the USS Olympia on the other side of the river. My original shot was of the gun in the foreground but after noticing the New Jersey in the background, I recomposed it and shot it again for this specific effect…DSCF5906

Vancouver, around this time last year…the floatplane in the background is the icon of that trip. I arrived late one Saturday, to find that my hotel was overbooked and that they had rebooked me for just that night in another hotel – all the way back by the airport, a 30 min odd drive at midnight – in recompense, they put me in a flasher room with a balcony on the penthouse floor, As it turned out, this was the room original reserved by our hosts for my boss whop they rebooked before he arrived into a standard room a few floors down on the other side of the hotel. When he arrived a couple of days later, I said I’d swap rooms with him but these float-plane used to glide right by his window a dozen or so times a day and he said he much preferred that to yet another view over an urban landscape…top bloke!! So I got to keep my balcony and he got to keep his fly-bys – everyone happy…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern | The Daily Post

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1930s US Army aircraft markings

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Sunrise over the Plateau

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Reflections in a window, Alexandra, VA

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Lighty things at LAX

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Slates on the roof of the bell tower of the Flanders Museum in Ieper. An accidental shutter click…

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Iron fencing outside St Patrick’s Basilica, Oamaru

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Light show on the roof of Fremont Street, Las Vegas

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern | The Daily Post.

My Little Life: Five Question Friday! 4/5/13

School days

1. Would you go to your high school reunion?

Not really something that are a big thing down here…about 15 years after we all left high school, a bunch of us got together for a weekend at an old ski lodge above Kurow and that was good but I’m not sure the big class get-together US-style would have the same attraction here…

2. What’s something that you’ve recently splurged on; either for yourself or someone else?

This…simple pleasures… a whole $1.50 in the disposal bin at the Taumarunui Library

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…although  I guess us investing in a new printer (still to be delivered) this weekend counts for me as it is A3 size and will be awesome for paper models – for Carmen, it’s just a printer…

3. How do you handle your child’s fever?

Call Carmen.

4. What’s the nicest thing to happen to you lately?

This that Carmen got for my birthday a couple of week’s ago…

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…again…simple things…simple pleasures…

5. What is your current favourite song?

I don’t really have one but I am prone to getting a  song going around and around and around in my head and not going away for ages…the worst is the theme from CHiPs

 

via My Little Life: Five Question Friday! 4/5/13.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

This ‘illuminating‘ craze has caught on down here now as well – it doesn’t really float my boat but this is a house just up the road from my parents’ when we went home for Christmas in 2009 – its main claim to fame is that my best friend when I was three lived here – his room was the end window above the garage…

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We also stumbled across Santa’s house too…

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