martedì 30 agosto 2016

Its' a long way to Tipperary.

It's a long way to retirement,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to retirement
To the quietest life I'll know!
Goodbye, naughty children,
Farewell, dancing bear!
It's a long long way to retirement,
But my heart's right there.

"...but my heart's right there."

lunedì 29 agosto 2016

Monday, what good ever came of it?

I blame Robert's God for working things out so that Monday is so close to Friday, and my beloved Saturday.

"Pwat! I'll call that one Monday."
Maybe it's time to move Monday to a little later in the week?
I have my busiest day at the factory on Monday, though I guess that gets it done early.
There's an old saying, "E` sempre ora"
Which means, "It's always now."
And it is.
However, some nows come with more clout than others.
My vision of the now could be expressed as this:

3.15pm Friday <------------------> 5am Monday

Two very important poles in the concept of it always being now.
I long for one and seem to be stuck in the other.

It's like good and evil,

it's like Heaven and Hell.

Thank God* for chardonnay!

* Robert's mate

500 giorni.

Studio l'italiano ogni giorno per chinqecento giorni.

Punto di fatto.*

* point made

sabato 27 agosto 2016

Feral alert!

This is a shot from our kitchen window.
There's absolutely nothing unusual about it.
You can see a few houses; and a truck.
Certainly nothing unusual about the truck.
It is driven by a neighbour who is a really nice young man.
The blue pole in the forground is attached to our house and all is well with it.
This is a very usual type of picture that one could take in Nuova Lazio on an overcast Saturday afternoon.
Except that there is something wrong!
The truck driver has made a very serious mistake and it's going to cost him.

We have a gang of kids who play in the neighbourhood and it's really great to see them out there doing 'kid things'.
Still no problem.
Okay, here it comes...
Two of these kids are feral.
What is feral?
There are tell tale signs.
On one occasion a little chap of about six years knocked on my door (I was home alone).
He was carrying a bag of stuff that obviously contained lawn clippings.
He asked, "Do you want to taste this?"
He had kindly supplied a fork.
My reply was obviously, "No."
On another occasion, when I was not home, he knocked at our door.
My wife and daughter (all grown up) were home and he asked,
"Where is the boy?"
At the time I was 63 and he was about 6.
It's probably not appropriate for the two of us to be playing together; unless I was his grandfather - which I am not.*

I've met the 'dad' and he is a bully - I could expand on that, from personal experience.
These two little boys leave rocks on our lawn and push the personal space thing.

Now there is a truck loaded with orange roadwork cones (take another closer look at the truck) across the road from us .

I'm expecting to see them all around the neighbourhood some time romorrow.
I estimate that we'll get around 9 on our front lawn.
We'll look like a police checkoint.

Well, at least it will deter Chardonnay thieves.

* thank you Robert's god for that

martedì 23 agosto 2016

The Last Year Is The Hardest.

I'm going to be really pissed off if I have a heart attack, or something, this year.

"Yes, we do have an R Prowse. First name Robert?"
The last year is certainly the hardest. You just can't wait to stop banging your head against the brick wall.

At 64 you're an old soldier and the reserves are running low.

Okay, you still care about justice, but you don't want to stand in the front lines anymore.

There comes a time when you need peace.
Peace and quiet.

This last year is going to be a long one.

domenica 21 agosto 2016

Happy birthday Robert.

You've now got the same number as the Garden Rd house.

I hope you have a really nice day and a great year to follow.

sabato 20 agosto 2016

One year to go.

Essatamente un anno. Alla giorno!

There's a geat scene in School of Rock where Jack Black has just finished his first day of 'substitute teaching' and he beats the kids out of school.

That's the spirit!

Second turns 61 tomorrow.
Happy birthday Rob, I've got you a present I think you will like - I'll drop it over today. Sorry that the card's a bit silly; I got doodling after a few vini.

Have a good day everyone.

mercoledì 17 agosto 2016

One year and two days to go.

Rover knew how to balance. He knew a little about the laws of Physics.
His body was not exactly spent but, niggling in the back of his mind,
he couldn't shake the thought that he was an old dog and this was a new trick.
I went to a spreadsheet training course after a long day of teaching today. I won't beat around the bush - I'm an old dog and this was a new trick.
I sort of lost the plot shortly after the tutor said, "Now listen carefully..."
Never mind, I've survived life for nearly 64 years without mastering spreadsheets.

martedì 16 agosto 2016

Adios Amico

Click HERE

The Maxima wasn't able to step up for a warrant today.

It's been a good ride, albeit a cold one*, with you amigo.
I hope there's a car Heaven. We've had good times together and I'll miss you. Sorry that my daughter knocked your wing mirror off. Sorry too for the hand print on your bonnet that some kid left at a NLHS sports day a few years back. Sorry that I didn't clean you more.
At least I'll see you off wearing two new tyres.

* the heating system was removed a few years back

lunedì 15 agosto 2016

One year and four days to go.

The Curmudgeon is telling fibs HERE.

Those big blue undies he wears could catch fire.

That's why I can confidently say,
just one year and four days to go.

369 sleeps.

On that magic day I will have spent 855 consecutive days on duolingo,

studying Italian.

I will have done other stuff too including:
  • Bass practice
  • I will have thoroughly learnt 10 solo Italian tunes on the violin (and bass) so that I can wander and play in Italian restaurants for a few extra bucks
  • I will have gone to the toilet (serious visits) a little more than 400 times
  • I will have done a fair bit of walking
  • I will have mowed our lawns about 25 times
  • I will have taken 370 showers, allowing for one accident
  • I will have cleaned my teeth 738 times
  • I will have written 7 things on Facebook, or a blog, that need deleting early the next morning
  • I will have made a complete, utter fool of myself 4 times and
  • I will have done about 6 paid gigs.
So there you have it - the story of my life over the next 369 days.

Well, who else but Marty could be entrusted to tell the story?

domenica 14 agosto 2016

One year and five days to go.


I remember that my older brother used to play this song a lot in the 1960s.
He was nowhere near retirement age then - he had much, much longer than one year and five days to go.
August 20th 2017 is a Friday.
One year and five days  from now.
A fitting day to finish on.
Roll on, Father Time.

Oh, and don't forget to shave now and then.
You've got a bloody big razor right there with you.

sabato 13 agosto 2016

Welcome Back To Good Old Signore Sabato!

Job oppurtunity." I saw an add in the paper.

I was intrigued so I read on.
God wants servants. Infinite contract. Good conditions. No qualifications or CVs required.

God? There was a number, so I rang. Well, I was curious.
There was a recorded message.
Hello, you've reached Heaven. To check your GET INTO HEAVEN SCORE please press 1. To confess to sins please press 2. To find out why you're definitely going to Hell press 3. To speak to the operator please press 0.
I pressed 0.
Please hold and someone will be with you as soon as possible.

There was a bit of background music for a couple of minutes and then a click, followed by a female voice.

Angel Betty speaking, how may I help you?

Hi, I'm just ringing about the job you were advertising in the Dominion Post. It said you were looking for a man to serve.

Oh, yes, that'll be for the barman's job. We have a vacancy in the St John establishment, one of our many entertainment centres. Can I ask, are you a Christian?

No, I'm not.

That's good because obviously good Christians don't have to work in Heaven. Can I get your name and date of birth so I can check your eligibility?

Richard (of RBB). August 52.

Just one minute while I bring up your file. Yes, this looks perfect. At the moment you're down for Hell. What jobs in Heaven offer is an alternative. The hours are very long and the days do roll into each other, but most of our service staff agree that it's better than Hell.

Doesn't sound too bad to me. I'm a teacher.

Oh, well, you know all about Hell. I'll put you on my list. All you need to do, upon death, is show up at the Golden Gates. Give St Peter  your name and tell him you are staff. You can start straight away; I'm talking about after you're dead.

A few years later...
Barman (of RBB): Hello sir, and what can I get you?
Customer: I'm bored. Get me a double whiskey you sinner. And it's madam! Not sir, you creep.
Barman (of RBB): Oops, sorry madam. Perhaps if you had a shave? Not enjoying paradise then?
Customer: None of your business, you're just here to work. Get my bloody drink you heathen!
Barman (of RBB): Okay, one double whiskey coming up. Would you like it with ice, water or a soft drink?
Customer: I don't bloody know! I never drank alcohol on Earth. I was a nun.
Barman (of RBB): Try it with a dash of Coke. Here you go.
Customer: Get me another while I skull this.
Barman (of RBB): Well, you certainly know the drinking language. Coming right up. Is there much to do in Heaven? I don't get around, I'm confined to this bar.
Customer: Not a lot really. There are a few cinemas, but they always show propaganda stuff, like how evil Satin is. Then you can go to adore the big guy. That gets boring pretty quickly. I did enough of that when I was on Earth. Other than that there are just the bars.
Barman (of RBB): You said Satin. I thought it was Satan.
Customer: No, it took a guy in Petone, New Zealand, to put that mistake right. I think originally some dick mis-spelt it when translating The Bible.
Barman (of RBB): So, what happened to that guy from Petone.
Customer: Right hand of God, did very well. You'd think that being a bloody nun would count for more. It's sexist really.
Barman (of RBB): Have you ever come across a guy called The Curmudgeon? I think he'd be a staff member if he made it in.
Customer: Yes, he's done very well for a heathen. He runs a wine bar right next to Jesus's place. He and Jesus are really into wine. Personally I think that Jesus drinks too much. He's a right bugger when he's pissed.

venerdì 12 agosto 2016

Due archi

Which one would you choose?

martedì 9 agosto 2016

All aboard the Orange Blossom Special!

It's been quite cold lately.
Cold enough to make it hard to play the violin in the morning.
Cold fingers move slowly.

Not really me playing.
I generally take my daughter to work in the morning. We leave home at 5.55am and the round trip takes about an hour.
We take Shelley's car because mine has no heater. I drive home and change cars.
It gets very cosy in Shelley's car.
Then I climb into mine and drive to work.
No heater on that trip.
It's cold at work.
I spend about an hour preparing work stuff.
Then Wayne comes in and we play music for about twenty minutes.
Wayne is the caretaker and has a karate black belt.

This is not Wayne.
I taught Wayne to play guitar and now we have a repertoire that we play every morning, rain or shine.
Even when it's bloody cold.
We start off with a few songs that we have written together.
Wayne insisted that the composers be listed as Wayne & Richard (of RBB), even though I do most of the writing. Fair enough - he does have a black belt in karate.
Then we play 'A Day in the Life of a Fool' (theme from the movie Black Orpheus) and 'The Orange Blossom Special'.

We always finish just in time to get to staff meeting.
Wayne likes to play The Orange Blossom Special very fast, which is good practice.
It's fun playing with The Karate Kid Wayne. Some days, if we didn't play, I wouldn't get to touch the fiddle because there is too much work to do.
It's also a bonus having the caretaker as your friend. He's really good at fixing things.
But, most of all, it's about the music.
We just play; and we talk.
Everybody needs a friend to get you through the long antarctic nights.

I'm teaching Wayne a new tune at the monent.
'There is No Greater Love'.
Wayne is not really that keen on jazz standards, having come from a heavy rock background, so I seldom tell him what genre the songs I give him come from.
It seems to work.
I think he really likes 'A Day in the Life of a Fool'.

domenica 7 agosto 2016

The Curmudgeon's 64th Birthday Tribute.

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the birth of one of Whangarei's oldest residents.
His full name is Peter The Curmudgeon McDonald.

A recent photo of P.T.C. McDonald
What follows is a fairly accurate look at his life:
Peter The Curmudgeon McDonald was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on August 8th 1952.
His father ran a bagpipes repair shop and his mother made a little extra money for the family by repairing kilts.

The first few years of his life were spent learning some English, mastering walking and filling nappies.
At five years of age he attended St Anne's School and later went on to the Marist Brothers' school in Newtown. He excelled at rugby but his short sightedness put an end to his hopes of becoming an All Black. However, thanks to his experience as an altar boy, he was introduced to wine. In later years he would find gainful imployment by using his wine drinking marketing skills.
At St Patrick's College his short sightedness was immediately picked up and he was guided away from rugby and into a gentler game called soccer. Here he met his new friends One Legged Bob and Armless Philip. In those days boys with disabilities were guided towards soccer so that they didn't interfere with the results of the rugby teams.
At St Patrick's young Peter was groomed for the priesthood. Unfortunately it was discovered by the priests that he had a strange sexual orientation - it appears that he only fancied women. He was shuffled off to university.
This must have been hell on earth for the growing Peter. There were gorgeous young women everywhere but they were totally unattainable.
In desperation he turned to a local expert on women named Tony. Unfortunately you could say that Tony's bark was worse than his bite. Tony said that pretty young women went for drunk young men.
Simply put Tony was incorrect. This confined Peter, and some of his university friends, to the celibate lifestyle for many years. Hell, he might as well have become a priest after all!

Peter's life was to take a jump forward when he found a job at a liquor outlet called Murray Roberts.
Here he met a rather suave delivery driver whose name was Robert but most people called him Second. Robert was to teach Peter a lot. Robert taught him things that probably helped him get a foot into the wine industry. An example of Robert's advice was, "You're not supposed to drink it all yourself." There is an unconfirmed rumour that Robert also upskilled him on the ways of the fairer sex.

Peter went on to have a very successful career and was much, much more successful with women. He got to the point where he could even teach Hugh a trick or two.

"Thanks The Curmudgeon, I owe you big time!"
These days P.T.C. McDonald doesn't do a lot. He prefers the quiet lifestyle that Whangarei has to offer and is looked after by his younger wife.
There have been a few rocky rides up north to keep him on his feet.
One day there was a storm that blew an outside chair over.

Don't be fooled, this chair is quite heavy.

Fortunately it seems that God is looking after Peter because he came through unscathed and was even able to pick the chair up again. Well, he was only 63 at the time of the storm.

We at Richard's Bass Bag* would like to wish Peter The Curmudgeon McDonald as very happy birthday.

Buon Compleanno!

* the original bass bagging site

sabato 6 agosto 2016

Good morning and welcome back to the bag.

It's not rocket science when you get up to discover how cold it is in Nuova Lazio this morning.

This IS rocket science.
The poor old Hurricanes and Lions have to play rugby in these conditions tonight. Well, at least they are young and fit.
I haven't got much planned for this weekend. I think we're meeting a couple of old Tauranga friends for lunch today in wet old Wellington. The Nuova Lazio jazz jam scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled. Not because of the weather - you usually play jazz inside.

If my calculations are correct, The Curmudgeon has a birthday on Monday. He will then be very old.

"I wish I was young like
Richard (of RBB)."

Older than me.

I'll probably get some practice done today. A bit of contrabbasso, maybe even a bit of violino. I'll also study some Italian.
It'll be my 477th day in a row of working on duolingo.
Unfortunately Second has been a bit slack with his Italian study.
E` un ragazzaccio.
Every day Second; you need to do a little every day.
Oops, just noticed that Abigail is on a '0' day streak with her Spanish! Naughty.
I'll have to talk to Wade about that.

Hold on, I'm just doing to go to the toilet.

A bathroom is a wonderful place and every day I am sincerely grateful to those wonderful men and women who dedicated their lives to making my life so much easier.
Think of all those wonderful inventions that exist in that room:
  • The wonderful flushing toilet that makes visiting a no mess occasion (for most of us)
  • That simple roll of toilet paper that gives so much
  • The toilet spray that facilitates a quick turnover of users with minimal discomfort
  • That block of soap that says goodbye to evil germs
  • Free flowing hot and cold water to enchance the experience
  • Those nice warm, dry towels
  • Toothpaste - making life better for others too
  • That inventive bath and show combo - choice in the world of cleanliness.
What other room offers this much?

I guess we should take a little time to think of those poor souls who aren't as lucky.

No toilet spray needed out here!
As toilets go, not quite my cuppa tea.
I hope they wash their hands before
using the spade.
Well that's it from me for today. Have a good weekend and be grateful for your bathroom.

mercoledì 3 agosto 2016

Jam Night.

The oldest joke in the book.
Tonight I'm off to a jazz jam with mio figlio. It'll make me tired tomorrow, but there is more to life than school.
I might take my bow.
There is a format to these jams that have popped up in Wellington.
  • A group of musicians are hired to lead the jam.
  • They set up the gear and play the first few numbers.
  • People are invited up and replace the band members. A tune is sorted out and they all get a solo.
  • Everyone is welcome to play and the rhythm section players can use the band's gear.
  • At the end the band wraps things up.
I've been a few times but haven't played because there are young bass players who move very quickly when it is time to change over. Maybe I'll get a shot tonight?

Mio figlio plays (he moves faster than me) and does a really good job. I thought, that if I get a shot tonight, I'd introduce them to the arco solo. A lot of young guys carry a bow (in a quiver attached to their bass) but only seem to use them for tuning and playing the last note. The guy in the band tonight is good with a bow so he might steal my thunder. Time will tell.

I'll be tired tomorrow, but that's all part of the life of a gigging musician.