The long white cloud

Thursday, May 04, 2006


No more stories of country critters to enthral you with this week. However, I did think it worth mentioning just how different things can be in another part of the world, and how rapidly they seem to become the norm. For instance, our house is not connected to the public sewer system, not surprising really as we are out in the country. All sewerage is in-house - or outdoors more precisely - as properties tend to have their own processing plants in the garden. This has been working like a charm since we moved in, but in the last few weeks the alarm has been going off, indicating that something was wrong with the processing unit. As it turns out the filter just needed cleaning , and being "the man of the property" (as Wendy keeps calling me...) it was my responsibility to see to it. Actually as I am fascinated by anything remotely bazalgettesque, ,I quite enjoyed it. But my point is that being a part-time sewerage maintenance man now seems perfectly normal to me. Also, we have no mains water (again not surprisingly). Water is collected in a butt, at the side of the house directly from the roof. When we first moved in it seemed strange that the water was not treated in any way, surely the roof would get dirty wouldn't it ? But again, it seems perfectly normal now, and neither myself or the gaffer have had the two-bob bits since we have been here. I have even put off buying a water filter as I am starting to think that it may actually be beneficial in keeping my immune system on it's toes. Although , it must be said that sometimes things do go awry, last month there were a couple of deaths in an outbreak of legionnaires disease , in the next village (although that is nearly always related to air conditioning/ hot water systems, and not water-tanks as the scaremongers of the press tried to suggest !!)

We have had our first tsunami alert, since we have been here. It was nowhere near where we are, it was down at Hawkes Bay or more precisely Gisborne, but it was still pretty exciting. Where we are located it would have to be an awfully big tsunami to reach us, we are only about 1k from the coast on a hill and buffered by a series of islands, including the very long Waiheke island. This has been quite a big story in the news over here and the media has also taken a lot of interest in the going's on with the Labour party over in the UK, especially the woes of Charles Clarke and Prezza. I was watching the news the other night and almost choked on my dinner (porterhouse steak, well done, plenty of caramelised onions). Picture the scene, the in-studio news reader on NZ national TV is speaking with the on-location reporter in London about the crisis surrounding the Blair government. She inquired as to how much trouble Charles Clarke was in over the foreign prisoner crisis, and the reporter gave an extremely professional and erudite summary of the story, so far so good. And then she went on to say, "and if that wasn't bad enough we hear that the deputy prime minister is also in trouble, surely a politician of his seniority could further threaten Mr Blair's premiership ?". Now the reply that came was of such a beautifully honest and accurate nature , that I only hope I live long enough to hear Andrew Marr deliver something similar on the BBC, he said.. "Oh no, Prescott doesn't have any REAL power you know? He is just a fig leaf for Old Labour. No, to be clear, he is just a fat old bloke who has been caught shagging his secretary, the Charles Clarke drama is the real story in London..."


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