Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Death of a bumblebee

I was quietly hanging up the last items of washing out on the line, when there was a whacking sound on the concrete path.
It sounded like a nut hitting the ground.
There are no nut trees near our clothes line so I scanned the path to see what had fallen. Had some kids thrown something over the fence?
But there it was - a big bumblebee, dead on the path.
Bumblebees look so soft but like other insects they have an exoskeleton that is hard when it hits the ground.
Who knows what went wrong, whether his little heart gave out or he had put on too much weight for his wings.
It had all ended in tragedy, falling from the sky to an unceremonious death on the damp concrete path.
A solitary, short, sharp, knock that did not even echo, was the only sound to herald his passing.
There should be a analogy to human life and struggles in the death of this bumblebee.
But what I will remember is that bumblebees are not soft and cuddly because they make a whacking sound when they hit the ground at speed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I was looking up some evening classes to see if there was any of interest to enliven my twilight hours.
Scanning quickly through the class titles I came across "Learning to paint watermelons."
I saw a classroom of students poised with a watermelon and a paint brush in front of them.
Do you paint a watermelon like doing boiled eggs at Easter?
Perhaps one needs to start by painting it with a plain undercoat. Although maybe that is the challenge of painting watermelons - creating a design that uses that natural pattern in the skin.
Maybe it is not a class painting on watermelons, rather one learns to paint a picture of a watermelon. A naked watermelon sits at the front of the room with students trying to capture its essence on paper.
Rereading the details, it turned out my brain had been a bit too fast on word completion. The course title was "Learning to paint watercolours."
I wonder if they have considered a watermelon painting course? It might have potential.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Butchers

I stopped on the way home to buy meat at the butchers.
I was the only customer.
While I was choosing my cuts of meat a young girl asked if she could help. I told her I was already being looked after. To fill in the time the young butcher began cleaning the scales and the bench behind the cabinets of meat.
She had the hiccups and went bright red as one escaped while she was cleaning the scales in front of me.
A family arrived behind me and the young butcher quickly put down the cleaning cloth, eager to be the one to get the new customer.
They ordered two pig's heads.
The pig heads were slouching together on white bench at the back of the shop.
I watched the young butcher go over pick one up tentatively. "Eww," She said.
She didn't stop. She continued all the way across to the counter. "Eww, eww, eww, eww, eww, eww," she wailed.
Then she went back for head number two.
Sometimes meat's origins can be a little in your face.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ginsu steak knives

We were in Thailand and the Brits had chosen the restaurant.
They chose Italian.
Since my authentic Thai experience was not going to be, I decided to order the New Zealand steak. Did export beef really taste better than what we got at home?
Our mains arrived.
My steak was an island in a lumpy, brown gravy. The gentle waitress handed me my steak knife.
It was a ginsu.
Had the chef ordered the knife block set for his kitchen and got the ginsu steak knives free?
Had they been watching the infomercial on a quiet night in the restaurant and enthuiastically called and ordered?
Is this where ginsu steak knives came from so everyone has them?
Were they right now cutting through tin cans, tomatoes and frozen spinach out the back?
So many questions to ponder over my steak.
It tasted just like it did at home.

lunar eclipse

It was the night of the eclipse of the moon. It had already turned blood red and was slipping in and out of view behind some fast moving clouds.
By chance I was driving home right when it was happening. It was quite dark without the moon's glow and the street I was driving down was only sporadically lit by streetlights.
My headlights caught something. It was coming in my direction on the other side of the road.
It was a cyclist without lights but wearing a helmet. I couldn't see their face but I could see their neck.
They were craning heavenward looking for the eclipse between the clouds.
It was one of those moments when you feel in community, that everyone is focussed on the same thing. Though perhaps some should be focussed on where they are going.

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.