Sunday, July 29, 2007

Flatting. A Necessary Evil.

Flatting at my age is not something I do out of choice. It's determined by burgeoning interest rates, over inflated Wellington property prices, the realisation I don't want to be landed with a mountain of debt, and the fact what I made from my selling my last home is appreciating quite nicely thank you very much.

However by having made the business decision not to buy when the market is high I've been forced into a flatting lifestyle. Something I hadn't done for some time. I'll admit it has its benefits - cheaper utility bills for one - but it also has its drawbacks.

You see it doesn't matter how careful you are you never really know what a prospective flatmate is like until you've lived with them. Here's a sample of what I've experienced in the past year or so.

1) The Vocal Shagger.
When this girl scores the whole street knows (not just our house). The throes of passion are such that furniture in adjoining rooms is rearranged and plaster has been known to fall from the ceiling. Once the neighbours even came round to inquire as to whether someone had been hurt (though how they mistook orgasm for murder escapes me).

2) The Invisible Woman.
She pays all the bills on time and even does her share of the houseweek. Yet she is never seen. Months can go by with no sight nor sound of her. Once a room check had to be carried out to make sure;
a) she still lived here.
b) She wasn't dead and mouldering in her bed.

3) The Slightly Bemused, Yet Devious, Foreigner.
This person plays upon English being their second language to their advantage. Expect huge delays on getting the bond, conniptions when it comes to getting the rent paid on time, and a complete incomprehension that living in a house necessitates paying a share of the monthly power bill. Trying to explain the situation will be met with a vacant look and the phrase "Que?".

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I'm feeling a little down tonight. Late last week I got the news that someone I've been professionally associated with for some time was quite ill and in hospital and not expected to last much longer.

I won't name him here as it's not appropriate, but suffice it to say I consider him a friend and a thoroughly decent chap.

For the past few days I've been mulling over whether I should visit him or not. Like I say we know each other, but it's a relationship based on a professional acquaintance and I was a little unsure if it would have been appropriate to intrude at a time best reserved for family and close friends.

Well tonight I visited him .... I'm glad I did but it's highlighted just how patently unfair life can be at times.

Here is a man, who's liked and respected by all that know him, left a shadow of his former self in a hospital bed. One of my colleagues gave a very apt description of him the other day.
"He's a gentleman, but more importantly he's a gentle man".
And that's the honest truth. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met in my line of work and genuinely nice people are few and far between in political circles.

For him to be in this truly awful predicament, well's just not right.

He's barely had time to come to terms with his illness and now he's got just days left. He doesn't want to die, nor do any of us who know him want to lose him, but there's nothing he, or any of us, can do.

What can you say or do for someone in such a situation?

Absolutely nothing - and that's the worst thing about it all.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


It's been a while since I did a substantial overseas trip. About 11 years to be precise (that's not counting a couple of jaunts to Australia and elsewhere in the South Pacific). So I was a little bit surprised when I went to collect my tickets from the travel agents.

You see in the old days your travel envelope was fairly straight forward. Tickets, luggage tags, and maybe an immigration form was what you got.

Something kind of like this.

However when I opened mine I was staggered to find 17 different pieces of paper awaiting my perusal. The three essential pieces you see above and 14 other bits of extraneous shite.

In that carbon negative pile of glossy pamphlets are; warnings about not leaving the country with unpaid fines, advertising for Duty Free stores, warnings about drug smuggling (apparently it's a no no - who would have guessed?), warnings about what you can and can't take on your carry on luggage, and even a print out of what I can see and do at my ultimate destination.

Call me a grinch but this is overkill.

Also while it's laudable that Flightcentre is giving me dutyfree vouchers, But I really don't see the point in them giving them to me if they expire in October when I'm travelling in December.