Thursday, 22 June 2017

Blackcaps teams going forward. My Picks.

The Blackcaps are going through changing times.  So what is the team you want?

My (educated) picks.

Test Cricket

 Latham (VC)
Williamson (C)
Henry 12th Man

ODI & T20

Latham VC
Williamson  C
Seifert or Phillips (has ability to Open)
Ferguson 12th Man.

Blackcaps Short Form wicketkeeper- who is next

With the retirement of Luke Ronchi a hole has appeared in Blackcaps ranks for a wicketkeeper in short forms of the game of cricket. In the past wicketkeepers have been pretty much a simple choice and by and large have a certain career longevity.

One could suggest someone out of Domestic Cricket step up, but if one looks at the stocks there doesn't appear to be many standing up (Based on last Ford Trophy 2017 Jan to Mar.).

The Blackcaps build a team out of batting ability (and bowling) but rarely does a wicketkeeper get in for his wicketkeeping ability alone, quick scoring batsmen and a closer has to be in his resume.  So with that in mind I have scoured the Ford Trophy scores from this year and present the stats here.

Auckland Aces

GD Phillips opens the batting for the Aces and his scores were 0,5,41,33,102 - 181 runs at 36.2

Northern Knights

Seifert  1,12,40,104, 56,38  - 251 Runs at 41.8

Central Stags

Cleaver  0,9,9,10,7,77  -  112 runs at 18.8

Wellington Firebirds

Blundell  36,21,32 - 89 runs at 29.7
Ronchi  63,22,31  - 116 runs at 38.6


Latham  3,59 - 62 runs at 31.0
Fletcher  8,8,5,13,10  -  44 runs at 8.8

Otago Volts

de Boorder   2,4,3,31,43  -  83 runs at 16.6

Interesting stats. Many fans have their pick but Blackcaps need to pick on form and ability and with that in mind there are three options, Phillips, Seifert and Latham.  Latham would be the front runner for me, is already indoctrinated in the A Team's game plan. I would be inclined to bring in Phillips as an apprentice under Latham and to get the vibe that goes with the team. And a bonus is he can cover opener if injury/etc.

Looking at these stats there is a clear situation that we don't have a great deal of depth at Wicketkeeper in Domestic cricket.  Maybe Cricket NZ takes a leaf out of Rugby and foster talent.  There has always been a lot of (very) senior players hogging places in their teams better suited to youth.

NZC have a long winter/spring to find their man and they won't have any opportunity to pick from Ford Trophy form as ODI's start before that Trophy (based on last years competition format)

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Russia v All Whites Preview

Welcome to my analysis on AllWhites at Confederation Cup in Russia this week.  The All Whites  (Ranked 95) play Russia (Ranked 63) this Sunday our time. Then they face Mexico (Ranked 17) and Portugal (Ranked 8)

Fair to say only one match can be won on paper is Russia, but it would be fair to say they can catch Mexico unaware and scrape a draw or win. Portugal is a mountain they'll find hard to conquer.

So what of Russia's games in past 18 months.  6 games, 2 wins, 2 losses,; and 2 draws.  Results on paper:

vs Chile (4th ranked)  1-1
vs Romania (46th ranked)  1-0
vs Qatar  (88th ranked)  1-2
vs Costa Rica (19th ranked)  3-4
vs Ghana  (49th ranked)   1-0
vs Turkey  (25th ranked)  0-0

Russia I feel are very vulnerable and I think the All Whites have the team to continue Russia's misery in internationals though that is tempered with the fact New Zealand football's opposition of late is not quite the quality of Confed Cup teams.

It would be great we get a win over Russia and a draw (or two) from the other teams, meaning we'd be in a good position to advance to the knockout games.

In the past 18 months Portugal has played 15 matches in Internationals, winning 10, 3 draws and 2 losses.  The two losses were Sweden and Switzerland with a majority of the wins against very low ranking countries.  With that in mind the All Whites do have a bolters chance to draw with them.  As Portugal is the top ranked team in our draw they should lead the group.

And in the past 17 matches by Mexico, they have played 17 matches, won 11, Drawn 5 and 1 loss.  It should be noted almost all those opponents were countries way down the rankings.  One of those wins was against the All Whites on our patch, winning 2-1.  So with that Knowledge I am thinking maybe Mexico is either a close win for us or a draw. Either way we could be 2nd on the group ranking.

Bring it On All Whites.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Poor Selections in Champions Trophy

So where have the high flying  Kiwi cricketers gone in the ODI world.  A less than inspiring tri series in Ireland should have given the management something to think about leading into the CT17.  Yes, given our top cricketers were away on IPL duty, but losing to Bangladesh then (and subsequently in the CT17) suggested management were not in touch with cricketing reality.

So what of the CT17 form.  Well simply put the middle and lower orders failed.  Broom, Neesham, Santner and Anderson failed to fire, the latter, bat and ball. deGrandhomme not a go to man when his recent form suggests he should be a permanent fixture, 5 with bat and slow bowler option. Anderson playing at 7 (Ronchi at 6 with Tom Latham opening)  After two games Santner was obviously out of his depth, so more experienced Patel a better option not used.

Saddest news - Blackcaps don't have a test/ODI until 2018 ish with a T20 tri-series in Feb with England/Australia.  Not a good look for them.  There is no programmed international cricket for a team that needs competition to rectify the twin losses recently to Bangladesh (On our conditions).

I'm not sure who has the final say in game day selections but Hesson/Williamson desperately need to get savvy with selections and consequently positive results.  Historically we have always had  a great Middle order and there has to be either a better performing incumbents or cut and thrust selections (George Worker at 5, deG 6 maybe)??

So having failed against England (with results similar to earlier Tri Series,) a chance opened for wholesale changes to ensure the Bangladesh result.  On a seam friendly pitch a good chance to go with 4 seamers (Boult, Southee, Milne and Henry) and deG & Patel.  Fair to say Ronchi isn't an opener and could better be used at 6 or 7 as a closer with the older ball. If our team's not doing it with the Bat  then we need a bowling team to help carry the weight a bit.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Some Basin Reserve photos from 2015.

 A day at The Basin I was camera focussed on crowd antics.

Not sure Stihl goes hand in hand with Hot Dogs.

Poor kid but give him his dues he wasn't crying - good temperament in 20 years time in bat in hand.

This another ready in 20 years time, he was accurate with all his bowling.

This guy must have lost a bet, spent most of the day circumnavigating the ground.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Photojournalism May 2017 - revisiting old images

Palmy's best takeaways.

The biggest farm in the Manawatu.

Castlepoint Fishing Fleet

Yeah who's complaining about prices (4 years ago)

Spooky wind farms.

This road is open close open closed slips - possible slips and the highest road in the country for OSH ratings.

Brittania on Palmerston North War Memorial.

Trainging at Memorial Park - the old redefined velodrome.


                                           Submerged Swan.

Friday, 12 May 2017

A Fine Line in History

A  look back in time from a different perspective - written in 2000.

A Fine Line in History
The year is 62,000BC and time is a very unfamiliar thing. Days are not even invented, life is ungovernable. Day comes, day goes, and night comes and stars twinkle, as they have always done. Nature's creatures go about their ritual of survival and reproduction, foraging for the plentiful food supplies that abound.
In a distant land that would one day become Yugoslavia, a tribe of CroMagnum men, women, and children cower under the sky, the threatening spring thunderstorm hovering over their very existence. The cluttered, heavily forested landscape hides their existence from prying eyes of the great predators overhead, and muffle their sounds from the forest creatures seeking the weak and infirm for prey.
Hunkered down in their spartan cave, the tribe is going about their daily ritual, the slaughter of the deer being butchered and hung to mature, and the hides being expertly crafted into fashionable clothing for the children and mothers. The menfolk are all gathered around the fire, patiently talking of the hunt, sharing in the ritual of the sherbet root, and the daytura leaf tea. All the men that is except one!
Hunkered back in the group, almost lost to obscurity, is the young thinker in the tribe, Crickstigbo. The eternal dreamer, the reluctant hunter, the predisposed painter and recorder of the tribes history on the caves walls, the drawer of the sky and the orator of the tribes history. Crickstigbo rarely gathered with his fellow hunters, finding the fascinating world of his dreams more to his liking, and the artistry of his daubing his main pleasure.
But poor Crickstigbo was disturbed this wondrous evening by an event from the night past gone. His mind shifted now to his drawings and the recognition of the disaster he had drawn. It had troubled him all day during the hunt, forcing his mind from the activity going on around him. So much so that he had almost become sabre tooth tiger meal, if not for his lightening fast youthful reflexes, and the timely interference of his brothers skillful lance thrust. The thought of the chaos he had created had totally overridden his normal survival processes and caused his premature departure to the afterworld.
One of the elders, Crickstigbo's Uncle Trughotjk, spied the troubled youth sitting back from the gathering, and noted the tense stress marks on his weathered and tanned brow. He excused himself from his fellow hunters, and limped over to the far off figure.
"Huh, Crickstigbo, what's troubling you my boy?" The low guttural grunting sound so deep it nearly shook the cave and all in it, but the sense of warmth and worry strained every vocal utterance.
It drew Crickstigbo's attention, washing away the deep thought of his dilemma, if only for a short while.
"Huh, hello Uncle," replied the troubled orator, his voice laced with serious contemplation. "I'm just thinking you know."
"Yeah, I noticed, but what on Grafdesgat's back have you been thinking about. Been at it all day, haven't you?" The old man, almost bent double as his forty three years sagged under his decaying strength, reached a gnarled hand to his favourite nephew, grabbing the younger man's hand and pulling him to his feet so that they could talk eye on eye.
"Come, tell me your problem, it must be very grave indeed to trouble you so, and if it troubles you, it troubles me."
"Uncle, I did something last night, and I am very afraid of what I have done, very afraid." The normally placid Crickstigbo was shaking as he said these words, his fear obvious for all the tribe to see.
Of course, in a society where very little vocalising took place, the long discourse now had the whole tribes attention, all gathered in the cave now aware of the young mans' discourse.
Trughotjk placed a great hairy arm around the poor boy, and sensing the import of his words, and the nervousness of his fellow tribal conclave, he ushered Crickstigbo back towards the darker end of the cave, to the cavern offshoot that was Crickstigbo's room and the repository for his paintings. They both skirted through the deerskin-covered portal, and into the lard lamp-lit room that the door led to.
The old man surveyed the room, marveling at the talented work on display, the history of his group. As the leader, he felt a sense of pride that his tribe could record their life, as no other group he knew of had attained such dexterous skill yet. The drawings of deer, birds, eagle, beer, and wild cattle abounded, as did the latest fascination of the boy, the sky pictures.
He also marveled at the thoughts his historian had expounded, the sounds he made that paralleled nature's song, and his attempt to tame the day with signs signifying parts of the daytime and night-time too. But he also thought the poor boy crazed at times with his attempts to get other members of the tribe to follow his lead.
"Uncle, I have done something that will alter life as we know it forever, something that is so against nature, that it will through everything into chaos, and I can't get rid of it, no matter how hard I try." Crickstigbo's staccato admission immediately grabbed the old man's attention.
The boy turned towards a dim end of the cavern, pointing to a strange object drawn on the wall. Trughotjk's incomprehension spread across his face at the strange drawing, and a trickle of fear sweat edged its way across his cheek. His nephew's thought telepathied to his mind, and the concepts that entered frightened him, breaking loose in his mind, the destruction of their life as plain to see as day was against night.
"Get rid of it, now!" commanded the frightened CroMagnum Chief. "Get rid of it, I say, I see nothing but bad coming from this."
"But Uncle, I can't, no matter how I try it just won't go away, and I fear it will never go away now. You have seen it, and I have seen it, and it is there forever now, in our minds, and in the future of our lives."
The exasperated leader crouched to the floor of the cavern, the thoughts of the strange drawing clouding his mind, confusing the shapes of his natural world. He had seen something of it before, but never like this! The trees were almost the nearest to the shape in his world, or perhaps the odd crack in a rock, but this one was starker, more distinct than anything he had seen before. And yes, in his mind, he too saw chaos coming from it.
"What do you call it, Crickstigbo, this linear interference to natures existence, this mind numbing threat to our sheer existence, what is it called?" Trughotjk's grizzled gruff question eating into the heavy air of the cave.
"Well, Uncle, I haven't really given it much thought, but there maybe something in what you say that would adequately do. I like your reference to lineal interference in natures existence, something rings about that." The orator mused for a second, then looked at the figure again, realising the straight drawing needed a proper description, and the thoughts started to flow, eventually settling into a logical pattern. L for lineal, I for interference, I for in, N for Nature, E for existence.
"How about we call it a LIINE, Uncle, L, I, I, N, E. The sounds match the drawing and the thoughts I have had match the connotation of those sounds."
Plato was foraging through the ancient scrolls unearthed from the capsule in the cave. His travels had taken him many miles, and the cave he had found had provided good shelter for the night, and as it turned out, a treasure trove of such great wealth that it made him wonder at the chance discovery.
The word had been around for some years, the shapes of design also, and all had been attributed to the Sumerians, and to the other ancient cultures of the near past. But the scrolls he now surveyed with his keen brain outdated these by so long he shuddered to think how old they were. The drawings in the cave certainly showed creatures he had never seen before, and amongst them, strange manlike figures in the pursuit of their prey, and in the tasks of their everyday life.
Judging by the work, it was all done by the same artist, the shapes having very similar styles and lines, the work of a great mind. But his attention was repeatedly drawn back to the drawing in the corner. The line, with numerous scratches and smudges on it as if someone had deigned to remove it, stuck out like a sore thumb in the gloom, it's starkness testimony to another's work. Or was it?
Plato was puzzled. This was the first time that he had seen such a line in any cave art, everything before having that flow of nature in it's style. So had someone else found this cave since, and done the graffiti to this treasure trove? If that had been the case, then it would be probable that other drawings would have been similarly damaged, and in his inspection of the hidden grotto, there appeared to have never been any life in here for centuries, or longer! His logical mind thought immediately to the line again, and the importance of his find. Did some early ancestor of man already know about the line, contrary to popular belief? If so, why had they tried to destroy what they had created?
Plato mused on this for some time, and finally he reached a decision. Up until the time of this drawing, everything, he assumed, in cave art was shaped to nature, and straight lines were never to be seen when one looked at nature. Almost-lines every where, but nothing anywhere that could be deemed dead straight! Ah, eureka!! They were afraid of that line, because it wasn't natural!! Hence the need to get rid of it. But they never did. It was evident in all walks of life now, in everything man did. It was the guide to the existence of Homo sapiens. It formed the letters of language, measured the time, moulded the environment of human life, and created the boundaries of existence and conflict.
Head heavily burdened by this thought, Plato lay down on the cavern floor, and suddenly realised that above the invention of tools, the wheel, alchemy and mathematics, the greatest single destruction to nature on earth was a CroMagnum line drawn on a cave way back in the ether of time.

And he wept. As Trughotjk and Crickstigbo had so long ago in the same room, and as Man would for years to come, without realising why.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Entering the Lions Den the Media Beef Up

So the 12 year cycle approaches and the feeling in changing rooms, pubs and media centers around New Zealand and GB&Irish are tuning into what should be a very, very interesting tour.  Why?  Primarily
 the answer lies with Super Rugby Teams (aka franchises) having a crack at games, once the domain of provincial teams.

A minor issue?  Are provincials way to weak for the task at hand??  And for the Lions, 10 matches - 9 of which are essentially tests.
Yeah sure, they are travelling with a 41 player roster but that won't discount wear and tear.  Predominantly they have a huge task at hand.  So what happens when  all those 9 test matches have hosts winning, is the Lions team a thing of the past?  I don't think so but another 12 years down-track one thing is for sure - the rugby calendar will be very different across all rugby nations and competitions.  I doubt there will ever be another tour to NZ and with Aussie out of rugby soon the outlook is glum.

So how are the host teams going to fare? NZ Maori, New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, and Test Teams have the right to claim touring teams as they did in the past.  For me franchise teams are a sad departure from the past.  No I don't want to see the likes of King Country or Mid Canterbury (heck they're lucky to get a Ranfurly Shierld crack) so the Baabaa's team is a great thing.  Why do I find Super teams a hard watch on a tour that celebrates history.  Purely and simply it's down to provincial pride not Super money machine.  Ok yes I agree, most Super teams will have some of their 30 AB's out with Test duties, but as has been seen by the Rugby comp this year, Super teams have huge depth.  

I'm an old rugby fanatic and I love the romantic idea of the Northern Hemisphere banding together to knock over the Southern teams.  I am also a romantic fool and slather at the idea of all NH countries taking on all the SH teams (A World Series like Baseball) I would also like to see the likes of Russia, Georgia and Romania (WHAT!! Iceland are you serious!!)

Here is my thing for future Lions tours Steve Tew.  If the Lions play the Hurricanes at Arena Manawatu I won't go -  it means nothing to me. If the Lions played Manawatu Turbos at Arena Manawatu I'll be front row central.

And I wager thousands more have the same idea.  Yes I am looking forward to the rugby but not the Franchise rugby.  Cheers.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Today (5th May) in Sporting History.

  • On this day - 
  • Events
  • 1863 Joe Coburn KOs Mike McCoole for US boxing title in 63rd round
  • 1912 5th Olympic games open at Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1917 St Louis Brown Ernie Koob no-hits Chicago White Sox, 1-0
  • 1883 Charles Bender, only American Indian in baseball's Hall of Fame
  • Birthdays
  • 1904 Gordon Richards, British jockey (winner of 4,870 races)
  • 1941 Aleksandr Ragulin, USSR, ice hockey play (Olympic-gold-1964, 68, 72)
  • 1965 Glenn Seton, Australian racing driver
  • 1971 Reggie Jones, wide receiver (KC Chiefs)
  • 1972 James Cracknell, British rowing champion, double Olympic gold medalist
  • Death Dates
  • 1931 Glen Kidston, British aviator and racing driver (b. 1899)

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Blue Moaning - when Men go Down to the sea in Ships.

So you have never been to sea and chances if you have been to sea it's not on  sailing ship.  I) spent about an hour writing my story of a sailing ship called Blue Moaning and the trevails of it's crew.

As a former matelot I can wholeheartedly agree that the story could have happened "back in the day".


Blue Moaning – A small tale.

Part the First
The creaking decks held an eerie grip on their planking. Boards groaned, rivets strained and water washed those decks clearing away any corrosive spume. The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse danced white caps on mountainous swells.

The wheel and all the yards aboard were storm-rigged and lashed, the sole figure littering the upperdecks that of the nightwatchman tied to the after bulwark. The slumped figure hung by his lashings around his waist, his lungs stained with salt-water burns, testament to his painful drowning. SS Blue Moaning sailed on, oblivious of the fate of her crew.

But true to her name and some would claim from earlier passages, true to her nature, the ship did moan. Her every plank and sail, yard and mast, whip and stay moaned her displeasure at the rough seas. So too did three figures lashed to their hammocks in the fwd mess. Not one of the three dehydrated and hungry crewmen had eaten or taken water since the inception of the storm, partly due to being lashed in their hammocks, partly due to the bucking decks beneath them. Death lurked the storm tossed ship.

The boatswain, Broghie O’Callaghan, the ships cook, Banger Naills, and the ship’s youngest crewman but third most adept sailor, Lofty Blomquist lay below lashed to their hammocks clinging on for dear life and awaiting the storm to abate, or the onset of their own death. Judging by recent events in the fwd messdeck, death came quicker.

The death toll was extreme, especially when giving credence to the stormy weather, starvation and stupidity. Of a normal compliment of eighty seven, hauling molasses, rum, and sugar beet, only three remained, and in dubious condition at that. Eighty-four dead, twenty-two of who had perished when the storm first hit and they were trying to trim the Blue Moaning for the sudden weather change.

The storm, though now abating coupled with the cold blue gray seas off Cape Horn, had raged incessantly for eighteen days. It had taken it’s pound of flesh and then some. The ship had been blown northwest, out into the southeast Pacific Ocean.

The survivors noticed the drop in intensity of the wind howling through the rigging and gunwales, and felt the slackening of the grip of the merciless sea on Blue Moanings’ hull. Slowly at first, then even more noticeably.

Broghie untied his bindings on his hammock, and slipped jitteringly to the deck. His once strong legs reduced to weakness thanks to the long stay in the canvas bed. He reached into a locker and extracted a bottle of Nelson’s Blood, good strong Navy Rum he had purchased prior to starting the trip. All the older sailors had their own rum supply, but Broghie preferred the Queens Rum to the lesser potent stock rum supplied to the merchant marine. He stretched his flagging muscles. They ached, but still worked.

Lofty and Banger remained in their hammocks, fragile eyes watching the Bosun like laboured bulls. They were still to ill to venture from the safety of their respective pits and they informed Broghie as he accosted them about some assistance. Truth be known, both were too mollified by the slackening of the violence and could probably have moved but felt an unhealthy need to not trust the weather conditions topside, in case it came on rough again. Therefore they both concluded, it has been safe in the hammock thus far, just a little more time and we’ll know the full score with the weather.

Broghie donned his sou’westers; heavy oilskin coat and leggings, and a tie on oilskin hood or hat. Most preferred the hat. He then donned his large seaboots, rubber galoshes or Wellington boots that suited life on a ship at sea, if dry feet were wanted.

He advanced through the messdeck unsteadily, as the ship still lurched occasionally as she surfed down a large swell out of the Antarctic Sea came rolling on through. He caught hold of the ladder handrail that lead from the messdeck to the topside deck or the Main Deck as it was more commonly called. The ladder exited aft of the focsle and just in front of the foremast. Broghie grabbed one of the Watchlines that was suspended from the deckhead, and attached the belt end to his waist, coiling up the clip-end of the line and the remaining 50 feet for ease of laying out when he clipped on topside. This rope was a Blue Moaning invention, attributed to her former second mate, until recently the second longest serving member of the 1868-built New Zealand flagged Barque.

Broghie then rechecked the manila hemp line for snags, then pulled himself up the ladder to the topside sliding hatch. Grasping the clip, he affixed it to the ringbolt at the top of the hatch placed there for such purposes, laid the coiled line down on the top rung, and grasping the hatch with both hands, slid the hatch back smoothly to it’s stops.

The rope securely fastened to avoid being washed overboard, the Bosun eased himself out of the hatch, occasionally wearing a greenie or sea spray wash, on his body. But the sea had abated he noticed, and the force of the wash was not threatening. He undid the clip, and refastened it to the foremast ringbolt, and standing on the Main deck, took stock of the sea across the deck, noting the intervals and intensity until in his mind he was happy that he could proceed without the line fixed to the ring bolt. He now felt he could trust the runner lines between the masts, so he unclipped the ringbolt end and clipped onto the runner line between the Foremast and the Mainmast.

He took a moment longer to assess the damage. At this stage, the ship was sailing on one storm jib up the foremast, with two storm mains blown out and fluttering dangerously in the wind that still raged. Rigging lay about the masts in a state of disrepair, but not as badly as he had expected. As the chief seaman onboard, his appraisal of the ship was rapid but knowing. The motion of the ship beneath his feet, and from his observations in his hammock, indicated the Blue moaning had taken on a fair amount of water, but not a dangerous amount such that she would heal over and sink.

His perusal aft, however brought him back to a sense of reality. At this stage he had no idea how many of the ships compliment had survived the storm, but based on the dead forward, and now the figure slumped on the Poop deck meant that his estimates may be a little below what he first though it would be. Even in any storm, someone always managed to man the Poop deck and the Helm, but the lashed figure aft was obviously very dead.

Part the Second to follow.

Broghie made his way aft, negotiating with care the rigging lying about, and dodging the lap of wave wash across the deck as each swell cap licked the side of the ship. His actions pure automaton, but his thoughts clearly focused on the final death toll. The ship would need to be cleared away and made seaworthy and with his two current shipmates the task was daunting.

He had been sent below when the crew numbers had been at fifty percent left, so he figured that with himself and his two companions forrid he figured that the better accommodated aft crew and Officers quarters, the survival rate was much higher than up forrid. Maybe fifty to seventy percent.

Broghie reached the poopdeck, passing a cursory glance at the wheel, which was lashed to the stand rail adjacent it, and approached the stooped figure. Topyardman Jackson was very dead. Water seemed to fill his upper torso dragging it forward and down. He’d been dead for some time, judging by the bluing of the lips and the amount of salt on his pallid skin. He made a mental note to give the young man a decent burial, then turned for the after quarters.

A sense of foreboding took hold of him as he approached the Officers quarters door. He stopped, hand on the door handle, took a languid look up forrid to ensure the ship was safe, and to see if his companions had made an appearance. Broghie turned the handle and entered to his fate.

A ship is a beauty, a beast, a scourge, and a lucky thing. Men aren’t! Blue Moaning was all of these and then some. But mostly she was lucky. The beauty was in her lines and shape. The beast in the way she rode the storms of the oceans. The scourge, her incompetent crew. But she was lucky mostly. Her hull and rigging were built to perfection to handle big seas. Man may have designed and built her, but the ship settled into her own comfort zone and took on a soul of her own. Men got lucky building her, but the ship made her own luck..

Her crew had in effect had murdered themselves. Out of the fear of the seas, and lack of trust in their special ship. Some had been worthy, with three survivors. But the ship had been just one, and was still one.

Take a pasting, me ‘earties,
Eat the salt in the air,
Take it like a man, me darlings,
Grapple nature’s fear,
Fight it, me shipmates,
Be damned should ye fail,
The only loser is you, poor fool,
The winner, ship and sail.

Blue Moaning, having been pumped out, and the dead ceremoniously deposited with Old King Neptune and souls passed heavenward, made way under abating winds. In four days since the Bosuns’ first walk around, the three remaining crewman had stripped away all the broken rigging, pumped out the hull and set a one third mizzen set, a set of lower mainsails and lower foresails, and one top foresail. The eighteen-knot wind had the ship progressing steadily on flattening seas. The crew stood two on watch, and one asleep below decks, a hard routine but necessary on to maintain the helm and the sails. Eight hours on watch and four asleep was a hard routine, but the sailors welcome to work after the near death experience of not doing anything in a big storm.

Broghie had managed to find a chart which just happened to have the ship’s intended track from Nova Scotia to the West Indies, then round the Horn and off towards New Zealand, their original final destination. Fixes on the track showed the ships’ track, which ended off the west coast of Chile, when the storm had full hold on them. He had estimated that with the storm rig set, and their current progress under their new set of sails, the ship had traveled approximately two to three thousand nautical miles to the Norwest, way out into the southeast Pacific Ocean. Certainly the warmer air and sea temperatures attested to that fact.

But even with that knowledge, Blue Moaning was lost at sea. What was worse is that none of the crew could navigate. Sure, they could steer a course, but as to actually taking a fix from sights’ and applying to the chart, they were without a doubt hopeless. The ship followed the wind, and the crew could only set a course to nowhere.

Captain Broghie, as his two crew now called him, had to make a decision. Head due east and reach the Chilean or Peruvian coasts, or head due west and cross the Pacific Islands or New Zealand. All three decided that the rogue Spanish colonies would be to harsh, and unfriendly to English speaking sailors. So west it was.

With plentiful supplies, a cook, a fair sea, and a graceful ship, they followed their ships’ bow, looking forward to their new fate. Blue Moaning thrived under her sails, her keel smoothly massaged by the great blue Pacific.

The next night, the skies cleared and shooting stars abounded. The ship was happy with her course, so Broghie decided to lash the wheel and the crew would have a little chance to let their hair down for a bit. The three sailors adjourned to the Captains cabin and proceeded to drink to old mates and the their own good fortune. Six bottles of Rum, two bottles of Cognac, and four bottles of Port later, the three ventured on deck to get a breath of air, and for Banger to relieve his stomach of it’s contents.

The other two helped him over to the starboard gunwale, all of them shuffling in a staggering motion. They leaned over, Banger feeding the Neptune God, and the other two looking on providing encouragement.

Waz zat?” shouted Broghie, drunkenly.

Suddenly, Blue Moaning lurched onto a reef, spun sideways, and rolled over to starboard, tossing the three drunken sailors onto the reef. The next wave lifted the ship up and deposited it down on the reef again, crushing the three survivors. The next wave lifted her off the reef, swung her out to sea and she was on her way again, headed west by sou’west.

Her final sighting at Pitcairn Islands was recorded as “SS Blue Moaning, Course 260, Speed 18 Knots, signaled but no reply (ignorance!!).

In the closing the saga of the SS Blue Moaning, it is rumoured that if you listen closely to all the reefs in the South Pacific, you’ll hear the blue waters moaning. And wonder at what they are moaning at?

When men go down to the sea in ships……………..


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Some New Zealand poetry.

A few poems I had forgotten about but was reminded by a tweet in Twitter.  A selection on  several themes'

Colin McCahon paints the MacKenzie Country
Just a line, there,
yes, the Southern Alps rise
in helter skelter arcs,
a swift blue sunrise paints
hues of green on a snowline square,
Lake Tekapo, deep purple in maori
floats on a windswept vista of grey dust,
The Nor'west arch a mottled brown,
in skies romantic azure.
Stone cottage, ancient by man's terms
opens a rustic door to a time past,
and skeletal remains die where they stand
a brushstroke of rare power, a word or two
skeptics acclaim it's grace placed where it is
amongst statuesque beauty horribly depicted
by a true master of the New Zealand surrealist.
Tama Iti, you are not Ngai Tahu
leave well alone, this is raw
a testament to the deep southern land
rich antiquity boiled with modern paint
and an eye for the future, the dollar,
yes, Colin, you have done it again.
Ngauranga Gorge
A little introduction, a must you see,
to get the feel of my trip of glee,
Herman Thwubblethwaite, racontuer,
The sorriest thing you have met for sure.
Resident poet of Titahi Bay,
decided on a trip one fine Wellington day,
fired up the '64 Black and Gold Mini,
Yes, I fit in, I'm a poet and skinny.
Off I went, gear stick in action
four bald tires and not much traction,
past that megalith down by the sea,
Te Papa, that venerated place of history.
Then past the ferry berths, none in dock
the mini hit the motorway and suffered a shock,
hasn't been past fifty K in two years or more,
so when she hit 80, it was with a roar.
Then I saw it, the left turn quite clear,
the part of the journey that filled me with fear,
but onwards and upwards a path I did forge,
and into the belly that is Ngauranga Gorge.
Watching the needle as the climb took affect,
I suddenly realised I had time to reflect,
as the needle dived back to a sedate 40 K,
I knew this would be the saddest part of my day.
Then it began, that which I feared,
I had to shift down, to a dodgy second gear,
the shaking and rattling were worse than I wished,
an FJ Holden flew by, both occupants pissed.
Then the wind blew hard and swiped me aside
as an eighteen wheeler doing 90 flashed by,
I gripped the wheel hard, held on for dear life,
took a quick peek to the left, Thank God!! no wife.
The revs slowly abated, changed up into first,
if I slowed anymore, don't know what would be worse,
So I checked my feet and running shoes there were,
imagine the site, Mini being pushed by a scruffy cur.
But the trucks were a boon, and created a drag
and I whistled a relief as I saw the car sales flag,
I knew the worst part was about to end,
and there it was, the crest 'round the bend.
I sailed into second, then third then forth,
and patted the old Mini with everything she was worth,
and I ventured on down that golden stretch of road,
was suddenly hit with a sense of forbode?
Why had I come all this way I did think?
Was it because I was going shopping for a brand new sink?
Or could it have been a trip to Wainuiomata?
Hell, the wrong way, God I wish I was smarter.
I raged into despair again, cried for a while,
and the Mini cruised on and ate up the miles,
Until it came to me, of course that was it,
I was off to see mum in Otaki, what a bloody twit!
A Lakes Muse
So huge, immense!
Imagine your size as volcano,
whence you thrust,
shadow of your former self,
nestling calm waters,
spilling your guts
into Waikato umbilicus.
Hell you stink!
Yet your legend stirs mystery,
a taniwha washes ashore and builds
a monstrous cityscape,
e'er still, fog swarms
your calm exterior.
Must you be the smell?
You with the long name,
A Urewera jewel
hidden in green abundance
Tuhoe make you home,
with rushes and cottages
of thatch and thrown together materials,
Holidays baches, red.
Nelson Lakes, where are you
pakeha name, maori place
in your face reason for going
bees and mites, sandfly bites,
stuffed stoically amongst green mounts
and trees; Beech, Rata,
and some kid etches his name.
See bare skinned pakeha bathe,
the aquamarine pulses blue/green
from snow melt,
cold waters cooling swimmers and boaters
who use it's unnatural existence,
damn the Dam, thanks.
Lightning strike shaped moment
in inescapable mountains
of grey granite and white tops,
in the zip zap of the mid section,
Queenstown, crusty tourism,
farms and ski slopes batter it's length,
with a cold southerly etching
time into its sides.
Te Anau
Heck, you're big!
Why doesn't anyone live there?
oh yeah, national park on your borders,
bloody governments!
Dead and dying,
no disguising the rot of your surroundings,
raised to accommodate a tunnel,
power to those that don't need it, money
and a lake dies and lives, yeah!
A stump pushes up from the depths
once mighty totara, holes a boat.
The Backyard Swimming Pool.
Party last night.
What is that brown thing floating atop
green and putrid water?
Colin McCahon paints the Desert Road
Atop yon canvas,
"TURANGI" blazened - white.
At base, said same canvas,
"WAIOURU" bold - whitish grey,
shepherds crook of light charcoal
a few horseshoes thrown on
bold white line cuts straight up, bisects
reaches from bottom to top.
left, panorama of grayish brown,
dark peaks
right, vista - paua shell dark green, shrubs
and brown of tundra grasses.
Black and white of waiting police cars.
Colin McCahon paints the Auckland Harbour
Minimalist views
from the peak of Rangitoto, I guess,
looking down the written maori
of the Waitemata Harbour,
sailboats, grey/blue, blue/green
scatter words peacefully askance.
Barbed and number eight
silver wired framework
of the main span, the Bridge!
and the speckle of ruby reds
as tail lights pass over.
A white/grey needle pokes into
a sky green with splotchy cuts,
swarthy strokes of fluffy cotton
thread the eye in the sky,
how fitting, all sown up.
Bullocking browns and blacks
etch a canvass, to the left,
buildings rising from chaos
and pale yellow lines dart hither and yon;
detritus going home.
To the right, a cut across the vista
shards of another life,
blues, greens, reds, houses, the Shore
and sandy coloured stripes of beaches
spilling free of deadwood.
Bent on revenge,
the painter cuts the scene
and pieces them together at random,
yet still, the splodge that is Auckland,
is recognisable.
Paremoremo in passing.
Ambling along the Albany/Parry road,
normal country fare, trees, paddocks,
and stock alongside houses many,
then it's in your face, huge and ugly,
battleship grey of cement walls
and razor wired fences sixteen feet high.
In through the security gates, checked for ID,
back to work, another eight hour shift
with those that the courts deem unable to fit
in societies plans for whatever reason,
down the locked corridors and chained cupboards,
to the real hub, the heartbeat, the cells.
Then it hits, you, every new day, the stench
humanity rotting away over time, a long time
and for some they rot cause they won't conform,
the stink gets into your clothes, your wife smells it too
smells everything you smell and retch at,
like Rotorua, you get used to it, quickly.
March of the racketeers, up the centre line, checking,
eyes peering back, the occassional "gidday boss",
always checking, what they do, what they say,
whatever and whenever, it is checked, and rechecked,
no escape on your beat, none from your block,
and you march on, and on, checking again.
Then, as soon as it began, it's over and you head home,
safe in the knowledge they are still locked away,
safe in the surety your wife is ok, you rang her
before you left, it was routine now,
the rear vision mirror reflects grey splodge,
you know you will see it again tomorrow.
A Landscape Painter paints the Cook Strait
Wide expanse of turgid waters, blue
deep from cut of sub antarctic current,
cutting into seabed rugged from earthquake action
and the terrain above mirrors below.
Seaward Kaikoura's frame a southern vista
dark granite black and white snowed,
the frame stretches west and is smaller
but no less impressive, Marlborough.
Spread around to those rough hills
an area rich in sea life and the likes,
the Sounds, deep water passes and islands
married to each other in time, and useful.
A cut, a way for boats and ferries to ride,
Tory Channel a way inside to this other world,
a whaling station disused, rots away this day
and ever, a reminder of things that once were.
An isle stands sentinel to the western end,
Stephens Island, a lighthouse to light the way,
and across raging tidal cross references, east meets west
boats and whales traverse the gulf that is the Strait.
The northern extremity, bush clad in gorse,
high hills with radar antennae, for planes
not ships, and the aerials for radio and TV
and a propelllor launches many volts, no plane.
Behold, a city, sprawling amongst the roughcast
southern bays of it's spreading monstrosity,
Karori Rock lights a path past nuggety rocks
a nor' west wind roars in and planes weave an approach.
A gut, a vagina of commercial importance,
Wellington Harbour entrance, ferries, fishing boats,
and anything that needs to get in and out,
Wahine missed the point and drowned a few, it's tough.
Pencarrow Light, in the roaring southerly blasts,
she, the lower of two, is covered in swell and wind,
Further round to the east, Baring Head, then Cape Turakurae,
guarding the eastern entrance to Palliser Bay, another province.
There she is, across the vast expanse of fishable bay,
Red and white sentinel, standing for all to take heed,
Cape Palliser Light, warder of night, and Cook Straits

eastern and northern bodyguard, be warned all who enter.