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26 February 2015


Art Deco weekend is overwhelming in it's sights and sounds.  Whereas you can wander around the streets any other day and your brain is trained to block out the normal (attire) during Art Deco it simply can't.  Everything is an assault on your senses.  Working with that we find it helps to choose just one or two events to focus on.  This year it was the Born to Move dance encore (for the girls) and the Automobilia parade.


The former gave a top notch hour-long dance performance, and the later boasted over 250 cars this year.  


The parade was definitely too long to really captivate and hold one's attention and unfortunately inconsiderate public stood right in front of where our family had been waiting in the blazing sun for 45 minutes for it to begin.  Disappointing.  


The dance encore however combined story, music, theatre and dance - one of my favourite being the Gershwin's 'Blah, blah, blah" below.  The infatuation between the couple was palpable and had me wishing I was their age falling in love again.


[These images were taken from about 50m away from the stage unfortunately so not as crisp as I would have wanted but good enough without a telephoto lense.]

Bringing Gershwin's 'Blah Blah Blah' to life


Originally written for East is West
Used in Delicious (film) (1931)
Resurrected for Nice work if you can get it on Broadway in 2012
(Music by George Gershwin)
I’ve written you a song,  
A beautiful routine.   
(I hope you like it.)   
My technique can’t be wrong:   
I learned it from the screen.   
(I hope you like it.)   
I studied all the lines that all the lovers sing;   
Then just for you I wrote this little thing:  
Blah, blah, blah, blah, moon.  
Blah, blah, blah, above;   
Blah, blah, blah, blah, croon,   
Blah, blah, blah, blah, love.   
Tra la la la, tra la la la la merry month of May; 
Tra la la la, tra la la la la ‘neath the clouds of gray 
Blah, blah, blah, your hair,   
Blah, blah, blah, your eyes;    
Blah, blah, blah, blah, care.   
Blah, blah, blah, blah, skies.   
Tra la la la, tra la la la la la, cottage for two--   
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah darling, with you!   



Madison Bowey, http://www.starnow.co.nz/MadisonBowey



Sailor's proposing to their captain that they need women on the ship!



A couple of the multitude of Art Deco buildings that can be seen any day in Napier if you only look up; and a couple of fly-over shots.


Emmerson St, Napier


Public Trust building, Napier


Fly-over up Emmerson Street, Napier


Aerobatics at the top of Upper Emmerson St, Napier

Hawke's Bay
24 February 2015


Finding a doctor to take a new / casual patient for a driver's medical check is like finding a needle in a haystack.

It's been over a decade since I needed to see one and the process over the last couple of months has been truly frustrating.

In the end I went to the one general practioner that I would only go to if life was post-apocalyptic - the choice was that abismal.  Deep down though I didn't want to see my dreams die through lack of fortitude.


Anyway, there is nothing on the NZTA website detailing what the medical examination involves, and most clinical administration staff can't tell you much past needing an appointment with the nurse first and another with the doctor thereafter.  Let me fill you in a little.

Set aside at least an hour as each part may vary between 15 and 30 minutes with waiting in between.

As a result of the longer appointment times your driver's medical will cost you more than a regular appointment - around double.   The prices I got varied between $60 and $80.


The NZTA DL9 form "Medical Certificate for Driver Licence" consists of 4 pages.  It is supplied to you by the doctor to take away from your appointment and use at any NZTA agency.  Drs can also file the same online.


The first page you fill out by ticking or filling in the boxes for:

  • Reason for medical certificate
  • Licence class(es)
  • Endorsement type
  • Personal details

Then you sign it at the bottom.


Pages 2-4 are for the doctor to complete.  Page 2 covers your hearing, and questions about whether you have had any of the following medical conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Mental disorders
  • Muscular/skeletal disorder/Locomotor conditions
  • Neurological and related conditions
  • Visual problems
  • Medications
  • Other disorders
  • Epilepsy/seizures or blackout


There is a space for comments and the attachment of any relevant specialist reports on page 3.

On the rear, are eye sight checks and a summary that the doctor signs.


Oddly pages 2 and 3 can be sealed together by the doctor; and presumably the form may be processed based solely on pages 1 (application details) and 4 (eyesight and summary) unless there is reason to recommend conditions on the license being applied for or further assessment is needed.


For those interested in the nitty gritty details, here is the Medical aspects of fitness to drive: a guide for medical practioners that the doctor signs they have complied with.


Thankfully after you have submitted yourself to the initial medical examination, you are only required to make a declaration every 5-10 years depending on the reason for your application, that nothing has changed; otherwise it's back to the doctor for clearance.

19 February 2015


Due to hosting exchange students in our earlier family life, and home educating our children, we are always on the look out for how to discover our local community, events and activities.

Initially there was and still is the free local community newspaper (most areas have these) delivered to our letterbox; but now there is also a nationwide website Eventfinder to help find out what's on.  It seems that an increasing number of new individuals & organisations are using this medium making it more of a comprehensive go-to guide. 

The useful option with Eventfinder is that you can subscribe to their RSS feed and get alerts straight to your inbox, and this is what we do for any free events.  Occasionally you get the surreptitious marketing of a free-but-you-really-pay event and the gig-in-the-pub-which-actually-is-an-invitation-to-drink event but on the whole for our area there are at least a couple of family-friendly activities that we can choose from each week.

The trick, especially leading up to the coming Art Deco weekend is limiting the number of 'things' you do or see.


It's probably preaching to the converted if you do have young children but my advice is only one per day preferably in the morning when children are more rested.  Well at least that's what we find and particularly if not all of the family are on board with the chosen experience - you can't please everyone all of the time. 


Here are some of the things we do to get the seven of us on the road and try to stay sane:

  • Let the children know where we are going and what exactly we are doing.
  • Tell them how to dress for the outing; and if they should bring a back-up activity like a book.
  • Set a leaving time and if possible let them know when we are likely to return.
  • Take our going out basket with plenty of water and food; and sun-block if summer.
  • Plan for toilet / playground stops / breaks.
  • Catch the children being 'good' and reinforce good attitudes (we're still working on this)


In our house sometimes 'what's there to do?' actually involves consciously choosing 'nothing' and staying home to relax and just be -  usually at the parents insistence as younger children always appear to have the energy of the Everyready bunny (if it's for something they like!).  We might get a dvd out to watch, work together on a(n art) project, bake or cook together, or play board/table games - those that want to that is.  

There is always someone who would rather not participate which as the CO-parent (Chief Operating parent) I find frustrating.  I am learning that a child's 'do I have to?' is really just their way of saying 'I want to feel as if I have a choice too please' and am trying to work with this.  Sometimes this means giving them the choice of not participating if this is an option; of acknowledging their feelings and apologising that for this time they don't have a choice; or finding out what they would rather do and trading it off against what is planned.


Hawke's Bay

How do you manage balancing your family's needs and wants?