Memories of the conversations with my cat – 82

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

This is Chester.

It’s been a long summer, and it’s not only the heat that’s been bothering him.

It’s been school holidays, and along with many households where it’s not possible for parents to go on holidays, it falls to the grand parents to mind children. It’s a job I take seriously, and also a time to be spent with them before they grow up and disappear into the adult world.

Chester, however, only sees it from a cat’s point of view. To him, they’re trouble, but perhaps not without reason. They did torment him something terrible when they were young.

Of course, what he fails to realise is that children when young don’t quite understand animal etiquette, that is they should be treated with care.

But, I said in their defence, when you were a kitten you were an absolute monster, sinking your claws into everything, ruined lounge chairs and curtains, unravelled balls of wool, and, this was the cruncher, refused to chase mice.

Of course, as usual, when the arguement goes against him, those eyes close, and he pretends he’s asleep. It doesn’t fool me. But once that happens, no one scores any points.

And something else I’ve noticed, his memory is fading.

Of course, I didn’t tell him that they don’t officially go back till Wednesday, so he’s in for a surprise tomorrow morning.

Searching for locations: Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand

Mount Ngauruhoe is apparently still an active volcano, has been for 2,500 years or so, and last erupted on 19th February 1975, and reportedly has erupted around 70 times since 1839.

The mountain is usually climbed from the western side, from the Mangatepopo track.

This photo was taken in summer from the Chateau Tongariro carpark.

In late autumn, on one of our many visits to the area, the mountain was covered with a light sprinkling of snow and ice.

On our most recent visit, this year, in winter, it was fully covered in snow.

It can be a breathtaking sight from the distance.

Searching for locations: Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand

Mount Ngauruhoe is apparently still an active volcano, has been for 2,500 years or so, and last erupted on 19th February 1975, and reportedly has erupted around 70 times since 1839.

The mountain is usually climbed from the western side, from the Mangatepopo track.

This photo was taken in summer from the Chateau Tongariro carpark.

In late autumn, on one of our many visits to the area, the mountain was covered with a light sprinkling of snow and ice.

On our most recent visit, this year, in winter, it was fully covered in snow.

It can be a breathtaking sight from the distance.

That rather odd world of customer complaints

I was going to write more about the waiting game, where it is the peak hour for shoppers and there’s only two cash registers open, or the bank tellers at lunchtime …

On and on. Nothing will change except for some of us, an increase in grey hair.

Time to move on, and get off my soapbox.

Perhaps we could delve into the online world of customer complaints.

It’s an interesting place, when I want to buy something, or see something that is too good to be true, I hit the computer, dial-up google, and go into investigative mode.

But, here’s the thing,

The only people who go online, by and large, are there to complain. Yes, there are a few positives, like five out of five stars, then the numbers show up for four stars, three stars, etc.

You get the impression that the owner of the product or service had written several 5-star good reports to counterbalance the negativity, which sometimes all belabor the same point.

For a long time when I saw the bad reports and very few good reports I thought the product was no good, but recently, when talking to someone whose product was for sale, and had a few bad reviews, they said if a customer is satisfied, why did they need to file a report. People had expressed their good opinion but had not added a review.

That might well be the case.

As an example, I looked at several river cruises in Europe and their operators. I then went online to check the customer ratings, because these river cruises are very expensive, so you need to know you’re getting value for money.

Nearly all of the reviews were bad and lacked any credible numbers. Those that were on the site were critical of the food the hygiene of the staff, the inability to get more than 1 ‘free’ drink with lunch or dinner, and substitute boats that were terrible.

Food and wine were the heart of this cruise, as well as cabin comfort, and the last thing you need is to be sick for the duration of the cruise.

I have to say I’m put off.

Perhaps I might revise my policy of looking for information on the internet. If the bad customer feedback continues we may never go anywhere ever again

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 77

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160905_163149

This is Chester.  He’s not happy we’re cleaning the office.

I guess I’m not either.

But…

It’s school holidays and it’s natural that while parents are working grandparents take up the slack as childminders.  The trick is keeping them amused, and away from computers or being planted in front of the TV.

Of course, knowing the level of fear the grandchildren can bring to the cat, he views their arrival with some apprehension, keeping his distance.

Based on previous experiences, he is assuming they will remain out of the office on the computer for one, and on the smartphone for the other, so he slinks down the passage and quickly runs into the office.

Is this going happen often, he asks.

They’re on holidays, it’s here or daycare, and I’d rather it be here.

Then they appear at the doorway.  “OK.  We’re here to clean the room.  Where do we start?”

Chester’s cornered.  He knows it.  I know it, and worse still, they know it.

He disappears under the desk, safe for the moment, but it’s going to be a long morning.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 74

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20151129_000912

This is Chester.  Somehow he has worked out it’s Christmas.

He comes down to the office and discovers I’m not there.  I can hear him wandering around until suddenly I realise there is a presence in the kitchen doorway.

Chester, a mischievous look on his face, sitting and waiting.

Waiting for what?  I stupidly ask why, and almost instantly regret it because I know what’s coming.

You’ve blocked off the path to my basket, again.  Why have you got a tree growing in the house?

You know why.

You mean to say it’s Christmas again.  I thought we got that over with years ago.

No, it happens every year.

So, what’s in the pretty coloured paper boxes?

Presents.

Oh, is there one for me?

Several actually.  Everyone decided to get you something this year.  Especially since you decided to let the grandchildren pat you.

I see him visibly shudder.

Once doesn’t mean forever.

You want those presents?

He wanders off towards the tree, and I can see he’s working out if he can climb it.  He had tried before with another tree, and I will not detail the mess that turned out to be.

I come out of the kitchen, and see him sitting a few feet away.

Chester, I say sternly, there will be no climbing the tree, am I understood.

He turns his head.  OK.  No climbing the tree.  He heads off towards the new location for his basket.

Next morning, questions need to be asked.  Decorative balls on the ground, and tinsels bits in his bed.

Good thing then he’s missing.  I’ll be just another problem to deal with Christmas morning.

 

 

 

 

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 74

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20151129_000912

This is Chester.  Somehow he has worked out it’s Christmas.

He comes down to the office and discovers I’m not there.  I can hear him wandering around until suddenly I realise there is a presence in the kitchen doorway.

Chester, a mischievous look on his face, sitting and waiting.

Waiting for what?  I stupidly ask why, and almost instantly regret it because I know what’s coming.

You’ve blocked off the path to my basket, again.  Why have you got a tree growing in the house?

You know why.

You mean to say it’s Christmas again.  I thought we got that over with years ago.

No, it happens every year.

So, what’s in the pretty coloured paper boxes?

Presents.

Oh, is there one for me?

Several actually.  Everyone decided to get you something this year.  Especially since you decided to let the grandchildren pat you.

I see him visibly shudder.

Once doesn’t mean forever.

You want those presents?

He wanders off towards the tree, and I can see he’s working out if he can climb it.  He had tried before with another tree, and I will not detail the mess that turned out to be.

I come out of the kitchen, and see him sitting a few feet away.

Chester, I say sternly, there will be no climbing the tree, am I understood.

He turns his head.  OK.  No climbing the tree.  He heads off towards the new location for his basket.

Next morning, questions need to be asked.  Decorative balls on the ground, and tinsels bits in his bed.

Good thing then he’s missing.  I’ll be just another problem to deal with Christmas morning.

 

 

 

 

Searching for locations: Queenstown, New Zealand, from the top of a mountain

You take the gondola up to the Skyline and get some of the most amazing views.

Below is a photo of The Remarkables, one of several ski resorts near Queenstown.

You can see the winding road going up the mountainside.  We have made this trip several times and it is particularly frightening in winter when chains are required.

theremarkables3

In the other direction, heading towards Kingston, the views of the mountains and the lake are equally as magnificent.

theviewfromthegondolaquwwnstown

Or manage to capture a photo of the Earnslaw making its way across the lake towards Walter Peak Farm.  It seems almost like a miniature toy.

There are so many things I haven’t done

Does it really matter, you ask?

Perhaps not, but now seems to be an appropriate time, flying past the age of 65, to take stock.

We have achieved a lot in the last 15 or so years once the children had grown up and could look after themselves.

Unlike a lot of more modern couples who are doing the traveling in their 20’s and 30’s then having children, we chose to do it the other way around.

To me, it seemed easier to deal with teenagers when we were in our 40’s rather than our 60’s.  With the benefit of hindsight, I can truthfully say we were right.

We were older and wiser when we traveled and more aware of the dangers around us, sometimes overlooked or ignored by a youthful devil may care attitude.

But, in saying that ….

No, I don’t think I’ll be getting to see Mt Kilimanjaro, observing the wild animals in the Serengeti, climbing Mt Everest, or seeing the ancient pyramids.

Which is a sad state of affairs given the world has changed so much in recent years and has pretty much ruled out going to a lot of places, and in particular, the middle east, and because of COVID 19, just about everywhere else.

But, if it is ever possible before I die, I still want to go to the Greek Islands, and, Santorini is at the top of my travel bucket list.

We’ve been to London.  We’ve been to Paris and Euro Disney.  We’ve been to Rome and seen the ancient ruins.  We’ve been to Vienna, Schonbrunn Palace, and, particularly for us, a visit to Swarovski crystal world, near Innsbruck, we’ve been to Salzburg, and been on the Sound of Music tour.

We’ve been to Florence and loved it, we’ve been to Venice and loved that too, and we’ve spent a few days in the heart of Tuscany, and want to go back for longer, much longer, if time and disease doesn’t defeat us.

In fact, that’s the second item on the travel bucket list.

We’ve also been to Singapore and Hong Kong, at first out of necessity as an airline stopover, but then we went back to see the city and tourist, and non-tourist attractions.

I will not forget staying at the Hong Kong Conrad hotel as a Diamond Hhonors member.  Oh, the memories.

Sadly, I don’t think we as Australians will ever be welcome back in Hong Kong now that China had completely taken it over, and is a sad statement of the relations between the two countries.

We’ve also stayed on the French Riviera, in a timeshare apartment in Antibes where every morning when out back you had a view of the shimmering Mediterranean if the sun was out.

Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, the billionaire’s yachts in Antibes harbor, Monte Carlo and ‘that’ casino, taking the same drive along the coast as Grace Kelly did in To Catch a Thief, and feeling like James Bond arriving for a new adventure, minus the half-million-dollar sports car.

But, now, crashing back to earth with a very hard thump ….

Travel in the future is looking difficult for both of us, not only financially but from a health aspect.  We are both not as sprightly as we used to be.

Yet given the restraints and if it is at all possible, aside from the Greek Islands and Tuscany, the next items on the list are:

Germany, visiting both Berlin, from a cold war aspect, the Brandenburg gate springs to mind, and Munich at the time of the Octoberfest.  As a beer drinker that is also high on the bucket list.

Scotland, more so since we’ve started watching Outlander, and besides being a beer drinker, I am also partial to a good Single Malt, and the Whiskey trail.

Ireland, because my wife’s previous name was Murphy and at some point, in the long distant past some relatives emigrated to Australia, and she would like to visit the country of her forebears.

But, again, with the current state of the world, our health issues, and that all-important requisite money, or the lack of it, perhaps it’s time to visit other parts of our own country.

Perhaps it’s time to do a culinary trip, in the Barossa Valley in South Australia, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, or Rutherglen in Victoria.  It’s practical and achievable and safe.

And it’s a big country.

There are so many things I haven’t done

Does it really matter, you ask?

Perhaps not, but now seems to be an appropriate time, flying past the age of 65, to take stock.

We have achieved a lot in the last 15 or so years once the children had grown up and could look after themselves.

Unlike a lot of more modern couples who are doing the traveling in their 20’s and 30’s then having children, we chose to do it the other way around.

To me, it seemed easier to deal with teenagers when we were in our 40’s rather than our 60’s.  With the benefit of hindsight, I can truthfully say we were right.

We were older and wiser when we traveled and more aware of the dangers around us, sometimes overlooked or ignored by a youthful devil may care attitude.

But, in saying that ….

No, I don’t think I’ll be getting to see Mt Kilimanjaro, observing the wild animals in the Serengeti, climbing Mt Everest, or seeing the ancient pyramids.

Which is a sad state of affairs given the world has changed so much in recent years and has pretty much ruled out going to a lot of places, and in particular, the middle east, and because of COVID 19, just about everywhere else.

But, if it is ever possible before I die, I still want to go to the Greek Islands, and, Santorini is at the top of my travel bucket list.

We’ve been to London.  We’ve been to Paris and Euro Disney.  We’ve been to Rome and seen the ancient ruins.  We’ve been to Vienna, Schonbrunn Palace, and, particularly for us, a visit to Swarovski crystal world, near Innsbruck, we’ve been to Salzburg, and been on the Sound of Music tour.

We’ve been to Florence and loved it, we’ve been to Venice and loved that too, and we’ve spent a few days in the heart of Tuscany, and want to go back for longer, much longer, if time and disease doesn’t defeat us.

In fact, that’s the second item on the travel bucket list.

We’ve also been to Singapore and Hong Kong, at first out of necessity as an airline stopover, but then we went back to see the city and tourist, and non-tourist attractions.

I will not forget staying at the Hong Kong Conrad hotel as a Diamond Hhonors member.  Oh, the memories.

Sadly, I don’t think we as Australians will ever be welcome back in Hong Kong now that China had completely taken it over, and is a sad statement of the relations between the two countries.

We’ve also stayed on the French Riviera, in a timeshare apartment in Antibes where every morning when out back you had a view of the shimmering Mediterranean if the sun was out.

Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, the billionaire’s yachts in Antibes harbor, Monte Carlo and ‘that’ casino, taking the same drive along the coast as Grace Kelly did in To Catch a Thief, and feeling like James Bond arriving for a new adventure, minus the half-million-dollar sports car.

But, now, crashing back to earth with a very hard thump ….

Travel in the future is looking difficult for both of us, not only financially but from a health aspect.  We are both not as sprightly as we used to be.

Yet given the restraints and if it is at all possible, aside from the Greek Islands and Tuscany, the next items on the list are:

Germany, visiting both Berlin, from a cold war aspect, the Brandenburg gate springs to mind, and Munich at the time of the Octoberfest.  As a beer drinker that is also high on the bucket list.

Scotland, more so since we’ve started watching Outlander, and besides being a beer drinker, I am also partial to a good Single Malt, and the Whiskey trail.

Ireland, because my wife’s previous name was Murphy and at some point, in the long distant past some relatives emigrated to Australia, and she would like to visit the country of her forebears.

But, again, with the current state of the world, our health issues, and that all-important requisite money, or the lack of it, perhaps it’s time to visit other parts of our own country.

Perhaps it’s time to do a culinary trip, in the Barossa Valley in South Australia, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, or Rutherglen in Victoria.  It’s practical and achievable and safe.

And it’s a big country.