Searching for locations: New York, again

After arriving latish from Toronto, and perhaps marginally disappointed that while in Toronto, the ice hockey didn’t go our way, we slept in.

Of course, the arrival was not without its own problems. The room we were allocated was on the 22nd floor and was quite smallish. Not a surprise, but we needed space for three, and with the fold-out bed, it was tight but livable.

Except…

We needed the internet to watch the Maple Leafs ice hockey game. We’d arrive just in time to stream it to the tv.

But…

There was no internet. It was everywhere else in the hotel except our floor.

First, I went to the front desk and they directed me to call tech support.

Second, we called tech support and they told us that the 22nd-floor router had failed and would get someone to look at it.

When?

It turns out it didn’t seem to be a priority. Maybe no one else on the floor had complained

Third, I went downstairs and discussed the lack of progress with the night duty manager, expressing disappointment with the lack of progress.

I also asked if they could not provide the full service that I would like a room rate reduction or a privilege in its place as compensation.

He said he would check it himself.

Fourth, after no further progress, we called the front desk to advise there was still no internet. This time we were asked if we wanted a room on another floor, where the internet is working. We accepted the offer.

The end result, a slightly larger, less cramped room, and the ability to watch the last third of the Maple Leaf’s game. I can’t remember if we won.

We all went to bed reasonably happy.

After all, we didn’t have to get up early to go up or down to breakfast because it was not included in the room rate, a bone of contention considering the cost.

I’ll be booking with them directly next time, at a somewhat cheaper rate, a thing I find after using a travel wholesaler to book it for me.

As always every morning while Rosemary gets ready, I go out for a walk and check out where we are.

It seems we are practically in the heart of theaterland New York. Walk one way or the other you arrive at 7th Avenue or Broadway.

Walk uptown and you reach 42nd Street and Times Square, little more than a 10-minute leisurely stroll. On the way down Broadway, you pass a number of theatres, some recognizable, some not.

Times Square is still a huge collection of giant television screens advertising everything from confectionary to TV shows on the cable networks.

A short walk along 42nd street takes you to the Avenue of the Americas and tucked away, The Rockefeller center and its winter ice rink.

A few more steps take you to 5th Avenue and the shops like Saks of Fifth Avenue, shops you could one day hope to afford to buy something.

In the opposite direction, over Broadway and crossing 8th Avenue is an entrance to Central Park. The approach is not far from what is called the Upper West Side, home to the rich and powerful.

Walk one way in the park, which we did in the afternoon, takes you towards the gift shop and back along a labyrinth of laneways to 5th Avenue. It was a cold, but pleasant, stroll looking for the rich and famous, but, discovering, they were not foolish enough to venture out into the cold.

Before going back to the room, we looked for somewhere to have dinner and ended up in Cassidy’s Irish pub. There was a dining room down the back and we were one of the first to arrive for dinner service.

The first surprise, our waitress was from New Zealand.

The second, the quality of the food.

I had a dish called Steak Lyonnaise which was, in plain words, a form of mince steak in an elongated patty. It was cooked rare as I like my steak and was perfect. It came with a baked potato.

As an entree, we had shrimp, which in our part of the world are prawns, and hot chicken wings, the sauce is hot and served on the side.

The beer wasn’t bad either. Overall given atmosphere, service, and food, it’s a nine out of ten.

It was an excellent way to end the day.

In a word: Good

There is a TV show that was on the TV called ‘The Good Place’.

It’s really the bad place which makes you wonder if there really is a ‘good place’.

This started me thinking.

How many people do you know, when you ask them how they are, they say ‘good’?

Can we see behind the facade that is their expression of how they really feel?

And how many of us reveal our true feelings?

It seems to me there is an acceptable level of understanding that we take people at their word and move on from there.

And how many times when we suspect there is something wrong, we tend to overlook it in what is regarded as respect for that person?

What if something awful happened?

What if we could have prevented it?

What if we could have tried to gently probe deeper?

The problem is we seem to be too polite and there is nothing wrong with that.

But maybe, just maybe, the next time …

It’s just a thought.

 

A twitter biography

Every year I come back to revisit this, and each year it becomes a harder issue to deal with.  All that’s recently changed is the number of characters you can use

I’ve been trawling the endless collection of twitter descriptions provided by their users, noting that there is a restriction of 280 characters.

How do you sum yourself up in 280 characters?

I don’t think I can, so we tend to put down a few catchphrases, something that will draw followers.  I’m thinking the word ‘aspiring’ will be my catchword.

I’m aspiring to be a writer, or is that author?  Is there a difference, like for instance, one publishes ebooks on Amazon, one publishes hard copies in the traditional manner?

Is there a guide to what I can call myself?

Quite simply put, but in more than 140 characters, married happily, two wonderful children, three amazing grandchildren, and a wealth of experience acquired over the years.

Actually, that sounds rather boring, doesn’t it?

Perhaps it would be better if I was a retired policeman, a retired lawyer, a retired sheriff, a retired private investigator, a retired doctor, someone who had an occupation that was a rich mine of information from which to draw upon.

Retired computer programmers, supermarket shelf stackers, night cleaners, accounts clerks and general dogsbody s don’t quite cut the mustard.

I have also become fascinated with the expression ‘killer biography’.  Does it mean that I have to be a ‘killer’?

Better than the self-confession above.  Should we try to embellish our personal history in order to make it more appealing?

It’s much the same as writing about daily life.  No one wants to read about it, people want to be taken out of the humdrum of normalcy and be taken into a world where they can become the character in the book.

And there you have it, in a nutshell, why I write.

 

A twitter biography

Every year I come back to revisit this, and each year it becomes a harder issue to deal with.  All that’s recently changed is the number of characters you can use

I’ve been trawling the endless collection of twitter descriptions provided by their users, noting that there is a restriction of 280 characters.

How do you sum yourself up in 280 characters?

I don’t think I can, so we tend to put down a few catchphrases, something that will draw followers.  I’m thinking the word ‘aspiring’ will be my catchword.

I’m aspiring to be a writer, or is that author?  Is there a difference, like for instance, one publishes ebooks on Amazon, one publishes hard copies in the traditional manner?

Is there a guide to what I can call myself?

Quite simply put, but in more than 140 characters, married happily, two wonderful children, three amazing grandchildren, and a wealth of experience acquired over the years.

Actually, that sounds rather boring, doesn’t it?

Perhaps it would be better if I was a retired policeman, a retired lawyer, a retired sheriff, a retired private investigator, a retired doctor, someone who had an occupation that was a rich mine of information from which to draw upon.

Retired computer programmers, supermarket shelf stackers, night cleaners, accounts clerks and general dogsbody s don’t quite cut the mustard.

I have also become fascinated with the expression ‘killer biography’.  Does it mean that I have to be a ‘killer’?

Better than the self-confession above.  Should we try to embellish our personal history in order to make it more appealing?

It’s much the same as writing about daily life.  No one wants to read about it, people want to be taken out of the humdrum of normalcy and be taken into a world where they can become the character in the book.

And there you have it, in a nutshell, why I write.

 

Searching for locations: Chateau Tongariro, New Zealand

This chateau was built in 1929 and was originally intended as a hostel for hikers.

It is now near the  Whakapapa skifield on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu and within  the boundary of the Tongariro National Park

chateautongoriro

We had afternoon tea in the lounge several times, and it is very pleasant in winter with the log fires burning.

togariro2

The interior is still as ornate as it had been in the 1930s.  The chairs are very comfortable, and the atmosphere pleasant.

Mount Ngauruhoe can be seen through the window of the lounge.  This was used a backdrop in the filming of Lord of the Rings.

mount-nz

But…

This place is the ideal setting for a murder, and I can see a story being written very much in the mold of Agatha Christie, with a couple of amateur sleuths who are staying there, trying to solve the crime.

Given the sort of shows being produced in New Zealand currently, for Acorn and other streaming services, this could be turned into a very pleasant two hour diversion with some very unique New Zealand, and foreign, characters.

Or just send the Brokenwood detective crew there!

Monday came and went, and now it’s Thursday

I had so many things planned, those little bits and pieces that seem to get away from you.

It’s now Wednesday night and I have only just come back to this post to write some more or maybe finish it, but that should you some idea of how easy the simple things can get away from me.

To fill in the gaps in the story, I started to make a list of those bits and pieces, and that was the first mistake.

I frightened myself.

Tuesday disappeared in writing down what was on my writing slate. For instance,

Episodes 11 to 15 of the murder story, because my characters are having a fight in my head

Episode seventy something of the treasure hunt, which is getting very near the end – and it was a huge surprise, even to me

Episode forty sometghing of the Castello di Brolio story, where our defecting German rocket scientist has lost his rescuers, and the dogs are on the scent

The first episode of another WW2 story – one that is where our team is parachuting behind enemy lines, in a very cold environment. well it is the middle of winter…

Writing instead of insomnia  is actually giving me insomnia

Episodes 140 through 150 of Being Inspired, Maybe – Volume 3. This is a series of photographs, and the story inspired by them.

Just about finished editing Volume 2, and I’m about to publish Volume 1.

Episode 30 through 35 of PI Walthenson’s second case, a title had been created by the jury’s still out whether it’ll be adopted, and there’s an interesting dynamic developing between the son and the mother, a woman whom he is discovering to be nothing like the one he thought he knew.

And, don’t get me started on where I am with Strangers We’ve Become, because the rewrite seems to have stalled at page 360ish. The book is done but rereading told me, or the cat did far more emphatically, there a few gaps.  This needs to get done, and I need to stick the courage to the sticking point.

Wednesday arrived and I was looking at the list wondering what I was going to do next and realized that I’d been putting off writing the next few posts on the traveling blog which desperately need to be done.

So…

Traveling blog times two, and now it’s Thursday.

Damn, where did the week go?

In a word: High or is it hie

When the boss says jump, the question is usually ‘how high’.

Not that it’s possible for many of us with a challenging centre of gravity to get much elevation.

High generally means height, how far something rises above ground level, is above our heads.

That plane flies very high in the sky.

Then there’s another meaning, increased intensity, such as a high temperature, a high fever, but my favourite is, a high dudgeon.

I’m still to get a definition on what a dudgeon is.

We have secondary schools here that we call high schools. Make of that what you will

And in the idiomatic world, flying high means we are very happy, and when were left high and dry then not so much. Unless it related to a ship, in which case a lot of people would be unhappy.

We can use high just about everywhere, high hopes, high ceilings, feelings that run high, a high chair for toddlers of course, high speed which may cause s crash and land you in a high security prison.

This is not to be confused with just plain hi which is a universal greeting.

But there is another, hie, which has a more obscure meaning, to hasten or go quickly.

In a word: Line (and there’s more)

There’s more to that word ‘line’, a lot more, making it more confusing, especially for those learning English as a second language.

I keep thinking how I could explain some of the sayings, but the fact is, it’s only my interpretation, which could possibly have nothing to do with its real meaning if it has one.

Such as,

Hook, line, and sinker

We would like to think that this is only used in a fishing depot, but while it is generally, there are other meanings, one of which is, a con artist has taken in a victim completely, or as the saying goes, hook, line, and sinker.

At the end of the line

Exactly what it t says though the connotations of this expression vary.

For me, the most common use is when you’re waiting, like for a table in a restaurant with a time-specific reservation, and you see people who arrive after you, getting a table before you, it’s like being continually sent to the end of the line.

Line ball decision

This is a little more obscure, but for me, it means the result could go either way, and it’s a matter of making a call. The problem is both decisions are right, and unfortunately, you’re the poor sod who has to decide.

It of course partners very well with you can’t please everyone all of the time.

These are the most difficult because one side is going to be aggrieved at the decision especially when it is supposed to be impartial and sometimes isn’t.

Get it over the line

This, of course, has many connotations in sport, particularly rugby when the aim is to get the ball over the try line.

But another more vicarious meaning might be from a senior salesman to a junior, get [the sale] over the line, i.e. get it signed sealed and delivered by any means possible by close of business.

Line of credit

A more straight forward use of the word, meaning the bank will extend credit up to a certain limit, but it’s generally quite large and can feel like its neverending.

Until you have to pay it back.

There’s more, but it can wait till another day.

Searching for locations: The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong

The sight of the Peninsula Hotel is very familiar to all who visit Hong Kong, if not to stay but certainly if you want to see the last vestiges of British influence in what was once a far eastern colony.

That is, we’re talking about the front building, not the new tower at the back.  In the older days there would have been a great view of the harbor from the Veranda (that area with the blue striped canopy) where today, breakfast is taken.

We had breakfast, lunch, and the famous afternoon tea in the ground floor cafe.

These days you would mostly see taxis, buses, and Teslas, if not a flurry of Mercedes and green Rolls Royces in the small car park below.  There is no clear view of the harbor anymore.

From our room, one facing the harbor we could see the space museum, and on the day we arrived, rain, at times, blotting out the harbor and Hong Kong Island barely discernable in the distance.

As for the room itself, it was excellent, a junior suite, I think, because it had two distinctive areas.  Everything was run from a tablet computer, blinds, lights, television, and most importantly, air conditioning.  This was the first hotel I’ve stayed in where it was neither too hot or too cold, but just rights.

The bed was very large and extremely comfortable, as were the pillows.  Pillows, I’m afraid, are a bugbear with me, as no hotel seems to be able to get it right.  They’re either too soft or too hard, too tall, or too shallow.  Here, they managed to get it right.

The windows were just the right size not to affect the air conditioning, ie. let too much heat in.

I’m not sure I could say the lounge chair was comfortable, but there was only one, which makes it difficult if there are two of you.  I wasn’t going to fight for it.

The desk had a surprise in the bottom drawer, a printer!

And the bathroom, though slightly smaller than expected, had some hint of what it may have been like in the early days.  It had both a shower and a bath.

In a word: Line (and there’s more)

There’s more to that word ‘line’, a lot more, making it more confusing, especially for those learning English as a second language.

I keep thinking how I could explain some of the sayings, but the fact is, it’s only my interpretation, which could possibly have nothing to do with its real meaning if it has one.

Such as,

Hook, line, and sinker

We would like to think that this is only used in a fishing depot, but while it is generally, there are other meanings, one of which is, a con artist has taken in a victim completely, or as the saying goes, hook, line, and sinker.

At the end of the line

Exactly what it t says though the connotations of this expression vary.

For me, the most common use is when you’re waiting, like for a table in a restaurant with a time-specific reservation, and you see people who arrive after you, getting a table before you, it’s like being continually sent to the end of the line.

Line ball decision

This is a little more obscure, but for me, it means the result could go either way, and it’s a matter of making a call. The problem is both decisions are right, and unfortunately, you’re the poor sod who has to decide.

It of course partners very well with you can’t please everyone all of the time.

These are the most difficult because one side is going to be aggrieved at the decision especially when it is supposed to be impartial and sometimes isn’t.

Get it over the line

This, of course, has many connotations in sport, particularly rugby when the aim is to get the ball over the try line.

But another more vicarious meaning might be from a senior salesman to a junior, get [the sale] over the line, i.e. get it signed sealed and delivered by any means possible by close of business.

Line of credit

A more straight forward use of the word, meaning the bank will extend credit up to a certain limit, but it’s generally quite large and can feel like its neverending.

Until you have to pay it back.

There’s more, but it can wait till another day.