Saturday, 16 March 2013


Hi blogging friends and followers.

Today I have sadly to report that this will be my last blog entry.

After having been a blogger here since 2005 I have finally run out of ideas, though I must admit that I have always enthusiastically anticipated and enjoyed readers' comments on my blog entries.Getting to know other blogger friends from all over the world, from the USA, Canada, Australia, India, United Kingdom, Europe and New Zealand has been enjoyable and I am going to miss you all.

But there are other things now which need my attention, particularly tidying-up of personal records and information, which I hope now to be able to concentrate on.

A sincere thank you to loyal followers of this blog, and thank you also for sharing your lives and photos with me. Your blogs have been amazing in quality and picture content and have given me real pleasure to read.

I also wish to thank Google for making this facility freely available for our mutual enjoyment. It has been fun.

Best wishes, Dave

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Promotions? Yes or no

I was thinking today about times during my working life when I have talked myself out of job promotions. This has been in all innocence and not deliberately because I never wanted the promotions.

The first time I was working as an electrician with a large company of electricians. The work load of the company increased and they needed another job foreman. There were two of us who had worked together for a while, my mate’s name was Neville and he was an Australian, and a good electrician. The boss called me into his office and offered me the job. I didn’t think it was fair that I should get the promotion over Neville who had been with the company longer than me, and I said so. The boss quashed my objections by saying that the choice was me because Neville never had New Zealand qualifications. So me it was, my first promotion and responsibility.

I was lucky that time as the boss had no other choice.

Next time I was working for another company with a smaller team of three technicians, Wayne, Graeme and me. The boss came down and told us he wanted one of us to be the supervisor. Who wanted the job? I was first to speak, saying that as I hadn’t been in the team very long I felt that it should be either Wayne or Graeme. That counted me out. Next Wayne spoke up and told the boss that the CEO didn’t like him and told him that he would never get a promotion in this company. So that counted him out, which left only the youngest member, Graeme. He received the promotion and became the supervisor. So though I stood a chance I talked myself out of the promotion.

Many years later when the economy became bad and jobs were hard to get I was older and was working as a tap-ware assembler in a factory. The small production line consisted of four of us, Warren was the senior (rank unpaid), and as time went on Warren and the other two guys left for other jobs and I was the only remaining line member. Our department supervisor was Dennis who always seemed to me to be a little insecure in his position. He knew that we needed to replace the missing staff so he brought in another three people, who were all unfamiliar with making our product, and he included a young lady from one of the other lines who he made the senior. The poor girl was very embarrassed as she knew that I should have been made the senior, but I didn’t care. She was very pleasant to me and I helped her to deal with the job of assembly and just carried on as things were. The job went OK until an office job came up in the same company for a telephone customer sales person. I applied for this job and got it. All in all I found this company strange to work for because long term staff had survived a serious economic recession and most gave me the impression that they were insecure in their jobs and hated anyone new, like me. I think they thought I might take their jobs. As it was I was later promoted within the department until the economy tightened again then I was made redundant. In a way it was a relief to be out of there.

Later I went into business myself growing and selling plants from a van in summer, and installing electrical storage heaters for the local electricity company in winter. I enjoyed self employment and though I never made much money I never went into debt and after finally winding up both businesses I ended with a clean slate and some money in the bank after selling my business stock and assets.

And promotions? Grab it with both hands and forget fairness to workmates. That’s the boss's problem.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Heat and near drought conditions
Sorry I haven't been very active blog-wise lately. Days here have been hot and dry and tiring , and make blogging ideas hard to come by. You might almost say that our summer here has made the days hazy and lazy making creative inspirations few and far between.

We have had a really amazing last two months here with summer temperatures up around 26 to 28 Celsius (80F) with no rain to speak of. In fact the dairy farmers in our surrounding districts are asking the Government to declare drought conditions. They are keeping a close watch and if we get no rain very soon they should announce a drought, which means that our farmers will start to receive Government assistance in the form of financial assistance with their living costs.and tax relief. The Weather Service have no sign of rain in their sights so things don't look very hopeful in the immediate future.

Town supply water is under stress and heavier watering restrictions could be imposed soon. Our lawns are dying off and gardens need water. So far we are permitted to use a handheld hose but for how much longer?

My house painting has been making slow progress because the days are too hot to work outside so I am only able to work between 7 and 8 pm when the sun has moved around the house and the air begins to cool.. But I am getting there. Two sides are done and as our house is half brick I only have windows and doors to paint now, and under the eves.

Monday, 18 February 2013

A bumper crop of tomatoes

Six of our nine tomato plants

Some of our crop

Jill's efforts - pulping and freezing for future use

Bird-strike in the garden.

After being unable to successfully grow tomatoes in our garden here in Hamilton over the last 20 odd years because of the prevalence of disease in my vegetable garden, over the last two years I have begun to try again and this year we were completely successful and were rewarded by a bumper crop of Moneymaker tomatoes which we ate generously and Jill pulped and froze-down. 

I attribute the amazing success this year to the long, hot, dry summer which has discouraged diseases, as well as success trying out copper spray before the fruit appeared which gave the plants early disease resistance. The copper spray also was brilliant in disease-proofing our roses.

As we get near the end of our crop of tomatoes the fruit is getting attacked by birds - I suspect blackbirds, as the photo above shows the number attacked since I checked the garden yesterday. 

I am not too upset at this as the birds are probably very hungry at the moment because of the almost-drought conditions, and we have plenty. But I do need to keep an eye out for nearly-ripe tomatoes and pick as many as practicable as they tend to peck the fruit and move on to another one, but not always as they do sometimes eat the whole fruit.

We will just have to be prepared to share with them.

Tonight I brought in two more ice cream containers of nearly ripe tomatoes that our feathered friends didn't get.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

  Jill's South Island Photos  

A field of lavender

An unusual low cloud formation

Seals resting on the rocks at Kaikoura

A seal and gulls at Kaikoura

The Waiau river and Hanmer bridge

The Waiau river

Mount Lyford on the right

The Mount Lyford Lodge

Our son Rob, wife Lisa and their new young son Jayme


Our Daughter Sandra - Jayme's Auntie Sandra - Rob's sister

My wife Jill - proud grandmother with grandson Jayme

Here are photos taken by or for Jill during her recent South Island holiday with our daughter Sandra. The last few photos were taken at Mt. Lyford Lodge which is owned by our youngest son Rob and his wife Lisa. You can see their brand new son Jayme who was born just before Christmas. We are specially proud to have Jayme as he is the only boy in our family to carry on the Vorback family name.

 Though these photos were taken in summer, the lodge is right beside Mount Lyford, which is a popular ski field in winter, and is surrounded, often, by very deep snow, and can be very picturesque. In summer time their lodge is a popular place for weddings, often for people from Christchurch which is further south, about 1 & 1/2 hours drive. Of course they have accommodation for several people, as well as school groups and  caravan or tent facilities.

The South Island of NZ is very picturesque, specially in winter when the mountains are snow-covered.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

A Day at Raglan by the sea
Ocean Beach, Raglan

Ocean Beach, Raglan

Looking towards the sand bar, Raglan

Ooo er, a monster on the beach!

He looked a bit daunting

Mt Karioi, Raglan

An "out-of-this-world-house" - and it's for sale.

Two lady paddle boarders went past while I was having lunch by the beach

This little guy/gal was pollinating this Scottish thistle near my car when I returned to it.

A windsail surfer trying the sport out. He was struggling so I imagine that he was new at it.

My wife Jill has been away in the South Island this week visiting family. I have been painting and doing odd jobs most of the week so on Friday I decided to take the day off and go across the hill to Raglan, our nearby seaside resort. It's only 3/4 hour drive from Hamilton.

The weather was beautiful - a bit too hot if anything, but I had a nice day and caught some unusual photos as you can see here.

If you could see around the curvature of the earth and far away you may spot Australia, but I doubt it. It's out there somewhere though, between 2000 and 3000 kilometers away looking west.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Girl with the Pony Tail

“It was at the beach that we first met.
It was a time I won’t forget.
The stars above.
We fell in love,
Beside the sea side.”

So goes the starting lyrics for the first song I ever wrote. And it was inspired by a lovely young lady I met at the seaside the first Christmas my friend Harvey and I went off on our own on a camping holiday at the ages of about 17 years.

Her name was Jan and she was staying in the same camping ground as us with her parents and younger brother.  

Jan had a pony tail.

We met at a holiday talent quest held at the beach, and I took a shine to her immediately. In fact she was my first love experience.

But things never went smoothly for us. Her father was very strict and everywhere we went her younger brother Warren had to tag along to ensure that we behaved ourselves, otherwise he would be bound to tell his father.

There was another problem too. Harvey was a lady’s man, and though he never tried to take Jan from me, she felt an attraction to him, which made it a bit awkward for any progress I tried to make with her. Harvey always had a girl on his arm so Jan would probably have felt that if he had taken a shine to her that she would probably be just one of the crowd. So she stayed with me, if for no other reason than it gave her a chance to be near Harvey in a more meaningful way.

As Jan was my first experience with a girlfriend I was quite awkward, but in spite of that and having Warren hanging around all of the time I must have made some progress because a couple of years later when she was about to be married to a long-time boyfriend back home, I was invited to her wedding which sadly I forgot to attend, to my immense shame.

But I was very attracted to Jan. She was modest of nature with a fun sense of humour that suited my ideal of a girlfriend. We had similar interests in church and music, and that pony tail and cute little turned up nose – wow, they stole it for me!