Friday, December 30, 2011

Much music binding in the marsh?
2" organ music binder

New Year brings out the postman-sorting instincts in us; a time to wade through piles of discarded detritus that are used as coffee-cup ballast on our desks, or re-organise the tipsy bookshelves into something better than the green ones, red, blue and yellow all in neat little piles. We potter, stack and toss out. So I'm delighted that someone has had the sense to choose  one of the lovely blue organ music binders from the shop. They're great for tidying those photocopies of wedding pieces that you need to get your hands on in a hurry - or maybe more likely funeral voluntaries, at this time of year. I love the fact that you can add stuff too - names, addresses, blood type... anything you want.
So - good choice, buyer person!
Music binders (3 designs, 3 sizes):

There's a first time for everything
 Petitions were always for others who had the gumption to stand by their convictions. I was always too woolly for that, hoping for an easy, peaceful non-confrontational outcome to issue I was uncomfortable with.
SO at the tender age of, er, ah, cough-cough late 50s, I surprised myself by starting an online petition to ask dear Mr Marryatt, our overpaid city Chief Executive, to refuse the 14.4% pay rise of $68,000 or so that he has been given by our boys' club of a city council.

The trouble with our Mr Marryatt's pay rise is that I see friends who haven't got an inside toilet. They have leaking roofs and floors with great holes in them. On Boxing Day I walked up numerous driveways knee-deep in silt to see abandoned homes, children's toys and former glorious gardens covered in yukky, creeping silt that never seems to disappear. I looked for people to help, only to be told that they were fine and there were so many others much worse off who could do with help.

Hear that, Mr Marryatt? Others worse off than the poor sods who have had to make a hobby out of clearing drains, drives, back yards, hallways of silt, fungus, water, rubbish? Yes, and there are. I think you are one of those worse off. Because, know what? You must be the most unpopular person in Christchurch right now. .. Luckily for you of course, you aren't here to feel the pressure. That will come when you return from Australia's Gold Coast. But I hope for your sake that next time there's a big aftershock, your house escapes damage. The teams of willing volunteers (look up the word if you don't know what it means) may be tempted to look elsewhere for people to help.

But meanwhile, back to my petition.  It's online and can be signed by anyone.
Sign the Petition on Marryatt's pay rise

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sorry not to see you there, Tony

I was very disappointed not to see you at the post-quake clean-up in the eastern 'burbs of Christchurch yesterday, Tony. As CEO of Christchurch City Council, you might have rolled up your sleeves and joined the hundreds of volunteers shovelling silt from their liquefied properties on Boxing Day.  We waited for you.

Then one of the students told me you were on the Gold Coast having a break. That's nice. It's hard being the Chief Executive of a munted earthquake city. I hope when you get back home that if you live in one of these devastated streets that one of your friends has been round to clear your driveway so you can get in to what remains of your home.

One of the elderly women I met was doing just that for a friend; she herself didn't live in the street and was alone heaving barrows of the foul grey heavyweight gunge into the street - until the helpers turned up. It seems quite a few couples broke up for the day so that one could open the shop for the annual bargain-fest, while the other tried to make their home vaguely habitable. Makes sense. No business owner can afford to lose trading after the year they've had here, and no homeowner is happy to sit back just to watch the silt creep back into every nook and cranny of their house. Besides, in hot weather it's really hard to move about in gumboots all the time and the dangers of falling down hidden sink holes probably makes people want to postpone their beach-lounging for a bit, even if it is Christmas.

So there they all were, and there you weren't. I guess you were hard at work spending that $68,129 pay rise (back-dated to July this year, you lucky boy) while in Oz. Much better to spend it outside New Zealand - their goods and services are so much better than ours - and besides, if we get money here, what can we spend it on - more shovels? Plastic buckets?

It's good that after this little 14.4% pay rise you'll get $538,529 each year to tide you over the income from your directorship incomes. Could come in handy in this fragile economy. Excellent stuff. And you'll have such a tough job when you get back, Tony. Imagine! - signing off all those demolition jobs, making up the rosters for the bin men, taking consultants, engineers, advisers, bowls trainers et al off to boutique wineries for junket lunches.... phew! You'll be exhausted at the end of the day!

But we can be confident that you'll handle it with aplomb; you had good training in September when you attended the 5-day International City-County Management Association conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.We - the rate-payers of Christchurch - thought you didn't have enough money so we paid for your ticket to this marvellously educational working trip. My friend Bob said "The trip would help him to "keep abreast of best practice in local government, not only in New Zealand but also internationally". I just hope you took notes when you went on the boutique winery tour, a boat tour and played bowls. I think everyone shovelling yesterday would also be very happy to know they had paid for you to have these invaluable experiences, and that it would, in the end, benefit us all. 

And if you find yourself short on cash again, Tony, don't hesitate to ask! Simply knock on any door in Christchurch right now, tell them you're a bit short,  and ask if they could lend you a fiver.

I dare you.

P.S. And my friend Bob? Sorry mate, but I'm not your friend anymore. Good luck in the next Mayoral elections.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Post latest quake (December 23rd)

A little bit of earth movement: 6.0 on the Richter scale, several over 5.0 and 67 aftershocks in the first 24 hours after the initial quake struck, wasn't the most pleasant of gifts from Mother Nature on December 23rd; but now we're old hands at recovering equilibrium and moving on. No injuries apart from a grazed heel when I tried to fly down some wooden stairs a tad too quickly.
Where we live in Christchurch, we are most fortunate to have solid, non-liquefying soil, so that even if we bounce around on land that becomes a massive trampoline, the after-effects are nothing like as bad as those suffered by homes further to the east of the city, nearer the coast. Spare a thought this Christmas for those who will be shovelling silt from their house, yard and street. Many no doubt, will have finally tossed in the towel after months of battling earthquakes and their off-spring. We are all weary of it now.
It's difficult to become even excited when the swarm start to batter us; we often just sit at our desks, grab a monitor to keep it from toppling, and ride it out. The routine of checking damage is now second-nature.
So it's Christmas morning here in Christchurch - Santa is still filling my pillow case (and making me a cup of tea) and a wonderful day ahead of us with friends. For the moment, 24 hours at least, I haven't a care in the world.
Oh, actually, I AM a bit worried about my glazed ham. Bit of an experiment, this one.
Merry rocking Christmas, everyone.

Monday, December 12, 2011

All tied up?

Quick, easy and snazzy!
Have you got Christmas all tied up? If not, how about cruising over to* and sifting through the lovely collection of organ ties? It's growing by the day, ladles and jellyspoons, and I'm sure you'd find something for that difficult-to-thrill relative or friend. Several of the latest feature organs from Leipzig, Exeter, Birmingham and Dillingen. I've bought one of the Christchurch Rieger for my Added Extra, (keep stumm please!)  and I KNOW he'll like it as it features his beloved instrument that is still out of bounds in the quake zone. (Interestingly enough, several others have also bought one, even though they are from overseas. That's nice) There's also a range of funny sayings ties ... you'll get the idea once you start looking.
Open the tie drawer here!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Up close and Personal
Good to see that someone else likes this new 2012 pipe organ calendar enough to buy one! 
The detail in many organ facades is fascinating - but it's just this that the ordinary person in the audience or pew just can't see. What a wealth there is: The intricate carving, exquisite inlay work, fine gilding and even, on occasions, the funny little additions that are the result of a private joke of the artist or architect. That's why I designed this calendar, so that those not fortunate enough to get closer can see some of these beauties for themselves. The cover photo, by the way, shows the front of the smaller gallery organ in the Marktkirche, Halle, which is supposed to be the organ that Handel began learning on. See the individual pages

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Newsletter alert!
The December newsletter has just been sent out (and some people are reporting difficulty reading it - so if you are one of those, follow my link here to the online version of the newsletter) so make sure you read it now - especially to go in the competition to win one of two organ DVDs!  Contains lots of news, a little waffle, links to websites of interest to music lovers and general stuff, a bit of fun, and musings.  Reasonably tolerable stuff, I suppose....
Anyway, you can go here to read the online version in all its glory (or should that be gory?)

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