Fuzzy The Kiwi

Once upon a time a furry wee kiwi named Fuzzyfluffyleft the comfort of her dark forest floor for the BIG WIDE WORLD. It was a pretty daunting prospect for this seemingly timid wee bird with no wings and a big nose but kiwis are, if nothing else, gutsy! As if to prove this point Fuzzy chose to go The Long Way, that is instead of ‘jump on a plane at Auckland, skip through Australia, SE Asia, Middle East to London’, she elected to ‘jump on a plane at Auckland (there aren’t too many alternatives to THIS) and get off the plane in Beijing’!summer palace beijing

While there Fuzzy did what all self-respecting visitors to Beijing do- she had a McDonaldsmacdonalds beijingand went and checked out a wall!great wallHaving practiced her ‘sher sher’ and ‘ni hao’ for a few days, she got on a train (not just any old train but ‘The Vodka Train’), left Beijing, and set off for places West! The first proper stop was Ulan Bator in Mongolia where Fuzzy visited what she thought was a yurt camp but was told was something else!ger camp Ulam Bator-it was a ger camp! She reckoned it was a lot warmer than the burrow back in the bush even though the snow was thick outside! (Snow, what is that!!) The Vodka Train stopped off near Irkutsk to visit Lake Baikal to see ‘the nearly midnight sun’ and Fuzzy took this neat photo of his travelling companion holding the sun in her hand!983642_10152370513757905_2694208329901715258_nClever little Fuzzy! It was just about another 4000 kilometres to her next stop, Moscow where one of the ‘must see’ places was Saint Basil’s Cathedral.st basils moscowShe reckoned this one was aaawsome, but the travelling companion said she liked the onion-topped church in their next stop better- having a bit of a ‘classical romantic’ bent Fuzzy had decided to take a train ride to St Petersburg.soul kitchen st petersThis snazzy wee eatery, the ‘Soul Kitchen’ was a place that was a ‘must do’ to remove from the bucket list but Fuzzy wasn’t completely taken by the salty pickle- it spoiled the taste of the vodka, she said!

Now it was get on another plane and head to Spainspainwhere she had a relaxing time playing with some cats on a wee farm in Orgiva before popping across the Mediterranean to exotic Marrakesh! Wow!marrakesh moroccoBazaars, souks, markets and lots of coffee bars and fragrant smells! Having got REALLY laid back for a while Fuzzy wondered where to go next, and thinking that ANZAC Day wasn’t far away Turkey was an enticing destination. blue mosque hagia sophia istambulFrom the Hagia Sophia Fuzzy was able to see the minarets of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, and, of course if she looked the other way she could see where she’d been!!! Sort of- Asia, anyway!)

Still determined to take the long way Fuzzy then made her way through some of the Balkan countries before arriving among the tulips of Amsterdam!amsterdam flower stallShe then crossed into Belgium to to see what the European Capital had to offer,Brusselsbecause it HAS to be an important place to be! (…and it was best viewed from the hat of one’s travelling companion!) Moving on, and because it wasn’t too far to go Fuzzy trained to Gay Paris! It was funny but she had thought that the leaning tower was elsewhere! You learn something every day, huh!!leaning tower of eiffel

While in this supposedly gay but definitely somewhat grubby town Fuzzy paid a visit to a very famous lady, who some call Mona and others La Giaconda.

smiling back at la giaconda

She didn’t say much so after a quick baguette and a carafe of wine it was on another train and north- to Norway! Fuzzy had heard of a place that was supposedly just like Fiordland back in Aotearoa-New Zealand so after she got off the train and just escaped a horrible fate in Oslooslo norwayshe made her way up the ocean coast to Lysefjord where she climbed up to what is known as Pulpit Rock or Preikestolen.preikestolenShe knew that the family back home would be scared out of their wits by it so she got her travelling companion to take a view from the pulpit. Thinking a base-jump might be a step too far Fuzzy then went a-wandering around Norway a bit and while there made a quick side-trip around a lake to Sweden!swedenThat’s Swedish lichen that Fuzzy’s sitting on with Norway across the lake in the background. Next time up this way this lichen would be under several feet of snow and she and the travelling companion would walk across the lake!

There was a bit of a lull in the clouds of volcanic ash that was drifting across Europe from Eyjafjallajokull Volcano that had been popping off a bit so Fuzzy decided to go to this mythical land of ice and volcanos. She found that EVERYTHING was unpronouncable

reykjavikand quite expensive but she put this down to the fact that everything has to be imported. Their only export was volcanic ash.

Luckily the aeroplanes were still flying and one of them took Fuzzy back to London for her to start the British part of her OE. London was great, and being an artistic bird with a bit of dramatic flair she took her travelling companion along to The Globe and she tried treading The Bard’s boards. It was a wonderful experience but the audience were a bit hard to please-The Globe Londonthey kept walking around!!!

After London Fuzzy visited a couple of acquaintances at Beatrix’s placemy mate peter at beatrix potter worldbefore going down the road to a school that New Zealand has a special connection with-rugby school rugbyRUGBY! Without the influence of this school and the crazy antics of one of its pupils, William Webb Ellis Aotearoa-New Zealand would probably have a national pass-time that involved little more than horse-racing and beer!on a rugby ball in rugbyHer travelling companion helped Fuzzy to visit the playing fields and the museum where she recognised a few other kiwis, sorry- Kiwis.more kiwis

After trying a few tries, and kicking a few goals Fuzzy moved on to visit the Eden Projecteden projectto see how we should be doing things. Fuzzy was DELIGHTED to see that what we were doing in Aotearoa-New Zealandeden project refreshmentwas bang on!! Having had it confirmed that the world was in good hands in Godzone (God’s Own- get it?) Fuzzy moved down a road, and down a road and down a road until she came to Land’s Endlands end cornwallwhere the Cornish people made her a few pasties and poured a pint or two.

Having been away from home for quite a while now Fuzzy was delighted that she was easily able to remind herself of what she was so far away from by simply going to a store and picking up one treatwhat else would a kiwi drinkor another. These sustained Fuzzy and her travelling companion as they headed northwards to their roots. Along the way Fuzzy picked up another friend, who paid for the drinks do ya thinkHairy Coo. While Hairy Coo was a quietly spoken wee bovine it quickly became obvious that he had one or two vices!!only single malt thanksOf course Fuzzy is always ‘up for it’ so she joined in!gizza straw my nose isn't THAT bigShe couldn’t understand why they made bottles so deep! Of course it was little better for Hairy Coogive hairy a couple and hes a show offbut they had some REALLY good timesfuzzy and hairy coowending their way through Bonnie Scotland.May ye ne'er want a frien', or a dram to gi'e him! Tir nam beann, nan gleann, nan gaisgeach“May ye n’er want a frien’, or a dram to gi’e him! Tir nam beann, nan gleann, nan gaisgeach!” Some VERY good times! Some of the mornings weren’t too flash but Hairy Coo showed Fuzzy a GREAT remedy for a cotton-wool head-a round at the royal and ancient at St Andrewsgowf! Fuzzy and Hairy Coo golfed a golf or two at the Old Courseparred itat St Andrews, the home of another one of the ‘traditional’ games of the Home Land. Fuzzy shot a couple over par and blamed the caddy, sorry, the travelling companion for providing bad advice for the couple of slips that happened ‘tween tee and cup.

The next step on the journey of our brave wee kiwi was across the Irish Sea to The Emerald Isle, for it is almost certain that the roots of the roots grew deep in Irish soil.in ireland doing irishdespite the fact that Fuzzy was no great fan of Jamiesons. Obviously Hairy Coo was prepared to work at blending the single malt and the juice of the bogs though.

Fuzzy bid a fond farewell to the Celtic Lands and prepared for the journey home by going into the frozen wastes of Norway to ‘chill out’ for a while before getting on a big silver bird. She decided to take the short westerly route home and was doing very well until she got hijacked on the way by some tropical fruits and juicesaloha from hawaiiand exotic vegetation on the islands of Hawaii. Having thawed out (after the snow of Norway) Fuzzy made a final boarding at Honolulu and jumped a day arriving back in the bosom of her flightless family for a slightly delayed Merry Christmas.

What a bird!! Welcome home.

Scottish Hospitality

A golfer is cupping his hand to scoop water from a tinkling burn flowing beside the fairway on the fourth hole at a picturesque highland golf course.

A passing groundskeeper shouts:  ‘Dinnae drink tha waater! Et’s foo ae coo’s shite an pish!’

The golfer replies:  ‘My Good fellow, I’m from England .  Could you repeat that for me, in English!?’

The groundskeeper, taking real care to enunciate carefully replies:  ‘I said, use two hands – you’ll spill less that way!

Simple Logic.

The only cow in a small town in Ireland stopped giving milk, but after some inquiries the townsfolk found they could buy a cow in Scotland quite cheaply. So, they bought a cow and brought it over from Scotland .

It was absolutely wonderful- it produced lots of milk every day and everyone was happy. Forward thinking they were, so they bought a bull to mate with the cow to get more cows so they’d never have to worry about their milk supply again.

They put the bull in the pasture with the cow but whenever the bull tried to mount the cow, the cow would move away. No matter what approach the bull tried, the cow would move away from the bull, and he was never able to do the deed.

The people were very upset and decided to go to the vet, (who was very wise), tell him what was happening and ask his advice.

“Whenever the bull tries to mount our cow, she moves away. If he approaches from the back, she moves forward. When he approaches her from the front, she backs off. If he attempts it from the one side, she walks away to the other side.”

The vet rubbed his chin thoughtfully and pondered before asking, “Did you, by chance, buy this cow in Scotland ?”

The people were dumbfounded, since no one had even remotely mentioned that they had brought the cow over from Scotland . “You are truly a wise vet,” they said- “how did you know we got the cow from Scotland ?”

The Vet replied with a distant look in his eye:

 –

 –

“My wife is from Scotland .”

Magic of Music?

These guys are GREAT!! I’d vaguely heard of them, sort of, but don’t think I’ve (consciously) heard them perform. That was until a cobber of mine loaned me a DVD of a live performance by them at the Fruitmarket in Glasgow. Wow!!!I am a several generations removed of Scots heritage- at least that’s as far back as genealogy-dredging has managed to go so far. I have a strong suspicion that further back than the days of the highland inter-clan wars, way back when the Campbells were battling the MacDonalds my forebears resided in Ireland. We arrived in Scotland as sort of mercenaries or at least ‘indentured’ fighters taken across the Irish Sea to help the Campbells and their allies, and thus we find our Scottish heritage arising out of Argyllshire, around Loch Lomond.

And what does this have to do with the ‘Magic of Music’? Let me explain. I was watching the DVD of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and was SO impressed. Dressed in quasi-traditional garb- plain, dark kilts with kilt-pin, black shirts with monogram, red socks with black tabs, red or red and black tasseled sporrans and Ghillie brogues, they looked really smart. There are three pipers, one lead (electric) guitarist, one bass (electric) guitarist, one snare drummer, one major drum-kit drummer, one (electric) key-board and one bongo drummer. They have supporting wind players- saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and a group of Hot Chilli Dancers, also in quasi-traditional garb.

The performance started well with a really catchy, foot-tapping piece that demonstrated that ALL were pretty competent with their instrument, and even surprised somewhat with the clever mix of modern and traditional piping and catchy tempo changes. I had headphones on and was soaking up the sounds until about half-way through when they started playing a piece that started with a solo piper and subtle guitar and keyboard accompaniment which grew with the addition of the other pipers and drums, including the Kintyre Schools Highland Pipe Band (full contingent of pipes and rums) and it was about then that I found my eyes filling with tears and my thoughts being somewhat confused because my eyes were filling with tears, even to the extent that I had to admit I was crying! For God’s sake! Crying! Why? I’d never heard the piece before and so there was no reason! However the piece ran it’s course and it wasn’t until I rewound to just before the start when I heard the introduction. The Chilli Piper heard it first being played by the schools band, and the tune was written by a pipe major who was a POW in a prison in Germany in WW2, and was called ‘Song of Argyll’, the region from whence he (and coincidentally, my family) came. Could there be any other reason for the tears? I don’t know, but it hit me quite hard that such a thing had happened.

I was quietly recovering from that when the Chilli Pipers’ drummers started a to me very familiar rhythm- the introduction to ‘Highland Cathedral‘. Oh God- here I go again! They played it very well including the schools band after the three pipers had done their introductory bit. This time there was no surprise caused by the tears- this was the tune that I walked my daughter down the aisle to being preceded by a lone piper. She was fine with it but her father was hopeless- MY BABY! Getting married! So now whenever I hear this tune, especially when played  by a full pipe band I become little more than a blubbering wreck! Hey ho.