Friday, February 26, 2010

Ordination of Bishop

I have written before of the new Bishop of Dunedin, Kelvin Wright, who was Vicar of St John's Roslyn. I have been worshipping there since my arrival in Dunedin.  I have been following his blog for several years.
His ordination as Bishop will be in the cathedral on Saturday at 1pm.
It will be webcast live at
from 1pm NZ time (7pm Friday New York and Midnight in London)
He has blogged about his preparation this week.
Please pray for him.

Interview in today's Otago Daily Times

What a man.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bushfire in Dunedin - not my fault

Woke up this morning to an all too familiar smell, bushfire smoke
There is  fire burning in the forests west of the city.
Of course I am currently located in the centre of the city and even my soon to be owned house while it is towards the fire area is also not on the bush front like my house in the Blue Mountains. Perhaps I should not have commented to the person who sold me my house and contents insurance on Monday that whereas there were many references to earthquake there was no special mention of bushfire.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What a day.


Everything has been going so well. The biggest problem has been my Driver's licence.

In NSW, Australia, a licence is issued for 5 years and mine expires on March 15.
Knowing this, I went to the Registry a week before I moved out of my house and asked to renew my licence early as I would be overseas. This is possible several months in advance.
I filled in the forms, had my eyes tested and my photo taken. As a pensioner it did not cost me anything. There was a problem with the machine so when it finally spat out my licence, I grabbed it, pulled a face at the new photo and put it in my wallet.   This would give me a year to gain a NZ licence.

I was glad to learn that I know longer needed to sit either a theory nor a practical test for a NZ licence.

I was surprised when my sister told me that a licence renewal form had arrived and looked at my licence closely. To my horror it still had the date March 15, 2010 not 2015 as expected.

I emailed Australia and was told sorry for the mixup but  I could renew it from overseas either by sending the old licence back along with passport photocopy and a new photo or I could have a photocopy of my licence witnessed by an Australian diplomat. The nearest one of those is in Wellington.  Not a lot cheaper than flying to Sydney.

I therefore applied for a NZ licence.
Shock, I need to provide them with the date my Australian licence was issued which is not shown on the licence.

I emailed Australia again but no reply.

I was considering posting my old licence back and driving with a photocopy, hoping I would not be pulled over by the police while waiting for it to return.

Now Today
First my email would not work this morning, said password wrong.  Thank God for Skype as I rang the internet provider (15 mins on hold) and the password was reinstated.

Discovered the money for my house has arrived at NZ bank but not yet cleared.

Decided to ring Australia on Skype re licence. Was told I could get a letter stating detail of my Australian licence including date of issue sent to me after providing photocopy of passport and back and front of licence plus mastercard details for charge of $19.

Rushed to library to photocopy and took care that I did not leave my passport or licence in machine.

Returned to hotel to write letter and shocked to find my Mastercard was not in wallet.

Received call from solicitor re paying house money tomorrow.

Rang the place last time I remembered using card but not there.

Rang card provider in Melbourne (thank you Skype) and blocked card.

While on phone remembered I had used card this morning to pay an online account.

Rang bank and learnt money will be cleared tomorrow morning.

Rang library and learnt I had dropped my Mastercard at photocopier.

Rushed back to Library, posting letter to Australian licence provider on way.

Returned to hotel and again rang Melbourne to unblock Mastercard, grateful it had not been cancelled.

Received phone call from sister to say problems with internet provider, she could not log on and had been told there were password problems.

Rang Provider (another 15 mins on hold) to be told my email is being used for spam and I must change password. Did this and then rang my sister to find her internet was back on as there had been a power outage at ISP.

Exhausted but thankful as my Skype account is only about $2.50 down whereas the cost would have been ginormous on my mobile.

Fingers crossed my money is cleared overnight to send to solicitor tomorrow for house sale to be settled on Thursday and that in a week or so I can obtain a NZ driver's licence.

Also that those wretched spammers will find someone else to infiltrate.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Gay Time in Dunedin

Today the Cruise ship Volendam visited Dunedin on its way from Auckland to Sydney  for the Gay Mardi Gras next week. It is the first time there has been an all Gay cruise in these waters. 
On board was Paul, a student of mine from 1979-1980 and his partner, Matt.
Paul is always profuse in thanking me for helping him come out back in those days. Actually Paul is one of those guys who is so exuberant that it is fairly obvious he is gay on first meeting.  However he tells me he was having problems with harrassment and dealing with the whole situation at the time.  Due to various events I was also being outed in the school at the time.

He has kept in touch and visited me in my mountain home a few years ago. Paul moved to the States many years ago and is now a US citizen.  He has passed all his exams and is a psychiatric nurse in Hawaii.

I met them in the Octagon just after 11. Any plans to have lunch in that area were quickly dispelled as the Royal NZ Pipe Bands Assn Otago Branch Annual Otago/Southland were also holding a Provincial Contest in the city.  There were bagpipes playing everywhere. We went to one of the arcades for coffee and they bought a few souvenirs.

Then I drove them up the hill to look at my new home. The present owner invited us in but I am sure was relieved that I declined as she was busy packing.  Instead I drove them to the beach side suburb of St Clair for lunch and then we drove across the Otago Peninsula on the high road with views of ocean and harbour and back along the southern side of the harbour,  through the city again and to their ship at Port Chalmers on the northern side.  It was a beautiful day with the sun shining and the temperature reaching 26'C.

As Paul said like Spring or autumn in Sydney but a hot summer's day in Dunedin.

Photos show Matt on my right and Paul on my left at St Clair Beach, then Paul in the centre as I dropped them at the wharf.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent and Ash Wednesday

Despite the symbol on the side, Lent has never been very important to me and I feel a bit guilty reading other blogs.
Last night I attended the Ash Wednesday Choral Eucharist at the cathedral here in Dunedin. I have never been to a service of the Imposition of Ashes before.

I, of course, grew up in Evangelical Sydney and while my church in those days was still recognisably Anglican and did follow the Church calendar, I do not remember attending a service on Ash Wednesday.  If I did it would have just been Holy Communion.  I am told new graduates of Moore College do not even know what Lent is these days.

Our Family did have pancakes the evening before and we did not eat meat on Ash Wednesday.  I have continued with the latter observance but have been known to forget. I remember my Mother being very embarrassed once when she quietly told a Roman Catholic neighbour that her forehead was dirty and did not realise her error until much later in the day.

Of course I saw this a lot when I began teaching in Catholic schools but I never attended myself.

St James, King Street does have an Ash Wednesday service with imposition of ashes but in the 4 years I have been worshipping there, I have never made the effort for another 4 hour train trip to attend.

Holy week is very important to me but I do not think I could keep up any observance for 40 days. I do not see much point in giving something up unless it led to some good and this year would not be a good year to begin anyway, living in a hotel and eating lots of takeaways.

I have been amused at Kirkepiscatoid giving up hot sauces.  Just looking at her cupboard has me wondering where the antacids are. Any time I dine out, I must check to avoid any hot dishes and the very word chili removes that dish from my choices. Sadly menus seem to be full of such items these days. The Finance commentator on Morning TV here in NZ has been talked into giving up chilis for 4 days (he could not manage 40).  I suppose I could give up chocolate after dinner  or sugar in my coffee but I do not see how that would help my spiritual life.

So last night was first for me and I admit I rubbed my forehead clean as soon as I left the cathedral.  It was my first visit to the cathedral since I have moved to Dunedin. I do like the more formal services and intend worshipping there occasionally but I have stayed with St John's Roslyn for the first month until Kelvin Wright leaves.
Probably I will make more friends tat St John's even if I do have to put up with children squealing during the service and following the service and hymns on an overhead projector. I will just revive by occasional visits to the cathedral or even the anglo-catholic parish in North Dunedin.  At least I have a choice of inclusive churches here, unlike in Sydney. There is one very evangelical church to the south of the city which will not be visited by me. They were vocal in their opposition to the ordination of a partnered gay man who is preaching in the cathedral next Sunday evening.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bishop-Elect of Dunedin

Today is Kelvin's last Sunday as Vicar of St John's Roslyn.
Kelvin will be ordained as the ninth Bishop of Dunedin on Saturday the 27th of February 2010, at St Paul's Cathedral (1pm).  Please keep him in your prayers.
I am sad that he was only Vicar for the first 4 Sundays of my time as a parishioner. He promised today to ensure I have a good vicar in his place "to make the trip worthwhile".
I asked him to maintain his blog 'Available Light'

I wrote about the sermon on my first Sunday. It is now online. You have to make time to listen as he only puts up the recorded version.   In fact he always preaches without notes.

I hope to attend the ordination.  I am told it is open to the public. In Sydney it would be a ticketed event but then I would not want to attend there anyway.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My New House

I have paid the 10% deposit for a house in the suburb of Brockville, Dunedin so, as promised, am posting some photos.  The first is from the official advertisement.

The next is one I took myself from the front gate.

And the last, while taken over the top of the roof, indicates the view from the kitchen window of part of Dunedin and the ocean.
 I should settle on February 25th but just when I will move in depends on the arrival of my furniture. I am waiting to hear if it has even left Sydney yet.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

National Day of Mourning

I am still an Australian and today is a National Day of Mourning in memory of the devastating Bushfires in Victoria one year ago.

Australia's worst bushfire disaster

Bushfire History

 Bushfire - Update and Thoughts

Australia - tragedy and humour

Please pray for the survivors and especially those who lost loved ones on that terrible day



Saturday, February 06, 2010

Some Photos

Some commenters have asked for photos. I have not done much actual sightseeing so far, there have been more important matters. However on Friday afternoon I walked through the university to the Botanical Gardens. One third of the population of Dunedin are university students who are now beginning to return for the new academic year.  I took a photo of the clock tower.

I visited the gardens in November 2008 when the azaleas and rhododendrons were in full bloom and will keep those photos until November comes round again. My previous home was full of azaleas but I was not able to do so well with rhodos - probably not cool enough.

At this time of the year the roses are in full bloom.

I was resting after my walk when the phone rang just after 4pm. The car salesman was ringing to say my car which had not been expected until Monday afternoon at the earliest was ready for collection. I rushed to the bank which closes at 4.30 to obtain a bank cheque, driving the car they had loaned me mainly for the weekend and which I had only so far driven 3km through the city traffic.

Then I had to drive my brand new car with 16km on the clock back through the traffic to the hotel. This afternoon I have taken it about 70 km to a beach (Warrington Beach) area of north of the city.
And photographed the new beast.

 I returned over the hills which look down on the Otago Harbour.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Meaning of words

There is much talk both in Australia and New Zealand about a legal judgment that the iconic song "Downunder" by Men at Work has infringed the copyright of a song written for children in 1934 "Kookaburra sits on an old gum tree"

"Do you come from a land down under?
Where women glow and men plunder?
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover."

The song went to #1 on American, British, and Australian charts. It was reissued in 1982 and is the only Men at Work song that went to #1 in the UK. It has become a popular and patriotic song in Australia and was sung at the closing of the Sydney Olympic games.

The author of Kookaburra, Miss Marion Sinclair has died and her family sold the copyright. How they must be kicking themselves today as it may be worth millions.

However I was most amused at reading the words which I am sure I sung as a child when they did not have the meaning of today

Kookaburra sits on an old gum tree
Merry merry king of the bush is he
Laugh kookaburra, laugh kookaburra
Gay your life must be.