The Antiques Roadshow Drinking Game

June 29, 2011
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Drinking games are generally thought of as a slightly raucous and bawdy affair, a one way ticket to drunksville that isn’t really civilised. I therefore propose a slightly higher class of drinking game: The Antiques Roadshow Drinking Game!

Before you start you’ll have to equip yourself with your favourite tipple. Reach not for the Carling or Lambrini, reach beyond that and find something of quality. A good bottle of wine, a fine whisky, perhaps a good sherry, if there is such a thing.

Whatever you choose though, the rules are devastatingly simple. They are:

1. Every time a member of the public says ‘yes’ in response to expert’s ongoing information (not in response to a direct question) you must take a sip of your tipple. If you’re drinking a fine spirit then you might want to take a sip every fifth ‘yes’ (easy to count on the hand, even under adverse conditions), but reserve and moderation are your business.

2. Whenever a member of the public says ‘really’ in response to the price of an object you must finish your glass. Conservative drinkers are advised to keep their glass just barely charged to reduce the impact of this event. Those seizing upon this game as a splendid excuse will err on the side of a full flagon.

It’s that simple. So get the drinks in hand, the cheese and biscuits ready and settle down of a Sunday evening for the Antiques Roadshow Drinking Game.

Tchin tchin!



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The Egg Came First

June 21, 2011
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Running, like riding a bike, is a fairly easy thing to remember to do. As is the knowledge of how far you’ve run in one go on previous occasions, which is 13 kilometers for me. This is unfortunate; it makes you say things like “yes” when you’re asked by your better half if you’ll run the 10k race on Wellington’s Marathon day.

Some chickens have all the fun...

I knew I wasn’t fit enough when the idea was thrown at me a couple of weeks ago and I continued, through lack of effort, to remain just as unfit, in fact more unfit because my birthday landed a bounty of cake on my doorstep, which travelled to the kitchen, then onto a plate, and finally into my belly.

Running has been an irregular event this year: My globetrotting shoes finally got some speed up in foreign climes (the UK in February), where they returned the verdict that it was far too cold, and my lungs concurred. Back in NZ for the arse end of summer I put in the odd few kilometres, not enough to be fit but enough to keep me accustomed. Or so I thought.

Or at least half thought, because there was a twist in the mix that I suspected would create problems – I had to dress as a chicken. The purpose of the costume was to help in the campaign to put and end battery hen farming in NZ, please buy free range eggs. Technically this suit was a pretty good excuse for any kind of poorness, its extra weight, heat insulation and wind resistance all being high grade A excuses.

So, on Sunday morning I stepped out as a human turducken – on the outside a chicken, then inside that a fat, then inside that a skinny lad who’s too lazy to get out.

I was not the only chicken, there were several of us but I’m not a pack animal when it comes to running, I like to go at my own pace – slow enough not to hurl, which is very slow indeed. And I pecked and scratched my way around that course. That’s a metaphor for grim determination, I didn’t actually act the part of a chicken.

Running makes you look like you've lost your teeth...

Wellington knows how to do fancy dress, the whole town wears costumes for the Rugby 7s, but us chickens seemed to be the only people in costume. And partly because of this I got a huge amount of support from people, both crazy bystanders, lounging about in the rain and fellow runners, on a mission to get out of the rain. If it wasn’t for the crowd and kids shouting out ‘go chicken man’, people jogging past and saying how much they admired the message and the marshals flat out lying about how well I was doing, I think I might well have just ground to a walk.

Mind you, that might not have been much slower, at one point I was passed by the 80 minute pace setter, and they were walking.

You can read other accounts of my poor running here.

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Failed Test

June 7, 2011
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I read comments on the internet. I know, it’s stupid, I don’t know why I do it. At best you read a comment that agrees with your views, at worst, and quite often, you wish the internet was less user friendly.

However, I’ve just read a comment that’s quite entertaining, simply because of how proud the writer appears to be, despite the wealth of prior comments detailing exactly why the the poster is slightly off the mark.

The background is this: In the UK there was a maths exam paper in which there was an impossible to answer question. I’ll let the BBC do the hard work of giving you more detail.

Obviously, this is a problem – not only is a trusted examination board clearly not even bothering to test its papers, but students became trapped trying to answer the question, pouring away time on something that couldn’t get them any points. Students are quite rightly distraught, and there were many comments from students and friends, detailing how much time they wasted. The examination board has said that no one will be disadvantaged by this question, but given that they weren’t smart enough to have an answerable question on the paper, I doubt they’ll be smart enough to come up with a way to offset a variable amount of time wasted with bonus marks. Besides, who wants the surgeon that left their tools in you during the first operation going back in the second time to get them out.

Into this mix comes Dave from Bridgend. Dave is a man of genius, a man with a solution to anything. He suggests:

“Can’t see what the fuss is all about. The question is worth eight points from a potential 72. Don’t re-run the test, ignore the question and mark the paper out of 64. It’s basic maths, not rocket science, although some people do like making life needlessly difficult.”

Given Dave’s Solomon-like wisdom I look forward to searching for other comments he may have posted. Politicians and scientists should do the same, imagine the difficult problems you’ve been over-thinking all this time! Let Dave put you on the right track with all kinds of things, such as: Quantum Gravity, The Middle East, Fusion Energy, Poverty, Racial Tension and Global Warming.

I hope Dave’s a real person. Perhaps he has a blog…



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Welcome Home Endeavour…

June 1, 2011
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Yep, I’m gonna bang on about space again.

Endeavour, Endeavour's namesake, sailing out of Whitby, before it was called Endeavour...

I’ve just watched the space shuttle Endeavour slide back onto terra firma remarkably well for a bird built to soar so high. Down from the darkness it swooped, and then it was all over. The final flight over so soon. Nineteen years over so soon. So young and grounded already. I shall never forget you, brave black and white bird. The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Ro…. er… Endeavour.


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