Friday, July 29, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I long ago learnt not to get upset by things over which I have, and can never have, any control. However the bloody weather is giving me a run for my money at the moment. I like to be organised and because of this my travail away from the paddocks around the house run like a Swiss watch. I have over the last year learnt that Mr Gantt had two things going for him. He had a seriously odd name and he knew what he was doing. I could never have made the progress I have over the last fifteen months without some of the rudimentary basics of project management. I run to a schedule and love it. I, for the first time in my working life, have a number of synchronized Get Things Done lists on all my various electronic aids to an existence and they all have timelines. Sounds nerdy, but it works.
Thus, months ago, it was decided that today I would work in Christchurch for the day and then catch the early evening flight to Wellington to be in time for the weekly pub quiz. That is how you do things; meticulous planning. In order to get a full day in ChCh we will arrive the night before and sod the seismic risks. Then tomorrow we have things to do in Wellington and then its back to Obald Acres. All ship shape and Bristol fashion like what it should be. When those two days work are done it ensures that next week is teed up nicely. And so on. All mapped out and charted on one of Mr Gantt's bits of paper through to mid October. Perfect.
Then it bloody snows. And snows and snows and snows.
Worst cold snap for sixteen years the media breathlessly inform us. As if this is something to be celebrated like a couple of batsmen (not batters, please) breaking New Zealand's opening stand record. A winter wonderland the 6 o'clock news gushes forth. Pictures of kids making snowmen, drunk students throwing snowballs and frost on seven wire fences. Just to pretend they realists the media show a few obligatory pics of rubbish drivers getting no traction and sliding rear door first into ditches, a farmer or two in his blue overalls and RD1 beanie dishing out hay to cows and the winter landscape is complete. We cross to some reporter at a ski field who finds someone to say their takings are up on last week when the piste was so much mud and then more pictures of kids tobogganing on tea trays in lieu of going to school. Cross to Jim Hickey who tells the terminally stupid that we have all this snow courtesy of a blast of cold air from the Antarctic running into a moist atmosphere (no shit, Sherlock). For the nth time this winter he calls this a polar rodent and entreats the denizens of Middlemarch to repair to the log box. Back to the studio to interrupt one day of winter with the news that the United States is broke and there is a nutter shooting people wholesale up where all the snow should be.
Cold snaps and snow are not cute and cuddly. They are a pain in the arse. They have disrupted my carefully organised Gantt view of the next three months. I should be in Christchurch now and I am at 30000 feet somewhere over Taranaki. The only similarity between the two is that it is as dark up here as I'm sure it is down there. And just as bloody cold. I will be in the Wellington office far too early; but at least the Coffee Nazi will be open. I am very grateful to the Air New Zealand Gold Elite hotline for getting me on this flight at fourteen hours notice after they said that even all the Gold Eliteness I could muster would not get me on a flight to Christchurch today, but flying at 0600? Please. But I've learnt something already this morning. The Auckland Domestic Terminal does not open until 0500. More bloody disruptions to my comfy routine in having to hang around the McDOnalds (hell, I hoopoe I wasn't spotted) for seven minutes waiting for security to open. I will now spend most of the rest of the morning trying to fit the work I am not doing today into next week. And that will mean that next week's stuff will have to find a new square on Mr Gantt's sheet of paper . And. Well you get the picture.
I've always hated snow. It is cold and wet and just plain horrible. I have never seen the attraction of skiing either. It is cold, wet, you have to wear expensive stupid looking clothes and you break things - like legs and arms and stuff. Today I think I hate snow more than anything I can think of. Mr Gantt doesn't like it either.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
So it is with bridges. I haven't bought a suspension bridge, nor yet a simple log across a stream, for a week or two now and so am a little rusty when it comes to the going rate. If the Auckland Council tell me that a second harbour crossing is going to cost $3.9 billion I think to myself 'Bridges ain't cheap, I think we'll stick with the lamb shanks this week' and move on. Well I mean they have to cost that much don't they? It will be about eight hundred metres or so long, be full of expensive steel and concrete and stuff. And there will be all those big yellow machines to hire, armies of blokes in Hi Viz jackets. I'm surprised that we are getting such a good deal; could easily be over $4 billy.
Last week the Jiaozhou Bay bridge, which was built over the course of four years was opened in China. It is the longest bridge in the world at 26 miles (got that, it would take a Kenyan just over two hours to run across it) and it cost $1.5 billion. Even if that is in US dollars (which I think it is) that is still only $1.8 billion South Sea pesos.
We are planning the country's biggest ever rip off. Buy a bridge from China; we buy pretty much everything else from there. At just under a kilometre long it probably will only cost half a crown. But we must protect the New Zealand worker. Just look at all the fuss buying railway carriages from China has caused. You can just hear the bleating from the usual coterie of bleaters. In the face of unnecessarily spending billions of my money I have only one thing to say to that.