Not since Sesqui has Welly Town been so full of wind. A few weeks back it was suggested the city give a name to the ion-rich ripsnorter that regularly barrels off the Strait.
The idea caught an updraft, and since then the local media's been buffeted with mostly predictable suggestions – the Blusterer, BLERTA, the 'Cane, and so forth. Some wanted to call it The Bus – as per Julian and Ardie Savea's powerhouse abilities, but the Capital's recent efforts in that area have irrevocably tarnished the brand.
But genuine 'Tonians know that the one true name for it has been whistling around the hills for donkeys' years.
Freemantle has its Doctor. Wellington has the Proctologist. When that southerly mother decides to do its thing, it's like a freight train four-square up the derriere. From Island Bay to Aro Valley, the old-timers nod knowingly – "Aye Bernie, here be Proctologist!"
A local columnist also touched a nerve in writing about the first act of the freshly-minted mayor re-instating the freebie councillor lunches. This could be a fraught business, they suggested, involving OSH-mandated workshops on the Heimlich Manoeuvre, lest hapless councillors choke on a council-funded muffin crumb.
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I have personal experience of not putting things right as per best L V Martin specifications. At a dinner, a close friend succumbed to an errant crumb, collapsing in a last-gasping mess beneath the table. As an alert first responder, I dragged him to a semi-vertical position and commenced manoeuvres of a vaguely Heimlichian nature.
Unfortunately my manoeuvre didn't quite match the one recommended by Henry Heimlich himself. My from-behind bear hug was regrettably a tad too high, and thus, instead of pressuring the blockage to eject itself from below, it forced it even further down the wind-pipe. Happily, resurrection was snatched from the jaws of extinction when my friend's death rattle fortuitously ejected the offending item in the nick of time.
As a periodic Wellingtonian over the decades, I learned not to expect overly much from council initiatives. The only times the place ever seemed to get moving were when the Proctologist got Athletic Park's vertiginous Millard Stand swaying, or the hills were alive were seismic flutterings.
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One of the first Wellington pads I stayed in - back in the 70s - was a friend's place in Arthur St, off the top of Cuba. The mate was happy to have it because the landlord was the old Ministry of Works, which had bought most of the street for vague future motorway extensions, so the rent was fairly nominal. Who knows – perhaps they were scheming to level the Basin Reserve even back then.
The 70s was nigh on a half century ago, and it took nearly that long for the then incarnation of the Ministry of Works to get around to dealing to Arthur St. That was some lead-up time! Satisfying, though, to still hear the continuing tock of leather on willow at the Basin.
The upshot is, I blithely totally disregard any contemporary Wellington debate on the merits or otherwise of downtown street realignments, light rail, overhead rail, trackless trams or subsidised astral travelling. Whatever emerges from the free-lunch meetings, it probably ain't gonna happen in my lifetime.
Same for Auckland. The family once lived there, more than half a century ago. The hot debate back then was Mayor Robbie's proposed light rail scheme. I rest my case.
Robbie at least got his council composting plant up and running, but recycling techniques were still a work in progress. The compost worked wonders on the veges. It also glittered prettily in the sun from all the glass fragments it came with.