Alert for Kiwis: latest travel schedule

Professor Ceiling Cat is headed to Milford Sound on Monday, then to Fox Glacier on Tuesday for an overnight, then to Greymouth on Wednesday for about two days to see the keas at Arthur’s Pass.

From Greymouth I’ll find my way up to Nelson, probably arriving there on the 24th or 25th of March. I’ll probably stay in Nelson a few days to unwind, and would be glad to meet readers.

If you’re in the Nelson area and were interested in getting together, please email me with contact details. I have a cellphone but can’t figure out how to activate it, so if you want to contact me, please use email. But I can use Skype to make outgoing phone calls, so if you want to send your number, please send the whole thing as if I were calling from the U.S.




  1. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    At Fox, if you can get a scenic flight over the glacier in the morning before you leave for Greymouth it’s a great sight.

    Very weather-dependent, obviously, but sometimes it’s clear in the morning before the clouds gather later. Locals can probably advise better on that.

    (We booked a flight many years back, just over the glacier and return. We were very lucky though, the pilot asked if we minded if she went via Mt Cook airfield to change planes. Obviously we had no objection at all. So we got to fly the length of the high range).


  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear, you can’t activate your phone. Is it a different phone for travel or did you get a different SIM?

    • Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know how to text from it, and I have to text a code of both letters and numbers from keys that have numbers and letters on them, and I don’t know how to either text or change from numbers to letters. I’m screwed.

      I bought a cheap phone with $8 credit at Wearhouse, but I can’t activate it.

      • Chaswalder
        Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        What model of phone? You can go into Settings to change how the keyboard works. If you post the model, I can find a manual and specific steps.

      • Posted March 19, 2017 at 12:55 am | Permalink

        Jerry, If it is one of the old Nokias, the button to the bottom right of the keyboard should move from one mode to the next. And the top left of the screen will indicate the mode, e.g. Abc, abc, ABC, 123.
        If you are sending a message, the * button should generate punctuation marks, and 1 should do full stops (period) if you are in one of the alphabetic modes.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 1:55 am | Permalink

        Suggestion – ask some random teenager to show you. Most of them were brought up with these things.


      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        Ah the Wearhouse. I bought luggage and candy there.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 19, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know the ‘Wearhouse’. D’you mean ‘Warehouse’, the big red sheds?


          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 19, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, the place where you can buy a bunch of stuff for cheap. I bought black balls, the candy, there because my nana used to send them to us for Xmas every year and it was nostalgic. Another year, I bought a cheap suitcase because I didn’t have enough room to haul back stuff I bought in NZ.

            Usually I spell “warehouse” “wharehouse” because I think I am thinking of “whorehouse”.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted March 19, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

              ‘Usually I spell “warehouse” “wharehouse” because I think I am thinking of “whorehouse”.’

              ‘whare’ is of course Maori for ‘house’ anyway. I’m sure someone culturally sensitive could find a way to feel threatened by that 😉

              Frankly I’m… surprised … that you would be thinking of whorehouses Diana. Usually that’s the obsession^H^H^H^H^H^H prerogative of us deplorable old males.

              Speaking of which (deplorable old males that is), I was on Piha beach yesterday, happily observing all the chicks in bikinis and striving to contain my uncontrollable lust, when it crossed my mind how pathetic it must be to be a faithful (male) Muslim in a Muslim country and never allowed to even see a bikini. Their loss, and they did it to themselves. Eejits.


              • tombesson
                Posted March 19, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

                ‘whare rūnanga’ is the Maori word for meeting house. On my first trip to New Zealand, when I hadn’t yet decoded the Kiwi accent, I was on a museum tour when the guide showed us a whare rūnanga and said, “This is the ‘mating’ house.” I thought, “How wonderful that the culture is such that they have a special place to encourage reproduction.” Then, it occurred to me that the Kiwis were just sliding their vowels a bit to make the ‘ee’ in meeting sound to me like the long ‘a’, as in ‘mating’. I’ve learned a lot since those days and no longer make the same mistake.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 19, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

                There is a funny episode of Modern Family where they go to Australia & meet up with Rhys Darby who plays a friend of theres who has a show in Sydney. The go to meet Hugh Jackman but before the two characters from Modern Family get there, Hugh and Rhys’s character had a fight and Hugh left. Rhys describes Hugh as “standing on his big deck” but the American characters are slightly confused when they think he says something else. 🙂

              • tombesson
                Posted March 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

                Yes. A Kiwi did a spoof commercial about refurbishing a deck. Very funny stuff going on down here.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 19, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Find the letter and number on it that you need.

      Press the key however many times to get to the number/letter (corresponds to the position on the key and you’ll see the number/letter appear on the screen). If you go past the one you want, keep pressing to have it come around again.

      Stop when the correct number/letter is displayed and pause for it to take.

      Repeat until you have your code hammered out.

      This is how the kids texted in the 90s. 🙂

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Oh, I should add, if your phone has T9 you’ll be in luck because it will be predictive and present some words for you but see how the multi tap of the key goes.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 19, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          It’s how I still text on my $25 phone. Though somewhat slowly because I still haven’t caught up with ‘txting’, handy though it is.

          (It’s most convenient when ‘on the road’ and intermittently out of cellphone range – a text will wait till the phone ‘sees’ a signal and then go.)

          I find the ‘predictive text’ thing more annoyance than help.

          But it seems to me that txting fluently was a remarkable skill that all kids learnt which (with the advent of smartphones with full ‘keyboards’) is now going the way of all those other old skills like firing steam locomotives or setting sails in square-riggers or double-declutching a crash gearbox… rather sad, really.


  3. tombesson
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jerry,

    Welcome to New Zealand. I’m willing to host you while you are in Nelson, and also willing to be your driver, should you need to be taken from place to place. However, I know there will be others who can offer you their hospitality. My contact phone is 02102512292, should you want to call. Otherwise, you can email me using my contact email.

    Looking forward to hearing about your trip.

    Cheers, Tom Besson

    • tombesson
      Posted March 18, 2017 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      OOPS! I thought my contact email would show up, but didn’t see it. my email is

      You’ll probably see the Pancake rocks north of Greymouth, and the Hokitika Gorge about 30 minutes east of Hokitika is a lovely place for a wander. You’ll have lots to see on your visit, so enjoy what you can in the time that you can.

      Cheers, Tom Besson

  4. Posted March 19, 2017 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Jerry, There’s a few of us around Nelson who’d be happy to help (transport, accommodation, a session at a winery, bush walks, etc). My email is, and phone numbers:
    1. +64 3 541 0894
    2. +63 210 220 2257.

    • Posted March 19, 2017 at 12:47 am | Permalink

      Oops, 2nd phone number was wrong!

      Jerry, There’s a few of us around Nelson who’d be happy to help (transport, accommodation, a session at a winery, bush walks, etc). My email is, and phone numbers:
      1. +64 3 541 0894
      2. +64 210 220 2257.

      • Graeme Ferrier
        Posted March 19, 2017 at 1:29 am | Permalink

        Hi Jerry – It would be great to catch up and share a glass of wine and a meal at one of our lovely vineyards. I’m a member of the Nelson Science Society as per Simon’s contact above.
        Phone +64 3 5394094 or +64 221 621 676

  5. boggy
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    The Saturday street market in Nelson is the best I have ever seen, so try to go. Failing Nelson on the Sat, try Motueka on the Sunday, a bit hippier than Nelson.

  6. boggy
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Robert Fitzroy (Commander of the Beagle)was Governor of NZ 1843-45 and was involved in the Wairau massacre near Nelson when Some Europeans were massacred by Maoris in a dispute over land rights. Fitzroy made himself unpopular with his bosses in England by his view that Maoris had rights also.

  7. MKray
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Near Nelson, in Brightwater, is Ernest Rutherford’s birthplace. There is an internationally funded monument, but ignore the horrible statue meant to represent the young Rutherford. If you pass through Havelock, on the road from Nelson to Picton, tip your hat to the town where Rutherford went to school. And do recall that the greatest experimental physicist since Faraday ended up as Lord Rutherford of Nelson.

    • tombesson
      Posted March 19, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      A Nelson neighbor who grew up in Havelock once told me that the Rutherford brothers would ride their family bull to the pub because the bull knew its’ way back to the farm after they had enjoyed a night of the local brew. I don’t know if Ernest was one of them, but I always got a kick out of thinking of him astride his ‘designated driver’.

%d bloggers like this: