Alien litterbugs, evil puppets; the stuff of dreams

Something's missing in this wonderful old photograph of Dunedin, taken from the hill at St Clair...
Something's missing in this wonderful old photograph of Dunedin, taken from the hill at St Clair in the summer of 1961-62. Yep, you guessed it - or maybe you didn't: the 105m transmitting tower at the summit of Mt Cargill. PHOTO: THE EVENING STAR
Surely it isn't only me who dreams? Oh, sorry, only me and Sally Thomas' mother?

There I was earlier this week, out on a rather humiliating limb yet again, sharing my dream world with you all, hoping it might elicit some response. "Shopping with Jacinda", the page two headline, screamed of my dream of the Prime Minister, albeit slightly less loudly than the even-more humiliating "Dreaming about Jacinda" that was the initial suggestion.

Needless to say I've come in for a bit of (good-natured) stick round here for that dream. I'm just hoping one of her media minders has sent her a copy in Europe. Heck, she may even have shared it with German Chancellor Angela Merkel the other day!

So I have to say I'm rather disappointed that nobody - with one exception so far - wants to share their dreams. Come on, we all know you have them!

Perhaps you'd rather talk about nightmares? When I was a kid I used to have this recurring one about glove puppets chasing me. It really freaked me out. I think it may have come from being at the English seaside and seeing those awful Punch and Judy shows on the beach. Even today I get nervous at the thought, or sight, of a ventriloquist's dummy.

Anyway, thank goodness for Sally Thomas. She appears to be the only other dreamer - until now - who reads this column.

Sally emails to say she has "always remembered a dream my mother told me over 50 years ago".

"She was in a plane and a UFO came alongside them and threw something out the window. The plane landed quickly so they could find out what they had thrown out. It was orange peelings."

Yep, that sounds like a dream. Thanks Sally. I just wonder, as it was more than 50 years ago, was it in black-and-white?

Standing ready now for your dreams to come pouring through.

Finding Nimmo

Is there a photograph of an Alexander Nimmo, a decorated World War 1 soldier, out there somewhere?

I'm asking because we've got an interesting ODT feature coming up on the 1918 Armenian massacres and the links to Otago.

Two heroes of the story are Robert Nicol, a decorated Gallipoli veteran from Lower Hutt, and Alexander Nimmo, described as "formerly a farmer from Mosgiel".

They served in an elite unit known as "Dunsterforce", which was to secure the Baku oil fields. But Messrs Nicol and Nimmo were part of a small detachment that ended up encountering a refugee column and attacking Ottoman soldiers.

The bus shelter at the corner of Highgate and Drivers Rd in Maori Hill - one of those that...
The bus shelter at the corner of Highgate and Drivers Rd in Maori Hill - one of those that actually does shelter people from the elements - has taken a bit of a knock, by the look of it. Anyone know what happened here? PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Mr Nicol was killed and Mr Nimmo survived. His courage earned him a Distinguished Conduct Cross.

It would add to the article if we could include a photograph of Mr Nimmo. We also wonder what happened to Mr Nimmo after the war.

Please get in touch if you can help. Thanks.


Mentioning moths the other day took me back to my first job 30-odd years ago at the old MetService at Kelburn in Wellington.

Anyone who has been in Wellington after dark may have seen a line of fluorescent lights shining from windows up the hill from the city. On warm nights, moths are drawn to these windows - of the fourth-floor forecast room - like they are bright beacons.

The story used to be that big moths (were they ghost moths or puriri moths?) would bombard the windows during the hours of darkness. Those on night shift would collect the ones that had got inside and died, and pop them in the old Lamson vacuum-tube machine. They'd then send them down to the mailroom, to give the clerk a surprise when she arrived in the morning.

Who remembers Lamson tubes? In some ways they were almost like an early form of internal email. They were such fun - fill the little container with whatever, shut the door and they'd blast off to the next floor.

We had them at the old weather office at Christchurch Airport, for dispatching weather information up to the control tower, and they were also used in many large organisations and big department stores, such as Penrose's in Dunedin and Ballantynes in Christchurch. The shop assistant would send your money off in the canister and your change would come back 30 seconds later.

I was amazed to discover we still have working Lamson tubes in the Allied Press building, on the ground floor. Classified advertisements are sent via the tubes for checking on the first floor.

I also recall hearing vintage stories of MetService staff attempting to send apples and even cups of tea through them.

Or was I dreaming?

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