Farewell to a former colleague

Bill Veitch talked in the column last week about the 350cc Douglas shown by Dunedin motorcycle...
Bill Veitch talked in the column last week about the 350cc Douglas shown by Dunedin motorcycle dealer W. Justice at the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition in 1925-26. Bill and his father bought it from original owner Jack Leslie in the 1960s. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Now that winter has arrived in the South, we can at least sit back and smile at some happy memories of an extended and early spring.

The snow looked wonderful swirling around Arrowtown and Queenstown yesterday morning. It was another success for the old southern theory that ``it's been too warm - you watch, snow is on the way''.

Actually it cheered me up to see the snow. The death notices in the paper included one for T. Michael Shelton, a former business editor of the ODT, leader writer and Prester John columnist from the 1970s through the 1990s.

I remember Mike as down-to-earth and pragmatic, with a droll northern English sense of humour. He was generous with his time and always had an ironic story or three to tell.

He was not a flashy man. That was reflected in his mode of transport to work from his Abbotsford home and in his clothes.

I always recall him arriving on his 125cc motorbike on filthy wet winter afternoons in old, tattered, oilskins. And there, one covering each shoe, were plastic bags. Not your usual business editor attire, as some round here remarked at the time.

Vale Mike. It was good working with you.

Booking by app

Now a First World problem moan and a cautionary tale for those of you who book things via cellphone apps.

Former ODT business editor Michael Shelton working on sharetables one evening in 1980. The paper...
Former ODT business editor Michael Shelton working on sharetables one evening in 1980. The paper on Mike's desk mentions flooding at Kelso, which probably means this was taken early in June that year. PHOTO: ODT ARCHIVES
It concerns a taxi company in Christchurch and a lack of taxis.

It wouldn't be fair to name the company, although it had a colour in its name and that colour was not blue, yellow or red.

I booked a cab via the app about two hours ahead of time on the Intercity bus from Dunedin, and received a booking confirmation on the app and also by email.

After waiting at Riccarton's Church Corner late on Friday night for 10 minutes, with no sign of a taxi turning up, I called the company's number in the email, only to be told by an insistent operator they had no record of my booking, they only had four taxis and they were all at Christchurch Airport.

Fortunately it was a warm evening, I just had one bag and it was only a 25-minute walk home. The spring blossoms smelt beautiful and it wasn't the end of the world or anything. If it had been raining, I would have been considerably grumpier.

What I'm finding difficult to fathom is, surely if you have an email saying ``Hello, we would like to confirm a booking for Paul Gorman ...'', and an order number in the app, that means just that - that they have received the booking? Pretty poor I thought all round. I've now deleted that app.

Toffee tales

Talking of Mackintosh's Toffees, Ian Williams, of Dunedin, has a story to tell.

The dangers of me making assumptions. Natalie Wilson says she should have made it clearer her...
The dangers of me making assumptions. Natalie Wilson says she should have made it clearer her grandfather is at far right (not centre, as I assumed) of the photo of Moray Pl rabbit-skin depot R.S. Black in 1938. PHOTO: NATALIE WILSON FAMILY COLLECTION
In 1979, Brunton Gestro Horne, the advertising agency he worked for in Auckland, was given the job of launching a new mint Mackintosh's Toffee, named ``Chew Mints''.

``I came up with the idea of re-creating the `goodbye scene' from the award-winning Bogart-Bergman movie, Casablanca, which Mackintosh's `bought'.

``This was an expensive business - try finding a 1940s aeroplane in New Zealand - but finally the commercial was shot and, as the saying goes, in the can.

``Then out of the blue, Mackintosh's discovered that years earlier they'd signed an agreement with another New Zealand toffee maker that they'd never make and market a mint toffee in New Zealand. So, as the showbiz saying goes, it was a `no show'.''

 

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