Oh, some days it would be better to stay in a warm bed

Both our photographs today show some pretty iridescence - when different colours are visible depending on where the light is and the angle an object is viewed at. Think of a paua shell. A wave breaking on the Otago shore has an iridescent veil. Photo: Ali
Both our photographs today show some pretty iridescence - when different colours are visible depending on where the light is and the angle an object is viewed at. Think of a paua shell. A wave breaking on the Otago shore has an iridescent veil. Photo: Ali McArthur
Things come in threes, they say.

Yesterday morning was one of those. I started pouring milk into my early cup of tea, and smelly curds and whey fell out all over the bench, overtopping my mug and making a revolting mess. The milk had been fine on Sunday.

Time for a shave. I managed to get a few blobs of gel out of the canister - not enough to shave with, but enough to make my hands really slippery when I got hold of the new, full, can. I pressed the top with my greasy fingers to get more gel, but not hard enough. So I pressed harder - and squirted masses of gel all over the wall.

Time for a shower. The water didn't feel very warm. Of course, I'd just got shampoo in my hair and the water went stone cold.

Who else has had a run of three bits of luck like that? It's worth remembering, of course, that all of these are pathetic first-world problems.

Wasp invasion

Remember that story last week about the wintering-over wasp on Phyll Esplin's scarf?

Margaret White of Oamaru has her own hair-raising tale of marauding nasties in the middle of the colder months.

''Several years ago, while home alone at night, I noticed what seemed like a few bees circling our lounge room light. I had the fire going, as it was the middle of winter.

''Thinking it strange, I looked closer at the rather dozy insects, and was amazed to see they were wasps, slowly travelling up to the light - and with a slight buzz they kept adding to their number.

''Serious panic stations!

''It only took a few minutes to realise where they came from - yes, the woodbox by the fire. The warmth had woken them up.

''First I found a jar with sticky jam, putting it on the coffee table hoping they would go to it. Then I grabbed the woodbox containing several logs and heaved it out on to the porch. Investigating I found more wasps, lying sneakily in the cracks of the logs, originally from the wood heap from the yard.

''Needless to say, the woodbox was banished from the lounge forever more. I'm not going to risk that again.

''I have heard since that this is happening to others, and that on close inspection they find wasps in their wood heap.''

Use your headlights

Talk of the reluctance of many New Zealand drivers to use their headlights on gloomy winter days fired up Noel White of Alexandra.

Vivid iridescence in some very high cirrus clouds, possibly more than 10,000m above Central Otago. Iridescence is also seen in rare nacreous, or mother-of-pearl clouds, which form in the stratosphere about 20,000m or higher above the earth's surface. Phot
Vivid iridescence in some very high cirrus clouds, possibly more than 10,000m above Central Otago. Iridescence is also seen in rare nacreous, or mother-of-pearl clouds, which form in the stratosphere about 20,000m or higher above the earth's surface. Photo: Louise Ind
''I have lived in Alexandra for five years now, and it never ceases to amaze me why people in this area insist on driving in fog, low cloud, or at dusk or dawn when visibility is marginal, without their lights on.

''I have driven in these conditions to Roxburgh, Cromwell, Queenstown etc and at times almost half the cars have no lights on. I have even seen a white police car come over the Alexandra bridge in heavy fog with no lights.

''Others just have parking lights on, which are not only useless but I believe it is illegal to drive solely on these lights. Most of the 'fog lights' on cars are almost as bad, as most of them are so badly set up that all they do is dazzle oncoming drivers.

''Is it a macho thing, do you think, or are people just ignorant of the fact that it is very difficult to see them in these conditions, particularly when their car is a dark colour?

''Years ago, when living in Singapore, taxi drivers used to turn their lights off 'to save fuel', so we would be hurtling through villages, rubber plantations etc with no idea of what was on the road ahead. Surely that can't be the reason why people here are so reluctant to let other road users know they are there?

''I consider it a real problem. Maybe an education campaign by the police is needed to enlighten drivers?''

Good idea, Noel. And while the police are at it, how about getting tough on those using cellphones while driving?

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