Rumours greatly overstated

Fantails huddling together for warmth on a foggy, hoar-frosty afternoon at Lauder Station. Photo:...
Fantails huddling together for warmth on a foggy, hoar-frosty afternoon at Lauder Station. Photo: Lauder Station
Rumours of my demise — more accurately, the demise of What’s With That? — have been greatly exaggerated. I’d use the word "overexaggerated", but isn’t that redundant and an exaggeration in itself?

Great to know there are loyal followers out there who have noticed other stories running instead on page two in the past week. I’m still chuckling at one email which said, not all that encouragingly: "I don’t see ‘WWT’ in the paper any longer. What’s with that? Ratings drop?".

Crikey, that’s a pretty cut-throat approach. I’m pleased that writer is not in charge! It was only me having a few days off.

Filter lights

Do any of you have issues with the green and red filters on some traffic lights?

They are meant to make it easier, and safer, to turn across oncoming traffic. But I struck one the other evening which was just an annoyance.

Trying to turn from Stuart St into Queens Dr by Moana Pool, the right-turning filter stayed steadfastly red on me while  nothing was coming down the hill, probably for 10 seconds or so. Then, finally, I got the green filter light, just as cars came within 100m or so of the lights on the other side of the road.

Doesn’t that seem a little bizarre and a waste of time for both right-turners and those driving down from Roslyn?

I guess it was at least better than getting stuck with a red filter and then not getting a green filter, but having to wait for ages to turn on the green, due to approaching cars.

Let me know if there are any filter lights around the region that have been irritating you.

Decimal changeover

You might remember that when I disappeared on leave we were talking about the introduction of decimal currency in 1967.

Trevor Williams, of Wanaka, recalls the metric-measurement changeover as it affected construction of the Cumberland St overbridge in Dunedin.

"It was designed in the city engineer’s department of the Dunedin City Council in about 1970-71, with construction starting in about 1974 and finishing in 1977.

"The change to metric measurement in the construction industry was timed by the government to occur in about 1973 — considerably later than July 10, 1967. Thus the bridge was designed in feet and inches, as it was expected that it would be started well before the metric deadline.

"In the event, the cost estimate done when the design was completed and they were ready to call tenders was considerably higher than the arranged funding. This caused a delay of a year or two while the extra funds were arranged by the council and the National Roads Board.

"When the contract was finally awarded, the construction industry had changed to the metric system. The contractor, Wilkins & Davies, had to re-equip with the old imperial-measurement equipment that had been discarded by then.

"Thus the bridge is probably the last structure in the city to be built with imperial-system measurements."

I wonder if anyone can tell the difference?

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