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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 7 (October 1, 1934)

Pressing Problems

page 12

Pressing Problems

Life is a laundry for Pressing Problems. Fortune's flat-iron smoothes us smartly or smarts us smoothly. Life's pressing processes include a multitude of methods, such as the X-press, the De-press, the Suppress, the In-press, the Com-press, the Re-press, and flatty degeneration of the heart. When the iron mentors our soul we wilt or we won't according to the state of our starch. Some buckle and bulge, others get a gloss that won't wear, the languid lie limp and lustreless, and a few are a-frayed and dis-made and pass their daze covering a multitude of skins. But life is pressing and the game goes on:—

Collars and shirts, into the pails,
Made ones and frayed ones, and
shirts without tails;
Into the starch pot and out on the line,
Life in his laundry rejoices, “all
“Heat up the flat-irons—and see they
are hot,
And let us get busy with this little
Some boast a texture to stand any
Others look limp like a sorely soaked
Some shriek and wriggle as Life gets
to work
And finds out the places where rude
wrinkles lurk.
Life does ‘em all and his iron never
But sometimes a shirt is so worn that
it tears.
Sometimes a collar lets go with a
As the iron finds a spot that has always
been weak.
’But Life knows his launders and
wots without doubt
That the laundry unerringly finds a
shirt out.

Asking and Deceiving.

The hot-press leaves an impress of D-press, Re-press or X-press. X-press is man's method of concealing what he ought to say behind what he says. But time was when his tongue was the hand-maiden of his mind instead of the jailer of his J-P's and Q's; for human articulation arose originally from an ingrown urge to ask for things; but even before he could actually articulate in the first person puerile, or make his language liquid on the pint at issue, he was sufficiently proficient in requestrian exercise to deliver a demand in dubious notes uttered from his air pockets. When he wanted anything, from a wife to the wish-bone of a wombat, he gave short and succinct notice of commotion (or “causis bedlam”), before taking Opportunity on the ’op. If the party in possession was smart enough to lead a club, he cribbed the steak with “one for his knob”
“Much of our vocabulary is su-piffle-ous.”

“Much of our vocabulary is su-piffle-ous.”

and there was no further argument—being as how it takes two ‘to augment an argument. From this pre-historic practice arose the term “hie jack-pot.” Sometimes, in those dim distraught days of dumb-crambo, even unaspirated air was unnecessary, as the eye often acted as an apt pupil of the earliest Hitlerites.

Vocal and Focal.

The eye can be vocal as well as focal. Even to-day the language of Love is often operated through the optic, disproving the theory that love is a “blind.” But the optickle illusions of love can be discounted as an hysterical feat rather than an historical fact, for Love laughs at lock-smiths, lock-jaw, lock-outs, knock-outs, sacri-farcical homecooking (or burnt offerings), and other hazards of the I-seize; anything that can do all that has more valor than value, as a witness for the Defiance. But, as a weapon of defence, the eye can often say more than a claymore. Sometimes, while the lips lisp of love and laughter the optic emits the “gypsy's warning” with icycles on. page 13 Often, while the lips smile, the lamps revile; while the organ-pipes wheeze “how do you do,” the premonitory peeper pronounces “rats to you,” or some such rodentry remark.

Su-piffle-ous Solecisms.

But, to the puerile all things are puerile, and the average humming bean would be practically dumb in blinkers, proving that much of our vocabulary is vain and su-piffle-ous. Certainly sometimes the world would go less flat if less talk went round. Which reminds us:

Suppose this earth of ours were flat,
As level as a flap-jack's hat,
And didn't even have a hedge,
Or anything around the edge,
Which one might lean upon or clutch,
To save one from a “drop too much.”
When passengers took off from shore
For Sandy Hook, or else the Nore,
They'd never know from day to day,
When they might sail the Milky Way.
But danger might be met with suits
Blown up with gas, or parachutes,
Adjusted to the frame with care,
In case the ship should take the air;
And friends and relatives might dirge,
“For those in peril on the verge.”
And Lloyds no doubt would oft' declare,
“This vessel's fate is in the air.”
Our earth that's round may oft' seem flat, But still we're safe from things like that.

The Freudom of Speech.

But a world flat or fat has little beering on the Freudom of speech. Nine-tenths of even modern lunguage when trans-elated fun-dementally means nothing more than “gimmey,” “I-wanter,” or some such clamorous claimer.

If it were true that “man wants for little here below” he could get along nicely with one or two assorted snorts like the ox and the “oss” and other members of the sterner sects. Why, a cow, by unlatching her grass-chute and unleashing her a-cow's-ticks, can issue
Navy Cut

Navy Cut

A cash-uality

A cash-uality

a complaint (when she is in the moo-d) calculated to make a whine merchant sound like a gay caballero. A sheep can express a world of “whoa” in a one bar “bah.” It seems such a waste of wind for man to have invented oodles of tortured chin-chaff almost solely for saying, “pass the mustard,” “mine's a beer,” or “that will be ninepence.”

‘Means’ and Moans.

But, bootless or soul-less, man's interior yearnings dominate his exterior earnings; if, by saying more he can get more, it is easily explained why he talks himself to death. But, by the insane token, money is only “scrap” which is more scrapped over than scrapped, and perhaps man is more skinned against than skinning. Money means either means or moans and, boiled down to a mess of pot-hooks, it mis-represents the difference between getting all you don't really want and wanting all you don't really get.

Vittle statistics prove that money is responsible for more debts than any other form of slickness. Many cashualities also occur through people's failure to observe the role of the rude and the laws of the high seize. Truly, money is the mote in the beam-ends, but it is also responsible for such wealth-giving sports as “hurling the discount,” “Over-draughts,” “Stakes and adders” (usually indulged in on racecourses), “Half-crown and rancor,” and “Hope Scotch.” We will say nothing about “cash returns” because we have discovered that it never does. But while on the subject we must mention that old old song, forever new, “When you and I were stung, Maggie.”

Say it with Song.

Speaking of song, how true that sage saying, “where there's croak there's ire!” For song has ever been man's method of promulgating moral uplift by aural uproar. Song certainly fires the imagination although it frequently incinerates the emotions. Song can make the soul soar—or sore. Song can express or depress, stimulate or simulate. It is an inspiration to higher searchers and hire purchase.

We sing when we're sad,
We sing when we're glad,
We sing on life's path,
We sing in the bath,
We warble of love,
Of stars up above,
Of roses and mothers,
Of lovers and others,
Of corned beef and carrots,
Of sailor's pet parrots,
Of any old thing
We humans will sing.
We don't seem to care
What we put on the air,
The reason is plain—
Though it may give you pain—
In song we express
All our verbal excess.

page 14

Tongariro National Park

Week-end railway trips to the Chateau have been exceedingly popular this winter, which has been an exceptionally good one for those interested in snow-sports. The running of an afternoon express from Auckland has greatly facilitated travel arrangements, guests leaving the Northern city at three o'clock arriving at National Park before midnight.

An approaching snow storm at Chateau Tongariro, North Island, New Zealand.

An approaching snow storm at Chateau Tongariro, North Island, New Zealand.

The express thundered on and on through the night, wheels clack-clacking in monotonous rhythm, carriages swaying to the curves of heavy bush country south of Taumarunui. The moon rode high above the tall trees, a disc of silver caught and held in the rippling sea of fleecy clouds that raced across the face of the sky…. A sharp, bright night, with the tingle of frost and snow in the air, a night that held promise of good sport at the Chateau next day—if we got through! For the worst blizzard of years had come tearing down from Ruapehu's icy slopes a few days before, and the roads of National Park were buried deep in snow. But the prospect of a week-end's skiing was good enough to send two or three score of Aucklanders hurrying off in a spirit of optimism and simple faith in the ability of the Chateau management to rise to all emergencies. So I dozed fitfully in the pleasantly warmed carriage, and woke suddenly to a glare of hard white light outside. Snow! It lay thick on the fallen tree trunks beside the track, carpeted the ground, and ran in gleaming rivers of white down the steep banks into the gullies. We were nearing Raurimu, a real snow-town, deep in sleep beneath the midnight stars. Strangely white was the Spiral track, all the huge boulders turned into gleaming mounds, the bush streams, rivulets of ink running between wastes of snow and ice. Half an hour later we were crowding into roomy motor buses at National Park, with the white trail of the road glittering beneath the strong headlights.

Many a time had I motored, tramped and ridden down the long, level road from old Waimarino station to Whakapapa, but never had I travelled down a Snow King's way such as we traversed that night! The tussock, the tall spear leaves of the flax, all the roadside shrubs were half buried in snow; the road itself was thickly glazed with ice, and down by the Mahuia cutting, there were road-side drifts eight or ten feet deep. All that day, and the previous day, a gang of men had been shovelling away the masses of snow piled across the road, and our cars were the first to get through without the aid of the tractor.

Through the beech forest beyond the lonely little Haunted Whare ran the white ribbon of the road. Presently the glitter of lights across the snow heralded journey's end, and a few moments later we were in the beautiful Chateau lounge, blessing the kindly forethought that had provided steaming hot tea and an appetising supper on this cold and frosty morning, for it was now nearly one o'clock, and we were chilled and tired.

But nobody was tired next morning. A very few hours of sleep suffice in these invigorating altitudes, and before ten o'clock, the entire stock of skis and snow-sticks in the Chateau equipment room was exhausted. The snow was over a foot deep outside the building; and girls and boys were swooping down the ramp on skis from the front door! We took our first tumbles on the golf course, then gaining confidence, made
Whakapapa, Tongariro National Park.

Whakapapa, Tongariro National Park.

page 15 our way round to the back of the Chateau, through the strip of beech forest, and out on to the Taranaki Road, a flat white track winding through a field of snow that stretched for miles from the base of the three great mountains to the hills on the far horizon.

There were no instructors to make easy the way of the novice; the only ski school in which we enrolled was that of hard won experience, and if anybody thinks this ski business is child's play, not to be taken seriously, let him or her land upside down in a snow-drift with legs crossed, and a pair of seven-foot skis waving hysterically in the bright blue sky above! A few experiences such as this, a few additional spills through leaning too far forward—these are the worst of all!—a few hours pushing up through the snow-covered tussock in order to come swooping down again—well! if by any chance there is a single muscle in one's body that has not been exercised to aching point, it is the root of the tongue! But the appetite one carries in to dinner that night is superb! So we stayed out all day, as pretty a day, as pretty a scene, as one could wish to see, a world of snow and mountains, a singing blue sky, dark forests, league upon league of snowy plain stretching out to the clear blue hills thirty miles away, and up and down the white road, groups of men and girls on skis. Many of them were experts, practising for the Winter Snow Sports, swooping down steep slopes, ducking deftly under crossed snow-sticks, executing stunts and giddy turns, doing all the tricky things that make these sports a show worth miles of travel to see.

But late that afternoon a searching, scolding wind came down from the icy heights, and the tree tops swayed and tossed against a sky of sullen thunder-blue… . A sky of anger and un-ease, the menace of dark clouds piling up all round the wide circle of the horizon, the last of the snow-flakes whipping off the trees; there was no surprise in the heavy patter of rain that started soon after dinner that night. And with the rain, the storm broke, a storm that raged all night, shouting and roaring all round the great solid building, driving deluges that lashed against the windows like a million grey witches' whips.

Next morning the snow had vanished. The ski-track was a thing of sodden desolation, a grey and muddy morass winding through uncovered wastes of tussock. But the forest road across the Whakapapanui was still almost a foot deep in snow, so we trudged a couple of miles up to the roadmen's hut, where a band of enthusiasts was acquiring a few additional degrees of ski-skill. Next morning, they said, they were going right up to Salt Hut; the barometer was rising, it would freeze hard that night, and there would be splendid fun for all up at Scoria Flat.

But next morning I was back in a city office, looking out over the top of my typewriter at a strip of blue sky, shining gloriously over several acres of roof tops and chimney pots… .