Took a double-decker into Auckland the other day and felt as if we had been  hibernating - so much had changed.  Commuters joined, full of youth and energy - then sat silent, plugged into audio temples of their choice. Choice - and fragile freedoms - but at what price when their future may be unaffordable?   Maybe that's why they tune out.

 

Of rage and compassion…

Little Auckland has some of the problems its truly large cousins suffer from.

Sometimes it’s a comic opera of irritations and at others, flashpoints which could turn nasty. Road rage for example. Or more curiously – supermarket trolley rage. Come on, I hear you say. That’s silly – but not if you’re elderly, routinely civil and at the receiving end.

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There is nothing like a Knight…

I’ve been thinking about John Key for some time. John who? Yes, exactly. The New Zealand electorate’s love affair with John Key, which is still far beyond my understanding, seems to have ceased the moment he gave up being prime minister. It is as if he was swallowed by the hole of regretful memories. Does anyone remember why they loved him? Or is it a case of being embarrassed by a teenage romance best forgotten? Forgotten until recently, that is, when he popped up with a knighthood.

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Shining a light on batteries

I’m very confused about all the different types of batteries and have so many questions—what do the different types mean? Are they all hazardous? Which batteries are recyclable and which aren’t? What about the wee round ones like those from my husband’s hearing aids that sometimes get sucked up into my vacuum cleaner?

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Autumn keeps on giving…

It is a beautiful autumn day with the most perfect interplay of clouds and light playing on dappled trees. The vivid yellow, orange and almost red leaves on the season’s palette are stunning. And beneath them, crinkled and in sepia,  leaves carpet and the lush green of lawns, rustling and whispering: “The show’s not over… not yet!”

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For ‘disconcerting’ readers a July Miscellany…

 Bedrooms: 3  Bathrooms: 2  Garaging: 2 Grammar:  nil – read on:

….. one our most popular designs for those looking for a superb home that will tick all the boxes. From you the moment you walk through the front door you will notice the large living area and good use of space. This unique floor plan offers the disconcerting buyer a stunning open plan living area which opens out to the ideal outdoor entertaining area with the added bonus of a sun nook, media room and beautiful open gas fire place’.

(We think they meant discerning buyers…)

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The PM Confessionals

 I watched Radio New Zealand’s Guyon Espiner’s interviews of past prime ministers on the computer to check out the body language as well as the words. I took notes of the  show (The Ninth Floor),  but with my prejudices it’s just as well I didn’t try journalism as a career. So let me state from the outset  that Jenny Shipley is far and away my least favourite PM. She reminds me even now of a bossy head girl who’s never had a moment’s self doubt.

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Superstitions and why we have them

Left-handedness

It is totally unfair to people born  left-handed, but ancient superstitions are firm that the right hand  belongs to  God and the left hand belongs to the Devil, who also lives part of his time over your left shoulder.

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Kiwiosities – The legend of the Kiwi Otter

The legend of the Kiwi Otter

Despite the fact that no one  has ever found a skeleton, the legend of the New Zealand otter persists, particularly in the back country of Southland. In her book  New Zealand Mysteries, Robin  Gossett has collected a  wealth of anecdotes from  witnesses, including  Maori traditions of a small  otter like animal called the  waitoreke.

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The Fence

From the archives

She turned 90 last week, the years growing while she shrinks.

She welcomed us from behind the bars of the grill on her back door, her smile – one part surprise and nine parts scepticism. It said: You remembered – finally.

Her leg, which always gave her trouble, is swollen and bandaged, but in every other way, neither she nor the house she’s lived in for 50 years has changed. The same silvery hair, sensible shoes, and curiosity about little things. The same spiritedness too – and the same hurt, though initially it doesn’t surface.

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