Me and the dentist are strangers but I know I’m in good company there. It’s not the childhood memories – though these linger and range from the scary whine of the drill to the dull ache which often followed. It’s not the money either (okay, it is) – dental work these days is brutally expensive.
Friends joke that they knew we’d come home crowing about Oz; how much sunnier it was – and all those beaches.
They were right – and wrong: Eight days in Melbourne and we saw the sun only when our Air New Zealand flight lifted off the tarmac. Beaches? Sort of. Great long strips lacking the intimacy of ours, with their Pohutukawa blossoms and streams meandering their way into the sea.
We did however return with something unexpected – memories of a vibrant public broadcasting industry.
The top, the best, the most admirable. Bollocks came into use in the 1700s as a slang term for testicles. As a stand-alone word it is used as a put-down: ‘bollocks’ means rubbish, ‘bollocking’ means a severe chastising and ‘dropping a bollock’ means a big mistake.
How this usage reversed into a term of high praise when referring to the testicles of a dog has never been clear. One possibility put forward is that because a dog’s bollocks are often quite prominent, there could be a connection between the word ‘ bollocks’ and the word ‘outstanding’.
‘Living off the hind tit’
Perhaps better known as a form of tax evasion, ‘living off the hind tit’ was widely practised in those favoured sectors of the economy where subsidies and allowances flourished until the 1980s. In business the cost of commuting, daily means and entertainment were deducted from income as were car bills (add magazines and grocery items to the petrol account), corporate yachts and club memberships.
Once upon a time in Paradise, hotels and resorts sprung up like flowers in spring. The rulers of Paradise and international hotel chains smiled, “Paradise will be the new destination for our tourists.”
And so it was. Tourists flew in and experienced the pleasures of Paradise. But along the way, the wind changed direction and nearly twenty years later decayed and abandoned resorts dot the isles of Paradise.
Since 2001 JAFAs have quite rightly called it None Tree Hill. Some even grew accustomed to the sight of the shorn iconic cone in their midst. Most people assumed that a tree would be planted soon after the Monterey pine was attacked for the second time in 1999 by Maori activists. Not so. All it took was a mere 15 years of PC tip-toeing over protocols and types of trees.