I remember when the government helped young people to move up in the world. It was a time when all mothers got the Family Benefit, which could be turned into a deposit (capitalised) on a house with an affordable State Advances mortgage. I also remember when inexpensive night school classes for school certificate and university entrance were common. And also affordable university evening extension courses leading to professional qualifications. Labour and National governments abandoned the leg-up philosophy as well as collective responsibility. Union protection was replaced with individual contracts and, conveniently, a low wage economy.
I never imagined I’d sit with my mother as she died. Or view her a few days later.
But then I never imagined we would be right there in our kitchen with our vet, Brendan, as he gave Bill his last injection. The ‘we’, included Suzy, Bill’s canine litter-mate of thirteen years.
A friend who had been away from home for several weeks was complaining about how much the weeds had grown in his absence. And worse, before he could attend to this, he had to take another unscheduled trip, which left no competition between him and the rambling mini forest (okay – a wee exaggeration!) on his return.
With my background in psychology, this led me to reflect on our minds and the weeds we let grow, sometimes unwittingly, and the way those plants can take over our thinking.
This morning my sister sent me a copy of my 6-year-old nephew’s report. It was a surprisingly good read!
Writing school reports is a dying art. Please don’t get me wrong. I have been a teacher for much of my life and I completely understand that it is no longer possible or acceptable to say just what you think about your students. As teachers drown under mountains of paperwork, face rising class sizes and exacting standards of political correctness there is little option but to follow carefully set guidelines.
He’d been lying overnight in the debris of leaves and kindling from seasons past. Hiding like the rest of us from July’s polar blast we thought. He’d buried his nose in the pillow of leaves and created one hell of a mess – sticks and leaves and dirt scattered everywhere on the path. We let him slumber for the weather remained bleak and lots of people were doing much the same in rather more cozy beds.
One of the strangest post-crucifixion superstitions is that Christians should not do any laundry on Good Friday, because the garments will never wash truly clean.
Why? Legend has it that while Jesus was being taken away to be crucified, he was slapped in the face by a wet garment and dirty laundry water, so he issued a curse that no such washing should ever be done again on that day .
There are other Good Friday superstitions:
Alas, among the thousands of hectares of felled trees, it is possible there were a number of Kauri larger that the present ‘giant’, Tane Mahuta in Waipoua State Forest Sanctuary in Northland.
Kopi in Omahuta and Toronui in Waipoua, outranked Tane Mahuta until blown down by storms.
The largest measured tree far exceeded the height and volume of Tane Mahuta.
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.
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.
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?