Category archive: Encounters

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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The silent spectator at the awards….

auckland_boys_grammar_school

We are in the  great hall of Auckland Grammar, tip-toeing up the stairs to  the balcony overlooking the  stage and the ground floor.    In the belly of the  domed hall,  some 2,000 students wriggle  in tightly organised rows,  their collective chatter sounding  like some  human beehive.

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War and Peace

There they were – a family straight out of one of those irritating television advertisements. Sitting together on a park bench – handsome dad, attractive mum, two photogenic kids.

When I looked again the kids had gone – playing with wild abandon on the nearby swings and slides, Then something caught my eye.

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Water, water everywhere…

What happens if you’re in the middle of Auckland with its 60-plus ethnicities and  want just a sip, not a bottle of water?

Linguistic confusion. It’s born out of the locals taking their lingo for granted – and new arrivals interpreting what they say,  just a little too literally.

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Babyboomer on board…

auckland-northstarDay 1:  Slightly lost. Ask an old derro if the 277 bus goes past here.

“No Sevens here!” he shouts and I move away just a little. “No mate,  not here. Only Sixes come past here” he yells.

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Wet and moist and dry and arid

She runs a  computer and  gizmo repair business in  a Central Auckland Mall. When I visited with   my  lame duck cellphone  which didn’t  seem to want to re-charge, she diagnosed the problem  immediately.  Mould, or at least something resembling that  at the end of the  charger line.

Hmm” she  said, casting for the word.  “Wet…”

“Damp”  I said, thinking it would help.

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Seeing ourselves more clearly…

For a long time, my friend, a former journalist and writing pro used to be on my case.

Every few months we would catch up for a coffee at the local and have a rant and rave about all things that either fired us up or depressed us including injuries and accidental mishaps!

That is what you do with your friends, right?

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Unfinished business

Ohau cyclewayI met a group of fellow cycling tourists at Lake Ohau Lodge, a stopover between Twizel and Omarama on the Alps to Ocean bike trail. One of them wore an exasperated frown when she said, “Why do New Zealanders not tell the truth about the standard of the trail? What are they afraid of?” I was taken aback, as much by the irony as the question.

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The day I met my birth mother (Part one)

‘William David Paget’ began the address on the envelope. Whoever could be addressing me in such a formal way?

Ministry of Social Development.

Then I noticed the sender’s address the exterior of the envelope – Department of Social Welfare. Surely no-one was alleging that I might be the father of her child.

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