Twelve children stranded on a ledge kilometres within a Thai cave; more sludge from The White House Swamp; the Soccer World Cup - and much more. So which story drew us together most? Those kids. Their rescuers. And from the beginning, the strength of altruism while most of us can only watch and hope.

Yey! It’s official – we’re a happy lot!!

Good news for  Enzed: we came eighth in World Happiness, one ahead of Australia and Sweden, according to the  Sustainable  Development Solutions Network for the UN.

Happiest  country  of all was Norway,  followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland in a tightly packed bunch. All of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance. Norway has insulated itself from the boom and bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies.

Continue reading

Understanding dementia

My mother once told me in a hushed voice that one of our neighbours might have TB. My mother-in-law spoke behind her hand about epilepsy (“E-P”).  Then, it was considered poor practise to tell people they had cancer (they gave up hope) and of course we never mentioned people with that “condition”, homosexuality! Things have changed. So what makes it so hard in the twenty-first century to talk about dementia?

Continue reading

Words and consequences

As a presidential  candidate Trump dissed reporters  as being ‘slime, ‘dishonest slime’, unfair’, ‘not good people’ – and much more.  In the land where free speech is a constitutional guarantee, he  threatened to  open up libel laws and added: “…we’re going to have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before.”  Much of this  must have been shrugged off by reporters covering his campaign as  Trump’s  bog standard rhetoric.

But then  the Candidate became the President and over his 18 months in office, intensified  his attacks on the media.

Continue reading

It’s a hacienda – sort of

Is it a house? Only just by the look of it.  Are those really gates? Are they ever! Contributor Chris Horan snapped the  Spanish hacienda of sorts when he stayed there,  discovering that it would be unthinkable in  the country  to put a house on the market without such daunting  security. He  found it a  an accepted  characteristic of many Spanish homes and apartments in Calypso.

‘What a way to live!’ he wrote.

Continue reading

Why do boomers do it?

Fairy tales can  come true, it can happen to you, if you’re young at heart, sang the late great Frank Sinatra.  But sometimes being  young  at heart isn’t always the fairy tale  you want, or need.  At a certain age you forget the boomer body you’ve inherited over the years. You  flip back multiple decades to those never-ending summers of youth, when anything  was possible.  It’s then that the less cautious resort to daredevilry, attempt things the boomer body would never allow except that… the teen brain has briefly taken charge. 

Continue reading

Bullies please apply…

Bully wanted: Preferably a person who has a superior grasp of the basic skills and also the personality to communicate in a way that ensures success. The ability to instil fear of failure, to intimidate, to ridicule poor effort, to generate toughness and to inspire by constantly demanding high standards.

Continue reading

Max’s Dogs – Canine inequalities…

Dog Jacket The lifestyle gap between rural dogs and their urban cousins is never more apparent than on a visit to a  city pet shop.  Apart from extensive shelves of  ‘dog toys’ there are also dog toothbrushes (attached to the end of a firm plastic finger  stall for the owner to administer), accompanied by beef flavoured toothpaste. There is shampoo and  conditioner in fragrances of chamomile and  strawberry.  A plastic  ‘peeing post’ treated with a pheromone,  persuades the dog to pee wherever you put the post – rather than where the dog might want it.

Continue reading

Kiwiosities: The redoubtable miner

Bill Fox won his nickname  through his exploits as a gold prospector in central Otago  and Westland during the 1860s.  Patrick William Fox learned mining in California and so  recognised rocks in the Arrow River as similar to rock forms  that bore gold in America.  In secret, he and three partners gathered a fortune in gold.  When they came to bank it at Dunstan (Clyde) others came to track them back  through the gorges of the Arrow.

Continue reading

Not the Swinging Sixties

In the big picture New Zealand prospered in the 1960s. Materialism boomed, the economy flourished, brand-new houses dotted the suburbs and pop music and miniskirts and thumbing noses at conventions, gave spice to the day.

But on the edge of the lupins and the sand hills east of Christchurch, Cheryl Nicol’s childhood memory of 60s life, was one of make-do. In her memoir, A Parallel Universe, as the title suggests, a different world existed.  Life was hard. The picture, is grim.

Continue reading