On This Day – we can call it that now because of its notoriety – we drove through Mt Roskill and paused for the stop-go road worker. We sighed and complied – just another Auckland roading improvement. On the footpath beside us, a Muslim in traditional dress tugged at his reluctant son’s hand and dragged him home as he strode past, looking grim.
One of the joys of de-cluttering for people who didn’t want to do it in the first place, is that you sometimes find unexpected treasures. Things that weren’t that special but for some reason you just couldn’t throw away.
As we foraged through paper mountains in a spare room, we found a special 100th issue of Metro magazine, dated October 1989 and called In Our time – Auckland in the Eighties.
I watched a little of the television coverage of the 2019 Academy Awards and briefly scanned the online updates from sources such as Variety and Indiewire., The was one bright moment in Olivia Coleman’s acceptance speech and the US audience ratings appeared to reverse last year’s slump, but it wasn’t essential viewing. It hasn’t been so for the past decade or more.
Apologies in advance for making your day more miserable than it need be, but a story about young murderers motivated me to find these internet articles on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder:
Note to self: Must stop going to the welcoming sunshine of Nelson. Not because I dislike the place – that’s impossible. It’s because the visits usually coincide with calamities of one sort or another.
First a giant squid washed ashore at Farewell Spit in 2011, then the next year, a mass stranding of pilot whales in Golden Bay in February 2017. And finally, last month’s Nelson fires – the worst in 60 years and the third worst in New Zealand’s history).
The rains were coming, unusually, and the peaches we’d been monitoring in the burning sun for weeks were flushed and ripe on our neighbour’s tree. She invited us to take as many as we liked because she didn’t want the birds to snaffle these delights. Neither did we, and so in her backyard Griff welcomed me and watched as I took to a loaded branch with a six foot bamboo pole.
The Australian expression encapsulates a similar problem that used to trouble sensitive New Zealanders. The principle is that things done or better achieved overseas are necessarily better than those done here. During the 20th century there was an argument for this, as the infant Dominion had too small a population to sustain some artistic enterprises and there was sense in seeking a larger market abroad for books and paintings.
Witches don’t like onions, so keeping one or two in the house is a good protection – but left whole, not peeled or cut.
However there is an ancient superstition that a peeled onion will ‘absorb’ germs, thus shortening the span of an illness by taking all the danger into itself and preventing others in the household from catching the affliction. Modern medical experts have advised that because something has been believed for a long time does not mean it is true, and the ‘cut onion’ information is not true and should be disregarded.