Posts by Paul Smith

Come dancing – or not…

I like dancing – who doesn’t? So, one day after feeling as if I could become footloose on the dance floor again, I enrolled for a ballroom dancing class at the local grammar.A legacy of the Fifties and Sixties was that all of us could rock and roll – and even today if you listen to the original of Honky Tonk, your feel an irresistible urge to do it all over again.

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Beached whales – and bravery…

First, an early morning recollection from the day before: a friend describing a short story which captured the pitiful cries of whale calves separated from their beached mothers.

Then this: on a country road where the occasional car usually dawdled, most now zipped along at highway speeds.

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Another year, another Waitangi

Waitangi weekend again – and a man was close to tears.  Nothing unusual there.  It’s what the place does to  some.   What was different this year was that the man was Pakeha – no let’s  pass over  that pejorative for another description: he was white.

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A different, better New Year…?

 We bought our diaries the other day.  (I know – riveting – but stay with me!) The ‘other day’ was unfashionably late,   nearing the end of  the first week of the  New Year.   Just a few days earlier, crowds all over the world had gathered to celebrate the arrival of 2017. Like most of us  they   made their resolutions  –  and  like most of us, probably  forgot them the next day.

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My books and other animals…

my-books

Old friends should never be treated like this: interned in sunless corners,  jammed upright  until their spines crumble; bandaged,  but with half their pages  inexplicably  missing.My  books were freed recently by the arrival  of our  exuberant Westie wallpaperer and so ended up in piles all over the  house.  But in them  we  found   reunions everywhere. 

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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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Teresa and Hilary

The other day some friends talked about Auckland’s homeless and how awful the conditions must be sleeping rough.  Auckland’s Spring was having an identity crisis, reverting to the chills and rain of Winter, dallying briefly with its sunnier  self – then plunging into yet another sodden bout of seasonal recidivism. So these comfortably housed friends were right – how ghastly it must be to live day after day on the streets or crammed in  the hothouses of cars at night.

How did we get to this point at which  homelessness is so overwhelming, but at the same time beginning to slip down the news agenda? How could it be fixed they asked? They shook their heads sadly, but history has some  answers…

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Progress?

Woke up this morning not to our plaintive Tui, who seems to have lost his song, but to a whacking great WHUMP! It shook the house, made the windows chatter in their frames like teeth in a shiver.

Damn developers we thought, making six dwellings where two once stood. But no.

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