Category archive: Encounters

Be kind she said…

At first  they nodded and smiled as usual on our daily walks. Nothing unusual there, it’s our neighbourhood.

But then the pandemic arrived and didn’t  leave.  For a few days  we were confused and offered the same  greetings, though we all knew nothing would  ever be the same.

Continue reading

In the secure ward

We sat on a wide verandah and looked out on a backyard. Backyard? This one was huge, park-like and  its green flowed  past crimson flowered jacarandas on both sides for more than an acre. Finally  it gave way to a to a lily-covered billabong under the shade of towering ghost gums.

Continue reading

‘The next time you see it will be when you die…’

He boarded the outbound 737 from Auckland looking out of place and time.

He was a Buddhist monk, replete with flowing brown  robes, practical sandals and on his  left wrist, corded bangles. Not a sober sort, he joked with other  passengers  as he settled into his seat.  One asked him what religion he belonged to.  A pause.

Continue reading

60’s school reunions

Like many other New Zealanders of my age,  I was weaned on innumerable cinema and television versions of American high school experiences; films such as Grease, Fame, Mean Girls, Donnie Darko,  and TV programmes such as Freaks and Geeks, Happy Days, Beverly Hills 90210 and Room 222.  There is also a long-established sub-genre in the school reunion movie, with films like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Peggy Sue Got Married, Grosse Point Blank and Class Reunion spinning tales of rekindled lusts, long delayed revenge enacted, and various levels of disappointment.

Continue reading

Musical mayhem…

Bob strolls to the new coffee house not far from his home. The sun’s out, shadowed now and then by fluffy white clouds. He’s on his way to meet his old friend John and despite the weather he wears his faded raincoat – because, as he always  tells everyone in summer and winter,  you just never know with Auckland weather.

Continue reading

Christchurch today – wreckage, and renewal

Standing on the fourth-floor balcony of Tūranga, Christchurch’s recently opened library sited on Cathedral Square, I gazed down onto the sagging ruin that is the post-earthquake Christchurch Cathedral. From this angle the decision to restore makes even less sense than it did three years ago when I viewed the wreckage from behind a ground level wire-mesh safety fence.

Continue reading

Community cohesion – where is it?

Why would anyone think I’d vote for them if they give me a leaflet I don’t want! Look – it says ‘NO CIRCULARS’!”  I consider explaining that local body election leaflets are actually not ‘circulars’, or indeed, advertising at all. They are instead an important part of the democratic process. But I fear a bureaucratic distinction will be lost on this vehement elderly woman intent on keeping her letter box clear of bumf, and for that matter, on most others whose letterboxes are firmly labelled as to what can and cannot be posted within.

Continue reading

October miscellany

Our Kiwi friend loves her new home in Australia’s Sunshine Coast except that… one morning when she opened the doors to another glorious day, she saw  this on her back deck… a python. It basked on the desk railing, all 3-4 metres of it, and sent our friend scurrying back inside.

Continue reading

‘NO JUNK MAIL!’

Apart from people, letterboxes are the most pedestrian sights on any street.  Without a  second glance we walk past  every one except our own, which is perhaps the way things should be.  But like everything else  post-digital, letter boxes are no longer the proud receptacles of mail – handwritten letters, invitations, birthday  cards and their  more sombre messages of condolence.

Continue reading