What could possibly come between us and our favourite passion? Americans offer a clue – 21% would rather give up sex than lose Wi-Fi for a month…

It’s one of the findings in a survey  by a travel agency that runs ‘digital detox’ tours where social media, smartphone and camera use is banned.

And Apple recently confirmed their device users unlock their phones 80 times every day -about 6 to 7 times every hour. Are we trapped in addictions of our own making?

Superstitions and why we have them

As far back as ancient Egypt, garlic has been credited as a protection  against a wide range of problems – and not just for its notable flavour.  At least two versions of its origin ignore that it is just a plant, allium sativum, a  tasty and aromatic member of the onion  family.   Early Egyptians perceived  garlic as a gift from the gods, but post-biblical  mythology decreed that it grew where Satan’s  left foot trod as he  was evicted from the Garden of Eden (the print of his right foot gave rise to ordinary onions).

Continue reading

A pilgrimage to love

He arrived at the wrong address at the right time and his pride was ruffled slightly when we told him as much. A middle-aged Indian, he had come for some maintenance on our house and loosened up when he realised his office had given him the wrong address.

As he worked, we began to chat and I asked why he had made the  trek from India to New Zealand.

Continue reading

The Price of Honesty

Over the years I’ve been privileged, on occasions, to live with local families while visiting Fiji and Samoa. This has led to memorable, enriching experiences, far removed from those of the tourists staying at the resorts.

Of course, staying with someone usually comes with expectations, for example, Sunday church attendance. It’s compulsory – no ifs, no buts.

Continue reading

Time to update

Somebody said my computer was old, they did, they did.

Then another blessed with a pronounced sense of humour, asked what Windows I used. And as if this was overheard somewhere out there in some cyber conspiracy, website after website wanted to know my computer’s credentials – then turned it away… 

Continue reading

Pushing the envelope, outside the square…

I don’t know what other boomers expected from this election but here’s what one, not a million miles from this keyboard hopes for:

Hope.  In the arid landscape of ideology over the past 30 odd years it was as precious as water – but there’s an oasis ahead and room for hope. Just look at what’s happened abroad, as Martin Jacques wrote in the Guardian recently:

Continue reading

Suicide and older men – Part two

Our understanding of suicide is at best fragmentary. It’s complicated by our attitudes, religious beliefs, whether the deceased was a close friend or family member. The most acceptable position to settle on when someone close has committed suicide is to say,   ‘the balance of his mind was disturbed’. It offers more satisfaction than living with a lifelong unresolved quest for answers. Mental disturbance has the advantage of absolving both the subject and survivors of moral examination and uncertainty. Nevertheless, a degree of uncertainty is inevitable.

Continue reading

Trees for our health…

It’s not easy being green…  and especially not in Auckland. The most common  suburban sounds here for the past five years has been the angry buzz of chainsaws. To hear them is bad enough because you know that another beautiful tree is about to  fall because, well it’s in the way of sunlight/developers/over-sized houses.  One third  of the city’s residential trees have been felled in the past five years according to the Tree Council.

Continue reading