Our Chief Reporter at The Auckland Star  never stopped reminding cadet reporters how important weather news was to readers. We sighed - there seemed to be more important things happening. But we dutifully drove to the Met Office and returned with the Weather Forecast. Later we sidled self-consciously down to Queen Street with an embarrassment in our hands: a foot-long barometer. Then we scurried back to the office to write the noon temperature. How things have changed.  When Australian bushfires can create sepia skies over Auckland, it’s tangible evidence of climate change - and interest in this phenomenon intensifies. Our insistent Chief Reporter was right after all.

Unfinished business

Ohau cyclewayI met a group of fellow cycling tourists at Lake Ohau Lodge, a stopover between Twizel and Omarama on the Alps to Ocean bike trail. One of them wore an exasperated frown when she said, “Why do New Zealanders not tell the truth about the standard of the trail? What are they afraid of?” I was taken aback, as much by the irony as the question.

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Eyes (too) wide open

Eye strainJeff’s a junkie, Mary’s an alkie and Angela has something called a smartphone addiction.

Seems like everybody out there has an addiction of one kind or another so I’ll join the crowd and announce mine. It’s not anywhere near as interesting as say, sex addiction, but millions around the world share it. It’s Computer Vision Syndrome.

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Delaying Tactics

Airport wait“Attention Please: We are a safety-conscious airport. Please do not let your children play near the escalators.”

The first time I heard this message over the PA system at Christchurch Airport I was impressed. The woman spoke in dulcet tones and I agreed wholeheartedly with the message. Unsupervised children and escalators can be a lethal mix.

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The day I met my birth mother (Part two)

‘William, your birth mother has approached our department and asked us to try and trace you. How do you feel about that’?

That was the beginning of Bill Paget’s foreshadowed reunion with his mother.  This is the second part in which he described how it all went…

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March miscellany

About to visit Auckland? Read on…

If you’re thinking about visiting Auckland anytime soon, think again. The place has been overrun by the Hi-Viz Brigade, men and women whose weapon of choice is the orange road cone. These little pointy heads narrow lanes everywhere, block them in some cases. They choke traffic just about everywhere you drive in central Auckland.

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The day I met my birth mother (Part one)

‘William David Paget’ began the address on the envelope. Whoever could be addressing me in such a formal way?

Ministry of Social Development.

Then I noticed the sender’s address the exterior of the envelope – Department of Social Welfare. Surely no-one was alleging that I might be the father of her child.

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When neighbourhoods sleep

Where once four bungalows stood

They came when the neighbourhood slept – just after 2 in the morning. And though they were anything but burglars they took from our collective identity yet another valuable: an entire house.

Where once the street below us had two  rows of compact, well maintained bungalows, it now seems as if this was some suburban mirage.

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What do you enjoy about what you do?

Have you been asked a question recently – a simple one at that – which caused you to stop and think.  Your mind flicks into another gear as it goes through the search and inquiry process until it connects with some semblance of an answer.

But what is interesting is that long after you have responded, you find yourself still mulling over the question!

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Three free years…

students in lecture roomWhat a can of worms Labour has upended with its policy on tertiary education. It promises to turn the clock back to the conditions most of our current politicians enjoyed when they were students; a free university education.

But how will the thousands of student with huge debts feel about this proposed policy? Bitter, is my guess, and with just cause. On the other hand the parents of young, achieving teenagers will be relieved, possibly to the point of considering changing their vote at the next election.

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