Another month, another funeral of a close friend – and for our generation another loss - author, broadcaster and poet, Clive James. The ABC reports that before he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010, he was world-weary. “Those feelings vanished overnight as soon as I got sick… I just wanted to live” he said. He went on write eight books, columns and collections of poems. At our humble, but heartfelt remembrance, that sense of urgency was almost palpable. James had, as always, left us with a lesson.

Starlings…

There she was – laid out like a trophy on the back lawn. First I thought it was a Tui, my favourite bird. Ashamedly, I was relieved to find it was just a starling.

Just a Starling – didn’t it have just as much a right to live, free from urban predators? I knew immediately who the culprit was – ‘Daisy’, our over-fed house cat. The self-satisfied – ‘what me?’ – look on her face was more than sufficient to establish guilt. 

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Gozzy’s Dilemma

The locals are restless. The roads are full of camper vans. There are so many people going up Mount Roy and Isthmus Peak that toilets have been put on the tops, to be helicopter serviced at our expense. The final blow, they’ve put trial traffic lights on Albert Town bridge over the Clutha. When you see traffic lights you know things have gone to the dogs. Even my dog, Gozzy, knows you can have too much of a good thing.

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Who said that first? – Hear no evil, see no evil

It’s doubtful that anyone ever said it in English before the end of the 17th century. The concept of ‘see not evil, ‘hear not evil’, ‘speak not evil’ related back to Confucius in China, several hundred years BC, and then travelled to Japan, where it was known for centuries as a moral maxim. By a trick of the Japanese language, the maxim eventually became known world-wide.

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Climate change – fact and fiction

So as the end of last year approached and perhaps with thoughts of the End of Days, Dr Google was on hand to offer the latest reports on the impacts of climate change. In seconds I found I was in a crowd – 335,000,000 to be exact. 373,000 – in 30 seconds. That came as a shock but that’s the impact of war – on this occasion the Infowars raging on google and other search engines about this issue.

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Last year’s political performances…

This is my one-eyed look at last year’s political performances. I should have known better than to expect more than half-million-dollar ‘affordable’ houses from a Labour government. And the big policy announcement? Six hundred more teacher’s aides for special needs children. Surely that’s merely an admission that the ideological straight-jacket of inclusion has never suited all children.

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When Ajax visits town

The recent morning book launch of Ajax the Kea Dog was crowded out, so a second session followed for fans to meet this celebrity dog and his young Department of Conservation mate.

Sam Neill narrated the BBC documentary featuring Ajax and Corey Mosen in 2016.

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A tail of tuff fluff…

In a humble Siberian village, mere days after being accosted by a street thug …

I’d run out of Lipton English Breakfast Tea. It was getting late. There are no street lights here in Poselye. There was no moon on this particular night, either. It’s fair to say that it was darker than my sense of humour. Admittedly, the shop is only one hundred metres away, but dangers lurk aplenty in the lands beyond the walls of my safe haven. Faced with this conundrum, I donned my ninja costume and embarked on an ‘epic’ adventure …

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Best Laid Rumbles…

The slow progression of attitudes to sharing the road with cyclists is much too fast for some drivers. The Otago Daily Times frequently publishers letters from drivers who are livid on the subject.

Despite the fact that most adult cyclists are also drivers, and that some people, no matter their mode of transport, are inconsiderate and selfish, the ‘livid’ drivers reserve their hatred for cyclists.

So the battle lines have been drawn. Drivers hate cyclists and cyclists hate drivers.

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Pushing back ageing…

If you shop for birthday  cards  you’ll find the funny, the odd and the entertaining.  But among them there’s a surprising  number for those who make it  to  their 100th  birthday.

So how many Centenarians are there in  New Zealand?  Based  on  the 2013 Census, Statistics New  Zealand puts the number  at  561.  Five years on  and given the fact that for nearly 200 years mankind has been pushing back  ageing, that number is  likely  to be higher  in the 2018 Census.

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