Ways to make you age - well they're countless really, though here's one I hadn't come across before. A 19 -year-old told me he'd  met another old guy  like me the other day. Quite interesting he said, as if he'd just discovered another species. To him we probably  are.

How to explain that as a youth, as we walked, yes walked home from a date under dim streetlighting, we had the glory  of stars and the Milky Way to look at. Another endangered species now that powerful artificial lighting is so ubiquitous?

Being an old guy has its advantages.

Charlotte Bronte said it long ago

With hope borne of nothing more than a fresh year, I dream on: That we all woke up to the inequity that has passed for national values for too many years. The reckless obsession with the glittering lights of our economy, dairying and tourism, illustrate how self-interest has overtaken public interest as a legitimate goal. I couldn’t resist showing, with minor deletions, Charlotte Bronte’s view of this clash of values in Shirley, published in 1849:

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

When a polly makes you smile…

Well, it was a long time coming but John Key finally put a smile on my face. Okay, I’m prejudiced but I still think he was by far New Zealand’s most mediocre leader. So why was he so popular? Was he popular? Television news certainly thought so; the PMs smiling face was on the screen daily whether the events he attended were newsworthy or not. Television, and the media generally, loved him.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

My books and other animals…


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. 

Continue reading

The silent spectator at the awards….


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.

Continue reading

A world without meat?

Vegan and vegetarian options have become noticeable in shops and restaurants in the last few years. This is a  trend in most western nations. (Vegans don’t eat any meat products. Vegetarians  may eat dairy products). The Telegraph reports that in the last ten years the number of vegans in the UK rose by 360%.

Continue reading

Warts and all


Jaw-dropping winner  of the  Kiwi version of London’s  Carbunkle Cup (for the ugliest building in the UK) is right here in… yes in one of our prettiest centres, just keep reading…

Continue reading