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Get It in Writing

I read about the conundrum for firearms owners regarding the firearms that have been ‘lost’ by the police recently and it reminded me of a saying I have tried to adhere to religiously. Get it in writing.

I have an acquaintance who spoke to me about a relative … a man of more mature years who had an encounter with a young woman from Europe. She fell pregnant and subsequently gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter. The DNA tests were done, the commitment to support his lovely wee daughter was made and he secured a promise that he would be allowed to visit his daughter any time he wished.

Over the past years, he has travelled to Europe from New Zealand every year to spend time with the little one.

But this year, he is not welcome. The mother has a new boyfriend, a new life and this foreigner from Downunder is no longer welcome. Yet his monthly (generous) child support payments are.

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Dementia: The Theft of a Mind

Is that what our governments have in store for us? Do they wish to steal our minds?

If not, they are doing a pretty good job of making me fear that this is the case.

As some posters may know, I build websites in my ‘spare time’. ‘Spare time’ is that thing that some of our older readers may have too much of, or not enough of, depending upon their home situation.

I have recently been building a site that offers music as therapy for those suffering from dementia. It was a labour of love in many respects, as I have friends and acquaintances who find themselves encountering this sad situation.

I have no one in my family who has been laid low by the ultimate theft that is dementia or Alzheimer’s: the theft of one’s mind. This cruel and brutal disorder, this vicious and ultimate theft, is one that I cannot conceive … to see someone who I love and then not know them?  And they not know me?

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Pass the Buck

I have written a series of articles that have been light-hearted, nostalgic and often a small attempt at humour.

They do not seem to do well. I wonder… is it because life is so serious, so terribly concerning, so very, very troubling that we nudge levity aside and simply say, “No, I am so busy being worried and angry that humour has no place in my life for now”.

Or is it that we are frightened? We have to be so careful with our words. Everything we say is under scrutiny from the Thought Police.

I am in Australia at present, visiting with one of my daughters. What the hell is going on in Australia and what the hell is going on in New Zealand where we are too frightened to laugh, too frightened to get angry and too frightened to act on our outrage at wrongdoing?

For instance, I rang a government department to report child abuse last week.  The parent, who I am assuming identifies as a man, is in sole custody of two wee girls and a young lad. He is of a darker complexion and both the girls are very blonde.  His verbal abuse of these little lasses is horrific. I have rung the police. I am asked what the father looks like, what age he is, how he speaks; I am then told that it is a matter for social workers because he is not physically abusing the children. It would seem that verbal abuse is not a police matter if that verbal abuse is from the mouth of a chap from a non-Anglo-Saxon background.

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When Having Polite Children Backfires!

A friend of mine is currently looking after his grandson for three weeks while the parents are away for work. He retrieved the slow cooker from the back of the pantry and started cooking hearty one-pot wonders for his growing 10-year-old grandson. Every couple of days, the family gets an email with a photo of the young chap sitting at the kitchen table with a rather ample plate of food in front of him. So far, we have seen plates with slow cooked lamb shanks in gravy with mashed spuds and veges; slow-cooked corned silverside with all the trimmings; beef stews; soups – you name it.

The little guy was smiling broadly and ready to tuck in to the offerings before him.

However, over the weeks, I noticed that the smile and cheeky grin had become more forced and less enthusiastic. I wondered why.

He almost looked as though he was in dread.

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The World’s first Bilingual Cat

I live alone with a Calico Cat who is a lass who hired me as her carer about 7 years ago. She was already a mature young lady who had found herself in a homeless shelter – much to her distaste and shame.
Following an advertisement on the internet, I contacted the homeless shelter and found myself being taken home by this traumatised young woman who had suffered terrible domestic abuse. .. but that is another matter.

Over the years, she has trained me to do all sorts of tricks. One that I am particularly good at is Fetch. I fetch food, clean water, milk, clean litter trays, heated beds (two) for winter and I also fetch her many toys – which she delights in hiding under furniture. I have been trained well in the art of getting down on the floor with a broom handle in order to retrieve those that have been tossed under the bed or in the pantry.

In fact, she seems to appreciate my endeavours because she will often jump on my chest at 2 am, wake me up thinking I am having a heart attack and then reassure me that I am fine by showering me with abundant kisses from her rather scratchy little pink tongue.
She is a very good companion to me and when I get ‘the gout’, she goes out in sympathy with me.

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The School with No Rules

I was out in the garden yesterday and overheard two little kids, a brother and sister I think, having a very animated and enthusiastic discussion. The little chap was about 5 and his older sister the grand old age of about 7. The little brother was waxing lyrical about his love for sweet potatoes. The topic clearly was something about which he was passionate. It seems that his great love in life is eating sweet potatoes. His older sister did not seem to share his passion. After about 2 minutes of declaring how wondrous this vegetable is – in his opinion – his sister grew weary of the topic.

“It’s stupid to love sweet potatoes, and that makes you stupid.” she said.
” ‘Tis not!” he replied and added “it’s important to talk about things you love!”
With that, Miss Clever Clogs shut him down with a haughty “Oh, grow up!”
I smiled to myself and realised that these two tots could teach us all a lesson in life.

Just because her brother would have spent the rest of the afternoon talking about a subject which seems to interest him a great deal, not everyone shares his opinion on sweet potatoes.
To cut a short story even shorter, the conversation concluded amicably and they went on to chat about a mutually agreeable subject – that of if you cut a worm in half, would you get two worms? At that point, I retreated indoors and left them to their heady philosophical and scientific debate.

I could not help but think that, when compared to the rubbish that seems to preoccupy our politicians and activists for ALL things trivial, these kids were more interesting.

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Are We Ready for Another Female at the Helm?

Judith Collins is poised to make a bid for the leadership of the National party in a time when, in my opinion, we need a Kiwi Trump. One of the reasons that Trump has been so successful is that he is what we now call an “alpha male” – a blokey bloke. “A Good Keen Man” as Barry Crump would have said. Yet these strong males have been supplanted by effeminate characters like Canada’s Trudeau and France’s Macron.

Even Simon Bridges has paled into a shadow of his former self. I recently watched his maiden speech in parliament. What a passionate and enthusiastic young man he was. Where did he go? When did he turn into this hesitant and unsure fellow who seems so frightened of his own shadow?

I wonder if this is a good idea – to have another female leader. Somehow, I feel that we are living in an era where, politically, women have fought for the right to be equal, but have somehow ended up being “fast-tracked” and are now not necessarily being appointed on merit, but simply because of their gender.

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My winter in Invercargill

Back in the 1990’s I was asked to ‘help out’ at an educational facility in the balmy southern city of Invercargill. Just a few months, over winter, to be a relief teacher for someone who was ‘sick’. I obliged.

When I fronted up, I discovered that my predecessor was on sick leave because of a nervous breakdown from teaching the classes I was taking over. Strange how that wee fact was left out. As the cool April weather closed in, the days shortened and the southerlies blew in from Antarctica, I began one of the most memorable attacks of frostbite I have ever had.

My classes were robust and energetic – students who could see fresh meat in their new teacher. I rose to their challenge and, slowly but surely, won them over. In fact, I could safely walk through the Dee Street Mall at midnight if I had chosen to do so. I did not however, test this theory. It was too bloody cold to venture out unless I had to. But I suspect that I could have.

I spent my weekend afternoons at the Winter garden in Queen Street Park where I could read a book in relative warmth. After all, where else could one go in wintry Southland where bougainvillaea can grow and bananas can thrive?

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Pub quiz

Why I can forgive the actions of the young Tim Shadbolt

Shadbolt with a group of protesters outside the Auckland Town Hall in 1973. (Sourced: Max Oettli, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 8-Jul-13, retrieved from http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/39842/a-demonstration-1973)

I wrote an article yesterday about Sir Tim Shadbolt and one commenter, noted Cam’s article from May 25th 2008 where Cam said

“ Last night on TV, Tim Shadbolt “proudly” walking with the protesters and police at Bastion Point.

This wanker was also the same “proud” protester that spat in the face of my mate as he stood on parade.

My mate though said that he fought in Vietnam so that wankers like Tim Shadbolt can spit in the faces of soldiers. Nevertheless in any culture spitting is the ultimate in insults.”

Well, back in my youth, I did and said things for which I am not proud.

Oh, I did the usual things as any kid or teenager did; but one thing I did has haunted me throughout my adult life and it is something I am thoroughly ashamed of.

When the commenter cited Cam saying “that Tim Shadbolt spat in the face of Kiwi soldiers as they returned home from the Vietnam war. To me, doing a funny cheese ad doesn’t make up for that” it hit a real raw nerve with me.

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