The state of the nation by Angela Caldin

Although I’ve been living here in Auckland for the last two years or so, I still read The Guardian online nearly every day. To say that recent events in the UK are baffling is an understatement. Matters seem to me to have taken a surreal turn with corruption embedded in organisations which are meant to have the public good at heart and to uphold the principles of law and order. It seems that those in high office can lie repeatedly and nothing happens. It seems that those around them have no interest… Read More

The doggy idea by Angela Caldin

I’m wrestling once again with an idea that won’t go away. It resurfaces from time to time just when I feel sure that I’ve knocked it on the head. It’s the idea that getting a dog might bring some extra fun and happiness into our lives. A few months ago, I had a phase of watching those videos on Facebook showing emaciated, bedraggled and abandoned dogs rescued by dedicated dog-savers and nursed back to life until they are bouncing around looking the picture of health, ready to go to a forever home…. Read More

The air travel conundrum by Angela Caldin

My younger daughter and her family have been visiting Auckland for the last ten days and flew off back to the Sunshine Coast this morning. My son lives in New York and is bringing his family to visit us in July. If we want to see each other in person, we have no alternative but to fly. There is no other means of transport we could use. That means that our carbon footprint as a family is large and we are making a disproportionate contribution to climate change. What should we do?… Read More

Empathy and sympathy by Angela Caldin

I was pondering the other day on the difference between empathy and sympathy and having a bit of difficulty distinguishing between the two. Empathy, it seems, is a fairly modern concept encompassing the ability to understand emotionally and cognitively what other people feel. It’s the ability to see things from another’s point of view, and imagine yourself in the place of another. In essence, it is putting yourself in someone else’s position and feeling what they are feeling. Sympathy, on the other hand, is a feeling of pity or sense of compassion… Read More

Lording it by Trevor Plumbly

Golden days According to the romantic poets, knights of old were an honourable bunch. Life was simpler then: apart from the odd local skirmish, there wasn’t much to distract them from high minded ideals. Achieving aristocratic status was relatively simple: once you fought for the prevailing cause, the king tapped you on the shoulder, said ‘arise Sir Knight’, gave you a chunk of land and you and yours were set forever. It was the medieval equivalent of a window of opportunity if you could scrap a bit and had a few bob…. Read More