Tis the gift to be simple by Trevor Plumbly

The philosopher’s stoned Yesterday, I was relaxing in the armchair (the dreamspace), sipping rather a nice single malt, contemplating the vagaries of life and it occurred to me that there’s a degree of comfort about things when you’re approaching 80. Time was I used to think I knew it all, now I’m absolutely sure of it. Over the years I’ve read heaps of stuff by deep thinkers, academics, learned clergy and even educated drunks, but nothing tangible emerged from their musings and I’m now convinced I know a bloody sight more about… Read More

Reasons to be thankful by Angela Caldin

There’s an advert on the BBC World Service broadcast here in Auckland which encourages listeners to think of ten things they are grateful for first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Whether you can have the same ten things at both times is not clear, but even so, I don’t usually get beyond five or six before the demands of the day or the lure of sleep take over. Top of the list today for things I am thankful for would be the prospect of making shortbread with my… Read More

Life under lockdown by Angela Caldin

We have a small deck at the back of our house in NZ with a fruiting lemon tree, some delicate palms and a high Lilly Pilly hedge that the sun pops over just about coffee time. I was sitting out there yesterday thinking about the words ‘We’re all in this together,’ which we hear so often. It struck me that perhaps those words were not entirely true since I was in a very fortunate position and some people were in this much deeper than others. Suffering increases There are stories of hardship… Read More

Vegan saving the world by Susan Grimsdell

We’re hearing every day that we need to stop eating meat as one important step towards preventing catastrophic climate change. But even as the people who promote vegan diets speak up, rainforest is being cleared at a rate equivalent to the area of a million soccer fields every year or nearly 2,000 hectares every single day, day after day, and it’s not stopping any time soon. Beefeaters rule The trees are being cut down to clear the land so that crops can be planted to feed cattle, so that we can kill… Read More

The state of the nation by Angela Caldin

Yesterday, I had two interesting conversations which I’ve been pondering on overnight. The food bank phenomenon I was on the tube when I met a colleague from my days in the magistrates’ courts. He’s a defence solicitor and therefore sees on a daily basis and at first hand the poverty and deprivation experienced by many of those who commit petty offences. He commented wearily that food banks are just about the only growth industry in this country nowadays. It’s true that food banks are springing up even in areas which are traditionally… Read More