A class act by Trevor Plumbly

In reduced circumstances I only met Aunt Phyllis a few times, but she was one of those characters who continue to tap you on the shoulder throughout life. I was never quite sure of her place in what could euphemistically be described as my ‘family’ circle. I never knew if she was an actual ‘aunt’ or some sort of straggler who became attached before my time. The main consensus (whispered, of course), was that she had ‘a past’. At the time I assumed everybody had one of those and it wasn’t until… Read More

Long live the Beatles by Angela Caldin

The granddaughters have discovered the Beatles. In a BIG way. For the last two days of the summer holidays, before the new school year starts here in NZ, the house has resounded to the rhythm of those enduring songs with the granddaughters joining in with gusto. I’m amazed at how quickly they’ve learnt all the words. I think it all started with a recent showing on NZ TV of Carpool Karaoke – When Corden met McCartney in which Paul went around his old hometown of Liverpool, pointed out the church where he… Read More

From Batman to boobs by Trevor Plumbly

At 76 it’s a bit late to be concerning myself with the perils of puberty, but God’s idea of a teenage joke has re-entered my life courtesy of my grandson. With the exception of Harry Potter and a slew of genitally dead fictional heroes, most boys are forced to endure this biological torture. The majority allow the abrasive effect of maturity to clear the psychological muck away before it causes any lasting damage. Others, like Donald Trump, clearly illustrate that, if unchecked, its debilitating effect on behaviour patterns can last for years…. Read More

The elusive cappuccino by Angela Caldin

When I was a child in the 1950s, if I wasn’t playing with the many shiny and exotic buttons in my mother’s button box, I would probably be reading from a book of poetry for children written by A A Milne, the creator of Christopher Robin, entitled When We Were Very Young. It was first published in 1924, and was illustrated by E H Shepard. It didn’t take long for it to become a best seller. Butter or marmalade One of my favourite poems was The King’s Breakfast, an engaging story of… Read More

Mindful parenting – discuss… by Emily Smart

I’ve never really been one for self-help in any capacity. What you can’t get solved over a pint or two and a chat with a good mate is not worth sorting really. And as for self-help books, I’d prefer a Lynda La Plante any day of the week. And so, in this cynical, sceptical and slightly resistant mindset, I found myself signed up for a six week mindful parenting course. Not for a full six weeks you understand, who would be minding my children while I was mindfully not minding them? No,… Read More