From possums to air space by Angela Caldin

About two weeks ago, I was sitting at a residents’ meeting in leafy Remuera NZ. Top of the agenda was how best to deal with the possum that Stanley at number one had spotted squatting on the fence when he came home from his late shift one dark night. Pests or protected? In Australia, possums are protected wildlife and their removal can only be carried out by licensed commercial possum relocators (a job title to be proud of). By contrast, in New Zealand, possums are considered to be pests as they eat… Read More

Being of sound mind and body by Trevor Plumbly

It ain’t easy being green Truthfully, I’m not a committed green; like most, I pay lip service, perfectly happy to rely on others when it comes to personal inconvenience. But things may be changing: I shall definitely vote Green at the next opportunity and, if the tired old bones permit, join the next protest against the government-driven lunacy that threatens our basic assets. As you’ve previously gathered, I live in NZ, a small, somewhat isolated country that should have the capacity to showcase environmental protection at its best, but by lack of… Read More

Food Waste and Food Poverty: a Metaphor for our Times by Angela Caldin

Have you noticed how sometimes in life one good thing leads on to another equally good? Here’s an example: when we were moving house a few weeks ago, I had an interesting time orchestrating a massive decluttering operation using the local Freecycle group. All kinds of people, young, old, needy and not so needy came to our door to take away items ranging from chests of drawers to mirrors to kitchen appliances and nearly all of them had a tale to tell (first good thing). The enthusiastic young woman who came in… Read More

Never Mind The Quality by Trevor Plumbly

The Asian invasion It arrived in a box that looked totally incapable of containing anything other than a bit of dry cleaning. The box, which I later learned was referred to as a ‘flat pack’ was supposed to hold a garden sofa, two armchairs and a glass topped occasional table. We had bought it online, (‘it’s the best way’), for just $150.00 including delivery all the way from China! That these enhancements to our outdoor relaxation were packed in what resembled a flattened suitcase caused us to exercise a little caution in… Read More

Animal Crackers by Trevor Plumbly

Roll Up! Strange days indeed down under, with a perfectly healthy elephant waiting in transit for entry to NZ at the same time as an equally healthy female gorilla is battered to death in an enclosure  by a ‘dominant male’. You have to wonder what it is about us humans that drives us to transplant animals across the globe and cage them for public entertainment. In Victorian times the practice extended to mental patients as well, and it was common for the upper and middle classes to treat a visit to the… Read More