Scooters then and now by Susan Grimsdell

There was a wonderful photo in the Christchurch NZ newspaper a week ago.  It showed about a dozen 10-year-old boys in the year 1921 at a primary school in a small Canterbury town, lined up on their home-made wooden scooters, looking deadly serious, several of them with bare feet.  The picture tells a story about each of those boys and their scooters.  We can be almost certain they had help from a parent or sibling through everything it took to get to the finished scooter.  Planning and designing, scrounging timber from around… Read More

You can bank on it! By Trevor Plumbly

Hard cash I wonder where the guy got his inspiration when he announced that ‘money was the root of all evil’? Maybe he’d been mugged or something. Lack of the stuff certainly clouded my childhood: having a few bob was the birth-right of the upper and middle classes, along with decent housing, education, clothing and food, whilst lack of it sentenced the rest of us poor sods to struggle. Growing up like that makes it hard not to be cynical about money; like religion and democracy it’s OK if it’s properly dealt… Read More

Skin cancer in NZ by Susan Grimsdell

We all know that skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in New Zealand, and that we have the highest incidence of melanoma – the worst, most deadly kind of cancer – in the whole world. We slip slap slop on ourselves and our children, we use the top level of SPF, renewing it every two or three hours, as per instructions.  We do our best to protect ourselves and our families. Sunscreen fraudster However, what we didn’t know was that there is a man in the USA, Gabriel Letizia Jr, who… Read More

In a flap by Emily Smart

Text from 4448119 Hi Emily, our record shows that your smear is overdue. We are concerned. Please call us to make an appointment or let us know how we can support you. The young doctor wore a mask – I’m assuming due to Covid-19 not because of the coalface she was about to encounter. As I lay back and thought about virus-ravaged lockdown Britain, I assumed the position, and involuntarily disobeyed her instructions to relax and breathe deeply, clenching every muscle in my body. She began to talk me through the process,… Read More

No more new clothes! by Angela Caldin

I don’t usually make new year’s resolutions, but on 1 January 2021, I made one. It was this: not to buy any new clothes for a year. I subsequently discovered that lots of other people have made the same resolution, have written about the experience in various publications and have joined Facebook support groups to exchange ideas and encourage each other to continue. What’s the benefit? I’m still not sure of what the logic is behind this resolution or in what way it will benefit anybody at all. I’m no longer in… Read More