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

The rich get richer by Susan Grimsdell

Warning:  I’m in a particularly radical mood today.  This is because of a news item saying that rents in Wellington New Zealand’s capital have risen to above $600 a week on average (or mean, to use a more appropriate word).  This is so far above the affordability level of students, many of whom are working 20 hours a week as well as trying to pass a few exams, that they’re thinking of transferring to universities outside Wellington so that they can actually afford a place to live. The rent increase is way… Read More

Balancing acts by Trevor Plumbly

They don’t use balance scales anymore. It’s a shame really; we could learn a lot from the basic principle of equal weight. Unlike pre-packaging, the old scales and weights used to be part and parcel of everyday shopping, representing trust and fairness. Personal costing was an important part of the process, almost ceremonial: for the retailer the accuracy of his scales was the pivot between profit and loss, for the customer they were the dividing line between need and costs. The act of weighing provided a mutual bridge; old fashioned though it… Read More