Pestilence by Trevor Plumbly

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em I might be making a bit of a meal of this one, but quite frankly I’ve had a gutful of nit-pickers. Despite some opinions to the contrary, I’ve still got a functioning brain that can operate without contact with Silicone Valley or Beijing. But there’s a growing army out there armed with Google and Wikipedia hell-bent on proving that there’s something to be gained from second-hand thought or worse, gilding an already wilting lily. ‘I wonder?’ doesn’t seem to exist much… Read More

Forestry debris/slash by Susan Grimsdell

It’s something we’ve heard a lot about recently: slash – public enemy number one since the storms and the cyclone struck.  But it didn’t happen because of any natural phenomenon.  There’s nothing natural about billions of tonnes of dead trees and other forestry remains crashing into bridges, destroying roads and ending up on people’s property and on our beaches.  It’s no more natural than if I dumped my garbage on the street.  The companies that left their trash on the ground once they’d made their millions from cutting down trees, own the… Read More

Repair and restore by Angela Caldin

        My mother had a Royal Doulton figurine called The New Bonnet of which she was extremely fond. A young woman dressed in a full pink skirt with a dainty foot peeping out from its folds, shows off her new green bonnet decked with flowers, long ribbons flowing down. She wears a plain white frilled cap with a white stole round her shoulders. She smiles with satisfaction, delighted with her new bonnet, anticipating happily the first time she would wear it. My mum left the statue to my daughter and it travelled… Read More

Names matter by Susan Grimsdell

Choosing the right name Betty Friedan made a very powerful point way back in 1963.  If a problem has no name, it doesn’t exist. She was talking about the limitations on women’s role in society, and her work marked the beginning of awareness for most people – me for one.   Another point to remember is that whatever name is chosen determines how the  problem will be perceived.   If we label poverty using words that indicate laziness and unwillingness to work, the perception is quite different from a label that indicates bad luck… Read More

Identity crisis by Trevor Plumbly

Don’t ask me, I only work here! Despite sight loss, I can still get all manner of stuff: audio books, podcasts, international news and as I’m writing this, the machine is spelling out the text for me. But when it comes to talking to somebody, especially corporate employees, I have problems; they’re pleasant enough, but they’ve got a sort of spray painted unworldliness about them that I find difficult. After having a credit card ‘compromised’, we rang the 24 hour number, the cards were duly cancelled and the replacements arrived in record… Read More