Angela’s ABCs: words sometimes confused – discrete and discreet by Angela Caldin

The adjectives discrete and discreet are homophones which share the same Latin origin: discretus, meaning separate. They are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings. Discrete has stayed close in meaning to its Latin origins and means individually separate and distinct: We can no longer view extreme incidents such as flood, drought and high temperatures as discrete happenings, but must study them in the context of climate change as a whole. The golf club has three discrete membership categories. The mechanical device consists of several discrete parts which all work together… Read More

The Wimp’s progress by Trevor Plumbly

Systematic selection As technology continues to herd us into a convenient mass to maintain its influence, let’s spare a thought for the poor sods struggling to survive under the thumb of the ‘wimps’. These previously insignificant little buggers now rule cyberspace. Such folk were once the dross of the school system; in those days  ‘average’ set the standard for academic achievement, above or below that attracted unhealthy attention. Thus the more active thugs were labelled ‘misfits’ and those unable to fit in either slot were deemed to have a ‘nervous disposition’ i.e…. Read More

Shamima Begum, a dangerous threat or a victim? By Angela Caldin

It’s difficult these days to avoid commentary on the plight of Shamima Begum who is living in a tent in the al Hawl refugee camp in Syria with her new born baby. She wants to come home, but the problem is that ‘home’ is what she joined Isis to destroy. The standard of living, the healthcare, the housing and the developed infrastructure are what she now wants for herself and her child, not the hard life on offer with Isis which she has fled. A tough decision The Home Secretary has taken… Read More

Child poverty by Susan Grimsdell

I find myself puzzled by something or other every single day.  Today I’ve been giving attention to our NZ government’s declaration that it’s going to reduce child poverty, preferably get rid of it altogether. Children in poverty Now, I’ve never seen a child living in poverty in a well-off household.  Has anyone?  If a child’s living in poverty, surely the parents are too?  I mean, I know people can be horrible to their kids, but this seems to be truly beyond the pale – the parents OK, the child hungry and in… Read More

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