A fistful of dollars by Trevor Plumbly

Flashing it It seems to me that money and discretion don’t accompany each other so much of late. Maybe Mother was right when she said, ‘A fool and his money are soon parted.’ But these days it seems some manage to hang on to the stuff and rub our noses in it at the same time. Do you know there’s a few squillionaires willing to pay 60 odd million dollars each for the dubious pleasure of floating round in space for a couple of days? What on earth’s wrong with these people?… Read More

The doggy idea by Angela Caldin

I’m wrestling once again with an idea that won’t go away. It resurfaces from time to time just when I feel sure that I’ve knocked it on the head. It’s the idea that getting a dog might bring some extra fun and happiness into our lives. A few months ago, I had a phase of watching those videos on Facebook showing emaciated, bedraggled and abandoned dogs rescued by dedicated dog-savers and nursed back to life until they are bouncing around looking the picture of health, ready to go to a forever home…. Read More

Lead poisoning by Susan Grimsdell

In children’s story books you’re never in any doubt over who are the baddies.  Just looking at the pictures makes you shiver in your shoes and gives kids nightmares.  In real life, unfortunately, it’s impossible to pick them out.   I was reminded of this when I recently read Bill Bryson’s account of lead, as in lead-based paint, and especially, lead-based petrol.  Lead is bad news.  It accumulates in the body and causes all sorts of problems, to the brain, the kidneys, the nervous system, just about everything in fact, in adults, and… Read More

On the fall of the hammer! By Trevor Plumbly

Impressionists I hate to use ‘the old days’ cliché, but back then there was a drama about auctions that sadly looks like getting throttled by the Internet. I ran an auction house for many years and whether the offering was estate clearance or fine art, the faithful turned up, nursing visions of a starring role and the dream of a bargain, but most blissfully unaware of the predictability of the process. For the auctioneer, most of the punters were readable, from the dealer’s air of bored indifference to the novice’s fidgety excitement…. Read More

The air travel conundrum by Angela Caldin

My younger daughter and her family have been visiting Auckland for the last ten days and flew off back to the Sunshine Coast this morning. My son lives in New York and is bringing his family to visit us in July. If we want to see each other in person, we have no alternative but to fly. There is no other means of transport we could use. That means that our carbon footprint as a family is large and we are making a disproportionate contribution to climate change. What should we do?… Read More