The Olympics: The End or the Beginning? By Angela Caldin

London has been seized by Olympic fever for the last two weeks and it’s all gone amazingly, astonishingly well. From the triumphant opening ceremony, a true celebration of Britain past and present (who can forget those superb industrial revolution chimneys and the tribute to the NHS), crafted by the visionary creative force that is Danny Boyle, to the closing ceremony, horrendously naff, but people were too euphoric to care; it’s been a brilliant time to be British. The medals, the venues, the crowds, the wonderful striving of the athletes for perfection and… Read More

Think On by Angela Caldin

UK Treasury minister David Gauke has said it is morally wrong to pay tradesmen such as plumbers and builders in cash in the hope of avoiding tax. He argued the practice came at a big cost to the Treasury and meant other people had to pay more tax. This made me think about all the times many of us pay and accept cash: for cleaners, baby sitters, window cleaners and lodgers, thinking little of it. More than 2000 years ago, the poet Ovid penned these prophetic words: How little you know about the… Read More

Games of the XXX Olympiad by Angela Caldin

The Olympics are imminent and those of us in London for the duration are wondering how it will all turn out. We’ve had the embarrassment of the graffiti-style logo and the mascots, Mandeville and Wenlock. We’ve had the failure to recruit enough security people and the decision to bring in the army. We’ve had the controversy over rooftop missile defence systems, which have been installed in spite of residents’ objections. We’ve had the confusion over the Olympic road lanes and who can use them when, closely followed by the rephasing of traffic… Read More

A Walk in the Park by Emily Smart

I was giving our toilet the equivalent of a whore’s wash yesterday – a quick wipe on the plastic and porcelain with a wet wipe and a splash of Harpic around the rim – and I was reminded of my mate Catherine. It was Catherine who came up with the idea of the walking school bus. No, not the one where parents wear luminous workman vests and wrangle 20 kids to school trying to avoid busy roads, squealing brakes, broken bones and calls to 111. Our walking school bus is made up… Read More

It Was A Pleasure To…By Trevor Plumbly

After hearing an old friend’s comments on his final regular broadcast, I couldn’t help feeling short-changed by the folks that run national radio here in New Zealand. Dougal Stevenson’s final remarks were delivered with the same calm dignity with which he had presented TVNZ national news for so many years. There’s far more to Dougal than a BBC accent, there’s a genuine love of the English language, a deceptively dry wit and, as I discovered, a willingness to encourage those new to public performances. My first encounter with him was for the… Read More