Monday, January 27, 2014



I became aware of politics  in 1929 when my, mother's brother, Melville Lyons  won the seat of Lyrrleron from Mrs McComb but lost it on a recount. I thought that was terribly unfair because my uncle was a nice man..
About that time my eldest nsister went on a school trip to see Parliament . She described what she saw, the House of Representatives in session, not all of them were present and some of these she saw were asleep!

In 1935 I knew a bit more about politics because my parents took us around to  hear the candidates for Horoehrnua talk about what had been done, what should have been done, and what they would do if they were elected. On election night we listened to the results being broadcast . There seemed to be general jubilation and a certainty that things would be different now.

In 1938 we drove to Palmerston North to see and hear Cabinet Minister Robert Semple deliver a speech which seemed to be a tirade against the opposition for doing their job, opposing the ruling party. And I found a book in our bookcase called  'social Credit' by Major C.H. Douglas which seemed to talk sense.

In Rotorua in the sixties I helped my friend Jeanette Lamason stand for Parliament as a Social Credit candidate.

So I can say I have watched politics evolve over a lifetime, and I do not like what has happened.

The Political System

1. A political party forms when a group of people believe they are not being fairly reprsented. They have a set of principles which become their platform. My Uncle Melville was a foundation member of the Nationalist Party which  believcd the farming sector was not being governed fairly. The Labour Party was started by Trade Union members; Social Credit by people who thought banks had too much power; etc, etc.

2.A new party presents its ideas to the general population and it is either ignored, or ridiculed, or accepted.

3. Eventually they reach power, become the government. They have a manifesto which promises reforms.. Some if these reforms are implemented.

4. But others cannot be implemented and the Government leaders make excuses. They did not realise things were so bad and there is no money to raise wages, increase pensions, reduce taxation, protect human rights..

5. Nowadays the  established parties do not bother with manifestos, it just goes ahead and does what it wants, or what the financial interest who back them order them to.

The awful thing about this is ordinary people are not even shocked/ They expect Political parties to break promises, they helped dismantle unions, they grumble about taxation 

but they cannot be bothered doing anything about it.

They don't bother to write to their M.P. about issues, they don't even write letters to the papers.

The New Zealand Government has relaxed its opposition to commercial whaling. 
The Education system is being pillaged.
The Social Security we have been  paying tax for since 1938 has been dismantled.

None of these were sanctioned by  us, the voters?




Sunday, December 29, 2013


This poem was published in 'over and out from down under'' and it seems to have developed a life of its own. It was read in eleven different countries in 2009 and every New Year I get e mails from people in really out of the way places telling me somebody read it att heir New Year celebrations, or asking permission to perform it at Poetry readings, although t was unplaced when Irfead it at the Waimate Womens Institute Eistedfodd.

So here it is again with greetings to everybody.

Waitaki hogmanay

All day to-morrow caravans and cars
will drive through out gate and
make a circle round the green
like the wagon train in westerns.

Awnings will spread, children scatter
to take up games laid down last summer
except Jason and Dulcie
who will stroll to the beach because
now they are fifteen
he shaves twice a week
and her breasts are budding'

We will set  trestles under the oak tree
for drinks and salads and things
ladies bring on plates,
not forgetting sausages, steaks
and fillets of fresh salmon
wrapped in foil,

Fred's new barbecue has a grill,
hot plates, a rotisserie and
an oven for warming bread
Men will gather to admire but
talk about bonfires on beaches
and sausages on sticks.

"Has anyone seen Dulcie?"
her mother will ask.

At ten o'çlock Alice and Bert will tune their guitars
Mothers will send children to wash hands.

'Where the bloody hell is Jason?"
his father will snarl.

At midnight we will sing Áuld Lang Syne'
and toast the new year, absent friends,
whitebait, salmon, sea run trout
and anything else we can think of.

Anglers from the next camp
will come first footing and when
there are no more bottles or cans
we will make tea and toast the dawn.

Jason and Dulcie will stroll
back from the beach,
 last nights stars
still bright in their eyes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Yesterday, while the weather was still warm I sat on my tiny verandha waiting for the postman. Some of my neighbours stopped by on their way to their letter boxes. Georgie, who regularly delivers delicious salmon or trout caught by her husband, and Mary who sings country and western songs to residents at the hospice in Oamaru. The Rural delivery van drove up to my crub bearing several packages and a big box of flowers. In the box alongside the gerberas, statice, roses and lilies was a little  box and a card from the florist apologising for late delivery of my birthday bouquet. inside the box were six delicious chocolates hand made by Bennetts of Mangowai. My neighbours and I sat in the sun and shared them. Thank you to Regent florist for such a gracious touch, and I can recommend anyone touring North Auckland to stop at Mangowai  and sample their chocolates.

Yetserday morning I drove to Geraldine because I wanted to finish my Christmas shopping at a truly New Zealand store.  To get there I drove up  State Highway 1 until you I reached the . Highway 79 turnoff. About 199 metres along Highway 79 on the right hand side is The Tin Shed. The goods on sale here are not cheap, but they are good value, I bought possum and merino blend wool socks for my sons, and lovely enamel jewelery for daughters in law and grand daughters.  There were hand knitted woolen jerseys mostly under $300. and lovely soft hats and gloves.For myself I bought a tube of manuka honey hand cream. There was a big stock of beauty preparations and New Zealand designed garments.

As I said not cheap but good value and everything New Zealand made, And the extra touch? As well as Christmas wrapping my purchases wrapping the ladies in the shop offer tea and coffee to shoppers. There is a picnic table outside, and a pet donkey.

Then there are the people at Slightly Foxed book shop in Oamaru. They wrap each purchase  n brown paper and tie it with string.

And the other day in the precinct in Oamaru I was looking in the souvenr shop  something special for  a daughter in law (they are all special).
"We don;t have anything like that." said the lady in charge, "But Helen, in the shop upstairs makes and designs jewellery. She might have something,"
And Helen upstairs certainly did. I bought a lovely handmade necklace of polished purple and white conglomerate stone set in silver.

I have always defined angels as ordinary people getting on with their own lives who stop and give a touch of extra help when they see someone in need. They are to be found all over the place and revive my belief that most people are decent, kind and helpful.


Thursday, December 19, 2013


Hastings High School. 1938 to 1942, We were the first of the Beeby Brats;'The Proficency Examnaton had been aboilshed and we were the first to enter High School as of right. With determination and enthusiasm our teachers set about preparing us for Life. Instead of teaching us how to pass exams with a minimum of thought we learned:-

Girls might pass University Entrance but career choices were limited,
 A strean became Teachers and Nurses until they married.
B stream became shotrhand typists until they marries.
Home and Vocational stream  worked in shops or factories until they got pregnant and had to get married.

A stream girls learned English, Latin. French, Mathermatics, Science History and because they were going to get married they also learned Cookery. Dressnaking and Homecraft.

In Cookery we learned how to maintain, control and cook on   a coal range
We learned to test the heat of ovens by putting a square of paper into the oven and timing how long it took to brown. Immediately for scones, three minutes for sponges , five minutes for fruitcakes or roasts.
We learned to cook said scones, sponges and roasts.
 to soften butter to spread on sandwiches
 to cream butter and sugar using a wooden spoon
how to clean up,
In form IV  we learned about the essential food groups\ We would lose our teeth if we did not drink milk, we would lose our eyesight if we did not eat green vegetables and we would never have babies if we did not eat wholemeal bread.

 Homecraft we learned how to polish wooden furniture. silver cutlery and brass tapsto sweep and mop floors,to prepare household linen for Monday's wash, this included advice on soaking our home made sanitary pads in cold water before boiling them in the copper.
 to use a mangle to press sheets
to iron handkerchiefs, pillowcases, tablecloths, tea towels, shirts and dresses
We practised bathing babies using a celluloid doll, testing its bath water with our elbow to check that it was not too hot.

Dressmaking we learned to make blouses  dresses and baby clothes using french seams, flat seams, turned hems.
We learned to turn collars when the top layers frayed so our future husbands would always look neat.
to darn socks
to hand make button holes
to sew on buttons, domes.and hooks and eyes/

We were certainly well prepared for life. Trouble was it was someone else's life. Nobody predicted washing machines, disposable nappies ,microwave ovens,automatic cars or chainstore clothes made in China.

Monday, November 11, 2013


          My neighbour, the philosophy graduate, says my characters are dull, they have no passion. That is why my books don't sell. Astute questioning about the wife beating All Black, the motor bike riding priest and Black Fern revealed that my neighbour had not actually read the books. But he did have a point. Sex scenes embarrass me..

          I thought I was doing all right at romantic comedy, in ART WEEK my main character is married to a serial philanderer and in THORNY GLEN I almost got the two main characters in to bed together, but I got the giggles and sent the hero to sleep;

.        Obviously in spite of two marriages and eight children my knowledge is deficient, probably because I grew up believing  that what goes on behind bedroom doors, or the back seat of a car, is personal and private. Things have changed in the literary world since Jane Austen's day so I loaded my kindle with a lot of 99cent novels and started researching what made popular novels .passionate.

       .I wish I had known about these novels when we were bringing up our boys, they havemuch  moreu7seful  information than any  sex manual I have encountered..

 Take kissing for example:

Where to start, forehead. ears or chin are good starting places.
How to use the tongue - Where to lick, or nibble, or suck!

As for the act itself:

The hero's boxer shorts are suddenly too tight.  The heroine wets her thong so they discard their clothes.
There is a lot of heavy breathing because internal muscles that I never knew existed, are being exercised.
Both parties do a lot of moaning and grunting.
The heroine squirms a lot and at the moment of orgasm  screams the hero's name.
The hero goes on grunting, probably worried about whether the cheap condom will hold out.
All this happens a number of times on a variety of surfaces; the back seat of the car with him on top; the expensive granite bench top of his apartment kitchen, again with him on top; the shagpile  fireside rug in his or her apartment, with her on top, any part of his or her office; against that wall he is always leaning on and finally in his or her bed, several times. Whew!

HEROES the guys with sexy names like Kurt, Deke. Zac are all at least 6 foot eighteen inches tall, they have shoulders like prop forwards and don't smell of anything but woodsy  cologne, even if the story is set in the twelfth century where people did not bathe or shower.. 
Probably because of their height they lean against anything available; walls, doorways, buildings, and when a heroine enters their brains cease to function because of loss of oxygen. Or maybe that is because if defective eyesight. Their eyes change colour when they experience passion, anger, arousal, lust, anything.
They are martial arts champions and a lot of them can cook.

Unless they are British Aristocrats, who inherit their wealth. they are self made billionaires,  but they buy cheap condoms with a suspiciously high failure rate. They apparently do not read the 'use by' date on the packet .Consequently casual encounters leave heroines nauseated, but of course Kurt, or Deke etc will do the right thing. Unplanned Fatherhood awakens all sorts of tender emotions.

HEROINES usually have red hair, and are thin, but curvy with great legs. Their eyes are the colour of sapphires or emeralds and grow sultry or somnolent in moments of great lust. They might look delicate, but their internal musculature can cope with multiple orgasms induced by the hero's foreplay.

Unlike the arrogant heroes heroines often have low self esteem  because a domineering parent, a cheating lover or a super model sibling has destroyed their belief in themselves. The hero rebuilds that belief, using those faulty condoms of course.

But is all this sexual activity real passion? I don't think so.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Music by Tchaikovsky,
 story from a novel by Alexandr Pushkin,
 production by the New York Metropolitan Opera,
 screened at the Lighthouse Cinema, Oamaru,
 watched by the usual small group of Opera lovers.

Act One: a farm in the Russian countryside owned by the widowed mother of two teen age daughters. Olga and Tatiana. They are celebrating the harvest with vigorous country dances, songs and games..
Enter the 'Boy next door', Lenski with his city friend Eugene Onegin. Lenski is in love with Olga while Tatiana is enraptured by Eugene, who is bored by all the country revelry. Tatiana writes a love letter to Onegin which he returns and tells her that she is a delightful girl, but he is not interested.
Act Two: Tatiana's birthday party begins with a quadrille. Lenski and Onegin arrive. Tatiana is flustered. Onegin is bored, and just for the fun of annoying his friend Lenski. Onegin flirts with Olga.
Scene 2 is very dramatic, pistols at dawn and Lenski dies, Onegin has to flee Russia. (Good Riddance!)
Act three: St Petersburg The ballet is upper class ballroom  Tatiana has grown up and married a Prince, a lovely urbane man, the only person in St Petersburg society who does not cut Onegin dead;
Of course when he sees Tatiana in sumptuous clothes, decked in jewels on the arm of a real prince he realises that she is the real love of his life.
Too late! The meet on the riverbank in a snow storm and she tells him to get lost. Great singing but he gets what he deserves. Eugene Onegin is a supercilious, social climbing twit.

But the music is great.

Now I must download the novel and read it.


Thursday, October 3, 2013


     The great thing about e books is

1.  They are portable   Instead of spending $50 on a weighty airport novel we can now load an e book with hundreds of titles, some free, many costing less than $1.

2   Readers can change the font size to suit conditions. A lot of expensive airport novels are in small print. Cabin lighting and fading eyesight do not make for easy reading.On an e reader we just press a button and enlarge the print..

3.   Many 99 cent downloads deliver cracking good stories, in many different genres, so with e books our experience of all kinds of literature can broaden at very little cost.


      When I fly I like to read light escape stories which take my mind off the fact I am miles above the ground, strapped into a small seat, inside a metal tube, surrounded by fuel tanks with the electric cables running through while I breath reconditioned air. 
     So before flying overseas I down load a selection of fiction; romantic, historical, thriller and crime to my Kindle reader. I have found a few lemons, but at $0'99 who cares? On the other hand I have found some real gems. I have learned a great deal about story lines, plotting, character conventions from books I would normally not bother buying.
     And believe me I have learned a great deal. I wish I had access to the books when my eight sons were growing up. They contain more information about sex than any manual I encountered then.
Sex scenes have certainly changed since I was growing up:-
  1. I now know exactly what a 'blow job' is,  how and why to administer it in the back of a taxi..
  2. the location of at least six unusual erogenous zones ,e.g. the backs of knees.
  3. ten new ways to use one's tongue in foreplay.
  4. fifty interesting, although physically improbable, positions.
Extremely interesting and infinitely more factual than the maternal advice offered to brides in the nineteen forties: i.e. It's all very unpleasant but don't take any notice. That's what men are like!