Thursday, June 21, 2012


 'IT'S TIME WE KICKED RELIGION OUT OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS said the heading. My grand daughter, Rhiannon. shared the link,, to the article by Richard Boock

I could not agree more.

 It is time, high time we kicked the god squad out.
The Education Act (1870) specified that schools in public (tax payer funded) New Zealand should be  free, secular and compulsory and for nearly one hundred years the god squad openly flouted that law by introducing the Nelson System where volunteers would enter public schools and tell 'Bible Stories' for one half hour per week.

Sometimes a school would refuse to allow the volunteers in. At the next school committee election enough new members, usually from minor protestant congregations, were appointed to overturn the school's decision.

Harmless? Those untrained, messianic volunteers preached enough hell fire and damnation to give vulnerable children nightmares. One earnest 'Christian' woman told my Standard 2 class I was going to hell for eternity because I 'did not believe in God.' All she knew about my religious beliefs was that I opposed the Nelson System.


If Colonel Sanders. organised hundreds of volunteers to go into schools once a week and tell  children stories about finger licking goodness, seven miraculous herbs and spices, teach a few jingles where would be the harm even if they tell kids people who do not buy KFC will die of malnutrition?

Or Black Power sent their volunteers in to teach that were really good guys?

The current 'parents can opt out'  regulations only masks the arrogance of Bible in Schools.
Before a school decides to allow religious instruction in its classrooms parents should be consulted and each parent should make a positive decision about whether or not their child takes part. In other words religious education should be voluntary, and out of school hours, preferably off school premises.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


3.ll a.m. Wednesday morning.
For two days  I have been trying to get on line, convinced that both my computers had contracted some terminal virus and it was probably my fault. So I switched off and went to bed. At 3 a.m. I woke up, turned on the computer and there it was, purring at me.

It seems that the broad band connection for which I pay through the proverbial nasal organ just cannot handle the traffic and so unimportant customers, like writers who depend on Internet connection to do business, get left off.  Isn't it wonderful how Private Business handles everything so much more efficiently that the Public Service used to. I don't think.

It is now 3.30 a.m. and my inner voice, the one that tells stories and writes poems is protesting that I should not be working on Northern Hemisohere time. So Goodnight all.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Irene Nemirovskiy wrote novels in France before WW2. She died in Auschwitz in 1944 aged 42.An English friend alerted me to 'Suite Francaise' her final, uncompleted novel about the German invasion and occupation of France, published by Vintage Books and so skilfully translated by Sandra Smith that it has lost none of its French flavour. Her characters are the bourgoidee. the French middle class, the shopkeepers. the notaries, the petty nobility and the rich farmers.

Nemirovsky planned a series of four novels, the first, Storm in June tells of Parisiens fleeing Paris, their cars loaded with possessions, the chaos along the roads; the fifteen year old who runs away to join the fighting, his brother a priest who is murdered by the children he is escorting because he will not let them plunder an abandonned chateau.

 'Dolce' is set in a small village in occupied France. The occupation force is not a bunch of fanatical Nazis. They are young men who have had to leave wives. families and occupations. The officers are billeted in the chateaus, the soldiers make friends with the village children. Every character is meticulously and mercilessly drawn, from the Vicomtesse, who runs a sxhool for orphanned girls, parrotting the sayings of Marechal Petain, the Angellier household where the mother in law forbids her daughter in law to play the piano while her husband is a prisoner of war. The same huband had married his wife for her money and kept a mistresas in Dijon. When the Germans first occupy the village all doors are shut, as they were against fleeing Parieians weeks before.But when shopkeepers see the invaders have money they open their shops , with a hefty raise in prices of course.

Suite Francaise is what I call a dense rtead. The narrative is woven into a broad tapestry describing the French countryside, the lives of people living there, the structure of their society. and even reading in tranlation I found it fasscination and beautiful. 'Suite Francaise' is the French 'War and Peace' but never finished because its author was snuffed out by the insane philosophies of the time.

War and Peace for WW2n