Oh, the woe, when I couldn’t download e-mails!  E-mail is my preferred form of electronic communication.  I rarely use texts or Facebook chat.  I’d downloaded e-mails around 5pm, but when I went to check again after 8pm Outlook kept asking me for my User ID and password.  No matter how often I put these in, the request kept popping up again.  My internet access was working and I went to webmail, with a similar result.  I tried a different browser, and reset my p.c. – all to no avail.  Stephen’s e-mail was not affected, so it was a mystery.  After I turned the computer off I remembered that Saturday evening 25 March was Earth Hour.  Was it possible that someone/something was telling me I shouldn’t be using electricity at that time?  This morning my e-mail is its usual efficient self, so who knows?  Did anyone else have problems accessing Clear/Vodafone e-mail last evening?

T-shirt from the first Christchurch Earth Hour in 2008

“Why should my e-mail have turned sour
perhaps cos I forgot Earth Hour?”





Book Bonanza

The Book Discussion Scheme is the source of books and reading notes for our book group.  The scheme (BDS) is a not-for-profit organisation that started 43 years ago under the auspices of the Canterbury Workers’ Education Association.  They provide monthly books to more than 1,200 groups throughout New Zealand, and it’s all run from their busy premises in Colombo Street.  Group members pay $60 per year, which entitles them to ten books.   Members all read the same book at the same time, then meet to discuss it, answer questions, and develop friendships.  The BDS offices have appropriate murals by Wongi Wilson at their front door.

I’m aware there are some groups where people read different books, then share their ideas, and others where everyone buys the featured book each month.  Do you belong to a book club?

“Our members all have undertook
to try to read the monthly book.”


This book is fascinating in a macabre way.  The goriness was almost nauseating at times and there was too much detail for my liking.  It’s the true story of an American World War Two flyer who crashed in the Pacific Ocean, and eventually became a Japanese Prisoner of War.  The harrowing recount of his experiences make it easier to understand an older generation’s prejudice against Japanese people.  I didn’t need to be reminded of the horrors of war, and I wouldn’t have persevered through the whole 400 pages if it hadn’t been a book group selection.  It was interesting to read about the war from an American perspective, when most of my knowledge comes from British people.

If you want to read a well-written detailed book about the Second World War, this is an excellent example, but it is not light entertainment.

“When I read all that he endured
I knew why war should be abjured.”

Affirmative Action

Signs at Verkerks shop saying their pork is female intrigued me.

I asked why, and was told they buy only female pigs.  Apparently their meat is more tender.  The meat of male pigs smells and tastes differently, and discerning customers, especially Asians, can tell.  I wonder what happens to the male pigs?  Presumably they go to less discerning butchers and customers.

Apologies to vegetarians for this post.

“”As a feminist should I baulk
at eating even female pork?”


Shelter on the Shore

Effort and enterprise had gone into making this shelter above the beach.

It looked suitable for Robinson Crusoe, but there was no sign of any inhabitant.

“You need to climb the dune to reach
this basic shelter on the beach.”

Autumn Equinox

Monday 20th March is the date when night and day will be equal.  After this our days in the southern hemisphere will slowly get shorter and the nights longer.  We will move from summer to winter, from light to dark, and from outer to inner.  The equinox is a time of balance throughout the globe, one of the two times of the year when both hemispheres have days and nights of equal length.

Our ritual group met to celebrate this festival, with a meditation that encouraged us to consider what our psychological harvest might be, and how we might sustain ourselves through the darker time.  We each received a small parcel of seeds to take home and plant, in preparation for spring.

“If only the whole world could be
in balance psychologically.”



Pedalling Patients?

I was pleased to find that Christchurch Public Hospital these days is surrounded by racks crammed with bicycles.

These ones in a fenced off area belong to staff.  Lots more out in the open are presumably used by visitors and able-bodied patients.  There are continual complaints about the shortage of parking near the hospital, and current roadworks make it difficult to drop someone off nearby.  A bicycle is ideal and healthy transport for those with a clear route from home.   I haven’t used my bike lately, because my usual routes are clogged with roadworks.  Stephen dropped me off for my hospital appointment, and I walked home.   I know of others who have declined to visit family in hospital simply because it’s too difficult to get there.

“For some of those who’d dearly like
it’s just not on to ride a bike.”