Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guilty as charged!

Guilty—yes she is this time or I am. Perdy decided to go out the cat door at 5.30 this morning. I was in the shower and I heard her barking her head off. “Damn,” I thought, “that’s gonna bring our phantom complainant out of the woodwork.”
I completed my shower and had my breakfast. By this time the birthday girl (yip--- she’s 2 today) was sitting quietly inside after having her second breakfast.
I left for work at 6.50 and there it was--- a note jammed in the front gate. As usual there was no indication of who had penned it. As usual it contained threats about ringing dog control and the SPCA.
The writer was correct in her (I still think I know who wrote it) accusations this time and I shall make sure that Miss Perdy does not get out and sing to the neighbourhood. I am not an irresponsible dog owner or a cruel one like she said last time.
Hell, if the lady would only leave contact details, I would apologise to her and make amends. Yes, I would offer her one or both of my books and I would tell her what I am trying to do to alleviate the problem. Unfortunately, it is very hard to do this when the complainant is so bloody cowardly not to come and chat face to face. I’m hardly a scary monster and I won’t even let Perdy bite her.

It's OK if you are a cat up a tree!

The 111 system is for emergencies--- right? It’s OK to ring that number (911 in other countries). Picture this then.  Your cat gets stuck up a tree and you start to panic because your little pussy is in trouble. You try to coax her down, trying all of her favourite treats and you even climb halfway up the offending tree to conduct your own rescue. Thankfully, you come to your senses and return to earth. This means you t6actfully withdraw and take you panic back inside. You watch from the window, but no--- pussy is still ensconced up the tree and letting the neighbourhood know that she is indeed distressed.
You have a flash--- next minute you are on the phone, ringing 111. Lo and behold--- ten minutes later a big red truck with large strong men (and one woman) arrives and they were up the tree and down with a struggling little pussy in their hands before you knew it. Off they went and all was normal again, until next time that is.

So when the neighbour comes rushing over last night to inform me that their two year old daughter had somehow locked herself in the bedroom and was in a distressed state--- well one would think that after trying to get her out, by talking calmly to her to undo the ‘locking’ in order to get out and that attempt failing miserably, one would start to think of the cat experience. If they would come for a cat, then one would assume that a child would be pretty damn high in their priorities.
Well, no--- the 111 call fell on deaf ears. The controller was quite insistent that the solution lay with the upset parents and neighbours. Minutes passed while we considered our options. We even tried to bash the door open, but no luck. We pocked, twisted and cajoled the lock, but no--- deadlocks are a stupid device for a bedroom. The previous tenants must have had some ruling about ‘privacy.’ Understandable maybe, but the ramifications for a two year old are quite serious.
 I was concerned that the child was going to really start panicking and I did my best to calm the parents so that there would not be any transferring of their helplessness. Eventually they found a locksmith to come and let the girl out and I made sure that they did not blame or punish her. All ended well but one must be left with the question--- Hey you can come for a cat, but not for a child---? Get your bloody priorities right, call centre! I hope they are actually in NZ.

The hidden agenda

If teachers had a sense of mistrust in the government’s plans for education, they can only have reached even lower levels with the release of ‘papers’ in the last few days. These papers show that the government has had an agenda of cutting frontline teachers since 2009 but the election of 2011 forced them to ‘go underground’ with their plans. They knew that the electorate would punish them at the upcoming 2011 elections if these aims were made public.
It is no surprise that we now learn of these cost cutting proposals and we can only assume that no matter what the public tells them, they are going to go ahead with their plans. We can expect to see larger classes, less resources and more ‘smoke screens’ that will amount to nothing more than taking from one sector of the educational sector and then  tout gains made from such cuts as ‘new spending.’
The Minister of Education is nothing more than a ‘flogging boy.’ She seems at times a little uncomfortable with the announcements and plays with words, all of which have been firmly placed in her mouth by Treasury or other Government ministers. The Government certainly chose well when they made Ms Parata the Minister of ‘do as you’re told’ Education.
It’s going to be a long two years until the next election. Will the public have understood the message by then or will National come up with more platitudes framed as the ‘saviour of education on new Zealand.’ We never learn and the government continues with its plans. It won’t be too long before our excellent schools become nothing more than second rate institutions, forever playing catch-up. If you think the achievement standards for our school leavers are bad now--- well close your eyes--- you won’t like what you see in the future.