Wednesday, October 10, 2012

'Believe it or not!' (Part 1)

Wow, what a lovely day. Just what the doctor ordered and it’s off to the Bay with Perdy. I gather our ‘essentials’ and head on down, Perdy embellishing the talk-back radio with her excited whimperings. If I didn’t know her better I would have thought she has wet herself by the time I opened the door and undid her leash. Off she went, prancing across the grass and onto the sand, sending me backward glances as if to say, ‘Hurry up you fat---.’
By the time I had cast my first throw of her orange ball, and she returned with her prize, I had my earplugs in.  Perdy gave me that quizzical look she favours, along with the tilted head. I will never tire of that look.
We were soon joined by other canine packets of mischief, some wanting to acquire Perdy’s ball. She responds quite differently, depending on the dog. It’s not just about size. Sometimes she really lets huge dogs know that ‘this ball is mine—got it?!’ Then for other dogs that are even smaller than her, she just wanders off as if to say, ‘So your mum’s too mean to buy you your own ball. OK you can play with mine, but if you don’t bring it back, I shall give “Perdy- for.”
Eventually Perdy decided that we were going to do a circuit around the Lagoon. Off we go, and before too long, she drops the ball down a hole and then expects me to get down on my knees or worse still, on my stomach in a beached-whale-like pose---- not pretty and without Green Peace membership, probably illegal. I push my hand down the hole, hoping like hell that it is not inhabited by a nasty rat. All the indications from Perdy’s demeanour tell me my fears may be correct. However, I receive no punishing attacks for my efforts.
With the ball safely back in its holder (thrower) we complete the circuit. I encourage Perdy to take a drink and I also throw the ball way out into the Lagoon in the hope that the swimming will wear her out a bit---yeah right.
Normally when we approach the car I have to use all sorts of subterfuge to get her to come to me. There are some days when she just will not come. Her face says---‘I’m not finished yet and those other times when you think you are the boss--- well I’m just patronizing you.’
I decide that I am well over waiting 10 to 20 minutes, trying to reward her with little treats. This time I go to the car, open the back door and in she goes. Maybe the secret is in not making a fuss. What do you reckon?
On the way home I stop ant the corner shop and buy a few bits and pieces. I pull my wallet out and place it on the counter but unfortunately my wallet was tied up with the long ear phone cord and what do you know? -----out came about 20 little doggie bites. They scattered all over the counter and I could just feel the eyes of those waiting behind me drilling into the back of head. I tried to gather the pieces up and the shop keeper helped. He didn’t seem too worried. After all, I do spend quite a bit at his shop. We cleaned up the bits and off I went, heading to the car with Miss Perdy and a very red face. Lucky it wasn’t something else more embarrassing I suppose. Believe it or not!

Napier, Art Deco and the busses--should have modified them here!

Firstly, let me state that I have immense admiration for Napier and the wonderful idea of putting the two Art Deco-style busses into operation. You have a city that draws me and I wish I could visit far more. The idea of bring the two busses into service is great and I am sure that thousands will come to love them once they are able to take advantage of this new venture.
But, why did the city not bring in the busses in a more ‘raw state’ and let NZ workers bring them up to our robust standards. It could have provided jobs and used the existing skills of our workers. Now you have to wait while the firm in Tauranga fixes up what can only be described as crappy workmanship.
Still, I can’t wait to try them out. Go for it. Maybe Auckland can buy some ‘themed’ busses—a variety of fun themes come to mind. New Plymouth--- get some themed mini-busses, travelling from ‘Surf to Mountain’ or larger ‘Around the Mountain busses. Maybe Jim Hicky can give it kick along.

The 'new' child protection scheme. Will it work?

The headlines in this morning’s Herald almost screamed at me. Was the Government finally going to fund a system that will really work and protect our young people? Will this end the terrible sight of young children being tossed like a rag doll into a tumble drier, or an uncaring parent beating their child to death? Given this and other Governments’ preference to cut money from our Social Services, is this just another ‘maybe promise’ that when played out for real may actually represent one more cut?
If one takes the proposal at face value, one could get a bit excited, but if it is really worked through and rolled out, I do not believe that the necessary money will be there. It does not take much of a mathematician to extrapolate out the figures and see that this could all be ‘pie in the sky’ stuff.
OK, I shall take off my cynical hat. We already have a good deal of interagency working relationships and schools and CYFS do work together. CYFS already contracts out to various agencies cases involving lower level issues within families. Those agencies vary in their effectiveness. If this new proposal helps to bring the agencies, school, families and other support people together, then great. One agency that already does this is the Strengthening Families organization. I have been part of many successful processes involving that group.
I suspect that there will be a bit of ‘Gravy Train’ stuff going on with this new proposal. There are many ‘Trusts’ and other organization out there, competing for the magic ‘dollar,’ and I wonder at how some of the decisions re-funding are made. I would like to be a ‘fly on the wall’ sometimes.
The bottom line is that of the well-being of the kids. We must never lose sight of that. If this ‘new’ initiative plays out to stop the awful scenes we regularly see on our screens’ then well and good. In the meantime I shall continue to work with CYFS and anyone else who can help deliver real change for our families.

$400K spent to work out how much compensation to pay David Bane.

I intend no offence to the Canadian Judge, but I take umbrage at paying $400,000 for a service that we should be able to pay within out own system. I am not commenting on the case itself because that has been well and truly worked through, but surely we could have made this compensation issue one that is based here in N Z and one that is a good deal cheaper.
That money (minus what it should cost) could have been used for operations or teachers, or perhaps a State House. I thought that National was going to take a closer look at such expenses. Instead they cut from other areas and really hurt people.
Come-on, let’s see some balance here eh?

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