Friday, October 31, 2014
I have a great wine in the fridge and a fabulous Stew thing going on in the crockpot. Stick the chops in the pot, fry off the usual Doug/Indian inspired spices/seeds and powders, chuck in an onion, add some asparagus, chopped capsicums of any colour and then add a few of the other stuff that I have on my other blogs. (that mean you may have to go back and read some previous blogs) Now, pour that mix over the chops in the crockpot and slice up some silvberbeet and a tin of tomatoes on the top---walk away! Forget it for about hours. Then, take he wine out; share it with friends/family, Life does not have to be complicated or expensive! Feel free to substitute the veal for gravy beef--even cheaper then. www.authorneilcoleman.com
So millions of you (OK just kidding) want me to put 'Sons of Orpheus' through the same process I did for Roskill. Sorry---just can't, unless Roskill takes off and it is not showing any signs of doing that, even though it has had a fair amount of good press and publicity. It seems that unless you have the 'big boys and girls' of publishing behind you---it just doesn't happen. I don't have bookshops and a publishing house behind me so I rely on contacts and whatever I can do and my 'friends' in whatever form they come, helping along the way. ' So---Sons of Orpheus' will just appear for a while on my blogs and FB--in the dammed annoying format I have used. Yes, it will improve once I have my lesson in formatting from Martin and perhaps following his suggestion to use a website he has mentioned. One learns but most of that learning costs money, whether from mistakes on my part or just not knowing the 'field of play' for self-publishing. I don't want to put off other aspiring authors but be warned--the road is rocky and expensive. Thanks to all of you who have been making suggestions and trying to spread the word amongst your contacts. I am not about to give up---yet! www.authorneilcoleman.com
Yes, I know---I do write a great many blogs, on lots of subjects, not the least being about my books. I also pontificate on the issues of the day, including politics or whatever is 'heading' the days news. I exercise a variable approach to these issues, sometimes playing the 'devil's advocate,' in the hope of generating discussion. Most people just read them and at best 'like' and occasionally respond, not always of course favourably. That's OK by me, because lets face it---unless one is prepared to take the flack, they 'shouldn't put themselves out there! So yes, go and look at some of my older blogs and get back to me. Is here a particular 'theme' that you would like me to expand on? I am up for suggestions, other than 'get the hell off the net---lol---because I ain't going anywhere! www.authorneilcoleman.com
Thursday, October 30, 2014
It seems that the rich, the famous and the family next door are not exempt from the evils of 'P.' Read about my take on 'P' an how it traps a family and threatens to rip it apart in my hard-hitting book, ROSKILL. Go to my website to either download the EBook version or the hard copy. ww.authorneilcoleman.com or get one from me direct at email@example.com Kiwi boxing champ Adrian Taihia jailed for manufacturing methamphetamine - National - NZ Herald News nzherald.co.nz
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
I had an idea to cook chicken tonight--in what I would perhaps claim to be Thai in nature---with a slash of Indian influence--OK sort of 'fusion food at its best.' I fried off the usual culprits, cardamom, mustard seeds, cinnamon bark and---all the 'lovelies' that I have learnt to use--you know---seeds first, then onions and finally the powdered spices. Naturally I included some minced chillies and ginger. Then I added the red peppers and asparagus. I have no idea what the other two additions I added as there is no labels on the packets! Once the veggies were simmering happily away, I added the sliced chicken tenderloins. After seasoning with salt and white pepper, I had this brainwave. Why not add some sesame seeds. I did--the whole bloody packet fell in, much to my horror. I fished out about two thirds of them, leaving a rather generous amount that the dish claimed as its own. What the hell, AI thought. I love sesame so not all is lost---more like a twist of flavours with a Middle eastern, Asian and God knows what influence. Now the final touch--a small carton of light coconut cream. The dish had a lovely turmeric colour and a tiny taste test told me that my accident was indeed influenced from above and who am I to question such celestial intervention! www.authorneilcoleman.com
Roast Busters--- the events of the last year have shown up some very serious issues for New Zealand and the way we are bringing up our young people!
The publicity surrounding the events earlier in the year re the Roast Buster’ group of boys and the handling of it by the police points to a serious deficit in the way we are bringing up our young men in New Zealand. For many years, much has been said and a great deal of effort has gone into changing the ‘sub-culture’ in New Zealand that allows our young men to believe that women are targets, playthings to be cast aside by the criminal justice system when they have been very much wronged. The police say that they cannot process the Roast Buster group because of various factors, including the ‘lack of evidence,’ the unwillingness to put the victims through more trauma’ and the ‘age’ of the young men involved. This highlights a huge gap between public perception re the alleged crime and the ability and willingness of the police and courts to go ahead to bring resolution to what is alleged to haver happened. The real victims here are obvious. The young women will have learnt that ‘speaking up’ does not work in New Zealand and the young men are in danger of incorporating such behaviours into the way they interact with other women in the future. They have been sent a message from the ‘system’ that what they have alleged to have enacted is OK! Most New Zealanders say it is NOT OK! We rely on the justice system to protect us from pariahs and when that does not happen, then the mixed messages are strong and there is a danger that the ‘crime’ will be replicated in every town and city of NZ. I accept that the police have to operate within the law but this whole affair points out that there is an imbalance between the capability of the law to react in these situations and the rights of the ‘victims’ to receive justice. This cannot be swept under the carpet and one has a distinct impression that is this had been a group of young men from South Auckland’ the result would have been possibly different! It almost feels like the law prevails in different ways as to who you are where you come from. Connections may well have played a part here. I know others commenting would go way further in the expression s of how they feel about this. The issue of how we deal with sexual predators is one that will not and should not go away. Let’s bring it out into the open and call it for what it is—a heinous crime! www.authorneilcoleman.com
OK====In posting the free downloads for Sons of Orpheus, it does not appear as I have written it. That is because the blogging site doesn't accept my line breaks as I intended. I will be learning in the next week or so how to fix this annoying problem. I will also be using another site which I can share the book and accept payment. In the meantime, accept my apologies for the clunky 'all in one' style in which the book appears. Oh--to be a computer geek!
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
New Zealand is a relatively open society and people are free to practise their religious and cultural beliefs. Halloween falls somewhere in the middle of this spectrum and it evokes a certain amount of 'discussion' as to its origins and 'belongingness' to NZ. For me it is a no goer. I don;t like it or want to play any part of it. With other issues, like religion or various festivals, I can choose and no one would know what my stance was unless they entered into a discussion with me. With halloween, unless I lock the gate, leave the dog out or ut up a sign, I have little choise as to who comes down my drive and lelevers some sort of challenge for me to give them a 'gict.' Call me Scrooge or some other name, but my choice whould be repsetced wotuout me having to 'turn away, justify my position or be made to feel 'less than' as a person. Perhaps ther eis a compronise. Maybe people should 'flag' their willingness to take part in the inport fomr God knows where! A simple flag or sign---but even that gets me going--why should I or anyone wishing to not take part have to go to any lenghts at all re this madness. I wont even go inot the dnagers that lurk for young kids and for people who are elderly and living alonr being confronted with sometimes rather large 'kids' being dressed up and demanding a 'treat.' Forget the 'treats' because I have never seen an appropriate trick--the norm is something mumbled and a quick snatch and off they go. Don't try putting out a box of goodies, because some little or not so little sod will swipe the lot! OK, grumpiness over---I just make a plea to those 'playing' --to do their part. Do it properly and if there is a sign respectfully asking to be left alone---read it! For my part, I would far rather celebrate Matariki or any other real NZ festival. I do of course enjoy Diwali and other colouful and tasty festivals.
CHAPTER 2 FREE DOWNLOAD FOR SONS OF ORPHEUS BY NEIL COLEMAN www.authorneilcoleman.com 2 Sunda Straits, October 15, 1862 The village appeared deserted at first. Adi thought that the earthquake’s effects had reached even this far from his own village, but he could not see any damage. Indeed the village seemed surprisingly prosperous; drying racks laden with a bountiful supply of fish and well built, large dwellings. One in particular stood out, possibly the home of the village chief. Adi observed a scattering of people going about their daily business. On closer inspection however, he noticed a general movement towards the waterfront. Adi joined them, apparently unnoticed or causing any concern amongst the villages. There was an air of excitement mixed with darker expressions, but the overall mood was certainly one of curiosity. He heard smatterings of conversation (although the dialect was a little different to that of his home village) centring on the ‘foreign’ ship. When he finally reached the shoreline he stopped in his tracks. A vessel, about one hundred foot long and quite wide at the stern lay anchored in the bay. It had the appearance of a ship that had been through a great deal of misadventure; scrappy sails, damaged timbers and a missing mast. Even from the shore, a thick oily smell wafted to those watching. Adi overheard snippets of excited conversation. A fisherman ventured his opinion, ‘It’s a whaler. What’s it doing here?’ Another added fearfully, ‘Seems to have sickness aboard—looks like it’s been through a storm.’ A growing sense of unease began to ripple through the villagers, as those bravest amongst them who had taken it on themselves to investigate the ship began to return with rumours of ‘terrible events’. At the same time Adi noticed a sleek looking vessel leaving the ship’s side. It was one of the four whaling boats that were used to chase the mighty beasts once they were sighted. As is came closer to shore, Adi could see that the men aboard were unkempt and appeared to be very weak. The villagers let out a collective gasp as the boat nudged its way onto the golden sands. ‘Stay away!’ ordered the chief. ‘They are devils and bring trouble.’ His words had an immediate effect and most of the crowd fled from the shoreline and peered out through the nearby undergrowth and palms. A look of concern swept over his face as he noticed Adi standing alone on the shore. ‘Who is this boy?’ he asked, before hiding himself with his subjects. Adi was not so constrained. His curiosity overcame any fears he had about the appearance of the men on the boat, or the chief’s question. His own village was well inland and he had seen few white men apart from visiting officials, who had demanded taxes and gave little in return. He himself had never ventured more than two days walk from the village. ‘Don’t go near them boy!’ shouted one of the villagers. Adi ignored him. He timidly approached the beached boat. The sailors appeared to have used the last of their energy to make the shore and were now close to collapse. Adi did not need to understand their language in order to appreciate their dire need. One of the sailors had a similar skin colour to Adi and he managed to make himself understood, albeit with a slightly different dialect from the one Adi spoke. ‘We need help,’ he stammered, ‘the storm, many days at sea---water all gone and food made bad by sea water.’ Gradually the situation became clear. The chief summoned up enough courage to join the group, wanting to avoid his people’s scorn if he didn’t show some leadership. He did not want to be shown up by a mere boy, especially one from elsewhere. He ordered water and food to be taken to the ship and over the next few hours Adi gradually gained a level of acceptance from the villages. People began to ask questions about him. He had appeared from nowhere, yet fitted in as if he was one of them. Apart from a few minor differences in language and clothing (although Adi’s travels had left him with only vestiges of his clothing) Adi could well have been one of them. He was accepted by the ship’s crew as well, and his sense of humour helped to lift the mood of those he helped. When the chief heard that Adi had arrived from a distant village, he decided to wait until the ship left before he made any moves to enquire further into his sudden appearance in his village. Adi enjoyed his interactions with the crew and very quickly began to pick up rudimentary phrases of English. The crew of the Plymouth were delighted at his efforts and he had them just about falling overboard with laughter when he misused a phrase or repeated some of their more robust language. ‘Hey, boy. Come and ’elp with this. Those other useless twats are only good for sitting on their arses.’ Adi looked at the crew member, who was missing a few teeth, giving him a piratical appearance, before sitting on a barrel. The crewman laughed uproariously before indicating with his hand his intention. Adi moved towards him. ‘Don’t worry boy, you’ll get the hang of it. You’re a good lad.’ Adi’s good humour and cheerful disposition also endeared him to Captain Tobias Smith, an amiable resident of Philadelphia. He noticed how the crew had gradually accepted Adi as one of them. It had become obvious to them that Adi did not belong to the village; thus a gradual adoption had occurred and by the end of the second day since the whaler’s arrival, Adi was staying aboard with the crew. Whilst not rich, the village had access to an abundance of fresh vegetables and many different kinds of tropical fruit, along with a huge variety of seafood. In just a few days there was a noticeable improvement in the health of the crew. The warm climate and exotic environs worked wonders on the storm-ravaged men. Spirits rose considerably and although the Captain was restless about getting back to sea, he allowed his men a certain amount of latitude, quite unlike the usual regime he insisted upon while chasing the whales. Repairs were made where necessary, however the missing mast remained a problem; one that necessitated a visit to a much more substantial port. The Captain knew that the port was a few days sailing away at Batavia, but that presented a problem he preferred to avoid. If the Plymouth called in at Batavia, he needed to stay well clear of a minor colonial official, who had a major score to settle. It was all about money, a gambling debt that the persistent official was determined to collect. He had avoided this problem for the last three years, and had no intention of using his depleted profits from the recent failed whaling expedition to pay this dubious debt. ‘I’m not paying that greedy bastard. I reckon he swindled me anyway,’ he mumbled to his First Mate. The First Mate was more than happy, as he too had good reason to stay well clear of the port. He had run afoul of a ‘Madame’ in one of the local brothels on the previous voyage. She did not take kindly to patrons who had absconded without paying their debts. When he considered his options, the Captain decided to make the much longer journey to Sydney, where he would find the necessary facilities to make the repairs. The Captain surveyed the scene before him. The villagers had come out in a profusion of gaudily festooned canoes and fishing boats to farewell the Plymouth. His ship was now well provisioned and the villagers had been paid for their services in money and goods. The chief had been particularly pleased when presented with one of the new rifles that had recently become popular. Adi made sure he was out of sight from the shore. He had heard from one of the villagers that the chief had some questions for him. He blended in with full knowledge and acceptance of the captain. Adi’s skills and adeptness at rapidly climbing the riggings and his ability to learn other ship-board duties had persuaded the Captain that when the ship left, Adi’s inclusion was a foregone conclusion. Now as Adi watched the bay recede into the distance, his thoughts turned to the future; to the far off Sydney in Australia. He had been told that Australia was a huge and almost empty land, full of unusual animals and people who looked very different to himself. Indonesian Sea, South East of Bali. Even in pristine condition the Plymouth was not a particularly fast ship. She had been built for her capacity to serve the needs of processing the huge whales and to store the end product for delivery to her home port. Now, minus a mast she was even slower and less manoeuvrable. The Captain was pleased to see that the Plymouth was making good progress and after a week’s solid sailing with favourable winds, he calculated that they were just south of Bali. He would have loved to have made port at the exotic Island but he was determined to forge ahead, knowing that conditions could change incredibly quickly, putting the lumbering vessel at risk. As the days passed, Adi settled into life aboard the ship with relative ease. He loved to listen to the crew boasting of past deeds and the crude banter between the men. His English improved enough for him to constantly badger the First Mate to include him in a whale chase. Captain Smith’s main concern was to deliver his ship to Sydney without any untoward incidents that could lessen or slow his journey, but if any opportunities presented themselves in the form of a few sperm whales, then that was even better. Several hundred miles southeast of Bali, the Captain decided to launch two of the whale boats to exercise the crew and to introduce Adi to some of the challenges of the chase. When the whale boat was launched, Adi almost jumped in, bringing further bantering from the crew. He refused to let the men’s teasing get the better of him. His natural stubbornness carried him through the four hours of torturous, back-breaking rowing. The oars were very different to the paddles he had used in the canoes back in the village and the muscles used were quite different, leaving his back and upper shoulders feeling like they had been beaten by an angry assailant. The next day Adi was perched serenely in his favourite place, high above the gently swaying deck. The Plymouth was well to the southeast of Bali and the horizon was clear of land except for a few small islands; some of the thousands that make up the scattered archipelago. Adi was aching from the experience of the day before, but that did not lessen his yearning drive to push himself even more strenuously. His attention was momentarily drawn to a spout about five hundred yards to the east of the Plymouth. Adi knew immediately that this was his first sight of a whale breaking the surface and expelling the spent air from its lungs. Adi lost no more time in wasted thoughts and yelled out for the first time in his life, ‘Thar she blows!’ He watched impatiently as the deck below became the scene of furious activity and descended as fast as he could because he was also going to experience his very first chase. When he reached the deck, Adi searched for his crew and once located, he joined the whale boat as it was lowered over the side. He put his pains from the day before behind him as he joined the men for the chase. The whale was one of three that had surfaced. The boat sped through the water as the lead hand encouraged the rowers to extend themselves, using language that Adi was rapidly becoming used to and indeed quite adept at using himself. ‘Come on ya bastards. Put ya backs into it. My sisters could do better!’ ‘Oh yeah?!’ the burly crewman next to Adi shouted. ‘I reckon you’re right there mate. She gave me a real good time last time we were back home eh.’ Adi wondered what his family would think about his new skills. For now, he pushed these thoughts aside and concentrated on his new adventure. The huge beast was just ahead; close enough for Adi to smell the foul odour. Adi was amazed at its size and pure raw power as it surged through the waves, still managing to avoid giving the harpooner the chance to thrust his cruel barbed weapon into its massive body. Who would tire first: the crew or the beast? South Pacific ‘Come on. Don’t let that Froggy bastard beat us!’ Alex shouted to the men in the rigging. They were sailing parallel to a French frigate, about a mile to the west. It was a rare chance for the crew to escape from the boredom of the long voyage to Sydney. Alex’s words were more than matched by the insults from the sailors. The last thing they wanted was to be out-paced by the French ship. Alex chose to ignore their colourful language. When the Captain ordered the engine room to engage the steam engines, the Orpheus increased her speed and gradually pulled ahead of the other ship, eliciting even more lively insults from the crew. Alex stood next to the captain, satisfied that the Orpheus could have easily extended her lead, given that they had barley used half power from the engines. ‘There, that should show them that they needn’t tangle with us and expect to win,’ the captain stated smugly. Alex decided not to point out that there was a world of difference between the two ships; not the least being that the French ship was without steam and was at least thirty years older. As the captain wandered off to his cabin, Alex thought about the stories he had heard about Sydney, especially the area near where they intended to dock. The taverns were reputed to be lively and well used to providing for sailors too long from shore. He did not intend to disgrace himself but a few quiet ales in good company would not go amiss. Indian Ocean, November 1862 Captain Pickering sat in his comfortable chair, one of the few luxuries he allowed in his sparsely furnished cabin. It included his well-stocked wine cabinet. He didn’t trust his cook to store his cases of wine with the rest of the Emerald’s stores. On the odd occasion, he shared his stock with a lucky guest, but tonight he was alone. The captain cast his thoughts to the voyage since leaving the Canaries. They had made good time and the brief call at Cape Town had passed relatively unscathed. Two of his crew had managed to over-indulge in some cheap local spirits and then challenge some American sailors, equally inflated with alcohol-induced courage, to a bit of rough-and-tumble. He smiled, remembering his own youthful adventures in the same port many years ago. The men had upset the tavern owner and the local constabulary with their mostly harmless attempts to rekindle the War of Independence. A subtle handover of a handful of coins had been enough to soothe the feelings of those most offended. The benign weather had continued since leaving the Cape and with a replenished larder and the ship in good repair, the Captain had every reason to believe that the Emerald could well make Sydney in almost record time for a clipper. He emerged from his cabin to stretch his legs, surveying the build-up of clouds on the southern horizon. ‘Mmmm, looks like we’re in for a bit of a breeze.’ One of the crew scurried past, choosing to ignore the Captain’s ramblings.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Syria is an example of a 'failed state, one in which its leader makes war on his own people, in an attempt to stay in power, to keep the 'baubles' that he inherited from his father, to keep those who he sees as opposition in a permanent state of hopelessness. Then---throw in the various groups who aspire to take his position; some just as brutal as him and others far worse. A group espousing religion as their driving force but delivers brutality to anyone standing in their way, not only in Syria but the region as a whole, with an avowed aim of establishing an Islamic Caliphate, whatever that means in this day and age. Now bring in the influence of other major powers, both from within the region and from past colonial and post colonial times and the picture becomes even more fraught with 'impossibilities!' Some lay the blame for the current mess on past colonial machi8nations, but that is simplicity in itself. One only needs to go further back in history to see a picture of eternal struggle as various ethnic groups, often using religion as the 'flag bearer,' and more often exhibiting naked power to pursue their aims---that of unbridled power. In the middle, as always, it is the people who suffer. Now we have a region aflame as the 'players' enter and exit the stage, acting their part then pulling back as yet another 'character' seeks alliances with past 'performers.'On the edges of the 'main stage,' other 'actors' make a play, reluctantly at times, with other concerns driving their decision as to whether they should let their light shine. On a world stage, the question of who controls the resources of the region is an ever present but not always acknowledged force. It is extremely powerful, usually superseding any wishes of the people who inhabit the region. Is it any wonder therefore, when we have such forces colliding, those of the regions and its wannabe rulers and the desperate manoeuvrings of politicians and industrial/military complexes making their plans from afar, that the Middle East and Syria in particular are a cauldron of indifference to suffering and the failure of nation states to provide for their citizens?
Friday, October 24, 2014
Sons of Orpheus, by Neil Coleman, (ME!) will be online, chapter by chapter for a short time and then for a small payment you will be able to download it (maybe NZ$1 for two chapters). Sons of Orpheus is a massive novel set in the 1860s going through to the late 1880s. Whilst there historical events that are true, it is a novel that takes the reader to a time in NZ history that many would rather forget. SOO has in a rich tapestry of characters; one from Ireland, another from Indonesia. At times the storyline is ahead of its time and covers issues that were 'not talked about' in the 19th century. For then first instalment, go to my blog for the 24th Oct ,2014. I shall post the next chapter in few days, one the first one has more than 25 hits. I contemplated going through the process that costs so much re Roskill, but that is way too much, hence going down this pathway. If it takes off, I may consider releasing the whole book on Kindle and hard cop, but that depends on YOU! Enjoy the first instalment. www.authorneilcoleman.com
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Quite a few people have asked me to put online, my book, Sons of Orpheus. I have been reluctant to do this because I am not that happy with it. HoOwever if it gets enough'attention,' I shall spend the next holidays getting it up to pre-editting standard. Here goes---the Prologue and first chapter. It will need a lot of hits before I put the next one up. Comments please. Sons of Orpheus is a fictional historical novel, based on real events in NZ history. Yes, I know there are many mistakes!Print it out and read it at your pace, somewhere nice. SONS OF ORPHEUS: By Neil Coleman www.authorneilcoleman.com PROLOGUE Manukau Bar, New Zealand, 12.30, February 1863. Jack strained to see the entrance to the Manukau Harbour. A wispy mist partly concealed the entrance; but knowing it was there, just beyond the waves breaking on the bar, added to the sense of danger. He had taken a break from his duties, and along with his friend Adi, was fascinated by the looming vista of the Manukau Heads. Jack and Adi were totally different in appearance; Jack, skinny, red-headed, blue eyes and pale skinned, while Adi was brown and swarthy with black hair and round brown eyes. The crew had long accepted the unusual pair, giving up on the jibes that they had directed at the two boys when they had first boarded the Orpheus. They were about five miles from the narrow entrance to the Manukau Harbour, but first the Orpheus had to navigate the treacherous channels and sand-banks that many sailors feared and captains dreamed about. Even the storms and maelstroms of the Tasman Ocean were quickly forgotten as the unforgiving gap revealed itself. For Jack, Ireland and its sadness lay behind and a new land beckoned, with the promise of a new beginning. He longed to make a fresh start in New Zealand with his new friends. He would not miss ship board life, particularly the harsh rules, boring food and overzealous officers, but all this paled into insignificance compared to the life he had left behind months ago in Ireland. A few yards away, Adi was deep in thought. He missed the village and his family, especially the love of his mother. His father was a distant memory; a mixture of kind words and times spent hunting in the lush jungle surrounding the village. But so much was missing; a void that seemed near, but unconnected with his present. Adi’s plans coincided with Jack’s. They had hatched a plan to begin a new life in Onehunga, just beyond the Heads, leaving behind the memories from the past. From two lands, thousands of miles apart, their paths had crossed, bringing them to New Zealand. The two friends were aboard the Orpheus, a British Navy vessel, out of Sydney. Adi and Jack had boarded the Orpheus a week before; Adi as assistant to the ship’s surgeon and Jack as the cook’s helper. Jack and Adi moved closer together so no one would hear their conversation. They confirmed their plan to leave the ship, before she sailed back to Sydney after completing her New Zealand mission. Nearby, Lieutenant Alex Coleman was also looking towards berthing at Onehunga. He was pleased to see the boys taking a keen interest in the distant shore. The past month had been a tough time for the boys and he had played an important part in their joining the ship’s crew. He smiled, thinking about how he intended to take them to one of the taverns in Onehunga. His plans for the immediate future were as yet unclear, but he too felt the stirrings of discontent with his present position; a feeling that he could not quite put his finger on. Part One 1 Western Sumatra, September 1862. Adi reeled as another aftershock wreaked havoc in his village. What was once a prosperous and happy village had been reduced to ruin in a matter of seconds, taking everything Adi had known in a cruel and savage manner. He was surrounded by death and the cries of the few near him who had survived. The smell of cooking fires mixed with the dust in a deadly pungent wave. His mother, father, grandparents and siblings were gone, disappearing in a river of mud and rocks as the hillside behind the village collapsed, engulfing the village. He had survived, but he wished that he had not. ‘What is left for me!?’ he yelled. ‘Why am I the only one? Just take me too!’ The choking dust obliterated the ghastly results of what had happened from him. As Adi stumbled towards the encircling jungle, he cried out for help, but those near him faced their own battles. A small child collided with him, before disappearing into the swirling dust and debris. When Adi reached the jungle, he continued along a pathway, and the screams gradually decreased as he ventured further. His clothes were ripped, giving him the appearance of a beggar. In his confused state, he did not stop to take stock of where he was heading. He left his ruined village behind and wandered from village to village in a daze for several weeks, eventually stumbling into a fishing village near the Sunda Straits. County Cork, Ireland, same time. Jack O’Connell yearned for a new life. In his seventeen years of life in Ireland he had seen much. Ireland had not recovered from the devastating potato famine. When the crop failed, Jack became part of a human flood, escaping from the hunger, unemployment and tyranny of the English overlords. Many of his friends and relations had fallen foul of the authorities and had earned either a quick death at the hands of the hangman, or been transported to the colonies in Australia. Jack was cast from his family through economic necessity. He remembered the nights when he had battled against the cold in the tiny rundown cottage. Hunger was a constant companion that his parents could do little to alleviate, driving him to risk severe punishment by poaching from the landlord’s farm. It had all become too much for his drunkard father, who finally disappeared, some said to America. Jack had seen three of his siblings succumb to disease and starvation, accompanied by his sense of helplessness to stop their suffering. His mother relied on him more and more, further increasing his frustration with his lot in life. Finally on a freezing morning in January he had awakened from a fitful sleep to find even his mother had left, taking the two younger children with her. That same morning the landlord had brutally thrown Jack out of the dilapidated cottage, leaving him with few choices. He had no one to turn to; no family, only a will to look for something better. Jack left his native Ireland behind and joined a crew of an English fishing trawler that delivered him to Liverpool. He was taken on board by a sympathetic captain who allowed him to work for his passage. Pacific Ocean, October, 1862. Alex loved the early morning shift; a time when the ship slowly came to life. The night watch had retired to their sleeping quarters below deck to be replaced by the first shift of the day. Alex smiled as he listened to the grumbling men. They weren’t particularly serious in their complaints; it was merely a fact of life as a sailor on the Orpheus. He was also on deck for another reason. Alex enjoyed an early morning walk around the deck, while it was relatively quiet. It may not have been on par with the long strolls he took back in England, but it was enough to set him up for the day. His athletic figure was yet to fall prey to the overindulgence of many of his fellow officers. He shifted his attention to the school of flying fish, skipping the gentle waves; disappearing for a moment, then reappearing in another graceful swoop before repeating the pattern. The ship was sailing under wind power, saving her coal for times when the wind was less kind. She still managed a good fourteen knots. Alex had been lucky to secure a position on the relatively new ship. Many others had applied and failed. He had joined her in Canada, while she was on convoy duty. England was another world away, with its grimy and overcrowded cities. He was determined to prolong his time on the Orpheus until another opportunity came his way. He did not have a plan as such, but the idea of serving in the Colonies was a growing possibility; it was in what capacity that was unclear. The voyage to Sydney had been uneventful, almost to the point of boredom. One benefit for Alex was that he had gotten to know the Orpheus. He had come to appreciate her as a ship, well ahead of most of the vessels in Her Majesty’s Navy. The ship’s bell rang, intruding on his thoughts. Breakfast was being served in the officer’s mess. Liverpool, October 1862. In Liverpool Jack joined the thousands of fellow Irish already living in the squalor and lawlessness of dock area. He managed to find casual work on the docks for a few hours at a time, thereby just succeeding in to keeping the hunger pangs away. If he wanted more than a basic subsistence, he was going to have to make some alternate plans or enter the dangerous underworld of petty crime. Jack was fast coming to the conclusion that he had to make some choices if he was to avoid a life of permanent poverty and hunger. The dark filthy alleyways near the port provided many opportunities if one was so inclined, but Jack intuitively shied away from that way of life. Liverpool was a busy port; ships regularly had to wait offshore before mooring at the docks. Jack loved to watch the ships as they emptied their cargoes of exotic wares: including tea from the East Indies and cotton from the Americas. Those ships quickly re-provisioned with cargoes and passengers, destined for a myriad of destinations. He heard passengers and crews talking with a mixture of fear and awe about savages in the Pacific Ocean on palm-lined shores and vast deserts in far off colonies at the bottom of the world. On one occasion a barrel broke open after a sailor tripped on the gang-plank, spilling the contents onto the dock below. Jack’s nostrils were immediately assailed by the sharp aroma of the red powdery substance. When he knelt to examine the mess, he transferred the powder to his mouth, and then endured the raucous laughter from nearby sailors who knew about the burning taste of chilli powder from past voyages to India. For Jack, it was lesson well learned, but at the same time, awaking his curiosity further about what lay beyond England. Great Britain was a nation with colonies and territories around the globe. Jack became aware of some of these distant places, including India, New South Wales, Canada and New Zealand. The stories intrigued him and gradually led him to new conclusions about his future possibilities. He often picked up enough casual work, thereby t extending his meagre coin purse so that he could eat for a few more days and pay for somewhere to sleep, albeit in rather foul lodgings. His efforts did not go unnoticed. Captain Louis Pickering was leaning on the railings one day, thinking about the voyage ahead to Sydney Town via the perils of the Cape of Good Hope with its treacherous winds and currents. His present ship, the Emerald, was a fast clipper, renowned for its speed and ability to take many days off the long voyage to Sydney. As well as his cargo of mixed merchandise for the growing colony, he also had a small number of passengers who paid extra for the privilege of enjoying a fast passage. The time of steam had arrived but Captain Pickering still preferred the trusty sailing ships to the noisy and smoky steam ships. Deep down he knew that the time was fast approaching when he would either have to learn new skills or become used to the idea of a life without his beloved sailing ships. His past voyages had not been without incident; especially the last one the year before when he had lost several men overboard to a huge rogue wave that had swept over the decks. The ship had survived relatively unharmed but the loss of his men hung heavily on his thoughts. His attention was abruptly drawn to a disturbance on the dock. One of his sailors had fallen whilst trying to manoeuvre a large water barrel. ‘Oh my God!’ the Captain bellowed. ‘This is all I need.’ He rushed down the gang plank so he could better assess the seriousness of the accident, leaving the gaudily dressed lady he was chatting to alone on the deck. ‘Don’t be too long dearest. You promised me a good time luv,’ she crowed, much to the amusement of the crew. Jack was also on the scene and was doing what he could to alleviate the man’s suffering. He was well used to assisting in such situations; for farm animals, his family and fellow farm workers back in Ireland. Jack had managed to remove the sailor from under the barrel. ‘Mmmm—not a pretty sight,’ muttered the Captain. ‘Someone get a doctor, and hurry about it.’ Fortunately, a doctor of sorts was in the nearby tavern, enjoying an ale or two. He joined the scene, escorted from the tavern by Jack. The doctor staggered to the dock, his face flushed from the booze he had enjoyed. The Captain grimaced as he observed the corpulent and inebriated doctor; however, he was the only option available in the short time before the ship left port. ‘Take im to the tavern so I kin get a better look at ‘im,’ the doctor slurred, ‘and give ‘im a shot of brandy to shut the bugger up. Gord he’s makin’ enough bloody noise to wake the devil hiself.’ The Captain was in two minds. Should he let this butcher attend to his injured sailor and possibly make an already bad injury worse? Maybe the better option would be to bring the sailor aboard and let the ship’s surgeon attend to him, but he quickly dismissed that option when he remembered that that gentleman was not due back until just before this evening’s planned sailing. The Emerald was almost ready for departure on the evening tide. Her crew was all but complete, but there was a worrying situation in that several of the crew members were rumoured to have joined another ship, after been lured by the promise of a better offer. This was a common occurrence; one that the Captain was prepared to use when he needed to. The Captain contemplated these problems as he watched the sailor being taken to the tavern. The Emerald was due to leave in a few hours or face the wrath of the port authorities and extra charges. He thought that the crew numbers were sufficient; more so if he picked up extra members at The Canary Islands where he was intending to put in as usual to replenish his wine supplies. A thought suddenly occurred to him. Maybe the helpful young man who had proven himself so useful over the last few days could be persuaded to join his crew. The days of press gangs had long since disappeared, meaning that less persuasive methods could be employed. The young man appeared amiable enough; keen to learn and had the whiplash build of a sailor, and probably more than able to flit about the mainsails when required. No time like the present. He called to the young man. ‘Boy, come here, quickly will you. I have a proposal’ Curious, Jack approached the captain, who was once again leaning over the railings. ‘I see you have made yourself useful again,’ the Captain pronounced. ‘We are about to ship out of here on the next tide. ‘Get yourself aboard.’ Everything came back to Jack in a rush. As far as he was concerned he couldn’t get far enough away from Ireland and now having experienced a life truly on the edge in Liverpool, he came to a decision quickly. ‘But I don’t know nothing about the sea Sir,’ he replied. ‘What use would I be?’ ‘From what I’ve seen young man, I am sure you will catch on pretty fast.’ ‘What’s in it for me then?’ Jack replied cheekily. ‘True, it isn’t much in the way of wages for a young lad like you, but I am sure the adventures will more than make up for that. There are always opportunities if you keep your eyes open.’ Jack knew that there was little in Liverpool and from what he had heard on the docks, many thousands of his compatriots felt the same. He came to a decision in a flash. ‘Sir, get me out of here,’ Jack implored. ‘There ain’t nothin’ here for me as you say.’ ‘Then come aboard sailor and stow your gear,’ the Captain replied. ‘What you see is what you get,’ Jack laughed. ‘Cheeky bugger.’ Next Day the Emerald slipped anchor and a day later she was plying the Northern Atlantic with a very sea sick young Jack having finally said goodbye to his past life. North Atlantic. Jack adapted quickly to life aboard the Emerald and it wasn’t long before he left the sea sickness behind him. He also had the good fortune to have embarked with a reasonably mild mannered Captain. Captain Louis Pickering was quite unlike some of his notorious fellow captains. He was not a Captain Bligh, but he insisted on a high standard and did not suffer laziness or dishonesty. Clapping in Irons was a very rare event and flogging was not part of his disciplinary ideology. Jack loved to scamper up the riggings to the highest part of the ship, where he could observe the goings on from a bird’s-eye view. His hands had become used to the rough feel of the ropes, to the point where he was able to boast about the newly formed callouses on his hands and fingers. The air was fresh, totally different to the cloyingly thick odours of below deck. It was a relief to steal a few minutes in his special world. He was happy for the first time in many years. He could not remember a time when he felt happier. Now from the crow’s nest he observed a purple hazed mountain on the horizon. ‘Land ahoy!’ he shouted excitedly. ‘Ah, The Canary Islands,’ the Captain murmured contentedly as he imagined the stores this short break in routine would deliver. His crew would also benefit from the short stay in port, but knew from past experiences that ‘short’ was non-negotiable, considering the nature of the visit and the discretion required. The passengers would also enjoy a few hours ashore, knowing that the next port was Cape Town. The brief stop in Tenerife was enough for the captain to procure his needs and it gave Jack a welcome break from ship life. His ship-mates barely had time to take advantage of the delights of the town’s offerings before they grudgingly returned aboard. A few of the passengers copied the Captain and came back with a supply of wine to carry them through for the much longer and more stressful portion of the journey to Cape Town. The Captain took the opportunity to top up his fresh water supply and to fill the ship’s store room with fresh meat, vegetables and fruit. Only small amounts of this would come the way of the crew, who would have to settle into a far less varied diet. For Jack this hardly mattered, given the deprivation from his recent past. Two rather seedy looking sailors who claimed they had missed the sailing of their previous ship were reluctantly taken aboard. Time did not allow for a more judicious search. A week of advantageous winds soon had the Emerald approaching the equator. For Jack this was a new experience as he became the unwilling victim of the crew’s attentions for those who were making their first equator crossing. Jack quickly realised that the best way to get through this was to just go along with it and after a good dunking and a bit of exaggerated spluttering, accompanied by raucous ribbing from his crew mates, he emerged unharmed and having satisfied King Neptune, he felt he was now truly part of the Emerald’s crew.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Perdy is a lucky Jack Russell who gets lots of walks down at the Onehunga Bay. She delights in cavorting in the mud, the water and amongst the long grass; especially that which has taken over the area beyond the fence line. She loves to jump about as she explores the possibility of other ‘life forms,’ namely rats, mice and God knows what. She shoots off under the fence and no matter what I say, she does not willingly come back until she has had her fill. OK, if I get really annoyed and go back to the car and start the engine, she skulks back to me. I haven’t been too worried by this as I am not often in a hurry. When I am---well the blood pressure probably goes up! It seems that a solution to her escaping and not coming back has arisen in the form of some new inhabitants of the ‘grasslands.’ A few weeks ago I noticed that there were some new birds down at the Bay. They were not like the Pukekos that Perdy loves to chase and be chased by. They were not like the gulls that take wing as soon as Perdy is unleashed. NO---these ones set up a guttural screeching and rose above us, then dive bombed an unsuspecting Perdy. Perfect, I thought—Perdy had finally met her match---and then some. There must be some sort of primeval instinct that takes hold and Perdy hates it. She does not like being attacked from above. Back she came, scuttling under the fence, with her tail well and truly clamped between her legs. ‘Let’s go Dad, ‘she implores while I laugh at her. Thanks, Spur Winged Plovers. You have put my monster in her place! www.authorneilcoleman.com
Prime Minister Key of New Zealand has a remarkable gift. He apparently regularly speaks in ‘Tongues’ in the NZ Parliament. He has shown this capacity, this gift on many occasions, causing a great deal of admiration to be directed at him from the NZ public, namely the ’voting’ public, although of course a great many NZers did not bother to vote in the past election, further exposing NZers to yet many more months of listening to Key as he repeats his aforementioned ‘skill.’ An example is the incredible ‘gift’ could have been observed by anyone present, either in person or electronically, as he admitted yesterday that he did not speak to his ‘friend’, Cameron Slater, the man who gave ‘Dirty Politics’ a whole new goal post to aim at in future, as the PM but in some other capacity. One wonders what other ‘registers’ the PM may use in the coming months as he unloads his policies on a NZ that generally did not vote for him! Perhaps he may slip into one in which he takes away the rights of NZ workers for a tea break---oops, they did that last night, so the ‘tongue will switch’ to yet another focus of his ‘plan for NZ.’ Watch out for the ‘Charter schools, Tongue,’ as he pays back his little friend, ‘David Seymour Charter Schools,’ thereby cementing his alliance with the tiny party that the tongue- twisted convolutions of party politics has given us. Still, at the end of the day once he conveniently forgets one of his tongues, we have this situation because we----or is it you---couldn’t be bothered voting? Did you really think that NZ was in good hands and that the ‘tongue is just—well---a slip of the tongue and it’s just another day in the life of Johnny! www.authorneilcoleman.com
Monday, October 20, 2014
OK, I haven't worn a ball gown---yet, but if I did, I would not attempt to eat a chocolate-coated ice-cream on a stick! Why not? Well have you ever eaten one and not lost part of it to the floor or the footpath? Some brands are worse than others. You rip the packet open, anticipating the first delectable bite of the treasure within and just as you open your mouth, a flake of the outside coasting falls away. If no one's looking you may consider picking up the bit but usually you have to walk on, before the next bite causes another avalanche of chocolate wonderfulness! Damn---what a loss. Why does this happen? Unless you are at home, with no one looking, with a plate held strategically under your ice-cream, then be prepared to lose a significant portion of your ice-cream on a stick. Maybe there are some that don't do this--tell me about them. Maybe they use some terribly dangerous chemical to make the chocolate adhere to the ice-cream beneath the surface, so that's out as far as I am concerned, but I am sick of picking bits of chocolate coating off my lap or worse, my nice new shirt! I think now that New Zealand has a 'temporary ' seat on the UN Security Council, we should push for a world-wide solution to this vexing issue. The world will be a far better place and it's citizens far more content if a solution is found! Hell, if you are trying to read ROSKILL, my book, you don't need bits of chocolate falling and staining the pristine pages, or the screen of your Kindle! www.authorneilcoleman.com
I arrived home after a ---well---- busy day at school! I needed a good walk with Perdy down at the Bay.' I was overcome with the need to create something special for dinner and have left-overs for tomorrow night and for lunch. This is what I came up with. I do need to say that nothing detracts from the wonderful meals I have with Doug after our walks on Friday afternoons! I fried off an onion in a little oil with a bit of sesame oil for taste. I chucked in some mixed frozen vegetables. Then, in went the mince (you chose how much!)I added a packet of Magi Chow Mein mix. In the meantime I marinaded some tofu in a mixture of soy sauce and desiccated coconut. After the mince was cooked I added the tofu and gently cooked the mixture. The smell was incredible. I pretended I was in an exotic place, like Bali. I turned of the stove and got the Aubergine ready. I cut it up and tossed it in a plastic bag with salt pepper and dried mixed herbs. yes--you guessed it. I then stuck it in the Airfryer and cooked it. Wow what a combination. I didn't need rice or a carb! The meal was perfect--healthy and oh son tasty!
Sunday, October 19, 2014
‘You fucking bitch!’ he screamed as he let loose with another flurry of punches, directed at an already much disfigured wall. ‘Why can’t you leave a man alone; what with your smart-arsed replies and bloody nagging?’ Shit, it’s not as if I don’t bring home the money---isn’t it?’ Mary shied away, glancing at a man she no longer knew; not the one she had married all those years ago, the happy years and now---this. A man who had changed from a supportive and loving husband to one who resembled the characters in the movies they used to watch on TV, a shadow of his former self. It wasn’t the physical and verbal abuse alone either; there was also the total breakdown in their finances. Bills had gone unpaid for weeks and they were about to lose the home they rented. Gone were the dreams of a new beginning, since arriving from Christchurch and then---the kids. Watching them turn from their dad was just too much. She saw fear in their eyes and the once close relationship between the father of her children was gone, perhaps forever, but occasionally she saw them watching, a furtive glance, as if to say----‘where have you gone Dad?’ ‘P’ (Methamphetamine) is a scourge on New Zealand society. It breaks up families, destroys businesses and family finances. It put the very existence of families at risk. Can a family ever recover once a parent enters the dark world of ‘P?’ Is there any hope. Who can the teenage children turn to when everything seems hopeless? Find out----read RSOKILL by Neil Coleman. You can either download it directly to your reading AP (Kindle or other devices) or buy hard copy. Go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/047325655X and if you buy the hard copy from the website www.authorneilcoleman.com you get an E-book download free. The other alternative is to contact the author directly for local delivery. firstname.lastname@example.org ROSKILL is a hard hitting sorry that is repeated in any city, town---anywhere in the world. It is also a story of hope! Every parent should read it and all teenagers too. Roskill was featured on the good Morning Programme on TVNZ! In the 25th September, 2014. It also featured in MiNDFOOD, September issue, 2014, pages 44-45. Please pass on the links to your circles and share. With thanks, Neil Coleman
Saturday, October 18, 2014
We have just entered that wonderful time in New Zealand when Strawberries have become cheap. Now for the next three months at least we will be able to get 3 punnets of them for $5. Yummy, red, juicy, delicious and cheap NZ Strawberries---nothing quite like it, but as with all delectable in abundance fruits, one needs to 'invent' new ways to serve them. I have already arrived at that point so this is what I did. I simply placed two tablespoons of sugar in a stainless steal frying pan with a slosh of vanilla essence. While that was 'heading towards becoming caramel, I topped and halved the punnet of berries. Once it was bubbling I chucked in the berries and tossed them. They sizzled a bit and I poured them onto a plate. They cracked and pooped and looked delicious. BUT----bits of caramel HAD ATTACHED THEMSELVES TO THE PLATE, SPOON AND THE PAN. I IGNORED THAT AND ATTACKED THE 'PRODUCT.' HEAVENIY--JUST WONDERFULLY YUMMY AND ONLY A BIT NAUGHTY. Later however, I paid the price, not in some gastro-related payback---oh no------It took bloody ages to remove the concrete-like appendages of candy from the implements. I scrubbed and chiselled till I sweated. See---nothing that tasty comes without a price. Will I do it again?--yes, but I need some common sense suggestions as to how I can prevent the 'payback! www.authorneilcoleman.com
I get a bit sick of reading posts that seem to blame all the 'ills' and the spawning of groups like ISIS on the actions of Western powers over the past few centuries. Just go back a bit further in history folks and learn about how the region has always been the focus of invading armies and the slash and burn tactics of tribal, religious and groups seeking to carve out an empire. Europe does not have that on its own. Indeed it has even been the victim of such practices, from within and outside its borders. Let's face it, half of Spain was once under the influence of an Islamic empire! Sure, the discovery of oil in the regions and the resurgence of new empires is just a latter day fact. The same could be said for Africa. To those of you who say that Europe (and now China) should have stayed out of these regions---well they would have found their own way of doing exactly what European powers have done. People are people whatever their ethnicity. People love power, control and riches. It is the timing that just makes it seem that the USA, Europe and China are the villains. Damn---it doesn't say much for humankind does it. I now await with baited whatever, the insults to fly, from people who view history from a mere few hundred years only!
Sometimes I need a reminder to never go back, because I don't want to be 'that' person--the unhealthy one, that is!'
Yes, I know, from time to time I stick up pictures of me--the way I used to be, the big 'happy guy'---yeah right!---the guy who loved to eat and laugh and drink and hardly ever do any exercise. OK, I walked a bit with Perdy, but I sought every excuse to 'NOT do the extra circuit, or walk up a rise that was anything other than short--or gentle. Then it was a big rest and a huge reward in the style of something very unhealthy to eat. I was obsessed with cooking and eating---all day and at every occasion. Guess what---not everything has changed. I still have a love of food and I connect with my mate, Doug, who has also had the Bariatric Surgery, but it is different---in scale and the accompanying walks. We walk for ages and we cook little meals and ones that do not have loads of carbs. We love to spend evenings, walking and then partaking in tiny and wonderful morels. We delight in posting the results. We are both very aware of the 'creep back' in weight, that can result. I suspect I am at that stage now, so it is going to be increased physical activity (won't Perdy ne happy!) and careful choices re food. We need to get our heads around the triggers to eating and make sure that we are never pressured to eat the things by other people, simply because they have put the effort in to the preparation 'old favourites.' For the most part, our friends and families understand our position. I totally acknowledge the support of friends and family in the battle that will never stop'--it has just taken a different focus. Life has changed for the better. I have more energy for walks and the wonderful 'sojourns,' we post each weekend. Driving is safer, because I do not get that sleepy feeling after lunch or a few hours driving. Mind you---Perdy's need for runs and a drink, force us to take healthy breaks. I have more energy for writing and I would dearly love to start another book, but I can't. It is just too expensive, given the trial and lack of tribulations for ROSKILL. If the sales increase--well that's another matter. That is where I need my friends on FB to help me spread the word. I think I have reached point whereby I have exhausted that position--I need the 'friends of friends' to help spread the word amongst their circles. I have had exposure, via radio interviews and a TV appearance, plus an excellent article in MiNDFOOD (September issues---pages 44-45, 2014 issue) but even that hasn't really had much affect. What's next? Who knows. I am out of ideas! OK enough for today--off for another walk with Perdy down at the Bay! www.authorneilcoleman.com
Thursday, October 16, 2014
These links are to my website or direct to Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/047325655X That will take you directly to the Amazon site for a download of Roskill---very cheap. OR---if you want to buy the hard copy (you then get a freebie download) just go to www.authorneilcoleman.com and follow the lnks at the bottom of the page. Please pass on the link to your friends and circles. If you wish to conact me directly, use my email, email@example.com and get a free delivery (Cost NZ$25--NZ only) International customers, please use the Amazon link. Thanks Neil Coleman
I am coming to the conclusion that the present Ebola crisis is one of those pivotal points in history. We have a situation that worsens by the day. Where previously we were told that there was little risk of the disease reaching the shores of so-called richer nations, we are now beginning to think that this has been wrong information. Modern travel and lax ‘practises’ have brought the disease back to those nations reaching out to help, albeit it in a small scale, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that we cannot rely on relying on the ‘best practise’ methods to keep people safe. It takes only a small lessening of procedures to bring about tragic results. One case can quickly be passed on to others; namely to those who are trying to help, but imagine what the situation is like on the ground. Desperate West African nations are at a loss as to how they can contain the spread of Ebola. If you live in the slums of the big cities, it is only a matter of time, before someone you know is struck down by this indiscriminate killer. Yes, we have been told that there are only certain ways in which one can be affected, but prevention is far more difficult when you don’t have access to the things we take for granted in more well off nations. Public health measure in poor countries is at best rudimentary and even with the help of richer nations, the isolating and treating of victims is becoming more hit and miss as the crisis worsens. Some leaders in those countries pouring in aid are beginning to realise the scope of this crisis, and rich individuals are donating huge sums of money---but---is it too late? Like most pandemics, this one will run its course, but what will it leave in its wake? Economies and populations will be decimated if the quantum increase in cases continues. How close are we to the point where civil order breaks down in West African countries and the disease spreads even further. The neighbouring countries must be spending many anxious moments wondering when they will be hit. Closing borders is a difficulty exercise and in an area where borders are at best, ‘porous,’ then one can appreciate the problem. While the events of the Middle East and Ukraine play out, the UN is side-tracked, when it should be putting massive amounts of aid into helping West Africa. While bombs rain down on the ISIS and rogue regimes hog the limelight, the stage is being set for an event that will dwarf the numbers killed and displaced by war and political infighting. When the ‘penny finally drops,’ perhaps we will see that we have unleashed a ‘monster’ of huge proportions, simply because our eyes were turned elsewhere. There are resources available, and if they are sent in the right direction, then maybe it is not too late to prevent a scenario one associates with times long gone in history. History does and always will repeat, unless we make a conscious effort to put in place measures that come from learning of past mistakes. www.authorneilcoleman.com
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The Democratic Peoples' Republic of North Korea, the Hidden Kingdom, the land of Dear Leaders and mad army bosses; the list could go on for ever, just like the family dynasty of The Kims would wish! Of course the problem is that the last one in the crazy line-up (each generation seems to be a little bit more loopy!)seems to have more than his share of health issues. Maybe the bloodline is failing and the character of the 'lineage' is slowly degrading, not that it was ever represented more than a bunch of power hungry despots. Just what has been happening to the current incumbent of the throne in NK? Where has the 'Dear Leader' been for the last month? Did he fall and hurt himself; that being enough to keep him from the public eye? Surely he wasn't shy about not being his former 'athletic' self? NO---it is something more sinister. There is probably a battle going on amongst the generals, as to who will be starting a new Dynasty' as the one in 'Puppet format' becomes increasingly farcical in nature. The rest o0f the world, particularly China, should take note of events in NK, and hope that an even more demented idiot doesn't get his hand nearer the nuclear button! OH---I know---let's have another one of those big 'parade days out' and show the world how much the people of NK love their Dear Leaders! Maybe China should take over and bring some balance to the peninsula because you can be sure the 'South' isn't too keen to absorb its Northern cousins.
So you smugly think that little old new Zealand is immune from the terrible effects of Ebola! It's over 'there,' you say. Surely we have nothing to worry about. Wrong on both counts. Firstly, given the figures that are coming out of West Africa and the ever increasing rate of infection and the possibly increasingly fatal consequences for those getting the affliction, then maths alone tells us that unless huge resources go into this crisis, then it is possible within two months there will be many many more victims. That alone poses questions about how this situation could rapidly spread to other vulnerable areas of the world. The UN is making some pretty serious 'noises' about how they see the crisis developing. We are beginning to realise the seriousness re people dying form Ebola and how it could well be in the march towards Asia and the rest of then world. At first we were hearing how the 'west' was better equipped to deal with any arrivals with Ebola, but once it actually gets out 'there,' all bets are off. We just don't understand the ramifications of Ebola arriving in our large so-called sophisticated health systems. Take for example of the pictures on our TV screens about the 'single room,' that the politicians showed us at Middlemore Hospital, in South Auckland. Sure, it was well equipped, but it IS ONE ROOM. What use would that be if we have multiple cases. WE ARER NOT PREPARED! - Now take the economic flow-on for this Ebola threat. If things get much worse, trade and travel are going to be severely affected. At what stage are Governments going to curtail 'contacts' in the hope of lessening the exposure to Ebola? NZ relies heavily on trade and especially tourism. If there is any drop off of tourist arrivals, then the affect will be immediate. As for other trade and financial activity that is not conducted on the 'net' then you can see what I am getting at. One would hope that the Government and other institutions are planning for the worst case scenario. Having one's head in the sand will not make it all go away and hope alone is not going to make the cut this time. Let's have an open discussion in New Zealand---NOW!
Monday, October 13, 2014
What does it take to get to the first 500 'likes' for Roskill on FB? I have used the free give-aways and will keep doing so but I need you to spread the word in your circles. Send the link to my FB 'Roskill' page or do a search. Surley it can hit 500 this week so I can send yet another freebie to a deserving reader.' Don't forget to post a review and many thanks to those of you who have. Cheers Neil Coleman www.authorneilcoleman.com
OK, so you don't want to pay to read Roskill or to download it. That's cool, but you still want to read it? Go and ask your local library. You can make it easier for them of you quote the following: ROSKILL BY NEIL COLEMAN, ISBN 978-0-473-25655-5 OR Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or----Go to the webiste www.authorneilcoleman.com. If you wish to buy a copy , you can do the same. Please share this and share it again. Much appreciated,' Neil coleman.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
I have had some wonderful food lately, some of it courtesy of my friend, Doug. Take for example the great meal we had yesterday, including the roasted chicken with trimmings and an unbelievable Ambrosia and pumpkin pudding for desert. Today was the first day back at work for the new school term and after I had walked Perdy down at the 'Bay,' I decided that something special was in order. I had taken some schnitzel out of the freezer and I thought long and hard during the walk about how I might cook it. This is what I came up with and wouldn't you know it; Doug's produce was an important part of the meal. Firstly I cooked the perpetual spinach, simply in some butter, salt pepper and chilly. The I laid out the schnitzel on a chopping board and spread it with Dijon Mustard and some of Doug's preserved yogurt cheese. I wrapped that up in a rasher of streaky bacon and pinned it together with a toothpick. I placed that in a dish and cut up some mushroom, shallots and seasoned it with a Moroccan mixture of spices and butter. Yeah, I know--butter is not supposed to be used a lot but I don't eat much re volume so a little butter doesn't seem to put the weight on since Bariatric Surgery. I baked the dish, covered in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes and then thickened the juices with some cornflour. This recipe is gluten free. What can I say? It was fantastic. Must do that again sometime soon. Any takers? www.authorneilcoleman.com
I am most pleased that Canada is amongst those nations reading my blogs. Why---because my best mate comes from there, but we now claim him as a Kiwi. NO doubt his family and friends in the 'big country' on the other side of the Pacific wil dispute that but hey---we can share him, just like we have many other points of similarity between the two nations.I would love to visit Canada, particularly BC,a region that has even more in common with NZ. Com,e on over, you say my Canadian friends! Sure I reply--all it would take is for a few hundred thousand of you to download my book, ROSKILL, and I would be there in a flash. I would even come with my mate, who is returning in the Xmas Holidays. You can achieve the latter by going to my website www.authorneilcoleman.com and follow the link at the bottom of the page. You can either buy the hard-copy or download the Ebook version. If you buy the hard-copy you get a free download. See oyu at Xmas eh.
< It’s very early in the morning and one is not quite up to the early beginnings, after having had a nice break. Being on the road, driving with the lights on in that time when it’s not quite light but neither is it dark, presents some interesting challenges. Still, one must carry on and drive carefully in the hope that arriving at work will be an occasion that sets the scene for the rest of the working year. I set off down the road, almost immediately to be confronted with a strange but somewhat intriguing scene. I was not driving in a manner reminiscent of the previous days Bathurst sporting event; no I was being ultra-careful, because I knew that kids would be on the road, as it is the first day of the school term. Maybe you are expecting me to denounce some silly half-asleep teenager, riding like they have their head somewhere else, but certainly not on the here and now! You would be wrong---hey it’s way too early for one of that ilk to be out and about, unless they are one of those kids who travel to the other side of the city to attend the school of their choice. As I turned into the first bend on the road, I was confronted by a curious scene. A car on the other side of the road had stopped and I immediately sought the reason for the actions of that driver. There it was, or more accurately, there they were! A lady jumped out of the passenger side of the car and I pulled to a stop to match her and to make sure I didn’t run over the reason for the ‘stoppage’, which was now increasing as more and more cars slowed down and ‘rested.’ There was no tooting of impatient drivers, no loud utterances from angry mouths, just an acceptance of something special; the good parenting and support from a human for a family of ducks; ducks just wanting to get to the other side of the road. The lady guided them across and traffic slowly continued on in a measured manner, many of the drivers with a smile that said much. Hey folks, slow down sometimes and take stock! We all need to ‘cross that road.’ Happy term, all teachers! www.authorneilcoleman.com
Saturday, October 11, 2014
I ask a simple question but one perhaps with a complex solution. Would the establishment of a Kurdish nation, encompassing the regions that are currently part of Turkey, Iraq and Syria, be an answer to the advancing ISIS forces? would this nation be more stable and more respectful of the rights of citizens who are not Kurds? We have seen Kurdish fighters protecting people who are not Kurds in the present struggle. Would exiled Kurds go home to help establish this 'nation?' In these difficult times, we need to look for new answers to an age old problem.
Many people are put off by the idea of eating 'liver---of any sort. OK, I don't generally go for the cow, sheep or pigs liver, but lamb's fry is a whole different 'ball game.' Here's my take on this cheap and tasty dish. Soak the lamb's fry in milk for a few hours if you wish and then toss it in cornflour and add some BBQ sauce. In a wok, frying pan (no---I didn't use my Airfryer for this one!)or your favourite pot, fry some onion and sliced mushrooms and chopped streaky bacon. (Do the amounts matter?---nah) Add some asparagus, salt, pepper and any other of your favourite spice---BUT----go easy as you don't want to overpower the delicate flavour of the lamb's fry. I used a pinch or two of Moroccan spice mix. A pinch of mixed herbs gives the dish a herbaceous background flavour too. Slice your lamb's fry and add it to the pan, adding water so that you create a delicious gravy. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat. Do not over-cook the lamb's fry. Enjoy and I hope that there are a few more of you out there who will now love lamb's fry and I apologize to those of you who wanted this kept a secret. Don't be selfish! www.authorneilcoleman.com
Friday, October 10, 2014
Early this afternoon I received a call from my good friend, Joy. Basically she was saying, 'get off your arse and join me for a walk at Piha (Yes, the famous west coast beach near Auckland)and walk up the waterfall. If tis invite had occurred about 18 months ago, I would probably have found an excuse to avoid such an excursion and slumped back on the couch and vegetated, putting yet more weight on. Now, in my post-bariatric surgery 'me' format, I accept and relish such invitations. Perdy was a pain in the butt on the 40 minute drive to the valley of the waterfall, continually reminding us that we were 'not there yet!' Once we found a car park in the only tiny spot left (thank goodness for little Hyundai Getzs) we were soon following Perdy on her long lead along the pathway, the sun darting through and casting a spell on the stream that ran beside us. Perdy dashed to the end of her lead, imploring me to let her loose. No such luck, 'Girlfriend,' I thought---no I said---because I knew well what she intended if she was cast free---total chaos in the bush! The pathway was actually suitable for prams and wheelchairs, until it descended to the waterfall. The view of the fall was magnificent but the last part of the pathway would be impossible for the anyone in a chair or with a pram. Even I was stretched when it came to crossing the slippery rocks, with Perdy pulling me in all directions. I had to accept the help of a nice young lady to get me safely across the last bit. it was either that or taking an unplanned and very undignified dive into the stream. Once across, Perdy delighted in the cool stream, seemingly unconcerned about the 50 metre waterfall cascading down in stages from the top. Perdy was happy to jump in to chase a leaf I threw in, bringing the limp thing back to me as if it was a sacred treasure. we took some pictures and then returned to the car, via a more gentle pathway. We were both pleased that we had taken the 'high road,' feeling quite smug re our adventure. Once back at the car, we decided to head to the beach at Piha itself and let Perdy have an unfettered run and for Joy to take some pictures that she will no doubt stick up online. Guess who is now dead to the world on the couch. NO----not me!--I am writing this , silly! Perdy is--dreaming yet again of her next wonderful adventure.
I was most [pleased to see that China was back---reading my blog today---well, OK, one reader was. I thought---is China allowing access to social media again? maybe the 'powers that be' are checking the 'content' of my blog. Perhaps I better not say anything about how Beijing is determined to stay stubbornly to it's policy of 'vetting the candidates for the election in Hong Kong in 2017.Perhaps they are now confident that the students and freedom loving people of Hong Kong have vented their displeasure at the heavy handedness of Beijing, to the point that the streets will empty and people will return to their daily grind of making a living or going to classes. Chinese leadership has always been known for its 'patience.' Or---so much is happening re the Ebola crisis in West Africa and the daily horrors we hear about in the ISIS versus the Kurds---maybe these issues have taken the heat off China. Then again, will the world care if China decides to 'put things right,' in Hong Kong? Either way, I welcome back my Chinese readers and having said nothing that would offend the leaders of China, I am sure access will be granted to my ranting. Perhaps I can concentrate on the glorious activities of Mr Putin or the absence of the 'dear leader' in North Korea. My---the world is such an 'interesting place!'
OK, I'm a Kiwi with English and Scottish forefathers so I claim that such a pedigree gives me a right to comment on what could be happening in the UK. And what is that, you say? Well from 'down-under,' it looks like you lot 'over there' have this desire to re-design yourselves; as what yet, is a b it unclear. The land of 'hedge groves' and country lanes still exists, although you seem to be doing your best to pull out the latter in the name of efficient farming. Hey, give up on that one---we have that to a tee down here in new Zealand so don't worry too much---we will keep sending you the best of Kiwi! The UK is way more 'cosmopolitan' than the land my 'relatives' left a century and a half ago; some say that is good whilst others have a different opinion. There are those amongst you who would go to great endeavours to take the UK back to the days of 'Rule Britannia,' and others who would like to change the face of Britain for their reasons.In between the great mass who just want to get on with their lives. Of course the UK today is part of a European Union, a huge market that also has an 'over-riding parliament;' the very one that more and more UK citizens are taking umbrage with. Just how far this movement is prepared to go to achieve the 'Island fortress' of times gone by, is a question that even the mainstream political parties are now placing in the public debating forums. The very recent election results, both for the European Parliament and the UK one are showing some 'interesting' trends. Is the UK about to 'jump ship?' What would that mean for the UK economy? Would 'Mother England' look to its former colonies to rebrand itself as our major trading partner? Too late for that dear Mummy! We have long since become a worldly member of the greater family of nations. So-----what to do, UK? The choice is yours and I suspect that the 'stiff upper lip,' non-emotional nuance you formerly projected may have gone the same way that the glory of your past went==consigned to the annals of history. Face up, fess up---take your pick. It is your decision and I suspect that you will adapt as you have always done and no politician should make that decision for you, because that would be serving their purposes, not those of my dear heart--that was and still is, the UK! www.authrneilcoleman.com
Thursday, October 9, 2014
New Zealanders have been watching the terrible events re Ebola unravelling in West Africa, probably feeling thankful that we are so far away and have a health system that is the envy of many countries. Our isolation has served us well, but one only has to go back to the post-WW1 period to see that we are not immune from the spread of catastrophic diseases. The death toll from that episode in history rivalled the numbers caused by the actual war. Today we hear that a nurse in Australia has retuned from West Africa and is exhibiting some of the symptoms associated with Ebola. It is early days and the brave nurse took all the necessary precautions that whatever she has does not spread. If the disease has reached Australia, the 'ditch' will be just that---a very narrow body of water separating us from our cousins and the high level of contact between our two countries, essentially makes us as one. If it proves that Australia has its first case, it can only be a matter of time before we too face our first case. The question must then be asked---how prepared is New Zealand? We need to hear from our leaders, political and medical, what level of planning has been implemented. We need to know in very clear terms what we need to look out for, amongst those returning from overseas and be able to immediately access health services. The days of the 'flu epidemics' will prove to be small episodes compared to the havoc that could be wrecked if Ebola does arrive in new Zealand. The coming weeks and days are not the chance for political foes to 'strut their stuff.' They must put aside internal wrangling and inter party point scoring. It is also a time where openness is the driving force. Let us also learn form what wed have observed in those countries starting to experience victims of Ebola returning and the development of Ebola-type symptoms. Public panic could easily result and the best way to prevent that is to inform the populace. A good place to start is in our schools. Good teaching can always be the basis to inform families about the moves they should be taking. Our schools can be a very important focus for keeping us all safe. The social media can also step up, but we need to be aware of the more negative side to this very important aspect to our lives. Panic contagion, as a result of misinformation can spread far more quickly than the more traditional sources of information. That must be taken into account and if that means a level of monitoring--am I saying spying?--- then that may have to happen. Monitoring social media is a very sensitive issue, one that reminds us of other times in recent history, one that some states do as a matter of course. Who monitors the 'watchers? New Zealanders have risen to the occasion in the past in times of crisis and we must pull together and face what could be a very testing time in the months ahead. Let's remain open and be prepared to work together!
The title hardly says it all. No--the day was full of little surprises and adventures, for me and little Perdy. Everything went as per normal, for a lazy day in the holidays. No calls from agencies for a change and I even managed a nana-nap in the afternoon. That was when Perdy decided that I needed to take her out--well she needed a 'run.' Doug sent a message to say 'his call back day' was over and to come on around. Perdy yelped with happiness as we headed west---that always means something a little different. She placed herself firmly in the middle of the back seat so she could see ahead. Once we passed the bush at Green Bay, she knew we were going somewhere special. Once we arrived at Doug's little house, she became even more excited as I usually leave her in the car, because she just loves to look for cats, but sorry Perdy, it is still the car because we were about to pick Doug up and go for our walk. Ten minutes later, we pulled not the car park outside the water treatment park along the 'drive 'in Titirangi. I parked the car and let her out, intending to let her run for a while before sticking her leash on, something not really legal, but hey---what could a Jack Russell get up to?! She bounded off down the track, sniffing her way along and drawing the odd dismissive look from those without dogs. Just another hundred metres or so, I thought. Everything was just dandy until she stopped in her tracks. Above us a pair of native pigeons were involved in a bit of 'foreplay,' making heaps of noise and more than rustling the branches. Perdy is no prude when it comes to a of sniffing bits and pieces on other dogs but she took exception to the cavorting feathered lovers above. She set up a manic barking, demanding that the two lovers come down and explain themselves. The more she barked the ruder they became; nothing was going to interfere with their garrulous parade. By now Perdy was attracting the attention of other 'dogless' walkers; those in possession of hairy brutes, just smiled, but not the former. Time to retrieve my 'not Retriever.' I have learned through bitter and most frustrating experience that when Perdy is besotted with a rat, cat or feathered 'rat that flys, then my exhortations mean nothing. She feckin ignored me and no amount of displaying little treats meant a dammed thing and even the foulest of utterances were simply consigned to the bucket of useless animal behaviour therapies. So--I decided to ignore her and put my hopes on the alter of luck! I walked with Doug, further down the road and Perdy finally decided to follow--well sort of---she made the mistake of trying to squeeze past me---I pounced on her and had her on her leash before she could say---whatever Jack Russells say when they mean 'feck you boss!' Peace reined and we continued on what turned out to be a 4 kilometre walk and then retuned to Doug's place where a smoked fish pie, home made 'lemoncello' and home baked Louise Cake awaited. Bliss. Not quite! Perdy has one more trick in her hamper! She had no sooner entered Doug's home when she started to sniff around at the carpet. How embarrassing, I thought. Is she gonna piss or worse, present a belated number two? Doug laughed. The explanation was quite simple and very 'Perdy orientated.' It seems that there is a resident possum under Doug's house and he has sort of come to an accommodation with the said 'major pest' in New Zealand's bush. Doug was quite happy to declare a truce so long as the beast did no damage in his beautiful garden. Perdy has other intentions, mainly trying to dig through Doug's carpet and the next hour was one spent in my trying to prevent a final breakthrough. In between consuming the afore mentioned wonderful food and partaking of the offered beverages, which included an old-fashioned coffee, percolated in a retro coffee pot. After a relaxing time in the house on the hill, New Zealand's version of 'a little house on the Prairie,'I persuaded Perdy that it was time to head on home. I look forward to many more nights at the little house with Doug's home cooking and the odd glass of wine. Of course we will need to walk first before rewarding ourselves with the fabulous food. Roll on the next holidays!
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
It must be very difficult waking up each morning if you are the President or PM of Turkey. Part of you wants to be part of the EU and NATO, enjoying imagined benefits of belonging to such august bodies, while another deeper urge propels you towards being a more significant part of the 'Islamic world.' When you look east you see a region fraught with division (Some would say the same re the west!)where political intrigue and power struggles, underlined by those who use religion to fuel the hate. Add the internal division within Turkey itself, and you would wonder why you ever entered politics, but that thought is quickly put aside as you are no different to other leaders or politicians re your love of power. You ponder the problem of the Kurds, a people who inhabit parts of your country and those bordering Turkey. That they have fought for their own state and continue to exert pressure within Turkey just fogs the issue re the 'new boy on the block,' the so-called ISIS which goes under various labels. It is the latter that threatens the peace on your borders as hundreds of thousands of citizens of Iraq and Syria seek to find safety within your nation. You have a sickening feeling that this group, ISIS is different. It has been suggested that they are partially funded by nations who on the surface say they are aligned to Turkey. they also garner resources through criminal activities and then use these to slowly create a web of terror that their self-appointed leader claims will be a 'Caliphate that stretches from the Euphrates to the Atlantic.' Your choices to meet this threat are limited. Do you thrown the might of the not insignificant Turkish armed forces into the fray that exists just over your eastern border or do you simply close up and let the ISIS takeover the region? You could of course let loose the huge numbers of Kurds who wish to join the fight to save their kindred fighters and relations. You could even supply arms, via other 'friendly' nations, but that could cause elements within Turkey who share the beliefs of the ISIS fighters and that is an area you do not wish ton enter. One thing for sure is that you cannot wait and observe for much longer or the decision will be made for you as your own Kurdish citizens take matters into their own hands. So you have a 'balancing ac' to consider. It comes down to choosing the pathway that causes the least danger to Turkey. One gets the feeling that you are waiting to see if the 'coalition forces, re their bombing, starts to make a difference. Then you will probably unleash the ground troops, massed on the border opposite Kobane. I di not envy the position you are in. However, this may be your chance to reach out to a large portion of your population and if you go the way that includes their wishes, it is only the beginning of a new direction in the history of Turkey; one that is more inclusive. Good luck!
Monday, October 6, 2014
Turkey has been in a difficult position for many years. It has struggled to find an identity that works re the Muslim world and that of being part of the EU. It's influential leader who has been to the fore for more than a decade has often played a hard line with the West so it is interesting to note that now, he is putting a hand out to the efforts to defeat ISIS. That is for the simple reason that ISIS now provides a real threat to Turkey. Turkey needs to surmount its desire to deal to its own Kurdish issue because the ISIS is far more dangerous. Do not be surprised if we see a friendly Turkey,' one that takes part in the battle to extinguish the plans of that dangerous group, that enslaves people and creates so much suffering in the regions it takes over. Turkey is being pragmatic; it understands the bigger threat. Perhaps this new spirit can transfer into the other issues in Turkey---those that have curtailed free speech and the rights of minorities. Time will tell. This is of course nothing new--Turkey has always had this difficult balancing act.' What we are witnessing is just a modern day version od an age-old problem.
I am so pleased when I se yet another country rereading my blogs and therefore getting access to my endless ramblings on Facebook. Sure I talk a lot about Roskill, my book about the terrible scourge of 'P'(Methamphetamine) in New Zealand society, or for that matter on every society. So if you are in Sweden, Columbia and all of the dozens of other countries, regularly reading my blog----go to my website and follow the links at the bottom of the page so you can download Roskill or buy the hard copy. Roskill is a book that all teenagers should read and parents too, so that they can gain an understanding of how the actions they take so very seriously affect the behaviours of their children. www.authorneilcoleman.com