Saturday, February 25, 2017

Boys WILL be boys sometimes. An Indonesian story that could be ANYWHERE!

Boys WILL be boys, no matter ‘where and when’ they are!
We can all relate to ‘yesterday’ stories. They ring a bell, tweak an emotion or just plain make us laugh. Take this one for example, as told to me by a special Indonesian guy. It took place in the early 1990s, in and---into the jungles close to Jakarta.
“I was about 16 years old and I was a pretty good kid. I attended school every day, behaved myself and generally did quite well in all my subjects. My parents were very strict and I guess they were typical of parents back then---they knew what I was up to and had a close relationship with the school.
I was in a class of about 35 kids and it was my senior year in the school. Most of the boys were from families that cared and in the majority of cases, there were few behavioural issues. BUT---sometimes ‘BOYS JUST GOTTA HAVE FUN,’ I guess Cindy Lauper’s song must have got to us a bit so we decided to have OUR version of FUN!
It took a few days to plan our EVENT, and after preparing suitable stories for our families, we launched the fun times. There were about fourteen boys involved and fourteen alibies to prepare, along with the food, clothing, tents and even a guitar. We were going ‘JUNGLE!’
On the morning of the great escape, the boys and I gathered at a Warung (a street café) near the school, then boarded one of the city trains, heading out towards Bogor and beyond. We were now in the hills and it was so much more comfortable than the crazy, sticky, hot streets of Jakarta. We purchased a few food items; the ubiquitous noodles and some tinned food. The boys all had water bottles and we figured on picking up a few more from some of the villages near to our target zone.
We climbed higher and higher and the jungle replaced the myriad of small farms. Many a villager cast curious glances at our little procession, but generally, they left us alone.
After walking for a few hours, we stopped for the night near a bubbling stream. The two tents we had lugged up the hills were soon set up and a fire lit as the sun sank below the horizon. The party began!
NO---there was no alcohol, just water and lots of other spirits—the exuberant kind that comes with being young and having fun. We sang, we laughed and played silly games. We told stories and the inevitable ghost stories began to dominate. Sure---we were very aware of the snakes, spiders, scorpions and centipedes---some of which could put one or all of us in jeopardy! To be honest---it was the ‘spirits and ghosts that we all believed in, that really bent our resolve to stay no more than a day or two.
We slept, if only for a few hours then on the next day we explored the river, swimming and having fun. No one got hurt----well not seriously. Another night passed and then it was back to the city---to face the music.
By the time, we arrived home---all hell had broken loose. The school had started the ‘reaction.’ Think about it. My class had 35 kids and all but one of the boys had not turned up to school that first day. He sat alone, looking ‘goody goody,’ while the girls muttered amongst themselves about where we ‘may’ have gone.
Our ‘home room’ teacher alerted the principal, who then began the massive task of ringing all of the parents. The parents began ringing one another and gathered together at various homes of the guilty kids. The police were not called at this stage.
The day passed and then another night. On the way, back from the jungle, we discussed what we were going to face back at home---and school. We were about to find out. Were we going to be beaten? Apparently, the principal had told the parents to ‘stay calm and leave it to him.’ They did as he had asked. Apart from a few words and lots of ‘looks,’ we were left alone to stew about the next day at school.
We went to class, whereupon a message came from the principal for us to go to the school field. Our anxiety levels ramped up somewhat as he quietly looked at our group. He preached, not religion, but how hard our parents had worked to get us to this good school and how they had sacrificed so much----for us.  Then----came the consequences.
He made us stand the whole school day in the hot sun. The other kids mocked us mercilessly. We were hot and thirsty. I remember the school nurse watched us, for the entire day. Finally, it was over and we were allowed to go home.’
Boys it seems will do what they have done for aeons---have fun, take risks and to hell with the consequences. Not much has changed, wherever we come from. Sure, the stories may differ, but there is a unifying human factor in this little story. It makes me smile, even if I disapprove---a bit---probably the snakes and spiders would have been my worry.
Thanks for sharing your adventure with me, Rio.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Roskill---a little road trip.

I should have done this a few years ago. Yes, just sitting, waiting, writing the occasional post just doesn't cut it when it comes to getting Roskill out there. I needed to do something different and that is exactly what I did today. I had laid the foundation for it yesterday---but today was the day to JUST DO IT!
Being a self-published author is a financial drain and getting any real push going for increased sales is like trying to break into a market that is made for the big boys and girls of the publishing world. I decided to make a direct approach to a couple of local book shops.
I made up a little blurb about how shops could take my book on consignment and pay only if they made any sales. I had contact details, pricing and payment method on the handout.
After my usual breakfast, courtesy of Super-Hen and her friends, I grabbed the bag of books and the blurb sheets, plonked Perdy in the back seat of the car and drove to the first drop off in Thames. Roskill is now for sale at Paper Power in the main street; not many at this stage, but one has to start somewhere.
Then, I took Perdy for a quick run in the park and headed towards Paeroa, about 28 kilometres away. I drove down the main street but damned if I could see a book shop. Oh well, I thought. Maybe I can just give one to the library. They were very pleased to receive a signed copy and they can always buy more directly from me if there is a call from library members. (Yes, people---go and ask them for a copy!) They told me about the Post Shop as being the main bookshop, so that's where I headed next.
After a short but very friendly conversation with the managers, they too took a few books on consignment.
So there we have it, folks. If you want a copy of Roskill, then head to Paper Power in Thames or the Post Shop in Paeroa. If you don't want to pay the $28 then go to your library, wherever that is and ask for Roskill by Neil CXoleman and they can always buy a copy from their suppliers. Of course, anyone wanting a copy can get it from my website as a download or hard copy from Amazon. The cheapest way is to contact me directly at If you go via the website for a download (for any of my books) just follow the links from Neils' Books.
Happy reading everyone.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Coastal contentment.

A day can bring much in the way of failed dreams or at the other end of the scale---new or enhanced opportunities. Today was such a day.
Once I had resolved the various issues for the day around household and garden matters, I sat down to a simple repast of tuna sandwiches and grapes from the garden. Then I received the 'phone call' from an organisation that I had applied to for some extra work. I was not successful. I had been forewarned last week that my experience was not a strong match for the requirements of the position. I was a little disappointed, but also partly relieved. I had been going over my plans for the year, during the day and one of those involved setting myself up, albeit in a very small manner, in opposition to the provider who decided that they did not want me 'at this time.' I told them that and I was encouraged to let them know if it worked out for me and that they 'could reconsider' my position. Why would I do that, if I was building a future that involved just myself rather than working for a large organisation?
As soon as I put the phone down, I received an email from another isnsitution; one where I already work; one that I love working for, asking me to come and meet some prospective clients increasing my workload to the point that I am satisfied.
Balance was immediately restored and I felt a sense of contentment. I love my Mondays in Auckland with the clients I see. I like the people who I liaise with re my clients.
On my walk this evening with Perdy I sat on a beautiful rock, looking across the Firth of Thames. I had a sense that my cup was comfortably full----not overflowing, but why seek more than is needed; it just dissipates in the sand.
The sun will come up tomorrow and I will go about my day, giving and receiving. Balance on the Coast. Balance in my life.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Reflections from the Coast.

I feel kind of ‘reflective’ today. I don’t know whether it is the grey, closed in weather, or the result of the week suddenly becoming free---no commitments, or anything planned, after yesterday’s important events. I had flashbacks to visiting my parents when they lived in New Plymouth and I remembered the way they spent their days; Dad often out in the garden and Mum going off to the Citizens Advice Bureau for her shift, something I now do in Thames.
It’s not a ‘down’ mood, more a point in time, or a marker on the road for my new journey. It is a reminder that the ‘large person of indeterminate sex,’ has not yet sung! The latter is still figuring out the key of the song and the makeup of the accompanying band.
While I was ambling along, as much as one can when a Jack Russell on a leash is going every which way, except the direction I intended, I was immersed in an ocean of thoughts; not unpleasant ones, or self-doubt about my future, just a gentle caressing of the possibilities as they were playing on the edge of my mind, much like the incoming tide, persistent but not threatening----almost spiritual, yet ‘grounded.’
I projected my musings into the future. Several occurrences in the last twenty-four hours; an interview, with the waiting period before I know the outcome, a couple of emails, that contained elements of hope and the strange ‘find’ on the beach and the ‘giving of that object to a place where it belonged---all combined to ‘feed the moment.’
I guess the sun will come out later, emerging from behind the clouds, presenting ‘life’ in a different hue. I do not want to forget this fleeting moment. Indeed, I hope to hold it for a while, to give me an understanding of where I have been and a direction for the future.
All is well.