Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Thinking is dangerous or I just have too much time on my hands. Read on.

Two young people, one female and the other male woke up one morning, on a school camp. They had been told about the day's activities, the night before, during the meeting that occurred each night before 'lights' out.' The day was going to have a task that involved building a shelter to keep them dry for their 'being left alone for the night,' activity. I am sure some of you have experienced similar activities, in your youth, maybe in the Scouts, of Guides, era of your lives.
Next morning the two found themselves, sitting on the beach, near the looking out at the tide as it encroached on the stony shorline. One of their friends arrived, with a tray with two mugs of coffee, delivering them, then leaving.
The girl took a mug without a handle and the boy, the mug with a handle. There was no reason for their choices, as they hardly noticed the differences. The girl quickly placed hers beside her to allow the cup to cool a little before the tea. The boy started drinking. Neither talked. They were friends and appeared to be quite comfortable with the silence that accompanied their time by the beach. They had, however, briefly mentioned the plans for the day.
From time to time, the girl picked up her mug, only to place it back beside her, as the cup was still a little on the hot side.Meanwhile, the boy had almost finished his mug, before the girl finally took more than a quick sip.
He finished and stood up, saying, 'Well, I guess I know what I need to do. I saw some dry branches back on the track and I better get them before the others do, because we are not allowed to cut down any tree branches that are still growing.'
He moved off, leaving his friend to continue her vigil by the beach. Her thoughts turned back to her task for the day. She had already dismissed the branches, her friend had mentioned, thinking that they had probably already been snapped up by one of their classmates, who had risen earlier in the morning.
She put her cup aside as she had finally finished her drink. A thought had been growing, coming to fruition as she had sat quietly by her friend and now she seized upon it and looked towards the incoming tide. They had been sitting well above the high tide mark and the weather was good, and she remembered the weather forecast for the next twenty-four hours---settled and calm weather.
Why build using branches and why not use the sand itself? she thought. 
Later that night as the sun went down, the teachers checked on the classmates. Some had built shelters using branches, others, driftwood and a few, other flotsam from the beach. Given the nearby shipping lanes, there was a large variety of the later---of dubious origins. The teachers were pleasantly surprised by the 'dwelling' the girl had constructed. Indeed, they may well have missed it completely, as it was mostly below the level of the beach, with just a small part, showing, that using a few twigs, with a section of plastic---or was it an old car door, such was its level of 'decay?'
The next evening, back at the main camp, the two friends discussed how they had arrived at their two very different styles of construction. They asked three very different questions:
Did they think differently because they approached the task from a gender difference?
Did one of them have a more 'engineering/technical strength' to their makeup?
Did the fact that one of the mugs had no handle, thereby causing the girl to take longer to sit and think, make the difference?
There we have the point of my blog. I have time to come up with such HUGE questions and the 'nonchalance,' to put them to paper---or keyboard! It's over to you to put your spin on the 'other' stuff.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Restorative justice session needed in the hen house!

Today, two new hens came to join my family in Tararu. I introduced them to Super Hen and the girls and left them to it.I figured they would all 'work things out,' whilst Perdy and I went for a walk in the park. When I arrived back home, I headed to the hen pen to see how they were getting on.
My four 'originals' were singing and making much ado about---what? There was much clucking and prancing, but no sign of the two newbies. I entered their inner sanctum and there, in the corner was one frightened hen, ensconced in a alying box. To my horror, one of my girls approached the new hen and stood over her, as if to say--'you are in our house,' so watch your step, you feathery piece of flotsum!'
Then, it hit me. Where was the other new arrival? I searched the enclosure, inside and out, but no----there was no vestige of her presence. She was either a damned good hide-and-seek artist, or she had absconded
I guess it's a waiting game now, to see if she shows her face. I shall take a walk around my sectiion and those nearby, to see if she is hiding. This happened when I first took ownership of the 'originals,' so I am not too concerned. Hell---I haven't even had time to 'bond' with the new girls yet, so the emotional attachment hasn't kicked in.
BUT---come back soon dearest new hen. The others will meet with you for a restorative justice session, so that we can all move on, with no blame stance, or bad feelings. Besides---I need you to start producing. This is after all---about the eggs! Let's all be winners!!!!

Friday, May 26, 2017

'Big wheels keep on turning'---a year from the bedlam!

It's hard to believe, but this old dude has now been a year in Thames. Yes, just on a year ago, I left the 'big smoke,' I left the big wheel,' that is Auckland and found a new place, one steeped in history and immersed in beauty.
I look back at my 55 years in Auckland with mixed feelings. Of course, I have many happy memories of that city, that grew from 460,000 people when we first arrived in 1960, to a huge city (from the NZ perspective) of about 1.5 million people. The changed in other ways. It became a  very diverse city, rich in the many cultures, but one that is in danger of choking in its own growth. NZers love affair with cars is perhaps the reason and building more highways is just not going to alleviate that issue anytime soon.
I left behind many friends in the city across the water. I know they are still there and with the social media connections that did not exist way back, it feels like they are right next door. So, I did not have to say goodbye, more like, pop in, either online or in person. Hey---it can be a faster journey to Thames from the southern reaches of the city than it is in rush 'hour' (more like hours!) for people in the far-flung suburbs to reach Central Auckland.
I do not work full-time now. I reached that magic age, whereby one gets back a little from the State in the form of Superannuation. Yes, it is hard to live on and expect to be able to spend on ones every 'wants,' but with a little bit of work---one day a week,' I feel like I have about the same spending power I had whilst paying a mortgage in Auckland. I never realised until I released that debt, just how much of a hold it had on me, limiting me in so many ways. I believe that many Aucklanders are in a delicate financial position, re the mortgages and rents they pay, that go way above a comfortable level, causing them to live from payday to payday. I wonder how many have loaded debt onto their mortgages and credit cards in the belief that 'things will improve.'
I walk a great deal in this beautiful area, backed by hauntingly lovely hills, streams and kissed by the Firth of Thames. Stones of a myriad of colours festoon the beaches, with glimpses of Kauri Gum, carried down the rain filled streams after a storm, to be discovered on my walks. Along with the driftwood, I have plans for these gifts of nature. Watch this space!
I fill my non-working days with walking, writing, voluntary work, reading, preserving the produce from my garden, looking after the chooks and and have absolutrly no guilt in losing myself in 'condersations;' that come out of meeting peolle in  the streets and cafes of Thames, to the pont that I often forget where I have parked my car!
Perdy, my special Jack Russell has made her own 'splash,' becoming well-known as a hero dog who saves people and maki g friends with anyone who stoops to pat her. yes, she escapes from time to time, giving me heart flutters (Not joking here!) but contributing to my life and helping me to make friends, just as she did in Auckland.
When I look back o this year that has passed so quickly, I wonder where the time went. I know I can't be called a 'local.' and will always be a JAR (Just another refugee!) but I am well content with the decision to live here---on the Coast,' in the place that dreamed of---for a few years, before I actually listened to those creams.
I have not forgotten Auckland and I shall visit in my little blue Hyundai for as long as the drive does not consume me with too much dread. You can help me keep the links, by dropping in, to sample the good stuff from my garden and the kitchen, perhaps taking away a polished stone from the Coast, representing my new life and maybe---the promise of a 'new direction,' for you.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Talk Back Radio!!!!! Love it or hate it----The origin of 'Talk To Me'---the book

There is a very fine line between love and hate. Both emotions are felt strongly, affecting us in so many ways. One can be up, one moment and then down in the dumps, the next. Such is my relationship----with Talkback radio.
I have often used it as a 'background,' whilst driving, doing housework (OK---the latter ---not so much, as housework is a waste of time at my place when it inevitably gets 'done again' by a partner who refuses to pass my paltry efforts as being 'good enough.' Sometimes, there is a 'thread,' re the conversation and I turn up the volume, only to be dumped, angered, entertained, but rarely 'enlightened.'
The 'wisdom' exhibited by the callers is mind-blowing, not because of the level of so-called knowledge, but more from how it represents the level that our collective knowldge has sunken to. Throw in the 'taunting' and somewhat manipulative approach from the various 'hosts' (They vary re their arrogance!) and you have a hotchpotch of all that is talkback radio.
One needs to decide BEFORE embarking on a 'listening experience,' between taking talkback radio as entertainment, or as an example of an 'informed debate, led by a sympathetic and inclusive host. I think that last part of the previous sentence almost has me throwing up!
OK---I admit to experiencing the occasional well-informed contribution and sensitive response and questioning from the hosts, but in general, I see talkback radio as being no more than a reflection of just how diverse our opinions and stances are re various issues. That is fine, but when such views are expressed via talkback radio, they are underlined by the fact that the radio stations are in this for one reason only---to get listeners and therefore to bring in the 'advertising dollar.'
A host can be skilful, in 'keeping a 'thread going,' by playing the Devil's Advocate.' Hell---some even admit that. But then there are others who consistently come from a 'particular point of view,' being dismissive of anything that goes against their 'held view.'
I am sure those of you who lsiten to talkback radio, have your favourite hosts. You probably save YOUR contributions for that time when your favourite is on the radio,  that is if you are brave enough to ring up and let loose.
My 'fascination' and viewpoint on the 'talkback radio industry,' led me to write a book about how I see things, albeit in a cynical, humorous (maybe not!) and OK---a 'take-the-piss' kind of manner. I  included another aspect of my life in the book---my attachment' to my crazy Jack Russell. I did not intend TALK TO ME to be a serious expose of the talkback radio industry because I do not have that knowledge, but nevertheless, some aspects, hidden in the narrative, do come through.
Imagine my surprise, when I heard that TALK TO ME has been nominated for the Ngaio Marsh Crime Writers Awards. It is up against books that are far more complex and skillfully written. My efforts were nothing more than to entertain, with a little bit of a swipe at the 'industry.' Spot (Perdy--of Tararu/Thames fame) plays a central role--a fun role. I get my chance to discuss the book at the 'Murder in The Library,' series at the Tauranga Library on June 8th at 5.30. Feel free to join me.
You can read it by going to my website and following the links from Neils Books. Hell, if I get enough downloads from the site--at about $3 a shot) I may be able to afford to bring it out in hard copy and sell it at the various venues, alongside ROSKILL, in the Thames/Hairaki area. Go and check it out.
If  not---well---you always have talkback radio to fall back on to be 'informed, misinformed, entertained and totally--pissed off!~
Perdy (Spot--in Talk To Me)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

There is a day for every occasion, so why not------

I live with someone who thinks that 'life' revolves around her. I have to clean up after her, cook all the meals, entertain her and her friends and believe me---that entails all of the 'in-fighting, gossip and intrigue,' plus the fall-outs!
Don't even think about the shopping---it keeps me broke because she thinks money grows on trees. Yes---it's me who does all the driving while she talks endlessly, expecting me to 'understand' all of her little schemes and plans for 'our' future.
The 'look:' I am sure you all understand that. I get it constantly. One would think I would be immune to it by now. But no---she keeps coming up with new 'looks,' that get under my skin. Yes, I cave in, knowing that she will make my life miserable if I do not attend to her every need.
They say that life is a journey, I agree. That I have had and still have quite a few years left with this little lady, is all good by me. Yes---for those of you similarly inflicted or even---conflicted, with a Jack Russell, you are truly blessed.
Let's start a movement for a special day---'Love Your Jack Russell, Day!' Am I joking?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We don't actually murder people in libraries, in New Zealand!

It has come to my notice that there is much ado about nothing---well nothing in the sense that murders do occur in New Zealand, but certainly not in our libraries, so to my many friends overseas who have come to the conclusion, based on my previous posts, that such terrible crimes happen in Middle Earth,' then rest assured---we are a safe  nation.(for the most part)
BUT---take a look at the attached poster and you may well take issue with my post!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ngaio Marsh Crime Writers Awards.

Talk To Me, by Neil Coleman, has been nominated for the above award. I am looking forward to the evening on the 8th June: at 5.30, Tauranga Library. I am trying to get hard copies to sell, but time is against me and the cost is a bit high. However, you can download a copy (along with ROSKILL) from my website. Just click on Neil's Books and follow the link. Maybe I shall see you at the evening.           www.authorneilcoleman.com

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I have a 'crat' in my garage!

I have told you many stories from the 'Coast,' some of them have been a tad far-fetched, but that goes with the territory, of awakening in Paradise. Truth tends to become--enhanced,' or 'augmented as it were. Take today's little ditty, for instance.
Before coming to live in this little part of New Zealand, one that 'punches way above its weight,' in terms of beauty, and other incredible aspects, I was told legendary stories about the size of the rats. If I took them literally, I would have gone out and bought huge dogs, of a breed that excelled even the skills of my beautiful Jack Russell, Perdy.
I stored that 'knowledge' of these mythical creatures in that part of the brain, that is only accessed upon being exposed to the reality, rather than the former. Today, I was confronted with that apparition--- of nightmares.
Last night was one in which the rain fell, not to the point of previous 'one in a hundred year storms,' but enough to make me wonder if the garage was going to be reformatted in a 'Venice-like' appearance. (It's kind of weird that the news media keeps reporting these 'weather bombs' in a manner that makes one wonder if the description is becoming a bit ----over-used!) I entered the garage, hoping that I was NOT going to be throwing our more damaged goods.
I stepped inside and there was no sign of a flood, but there was something else! I saw a huge tail, scampering behind some 'stuff,' that needed sorting. It was almost black, but I could not be sure, as the light may have been playing tricks with my ageing eyes. The tales I had heard of the Thames rats impinged on my thoughts, exaggerated and massaged by visions of the beast crawling up my track pants. What a thought!!!
I quickly gathered the chook feed and left the garage, planning a Macarthy-like return to conquer the invader(s). Once back inside the house, I conversed with Perdy about how it was time she 'earned her keep.' She looked into my eyes in a way that said---'Daddy---just let me at it!'
I stuck Perdy on her leash. I did not want her disturbing delicately balanced objects,' thus turning my garage into an even more chaotic state. I need not have been concerned. Perdy headed straight to the area, whence I had earlier observed the---tail.
She became most excited, sniffing, and scratching in an attempt to get at the beast. It was then that I heard a----meow! What the hell?!! Since when had rats learned to meow? Jeeze, these Thames rats are something else---ventriloquists or Shapesearaen actors to say the least!
A change of tactics was called for. I retreated, knowing that Perdy would not give up and to prove the point, she set up that barking that is specially reserved for---CATS.
'Shut up, Perdy,' I yelled, 'The neighbour is asleep!'
We returned to the house, leaving the door open, in the belief that the 'cat.' or maybe---rat, would leave the garage via the open door escape route. One can but hope. To increase the chance of a vermin-free garage, (There are mice there---I have been surprised by a few scrambling out of the chook feed, but they don't particularly bother me) I decided to take Perdy to the rain-sodden park down the road.
On our return, we re-entered the garage. Perdy headed straight for the area from whence the meow emanated. She was not as 'energetic' in her response, which had nothing to do with her having had her short walk in the rain, but perhaps a great deal to do with the possibility of the 'crat' having left the building. I could hear Elvis singing and the audience clapping.
Dear readers. That I can write a blog about something so trivial says much about my changed life. It also informs ME, that I am content. The 'Coast' is my place, now. Cats, rats---stones and'stuff' from the beach, gardens, veggies ect ect---------------

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Jack Russell, a beach, stones, marshmallows and--home baking!

I know I am in paradise. I feel like I am and if I need proof, I don't need to depart this world anytime soon; I just reflect on the last hour and a bit, but the time seems vague, contrasting to the surety of my walk along ---the beach and all that I experienced.
It was late afternoon, that time between lunch and the approaching evening on a Sunday. The seasons were rubbing up against one another, unsure about who was going to lead the dance, the music provided by gentle waves kissing the pebble-strewn beach.
My eyes were working overtime, seeking out colourful stones, all to be polished, vibrated and tumbled back in the garage. They would join my growing collection, to be attached to pendants or simply given away.
I was not alone. Campervans were parked, spilling out their inhabitants, some of whom, joined me, in conversation, laughs and a few, collecting their baubles from the beach, be it driftwood, stones or---memories.
 They shared their stories, about life back in the city, or their journeys in their travelling homes whilst Perdy the Jack Russell made friends, endearing herself by jumping up, looking deeply into their eyes, as if she was taking a measure of who they were and keeping tabs for future reference, as only dogs can.
By this time, my pockets were bulging, threatening to drag my pants to the ground, lightened only for moments as I showed the 'beach people,' my collection. I was fed marshmallows by a generous lady, unknowingly eating about six before I remembered that, back at home I was soon to be cooking fresh fish delivered by a neighbour earlier in the day.
I said my goodbyes and headed back over the bridge, the sun warming my back, reminding me that Winter would come calling and days like today, but a beautiful memory.
As I entered the kitchen, I was met by the enticing smell of home baking. Maybe cooking that fish would be a few more hours, as it would be sacrilegious, not to partake of the little treasures displayed upon the cooling trays. Yes---paradise! Perdy had a look on her face that told me she too would share in the efforts of her 'other human parent.'