Posted by BE on October 22nd, 2014
In the 32 years that Judy and I have been together we have bought and sold quite a few houses. Six years is the longest we lived in any one of those houses. Our friends regard us as gypsies. The best explanation for this is that we like houses and looking at houses. Sometimes looking means falling in love and falling in love can lead to buying, preceded of course by casting off the old love. This was the case with the house we recently sold. We had a perfectly good house, walked in to an open home at a house across the road, fell in love and bingo – divorce followed by another marriage. This one has lasted a little over 5 years and the house will soon have far more faithful owners, a delightful young family who expect their children, and maybe even some of their grandchildren, to grow up there.
In the process of all this pillar-to-posting we’ve learnt quite a lot about buying and selling houses which could be summarised as ‘win some, lose some’. And we thought we might pass on some of that accumulated experience to you, dear reader. What follows is amateur stuff really and may not be 100% correct. But it’s our experience of the fascinating world of real estate. I say ‘our’ because my editor, JC, as she always does, has read the text and given it her tick of approval. So here goes: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on October 16th, 2014
“Common sense and a sense of humour are the same thing moving at different speeds. A sense of humour is just common sense dancing. Those who lack humour lack common sense and should be trusted with nothing.”
Clive James penned that glorious truth. Examples of the correlation between humourlessness and lack of common sense are all around us in present-day New Zealand. They proliferate like weeds. No doubt some will occur to you as you read these lines, but it may be wiser not to name them, to keep your counsel. The humourless weed is prickly and cannot see the joke.
I was reminded of Clive James’ words by the current race for the Labour Party leadership. If James is right - and everything I have observed about my fellow man in more than seven decades persuades me that he is – if those who lack humour should indeed “be trusted with nothing”, then we would be wise to include evidence of the presence of a sense of humour among our criteria for electing those who seek to govern us. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on October 1st, 2014
In recent posts I’ve made some fairly trenchant comments about David Cunliffe, primarily about his media performance. Others, including some of his Caucus colleagues, have gone even further. The now resigned Leader of the Opposition has been under sustained and often vitriolic attack from friend and foe alike since Labour’s catastrophic showing in the General Election just over a fortnight ago. The media have feasted on his downfall.
Political survival and the retention of one’s self-respect require stoic denial from a political leader in these circumstances. To reveal hurt will be taken as a sign of weakness. The response to Helen Clark’s tears at Waitangi in 1998 when Titewhai Harawira angrily challenged her right to speak on the marae is evidence enough of that.
But no politician can be totally indifferent to personal attack. David Cunliffe has admitted to being ‘close to tears’ following the 7-hour Caucus bloodletting after the election. That admission took courage and should be admired rather than derided. A politician without feelings would be a dangerous creature indeed.
But what of the politician’s family, whose hurt or rage can be aired only in private, who must literally suffer in silence. For such is the convention. So it was for Ruth Kirk and Thea Muldoon who kept just such a dignified silence in the face of the abuse, rumours and scuttlebutt that attended their husbands’ public and private lives. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Tough call! Read the rest of this entry »