Sunday, 30 November 2014

Goodbye to Gollywogs & Barbie Dolls

Political correctness appears to have rendered us completely humourless. Forget calling your office staff `sweetie’, jokes once considered harmless can no longer be made if there is the slightest hint they will cause someone somewhere the tiniest hint of offence.  Anecdotes about girls with red hair or yarns about three Irishmen in a bar have gone the same way as Gollywogs did long ago and certainly where Barbie Dolls are fast heading.  
Recently a woman I have known reasonably well over years discussed with me the possibility of bringing a formal complaint against the long suffering class teacher of her very disruptive, hyperactive eight year old son because the woman had ill-advisedly attempted to get him on-side and moderate his behaviour by referring to him as `the best looking boy in the room’.  This mother decided the remark bordered on sexual harassment.    Well very possibly in this beleaguered day and age she might be right but it seems only a very short time ago when it would have been viewed more properly as a harmless jollity.
A few years back I was taken to task by a group of nurses on my then staff for writing a newsletter in which I referred to the representative from the Employers’ Association as `livening up meeting proceedings with his dashing good looks’ (or something equally inane).   When I contritely explained that the remarks were simply light-hearted – made in jest, I was frostily told that our contract meetings were no laughing matter and certainly the Nurses’ Union would not be able to see any humour in the situation should the offending newsletter be brought to their attention;  they might even decide that I was attempting to bring them into disrepute.   Naturally enough I made a rapid and sincere apology.  

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Lunch At Harbourside

We lunched at Harbourside yesterday, the husband and I, fighting  our way through the tempest that was blowing downtown, utterly determined to eat whilst overlooking the harbour - and we did.  The place was, predictably at 2.15pm on a wet and windy Saturday, sparsely filled.
`Have you room for two?'  I asked, expecting a rueful smile.    The desk person looked at me a wee bit frostily and said she would consult the book.   She did and came back in a moment or two to reassure me they had a table outside.   The thought of a table outside on such a day would have filled me with some concern in days past but since the `new people' have moved in and taken the place in hand the deck with the dramatic view is now cleverly shielded from the weather.  There was even a heater overhead in case we felt chilly.
The husband ordered two glasses of splendid Chardonnay and said he was going to have fish and chips with mushy peas.   I ordered French style mussels - and a portion of chips just in case he was disinclined to share his. The food was very good indeed.
We decided not to get tempted by the dessert menu.   Neither of us are keen on Harbourside desserts which are good to look at, cleverly constructed, expensive overall and very short on taste.   But as it was still afternoon we did order coffee and I had a Disaronno and reflected that the combination of coffee and liqueur always makes me feel like a character from a nineteen thirties novel.   I almost began to wish I had not given up smoking.

Friday, 28 November 2014

A Tale of Two Johns

I have to say I’m very nearly elated to see how the support of John Key does not seem to waver no matter how many text messages he forgets he has received or responses he has sent.   MPs and media commentators may jump up and down in both fury and anticipation at each twist and turn of this now oh so tedious tale but not only does John Key invariably bounce back smiling that attractively impish smile, but his loyal followers are bouncing right behind him.   I should know because I’m one of them.   As far as I’m concerned JK may very well be a teeny bit more absent minded than we might have hoped,  he may even at times not choose his acquaintances terribly wisely, but he is a great improvement on what has gone before.   I say, long may he reign!
And as for John Banks, well it’s about time he was allowed to come up smiling.   I never for one moment believed the nonsensical accusations against him.   I have to say that he is possibly not a man one immediately warms to.   For me he does not have the appeal and charisma of JK but on the other hand there is something about him that seems totally up front and honest.  And if he has another crack at being Mayor......the city prophets might well be totally overwhelmed by the numbers voting for him.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Sad Demise of Cheques

I really do try to make all payments on line these days.  I know that’s what we’re supposed to do and in any case I’m all for it.  Overall it makes life easier and my own cheque books lie folorn and unused at the bottom of the filing cabinet.  I haven’t written out a cheque for several years.  
I know I’m not exaggerating and  it really is that long because it’s now almost a decade since I gave up running the After Hours Emergency Medical Centre, or to be more honest, it gave me up.   The nursing staff fancied themselves at the cutting edge as far as technology was concerned and were consequently disinclined to take wage cheques along to the bank once they realized that with the flick of a staff meeting  and the mere hint of asking the advice of the Nurses’ Union they could instruct me to pay them on line. So you see, I have been not just going with the flow but really trying for at least as long as it takes a new born baby to grow into a high school uniform.
WHY is it then that Renewing a Motor Vehicle Licence on line yesterday was so grueling?  Why were the instructions so confusing?   What on earth was a `Poli'?  Why could I not locate the mysterious Special Code was that had apparently been texted to me?  Why did I need it?  After an hour and a half, if I could have found the slumbering cheque books I would have used one!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Book Three last!

After months of thinking about it and weeks of discussing it plus a full weekend arguing with the husband about it, I have finally made a start on the volume that will complete my autobiographical trilogy.   In general the content could be termed `sensitive’ I suppose.  I firmly maintain that times have changed, the society we live in has changed with it and these days no-one gives a hoot about things that happened decades ago.  The husband does not altogether agree with me, however.  A small part of me wonders if he is right.
Chalk Pits & Cherry Stones was easy to write and I enjoyed doing so.  Eight Ten to Charing Cross  was not quite as easy and overall less stress free to bring to fruition.  Book Three (no working title yet) I am not at ease with and I fully expect that it will feel more like hard work.  But two thousand words have already been written so the die is cast

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Definitely What He Deserves!!!

How wonderful to hear today from a family member who has been defrauded out of a great deal of money, hard saved over years, that the perpetrator of the crime has at long last gone to prison for EIGHT long years!   I'm tempted to light a celebratory fire in the courtyard and dance around it playing a violin.  Perhaps I will just quietly give thanks to Whoever Is Up There looking out for us all today with a small gin and tonic.   Anyhow it was excellent news!

Apologies All Round

In New Zealand we are obsessed with apologies;  the need for those who have offended others to publicly apologise is paramount.  Should an imprudent turn of phrase inadvertently affront a work colleague or, heaven forbid, a group of people from a differing culture then it would be wise to have an appropriate admission of guilt at hand.  
We are a curious people in that we choose not to see an apology as an expression of regret but rather as a glorious moment of public humiliation – and oh, how we love humiliation, especially on the telly.   The hands of media personalities positively shake with excitement when they talk about the shame and disgrace involved in a someone having to apologise! And if it’s someone of note then there is mounting anticipation and delight.   How we love chopping heads off poppies.  
Just another quirky little aspect of life at the bottom of the world.