Saturday’s smiles


A newspaper  photographer was assigned to get photos of a bush fire. Smoke at the scene was too thick to get any good shots, so he frantically called his  office to hire a plane.

“It will be waiting for you at the airport!” he was assured by his editor.

As soon as he got to the small, rural airport, sure enough, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, “Let’s go! Let’s go!”

The pilot swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air.

“Fly over the north side of the fire,” said the photographer, “and make three or four low level passes.”

“Why?” asked the pilot.

“Because I’m going to take pictures! I’m a photographer, and photographers take pictures!” said the photographer with great exasperation.

After a long pause the pilot said, “You mean you’re not the instructor?”

One workshop . . .


. . . does not a poet make.

But this morning’s session with Kate Camp was helpful.

I learnt about the importance of nouns and the rationing of adjectives.

Nouns help to show not tell, in contrast to those describing words which are also telling words.

So easy to learn, so hard to apply.

Kate was interviewed by Kim Hill today. She came live from Burnside Homestead and spoke about Janet Frame’s autobiographies.

It was Janet’s birthday yesterday. After the workshop the class decamped for lunch and inspiration at  56 Eden Street  where she was brought up.

Not averse to moving outside comfort zone


I threw myself off a bridge last year.

We’ d taken several people to A.J. Hackett’s Kawarau Bridge Bungy jump over the years and I’d never been tempted to try it. But when we took an Argentinean friend last February a moment of madness led me to say I’d do it too.

They say it gives you a buzz that’s better than some of life’s more pleasant experiences.

They were wrong. It wasn’t awful but at the time I didn’t think it was particularly wonderful either.

However, it has had an impact on my life because since then when I’ve been confronted by an opportunity to do something outside my comfort zone I think, “If I can throw myself off a bridge, I can do that.”

A poetry workshop is not in the same category as bungy jumping but it’s something I’ve never been tempted to do before. Unless you count a few angst-ridden adolescent attempts at writing poems which are best forgotten and a bit of doggerel for fun, I’ve never even tried to write poetry.

But I got a phone call asking me if I was interested in an evening of literary brilliance and sparkling repartee chaired by Jim Hopkins ESQ and starring the fabulous Kate Camp of Radio New Zealand National renown, tonight.

When I said I was, the caller mentioned Kate was taking a poetry workshop this morning that I might like to join. A thanks-but-no-thanks was on the tip of my tongue when I remembered the bungy jump.

So this morning I’m making a literary leap into unknown creative territory. Should I survive that I’ve got the evening of Kate’s Classics to look forward to.

Kate's Klassics

The other referendum


Meat and Wool NZ’s referendum on its levy proposal closed yesterday.

It has been very contentious with several campaigns urging people to vote “no”.

However, it is possilbe apathy won because by Thursday there’d only been about a 30% return.

The announcement on the result will not be made until Monday. Read what you will in to that.

$20.82 for letter from council


Apropos the previous post: to illustrate the problems ratepayers have with Environment Canterbury.

A farmer sent the regional council a letter.

The reply came with an account for $20.82.

When she queried this she was told, that’s what ECan is now charging for letters it sends.

Ecan says ‘e can’t


Environment Canterbury  chair Kerry Burke lost a vote of no confidence by eight votes to six  at this week’s council meeting.

The rebellion was led by South Canterbury councillor Mark Oldfield.

The loss has set up a showdown vote on September 24 when councillors will consider removing Sir Kerry as chairman and, if that is resolved, they will have to elect a new chairman.

It’s been a long time coming.

Problems with his leadership have been fomenting for years, aggravated by a rural urban divide which often resulted in seven councillors on each side of a debate.

The result of the 2008 local body elections led to an impasse when an even number of councillors supported the two candidates for chair – Sir Kerry and Alec Neil. That was settled when Mackenzie councillor Bronwen Murray supported Sir Kerry, even though she had said she would not when seeking election.

Problems have not been confined to those round the council table. Ecan is deeply unpopular with people rural people, especially those south of Christchurch where it’s popularly known as ECan’t.

Relationships between Ecan and  district councils in the region are fraught. They have deteriorated so far that the district councils are investigating the possibility of ceding from ECan and forming a unitary authority.

The Waitaki District is divided between the Otago Regional Council and Ecan. The Waitaki District Council and residents regularly complain that it is much more difficult to deal with Ecan than the ORC.

Complaints about  Ecan gained credence when it was found to be the worst performing of all councils in the Ministry for the Environment’s biennial Resource Management Act survey.

Problems run deep among councillors, staff and the people they are supposed to serve. A new chair may help relationships but it will be difficult to solve the underlying problem of a council split by political affiliations and dominated by Christchurch, a large urban area which appears to have no understanding of, or sympathy for, the needs of the rural hinterland.

The Press backgrounded some of the issues here.

August 29 in history


On August 29:

1632: English philosopher John Locke was born.

1914 New Zealand captured German Samoa.

1915: Ingrid Bergman, Swedish actor, was born.

1923 English film director Richard Attinborough Attenborough was born.

1929 English poet Thom Gunn was born.

1930 The last 36 inhabitants of St Kilda were voluntarily moved to other parts of Scotland.

1936 USA politician John McCain was born.

1956 English comedian, writer and actor Lenny Henry was born.

1966: The Beatles performed their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

The Beatles in 1964.
Clockwise (from top-left): John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison

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