London terror

23/03/2017

Another terror attack in London:

Four people have been killed, including a police officer, in a major terrorist incident just yards from the Houses of Parliament this afternoon. . . 

London is used to terror after decades of attacks by the IRA last century and the 2005 underground and bus bombings.

This is another incident to add to the tragic list with innocent people killed or injured and other lives changed forever.


His story

25/04/2009

My father came to New Zealand, from his home country, Scotland, in the late 1930s. He worked for relatives on a station in the Hakatarmea Valley.

 

While there he joined the Otago Mounted Rifles as a territorial. When war broke out Dad enlisted with the 20th Battalion and went overseas to fight in Egypt and Italy.

 

He was badly burnt when a tank exploded and spent a fortnight in a saline bath. He was later taken prisoner but managed to escape and find his way back to allied troops. Dad was one of the soldiers described by Battalion commander Jim Burrows as those magnificent men after the break out from Minqar Qaim.

 

He didn’t talk much about what the war was like – but we do have a photo of Dad and four others which illustrates it: They were part of the company of 120 who started the battle of Ruweisat Ridge, and those five in the photo were the only ones left on survivors’ parade at the battle’s end.

 

When his active service finished after the Battle of Casino, Dad stayed with the New Zealand army and was posted to London as a driver. One night he was called to take Lord and Lady Freyberg to the Dorchester Hotel. The only vehicle available was a three tonne truck so he put a chair in the back for the General and Lady Freyburg sat in the cab.  When he pulled up outside the Dorchester, beside Eisenhower’s car, the doorman rushed up to direct him to the tradesman’s entrance. However, Dad ignored his agitated “round the back Chum”, helped his passengers out and drove off leaving the doorman speechless.

 

After the war Dad sailed back to New Zealand. He was manpowered to the freezing works at Pukeuri where he worked 18 hour days, six days a week. Then he got an adult apprenticeship as a carpenter in Oamaru.

 

Dad died in 1999 and as I wrote on the earlier post about my mother’s memories, I have lots of questions I regret not asking him.


What’s not to love?

27/03/2009

In spite of the findings of the UMR survey  which found most rural people are happier with where they live that those in towns and cities, rural life isn’t for everyone.

A rural real estate agent told me she loves lifestyle blocks because people who buy them stay an average of three or four years then decide it’s not for them and put the property on the market again.

Some are put off when rosey dreams or rustic romance are thwarted by rural realities, like the former city slickers who was upset by what she thought was porn in the paddock. Some just find it’s not what they thought it would be.

 But for others, like Bevan and Sharon Shannon who moved from a 17th floor flat in Battersea, London to Eketahuna,  the transition from city to country more than lives up to expectations.

 I’ve lived in town and country – from Great Mercury Island with a then human population of nine , to London and enjoyed them all because it’s not just where you are but what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with that contributes to making you happy.

But, that said,  while I enjoy visiting towns and cities I’d prefer to live in the country and I think those of us who live in this part of the world are especially blessed.

Not convinced? Just look at at Peter Young’s  brilliant scenes of rural New Zealand and tell me what’s not to love:

 Hat Tip: Bull Pen


$10,000 punt on National Win

03/07/2008

I’m having one of those fortnights this week so just caught up with this in yesterday’s Press over breakfast:

A Melbourne punter thinks National will win New Zealand’s election and has plunged $A 10,000 ($NZ12,720) on John Key’s party. The punter stands to win $A13,500 with Australian betting agency Centrebet if National wins the election later this year.

Centrebet has since firmed National in to $1.30 with Labour the outsider at $3.35.

“It’s one of the biggest bets so far, but we also have a London punter who’s placed L2000 ($NZ5,300) on Key at $1.30,” Centrebet political analyst Neil Evans said.

However, he said Clark has not been friendless in the betting, with a Christchuch punter recently backing her at $3.15, while an earlier Wellington punter staked $1000 on her at $2.65.

Would it be unkind to point out this could prove that only losers are backing Labour?

National opened three months ago at $1.47 and Labour at $2.62.

Over at The Inquiring Mind  Adam Smith has copied a letter to the editor of the NZ Herald from Labour president Mike Williams in which he argues that polls are losing their predictive value.

I wonder what he thinks about betting agences? They can be wrong, but their businesses thrive because they’re right more often.


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