Was Pooh Bear a romantic?

February 15, 2011

Discussion with Noelle McCarthy on Critical Mass began with the Last Post on Stoatspring in which Anne Else, his widow, gave the news of his death.

In response to that she is now using her blog, Elsewoman, to write about learning to live by herself for the first time in her life.

Still on the subject of love we looked at the 10 most romantic lines in English Literature.

Emily Bronte penned the winning words: ” Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” in Wuthering Heights.

A.A. Milne’s Pooh Bear (or was it Christopher Robin to Pooh?) was voted second with:  “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you” .

If you find this to sugary, pop across to Today Is My Birthday for Ally’s amusing reaction to the romance.


Death of a poet and blogger

January 4, 2011

Stoatspring was a relatively recent addition to my list of regular blog reads (thanks to a recommendation from Deborah).

I enjoyed the mix of poetry, philosophy and general ruminations on many topics including gardening,  food, current affairs and life.

 He started blogging because he had inclusion body myositis, a rare muscular degenerative disease which made him increasingly disabled but still able to type.

He was open about the condition, it’s impact and frustrations but never self-pitying.

I was very sorry to read the last post, written by his wife Anne Else, follow Harvey’s death on Christmas Day.

A couple of weeks ago I bought his last book, These I Have Loved, my favourite New Zealand poems. It is a fitting legacy for a man with such a fine appreciation for good writing who wrote so well himself.


Did you see the one about . .

December 12, 2010

I am a receptionist –  The Bullet on life on the other side of the hotel check-in counter.

Bad parenting not lack of money is harming poor kids – Liberty Scott shows poverty is no excuse for children’s failure.

Avoiding the quarter life crisis: parents guide your children well – Peter Kerr on the importance of choosing school subjects carefully.

You swearing at me? Quote Unquote talks dirty.

The Ninth Floor –  Stoatspring on adjusting to ordinary life after work in the PM’s office.

3.6% of Kiwis have paid a bribe in the last year – Stephen Franks takes a serious look at Transparency International’s GLobal Corruption Barometer Survey.

Corrupt? Hell yeah!  – Imperator fish takes a lighter look at the same survey.

The Year in review According to Google – Motella looks back with the help of Google & YouTube.

Wahine Toa – Roarprawn celebrates four Maori women in Cabinet.


Look what we lost

December 7, 2010

Looking at what we lost when John Clarke crossed the Tasman occupied Jim Mora and me on our chat about on-line matters on Critical Mass today.

Clarke and Brian Dawe have a satirical look at events in Australia each week, transcripts and videos of which are posted on the ABC’s website.  

Next stop on our journey through the internet was The Truth About Santa Claus at Stoatspring – a delightful recounting of a six-year-old’s learning experience.

Then, thanks to a tip from a listener/reader in response to last Tuesday’s reference to Simon Heffer’s style notes we moved on to Media Monkey at the Guardian  which showed that for want of an A a temper was lost. (If you’re offended by bad language you might be better not to go there).


The Time of the Giants

October 20, 2010

The Time of the Giants by Anne Kennedy is this Tuesday’s Poem.

Among contributions from other Tuesday poets  are:

 Deep Sea Swimming by Pam Morrison at Cadence.

Harvey McQueen’s Reading Janet Frame at Stoatspring.

Sotto Voce by Clare Beynon at All Finite Things reveal Infinitude.

Thanks by W.A. Merwin at Belinda Hollyer.

Savai’i by Mary McCallum, at O Audacious Book.

And Mariana Isara at Type What You See chose Being the Poem from Walt Whitman’s preface to Leaves of Grass.


Did you see the one about . . .

August 26, 2010

Temps perdu – Dim Post on cultural trends.

Clothing and control and wearing the burqa – In A Strange Land on covering up.

We’re still waiting for a Sydney Opera House – Karl du Fresne on the moot that architecture is the mother of all arts.

Shakespeare Stoatspring finds political lessons in literature.

We got to the hospital – a sore toe nearly trumps a caesarean at Private Secret Diary.

This is what the teacher unions  fear – Kiwiblog on how teachers make a difference.

Milking Time – rivettingKate Taylor on sheeps milk and her contributions to the farming year ahead.


Blogging as therapy

July 13, 2010

Toll calls were very expensive and we didn’t have mobile phones or the internet when our son was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder.

We made a few calls to immediate family but telling most of our friends throughout New Zealand and overseas was done by writing letters and posting them.

There had been little technological improvement in the following two years when we got the diagnosis for our second son. Mobile phones were becoming more common when he died five years later but we still hadn’t heard of the internet.

Now, when people want to spread personal news, good or bad it’s relatively cheap and very easy to do it by text, email, Facebook or blogging.

Writing can be therapeutic for both the writer and those who read it and that’s what prompted me to choose blogging as therapy for my chat with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today.

Blogs I mentioned were: Annie Fox –  written by Anna Wolfe who among posts on politics and life, wrote about cancer. The last post was written by a friend and includes tributes given at her funeral.

Kismet Farm wrote a variety of usually light hearted posts but mentioned a diagnosis of cancer earlier this year. The last post a few days ago was written by her husband, telling us she’d died.

We Remember is written by Lee Ann from Maryland whose son was killed in Iraq. The name was chosen because

 . . it seems more positive than simply not forgetting. Remember those we’ve lost, remember those left behind, remember why we are here. . .

Stoatspring is a mixture of reflections on life, retirement, reading and disability in poetry and prose by Harvey McQueen. He explains why he started blogging:

 . . . I’ve been diagnosed with inclusion body myositis, a rare muscular degenerative disease. . . . I cannot travel. I can’t garden and I can’t cook for I cannot plant seedlings or lift a casserole out of the oven. . . .  I’ve had to give up driving which means I’m dependent upon other people. It’s very rugged on my wife Anne for it means I can’t help around the house  . . . Thank heavens, I still can read, use the computer, watch television and DVDs, talk to friends. From being a participant in life I’ve become an observer. Hospital waiting rooms loom large as other events narrow down. So I begin this blog to widen my contacts

The last post was a recommendation from Deborah at In A Strange Land. Had Jim and I not run out of time today, I’d have mentioned that she is helping herself in her determination to stay off the demon drink for a month in aid of Dry July with a virtual star chart. A page with links to each day’s post is here.


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