Monday, January 31, 2011

Peaches and a Parrot

Peaches is our youngest cat - actually, she is Charlotte's cat, but has chosen to live at our place, at least until Charlotte is able to house her in the manner to which she has become accustomed.

She really is quite an attractive cat, and I'm sure she knows it too!

But she is not just a pretty face. She can also hunt.

As fate would have it, we seem to have become home to a small colony of mice. Which, as cats are wont to do, she hunted and caught one. Great fun!

It almost seemed as though it was a game for both of them, as the mouse looked out at Peaches, while Peaches was looking elsewhere!

However, the outcome was inevitable, and she wore the poor thing out, and then got bored with it when it wouldn't run about any more.

And then, a few days later, we had a colourful visitor. And it wasn't a feline!

Jayne had tried to tell us earlier in the year that one day while she was studying, a parrot had appeared in the tree outside her window.

Needless to say I believed her, although I was a little sceptical because I hadn't actually seen it myself.

But I have to take it all back, because in mid-January it came visiting again, and this time I have the evidence to prove it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

In Memoriam

Patricia Mary Knox, known as Sister Dominica Mary, SMSM, 27 December 1925 to 8 January 2011.


A Nearly World Tour

It started like this: a neice, Kirsten, who lived with us for sometime while attending University, was in Northern Ireland. She was living and working in a 'cross-cultural' community in Antrim. She had however, been able to see something of the country, and had been in touch about the family history, and had made contact with relatives in Connemara.

And then she wrote to us that she was getting married to a local lad in August, 1995. So far, so un-surprising.

What we hadn't banked on was that she would issue a heartfelt plea for us to be at the wedding.

So what do you do? What we did. "Pack up the babies & grab the old ladies, & everyone go, to Mother Love's show."

And then when we came back we had LOTS of photos, including of the wedding, and a diary of the trip.

They just sat around home until the end of 2006, when I decided I needed to do something with them, as I do.

So I retrieved Sarah's pix, put them with mine, scanned them all, retrieved the digital version of my diary, and started a website. It took until early 2011 to finish, BUT I have.

It is now available, and the photos of the wedding are there as well.

Enjoy, even if you can't remember it!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Do we want to go in this direction?

I was disturbed recently by a newspaper story headed "Anglers to fight 'exclusive' deals to fishing spots". It reported a claim by the president of the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers, Jim Hale.

He says that parts of a number of rivers have been captured by "unscrupulous commercial interests". These interests apparently engage in "exclusive capture" arrangements with landowners, so that access to stretches of some rivers are locked up and thereby denied to Kiwi anglers, unless they are prepared to pay significant sums of money.

What is at play here is a conflict between competing 'rights'.

On the one hand, we have private property owners choosing to exercise their 'property rights' to restrict or manage or control who is able to cross their land, and thereby effectively controlling who is able to fish selected stretches of our rivers.

On the other hand there is the 'right' of all New Zealanders to access our rivers, which flow through numerous private properties, and often within what is called 'the Queen's chain' - a legal mechanism to define public ownership and access to waterways. Of course, with this access comes the right to fish, subject of course to licensing controls to ensure the fishery is sustainable.

So, the nub of the issue becomes this: are the waterways, and fish stocks within them, a private or a public good?

My view is that they are, and must remain, a public good. I have no difficulty with private property owners exercising their rights and controlling access to their own property. However, I do not accept that that right should allow them to unreasonably restrict access to our waterways. These must retain their public ownership, and the 'Queen's chain' to ensure the public can access the rivers themselves. While I have no wish to go fishing, I am firmly of the view that I, and my children, and their children, must have the right to do so.

I well remember seeing and being surprised by the sign in this photo we encountered in Strathtay, Scotland. The notice of "Private Fishing" I found, and still find, abhorrent. It is redolent of privilege, class, and elitism.

And those things my ancestors came to New Zealand to escape.

May we never see them re-emerge here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dom est morte

Desiree's cousin, Patricia Mary Knox, or Sister Dominica, died this morning, 8 January 2011.

She was 85 years and 12 days old.