Hobbit-spotting for Hongongoi

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The month started with a visit from my mother to see Die Walküre. It turned into a busy weekend as Opoho Church held a book launch for the autobiography of the late Albie Moore, a hafla at the Kazbah, and a concert for the Southern Consort of Voices. It all came together before my mother left to return to Invercargill.

Then a meeting of the Pastoral Committee and a rally in the Octagon for the Hillside Railway Works. This was followed by a week when I was house-bound with campylobacter from some bad cooking, and my computer started acting up. I haven’t done anything about the computer yet. The connection is still dodgy.

The Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies had an open lecture on Scottish Devolution, and in the last week of the month the University Taekwon-Do club had a quiz night to raise money to go to their national finals. I was on a team with two physicists, a Hungarian and an Israeli, and a computer geek. Fortunately the questions were so orientated to popular geekery that we triumphed home, 45 points out of a total of 80. Five points ahead of our nearest rivals.

Friendlink met at Caversham Baptist Church on Saturday for a Mama Mia Sing-along. I enjoyed myself and joined in the singing of some of my favorite pieces, although I sat out when some of the clients got up and danced. I’m tempted to get a copy of the DVD. It was indulgent fun.

Lecture at the Art Gallery today about Science + Magic, the clash between an instrumental and a participatory world-views. I went and had a look at the Radiant Matter II display afterwards. In the big display the artist worked together with some witches to create a spell. There was a sign on it that read Gateway to Etheric Realms: Do Not Enter. I wondered about this. Was it part of the display? Did the sign refer to the integrity of the artwork? Or did it refer to the danger of trespassing on a magical site?


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I’m waiting to see a word used to describe the tragic deaths in Norway at the hands of a rogue knight templer a couple of weeks ago. Seventy-seven people were killed by a man who wanted to send out a signal that christendom in his country was under threat from a conspiracy of muslims and socialists (and possibly feminists from what I understand from his fantacist language).

I consider that the deaths of these people has made them into a new generation of martyrs for an open and inclusive society based on humanistic values. Maybe there should be a t-shirt made for immigrant citizens to wear that says These People Died For Us.

Well again, now what?


It turns out that I had a bug in my stomach called campylobacter.  After my mother visited I was left with three chicken olives.  They were very tasty, apparently I did not cook them well enough.  As a consequence several days later I was squirting diarrhoea.  I don’t recommend this.  Especially as we need all the staff we can at work.  One staff member is away recovering from a dislocated knee, another is in hospital being treated for leukemia and has handed in his resignation to Assembly Office in Wellington.

Another consequence is that I missed out on hearing about the first roller-derby competition in Dunedin.  There have been several entertaining reports about roller derby in New Zealand on the website Public Address.  I would have loved to have got to it.  I hope that next time I will.

This box is beginning to act up.  While I was ill I lost the internet connection.  At least through the PPP, after several days at home I discovered the USB cable and plugged that in and I was on the internet again.  A frustrating delay and the computer is becoming more unreliable.  I run a linux box (kubuntu) and it is several years old.  I got it off a friend who runs linux.  Unfortunately now I live alone I can’t fix problems on my computer or update it.  It  is becoming tempting to go out and buy a laptop with more compatable and up-to-date software.  It would help for accessing newer sites that demand software more advanced than this computer runs.

Today I have been out browsing through second-hand stores.  My mother (bless her) has an international night at her church in Invercargill.  She has been given Russia.  So she asked me if I could find her a samovar in Dunedin.  One antique dealer said he saw one eighteen months ago.  I don’t think I going to find her one in time.


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Just been to the doctor today. I have had an attack of diarrhoea this weekend. It started on Friday before I left work. I thought it was bearable that I could go to the Save Hillside Workshops Rally. Then on Sunday night it entered the squirting fluids stage so I stayed at home. Last night I was up every couple of hours to relieve pressure on my lower intestine. As today should be a workday I felt I should go talk to a doctor so went down to the Urgent Doctors. I have kept my fluid levels up although I’ve been threatened by headaches around my left eye socket which must be due to dehydration. I think I’m settling down now. Let’s see if things get better.

Save Hillside Railway Workshops!

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I have been accused of being a socialist.  Well, yes, I am.  I don’t have a strong entrepreneurial sense and I advocate living justly, probably in such a way that when the revolution comes I’ll be among the first to be purged.  Fortunately it was a good-natured accusation.

So along with a thousand other fellow Dunedin residents I was in the Octagon yesterday to protest the closure of the Hillside Railway Workshops.  The sock puppets who believe that Hillside should be closed, and Woburn Workshop in the North Island, argue that it is more economic for us to abandon building platforms and buy them from China.  Such short-sighted thinkers were not in attendance were not present at the demonstration.  Even the spokesman for the local Chamber of Commerce addressed the crowd and said it was a silly initiative.

It was a smaller attendance than was present for Save Neurosurgery in Dunedin which numbered in tens of thousands.  It was a cold day and when the wind blew through the Octagon I took it as a sign for that the flags and banners should be unfurled.  God was on our side!

One of the best speakers was a retired 83 year old engineer.  He knew how to address a crowd and didn’t pause to allow for applause as some speakers did.  Dramatic pauses are only good if someone fills it.

Saving Hillside is a good argument for family values.  As one speaker said some of its workers are second or third generation, the children and grandchildren of returned soldiers of World War II, the same ones who are memorialized outside of its gates.

As well as speakers for the Unions, Labour, the Greens and Greenpeace it was amusing to see banners for New Zealand First, Democrats for Social and the Alliance in the crowd.  Maybe it was a smaller gathering than should have been there, a wide number of interest groups were in representation.  There will be consequences.  Hillside won’t be forgotten.

The Troubadour and the Witch

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The man in the moon had two sons.  Until the day that there was a gypsy witch in his castle and his younger son sickened.  He had the witch burned.

Her daughter stole his younger son away from him to avenge her mother’s death.  She hid him among the gypsies.

When the older son was grown up then he fell in love with the girl Leonora, even though she did not return his love.  She preferred the gypsy troubadour and fled away with him.  That was until the prince captured the witch’s daughter who was the troubadour’s mother.

The gypsies fought with the prince’s men until the troubadour was captured too. The troubadour and his mother were put in a dungeon in the castle.  The lady Leonora came looking for him.  She revealed herself to the prince and agreed to love him if he would let the troubadour go.  When the prince agreed then she took poison.  She was taken to the troubadour and died in his presence.

The prince was furious for being tricked and sentenced the troubadour to be executed.  The witch awoke to this and declared to the prince you have killed your brother!

So ends the tale of the Troubadour and the Witch.

Hobbit-spotting for Pipiri

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It’s been a month since I presented the talk Going Beyond the Obvious: Using Church Archives to the Genealogical Conference with Jennie.  At the same time I was house-sitting with a large and playful cat.  That was my Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

Then Parish Council debated whether to call a new minister, a training licenciate, Margaret Garland, to Opoho Church.  The Presbyterian Heritage Network met to hear about The Demon Drink.  The next the bottle of wine we were given for our talk to the conference was opened for an evening meal, Goldfields pinot noir I remember.  Very appropriate for a genealogical conference on the goldfields theme.

Il Trovatore turned out to be a fabulous opera.  For the last weekend of the month there was the Midwinter Carnival in the Octagon and a video on the life of Jane Austin.

It was a month of memories.  This month has begun with another very busy weekend.  So we begin a new week.

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