Great War

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Visit to Dunedin Public Library for the opening of the Reed Gallery Exhibition, Keepsakes: Souvenirs of the Great War.  Two thoughts:

  • Good display of ephemera from the 1915 Knox College Reunion ‘Somewhere in France’.  Special reference was made Adam Madill, the Presbyterian Minister who resigned his charge to fight in World War I.  He was killed in a raid on German trenches in France.  There’s a date to keep for 2015 at the Castle, the centenary of that event.
  • Troopship newsletters were produced by soldiers on their way to the front.  They are an unexplored source of genealogical information.  I wonder if any of my ancestors are mentioned in the collection.

Peace and Missionality

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The local Buddhists have an exhibition this week at the Community Gallery.  I visited at the weekend to see if I found it interesting enough to stay for events.  I didn’t.  Mind you there is a session next Saturday on Tibetan script so I would like to sit in on that.

The Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group invited Rabbi Adi Cohen of the Wellington Progressive Jewish Congregation to address their annual peace lecture.  It didn’t strike me as a substantial lecture although I noted down some points:

  • Peace as the absence of non-peace is disturbing
  • The world changes and our hopes should change with it
  • The other person is created in the image of god
  • dialogue does not begin between worldviews; dialogue begins between persons of different worldviews

The Rabbi is in New Zealand because he did not want to see his son grow up to serve in the Israeli Defense Force; and a Palestinian woman in the audience brought her family to New Zealand to escape her environment of violence.  Does it take to escape to the margins of the world for dialogue to begin?

Dunedin Cluster Group of Southern Presbytery last night, we were talking about mission, again.  There were things from which to learn and listen.  I wonder if more from Opoho need to hear these things?

The staff of the Presbyterian Archives and the Hewitson Library got a letter about the merger of the two organisations on the Knox College campus.  It was a rote business letter and not particularly sensitive.  There is no assurance that positions will continue or that staff members will remain.  The Principal of the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership and the Assembly Executive Secretary will meet with us in two weeks.  At the moment I wait.

I am thinking my alternative is to return to Invercargill so I can be closer to my mother and other members of my family.  We will see if I take up that option.


Dear Diary


The Conlang Exchange Cards are in the post. This is a relief as I have received three more this week: Greetings from Douglas Koller, and Jim Henry III, and the seven days of festivity under the twin moons of Safiria.

I’m checking over what I’ve done for the last week, apart from make cards.

  • An artist talk at the Blue Oyster for the display Walk
  • The Dunedin Harmony Chorus performed at the Art Gallery for Christmas. Their conductor, my friend L’Enfant de Jeu was looking so swish!
  • My local Labour Party urban tribe got excited about our new leadership
  • One of the cleaners took two of us for a tour around the Castle
  • The local archives got together for a little end-of-year event
  • Presbyterian Archives staff and volunteers went out for lunch
  • The Hewitson Library held an Advent Party, the highlight of which was a recital of Dido’s Lament by Purcell accompanied on the harpsicord (um, ok!)
  • I found out today that a children’s book on Genesis from 1910 is valuable for its rarity and coloured plates by Charles Robinson. It would be more valuable if the cover could be restored. The historic bookbinder in Oamaru was recommended. So anyone going that way, could they let me know? (And no, I don’t want to sell it!)
  • Vote early, vote often

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    It looks like I will be in Invercargill next weekend. The Phantom will be in there for the Burt Munro Rally, always something to look forward to! November has always seemed like a birthday month to me: two siblings and one parent in the same month. We shall be celebrating. That’s next weekend, the same time as the country is going to vote in a general election.

    I made the point of visiting the election office to cast my vote early, a week out from polling day. Despite the number of Smiths, Andrew Smiths and even two Andrew William Smiths, I had my papers very quickly and voted within the space of five minutes. No guesses on my vote for the election or the referendum. I won’t disguise the fact that I am partisan for one party; two if you count my opinion on the referendum.

    Dashboard is acting up for me. I really need to put more effort in getting a new computer.

    The end-of-year chow-down began today as the Knox and Salmond Colleges had a barbecue lunch to celebrate: a big plate of meat and potato salad, a bowl of pavlova, a tub of ice-cream and glass of white wine later, and I was feeling full. One of our volunteers said it was like a three-course lunch in France. A French three-course lunch is apparently made up of cheese, meat and sweet courses. I’m sure that’s why I was a kilo heavier when I weighed myself at the gym this evening. Our combination of Summer, Christmas, End of Year and New Year makes November/December a fattening time.

    The students are back. The quiet is over.

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    Heavy dew in the morning; harbinger of what is to come.

    The residents are slowly trickling back into the college for the year. I will avoid having lunch in the quad from now on, it’s too distracting. Fortunately if I want to sit outside I can go around to the staff area behind the kitchen.

    Noise coming through the concrete partition was not from the the machinary of the maintenance staff’s workshop next door. It was from the drums of the music room at the other end of the Hewitson Wing. I passed a black-clad grungy youth in the passage way carrying drumsticks. Tempted to ask nicely if he could restrict his drumming to more socially acceptable times – like outside work and study hours. Didn’t.

    The Helen Hercus room is being painted a buttery yellow colour and the smell permeates the building. Fortunately I don’t have a strong sense of smell. Other people assure me that it is making them queasy.

    There are road workers on Hatfield Street relaying the camber. I stepped over the cuts in the concrete after they had begun and feared briefly that I would slip through or that the hillside would slide away.

    A friend had a mammogram this week. She was called in for further tests. She has five grains of salt formed in one of her breasts. On such things cancers can begin. She was not emotionally prepared for this. There will be more tests.

    We can only save ourselves.