Monday, 24 December 2012

Family tales

Christmas is a time when the same old stories from ageing relatives are trotted out. Sometimes they bear a retelling, sometimes everyone groans and nods off until the tale is done.  This year I heard one that was totally new to me.

One of my father's many uncles, Walter Holland came home to New Zealand from  WW1 with a Danish bride.  From photos it is clear that she always looked straight out of a band box, chic, groomed and fashionable, standing out next to the other aunts and uncles as a glamorous outsider.  She was vivacious, beautiful and socially at ease.  My father adored her, knowing her always as Tante.

Uncle Walter did alright for himself and used to regularly take Tante back to Denmark to stay with her family. The trips ceased during WW2 but as soon as the passenger ships started up again after the war, off they went.
In those days the New Zealand embassy was in The Strand and so itinerant Kiwis of means would often choose to stay at the Savoy.  Here Walter and the gorgeous Tante stayed before travelling on to Denmark.   On this particular trip they were settled in their rooms when there was an urgent knocking at the door whereupon Tante found a messenger with an urgent invitation for her.   There was a ship being launched in the Clyde and to celebrate the reopening of trade routes with New Zealand they would like her to come and launch her.  Tante saw that the invitation was just for her, Mrs Holland and she explained to the messenger that she would love to come up to the Clyde but that she was travelling with her husband and if the invitation could be extended to include him they would be delighted to oblige.

 An invitation that included them both was produced, a Rolls Royce sent to pick them up and take them to the station. On the train there was a delightful reception for them and the ship was launched successfully. Another jolly reception ensued, and on the train back to London the next day Tante was feted further in first class accommodation.  It really was all a rather lovely party.

The next morning Walter and Tante were having breakfast when Tante noticed a couple she recognised at a nearby table and asked Walter if they knew them, as she was unable to place them.  Walter looked over and said "Yes, they are New Zealanders, and no, we don't know them.  That's Prime Minister Sidney Holland and his wife"........

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, 2 December 2012



Thursday, 22 November 2012

I was the victim of a hate crime...should I go to the Police?

Back in 1969 I was fresh off the boat from the other side of the world.  As I was just 5, my arrival coincided with the start of schooling and I happily started at the local C of E primary.    It was ok, there were 40 kids in my class, which seemed a bit busy, but I was learning to read and it was cool.   There was only one cloud...the other children kept calling me "Australian".   It used to feel like a punch in the mouth.  It hurt.  I went home and complained to Mum.  She was astonished!  How offensive! She told me to point out  to them that the two countries were 1000 miles apart.  Even this did not convince them to stop.   I had it from teachers, pupils, and parents. By the end of my first year of school I had shed my accent and the torment stopped.

Today I read about this and realised I could get justice!   I can't remember anyone's name now but if they interviewed everyone who was there in 1969/70 someone may confess?

WTF?  Last time I checked Australians and New Zealanders were broadly from the same race as Europeans.  When will it be a hate crime to call a Arsenal supporter a Spud?

Update;   Perhaps we should clog the courts with such cases? Have a "Call a New Zealander an Australian Day".     

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Suicide bomb in Damascus

On 5th of November the street where Calfy lodged and some of her friends live, where I stayed when I visited, was visited by a suicide bomber. Many killed and maimed.  This is a residential district of Damascus where people live closely. God help them all.

Syrian human rights watch says 11 killed and many more injured.  Syrian TV says it was a bomb planted under a car.  Which fits with the pictures.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Today's letter to my MP

Dear Mr Heath,

Firstly congratulations on your appointment to Defra.  I am sure you'll be the most competent minister the beleaguered department has seen for decades, if ever.  May badgers and Ash dieback be the worst things you have to deal with.  I thought you came across very well on the subject of the badger cull on Radio 4.

Now to my point.  I have a very specific question, that is:

Should the BBC be allowed to override its Charter requiring it to provide due balance? 

The BBC Trust has stated that it “held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus” on anthropogenic climate change.

It now emerges that this policy decision was formed after a meeting of journalists and activists, with only three scientists present, only one of whom I have heard of (I have spent quite a lot of the last two years educating myself on climate science)

Is it OK for the BBC to brush aside its charter on the say so of vested interests in a secret meeting?  The BBC has spent a six figure sum trying to conceal who was at the meeting. The list of attendees was found on the Wayback Machine by a sleuthing blogger...It was historically on a BBC site!

A further thought: Perhaps if the BBC is to retain public trust it should not resist embarrassing FOI requests on the basis that it is a private company and answerable to no one?

I would very much like to know what, if anything, you intend to do about this?

Yours sincerely

Lilith Stuff

Update : Cassio at Bishop Hill kindly pointed out some errors with this letter.
Luckily I hadn't actually posted it at the time so have been able to amend it.

Dear Lilith,
For the record it was the BBC, not the BBC Trust, which organised this meeting with the IBT.
And the list of names found by Maurizio Morabnito had been posted on the IBT site, not on the BBC site.
See and click on "This list has been obtained legally".
Nov 13, 2012 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterCassio

Friday, 5 October 2012

Head spin

Good Grief! I just sold my house. Well, I have accepted an offer. It took two weeks, from deciding to sell to slapping some paint about, shoving everything in a cupboard, and getting an agent round. Two weeks ago my house smelled of dog and cigarettes. Now it smells of expensive room fragrance and I can't find anything. We haven't got anywhere to go...although we have our hearts set on a place already under offer. Perhaps we will end up in the van and will be proper pikeys at last.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Bob Dylan's new album

Is fantastic. Here's the first track He sounds like Tom Waits these days and is still a top story teller. The Tempest is a wander through American music: blues, rock and roll, ballads and even a track that could be Motown. It's funny and catchy and bleak and clearly the man and his band have it coming out of every pore....

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Nick Clegg's new single

Clegg is a very sorry man.

Monday, 20 August 2012


The sportier branch of my family have finally achieved a medal representing New Zealand! Cousin Ruby and her mates won bronze at the World Rowing Championship in Bulgaria in the Womans Junior (18yrs or younger)Quadruple Scull! I am so proud :-) Ruby is second from right. Hope to see you in Rio!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Proud to be a Kiwi

There are times when I just can't help being proud of the nation where I was born. As assimilated English as I am (can't abide the French, addicted to strong hot milky tea etc) there are moments when I just KNOW I am a New Zealander, and proud.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Thought for the day on Man Made Global Warming

People who believe that the world is unnaturally warm due to all the breathing humans and their CO2 producing industry should be politely sat in front of Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming. There they will see a "low carbon society", with harsh but effective population controls, living in cooler temperatures than we currently enjoy. Then ask them why they want us to live like that.

Sunday, 3 June 2012


I love this photo
Liz goes to fancy dress party dressed as Gaddafi
Hurrah for the Queen!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Calfy drives off..

Celebrations today as Calfy bought and drove away her very first car. Off she goes on her first trip to Halfords :-)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Nightjack to sue Times

When Patrick Foster ("journalist") outed Nightjack the blogger in the Times I vowed not to buy the crap sheet ever again. Not that I often did.

So imagine my delight when I opened the Times for the first time in an age(we were away and Elby needed the football fixtures)to discover this:

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Why artists should not speak in public

I have always been kinda fond of these little guys. I even find his suicidal bathers intriguing.

Of course Gormley, however gifted, has discovered the joys of being funded by the taxpayer and thus we discover that whilst he has an aesthetic he doesn't appear to have a brain.

" ..through our feet I think we can begin to feel Global Warming..."

What single idea do you have to make the world a better place?

PS. this is meant to be a bbc video of Gormley just in case you are seeing something else.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Return to Gin Lane

I like a G & T. Our local Asda has a litre for £16. I think all the local supermarkets must rotate offers on booze because if it is more at Asda it is less at Sainsburys and vice versa. In a litre of gin there are 40 units. Minimum pricing at 40p a unit makes £16.00. So Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Whiskey etc will be the cheapest booze per unit when Cameron has his way. Hmmm. How does that reduce strong alcohol consumption?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Delingpole : excellent radio

I happened to catch James Delingpole coping with the vacuous credulousness of Richard Bacon this afternoon. Well worth a listen again: about 1 hour 16 minutes in here