Monday, May 20, 2019


John Riminton.

Scene:  The living room of a middle-class New Zealand home
Actors:  A father and his 13 year old son Flynn.

Flynn:  "Dad, our teacher told us that we were to prepare for a big project on globalisation after the holiday. Do you know anything about that?
Dad:  What do you think he means?
Flynn:  I think he's on about everyone in the world working together but I don't see that happening, I mean, everyone lives differently.
Dad:  Quite right but we need to start somewhere.  Why do you shout for your school when they are playing someone else?
Flynn:  Come on...because it's my school.
Dad:  Yes. You feel you belong.  It's like tribes and nations. If we were Maori we would support our iwi against other tribes; as New Zealanders we don't want Australia to win the World Cup, and that's the way it has been since humans were just hunter-gatherers – belonging is an important part of our nature: tribes, towns, religions, countries. that went on steadily until about a hundred or so years ago.  Do you know what started to change everything then?
Flynn:  Not really. Was it the Industrial something?
Dad:   Well, four really big things have changed in the last hundred and fifty years and they started when quick communication was invented and information did not have to be carried by someone on horseback.  That led to a new global economy controlled by so-called market forces. Now we have instant global communication through the internet and fast travel, The internet allowed scientists to develop computers and share their information. That led to global science,  global surveillance, robots and things, and now this changed world is threatened by global climate change.
Flynn:   Yeah, I have heard of all that but apart from the climate, those other things are all good, so what's the problem?
Dad:  We haven't yet got rid of our need to belong to some group where we can share, talk  in the same language and understand what makes each other tick – like you shouting for your school or people working together in a stock exchange where they live by the minute, all of you thinking short term.
Flynn:  Yeah, I can see that but what has that to do with globalisation?
Dad:  Well, although we have a global economy, countries still think mostly of their own interests. I have been watching the internet news about the row between America and China over trade;  the Middle East is a mess of competing groups and there are lots of arguments about ways to generate the energy that we will need if we are able to carry on as we are now. But the one thing most scientists are agreed upon is the inevitablity of a climate change that will make all these other things irrelevant because that will dominate everything.  The others are all global problems that we don't have a global government to deal with and, anyway, most countries don't want to be told what to do by somebody else. So how are we going to set up global control to sort out the  big one?
Flynn:  Yeah, I am beginning to see that this will be one big project next term. I wonder what the teacher will be trying to tell us.
551.   May, 2019.

Another Life
John Riminton.

  You won't find me blowing in the wind as I have spent most of my life in a huge building with big rooms.  Mind you, I did start outside in the beautiful clean air with many others like me.  Then, one day we were all gathered together and taken into the first of those big rooms.  It was awful.  We were laid out on some tickly material and denied water for half a day, which felt like forever.  We were all quite limp when we were taken off for our next  ordeal.

   Can you imagine what it is like to be put, with all your friends, into a great machine and rolled about until you don't know what sort of shape you are in?  When that was over we were put on some shaking table. Some of my friends disappeared then, but I had to go back for more twisting but the second time on the shaking table I fell through a hole.  I think they had pity on us then for the next experience was bliss – laid out on another table which was cool and damp. I wished that could have gone on forever but it was followed by the worst of all – we were cooked in an oven until we were black. It was terrible.

  I don't know what happened next for it was all so confusing.  I do know that I turned grey and got separated from my friends. I  don't know what happened to them but I found myself pushed around by some people and bundled together with others who had suffered the same experiences.  No one seemed to like us and we were shoved into a dark corner.  There, some who had been there before us said that they thought that we might be taken outside to be buried. I couldn't wait – anything to get outside again away from this dreadful building.

  I'm sorry, what was that?  Oh! What am I? I'm sorry, I forgot to tell you at the beginning. My name is Tea Fluff and I am the result of turning beautiful green leaves into black tea.

May 2019

Monday, March 18, 2019


By Bryan Fowler

          Jaycinct the Bold gazed in wonder at the swirling planetary debris that surrounded the ever moving, ever evolving wormhole that was her immediate destination. “Was it worth it,” she thought? “Make the slightest mistake and I'll become an infinitely long piece of spaghetti”. Scratching her many tentacled multicoloured carapace she pondered for a moment. The dangers were great surely, but the rewards too were impressive. “Lets do this thing,” she thought, “but lets do it right”.
          Taking over complete control  of her interstellar ubercraft she began to design the complicated many faceted formulae that would she hoped allow her to navigate the perilous approach. Mind and machine were now completely integrated and the spacecraft effortlessly performed the complicated manoeuvrers that brought it to the very edge of this primordial passage to another universe.
          “I wonder if the time is right? thought Jaycinct, and without conscious thought she performed the complicated quantum calculations that corrected the time fluctuations that were an integrated part of this cosmic passageway. Reality blurred as they hurtled through the ever evolving space portal; atoms and galaxies were as one in this place that existed between time and space. And then after an infinite time, or was it milliseconds the craft erupted into real time and space.
          “So far so good,” exclaimed Jaycinct as she performed the mental calculations that passed back control to the spacecraft allowing it to follow their preplanned course to their destination. Now completely relaxed she lay back on her gravity bed  and watched the approaching orb growing larger and larger until it completely filled the viewing wall; she felt the faint vibration as they entered the atmosphere, and the antigravity thrusters that would guide them to their ultimate destination burst into life,“I wonder if I’ll be in time?” thought Jaycinct as she emerged into the car park of the Jolly Roger; but then she saw the bright lights; and heard the babble of happy voices, and the clink of glasses, so full of extraterrestrial joy she vibrated her way over to that wonderful door marked BAR

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sarah Harper

Hope is deeper than optimism
It is mysterious, delicate and brave

Hope is resilience
Wrapped in layers of trust and knowing

Hope is pink and has feathers
It is yellow and feels warm

Hope is no tonic for wishful thinkers
But a solid ground to lay our backbone on

Hope heals puncture wounds of life
It shines with courage and grit

Hope is spirited and foolhardy
It wears a fluffy fur coat

Hope knows no angst nor pain
It breathes life into the darkest of places

Hope can appear in disguise
It is a strangers wink and a star filled sky

Hope is timeless and kind
It is what makes the caged bird sing

Hope heals
It is sometimes all there is.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

John Riminton.

The European winter of 1944/5 was harsh, Icy N.E winds blew down from Eurasia bringing freezing conditions, even two rare blizzards to the German-occupied Channel Islands; boys riding heavily to school on bicycles with hose-pipe tyres faced the risk of having their red ears finger-flicked on arrival if they failed to notice the bully-boy behind them.

This 16 year old boy lived with his widowed mother in quite a large house a couple of miles west of St. Helier, Jersey. Until D-Day precious supplies had continued to come in from France including some that had enabled the Island authorities (the States) to maintain gas for cooking. However, as the Allies occupied the neighbouring Contentin Peninsula all supplies from France had stopped. In an "Unposted Letter dated Jan.1945", subsequently included in a book, "Jersey in Jail", the author, Horace Wyatt, wrote:
"The last few months of 1944.....have been a period of gathering gloom. To begin with the weather broke up early and it rained more or less every day for three months.
Since early September most of us have been hungry, increasingly cold, generally wet and never clean.... The gas mains were emptied as long ago as September. The water mains function for only two or three hour a day. The supply of current from the electric power stations has just ceased and the telephone service is to stop in a few day's time......There is no longer any ration of wood fuel. The steam laundries are closed down and hand laundries cannot work for want of soap and fuel. Personal cleanliness is out of the question".

In the boy's home his mother had brought all activity into one room, previously known as the Morning Room. Now it held both their beds and such cooking as was possible, depending on the availability of black market wood, was done on a trivet fixed to the grate of the small open fire. Fortunately the house had quite a large garden that was now dedicated to growing the staples of potatoes, onions, haricot beans and brassicas. Such wood as was publicly available was all taken by the States and allocated to district bake-houses to which households could take a dish of vegetables in the morning. There they would share the oven with many other dishes to be collected some 3-4 hours later. The problem was then to get it home while it still retained some warmth.

Our Spring dawned early in 1945 at a time when the weekly rations were:

Flour: 7 oz;(198gms) Butter: nil; Suger: Nil; Salt: nil; Meat: (adults and juveniles): 2oz; (56gms) Children: 1 oz.

The relief came in the form of Red Cross parcels, issued at about six weekly intervals to every civilian. Our summer, of course, came in May that year when we were liberated and the war ended.

Post-D-Day the German garrison, some 16,000 troops consisting now mainly of old men, broken men (back from the Russian front) and boys my age, was also cut off from all support and, as combatants, not eligible for the Red Cross parcels. Shabby, starving, disillusioned, knowing that Hitler had let them down, they could only look forward to detention camps and eventual return to their bomb-ravaged homeland.

There is no doubt that some winters are worse than others. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Coming Home.
Bryan Fowler
The kerosene lamp cast its golden glow through the kitchen as night came down to cover the old house on the edge of the bush. Sitting in their comfortable seats Hinewai and Tim looked at their Kuia as she stirred the bubbling pot on top of the coal range, and they took great delight in inhaling the delicious smells that emanated from it. Tim looked around the room that had been one of his special places for all of his short life; at the comfortable cupboards that contained all the good things that Kuia produced; the biscuits that always fitted well into his mouth, and the cakes that seemed to have been made exactly to his requirements. And then there were the pictures on the wall; of themselves with their Papa and Mama; of their Kuia on her wedding day, and others which told a pictorial history of their whanau. He looked at his special room for a time, and he looked at his very special Kuia who was now in the act of pushing the big stew pot to the side of the range where it could simmer in peace for a time, and he said with all of the wisdom of a six year old, “you know Kuia, you and this house are all a part of the same thing”. His Kuia smiled as she laid down her stirring spoon, and sat down in her comfortable seat beside the old range, “you know”, she said, “I have felt the same way myself, I have often been away from this place that I was born in, and my mother before me, but with one exception I have always known when I was coming back, and I was always happy about that, but let me tell you about the time when I went away from my house, and I didn’t know when if ever I was coming back”. Kuia took a sip from her cup of tea which had been sitting waiting for her on the side of the range, “it was when you great uncle Tim was born and I must have been about eight years old so it was a long time ago and my mother became very sick and went into the big hospital in town. My father was very upset, and the next thing I knew was that I was on the bus to Auckland to stay with my Aunty Kiri . Uncle and Aunty met me off the bus, and took me to their home and they looked after me very well, but they were both working at the university, and they had an old rather strict nanny to look after me when I came home from school, for you see I had to go to this big school not far away the house. It was probably quite a good school, but it was so big and the classes were so large. I didn’t have any friends, and the days seemed very long, and I so missed our little school in the valley, and all of the friends that I had there. My father rang quite often, and although my Aunty tried to appear cheerful to me I knew that things were not good, that my mother was very sick, and maybe, maybe I wouldn’t see her again. At night when I curled up in my bed, I missed my family, and my home so much, and it seemed to me that a part of me was missing, and I often cried myself to sleep under the blankets where no one could see me.
And so on it went for ever, or so it seemed to me, until one day I saw a real smile on my Aunties face as she talked to my father, and then out came the glorious news, my mother was well, and at home, and I was going home. The next day my Uncle took me to the bus and although I loved my Aunty and Uncle I felt a great joy inside me as the bus left the station. As time went on and I got closer to home, I seemed to get bigger and bigger, and more and more me, and the bus seemed to sing to me as the miles churned away under its wheels, Coming Home! Coming Home!   

Friday, June 22, 2018

Purau .


John Riminton.

                Conceived in volcanic violence
                I was born of fire and water,
                a softer valley between basalt cliffs
                now I am loved in times of tranquil peace.

                Lichens came first, softening my just-cooled rocks.
                Forerunners of the miracle wind-born soil
                accepting the travelled seeds of plants
                to mantle me and make a home for birds.

                I watched the first canoes exploring bays
                taking fresh water from my sparkling streams.
                Fish flax and birds - the means for human life
                to settle, rest and weave away the days.

                Violence again, this time of men.
                Wars, raids on land, slaughter of whales at sea.
                More human changes - roads homes and farms
                seeking my peace and strong protecting arms.

                What lies ahead?
                A flooded shore? Homes on my slopes?
                10,000 years from now my cliffs will still be here.
                Who will be here to share?