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    • ANZAC Day 2019: War as Family History
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • [My father pictured near Oudtshoorn, South Africa, where he was training with the Royal Air Force in 1943] JAY AND MEG JOHNSON LOVE AND LOSS IN BOTH WORLD WARS In recounting my family's 'Peoples' War', I have to start with World War One. My family suffered successive bereavements with the loss of my mother's father, David Clarke, in 1917 and the loss of my own father Cyril 'Jay' Johnson in 1943. Both died in the 'accidents' that are so much a part of real wartime. My mother's family originate from Nantwich, Cheshire, and my maternal grandfather, David Kenyon Clarke, was an adventurous youngster who found his niche in the merchant navy. Bright and diligent, David soon rose in rank and eventually became a First Officer/Captain with the Elder Dempster line sailing out of Liverpool to West Africa. On one occasion, around 1910, David took some brass bars with him to Benin, Nigeria and the local craftsmen made two large trays and several small ones from the bars. The trays are unique in depicting a giraffe, animals which have long been extinct in West Africa. David travelled very widely and may well have also visited New Zealand on one of his voyages. David and Gladys Clarke David Clarke met and married my grandmother, Gladys Salter, in Nantwich. However, they first set up house in Liverpool, as David’s career with Elder Dempster prospered. We have two beautiful water colour landscapes by the well-known artist Scarborough that date from this period. These illustrate merchant shipping in the Port of London around 1900. Mabel ('Meg') Clarke My mother, Mabel Kenyon Clarke, was born in 1915. She hated the name Mabel and always used the nickname ‘Meg’. Her brother was born in 1918. However, the family was struck by tragedy six weeks prior to Armistice Day, on 3 October 1918, when David’s ship the SS Burutu collided with another British merchant ship, the City of Calcutta, in dense fog in the Irish Sea. The Burutu was returning from Sierra Leone, following repairs after an attack by a U-boat. David died in the disaster. Meg always remembered her last Christmas with her father – he bought her a doll in Henderson’s department store, but a horse stumbled in the street outside and had to be shot, an omen of her impending loss. The ‘stumbling horse’ became her shorthand for the possible loss of loved ones, which she constantly feared. A bit of a handful My mother therefore grew up without a father. Gladys tended to idolize and spoil Ron and young Meg became, by all accounts, a bit of a handful. She used to recount swimming in waterholes along the River Weaver, near Riverside, and being ‘as brown as a berry’ from the summer sun. Meg was sent to the Convent School located on Nantwich Road, Crewe, in the hope that the nuns could impart some discipline. This was a pretty drastic solution, as the family had always been staunchly Church of England. It did not work and the next step was to send her as a sort of au pair to a posh finishing school in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1933. We once had a series of incredible photographs of Meg alongside louche young Nazi aristocratic madchens, lounging arm in arm in sapphic poses. Apparently Goering’s nephew, Dieter, wooed Meg and used to yodel to her as he left assignations. She was also present at a Nazi parade and listened to Hitler speak. Meg courts Jay Johnson When Meg returned to Nantwich, she found herself living very near to my father, Jay Johnson, who had digs next door. Jay had recently commenced his first teaching job with the Nantwich and Acton Grammar School, having been born and brought up in London. Jay and Meg were soon courting and then married. There is a photo of Jay and Meg at their wedding. Meg is wearing a velvet dress and looks very beautiful with big blue eyes, dark hair and full lips. They married in 1934 when Meg was 19 and Jay was 24 years old. Meg always complained that she was far too young. She had a lot of life in her and would have thrived if she'd had a career of her own. Jay was a very handsome young man with bright blue eyes, a strong jaw and good tanning skin. He was, however, very serious about developing his career as a History teacher and academic historian, and apparently used to leave Meg alone or with her friends while he pursued his research for a PhD. His topic was the evolution of the public service in Stuart England, particularly relating to the development of regular ‘posts’ and stagecoaches to and from Westminster and the Lord Lieutenants of the counties. Married life and the onset of war Soon after they were married, Jay and Meg moved to Alfreton, Derbyshire where Jay took up a more senior teaching post. A few years later, Jay moved on to Buckhurst Abbey School, Loughton, Essex where he became senior History teacher. When World War Two was in full swing, Essex was in the firing line from German bombing. Jay also saw his Sixth Form leave school and then become decimated on active service in the armed forces. He therefore decided to join the Royal Air Force. This must have been very hard for Meg, as she was left alone with a small daughter, Sue, coping with the Blitz, and she had a dread of a repeat of Gladys’ experience in World War One with the loss of David. Bomber Navigator / Bomb Aimer Jay trained as a Bomber Navigator, with the major part of his training taking place near Oudtshoorn, South Africa. We have pictures of him looking exceptionally handsome as a RAF Sergeant, highly tanned and fit. Letter from my father in South Africa to his brother Bob (and his wife Doris), written on 29 November 1942 (Sue's birthday): 1615489 L.A.C. Johnson C.48 Air SchoolWoodbrookEast LondonCape Province Dear Doris and Bob Here is the longer letter I promised in my airgraph. Can tell you a little more about the journey and my first impressions of this place. I am writing this on the sea shore about half a mile from the camp. It is a most marvelous day, hot sun and hardly a cloud. My bare feet are almost burned by the sand. Great waves come pouring in over the rocks that shelve out from the sand at the water's edge, and behind rise the boulder strewn slopes of the open grassland that makes up the countryside hereabouts. Rather poetic. Perhaps it's the sun, or more likely an attempt to say too much in too few words, but certainly this is a lovely spot to be on a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do but yarn away in a letter. I can only with effort recall what the weather must be like with you today, Sue's birthday. Perhaps you're as warm as I am, with a nice fire. I hope you are all three very well. I hope to get an airgraph from you one of these days telling me all about things. Trust you will be able to say that Jan[ice] is completely better. Hope too Bob is not being worried by national service orders. I told you in my airgraph a little about the journey here. Of course, I must not mention place names or any vital details. The boat trip did not seem overlong in spite of the confined space and lack of anything really important to do, but for part of the trip I acted as one of the anti aircraft gunners, doing two four hour turns of watch duty in every twenty-four, one of these, of course, during the night. I was lucky in being on duty at some interesting times, for instance when we left home shores and when we first sighted land after this. Needless to say, there was an endless variety of seascapes, and some lovely sunny days produced beautiful clear skies and blue seas. On the whole, however, the weather was not as bright or as hot as one might have expected. Only for a short part of the trip did we wear topees and have the deck awning up. To begin with we had some rather rough seas and a lot of the chaps felt it. Luckily I had only a ten-minute spell of queerness - I think my periods of watching high up in the gun pit, with extra large doses of fresh air, helped me. There must have been more movement up there than down below but somehow you didn't notice it so much. We slept in hammocks and soon got used to these. Food not bad on the whole, and I personally would not grumble, considering the type of trip we were on. Of course, we had plenty of card playing and all sorts of other amusements. The concerts and sing-songs with lads of all the services, including the marines taking part, were, I suppose, such as only troopships can produce. Crossing the Line [Equator] produced a hectic afternoon in which rank and unwillingness to cooperate were not respected and Neptune and his assistants daubed faces with mustard water - and tar owing to sabotage at one point - and then had their owners subjected to two powerful hoses of seawater - if in clothes, so much the better. It was all good fun and the participants were afterwards presented with a certificate to give us for all future occasions free right of entry into Neptune's domains without molestation from whales, sharks, etc. etc. When we landed, we were a few days in a big transit camp under canvas. Unfortunately, as we were likely to begin our rail journey at any moment, we were not allowed out of camp to see our port of landing, but we were glad to be ashore and partake of the fresh food, particularly fruit, which can of course be had in abundance here. I think almost all the lads made themselves ill with too many oranges, bananas, pineapples, peaches and melons. I wish the kids could have shared them with us - I feel quite guilty every time I eat an orange now - and that's at least once a day. Our rail journey was a longish one and we spent two nights on the train. We were comfortably accommodated in second class sleeping cars and had our meals in the dining car. Naturally, we had much to look at during the journey. We crossed vast areas of veldt country, wide sparse grasslands, always broken up somewhere within view by the flat table-topped hills and mountains [kopjes] that are so typical of South Africa. We ran through a variety of towns, from small Afrikaner farming communities to big industrial cities. The railway itself was a marvel of engineering almost throughout and because of the inclines speed was often not much beyond 30 miles per hour - good for sightseeing. On the second evening we had a wonderful experience crossing one of the Bergs. On arrival here we had a few days to settle down before beginning work. We are housed in wooden huts here, twenty four chaps together in one, including in our case five S.A.A.Fs, with whom we get some fun, chipping them about South Africa. We still have much parading, cleaning etc. to do - and sufficient petty discipline (though we smoke on route marches), but we are getting down to ground subjects that will take us further on our way, including astro and radio navigation, meteorology and the theory of bombing. We shall, we hope, move on from here some time in the New Year to begin flying training. This will be somewhere else in the Union, so I shall not have the pleasure of looking up the folk whose addresses Doll [Doris] gave me. I have some good friends here though in Mr and Mrs Dickinson (he is a headmaster), who used to live in Nantwich and are friends of Uncle Bern. I met them in 1935 when they were over on holiday and gave away the prizes at the Grammar School Sports. They look after me very well when I visit them, take me out in the car and Mrs D. has turned up trumps this week by presenting me with an electric iron so that the hut can do its washing. There is plenty to do in East London - pictures, concerts, dances, surf bathing, drinking and feeding, and the chaps have a good time. Orient Beach here has a slight touch of 'Miami' - coloured sunshades etc. Beer is cheap at one shilling and three pence for a South African quart, tobacco nine pence for four ounces and the local canteens serve marvelous grills for a shilling - (2 fried eggs, 2 rashers, sausage, beans or chips, bread, butter and tea - and no coupons!). Had a E.F.M. telegram from Meg day before yesterday. Good to know all is OK with her and Sue. Hoping for airgraphs soon and maybe one from you if mine has reached you or Meg has given you the address. War news seems very hopeful, so let's live in hope of better things very soon. You can guess where I want to be. Keep well and happy. Ever Cyril P.S. Have sent much the same news to Dad and Eric - trust you are seeing something of them. Return to England When Jay returned to England to finalise his training, prior to going into active service, he was first posted to a base near Harrogate. He then moved to a base near Millom in Cumberland. Having seen little of Meg since his return to England, they arranged to meet in Cumberland for a brief reunion and holiday in the autumn of 1943. We have some records of the complicated planning that went into this rendezvous in war-torn Britain, as given in the transcript of a letter from Jay to his brother Bob that is included below. However, the rendezvous did happen and, when the landlady of the cottage where Meg was staying went out, they became briefly a young and loving couple again. Their interlude at Silecroft resulted in my conception! Some three weeks later the worst happened - Jay was killed when the Avro Anson aircraft that he was training in disintegrated over Whitehaven. The other members of the crew were Canadians. A shattered Meg found herself back in Loughton alone with a little daughter in the thick of massive air attacks on London. At one point, a German landmine landed in the street – had it exploded, none of the descendants who are reading this would have ever existed.  Jay was buried in the Barony graveyard at Nantwich with the inscriptions Per Ardua ad Astra (the RAF’S motto ‘by effort to the stars’) and ‘War never taketh the evil man, only the good’. His grave is very close to that of the father-in-law that he never met, Captain David Clarke, and other members of the Clarke-Salter family. A short holiday Letter from my father to his brother Bob (and his wife Doris) written three weeks before his death on 14 October 1943. 1615489 Sgt. Johnson, C.Pupil Sergeants’ MessR.A.F. StationMILLOM, Cumberland 24th September 1943 Dear Doris and Bob I have been here for a fortnight now but have found little time for letter writing, for one reason we are very busy and work seven days a week, and moreover Meg has been here for a short holiday. When I got back to Harrogate, I was soon posted here. As you may remember, Meg was planning to spend a few days with me there, of course that became U/S and so we decided to try here. I had the utmost difficulty in finding accommodation, spending nearly all my spare time in my first week going here and there, however eventually I was lucky and found some excellent digs in a small house in the country near the village of Silecroft about two miles from the camp. As it was Meg was very comfortable and had a really nice holiday. She had good company in the day, a very comfy room and was provided with a bicycle. She had several trips into the hills on this and also found it pleasant walking down to the shore and along the beach. I managed to get a bicycle too and so could get into Silecroft easily. By dint of wangling I got two sleeping out passes and on an average was able to spend one and a half hours a day with her. Millom itself is a somewhat grim mining and iron working town and she would not have enjoyed it there, but the country at Silecroft is very pleasant and we had some good walks in the evening, visiting the truly rural ‘locals’ [inns] in the neighbouring villages. We are on the edge of the Lake District here, under a mountain called Black Coombe. The weather hasn’t been too good but hasn’t kept us in. Meg called at the Verona on the way here and left Sue there. She called for her yesterday and today they will be on their way back to 67 (the family home, 67 Roundmead Avenue, Loughton, Essex) ready to receive Brian, the medical student, tomorrow. This is an Advanced Flying Unit and we shall be here for a few weeks, getting used to English flying conditions. Actually I do not find them much different except, of course, there is more cloud and we have to fly lower. I have had some good trips including one to Northern Ireland. The camp itself is not bad – you get used to it. There is little to do outside but then we have little time to ourselves, as there is extra work to be done after hours. However, I am not complaining. I did very well while Meg was here. How are things with you three? I trust you are well and all is O.K. I shan’t get leave for sometime but I shall look forward to seeing you again and meanwhile shall be very interested to hear your news. I trust Jan [theirdaughter, Janice] is well and as lively as ever. All the best Cyril Back to Cheshire Meg decided that it would be sensible to sell the Loughton house and move back to Cheshire – we have a copy of a letter describing this process and I have also included its text here. It is remarkable that she does not mention that she was pregnant, even in the spring of 1944. Eventually, it became obvious to all, although she remained in denial (presumably suffering from post-traumatic stress). My Aunt Peg (wife of Meg’s brother, Ron) was so concerned that she rang Meg at the house she was sharing with Gladys (‘Linwood’, Wells Green, Wistaston, near Nantwich) and imitated the receptionist of the local GP Doctor Blackley, telling Meg that it was time for her to come for a check-up. I was born at that house on 9 June 1944. Apparently, Meg told Dr Blackley that he should not be wasting time on delivering babies when US and Commonwealth troops were dying in the thousands during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, which began on 6 June 1944. She also made it clear to the doctor that she did not want another boy as they only went off and got themselves killed.  ‘Och’ said Dr Blackley, who was Scots, ‘Y’ll need a laddie to look after yae.’ Making plans, but in denial This letter describes Meg’s plans to move back to Cheshire in the Spring of 1944. It is not at all clear that she has come to terms with my existence, even though she is six months pregnant! But what a brave lady! 67 Roundmead AvenueLoughtonEssex 3rd March 1944 Dear Bob, Doris and Janice You will be surprised to read that I am at The Verona again, unless you receive this letter after seeing Phyl [the wife of Jay’s younger brother Eric who was serving in the Army in Italy] for I wrote to her yesterday. The fact is we came away to avoid the raids last Thursday, leaving Euston at 5.30 pm – we felt we could not stand it any longer. Last Tuesday was a wretched night round us – we had a great 1,000lb bomb at the back of us again, just by the hedge by the allotments, and a dear old couple I knew so well lost their lives, they were burnt to death only 6 houses away – a phosphorous bomb went straight through their house. Loughton (our end) was showered with incendiaries and altogether it was pretty awful. Poor Mum was in a bad state, for she rushed up the road thinking of my friend who is expecting her baby in April (the house hit was next door to her) and the flames coming out and Mum knowing the couple were inside just made her feel ill – she really was in a bad way – and then 4 of us sleeping in the shelter was just too much – I could hardly move! Sue was very nervous, she always has been of the bombs and the poor little soul seems to always have to know just what they do. However, to cut a long story short, we took flight and came home – lucky for me the house is not damaged – the huge bomb was one of those piercing bombs and fell on soft earth. The crater is frightening – had it gone on the cement road outside, I’m afraid we should not have been here to tell the tale. I think we had a good escape. Well Bob things have moved fast since then – I have put my house in the auctioneers hands and it is to be sold by auction on 29th March (I hope we can get the other things in hand before then) and I rang Maples and many other firms about moving my stuff – and Maples were the only ones who would do it, and they are moving me out this next Monday. Mum and I are travelling down early Monday morning, probably leaving Crewe about 4 o’clock in the morning – and we hope to get away the same night. We have been house-hunting since arriving here, and have found one very nice one – we may know something about it tomorrow, but I shall probably have my furniture sent here unless we can settle this house quickly until something suitable comes along. I guess something like the bombs just had to make me get a move on and my word I have moved fast. Otherwise I should have gone on quite happily down there and no doubt found in the end that I couldn’t move until the end of the War. The most important part of this letter Bob is yet to come and that is that Ron went to Chester yesterday (he didn’t go last week because of us arriving home) and everything is in order except that we have to get Reader Bros. to sign a statement to the effect that the GBP 1,050 on my house is a mortgage. Ron then has to go before a committee and apparently they deduct death duty – then it has to be reclaimed. I was wondering Bob if you could write to Mr. Reader or the solicitor – whoever you think best – and ask for the statement. I have neither address here and Monday I shall be very busy and Tuesday probably tired out. Also you can put it in a more business-like way than I can. I don’t know if Mr. Reader knows of my loss yet – maybe he might now through the house being put in solicitors’ hands for sale – but it may not have reached him – for it was only today I heard from Maples a definite confirmation about the removal and so I wired the auctioneers. All further correspondence to me had best come to The Verona – I have done such a lot of business through letter, believe me I shall be grateful to have things in order and to see my home safe. I do hope you are all alright, we think about you – and every morning it is my first thought about the night – what times we are going through – I just feel I can’t bear another bomb come down or else I’d scream – we had a real do, there’s no mistake – the people on Hill Top had to get out for an unexploded bomb and some friends of mine had one in their back garden – another 1,000 lb dropped outside the church. Do write and let me know how you are. Sue is a different child now we are away; she loves going round and goes to bed so differently. Ron’s boys are OK. The youngest one is a very handsome fellow –I almost claim him, because I feel he was sent to try and make me happy. He has my colourings and so I think he will have to grow up with my children! But we shall have to see what Peg says about that that – for she adores her babies. Do take care of yourselves. Mum sends her love and says, she is like me, she is always thinking of you. Lots of love  Meg A SHARED STORY ONE OF OUR PLANES IS MISSING According to recent research by James Cutler, who is conducting research to underpin NZ Director Peter Jackson’s forthcoming Dambusters Film, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, who led the famous 617 Squadron Dambusters Raid, was (like my father) a victim of a wartime accident. Gibson died on 19 September 1944 flying a de Havilland Mosquito while acting as Pathfinder Master Bomber for a raid on Mönchengladbach. He was 26 years old and had completed nearly 200 missions. Although there is some evidence that shortage of fuel may have been the cause of the aircraft crashing near Steenbergen in the Netherlands, Sgt Bernard McCormack, who was in the formation of 227 Lancaster bombers, left a tape recording in the care of his wife in which admits that he may have mistaken Gibson's Mosquito for a similarly profiled Junker 88 and fired 600 rounds, shooting it down. On active service sorties Bomber Command crews suffered a 44.4% death rate overall [55,573 killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew], with a further 8,403 being wounded in action and 9,838 becoming prisoners of war. However, the total number of dead recorded by the RAF during WWII was 69,606. This suggests that for every 4 airmen who died as a result of enemy action, one additional airman had been lost from other causes [primarily accidents]. It is entirely reasonable then (taking account of undeclared and disputed ‘friendly fire’ incidents) that 20 percent of overall losses were attributable to ‘accidents’. Apparently a Bomber Command crew member had a worse chance of survival than an infantry officer in World War I. Of the RAF Bomber Command personnel killed during the war, 72% were British, 18% were Canadian, 7% were Australian and 3% were New Zealanders. [The Guard of Honour at my father’s funeral in Nantwich, Cheshire in October 1943 included representatives of all three of the major Commonwealth airforces]. Taking an example of 100 airmen: • 55 were killed on operations from enemy action or accidents or died as a result of wounds • three were injured (in varying levels of severity) on operations or active service • 12 were taken prisoner of war (some injured) • two shot were down and evaded capture • 27 survived a complete tour of operations from home bases. In Cumbria, where my father died, the churchyards at Haverigg, Millom and Whicham all have the graves of RAF crews [many from the Commonwealth – and in the case of one of the crew of my father’s Avro Anson, a volunteer from Buffalo, NY]. Many of the training flights were longer than three hours, flown by pilots exhausted from a tour of operations flights, in planes that were not thought good enough for combat use and often flying in less than ideal weather conditions or at night. The losses were appalling. In fact there were so many accidents, near misses and actual crashes in fields, on beaches and among the uplands of the Lake District that the experience gained at RAF Millom led to the development of modern techniques for mountain and fell rescue work. [Jay third from left - photo taken in South Africa near Port Elzabeth]

    • Willis Street Disruption
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Disruption on Willis street. Willis street is currently closed. Diversions currently in place. Northbound Diversions: Taranaki Street, Jervois Quay to Brandon streetSouthbound Diversions: Hunter Street , Victoria Street to Manners street.  This affects these services: 1 2 3 7 13 14 17 17e 18 18e 19 19e 20 21 22 23 23e 24 25 26 27 28 29 29e 30x 31x 32x 33 34 35 36 37 52 56 57 58

    • Replace your old station to station 10-Trip train ticket with the zone-based tickets and get around different parts of Greater Wellington
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Got old station to station 10-Trip train tickets?In July we introduced the all new 10-Trip tickets which are zone-based, allowing you to travel anywhere in Wellington on any of our train services between the zones on your ticket!This means from 1 January 2019 old station to station 10-Trip tickets will no longer be valid. The good news is you can swap your old tickets for the new zone-based tickets (even if there are clips taken out) or get a refund.Pick up a Metlink Rail 10-Trip Ticket Exchange Form at the Customer Service Kiosk at Wellington Station or at your local ticket office. You can also download the form:Download the exchange form - take it to your local ticket office or postPDF - 214 KBFollow the instructions on the form and post it back with the ticket enclosed. Processing takes 14 business days and we can send you your new tickets, while refunds need to be collected from Wellington Station. We appreciate your patience.This offer of a refund or exchange of old 10-trip tickets is available until 30 June 2019.The old station to station 10-trip tickets are no longer accepted onboard Metlink trains.Find out more about the zone-based train tickets  This affects these services: HVL JVL KPL MEL WRL

    • Enid and Elyse: A Medieval Courtly Romance Updated
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • Artist Kim Junghun – see: https://www.artstation.com/junghunkim ENID AND ELYSE In olden days there lived a wifeWhose noble husband courted strifeHe loved her little - just at night -This knightly treatment wasn’t right. He found her in the woodland wildAnd took her for a wayward childMaking her his own for pity’s sakeWhile long regretting his mistake Belittling her at every chanceTheir love was lacking in romanceAnd when they came to Arthur’s courtHe served her up in rags for sport. But Queen Guinevere took pityAnd dressed her in her fineryAt which the husband fell for herAnd took his way without deter. At last grown slothful in his lustHe betrayed his knightly trustAnd the lads of the Round TableQuestioned whether he was able To sally forth on jousts or questsOr polish up his chainmail vests -And what is more said they made goodOn wifely needs he left withstood. At which he rode away with umbrageTreating her as wayward baggageAlthough he took her nonethelessTo keep the score on his contests. He ordered her to ride aheadAnd keep her tongue inside her head:While he sought out each noble fightShe found a camp and cooked at night With trolls and bandits on the wayShe saw them first but could not say:Distracting them she made them blinkAnd looking back gave knight-ward wink But when the champion won the dayHe sent her forward down the wayDriving chargers decked with bootyNo words of thanks in line of duty. Then in the forest depths a maiden criedBeset by fire and to some faggots tiedA morsel for a dragon roast or friedThe fiery beasties’ shawarma undenied. Then Enid much beguiled the monstrous wormAnd calmed its embers with her nubile formWhile Geraint freed the nymphet from the stakeShe shared her story with the horned snake. At length she found her knight had upped and leftLeaving her beset, bamboozled and bereftBut then the dragon taken by her griefGave her the gold that stuck between its teeth. So, she took the stolen armour that she heldAnd girded up with lance and sword in beltGiving eager chase to nymph and errant knightTo teach him his behaviour wasn’t right. She came upon her hubby in a glenEnticing Elyse to a bowered denHe had fancied her since way back whenHe cut her bonds but tied them back again. Then much in wrath our mounted maiden rodeResplendent in her anger, brave and boldAnd brought to joust Geraint the OversoldBut he took flight and fled the combat cold. Then Elyse was overcome with gratitudeFor this gentlest of stranger’s hastilude That he should save her from calamityAnd never once assail her chastity. ‘Young Sir, my love is yours as you desireI am a princess and my lands are yoursCome live with me and be my noble squireAnd I will grant you what you may require’. At which the champion laid her helm asideAnd tossed the curls she could no longer hide‘I am no knight young beauteous maidBut just a woman that misfortune made’. But Elyse saw the gentle woe and careAnd loved the girl who stood so sadly there‘It matters not my lover and my lifeYou are my choice and I your loving wife’. And then at last they came to rest at CamelotWhere Queen Guinevere reserved them a spotAt her table (which was like Arts’ non-square),Where all were welcome to partake and share. And they grew old in honour and renownWith songs of courtly love that still resoundFor they had found that holy loving grailThat gentlest of knights and her beloved girl. And last was heard of Enid’s ex-GeraintHe was the fearsome dragon’s catamite -And labour as he might to warm its bloodThe slightest recognition was withstood.

    • Let’s Dance: the David Bowie Book Club List!
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • I read voraciously. Every book I ever bought, I have. I can’t throw it away. It’s physically impossible to leave my hand! Some of them are in warehouses. I’ve got a library that I keep the ones I really really like.” — David Bowie When David Bowie arrived on the set of  his 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth, he arrived with a trailer full of books. Nicholas Roeg joked with him about it, saying, “The problem with you David is you don’t read enough.” Throughout his life Bowie was an avid reader, and many of his songs and albums have literary references. Diamond Dogs originally started life as a musical version of George Orwell’s 1984, while he famously used William Burroughs’ cut out techniques on several of his most famous songs. In 2013, Bowie posted his 100 favourite books on his public Facebook page. You can view the full list here, or check out some examples below. Enjoy! David Bowie, by Dylan Jones (eBook) (print) “Drawn from a series of conversations between David Bowie and Dylan Jones across three decades, together with over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers, and collaborators–some of whom have never before spoken about their relationship with Bowie–this oral history is an intimate portrait of a remarkable rise to stardom and one of the most fascinating lives of our time.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov (ebook) “Afterwards, when it was frankly too late, descriptions were issued of the man: expensive grey suit, grey beret, one green eye and the other black. Only the Master, a man devoted to truth, and Margarita, the woman he loves, can resist the devil’s onslaught. Brilliant and blackly comic, The Master and Margarita was repressed by Stalin’s authorities and only published after the author’s death.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (eAudiobook) “A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Anthony Burgess’s novel which became a controversial film in the 1970s. In a nightmare world of the near future, packs of teenagers run wild, beyond the control of their families or the police. Alex is a gang-leader, addicted to drug-fuelled assault, torture and rape.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   1984, by George Orwell (ebook) (print) “It is 1984. The world is in a state of perpetual war and Big Brother sees and controls all. Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party and propaganda-writer at the Ministry of Truth, is keeping a journal he should not be keeping and falling in love with Julia, a woman he should not be seeing. Outwardly compliant, Winston dreams of rebellion against the oppressive Big Brother, risking everything to recover his lost sense of individuality and control of his own future.” (Adapted from Overdrive description) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark (ebook) “Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher unlike any other; a romantic, with progressive, sometimes shocking ideas and aspirations for the girls in her charge. At the Marcia Blaine Academy she takes a select group of girls under her wing. But as the girls enter their teenage years and they become increasingly drawn in by Miss Brodie’s personal life, her ambitions for them take a startling and dark turn with devastating consequences.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   On the Road, by Jack Kerouac (Audiobook) “On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady. As ‘Sal Paradise’ and ‘Dean Moriarty,’ the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (ebook) “Everybody who is anybody is seen at Jay Gatsby’s glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby–young, handsome, fabulously rich–always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled.” (Adapted from Overdrive description) Wonder Boys, by Michael Chabon (ebook) “Grady Tripp is an over-sexed, pot-bellied, pot-smoking, ageing wunderkind of a novelist now teaching creative writing at a Pittsburgh college while working on his 2,000-page masterpiece, ‘Wonder Boys’. When his rumbustious editor and friend, Terry Crabtree, arrives in town, a chaotic weekend follows–involving a tuba, a dead dog, Marilyn Monroe’s jacket and a squashed boa constrictor. A novel of elegant imagination, bold humour and undeniable warmth.” (Adapted from Overdrive description) Nights At the Circus, by Angela Carter (eBook) “Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe’s capitals, part swan…or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of Colonel Kearney’s circus. She is also part woman, part swan…” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

    • Free membership to Hutt City Libraries
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • Thanks to the generosity of Hutt City Libraries, Wellington City Libraries customers can sign up for free to access Hutt City Libraries’ collection. Just bring your Wellington City Libraries card to any Hutt City Library branch. Details: I have already paid for non-resident access to Hutt City Libraries. Can I get a refund? Yes. Contact Hutt City Libraries for a refund. How long will my membership be valid for? Wellington City Libraries’ members will be signed up for a period of 3 months initially. Can I access Hutt City Libraries’ eResources? (eBooks, eAudiobooks and subscription databases) Just the physical collection. However, our Wellington City Libraries’ eLibrary is available to you 24/7. Can I renew and reserve Hutt City Libraries’ books? Yes! Will I be charged overdues if Hutt City Libraries’ items become overdue? Yes — overdue charges will accrue to your Hutt City Libraries membership (not your Wellington membership — the two will be separate) if items are returned late.

    • England's Saintess and the 23rd of April 2019
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • THE UNA-FICATION OF ENGLAND?                                                    [Repeated from last year] Any gal who can whip off her stays, throw them around the neck of a badly injured dragon and lead it around like a lamb deserves our respect. It is remiss then that Una, the true heroine of the ‘St George and the Dragon Story’ gets such a bad rap. As the story goes: The town had a small lake with a plague-bearing dragon living in it and poisoning the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene fed it two sheep every day. When they ran out of sheep they started feeding it their children, chosen by lottery. One time the lot fell on the king's daughter. The king, in his grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon. Saint George by chance rode past the lake. The princess tried to send him away, but he vowed to remain. The dragon emerged from the lake while they were conversing. Saint George made the Sign of the Cross and charged it on horseback, seriously wounding it with his lance. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon's neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash. The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the populace. Saint George offered to kill the dragon if they consented to become Christians and be baptised. Fifteen thousand men including the king of Silene converted to Christianity. George then killed the dragon, and the body was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. The king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George on the site where the dragon died and a spring flowed from its altar with water that cured all disease. Well, it doesn’t seem very noble of George to threaten to set the dragon back on the city’s inhabitants unless they converted, so I feel justified in taking a dislike to him.. Not that this has stopped people from trying to enhance his appeal – and even that of the dragon. Indeed, there have been elaborate recent ‘politically correct’ attempts to cast ‘George’ as universal [via, for example, the invention of a new multi-cultural / LGPTQIA liturgy that recasts (s)he as the ideal One-legged, Black, Lesbian Labour Party candidate]. http://www.manchestercathedral.org/upload/news/doc//news-radA4C19.pdf?24/01/2017%2008:17:59 This has been matched by a slew of attempts to make the dragon cuddly [starting with Kenneth Grahame’s The Reluctant Dragon which portrays it as a wimp - and leading on more recently to Pete’s fey Pet Dragon ‘Elliott’]. I used to support reviving English nationalism and parading the Red Crusader Cross but it is surely crass to believe that Muslims will perceive this idolatry as anything other than an affront – given that the Conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 saw massacres of the local inhabitants by the troops of Godfrey of Bouillon [he of the concentrated soup/stock cube] which far exceeded even the appalling standards of the time. Many Muslims sought shelter in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, and the Temple Mount area generally. According to the Gesta Francorum, speaking only of the Temple Mount area, "...[our men] were killing and slaying even to the Temple of Solomon, where the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles..." According to Raymond of Aguilers, also writing solely of the Temple Mount area, " in the Temple and porch of Solomon men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins." Writing about the Temple Mount area alone Fulcher of Chartres, who was not an eyewitness to the Jerusalem siege because he had stayed with Baldwin in Edessa at the time, says: "In this temple 10,000 were killed. Indeed, if you had been there you would have seen our feet coloured to our ankles with the blood of the slain. But what more shall I relate? None of them were left alive; neither women nor children were spared." There is a way out of this for the English. What better than to substitute Una for Geordie? Or perhaps make a family of George, Una and Elliott? Posted 23rd April 2017 by Keith Shorrocks Johnson

    • Getting Ready for ANZAC Day 2019
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • THE WAR MEDAL The War Medal 1939–1945 was a British decoration awarded to all full-time service personnel of the Armed Forces wherever their service during the war was rendered. Operational and non-operational service counted provided personnel had completed 28 days service between 3rd September 1939 and the 2nd September 1945. In the Merchant Navy there was the requirement that 28 days should be served at sea. Personnel who were eligible for a campaign star yet who had their service cut short by death, wounds or capture by the enemy, still qualified for this medal. Eligible personnel who had been mentioned in dispatches during the War were entitled to wear a bronze oak leaf emblem on the ribbon. It is sometimes described as the "Victory Medal" for World War II, although that is not its correct name. 1939-1945 STAR This star was awarded for service in the Second World War between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. RAF personnel had to participate in operations against the enemy providing that 2 months service had been completed in an operational unit. Non-aircrew personnel had to complete 6 months service in an area of operational army command. Members of fighter aircraft crews who took part in the Battle of Britain (10 July to 31 October 1940) were awarded the "Battle of Britain" bar to this medal. The criteria is 180 days’ service, although some special criteria apply when, at certain specified times, just 1 days’ service is required. These were actions for which a more specific campaign medal was not issued. Examples are: France or Belgium: 10 May to 19 June 1940, St.Nazaire 22-28 March 1942, Dieppe: 19 August 1942, Iraq: 10 April to 25 May 1941 and Burma (Enemy Invasion): 22 February 1942 to 15 May 1942. Also, recipients were awarded this star if their service period was terminated by their death or disability due to service. Also, the award of a gallantry medal or Mention in Despatches also produced the award of this medal, regardless of their service duration. NOTE I recently weakened and ordered copies of my father's War Medals. I don't regard them as in any manner 'glorious' - simply as remnants of a terrible time past and tangible reminders of the family's dreadful loss. High Five: In Memoriam [ANZAC Day 2014] FINAL TRAINING FLIGHT What happened once has yet to end,Since the cards were put down,And the evening cocoa drained,Around the stove at the Sergeants Mess. Turn in lads. Tomorrow is another day.Another training run across to IrelandAnd back across the steel-grey seaTo Cumberland, coasting home to Millom. Touch Douglas on Man, on to Slieve DonardAcross the steel-grey sea and its mistsUp to sight Belfast and back to St BeesAhead Scafell and down to Black Combe. Vince, you are the pilot it seems from orders -It's lucky you played baseball for BuffaloThis is a home run with four basesSo let fly a homer and slide home the Anson. Rene, you’ll be navigator – we’ll try the new compass.You are only twenty but you’re smartI had to laugh after your mother Nolia wrote:'Unfrozen by the Mounties in Chapleau'. Joe they have you as the back up pilot.Maybe we could wing some extra juiceTo buzz Michael and the two MarysOver Clutha’s saintly Celtic Soccer Country. Tom you’ll be there as the radio crackles.Dumb bastards, they have nothing to sayAnd when 'eh up' you turn on the tyke-talkLet’s hope they too come from the Dales. As for me, I’m Sunny Jay, Bob's your Uncle -A thirty-three year old who helpedWith the cadets and watched his sixth form Join the RAF and had to follow. The Anson is second nature now -We flew them from OudtshoornUp the railway to Bulawayo:“I like flying and flying likes me” A commission delayed - expect no lessAs the Avro Lancasters hatch and queue At Broughton, off the factory lines,Just down from the graveyard at Blacon. Fire Dragons feeding on men and boys,Ready for the Terror AnschlagTo bathe Siegfried in bloodIn the straff and flak over Berlin. One more and another flight tomorrowAcross the broken steel-grey seaTo test a new compass with some runs -And temper sons staked for the dragons. I’m a teacher, the thinker, the pipe-smoker –The Londoner who has to takeThe Blitz 'nach hause' but keep the boys safe -A soft spot under the dragon’s wing. As I turn in tonight, I watch the starsAnd think of my wife who was hereThree short weeks ago in Silecroft -Black Combe walks, beer at the Miner’s Arms. We have no son – only a daughter at home,Who shelters snuggled with Meg and her cigs,As the streets of Loughton shake and flickerFrom the raids of the beasts’ distant kin. Dear God, keep them safe this nightAnd at the rising of the sunEngrave our hopes in what's foreshadowedAs we trace across the steel-grey sea. FOR THE AVRO ANSON CREW KILLED 14 OCTOBER 1943 AT THE BROWS, WHITEHAVEN Sergeant Vincent James Dunnigan, Pilot, of the Royal Canadian Airforce, aged 26, who was the son of Daniel and Agnes Dunnigan, and the husband of Elizabeth Mary Dunnigan, of Buffalo, New York, U.S.A. Sergeant, Rene Harold Murphy, Navigator, of the Royal Canadian Airforce, aged 20, who was the son of John Murphy, and of Nolia Murphy, of Chapleau, Ontario, Canada. Flying Officer (Pilot) Henry Joseph O’Gara, of the Royal Airforce, aged 29, who was the son of Michael and Mary O'Gara of Glasgow and the husband of Mary A. O'Gara of Glasgow Sergeant Thomas Inman, (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner), of the Royal Airforce, aged 20, who was the son of John Thomas Inman and Violet Inman of Silsden, Yorkshire. Sergeant Cyril Johnson, (Bomb Aimer/Navigator), aged 33, of the Royal Airforce, who was the son of Harry and Constance Maud Mary Johnson of Lewisham, London and the husband of Mabel ‘Meg’ Johnson [nee Clarke] of Nantwich, Cheshire. Father of Joseph Keith Johnson [born 9 June 1944] and Susan Davina Johnson [born 1936]. NOTE The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Blacon, Chester contains some 460 or so graves - almost all of which are those of airmen. Of the dead, around 19 percent are Polish, 45 percent are Canadian, 14 percent are Australian, and 7 percent are New Zealanders., There is at least one South African. The remaining 15 percent are British [including other Commonwealth]. Sergeants Dunnigan and Murphy are buried at Blacon [Vince Dunnigan was of course American but the stats don't show that]. The pall bearers at my father's burial, near other members of my mother's family in the Barony All Saints Graveyard at Nantwich [some 25 miles from Blacon], included 2 Canadians, 2 Australians and 2 New Zealanders.

    • ComicFest 2019 – 5 minutes with Sarah Laing
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • ComicFest is back for 2019! On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 of May at the National Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on May the 4th and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! For full programme click here and follow our updates on our Facebook event. We are pleased to have Sarah Laing for our next “5 minutes with…” feature. Sarah is a Wellington-based writer and illustrator who has had novels, short stories and the graphic memoir Mansfield and Me published. A collection of comics from the past ten years is forthcoming from VUP – Let Me Be Frank will be published late 2019. She also the co-editor of Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa/NZ Women’s Comics and has illustrated a number of children’s books. Q: What first got you interested in comics? A: My dad was a big comics fan – he’d grown up on the war comics you could buy at the dairy – so we always had comics lying around. Tintin, Asterix, Garfield, Charlie Brown. My cousins had a big stash of Disney comics and I particularly liked tales of Uncle Scrooge and his mountains of money. I also used to read Bogor in the Listener, and wrote some fanmail to him, with my own fanart of hedgehogs and snails. He offered me a job when I grew up – I wonder if that offer is still on the table? Q: What is your average day like? A: Up until recently I’ve been finishing off my Let Me Be Frank manuscript – a collection of my comics over the past ten years, to be published by VUP in late 2019. I’ve got to be an almost fulltime cartoonist thanks to a CNZ grant. Almost fulltime, I say, as I have three kids and various part-time gigs, including mentoring creative writing students, and illustrating for a number of publications. Right now, since I have submitted my manuscipt, I am lookng for a proper job to pay my bills – feel free to hit me up! Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on? A: My most recent project I talked about in the previous question, but I worked on a great project last year, in collaboration with Dr Giacomo Lichtner, the Italian Embassy and the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand – it was an adaptation of Denebedetti’s account of the SS raid of the ghetto in Rome. You can read that comic here. Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work? A: I waste an awful lot of time and feel incredibly guilty about it, and then sometimes I’m freakishly productive. I have to check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter each morning before I start work, and I also have to make myself coffee and a piece of toast and peanut butter. When I’m in my productive phase, I allow myself to draw badly and make mistakes, focussing instead on the shape of the story and actually completing it. The drawings may look terrible at the time, but when I go back to them, they have a looseness and a spontaneity that I like, and I often wonder if they are better than my final illustrations. Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration? A: I have so many influences and inspirations! I am a huge fiction reader, so always have a novel on the go. I love all the women I follow on instagram and support on patreon, like Gabrielle Bell and Sarah Glidden, Mimi Pond Lisa Hanawalt, Summer Pierre, Glynnis Fawkes and of course the indominatible Jillian Tamaki. I am also a big music fan, and my latest discoveries include Nilüfer Yanya and Charlotte Adigéry. Nature, films, TV (Russian Doll! So good!), art, foreign cities, family, friends, random encounters… all of this feeds into the psychic soup I take ladles from to make my work. Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators? A: Again, there are so many people I like and I always scared of making these lists for fear of missing someone off! I really love Sophie Watson’s comics, and I’m excited about her larger project she’s working on. Ross Murray’s latest book, Rufus Marigold, is great – I’m looking forward to hearing him talk about it at ComicsFest. Giselle Clarkson makes hilarious, beautifully drawn comics, and I really admire Zoë Colling’s autobio works. Indira Neville is hilarious and arresting, and Kirsten Slade is unmissable. Sam Orchard makes great comics about his life as a transman, which always hit the spot. The greats are still great – Dylan Horrocks, Ant Sang, Toby Morris – and I really love the irreverant lo-fi nature of Brent Willis’s comics. Austen Milne is an up-and-coming cartoonist who I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of, and I wish I could see more of Meng Zhu’s comics, who was in Three Words…. Arrgh, gotta stop now! Q: What is your dream comic project? A: I have a few graphic novels bubbling away in my head… my dream involves being published by Drawn and Quarterly and being invited to all those American and Scandanavian comics festivals! Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster! A: This time I’m here as a chair rather than a guest so I am excited to tease as much out of my panel, including Roger Langridge and Katie O’Neill, as possible! Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as? A: Hmm, tough call. Tove Jansen? Rita Angus? Or maybe Vivienne Westwood. Or am I meant to be choosing a fictional character? In that case I’ll go as Little My or Rachael in Bladerunner. You can find Sarah online in the following places: Instagram: @sarahelaing Twitter: @sarahelaing Blog/Website: sarahelaing.com

    • 28th April 10.30AM, Gathering & Lunch at St Matt’s
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Capital Mosaic, Wellington
      • Come along at 10AM for morning tea before the Gathering. We continue our Re-Frame series this week, Jeremy Mak will share a reflection on scepticism, and how Jesus surprises the disciples in the Easter story and us today. Everyone is warmly invited to stay for lunch afterwards, we’d love you to join with us – see you […]

    • ANZAC Day 2019: War as Family History
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • [My father pictured near Oudtshoorn, South Africa, where he was training with the Royal Air Force in 1943] JAY AND MEG JOHNSON LOVE AND LOSS IN BOTH WORLD WARS In recounting my family's 'Peoples' War', I have to start with World War One. My family suffered successive bereavements with the loss of my mother's father, David Clarke, in 1917 and the loss of my own father Cyril 'Jay' Johnson in 1943. Both died in the 'accidents' that are so much a part of real wartime. My mother's family originate from Nantwich, Cheshire, and my maternal grandfather, David Kenyon Clarke, was an adventurous youngster who found his niche in the merchant navy. Bright and diligent, David soon rose in rank and eventually became a First Officer/Captain with the Elder Dempster line sailing out of Liverpool to West Africa. On one occasion, around 1910, David took some brass bars with him to Benin, Nigeria and the local craftsmen made two large trays and several small ones from the bars. The trays are unique in depicting a giraffe, animals which have long been extinct in West Africa. David travelled very widely and may well have also visited New Zealand on one of his voyages. David and Gladys Clarke David Clarke met and married my grandmother, Gladys Salter, in Nantwich. However, they first set up house in Liverpool, as David’s career with Elder Dempster prospered. We have two beautiful water colour landscapes by the well-known artist Scarborough that date from this period. These illustrate merchant shipping in the Port of London around 1900. Mabel ('Meg') Clarke My mother, Mabel Kenyon Clarke, was born in 1915. She hated the name Mabel and always used the nickname ‘Meg’. Her brother was born in 1918. However, the family was struck by tragedy six weeks prior to Armistice Day, on 3 October 1918, when David’s ship the SS Burutu collided with another British merchant ship, the City of Calcutta, in dense fog in the Irish Sea. The Burutu was returning from Sierra Leone, following repairs after an attack by a U-boat. David died in the disaster. Meg always remembered her last Christmas with her father – he bought her a doll in Henderson’s department store, but a horse stumbled in the street outside and had to be shot, an omen of her impending loss. The ‘stumbling horse’ became her shorthand for the possible loss of loved ones, which she constantly feared. A bit of a handful My mother therefore grew up without a father. Gladys tended to idolize and spoil Ron and young Meg became, by all accounts, a bit of a handful. She used to recount swimming in waterholes along the River Weaver, near Riverside, and being ‘as brown as a berry’ from the summer sun. Meg was sent to the Convent School located on Nantwich Road, Crewe, in the hope that the nuns could impart some discipline. This was a pretty drastic solution, as the family had always been staunchly Church of England. It did not work and the next step was to send her as a sort of au pair to a posh finishing school in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1933. We once had a series of incredible photographs of Meg alongside louche young Nazi aristocratic madchens, lounging arm in arm in sapphic poses. Apparently Goering’s nephew, Dieter, wooed Meg and used to yodel to her as he left assignations. She was also present at a Nazi parade and listened to Hitler speak. Meg courts Jay Johnson When Meg returned to Nantwich, she found herself living very near to my father, Jay Johnson, who had digs next door. Jay had recently commenced his first teaching job with the Nantwich and Acton Grammar School, having been born and brought up in London. Jay and Meg were soon courting and then married. There is a photo of Jay and Meg at their wedding. Meg is wearing a velvet dress and looks very beautiful with big blue eyes, dark hair and full lips. They married in 1934 when Meg was 19 and Jay was 24 years old. Meg always complained that she was far too young. She had a lot of life in her and would have thrived if she'd had a career of her own. Jay was a very handsome young man with bright blue eyes, a strong jaw and good tanning skin. He was, however, very serious about developing his career as a History teacher and academic historian, and apparently used to leave Meg alone or with her friends while he pursued his research for a PhD. His topic was the evolution of the public service in Stuart England, particularly relating to the development of regular ‘posts’ and stagecoaches to and from Westminster and the Lord Lieutenants of the counties. Married life and the onset of war Soon after they were married, Jay and Meg moved to Alfreton, Derbyshire where Jay took up a more senior teaching post. A few years later, Jay moved on to Buckhurst Abbey School, Loughton, Essex where he became senior History teacher. When World War Two was in full swing, Essex was in the firing line from German bombing. Jay also saw his Sixth Form leave school and then become decimated on active service in the armed forces. He therefore decided to join the Royal Air Force. This must have been very hard for Meg, as she was left alone with a small daughter, Sue, coping with the Blitz, and she had a dread of a repeat of Gladys’ experience in World War One with the loss of David. Bomber Navigator / Bomb Aimer Jay trained as a Bomber Navigator, with the major part of his training taking place near Oudtshoorn, South Africa. We have pictures of him looking exceptionally handsome as a RAF Sergeant, highly tanned and fit. Letter from my father in South Africa to his brother Bob (and his wife Doris), written on 29 November 1942 (Sue's birthday): 1615489 L.A.C. Johnson C.48 Air SchoolWoodbrookEast LondonCape Province Dear Doris and Bob Here is the longer letter I promised in my airgraph. Can tell you a little more about the journey and my first impressions of this place. I am writing this on the sea shore about half a mile from the camp. It is a most marvelous day, hot sun and hardly a cloud. My bare feet are almost burned by the sand. Great waves come pouring in over the rocks that shelve out from the sand at the water's edge, and behind rise the boulder strewn slopes of the open grassland that makes up the countryside hereabouts. Rather poetic. Perhaps it's the sun, or more likely an attempt to say too much in too few words, but certainly this is a lovely spot to be on a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do but yarn away in a letter. I can only with effort recall what the weather must be like with you today, Sue's birthday. Perhaps you're as warm as I am, with a nice fire. I hope you are all three very well. I hope to get an airgraph from you one of these days telling me all about things. Trust you will be able to say that Jan[ice] is completely better. Hope too Bob is not being worried by national service orders. I told you in my airgraph a little about the journey here. Of course, I must not mention place names or any vital details. The boat trip did not seem overlong in spite of the confined space and lack of anything really important to do, but for part of the trip I acted as one of the anti aircraft gunners, doing two four hour turns of watch duty in every twenty-four, one of these, of course, during the night. I was lucky in being on duty at some interesting times, for instance when we left home shores and when we first sighted land after this. Needless to say, there was an endless variety of seascapes, and some lovely sunny days produced beautiful clear skies and blue seas. On the whole, however, the weather was not as bright or as hot as one might have expected. Only for a short part of the trip did we wear topees and have the deck awning up. To begin with we had some rather rough seas and a lot of the chaps felt it. Luckily I had only a ten-minute spell of queerness - I think my periods of watching high up in the gun pit, with extra large doses of fresh air, helped me. There must have been more movement up there than down below but somehow you didn't notice it so much. We slept in hammocks and soon got used to these. Food not bad on the whole, and I personally would not grumble, considering the type of trip we were on. Of course, we had plenty of card playing and all sorts of other amusements. The concerts and sing-songs with lads of all the services, including the marines taking part, were, I suppose, such as only troopships can produce. Crossing the Line [Equator] produced a hectic afternoon in which rank and unwillingness to cooperate were not respected and Neptune and his assistants daubed faces with mustard water - and tar owing to sabotage at one point - and then had their owners subjected to two powerful hoses of seawater - if in clothes, so much the better. It was all good fun and the participants were afterwards presented with a certificate to give us for all future occasions free right of entry into Neptune's domains without molestation from whales, sharks, etc. etc. When we landed, we were a few days in a big transit camp under canvas. Unfortunately, as we were likely to begin our rail journey at any moment, we were not allowed out of camp to see our port of landing, but we were glad to be ashore and partake of the fresh food, particularly fruit, which can of course be had in abundance here. I think almost all the lads made themselves ill with too many oranges, bananas, pineapples, peaches and melons. I wish the kids could have shared them with us - I feel quite guilty every time I eat an orange now - and that's at least once a day. Our rail journey was a longish one and we spent two nights on the train. We were comfortably accommodated in second class sleeping cars and had our meals in the dining car. Naturally, we had much to look at during the journey. We crossed vast areas of veldt country, wide sparse grasslands, always broken up somewhere within view by the flat table-topped hills and mountains [kopjes] that are so typical of South Africa. We ran through a variety of towns, from small Afrikaner farming communities to big industrial cities. The railway itself was a marvel of engineering almost throughout and because of the inclines speed was often not much beyond 30 miles per hour - good for sightseeing. On the second evening we had a wonderful experience crossing one of the Bergs. On arrival here we had a few days to settle down before beginning work. We are housed in wooden huts here, twenty four chaps together in one, including in our case five S.A.A.Fs, with whom we get some fun, chipping them about South Africa. We still have much parading, cleaning etc. to do - and sufficient petty discipline (though we smoke on route marches), but we are getting down to ground subjects that will take us further on our way, including astro and radio navigation, meteorology and the theory of bombing. We shall, we hope, move on from here some time in the New Year to begin flying training. This will be somewhere else in the Union, so I shall not have the pleasure of looking up the folk whose addresses Doll [Doris] gave me. I have some good friends here though in Mr and Mrs Dickinson (he is a headmaster), who used to live in Nantwich and are friends of Uncle Bern. I met them in 1935 when they were over on holiday and gave away the prizes at the Grammar School Sports. They look after me very well when I visit them, take me out in the car and Mrs D. has turned up trumps this week by presenting me with an electric iron so that the hut can do its washing. There is plenty to do in East London - pictures, concerts, dances, surf bathing, drinking and feeding, and the chaps have a good time. Orient Beach here has a slight touch of 'Miami' - coloured sunshades etc. Beer is cheap at one shilling and three pence for a South African quart, tobacco nine pence for four ounces and the local canteens serve marvelous grills for a shilling - (2 fried eggs, 2 rashers, sausage, beans or chips, bread, butter and tea - and no coupons!). Had a E.F.M. telegram from Meg day before yesterday. Good to know all is OK with her and Sue. Hoping for airgraphs soon and maybe one from you if mine has reached you or Meg has given you the address. War news seems very hopeful, so let's live in hope of better things very soon. You can guess where I want to be. Keep well and happy. Ever Cyril P.S. Have sent much the same news to Dad and Eric - trust you are seeing something of them. Return to England When Jay returned to England to finalise his training, prior to going into active service, he was first posted to a base near Harrogate. He then moved to a base near Millom in Cumberland. Having seen little of Meg since his return to England, they arranged to meet in Cumberland for a brief reunion and holiday in the autumn of 1943. We have some records of the complicated planning that went into this rendezvous in war-torn Britain, as given in the transcript of a letter from Jay to his brother Bob that is included below. However, the rendezvous did happen and, when the landlady of the cottage where Meg was staying went out, they became briefly a young and loving couple again. Their interlude at Silecroft resulted in my conception! Some three weeks later the worst happened - Jay was killed when the Avro Anson aircraft that he was training in disintegrated over Whitehaven. The other members of the crew were Canadians. A shattered Meg found herself back in Loughton alone with a little daughter in the thick of massive air attacks on London. At one point, a German landmine landed in the street – had it exploded, none of the descendants who are reading this would have ever existed.  Jay was buried in the Barony graveyard at Nantwich with the inscriptions Per Ardua ad Astra (the RAF’S motto ‘by effort to the stars’) and ‘War never taketh the evil man, only the good’. His grave is very close to that of the father-in-law that he never met, Captain David Clarke, and other members of the Clarke-Salter family. A short holiday Letter from my father to his brother Bob (and his wife Doris) written three weeks before his death on 14 October 1943. 1615489 Sgt. Johnson, C.Pupil Sergeants’ MessR.A.F. StationMILLOM, Cumberland 24th September 1943 Dear Doris and Bob I have been here for a fortnight now but have found little time for letter writing, for one reason we are very busy and work seven days a week, and moreover Meg has been here for a short holiday. When I got back to Harrogate, I was soon posted here. As you may remember, Meg was planning to spend a few days with me there, of course that became U/S and so we decided to try here. I had the utmost difficulty in finding accommodation, spending nearly all my spare time in my first week going here and there, however eventually I was lucky and found some excellent digs in a small house in the country near the village of Silecroft about two miles from the camp. As it was Meg was very comfortable and had a really nice holiday. She had good company in the day, a very comfy room and was provided with a bicycle. She had several trips into the hills on this and also found it pleasant walking down to the shore and along the beach. I managed to get a bicycle too and so could get into Silecroft easily. By dint of wangling I got two sleeping out passes and on an average was able to spend one and a half hours a day with her. Millom itself is a somewhat grim mining and iron working town and she would not have enjoyed it there, but the country at Silecroft is very pleasant and we had some good walks in the evening, visiting the truly rural ‘locals’ [inns] in the neighbouring villages. We are on the edge of the Lake District here, under a mountain called Black Coombe. The weather hasn’t been too good but hasn’t kept us in. Meg called at the Verona on the way here and left Sue there. She called for her yesterday and today they will be on their way back to 67 (the family home, 67 Roundmead Avenue, Loughton, Essex) ready to receive Brian, the medical student, tomorrow. This is an Advanced Flying Unit and we shall be here for a few weeks, getting used to English flying conditions. Actually I do not find them much different except, of course, there is more cloud and we have to fly lower. I have had some good trips including one to Northern Ireland. The camp itself is not bad – you get used to it. There is little to do outside but then we have little time to ourselves, as there is extra work to be done after hours. However, I am not complaining. I did very well while Meg was here. How are things with you three? I trust you are well and all is O.K. I shan’t get leave for sometime but I shall look forward to seeing you again and meanwhile shall be very interested to hear your news. I trust Jan [theirdaughter, Janice] is well and as lively as ever. All the best Cyril Back to Cheshire Meg decided that it would be sensible to sell the Loughton house and move back to Cheshire – we have a copy of a letter describing this process and I have also included its text here. It is remarkable that she does not mention that she was pregnant, even in the spring of 1944. Eventually, it became obvious to all, although she remained in denial (presumably suffering from post-traumatic stress). My Aunt Peg (wife of Meg’s brother, Ron) was so concerned that she rang Meg at the house she was sharing with Gladys (‘Linwood’, Wells Green, Wistaston, near Nantwich) and imitated the receptionist of the local GP Doctor Blackley, telling Meg that it was time for her to come for a check-up. I was born at that house on 9 June 1944. Apparently, Meg told Dr Blackley that he should not be wasting time on delivering babies when US and Commonwealth troops were dying in the thousands during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, which began on 6 June 1944. She also made it clear to the doctor that she did not want another boy as they only went off and got themselves killed.  ‘Och’ said Dr Blackley, who was Scots, ‘Y’ll need a laddie to look after yae.’ Making plans, but in denial This letter describes Meg’s plans to move back to Cheshire in the Spring of 1944. It is not at all clear that she has come to terms with my existence, even though she is six months pregnant! But what a brave lady! 67 Roundmead AvenueLoughtonEssex 3rd March 1944 Dear Bob, Doris and Janice You will be surprised to read that I am at The Verona again, unless you receive this letter after seeing Phyl [the wife of Jay’s younger brother Eric who was serving in the Army in Italy] for I wrote to her yesterday. The fact is we came away to avoid the raids last Thursday, leaving Euston at 5.30 pm – we felt we could not stand it any longer. Last Tuesday was a wretched night round us – we had a great 1,000lb bomb at the back of us again, just by the hedge by the allotments, and a dear old couple I knew so well lost their lives, they were burnt to death only 6 houses away – a phosphorous bomb went straight through their house. Loughton (our end) was showered with incendiaries and altogether it was pretty awful. Poor Mum was in a bad state, for she rushed up the road thinking of my friend who is expecting her baby in April (the house hit was next door to her) and the flames coming out and Mum knowing the couple were inside just made her feel ill – she really was in a bad way – and then 4 of us sleeping in the shelter was just too much – I could hardly move! Sue was very nervous, she always has been of the bombs and the poor little soul seems to always have to know just what they do. However, to cut a long story short, we took flight and came home – lucky for me the house is not damaged – the huge bomb was one of those piercing bombs and fell on soft earth. The crater is frightening – had it gone on the cement road outside, I’m afraid we should not have been here to tell the tale. I think we had a good escape. Well Bob things have moved fast since then – I have put my house in the auctioneers hands and it is to be sold by auction on 29th March (I hope we can get the other things in hand before then) and I rang Maples and many other firms about moving my stuff – and Maples were the only ones who would do it, and they are moving me out this next Monday. Mum and I are travelling down early Monday morning, probably leaving Crewe about 4 o’clock in the morning – and we hope to get away the same night. We have been house-hunting since arriving here, and have found one very nice one – we may know something about it tomorrow, but I shall probably have my furniture sent here unless we can settle this house quickly until something suitable comes along. I guess something like the bombs just had to make me get a move on and my word I have moved fast. Otherwise I should have gone on quite happily down there and no doubt found in the end that I couldn’t move until the end of the War. The most important part of this letter Bob is yet to come and that is that Ron went to Chester yesterday (he didn’t go last week because of us arriving home) and everything is in order except that we have to get Reader Bros. to sign a statement to the effect that the GBP 1,050 on my house is a mortgage. Ron then has to go before a committee and apparently they deduct death duty – then it has to be reclaimed. I was wondering Bob if you could write to Mr. Reader or the solicitor – whoever you think best – and ask for the statement. I have neither address here and Monday I shall be very busy and Tuesday probably tired out. Also you can put it in a more business-like way than I can. I don’t know if Mr. Reader knows of my loss yet – maybe he might now through the house being put in solicitors’ hands for sale – but it may not have reached him – for it was only today I heard from Maples a definite confirmation about the removal and so I wired the auctioneers. All further correspondence to me had best come to The Verona – I have done such a lot of business through letter, believe me I shall be grateful to have things in order and to see my home safe. I do hope you are all alright, we think about you – and every morning it is my first thought about the night – what times we are going through – I just feel I can’t bear another bomb come down or else I’d scream – we had a real do, there’s no mistake – the people on Hill Top had to get out for an unexploded bomb and some friends of mine had one in their back garden – another 1,000 lb dropped outside the church. Do write and let me know how you are. Sue is a different child now we are away; she loves going round and goes to bed so differently. Ron’s boys are OK. The youngest one is a very handsome fellow –I almost claim him, because I feel he was sent to try and make me happy. He has my colourings and so I think he will have to grow up with my children! But we shall have to see what Peg says about that that – for she adores her babies. Do take care of yourselves. Mum sends her love and says, she is like me, she is always thinking of you. Lots of love  Meg A SHARED STORY ONE OF OUR PLANES IS MISSING According to recent research by James Cutler, who is conducting research to underpin NZ Director Peter Jackson’s forthcoming Dambusters Film, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, who led the famous 617 Squadron Dambusters Raid, was (like my father) a victim of a wartime accident. Gibson died on 19 September 1944 flying a de Havilland Mosquito while acting as Pathfinder Master Bomber for a raid on Mönchengladbach. He was 26 years old and had completed nearly 200 missions. Although there is some evidence that shortage of fuel may have been the cause of the aircraft crashing near Steenbergen in the Netherlands, Sgt Bernard McCormack, who was in the formation of 227 Lancaster bombers, left a tape recording in the care of his wife in which admits that he may have mistaken Gibson's Mosquito for a similarly profiled Junker 88 and fired 600 rounds, shooting it down. On active service sorties Bomber Command crews suffered a 44.4% death rate overall [55,573 killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew], with a further 8,403 being wounded in action and 9,838 becoming prisoners of war. However, the total number of dead recorded by the RAF during WWII was 69,606. This suggests that for every 4 airmen who died as a result of enemy action, one additional airman had been lost from other causes [primarily accidents]. It is entirely reasonable then (taking account of undeclared and disputed ‘friendly fire’ incidents) that 20 percent of overall losses were attributable to ‘accidents’. Apparently a Bomber Command crew member had a worse chance of survival than an infantry officer in World War I. Of the RAF Bomber Command personnel killed during the war, 72% were British, 18% were Canadian, 7% were Australian and 3% were New Zealanders. [The Guard of Honour at my father’s funeral in Nantwich, Cheshire in October 1943 included representatives of all three of the major Commonwealth airforces]. Taking an example of 100 airmen: • 55 were killed on operations from enemy action or accidents or died as a result of wounds • three were injured (in varying levels of severity) on operations or active service • 12 were taken prisoner of war (some injured) • two shot were down and evaded capture • 27 survived a complete tour of operations from home bases. In Cumbria, where my father died, the churchyards at Haverigg, Millom and Whicham all have the graves of RAF crews [many from the Commonwealth – and in the case of one of the crew of my father’s Avro Anson, a volunteer from Buffalo, NY]. Many of the training flights were longer than three hours, flown by pilots exhausted from a tour of operations flights, in planes that were not thought good enough for combat use and often flying in less than ideal weather conditions or at night. The losses were appalling. In fact there were so many accidents, near misses and actual crashes in fields, on beaches and among the uplands of the Lake District that the experience gained at RAF Millom led to the development of modern techniques for mountain and fell rescue work. [Jay third from left - photo taken in South Africa near Port Elzabeth]

    • Willis Street Disruption
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Disruption on Willis street. Willis street is currently closed. Diversions currently in place. Northbound Diversions: Taranaki Street, Jervois Quay to Brandon streetSouthbound Diversions: Hunter Street , Victoria Street to Manners street.  This affects these services: 1 2 3 7 13 14 17 17e 18 18e 19 19e 20 21 22 23 23e 24 25 26 27 28 29 29e 30x 31x 32x 33 34 35 36 37 52 56 57 58

    • Replace your old station to station 10-Trip train ticket with the zone-based tickets and get around different parts of Greater Wellington
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Got old station to station 10-Trip train tickets?In July we introduced the all new 10-Trip tickets which are zone-based, allowing you to travel anywhere in Wellington on any of our train services between the zones on your ticket!This means from 1 January 2019 old station to station 10-Trip tickets will no longer be valid. The good news is you can swap your old tickets for the new zone-based tickets (even if there are clips taken out) or get a refund.Pick up a Metlink Rail 10-Trip Ticket Exchange Form at the Customer Service Kiosk at Wellington Station or at your local ticket office. You can also download the form:Download the exchange form - take it to your local ticket office or postPDF - 214 KBFollow the instructions on the form and post it back with the ticket enclosed. Processing takes 14 business days and we can send you your new tickets, while refunds need to be collected from Wellington Station. We appreciate your patience.This offer of a refund or exchange of old 10-trip tickets is available until 30 June 2019.The old station to station 10-trip tickets are no longer accepted onboard Metlink trains.Find out more about the zone-based train tickets  This affects these services: HVL JVL KPL MEL WRL

    • Enid and Elyse: A Medieval Courtly Romance Updated
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • Artist Kim Junghun – see: https://www.artstation.com/junghunkim ENID AND ELYSE In olden days there lived a wifeWhose noble husband courted strifeHe loved her little - just at night -This knightly treatment wasn’t right. He found her in the woodland wildAnd took her for a wayward childMaking her his own for pity’s sakeWhile long regretting his mistake Belittling her at every chanceTheir love was lacking in romanceAnd when they came to Arthur’s courtHe served her up in rags for sport. But Queen Guinevere took pityAnd dressed her in her fineryAt which the husband fell for herAnd took his way without deter. At last grown slothful in his lustHe betrayed his knightly trustAnd the lads of the Round TableQuestioned whether he was able To sally forth on jousts or questsOr polish up his chainmail vests -And what is more said they made goodOn wifely needs he left withstood. At which he rode away with umbrageTreating her as wayward baggageAlthough he took her nonethelessTo keep the score on his contests. He ordered her to ride aheadAnd keep her tongue inside her head:While he sought out each noble fightShe found a camp and cooked at night With trolls and bandits on the wayShe saw them first but could not say:Distracting them she made them blinkAnd looking back gave knight-ward wink But when the champion won the dayHe sent her forward down the wayDriving chargers decked with bootyNo words of thanks in line of duty. Then in the forest depths a maiden criedBeset by fire and to some faggots tiedA morsel for a dragon roast or friedThe fiery beasties’ shawarma undenied. Then Enid much beguiled the monstrous wormAnd calmed its embers with her nubile formWhile Geraint freed the nymphet from the stakeShe shared her story with the horned snake. At length she found her knight had upped and leftLeaving her beset, bamboozled and bereftBut then the dragon taken by her griefGave her the gold that stuck between its teeth. So, she took the stolen armour that she heldAnd girded up with lance and sword in beltGiving eager chase to nymph and errant knightTo teach him his behaviour wasn’t right. She came upon her hubby in a glenEnticing Elyse to a bowered denHe had fancied her since way back whenHe cut her bonds but tied them back again. Then much in wrath our mounted maiden rodeResplendent in her anger, brave and boldAnd brought to joust Geraint the OversoldBut he took flight and fled the combat cold. Then Elyse was overcome with gratitudeFor this gentlest of stranger’s hastilude That he should save her from calamityAnd never once assail her chastity. ‘Young Sir, my love is yours as you desireI am a princess and my lands are yoursCome live with me and be my noble squireAnd I will grant you what you may require’. At which the champion laid her helm asideAnd tossed the curls she could no longer hide‘I am no knight young beauteous maidBut just a woman that misfortune made’. But Elyse saw the gentle woe and careAnd loved the girl who stood so sadly there‘It matters not my lover and my lifeYou are my choice and I your loving wife’. And then at last they came to rest at CamelotWhere Queen Guinevere reserved them a spotAt her table (which was like Arts’ non-square),Where all were welcome to partake and share. And they grew old in honour and renownWith songs of courtly love that still resoundFor they had found that holy loving grailThat gentlest of knights and her beloved girl. And last was heard of Enid’s ex-GeraintHe was the fearsome dragon’s catamite -And labour as he might to warm its bloodThe slightest recognition was withstood.

    • Let’s Dance: the David Bowie Book Club List!
      • 24 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • I read voraciously. Every book I ever bought, I have. I can’t throw it away. It’s physically impossible to leave my hand! Some of them are in warehouses. I’ve got a library that I keep the ones I really really like.” — David Bowie When David Bowie arrived on the set of  his 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth, he arrived with a trailer full of books. Nicholas Roeg joked with him about it, saying, “The problem with you David is you don’t read enough.” Throughout his life Bowie was an avid reader, and many of his songs and albums have literary references. Diamond Dogs originally started life as a musical version of George Orwell’s 1984, while he famously used William Burroughs’ cut out techniques on several of his most famous songs. In 2013, Bowie posted his 100 favourite books on his public Facebook page. You can view the full list here, or check out some examples below. Enjoy! David Bowie, by Dylan Jones (eBook) (print) “Drawn from a series of conversations between David Bowie and Dylan Jones across three decades, together with over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers, and collaborators–some of whom have never before spoken about their relationship with Bowie–this oral history is an intimate portrait of a remarkable rise to stardom and one of the most fascinating lives of our time.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov (ebook) “Afterwards, when it was frankly too late, descriptions were issued of the man: expensive grey suit, grey beret, one green eye and the other black. Only the Master, a man devoted to truth, and Margarita, the woman he loves, can resist the devil’s onslaught. Brilliant and blackly comic, The Master and Margarita was repressed by Stalin’s authorities and only published after the author’s death.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (eAudiobook) “A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Anthony Burgess’s novel which became a controversial film in the 1970s. In a nightmare world of the near future, packs of teenagers run wild, beyond the control of their families or the police. Alex is a gang-leader, addicted to drug-fuelled assault, torture and rape.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   1984, by George Orwell (ebook) (print) “It is 1984. The world is in a state of perpetual war and Big Brother sees and controls all. Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party and propaganda-writer at the Ministry of Truth, is keeping a journal he should not be keeping and falling in love with Julia, a woman he should not be seeing. Outwardly compliant, Winston dreams of rebellion against the oppressive Big Brother, risking everything to recover his lost sense of individuality and control of his own future.” (Adapted from Overdrive description) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark (ebook) “Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher unlike any other; a romantic, with progressive, sometimes shocking ideas and aspirations for the girls in her charge. At the Marcia Blaine Academy she takes a select group of girls under her wing. But as the girls enter their teenage years and they become increasingly drawn in by Miss Brodie’s personal life, her ambitions for them take a startling and dark turn with devastating consequences.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   On the Road, by Jack Kerouac (Audiobook) “On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady. As ‘Sal Paradise’ and ‘Dean Moriarty,’ the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (ebook) “Everybody who is anybody is seen at Jay Gatsby’s glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby–young, handsome, fabulously rich–always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled.” (Adapted from Overdrive description) Wonder Boys, by Michael Chabon (ebook) “Grady Tripp is an over-sexed, pot-bellied, pot-smoking, ageing wunderkind of a novelist now teaching creative writing at a Pittsburgh college while working on his 2,000-page masterpiece, ‘Wonder Boys’. When his rumbustious editor and friend, Terry Crabtree, arrives in town, a chaotic weekend follows–involving a tuba, a dead dog, Marilyn Monroe’s jacket and a squashed boa constrictor. A novel of elegant imagination, bold humour and undeniable warmth.” (Adapted from Overdrive description) Nights At the Circus, by Angela Carter (eBook) “Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe’s capitals, part swan…or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of Colonel Kearney’s circus. She is also part woman, part swan…” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

    • Free membership to Hutt City Libraries
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • Thanks to the generosity of Hutt City Libraries, Wellington City Libraries customers can sign up for free to access Hutt City Libraries’ collection. Just bring your Wellington City Libraries card to any Hutt City Library branch. Details: I have already paid for non-resident access to Hutt City Libraries. Can I get a refund? Yes. Contact Hutt City Libraries for a refund. How long will my membership be valid for? Wellington City Libraries’ members will be signed up for a period of 3 months initially. Can I access Hutt City Libraries’ eResources? (eBooks, eAudiobooks and subscription databases) Just the physical collection. However, our Wellington City Libraries’ eLibrary is available to you 24/7. Can I renew and reserve Hutt City Libraries’ books? Yes! Will I be charged overdues if Hutt City Libraries’ items become overdue? Yes — overdue charges will accrue to your Hutt City Libraries membership (not your Wellington membership — the two will be separate) if items are returned late.

    • England's Saintess and the 23rd of April 2019
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • THE UNA-FICATION OF ENGLAND?                                                    [Repeated from last year] Any gal who can whip off her stays, throw them around the neck of a badly injured dragon and lead it around like a lamb deserves our respect. It is remiss then that Una, the true heroine of the ‘St George and the Dragon Story’ gets such a bad rap. As the story goes: The town had a small lake with a plague-bearing dragon living in it and poisoning the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene fed it two sheep every day. When they ran out of sheep they started feeding it their children, chosen by lottery. One time the lot fell on the king's daughter. The king, in his grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon. Saint George by chance rode past the lake. The princess tried to send him away, but he vowed to remain. The dragon emerged from the lake while they were conversing. Saint George made the Sign of the Cross and charged it on horseback, seriously wounding it with his lance. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon's neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash. The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the populace. Saint George offered to kill the dragon if they consented to become Christians and be baptised. Fifteen thousand men including the king of Silene converted to Christianity. George then killed the dragon, and the body was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. The king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George on the site where the dragon died and a spring flowed from its altar with water that cured all disease. Well, it doesn’t seem very noble of George to threaten to set the dragon back on the city’s inhabitants unless they converted, so I feel justified in taking a dislike to him.. Not that this has stopped people from trying to enhance his appeal – and even that of the dragon. Indeed, there have been elaborate recent ‘politically correct’ attempts to cast ‘George’ as universal [via, for example, the invention of a new multi-cultural / LGPTQIA liturgy that recasts (s)he as the ideal One-legged, Black, Lesbian Labour Party candidate]. http://www.manchestercathedral.org/upload/news/doc//news-radA4C19.pdf?24/01/2017%2008:17:59 This has been matched by a slew of attempts to make the dragon cuddly [starting with Kenneth Grahame’s The Reluctant Dragon which portrays it as a wimp - and leading on more recently to Pete’s fey Pet Dragon ‘Elliott’]. I used to support reviving English nationalism and parading the Red Crusader Cross but it is surely crass to believe that Muslims will perceive this idolatry as anything other than an affront – given that the Conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 saw massacres of the local inhabitants by the troops of Godfrey of Bouillon [he of the concentrated soup/stock cube] which far exceeded even the appalling standards of the time. Many Muslims sought shelter in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, and the Temple Mount area generally. According to the Gesta Francorum, speaking only of the Temple Mount area, "...[our men] were killing and slaying even to the Temple of Solomon, where the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles..." According to Raymond of Aguilers, also writing solely of the Temple Mount area, " in the Temple and porch of Solomon men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins." Writing about the Temple Mount area alone Fulcher of Chartres, who was not an eyewitness to the Jerusalem siege because he had stayed with Baldwin in Edessa at the time, says: "In this temple 10,000 were killed. Indeed, if you had been there you would have seen our feet coloured to our ankles with the blood of the slain. But what more shall I relate? None of them were left alive; neither women nor children were spared." There is a way out of this for the English. What better than to substitute Una for Geordie? Or perhaps make a family of George, Una and Elliott? Posted 23rd April 2017 by Keith Shorrocks Johnson

    • Getting Ready for ANZAC Day 2019
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • THE WAR MEDAL The War Medal 1939–1945 was a British decoration awarded to all full-time service personnel of the Armed Forces wherever their service during the war was rendered. Operational and non-operational service counted provided personnel had completed 28 days service between 3rd September 1939 and the 2nd September 1945. In the Merchant Navy there was the requirement that 28 days should be served at sea. Personnel who were eligible for a campaign star yet who had their service cut short by death, wounds or capture by the enemy, still qualified for this medal. Eligible personnel who had been mentioned in dispatches during the War were entitled to wear a bronze oak leaf emblem on the ribbon. It is sometimes described as the "Victory Medal" for World War II, although that is not its correct name. 1939-1945 STAR This star was awarded for service in the Second World War between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. RAF personnel had to participate in operations against the enemy providing that 2 months service had been completed in an operational unit. Non-aircrew personnel had to complete 6 months service in an area of operational army command. Members of fighter aircraft crews who took part in the Battle of Britain (10 July to 31 October 1940) were awarded the "Battle of Britain" bar to this medal. The criteria is 180 days’ service, although some special criteria apply when, at certain specified times, just 1 days’ service is required. These were actions for which a more specific campaign medal was not issued. Examples are: France or Belgium: 10 May to 19 June 1940, St.Nazaire 22-28 March 1942, Dieppe: 19 August 1942, Iraq: 10 April to 25 May 1941 and Burma (Enemy Invasion): 22 February 1942 to 15 May 1942. Also, recipients were awarded this star if their service period was terminated by their death or disability due to service. Also, the award of a gallantry medal or Mention in Despatches also produced the award of this medal, regardless of their service duration. NOTE I recently weakened and ordered copies of my father's War Medals. I don't regard them as in any manner 'glorious' - simply as remnants of a terrible time past and tangible reminders of the family's dreadful loss. High Five: In Memoriam [ANZAC Day 2014] FINAL TRAINING FLIGHT What happened once has yet to end,Since the cards were put down,And the evening cocoa drained,Around the stove at the Sergeants Mess. Turn in lads. Tomorrow is another day.Another training run across to IrelandAnd back across the steel-grey seaTo Cumberland, coasting home to Millom. Touch Douglas on Man, on to Slieve DonardAcross the steel-grey sea and its mistsUp to sight Belfast and back to St BeesAhead Scafell and down to Black Combe. Vince, you are the pilot it seems from orders -It's lucky you played baseball for BuffaloThis is a home run with four basesSo let fly a homer and slide home the Anson. Rene, you’ll be navigator – we’ll try the new compass.You are only twenty but you’re smartI had to laugh after your mother Nolia wrote:'Unfrozen by the Mounties in Chapleau'. Joe they have you as the back up pilot.Maybe we could wing some extra juiceTo buzz Michael and the two MarysOver Clutha’s saintly Celtic Soccer Country. Tom you’ll be there as the radio crackles.Dumb bastards, they have nothing to sayAnd when 'eh up' you turn on the tyke-talkLet’s hope they too come from the Dales. As for me, I’m Sunny Jay, Bob's your Uncle -A thirty-three year old who helpedWith the cadets and watched his sixth form Join the RAF and had to follow. The Anson is second nature now -We flew them from OudtshoornUp the railway to Bulawayo:“I like flying and flying likes me” A commission delayed - expect no lessAs the Avro Lancasters hatch and queue At Broughton, off the factory lines,Just down from the graveyard at Blacon. Fire Dragons feeding on men and boys,Ready for the Terror AnschlagTo bathe Siegfried in bloodIn the straff and flak over Berlin. One more and another flight tomorrowAcross the broken steel-grey seaTo test a new compass with some runs -And temper sons staked for the dragons. I’m a teacher, the thinker, the pipe-smoker –The Londoner who has to takeThe Blitz 'nach hause' but keep the boys safe -A soft spot under the dragon’s wing. As I turn in tonight, I watch the starsAnd think of my wife who was hereThree short weeks ago in Silecroft -Black Combe walks, beer at the Miner’s Arms. We have no son – only a daughter at home,Who shelters snuggled with Meg and her cigs,As the streets of Loughton shake and flickerFrom the raids of the beasts’ distant kin. Dear God, keep them safe this nightAnd at the rising of the sunEngrave our hopes in what's foreshadowedAs we trace across the steel-grey sea. FOR THE AVRO ANSON CREW KILLED 14 OCTOBER 1943 AT THE BROWS, WHITEHAVEN Sergeant Vincent James Dunnigan, Pilot, of the Royal Canadian Airforce, aged 26, who was the son of Daniel and Agnes Dunnigan, and the husband of Elizabeth Mary Dunnigan, of Buffalo, New York, U.S.A. Sergeant, Rene Harold Murphy, Navigator, of the Royal Canadian Airforce, aged 20, who was the son of John Murphy, and of Nolia Murphy, of Chapleau, Ontario, Canada. Flying Officer (Pilot) Henry Joseph O’Gara, of the Royal Airforce, aged 29, who was the son of Michael and Mary O'Gara of Glasgow and the husband of Mary A. O'Gara of Glasgow Sergeant Thomas Inman, (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner), of the Royal Airforce, aged 20, who was the son of John Thomas Inman and Violet Inman of Silsden, Yorkshire. Sergeant Cyril Johnson, (Bomb Aimer/Navigator), aged 33, of the Royal Airforce, who was the son of Harry and Constance Maud Mary Johnson of Lewisham, London and the husband of Mabel ‘Meg’ Johnson [nee Clarke] of Nantwich, Cheshire. Father of Joseph Keith Johnson [born 9 June 1944] and Susan Davina Johnson [born 1936]. NOTE The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Blacon, Chester contains some 460 or so graves - almost all of which are those of airmen. Of the dead, around 19 percent are Polish, 45 percent are Canadian, 14 percent are Australian, and 7 percent are New Zealanders., There is at least one South African. The remaining 15 percent are British [including other Commonwealth]. Sergeants Dunnigan and Murphy are buried at Blacon [Vince Dunnigan was of course American but the stats don't show that]. The pall bearers at my father's burial, near other members of my mother's family in the Barony All Saints Graveyard at Nantwich [some 25 miles from Blacon], included 2 Canadians, 2 Australians and 2 New Zealanders.

    • ComicFest 2019 – 5 minutes with Sarah Laing
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • ComicFest is back for 2019! On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 of May at the National Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on May the 4th and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! For full programme click here and follow our updates on our Facebook event. We are pleased to have Sarah Laing for our next “5 minutes with…” feature. Sarah is a Wellington-based writer and illustrator who has had novels, short stories and the graphic memoir Mansfield and Me published. A collection of comics from the past ten years is forthcoming from VUP – Let Me Be Frank will be published late 2019. She also the co-editor of Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa/NZ Women’s Comics and has illustrated a number of children’s books. Q: What first got you interested in comics? A: My dad was a big comics fan – he’d grown up on the war comics you could buy at the dairy – so we always had comics lying around. Tintin, Asterix, Garfield, Charlie Brown. My cousins had a big stash of Disney comics and I particularly liked tales of Uncle Scrooge and his mountains of money. I also used to read Bogor in the Listener, and wrote some fanmail to him, with my own fanart of hedgehogs and snails. He offered me a job when I grew up – I wonder if that offer is still on the table? Q: What is your average day like? A: Up until recently I’ve been finishing off my Let Me Be Frank manuscript – a collection of my comics over the past ten years, to be published by VUP in late 2019. I’ve got to be an almost fulltime cartoonist thanks to a CNZ grant. Almost fulltime, I say, as I have three kids and various part-time gigs, including mentoring creative writing students, and illustrating for a number of publications. Right now, since I have submitted my manuscipt, I am lookng for a proper job to pay my bills – feel free to hit me up! Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on? A: My most recent project I talked about in the previous question, but I worked on a great project last year, in collaboration with Dr Giacomo Lichtner, the Italian Embassy and the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand – it was an adaptation of Denebedetti’s account of the SS raid of the ghetto in Rome. You can read that comic here. Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work? A: I waste an awful lot of time and feel incredibly guilty about it, and then sometimes I’m freakishly productive. I have to check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter each morning before I start work, and I also have to make myself coffee and a piece of toast and peanut butter. When I’m in my productive phase, I allow myself to draw badly and make mistakes, focussing instead on the shape of the story and actually completing it. The drawings may look terrible at the time, but when I go back to them, they have a looseness and a spontaneity that I like, and I often wonder if they are better than my final illustrations. Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration? A: I have so many influences and inspirations! I am a huge fiction reader, so always have a novel on the go. I love all the women I follow on instagram and support on patreon, like Gabrielle Bell and Sarah Glidden, Mimi Pond Lisa Hanawalt, Summer Pierre, Glynnis Fawkes and of course the indominatible Jillian Tamaki. I am also a big music fan, and my latest discoveries include Nilüfer Yanya and Charlotte Adigéry. Nature, films, TV (Russian Doll! So good!), art, foreign cities, family, friends, random encounters… all of this feeds into the psychic soup I take ladles from to make my work. Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators? A: Again, there are so many people I like and I always scared of making these lists for fear of missing someone off! I really love Sophie Watson’s comics, and I’m excited about her larger project she’s working on. Ross Murray’s latest book, Rufus Marigold, is great – I’m looking forward to hearing him talk about it at ComicsFest. Giselle Clarkson makes hilarious, beautifully drawn comics, and I really admire Zoë Colling’s autobio works. Indira Neville is hilarious and arresting, and Kirsten Slade is unmissable. Sam Orchard makes great comics about his life as a transman, which always hit the spot. The greats are still great – Dylan Horrocks, Ant Sang, Toby Morris – and I really love the irreverant lo-fi nature of Brent Willis’s comics. Austen Milne is an up-and-coming cartoonist who I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of, and I wish I could see more of Meng Zhu’s comics, who was in Three Words…. Arrgh, gotta stop now! Q: What is your dream comic project? A: I have a few graphic novels bubbling away in my head… my dream involves being published by Drawn and Quarterly and being invited to all those American and Scandanavian comics festivals! Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster! A: This time I’m here as a chair rather than a guest so I am excited to tease as much out of my panel, including Roger Langridge and Katie O’Neill, as possible! Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as? A: Hmm, tough call. Tove Jansen? Rita Angus? Or maybe Vivienne Westwood. Or am I meant to be choosing a fictional character? In that case I’ll go as Little My or Rachael in Bladerunner. You can find Sarah online in the following places: Instagram: @sarahelaing Twitter: @sarahelaing Blog/Website: sarahelaing.com

    • 28th April 10.30AM, Gathering & Lunch at St Matt’s
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Capital Mosaic, Wellington
      • Come along at 10AM for morning tea before the Gathering. We continue our Re-Frame series this week, Jeremy Mak will share a reflection on scepticism, and how Jesus surprises the disciples in the Easter story and us today. Everyone is warmly invited to stay for lunch afterwards, we’d love you to join with us – see you […]

    • Buses replace Sunday services on the Kapiti Line between Porirua and Waikanae - Sunday 28 April
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • You can visit the Maintaining our Railways page for more information about the work that is carried out during bus replacements.NOTE: This is a bus replacement timetable and is different from a regular train timetable.Bus replacement timetable - services highlighted in green will be replaced by buses: Kapiti Line bus replacement poster Check here for bus pick-up locationsPlease allow extra time for travel when bus replacement is offered. Bus replacements are not tracked via real time information when they replace trains.Cycles other than folding cycles, will not be carried on the buses replacing trains.  For more information see: Using a Cycle on Public TransportAll folded prams can be carried on board the bus replacement services when stored in the luggage areas, non-foldable prams may not be able to be carried on all bus replacements, please talk to on-board staff when boarding.If you have additional mobility needs please talk to the on board staff or contact Metlink to plan your trip.For more information call Metlink on 0800 801 700 or use the; Journey Planner This affects these services: KPL

    • Buses replace some train services on the Hutt Valley Line between Wellington and Upper Hutt - Sunday 28 April - Wednesday 1 May
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • You can visit the Hutt Valley Traction Project page for more information about the project work that is underway on the line.NOTE: Manor Park will be serviced by a shuttle picking up and dropping off passengers between SIlverstream and Manor Park. The Manor Park shuttle now services Manor Park from the bus stop beside the Park and Ride.Bus replacement services may be delayed, please allow extra time for travel.Bus replacement timetable - services highlighted in green will be replaced by buses:Hutt Valley Line bus replacement posterCheck here for bus pick-up locationsPlease allow extra time for travel when bus replacement is offered. Bus replacements are not tracked via real time information when they replace trains.Cycles other than folding cycles, will not be carried on the buses replacing trains.  For more information see: Using a Cycle on Public TransportAll folded prams can be carried on board the bus replacement services when stored in the luggage areas, non-foldable prams may not be able to be carried on all bus replacements, please talk to on-board staff when boarding.If you have additional mobility needs please talk to the on board staff or contact Metlink to plan your trip.For more information call Metlink on 0800 801 700 or use the; Journey Planner This affects these services: HVL

    • In Memory of John Watson of Townfield Farm, Wettenhall
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • In Memory of My Young Farmer Friend John Watson Gunning up the old TR2 down the Old Coach Road Through Delamere Forest after a party or danceYou hit one hundred miles per hour – avoidingRabbits, hedgehogs, stray deer, and blown boughs. Slowing down nicely to Oulton Park Gates -Like Stirling Moss lining up Knicker BrookWhere Blaster Bates had blown a stumpAnd a village girl had lost her clouts in the scramble. We lived and laughed on – the thrills of speed and survival Nothing like doing something daft when you’re a ladAnd living to tell the tale – the smell of beer and gasolineTime to pull out the Players Navy Cut and light up a smoke. Fifty years on I called in at the farm, down the new driveway,And waited and chatted with his wife, who I hadn’t met before,Until he came back from moving agisted youngstock at EatonAnd we smiled those deep shy grins of country boys reunited. Time to tell again the tale of the straight run and the ton upYou were a bloody hero Watson – a right wild young gentleman! [The woodland is now called Little Budworth Common and the trees were just large saplings back in 1962. In those days I went by the name of Joe Johnson].

    • We have additional seating and train services for Hurricanes vs Chiefs this Saturday
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • If you are heading to the Westpac Stadium this Saturday to watch the Hurricanes take on the struggling Chiefs we will have some additional seating and services to help you get home.Additional Rail ServicesAfter the event;There will be additional seating on regular Kapiti, Hutt Valley and Johnsonville Line services following the match. There will also be an additional Kapiti, Hutt Valley and Johnsonville Line service departing between 9:30pm and 10:00pm. Ticketing InformationEvent Tickets are valid for this event and can be purchased on board or at a ticket office on the day of the event. For ticketing information visit our Tickets and Fares page.   This affects these services: HVL JVL KPL

    • Finding inspiration – The latest books and magazines in art
      • 23 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • Our newest additions to the collection have a shared focus on mixed media, and how we can use this to really convey our perceptions of the world. We take a look at New Zealand artist Douglas MacDiarmid, some new approaches to how we create art, and finish off with a highlight of some of our digital magazines available through RBdigital, including our recent subscription to the Australian storytelling magazine Dumbo Feather. Textile landscape : painting with cloth in mixed media / Holmes, Cas “Textile Landscapes demonstrates how to develop your approach to textile art with a focus on using found objects and paint and stitch on cloth and paper. Cas looks at both urban and intimate spaces, capturing the changing seasons, the technical aspects of painting and dying cloth, experimenting with photos, creating stitchscapes, attaining inspiration from found objects, and so much more.” (Adapted from Catalogue)   Paint Pouring, Rick Cheadle (ebook) “Paint Pouring is a form of abstract art that uses acrylic paints with a runny (fluid) consistency. The acrylic paints react with each other when combined to make interesting and visually organic motifs. Fluid acrylics can be used on many types of substrates through various techniques such as pouring, dripping, swirling, glazing, dipping, and more to create dazzling and masterful effects.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)   Colours of a life : the life and times of Douglas MacDiarmid / Cahill, Anna “This biography is the lively, persuasive and colourful story of a talented bisexual man who had to leave New Zealand to find a life as a painter on his own terms. Now almost 95, still resident in Paris, he is oldest survivor of his extraordinary generation of creative New Zealanders, and perhaps a missing link — the one who got away and slid under the radar for choosing to pursue a global career rather than a domestic living.” (Catalogue)   The Watercolor Course You’ve Always Wanted, Leslie Frontz (ebook) Through thoughtful discussion, expert instruction, and in-depth step-by-step demonstrations, Leslie Frontz shows readers how to eliminate common barriers to achieve beautiful, captivating watercolor paintings. Beginning with teaching readers how to see with an artist’s eye, Frontz then establishes how watercolor painters build on this skill by making timely decisions throughout the creation process. (Overdrive description)   Dumbo Feather Dumbo Feather is an iconic Australian magazine. Published quarterly for seven years, and hailed around the world as a design leader, it is a magazine like no other. Our readers are people who want to be told a different story than the one they hear every day. Each quarterly issue features five extended (20 page) profiles of people worth knowing, across enterprise, education, science, sport, politics, fashion and the arts. Whether they’ve touched millions, or just those around them, we take the time to get to know these people, and ask them to tell us their stories. (RBdigital description) Artists & Illustrators Artists & Illustrators is the UK’s best-selling magazine for artists and art lovers, providing advice and inspiration every month. Whether you favour oils or watercolours, portraits or landscapes, abstract art or botanical illustration, Artists & Illustrators brings a refreshing blend of creativity and advice every four weeks throughout the year. (RBdigital description)

    • Greta Thunberg [aka 'Pippi Longstocking'] picks up the heavy lifting
      • 22 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • PIPPI LONGSTOCKING WINS THE DAY ‘I don’t think you have a very nice way with ladies, Donny’ said Pippi. And she lifted him in her strong arms — high in the air — and carried him to a birch tree and hung him over a branch. Then she took the next boy, Boris, and hung him out to dry.  Extinction Rebellion: Climate protesters 'making a difference' https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-48003955 https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/jun/02/the-10-best-pippi-longstocking-quotes

    • I Desired Dragons with a Profound Desire: a Selection of the Finest Fantasy!
      • 22 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • I desired dragons with a profound desire. Of course, I in my timid body did not wish to have them in the neighborhood. But the world that contained even the imagination of Fáfnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever the cost of peril. — J. R. R. Tolkien For this month’s showcase we are pointing our spotlight at one of the most popular and enduring genres of them all: fantasy! It’s a huge genre, with crossover works and sub-genres such as comic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, fairytale fantasy, fantasy of manners, heroic fantasy, high fantasy, historical fantasy, low fantasy, magical realism, mythic fiction fantasy, romantic fantasy, superhero fantasy, sword and sorcery, urban fantasy and weird fantasy, so by necessity this showcase only features a few of our favourite authors and novels. Even into the 21st century, fantasy as a genre has not only endured but thrived, creating some of the century’s most beloved works in literature, film and art. Some of the world’s most popular authors and titles are also encompassed by this genre, including J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin and C.S.Lewis. Enjoy! The Princess Bride, William Goldman (ebook) (print) Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible—inconceivable, even—to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you’ll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an “abridged” retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that’s home to “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions.” (Overdrive description) A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin (ebook) (print) A Game of Thrones is the first volume in the series. Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne. (Overdrive description) The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien (ebook) (print) Continuing the story begun in The Hobbit, this is the first part of Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, featuring the definitive text and a detailed map of Middle-earth. J.R.R. Tolkien’s great work of imaginative fiction has been labelled both a heroic romance and a classic fantasy fiction. By turns comic and homely, epic and diabolic, the narrative moves through countless changes of scene and character in an imaginary world which is totally convincing in its detail. (Overdrive description) Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey (ebook) The men who rode the dragons were a breed apart. Chosen when the dragons were first hatched, they became soulmates for life with the huge, magnificent beasts they controlled – the green, blue, brown and bronzes – beautiful – terrible – the only creatures who could defend the planet Pern from the blood-red star. But without the Queen, the dragons would become extinct. Only the gigantic, golden Queen could breed the new flights. And the Queen was fading . . . dying. Dragonflight is the first book in Anne McCaffrey’s world-famous Chronicles of Pern and has been in print since its first publication in hardcover 30 years ago. (adapted from Overdrive description) The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang (ebook) When Rin aced the Keju – the test to find the most talented students in the Empire – it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who had hoped to get rich by marrying her off; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free from a life of servitude. That she got into Sinegard – the most elite military school in Nikan – was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good. Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. (Overdrive description) The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett (ebook) Somhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules. But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard. The gunslinger / King, Stephen In a desolate reality, on that mirrors our own in frightening ways, a lone and haunting figure known only as Roland makes his way across the endless sands in pursuit of a sinister, dark-robed mystery of a man. Roland is the last of his kind, a “gunslinger” charged with protecting whatever goodness and light remains in his world–a world that “moved on” as they say…and the only way he can possibly hope to save everything is to first outwit and confront this man in black, then make him divulge his many arcane secrets. For despite the countless miles he’s already traversed, Roland knows these will merely be his initial steps on his spellbinding and soul-shattering quest to locate the mystical nexus of all worlds, all universes: the Dark Tower….” (Catalogue) Assassin’s Apprentice, Robin Hobb (ebook) The kingdom of the Six Duchies is on the brink of civil war when news breaks that the crown prince has fathered a bastard son and is shamed into abdication. The child’s name is Fitz, and his is despised. Raised in the castle stables, only the company of the king’s fool, the ragged children of the lower city and his unusual affinity with animals provide Fitz with any comfort. To be useful to the crown, Fitz is trained as an assassin; and to use the traditional magic of the Farseer family. But his tutor, allied to another political faction, is determined to discredit, even kill him. Fitz must survive: for he may be destined to save the kingdom.

    • Old Town Hall
      • 22 Apr 2019
      • Eye of the Fish
      • The Wellington Town Hall is getting strengthened and some people are getting exasperated at how long the process is taking. To be fair, the building has been sitting empty, closed off for a number of years now, and only recently (2018) has it actually been behind work hoardings. So – what is likely to be happening? We’re not completely sure, but here at Eye of the Fish we understand that the refurbishment architects may be Athfield Architects, although we are unsure who the structural engineers are. Consequently, we can freely admit that we may have all the following wrong, and we are open to being corrected. First of all: let’s look at what we do know. The Town Hall was designed by Joshua Charlesworth (1861-1925), a Yorkshireman who came out to NZ on a ship when he was an architectural intern. His boss had designed large buildings back in the UK, so it is possible that Charlesworth had some experience with this sort of work, but while Charlesworth designed some houses in NZ, for the most part he worked on a large number of small commercial buildings for the BNZ throughout the lower North Island. Charlesworth was a bit of an architectural hot-shot, winning (in his twenties) a national competition for the NZ Government Insurance buildings in Wellington over some far more experienced architects like Turnbull. He left NZ to work in Melbourne for a number of years, gaining experience on larger projects there, but returned to NZ for the Town Hall project. It is still a fair bet to state that the Town Hall project was the biggest project Charlesworth ever did. The Wellington Town Hall construction contract was signed for £68,000 in 1901, it was completed and opened in 1904, although the clock was not fitted into the clocktower until 1922. Luckily for us, the Town Hall project was built well, with a massive thick brick and stone external wall surrounding a rectangular auditorium with a timber floor and plastered ceilings that offers surprisingly good acoustics. Whether by chance or by good design, the Charlesworth-designed Town Hall has a superb sound and is well worth keeping. Part of this comes from the rectangular shape, part from the proportions, and part also from the larger, massive brick external enclosing structure. Composed of Corinthian columns supporting two large pediments, it also used to house a massive brick clock tower as well, sited on the side where the Michael Fowler Centre is now. After the 1931 Napier earthquake the clock tower was removed in haste (well, 1934) by Field & Hall, when the WCC realised that it could yield and fall, catastrophically, in the case of another closer quake. Many of the ornate Corinthian columns were also stripped of their floweriness at this time, with many reduced from Corinthian capitals back to the simpler, lower Doric order. That’s the building equivalence of taking off a ball gown and wearing army fatigues instead. Due to the age of the building, there is not a full steel frame or concrete frame in the building – although of course there are some cast iron columns holding up the balcony in the main auditorium. In the early 1990s Fibreglass Developments Ltd (FDL) were tasked with rebuilding some of the removed capitals, but in fibreglass, not brick and cement. This is all part of the move to lighten the building – to reduce its mass – to increase its chance of survival in a large quake. Of course, in a really big quake, a building made of bricks is just not going to make it. As we have said before, Unreinforced Masonry is Not Your Friend. The structural strengthening works being done now are planned to provide base isolation to the entire structure – no easy task – but also the best possible solution to ensuring the long-term survival of the building. You probably all know that this base isolation entails inserting isolating bearings between the building and the ground – we’re not sure what sort of base isolators they are using, but they could well be the same sort as used in Te Papa, with a lead core within a steel and rubber block. The picture below shows Dr Bill Robinson (the inventor of base isolation) with an isolator being installed at Te Papa. The thing with base isolation is that it needs to be placed securely between two very firm layers – typically this is between the top of a pile and the bottom of a beam. The problem for the Town Hall is that neither the beam nor a strong pile exist at this stage, so these need to be installed first. Sounds simple, but it is not. The workload will go something like this: • Pull up the entire ground floor and expose the foundations (this has already been done). • After this, the super-structure needs to be cut free and completely separated from the foundations below, with a brand-new ground beam installed, over brand-new foundations. Way easier said than done. • With a new building, the foundation piles are installed first on a bare and empty work site, reaching deep into the earth until they reach the bedrock below. Once that is done, the new ground beam is installed over the base isolators, leaving a clear gap all the way round the perimeter. Only when that is complete is the rest of the building constructed on top. • With strengthening of an existing building, that logical order of things is turned upside down. The contractor will first need to progressively work around the perimeter of the building, under-pinning the existing brick external façade. Due to the thickness of the wall, this is a tricky task and will need to be tackled from both inside and outside at the same time, drilling holes through from one side to the other and poking steel beams through. They will need to do this in patches, supporting the brick wall with temporary steel beams sitting on those earlier steel beams like a game of giant steel Jenga, while they dig out room for a segment of the new reinforced concrete ground beam below. It is quite likely that only when this ground beam is in, that the foundation piles can be installed. • Even the piling will not be straightforward: the bulk of the building will be in the way. It could be that piles are installed both inside and outside and connected with a thick strong concrete pile cap. That would entail a piling rig is used close to the existing building on both the outside and the inside – more tricky on the inside obviously – which may mean they have to use micro-piling, with shorter segments of piling connected together. The piling to the area below the auditorium floor will be much easier – with the floor all ripped up, they can pile in the open, straight down. There will need to be a lot of excavation of course, digging out metres of mud and sand – this is a reclaimed waterfront site after all, so there may well be archaeological remains below. Certainly there will be lots of seashells. • Only when this immense sequence of works is complete, around the entire perimeter and around the interior as well, will the building have been separated. I’m guessing that they don’t wait till the end to install the base isolators but that these are inserted as they go, but even this is a little tricky. You really don’t want a building to be half on wobbly rubber bases and the other half still fixed to the ground – given a good shake, the building above will rip itself apart. What will need to be done however is that a trench – or moat – is dug right round the perimeter, about half a metre wide. Again, a bit easier said than done, when the Town Hall sits right next to the Council office building next door. • All of this work needs to be done before any of the upstairs can be renovated and converted into a School of Music suitable for Victoria University. Given that there are a limited amount of people capable of undertaking this sort of work in NZ, that space will be cramped and access restricted, I’m not at all surprised that the program of works will take a long time, or that it will be hellishly expensive.

    • Jared Diamond: Finding Calm Water and Safe Ground during Upheaval
      • 22 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • 'There is a time in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to '... coping. It’s a bit hard for geographers to read Andrew Anthony’s introduction to Jared Diamond in the Guardian: Diamond studied physiology at Harvard and Cambridge and became a leading expert on the gall bladder. He is also an ornithologist, anthropologist, sociologist, evolutionary biologist, ecologist and environmental historian with a working knowledge of archaeology, genetics and the epidemiology of human diseases, as well as professor of geography at UCLA. They will doubtless prefer Wikipedia’s potted Bio: Jared Mason Diamond (born September 10, 1937) is an American geographer, historian, and author best known for his popular science books The Third Chimpanzee (1991); Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997, awarded a Pulitzer Prize); Collapse (2005); and The World Until Yesterday (2012). Originally trained in physiology, Diamond is known for drawing from a variety of fields, including anthropology, ecology, geography and evolutionary biology. He is a professor of geography at UCLA. Either way, he is clearly a polymath with a very wide range of interests and understandings – with levels of questioning, interest in cross-referencing and synthesis, and eclectic curiosity that fit well with geography. And hardly surprisingly, he and I find ourselves on the same wave length on a lot of issues. I was therefore very interested to learn what he Had to Say About the Modern World: But the first objective is to recognise that you are in a crisis, because there is no solution if you cannot diagnose the problem. Nevertheless, it is striking in these case studies how often denial seems a preferable option to confronting the issue at hand. Parochial party concerns frequently trump national ones as leaders look inwards rather than outwards. Sound familiar? Diamond suggests that the UK should remain within the EU but, as he puts it, “talk some sense into the immigration policy”. One of the factors that Diamond cites as important in dealing with crises is a strong national identity. The book is a forceful if rather old-fashioned argument for the continuing importance of nationhood. “Nation states are here now and they are here for the foreseeable future.” Nor is he much interested in the intersectional approach to politics, in which struggles are delineated along gender, ethnic and cultural lines. They don’t feature in a chapter on the future of the United States. And he is not sure they should feature in the next presidential election. “The Democrats will not win by emphasising LGBTQ issues, and similarly the best thing for members of the LGBTQ groups would be a Democratic victory, and the best way to assure a Democratic victory will be to appeal to mainstream Americans and not strong-pedal the LGBTQ issues.” He says his editor questioned this decision to avoid minority rights, but his rationale is that “while there’s still a lot to be done, the role of women and race issues have gotten better rather than worse. Whereas the issues that I discuss are the things that are still getting worse.” And among these issues Diamond believes is the rise of mass migration. He argues that it is a growing problem for the developed world that is widely recognised by politicians but seldom admitted publicly. “There are about a billion Africans in Africa and almost all of them would be better off economically and politically and in terms of personal safety in Europe,” he says. “The cruel reality is that it’s impossible for Europe to admit a billion Africans but Europeans will not acknowledge this conflict between ideals and reality.” He concedes that this stance puts him on the same side of the argument as people such as the populist Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán. “It’s unfortunate that people can come to a common conclusion for sensible reasons and for vile reasons,” he says. “But because of the relative lack of honest discussion, the issue has gotten hijacked by the racists, just as in the United States.” … My views about immigration do not coincide at all with extreme liberal American views about immigration, but I would be praised by anthropologists for my views on the intelligence of New Guineans compared to the intelligence of Europeans.”… “The only long-term solution is for you to do what is the only long-term solution for us in Latin America – namely, to do our best to improve conditions in Latin America and for you to do your best to improve conditions in Africa. It’s estimated that it would cost something like $30bn a year to solve the problems of malaria and Aids for the entire world.  That’s a tiny fraction of the money the European Union has, so it would be perfectly feasible for the EU to devote modest sums to addressing a primary problem of Africa – public health problems.” This is the reality. Governments, and especially democratic governments face the reality that continued mass trans-national immigration is likely to become increasingly economically disruptive, socially divisive and politically unpalatable in the host countries. We need then to devise fair, humane and effective means to curtail and control international migration from the Third World to the First World – and this will necessarily include massive but still cost-effective [overall] international development initiatives, including:redoubling efforts to upgrade governance in developing countriesacting more immediately and successfully to contain and solve civil and neighbour state warssupporting environmental initiatives – perhaps through paying developing states and their communities to conserve resources on the world’s behalf. Hard Sells in the Greed is Good / Me2PlusPlus Era – but there are no Palatable Alternatives if you want to try sincerely to Save the Planet and Save What’s Left of our Civilisation. SEE ALSO Jared Diamond: So how do states recover from crises? Same way as people do The bestselling environmental historian tells why his latest book, Upheaval, about how countries come through turmoil, is his most politicalAndrew Anthony, The Observer, 21 April 2019https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Diamond Jared DiamondFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Diamond

    • ComicFest 2019 – 5 minutes with Roger Langridge
      • 21 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • ComicFest is back for 2019! On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 of May at the National Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on May the 4th and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! For full programme click here and follow our updates on our Facebook event.   Our star artist, directly from the UK in this edition of the ComicFest, is next on our “5 minutes with…” feature. Meet Roger Langridge, a New Zealand-born comics writer, artist and letterer who lives in the UK. Notable works include The Muppet Show Comic Book, Thor: The Might Avenger and his own self-published Fred The Clown, which was nominated for  Eisner, Harvey, Ignatz and Reuben awards. Roger Langridge appears at ComicFest with the support of Creative New Zealand.   Q: What first got you interested in comics? A: I pretty much learned to read from Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics, which my mum used to buy for my brother and me to keep us quiet on long car journeys when we were very small. I had a sort of epiphany when I was around 6 or 7 years old, when our classroom art assignment was to draw a comic strip – most of the class drew three or four panels, but I covered both sides of the paper with these dense 16-panel comics. I’d found my thing. Q: What is your average day like? A: I tend to get up early – if I have a writing job to do I’ll put in an hour or two before the rest of the family wake up, otherwise I’ll catch up on paperwork and correspondence. Then I’ll have breakfast, get the kids off to school and start drawing – usually for the rest of the day, with a break for lunch and dinner. If I don’t have an urgent deadline I occasionally watch TV in the evening with my family, otherwise it’s back to the drawing board after dinner to make sure I hit the day’s target. Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on? A: Currently juggling a couple of things: I’m doing a serialised graphic novel for IDW’s Full Bleed anthology featuring my Fred the Clown character – it’s called Arizona Daisy, and it’s a western of sorts, about the relationship between a man and his cow. I’m also working on another serial – it’s for the anthology Meanwhile, published by Soaring Penguin, with a rural New Zealand setting. It’s called Taniwha. I’m hoping to do some research for it while I’m in New Zealand. My pitch was “Hunt for the Wilder People meets Alice in Wonderland”, which should either give you some idea of the tone I’m striving for or else utterly confuse everyone. Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work? A: Ideally I like to start before I’m properly awake, to kind of trick myself into getting something done before I’ve had time to realise that’s what I’m doing – there’s a flow established by the time I’ve caught up with myself enough to realise what’s going on. Sometimes I’ll play instrumental music (jazz or classical, usually) when I start – it’s a way to help me focus and drown out any distractions. It has to be something without words, though. A human voice takes me right out of it. Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration? A: I think my holy triumvirate would be E.C. Segar, Carl Barks and Kurtzman & Elder.  Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators? A: From before I moved to the UK: I adored Barry Linton’s comics; I was so sorry to hear he’d passed away. I’ve followed Dylan Horrocks’ stuff since his university days. Karl Wills does some amazing work. Trace Hodgson’s comics need some sort of collection. More recently: I like the bits I’ve seen from Ned Wenlock & Sarah Laing. Jared Lane’s stuff is very accomplished. Ant Sang is a world-class cartoonist. Ben Stenbeck gets better and better all the time. There’s always a ton of great work coming out of New Zealand, it definitely punches above its weight in terms of the talent it produces. I’m missing loads of people. I’m a bit out of the loop these days so I’m hoping to educate myself on who’s current or up-and-coming while I’m visiting. Q: What is your dream comic project? A: I’d really like to try my hand at a daily strip for a sustained period – some absurdist character-based thing with a Goon Show sort of feel to it. To do it well at my current rate of production it would totally have to be a full-time job, though, so either I need to find a way to draw a lot faster or find some way to get paid for it. Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster! A: I’ve been asked to do a workshop about using formal constraints as a creative instigator, so there’s that! Should be fun for people who want to get involved. I’ll try to keep it silly. Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as? A: Maybe I could be the back end of Barney Google’s horse, Spark Plug? You can find Roger online in the following places: Twitter: @hotelfred Blog/Website: hotelfred.com

    • Services on the Johnsonville line are replaced by bus between Khandallah and Johnsonville due to an overhead power fault
      • 20 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Train services on the Johnsonville Line are suspended between Khandallah and Johnsonville due to an overhead power fault.Services will be running to timetable on the Johnsonville line. Bus replacement services will run between Khandallah and Johnsonville, train services will be running between Wellington and Khandallah. Please expect some delays along the line.Maintainers are on site working to remedy this fault.We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.  Check here for bus pick-up locationsPlease allow extra time for travel when bus replacement is offered. Bus replacements are not tracked via real time information when they replace trains.Cycles other than folding cycles, will not be carried on the buses replacing trains.  For more information see: http://www.metlink.org.nz/getting-around/using-a-cycle-on-pt (external link) (external link)/All folded prams can be carried on board the bus replacement services when stored in the luggage areas, non-foldable prams may not be able to be carried on all bus replacements, please talk to on-board staff when boarding.If you have additional mobility needs please talk to the on board staff or contact Metlink to plan your trip.For more information call Metlink on 0800 801 700 or use the Journey Planner. This affects these services: JVL

    • Token Cripple: You’re totally messing with my cripple aura, dood.
      • 20 Apr 2019
      • Salient
      • “You’re so lucky you have other stuff going for you.” In other words, you’re so lucky because I don’t see you as just disabled. Not too long ago, hearing this would have filled me with pride. It would have confirmed that, yes, I’ve finally achieved my goal of making my disability invisible and irrelevant by ignoring it for most of my life. You see, I have always grappled with the thought that I have to become somebody in order to avoid the label that I used to fear the most: “just that disabled girl”. If I get a bad grade, I’m not smart and, I am just that disabled girl. If I don’t appear desirable, then no romantic interest will ever be able to love just that disabled girl (*cue sad girl on piano music*). If I don’t succeed in my endeavours all the time, I am just that disabled girl. It’s a thought process that can trap me in a deep pit of anxiety, panic, and self-hatred (~fun, fun, fun, fun~). As I’ve hopefully made clear from this column—disabled people are always held up against the expectations of an ableist narrative in which we are expected to fit a mold which may be impossible for us to fulfil. It’s not inconceivable, therefore, to see why disabled people may feel that they need to overachieve in order to legitimise their existence or even their sense of worth. I think this is a trap that a lot of activists, myself included, sadly buy into. The reality is, we simply aren’t going to be listened to if we aren’t considered impressive enough, outside of our disability. And most of the disabled activists I know of are extremely impressive—entrepreneurs, very talented writers and speakers, athletes, actors, etc. Regardless of their disability, these people are achieving more than most people of their age. But, really, why are we so desperate to be at the top, to have so much else “going for us” on top of our disability? Red Nicholson (teacher, disability advocate, writer, podcaster, and all-around cool guy) wrote an article called “The fragile ego of disability” and I think his opinion is pretty on par with my point. He writes: “The answer, of course, is ego. And shame. Ego, because our entire childhoods were spent being told how special we are. How clever. How wonderful that we were disabled and we had friends. That we were disabled and we did our homework. That we were disabled and we did this most inconsequential mundane thing. And shame because now, faced with the reality that life is actually more difficult for us, we are still desperate to perpetuate this narrative of specialness in a world that simply isn’t set up in a way that allows us to thrive. That paradox is a painful one, and I think it leads us to carve out space for ourselves in such a way that people continue to remark upon us as unique, as special. Through this, we are able to continue countering stereotypes and harvesting that external affirmation that we have been conditioned to so desperately crave. However, we’ll probably end up living our lives in the pursuit of the validation of others – a tragic and vacuous life, surely” I agree with this. But, as someone with a progressive disability, I think my quest for perfectionism might come from somewhere else also. Technically, I wasn’t always disabled. Learning to accept and love the fact that I am ”that disabled girl” in a world which makes it hard, has been a slow and wild journey. I strive for perfection because part of me is still scared of that label. Part of me wants to reject it. But, finally, I’m learning to get along with it. Because I am that disabled girl and there’s nothing wrong with that—whether I am adorned with achievements or not. Besides, I’m just so tired of making myself look and feel good through an ableist lens. It’s, like, totally messing with my crippled aura, d00d.    

    • Building Products and Methods
      • 20 Apr 2019
      • Eye of the Fish
      • A bit of a change of tack here on Eye of the Fish – away from burning cathedrals and crazy housing – I thought that it may be useful to bring to your attention a MBIE discussion paper on legislative reform of the Building Sector. It is quite a wide-ranging review, probably the biggest for years since the actual review of the Building Act itself in 2004, they have helpfully colour-coded their publications, so that Part 1 (intro) is in green. It is dealing with Risk and Liability (Part 4 – is in a bright pink), the Building Levy (Part 5 – is in purple), Offences and Penalties (Part 6 – is in orange), Occupational regulation (Part 3 – is dark blue), but the part that interests me most is Building Products and Methods (Part 2 – is in bright blue – the bit I’m going to discuss). MBIE would like the feedback by 5pm on Sunday on 16 June. Sounds a long way away, but it’ll be here before you know. So, what do they want to know? Well, to do that you really need to download and read the thing yourself, but I’m going to do a bit of summarising here to help you along. Right from the outset I’m going to say that I find this confusing – the short Blue version says that “MBIE wants your feedback on three sets of proposals” but the longer Blue version says that “MBIE proposes seven changes to building products regulation”. Hmmm. Does that mean that Proposal One is divided into seven sub-parts? or something else? At the end of the longer document, they ask a series of questions – 27 questions in total. Phew! I’ll take it slowly. Proposal One: Improve information and accountability for building products and methods. Proposal Two: Strengthen the framework for product certification. This applies to both products and methods. Proposal Three: Make consenting easier for modern methods of construction, including off-site manufacturing. (That last one – off-site manufacturing – sounds like they are talking about how to make Prefab work better. Good!). I’m now going to list their next bit: MBIE proposes seven changes to building product regulation. Change One: Widen the purpose of the Building Act to include the regulation of building products and methods. Change Two: Provide clear definitions for ‘building product’ and ‘building method’. Change Three: Require product manufacturers and suppliers to supply information about their building products. Set minimum standards for that information. This does not apply to building methods. Change Four: Clarify responsibilities of manufacturers, suppliers, designers and builders for building products and building methods. Change Five: Give MBIE the power to compel information to support an investigation into a building product of method. Change Six: Strengthen the framework for product certification for both products and methods. Change Seven: Enable a regulatory framework for modern methods of construction, including off-site manufacture. There’s way too much for me to discuss here – better that you download the papers from the links above, but let’s have a look at the very last change first: MMC. (Modern Methods of Construction – or, as we are more used to calling it, Prefab, or Off-site manufacturing). They have a series of statements that they propose, before they then pose some questions that they want feedback on. The proposals are based on this little diagram: 2.23 Are these the correct features for a future-proofed regulatory framework for MMC? 2.24 What would be the impact of such a regulatory framework for MMC? 2.25 For manufacturers of MMC, including off-site manufacture: How would the proposed framework impact your business? 2.26 For manufacturers of MMC, including off-site manufacture: Would you use the manufacturer certification scheme, and how would it need to be designed to work for you? 2.27 For building consent authorities: What would be the impact of a requirement for BCAs to accept one another’s consents and Code Compliance Certificates? Feel free to comment here ! Help me make sense of it all !

    • ComicFest 2019 – 5 minutes with Sharon Murdoch
      • 19 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • ComicFest is back for 2019! On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 of May at the National Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on May the 4th and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! For full programme click here and follow our updates on our Facebook event. Meet Sharon Murdoch, a political cartoonist with Stuff Media. Her cartoon series Munro, about an orange cat, also appears in Stuff’s daily newspapers. Murdoch won Canon Media Awards Cartoonist of the Year in 2016 and 2017, and Voyager Media Awards Cartoonist of the Year in 2018 (formerly the Canon Media Awards). Two collections of Sharon’s work have been published – one on her political work written by Dr Melinda Johnston, and another of her Munro cat cartoons, which came out in late 2018. Of political cartooning, Sharon says she can’t think of another job she would rather do. Even on a bad day. Q: What first got you interested in comics? A: After I finished Design School I lived with Trace Hodgson, who at the time was a political cartoonist for The Listener, so cartoons were a normal part of the day, and he had lots of comics around – mainly underground. Later I worked with a Xhosa Women’s Community Development group in South Africa, and we used comic strips as a way to communicate information about AIDS prevention and early childhood development. I also helped put together a kids paper for the Evening Post newspaper, called Presto. Gradually I started doing political stuff. And so it went… Q: What is your average day like? A: On days I have to do a political cartoon I turn on the radio as soon as I wake up and listen to RNZ and trawl through news sites. If I’m lucky my partner will bring me a cup of tea – which may be straight kindness, or may be because he likes the kitchen to himself. Our cats Munro and LaLuna usually clamp me to the bed, so it takes a bit of manouvering to extricate myself. I walk into town and have another cup of tea at a cafe while I read the newspaper, and rough out ideas. Then some more walking is usually involved while I try to sort out what the characters are saying. Most days I draw at my desk in the Stuff newsroom. It’s a great place to be, because there’s more tea, and I get to hear what’s happening about the place. I usually work till around 6.30 or so, and then I walk home again. If I have other projects on, I try to do them on the weekends, or if I’m on a deadline I’ll work in the evening, but I find as I’ve gotten older working in the evening is more exhausting than it used to be, and also takes time away from being with my partner, my teenaged daughter, the two cats and the dog, Iris. Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on? A: My regular political cartoons for Stuff newspapers and Stuff.co.nz. A book of my cat cartoons, Munro, came out late last year, and I’ve been drawing penguins for South Cider cider cans. At the moment I’m doing drawings for a book by Mike White about dogs. Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work? A: Lots of tea. Lots of walking. A favourite dip pen handle that I got off Trademe – it’s quite old and has it’s own reservoir, and Hunt and Brause nibs. The sketchbooks I use are from Japan City. When I found out that Japan City was closing I went in and bought about 50 of them. I use one a month, so I figure when I run out of those sketchbooks my cartooning career will be over. If not before. Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration? A: JJ Grandville, Lynda Barry, Edward Gorey, Edward Lear, Chris Blain, Mervyn Peake, Mathieu Sapin, Ben Shahn, Wanda G’ag, Kate Beaton. Q: What is your dream comic project? A: Something with animals. Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster! A: Excitement about drawing stories, whether that’s single panels or pages. Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as? A: Dressing as myself is challenge enough. You can follow Sharon on Twitter @domesticanimcal

    • For Theresa Lola - More on Marilyn
      • 19 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • More on Marilyn - Lagos Forty Years Ago                             [for Theresa Lola] In Lagos, the atmosphere stands over you like a dark genieThe water has failed in the smart concrete apartmentAnd I shave using Sprite to foam my faceBut the electricity works, so the paddle-fan moves above my sleeping place in the lounge. Burning myself out from work up-country for my engineering companyI have come, fighting for my life again, to this dense dark cityOn the way home - back to Heathrow and the Home Counties -If they’ll recognize my ticket at the Nigeria Airways desk. I have somehow made it to a nightclub and become a little drunkAnd found myself liking and loving a girl who has excellent EnglishWho also speaks Italian – having been what we would now call trafficked -My beautiful girl, my Black Marilyn, my night club pick-up. The fan is still turning above this stifling ceiling of inadequaciesThat most beautiful of deep, dark lustrous skin to be cherishedFor both of us a petit mort – death itself in touchYou were so much more than your beauty – I still can’t take my eyes off you.

    • Theresa Lola: Swinging from a Ceiling of Inadequacies ...
      • 19 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • Black Marilyn by Theresa Lola In Lagos, a photograph of Marilyn Monroe watches me in my hotel room as I scrub my body like it’s a house preparing for an estate agent’s visit. I think Marilyn wants to say something to me, the way her mouth is always open like a cheating husband’s zipper.My mind carries more weapons than all war-­torn countries combined. Every day I survive is worth a medal or two. I celebrate by buying more clothes than I can afford. I must be rich; my void is always building a bigger room to accommodate new things.Today I woke up surprised I was still alive, last thing I remember was my body swinging from a ceiling of inadequacies. In my head I have died in so many ways I must be a god the way I keep resurrecting into prettier caskets.Marilyn’s photographer, Lawrence Schiller, said Marilyn was afraid that she was nothing more than her beauty. You can call me arrogant, call me black Marilyn, come celebrate with me, I am so beautiful death can’t take its eyes off me.From In Search of Equilibrium (Nine Arches)  ProfileLearn about poet Theresa Lola HideBiographyA British Nigerian writer born in 1994, Lola was joint winner of the 2018 Brunel International African poetry prize. Her debut collection is In Search of Equilibrium. Theresa Lola named young people's laureate for London The 24-year-old from Bromley hopes to help young people use poetry to ‘celebrate themselves’, as under-34s drive sales to record highSanjana Varghese, UK Guardian, 19 April 2019 https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/19/theresa-lola-named-young-peoples-laureate-for-london Poet Theresa Lola, named the new young people’s laureate for London, says she hopes to use the role to help the capital’s demonised youth to find confidence in their voice. The 24-year-old British-Nigerian from Bromley, south London, studied accounting and finance at university before turning to poetry. She is the third young people’s laureate, after Caleb Femi and Momtaza Mehri. The joint winner of the 2018 Brunel international African poetry prize, her debut collection, In Search of Equilibrium was published in February, and was described as breathtaking by author Bernardine Evaristo. During the one-year post, Lola said she wants to encourage young people to “use the power and the emotion of language to celebrate themselves”. “It’s easy for us to demonise young people and social media,” she said. “Poetry was instrumental for me, to find my voice and to find my confidence, and hopefully it can do that for other young people too.” Sales of poetry books have increased over the last three years, hitting an all-time high of £12m in 2018. Two-thirds of poetry buyers are now under 34, with teenage girls and young women identified as the biggest consumers last year. Lola credited the sales boom with a corresponding rise in “bold and unapologetic” young poets finding success – such as 33-year-old Raymond Antrobus and 29-year-old Danez Smith, who won the most recent Ted Hughes prize and Forward prize respectively.

    • New Mysteries
      • 18 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • Nefarious business tactics, buried secrets and deadly coincidences are woven through our latest selection of fiction mysteries. The imaginations of these talented authors deal with the machinations of the darker side of human nature.  The landscapes, cities and villages that host these tales feature as essential characters in these tales. Our  selection includes Donna Leon’s new Venetian novel, awash with her fascination for minor vices and drastic consequences. A new northern European detective hero is revealed in shape of Embla Nystrom, a welter weight prize-winner, hunter and female detective inspector whose talents and skills are about to be tested to the limit in Helene Tursten’s Hunting Game. Accessing new titles has become easier with the removal of reserve fees. As before you can can choose any location to collect your chosen books.  Some of our new titles can be found through Overdrive as eBooks or eAudiobooks. This post highlights the library online access where possible.  All the titles in this new Mystery fiction selection are available in print form also. The Scholar, Dervla McTiernan (ebook) (eAudiobook) (print) “When DS Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend, Emma, stumbles across the victim of a hit and run early one morning outside the laboratory at Galway University, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID, that of Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, it has funded Emma’s own ground-breaking research. As Cormac investigates, evidence mounts that the death is linked to a Darcy laboratory and increasingly, to Emma herself. Cormac is sure she couldn’t be involved, but how well does he really know her?” (Catalogue) Murder at the British Museum / Eldridge, Jim “1894. A well-respected academic is found dead in a gentlemen’s convenience cubicle at the British Museum, the stall locked from the inside. Professor Pickering had been due to give a talk promoting the museum’s new ‘Age of King Arthur’ exhibition when he was stabbed repeatedly in the chest. Daniel Wilson is called in to solve the mystery of the locked cubicle murder, and he brings his expertise and archaeologist Abigail Fenton with him. But  the museum becomes the site of another fatality and the pair face mounting pressure to deliver results. With persistent journalists, local vandals and a fanatical society, Wilson and Fenton face a race against time to salvage the reputation of the museum and catch a murderer desperate for revenge.” (Catalogue) Hunting Game, Helene Tursten (ebook) (print)  “Helene Tursten’s explosive new series features Detective Inspector Embla Nyström, a sharp, unforgiving woman working in a man’s world. From a young age, 28-year-old Embla Nystrom has been plagued by chronic nightmares and racing thoughts. She has learned to channel most of her anxious energy into her position as Detective Inspector in the mobile unit in Gothenburg, Sweden. When one of her peers is murdered during a routine hunting trip, Embla must track down the killer while confronting a dark incident from her past.” (Adapted from catalogue) Hallowdene / Mann, George “Former London journalist Elspeth Reeves is trying to carve a new life for herself in the sleepy Oxfordshire countryside, until she’s sent to cover the excavation of a notorious local witch’s grave. Three hundred years ago, her name mixed up with murder and black magic, Agnes Levett was hanged and then buried under an immense stone, to prevent her spirit from ever rising again. Elspeth investigates, but soon finds there is far more to the old tale than meets the eye, as the surrounding area is rocked by a series of mysterious and brutal murders, all of people somehow connected with the dig. She and her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw race to uncover the truth, but secrets lain buried for centuries are not easily discovered.” (Catalogue) Unto us a son is given / Donna Leon. “The latest of Donna Leon’s bestselling Venice crime novels. As a favour to his wealthy father-in-law, Commissario Guido Brunetti agrees to investigate the seemingly innocent wish of the Count’s best friend, the elderly and childless Gonzalo, to adopt a younger man as his son. Under Italian inheritance laws, this man would become the sole heir to Gonzalo’s substantial fortune, something which Gonzalo’s friends,  find appalling. For his part, Brunetti wonders why they’re so intent on meddling in the old man’s business. Not long after Brunetti meets with Gonzalo, the elderly man unexpectedly passes away from natural causes. Old and frail, Gonzalo’s death goes unquestioned. But when Berta, one of Gonzalo’s closest confidantes, is strangled in her hotel room, Brunetti is drawn into long-buried secrets from Gonzalo’s past. What did Berta know? And who would go to such lengths to ensure it would remain hidden?” (Syndetics summary) False account / Veronica Heley. “The mysterious deaths of two adored cats plunges Bea into the disturbing goings-on of the Tredgold family in the latest Abbot Agency mystery. Wealthy Marcia Tredgold and her daughter, Charlotte, want Bea Abbot to find them replacements for staff who have left under a cloud. Bea discovers that all those dismissed were close to Marcia Tredgold, and senses that something is not right. Were they framed, and if so by whom and why? In her quest to uncover the truth, Bea’s own safety is put at risk.” (adapted from Syndetics summary) The godless / Doherty, Paul “A number of prostitutes in 14th century London are brutally murdered, with blood-red wigs placed upon their heads; at the same time a war cog ship bound for Calais is destroyed: is there a connection, and are the rumours true that the mysterious Oriflamme is responsible? Brother Athelstan returns to uncover the truth, and of who – or what – he is.” (Catalogue)   Never tell / Lisa Gardner. “One death might be an accident. Two deaths looks like murder. A man is shot dead in his own home, and his pregnant wife, Evie, is found with the gun in her hands. Detective D.D. Warren instantly recognises her. Sixteen years ago, Evie also shot her own father. That killing was ruled an accident. D.D. doesn’t believe in coincidences. But this case isn’t as open and shut as it first appears, and her job is to discover the truth. Evie might be a victim. Or she might be about to get away with murder again.” (Catalogue)

    • Featherston Anzac Day Commemorations 2019
      • 18 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Date: Thursday 25 April 2019   Times: 8am to 12pmLocation: Fitzherbert Street (SH2), FeatherstonRoad Closure Fitzherbert Street (SH2) – between Lyon Street to Waite StreetBirdwood Street – From Fitzherbert Street to Bell StreetFox Street – From Birdwood Street to Wallace StreetWallace Street – From Fox Street to Fitzherbert StreetPlease refer to the diversion map below for more information.Closed Bus StopsThe following bus stops will be closed during the above times:Stop #1812 – Fitzherbert Street at Birdwood Street Stop #1813 – Fitzherbert Street (near 89) This affects these services: 200

    • Titahi Bay Anzac Day Commemorations 2019
      • 18 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Date: Thursday 25 April 2019   Times: 5am to 12pmLocation: Main Road, Titahi BayRoad ClosureMain Road - between Dimock Street and Kapiti CrescentPlease refer to the diversion map below for more information.Closed Bus StopsThe following bus stops will be closed during the above times:Stop #2906 – Main Road at Dimock Street Stop #2908 – Main Road at Whitehouse Crescent This affects these services: 220

    • Eastbourne Anzac Day Commemorations 2019
      • 18 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Date: Thursday 25 April 2019   Times: 8am to 11amLocation: Muritai Road between Rimu Street and Makaro StreetRoad ClosureMuritai Road - between Rimu Street and Makaro StreetPlease refer to the diversion map below for more information.Closed Bus StopsThe following bus stops will be closed during the above times:Stop #8850 – Muritai Road at Makaro Gardens Stop #8849 – Muritai Road at Eastbourne Village Stop #9849 – Eastbourne Village – Muritai Road Stop #8862 – Muritai Road near Makaro Street This affects these services: 83

    • Lower Hutt Anzac Day Commemorations 2019
      • 18 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Date: Thursday 25 April 2019   Times: 5am to 11amLocation: Queens Drive, Lower HuttRoad ClosuresQueens Drive – Between Laings Road and High StreetLaings Road – Between Knight’s Road and Myrtle StreetPlease refer to the diversion map below for more information.   View the full Southbound diversion map   View the full Northbound diversion map View the full route 83 diversion map Closed Bus StopsThe following bus stops will be closed during the above times:Bus Stop #8113 – Queens Drive at Riddiford Gardens Bus Stop #9113 - Queens Drive at Riddiford Gardens (opposite) The following bus stops will be closed to Route 130 services only during the above times:Bus Stop #9159 – Hutt Valley High School – Woburn Road Bus Stop #8159 – Hutt Valley High School (opposite) Bus Stop #9158 – Woburn Road opposite Hutt Recreation Ground Bus Stop #8158 – Woburn Road at Hutt Recreation Ground This affects these services: 83 110 130 150

    • Upper Hutt Anzac Day Commemorations 2019
      • 18 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Date: Thursday 25 April 2019Times: 5 am until 9amLocation: Upper HuttPlease note: A Sunday timetable will be running all day on Anzac Day.Road ClosuresFergusson Drive - From the Princes Street Roundabout to the Blenheim Street RoundaboutWilson Street - From the Criterion Lane and Bradley Lane intersection to Fergusson DrivePlease refer to the diversion maps below for more information.   View the full Northbound diversion map   View the full Southbound diversion map Closed Bus StopsThe following bus stops will be closed during the above times:Stop #8576 – Criterion Lane at Wilson Street Stop #9576 – Wilson Street near Bradley Lane Stop #9577 – Upper Hutt – Senior Citizens Club Temporary Bus StopsThe Route 110 will stop at the following temporary bus stops during the above times:Stop #9538 - Queen Street at Countdown Stop #9539 - Queen Street at King Street This affects these services: 110

    • Motu Kairangi – A free lunchtime kōrero
      • 18 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • Nau mai, haere mai Wellington City Libraries presents a free lunchtime kōrero about the history of Te Motu Kairangi (The Miramar peninsula). The Speaker Morrie Love will mark the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi at Te Whanganui-a-Tara, on the 29th April 1840 in his kōrero of Te Motu Kairangi. Date: Monday 29th April Place: St Andrews on the Terrace Time:  12:30 – 1:15pm Enquiries to ann.reweti@wcc.govt.nz One version of the story of the settlement of the eastern shores of Te Whanaganui-a-Tara by Ngāi Tara, Ngāti Itra is told by Elsdon Best in The land of Tara – we have this digitised version  on our Māori Resource page. The migrations of iwi and hapū from the East Coast – the stories of Ngāti Porou / Ngāti Kahungunu are a complex acount of journeys, fighting and intermarriage.  “Ngāti Kahungunu” was the blanket label given to the eastern tribes by Te Atiawa as the Taranaki iwi sought to plant their foothold on the western shores and the inner harbour between 1820s and 1840s – up to the arrival of the New Zealand Company and its first six ships of immigrants in 1839-1840. You can also check out our Te Whanganui-a-Tara index of Māori history and here are some eBooks from our catalogue on ‘Te Tirit o Waitangi’. The Treaty of Waitangi / Orange, Claudia “Since its publication in 1987, Claudia Orange’s book has become the standard guide to one of the key documents in New Zealand history, selling over 40,000 copies. The complexities of the Treaty, which have done so much to shape New Zealand history for nearly 200 years, are thoughtfully explored as Orange examines the meanings the document has held for Māori and Pākehā. A new introduction brings it up to date with all that has happened since, complementing the book’s lucid and well-researched exploration of how and why the Treaty was signed.” (Catalogue) Treaty of Waitangi [electronic resource] / Calman, Ross “The book’s first two parts consider how the Christian word was spread and how Maori responded, explaining the identification they felt with the Israelites of the Old Testament. The third part relates the rise of indigenous religious movements, from the early Papahurihia through Pai Marire, Ringatu and the Parihaka Movement, and the later incarnations of the Arowhenua Movement in the South Island and what remains today’s leading Maori church, Ratana.” (Catalogue) Treaty of Waitangi settlements “The settlement of iwi claims under the Treaty of Waitangi has drawn international attention, as other nations seek ways to build new relationships between indigenous peoples and the state. Here leading scholars consider the impact of Treaty settlements on the management and ownership of key resources (lands, forests and fisheries); they look at the economic and social consequences for Māori, and the impact of the settlement process on Crown–Māori relationships. And they ask ‘how successful has the settlement process been?'” (Catalogue) The story of a treaty / Orange, Claudia “The Treaty of Waitangi is a central document in New Zealand history. This lively account tells the story of the Treaty from its signing in 1840 through the debates and struggles of the nineteenth century to the gathering political momentum of recent decades. The second edition of this popular book brings the story up to the present”–Back cover.” (Catalogue)

    • The Case for a New Chief Human Rights Commissioner in NZ
      • 17 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • Should immigrants steeped in Right-wing / Neo-liberal Business Practices be shaping our Economy and Society? We owe a lot to immigrants here in New Zealand. For Non-Maori, it is only a matter of a generation or two before you stub your toes on a New-come-over – with one quarter of us having been born abroad. Notwithstanding, there may be legitimate concerns that ring-in Poms [or Yanks … etc.] are cornering the market on Big Bucks and Sharp Business Practice? What about Ian Cassels the Wellington property developer, John Milford head of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, and Kevin Lavery, CEO of Wellington City Council, for starters? Or indeed Chinese brothers John and Michael Chow who have parlayed their interests in brothels and bordellos into a $500 million property and business portfolio, with them now ‘going respectable’ as Establishment Rich Listers? Taking up the argument of nativist-xenophobe Karl du Fresne, concerning imported Human Rights Experts like Brit Professor Paul Hunt, surely there must be questions about immigrant plutocrats and bent crony capitalists dominating and subverting human rights in NZ down the track [Right-Libertarian American Peter Theil is another example]? Isn’t what is sauce for the goose, also sauce for the gander? We need to go back 50 years then and let the rustics from the Booay, Masterton and Waikikamukau, like du Fresne, take back control across the board. In this regard, I would like to propose my Old Mate, local journo ‘Six-O-Clock’ O’Reilly [Emeritus Stringer at KSJWNZ] as our next Chief Human Rights Commissioner: A BRIEF BIO Born in bough shed in Waikikamukau in 1939, Barry O’Reilly did it hard growing up in The Bush – milking his family’s two cows before school and then carrying the farm milk churn with him to the bus-stop and on to the dairy in Morrinsville as a student in Grade 6. Never afraid of hard yakka, he did spells as a shearing floor sweeper, a pub cellar man and contract fencer while completing his certificates as a teenager. After touring country shows as a Racing Axe – Down-Down act, with his combined wood-chopping / dinner ale sculling feats, he joined a team of semi-professional Southland dwarf-tossers which dominated the sport in places as far apart as Nightcaps and Hedgehope. Along the way, quiet, shy, retiring O’Reilly acquired the soubriquet ‘Six O’Clock’ from his regular attendance at the ‘Six O’Clock Swills’ that took place as New Zealand’s pubs were subjected to early evening curfew and blokes fought to buy the last jug before closing time (prior to drinking liberalisation in 1967). More of a sly-grogger, Barry at first resented the moniker but then came to embrace it. His break into journalism came when he accidentally burnt-down the fire station at Kyeburn Diggings and yarned about it over a few jugs at the pub in Windwhistle – where unbeknownst, his drinking companion turned out to be the well-known and well-regarded editor of the Timaru Herald Justin McPhee who bought him his first pencil. Fast forward to the 1990s when he made it to the metropole after reporting decisively on a series of undecisive trial outcomes concerning the mystery murders for which rural New Zealand is so famous – these providing endless copy and opportunities for unlimited speculation and embroidering, given the apparent inability of the NZ Police to close any murder case without cock-ups, cover ups and piss ups. This training in ‘making the news’ has proved invaluable to the international press conglomerate KJWNZ which ‘snapped up’ O’Reilly when he came on the market. Now regularly ensconced in the Kilbirnie Tavern, the veteran newshound covers NZ news from his wide network of contacts and informants, in what can be seen as vindication of the dogged professionalism of old-style journalism. --- Not that ‘Six O’Clock’ is flavour of the month with NZ’s modern journos who have all done full-time three-year university courses in sloppy reporting, spin, 'Comms', news faking, plagiarism and pencil sharpening. But with ‘Six O’Clock’ you get exactly what you pay for – unalloyed ignorance, ad hominem bigotry, and total naivety about the wider modern world in which New Zealand finds itself. And you can bet your bottom dollar that he won’t take any nonsense about Objectivity, Fairness and Integrity. SEE ALSO Should a person steeped in British Left-wing activism be shaping our human rights policy?Karl du Fresne, NZ Stuff, 18 April 2019https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/columnists/112101385/should-a-person-steeped-in-british-leftwing-activism-be-shaping-our-human-rights-policy Journalism in the 21st Century: We don't need What's New - we need What's True! CURATORIAL APPROACH NOT POPULAR IN THE KILBIRNIE TAVERNKSJWNZ 23 November 2018https://kjohnsonnz.blogspot.com/2018/11/journalism-in-21st-century-we-dont-need.html NZ Free Speech to be Moderated through Country Calendar? FREE SPEECH - YEAH RIGHT IF YOU ARE BOGANESQUEKSJWNZ 4 April 2019https://kjohnsonnz.blogspot.com/2019/04/nz-free-speech-to-be-moderated-through.html

    • Buses replace all train services on the Hutt Valley Line Between Wellington and Upper Hutt - Easter Weekend 19 - 22 April
      • 17 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • You can visit the Hutt Valley Traction Project page for more information about the project work that is underway on the line.NOTE: Manor Park will be serviced by a shuttle picking up and dropping off passengers between SIlverstream and Manor Park.The Manor Park shuttle now services Manor Park from the bus stop beside the Park and Ride. Bus replacement services may be delayed, please allow extra time for travel.Bus replacement timetable - services highlighted in green will be replaced by buses:Hutt Valley Line bus replacement posterFor bus pick-up locations check 'Where do I catch the bus?' Please allow extra time for travel when bus replacement is offered. Bus replacements are not tracked via real time information when they replace trains.Cycles other than folding cycles, will not be carried on the buses replacing trains.  For more information see: http://www.metlink.org.nz/getting-around/using-a-cycle-on-pt (external link)/All folded prams can be carried on board the bus replacement services when stored in the luggage areas, non-foldable prams may not be able to be carried on all bus replacements, please talk to on-board staff when boarding.If you have additional mobility needs please talk to the on board staff or contact Metlink to plan your trip.For more information call Metlink on 0800 801 700 or use the Journey Planner. This affects these services: HVL

    • ComicFest 2019 – 5 minutes with Jesse Barratt
      • 17 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • ComicFest is back for 2019! On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 of May at the National Library there will be panels, talks and workshops all day long for comic-lovers of all ages. You can also pick up a free comic from us on May the 4th and celebrate Free Comic Book Day, courtesy of GRAPHIC! For full programme click here and follow our updates on our Facebook event.   Next on our special “5 minutes with…” feature we have Jesse Barratt. He is a Senior Artist at Weta Workshop’s gaming studio and was instrumental in shipping Weta Workshop’s first and multi-award nominated title Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders for the Magic Leap One. Jesse’s talents were used to develop the 3D aspect of Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders including the creation of spaces and objects, and increasing immersion within the world of Mixed Reality. Jesse Barratt appears at ComicFest with the support of Weta.   Q: What first got you interested in comics? A: Art, definitely the Art. my older brother, Brad, used to buy comics all the time – he’d buy half a dozen or so a fortnight so we had plenty in the house when I was young. Much to my mum’s worry, I would sit for hours at a time, pouring over the images in comics such as Hellraiser, Tales from the Crypt, Ironman, Wolverine and Hellboy. Q: What is your average day like? A: I wake up early and go to bed late so my days are long. Most days I work around the 10 hour mark. Once you add portfolio work and life’s other commitments, my sleep schedule is usually shortened to the 5-6 hour mark. Healthy eating and exercise becomes important to an artist at that point. Who knows what could happen otherwise – your hands might drop off! At Weta Workshop, I usually start my day around 7:30am, make a nice coffee in the staff kitchen and begin reading my emails and talk to a few people. This helps me prioritize my workload for the day. Once I’ve got the utmost deadlines out the way, I get stuck into a day’s worth of development. On any given day, this could consist of modeling, texturing, etc. at Weta Workshop every day is varied and interesting. Q: Can you tell us about a current or recent project you’ve worked on? A: Last year Weta Workshop released its first mixed reality game, Dr Grordbort’s Invaders set in the retro-science fiction universe of rayguns, rocket ships and deadly robot miscreants. This was also my first time working in mixed reality and it came with a host of new and exciting challenges. I certainly learnt a lot from the project. Now I continue to work within this inspiring new medium – it’s a little different from traditional comic book drawing and I relish the work. Q: Do you have any traditions or rituals that help you when you get to work? A: I think the only tradition I have regarding helping me at work is to just really focus. People speak about “focus” like this mystical or difficult to obtain phantom. But I think that focus is more about building it over time. I usually just say to myself, Ok, from 9am to lunch I don’t get off this seat and I work. As creative people, I think we all get distracted easier than others. But by being prepared and organised you can really force yourself to shoot some goals. Q: Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration? A: Honestly? It’s the people around me. People like our Lead Artist, Stephen Lambert, our Game Director, Greg Broadmore, and the rest of the amazing team at Weta Workshop’s gaming division. These people inspire me on a daily basis. Q: What or who are your favourite NZ comics or creators? A: Have to shout out to the best boss I’ve had and one of the most amazing artists on the planet, whether he thinks that or not, Greg Broadmore. Incredible. Check out his stuff. Q: What is your dream comic project? A: I’d actually love to work in a style like Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. Something dark and gritty, terrifying and beautiful. Q: What are you excited to share with ComicFest attendees? Just a taster! A: I’ll be giving attendees at ComicFest a look into the weird world of an artist’s mind. I’ll be showing and discussing how we analyse imagery and extract the information we use to recreate or spark inspiration. Using the world of Dr.Grordbort’s and Greg’s comic book work I’ll introduce the audience to principles such as line, color, form and more. Q: If you were to enter our cosplay contest, who/what would you dress up as? A: My go to is John Bender from the Breakfast Club because I can rock a denim jacket. But for comic fest it’s a tie between Jareth the Goblin King from Labyrinth or a yellow banana. You can find Jesse online at jetty218.artstation.com

    • We have additional trains for Phoenix vs Melbourne City – Sunday 21 April
      • 17 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Heading to the football this Sunday as the Wellington Phoenix take on the Melbourne City? We have additional services to get you home after the game.Additional Rail ServicesAfter the event;-          We have additional train services departing between 9:00pm and 9:30pm after the game on the Kapiti and Johnsonville lines.-          Please note that buses are replacing trains on the Hutt Valley line on Sunday 21 March but additional buses will be available to get you home.Ticketing Information-          Event Tickets are valid for this event and can be purchased on board or at a ticket office on the day of the event. For ticketing information visit our Tickets and Fares page.   This affects these services: HVL JVL KPL

    • A Guide to Classical Music Streaming from the Naxos Music Library
      • 17 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • Naxos Music Library is the most comprehensive collection of classical music available online offering over 2,218,800 tracks of Classical music, Jazz, World, Folk and Chinese music. CLICK the green panel under NAXOS MUSIC LIBRARY. They will ask you for your Library Card number and Surname to access the site. On the main webpage you will find at the top 2 searches: one for new releases, the other for recent additions. These change constantly. If you are a fan of particular labels – then click on the left hand side list of LABELS. QUICK GUIDE TO FINDING BEST NEW RECORDINGS RELEASED MONTHLY: For those eagre to sample the best of new classical recordings we recommend BBC Radio 3’s weekly podcasts (from every Saturday evening after 10pm NZ time) Record Review with Andrew MacGregor. Over 3 hours of excellent analysis, friendly banter with knowledgeable Guests, and great bleeding chunks of music. PRESTO CLASSICAL is also the best site to see what has been released each week, with interviews, forthcoming releases. Worth subscribing to their weekly newsletter: We have chosen 5 exemplary recent discs from the current Naxos catalogue that are performances from musicians that engage, and enthrall for their musicality, and individual performance. Start streaming now! Piano Recital: Levit, Igor – BACH, J.S. / BUSONI, F. / LISZT, F. / SCHUMANN, R. (Life) Performed by: Levit, Igor   VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, R.: Symphony No. 1, “A Sea Symphony” / The Lark Ascending (S. Fox, M.Stone, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Manze) Performed by: Ehnes, James; Fox, Sarah; Manze, Andrew; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Stone, Mark   SIBELIUS, J.: Symphony No. 1 / En saga (Claesson, Gothenburg Symphony, Rouvali) Performed by: Claesson, Urban; Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra; Rouvali, Santtu-Matias   FINZI, G.: Cello Concerto / Eclogue / New Year Music / Grand Fantasia and Toccata (P. Watkins, Lortie, BBC Symphony, A. Davis) Performed by: BBC Symphony Orchestra; Davis, Andrew; Lortie, Louis; Watkins, Paul   Vocal Music (Counter-Tenor) – FAGO, F.N. / HEINICHEN, J.D. / TERRADELLAS, D. / ZELENKA, J.D. (Anima Sacra) (Orliński, Il Pomo d’Oro, Emelyanychev) Performed by: Emelyanychev, Maxim; Orliński, Jakub Józef; Pomo d’Oro, Il  

    • An April Mystery Showcase!
      • 17 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand” Neil Armstrong This month we have a mystery spree, spreading our net to cover a wide variety of novels that feature a mystery somewhere in the plot. We are going to feature books from across the board, from classic novels to New Zealand titles, award-winners to massively popular bestsellers. As long as they have a mystery at their heart then they have a chance to get in this showcase. Enjoy! The Dance of the Seagull, Andrea Camilleri (ebook) (print) “Inspector Montalbano is awake at dawn, sitting on his porch, when his attention is caught by a seagull which falls from the sky, performing a strange dance, before lying down to die. Montalbano is perplexed by what he has witnessed and the scene hangs over him like an omen. Montalbano’s dear colleague Fazio is discovered missing – and it transpires that the policeman has been involved in his own secret investigations – Montalbano launches a desperate search for his lost friend, as time begins to run out.” (adapted from Overdrive description) Tess / McDougall, Kirsten “Tess is on the run when she’s picked up from the side of the road by lonely middle-aged father Lewis Rose. With reluctance, she’s drawn into his family troubles and comes to know a life she never had. Set in Masterton at the turn of the millennium, Tess is a gothic love story about the ties that bind and tear a family apart.” (Catalogue)   The Fifth Witness, Michael Connelly (ebook) (print) “In tough times, crime is one of the few things that still pays, but even criminals are having to make cut-backs. So for defence lawyer Mickey Haller, most of his new business is not about keeping people out of jail; it’s about keeping a roof over their heads as the foreclosure business is booming. Lisa Trammel has been a client of Mickey’s for eight months, and so far he’s stopped the bank from taking her house. But now the bank’s CEO has been found beaten to death – and Lisa is about to be indicted for murder.” (Overdrive description) All our secrets / Lane, Jennifer “A girl called Gracie. A small town called Coongahoola with the dark Bagooli River running through it. The Bleeders – hundreds of ‘Believers’ who set up on the banks of the river, who start to buy up the town and win souls. The River Children – born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They begin to go missing, one after another. Gracie Barrett is the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family (promiscuous dad, angry mum, twins Lucky and Grub, Elijah the River Child and fervent, prayerful Grandma Bett), for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion. Gracie is funny and kind, bullied and anguished, and her life spirals out of control when she discovers she knows what no one else does: who is responsible for the missing children. Coongahoola is where hope and fear collide, where tender adolescence is confronted by death, where kindness is a glimmer of light in the dark.” — Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue) The Complete Ripley Radio Mysteries, Patricia Highsmith (Audiobook) “In these dramatisations, BBC Radio 4 brings all Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels together in one thrilling series. In The Talented Mr Ripley, Tom makes a bid for another man’s inheritance and succeeds, but has he really got away with it? Ripley Under Ground is set a few years later, when Tom is living in luxury in a French chateau with his beautiful wife Heloise—but the clever art forgery which funds Tom’s expensive tastes is about to be uncovered. In Ripley’s Game, Tom sets up a man he dislikes to carry out two perfect murders, while in The Boy Who Followed Ripley, a rich young stalker arrives at Belle Ombre and he and Tom end up fighting for their lives. Finally, in Ripley Under Water, strange new neighbours show an overdeveloped interest in Ripley’s past. Will Tom’s shady dealings be exposed?” (Overdrive description) The Strangler’s Honeymoon, Håkan Nesser (ebook) (print) “Could this be Van Veeteren’s darkest case yet? Desperately lonely, sixteen-year-old Monica Kammerle has little idea of what she is getting herself into when she begins an affair with her mother’s latest partner; the sophisticated Benjamin Kerran… Months later, when a woman’s strangled body is found decomposing in her flat, the Maardam police must discover who has committed this terrible crime. It isn’t long before they realise the perpetrator may have killed before – and is likely to do so again.” (adapted from Overdrive description) Strange Shores, Arnaldur Indridason (ebook) (print) A young woman walks into the frozen fjords of Iceland, never to be seen again. But Matthildur leaves in her wake rumours of lies, betrayal and revenge. Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for Matthildur but also for a long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snow-storm when they were children has coloured his entire life. He is looking for answers. Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realises that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.” (Adapted from Overdrive description) The infinite air / Kidman, Fiona “The rise and fall of ‘the Garbo of the skies’, as told by one of New Zealand’s finest novelists. A superbly written novel offering an intriguing interpretation of one of the world’s greatest aviators, the glamorous and mysterious Jean Batten. Jean Batten became an international icon in the 1930s. A brave, beautiful woman, she made a number of heroic solo flights across the world. The newspapers couldn’t get enough of her; and yet she suddenly slipped out of view, disappearing to the Caribbean with her mother and dying in obscurity in Majorca, buried in a pauper’s grave. Fiona Kidman’s enthralling novel delves into the life of this enigmatic woman, exploring mysteries and crafting a fascinating exploration of early flying, of mothers and daughters, and of fame and secrecy.” (Catalogue)

    • Mates' Rates Capitalism and Corruption in NZ
      • 16 Apr 2019
      • Keith Johnson
      • NOT CORRUPT - JUST DODGY? A former father-in-law of mine, who worked in the Building Industry in Auckland, alerted me to the term 'Mates' Rates' when I settled here in 1991. The term refers to such practices as dodgy discounts, perks and favours down the track for collaboration between agents and promoters. And this is a kind of price and specification tweaking is a speciality of businessmen in New Zealand who work in a very small, 'tightly-held' market - where it's often not so much what you can do for the money on offer, as who you know. I stood as a Mayoral Candidate last time around in 2016, with no expectation whatsoever of winning [I spent around $250 compared to $60-$120,000 by each of the top tier of three candidates] - but with a commitment to informing and trying to focus the campaign on real policy choices. And in spite of my left-of-centre politics, one of my beefs was the need to defend capitalism from these kinds of dead-weight cost interventions - to ensure that the residential ratepayers and citizenry get best value for money. As I have recounted elsewhere in these columns, I enjoyed the hour chat that I got with Wellington City Council Chief Executive Kevin Lavery [every candidate gets this privilege]. He is a really charming man who would make a very amiable dinner guest or good companion at a rugby match. During our chat, I raised two main issues with Kevin: 1. the need for WCC to focus on the basics of providing resilient, cost-effective infrastructure rather than chasing 'Big Ticket' / 'Big Ideas' capital developments for hospitality, tourism and construction industry lobbyists, and 2. the ever present dangers in New Zealand of threats to Probity and Reputation from Dodgy Practices. Kevin smiled benignly and we left on good terms - though I never received a transcript of our conversation which had been recorded by a cadaverous biro-note-taker who looked like a refugee from a Dicken's novel. Somebody should obtain copies of these records under an Official Information Request. It is then deeply saddening to read the following story in today's Dominion Post: Wellington City councillors told to keep quiet over Shelly Bay development plans Wellington City councillors have been told to keep quiet about the planned redevelopment of Shelly Bay, to minimise the chance of further legal battles.The development would involve 350 apartments and townhouses, hotels, a rest home, ferry terminal, marina, and cable car link to Mt Crawford.Damian George, NZ Stuff, 17 April 2019 https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/112078930/wellington-city-councillors-told-to-keep-quiet-over-shelly-bay-development-plans Lobby group Enterprise Miramar Peninsula took the council to court over the development plans last year, claiming it had acted with bias and with conflicts of interest in granting resource consent for the project. Consents for the $500 million development were awarded to The Wellington Company and the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust - but were overturned by the Court of Appeal in December after it was found the council wrongly applied the law when doing so. At a council committee meeting on Tuesday, councillor Andy Foster revealed chief executive Kevin Lavery had sent an email to councillors warning them to "refrain from any commentary" on the matter because it could lead to further legal battles. The council's acting strategy and governance director, Hayley Evans, said discussing the matter publicly created a "real risk" of further legal action. "One thing to note about [Enterprise Miramar's appeal] is that one of the key elements of their argument has been bias, and essentially corruption. "So we have been in the process of defending this organisation from what are quite serious allegations of political interference. "There is a real risk, given that it is already in the minds of the parties [who could be] arguing in court, that if there is further council involvement, we'll face further criticism from either side. So that is a real live issue." Lavery also said further litigation was "very possible". "What we're saying is, 'Just be careful'." That things should come to this is almost unpardonable. Councillors are not elected to defend the interests of an abstract corporate 'WCC' - they are the elected representatives of voters - in essence the Members of the Board of a substantial public cooperative trust that is owned by and represents the City as a whole. As for Kevin - it is not too late to do the decent thing over relations with Ian Cassels over Shelly Bay and Willis-Bond over the Cable Street Conference Centre - defending the Public Interest by being Totally Transparent on WCC's dealings with Developers. Dr Lavery that is clearly where your duty lies - and the passport to your heart 'being peaceful and calm when they lay you to rest'.

    • KPL, HVL: Services have returned to timetable this morning
      • 16 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Peak services will run as usual this morning, but some carriages may need to be relocated so a few services may be running with reduced seating. Check this page for updates. If there are any changes due to mechanical maintenance then include them here.Safety is our primary focus in operating the Wellington Rail Network. Yesterday we were made aware of a potential mechanical issue on some Matangi carriages. All carriages were checked yesterday afternoon with no issues found, but this did cause some delays during the afternoon peak.We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused.  This affects these services: HVL KPL

    • Notre Dame
      • 16 Apr 2019
      • Eye of the Fish
      • I woke up this morning to hear the unbelievable news that Notre Dame de Paris was on fire – and by tonight it was all over. Impossible to think that it could happen at first, and yet when you stop to think about it, it is a wonder that it hasn’t happened before now. 850 years old with barely a scratch, and then when you start to do some renovations, you burn the whole place down. Heads should roll over this (at least the French are good at that!). This building was started almost before humans ever got to visit Nouvelle Zelande, and really is one of the finest gothic buildings around. If you like that sort of thing… and yes, I do! I’ve walked around it, from the inside and the outside, from end to end, and top to bottom, and in one of these boxes under my desk I probably have a hundred photos of it, including from the rooftop. Which now is no more… I’m impressed by the way that Macron simply stated that it would of course be restored, unequivocally, and it reminded me of the words of Gerry Brownlee after the 2011 earthquake – that we would “have to get rid of the old dungas” but that 4 or 5 buildings would obviously get to stay – being the Arts Centre, the Cathedral, the Canterbury Museum etc. As it was, and as we know, nothing is so simple and so short-lived as the truthfulness of a politician’s words – here we are 8 years later and the ChristChurch cathedral has not even been touched yet, and the Catholic cathedral is still just containers and hay bales. So: don’t trust Macron. Will the next 8 years in Paris be stale-mated by a stroppy Bishop wanting to demolish the whole building because it is out of date and not what the congregation needs? Will the workers be banned from entering because the Health and Safety issues are too large? Will they insist that everyone wears a Yellow HiVis Vest, because that means that you are safe, or will they just get water-bombed by Police if they do? Will there be looters inside already, scraping up the molten gold that will have cascaded down the aisles as the roof collapsed inwards? I seem to recall a fair amount of Catholic Gilt, as well as the usual amounts of catholic guilt. But who could ever have foreseen this coming? I mean, 850 year old oak beams, with 200 year old varnish, in a building where hundreds of small candles are lit with live matches every day, next to old dry fabric wall hangings… and no one ever thought to put in a sprinkler system? Or to start a restoration project up amongst the timber works and not have a instant deluge curtain built in while they work? Did they have weekly fire drills? The firemen, apparently, took hours to arrive, instead of minutes – or even seconds. In NZ, working on a project like this, we would have to have a Fire Warden on duty, no? Or – did we try this already – didn’t we burn down part of Parliament in NZ while we were trying to work on it? Did we in fact do that twice? Once last century, and once the century before that? Didn’t the Scots manage to burn down the Glasgow School of Arts twice, the second time rather more successfully than the first? What is the first rule of restoration work then? Surely it should be: First, do no harm. Second, install fire suppression systems to uphold rule One? Third, proceed with caution!

    • SUNDAY 21st 10.30AM at St Matt’s
      • 16 Apr 2019
      • Capital Mosaic, Wellington
      • Celebrate hope with us! featuring Mosaic creativity in action followed by a celebration meal (food provided) Come early at 10AM for coffee & hot cross buns Everyone is welcome!

    • Services on the Hutt Valley Line outside of Wellington are experiencing delays
      • 16 Apr 2019
      • Metlink - Greater Wellington's public transport network
      • Services on the Hutt Valley Line outside Wellington are experiencing delays of up to 30 minutes due to a mechanical fault. Please check the departure boards and listen to our PA announcements prior to your journey. Safety is our primary focus in operating the Wellington Rail Network. Today we were made aware of a potential mechanical issue on some Matangi carriages. No further issues have been identified and all checked carriages have safely been returned to service, but these checks have caused some delays this afternoon. This is a precautionary check which takes five minutes and needs to be completed in the Wellington Station area. We are confident this check  can be completed this afternoon.We have buses on stand-by in case services are significantly delayed. If there are any changes to passenger services this afternoon we will let passengers know through the Metlink website and alerts.We apologise for the inconvenience.  This affects these services: HVL

    • Guggenheim Museum Library Collection Released Online!
      • 16 Apr 2019
      • Wellington City Libraries News Blog
      • If you are one of the people who have felt the sudden and unexpected–though temporary–lack of access to Wellington Central libraries’ fantastic art book collection, then we have something to ease the pain: the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum Library’s free online resources! The founder and creator of this museum was the American heiress and self-confessed art addict Peggy Guggenheim. Her support and patronage of 20th century modern artists placed her at the very centre of the modern art movement. She was a unique, colourful, larger than life personality. This free resource has over 200 art works covering key artists such as Picasso, Rothko, Ernst and Kandinsky and art subjects as wide as Surrealism, pop, Aztec artefacts and Russian constructivism. Just click the link here to access this fabulous resource. Enjoy! Also available at Wellington City Libraries: Peggy Guggenheim : the shock of the modern / Prose, Francine “A biography of one of twentieth century America’s most influential patrons of the arts that covers her personal life, uncompromising spirit, and relationships with such modern masters as Jackson Pollock and Man Ray.” (Catalogue)     The unfinished palazzo : life, love and art in Venice : the stories of Luisa Casati, Doris Castlerosse and Peggy Guggenheim / Mackrell, Judith “The story of Venice’s ‘Unfinished Palazzo’–told through the lives of three of its most unconventional, passionate, and fascinating residents: Luisa Casati, Doris Castlerosse, and Peggy Guggenheim. Each vivid life story is accompanied by previously unseen materials from family archives, weaving an intricate history of these legendary art world eccentrics.” (Catalogue)   And The Fantastic Peggy Guggenheim : art addict. documentary film is also available to borrow from several of our branches . Click Here for full details.

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