Category Archives: giving

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Over the years I have heard the saying that no good deed goes unpunished.  This is a sardonic commentary reflecting on good deeds that backfire on the donor. One such good deed made The Times in London when the journalist stated

“Seldom in the field of clerical administration has one woman given so much of herself to a car dealership.”

Our newspapers, television and radio are full of the story of the woman who gave a kidney to her immediate supervisor and then shortly afterwards was dismissed from her job.  This should be a lesson to all those selfless people out there who are considering offering a body part to an employer or supervisor.  Your generosity will not be appreciated and may even be thrown back in your face, as in this case where the recipient of the kidney said to the donor “Don’t expect to be treated special because of what you did for me”.

I shall be watching the outcome of the lawsuit filed against the employer.  If the plaintiff wins maybe there will be a swathe of people offering body parts and then suing the recipient.  Reasons quoted could include lack of suitable appreciation in the form of gifts; if it was an employer no extra or special favours at work eg extra vacation time or even paid vacations (3 weeks in Hawaii at their expense); no notice in the local paper as to who made this happen; no special party to celebrate coming back to full health with the donor as guest of honour.  The list could go on and on.

On this day in 1773 The British Parliament passed the Tea Act.  This Act forced Colonists to buy tea from the East India Company that controlled all tea imported into the colonies.  Direct action by a group calling itself the Sons of Liberty in Boston resulted in the tea contained in three trading ships being destroyed.  We are told by Wikipedia that “this was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution”.

On this day in 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco opened.  The American Society of Civil Engineers declared it one of the modern Wonders of the World and  Frommers travel guide considers the Golden Gate Bridge “possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world.

On this day in 1989 Beijing students took over Tiananmen Square in China.  In case you are too young to know about this thousands of students and other citizens started gathering in groups large and small, protesting many issues, centered on a desire for freedom and democratic reform.  By mid May hundreds of thousands of people occupied the Square.  Chinese authorities responded with a declaration of martial law, and on June 3rd  tanks and armored personnel carriers rolled into the square, killing and wounding many, mostly civilians – estimates vary widely, from several hundred to several thousand dead.

On this day in 2011 a lashing string of tornadoes tore through Alabama smashing buildings, snapping trees and ending at least 58 lives.

And now at 12.19 am I realise that I have missed the midnight deadline and so this post will be published on the 28th.

I’m late! I’m late!
For a very important date!
No time to say “Hello”, goodbye!
I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!


Taken on Trust

Book cover

I have this old, dog-eared copy of Terry Waite’s book, that I have read several times in the 20 years or so since his release.

I bought a copy when it was released and enjoyed it so much that I gave copies to various friends as Christmas presents.  I was reminded again of this man when reading about a recent failed attempt to free hostages in Nigeria.

In 1987 Terry Waite, as the special envoy for the archbishop of Canterbury (though not a clergyman himself), went to Beirut  to negotiate the release of several hostages, including John McCarthy, Terry Anderson and Brian Keenan. He had already successfully negotiated the release of hostages in Iran and Libya, but when he arrived in Lebanon to meet with Islamic Jihadists, he too was taken captive.

As he said on his release, he foolishly believed the words of an intermediary that he would not be taken.  As he says  “I went without guards, arms or a locator device”.   So far from being a hostage negotiator he found himself a hostage.  He was taken to various houses to shake off any followers and then eventually to a prison cell in Beirut.

Besides being chained to a radiator, he was regularly blindfolded, beaten on the soles of his feet, subjected to mock executions, and moved from place to place in a large refrigerator.  But he maintains that the mental torture of being in solitary confinement for so long, far outweighed any physical torture.

We have heard tales of prisoners retaining their sanity by practising their golf shots, running marathons or as in Waite’s case, writing their autobiography in their heads.  Waite spent 1,760 days in solitary confinement, his only contact with the outside world being through wall tapping to his fellow hostages.  Apparently, these hostages had a radio and could listen to the BBC World News.

In his book he reveals the inner strength that helped him endure the savage treatment he received, his constant struggle to maintain his faith, and his resolve to have no regrets, no false sentimentality, no self-pity. of photos.

Waite was released in November 1991 some 20 plus years ago.

After his release and giving one interview to the media, he realised he needed time to readjust to life and so with his wife Frances and their four children he stayed away from the spotlight for a year to recover and convalesce.  During this year he put the harrowing account of his ordeal down on paper and then published it in his book, Taken on Trust .

Then,  rather than dwell on his own suffering, he turned his energies to helping others in desperate situations. He campaigned for the welfare of prisoners, and gave support to families of hostages through Hostage UK; he even offered to negotiate on behalf of military personnel held captive in Iran in 2007.

Terry WaiteThis is a difficult book to read, but one that is also difficult to put down.  We are told that  “Waite no longer works for the Church of England, but retains the faith that kept him going through nearly five years of captivity. His experience as a prisoner, he says, also helped him to see the shallowness of modern materialism. In 2009, angered by the MPs’ expenses scandal, he considered running for office as in independent candidate, but now believes he can do more good as an active humanitarian rather than as a politician. And despite his religious affiliation, he is sympathetic to the Occupy London protesters who have set up camp at St Paul’s Cathedral. “Our society is going to fragment unless we are very, very careful,” he said in an interview with the Guardian last week. “ We have a responsibility for the elderly, for the sick, for children and for those who are casualties of society.” Source The Irish Times, November 26, 2011.

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.

Other books to read by fellow hostages:
Some Other Rainbow by John McCarthy and Jill Morell
An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan

Just Another Scam

I had an interesting unsettling experience when sitting in the car in the supermarket carpark the other day.  My friend had gone in to do the shopping for both of us.  Aside – supermarket shopping is not my favourite activity so another good thing came out of this accident.

I was quietly sitting and contemplating the people coming and going into the supermarket when a young woman knocked on the car window.  She had seen Lotte and wanted to know if she bit and whether she could hold her.  Well, I am very used to this reaction to my little dog  and so I said “No” she didn’t bite and “Yes” she could hold her.  So I was about to bring Lotte into the front seat ready to put her out of the car (on her lead of course) for this woman to pat her.

At that moment the back door of the car was opened and the young woman climbed into the car.  I was amazed but not particularly worried at that time.

She fussed Lotte and then regaled me with her tale of woe.  Apparently she had come to Wellington from Auckland for New Year celebrations and had her purse/backpack/whatever stolen.  This bag had held her plane tickets and according to her $4,000 in cash.  The latter was a trifle hard to believe but…

She then told me that she had slept on the street for two nights and hadn’t eaten.  Did I have any food?

She told me she had been to the Police to make a report but they couldn’t give her a bed because she hadn’t committed a crime.  Flags sprung up – NZ police would not have put this woman (who later told me she was 6 months pregnant) out onto the street.  They would have found her a bed or at least put her in touch with the Salvation Army or the City Mission.Wellington City MissionShe followed up this gem with the fact that neither the SA nor the CM were open because of the holidays.  That of course is rubbish as there is an emergency number for each of these services in the phone book.

She sat in the car for a while, expanding on her tale of woe.  She had the name of the ex City Missioner, asked if I knew him and whether I thought he would help.

She asked whether I could give her $5 or $10 for a phone card.  She told me, following my enquiry, that her parents were not answering the phone and calls were going to voicemail and the same answer came when I asked about the grandparents whom she had  talked about earlier.  Note – she didn’t tell me how she had called these numbers having no money.

She wondered if I could let her have the money for the plane fare and assured me that her parents would reimburse me – Oh Yeah!

After more of the same I convinced her to go to the service desk of the supermarket and ask to use their phone and to call the ex City Missioner.  I do know this man well (he had officiated at my daughter’s wedding and my husband’s funeral) and he has been a friend for 40 plus years.  I knew if she managed to contact him he would certainly point her in the right direction

As soon as she left I locked all the car doors.  I was feeling quite vulnerable with only one good leg.  Had it been any other time I would have got out of the car immediately she got in and would have insisted that she did so too.

So my question is – Was this another scam or should I have done more to assist this young woman?  What do you think?

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.”
Elizabeth, Princess Bibesco
(née Asquith)
1897 – 1945
English writer.

The Queens Came Late

We all know about the three wise men/kings but their queens are so often forgotten or neglected.

Do you know the poem “The Queens Came Late” by Norma Farber?  My elder sister introduced it to me several years ago and it quickly became a firm favourite in our house.

“The Queens came late, but the Queens were there
With gifts in their hands and crowns in their hair.
They’d come, these three, like the Kings, from far,
Following, yes, that guiding star.
They’d left their ladles, linens, looms,
Their children playing in nursery rooms,
And told their sitters:
“Take charge! For this
Is a marvelous sight we must not miss!”
The Queens came late, but not too late
To see the animals small and great,
Feathered and furred, domestic and wild,
Gathered to gaze at a mother and child.
And rather than frankincense and myrrh
And gold for the babe, they brought for her
Who held him, a homespun gown of blue,
And chicken soup–with noodles, too-
And a lingering, lasting, cradle-song.
The Queens came late and stayed not long,
For their thoughts already were straining far-
Past manger and mother and guiding star
And a child aglow as a morning sun-
Toward home and children and chores undone.”
From the Night It Snowed by Norma Farber
1909-1984 , children’s book author and poet.

Without wanting to step on anybody’s beliefs I have to say that I wonder what use gold, frankincense and myrrh would be to a poor carpenter and his wife who had just given birth.  But a homespun gown of blue, chicken noodle soup and a song for the babe would surely have been more use to them at that time and in that place.

What are your thoughts on this?

I Talk To People

“Nothing is a waste of time
if you use the experience wisely.”
Auguste Rodin

Among my favourite bloggers is Susan from Coming East.  I really believe that we live parallel lives.  Today she blogged about earworms.  I wrote a post on this subject several months ago when I was new to blogging.

A couple of days ago Susan wrote about her delight in talking to other people.

I too love talk to people.  I make instant friendships and am still in contact with people whom I met many years ago in places as diverse as planes, ferries, hotels, supermarket carparks and restaurants.  Not to mention those I met at school functions and other gatherings.  I have a lifelong friend that I met in the supermarket carpark, another than I met on the Inter-island ferry between the north and south islands in New Zealand and yet others with whom I keep in contact many years after we met on holiday in various parts of the world.  And now, of course, I have my blogging friends.

I seem to be the person that people talk to.  When we are out for dinner within a few minutes I have heard from the waitress where she comes from, what she is doing here in Wellington, who her parents are and where she will go from here once her visa expires.

Today I met a young man from India and again, within a few minutes I had his life story.

I do know that it is because I am interested in people and usually ask the first (maybe innocuous) question, that they unfold and tell me their life stories.  And I guess it is because of this that I took to being a life coach with such ease.  I am interested in people.  I love to hear about them; about their lives and about their dreams; about their wishes and hopes for their future.

I am fortunate in that I have always had the ability to make friends easily.  My mother used to say that I could/would be friends with the devil himself.  As I have aged I have grown more selective about the friends I have made, but the ability to talk and communicate with others has grown year by year.

When they were growing up, my children were sometimes embarrassed at their mother speaking and thereby interacting with strangers, but now they accept that this is who I am.

So I shall continue to talk to strangers.  I shall continue to learn about them and perhaps make friends with them.  Isn’t this part of what being human is all about?

The time has come, the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
 And why the sea is boiling hot–And whether pigs have wings.”
“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried, Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter. They thanked him much for that.”
Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
Best friends

Real friendshi











And It’s Raining


My rainbow - looking forward to spring

Rainbows apologize for angry skies.
Sylvia Voirol

I don’t know who Sylvia Voirol is but I like the sentiment expressed.

I am finding it difficult to write this post as Lotte is sitting on my lap having inspected the desk and all that’s on it then deciding my lap was the better place to be.

Lotte on desk

Another helping hand

Today the awful weather has continued.  Snow only in the high country and in the South Island but rain, rain and more rain and now we have thunder.  No wonder Lotte is scared and needs to sit with me.  But there is nothing we can do about a rainy day.  My response has always been “Now I don’t have to water the garden” but after this spell of such bad weather even my “Pollyanna” like behaviour is waning.

Several things on my mind today that I should like to share.

  • Obviously my post about homelessness struck a chord with many of you.  Thanks for taking the time to comment.  I am aware of course that this is a problem world-wide and one to which there seems to be no immediate solution.  But one wonders if some of the money being spent on the military were to be redirected here, could it make a difference?

Goods for Mary Potter

  • I had thought that when I moved house last year I had downsized to the extent that I now had nothing superfluous in my life.  What a surprise when I decided to get rid of two bookcases and their books.  This of course, led to more searching and the result of that was this pile of things to be picked up tomorrow for sale in the Mary Potter Hospice shop.  Why do we clutter our lives up in this way?
  • And talking about Mary Potter Hospice I received this blogpost today from an acquaintance, Blair Styrer.  Blair channels Tabaash and whether or not you believe in channeling I encourage you to read Blair’s post.
Bird painting

This one is mine.

  • Still on the Hospice – a couple of weeks ago I had Jae my youngest grandson helping while I served lunches there.  He had a broken ankle and was on holiday from school but his brother was not, so he  decided to spend the day with Granma. What a joy and delight that small (12-year-old) boy is.  He charmed everybody with whom he came into contact.  In particular one lady who was going home that day and gave him one of her paintings.  He was thrilled and she also gave him one for his Granma.  After leaving the hospice we hot footed it to a local store (Briscoe’s) to buy a frame for his painting.  He proudly presented it to his mother to hang in her office.  Again, I am amazed at the generosity of people in the last stages of their lives.

Lotte has been looking longingly outside as she has not had a walk for two days.  Every time I have opened the door she has taken one look outside and turned around back into the house.  On Monday, the day of the heavy snow, I bought her a waterproof, lined jacket to keep her warm and dry on her walks.  On the way home from the shop I stopped the car intending to take her for a short, quick walk.  She had other ideas.  I got her out of the car and she planted her four little feet firmly on the ground and refused to move.  Then she turned around and leapt back into the car.  Who’s in charge here I hear you asking.


Please may I go out?

Lotte at window

Or maybe out here?

So as soon as the rain lets up a bit we shall venture forth into the weather.  This of course is one of the joys of being owned by a Tibetan Spaniel.  We dance to her beat and her program.

If you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance.
From “I Hope You Dance” as sung by
Leanne Womack.

Sleet, Sunshine, Snow and Soup

Thank you

Firstly, I should like to thank all those who read my blog and those in particular who either took the time to comment or else clicked the like button.  Yesterday’s blog has received the most comments since I started in March.  Thank you, thank you.

Today we have had rain, sleet, sunshine and snow.  As I said yesterday, we are so unused to this weather and we do not have the infrastructure  services to cope.  Yesterday we had thunder and lightning and so some areas lost power and some are still without power.  And of course, some of those affected by the earthquakes in Canterbury are still without warm and waterproof houses.  Our thoughts must go to them

So here in Wellington, today is not a normal day:

  • One of the things I notice is the lack of birds.  While I live in the central city I usually hear birds calling first thing in the morning and there are none at the bird feeder today.  Have they all flown off to warmer places?
  • And there are no sounds of happy children going to and from school.  there are several children who live in this street and Lotte usually watches for them in the morning and again in the afternoon.  But many schools have been closed today so maybe they are all at home.
  • No postman has gone up this street for a couple of days, ergo no bills being delivered.
  • No rubbish truck either so the rubbish sits forlornly in its bags at every driveway.  Hope that changes tomorrow.
  • No dogs barking.  We have several in this street who set each other off.  I guess without the postman and the rubbish collectors there is no need for barking,  Fortunately for me Lotte neither yaps nor barks but is disturbed when the others set up.
  • No neighbours stopping for a chat going up or down the street.  Many neighbours take the bus to work and I see them strolling home and taking the opportunity to speak to anybody they meet on the way up the hill.  Not today.  Everybody is in their warm house and those out on the street are hurrying home.
Wellington City Mission

One of several organisations helping the homeless.

And now I have to give a thought to the homeless and those who are forced to live on the streets.

We have many very active, non governmental organisations/agencies here to help.  They provide some food through the day but mainly deal with finding these people a meal and a bed for the night.  But of course, there are never enough beds in the shelter and I don’t know how the people who run/manage these shelters deal with the overflow.  I am sure that they don’t just turn them away. But what do they do?

Minestrone Soup

Picture from Two Peas & Their Pod

As I sit in my warm house, with the fire alight, a bowl of minestrone soup and fresh bread on the table I think of them.  I will also think of them when I go to my warm and comfy bed later this evening.  And I shall think of them later this week when I go to the supermarket and will buy some extra cans of food for their collection bin.

And this is yet another reason to be grateful. My attitude of gratitude has slipped a little recently and this cold spell and the plight of many of our fellow citizens have given me a jolt and a reminder to count my blessings.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
G.K. Chesterton













I am going to clap and cheer

“Children are the most wonderful audiences. What’s struck me most is that that they watch it so silently, until the end when they shriek and shout and clap.Emma Thompson, 1959 – British actress and comedienne.


Among the things that arrived in my inbox today was this.  Isn’t it inspirational.

Whenever I’m disappointed with my spot in life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott. Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother told me that he’d set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen.. On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement.. ‘Guess what, Mom,’ he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me….’I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer..’

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all chap and clear  clap and cheer,  and see the positive side of things when life throws those punches at us? When one door closes etc etc…

As I have said before I am a true Pollyanna.  I can see the upside in almost everything.  One upside of my husband’s death is that I never have to watch another rugby game.  I have been to rugby matches all over the world as he was keen on the game.  And when there was a televised match we had every TV in the house tuned to the channel in case missed something.

So from today I am going to make sure I clap and cheer at every opportunity.

“We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by”.   Will Rogers

Unaccustomed as I am and thanks anyway

Versatile blogger

Thanks to Susan at Coming East I received my second Versatile Blogger Award.  What do they say?  You can fool all the people some of the time….

Seriously though, I would like to thank Susan and those other bloggers who follow my ramblings each day.  You are the reason I keep to this self-imposed discipline.  Yesterday I eventually posted at 11.45 pm – had to get it in before midnight.  That was quite a feat having been to the movies and the dinner, before coming back here for coffee.


I have posted seven things about me in my thank you blog on April 30 – see here – so I won’t bore you with those things again.

But I need to nominate 15 more bloggers – see the earlier post for the original 15.  So in no particular order:

  1. L’Idiot Speaketh – – He doesn’t need my vote because he has had over 1million hits but I do so enjoy the humor.
  2. Sunshineinlondon – She keeps us amused about daily life in my home town
  3. bluebeachsong – Martie writes beautiful music and her haunting voice can be heard on her blog.
  4. Monicastangledweb – this is another of our very clever bloggers.  Thanks for the daily posts.
  5. Herdingcatsinhammondriver – though much younger than me, Wendy keeps me entertained with her wit
  6. Fribnitsworld – I really enjoy this guy and hope you will too
  7. Linda Atkins at  Always an upbeat post that I really enjoy reading
  8. Paul on the Goodgreatsby – This one makes me think
  9. the Docent Dog at  A clever blog using the dog as the spokesperson
  10. Duke at  Another clever blogger who also makes me think about all manner of things
  11. Life in the bogs – Robin writes and posts her photographs that fill me with joy and a little envy.  I wish I was a photographer and/or could write as well as she does
  12. Linda  at writes about writing.
  13. Debbie at has kept us amused with tales of downsizing and moving.  Enjoy Costa Rica Debbie.
  14. and 15 are all those whom I have yet to discover but already know that I will love.

So if I have left you out please accept my apologies.

Have to go and make soup for the family now –

Bowl of soup

Mulligatawny Soup – via Wikipedia

As I have said before, according to my son his “Mummy’s” soup is the best (that is according to him).

“There is nothing like soup. It is by nature eccentric: no two are ever alike, unless of course you get your soup in a can.”
Laurie Colwin, ‘Home Cooking’ (1988)

Postscripts, promises, proposal and pledges

If you read my earlier blog on While Walking the Dog you might remember the words that were written on the pavement.  I have looked each day to see if there has been any alteration to the words, and today, hooray there was.

A postscript had been added that said :

“I really do love you.  I will love you forever” and under that in a different hand was written “I love you too.  If you marry me I will love you forever and ever until I die”.  And then as a further postscript in the first hand was written “YES! YES! YES!”

I am so happy for that unknown couple.  I hope they live a long and happy time together – that they grow old together in harmony.

Or maybe they are not young.  The story that I concocted for them had them as two youngish people, maybe in their 20s and I pictured them as a heterosexual couple.  Maybe I am wrong on all counts.

They may be an older couple coming together after a long time apart.  In this story they knew each other when they were young and drifted apart.  They each married other people and now they are on their own and have met up again – maybe through the internet.   I actually have a friend for whom this story was true except that they didn’t meet up again through the internet.

Maybe it is a gay couple.  In my version of this story they have been torn apart by family who don’t/won’t accept their sexual preferences.  And now they have overcome these objections and they can get together.  Here in New Zealand same-sex ‘marriages’ are legal.  They are referred to as Civil Unions rather than Marriages.

In my role of Wedding Coordinator at Old St Paul’s we conducted several Civil Union ceremonies a couple of which were very solemn and moving.  I am quite sure they will last as couples and will grow old in harmony.

So to the couple who have made Postscripts, Promises, a Proposal and Pledges on the Pavement I send all good wishes for a long and happy future together.

“Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.” – Amy Bloom, American writer 1953 –