Friday, April 29, 2011


It's the calm before the storm of the royal wedding in the UK.  Tonight, our TV channels will be broadcasting little else.  There'll be detailed descriptions of Kate's dress, a blow-by-blow account of who was there, what they wore, what they said, what they did...and so on.  The wedding will cost the equivalent of NZ$41 million - that's nearly 20 million British pounds or 22 million Euros or 30 million Australian dollars or nearly US$33 million.

I personally think this is a waste of money.  Not just because it's royalty - I admit I'm not a huge fan on the monarchy - I think any culture that spends excessively on weddings is just plain crazy.

Yes, I know it may be "tradition".  But that doesn't make it worth keeping.  It used to be a tradition to keep slaves, or make enormous profits from tenant farmers, or treat some people as untouchable.  That doesn't make these things right or good. Spending that kind of money when the country is suffering from a recession is not right in my book.

But money aside, how do you feel about weddings?  Yes, I've been married, but it wasn't because I was dreaming of a white knight on a steed rescuing me so we could live happily ever after.  I had no such fanciful illusions.  I married for simply pragmatic reasons and my wedding was in a registry office with staff as witnesses.

Historically, marriage was for the protection of children and I believe this is still so.  I am not concerned about whether my children marry their partners.  This doesn't mean that I don't think people should respect the partners they choose to spend their lives with - I do.  I just don't think marriage is a requirement to do that.  What do you think?

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Travel, they say, broadens the mind.  I'm sure we've all met people that this doesn't seem to apply to.  Perhaps, to be charitable, the mind broadening just isn't obvious to onlookers.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I did my big OE (Kiwispeak for Overseas Experience) last year - my first overseas trip.  Doing your OE is a Kiwi thing - because we are so far away from everywhere.  It's probably hard for people in, say, the UK or Europe, to understand this.

It's 3 hours to the nearest country, or rather, its nearest coast.  The other side of Oz is more like 7 hours away.  To fly from Auckland to Los Angeles takes 12 or 13 hours depending on which direction you go.  For me to get to the UK, I flew for 9 hours to Singapore followed by a 13 hour flight to London.  These are serious flight times in anyone's book.

I stayed part of the time with blog friends and my lovely sister-in-law; the rest of the time, I worked on rural properties through Help Exchange, where you work around 5 hours a day in exchange for board and lodgings.  I spent 6 weeks in France and the rest in various parts of the UK.  It was a great experience and I certainly feel that my mind was broadened by it.

What about you?  Have you travelled much?  Did you start young, or were you older like me?  Please share your experiences.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

More on Creativity...from a couple of different angles

Firstly, thanks to those who responded to my plea in the last blog post.  

I'm sure you will have noticed that some people are more creative than others.  While we can't apply this to people's occupations - I am sure there are creative tax accountants and auditors - there is a popular belief that there is a link between creativity and mental illness.  The "artistic temperament" is well known. This link has been the subject of academic studies, but the results are still not conclusive.  

There is an interesting article here that's worth looking at  I found this paragraph resonated with me: 

"The ability to see the world in an unconventional manner and to adopt perspectives not commonly shared can be both a blessing and a curse. Many creative individuals find themselves outside of the mainstream of both thought and method. As a result, they can experience periods when they feel unaccepted, misunderstood, and painfully alone. It is this reality that Don McLean sought to capture in his musical tribute to Vincent Van Gogh."

What about you? Do you ever feel like that? I don't consider that I have a mental illness, but I do feel I'm not "mainstream".  

Let's look at a different angle again - is your creative work given the respect by your friends and family that you think it should have?  Have you experienced people dismissing what you do as unimportant, or not a real job, or just playing around? Have you been made to feel that you're wasting your time?