My nieces and nephew.

My nieces and nephew eating the gingerbread house they just made.

Actually, I mostly had a good time.

On 23 December I flew to Christchurch, and did all the traditional holiday stuff down there. The tree was surrounded by dozens of gifts; most were for the kids, but there were some for me too! We did a few touristy things, and it didn’t rain. My nieces and nephews had a fabulous time together, which was great.

New Zealanders may recognize three of the kids from this TV ad:


With my siblings and I getting together, we naturally began reminiscing. One of the things we recalled was made-up songs and rhymes from our school days. We grew up in Gisborne, and all attended primary, intermediate, and high school school there. In those days, New Zealand schools still had corporal punishment.

Our primary school was Gisborne Central School. I started at the end of 1968 (I’m the eldest). A headmaster with a bit of a reputation was about to retire. We recited this rhyme about him:

Mr Roly is very holy
He goes to church on Sundays
He prays to God to give him strength
To whack the kids on Mondays

Our intermediate school was Gisborne Intermediate. Just a week or two into the school year in 1976 (I was in form 2/year 8), a large part of the school burned down due to an electrical fault. A classmate composed the following words to the tune of the hymn ‘Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory’. We thought it was hilarious. These days many would consider it completely inappropriate. Everyone who even laughed at it, let alone repeated it, would probably be carted off for counselling. (Jock White was the school principal.)

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
We have murdered all the teachers and we broke the Golden Rule
We are marching down the corridors to see Jock White the fool
Our troops are marching on

Glory, glory, hallelujah
Teacher hit me with the ruler
Met him at the door with a loaded 44
And he ain’t gonna teach no more

We sang the song below at the top of our voices as well. It was a TV ad from the 1970s back in the days when KFC was still called Kentucky Fried Chicken.


And Now For Something Completely Different

Heather’s Homilies has a Facebook page which I post a few things to that never make it to the website. Not many people have “Liked” it though, so you don’t get to see that stuff. I posted these gorgeous harvest mice a couple of days ago. (Reader and European science communicator Amy Carparelli on Twitter brought it to my attention.)



sanders-bookBernie Sanders and Sarah Silverman

And just today I put up the video below. It’s an hour long conversation between Bernie Sanders and Sarah Silverman, recorded at Standing Rock during Sanders’ recent book tour. It’s both entertaining and interesting. He spoke about his book Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, then had this discussion with Silverman afterwards. (Click the book cover to go to the Amazon page.)



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