Back from the Hanmer bubble

I took Dad's cousin and my children to Hanmer for a few days this week. We stayed with my parents and I even made a reasonable fist of being a good daughter.

Hanmer Springs is a strange place to me. It is a holiday town with high housing costs and seems largely insulated from the wider world. If you are poor or unemployed, it is extremely unlikely that you will live in Hanmer. Trying to talk about recession issues was, um, frustrating. Of course, Mum and Dad have a television, which we don't. So I had the cultural highlight of watching the finale of Dancing with the Stars. I didn't explain what the charity Rainbow Youth was about until the next day. I also learnt that I am related to Rodney Hide's cousin. These right wingers don't all come from private schools. Rodney, it turns out, is a Rangiora High School boy. Just like Roger Kerr (Business Round Table) came from the same small town high school as me - Waimea College.

So while we were away, the government announes it plans to sell off parts of the defence force. Am I the only person who thinks that selling of parts of the defence force to private interests is incredibly dangerous and stupid? Same old same old. Plans for privatisation seem to be going ahead just like under Douglas and Lange in the 1980s. Never mind that it didn't work for ordinary working New Zealanders - the big business cronies who get to buy these assets will get the cream.

I did bring back some wonderful produce from Dad's garden. The pumpkin seeds I gave him were much more successful than the ones I planted here. I've brought back a gorgeous and lareg Musquee de Provence pumpkin which I will photograph and post soon. Also some swedes which are also from seeds we gave Dad - FH brought them back from Southland after a conference. I bought frozen blueberries and some grapes from roadside stalls on the way home which made me happy. I refuse to buy shop grapes as they are always from another country, excessively sprayed and packaged. Oh and tasteless. And expensive. So local grapes are a rare and big treat. Maybe one day we will have our own vine.

Anzac Day tomorrow. We're planning to go to the Dawn Service, first time for all of us. Shortly I will go into town and buy poppies for us all. The trip home with my cousin yesterday brought the poignancy of the occasion to the front of my mind. Her husband was captured in Greece during World War Two and spent the rest of the war in a Prisoner of War camp. Every day in the hospital in Greece he would see his mother at the foot of his bed and that helped him through. So we will go grave visiting tomorrow as well.

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