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Author: Stan Stewart

Laughter is the best medicine and Kiwi Comics are the best

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin In fact I had been hooked on BBC comedy for years. In 1951 I stumbled on ‘The Goon Show’. Quirky off beat, ridiculous and insane, this nonsense tickled my fancy. From then on, I followed all the BBC comedy I could find. During the 1980s, I was regularly visiting New Zealand and it was then that I was made aware of Billy T James. Billy was adored. He had a unique ability to bring the country together with his humour. For instance, ‘I’m half Maori and half Scot. Half of me wants to go to the pub and get pissed, and the other half doesn’t...

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Making prints and making them just right

Vaughan Grisby at Stephenson Unichem Chemist doing his work at the front counter. Getting started For many years, printing photos was his trade. However, choosing Whitianga as the place to live and work was easy for Vaughan. As with several other trades and businesspeople in Whitianga, it was holiday experiences that prompted Vaughan to make this decision. When a business opportunity in his line of work presented itself, Vaughn decided this would be the place to work as well as holiday. He saw the photo-processing business in Stephen’s Pharmacy and asked himself, “Why not!” The rest is history. Vaughan...

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Voices from Gallipoli’ a one man show

His glimpses into Gallipoli, confronting, amusing, gut wrenching.  I left feeling the whole town should see this – no – the whole of New Zealand and Australia should see this. The small set was perfect. The centre piece being a hat rack with the hats of the characters Mark would play. The songs before the show and interspersed in the show were popular songs from the World War One era. Against the background of the impossible, murderous, suicidal assault on the Gallipoli terrain Mark confronted us with the people of the Gallipoli conflict. The toffee-nosed commanding officer from Sandhurst,...

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My journey – relating to other cultures Misstep, mistakes and downright disasters

MISSTEP: – The Germans When I was fifteen, I worked in a large engineering workshop. Most of the workers were ‘New Australians’ – men who had just emigrated from countries devastated by the second World War. Three young men caught my attention. These handsome, blond men were Germans. They noticed me perhaps because I was also blond and blue eyed. For a month or so we looked out for each other at brew time. Then it stopped. They avoided me and I never knew why. My guess now is they were offended by my boasting about the courage of Australian soldiers. Probably they couldn’t stand to hear the...

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Equestrian Memories And possible future developments in Whitianga for horse riders

Ady Cole-Ewen and Ron Cooke. At their meeting, once on this subject, their enthusiasm is obvious and details of equestrian events and horse shows are bright in both their memories. An additional link shared was the fact that both Ron and Ady have been involved with Riding for the Disabled. At this reunion,  they strongly agreed on two things. 1. Their involvement with horses and all things equestrian was a most enjoyable part of their life. 2. Being around horses and competing in events is very beneficial for young people. Ady and Ron care about the young people of our time and of our district....

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If the power fails –two beauties to help us through The Thermette and the Coolgardie Safe

There are some readers who lived in rural areas who will remember life before electricity.  I can still remember the excitement we had when with the flick of a switch, a 60watt electric bulb lit up our kitchen. These days a hundred miracles later, I can’t think of anything that rivals that excitement. We have become blasé – nothing surprises us – we expect things to become easier, more spectacular, more transformative – yawn! But what if the power failed? The electric suppliers are hinting that could be a possibility this winter. What then? Don’t panic.  Getting back to basics may not be such...

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A shrink-wrap world to consider – It’s not going to happen – It has happened already

It seemed to me that the engineers and accountants who lived in the Staff Mess had two major interests. One was scantily clad girls with big boobs whose pictures adorned the doors of their rooms. The other was classical music. At one time, the men in the dorm were obsessed with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. At its climax this piece includes a volley of cannon fire. My friends were fixated on hearing the cannon volley with absolute, gut-shaking realism. To achieve this resonance, they fixed large cone speakers into solid wooden surrounds. In pursuit of this music-you-can-feel goal, one of the...

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Things may not be what they seem – Appearances can be deceptive

Jane Goodall, family for her life amongst chimpanzees. The Town In the 60s the decision was taken to destroy this garden city. The reason given was that the SEC wanted to mine the coal under the town. But the Yallourn coal stretched for hundreds of miles in all directions. I think there was another reason. This perfect town had a kind of cancer. ‘Pollution’ was a word hardly ever spoken in those years. I believe it was pollution that killed that garden city. The reason for the mine was the near-by open cut coal mines and power stations. Twenty-four hours a day the power stations belched out...

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Halloween came early. With a BANG!

In the darkened street, my foot hit the bollard and I had nowhere to go but down. I was carefully carrying my favourite pizza from Slice Slice Baby. I saved it from spilling and the pizza box saved half my face from even more damage. I lost. Few seconds somewhere and then I realised I lay completely flat. I could taste gravel. I couldn’t move. Blood was trickling down my face. What’s next? The street was completely dark. I could see streetlights but none were near me. A car slowly turned out of Mill Road, Whitianga into Monk Street.  I would like to signal but I couldn’t. My arms wouldn’t...

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