Good post, Russell, and can I just urge everyone with kids to get involved in their local schools. I'm on two boards and let me tell you, every board needs people who can support their schools (and by extension their communities) and all of them are always after people who can help govern effectively.
It's not onerous - half a dozen meetings a year - and it's a chance to help put something back. That's doubly important if you're in the sort of position Pt Chev Primary (and my two) are in with rapidly changing environments, lack of support from government levels and teachers stretched to breaking point.
I too know of a couple of Qantas awards that should have had the sub-editor's name stamped on them (cough cough Mark Broatch) rather than the "reporter's".
A bad sub can ruin a team if not the whole publication, but a good sub is worth their weight in gold, especially one that checks your maths. Bloody hell!
I live round the corner (about 200m away) and I know my kids have been on playdates there, but I've never been in. I'm not one for wandering through other people's houses at open days just for kicks but I'll make an exception here.
But Bart, you're quite right, that's one hell of a busy road and it's quite exposed to the traffic. Oh I'm such a dad.
I presume you've all seen James Burke's excellent BBC series Connections - I found them all on YouTube a while ago and they stand up quite well.
I'm constantly surprised by how much of my thinking patterns were formed by watching Burke connect Napoleonic need for canned goods with electricity blackouts in New York and on to the invention of the toothbrush (or similar).
Tremendous information. Thanks for pointing that out, Russell. I'm tired of banging my head against a wall without data, now I can head-bang with it!
On reflection, we're all bloody lucky to have made it this far.
Perhaps the cure for being 17 is indeed to turn 18 after all.
Toileting with boys is one thing but with two girls...
I shall relate this tale on the basis that they're not reading it and nor is their mother.
Picture, if you will Dad with two daughters (3 and 6 I want to say) on a trip to the zoo. It's a lovely day and the park is mostly empty, however when I realise my bladder is full to overflowing and will require me to either burst or find a lavvy, trouble sets in.
Neither girl will stand outside. Both insist on coming in as well.
OK, fine but this isn't one of your new fangled bathrooms, this is old school Auckland Zoo (under the stone bridge for those that remember that part of the zoo) and involves a long trench-like affair I refer to as The Trough for the weeing.
Nobody else is within cooee so I make a Dad Decision and head on in with both girls in tow, holding hands sweetly as they are won't to do.
The floor is slick as only a mensroom floor can be. "Stay here" I declare in my sternest voice while I proceed to The Trough.
For those not familiar with male public toilets, let me tell you that The Trough has been replaced with The Bowls, a single pisser affair that is much less entertaining. Troughs and Bowls have one thing in common - a regularly pre-programmed flush that kicks in no matter what else is happening roughly every two or three minutes.
There I am, mid flow as it were, when the flush kicks in but unlike a normal "woosh/reset" toilet, The Trough is roughly 100 years old and so consists of clanking that emanates from the cisterns (strategically placed above the exit), much banging of pipes as air blocks are sorted out, wheezing as if from a nearby dragon and much screaming from the two children.
"DADDDDYYYYY" they shriek as they run forward to safety and me.
"NOOOOOOO" I shriek as they try to rugby tackle me mid stream.
"ARRRRGH!" they scream as they bounce off me, and the eldest one slips, rolls and manages to pull both her and her sister into the downstream portion of The Trough.
"EWWWWW" we all shriek together.
Eventually we depart the mensroom firm in our agreement that we shall never speak of it again.
Wales, hands down and I say that as a one-eyed loyal Wales supporter.
Many reasons - the red is a great colour, it's not green with a yellow stripe painted on it and it's second only to the All Blacks in terms of good looking kit.
What would make it better would be to get rid of the Prince's white feathers (sigh) and bring back the dragon and THEN we'd have a kit worth playing in.
Plus SA has some kind of four legged food group on theirs.
I'm voluntarily having my house pulled apart around me and find it incredibly stressful. I can only imagine what having it done involuntarily and overseen by bureaucratic nutters would do to your heads...
That you haven't all bought torches and pitchforks and stormed parliament is a testament to your strength of character. Or to the lack of pitchforks.
Either way, well done.