This page written circa 20 Feb, 2017.

I saw Merinda ensconced in University College at the University of Otago in Dunedin this week. The house seems a little quiet with only Edwin and Kay left. It's a sort of psychological quiet, as the only immediate manifestation is a sudden reduction in the rate at which tequila and rum disappear.

While down there I had a chance to talk to my colleague Tim. We spoke of technical things, but as is nearly unavoidable these days the topic of conversation got around to Trump and the situation in the USA. The most recent thing is Donald saying that the press is the enemy of the people. I think that line is out of the textbook for 'Dictatorship 101'. I reckon it says more about how stupid is the average human than anything else.

Tim has visions of a dark coffee shop in East Berln, shortly before the wall fell. The topic turns to how they might bring down capitalism once and for all. A plot is hatched that involves someone spending his whole life climbing the capitalist system until he can bring it down from the inside by means of a hugely destructive right-wing frenzy so horrible that the capitalist system is banished for centuries. Comrad Trump has it well in hand. Of course Tim is not the only one to realise this possibility. There are a couple of articles in the Economist earlier this month... the cover is a grafitti mural of Trump the Insurgent tossing a Molotov cocktail.

Merinda's boyfriend Dion has taken a job in Dunedin, so once she was delivered, I felt a bit surplus to requirements. I recall vividly moving into Wesley about 35 years ago. The magnificant camaraderie of Wesley applied a lot of strain my external connections. I had a ball in 1977 and 1978, by which time my social world had changed a great deal. It will be interesting to see how Dion and Merinda fare. We approve of Dion, a gentle, strong, enterprising lad, half Maori, half German.

Dunedin is a very livable town, and Otago University, the oldest in NZ, is a venerable institution. The deep valley where Dunedin lies has mist pouring over surrounding ridges, steep sides overlooking the university in the middle of the valley. It has the steepest street in the world, according to the Guiness Book of Records. Dion drove us up it. You need a run up, if you are in a small car. I spent some time looking over the real estate and talking to agents, just in case Kay and I find ourselves buying somewhere for Merinda to live.

For Merinda the excitement is just starting. Dunedin has the perfect geography to be party central. Nevertheless, she is one of about 1800 competing for less than 500 places in med and dentistry. It will be a year or more before her future is sorted, but I am confident. She will be able to do what she sets her mind to do. Steve Jobs once commented that "we are here to make a dent in the universe", and Merinda is the kind of person who might well wind up making such a dent, big time, from the inside.

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