News of the World

This page written circa 30 August, 2023.

I consider it a positive sign when excellent actors appear in a movie that rates below 7.0 on IMDb. It means it will be a well-made film that does not suffer from all the rubbish that appeals to the populace. So it was with Stealing Beauty. So it is with News of the World, although it is a slow film, and not wall-to-wall happiness. While definitely not Love Actually, it hits a bunch of sweet notes.

And now to the news from the North Island. Scottpages was once Postcards from Santa Rosa, and may soon cease to be Notes from the North Island.

Kay bought the church. It is at the proximal end of the Otago Central Rail Trail, a 150km mostly-bike trail along the route of the former Otago Central Railway. St Chad's ex-church, Middlemarch . It was "secularised" and the event immortalised on YouTube: Secularisation of St Chad's Church Middlemarch 7 May 2023. Weird and sentimental... makes me feel sorry for them. I am not sure if it is sad or exciting, but the trail is counted as the largest non-farming economic factor in the region, courtesy of the 10k+ visitors it attracts each year. That may be enough to "drive the great water wheel" as the Ferengi would say. The trail has a viaduct... .

The plan at the moment is to put a large garage onto the plot, which is almost 2000 square metres or half an acre. This will store vehicles and goods, while its roof will collect water. It will then be possible to attach a tiny house. Meanwhile a plan will be formed on what to do with the building itself. Kay is considering all options. Bill asked me "Is Kay thinking of starting a new religeous cult in Central Otago? Convert people when they are tired out after finishing the cycle trail?" I reckon it will cater to existing worshippers of tiny houses and bicycles.

Kay describes the motivation as a need to "break out of this life". That is a great description. I have the same plan, but I have been less bold. This week Edwin will move into Coates Street. This apartment is proving to be rather lovely. With the new double-glazied windows it stays warm all night, and the heat pump is very little used, even in Hamilton's sub-5C winter nights. We have installed a full kitchen with induction, and laundry with washer and dryer. I am not yet leaving Hamilton permanently. I will be back late January for some battery business. One of the bedrooms in the flat is there for Kay and I to have a lock-up-and-leave crash pad here in Hamilton. I am quite looking forward to this.

We want to sell 17 Hillcrest. Our agent gets a crack starting November. A shipping company will take my technical and personal stuff away to Sydney around 19th October. Hillcrest will lilely go on sale at the start of November. I will miss this house's gardens. I unlink for Sydney at Halloween, and prepare to receive and store the shipped stuff in December. I will come back to Hamilton to check in on Edwin and help file a large grant application from late January & February. I imagine I will then venture down to see the girls in Dunedin.

Housing is a big issue these days. Homeless rates are high. Sydney has become an "inheritance city". Something like 29 per cent of Netherlands properties are social housing, nearly a quarter of homes are publicly owned in Austria, 21 per cent in Denmark, and 17 per cent in England. In Australia the number is less than 4 per cent. NZ is almost as bad, just over 4 percent. This says a lot about the state of the world.

Meanwhile, the Pa has opened at the university, lovely building. There is a staff club, and it has beer. The place is so skint it is hurting people, firing people, and trying to rent out buildings wework-style, but management has its neoliberal presumption of inequality sorted. I would find it much easier to believe in neoliberalism if indeed it was the clever and able that came out on top. It's much like communism... sounds brilliant, fails miserably.

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