OPINION: What a wonderful thing, to arrive home to news of the Valli-coached Coalfields rugby team win, writes Pat Veltkamp Smith in And Another Thing.
After six rain-soaked days on the Coast we were saturated with newspapers to read: The morning West Coast Guardian was delivered to the door, after school the Greymouth Star came the same way and The Press was available on any excursion out. Yes, we knew all the news, from the sighting of UFOs near Shantytown to the slight shock of Coasters at what they saw - according to their letters to the editor - as the Government's over- generous bailout of Tiwai.
There's so much happening on the Coast: Coalmining; gold, too; Green protesters on about 1080 - and then about mining to resume on the Denniston plateau and then about forestry stepping up; flat stones being glued into door mats; and Hokitika transgender mayoral contender Jacquie Grant, owner of the Sock Shop, hurrying up her citizenship papers.
That was all going on, all around us, much of it written by journalist Paul Madgwick for three mastheads.
There was fresh stuff, news from the Coast to the Alps to Christchurch: Council staff being harassed or harassing; a Bernie Monk interview on telly as we visited his Paroa pub.
Yes, we felt in the thick of it; and people said "So much rain" and we said "We are from Southand".
But if you think you know rain in Southland - forget it.
Westland rain is something else: No ladylike showers but great unremitting bucketing-down rain, day and night. Yet, still, a happy family holiday . . .
Home then, more diving for cover - at the airport (keep that cover) - and then a day to read 12 days of the Southland Times. To find sad losses: Friends - Margery, Doris, Bill, Jan - gone. Michele, too, off to Queenstown; my friend, Vera, has been 50 years wed; Frances and Steph out and about; Graham Hawkes remembers his trainee chef days at the Grand and his mentor, Nick Kooijy; big pillars may come down near Wachner Pl and the Umbrella in Don St may not be; and four lanes of traffic may be two.
And more green space.
Lauren Turnbull from Mataura heads off my question - why?
Teen friend Arielle calls in and asks: Still reading those papers?
Her new phone, she says, has it all: Headlines and temperatures, forecasts too. Ah . . .
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