Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2011


Last night I became a grandfather. Naomi Yin-Leng was born to my daughter in law Charmayne and son Nick in Sydney at around 11 pm our time, and suddenly the world is no longer the same. Thirty something years ago Nick was born in Christchurch, the first of our three, and the world changed then, too. Up until the moment he came blue and reluctant into the world he had been a possibility: a squirming bulge in Clemency's body. He had been imagined and read about and even viewed as a grey fuzzy blob using the steam and treadle powered ultrasound scanning machines of the 1980s; but nothing, absolutely nothing had prepared me for the experience of holding my first born, and looking into his eyes and having a person look back. In that instant the whole miracle of  Being presented itself; in the space of nine months the exquisite machinery of a human body had been formed, but more astonishingly still, a consciousness was now present within it. In that instant the boundaries of my self co

Blest Are The Pure In Heart

It snowed on Monday and Dunedin shut down. It wasn't the sort of snow you can go outside and frolic in, but rather the sort that comes in sideways in the face of  a southerly like a cold, wet, sandblaster. We stoked up the fire and read and watched DVDs. It all calmed down a bit on Tuesday, and I was able to go about the things that seemed to be stacked into this week. On Wednesday I presided at the induction of my successor at St. John's Roslyn. Eric Kyte is an Englishman, born in the same town as Clemency, but a decade later. He arrived to face the worst weather we have had for a good long while, and there were a few local foibles to come to terms with, such as the peculiar little coal burner in the family room of the vicarage and a different way we work hot water systems over here, but by and large he seems to have settled in well and the service was wonderful. The church was full, and the optimism and good humour were palpable. It was good to again be amongst people with

The Week That Was

For most of the past week I attended the Anglican Schools conference in Christchurch. This was a gathering of, largely, the principals and chaplains of Anglican schools, but there were a few also rans, such as myself, along to make up the numbers. What with it being a conference attended by the principals of some of the country's better schools and everything, we staying a a much classier hotel than we would have if it had been any other sort of churchy conference, so I was well fed and had a nice room, but that wasn't the good bit about being there. What made the four hour drive North more than worth it was two things: the conference speakers and the company I kept. The Anglican Schools office is run, in this country, by the extraordinary and wonderful Ali Ballantyne. Despite being shaken out of her Christchurch office and being forced to run things on a patchwork system she has cobbled together in the garage of her home,  she put together a program that was as good as anyt


There was a 40 knot southerly blowing when I went for a walk on the beach today, so I wasn't bothered by the crowds. About halfway between St. Clair and St. Kilda three young women in wetsuits were pulling their surfboards out of the waves, trying to control them in the gale as they stumbled and shrieked their way into the comparative shelter of the dunes. Their faces and hands and feet were scarlet with cold and they caught my eye as I passed and  smiled in mute acknowledgement of the absurdity of their situation. It rained, and the sand blew in a small drifting mist at about ankle height above the firm beach. It was high tide and the waves just reached the six foot high cliff caused by the scouring away of the sand during the recent storms. After half an hour I turned and faced back into the wind, pushing against it and against the softness of my footing, glad of my Gore-Tex and gloves and snow cap, and straining on the flat beach as though I was walking steadily uphill. I retrac