Freedom’s just another word

Me and Bobby McGee

Following JB’s post of yesterday about world reaction to the United States Supreme Court’s most recent decision, I had a mind to follow up on that topic, but realized there are a lot of folk who need to express feelings, thoughts and anguish, and I would stand down for now.

And so my mind took me in a different direction.

I forgot my ear buds when I went walking this morning (early, as it is now 31C), and it gave me a chance to do some free thinking. Bounce my thoughts here and there.

Freedom came to the fore, of course. Well, at least the thought of it. And what it meant. Different folk, different slant. Different hope. Different anguish.

But, for this moment I am thinking about the losses of freedom we put on ourselves. Think, breaking self-imposed chains. Things that affect our everyday life. Things that have a good initially, and then we become dependent.

For instance;

I had to smile when I thought about conspiracists who said the government put tracking chips in the vaccine. (and were believed by too many of the P.T. Barnum ilk), and yet wear tracking bracelets and carry cell phones and other devices.) Chips not required.

When people – read ME here – sign up for self improvement programs that include weight loss, exercise, meditation – you name it. And carry on with them for years. **Note: I am not dissing these programs for even a minute. They are the reason I am healthy and active at 75.

No, my thoughts are that they have a purpose and I suddenly realized when I was preparing my food plan for the week and setting activity goals that I didn’t have to do this anymore.

I realized that the purpose of the programs had a training function. And there comes a time when one must ditch the training wheels of life. I know how to eat healthy. I know how much activity I require for good health and well-being. I also don’t need to know how much sleep and deep sleep I had.

So I have freed myself from such things as of today and it feels good. Of course that now leaves a lot of free space in my brain. Hmmm

So from here at North of 43, I shall ponder, and wish you all some kind of peace of mind.

Chris G June 25th ’22

Concern and Disbelief

“Our mothers teach us to speak,
and the world teaches us to shut up.”  
Valeria Luiselli, Mexican author 
1983 –

I looked on from afar and then muttered in disbelief that this couldn’t happen. But it did. The US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade. This had been in law since the early 1970s.

And now we are told by the BBC “After the Supreme Court ruling, abortion access is expected to be cut off for about 36 million women of reproductive age, according to research from Planned Parenthood, a healthcare organisation that provides abortions”

Here in New Zealand abortion is legal. Up to 20 weeks a woman may seek an abortion from a health professional. After 20 weeks abortion is permitted only if a health practitioner deems it “clinically appropriate” and consults at least one other health practitioner. So we find it hard to accept that a ruling that has been in place for more than 50 years can be overturned.

I once came into play with a group of anti-abortionists. A client had just purchased a hospital to add to its other properties. But this one housed a well-known abortion clinic. I was abused by a screaming bunch of zealots who called me a murderer amongst other things. They had no response to my query as to who was going to care for the unwanted, unplanned infants. Not pregnant but abused nevertheless.

I will close here – although of course, this enquiring, ancient neighbourhood of my mind, will follow this through the weeks and months that follow.

JB June 25, 2022


I had another post in mind right up to the point of starting to type, but something else won out.

I have become enamoured of late with an old TV Series from Britain. It has started a once a day episode and I PVR it, generally watching in the evening.

It’s an old tale about love lost, and a reuniting thirty-eight years later, when paths cross again.

It’s a lovely show, starring Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, that makes me feel, sentimental, wistful, and comforted. I guess. Not sure if that really says how it makes me feel, but it’s the best I can come up with.

It’s a calming time, a laughing time, that ends with a sigh. (Mine not theirs)

Sometimes I find myself wondering if there had been someone who loved me all those years ago and I didn’t know it. Something to ponder.

The series originally ran from 1992-2004 I think.

Dame Judi Dench

The Dame is one of my favourite actresses. I love her style, her accent, her humour. Whether she is Jean from this series or M from the 007 franchise she emanates femininity wrapped around iron strength.

The Jean character and the Lionel character play off each other well. And none of this kissy sweet stuff. They grumble and gripe like most real life couples I know.

It just makes for a very pleasant half hour a day. And of course the lyrics and music brings back warm feelings of yesteryear. You know, mid-last century.

It all just feels like a soothing balm in a world that’s gone upside down.

As Time Goes By

Song by Dooley Wilson


You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by

And when two lovers woo
They still say “I love you”
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by

Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date
Hearts full of passion
Jealousy and hate
Woman needs man, and man must have his mate
That no one can deny

It’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by

Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date
Hearts full of passion
Jealousy and hate
Woman needs man, and man must have his mate
That no one can deny

It’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Herman Hupfeld

As Time Goes By lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

So from North of 43 I wish a bit of peace and calm for each of you!

Chris G June 23rd ’22

Thoughts for Thursday

“What is it with you and that book?”
Rafael laughed. “We have a personal relationship.” 
Benjamin Alire SáenzAmerican poet, novelist,

and writer of children’s books

Lunch today was cancelled because one friend had a horrible cold and didn’t want to go out nor did she want to give it to us.

So time for me. But where did the three hours I would have spent between leaving home and returning go?

The groceries were delivered bright and early (what a godsend that is to we oldies), and then the FaceTime chat with Chris. We talk twice each week, usually for an hour or so – 10.30 am my time so I have the rest of the day before me; while Chris, some 16 hours behind me, is looking forward to her evening activities.

I had promised myself that I would use this unexpected free day on myself. So I took out my book and continued reading with the sun pouring in the open doors, my Grandson’s cat, Flashcat at my feet and a steaming cup of tea at hand.

Have you discovered Caro Ramsay’s books? Caro is a Scottish mystery writer and we are told “Caro was born in Govan, on Glasgow’s south side. A graduate of the British School of Osteopathy, she runs a large osteopath centre in West Scotland, treating animals and humans, and writes in her spare time.”

So far “in her spare time” she has written 13 books in the Anderson and Costello series, two stand-alone novels and a cookbook. I wonder what I could have achieved in my spare time.

Caro is a member of the Murder Is Everywhere group of mystery writers and it is here that I first met her. Her Anderson and Costello novels are set in Glasgow and as I lived just 8 miles north of Glasgow in a little village called Kirkintilloch (I dare you to try and pronounce that if you are not Scottish) I know most of the places about which she writes. Anderson and Costello are a Detective Inspector and his Detective Sergeant. Caro is obviously on very good terms with her local police because these police procedural novels ring true.

I have started at the beginning of the series Absolution and am now on book three, so there’s a long way to go and many books for me to read. I will, of course, write reviews on my other site, for Goodreads and occasionally on this site.

So I am listening to what David Baldacci says as I sit reading. What a wise man he is!

From Pinterest

So back to Anderson and Costello and until the next time.

JB with Chris in the corner
June 23, 2022

Grab pluck or seize – this is the day!

And what a day it is!

When I woke this morning at 6 and read the news –

Summer Solstice, Longest Day of the Year, First Day of Summer, Planetary Alignment I just knew it would be a special time. Lots of thoughts came to mind –

And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy

Next I thought SEIZE THE DAY!

Carpe is the second-person singular present active imperative of carpō “pick or pluck” used by Horace to mean “enjoy, seize, use, make use of”.[2] Diem is the accusative of dies “day”. A more literal translation of carpe diem would thus be “pluck the day [as it is ripe]”—that is, enjoy the moment. It has been argued by various authors that this interpretation is closer to Horace’s original meaning

Then I thought Tomb Raider ( the Angelina Jolie version)

Rare five-planet alignment to dazzle the night sky as per BBC Science Focus Magazine. By Holly Spanner

The five bright planets will be visible with the naked eye, and rather excitingly for stargazers, will appear in the same order as they are in their orbits around the Sun.

From the east-northeast horizon looking towards the right, you’ll be able to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with the naked eye

When was the last time the planets aligned?

It’s not unusual to see two or three planets in the night sky, but planetary alignments of this kind are pretty rare. Because of the orientation and tilt of their orbits, the eight major planets of the Solar System can never come into perfect alignment. The last time they appeared even in the same part of the sky was over 1,000 years ago, in the year AD 949, and they won’t manage it again until 6 May 2492.

Photo by John Nail on

A day of great portent? Maybe. Maybe not. But I do believe in Magic! And Santa. The Easter Bunny? Not so much.

So here at North of 43 I shall wait. And see. But if there is magic to be had, may you enjoy it too!!

June 21st.’22

A New Public Holiday

“The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.”
Siddharth Katragadda is an Indian American writer,
artist and engineer.
1970 –

via wikipedia

This year we have a new public holiday. The holiday is to celebrate Matariki. In Māori culture, Matariki is both the name of the Pleiades star cluster and of the celebration of its first rising in late June or early July. This marks the beginning of the new year in the Māori lunar calendar.

The first public holiday to celebrate Matariki will be on Friday 24 June 2022. “The Government has committed to ensuring Mātauranga Maori is at the heart of celebrations of the Matariki public holiday, and it will be a time for: Remembrance – Honouring those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki.”

Here in New Zealand we are working hard and making recompense for the way the indigenous people were treated in the past. We can never undo what has been done, but in small ways we are doing our best. So this new public holiday to celebrate the beginning of the Maori New Year is an acknowledgment of their place in our society.

JB June 21, 2022

Duck Duck Goose

Duck Duck Goose is a children’s game, but not one that I played, but the term came to mind yesterday.

I ventured forth in mild weather (18C), to pick up just a few things. I thankfully took my cane, that I seldom use, but found it necessary after two days of heavy labour. And glad that I did. It would serve as a weapon.

After purchasing the necessities of life (Reactine, Apples, and Wine) I approached my bus stop, but could go no further.

In spite of 2 lakes (Victoria Park and Waterloo Park) a reasonable distance away, I came across Canadian Geese barring my entry to the stop with a gang of gosslings that are cute as newborns and beautiful as adults but truly the ugly duckling at this stage; Gangly and clumsy looking.

Now unlike the Canadian persona, Canadian Geese are very aggressive. You don’t mess with them. And if you accidentally kill one the fines are in the thousands.

I waited as they made their way past the bus stop. I didn’t want to wave my mighty cane so waited.

Now you should be able to google anything but cannot get a satisfactory answer as to why they would be on a city street pulling at the grass.

Then – they decided to cross the street.

It’s a busy street at the best of times. And of they did not all cross at once. In fact there were three group nail biting crossings but they made it.

And I said to a young chap they will probably all come back now, because watching them I believe the goal was not the journey but the power of controlling puny humans.

So those are the marvellous thoughts from North of 43 today!

Chris G June 19th’ 22

A New Favourite

You will have read Chris’s post How The Light Gets In. I too am a great fan of Louise Penny and her Ganache character and all the other people who live in that lovely little village – Three Pines.

I have read and listened to all her books and am eagerly awaiting the next one. But..

I have now discovered another author who is currently pushing Louise aside to become my favourite. Michael Robotham.

Quite by accident, I came across The Suspect. I was absolutely fascinated by the protagonist Clinical Psychologist, Joe O’Loughlin. In that book, he has just discovered that he has Parkinson’s and is trying to come to grips with it. while helping in a murder investigation he becomes the chief suspect. Fascinating reading. I am about to write a review on one of my other blogs in which I write book reviews. I later discovered this was book one in a nine-book series.

The next book I picked up was The Other Wife. That is reviewed on my other site. This was even more exciting than The Suspect. Totally unputdownable (that word again). That is book nine in the series.

Then on a visit to the library to return the books, I discovered Close Your Eyes. Book eight in the series. As soon as I finish this post I am going to make another cup of tea and sit and finish this book. It’s cold and wet outside today. What an excuse to do nothing.

I am totally in awe of Michael Robotham this Australian author. After many years during which he wrote for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America, he decided to quit and became a ghostwriter, collaborating with an extensive range of well-known and maybe not so-well-known “politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and show business personalities to write their autobiographies”.

There is another series which I haven’t looked into yet. The protagonist this time is Cyrus Haven. But that is for another post.

And at the end of his Meet Michael page we read –

Michael lives on Sydney’s northern beaches,
where he thinks dark thoughts in his  ‘cabana of cruelty – 
a name bestowed by his three children (now grown up), who happily poke fun at the man who has fed, clothed and catered to their every expensive whim. Where is the justice?

Back in a couple of days with more meandering through the neighbourhood of this ancient mind.

JB June 19, 2022

How The Light Gets In

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen from ’Anthem’

A busy exciting day here at North of 43, mostly doing stuff I don’t usually do. See, it doesn’t take WHOOOOO WHOOO make life exciting around here.

And when I got home, showered after lots of physical work, went off to Crabby Joe’s for a hamburger and a beer, I kept thinking about this being my day to blog. You know because Judith and I alternate days.

Problem is that one of the books I have on the go, one that I have read by real book, ebook, and today audio book is one of my favourites and I just couldn’t put it down. Uh, or off.

Any way the book is:

Now I am, as you may know an ardent Louise Penny fan.

Not just of her writing but of her as a person. We are best friends. Okay, maybe she doesn’t know about it but we are. I think we are like peas in a pod, but it is doubtful anyone else would agree, but the thought makes me happy so…

How the Light Gets In is the ninth of eighteen Gamache books and my favourite. There will be eighteen when her new one A World of Curiosities comes out in November. I also liked her State of Terror she wrote with Hillary Clinton, but Three Pines definitely has my heart.

This book has it all for me. Suspense, love, flawed humans not cast out or cancelled. It speaks to me on a very personal level. Please note: having read a book does not decrease in anyway the suspense for me. Go figure.

So here it is, after 10, or 2200 hours and I have just finished the book yet again, and of course I had to talk about it. Except I am very tired. So no more talking for me, but you might want to give the book a read.

So goodnight from here at North of 43, just another flawed human striving. Hmmmm striving for what I wonder? Oh Oh. I will ponder that for a bit.

Chris G June 17th ’22

A Friend in Trouble

Friendship is a rainbow
between two hearts

Judith Baxter

Sometimes you have to put aside your plans for the day when a friend needs you. Today was such a day.

I had a call at 8 am to say that a friend had been told by an organisation, he knew not who had called him having been half asleep. at the time. The gist of the conversation and thus that which I received, was that another friend had a car accident last night, had broken her leg and was in the hospital. No further information was available except that it was close to a construction site.

Oh dear me. Chinese whispers. After many phone calls (none of the friends who live close by had even heard the news), the retirement village management was not aware of this, although it transpired that in the accident, she had driven through the main complex gates and shattered them. Anyway, I eventually tracked her down in the main hospital. She had dislocated her hip and was resting and I could pick her up shortly and take her home.

So today has been all about this friend. Taking her home, making her comfortable, making sure that one of the friends who live closer than me (I am 50 km away) could call in on her tomorrow.

So why am I telling you all this? Because I eventually arrived home at 6.30 pm needing food (missed lunch completely) and I hadn’t even considered what I would write about today. So please forgive me if I reblog a post from June 2012. it was a good day, all those years ago. My faithful companion Lotte, was still with me and all was well with my world,

To read the post entitled What a /difference a Day Makes, please click here.

So from a tired and weary blogger in Wellington, NZ who is planning an early night-

JB, June 17, 2022