It does your heart good!

New Zealanders can be proud of their generosity to a fellow Kiwi in his time of need.
3rd Degree (TV show) aired the plight of pensioner (retiree) Vernon Gardiner who was in a Filipino prison facing 20 years for a debt of less than $5000. He needed:
  • NZ$4982 to repay Vernon’s debt
  • NZ$2000 to pay Vernon’s overstaying fees and secure him a new passport
  • NZ$1000 to contribute to his rent, pay for new clothes and set him up on another island
The television show put up the first $1000 and donations covered more than the rest of his needs.
Sarah Hall, from the tv show, took the money to the town of Virac and Vernon was soon a free man.

Good on ya, New Zealand!

Please note: None of the money you donated has been used to cover any costs incurred by 3rd Degree. And 3rd Degree did not pay Vernon for his story.
As more was raised than was needed to free Vernon Gardiner from prison, we are donating the remaining funds to two New Zealand charities, the New Zealand Red Cross and Make A Wish NZ.



still adjusting after all these years

As I'm sure you could figure out (if you ever thought you had to) that an island country in the south pacific is quite small with very little manufacturing. Because of that, we have to import most things and they are, of course, more expensive than locally made items. 

I believe I am getting used to that fact--after almost 7 years, it's about time, don't you think?--but, I must confess that I was shocked at the price of this 16-oz-ish package of marshmallows that Hubby put in the cart trolley a few days ago. 

They are imported from Australia, our nearest neighbor, but they are made in China (which is about the same distance from here as the US). They cost $4.41. *pause until you remember the last price you paid for a pack of marshmallows*

I still think in 'american' sometimes: in all this time, I don't recall any car ads telling me that their car gets 'so-many km per liter'--spoken by a distinguished but enthusiastically disembodied voice. It seems that fuel economy is not a huge selling point here, it's more about the actual cost of the vehicle. But to let you know what price we pay to travel, keep in mind that

1 gallon = 3.78 liters

We pay just over $2/liter for gas petrol.*pause to let you quickly calculate a general idea of a price per gallon* I could go to all the trouble of figuring out our gas mileage--or is it kilometerage? no, it's mileage, at least it is in England where they measure in miles but buy in liters, but I digress. Anyway, we just try to limit our number of trips 'to town' (which would be Hawera or New Plymouth, each about a 30-minute drive) each pay period.

I have to admit that I miss all the different dollar stores in the US. I could visit four or five in Topeka in one day looking for cool stuff to buy for a dollar. When I first got to Stratford, we had a $2 shop. Stock changes all the time, so it's an adventure to buy one specific item. But most towns had a $2 shop so I could pop into each one I passed to look.
They are all now a '2n5' shops. *sigh*

I suppose I will be 'shocked' by prices going up in the future as they will all over the world, but I imagine my sentences beginning with, 'Well when I was in Kansas, I could buy that for...' will lessen eventually. But I don't think that the Kansan in me will ever go away.


Technology brings back Granddad's sea chest

 Brigid Borlase bought an officer’s cabin trunk on Trade Me which had belonged to her grandfather, Stanley Jervis.A cabin chest that carried the belongings of a World War II sailor all over the world has come into the hands of his granddaughter after she spotted it on an online auction.

More than 70 years after Stanley Jervis left on a Royal New Zealand Navy ship bound for Singapore, the Distinguished Service Cross recipient's trunk is now with Wellingtonian Brigid Borlase.
Lieutenant Jervis, who died 10 years ago, "absolutely loved the sea" and it was special to have a memento from his navy days back in the family, she said.
"My mother was really thrilled to see it again, and to see it was coming home."
Ms Borlase had vague memories of the chest from her grandparents' house, but the family believed it was somehow sold off with their other possessions when they both died.
It was by chance she stumbled on it in the antique section on Trade Me.
"The name on the top caught my eye. It was a total surprise. It's had a bit of an amazing trip."
She bought it for $850.
Antique restorer Nic Young found the battered chest at Trash Palace, in Porirua.
He said he "grabbed it" for $15, then began to clean it. "It was a real mess when I got it."
When crudely applied green paint scraped off, he found Lieutenant Jervis' initials and navy details inscribed.
A search on the internet revealed the man's illustrious naval career, including being part of the Normandy landings and rescuing troops from Crete.
"I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what have I come across?' "
Four years later and after trying unsuccessfully to sell it on Trade Me twice, he was happy to see the chest bought for $850.
When Ms Borlase called to say she was the sailor's granddaughter, he almost fainted. "It will probably go down in the top 10 experiences I've ever had in my life."
After, of course, his marriage and seeing his baby born, he said.