Under construction, last update    March 3, 2004

Many unpublished works in progress and on file


A travel article for Christchurch "Press" newspaper

A technical article on Pesticides for "Soil & Health"

An historical article for "Bristol Times" newspaper, UK

Here is an example of of one of several non-fiction articles published in the Christmas Edition of "Older and Bolder", a newspaper published in Christchurch, New Zealand for the over 50s.

A Christmas Memory.

Being a General Practitioner's son, in England, in the mid-nineteen-fifties didnít have many advantages for me, but I did get the occasional treat - usually at Christmas time.

Christmas, for us, started a couple of weeks early with large trucks delivering all kinds of groceries, a hundred or so of everything, from the local shops. I particularly remember a load of individual Christmas puddings and one-person Christmas cakes in their own festive boxes. With all this stock and a pile of cardboard cartons, our garage was more like a grocery warehouse than a doctor's garage.

During the next few evenings, helpers would arrive, mysteriously from nowhere and pack each cardboard box with a set of goodies: bread, bacon, eggs, tinned fruit, tinned turkey, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, chocolates, tea, coffee and much more, and finally, on top, the pudding and the cake. Then they would wrap a decorative ribbon round the entire carton and finish it off with a Christmas bauble and a card with the address of the recipient.

When all the packing was finished, on the Sunday before Christmas, each of the local doctors would take ten or so cartons and deliver them to the most deserving patients. Each of the almshouses always received one too.

I helped my father deliver our 10 boxes. Doing this I learned a thing or two about people. Most were pleased to see us, but some, slammed the door in our faces as they had their pride. We invariably persuaded them to take the gift.

Several grabbed their box and tore it apart, throwing out the luxuries like cake and chocolates to get to the tinned peaches, spaghetti or the corned beef whichever was their particular favourite, (Cigarettes were also always provided then) and scuttle into their kitchen to open it and eat the treasure they had found, leaving the rest of the contents of the parcel scattered all over the room. No doubt, most of the contents would be eaten long before Christmas day.

It was a job I really enjoyed. Many of the recipients suspicious at first encounter, seemed to visibly grow in stature. A broad smile would develop into a little chuckle as, dry washing their hands, Scroogelike, they would direct you inside to place the box on their table.

Another job, the week before Christmas, was collecting for the sick children mainly for those with incurable diseases. At prominent places in the main shopping streets would be Christmas trees with tinsel and coloured lights, and two boxes placed underneath, one was for donations and the other a lucky dip for small children. We would sing carols, lustily, dressed to complete the historical theme in the best traditional Dickensian costume and holding a candle lamp attached to a pole.

Our singing of popular Christmas carols certainly wasnít of choral quality, but what we lacked in skill, we certainly gave in enthusiasm. Happily, the shopping crowds responded well by tossing money and gifts into the donations box. In the evenings the singing groups would walk the streets singing for more donations for the children. These funds were used to purchase toys for distribution to the hospitals on Christmas day.