Miss Armstrong Writing 2017


Urban areas should be provided with Compost Bins for collection as well as recycling.

I heard an off the cuff remark on the radio one day that Auckland should introduce composite recycling bins. It stuck with me. The more I thought about it the better I thought it was as an idea. I often feel that individuals struggle to feel that they are making a difference in our war to save the planet and feed ourselves. Recycling food waste as a community would help educate the community while giving them tangible evidence of their efforts, and significantly reducing the household waste that reach the landfills and creating a range of new jobs in the process. Compost Bins for households in urban areas is a no brainer!

Firstly, compulsory compost recycling will teach all but the most stubborn the advantages of reducing waste. It is a well-known fact that we learn more by doing than by being shown, so it follows that by providing the appropriate equipment and advice people will willingly convert to composting crusaders. When the new generation of recycling bins were delivered there were moans and groans from some, but we learnt what we could and could not include and now my recycling bin is full and my landfill bin often sits half full on the curb.

Which bring me to my second point, we still need to reduce our contributions to land fill and taking food wastes out of our landfill bins will reduce our land fill by over 40%. The Love-food-hate-waste movement studied 1500 households in 2014 and found that our food wastage was over 122,000 tonnes per year. Getting rid of that waste is the equivalent of taking approximately 120,000 cars off the road in one year, or planting 130,000 trees. I know if I took the left over scraps, food peelings and the bread that went mouldy out of my bin it would nearly be empty.

And if saving our planet wasn’t enough the job opportunities that these bins would bring is almost endless. We would need people and companies to collect it, to process it, to package it, to sell it, to spread it around where it is most needed. A current search of the internet will find hundreds of current jobs listing in the field of recycling at a range of salary levels, composting would create even more. It’s even going to give the kids a new pocket money job, hosing out the bin after collection.

We wouldn’t be the first, Vancouver in Canada with a population of 2.5 million has set up a City Wide Composting program, so not first but let’s not be last. The benefits of compost bins for our urban areas are unquestionable, we reduce waste, create jobs and educate our population. Today 334 tonnes of rubbish went into land fill, 134 tonnes of that was waste food. Time to make composting compulsory

Challenge Recount

“Youth is not a time of life, it’s a state of mind.” That’s what it says on a birthday card sent to me years ago, that I framed and hung by my front door. Young people don’t get it, but you will. The inside doesn’t age it’s just the appliance that starts to break down. Unfortunately, sometimes the aging appliance reminds the inside just how old you are getting. Case in point: January 7th, 2014, Action World Paihia and the not so forgiving mini trapeze.

It was an adventure long in the planning, carefully selected date, thoughtfully selected travelling buddies, prudently selected transport vehicle, wisely selected travel route, laboriously prepared picnic lunch, deliberately selected picnic site and heedfully listened to safety talk, all led to this moment: me, squatting on a platform four metres in the air, clinging to an iron swing and my dignity. Hoping that today, my appliance would not let me down.

The gentle breeze skated over my skin, creating the illusion of a gale force version of itself in my head. The air was humid, and yet my throat was parched. Below me familiar figures became an anonymous crowd as I withdrew into myself. The iron vines stretched out before me, three swings and over the blow-up bully at the end, taunting me with his “only sissys can’t get over me!”

The cicadas were the drumroll to my performance and the summer sun my spotlight. The command “bend your knees” echoed through my head, I could do that; even if I did look like I was squatting over a public toilet. In my head, I saw a twelve-year-old me balanced and poised, ready to swing with the grace of an Olympic gymnast; in reality a middle aged me trembled slightly and clung to the first swing with aged determination.

I deliberately drew in a long calming breath and almost unknowingly slid my feet into the void. My arms straightened and legs fell into an elegant streamline form. The wind became a current parting before me, as I focused on the next bar. This fall would soon become an arc that lifted and threw me toward the target. At least that is what I had hoped for but it wasn’t what the future had in store for me. As my pendulum reached its lowest point, my fingers thereupon failed and I plummeted with an unforgiving lack of grace to the airbed below, where I floundered like a crab on its back, trying to drag my body from this cradle of humiliation.

Samuel Ullman said, “Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigour of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life… Whether 60 or 16, there is in every human being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing childlike appetite of what's next and the joy of the game of living.” I had the appetite, but I went hungry that day.

The Summer Splash

by Natasha Rodger

“Can you hear that?” The rhythmic sound of gentle waves lapped against the launch, while the wash from other boats cruising past produced the rocking motion. Our home on water for the summer holidays was the Janadee: a 40-foot launch that slept 8 people and our Saint Bernard dog. On this day I found myself waking to the sunrise that was peeping through the porthole above my bunkbed, in the room that I shared with my little sister at the bow of the boat. I saw the blue sky and the birds flying above on what looked to be another clear sky day. My attention was grabbed by the rustling of a sleeping bag as my sister rolled over in the bed below. What adventures would we have today I wondered?

We were at Moturekareka Island, again! Dad loved this place. Such a cute little island that you can walk from one end to the other in 20 minutes. If I was a bird looking down on it, the shape would be that of a giant bean covered in bush with small rocky beaches on either side. When I peered out of my porthole I could see the massive wreck that we were tied up to, giving us shelter as we sat between it and the shore. On the other side was another boat belonging to my friend and her family. We loved going away with them as we had so many adventures exploring the sea and any islands that we visited. I thought that today we would go snorkelling again, around the wreck, and pondered on what it must have looked like before it was stranded there forever.

I wandered out to the back of the boat to see if my friend was awake yet. As I stood on the side of the boat another boat passed us and our boat lurched slightly in a new direction. I felt myself slip from the side and straight down between the two boats, into the freezing cold sea. It was so dark under the water and my body went stiff with the shock of the sudden drop into the icy waters. I could see the two boats above me as I realised where I was and that I needed to swim back to the top. Looking up and I saw the two boats bang together and started to panic about which way to go. I could feel my heart pounding as if it was the drummer in a band, boom…. boom… boom.. boom. boom, the rhythm speeding up, running underwater but going nowhere.

The boats blocked out the morning sun, the sea above me was as black as the night sky on a moonless night. Panic consumed me, my heart felt like it was beating in my throat and I swallowed several gulps of salty sea water before I saw the propellers at the back end of the boat. The light from the early morning sunrise broke through and I realised which way I needed to go and started swimming as fast as I could. My thoughts began to race, and I was running out of breath; was this really happening? My heart had moved to my ears and all I could hear was the drum roll sound track to my terrifying situation. My arms and legs were thrashing, but I was getting nowhere, just like the coyote in the road runner show. Then an eerie silence and stillness - how I imagined floating in space would be.

Suddenly a hand reached down and grabbed my t-shirt and pulled me up onto the boat. Dad, he had seen me slip in and was just about to jump in when he saw me rising to the top of the water. I finally felt the hard floor of the boat hit my body, thud, drowned out by my mother’s screams! The pain was such a welcome relief, it was immense, my body shook all over from the shock.

I couldn’t believe what had just happened, it felt like hours had passed but it was merely seconds of my life. My little sister was crying. Mum was hugging me and asking if I was okay. I managed to say, “Yes,” but that was all I could manage, while I caught my breath again. Mum got some towels and wrapped me up in them until I stopped shivering. Then I got changed into some dry clothes and I sat on my bunk bed watching the sun stream in through my window, feeling relieved that this hadn’t end in tragedy.

Nervous Recount

by Averil Good

Petrified could not begin to explain how I felt. Shaking with fear, I came to realise that it was time to walk down the aisle. The thought of all of those eyes following me made nerves crawl all over my body. I pictured the luxurious lace of my dress catching on an old rusty nail of the wooden ramp and me stumbling over face first into the sand. Grey mysterious clouds lingered above me, thankfully not letting go of their tears, while the ancient pohutakawa stretched over me, creating dancing shadows on my face.

Before me, bridesmaids had disappeared down the flax lined path: I could hear my song flooding through the air. It was time. My dad linked his arm with mine and we started the intimidating walk towards the top of the ramp. At the top I could see the crowds waiting patiently. I took each step, one by one, careful not to trip. My toes finally landed in the soft sand, the faces of the crowds transformed to a colourful blur and my eyes focused on the handsome man standing under the arch. Waves pounded the sand behind him; he had a smile the stretched from ear to ear. My nerves slipped away, replaced with happiness as with each step we drew nearer.

Dad led me through the crowds to the arch and reached out to firmly shake my future husbands hand: there I stood face to face with Chris. Overwhelmed by emotion I fought to hold back the tears that welled in my eyes. The sounds of seagulls overhead and waves crashing behind faded away as the celebrants voice took over and the ceremony began.

Rupe and Me

A realistic Adventure: by Miss Armstrong

Chapter One:

My name is Matthew. Matt. I am 14 years old and pretty cool, in that lots of friends but not too big headed kind of way. I’m tall for my age, dark hair blue eyes, tanned and pretty good at all sports, so I’ve never had to worry about being picked last for a team. I’m named after my Dad’s dad, granddad, which is okay because Matt and Matthew sound like someone you’d like to hang out with.

Unfortunately for my little brother Mum’s dad’s name was Rupert, so, so is his. He is ten. Even his nickname Rupe is scary, it rhymes with poop, so you can imagine the horrible poems I was able to make up when he was little and use to bug me. I’m too mature to do that anymore.

Rupe has a whole list of other ‘issues’ that make him a target for immature humour. He’s quite round. Mum says it’s just baby fat but she’s kidding herself. He has red hair, not that there’s anything wrong with red hair, but we all know that as a minority group they do suffer the torments of the less empathetic among us. Then there’s the glasses thing. Rupe’s been wearing glasses since he was 2, can’t see a thing without them.

Rupe is good at stuff, school stuff and building stuff and figuring stuff out, all the stuff that makes him even more of a ‘nerd’, if you are one of those insensitive git kind of people who use that word.

I love my brother. He comes up with some really cool ideas and knows how to make it happen. Like how to make the most of a muddy hill and what will make a great mud toboggan and where to find it while Mum’s not looking. I wish he had known how to sneak into the house covered in mud without getting caught, but it was worth it.

However as a fourteen year old I often find myself pretending I’m not with him when my friends are around. Not terribly proud of myself, but it seems to be one of those uncontrollable things that just happens to me now that puberty has set in. So I try to make it up to him by going places that no one will see us together.

Not far from our house, down through a vacant block still covered in thick native bush, full of adventure potential, is a little cliff, about three metres high. A long time ago someone who must have been really cool, made a rope ladder which drops down to the beach below. At high tide the waves come up the cliff and pound against it. They have worn the cliff almost glass smooth.

At low tide the wonders of the rock pools are revealed. We love it. We skitter around like the rock crabs we are hunting, trying to find the one with the biggest claws to scare each other with. We try and sneak up on hermit crabs, see who’s strong enough to budge the limpets that cling to the rocks, see who can spot the camouflage crabs, let the star fish walk across our hands, find out who’s brave enough to pick up a kina: this place is all about Rupe and me.

Chapter Two

Our place is a fabulous place; when the tide is in it is a wave-churned basin, creamy with foam, whipped by the rollers that bowl in from the whistling buoy on the reef. But when the tide goes out the little water world becomes quiet and lovely. The sea is very clear and the bottom becomes fantastic with hurrying, fighting, and feeding animals. Which pretty much describes Rupe and me as well. We can spend hours dashing around the honeycombed rocks, squabbling over the right to roll boulders and stuffing our face with the spoils of our early morning pantry raid.

At the end of every adventure we find a pool and just sit and watch.

Crabs rush from frond to frond of the waving algae. Starfish squat over mussels and limpets, attach their million little suckers and then slowly lift with incredible power until the prey is broken from the rock. And then the starfish stomach comes out and envelops its food.

Orange and speckled and fluted nudibranchs slide gracefully over the rocks, their skirts waving like the dresses of a Spanish dancer. While snapping shrimps with trigger claws pop loudly. The lovely coloured world is glassed over.

Hermit crabs like frantic children scamper on the bottom sand: on finding and empty shell they like better, he creeps out, exposing his soft body to the enemy for a moment, and then pops into the new shell. Once we saw a hermit crab claim a broken beer bottle for his home.

Today as we watched a small wave broke over the barrier and churned the glassy water for a moment with bubbles and when it cleared the tranquil water had become a murderous cauldron. A crab was tearing a leg from his brother while an anemone expanded like a soft brilliant flower, inviting a small tide pool johnnie in before whipping in its petals full of tiny narcotic filled needles, the johnnie though sleepy is still alive as the caustic digestive acids melt its body down. And in the corner an octopus pretending to be seaweed began its advance.

He steals out, slowly softly, moving like grey mist, pretending to be weed, then rock, then a lump of decaying meat, while its evil goat eyes watch coldly. It oozes and flows toward the feeding crab while Rupe and I struggle to contain our morbid delight of the scene. As it comes close its yellow eyes burn and its body turns rosy with the pulsing colour of anticipation and rage. Then suddenly it runs lightly on the tips of its arms, as ferociously as a charging cat. It leaps savagely on the crab, there is a puff of black fluid and the struggling mass is obscured in the sepia cloud while the octopus murders the crab.

Hypnotised completely by the butchery unfolding before us I was taken complete by surprise when a rogue wave threw me against Rupe, and tumbling across the rocks into the pool: sending all the predators back into hiding, discarding their prey as they fled.

At that moment I struggled to recognise up from down, my world from theirs, safety from danger: survival from drowning.

Chapter Three

As the wave retreats, giggling over the uneven rocks Rupe and I clambered out of the pool to our feet, wet but not hurt. The tide has turned: it’s been a particularly fun day at the beach, and nobody has seen me playing with Rupe, so it’s been a success all-round. We are both going home happy!

I always go up the ladder first, that way I can help pull Rupe up the last few rungs when he gets puffed and starts wheezing. I forgot to say: he’s got asthma too.

The tide has been coming in for about an hour now and the beach is rapidly disappearing so it’s time to go, “Race you home Rupe!” And we’re off toward the cliff.

As I start to climb I can feel Rupe starting to climb behind me.

“Get off you idiot! It won’t hold both of us.”

“How am I going to race you home if I don’t keep up!” he shouted.

“I’ll wait at the top.” I would but I also knew he wouldn’t believe me, and I suddenly noticed how rotten a rope ladder that spends half of each day under water could get. “Get off!”

Rupert continued to climb behind me and at one point it felt like he was trying to climb over me. For a smart kid he was being particularly stupid. I felt the frayed fibres in the rope begin to give way, like when you rip the seam on a shirt but can’t quite see a hole yet.

“Get off!” I instinctively kicked backward not to hurt Rupe but to save myself. I hit him in the face, right in the pudgy nose. Now even if I hadn’t broken it, a kick to the nose hurts, but by the amount of noise that suddenly flooded out of Rupe’s mouth I was instantly sure I’d broken it.

The rope ladder was straining less, why?

Time was slowing down, the rope was now only supporting one of us and Rupe was falling backward toward the rocky floor. It was horrible to watch, only about a metre, but in slow motion it might as well have been from Sky Tower; the look of terror on his bespectacled face will haunt me for years!

There was a bone crunching thud as his somewhat padded body hit the ground. Before I could think what to do next the rope above me snapped; one side, I’m okay still one side left.


Not okay! Now it was my turn to see what Rupe had seen as you fall backwards toward the ground.

Oddly different: you don’t see the hard rock racing up to pound you, but instead the tree covered cliff top racing away from you. As time had slowed I had time to think, falling backwards is actually not as scary as watching someone fall; unless you have time to think about what’s behind you. What is behind me? Rupe's behind me! My little brother is behind me.

I get ready for the crunch, but when I get to the end of my descent it’s more of an oooophff than a crunch. Rupe makes quite a soft landing pad.

“Get off!”

At least I know he’s not dead.

“Get off me you moron. Look what you’ve done.”

As I looked up at what was left of the rope ladder, a good metre above my reach a rogue wave swamped us and then retreated. We sat there, drenched. That wave had gone back out but we didn’t have long before the water was all around us. Rupe’s nose was bleeding and definitely broken. And so were his glasses!

Chapter Four

“I didn’t do it! You did!” A pointless argument, but even in this time of impending doom I was not taking the rap for this!

Rupe looked like he had three eyes. No, not four! One of the lenses in his glasses had broken and it looked like he had two left eyes. I wondered what the world looked like to him.

“You’re the idiot that said ‘race you home’!” He seemed oblivious to the blood flowing from his nose.

“You’re the poop who wouldn’t get off the rope!”

That was the trigger that would turn Rupert into a tornado of trouble. With a “Mum said don’t call me that!” he ran straight at me arms punching even before he reached me. He really was a girlie puncher, but the blood was just gross.

“Get away from me!” I screamed and began to run in pointless circles around the beach that was getting smaller with every lap.

Rupert stopped and just stood there. Looking up the cliff at the remains of the ladder lying limply just out of reach. I could see he was turning his thoughts to an escape plan and felt I should add my efforts to the plan.

“HELP!” I yelled. But the incoming surf was now pounding and it was futile to think anyone at the road 500m north of the cliff would hear my whimper above the roar of the surf.

“You could lift me up to that.” Rupe stated, seemingly over his desire for revenge.

“What so you can get out and I drown or get smashed against the cliff?”

“No you moron, you can use me as the ladder and climb up. Then pull me up. You know I can’t pull myself up.”

He was right. And it was a pretty good idea, so I grunted approval in his direction and moved over to the base of the cliff. With a little further planning we put operation save our butts into action.

Rupe climbed onto my back as I crouched down facing the cliff, he bumbled his way up onto my shoulders bracing himself against the cliff face. His blood nose had slowed, but was still dripping and large globs of coagulated blood dropped down onto my head and shoulders. I regrouped my thoughts and tried not to puke.

Gradually I stood up and Rupe crept up the wall toward the remnants of the rope, I could feel him trembling but he didn’t say a word. I feared that I would get to full height only to find he still couldn’t reach, but as I began to straighten the last curve from my back, “I’ve got it,” from Rupe made my heart leap and I could breathe again.

I made sure he had a firm hold before I moved out from under him, stepped back and surveyed the next step in our plan. Another rogue wave hit me from behind and knocked me off my feet.

Now or never. I stood, took a short run and jumped as high up Rupee’s back as I could reach. In doing so I slammed his body face first into the rock, he let out a cry of agony, but to his credit he held on. Slowly I pulled at Rupe and his clothing, inching my way further up. The first few feet were the hardest but when I could get a hand on his shoulder and a foot on his belt I had all the leverage I needed.

Hand to rope, foot to shoulder, up and onto the rope, and over the edge. Pulling Rupe up was hard but easy in comparison to the climb. The two of us stood for about ten minutes, watching the waves claw at base of the cliff, where we had been just minutes before. Then we walked home in silence.

I was never so please to hear Mum yell at me, “Matthew Lindsay Malcolm what did you do to your brothers nose?!”

Author Study: Morris Gleitzman

“An ageing bloke with no hair and a bit too much tummy,” * Morris Gleitzman, (“rhymes with like, white and bite, which makes” him “sound more like a dairy product” * than a writer) is one of Australia’s bestselling authors. As well as novels, he has written for television and stage. He has a knack for presenting serious subjects in humorous and unexpected ways.

Morris was born in England in 1953, moving to Australia at the age of sixteen (1969). Growing up he says his mother taught him how to be neat and tidy while his father taught him how to be funny. He didn’t like school much preferring to play the class clown. He had high hopes of becoming a professional soccer player but that didn’t work out. While studying to obtain a degree in professional writing he worked as a chicken thawer, a store Santa Claus, an assistant fashion designer and a sugar mill stockman.

As a writer, he began writing for television, including feature film and telemovie scripts for children’s television. He wrote for the famous Norman Gunston Show as well as stage material for actress/comedian Pamela Stephenson and the Governor General of Australia. He wrote his first children’s novel in 1985 (at the age of 32), The Facts of Life followed by Two weeks with the Queen, which received high acclaim and was an international best seller, and was later converted into a play performed in Australia, London, South Africa, Canada, Japan and the USA.

He has been published in over 20 countries and by 1999 was one of Australia’s most popular writers. He speaks at schools (which he like mush more as an adult that he did as a child), has collaborated with Paul Jennings for a series and continues to write between his two homes, one in Sydney and one in Brisbane. Each house has an identical office, with identical knick-knacks and pen jars, with each novel spending time at each venue: “I think the Sydney pen jar is better at endings.” *

He says he enjoyed reading when he was young, anything would do even “knitting patterns.” * Now he prefers nonfiction works, “things I slept through at school.” * With the William series by Richmal Crompton being his all-time favourites.

All of his books have received awards including the Yabba, the Awgie, Book of the Year, the Cool Award the Bilby Award and the Koala Award. But that’s not what he writes for, in his own words “awards are a bit like pimples – if you get some it’s best not to think about them or squeeze them to much…. The awards I really like getting are the ones voted for by the actual readers.” *

For Gleitzman and book can take from 2 weeks to 10 years to write, but the average is 9 months, 2 months planning, 2 months writing and 2 months recrafting with breaks in between. His stories are made up but often have tiny bits of his own life snuck in. Gleitzman says his goal is to make people laugh and cry, he loves making characters that are “braver, funnier, wiser, sillier and more determined” * than himself, and then loves to make friends with them. He finds reward in the idea that his books will continue to be read after he’s dead. And on a more basic level he enjoys writing because he gets to use stationery, and he like stationery, he gets to work in his pyjamas, see his work in book store windows and makes money he can travel with.

On the down side: he says writing has given him a bad back and it can get lonely, “now and then I crave the company of people who are not inside my head.” *

Morris wrote Doubting Thomas in 2006, it was short listed for the REAL Children’s Choice Book Awards in 2008. Thomas is eleven and lives with his mum and dad and big sister Alisha. He was a pretty normal kid until he discovered he had developed a startling new ability. Every time anyone tells a lie Thomas develops a violent itch in his nipples. It's uncomfortable, embarrassing and gets Thomas into all sorts of trouble and he just wants it to go away. So, with the help of his two friends, Holly and Kevin, he sets out to find a cure. For me Kevin was the glue that held the farcical events together.

In Gleitzman’s first draft it wasn’t itchy nipples. It was itchy ears, but thanks to another author who had already used the idea, Morris had to work his way through possible body part alternatives and before finally settling on the hilarious image of nipples going “feather duster” that had me squirming and avoiding nipple contact every time I read it. This is standard, humorous Gleitzman and, as such, will appeal to those who enjoy a relaxing read with no particular challenges.

It’s a light-hearted romp from Australia to Paris while Gleitzman makes it clear that he is reacting to present day dilemmas along the way: with passing comments on such things as the 'Wheaties' scandal and Thomas' agony when he passes TVs broadcasting interviews with politicians. However, what takes central stage is social and familial dishonesty. Perhaps the message is honesty begins at home, something that young readers with little political influence can relate to, or at least think about.

I enjoyed this book, it didn’t make me think too hard, and gave me more than one giggle along the way. If that’s what you’re looking for its perfect.

Morris Gleitzman is a self-confessed clown, which I can relate to. I enjoy his way of exploring the world, serious topics camouflaged in quirky stories, full of likeable characters and idealism.

Long may he write.

By Miss. Armstrong

* Quotes from interviews with Morris Gleitzman


• http://www.morrisgleitzman.com/biographies.htm, Wednesday, 29 March 2017

• Wikipedia contributors. "Morris Gleitzman." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Feb. 2017. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

• http://biography.jrank.org/pages/1068/Gleitzman-Morris-1953.html, Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Science and Invention in the Elizabethan Era:

The Dark Ages, circa A.D. 500 to 1100, were characterized by a general erosion of civilization. Knowledge from the ancient Romans survived in only a few monasteries and cathedral and palace schools, while knowledge from ancient Greece almost disappeared completely. From right before the Dark Ages until about a century after, there were almost no important scientific advances. The Catholic Church became very powerful in Europe, and religious dogma governed much of what people thought and believed. Those whose beliefs or practices strayed from the church were "rehabilitated" and brought back into the fold. Resistance often led to persecution. The Elizabethan Era was a time of great advancements in science. In fact, one of the most renowned scientists of all time lived during this era.

Galileo Galilee is credited with the important invention of the telescope and a variety of laws and theories that include the laws of the pendulum and the laws of dynamics. Other influential scientists that lived during this time include Kepler, famous for his discoveries in astronomy, and Vesalius who was a famous anatomist, physician and author.

Although many scientific discoveries were made during this period science was not encouraged by. In fact, many scientists have fallen victim to the charges of witchcraft or mutiny towards the throne and put to death during this time. Even Galileo was put to death and the true importance of his inventions and theories weren't truly recognized until later.

Throughout the Elizabethan Era, innovations and inventions propelled the technological standards of the average homeowner. Some of these inventions helped to educate the population in schools, and allowed people to learn more about their world and the mysteries and enigmas that it is drowned in.

Inventions included:

1537: Tartaglia's gunner's quadrant for aiming cannon, 1st firing tables

1540: Toriano invents a mandolin-playing automaton

1543: John Dee creates a wooden beetle that can fly for an undergraduate production - one of the first robots

1550: John Dee, 'the guiding spirit' of the English school of mathematicians wrote a notable preface to the first edition in English of Euclid's Elements of Geometry

1565: Conrad Gesner of Switzerland invents the pencil

1568: Bottled beer is invented in London

1569: Gerard Mercator invents Mercator map projection

1582: Pope Gregory XIII invents the modern, Gregorian calendar

1583: Leonard and Thomas Digges invent the telescope

1589: William Lee invents the knitting machine

1590: Dutchmen, Hans & Zacharias Janssen invent the compound microscope

1591: Sir John Harington invents the flush toilet in England

1593: Francis Bacon invented the frozen chicken

1593: Galileo invents a water thermometer

1600: William Gilbert publishes treatise "On the Magnet". William Gilbert is referred to as the father of the science of electricity and magnetism

The Scientific Method was further developed during this era. Galileo used controlled experiments and analysed data to prove, or disprove, his theories. The process was later refined by scientists such as Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626), a successful lawyer and influential philosopher who did much to reform scientific thinking. In his "Instauratio Magna¬," Bacon proposed a new approach to scientific inquiry, which he published in 1621 as the "Novum Organum Scientiarum." This new approach advocated inductive reasoning as the foundation of scientific thinking. Bacon also argued that only a clear system of scientific inquiry would assure man's mastery over the world.

These technological advancements and innovations were created by the several famous scientists and thinkers. A few of the more notable and famous scientists and thinkers, such as Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, and Andreas Vesalius, made a very large impact on the technological advancements in the era. By the time of Galileo's death, the stage had been set for a true revolution in scientific thinking.


1. William Harris "How the Scientific Method Works" 14 January 2008.

HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/scientific-method.htm> 25 March 2017

2. Nelson, Ken. " History: Renaissance Science for Kids." Ducksters. Technological Solutions, Inc. (TSI), Mar. 2017. Web. 25 Mar. 2017. < http://www.ducksters.com/history/renaissance_science.php

3. http://elizabethanmuseum.weebly.com/science-and-technology.html, Saturday, 25 March 2017.

4. http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-inventions.htm , Saturday, 25 March 2017.


by Jan Neil, March 2, 2017.

Polly and Petunia's fate!

It was one of those serene, peaceful, sunny and quiet Sunday afternoons. All the weekend chores done, I sat in the cool spa pool listening to the mesmerising hum of cicadas and the distant drone of a passing small plane. The children were at our friends Joyce and Arthurs’ awaiting my imminent arrival, playing with their besties, but I lingered in the peace a little longer. Tony my ‘never where he should be husband’ had gone to town on the two pm barge, planning to get stock for the garden centre the following day.

My peace was shattered by the loud ringing of the rust coloured, wall mounted phone. An incessant ring that just didn’t want to stop.

“Hello,” I answered eventually, only to hear the neighbour Dave ranting with exasperation about a pig eating all the rubbish in the street and try as he might he could not tether the DAMN pig and EVERYONE had their rubbish out for collection the next day.

My mind was quickly assessing where I last saw Polly and Petunia our two sows, with minds of their own and zero respect for authority or boundaries. They were in their pen just half an hour before, surely, surely it was not them. Alas upon inspection, through the perfectly positioned window, I discovered we had no pigs in our pen.

“Dave,” I said calmly, “Don’t worry, I will get them I can assure you.”

Calm I was not. The cursing and swearing under my breath was as good as any sailors as I hunted down a bucketful of pig pellets. Would they prefer the rubbish or could I lure them back up the street with the aroma of a bucketful of pellets? Why, oh why did this always happen when Tony was not home? Arthur called just as I donned my gumboots and headed out. Highly amused by my predicament he said he would meet me on the corner to prevent them getting any further afield.

As luck would have it Polly and Petunia preferred pellets to the slim pickings in the neighbour’s rubbish and the pandemonium came to an abrupt end as we secured the pigs in the pen. My mind far from relaxed now, I began thinking about how much nicer plants were to livestock. Mmm ‘Buelas Buxus’ sounds like a better plan and Polly and Petunia will be perfect in the pan!

There's a Bee in my Bra.

February 23, 2017

“There’s a bee in my bra.” The words that ended my college career.

Every head in the crowded auditorium of my new college spun, in unison, as if connected to the same monster of humiliation. Some stares showed shock and concern, some were full of pity, but most were the eyes of the ravenous monster, hungry for each and every morsel of mortifying movement my mother was about to make.

Okay, so the hall wasn’t full, we had arrived early and there were only a dozen or so people seated in the hall so far and none of them near us. But it could have happened ten minutes later and that’s what it would have looked like. I’m a teenager and potential public degradation can be fatal!

My mother is an unpredictable creature who was now sitting beside me with her hands inside the top of her bra, pulling it slightly forward and peering down where the insect assailant had fallen and concealed itself. For a teenage male any mention of the word bra should have meant an emotional high, but let me remind you at this point: ITS MY MOTHER! All I could think of was the menu of conceivable options my mother now had before her,… all of which ended in me running screaming from the hall never to return again.

I jumped to my feet determined to rescue my self from my dishonourable fate.

“No Mum,” the words of wisdom just continued to flow, “you need to go to a toilet.”

“Ok, where are they?”

Fair question. I have no idea! I’ve only been at the school for a week and haven’t needed to use the toilets in this vicinity. Why is she laughing? Doesn’t she know that this is a really serious predicament? For me!

My flaky mother stood up, still holding her bra out. My mouth was dry, I could taste bile in my throat and I watched in horror for her next move.

I scanned the growing crowd to see if our performance had caught any attention. So far I was safe.

Mum turned and made her way toward the back of the hall. I felt my arches tense ready for a running start if I needed to escape. She disappeared around a corner. The seconds she was absent felt like an eternity, sweat beaded and rolled down my temple.

I don’t know what she did there, I don’t want to know, I don’t need to know!

She reappeared still laughing. What is wrong with that woman!

Thankfully her hands were no longer down her top. Once more I checked the gathering faces for any sign of amusement at my expense. Safe.

I felt myself relax and breathe. I hadn’t realised I was holding my breath… see, this could have killed me and she doesn’t seem remotely concerned.

Chocolate Biscuits of my life Stories

February 21, 2017

As I grew up, my friend grew old.

I was a good girl: I did what I was told, ate what was on my plate, worked hard at school, studied what I was told was right for me, … until that day.

This is life and times of an alien in New Zealand.

My father’s birthday: the day my brother died.

I remember red earth, creeks filled with yabbies, cool deep swimming holes and shady gullies to explore; I have forgotten the flies, three corner jacks, spiders and snakes, but that’s what selective memories are for.

Sometimes I feel like I have no home. Too long gone from Australia, not long enough in New Zealand. Other days I have two homes the sun soaked plains of the Adelaide and the rolling hills of Kaukapakapa.

Kiwi Witches Brew

February 7, 2017

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

Fillet of a slimy eel,

In the caldron stir with zeal;

Wing of weta, and toe of bat,

Wool of sheep, and tongue of gnat,

Tuatara’s third eye, and orca fat,

A huhu grub spit, and a Kiwi wing,

Sneeze of a snail, while we witches sing:

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

Shark Attack

February 2, 2017

Kiwi’s can be so stupid!

The trouble with being an Australian who has three kiwi sons is the embarrassment that I must endure when I take them home for a holiday.

No matter where we go, “There’d be a snake in there wouldn’t there!”

At any beach, “Are there sharks?”

At any river, “I’m not swimming with crocodiles!”

In a back yard, “That’s not an ant: that’s a dinosaur!”

And if a poor harmless huntsman makes his home on the roof of Grandma and Grandpa’s garage, then we have to wait for Grandpa to reverse the car out before we get in!

So having spent the morning reassuring them that body boarding at Christies beach was a safe activity I was not expecting the shark attack.

We were having so much fun: cool crystal clear waters with soft rolling waves under a scorching Adelaide sun, the air filled with children’s laughter and the taste of salt, unfamiliar cousins becoming good friends, an uncle up for a seaweed fight, memories of my childhood shared with my children, this was the holiday I had hoped for.

I stood with my back to the open ocean, with my boys returning from wave coaster ride to the shore. They stood knee deep as the reassuring hum of the shark spotter plane droned overhead. Smiles consumed their faces as they drowned in the thrill of the moment.

A blood curdling scream shattered the salt spray and I looked in horror at the transformation that ripped through Luke’s face. His pupils exploded and all colour drained from his skin as he drew in a deep breath that was potentially his last. He flew out of the water and like a possum up a tree, climbed the tallest thing in his sight,… ME!

As I held my 50 kg son above the treacherous waters I scanned the two feet deep water for Jaws. When I carried him onto the safety of the sand I did find a small cut to his toe, but the prehistoric predator had fled the scene. The horrors of the Australian coastline had lashed out, striking fear in to the little toe of an unsuspecting kiwi kid.

Seriously, “you must be dreaming!”

Kiwi’s are such drama queens.


Created with images by AlexanderStein - "colored pencils pens crayons" • Gudlyf - "Compost" • wolfsavard - "club getaway" • Johnny Jet - "Underworld" • StockSnap - "maldives sunset wedding bride tropical island atoll" • HNBS - "crust roast fry pork" • Thomas Leth-Olsen - "Take off" • Markus Grossalber - "heart shaped christmas cookie" • jbcurio - "Vintage Ad #391: 7 out of 10 Witches Surveyed Prefer Seagram's" • MasterMan - "CIMG6980"

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