School Council Diary

As a member of the School Council of the public primary school in suburban Melbourne attended by my two boys, I supported my fellow councillor’s motion to arrange for a sex education speaker to give a talk for parents on how to speak to their children about sex. The speaker in question came highly recommended and on the night itself I arrived early, introduced myself, helped her set up, and took a seat in the front row. Then as she began, eager for her to feel welcome, I gave little nods of encouragement whenever she glanced my way. Continue reading “School Council Diary”

Sic note

We all make mistakes. To quote the Augustan satirist Alexander Pope, “to err is humanistic”. But we also like to point out other people’s mistakes and in the written form we do this with ‘sic’, the term inserted into a sentence (in parentheses) to make it clear that the mistake is not ours. It is a word with Latin roots although its origins in the English language, as recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary, are mistaken. According to the OED the first known appearance of it was in an Anglo-Saxon Reader of 1887, but I have found an instance of it in the 1876 edition of the same book. The OED, therefore, needs to correct its “1887 (sic)” citation for ‘sic’.

To read further go to The Spectator Australia.


At the time of writing, December 2020, the #newedition movement can be considered a true global phenomenon. As it sets about the work of re-writing world history in the manner it should always have been written, it represents the most significant mountain that our noble progressive movement has yet climbed. But the one thing that I hope is always remembered is that this movement owes its origins to a small group of people, including my son and myself, in Melbourne. Yes, it is a phenomenon we can proudly call Victorian. It all began in 2018 at the High School that my son attends.

To read further go to The Spectator Australia.

A Lover of Alliteration

Joint-winning entry in the ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association) flash fiction (200 words) competition to celebrate Valentines Day 2019…

 A Lover of Alliteration

That never-ending book, There was Love to be Found in the Library, will hopefully find a place for the story of my friend Ally. She was a woman who always spoke with alliteration. When asked about the novel she was reading, for example, she described it as “a tepid and tedious tome that talks of tensions in today’s technological times”. I once heard someone say to her that her way of speaking was pompous. She replied, “what’s wrong, I wonder, with a widowed woman with a wonderful way with words?” Ally had embarked on this mode of speech in memory of her husband, Dudley Dirk den Delden, of Dutch descent. I was with her that day soon after he died when she found a book on alliteration in the basement of the library. “Ally”, I said, “you have found love in the library”. She corrected me, “I have located love, in the local library – lower level”. She reverted to her maiden name, Allwood. It was “a difficult decision that does not diminish my devotion to my dear departed Dudley”, but she wanted her great-grandchildren to be able to read aloud at her grave, “Ally Allwood, A Lover of Alliteration”.