There Is Some Corner In A Foreign Field...
Welcoming the birth of a future monarch, Glen Taylor says "And as for me, There is some corner in a foreign field that is forever England'.''
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Welcoming the birth of a future monarch, Glen Taylor says "And as for me, There is some corner in a foreign field that is forever England'.''
...As we got nearer to the city centre we saw more red taped areas, lots of parking where debris had been cleared, boarded up windows and jagged ruins sticking out like pieces of a jigsaw. The London blitz, Coventry came to mind...
Glen Taylor visits Christchurch, the city wrecked byan earthquake two years ago.
Columnist Glen Taylor pays a welcomed return to Open Writing to tell of the loss of an old leafy friend.
“.And shed a tear for lonely Scapa Flow.' I have danced so many times to that song and heard the story, I have flown over Scapa Flow and landed in Orkney, but here in New Zealand I never expected to find myself in deep conversation with a very old man who wanted to know about Scapa Flow,'' writes Glen Taylor in this wonderfully evocative article.
"Whatever it is about cricket that hypnotises our males, certainly has the reverse effect on me. Mind you, I must admit, I am the sort of sports viewer who can fall asleep during a boxing match. I have been known to read one and a half library books during ‘Match of the Day.’ But cricket! There is this strange hush of inactivity that defies any hobby I try to tackle,'' writes Enid Blackburn.
...Christchurch, the Cambridge of the south, the Avon river winding its way through the parks and round the city, the punts slowly moving along with folk in boater hats propelling them. Afternoon tea and music in the gardens. So English and yet so New Zealand, the “Garden City.” The huge trees in Hagley Park, beech, oak and sycamore lie uprooted, the little bridges and the walkways are no more...
Glen Taylor brings a most moving account of the earthquake which ruined one of the world's most beautiful cities.
...It was 4.30 am when our bed became a ship in a rough sea. I woke with a jolt and wondered, “What?” It calmed and I thought “earthquake.” A few more rumbles and rocks followed but we were only on the edge of the disaster...
Glen Taylor tells of the recent New Zealand earthquake and reflects upon climate change.
...I looked around and saw a very dirty ceiling, a dirty hand basin, no soap dispenser or paper towels and overflowing litter bins and a general air of neglect and uncleanliness. This was our “State of the Art” hospital, the pride of the south when it was opened. Hubby arrived and went to the washroom and said, “Don’t go there it is filthy.”...
Glen Taylor is shocked to see the declining standards in her "local'' hospital in South Island, New Zealand.
...It was into one of these clearings, by the Arawata river that we had driven and discovered this deep safe pool by a grassy bank, away from the main strong current of the river, the ideal place to spend the evening. But a swim with a bar of soap was called for, so in I dived. I went deep, feeling the water pull through my hair, washing away the dust and sweat of the day, and then I found it. I reached down and touched a stone...
The stone was jade, the sacred stone of the Maori who explored New Zealand long before white settlers arrived, as Glen Taylor reveals.
To read more of Glen's columns please visit
Glen Taylor considers the rising levels of violent behaviour in New Zealand.
Glen Taylor and her husband Martin were relaxing, watching their favourite soap opera, when their house began to rock as though they were suddenly at sea.
Glen tells of the earthquake which struck New Zealand a few days ago.
...I don’t underestimate the seriousness of ‘flu, but let’s take the finger off the panic button. Take things easy, keep fit and enjoy the odd hot toddy at night, “purely for medicinal purposes.” There will be another brand of ‘flu round next year as sure as eggs are eggs...
But Glen Taylor was far from being impressed by the way New Zealand's authorities dealt with a 'plane load of passengers, some of whom were suspected of having swine 'flu.
Glen Taylor's short story highlights the never-ending agonies that can grow out of snobbery.
Glen Taylor paints an enchanting word portrait of the best of times for children growing up in a Scottish Highlands village.
If only all children could enjoy such wonderful days!
Glen Taylor writes movingly and memorably about grief, and the loss of a daughter.
Glen Taylor, who knows the pain of recently losing a loved one, brings us this compassionate Good Friday poem.
...Should I take my boots off or not? The rules are leave your boots on but the river had a fairly sandy bottom, just a few rocks to watch out for and the water was clear and not too deep. Take them off and put them back on again, I decided, so I slung them round my neck. The next obstacle, the bank. Now I’m not 6’10, I am 5’0 and shrinking and I only have little legs, so steep river banks pose somewhat of a problem...
Glen Taylor and her husband go exploring another bit of their paradise on earth.
To read more of Glen's engaging columns please click on
Glen Taylor suggests that "grannies'' have a part to play in teaching younger folk how to cope with today's harsher economic times.
Glen Taylor foresees a bleak future for a feathered friend.
...Marriages, if there are any, are breaking up and women with three or four kids, not necessarily by the same father, sit on the doorsteps of rented, rundown properties and smoke and scream at crying youngsters. Why are they crying? The play park down the street costs nothing, the swimming pool is open and there are still trees to climb and streams to dam up and the library is free. Why not get a few seeds and dig that overgrown ground up, flowers for mum and a few spuds and fresh vegetables, but that is hard work isn’t it? Why do the youth of today think it all has to be given to them? Why can’t they realise that you only get out what you put in?...
Glen Taylor deplores the selfishness and lack of discipline in modern society.
...Ah yes, the Catlins, one of our smallest National Parks and for a long time one of our least known, our own secret place. It is an area of glorious beaches with bush sweeping down to the edge of the sand. It’s a land of hidden waterfalls, slow flowing rivers and deep dark lakes reflecting the surrounding bush and resounding to the song of birds. It is quiet, it is peaceful, it is a hidden corner where one finds tranquillity...
Glen Taylor introduces us to an idyllic part of New Zealand.
Glen Taylor, who has reasons aplenty to feel troubled right now, writes a wonderful, warm-hearted column which will make you feel glad you're a member of the human race.
...People are also given the idea that all Maoris wear grass skirts, are covered in tattoos, and that they will be greeted at Auckland airport by some fierce warrior, brandishing a spear and screaming at them in some strange language, before he lays a sprig of greenery in front of them and steps back to see if they will accept his peace offering. It just isn’t like that. The chap in the blue uniform, smiling at you as you hand over your passport, is probably part Maori, but he will greet you with, “I hope you will enjoy your stay in New Zealand.”...
Glen Taylor thinks there's a place for local customs and traditions - but a show for tourists should not be allowed to mask real problems.
...But it is not just the body, but the mind, which we must keep working as we strive to hold back senility. My husband tackles the cryptic crossword in the paper, each morning, and worries if he doesn’t finish it in twenty minutes. He worries even more when he comes up with a difficult clue and I give him the answer straight away Minds work on different wave lengths I tell him...
Glen Taylor is using her brains to stay in step with fast-striding new technology.
...Just south of Dunedin harbour lay Taieri Mouth, a long established whaling station and the entrance to the Taieri River which ran inland to the high mountains in the west, it was an access route to the interior. Since time immemorial man had always used waterways for travel, so it was not long before a thriving ferry service got underway up the Taieri and from there one could sail across Lake Waihola to the Tokomairiro Plain. In time, with the advent of the Gold Rush, an inland road would be established to be used by the Cobb and Co coaches, but for now it was by boat and shank’s pony...
Glen Taylor concludes her account pf the hardy Scottish folk who settled in South Island, New Zealand. To read the two earlier episodes of this fascinating history please click on Kiwi Konexions in the menu on this page.
...What a debt of gratitude the white settler owed to the Maori in those early days. They were shown which plants were edible and which were poisonous, which could be used to cure illnesses and which skin problems, they were taught how to make quick shelters for temporary accommodation and how to prepare and weave flax into clothes and mats and covers. They learnt where the best fish and eels were to be found, which shell fish to look for and which birds made good eating. Too often the white colonialist tended to think that he was bringing civilisation to the native population when, in fact, the native knew far more about the land than he did and had customs which needed to be respected just as much as his. In those very early days the white man and the Maori lived in harmony together...
Glen Taylor continues her account of the arrival of settlers from Scotland in South Island, New Zealand. To read earlier episodes of this account please click on Kiwi Konexions in the menu on this page.
Glen and Martin Taylor received a phone call in the middle of the night - a call telling them that their beloved daughter is suffering from incurable brain cancer.
Glen shares with us her thoughts at this most terrible of times.
In this family season the thoughts and prayers of Open Writing readers are with the Taylors, mother, father and daughter.
...The steerage passengers were crowded below deck in an area 50 yards by 12 yards. They were allowed to keep one month’s supply of clothing, a blanket, cooking pot and plate and mug, the rest of their belongs were stored in the hold. Their beds and quarters were benches running on either side and they had buckets for slops. How they must have wanted to emigrate!..
Glen Taylor continues her account of those hardy Scottish migrants who left their homeland for a new life in South Island, New Zealand.
Glen Taylor writes of the anticipation which brighten's the chilliest winter's day.
Glen Taylor presents the first in a series of articles about the settlement of Otago and Dunedin in South Island, New Zealand.
The story begins with terrible heart-rending events in distant Scotland.
Winter brings stern weather to New Zealand's South Island - but Glen Taylor refuses to be overwhelmed by gales, snow, frost - or physical setbacks.
To read more of Glen's columns about life Down-Under please click on Kiwi Konnexions in the menu on this page.
Glen Taylor tells of a state of the art new prison which was recently opened in Milton, New Zealand. But will the opportunities to change lives that it offers result in the end of crime?
For more of Glen's fascinating articles please click on Kiwi Konexions in the menu on his page.
Glen Taylor tells of the hardships faced by folk in the north of England - hardships which down the decades have produced a special kind of people who enjoy a self-mocking let's-get-on-with-life kind of humour.
(Glen refers to an article which announced that according to a poll Huddersfield is one of the happiest towns in England. That article, which appeared on March 30, can be read by clicking on About A Week in the menu on this page).
To read more of Glen's entertaining words please click on Kiwi Konexions in the menu on his page.
...The box is bulging. It is too full to close and it beckons me. The computer lurks on the desk and my fingers had better get busy. The time to commit all this lovely research to print has arrived and the publishers are waiting...
Glen Taylor, after undertaking a mountain of research, is now writing the history of a church hall in her home town in South Island, New Zealand. Glen gathered in folk who had regularly visited the hall, fed them scones, prompted them to tell stories, set the tape recorder going - then listened wih delight as living history poured forth.
...Announce that you are from New Zealand in any other part of the world, particularly Australia, and you are greeted by loud baa-ing. We are not all associated with sheep but sheep and New Zealanders seem to be synonymous, so baa-ing and “more sheep than people” follow us around and we cash in by selling woolly jumpers and sheepskin rugs to tourists...
But times they are a changing in New Zealand, as Glen Taylor reveals. It's the continentalised land of good wine, shopping malls and shops staying open until late in the evening. Though New Zealanders are still accustomed to six-week summer "shut-downs''.
Christmas and year's end prompt memories and contacts with old friends. Glen Taylor contacted Greta, a friend since the days when they were both teaching at the same school. They shared a host of happy "remember whens'' - and now Glen shares some of those memories with Open Writing readers.
For more of Glen's columns please click on Kiwi Konexions.
In this supposed time of peace and good will, Glen Taylor casts a sad eye on a world filled with ranting, raving and rage.
Glen Taylor tells of topsy-turvy weather in New Zealand.
For lots more of Glen's words please click on Kiwi Konexions in the menu on this page.
Glen Taylor recalls time shared with her beloved granddaughter.
Glen Taylor captures the joy of dipping one's toes into the sea.
"The lazy quiet land of sheep and dogs became a veritable hive of activity. Things had changed dramatically and the Mackenzie Basin even got its own airport. By the 1970’s work was well underway and in the 1980’s five power stations were in operation, power production had begun....''
Glen Taylor continues her historical narrative of the changes that have taken place down the decades in New Zealand's spectacular Mackenzie Country. To read the first two episodes of this story please click on Kiwi Konexions in the menu on this page.
...The folk of this land are more at home on horse back than behind the wheel of a car. They have weather-beaten faces with crinkled eyes, shaded by cowboy hats, and their hand shake is strong enough to break bones. A hardy group, more capable of laughing than crying, with a stoic acceptance of the hand life has dealt them and a “she’ll be right” attitude to all difficulties. A breed of people accustomed to the hard life...
Glen Taylor continues her vivid word portrait of the Mackenzie country, the glorious and grand hill country in South Island, New Zealand, where sheep runs of thousands of acres were established a century and a half ago.
To read Glen's earlier article on this land please click on Kiwi Konexions in the menu on this page.
Glen Taylor, with an added dash of imagination, weaves a rich historical tale involving a rogueish Scotsman called Mackenzie and his dog Friday, who between them helped to open up large areas of South Island, New Zealand, more than 150 years ago.
The violent deaths of two infants at a drunken drug-filled party in New Zealand prompted columnist Glen Taylor to ask the vital question: Who do we blame?
Her well-considered answer will startle and challenge you.
Glen Taylor tells a hilarious and unforgettable tale of an attempt to make a sheepskin rug.
In this delcious slice of prose Glen Taylor tells of a birthday meal prepared by a young chef who 'ates cooking.
Glen Taylor's poem features an old New Zealand coach road which is now a 30-minute bush walk down the Catlins to the beach. Goods were brought in by ship to various jetties then taken by pack horse to settlements. A lot of these old trails are now very pleasant bush walks.
Glen Taylor, after a visit to her favourite place, Golden Bay, sees a modern-day canvas city, and reflects on the huge changes in camping holidays since the days when she and her husband Martin headed for the Yorkshire Dales carrying heavy army-type packs with wooden frames, a canvas ridge tent and bedding rolled on top.
Glen Taylor expresses Good Friday thoughts in this simple yet profound poem.
Glen Taylor writes of one of the finest citizens in the British Commonwealth of Nations - and of the New Zealand landscape in which he trained before conquering the world's mightiest mountain.
Lots of memories were revived when an old church hall was demolished in Milton, New Zealand, as Glen Taylor reveals.
Glen Taylor finds good news in neighbourliness, and toasts the new year with the message “Go well and prosper, and care for each other.”
Glen Taylor, as she celebrates in sunny New Zealand, invites us to remember the gentle man who was born on this day.
Sea lions, albatrosses, penguins....and much more besides. A Scottish relative was shown some of the world's finest natural wonders when she visited Glen Taylor and her husband Martin in South Island, New Zealand.
As November 11 - the day for remembering those who gave their lives in war - approaches, Glen Taylor writes movingly of her visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
"The first thing we encountered as we left town was indeed a kangaroo. “Thousands of ‘em around here,” said my down to earth son-in-law to be...'' Glen Taylor vividly recalls her first journey into the Australian Outback.
"...we look further across, to the edge of the bay, and see the pelicans coming in to land like Boeing 747s, their webbed feet dropping like undercarriages...'' Glen Taylor and her husband Martin enjoy the tranquility if their Australian winter hideaway.
Glen Taylor takes a flight across the Ditch, from New Zealand to Australia. Glen's description of the rigmarole of air travel is so vivid you will begin to feel your knees pressing up against that all-too-close-seat in front of you.
Glen Taylor wrote this poem while on holiday in Nelson Bay, Australia.
"The lone aborigine stood on the headland, watching the boat, as the fear rose inside him and he felt the unrest in his land. He looked back to his spirit ancestors and their struggle to establish order in his land, the order that had lasted for 50,000 years...''
In this powerful and well-researched article Glen Taylor contemplates the Australia that existed for so long before the white man came a-calling, uninvited.
This is the first of a series of articles by Glen about Australia.
"We have all had it at some time, the dreaded Writer's Block...'' Glen Taylor considers those horrid times for authors, and public speakers, when words and ideas refuse to flow.
In this column, which both witty and wise, Glen Taylor emcouragingly points the way to a happy retirement.
While rummaging in an old cupboard in the church vestry Glen Taylor found a tall black metal jug. The ideal container for a display of autumn leaves, thought Glen. But as she cleaned the jug she discovered that it had a very special significance...
Glen Taylor tells us something of the history of her favourite place in all the world - Golden Bay, New Zealand.
This is the concluding article in Glen's series on Golden Bay. For the earlier articles in the series click on Kiwi Konexions in the menu on the right hand side of this page.
New Zealanders and Australians today celebrate ANZAC Day - a day to commemorate the citizens of both countries who were killed in war, and to honour returned servicemen and women.
Glen Taylor, who lives in South Island, New Zealand, has written a special poem for this solemn day,
Glen Taylor says that the problem of bringing a species into a country, where none of its kind has existed before, is that there is nothing to prey on it. No balance of nature can be maintained and things get out of hand.
Glen provides a fascinating brief history of New Zealand's opossums -
and tells of an enterprising couple who have built a thriving business on "our furry little friends''.
Glen Taylor reflects on how, despite sceintific bravado, a natural event can reveal the insignificance of Mankind.
In America, and other lands too, old folk are being "herded'' into retirement villages, there to live in nice, neat bungalows in quiet cul-de-sacs. Glen Taylor, in this invigorating column, writes of a New Zealand couple whose idea of retirement living is vastly different to the cosy norm.
"Below us a crowd of kids are running along the banks, throwing their pet dogs into the creek and jumping in after them. Wet through and covered in mud...doing what kids should do, doing what kids used to do, enjoying themselves, running wild, uninhibited and unthreatened...'' Glen Taylor writes with captivating enthusiasm about one place in the world where things are as they should be.
The minibus party arrived at Cape Farewell to hear a woman, whose feet were dangling over a two hundred foot cliff, singing "Abide with me'' at the top of her voice. Glen Taylor tells of the day she blushed to the roots of her hair.
"The silence of sitting together when no words are needed...'' Glen Taylor mourns the death of a close friend.
"In the distance eight great humps were silhoutted against the sky...'' Glen Taylor tells of a deeply emotional day when eight great sperm whales, each nearly 10 ft high, lay stranded on a New Zealand beach. Seven of the whales had signed their own death warrants to lay beside and protect one of their friends, who was dying.
Glen says she will never forget that day - and you will not forget her moving account of what she saw.
Glen Taylor's beautiful and profound poem about whales stranded on a beach brings an important message to humankind.
After reading Glen Taylor's tempting column you will have to accept, however reluctantly, that you haven't lived a full life if you have never experienced poet's night at the Mussel Inn.
In a vivid letter to a friend Glen Taylor details what Christmases are like in New Zealand.
"Don't walk across the road when trouble's on your side,'' says Glen Taylor in this simple, yet profound poem - a poem to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.
Glen Taylor takes a walk down the lane in Golden Bay, New Zealand - her Earthly Paradise.
Glen will be bringing us further reports from this quiet and sublimely beautiful corner of the world.
"And there it was glistening in the sun, far below us... Lush green pasture.. Mountains sheltering a warm calm bay. A Shangri-La...'' Glen Taylor describes her own particular paradise in South Island, New Zealand, with such enthusiasm that you will feel your life is incomplete if you never visit Golden Bay.
Did you wander down those leafy lanes, scenting jasmine and the rambling rose? Did you see herons, spoonbills, gannets, as tides changed the mud flats into a shining sea of blue? Glen Taylor's poem is about her treasured New Zealand hideaway, Golden Bay.
Commencing in Open Writing next Saturday Glen will present a series of vivid prose portraits of Golden Bay, a place for folk who realise that at the centre of life there should be tranquility, rather than speed and rush.
"Our skis were something out of the Ark. Mine a pair of Canadian ex-serviceman's overland skis, designed for somone six foot six, and me a mere five foot nothing. Huge things, as wide as the planks you use to build houses...'' Glen Taylor relishes the memories of her early skiing days in Scotland.
"Shearers in smelly shirts and thick boots were heard singing 'Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine' as they headed for the pub. Farmers, ploughing fields, bellowed out 'Be still my soul'. And little old ladies, getting round on scooters, sang 'I'm a fish bowl Christian' while petrol pump attendants did the descant to 'Peace like a river'.''
In this glorious column Glen Taylor describes how the combined church choirs of Milton prepared for the big day when the telly men came to town to film them in full voice for the popular New Zealand pogramme "Praise Be''.
"How well the brain locks away in its memory things best forgotten,'' says Glen Taylor in this poem about a first glimpse of the world.
What is a poem? Glen Taylor ruminates entertainingly while searching for an answer to that question in this poem about a poem.
"You are a tree severed from its roots and planted as a cutting in foreign soil...'' In this straight-from-the-heart column Glen Taylor reveals the down-sides and up-sides of going to live in a distant country.
Glen Taylor may see hair that is turning grey when she looksin the mirror, but bright shining eyes relect a happy and fulfilled life.
Here's the second episode of Glen Taylor's account of a classic hike in New Zealand. Reading Glen will make you long to lace on a good pair of boots and join her up there in the fresh mountain air.
Picture yourself looking out over a vast valley far below, a roaring waterfall at your side and snow clad peaks all around. Glen Taylor makes you long to be striding out on the mighty Routeburn hike.
This cheeky little creature enjoys eating windscreen wiper blades. And what fun, if he breaks into your car! Leather seats! The perfect feast! There are some unusual encounters to be had on the road to Milford, as Glen Taylor reveals in this vivid word portrait of New Zealand's glorious natural wonders.
Glen Taylor takes us on a tour of her beloved South Island, New Zealand - to places where, armed with a fishing line, a supply of good books and plenty of food, you can forget the world exists. Reading Glen is the next best thing to seeing the sights for yourself.
Glen Taylor tells us how class 2.OL was introduced to the history of the Otago gold rush. Lucky 2.OL! This was teaching as it should be done.
So what do you do when a Hooker sea lion is chasing you along the beach? You can smell the sea air, hear surf crashing onto the sand in Glen Taylor's vivid description of a heart-stopping sea-side encounter.
Glen Taylor introduces us to the land that she so dearly loves.
New Open Writing columnist Glen Taylor delineates the impulses which compel her to write.
Glen will be regularly sending us features and poems from her fabulously beautiful homeland, New Zealand.