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Colin Nichol with mixed feelings over his last mass murder THERE are no gaps in my roof, not around the sides where a rat might get in, nowhere I can find. Yet they do find a way and I’m told it’s because they have the ability to squeeze, to push themselves through narrow gaps just like the quenda who lives behind the shed. But quendas can’t climb as rats do, so there’s no confusion as to which thumps around in the roof space at night, but not lately. Those terrible… Read more RATTLED BY RATTUS RATTUS: Colin Nichol

HELENA’S HOUSE: Danielle Haigh

Like its owner the house had endured a difficult life, fraught with violence amongst the normal wear and tear of age. While sometimes a screw would work its way out, or paint would peel, other places carried the scars of kicks, punches and lost tempers. Helena loved her damaged little home, even more now she was alone under its roof. But she was getting older and the home’s needs were beyond her income and abilities. Saucepans caught rainwater in the spare room all winter and required emptying at least once… Read more HELENA’S HOUSE: Danielle Haigh


There are things money cannot buy. We have no idea what but sometimes they nudge you when least expected.  Travelling light on a small budget with no plans other than to enjoy sunshine, fresh air and cold beer leaves doors open for aimless travellers. Booking a cheap flight at random can be fun. It’s how I discovered Marco Inn, a small hotel – four up, four down and less than a minute’s walk from the town’s beach if you take your time. Marco’s is dead centre in the small port… Read more BREAKFAST WITH A HUMMINGBIRD: Roger Garwood


His small office is nondescript and one of many poky rooms that form the vampire’s nest of a city pathology laboratory and blood transfusion centre. The room contains the doctor’s desk, neat and uncluttered, completely devoid of anything that would give me a clue about who he is and who and what he loves. A computer is perched on the left hand side, its screen on an angle, but not visible to me – not now anyway.  The doctor sits on a brown leather swivel chair. He is a man… Read more THE DIAGNOSIS: Terry Finch


For a time I was, as actors put it, “resting”. So my brother asked me to caretake his farm high in the hills above Armadale. It was lush and large, nineteen acres (don’t ask me in digital) and was home to a large flock of sheep which I often pulled from the mud around the stream and dam. There were also three horses and a yard of chooks that produced a generous supply of eggs for family and friends.  It is likely I would not have accepted but for my… Read more THE DONKEY’S SPIRIT: Colin Nichol