Showing posts from August, 2012

Hero rats

I've just enjoyed listening to an interview from National Radio's This Way Up about one of my favourite charities - Apopo/Hero Rats of Tanzania.  They train African pouched rats to detect landmines in fields in Mozambique and Angola.  More recently, they've also be training these rats to identify patients with tuberculosis by sniffing sputum samples.

The rats they use are enormous.  Look at this one (image taken from Wikipedia).  Good thing they're socialised from an early age to see people as friends!

Sofa slipcover

We have a wonderful sofa that we inherited from Martin's grandmother.  It's super-comfortable, long enough to spread out full-length on and turns into a remarkably comfortable bed.  I've been wondering for a while, though, about getting it recovered as the fabric looks rather worn-out and some of the tufting buttons have come out.

Then a friend gave me some gorgeous woolen fabric that looked like it'd be big enough to make a slipcover from.  Surely cheaper than proper reupholstering and hopefully a fun project :-)
I've been working at it off and on over the last month or two and yesterday it was finally finished!

I'd started by attaching cords to tie to the front legs of the sofa, with the cords attached to pieces of tape to spread the strain.

Then I'd sewn the front corners, in the process cutting out a roughly square piece of fabric from each.

Next came a cord to keep the fabric snugly in the groove between the seat and the back.

I cut the fabric in line wit…

Marriage equality bill

In New Zealand, a members bill is currently being debated in Parliament which, if passed, would extend marriage to homosexual as well as heterosexual couples. My instictive reaction has been that, on the whole, I would like this bill to be passed - i.e., I'd like NZ to legalise same-sex marriage. This doesn't appear to be the common Christian position, but my thinking on the matter has been significantly influenced by reflecting on the situation of a young family who used to live over our back fence: a family made up of two adult women and one preschool girl.

As I came to care for them, I began to be concerned about how one particular part of NZ law affected them.

Under current NZ law, children can only be adopted by either single people, de facto couples or married couples.  As only heterosexual couples can be recognised as being either de facto married or actually married, that means that gay couples cannot adopt.  One member of a gay couple can adopt a child on their own (a…