There's been a slight change in the operation this issue as my son Richard (who is actually the Editor, not me as many believe) and wife Amie have been lounging in the sun at Honolulu for a couple of days before an all-expenses-paid trip to the US Open Tennis Finals at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. Not only do they deserve a break on their own after 17 years bringing up kids but this sojourn was completely unexpected.
Answering Richard’s order to pick up a ‘cheap bottle of red wine’ from Countdown, Amie came home with a bottle of Jacob’s Creek Shiraz, complete with a competition tag attached to its neck. We’ve probably all had them from time to time, drunk the wine and discarded the tag. On this occasion Richard filled in the online version and, some weeks later received the good news. Being the first name drawn he had the choice of three major events: the 2017 UE Football league final in Cardiff, the F1 Grand Prix at Monaco, or the tennis. Unfortunately timing and work meant the first two couldn’t happen back in early June (although he follows both closely) but New York could hardly be seen as a consolation prize. Plus, why would you want to be in New Zealand with our current weather pattern? If there is a moral to this story it is: never under-estimate the power of an $8 bottle of wine.
His chair has been taken this issue by friend and former colleague Donna Blaber. Donna was a regular contributor when we published the first National New Zealand motorhome magazine over a dozen years ago. She is one of New Zealand’s foremost travel writers and has also published dozens of children's books so it’s good to have a trusted hand on the tiller though readers are unlikely to notice any great change.
For those who rely on their letterbox delivery for their Focus there will be another change. Rick Alpe has been delivery person for almost ten or so years and, in one of life’s invariable changes, is bringing his service to a close. Thanks for your time Rick. From the first October issue Colleen McCarthy will be taking over the role and, with a different regime, a lot more people will receive letterbox delivery so there will be less papers in the bins around town and the print run will continue to grow.
The big talking point of course is the election although I have to say the one-upmanship is becoming a bit tedious. It’s one thing to hear ‘policy’ statements but these days it goes much further with TV debates having people make their decisions on the body language, dress sense or camera angle that catches the candidates. Voting has already been open for ten days with polling booths even situated in some supermarkets to prompt a better voter turnout. It is expected that up to 40 percent of votes will be cast before polling day, so it's just a matter of waiting till the 'fat lady sings'. Promises are being made in the billions of dollars which make many sound like practical jokes but as actor Will Rogers once said “the trouble with practical jokes is they often get elected”.