I don't rate city council elections high on my thrill-seeking barometer, but I perked up when outgoing mayor Celia Wade-Brown decided to do the inelegant thing last weekend, and turn nasty.

There's no cheerier sight than someone burning their bridges while settling old scores, and no handier mixed metaphor.

Ms Wade-Brown had withering words for all but one of her possible successors, her deputy. Him she was nice about.

Down went his odds instantly. Sometimes you must wish your fan club would put a sock in it.


When life turns into soap opera, as opposed to rates demands, I tune in, and this council-based one has had, as central character, a woman who spent two mayoral terms riding bicycles everywhere, even having contentious bicycle lanes conveniently slapped into her home suburb.

In some parts of the world that wouldn't be a good look, but we are all-forgiving with our councils, due to general inertia.

Island Bay Parade is worth a look if you enjoy a Ms Wade-Brown-led shambles. On several visits I've seen a whole three cyclists there, but it's the principle of the thing, isn't it?

Bicycle people would have you believe they're a superior breed who shun fossil fuels to save the planet, and there's nothing cuddly about them; they're too holy.

They can be very nasty, though, as a friend's elderly brother discovered when a cyclist stalled at traffic lights abused him, reached into his car, grabbed his keys and rode swiftly off with them.

It used to be motorbike riders who were delinquents. Think again. Those keys were never returned, and what can you do?

Bike riders have no number plates to report, and who cares what misfortunes befall old white men?

Ms Wade-Brown matched one vision of the capital city, of a quiet backwater with everyone riding bicycles, shopping in op shops, and nibbling kale chips.

When first elected she said she bought her clothes that way, and op-shops' proliferation in the capital, a highly visible growth business, must have gladdened her heart. Another vision involves business and infrastructure and is boring.

What comes next, after you've attacked your former colleagues publicly? Maybe a cottage industry making voodoo dolls. Or maybe a sulk.

Public life isn't an easy choice, as the bishop of Grantham, in England, would surely admit. He has just been forced to declare publicly that he's gay and in a relationship.

The Anglican church has been tying itself in knots over this hardly uncommon situation for years, which may eventually lead to schism, where some heterosexuals would form their own breakaway branch of the church, confident that what they do in bed is beauteous in the eyes of the Almighty.

Nicholas Chamberlain was known to be gay when he was ordained last November by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Possibly he was told, as Catholic gays have been, that it's okay to be that way, but not to do anything physical about it.

In any case he has said there's no secret about his long-term, but celibate, relationship.

Here I start to wonder if this is even a scandal, and what the point is of all that self-denial.

Fortunately, abstinence is not a requirement of militant female Isis followers in Libya, who are allowed to trade in unsatisfactory husbands for fighters more to their liking.

Some are offended that their husbands refuse to join the terrorists, calling them apostates and infidels.

The quickie divorces situation, we're told, is revealed in files found by American-backed forces. We can only sympathise with the case of "Om Maria," who divorced her husband both for having bad breath and refusing to join Isis.

Bad breath alone should be sufficient grounds to extricate yourself: it amazes me how often one partner in a marriage is guilty of this neglect of oral hygiene, apparently tolerated by their bed-mate.

I once interviewed - in a small room - a couple who both had halitosis, which made me wonder about their conjugal activities. You may choose to get excited about the effrontery of a bishop being gay, but I'd rather ponder with deep wonderment the habits of malodorous heterosexual couples who don't run to the courtesy of room spray for visitors' comfort.

- Rosemary McLeod is a journalist and author