Monday, August 31, 2009

Great Barrier Island

OK I am back after a fabulous weekend exploring Great Barrier island. I won’t subject you to too much information – a short photo essay only. Click to enlarge pictures if you’re interested.

View from the Black bach, Puriri Bay The view from our deck. Puriri Bay, Tryphena harbour.


Tidal estuary, Shoal Bay Watch for ducks. Pateke are NZ’s rarest native duck.


Puriri Bay on a rainy day Puriri Bay in the rain.


Dolphins Dolphins in the bay rounding up fish. A large pod came every morning and this was the best photo I could get would you believe?


Schooner BeachSchooner Beach. The Pohutukawa tree is known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree as they have beautiful bright red flowers in summer.


Pah Beach Pah Beach. The sea was turquoise.


Medlands Beach Medlands Beach (and my friend Phil).


Tree fern Tree fern.


Creek, Whangaparapara RoadFound this creek while bushwalking. Full of big fat eels.


Pop 45 Welcome to Whangaparapara harbour. Population 45.


Yachts sheltering. Taken from Whangaparapara wharf Whangaparapara wharf.


Kiwi bach Cute kiwi bach (pronounced ‘batch’, kiwi for basic holiday house).


Awana BayAwana Bay. Spectacular.


Phil fishing at Port Fitzroy. Phil catching our supper again, Port Fitzroy


Claris Airfield Claris airfield on my way back out.

Great weekend. We did heaps of exploring, bush walking, fishing, meeting and talking with locals. There was lots and lots of laughter with one of my oldest friends also thrown in.

I would definitely recommend a look around New Zealand's 4th largest island for anyone who gets the opportunity.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My jet set lifestyle

Early tomorrow morning (Friday) I am bravely boarding a teensy plane for a quick hop across to Great Barrier island in the outer Hauraki Gulf for an extended weekend break.  I’m nervous about the little plane but I hear that we fly at only about 1000 metres above sea level which I guess means that at least there isn’t too far to fall if the thing gets blown out of the sky.

I am going to hang out with a old friend in a holiday home owned by another friend. We’re not due back in Auckland until Monday or Tuesday but don’t worry, at that stage I will no doubt compulsively over share the weekends events and maybe even some pics.

You may recall my post in May after my last jaunt around the gulf. At that stage a  couple of girlfriends and I spent a fabulous weekend on Waiheke Island. Waiheke is the largest island in the archipelago you can see above in the inner gulf close to Auckland city.

Anyway got to sign off now and publish this. I still haven’t packed so I better get a move on. Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Winter weather update, Papakura, NZ

It’s 6:50 pm on Tuesday evening and surprise, surprise it’s been pouring rain almost all day.

The temperature is slowly creeping up, the days are getting slightly longer and blossom is on the trees so spring must be coming. It sure seems to be taking its time though.



II) Cottage Envy

I love this cottage on it’s little gravel road with the huge old oak tree shading the place. It looks so wholesome.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A real obit this time

Kashin died today aged 40. She’s been a fixture at the Auckland zoo for as long as I can remember. She’ll be very sadly missed by everyone in Auckland and especially by her much younger best mate Burma. The zoo is closing for the day tomorrow as a tribute to her.

I took this photo of Rory with Kashin (behind Rory) and Burma earlier this year. I actually feel quite sad about her being gone, she was a big feature of my childhood.  Check out this photo gallery for some highlights.

Monday moron


Click to enlarge. Please note: the poor grammar is not mine.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When all is said and done

Sam from “Yes, I know Sam is a boy’s name” posted recently about what she hopes her obituary will say when the time comes in the far distant future. Slightly morbid and rather egocentric but hey, that sounds like my kind of thing. Here’s my fantasy effort.


Louise 12/8/1965 – 13/8/2065

Forever cherished friend, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. Critically acclaimed short story writer and poet in her later years, Lou was also a long time environmental campaigner, gastronome and world traveller. Mother of renowned educationalist and peace activist Rory, grandmother of Booker Prize winner Emily and Nobel Prize (Chemistry) winner James. Lou was awarded an honorary PhD in 2021 for her philanthropic endeavours and unwavering pursuit of social justice.

Lou died peacefully yesterday in her historic Arrowtown home surrounded by her family, the day after celebrating her 100th birthday and receiving a congratulatory telegraph from His Majesty King Henry IX. She remained the rambunctious matriarch to the end.

Great-granddaughter Dr Louise Harrison spoke on behalf of the family thanking everyone for the hundreds of kind messages and floral tributes.


Anyone else macabre enough to want to think about what theirs might say? Come on, give it a go, let your imagination run wild. It’s actually quite fun.





Florence Nightingale's grave St Margaret's Church, East Wellow, England

Photo ‘borrowed’ from the website

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The results are in…

…and unfortunately they don’t make for comfortable reading.

My post of July 7, Vote YES New Zealand, talked about the then upcoming citizens initiated referendum on child discipline.

The current (2007) law allows parents to use force to prevent harmful, criminal, offensive or disruptive behaviour and to perform "the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting". In the highly successful Scandinavian style*, the use of force for corrective purposes was outlawed.

This law was in response to New Zealand’s shameful record with looking after our children. In a country of only 4,000,000 we lose up to 12 kids every year to beatings which are defended as discipline gone wrong. Another 443 preschool children were hospitalised with injuries from assaults in the years between 1995 - 2004.

In the last fortnight in New Zealand 3 pre-schoolers have died from non-accidental injuries.

Who cares?

The ‘Family First’ lobby forced this referendum in an effort to have the government rethink the law and the results show that 88% of respondents believe that the law should give them the right to discipline their children how they see fit including the use of corporal punishment.

I get that the abusers aren’t the ordinary mum and dad kiwis who love their kids and would never want to hurt them. I also get that any law isn’t going to stop those who seriously hurt their children intentionally but we have to start somewhere and if that means criminalising smacking to remove the acceptability and normalcy of adult on child assault then I’m all for it. We’ve managed to achieve this with spousal violence in only a couple of generations – it’s not gone but it sure isn’t acceptable anymore like it was.

Unfortunately it seems I am one of only 12% of New Zealanders who feel this way. Actually only 54% of eligible New Zealanders believed this was an important enough issue to bother voting on at all.

Even if we do give the odd smack, shouldn't we all aspire, at the very least, to raise our children without violence?


*It’s been illegal to smack your child in Sweden since 1975 and despite their population being triple ours, they lose an average of only 4 pre-schoolers to child abuse most years.  Still too many I know but a tiny proportion per capita of our shameful result here in NZ.

If you can stomach some details around how these kiwi kids are dying read here. An NZ Herald article by Dita de Boni yesterday.



It’s 7:45pm on Saturday night and as usual I’m wasting a few last minutes online before dressing for what should hopefully be a fun night. A friend is turning 44 this week coming (a couple of weeks after my own 44th) and we’ve opted for a shared party this year. It’s at her place as she has a lovely home with a big party room basement. A few of us have been over there this afternoon getting the place party ready and decorating etc. Must go now and finish the beauty routine, I had my hair done this morning so at least I don’t need to worry about that but I’ve still got to throw on my party dress and apply the war paint and the bling.

I’ve got Linkin Park blaring from the stereo to help me get in the mood. Fun fun fun.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday flowers

I was in Christchurch in early September last year and I remembered the fantastic display of daffodils in Hagley Park, so I asked a friend who lives down there to take a snap for me to show you all.

Let’s all give a big bloggy thanks to my good friend G. He got really wet lying down in the long grass this morning on his way to work to get this shot for us. I appreciate your committment G, very artistic.

I’ll ask him for another pic again in a few weeks as I think there’ll be even more by then. Fabulous. I wish he could also send us the smell as last year I sat for ages drinking in the heavenly scent.

….and some more

Coincidently I stumbled across this today following my post of yesterday ‘Classic hotties’. It’s slightly spooky but worth a look.

It’s Friday morning and I’m off to catch a plane to work yet again. Nearly finished this particular project so the travel should settle back down to once every week or two again shortly. I’m relieved as this twice a week commute by air takes it out of me. So much wasted time sitting in taxi’s and airports etc.


It’s my 6 month anniversary today of restarting my blog after my deletion error. This is post number 188 since the fateful day of falling, banging my head and proceeding to accidently delete all my previous posts. 6 months without any more such accidents. Phew!

Have a great Friday everyone (or Thursday to those of you who are lagging behind).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Classic hotties

Here are a few of my favourite stars from the 50s and 60s and the movies in which I ‘discovered’ them decades later.  Prior to coming across these movies I believed, with the profound arrogance of youth, that no preceding generation had ever been as attractive as my own. I was confusing fashion with good looks.



Marlon Brando. A Streetcar named Desire, 1951







Montgomery Clift. From Here to Eternity. 1953.








James Dean. Rebel without a Cause. 1955.







Paul Newman. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. 1958.








Gregory Peck. To Kill a Mocking bird. 1962.







Steve McQueen. Bullitt. 1968.





All pictures from

I watched Streetcar again recently and was struck again by the primal good looks of Brando in that movie. It still rocks my boat when he takes off that fitting T-shirt early in first few scenes, hence this post.

Who would you have on your list from the 1950s and 1960s?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One last chance

Back in April I posted about Troy Davis. See the post here.

Well it’s great news, the US Supreme Court has now ordered an evidentiary hearing for Davis.

Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail was murdered in 1991 and Davis was convicted of the crime though the authorities failed to produce any physical evidence or a murder weapon. Seven of the nine witnesses have now changed their initial testimonies and one of the remaining witnesses might even be the actual murderer.

See the full story here on the Amnesty International website. Thanks to everyone who voiced their concern that justice may not have been done and that Davis is owed at least the chance to be heard.

  Photo: Amnesty International solidarity for Troy Davis

Two for Tuesday

I) Winter weather update, Papakura, NZ



It’s 6:45am and I’m heading out the door again.

The days are definitely stretching out, it’s light already and next door’s rooster is crowing. Yes you heard that right – I live in suburbia and my neighbour keeps chooks and a rooster. I like it actually, he keeps the rooster in the shed at night so any crowing is muffled but throughout the day we can hear the hens clucking and doing their thing. A friendly ‘down home’ kind of sound.

Looks like it’s going to be yet another rainy day just for a change. The temperature is slowly (very slowly) climbing though and we haven’t had an icy start to the day for weeks. Spring is in the air.


II) Cottage Envy

I adore the red doors - they stand out so dramatically against the new whitewashing and through the deep green foliage that leads down to the pond. II love the solidity of the stone wall and the little iron gate. Such a romantic setting.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Meandering Monday

Meandering_MondayFree background image nicked from Index of

It’s 4:55am and I need to be getting in the shower shortly for my commute to Wellington for the day. I’m on a 7:00am flight this morning for my first meeting at 8:30am.

I had the most awful nights sleep, I dreamt I’d forgotten to set my alarm and even after I checked it around midnight I still couldn’t get the thought out of my head and I seemed to wake at least hourly for the rest of the night. Consequently I’m feeling shattered and my day hasn’t even begun yet.  To top off the start to my day it is absolutely pouring with rain outside – bucketing down.

Another thing I dreamt about for some reason was body parts with 3 letters – I know, weird eh?  I’ve been laying in bed seeing how many I could think of.

  1. eye
  2. hip
  3. leg
  4. arm
  5. jaw
  6. rib
  7. lip
  8. gum

What have I missed?  Surely there are more.

I figure I need to expunge this from my head or else it might torture me again tonight.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Circus of the sun

We had a fantastic night last night at Cirque du Soleil. Our seats were great. The 2 and a half hour show flew by  so fast I couldn’t believe it was after 10.30pm when the house lights came up.

My shoulders, arms and hands were sore from clapping so much. 




Photos from the Cirque du Soleil website

We decided to make a night of it and ended up at a salsa club in the city dancing until nearly 3am. I was the sober driver so I was on water for the night and I am now very grateful – the friends I was with are all feeling jaded today while I’m feeling bright as a button.


Just got back from the beach with Bonnie for an Sunday morning walk seeing the rain had stopped temporarily.  I headed to Piha on the west coast rather than the east coast beaches as there’s some kind of puffer fish toxin washing up in the Hauraki Gulf and a couple of dogs have died after eating washed up dead sea slugs. I’m lucky living on an isthmus with both coasts within easy reach. 

Piha was wild and windy but as usual there were a few very hardy surfers trying their luck out past the break. So you can get some perspective, if you swam 2000 km (1300 miles) due west from here you’d hit Australia. Around Sydney somewhere probably.

Piha_160809My lovely new car has now been christened with wet sandy dog. The west coast beaches have black sand (iron ore I think?) so it’s extra messy all over the car *sigh*.

I have a house load of teenage boys (well there are only 3 of them actually but they do seem to fill up our little place) all baying for food so I better wrap this up and go make the double batch of scones I promised.

Have a great weekend everyone. Enjoy the last of your summer you northern hemispheroids as I feel a distinct hint of spring in the air downunder – it won’t be long now. Spotted this tree on my way home from the beach an hour ago. Blossom_160809

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday flowers

CornflowerCornflowers are some of my all time favourites. The city I live in has a wildflowers project and every spring wildflowers self sow (with a bit of help) on the median strips and on the sides of the motorways. Cornflowers are always a big part of the colourful mix. I enjoy the more casual and romantic look of the flowers rather than the boring uniformity of the mown berms. I’m looking forward to seeing the flowers start to take off in the next few weeks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Speed freak

A new land speed record has been set in Utah this morning (local time) by Dean Veale, 44, from Kaukapakapa, north of Auckland, NZ.

See for the lead story.

Veale set the new land speed record forVeale the 1650cc class of motorcycles at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

He was riding his special construction Hayabusa  motorcycle “White Elephant”.

The existing record for the class stood at 305 kph, but inspectors confirmed that Veale’s initial record breaking run yesterday has been confirmed by a backup run to lock in the new record at 311.2 kph (194.5 mph).

GO Kiwi. GO Kiwi. We might be flightless but we’re quick!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Unconsummated I presume?

Great story in yesterdays New Zealand Herald. Even Germans screw things up sometimes.

Bride spent wedding night with crate of vodka reports Reuters.

A German bride spent her wedding night flaked out next to a crate of vodka before being rescued by police. Cologne police were forced to rescue the 30-year-woman when the BMW she was unconscious in began to overheat in the sun. Once roused she climbed out of the broken window, still wearing her wedding dress. The boozy bride apparently had no idea where her husband was.


Photo courtesy of Essex Wedding Services.








Happy Birthday to me!!

44 years ago today my tiny little mother gave birth to an 11lb (pre metric days here in 1965) monster.

I have another day off work today so I am heading off shortly for a leisurely lunch with my best mate and then to collect the new car later this afternoon. This evening a big group of us are meeting at my favourite Thai restaurant for dinner.

The family dinner was last night and lovely pressies were had including my favourite perfume, a new coffee mug and vouchers to spend at Repco on my new car (seat covers or whatever).

I’ve also been splashing out, ostensibly for my birthday, on tickets; me and 2 friends going to Cirque du Soleil on Saturday coming and another friend and I scored VIP Pearl Jam tickets for November.

Fanfreakintastic! Life is good!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two for Tuesday

I) Love this song

This is Gin Wigmore singing her song Hallelujah. She wrote it when she was 16 about her father losing his battle with cancer. The song won the International Songwriting Contest in 2005.

Ignore the dodgy ‘video’ – just listen if you will. Her voice takes a little getting used to but I’m hooked. She’s quirky and original. 

It was The Plashing Vole post of yesterday that reminded me of this song. I went hunting for a recording of it and the result is this post and me pre-ordering her debut album, Holy Smoke, on iTunes.

I hope you enjoy as much as I do.


II) Cottage envy

I imagine that this row of cottages face out to the Atlantic ocean. The stony path meanders down to the sea where the grey waves crash upon the thin strip of beach. The fishing boats are tied at the old wooden pier and disgorge the days catch while the big black back gulls squawk and dive bomb in the hunt for scraps.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Found it, bought it

Car purchase completed today. Nissan AvenirIt’s a 2004 Nissan Avenir. I even found one in a colour I like, it’s a pearly silvery pale blue. I get to collect it on Wednesday the 12th which is my birthday so that’s kind of extra cool.

Thank goodness that process is over with and hopefully I won’t need to do it again for another few years.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Scary stuff

The lovely edder from I Don’t Care for your Tone came up with a list of  her fears. It’s quite the list though quite different from what scares me.

In no particular order:

  1. Slipping on the edge of swimming pools. A friend broke her hip when we were 10 and since then I’m always very very careful.
  2. Cancer.
  3. Eels. I grew up swimming in rivers and occasionally in the deep swimming holes you’d feel something big and slippery against your leg. Things in the sea don’t scare me in anywhere near the same way.
  4. Migraine headaches. Once the ‘aura’ starts the race is on to get home and into a dark room for what is inevitably 12 hours of vomiting and suicide inducing pain. Hell.
  5. Something bad happening to my son.
  6. Spiders. Especially those Camel Spiders that Moko told me about the other day on Twitter - check out a picture here. EEEEEEK.
  7. Dying alone.

What scares you?

Bought a car

OK that’s not actually true but it made you look.

After Rory’s football game this morning I did look at dozens and test drive a couple plus I am going looking again tomorrow with the same friend. I’m pretty bored with it all already as cars have gotten so bland, so blah. In fairness I must report less unpleasant salespeople experience than I expected, in three different places today I dealt with two men then a woman all of whom happily backed off and left us to browse. 

Probably will end up with something like below. 2002 Nissan Primera - not exactly an exciting vehicle but it is what it is. Very economical but large enough to be comfortable and with plenty of room for our Bonnie dog.

Primera 2002

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday flowers

Rhododendron 'Jolie Madame'

Rhododendron 'Jolie Madame'

I have 2 of these in my tiny garden and I love them.

Friday freak show





The Feelers

I went and saw this local band last night. Good night was had though now of course I have to suffer through Friday with a minor hangover to start the day. I’m also on an interview panel with 6 interviews scheduled starting at 8am this morning. Feel the joy.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Man vs Wild

Quick rant.

Seems like every time I turn on the TV there is someone eating gross stuff that just shouldn’t be eaten.


If it’s not Man vs Wild and the decidedly odd Bear someoneorother, then it’s Fear Factor or NZ’s own Island Wars shiteFries.


My stomach turns immediately when I witness such carry on and I’m sick of it - can’t people just go to Maccas like the rest of us normal folk?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Car Sales Torture

In my post of last weekend (see here) I talked about how I am trying to buy myself a new car but that I’m struggling with the actual process of stepping onto a used car lot to start looking at what’s available. I am car-sales-yard-a-phobic. I’ve now made some progress.

I’ve done some poking around on the net and now have a bit more clue about what my money should buy me and I also have a clearer picture of what I want.

As Moko suggested, my available funds should be able to buy me a non-fancy Japanese 5 or 6 year old station wagon with mileage (what’s the metric of that word - is it kilometage?) a bit on the high side or alternatively something a year or two older but with a little less on the clock. I’ll have to weigh that one up. I like a wagon for carting the dog around but am not a fan of the ubiquitous SUV.

Another thing I’ve found is that most of the wagons for sale in NZ these days have an automatic transmission so that’s given me some pause – I’ve never owned anything other than a manual. 

Next step is to co-opt someone to come looking with me.