Author: Penelope

  • Corona Karuna

    Lockdown day 21. Two weeks ago the grocery shop felt eerie: the spaced-out queue snaking around the carpark; the sanitiser; the distancing; the grim care we were all taking; being barked at for stepping over a blue line; germ phobia between groceries and car then adding bleach between car and aunt, aunt and car (who […]

  • Years pass

    Turning 61. Life is still its old paradoxical self. (Why does the notion persist, that one day it will fall into order?) Taking it all in is the thing. Muskets and flowers. Trucks and colouring pencils. The presence and the absence of loved ones. Have been reading Anne Salmond’s Two Worlds, coincidentally as Aotearoa reckons […]

  • Still waiting

    Talking with a friend recently whose time is freer than it was. She notices a tendency to fret on her now-unscheduled days. That’s why people go to work full-time, I said. No time for fretting. I was going to be ‘at work’ this week, but without snow, my role as hut manager was postponed along […]

  • Going to the mountain

    Three and a half years since I wrote here, in the hot Northland summer of 2015. Now I’m stockpiling stuff for the cold. For a winter playing lodge manager (‘hut mum’ if the age or behaviour of the ski-schoolers calls for it it) in the Southern Alps. I’ll go fortified by kindness and comfort from […]

  • Dipping in

    Woke this morning in another new house, with a full view of the Pacific and a fat Abyssinian who seems indifferent to our presence unless we’re stroking his ginger sleekness. Over the road, we swim in waves which, in the south, would knock you flat. Up here they churn over you aerated and playful; it’s […]

  • The state of play

    Two years on, still house-sitting, still loving it. ‘Dolphins!’ comes the call from the beach. This month we’re perched between two bodies of water; such dynamism is alluring. In a roar of wind the estuary turns to ink. So, too, is the idea of home: vegetables we shepherd from seed to plate; trees we watch […]

  • Coining the world

    Fork. Sharp. Corn. A-ice. Cold. Cold. Cold. Baby. Rock, rock. Up says Spencer.

  • The 32nd 30th

    There’s a fine line (there are many fine lines, including those in my favourite shirt) between objectively and wisely questioning what you think and do, and starting to wonder if it’s all wrong: what if I’ve taken the wrong turn here; made a poor choice there; spent my time badly; responded inadequately; pegged my life […]

  • Following the rise and fall

    It takes a while (55 years or more) to learn and trust that life is rhythmic, to learn not to be thrown by the big shuddering in-breath or the (occasionally dis)gusting out-breath. Not to be dismayed by the sometimes-too-long pause between these two when it’s tempting to think something has died and gone forever. Following […]

  • Autumnal

    For the first time in months, socks and shoes. At the bird sanctuary we waited amidst nikau and puriri for tui, bellbirds, kereru, fantails, a robin, and when we’d given up, at last, tieke — the saddleback. Girls in bikinis were swimming out from the beach and surging back through the cavern. In the cool […]

  • How a day goes

      Walked into the sunrise. Read half a manuscript. Strong and unsettling. Swam at the next bay with the girl who laughs in water. Joined the Great Northern Library. The neighbour handed fresh, smoked kawhai over the fence. Kedgeree coming up.    

  • If in doubt, go in

    Salt water is good for many things. A flat mood, for example. Full immersion is best. Add blue waves, a swimming dog, and a girl who can’t stop laughing for the joy of it. Fifteen minutes restores full buoyancy. A cup of tea on the beach is icing on the buoyant.

  • A simple act: starting again

    Easter Monday. Fresh beginnings. Making a mark. The first footprint.    

  • Uninvited guests

    All these types turned up in the weekend. I didn’t want them around and spent ages fretting over how to get rid of them. In the end, I gave them elbow room and a nice cup of tea. This morning they seem to have gone on their way.

  • This award-winning blog!

    It’s over three months since I last wrote or drew here. In spite (or because) of that, the Intertidal Zone has received this award: Thank you, Bookie Monster. If nothing else gets me posting, this does. In fact, as a condition of accepting it, there’s homework in several parts. The first is eleven random facts […]

  • The Next Big Thing

    I’ve been tagged as Emma Neale was tagged so, while the title may not be apt, if tag’s a game, I’ll play along at this “weird self-interview blog-meme thing” (although II still don’t know what a meme is). I’ll adapt the ten questions to answer my own ends. What is your working title of your […]

  • The exotic North

    In the six or seven weeks since I last wrote here we’ve packed up our home of 17 years, said many fond farewells, long and short, and headed north with A, fresh from Edinburgh, in our laden wagon. We’ve come to roost for a few weeks at the Whangarei Heads where we lap up the […]

  • The courtesy of ducks & the dreams of hens

    We’re looking after four ducks and six hens (along with the house and gardens of their usual minders). Today I woke before dawn and fretted. The hens are kept in a shed with all hens need for survival: a pellet dispenser, water dispenser, clean dry wood shavings, laying boxes, a perch and room to move. […]

  • Intruders, swimmers, and a wild dog

    Someone, sometwo or somethree have been sneaking onto my blog and registering as users when my back was turned. I’ve swept them out the door and removed the option to register from my log-in page. The lesson, I think, is to spend a little more time in the blog-garden myself. Unmown lawns and clambering weeds […]

  • Smudges

    In the absence of ideas, I’m hoping that the fact of opening up a new post here after six weeks away will strike fire, and the flame run will run across the page, leaving interesting scorch marks in its wake. I had to make up a new password to enter my own blog just now. […]

  • Walking towards the wild side

    My laptop hard-drive crashed the other week, so when the call came, it seemed an apt time to put the work on hold and spend a few days with my father while Mum was away. Dad and I get on pretty well so most of the time we happily tinkered about in house and garden, […]

  • Waiting for a baby

    On Monday we walked in the regenerating kauri forest of Titirangi. Our daughter was in labour. On the way home I called in to a little church. It was as simple and still as a pond without ducks, frogs or dragonflies. I prayed for our daughter to be strong and well, full of light and […]

  • Sharp things

    I was thinking this morning about the archer. Over the last few years I’ve found the astrological zodiac a helpful sort of map of the inner terrain. A person needn’t believe in the efficacy of astrology as a system to find that it nonetheless elucidates many of the tasks we master and the psychological ground […]

  • The call of the less known

    It seems important to write something although I have no idea as I open this page what it will be. I’ll stick in my latest drawing and see where I go from there. When I was young and very idealistic, I would be seized by intense longings (weren’t we all?) and one such ‘seizure’ concerned […]

  • Other lives

    Yesterday afternoon, I put on a thick jacket and scarf, plunged my hands into the pockets, and walked across to my aunt’s. Walking without a dog has a different texture. Oddly, I feel bolder, more alert, and I walk faster. Polly had slowed down a little in her last year, just a little. Rain, wet […]

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