Category: Life

  • Thanks to a dog

    I like to think that Polly and I chose each other fifteen years ago when we met. Considering the litter, I was drawn by her colouring and sweetly curious nature. Perhaps she recognised in me the answer to her own nervous excitability. We soon found that she had a very big voice: at eight weeks, […]

  • One thing leads to another

    Stringing fruit together is about the most straightforward thing I can come up with at present. As I write, the man of the house is up on a chair behind me, prising bits of plaster from the ceiling and letting water into a bucket as he tries to find the source of The Latest Leak. […]

  • Afternoon stretches

    Since we’ve had our house on the market for six months and failed to find the perfect inhabitant for it (i.e. one who not only loves it, but buys it too) we were a little tired of ‘wait and see’ as the year began to unfold, so decided to go off anyway, for a change […]

  • Away from home

    House-sitting, we find ourselves in a kind of Australian Florida, where the well-heeled retire. It’s great for walking, and for swimming now the sun’s finally appeared. We had the sea to ourselves today. The dog we walk is big. The houses on the beach are small. Not all dogs have the chance to get sand […]

  • Eating our way through Argentina

  • A watery moment

    Alas, this water sculpture has none of the luminosity and little of the beauty of the photo I was drawing from — except that it’s an utterly pleasing composition — but there’s a treat in store for you by photographer Heinz Meier. It’s been a lovely, Indian summer, Easter. We walked the beaches and the […]

  • Sunday

    Before the thunder storm we went to the beach. It was agonisingly beautiful, as ever. The waves were backlit so you could see shreds of seaweed suspended in green before they broke. Since our last visit, the sea had rearranged the sand and all but the most stalwart rocks. Polly was in heaven, which we […]

  • Picnic

    I drove three hours north and my three younger siblings drove south for two. They had come from the middle east and the north island and the garden city. The sun shone. We lunched by the Waihi River. It couldn’t have been nicer. C laid out the lunch; B gathered firewood; K produced goats’ cheese […]

  • Come to Puna

    Ascend with me a minute to 4000 metres, and whizz across the Andes to  the intersection of Bolivia, Chile and (for our purposes) Argentina: see a vast grassland; terracotta mountains on a Himalayan scale; shimmering salt flats pierced by emerald ponds; tiny adobe hamlets; vicunas, flamingos, vultures and perhaps even a puma. You can be […]

  • Take your pick

  • Pursued

    Driving back to Dunedin on Sunday afternoon with music playing in one ear (the pup chewed the other ear’s phone, and the car’s radio speakers stopped working years ago) and my thoughts who-knows-where, I noticed a car running up behind me, with a red and a yellow light flashing on its front.  I looked for […]

  • Angsty cat

    Clouds stream overhead from north-east to south-west, dissolving and morphing as they go. Lilies in the tub outside the window have begun to brown and curl and drop their skirts. The peasgood nonsuch apples cling to their branches and fatten, and silver bean-slivers emerge from fiery flower sheaths. Clouds, lilies, beans and apples do what […]

  • How to make concrete

    Assemble your tools and an able assistant. Dampen the area to be covered, which preferably includes a crack. Tip most of the cement into the barrow. Keep some in the bag in case — as with icing — you make the mixture too sloppy. Gloves are optional. I like drawing them. Pour water by cupfuls […]

  • Eat or be eaten

    It rained hard last night. We noticed the damp patch in the ceiling above the table but it was dark outside and the roof space too cramped for entry or even torchlight. This morning I realised I’d had a lucky escape. The laptop is still functioning. R. has been up on the roof. He’s bought […]

  • The revised atlas

    Our PM John Key referred to New Zealand on the radio today as a cork bobbing on the ocean, which I think shows a lack of imagination. Polly went out on the smorgasbord tonight. She sneaked off and chomped her way around the neighbourhood bins and compost heaps. Tonight she’s stunned, rotund, and leaking queasy […]

  • Watching 2012

    The new year is underway. We have little idea what it will hold. We have hopes and qualms, loose plans and quiet intentions. We will all be watching what unfolds and will play our part accordingly. Tonight I made tom kha pad thai yum. I heard Aung San Suu Kyi answer questions from a class […]

  • Maman, squeeze me a lemon


  • 2011: words failed me, but the cutlery was staunch.

  • Nice work if you can get it

    Perhaps in order to prevent collisions with its plate glass windows, the local swimming pool has near-life-sized transfers on the glass, of young swimmers frolicking. This morning, we watched the window cleaner charge his squeegee and make the first bold sweeps. I walked into plate glass once. We’d just finished walking the Milford Track and […]

  • Walking home from the pool

  • Monday’s shoes

      Now, I’d better get on with some work.

  • Evening miscellany

  • Things don’t always turn out the way we mean them to

    I was poking around the sunny vege garden on Friday when I noticed I wasn’t alone. A  black rat was also sauntering and sampling, grasping and nibbling on salad greens. In fright, I leaped into the nearest room and snatched the cat from the bed. She sat where I planted her on the flagstone, dazed […]

  • One woman, many mountains

      It strikes me, writing this, what a flimsy vessel a book is for recording the plethora of exploits Pat Deavoll has put herself through over the last thirty-five years. Nonetheless, in this handsome volume published by Craig Potton, Pat’s fine, unobtrusive writing makes vivid her favourite places on earth: wild, remote, very high places […]

  • Bones, beans, beds

        The day started with a lit candle that I sat and didn’t look at while I tried not to think either. A nice young man cranked my arm and shoulder into positions it was reluctant to adopt. However, progress is being made. I blogged over at Rosa Mira Books, wondering where in a sex […]