Category: Life

  • The reader

    I saw this small one on my way down to town at lunchtime. S/he (I couldn’t tell which) was tucked well away from the school playground, where the other children were zooming about. I couldn’t help thinking it looked like the kind of child who would be absorbed by the fiction of Joan de Hamel,…

  • When it snowed

    You may have noticed that the things I draw are simple and relatively small. For example, I don’t know how to draw acres, or even square inches, of snow. I was glad to see yesterday that the oaks on the edge of the golf course were holding it in modest handfuls. Today I had to…

  • Distracting myself.

    I had to practise a bit to make a budgie that didn’t look like a sparrow or an Easter chick. If nothing else, I think this one has the cheeky eye. Noddy used to strut around the dinner table. While we children behaved ourselves and ate quietly, he shrieked and scraped butter straight off the…

  • How to put your dog to bed in winter

    Find a nice big roll of polar fleece. Ask them to snip you off a small piece. Take it home and measure your dog from stem to stern. Cut your coat according to your cur. Cut four holes, two quite big and two very small. Sew on two buttons. Cotton calligraphy is optional. Call your…

  • Under the cherry tree

    We grew up in a cherry tree — the biggest we’ve ever seen. We knew it by heart, each shiny hand- or foothold on its banded, silver limbs. Its base was a receptacle for children. You pulled yourself up on the shallow stump always leaking amber gum. Then you climbed your chosen route, to the…

  • The inconsiderate sleeper

    R tells me a man would not have this dream. I‘m inclined to agree that it’s unlikely There was a horse race, too, in my dreams, but horses are much harder to draw than sleeping bags, and besides, my horse and I came last. I didn’t really mind. I was just glad I’d managed to…

  • The vitamin hunt

    It’s said that none of us here in the south is getting enough vitamin D for optimum health. You have to spend almost two hours in the wintry sun to garner the daily dose. That’s with skin exposed and, presumably, without Chilean ash cloud subduing the sun’s rays. Thinking to take a good half dose…

  • Up by the bootstraps

    Been thinking about thoughts and feelings this weekend. How they feed one another and how much say we have in the direction they take us. Yesterday I woke with the blahs: what on earth am I doing with my days which seem to be running together like watercolours with a wet brush dragged through them?…

  • The vertical tug

    We have to go outside to get to our bedroom, so at least once a night I’m looking up for stars and moon, which makes me wonder about, you know, the space between here and there and beyond, and what the true nature and substance of God and the planets and galaxies might be, whether…

  • Waiting

    Things have been rather subdued today: I, the housemates, the air itself, which was filmy with ash from the Puyehue-Cordon-Caullevol volcano in Chile. Perhaps it’s autumn, now spent (‘having been used and unable to be used again’) and mutely awaiting the next scene… …which began late this afternoon: darkening skies and clouds racing from the…

  • Drinks I can handle

    — and every other day,

  • Yes, today you may lick my plate

    Polly’s 14 today. That makes her a Gemini: a nosy parker passing comment on every passerby; curious, optimistic, in perpetual motion. To her three pups was a capable, diligent mother, but melancholy. The hour the last one left home, she sprang back into her favoured role as my convivial, companionable dogsbody. Today she frolicked up…

  • The pen finds its way

    Drawing is calming — the chafe of nib on paper — the silent object appearing in its untroubled imperfection. I hope you’ll try it. A fine-nibbed pen helps — giving the picture an air of simplicity and confidence that may or may not originate in the drawer. I use water-colour pencils: colour in, then add…

  • Ha! More fun than writing.

  • Too many words

  • One knife, two dogs, and the end of the world

    I had fun in town yesterday. I trotted from shop to shop with a list, buying beautiful things for a friend, with her money. Too easy. I needed only a couple of items myself, chief of which was The Knife. The old Knife had snapped (cutting cheese, the culprit insisted). I was tempted by colourful…

  • 825 (825? This post made up its own title. So be it.)

    I’m still a little in awe of this sunfish Dad and I found washed up on a North Canterbury beach last week. I’d spent a warm month north of Auckland and was making my way home, visiting parents en route. We enjoyed the usual lingering meals, cuppas, walks on the beach and a game of…

  • Chimera

    Poking around up at the local village today I had one of those shopping-glamour fits. You know the one, when just for a few seconds you feel you might be entitled to a gorgeous dress, long smooth legs, a beauty clinic face, shoes to die for, a crystal-and-candles restaurant dinner with a mysterious Someone, after…

  • Northern foliage

    In the first few days up here I couldn’t keep my hands off the greenery — had to test out the strange varieties of leaf form, seed pod, fruit and flower. But the grass left my hands red and itching; the pod I broke open released a dozen glass-like hairs into fingers, wrists, even through…

  • Deliberations

    I’m not writing much these days, although I’m always at the keyboard. I edge hesitantly and rarely along fiction’s overgrown pathways. The novel I’m two-thirds through seems to have lost it relevance, and nothing else is clamouring for attention. However my own past assertion keeps me questioning the silence: the assertion that when I spin…

  • A morning

    Steep, dusty, fur-wrapped stairs; a Burmese girl roaring about on a motorbike; jack-hammering wood-milling machines — the stuff of dreams. Yes, Freud, I know. Half an hour back and forth in the pool down the road, and five minutes blissed out against the second best jet in the spa pool. Porridge with raisins and dates,…

  • Dawn breaks

    Venus hangs fat and gold. The old ring-barked sycamore gleams white under a pale blue sky. Leaves fidget in the first breeze. I sit on a cushion and light a candle in the window where a fine-limbed spider makes delicate purchase, trying to climb the glass. The tree, the spider and the star are reassuring,…

  • Shifting ground

    We were hoeing into a lovely mess of eggs and tomato on toast just before one o’clock last Tuesday, when the tin shed we’d been holidaying in suddenly leaped east, west, east again, and made a long shuddering, swinging sigh. Perched on a stool beside the fire, I set my plate on the table and…

  • We are made of water

    Touched by Vespersparrow’s reflection on lacrimae rerum (the tears at the heart of things), the posting itself a wondrous lachrymal urn, I thought of a passage from Island where a few more are shed. Soon afterwards Mrs Pearson announced that there would be no more deaths from diphtheria — and there were not. In the…

  • Considering lilies

    As I transfer this image from the camera onto iPhoto, from iPhoto to the desktop, from the desktop to this blog, I wonder what I might have to say that could possibly gild the lily. It puts me in mind of the effort I’ve expended this year on the enterprise called Rosa Mira Books. And…