Big Girls Cry, and Kick Arse and Create Amazing Art and Love League

Last week Hilary Barry got a hard time from Mr Emotionally Intelligent Michael Laws, and seeing her cry reminded me of the Sia song Big Girls Cry, which if you haven’t see or heard I think is worth having a look at.

Well the big girls were crying on Friday night at the McFred house I can tell you.  It was the final episode of Campbell Live.  Lauren came over, made amazing home made pizzas (she makes the bases with yeast and everything) and then we settled ourselves down and basically just cried for half an hour.

We cried for the amazing crew who had lost their jobs, we cried for the people who won’t have a voice anymore, and we cried for ourselves because we knew the Evil Empire had Struck Back,  Hans Solo had been frozen in ice, and Jabba the Hutt was making us wear inappropriate clothing and pulling on our pony tails.  We were not happy.  I was going to take a photo of us watching Campbell Live for the last time, but trust no one would want to see our sad little faces.  Brett wondered what the hell he had walked into when he got home at 7pm.

But we did take comfort from the fact that there were over 500 000 New Zealanders who felt like us and who watched the show and give a damn.  And Michele A’Court summed it up perfectly with two wonderful tweets.

Michele A’Court @MicheleACourt  ·  May 29

Remember when TV mattered? Remember when everyone watched the same thing at the same time & talked about it? It was like this. #CampbellLive 

Michele A’Court @MicheleACourt  ·  May 29

Just a general note to the people in charge of shit: FUCK YOU.

Nothing more to add really, but Michele you keep doing this stuff my girly crush might turn into something more stalkerish.

Actually I lie, I do have one more thing to add.  I am not quite sure what is happening at the New Zealand Herald, but apart from the awesome Anika Moa video interviews they have each week, there is also an excellent column/webpage called the Spinoff, which  has some very clever and funny content.  This tribute page that put together for John Campbell is simply the best.  I defy you to read some of these tributes and not get a bit emotional.

Anyway it hasn’t been all tears and pizza Brett and I did go and see Mad Max Fury Road in 3D.  I was looking forward to seeing the movie because it has received glowing reviews 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and there has been a lot of discussion about it’s feminist narrative.

Donna Dickens in her blog explains 7 ways that Mad Max subverts movie sexism.

But on reflection maybe the action movie is not longer for me.  It was just like watching 2 hours of movie trailer.  I mean it was just non stop mad action and violence.  I was exhausted by the end of it.  As I said to Brett afterwards George Miller certainly wasn’t subscribing to the Less is More school of movie making.

But 5 stars to George for exploring another way of working with the genre.  Charlize Theron was fantastic, she was kicking arse and ass all over the place, but she was also able to convey this amazing vulnerability as well.  This woman can act, and drive and shoot things.  I think I have another girlie crush.

And for those sad boys having a cry fest, because Max is getting told what to do by a female character.  Grow up.  Go and have a pity party with Michael Laws.

Before the Madness that was Max we saw a wonderful art exhibition this weekend at the Auckland Art Gallery.  It is by artist Lisa Reihana and it is freaking amazing.

Here is the official description –  In Pursuit of Venus-infected is a panoramic video, a moving image interpretation of the French scenic wallpaper Les Sauvages De La Mer Pacifique

Here is my description (and I will be the first to admit I am not too hot at the art critique thing)  It is about 35 minutes of gorgeous and thought provoking scenes projected onto a huge wall at the Auckland Art Gallery.  It was mesmerising and while we were there, everyone was watching for the full 35 minutes.  Lisa’s artwork is on the second floor, and on the first floor you can actually see the wallpaper her art is based on.

I have linked the video, just to give you an idea.  But there is nothing like seeing it on a huge wall.

I can’t recommend it enough, if you are in Auckland you really should see it. What else can I tell you to encourage you to get there?  It’s free, and clever and thought provoking, there is other cool stuff to look at and although the Art Gallery Cafe has changed hands they still do great hot chips – no more alcoholic beverages served though – boo.

Not that I am saying that all activities have to involve alcohol of course. (because that would be wrong and irresponsible)  But I actually rated the Art Gallery Cafe as one of the best lunch places in town.  It was pretty special to be able to fortify yourself with a wee morsel, some hot chips and a glass of bubbles before perusing some of the treasures there.

The exhibition is on from the 2nd of May to the 30th of August and I will go and see it again.

As you know a Nattybugle just isn’t a Nattybugle without a League update.  (there you go Anne there is your heads up that you can stop reading now)  And this week is a special one because it is the Warriors first home game in 4 weeks so they are celebrating their Women in League Round.

The NRL Women in League program was established in 2007  and it’s aim is to make women feel proud of their roles and contribution to the game.

Over 400 000 women have a direct connection with the game whether it is as administrators, players, coaches, employees, volunteers or club members.

The program and round, is more than the players wearing pink shirts or socks, it is about genuinely acknowledging the amazing contribution that women make to the game.  Manu Vatuvei is just fantastic at shouting out how much the support the women in his life means to him.  Which is why he was voted the Women in League’s favourite son last year.  (I have no doubt if my Mum could have voted a gizillion times for him she would have)

I know that League doesn’t always have a great reputation for it’s treatment of women.  Sex scandals anyone?  But I really think this is a wonderful initiative, more than mere tokenism.  I saw the some of the games best players watching the Silver Ferns play the Jillaroos at the Nines this year.  They were genuinely interested in the games and impressed with the football skills the young women displayed.  When you have fantastic women like Raelene Castle taking a leadership role the game and the experience for those involved with the game can only improve.

Mighty Warriors all the best for your game against the Knights this afternoon at Mt Smart and know that this wahine would like to be there to support you this afternoon, but it is freaking cold and more rain is forecast.  So I love my League but I love being warm and dry more – please try to forgive me.

The Dragons are playing the Sharks this afternoon.  They are feeling confident of a win – but Holy Crap I have just realised I hadn’t sent my inspirational tweet.  While I have remedied this, I just hope it hasn’t been sent too late.

I will update this later – hopefully with some good results.

And finally (if you are still with me gentle readers) Last week I mentioned Hamish and Tracey, but acknowledgement must also go to Anne who reads my ramblings – she skips the League stuff.  Linda who increases my readership in Vietnam by 100% and Brenda who keeps a big cousin eye on my – when she gets a spare moment from cuddling her new grand daughter.  Thank you very much.

Results Update:

The Warriors had a win against the Knights.  Yay the Warriors.  Running true to form they don’t believe their fans should ever be sure of the final result until right to the end.  But well done.

And my inspirational tweet got through in time – thank goodness.  The Dragons smoked the Sharks 42-6 Fantastic result.  Next Monday they take on the Doggies.  I will need to craft a super inspiring tweet for this game that is for sure.


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good

There was plenty of good this week.  Brett, Lauren, Billie and I went and spent the weekend at the Lodge and managed to enjoying just being there.  Rather than racing up there, attending to chores and leaving again.

Mind you enjoying means different things to different people.  For Lauren that meant resting and watching tv.  For me that meant resting, bathing and reading.  Billie indulged in fire guarding and patrolling the perimeter.

Fire Dog
Fire Dog

While Brett just applied himself to all those little tasks that make the Lodge such a great place to be.  Including in no particular order, lawn mowing, clearing gutters, installing a new bench and painting.  That Brett.

Clever new benchtop made from an old oak table
Our benchtop made from an old oak table that only cost $10 on Trade Me

I have no pretensions of being a good cook, but I do quite enjoying making lunch when I am up at the Lodge.  Something about the farm kitchen, the well guarded fire and the small detail that being 30km from a cafe, if I don’t make lunch we will starve.  So this weekend I  discovered a fantastic Chelsea Winter recipe for Marmite and Beer bread.  I actually didn’t have marmite or muffin tins but I improvised with tomato relish and a baking pan and Oh My.  Can’t wait to give this a go with Vegemite. (because Vegemite kicks Marmite’s arse) 5 Stars

It goes really well with Jamie Oliver’s Minestrone soup.  Which now I have looked back for the recipe I realise I have bastardised it so much it bears no resemblance whatsoever – oh dear.  But anyway you take some bacon and brown it with some onion, (garlic if you remembered it) and then add a couple of tins of white beans, a couple of tins of tomatoes, a litre of stock and then whatever random vegetables are lurking in the fridge.  A little bit of chilli at the onion stage is good as well.  And then let it simmer away until you are hungry.  Even better the next day.

I will add Jamie’s recipe just so you can see how far I wandered off the Oliver path.  But thanks anyway Jamie.

In my defense I will say my recipe is really good for when you are in a remote location and have realised that you have only remembered the tomatoes, beans, bacon and have managed to rescue some Oxo cubes from the back of the cupboard.

Other good things, Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote.  Go Ireland.  Time to sort your shit out Australia.

Eurovision – Ok I don’t know whether this goes in the Good or Bat Shit Crazy category.  But I know it brings a lot of joy and entertainment to millions of people across the globe, so that has to be a good thing.  I also know that my Sister and Sister in Law are going all out in Sydney with their Eurovision party, and I am sure a fabulous time will be had by all.

Michele A’Court’s book Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter was just as enjoyable as I thought it would be.  And now my daughter is reading it, so Michele’s excellent advice can merge in with my not so handy hints.  I actually checked in with Lauren to see if I have actually given her some handy hints and apparently I had – who knew?

Here are a couple I have selected as appropriate for general reading

  • how to be nice to old people – (I actually think you are better with old people than I am Lauren)
  • don’t burn your bridges – good advice (neither of us follow that, but it is good advice)
  • at midnight all problems might seem bigger than they actually are the next day

The Bad

Now to the bad for this week.  It was actually bad and sad.  Media Works decided after their review, that the wonderful John Campbell and his show was not what they needed anymore.  Boo Media Works.  I really do feel like the mean kids are winning at the moment.  Phil Wallington (from his hospital bed no less) gave an excellent summation of what it’s all about.

But John and your most excellent crew.  No matter how sad and disappointing this all is, you fought a great fight, you can hold your heads high, and you still have your health.  Unlike poor Helen Kelly who revealed on Nine to Noon this week she has lung cancer.

Helen is the president of the Council of Trade Unions.  A pretty thankless task a lot of the time I am sure.  I remember the vitriol that was sent her way when she and the union spoke up for those working on the Hobbit.  You would have thought she was advocating drowning puppies and kittens.

Anyway if you get a moment, listen to this interview.  And if you sometimes think this humble little blogger is becoming a strident tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist. (you may be right by the way)  But also ask yourselves is every person doing well in our new world order just because they work so much harder and better than everyone else?  And that those at the bottom of the heap only there because they are lazy dullards.

And the Ugly

This guy – Michael Laws. Former MP, Former Mayor, Current Dick Head

He decided that Hilary Barry, a fantastic presenter, but also really nice caring person, was unprofessional because she became emotional about her good friend and colleague John Campbell losing his show.

Which to me seems pretty rich coming from a guy who got entangled with sending weird texts to a former prostitute, been accused of smacking one of his children, last year was embroiled in a paternity test.  But hey he isn’t exactly the first middle aged man to do stupid shit and then be judgmental about how other people live their lives.

Hilary you rock, and I keep hearing stories about your random acts of kindness.  I think the heart is like any muscle the more you use it the larger it gets.  And if when we get older we have used our hearts properly it becomes and harder and harder to stop showing how we feel.  So we cry when we see good things happen and bad things happen, and that’s ok – in fact it’s great. Your heart is large and lovely unlike Mr Law’s organ he chooses to do his thinking with.  (his brain of course – really people)

Wow this has ended up being quite a bit longer than I expected.  I hope I managed to keep you with me.  That means you Hamish and Tracey 🙂  And I didn’t even mention the budget.  But I do know that I am incredibly lucky because in my life I have so much good, hardly any bad, and thanks to the very clever Brett very little ugly.  I am truly blessed.

But wait there’s more…

No Dragons or Warriors updates this week, they are both having a bye.  Which means two points for having some time out.  Hooray.  Although I know both teams will be training really hard.

And Happy Birthday Week to Heath L’Estrange.  Hooker for the Dragons, really nice guy and a great character.  (he might be one of my favourites but shh don’t tell anybody.

Some Clever and Funny Women I came across this week and do I have Dragon super powers?

Just another week in paradise for me.  I wasn’t caught in an earthquake like some poor souls in Nepal, or even closer to home stuck on a flooded motorway in Wellington, or having my roof blown off in Mt Maunganui.

No up here in the Chev were the usual activities of

  • exercising and moaning about the exercising
  • drinking and eating, and vowing to be a bit more restrained with both – next week
  • annoying Brett – always a comforting constant in my life
  • being the noisy one in the office.  I have very quiet workmates and I know it brings a lot of joy to their lives hearing me talk to customers and my views on life the universe and everything

However this week I was very lucky to come across two very talented, wise and funny women.  Well not exactly come across as Michele A’Court and Anika Moa have been around for the longest time.  Michele I remember watching you on What Now.  And Anika as she herself pointed out she did start performing as a baby, so to me she has always just been there, making great music and being fabulous.

While I have always been in awe of Anika’s talent, I had no idea just how funny she is.  For some reason a mad genius at the New Zealand Herald has decided to let her interview fellow musicians and she is bloody funny.  Watch and see what I mean.

And I would totally buy a version of Anika and Stan singing I’ll Be There – just saying

Michele has just published a book called Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter, and I read a piece in Next magazine at the hairdressers – well I chortled and snuffled and read it out loud to my hairdresser, and knew this was a book I had to have.  I just went out today and bought it and I am in the process of devouring it.  We are of a similar age, with similar age daughters and there was so much I can relate to

  • Tattoos couldn’t agree more
  • That awful moment when you first realise that because you are a girl you are not entitled for some reason to have the some opportunities as boys
  • Blindfolding Muslim Men so they don’t have to be tempted – best idea ever
  • When you are very ready for your child to leave home

Anyway I could go on and on, but it really is a great book, I am glad I bought it and it gives me some more things to annoy Brett with – read this, did you know Michele was from Levin? etc etc


I actually sent this photo to Michele on Twitter to prove I bought her book and she replied – wasn’t that nice.  I do hope the 5c she got from the sale of the book will help keep her in shoes.

While I am on the subject of Twitter I did realise halfway through this week that I forgot to send my weekly inspirational tweet to the 3 St George Dragons who are brave enough to let me follow them on Twitter.  Heath L’Estrange, Euan Aitkin and Joel Thompson.

At the start of the season the team were getting such a terrible time about how useless they were.  I thought what would make all the difference would be me sending them a tweet before each game saying things like.

  • You are winners to me
  • I know you work really hard
  • You can do this

You know the sort of messages I should have written and put in Lauren’s lunchbox, if it hadn’t been mission impossible enough to find a bag of chippies in the back of the cupboard to throw in her school bag.

But this Wednesday I realised that I did not send them a tweet before their game on Monday night and that was the game the lost against the South Sydney Rabbitos.  I can assure you I have sent them a tweet today before they meet the Raiders.  So if they win, you know who to thank – apart from the team and the coaching staff.  And if they lose, I will be sad but it will take a bit of pressure off me. Watch this space.

Were you watching?  A win to the Dragons!!!  32-18

So now not only do I need to keep inspiring the Dragons to awesomeness,  I might just start slipping some inspirational messages into Brett’s man bag.  I know he would really appreciate them, and it just enhances my annoying potential.

Finally Chris Rattue (who I don’t always agree with) wrote this piece in the Herald and it was perfectly illustrated to me last night.  Some of the McFred whanau were at The Cav on College Hill Ponsonby last night for dinner, and the place was pumping at 6pm.  We couldn’t work out why. But people were there to watch the Warriors beat the Eels, and once the game was over about a 3rd of the clientele left.  Even though the Hurricanes were playing the Chiefs straight after – two of the top teams in the Super 14.  By the way the food at The Cav was yummy, the service quick and nice and friendly but the Pokie machines were not our friends..  Sort that out please 🙂

To paraphrase the Starks League is coming.  And for one love it

Living La Vida Local

This week’s blog is a shout out to the suburb I live in – Pt Chevalier Auckland, and all the great things I can do locally.  I live here more by good luck than good management but I feel very blessed that I do.

    • We have some wonderful parks including Coyle Park which has a wonderful view over the Waitemata Harbour towards the Shore and the Bridge

      Coyle Park view on an Autumn morning
      Coyle Park view on an Autumn morning
    • I feel absolutely safe taking Bad Billie for a walk at 5:15 in the morning
    • Although this always feels to me like a safe area, our wonderful bakery Take 5 run by Hannah who is only 20 (and makes the bestest sweet treats) is taking no chances

      Public Service Announcement at Take 5
      Public Service Announcement at Take 5
    • Being on a point we are always only a few minutes walk from the beach

      End of St Michaels Ave
      End of St Michaels Ave
    • We are really handy to good reliable public transport, and they are building big tunnely, bridgy motorway stuff right at the end of our street.  And our street will also connect up with the wonderful cycle way
Connecting to the cycle way
Motorway stuff
Tunnely Bridgy Motorway Stuff

We also have within walking distance a supermarket, great coffee, a couple of bars, an upholsterer,  a great library, two service stations and all manner of little retailers having a go and making a living.  I am actually not sharing this to make you jealous, but because I think that what we experience should be available for everyone in New Zealand.  Ok not living by the beach or having heavy construction equipment at the end of the road.  But living in a community where you feel safe and connected, where you access amenities easily and in a timely manner and you don’t have to earn a gazillion dollars to be able to do so.  And I don’t think it shouldn’t be a privilege for a lucky few.

Because of this I am incredibly supportive on any initiatives around improving public transport and thoughtful city planning, and extremely dubious about just building more subdivisions further and further out of the city.  With no thought given to how they connect and the quality of life people will experience living out there.  So if that means that there need to be more levies for public transport and more intensive housing closer to the city, than so be it.  If planning is done thoughtfully and properly – not always an occurrence in Auckland local politics, (and as long as Nick Smith doesn’t ride rough shod over the Council) maybe more people could live in a happy and safe community like I do.

I also need to do a shout out to the Neighbourly website.  I have used this a couple of times to request local services and both times I have had great service and found people really quickly.  Recommended

Anyway enough of the public service announcements, the Warriors had a win.  Hooray.  It was in the last minute, but great stuff guys.  Onwards and Upwards.

And mention has to be made of the great win the Kiwis had over the Kangaroos.  An awesome effort.  You really did us proud.

My Dragons play the Bunnies tonight.  Another tough game, and they will both be really wanting the win.  Will just cross my fingers and toeses like I always do and hope the Bunnies get skinned.  (Lordy, the more time I spend on the League Fan sites and Facebook pages the more crazy analogies ensue).

I also had another Run Auckland 10km run on Sunday, out at Barry Curtis Park in Botany  It was a stunning day for it, and I was really pleased with my time.  Although I did start out a bit quick, so there were a few profanities used by the end.  This is the third I have done now, and each time I get a bit quicker.  Might be time for me to stop 🙂

At the start line. Just before my Mother rang requesting bacon. Of course I took the call – it was my Mum!
A 5km runner near the start of the course
Looking out over the course

And finally things that make you go hmmm.  Just as I wrote this tonight, and mentioned that I thought Auckland could be awesome if Nick Smith didn’t ride rough shod over the Council’s plans.  This came to light


A Blessing

Something about Boganette’s writing gets me all teary. I blame it on the fact I am an old softie.

Mama Said

Any day now, three of my dear friends will be bringing babies into the world. I wanted to write them, and all mums, a blessing.

I have many hopes for you. Many wishes.

I wish that when your journey toward meeting your beautiful baby begins you’re excited as well as scared, because of course it’s normal and right to be a little scared. It’s a powerful thing we get to do. Isn’t it amazing?

I hope you have support and love surrounding you from that first “is this labour?” thought to that first sharp intake of breath when you really know This Is It, and on to your midwife or surgeon telling you it’s time. I wish for you that you feel safe from beginning to beginning.

I hope your labour makes you feel powerful or it is just forgettable. That in a week you will gaze at your baby and think “I could probably…

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Musings on my mortality and a bit about Arthur and Mee

A fairly ordinary week was had here except on Tuesday night when I came down with a nasty tummy bug.  It was not a good time.  But I did get the opportunity to consider which parts of me I was prepared to donate for the better of humanity. Me over react – never.  So here goes in no particular order.

  • one liver – slightly gin soaked and indeed liverish at times
  • one heart  – with dirty lefty tendencies, propensity to get very moved at any interactions with puppies, sad movies and any stories about battlers overcoming the odds.  Can tolerate a 10km run though – just saying
  • grumpy Achilles tendons – not good for much actually
  • nice big hands – ideal for page turning, and online interactions.   Have a definite aversion to manual labour of any kind
  • determined chin – however seems to becoming a home ground for the beginnings of a lady beard.  Needs constant vigilance

Fortunately as you can gather I did recover and I am now back to normal – whatever that is.

One of the reasons Brett and I work together so well,  apart from him doing all the work and I do very little, is that he has a real flair for design and putting together those special touches that make a house a home.  But he is also quite happy (within reason) to take on board some of my ideas – more books, Maori it up a bit, snuggly blankets and incorporate them in a way so they still  look awesome and not just a higgedly piggedly mess.

Here is a link to his blog – just to give you an idea of his cleverness

For the longest time I have been telling him how much I loved reading the Arthur Mees Encyclopedias as a child.  They were terribly out of date even then, and horrendously Anglo Saxon centric.  But before the internet (yes there was such a time) encyclopedias was where you went to get your random facts, and the Arthur Mees have these in spades.  I loved them because they were divided into different sections including Stories, Art, Philosophy, Things to Make and Do, and History.  I most enjoyed the Stories sections, but many a hour was spent pouring over them when there was nothing else to do.

Ian Sansom from The Guardian has written a nice piece on Arthur Mees and his vision to come up with an encyclopedia to answer his daughter’s many and varied questions.

Brett has managed to find a full set – with shelf for $1 and I am looking forwarding to revisiting them and also seeing where Brett installs them in the Lodge so they look cool and inviting rather than old dusty tomes.

What $1 can buy you
What $1 can buy you

No NRL games this week, as the Kiwis vs Kangaroos test is on this weekend.  It was due to be played on Friday night, but with Brisbane getting a storm as only Brisbane can, the game has been cancelled till tonight.  So instead of me telling you how much I love the Dragons and the Warriors here is something slightly different.

I read a great article (also in The Guardian) by Patrick Skene about Olsen Filipaina.  It seems amazing to imagine the NRL now without Polynesian players as they make such a huge contribution.  His experience with the Balmain Tigers sound horrendous, but he comes across as a real champion and gentleman.  Unlike Wally Lewis, ahem.

Anyway all the best Kiwis for your game against the Kangaroos.  Just play your best and if you can channel a bit of Olsen’s awesomeness, even better.