Surfing is harder than it looks especially when you are the “goofy one”

No there are no waves on this beach, we had to head out to the reef

I am not quite sure where I got the idea I would give surfing a go.  I think because I like the water, I have got myself fitter over the last couple of years, and it seemed like a fun and empowering challenge.

But what I forgot, is that although I am fitter now, I am basically quite an uncoordinated beast.  My Granny used to call herself a Bumble Foot and I am pretty much the same.  If someone is going to trip over the crack in the pavement or jam their handbag strap on something, or knock themselves on a door handle that person will be me. The thing is surfing requires fitness, upper body strength and coordination.  Knowing your right from your left helps as well.  I knew it didn’t bode well when just practicing on our boards on the land our instructor referred to me as the “Goofy One”  I think she meant it in a caring way,

There are lots of things to remember, body placement, foot placement, don’t look at your feet that you should have placed correctly, keep you knees bent.  That is just on the board stuff.  I am not even going to mention Eskimo rolls, and Turtle dives.

But if you are going to the Goofy one surfing Bali is the place to do it.

  • The water is warm
  • Fantastic staff that will push your sad slow arse out onto a wave
  • When you head back to the boat for a rest/sad moment you get a pep talk and then kicked off the boat and told to get back on that pony/wave

Basically I am pretty crap at surfing, I spent a lot of time getting dumped in waves,  trying no very successfully to gracefully get myself back on the board, and no one tells you how hard it is just to sit astride the thing.  But I learned some really important things that funnily enough tie in very nicely with yoga.

  • Pushing harder and harder at something isn’t necessarily going to make you better – sometimes it pays off to pull back a bit
  • There is always child’s pose or in the case of surfing – back on the boat pose
  • Stop worrying about being in the perfect position just do the best you can do and it will work out
  • Just because a move looks simple and easy when it is done by an expert doesn’t mean it is

Today I head out again to give it another go.  Hopefully I will do a bit better, but if I don’t it’s ok.  I  am able to tick something off my wish list in a stunning location and get an amazing salt water bath at the same time.

The cute boat I spent a bit of time “resting” on




Not 50 Yet!!!

That happens tomorrow – queue insipid little finger wave in the air and a very quiet whoop whoop.

I have always loved my birthdays, have looked forward to and enjoyed them.   But my goodness the big 5 0 has really messed with my head.  Shouldn’t I have done more with my life? Maybe I am not going to live forever after all?  If I have reached the peak and are heading down the other side, when was that peak again?

So in the interests of family harmony and so he didn’t have to see the ensuing meltdown.  Brett had the inspired idea to send me away on an adventure for my birthday.  At this very moment I am sitting at a table in this amazing villa in Bali.  Just because I am having a birthday tomorrow and I am little whiner.  Crazy, fabulous and did I mention crazy?

I have never been to Bali before, but I can  assure that when an Australian is born they are given a free flight to Bali, and they get to visit at least 20 times in their lifetimes.  They seem to like to travel in packs, and there usually seems to be one overweight loud woman included in the group who is invariably called Nat – oh dear.

I did observe some behaviour I did not approve of – no not Ozzy Nat drinking 5 Pink Pussies at the pool bar – that was all good.  But a middle aged woman – older than me even.  She refused to remove the sarongs she had hanging by a temple at the pool, until the staff came and provided what she considered appropriate shade for her.  And she was asked so nicely as well.  No cultural respect whatsoever, she got my most scathing look I can tell you.   What I really wanted to do of course was drown her a little bit.

Bali is quite overwhelming, it is hot and humid, there are heaps of people rushing about.  Some of them Balinese – not just Aussies.  But it is beautiful, I can absolutely see why people keep returning.  There is something very special about being in a place where the spiritual and material are so intertwined.  Yesterday when I was having my outside pedicure – as you do.  I saw a young woman, burning incense and making prayers to a tree.  Not going through the motions, but absolutely present as she made the offering and said the prayers.  The reason for this?  It was the birthday of the plantation of trees where the spa was located.  The trees get birthday wishes – my kind of place!!!

The pool at the villa this morning – noice

I feel so happy and privileged to be here enjoying this amazing place.  I know I really shouldn’t spin our about getting a year older.  When I turn 70, I will give myself a real talking to I tells ya.  So today I plan to make the absolute most of being 49 and try not to drown, or graze myself or get eaten by a shark when I give surfing a go (for the first time ever) later on this morning.  Watch this space.






Brett and Billie Busy at Okahukura Lodge

This week, Brett spent his last week of his holiday at the Lodge with his trusty sidekick Billie, while I was back in Auckland working.  However as is often the way, my working seemed a bit more relaxed  than Brett’s holiday

Brett’s holiday activities included in no particular order

  • digging up the septic tank pipe and clearing it – ooh blucky
  • removing a fence
  • digging up a huge aloe vera plant – thank goodness my Dad was able to help with that one with the front end loader
  • painting
  • putting in expol
  • and all the other things that he does around the place that helps make the Lodge such a nice and special place to visit

I on the other hand am not going to tell you about my working week, except I was able to ease into it.  And I did play the “I cleaned the work fridge, so I am a saint card” pretty well.

I do have some photos of Brett’s industriousness – funnily enough there aren’t any photos of mine.  I really should have taken one of the fridge – doh.


There was a fence here, but it has now gone in preparation for the planting that we (yes even me) are going to do this year.


Rainbow blinds for the Place of Rainbows


And a photo of the awesome deck because well it is awesome

I also came to the realisation that Ms Billie really has me very well trained.  It felt very strange to not get up and take her for a walk, let her outside to stalk the cat next door, check her water bowl is filled and all the other little tasks that dog ownership entails.   I am quite used to Brett being away, but being completely on my own without another heart beat in the house was something I am not used to at all.

Anyway I think Billie had the greatest holiday of all, she got walks every day, all the resting time she could ever want, a visit to Whangamata to torment her friend Pippa and more scraps of ham and chicken than is necessary for a little dog.


Here she is on the morning of the last day of December 31 2015 in her happy place at Whangamata – off leash and on the beach.

And just two more things I do want to add – one that is kind of related to Brett’s awesomeness, and one that is just an observation.

Today is our second wedding anniversary, and I just feel so lucky and happy I can say that.  Hey we might even be crazy and go for another year 🙂

I am reading the Geraldine Brooks book – The Secret Chord.  Based on the life of King David and it is a really good read.  But I can’t help thinking if your God sent you to the Promised Land, but you had to fight and kill a whole lot of people who were living there first to take it over, maybe it wasn’t that Promised after all – just saying










New Year New Me – Yeah Na

I have never really got into the whole New Year thing – despite my Scottish ancestry.  I am too much of a Nana to stay up past midnight very often, and I have always have this huge sense of anti-climax the next day.  I mean it isn’t like you get presents or anything like the week before at Christmas.  As for resolutions and intentions – I can’t tell you the number of diaries I have owned that are done and dusted by about the 20th of Jan.  And thank God I never started smoking because the resolution to stop that would only last about 24 hours.

But 2016 is a little bit significant because

a), I did manage to see the year in.  I was staying with a great group of friends at Whangamata, and there was no way they were going to let me slope off early.  Also some of their singing and musical preferences were truly dire and my services were required for the greater good.


b) It is big birthday month.  As a January baby I am a firm believer in the importance of birthday month.  I like to give all my friends and whanau as much opportunity as possible to celebrate, as I know they can be busy with holidays and I would hate them to miss out.  But this year the birthday being celebrated is a number with an 0 at the end and a 5 at the front.  Yep in January 1966 a 8 pound 12 ounces baby girl, with an enormous amount of hair and very healthy lungs  was born in Matamata.

I suspect when you get to the half century, you should either know some stuff or at least be very good at pretending you know some stuff.

So here is some of the stuff I think I know and some of things I am going to have a go at this year

  • things change –  not always for the best but change they do.  So when you are having a good moment, enjoy and savour it.  Because just like the bad moments it won’t last for ever
  • often there isn’t truth in alcohol sometimes just inappropriate behaviour and a headache the next day – oops
  • surround yourself with loving and understanding people and you might just get away with the inappropriate behaviour
  • I know life is too short to hold a grudge – but hey I have got a few years left
  • I don’t get the whole John Key is a fun guy thing.  Never have, never will
  • my intention is to write 40 blogs this year.  That is at the request of my husband – who for some reason thinks I should write stuff down.  I suspect it is sometimes so I don’t keep going on to him about it
  • regular exercise is just as important to my mental well being as it is to my physical well being
  • I am going to run/walk/crawl the Queenstown Half Marathon this year
  • I was born with a mop of hair and very healthy lungs (euphemism for I am loud) still got em
  • if you are lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone who is great and cleaning and creating a wonderful living environment – give them free rein.  Help them by staying out of their way 🙂
  • there will be a Warriors vs St George Grand Final one day, which I will attend and conflicted won’t be the word
  • I am a very lucky person if I get to spend my Christmas morning getting some exercise with these two
Christmas Day run with my two favourite girls
  •  A New Year won’t or another number won’t mean a new me, it will just be a continuation of the same one, but that’s ok – I might even stay up to see in 2017