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


Alcohol Soaked Butter Ball

Is pretty much how I feel at the moment.  Christmas is still 20 days away, but the silly season has well and truly started here at Casa Alberta.

I am living proof that you can exercise plenty, but if you are putting the badness in, it will hang around and stick on your ass or in my case puku.  But “I couldn’t possibly have another glass of champagne or half a pig” simply isn’t an option.  My liver and digestive system can take a break in 2016.

It isn’t quite that bad, but it does seem that now the weather is warmer, I feel a bit like Mole in the Wind in the Willows, coming out of a dark burrow,  saying ‘Bother!’ and ‘O blow!’ and also ‘Hang spring-cleaning*!’   And I am now ready to get out in the big wide world, and if there is a friend with a laden picnic basket even better.

One activity that Mr Brett and I have done that was fabulous was going to see Hudson and Halls Live at the Herald Theatre.  The wonderful Simon Wilson gave it a great review in Metro – far better than I could ever dream of, so take it away Simon

But one thing Simon did neglect to do was “take a selfie bro” with Chris Parker playing David Halls at intermission.  I however availed myself of the opportunity.  One of us may have been drinking – ahem


Honestly a wonderful, funny and moving show and if you ever get a chance to see it – highly recommended.  You don’t even need to be drinking bubbles to enjoy it – but it doesn’t hurt.

On the domestic goddess scale I reckon I would rate a 2 (on a good day), but I do have one thing that I do make an effort with is making Christmas cakes.  I do it mainly for two reasons, Mr Brett loves Christmas cake and he deserves a little bit of happiness for putting up with me and my shenanigans every year.  I also know he has Santa’s private number.  And it also reminds me of my Granny, who made Christmas cakes so laden with fruit that you could slip into a diabetic coma just looking at it.

My cakes don’t always work out that well, last years effort was a bit dry – boo.  Getting the oven temperature and timing right can be a challenge.  But I am very happy with this year’s effort.


Lookee there, my Port and Dark Chocolate Christmas cake ready for some industrious feeding (of more port) before Christmas comes around.

It hasn’t all been port and chocolate and bubbles (mostly but not all)

This morning I decided to take my alcohol soaked butter ball self on an excursion.  The sun was shining and Auckland has a new thing.  There is now a hot pink cycle and walking path that connects the existing  North Western cycleways to Nelson Street.

Here is another article from the excellent Metro magazine by Chris Barton, which once again gives a far better description than I ever could.

It opened on Thursday, and I decided it would be a “fun” thing to run from Pt Chev into town, so I could go on it.  But what I didn’t allow for was the fact a lot of it was uphill, and there has been a detour to make it 500 metres longer.  That sucked the “fun’ out of it I tells ya.

But when I finally got there it was so worth it.  What an amazing addition to the Super City.  I freaken loves it.  I got a bit teary, in fact.  This may be due to the fact that I was struggling to breathe and my legs were hurty.  Damn you extra 500 metres.  But it really is cool.  I can’t wait to walk it at night – no running in from Pt Chev before hand.

I can’t really describe why I like it so much, but it’s pink, there is cool Maori art on some of the side panels, it is a space created for walkers, and cyclists and families, and you can see Red Peak as you go along.  Perfect.




One of my Auckland must do’s.  So if you live in, or when you next visit Auckland Do.

Anyway I would like to stay and chat, but I have another Sunday excursion plan.  This one involves visiting friends and eating and drinking.  The butter ball needs feeding 🙂


*I so say “Hang spring-cleaning” most weeks to be fair.


Procrastinator Problems

One procrastinator problem – (there are a few) – is you can start writing a blog about events and then a month later you realise you haven’t finished it and no one will even remember what you are going on about.  But you have actually invested at least half an hour of quality time on the thing, so you are extremely reluctant to hit the delete button.

So I haven’t, instead, I want you all to climb into the Natty time machine and pretend it is the end of August not September.  You all look great by the way, so much younger, and still so wise and knowing.

This blog is a major love fest and thank you to my whanau and the Warriors.  My whanau, because we all had such a wonderful time away in Sydney and the Warriors because they were able to make Mum super happy for her birthday, and helped score some major brownie points with Mummy McConnell – thanks team you are awesome.

Mum was celebrating a big birthday this year, and she decided she didn’t want a party instead she wanted me, Lauren and her good friend Francine to join her and Dad over in Sydney for her birthday weekend and watch the Warriors play.  She is a super fan, which isn’t always easy, especially when you live in a rural community.  Every time they have a loss, some smart arse is ready to tell her how useless they are.  But she is never one to back down from a challenge, and quite simply she loves them.  Especially Manu and Konrad.

I took the liberty of contacting the Warriors marketing team and mentioning it would be Mum’s birthday ,and as we would be heading out to Campbelltown to watch them play the West Tigers and would it be possible to a send a card or something for her.

Well Georgina from the membership team did a sterling job.  This is the card that she put together.  When I saw it, I got teary (disclaimer I get teary at everything – including the movie Cinderella, which I could only watch on the plane until the wicked stepmother turned up)

Birthday card - front
Birthday card – front
Birthday card - inside
Birthday card – inside

It was just perfect.  Far more than I was expecting.  That is what I call looking after your fans.  My only job then was not to lose it before we arrived in Sydney.  Which obviously I didn’t but I had made a copy of it – just in case.

When we arrived at our Newtown, Sydney New South Wales, Australia digs, where we were going to stay for the weekend we found both Mum and Dad were seriously ill with this awful flu bug that has been going around.  It was terrible.  They were both so looking forward to birthday weekend and they were so unwell.  I felt ill, just looking at them. (not that it is about me all the time apparently)

Sister Julie had gone to a lot of trouble to plan a whole range of activities, and it looked like the only activity would be gathering around a sick bed.

In the end, Sister Julie took Mum to a doctor, who wisely prescribed fluids, rest, and mild celebrations.  So while we scaled a few things back, we did manage to have 2 great outings.  The first was to Wentworth Park for the Greyhound races.  What a lot of fun.  It is a great facility and really central – right in Glebe.  I also discovered that Lauren is very good (scarily good in fact) at placing bets, working out odds etc.  I just enjoyed picking doggy number 6.  So every time Lauren placed a bet on my behalf she got a hard time from the lady behind the counter.  I am good like that.

Sunday was birthday/game day.  Sister Julie drove us out to Campbelltown.  Mum was ready.  No one was going to have to guess which team she was supporting.

Birthday girl and Dad
Birthday girl and Dad
At the Park
At the Park Mum and Francine

FYI Campbelltown is a quite a drive from Newtown.  Sister Julie drove us there in a Rav 4 she had rented, and then organised us the best seats in the park.  Just back from the field and sitting by other Warriors supporters.  She is good at this stuff.  She even provided an amazing lunch – which beat a half cold hot dog any day

It was a gorgeous afternoon.  In fact Sydney really turned on fabulous weather for the weekend.  The sun was shining and everything.  Which it hasn’t bothered to do in Auckland for the longest time.

Best seats ever
Best seats ever

Having the best seats ever meant we were sitting close to the Warriors management team, including the CEO Jim Doyle.  Mum thinks he is a great guy (she’s right he is) I went and asked him if would mind coming and saying hello.  He not only came over, he chatted, had his photo taken, and asked Mum who the young lady was.  He’s good I tells ya.  I was super impressed with how genuine and nice he is is.  A great CEO.

Mum and the CEO
Mum and the lovely Jim Doyle

Unfortunately the Warriors did not have a good time.  The Tigers thrashed them.  And they didn’t qualify for the top Eight* – boo 😦

We didn’t care, the birthday girl was happy, the Warriors did score a couple of tries and we even got on TV, someone had to be in the obligatory happy flag waving shot after all.

While we were sitting in the sunshine, watching our boys.  Vicky and Lauren worked their arses off preparing a fantastic birthday dinner.  One of the many advantages of having a Greek sister in law is you will never ever starve.  Just providing one leg of lamb and a bushel of potatoes is considered skimping and simply won’t do.

After Match FunctionWe arrived back to Chez McDag for fabulous eats and drinks.  And I can confidently say Mummy McConnell had a birthday to remember.  We did get her a present, but honestly we needn’t have bothered, her couple of excursions and the card were the definite highlights.

Possibly Lauren being locked in the boot of the Rav 4 following the celebrations and no one remembering she was there was a lowlight.  But hey, nothing a couple of years of therapy won’t remedy.

All in all a fabulous time was had, and we definitely know and appreciate how lucky and blessed we are as a family to have time together doing things we love, even if some of us get ill or get left in the boot of the car.  And Warriors you didn’t have a great season, but you do know how to look after your fans, and there is one family of supporters who love your work.

Right as you were – back to the end of September, Daylight Saving has started.  The weather is fabulous, about time too.  And the Grand Final is on this Sunday.  I am definitely hoping the Cowboys can ride the Broncos out of town, but I do suspect the Broncos will be hard to beat.

*My Dragons did though – first time since 2011.  And they were picked to be wooden spooners this year.  You did great.

I Live at the Edge of the Universe Like Everybody Else

I didn’t say that, Bill Manhire did, about Wellington. Clever Mr Manhire.

Certainly cleverer than my usual Wellington statements

“Bloody hell it’s cold”

“I might die”

“Why do they only have escalators that go up in the stores?”

Yes I was lucky enough to visit the worlds most southern capital city a couple of weekends ago, and despite the sort of temperatures that only hardened individuals or penguins could tolerate, I had a wonderful time.

Weather for Penguins not Jafas
Weather for Penguins not Jafas

I officially went to visit my friend Craig (even though he didn’t request my presence) and unofficially to see my Dragons play my Warriors (actually they didn’t request my presence either).

I spent the morning annoying Craig, he was thrilled as you can imagine, and the early afternoon resting up.  Honestly it was so cold not even the thought of shopping and eating could get me away from my nice cosy room.  Intercontinental Wellington I approve of your refurbishment, and the fact you had early check in.  Brett I approve of your generosity of letting me redeem your points for the stay.

It was then time to head to Westpac Stadium for the game.  Wellington I have to say you have it over in Auckland in spades in the stadium department.  Having an easy 15 minute walk from the centre of the city to the ground was fantastic.  Grrr Auckland what a wasted opportunity not building something at the waterfront when we hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2011 (and no The Cloud does not count)

As I walked to the stadium, I got to check out the Mahatma Ghandi statue by the Railway Station, and I must admit I did feel very sorry for him with just his cotton wrap.  I myself was rocking the Michelin man look, I did have my Dragons jersey on, but it was under 5 other layers.

I wanted to lend Mahatma my scarf
I wanted to lend Mahatma my scarf

There were plenty of people heading to the game, mainly Warriors supporters but there were a few Dragons fans.  I also spotted this mad man wearing shorts.  Seriously he wasn’t just on the edge of the universe, he was in an alternative one.

Westpac Stadium
Westpac Stadium

I had managed to persuade/con my friend David to come with me to the game.  Craig informed me that he just isn’t enough of a Bogan to enjoy League.  Whatever Craig, you grew up in Palmy.  Anyway Davey was gracious enough to stay in touch with his inner bogan and be my hot dog and beersie companion.  Thank you David.

Me and Davey enjoying the game
Me and Davey enjoying the game

It was a really good crowd at the game, and once again I was impressed with what a positive and fun atmosphere there was.  Although the poor old Warriors got a hiding.  So not exactly fun and positive for most at the end, but I certainly didn’t notice any snark or aggro and I was making noise for the other team after all.  So big respect to the all those who came and basically froze their arses off to support the teams and players they love.

I do now have a slight inkling of how Serena and Venus’s Mum must feel at times. If one wins the other loses – weird. And yes Dragons you had a great, well deserved win, but did you have to beat the Warriors quite so convincingly – ouch.  36 – 0 to the Dragons.

It was all very sedate after that.  In my wisdom I had decided to take the 7am flight home the following day, so I wasn’t up for a big night out (I am only saying that because I couldn’t find the Dragons lair)

Even with my early night, I did manage to look rather like the creature below as I headed headed to the airport.

The look I went for on Sunday morning
The look I went for on Sunday morning

I really did have a wonderful time, so City on the Edge, I feel compelled to give you the Natty standard – bullet points of praise.

  • Thank you for your lovely generous people who don’t seem mind being tormented by a visitor from the North – or they disguise it incredibly well
  • I love your artwork and statues, I wish I had taken a photo of the one of Peter Fraser – one of my favourites
  • Intercontinental Wellington, your early check in saved me from pneumonia and being forced to drink copious amounts of alcohol trying to keep warm (lots of people thank you for that)
  • You have a stadium handy to the city and public transport, what a fabulous idea – who would have thunk it?
  • And you know what, when you shift your location quite a few degrees north and no longer bang smack in the middle of a fault line, I might even visit more often, whether my presence is requested or not

Visiting Hawkes Bay, Dragon Stalking and battling the Storm

You know someone loves you very much when they will drive for 1000 km (there and around and back) so you can go and watch your team play another team in a sport you are not particularly interested in.  But Brett did exactly that for me last weekend.  He’s a keeper I tells ya.

Watching sport of any description is not his favourite activity, but fortunately there are always good eats and drinks and most of the time the sun seems to shine whenever we go to the Bay.

If you look really closely
Snow on these hills – if you look really closely

As usual the Bay delivered, and we definitely got the sunshine and some great eats and drinks.

We are very lucky that whenever we are down this way, we get to stay with lovely hospitable friends Julie and Jim.  Who not only know the restorative powers of a stiff gin, but Julie is a fantastic cook (getting the impression there was lots of eating and drinking on this trip because trust there was)

On Saturday we went to one of my favourite restaurants.  Ten Twenty Four. it consistently delivers delicious food in a fun way.  I can thoroughly recommend choosing their R&D (research and development) menu and just placing yourselves in the hands of the chef.  Fabulous.


Tentwentyfour dessert
Ten Twenty Four dessert
Crazy feijoa bubbles
Crazy feijoa bubbles

After our delicious eats, I thought it would be a good idea to go for a run.  It wasn’t, a 3 course lunch and matching wines does not put wings on your feet – just saying.  But hey, how else were the good citizens of Napier going to see my Dragons shirt.

Beach at Napier
Beach at Napier
Photo stop aka breathing stop
Photo stop aka breathing stop

Before too long it was time for the big game.  We were lucky enough to be staying at a great place, the Pebble Beach Motor Inn, which was only a hop, skip and a jump from Maclean Park.  A couple of interesting – well to me – observations

  • the guys running the Pebble Beach Motor Inn were absolutely thrilled that a League game was on, and in they would have discussed League for ever
  • one of them may have referred to me as the perfect woman for coming to the game – who am I to argue?
  • Maclean Park was originally a League ground, and then as League went through a decline in the region, Rugby took over

It was a cold but clear night, perfect for a game of footy and a tub of chips and a hot dog, which did not rate on the gastronomic experience at all.  But once again thanks to Brett for queuing up for the longest time and making sure there was enough sauce on them chips.  I had the important job of getting the wine and having my photo taken with the Four Nations Trophy.

Yay the Kiwis own this piece of silverware
Yay the Kiwis own this piece of silverware

Then it was game time.  My boys lost.  It was sad.  In my humble opinion they were a bit unlucky, a couple of calls didn’t go their way.  And someone may have wanted to leave before the end of the game.  But as I told Mr Brett, if my boys have to stay out there, the least we can do is stay and support them till the bitter end.

I had a great time regardless, I sat by a Maori woman who was a Storm supporter and a real wag.  There may have been streaking dares, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

At the match
At the match

So all in all, a great night, despite the result. Nearly 15 000 turned up and a really good atmosphere.  Plenty of Storm supporters there to back local boy Tohu Harris, who did play really well.

Unfortunately life isn’t all good eats, stalking your team and being told you are the perfect woman.  (Although I probably do get more than my fair share of these activities if I am quite honest)  At some stage you have head back to the big smoke, which is what we did the next day.  But we did get to see a beautiful sunrise and have a yummy breakfast at Emporium  before we hit the road.

Sunday Sunrise
Sunday Sunrise
Emporium in Napier
Emporium in Napier

The trip home was uneventful, but it was nice to see when we got home that Brett had purchased a new form of transport for me.  I told you he is a keeper.IMG_2669As I write this, the Dragons are playing the Knights and I am following the match online.  Full time whistle has just gone and a win by 22 points over the Knights.  Good times.  7 wins in a row, then 7 losses and now a great win.  Whoop Whoop.

I am a bit sad however, because it has just been announced that Heath L’Estrange hasn’t been signed for next year.  I know he was hoping for one more year.  But it isn’t be.  I really like Heath because he is such a character, he gives his all on the field and is a real family man.

Next week is going to be interesting because the Dragons will be taking on the Warriors in Wellington.  Both teams really need the win to stay in with a chance for the finals.  I am going to head down to Wellington to watch the game.  So that probably means the Warriors will win, based on how helpful my support is to the Dragons.  But hey that’s ok.  I win either way.

If you have managed to battle through that sports/eating/travelogue, just a couple of comments on events that have been in the media this week.

Adam Goodes – there have been some excellent articles about why this great AFL player and former Australian of the year has been constantly booed and derided by spectators and some in the media.  They are well worth a read.


And no we in Aotearoa shouldn’t get all smug about this, when a Fijian player left the field in tears after the abuse he suffered in Christchurch (and I know most of us think – well that’s the dick heads of Christchurch) but it isn’t acceptable ever.

My great grand dad William Thomson was half Maori and represented Waipa and Waikato for rugby early last century.  Apparently one of the reasons he stopped trialling for representative teams was because he got sick of being called nigger.  People shouldn’t have to be still dealing with this crap more than 100 years later.

And the T.P.P – Trans Pacific Partnership.  I don’t know what’s in it, because apparently it is too important and too serious for the people of New Zealand to know the details of. Even though is sounds suspiciously we will be signing away our sovereignty to big business.  Thank Zeus is didn’t get signed this time around in Hawaii and maybe the New Zealand public get more a chance to see what is actually in the thing, and what it really means.

There is so much I don’t like about Seven Sharp and it’s host. Mike Hosking.  To me this clip demonstrates it perfectly.  Mike crapping on, loving the sound of his voice.  His co host basically saying it all seems hard for my brain to take in – blech.  But he gets totally owned by Professor Jane Kelsey, who in a few minutes lays out a few pertinent facts that make more sense than the whole line we are being fed by our “glorious leader” and his minions.

Take it away Professor


Have a great week everyone, and just for the record I don’t find the idea of a Maori Language Month boring at all.  Just another thing to add to the reasons why JK and I are incompatible list.

Johnny Mar Concert Review – by a special guest blogger

Nattybugle is not the only member of the whanau who does the writey downy stuff.  My brother Dan has a blog, Dad is world famous in Tapora for his poems, and Granny McConnell actually won a prize from Peoples Friend magazine for a story she wrote about a tui in a flaxbush when they were farming at Pokapu.

So this week I am very pleased and proud to include a concert review by my daughter Lauren aka Bad Lauren*  Lauren attended the Johnny Marr concert with a couple of her buddies last week.

When I told people Lauren was going to the concert most didn’t even know who Johnny Marr is, although they recognised the band The Smiths. And as I only found one review of the concert on the interweb, I requested that she write a review.

She is a big fan, she had a great time and she managed to pick up a pretty cool souvenir, which goes quite nicely with the piece of Morrissey’s shirt she got from his concert.

Take it away Lauren.

And Johnny Marr fan
Guest Blogger 

As I sit in my car, I hear a radio ad for Madonna’s first Tour of New Zealand, nervously I check my vehicle for a hidden Flux Capacitor  and make sure I haven’t hit 88 miles per hour.

No? So it must be 2015 then.

My Co-Pilot exhales loudly, “Really?  Its not even like she’s relevant anymore”

All I can do is giggle awkwardly. I’m going to a Johnny Marr Concert, and here we are talking about artists no longer being relevant.

For a bit of background, Johnny Marr formed, owns half and was the guitarist for the 80’s band The Smiths. Since then he’s worked with The The, The Cribs, Paul McCartney, The Pretenders, and most recently released 2 of his own solo albums.

I adore Johnny Marr, he’s my favourite Smith. His work is genius, he changed the face of guitar music forever, but is he relevant?  After last nights show, so very much yes.

At the power station at 8:20 doors open, we were informed the show was running late.  Around 8:40 Dictaphone Blues come on, 5 quintessential hipsters with impressive beards, a home grown chilled rock band that was a perfect warm up, fabulous energy, well worth looking into.

Next we have another support band as security explained called ‘change over’. I think they were a type of performance art group, as they played around with equipment almost like they were setting up.

Then the man of the hour comes out. In the front row we are about half a metre away from the stage. In those 30cm are 5 photographers for different media outlets, And doesn’t Johnny just know it! He’s hip thrusting, pulling faces, holding his guitar up and ready for the cameras to take their money shots before they fade away.

Johnny Marr is a rock star, we are there to see him and he knows just how to perform. He plays new stuff, he plays old stuff. even a track from his time with Electronic. Finishing up by bringing his friend Neil Finn on stage for the encore. He performed amazingly, a little sloppy here and there, but when you are expected to sound like a polished Johnny Marr track, anything is sloppy.

Still wonderful and I expected no different, but relevant? He’s one of the most influential British guitarist of all time. (Oasis? yup, wouldn’t be around without this guy) He’s got the fame and he’s got the money, so he can do what he wants and make something he thinks sounds great- as he describes his first debut solo album, The Messenger, “I just made something I think sounds like Blondie, and I love it”

He has completed the rock star check list, he’s used drugs, he’s had a big court case, been drunk and crashed a car, and now he’s moving on most gracefully, not drinking, no substance abuse, running and being a vegan.

To me this is what makes Johnny Marr a truly rare product of the ’80’s music scene, and completely relevant. He knows where he fits in the world, he know what his fans want and is in no way out of touch with reality.

We didn’t want to see a guy in his 50’s reliving his glory days. We want to see him jumping around, playing worldly for the cameras, making us laugh and ageing gracefully. This is something I wish Madonna and so many other artist still kicking from the 80’s would do.  Grow up!  Be the age you are because your true fans will love you for it.

Cool Souvenir

Thank you Lauren I don’t know how many other 20 somethings were at the concert, but I think you summed up the experience really well.

The Herald review pays more attention to the balding and paunchy contingent that were in attendance, and an awful lot to Neil Finn.  I will attach it for comparison.

Herald Review

I think I may need apologise for the “hits” on Madonna, even though they are well warranted. Lauren has been traumatised in the past by watching her mother try to emulate Madonna dance moves after a few gins and putting her back out.

*She isn’t bad, in fact most of the time she is quite delightful.  But I would hate to think of her to get above her raising

Weirdo Alert – I got up at 5:30am on Sunday morning to go on a “fun run”

And I loved it.

Sunday was the last run in the Run Auckland Series of six 10km runs, I have been participating in.  They have been held at various parks throughout the city about once a month.  While I have moaned and groaned before and during every event, I really have had a great feeling of achievement each time one is completed.

On Sunday morning it was dark and cold and wet, but I dragged my sorry arse out of bed.  (Mr Brett lying in bed with a cup of coffee telling me I was a champion kind of helped but didn’t by the way)

The run was at Millwater, a newish subdivision by Orewa.  The course was a really nice mixture of flat and undulating with interesting things to look at.  Amazing to think that only a few years ago it was all farmland.

Although it was a rather miserable morning, as you can tell from the happy looking people below.  I managed to do my best time yet and I really did enjoy myself.


As usual when I go on a run, my “monkey mind” likes to work overtime.  I am pretty sure this is because I am incapable of concentrating on one activity for more than 10 minutes, let alone an hour, so when I am running thoughts get pretty random

Here are a selection (no wonder I need to go to bed early)

  • 2 years ago I couldn’t run 1km let alone 10
  • How my idea of what a fun activity is has really changed.  Well not that much – gin drinking and chippie eating is still fun
  • How much I like pretending to be a Kenyan runner on someones shoulder waiting to overtake them with a powerful kick
  • How can that woman who is so much larger than me be so much faster – she is absolutely far more Kenyan than I am
  • Will my Dragons still want me to support them when I must have put a hooddo on them so they have now lost 6 times in a row.  I even pulled out Kia Kaha in my inspirational tweet – nothing
  • Why haven’t I won Lotto yet when there are so many cool things I would do with that money?
  • Do I really look like a condom wearing my running hat?
  • Is Mr Brett out of bed yet?
  • Where is the finish line?

I managed to do 5 of the 6 runs and I am very pleased and proud of myself because I ended up about halfway overall in the field for my grouping – 40-49 year olds . Not bad for a former non runner.

So a very big thank you from me. Run Auckland people for organising such a great series.  It has managed to keep me motivated enough to keep running/shuffling through winter and I am really grateful for that.  Otherwise the gin and chippie fun activity would really taken over.  I will definitely be participating next year.

All a bit sad on the Footy front, both my teams lost – boo.  (sad boo not angry boo – call me old fashioned but I really hate hearing booing at games, it just seems so boorish and unnecessary)

Both teams did play a lot better in the second half – so we are taking heart and feeling positiveish for next week.  And they were both tough games, the Dragons were playing the Bunnies – last years champions, and the Warriors took on the Chooks, who are always competitive.

This weekend, I am super excited because Mr Brett and I are heading down to Hawkes Bay to watch the Dragons take on the Melbourne Storm.  I really hope the guys go well, and there isn’t a stalker alert placed out on me at McLean Park #awkward.

Whatever the result I do know the guys will give their all and do their very best to win.  I also know that I will get to eat some great food, drink some nice drinks and tormenting Mr Brett in another part of the country is always an enjoyable bonus.

Just before I close I do have to mention Anika Moa (again) and her fantastic album Songs for Bubbas.  If you are ever looking for a present for parents of little ones, this is highly recommended.  There is a lovely mixture of funny and sweet songs, lots of Te Reo and of course she sounds amazing.  I bought one for Isla, and I have it on good authority that she approves.

Ma te wa – that was especially for you Brenda