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.


Just Another Freaking Aucklander Moaning About the Cold

You see here’s the thing, I live in the northerly part of a South Pacific Island mainly because that is where I have ended up and also because I don’t like being cold.

You won’t find this softy moving south of the Bombay Hills because

a) the earth shakes

b) it gets cold

c) no one has invited me

Yes marvelous eating and drinking things are produced further south and clever and funny people live there, but anywhere thermals has to become part of your daily wardrobe is just not for me.

You can then imagine my consternation this week when it has been bitey cold for days on end and white stuff (not cocaine – I don’t live in Ponsonby) has been found on the ground on the mornings.  Not happy.  We have been having brilliant days of sunshine, which are great for the soul, but my goodness once that sun goes down it is bitter.

We even had big frosts up at Okahukura Lodge this weekend, even though it is 110km north of Auckland.  But it did make for some pretty pictures.

Fire and FrostIMG_2627IMG_2626IMG_2624

Aotearoeans who deal with this sort of cold and more on a regular basis, and with lot less complaining you have my upmost respect.  You are all amazement and the backbone of this country.  In the meantime this hothouse flower will continue to drain the National Grid keeping her footsies warm.

I am actually very lucky that Mr Brett having previously resided in Wellington* for a few years has clever heating strategies.  Our house has double glazing – fabulous.  We also have heaters with timers so rooms warm up before you get up in the morning.  I am sure that having these clever strategies implemented had nothing to do how the intensity of my whining increases with the level of my discomfort.

I also know that I am incredibly lucky that we can afford to heat our house and have enough blankets and all the things that make winter bearable.  I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like living in an uninsulated house and unable to afford heating.  Pretty bloody crappy that is for sure.

That is my winter grumble out of the way, no doubt before too long I will be able to start on my Spring Equinox rant.  Good times.  I know you can all hardly wait.

While this has been a very lighthearted moan about the winter there is a wonderful group of people out who call themselves The Aunties who work with Women’s Refuge to help keep vulnerable women and children warm and safe.  Here is a link to their blog because I believe what they do is so very important and unfortunately necessary.

Apart from complaining about the cold, and tormenting Mr Brett – you know the usual stuff, the week was fairly quiet.  We did go and see the Auckland Theatre Company production of Rupert by David Williamson.  It is about Rupert Murdoch, and I thought it was very funny and clever.  It just helps to remind you what an old villain he is. (if you needed reminding) His mother lived till she was 103, so we probably have another 20 years of him controlling our media landscape.  Lordy.

One of the most telling things for me was at the end of the play they put up a screen showing the media outlets he controls.  Crazy.  For one person to be in charge of so much.  Just incredible.

Just incredible in another and far more positive way, is this Nathan Friend back flip that lead to a fantastic try when the Warriors beat the Storm at Mt Smart yesterday.  The sheer athleticism just blows my mind.  And as you know I have attended a handstand class.  Shaun’s side step and backward pass isn’t too shabby either.  A fantastic win to the Warriors – now fourth on the table.

Meanwhile my Dragons are going through a wee slump.  Some of their players are injured and things just aren’t going their way.  But they will come right.  The world renown philosopher Phil Gould probably summed it up best writing for the SMH this morning

All teams go through an injury run at some stage of the season. Some get it worse than others. The Dragons are just having their bad run right now. Never mind. Tough times don’t last, tough people do.

Read more:

What Phil said.  Maybe I will use that for my inspirational tweet next week.  Because frankly, ” I hope you boys have all got a nicely ironed hanky and clean undies” doesn’t seem to be working that well.

In other exciting (for me at least) League news.  The dates for the Auckland Nines for next year have been confirmed – February 6 and 7.  Hopefully the Dragons will want me back again to hang around and keep out of their way at the same time.  I will still be going regardless as it really is a fantastic event.

One event that I do plan to attend this year is this one.

The fabulous Anika Moa had a Face to Face interview with Marlon Williams – who I had never heard of.  (I don’t get out much)  The interview is funny, but 7 and a half minutes in, they sing Hine E Hine together and both their voices just blew me away.  As Mr J Campbell of Auckland would say Bloody Marvelous.

Anyway lovely people keep warm and safe.  And a shout out to Sister Julie for sending through the lovely photos of Noosa looking so sunny and fabulous, I really did appreciate them I did.

He Konei Ra


*Actually if you want to hear moaning, have me visit Wellington when that Southerly is ripping through – bloody hell.  Might be another reason why I have never been invited to live there.

While losing is heartbreaking losing your sense of worth or excellence is tragic

This morning I sent the quote above to my Dragon boys – yes they got beaten by those slippery Parramatta Eels.  While I am sure it didn’t offer them very much comfort,  I do like the sentiment expressed.  Losing sucks but it sure doesn’t negate the effort, the sheer athleticism and the sacrifices that have to be made to perform week after week at that level.

There NattyBugle has spoken, and  those keyboard warriors that are giving them a hard time can go to hell.

Also on my go to hell list

  • The National Government – stop lying and trying to blame Labour for the Saudi Sheep bribes debacle.  Show us the documents that apparently prove why all those millions of dollars had to be paid.  And while I am at it, stop making it so hard for Auckland.  Support Auckland city by passing the legislation so they can have affordable housing and transport – and by the way trying to steal land from Ngati Whatua is not cool.
  • New Zealand Herald – big headlines that say how are rates are going up by a gazillion because the Long Term Plan has been passed, don’t help the quality of debate, and you were lying anyway
  • Creepy politicians who are obsessed with the sexual behaviour of others, and then can’t help behaving badly themselves.  Yes Colin Craig I am talking about you

Right that is the Natty Rant out of the way.  Hey I am nearly 50 I am allowed my curmudgeonly moments.

I have so many great things to Rave about

  • A great win to the Warriors against the Raiders.  One of the advantages of having two teams is while there can be double the heartbreak, you do have a good chance of one of them going ok
  • Another 10k run done and dusted, and in 57.31 minutes.  This time it was just up the road at Western Springs, so Brett and Billie came to be my support team.  Brett was great, Billie was a bit meh.  As far as she was concerned there was no point people going running past her while she was having to be a good girl and sit
  • I got to go to a lovely birthday party on Saturday night, for my good friend Carmel.  What I particularly enjoyed about the party was that everyone there loves her as much as I do, and so they should
  • Okahukura Lodge is going really well.  Thanks to the mad genius that is Brett, we have come up with a place that people enjoy staying at, and they are really respectful of the place.  It is such a nice feeling when something you have planned and worked towards comes out as you expected
  • I went to an awesome headstand yoga class at The Centre in Kingsland with such an amazing and interesting group of women.  I was not very good at the headstand it is true, but I learned heaps.  And afterwards we got to sit around drink cups of herbal tea and smoothies and eat the most delicious sweet treats from the Little Bird bakery that is downstairs.  Seriously worth the pain and humiliation of not able to kick those legs over your head        
  • Although it was freezing this week, in Tamaki Makaurau, we have had some beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  And I managed to get some really nice photos of the city at about 7am.  So pretty
    Sky Tower at 7am
    Sky Tower at 7am
    Rangitoto from Wynyard Wharf

    Harbour Bridge
    Harbour Bridge future home of the Sky Path
  • I am also lucky enough to have such lovely and tolerant colleagues who are ok with me bringing Billie into work once a week.  Sometimes more especially if it is cold.  On Wednesday the only way she felt she could get properly warm was by lying as close to the heater as possible.  Unfortunately that did mean from time to time the aroma of singed dog hair would permeate around the office – not nice, trust
Hot Dog aka Stinky Dog

Another week has flown by, see I told you I am getting old.  Isn’t that what old people say? 🙂

Anyway I am looking forward to the coming week, Sister Julie will be visiting from Sydney Australia, we are going to see the comedian Beth Stelling perform, and I will continue to work on the inspirational tweet that will get my Dragons over the line.

Natty Bugle Drinks, Reads and Stalks Men. So just a normal week really.

Kia Ora, no post last week.  I was actually waiting to see how my Dragons would go as I was starting to feel pretty confident about my magical inspirational tweet powers.  But Hubris bit my ass big time.  The Dragons got beaten by the Doggies and I felt just a bit too sad to put down any words.  I fear I may be coming a St George Tragic.  It is a known condition and is referred to on the excellent Ladies Who League blog.

One of the parts I particularly enjoyed in this post was Mary writing about making her banners.  A few years ago, Mum went over to Sydney to stay with Sister Julie when the Warriors were in the Semis, unfortunately I don’t remember all the details.  Sister Julie does vividly.  (FYI Sister Julie is not a Nun – although she does rock a habit, she is my sister, ok glad we sorted that out)

Mum invested a lot of time and effort in making the perfect banner.  Her first attempt got a bit of flack from opposition fans (she used the back of wallpaper – not good enough) so the following week she went all out.  Nek Minnit her, Cousin Richard Warrioring it up and her banner were getting picked up by the cameras.  Good times.

Anyway onwards and upwards, the Dragons have a bye this week.  They meet the Roosters next week.  Who hopefully will be beaten tonight by the Warriors.  The poor Warriors of course had to fly to Perth last week to get a hiding from the Bunnies.  All the best for tonight guys.  (I think I will send you a tweet, they work sometimes)

Many great things to focus on this week however.  For starters today is International Gin Day!!!!  I am so glad this lovely clear spirit gets a day all to itself.  As you may or may not know Natty Bugle is a bit partial to the occasional (ahem) G&T.  And not that I need a reason but I have found on the excellent Gin Monkey site 52 reasons to love gin and who am I to argue with that?  Number 7, who knew?

Coincidentally last night Brett and I attended the Property Council of New Zealand Property Industry Awards.  Yes it was just as exciting as the name would suggest.  But there were some highlights.

  • Rogue Society Gin had this awesome caravan and were serving gin cocktails.  Hooray.  It is probably just as well, I did not find this until the end of the evening.  But a very cute innovation, I think it would look fabulous at the Lodge

    My kind of caravan
    My kind of caravan
  • Bic Runga sang 3 songs, her voice is so lovely.  I had never seen her perform live before, but she was great.  And it wasn’t like she had a particularly easy crowd.  Put it this way if a killer virus hit the Vector Arena the well liquored white middle aged man population of NZ would taken a major hit
  • I got to try and stalk Mike McRoberts for a Silver Fox Selfie.  Unfortunately having survived the major world trouble spots as a journalist he knew enough evasive tactics to keep out of my way
  • Guy Williams entertained us as well and he was very funny, but quite nervous.  I saw his hands shaking.  I am pretty sure it wasn’t because he was so overwhelmed at getting to talk to Nick Smith
  • And finally I had a good time because it was a chance to get glammed up, eat and drink and spend a night out with my lovely husband.  So I can put up with a few tedious speeches for that.  And trust there was a bit of tedious going on

But a woman can’t live on gin alone.  On Wednesday night we went to the Metro Top 100 Wines tasting at Glengarrys.  This is a great way to try some different varieties or wines that you are too mean to buy and to talk to some of the wine makers and distributors.  I don’t know what it is (maybe I just had my wine glow on) but people in the New Zealand wine industry really do seem to be a nice friendly, genuine bunch.  And I would like to make it very clear that the reason I tried and enjoyed the Babich Irongate Chardonnay, had nothing to do with the fact the young man serving the wine had that lovely dark Dally look going on, and everything to do with I wanted to try a good Chardonnay.

I was also impressed with the

  • Framingham Gewurtztraminer (the Framingham crew were great and very generous with their servings – I may have spent a bit of time there, just to be friendly of course)
  • Tyrrell’s Stevens Semillon
  • Rutherglen Muscat
  • Leveret IQ Brut – this is a really good yeasty bubbles and a great price
  • Did I mention the Babich stand?

Another fun thing (for me) at the wine tasting was being able to meet Simon Wilson Metro editor.  Unlike Mike McRoberts he did not have enough field experience to escape me, so he was forced to smile and nod while I told him how much I appreciate and enjoy his work.  But I do regret not telling him how much I love his 10 Rules of Writing – because love them I do.  I don’t always do well with rules, but I really do find these inspirational.

I didn’t actually take any photos at the tasting.  Sometimes I do try to be in the moment as opposed to recording it – believe it or not.  However on my run that morning, I did get a nice snap of a sunrise at Coyle Park.  If you stop to take a photo during a run it doesn’t count as resting #nattyrules

Sunrise at Coyle Park
Sunrise at Coyle Park

It hasn’t all been alcohol and stalking men this week.  I did manage to discover 3 new apps.  That’s right, I might be nearly 50 but I am all down with this technology shit (we won’t mention the fact I still can’t get the tv to work without written instructions)

Clever Brett found the first one.  We have now joined the Spotify whanau.  I don’t know about you gentle readers but Mr Apple used to get a few of our hard earned dollars when we would purchase songs.  Particularly on weekends after a few wines, when you just had to buy that album then and there.  But now for $12 a month we can just go crazy musically, and needless to say yes we do.  Love it.

My second app is called Concierge.  Made by a New Zealand team.  It is basically an app that lets you search for local beauty services, their availability and make a booking all from your smart phone.  Very quick and easy.  Not something I will use very often, but ideal if you find out you are going to a very interesting Property Awards Dinner and you want/need some beautifying at the last minute.

My final app of the week is Uber.  I had obviously heard of it, but I was a bit dubious about the safety and reliability of online booking of private transport.  But after last night I am hooked.  It was a wet and cold Friday night in Auckland, and we couldn’t book a taxi.  In 10 minutes however, I was able to download the app and have us being driven in a nice Prius with a lovely driver called Michel.  And leaving Vector super easy and quick to find someone to take us home at a great rate.

The main reason I mention these apps is because I find it a bit freaky and clever and amazing (all at the same time) that you can see technology changing models of operating and behaviour so very quickly.  Lord knows what will be happening in 5-10 years time.  I am however pretty confident I still won’t know how to turn the tv on.

Finally I do want to make a shout out to some people whose work I appreciate this week.  Duncan Garner thank you for bringing attention to the plight of people in inadequate state housing.  Keep that up, and you might get a Natty stalking.  And this guy – White Man Behind a Desk.  Sometimes I despair, thinking young people have given up on politics (Young Nats don’t count ok)  But this guy is very funny and clever, and the Bollinger twins that produce these clips went to school with Lauren.  Kia Kaha Western Springs