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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 http://www.the-centre.co.nz/
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Well it is a wild and wet Monday here in Tamaki Makaurau , but it’s ok because today is a holiday – hooray. There are few things nicer than knowing you can stay snuggled in bed when the weather outside is bad. Luckily the Anzac celebrations took place on Saturday, which was a beautiful day. When I was a kid you would always hear about some poor old digger catching pneumonia from attending the Dawn Parade in atrocious weather.
ANZAC Day has never been a big deal in my family. My great grandfather was actually in the Royal Navy at Gallipoli. So he got to see what a debacle the whole thing was. Needless to say he was never a fan of Winston Churchill’s.
My grandfather served in the Pacific, two of his brothers went to Northern Africa (where one died) and one was a conscientious objector. And two stayed home to look after the farm. So you could say most aspects of the war time experience were covered. But Anzac Day was never observed.
Partly because when I was young, it was still a very formal affair and there was no way it was considered appropriate for children to take part, or have people wearing medals they hadn’t earned etc etc. Then it all started to change, and I think for the better, where it became a real reflection on the futility and waste of war.
We do seem to do it differently to the Aussies. Our Anzac days seem more reflective theirs more about the glorification. I suppose that also illustrates our cultural differences as well.
They not only have Anzac Day but they also observe Remembrance Day on the 11th of November. I was in Melbourne a couple of years ago, where at 11.11am everyone went silent for a minute. I had no idea what was going on. And was in fact quite perplexed – surely one day to remember war is enough?
This year being the 100 year anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, it has all become a very big deal, and I don’t like it. Not because I want to diminish in anyway the sacrifices and losses of those who have served in our armed forces, and their families, and not because I don’t think our history is important, but because the whole theme is Lest We Forget, and I think we have absolutely forgotten how stupid war can be.
Alastair Paulin at the Nelson Mail says it far far better than I can
One of the excellent points he makes is ” in confirming the troop deployment, the PM shouted at the opposition that “This is the time to stand up and be counted. Get some guts and join the right side.” But as Gallipoli showed, being on the right side counts for nothing if the strategy is flawed or the goals unachievable.”
And while I am referencing really good writing, I loved this article by Kurt Bayer, about the battle from the Turkish perspective. After all their soldiers were actually defending their country from an international foreign invasion.
It has always amazed me at how gracious the Turkish people have been at letting hoards of Kiwis and Aussies visit a battle site, where so many Turkish lives were lost. Would we be quite so accommodating if if 1000’s of young Japanese people took over Darwin every year on the 19th of February?
I think we do owe Turkey an apology – irrespective of all the dodgy things Turkey has done – including the terrible Armenian massacre. But sorry does seem to be the hardest thing for our PM to say. So I won’t be holding my breath.
Anyway as I said it was a beautiful day on Saturday and we went up to the Lodge, to do some cleaning. Thank God Brett is the cleaning meister. I am 100% sure our renting the place out would not work so well if it wasn’t for his amazing skills with a cloth and some Mr Muscle. The Lodge has actually been booked out quite a bit lately as we have had some guys from Drill Force NZ staying. They are doing exploratory drilling for wells for market gardens in the area. I am actually going to share their website, because who knows when you might need some drilling done? And they are a great group of people to deal with
I expect that with market gardens and avocado farms going in, the area will look quite different in a few years time, but our cunning plan to have a fun and stylish place to stay will still be very relevant. Brett is the ideas man, that is for sure and he really has some great ones.
I on the other hand, are really excited about my feijoa wine scheme. I am sure by next year I will have done enough research and sampling to establish how to make the stuff. And I am working very hard on luring Hamish up for some of his technical expertise. Hamish the Lodge account has enough in it to buy the kit you need (a modest one – not full strength industrial just yet) and cover your travel expenses. I am just not sure about your requirement to sample Veuve Clicquot on a regular basis – something to do with the size of the bubbles apparently. But I am not the expert that you are, obviously.
Well my Dragons just keep surprising and delighting. But another big win for them this week, with them plucking the chooks despite a thunder storm and not being picked to win. Apparently it is not appropriate to tell Brett all about my love for the boys each and every night while we are in bed. Who knew? Well I do now
My Warriors once again stole defeat from the jaws of victory, but I have every confidence they will come right. They have plenty of great players and they will be giving it every they have got. I know that.
I realised I didn’t take any photos worth sharing this week. A bag of feijoas photo anyone? But here are some photos I took on my morning run around West Haven marina a couple of weeks ago, and it certainly was a lovely way to start the day.
I ran another of my 10km RunAuckland series runs today. It was completely different weather wise to my first run. In short it was a cracker of a day. We got to run around the park at Te Atatu North and it was lovely, and I did it in under an hour – just. Success.
There were a couple of things I learned this time around.
I run better if it isn’t pouring with rain and I don’t have lakes to navigate -who knew?
I need to do this series next year because then I will be in the 50-59 age group and my results will look way better. So that is great motivation for me to keep running for at least another year – yes my deviousness knows no bounds
A nice sunny day means lots more runners so you have to be extra careful not to get in anyone’s way – not always my strongest suit
It is impossible to look good in those photos they take of you running, unless sweaty mess is your thing and in that scenario I am awesome
Following my run Billie and I drove up to the Lodge for a spot of cleaning and checking in. We have got some people booked in for this week, so we needed to make sure it was spic and span and also to check out our gum tree. The prevailing wind at Tapora is a westerly, but occasionally an easterly comes through and when it does look out. It can cause some damage. Earlier this week one blew in and managed to knock out our silver dollar gum. It is less than half the size it was, and I am not even going to mention the damage that Brett’s Cock (weather vane) sustained. (because I promised him when I started blogging there would be some no go areas) There was some good news however, the feijoas had well and truly been shaken down, so it was very easy to collect some to bring home for a feijoa crumble tonight, which was fabulous even if I do say so myself. Actually I am seriously considering making feijoa wine. I think I might try and lure Mr Hamish Mack, poet, wine maker and wonderful human being up to the Lodge next year and leave him without any means of getting home until some sweet sweet feijoa wine is produced. Some people might call this slavery, I prefer to think of it as a) a cunning plan b) demonstrating the real spirit of John Key’s NZ “empowering” others to work very hard for the benefit of a few. Anyway Hamish, what are you and the Mack family up to next Easter? I know of a lovely place for you to stay.
It takes 90 minutes to get to and from the Lodge so that was quite a bit of driving. Brett was facilitating a workshop today, so I had to do cleaning all on my own. Which can happen but isn’t recommended (by me anyway) So by the time we got home both Billie and I were a bit weary. Billie is in fact making a contribution to this blog by giving a demonstration of just how weary we both felt (feel)
Actually what amazes me with this particular pose is that she was like this for about 5 minutes. Surely not that comfortable. But she seemed to like it. So another week has raced by, Sunday night always seems to arrive far too quickly. But my Dragons had another win. Well done Dragons. Loving your work. They seem to have plenty of happy fans at the moment, some of these are the same people who were so scathing about them just a few weeks before. Meanwhile the Warriors had a loss, but they are going to do just fine this season. After all being a fan means being there for the ups and the downs. And both the Warriors and the Dragons like keeping their fans on their toes and testing their cardiac fitness.
But better late than never, unless you are Ebola and then in that case never is preferable.
I haven’t blogged for the longest time. I must admit I lost my way a bit. But I have realised that writing down my mad musings is something I really enjoy. Along with gin drinking and tormenting Brett. So seeing as I devote plenty of time to the last two I may as well get back into the blogging thing as well.
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get back into blogging, so as is now March, it seems like it is a good time to start. And the good people at WordPress have also set up a blogging tutorial for this month, called blogging101. So it definitely seemed a good time for me to shake a tail feather and get writing again
I don’t do super amazing things, so you will never be reading about me climbing mountains, or jumping out of planes But I have great friends and family, sometimes I go on great holidays, or see fantastic performances, or look after the St George-Illawara Dragons League team for a weekend.
When I last posted on here, I wasn’t married to the lovely Brett, Okahukura Lodge wasn’t finished, and I had no idea that I would learn to like running and regular exercise. But all happened, and a whole lot more. I could write a whole blog about Lauren’s tattoos for example but I don’t think I am emotionally prepared for that yet.
I am expecting 2015 to be quite sedate actually, and that won’t be a bad thing after all the busyness that was 2014.
Here are some of the illustrated highlights over the 18 months. There have been plenty. I really am a lucky beggar. I am also a Nana (thanks to Brett and his gorgeous daughter Hannah) But I won’t post a photo of the lovely Isla, because even though she is only 8 months old she likes to retain control of her social media profile.
So you will be hearing from me a bit more regularly over 2015. I cannot promise it will all be quality stuff, but it will be stuff that resonates with me.