Flag and Stuff


26 million dollars, goodness knows how many pro new flag articles in the NZ Herald, countless grumpy old men and women discussions in RSA’s, and a few thousand tea towel comments later, the people have spoken and the people of NZ said Yeah Nah.

I voted to keep the old flag, and honestly not because I was being anti John Key.  But because I was so terribly disappointed at the alternative.  If Red Peak or something that had style and meaning like Tino Rangatira had been up against our existing flag, I would have voted for change.  I definitely did not vote to keep our existing flag because I love the Union Jack so much.  You got that wrong Sir Paul Beresford.


According to Mr Key, it was a discussion about our Nationhood – but perish the thought we discussed becoming a Republic.  How would he get his knighthood and be able to keep handing them out to his mates if we got rid of the monarchy?

But I actually think despite the absolute waste of money, and how poorly it was executed.  We might look back one day and realise that was when we really started seriously considering becoming a Republic.  And even though that isn’t what our Glorious Leader wanted, that might be a legacy he will leave us, that he can be proud of.  Instead of number of shout outs for being an idiot by John Oliver.

While on the subject of becoming a Republic, I ended up last week having an interesting twitter conversation with Peter FitzSimon, author and columnist.  He picked my St George Dragons to beat the South Sydney Rabitohs.  If you know anything about his picks, you know they are the kiss of death.  In fact I would guess teams probably pay him not to pick them to win.

Anyway, as per our tweets below  Mr OzRepublic FitzSimon arranged a Dragons win, and I am now a supporter of the Australian Republican movement – obviously they will take anybody.  And yes I also support the New Zealand movement as well.

I am telling you ! Rabbitohs don’t have their heart in it, today. Too wet, muddy & horrible. Saints want it
Natalie! I am personally asking you. PLEASE join us at the ARM! Membership link on my twitter bio. I, in turn, will sort a Saints win! Cheers, Peter

I’m a Kiwi but if that counts at all, very happy to. It goes without saying NZ should be a Republic too

Thank you. I guarantee it.

Well you played your part. What a game! Petition signed. Kia Kaha

The Dragons had an amazing second half in appalling conditions to beat the Bunnies.  8 points to 6.

It wasn’t pretty but it didn’t have to be.

So there here you have it Mr FitzSimon picking your team isn’t always the kiss of death.  And if news of his special powers of being able to make a win happen for supporters of the Rebuplican movement.  I think membership would go through the roof.

Here Billie is re enacting how the the game ended.  Bad News for the Bunnies!!!

Billie copy

Just before I go here are the best and worst things I read this week.

The best, a great and heartfelt piece by Jesse Mulligan about his sadness of hearing of the death of Garry Shandling.  I always thought Garry was a genius, love his work and so does Jesse obviously


The worst this appalling sexist piece of tripe by Mark Reason.  Read it just so you can roll your eyes and go harumph


And then the best again – also on the excellent The Spinoff website I might add.  Madeleine Chapman says everything I wanted to say about Mark Reason – really really well



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

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: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/ben-barbas-trysaving-tackle-could-be-moment-that-turns-cronulla-sharks-season-20150712-giap2s.html#ixzz3fkteylcD

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.

A week with art, comedy, a whiskey bar, great food, yoga and a visitor from Sydney is a good week

I struggle with winter.  Lord knows how I would have coped as a member of the Ingalls family trapped in a log cabin for months on end with metres of snow outside and only Pa with a violin for entertainment inside.   I know I live in Auckland that doesn’t even get that cold, but when winter rolls around, all I want to do is hibernate.  I don’t want to go anywhere, and I don’t want to do anything – particularly listen to fiddle music.

Just to illustrate how much my brain goes to mush in winter – exhibit A

My gym packing for Monday morning.  Somehow I managed to not only put two completely different shoes into my gym bag, they were both for the right foot.  How does that even happen?  Actually I think the headstand workshop and 10km run on the same day may have also impacted on my mental processes.


So in an effort to try and combat the winter blahs, and the potential threat to Mr Brett and Ms Billie of me getting cabin fever, I arranged a couple of excursions which forced me to leave my winter besties Mr Couch and Ms Blankey.  I am really glad I did.  A very jolly time and indeed informative was had.

The first outing was to see American comedian Beth Stelling.  I didn’t know anything about her, but the price was right.  The venue had a special, buy one ticket get one free and we definitely got our money’s worth.  She is one bright funny woman.


But not only did she impress she was also very well supported by two Kiwi Chicks Louise Beuvink and Angella Dravid.

I liked Louise’s set, she tells a great yarn and had a pooh joke that I know Lauren would have adored.  But I have to say I was most impressed with Angella.  She was very funny and sweet and self deprecating, which is quite a lot to pull off all at once.  I did see her afterwards and tell her how much I enjoyed her work, she loved that and gave me a hug.  I then realised that Louise was right beside her #awkward.

While I was looking for information about Angella, I found this story of hers.  Heartbreaking and empowering at the same time.  She really has been one busy girl.


Before we went to the show, Brett took me to a lovely whiskey bar called The Jefferson, in Fort Land.  I don’t drink whiskey, but this bar was very cool and welcoming at the same time.  The staff were just lovely, and the barman let me taste a couple of wines until I found one I liked.  Nice work barman.  Who knew it would take me 15 tries until I found a wine I liked?  So if you like whiskey – some people do apparently, give it a go.

Just half of the whiskey selection
Just half of the whiskey selection


Because I managed to survive going out on Wednesday, on Thursday night we went to the beautiful (but freaking cold) St James theatre to listen to a discussion about Public Art.  Hosted by Metro editor Simon Wilson, with Chicago-based curator Mary Jane Jacob as the guest speaker.  It was interesting to hear her take on what public art is and why it is important.  She framed art being vital for a functioning society and indeed democracy.  Art for everybody.  Of course the struggle for councils and governments is paying for art and artists, when people are stuck in traffic for hours at a time or haven’t got a place to live.  But a city doesn’t just live on roads alone and tidy berms alone.

I can’t wait until the St James theatre is done up – such a beautiful (but at the moment freaking cold space)  I know when it is restored, everyone will say why didn’t we do this sooner.

Then if all this wasn’t enough excitement for Ms N Bugle, Sister Julie visited for the weekend.  That’s right, we had a visitor from Sydney.  Tres excitement.  She is a wonderful guest and it is always lovely to have her visit.  She had 3 requests.

  1. A yoga class
  2. A run
  3. Lunch somewhere nice

These I was able to fulfill, and rather well even if I do say so myself.

Firstly the yoga class, on Saturday morning the lovely Jaqui from The Centre Yoga Chaturanged and Downward Dogged us for a wonderful 75 minutes (that doesn’t quite sound right does it) It was awesome anyway.

Following restorative coffee and recovery time, we then went with Mr Brett to deepest darkest Parnell (not our usual part of town) to the newish and fabulous restaurant Woodpecker Hill.  It has had very good reviews and they are absolutely deserved.  Imagine slow cooked Southern meats with an Asian twist.  Beautiful.flavours and a lovely space as well.  I mean I nearly took a photo of the toilets, they were so beautiful.  But I didn’t, I just concentrated on the food porn.  This is the 14 hour slow cooked beef, which tasted just as good as it sounds.

Slow cooked beef from Woodpecker Hill
Slow cooked beef from Woodpecker Hill

The boys from my work are incredibly passionate about bar b q and the virtues of low and slow cooking, and they seriously get very excited about the food here.  Probably just as well it is in deepest darkest Parnell and not just up the road from Intuto HQ.

If I was to have one criticism, it is that this is quite a pricey establishment (and rightly so) but most of the tables are quite small, and are very close to each other.  So if you take your honey here for a special night out you had better hope that the people at the surrounding tables are the sort you want to spend the evening with as well.

After all that excitement a quiet night was spent at home, there was a rugby game on somewhere down the line, but we chose to watch Kingsman – The Secret Service instead.  I loved it, a funny take on James Bond movies.  It had a great cast too.

An inspirational tweet was sent to the Dragons, but unfortunately the Cowboys must have lassoed it, as the Cowboys won 18-12.  But we are still number 4 on the table and we did have a few players were out due to injury, so not all doom and gloom at all.

The Warriors had a bye.  Yay 2 points for resting.  They are currently number 7 on the table.  Good times.  Next week they are playing the Storm at Mt Smart, so I am sure they will be feeling dangerous and happy to be in front of the home crowd.

The final activity on Sister Julie’s list was a run, and we managed to fit that in as well.  At 7:15 am on Sunday we ran along the cycleway that heads west from Pt Chev.  I quite enjoy this because it is mostly flat (apart from the nasty hill at the end when you get back onto Carrington Road)  and if you head out for 5km you nearly get to Te Atatu, and then you have no choice but to run back.  This ensures you do run 10, rather than taking shortcuts and only doing 6-7, as a certain blogger has been known to do.

I have never done this run before on the weekend, and I have to say the cyclists we came across seemed a lot more cheerful and happy than the ones I see during the week.  I suppose there is a big difference between cycling for fun with your mates on the weekend and having to head into work.

As I usually run on my own it was great to have Sister Julie for company, especially as she has done a lot more than me – half marathons and a marathon even.  She was able to share some handy hints – breathing is good.  And she kept me at a steady pace, which made the run far more enjoyable.

It was also very enjoyable to stop at the halfway point for a quick photo.

View from Patiki Cycleway
View from Patiki Cycleway

Sunday morning Runners

You will notice one runner seems quite well rested and the other quite manic.  This might be due to relative fitness levels or that one of these runners is just quite manic.

Anyway it was an awesome way to start a Sunday.  Not that this needs to be done every Sunday.  There is a lot to be said for lolling and ordering breakfast in bed.

Sister Julie then hit the road as she was heading south for the rest of her time in Aotearoa, whereas I spent the remainder of the day walking slowly, moaning and resting.  I do feel it is important that one works to their strengths.

And while I did this I made very sure to be mindful and grateful for a few things including

  • I am fit and healthy enough to stretch myself, touch my toes and run in the way and then get out of the way of cyclists
  • I have more than 2 pairs of shoes to wear – even if I do confuse them sometimes
  • Snow doesn’t bank up outside my door – even though I remember the Auckland snow flurry of August 2011
  • I get to eat and drink very well.  Sometimes at even more lovely places than Brett and Natty Manor
  • I live in a city and a home where art and music (not necessarily fiddle) and books and theatre and comedy and all the glorious things that help make life worth living are appreciated
  • My two teams are in the top 8.  Yay!
  • When my members of my family visit, we get to do interesting and fun things together.  And sometimes they even bring gin
  • I have fabulous friends who also like gin, and even me if I over indulge in it’s juniper goodness
  • My lovely daughter Lauren may do things that makes me despair sometimes. But I will never have to apologise for her being cruel in the way Pebbles Hooper was this weekend
  • And last but certainly not least, I get to look at 2 gorgeous furry faces each day.  I don’t think Brett will thank me for sharing a photo of him.  But here is the other gorgeous face I get to see.  Needless to say it makes me smile
  • B Dog
    B Dog

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                  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
    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.

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

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


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

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

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

Michele A’Court @MicheleACourt  ·  May 29

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

Michele A’Court @MicheleACourt  ·  May 29

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Results Update:

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

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

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

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

No up here in the Chev were the usual activities of

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Living La Vida Local

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

And finally things that make you go hmmm.  Just as I wrote this tonight, and mentioned that I thought Auckland could be awesome if Nick Smith didn’t ride rough shod over the Council’s plans.  This came to light http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/273293/ministers%27-figures-off-the-mark


Bye Bye Volvo Race Village

IMG_2372I really miss you now you are gone.

Each Thursday afternoon for the last 6 weeks I have walked down to Auckland Harbour where my writing class has been held.  And for some of that time an area was set up to host the Ocean Race Yachts and their teams.  It has been fantastic.  There was a wine bar, displays, a stage with performers, bean bags so you could just chill out, a kids area and lots of helpful people keen to tell you all about the race and what was going on.

And now it is all gone.  I am actually annoyed I didn’t avail myself better of the facilities.  I mean I could have visited the wine bar or lay in a bean bag for a bit.  It was just so wonderful, I thought it would stay up.  But no, all dismantled and back to being a car park.  Which after seeing how well the space was used seems an absolute waste.

The Queen Victoria cruise ship was in Auckland on Thursday however, and I got to see her.  Huge, dwarfing everything around her.  So big in fact she had to berth a bit further down the port.  Right by where the Ports of Auckland unload all the cars.  Hmm bit of a theme here.  Because nothing says vibrant, world class city than a container port and car yard right on the front door step.

Big Boat
Big Boat

Funnily enough the next day a campaign was launched Save our Harbour.  Which is trying to stop the Ports of Auckland building two huge extensions out into the harbour.  Personally I don’t think the Ports of Auckland should be operating slap bang in the middle of the city.  And I would far prefer that the Port at Whangarei was developed.  It would be a win win for Auckland and Northland.  But what do I know?

Well let me answer that.

I know how to parallel park a 3.5 litre station wagon* like a boss.  On Friday I parked Frank so sweetly, I wished it could have been recorded for posterity.  It doesn’t always happen but sometimes the stars and planets align and you just get the angle right.  It is a great feeling.  As opposed to those times you have the 6 attempts still don’t make it and drive away pretending that you didn’t want to park there anyway.

I also know that my Warriors and Dragons had wins this week.  Fantastic.  There is actually a fan campaign running to sack the Dragons coach Paul “Mary” McGregor.  He really communicates well with the team, and runs a tight ship.  So I think asking for him to be sacked at this stage of the game is really uncalled for.  I don’t think anyone could work harder or care more his side than Mary does.  I really hope the team can get some more wins and the fans let him get on with coaching.

Me and Mary
Me and Mary

I also know that if I drink too much I feel unwell the next day.  But I do keep forgetting that one.  Oh well, can’t be clever all the time.  Here is a cute Billie pic, illustrating how I felt this morning.

In the dog house
In the dog house

*Yes Frank is actually 3.5 litres of awesomeness not 3 as previously reported.


Why I’m a St George-Illawara Fan

I even got the T Shirt   2015 has already been pretty amazing for me.  Lauren wanted it mentioned that she has moved out of home.  Of course we love you Lauren and you are always welcome to visit.  But it was time for you to leave the nest.  And let’s face it your nest is pretty awesome – it has Sky and faster broadband than our place and you are just down the road.  And we can always hear your scooter farting down Pt Chev road. I have just realised that next year I am turning 50 – like really realised as a real thing, not just a vague concept.  So I am determined to keep up with the running and exercise.  I want to get to 50 being fabulous(ish), and so far that seems to be tracking ok despite Mr Gin’s sneaky attempts to derail me. Brett gifted me an 8 week Creative Writing Course run by the Creative Hub for my birthday, which I can honestly say I was quite conflicted about.  But I have grown to really enjoy it.  And it has helped motivate me to get back to blogging.  One day when I feel brave, I will share some of my learnings from the experience http://www.thecreativehub.net.nz/   But it terms of the bestest fun and general awesomeness I would have to say being Team Liaison Officer for the St George-Illawara Dragons at the Auckland Nines this year was just amazement. I have always been a Warriors fan, and I enjoy League a lot more than Rugby.  But we don’t have Sky and I wouldn’t say I am a fanatic.  However when the opportunity came up to help out with the Dragons at the Nine’s I leaped at the chance.  I honestly felt I was one of the luckiest people in New Zealand that weekend. I could go on and on, and I am pretty sure Brett would say I already have on numerous occasions., but here using magical bullet points is a short summation of the experience

  • A Team Liaison Officer’s role is to keep out of the way, but make sure stuff doesn’t get left on the bus, there is enough food, and don’t lose the ball bag
  • Professional athletes work and train hard, they are seriously putting their bodies on the line
  • I was treated with nothing but respect and in a genuine nice friendly manner the whole time, which I think says a lot about their team culture
  • The support staff are a key part of a team, and I found them really interesting.  I had no idea how hard the gear guys, team physios, coaching staff etc work.
  • League boys like their ink.  There were a lot of awesome tattoos on display.  So glad Lauren didn’t see them, they would have given her ideas.
  • I was told to not act like a fan around them, but by the end of the exercise it was really hard not too.  They were all so lovely.  On the last day, I got a lot of selfies bro
  • My biggest hope and fear is there is a Warriors/Dragons Grand Final.  No idea what I would do then
  • Would I do it again, in a heart beat.  In fact my 50th birthday celebrations will need to work in what is happening with the Nines.  Fingers crossed I get asked back
Me and the Captain
Me and the Captain
Me and the Coach
Me and the Coach
I got to hang with these guys.  So much fun
I won’t play favourites, but Thommo, Jason and Heath were seriously a lot of fun.  Not that you can tell or anything

As an interesting aside, I actually had an old school St George Jersey with the Penfolds logo on it.   I had bought from an Op Shop in Christchurch for $12 about 10 years ago.  I decided to wear it.  And the team loved it.  It turned out it would have been a similar jersey to the one the team manager Robert Finch would have worn, when he was playing for them.  And they won the Grand Final.  A very spooky coincidence.  Mind you I also have an old school Bulldogs jersey, and it wouldn’t have gone down well if I had turned up in that – just saying

On the side line in my old school Dragons jersey
On the side line in my old school Dragons jersey