Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sex on the Beach

A beautiful patch of weather has finally arrived chasing away memories of incessant cold winds. Swam yesterday in Flaxmills cool, clear waters, bracing to be sure but so good to be alive. Son Sam got offered a ride on a charter boat today to the Alderman Islands (named by Cook after his local councillors at home) 15 km off shore and after a successful (for him!) debate of school or fishing he said "Man I've got a good life". At 16 we have to be happy with that. He wants to get his first crayfish free diving and of course big snapper and kingfish on his rod.
The first shining cuckoo made his presence felt this week. They winter in the Solomon Islands and after the long flight their distinctive whistle is a sign that summer is on its way. Lots of other pairings on the beach also. The oyster catchers are long time residents, Mr Smith still favouring his gammy leg, hatching a brood every year. The mallard ducks have already hatched, not sure about the paradise ducks, the white headed female and dark male with their alternate hee haw honks are still flying around. Our little rare dotterels are back this week. They are the same colour as sand and shells and it's only when they move that you can see them. It was a real success for us to see them hatch last year. Many other seagulls and terns but they nest elsewhere and use the water and beach as their dinner table.
So the seasons change, as do the tides of life....

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I've always had trouble with childhood memories and reading Janet Frame, one of our best writers, I am amazed how she seemed to have total recall, showing the world through a childs' eyes.
I remember my elder sister and I, we were very young, coming home and into the kitchen where Father was cutting a big loaf of white bread saying your mother wants to see you in the bedroom.
Mother was sitting up straight backed in bed in a blue nightie with a dead baby, our little brother John, in her arms. It was a wasp sting she said perhaps because menengitis was too unpalatable and that day was never mentioned again even though Mother and Father are long gone. It's strange that I can't see the face of John, only the big loaf of bread.
I remember too Father saying no to me using the dinghy and I got up early and dragged the heavy boat inch by inch into the estuary that bordered the farm and tried to row upstream. They found me gone and I couldn't understand the fuss.
And the anger and beating and no dinner when I walked home 7 miles in the dark after rugby practice.
And my younger sister rolling in the surf at Buffalo beach with her eyes closed and thick sand in her hair and Mother running down the beach... running... running.
I understand the anger now of course, coming from the desperation of losing a child, but then it only created a distance of misunderstanding.
Now I see it in other mothers eyes, that quiet, watchful desperation of loss

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Eating and Drinking

The weather has been very cold and windy and traditionally people come down for the long weekend just gone, open up their summer houses, dust off the barby and have the first swim of the season. Yeah right! Just too cold. Didn't stop them coming though with a 7 kilometre wait at the one way Kopu Bridge on the way home. We had a big weekend with a wonderful buzz of conversation and eating reminding me of why we are in the business of providing food and drink for the masses. It's an appreciative business, when you get it right they tell you and come back and they pay before they leave. Also most of them are on holiday away from their busy city lives with no agenda and so are pretty easily pleased.
My menu has been working OK but what seemed a good idea on paper doesn't necessarily work when the pressure is on. I changed the fish dish yesterday to seared bluenose on risotto cake with lemon carrots, wilted spinach and chilli prawns and it sold well. Bluenose is a type of groper and being a big fish has nice thick fillets which I can cook medium rare. Must work on my duck croquettes today they are not selling. Sometimes it only takes a change in the wording and away they will go. The scallop entree is still the most favourite with a lot of people having them as a main.
Well back to the bread dough.....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Wind

The Wind

Thought I would post the above gem of a video after hearing that we are to have one of the largest wind farms in the world built on a remote part of the west coast of the North Island. It still needs some consents but I'm sure the Govt. will make sure it is fast tracked so they can add it to their green image. It will produce enough energy to power 250,000 homes.

I hope little old NZ doesn't take off with all those propellers going round!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Curvachair? Chair Leader? The Sculpture that Dreamed of being a Chair?

Finally back to the desk after a busy weekend. Already it's as if we haven't been closed. So nice to see all the old friends and customers (it's hard to see the difference these days!) dropping in and eating the old favourites and leaving the new alone. I don't know why I worry about making changes. It's probably more about keeping me interested. WWoofer Jana who has been my prep chef is enjoying herself so is staying longer, Aurilie leaves on Wed. to pick strawberries and Chris and Emelie leave next week after being with us for 5 weeks. An artist and musician from Hawaii comes on Thursday. Long Live The WWoofers!

My sculpture chair is aired to the public for the first time on Thursday in the new Whitianga Gallery. I love the packing up of a work that has taken a lot of lonely effort and delivering it to a nice public space. It's almost like taking your new baby out for the first time and everybody goes goo ga ga but you don't really know if they like it because they would say that even if it was as ugly as sin! The gallery owner has asked for a bio which goes something like this

History - Delivered – 1948
Deflowered – too long ago to remember
Enlightened – 1965
Haircut (after hippiedom) – 1978
Corporate – NEVER
Enlightened again – 1979 –83 –87 – 95 etc.

Future - Continuation of enlightment (with dark edges)
Aging rock star
World reknown artist (just in case you are worried about
your investment!!)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Dorothy Waters

The image above is Dorothy Waters with a portrait of her painted by friend and near neighbour Rachel Olsen. Dorothy is a well known NZ artist who painted vibrant, semi abstract canvases but unfortunately now is almost blind and so unable to continue. She is living with her daughter in Napier but used to live here in our little community and when the picture came up for sale we felt it should stay in the area in a public place so bought it and now Dorothy resides on a wall at the Egg meeting and greeting just like she used to. A real character with a mischievious twinkle in her eye she used to wander down to the shops with the 'old school' hat and parasol and we sadly miss her.
You can view Rachels art here and other Coromandel artists here

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Rugby!!!

I can't believe I want to talk about sport on my very cultural blog. Don't get me wrong I've done my bit with rugby, tennis, sailing, squash and surfing with a lot in between but the national obsession with winning or in this case losing to determine whether you get out of bed in the morning has somehow passed me by. However this time it seems different. To be number one in the rugby playing world for four years and go out in the quarter finals is bad enough, but the unfolding of the game itself was somehow tragic and beautiful and at the end numbing (I can't believe I'm saying this!). Strangely I can liken it to 9/11 (of course I do know it's not as important) which although tragic was absolutely beautiful in concept and in the way those massive symbols of power meekly accepted the planes and their own destruction.
Also the American people, confident in their impregnability, for the first time felt what it was like to be vunerable and have lashed out since at anyone and everyone they think is to blame.
So the coach will go and some of the players will go and the management will be shaken up and probably there will be more family violence and two weeks later people will wake up and realise that it really doesn't matter.
But the pyschology of putting your dreams into a national sports team fascinates me. It's almost as if it is fulfilling the old warrior need of vanquishing a foe which is not available anymore. That works of course when you win but then you lose and whamo!
The game was beautiful though with passion and courage, exaltation and heartbreak, and although I felt I had gone through a wringer I feel that I have gained something.
It would make a good abstract collage!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


With a sigh of relief we are over our first day. It is always difficult after being closed for 5 months because everything has to be made and ready down to the last little garnish. I worked hard to concoct new recipes for lunch and dinner but again most people opted for the old favourites (sigh again). I don't have a prep chef yet so was teaching wwoofer Jana while cooking and she will probably be moving on in a couple of weeks, it's lucky we are still reasonably quiet at this time of year.
We had a wonderful surprise when our good friends Paul and Mata walked in after driving all the way from Auckland to wish us well and then driving back again so they could open their jewellery shop (Brighouse Design, very innovative - great black pearls) in the morning. You owe me now m'boy, this is beaming out to all of three homes around the world!
The singing voice was pretty damn good, if I say so myself, maybe because it hasn't been used for so long. I'm playing along with 16 other acts in Tairua on Sat. to raise funds for a little girl with cancer and on Sunday we have our open jam session with the Whitianga Music Club.
So now it's consolidating time, tweaking sauces and changing what doesn't work and just enjoying the fact that we get people coming to see us every day looking for fun, food, art and music.
It's got to be good for you!