Thursday, March 26, 2009

Public sculpture

There is not one single piece of public art in Whitianga my closest town. I intend to change that but it means meeting with the towns' philistines which I hate with a passion. I get sick and tired of defending art and of showing that artists are real people with real jobs. Maybe I should just drop my large vortex into the middle of the main street to reiterate that art is unavoidable. Our region has a long history of the arts but I think the pursuit of money has got in the way and the art community is regarded as sandal wearing curiosities.
So I will have to be underhanded and resort to such things as competition. Paeroa, a town as big as, but lesser in stature than Whitianga is having a large stone sculpture carved by friend Jocelyn Pratt and it was amazing to see the change in facial expressions when this was mentioned.
I know I am getting into a fight which I don't want or need but one has to keep battering at the wall till maybe one small crack might appear.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


So now I wish I had bought a monohull! I put Chica Bonita on the beach below us just after high tide, which was the easy bit, then had to scrape and polish two 36' hulls before the tide came in again. Eight hours of hard slog for a retired(tired) gentleman with little fitness. I can feel muscles I didn't know I had! She looks good though and will probably go another two knots faster
I didn't paint her bottom (although I am a painter of bottoms!) because I want to bring the colour up the bow in the outline of a woman (her name means lovely lady in Spanish) and turn her long hair into her name but I want to spend more time on the design to get it right.
We've had some great days sailing in the bay with my eldest daughter, son in law and two grandchildren who are visiting from Sydney and Denise slept on the boat for the first time and didn't feel sick which is a bonus but didn't sleep well and I woke up with bruises so it must have made me snore well (she forgot to take her ear plugs!).
I'm loving learning all the systems on board and planning improvements which will keep me off the streets for a while yet.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Perfect paua pasta

So you have beaten the paua from (last post) between a tea towel and mum has told you off because it's (the towel) all black and gooey but she loves you again when you present her with a perfect paua pasta!

Slice the paua, chop some garlic, put a great knob of butter in the pan and cook stirring for around 4 minutes on high heat. NOW YOU ARE BURNING THE GARLIC, BE MORE CAREFUL. Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper, half a teaspoon of green curry paste (OK whatever you've got!), some fresh parsley and a good dollop of fresh cream. Reduce for a couple of minutes until sauce thickens and add to your favourite pasta. Don't forget to taste the damn thing and adjust the flavours.

Key...... Some - use your imagination

Knob - too embarrassed to say

Around - more or less

Dollop - enough to do the job

Don't blame me if mum is still angry!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NZ paua

Our paua (par-wa), or abalone as the rest of the world knows it, is a black footed variety and virtually one large muscle which has to be cooked either very fast or very slow. There is a white part in the centre which, if sliced very thin, can be eaten raw with soy and wasabi and it can be tenderised by wrapping the whole thing in a tea towel and beating the shit out of it.

The meat is prized and costs NZ$140 so there is a big black market trade. And then of course after enjoying it as food you can marvel at the colours inside the shell!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Live music

Wow! We hosted the lovely Mel Parsons last night for her first gig on a nation wide tour to celebrate the release of her debut album 'Over my shoulder'. Beautiful voice, inspired song writing and all delivered with a down to earth country girl (Westport) innocence.
Then there was her band! Keyboard, guitar, double bass and percussion, I don't know about their name (the Rhythm Kings) but they sure could play music! After Mel finished and most punters had gone home they jammed for an hour and treated us to something very special. Sometimes music just works, it can't be forced, the individuals join to become one organism ebbing and flowing between each other and we could see they loved playing music.
So lift that cold, grey day and go out and support live music at a venue near you. It'll rock your socks!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


The joys of boating! I've spent the last three days with my head in diesel motors. Learning a lot though and better now than on the high seas. I've never owned a diesel before apart from an old truck and that never missed a beat, the boat engines (two 13hp nanni kubotas) seem simple enough. One works fine, the other is leaking oil and sea water (water pump seals) and won't run at full revs which I presume is lack of fuel.
I did some single handed sailing yesterday in 20 knots. I'm glad I fixed the auto pilot, it makes things so much easier and allowed me to catch six kahawai trolling and the dinghy and the rudder!! She sails well and seems to catch fish. Believe it or not, some boats don't!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Autumn shades of amber grain

Autumn is upon us. It's 6.45am and only just becoming light and a coolish 10 degrees. Summer is withdrawing her favours but her beauty is still apparent with cloudless skys and little wind. The oyster catcher chicks on the beach are flying but are still a dull black without the brilliant red feet and beaks of their parents and the shining cuckoos' call can be heard no more, presumably on the journey back to the Solomon Islands like a rat from a sinking ship. Frivolous bird, expecting summer all year round!

I love the changing of the seasons here. They are soft renewals without violence. You just get used to one then another nudges you awake and reminds you of a picnic on the sand or dinner by the hearth or birth or decay.

The cold, clear mornings also bring the john dory onto the beach. Disorientated in the shallow water, they are left high and dry by the receding tide and grace my table with their succulent flesh.

Ahhh... a life well lived.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Art and music

A few images from our open studio weekend

Guitars in waiting in Billies' studio

Billie hard at work

My latest sculpture.
We have had a good amount of people to view the art but the festival was a disaster for whatever reason. We only sold 30 tickets and needed 200 to break even. Back to the drawing board.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Art and music fest

Been busy organising our artists open studio weekend and music and wine festival. Weather has been bad but better this morning so fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chica Bonita, Kerikeri to Flaxmill Bay

John, partner in the crime of the blind leading the blind!

Tuna lunch

Sunset in Shang-Ra-La

Drunken homecoming