Sunday, May 31, 2009

Aunt Betty

I buried an Aunt yesterday. My fathers' sister. Of course there is sadness of a soul passing but she lived to the great age of 97 and still driving until a few months ago. It was more a celebration of a life well lived. She was a tiny woman of the old school, faithful wife and mother who painted landscapes of the area she lived in all her life. In my memory she will remain like a small bird listening on the lawn.
The last uncle and aunt were there looking startled by all the fuss and perhaps wondering how soon the family would gather again to send them off with 'she could make a lovely pavlova' or 'he cleared the land by himself with just an old horse'. How do we want to be remembered? Only by the decent things we've done? Or also those that have made a difference to peoples' lives.
And the cousins. Some I hadn't seen for 30 years. We parried with small talk of children grown and husbands dead while trying to read each others' eyes of affairs and disappointments, of small successes and lives not quite well lived.
But the bonds are strong. We grew up as a big, sprawling, close family and forgive each other small indiscretions and will continue to meet at weddings and funerals.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I am Sailing

Well maybe I won't post my experience in bread making until I video myself doing it. I think it will be much easier to explain it that way. I know that all one of you are poised waiting to plunge yourselves up to the elbows in flour but I'll do it soon.
Well maybe later than sooner. Son Sam and I have been offered a passage to Fiji to help good friends Neil and Martha sail their 50 foot boat to those lovely islands in the middle of the Pacific. They are on their way to Hawaii and it is their 22nd time they have sailed to Fiji so the experience will be invaluable for when we sail up in our boat.
The trip will take a little over a week depending on the weather and we will stay for a week to do some surfing and soak up the sun then fly back to the harsh realities of our winter.
I know I'm going to pay for this awful life I lead. Hope it's in the next life!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Staff of life

What is it about breaking bread that is so satisfying? To pass a loaf of crispy ciabatta round the table so each person can break a piece to sop up the juices on their plate has a deep symbolism way beyond the action. Sharing, communion, passing the peace pipe. I don't really know.
The bread in NZ is awful. I can't imagine passing a loaf of the doughy, white, processed rubbish around. Even on my last visit to France I noticed a lot of bakers have gone away from traditional methods and started using quick rise agents to the detriment of the delicious baguette.
From my hippy days with an old broken woodstove I have always made bread. I love the act of doing it, the smell of it cooking and the sharing of it. Staff of life comes to mind.
It is not easy to make. Experience tells you when the dough feels right and even if you have a good recipe it doesn't mean it will turn out OK.
I'll post a bit of experience tomorrow!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


How is it that I feel kinda guilty about the country I live in. Visitors from overseas usually tell me how lucky I am and how if they had the chance they would live here too. Is this normal behaviour? There are places in the world where I could live for a while but I have every intention of staying here for most of the rest of my life.
But it's reading about my blogfriends in countries in turmoil such as Tazeen from Pakistan that brings the guilt feelings out. How can we be so removed from the suffering. Can't we do more to help those less fortunate. Should we help our less fortunate first.
Of course we also have problems (relative). We have a high rate of family violence and child abuse (is it because we have an 'open' society with systems in place to recognise these?), a high teenage suicide rate, a clean, green image which is a deception because of the amount of chemicals used in our farming practices, an underclass, usually Maori or Pacific Islanders on poor wages who can only live day to day and fill our jails disproportionately.
Is it the nature of man that makes it difficult for us to live together in harmony? It seems even animals have a better idea of how to exist together in groups.
Looking around the world, who has got it right? Some systems are more right than others but we still have a lot of work to do.
Peace and love

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's a hard life!

This morning when I arose I saw a fingernail I made myself a

Kneaded my

Watched the

Walked through Eltons' frosty

Down through the

To Lonely Bay with smelly

and built a

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A handful of words

A herd of clouds is grazing on a distant convoy of mountains while a bevy of whitecaps upsets the rhythm of a flock of boats netting swarms of silvery fish pursued by angry crowds of gulls.
Even the horde of trees shudder and retreat before the bucket of breezes and a protest march of sand blows amongst the city of dunes and a one only lonely sun watches and weeps a constellation of tears.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Topp Twins

They are lesbian, singing, comedic twins poking fun at a red neck society in the red neck area of A & P shows and country halls (and Edinburgh and Montreal etc). Please put your hands together for the fabulous Topp Twins
Went to see their new movie last night expecting only a laugh but was taken down a roller coaster ride through some of NZs iconic moments from the early 80's. They fought proud for indigenous land rights, gay rights, a nuclear free NZ and finally cancer through song and comedy with a particular vulnerability that offends no one. Borat could learn from them that you don't have to leave your victims squirming and angry to highlight prejudice.
Love their alter egos, Camp mother and Camp leader, Ken and Ken and all bringing the taste of lamingtons and beer from rural NZ to the big screen.
Highly recommended not only to Kiwis but any who want to see a slice of who we really are.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New scene

Mmmm the deck took longer than I thought, looks good though and it's a nice feeling thinking of my grandchildren running about on it. And it's taken a couple of days to get the blogosphere up and running in the new house (well new to us). The view isn't as good but it's still very good. We overlook Cooks Beach (so named after the great explorer walked on it) that's it with Lonely Bay my favourite beach in the foreground and we can still see Flaxmill Bay where Chica Bonita is moored. We will be warm, sunny and snug for the winter and it even has a studio in the garden where I can lock myself away and produce masterpieces.
I have my first gig as personal chef on Saturday night. My mate Pauls' mum is turning 80 so I'm travelling up to Auckland to cook for 15 of the family. It's a long way to travel but it's nice to know the punters so I can bluff my way through easier!
The sky is lightening with orange milk, silhouetting the pruned pine trees on Cooks Bluff like giant catapillars and the sea is the colour of poured mercury. Time to take the smelly dog for a walk and terrorise the local rabbit population!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Final shifting today then in Auckland for a few days to help my son rebuild his deck.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Insight from Pollicino

New house

Love Savin Couelles architecture and would like to build something similar for our new house. We can't afford him of course but by using pumicecrete or aerated concrete which I can carve like a sculpture I think I can make a beautiful free form with no sharp edges which will be in keeping with the outcrops of rock around us. With a wood stove for cooking, heating and hot water, solar panels for power, our own rainwater supply, a grey water disposal system and a vege garden I'll be a hippy all over again!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My die it

I started my winter diet yesterday. Eat fresh feijoas and mandarins off the tree and drink coffee till dinner time then have whatever I feel like. It's probably the worst diet (don't do this at home) anyone has thought up but it works for me. Why do I do it? Mmmmm. I'm having a little trouble painting my toenails and I'm sure my pecker isn't getting any smaller but I can't always see it. Mainly though, hunger makes me feel good, it clears my mind and gives me more energy. I seem to be more in tune with myself. Hey, and I can sympathise with the hungry 80% of the world except I get dinner.

Friday, May 1, 2009


The orcas are back just below the house hunting their favourite dessert, stingray souffle. I feel for the resident stingrays who cruise our beach but life goes on and there is nothing like the arrival of the top of the food chain (if you don't count man and you shouldn't) to put your own life in perspective.

It was nice to have a last hurrah before we move out next week.