Friday, January 30, 2009

Advice for these troubling economic times

Some pearls of wisdom from toothworts blog.

Care clings to wealth: the thirst for more grows as our fortune grows.
I stretch my store by narrowing my wants......
We are not poor
While nought we seek.


If you have two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one and a lily with the other.

[Chinese proverb]

Never own anything you have to feed or paint.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ghosts of the past.

After reading 'Fingerprints of the Gods' about the virtual certainty of ancient civilisations I thought it was all very far away from NZ. However in Maori (who have been here 8oo odd years) oral tradition they speak of a fairy people with 'pale skin, pale eyes and reddish hair' and standing stone circles and alignment sites are being discovered which tie in with such sites as stonehenge. Also stone obelisks have been found with spiral incising and ballauns (Neolithic 'holy wells') hand cut into them and covered with ash from the Taupo eruption of AD186 (the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, heard even in China!). A pre-Maori European skull has also been found which deepens the mystery. Could some answers to the birth of civilisation be in my back yard?
I'll see you later, I'm going digging!

Monday, January 26, 2009


So above is my answer to reducing my carbon footprint. Go sailing! She is a 36' catamaran that has sailed down from Florida and has all the ocean going gear. I don't have experience in sailing big boats but we have a wonderful playground here to learn for a few months then the world is our oyster. With a solar power system, sailpower and the ocean as our larder we can live very cheaply and as the ocean rises we rise with it. Don't know where I'm going to fit all the animals though.

We have to get a survey done which might turn up some problems but I'm in love already.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Been away looking at a yacht and dreaming of far horizons.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Some images from the exhibition by Annabel Nesbitt we have on at the moment. She has sold nine paintings which is extraordinary considering the economic gloom at the moment. In fact I don't think any artist has done better here. We bought the second to last one with the scallops in the basket. Homely but with the jagged curtain threat and a storm brewing out the window.

The last image is my studio at the moment. You can see why I'm not getting any paintings finished! No starving artist in the garret here. I pour my gin and tonic, settle in with my paintbrush and fall asleep perchance to dream.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sail away

We have officially put our section on the market and the horizon I can see past Shakespeares Cliff (named by Cook in 1769) is compelling!
My grandfather, Hugh McRae, was a naval architect. He came out from Scotland early last century to build floating gold dredges on the west coast of the South Island then went on to design the paddle steamer Earnslaw which was the mail and supply boat on Lake Wakatipu out of Queenstown. She is still running and is now a tourist attraction coming up 100 years old.
I built my first boat at 11. I hammered out a piece of corrugated iron till it curled up, brought the ends togther and bent them over with greasy rags as caulking to form the bow and stern. Then I lashed two lengths of big bamboo to it forming an outrigger with more bamboo as floats. My mother refused to let me take it out to sea so I mucked around in the estuary spearing flounder and catching crabs which I once boiled up in an old paint tin. No wonder I can hear voices!!
My first sailboat was an old kauri P class built like a brick shithouse and if I capsized it more than three times it would slowly sink until only the nose could be seen. Great fun though. I made a spinnaker out of mums old sheets and cruised along happy as a sandboy.
While in High School I raced Arrows, an open dinghy with mainsail and spinnaker, out of the Howick Sailing Club. There were 70 boats in the club so it taught me a lot about performance. Then I found fishing and a procession of adventures in speedboats followed.
But that's another story!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Don't look back

But I still long to kiss your brow
And taste your little finger
And feel your secret inner-thigh warmth
For as a woman
I have known no other
As you
And never will

I cry for you
I would bare for you
The music of my soul

Friday, January 9, 2009


I'm even managing to read a few books.
Tried Eric Claptons autobiography. Interesting times in his early musical years but then he lurches from excess to excess. Drugs, alcohol and then even more nauseatingly love and religion. Yech!!!
Now reading Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock which I've had for a while. Loving the theories.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

High spirits

The gulls had found a thermal updraft and circled high against the cloudless sky.

But why? They were a black-backed species that scavenged on the ground. Could it be for the sheer joy of rising so high without the beat of a wing? Do they have the same yearning to soar like the spirit of man?

Then they are gone in a long downward glide to a distant destination.

Practical after all.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gallery commission

The Artspost Gallery where I have some sculptures told me they take 40% commission which in my language means they put 40% on my price and keep it when the piece is sold. If I want $3000 the sale price is $4200 and they keep the $1200. But no. They take 40% of the sale price so put 40% on my price and then take 40% off the inflated price. 40% of $4200 is $1680 which leaves me with $4200 - $1680 = $2520. So to give me my $3000 they put 67% commission on..... $3000 x 67% = $5000.... 40% of $5000 = $2000.
Now I still get my $3000 but I think it is deceitful to say they only charge 40% and it inflates all their prices so less art is sold.
We don't take any commission at the restaurant because we like to have changing art on the walls, it helps the artist and it keeps the prices down. We have sold 10 paintings since we opened in October which doesn't sound a lot but in these hard economic times it's not bad.
A local artist, Annabel Nesbit, opened her exhibition of landscapes yesterday and we bought one, not only because we liked it but she needed money for more canvases.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Crazy time of year. Very busy with making coffees, baking cakes, cooking fresh kingfish in macadamia chilli crumb and avoiding foreigners (city people) running on the roads (I can't see a fire!). They come on holiday and bust their gut so they can have a trim laite and a piece of cheesecake!