Hiking With Joe

Hiking boots on, poles in hand, I wonder why one of my favourite walks on Mt Ruapehu is so named. Finally, a couple of weeks ago I remembered to look it up when I got home. Turns out Joe Blyth was one of the inaugural members of the Tongariro National Park Board, skied the mountain […]

A Tui in a Pohutukawa…

It’s that time of the year again, the time when it’s obvious where HG Wells got his inspiration from. Yes, the pohutukawas are in flower or, more to the point, are losing their flowers and turning the ground beneath them red, much like the Martians’ weed does in The War of the Worlds. To northern […]


Through lack of choice I’m a believer in fate. I’m a planner, rarely doing anything spontaneous (I know, boring) but sometimes the grubby hand of fate grasps hold of my feeble plans and squeezes the life from them even as I stand, a la Romeo, screaming and cursing at its machinations. This was particularly apparent […]

A Visitor

The visitor from Wuhan (as described by a better writer than I’ll ever be) arrived on our doorstep last week. Neil greeted him first, his dismay at a second line appearing on the RAT test he had just done evident in his croaky wail as he saw it. This was two days after he’d first […]


A decade or so ago we’d just signed a binding contract to buy a house in Ohakune when the alert level for the volcano that looms over the town was raised. Last week, for the first time since such levels were introduced, it was raised for the volcano that lies under New Zealand’s largest lake, […]

Final Farewell

I wasn’t going to let the death of Britain’s longest-serving monarch get away with only one mention on this page. We British (and I am still British, even though I no longer live there) haven’t had much to be proud of recently (MPs behaving and squabbling like children in a playground ffs) but organising the […]


I was a small child when Mum said one day: ‘I wouldn’t be the Queen for all the money in the world.’ I was stunned into rare silence. Why would you not want to be Queen? To wear crowns and beautiful dresses and to have everyone wait on you hand and foot? Besides, if Mum […]

Weathering: Part 2

(A lame title, I know, but I’m hopeless at naming things and my usually helpful assistant clearly has inspiration issues.) I realise this is my third post in a row about weather, but it’s a fascinating subject and I am English, therefore predisposed to talk about it. I’m also now a Kiwi, and Kiwis like […]

To The Lighthouse

One of the features of living in New Zealand is the weather. Nearly twenty years ago, after a few weeks of living here, we moved into a cute little cottage at the bottom of the owner’s garden on a January day so hot the tarmac melted and I left a pool of sweat with every […]