Tama Lakes

By NZ standards, the Tama Lakes walk, around the Whakapapa side of Mt Ruapehu, isn’t difficult. Until the first, or lower, lake the track is mostly wide and hard-packed gravel, some rocky parts and a couple of wet areas where water has adopted the path as its own (a common occurrence anywhere water runs down […]

Timber!

Driving along a highway a couple of years ago we were forced to stop whilst a few trees* beside the road were felled. We turned off the engine and settled in for a long wait. I was fascinated. A bloke with a chainsaw – which he wielded like it weighed a kg or so – […]

Dodging Politicians

I wrote this a few weeks ago, for no reason other than it popped into my head. I thought I might post it on here someday but it’s a bit random so wasn’t sure. In the light of recent events in (supposedly) the largest democracy in the world it seems strangely prescient. This is not […]

Hobbiton

An oak tree stands above us, its leaves rustling in the breeze. It’s the leaves that give it away – in September in New Zealand a deciduous tree wouldn’t be in full leaf, and the rustle has too much of a rattle about it; this tree is a fake. It’s not the only fake thing […]

Meri Kirihimete!

I’m not really a big fan of Christmas. As a child I loved it – the sparkling lights, the colourful baubles, huge tins of Roses and Quality Street in a house that rarely had chocolate; watching the Queen’s speech and then the Christmas movie (unless it was The Wizard of Oz – Mum hated that […]

Orange

Wellington has turned into an orange city. Nothing to do with fake tan, rather a plethora of hi-vis and road cones, the occasional yellow thrown in for variety. There are street works, sewage works (ongoing in Wellington due to the crumbling infrastructure), and building works, generally the construction of an apartment block. There’s one next […]

Eyes & Ears

Neil and I have both had health shocks recently. Don’t reach for the condolence cards yet – even in the normal scheme of things they aren’t serious; in the face of a global pandemic they’re positively trivial. But both are a reminder that we’re not getting any younger. I’m more used to it than Neil; […]

Word of the Year?

The other day my brother told me that lockdown was the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year. He wasn’t entirely accurate – apparently, there are so many words that have either appeared or become more prevalent this year that the OED is having trouble picking one. They describe 2020 as an unprecedented year for […]

Close to the Wind

A few years ago Neil and I decided to learn to sail. Like our rugby players, NZ sailors are often described as the best in the world and, whilst I’m never going to run around a pitch carrying an odd-shaped ball, there’s something attractive about chilling on the sunny deck of a boat as the […]

On the Roads

There are two roads out of Wellington. Yes: two. Sheffield, a similar sized city, has more than half a dozen arterial routes leading away from it (the majority into stunning countryside I might point out), not to mention various smaller ones which, if you’re local, you can use to escape the traffic on the main […]