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 […]


Here in Ohakune we’re on our fourth day of solid rain. We’re not alone – storms have swept across the country and I wonder if we should rename New Zealand the Soggy Isles. There have even been mini-tornadoes in some areas, trees being tossed aside like cocktail sticks and rooves ripped away. We’re paying for […]

I am Woman

Growing up I never really thought about the differences between boys and girls. Of course I knew there were many, especially when it came to puberty – I wasn’t the only teenage girl envious of boys who didn’t have to go through the trauma of starting their periods, the nightmare of communal school showers, the […]

Doggy Tales

The other day I walked my friend Estelle’s dog. It’s something I’ve done on occasion when she has been unable to, and it’s something I enjoy, both because I like walking and because Ruby, a black labradoodle, is one of the most well-behaved dogs I’ve ever known. Everyone on the street knows Ruby, and everyone […]

The Sound Of…

In our new house I spend a fair bit of my time trying to work out what the noise grinding through my head is. Today’s is constant, no dipping and rising in volume or tone, which means it’s a machine driven by power rather than hand, and it is unmuffled, therefore is outside. So it […]

A Quick Exit?

Ohakune has a fire siren. I’m not sure if that’s the correct name for it but it’s a siren that sounds to call volunteer firefighters, on which rural New Zealand relies, to attend an incident. It’s been a bit busy lately, primarily grass fires in the summer heat. I learned the other day that it […]


These islands evaded the Covid bullet for a long time, access to the country controlled and any incursion stamped out, mostly before it left managed isolation. Then Omicron arrived, pushing its way through the border like a Russian tank. It took advantage of being the only overseas tourist and romped through cities and across mountains […]