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 […]


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 […]

Pou Herenga Tai

Pou Herenga Tai, the Twin Coast Cycle Trail, runs from Opua (Or-poo-a) to Horeke (Hoar-ay-kay) in the far north of New Zealand. It’s 80-odd km of mostly flat cycling along old railway routes and paper roads, a not too strenuous two-day ride across the narrowest east-west part of this country. You can start at either […]

To speak, or not… (sorry Shakespeare)

Kia ora koutou! Ko Tracy ahau.* New Zealand has three official languages, two of them spoken, and comments by a few non-NZ readers of this blog have made me remember that te reo, the language of Māori, NZ’s first settlers, isn’t an everyday part of most people’s lives, and not all our place names are […]

I Walked Waiheke

In the country of my birth it’s easy to find a path into the outdoors. No matter what the terrain alongside the road, before long there will be a gate, or an opening in a wall, maybe a stile over a fence, an accompanying sign pointing away from tarmac and bearing the words Public Footpath. […]


Earlier in the year my 83-year-old father joined Facebook.  My slightly younger aunts both commented with a welcome and Finally! but, in truth, it was my brother who had set up the account for him simply so he could use Messenger to stay in touch with family during the Covid lockdown. Dad loves that he […]