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 […]


An email dropped into my inbox last week from the police. In connection with the bike that was stolen earlier this year, it was asking me to complete a victim impact statement – the person who stole the bike has been in custody for some months now and the legal process is slowly grinding towards […]

Adventures with a Sat-Nav: Part 2

After my first experience of Sat-Nav you’ll understand my trepidation when, shortly before our trip last year, Neil announced that the car we were leasing would have Sat-Nav and we won’t need to buy a map. (Does the man not know me at all?) My relationship with Essie (and for the life of me I […]