Weathering

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 […]

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 […]

Arrival

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 […]

In Praise of the Practical

We paid a flying visit to Ohakune last weekend, a one night stay as we hired a van to take up the last pieces of furniture we’ve given up trying to fit in the new place in Wellington. The house felt stuffy, probably because it was lunchtime on a warm day and we’re unused to […]

The Lockdown Files

A couple of fellow writers recently shared that they ‘loved’ lockdown, plenty of time to write and no need to go out and interact with other humans. They are clearly much more motivated individuals than I am, my lockdown life being seriously unproductive in terms of writing anything of value (not that I’m sure I […]

Mangawhero Forest

Cloud hangs like mist over the trees, fingers of it drifting across the hillside. The forest is dim but glows with the low light, a myriad of greens, wet and shining. Moisture is everywhere, sitting on leaves, running down dark trunks, wallowing in muddy puddles on the path. It’s no surprise, so much water pouring […]

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 – […]

Mur de Miro

Despite that it might appear otherwise in these pages, I’m not a fan of exercise. Primarily, I’m lazy, and I often have to fight the impulse to merely sit on the sofa and do nothing all day. The reason I don’t – besides that it would make me a very poor example of a human […]