Sunday, December 30, 2012

Just finished reading #60 & 61

It has been months since by last book post and I can assure that I have been reading non-stop through that period, however I cannot tell you for one moment what it is that I have been reading.  Sad but true.  But I do have my latest two books still in my possession so at least I can tell you about them.

The Red House - Mark Haddon

I have read two previous titles by this author 'A spot of bother' and 'The curious incident of the dog in the night'.  Both I loved although neither is happy or joyous but rather realistic and deep.  'The red house' is also not a joyous romp through a family holiday, rather it is a snapshot of a family gathered on holiday on the Welsh border after the death of the mother of  Richard and Angela.  Both families come to the holiday house with their own issues and problems.  We have a step daughter a lost baby and some other day to day ordinary family things.  Mark Haddon is a really good writer and this book, although heavy going in places and dense in words, is a good read.  My friend Alex couldn't get into it and I can see why.  It takes a certain mindset to wade through the early bits and you are not always in the mood for that.  I was lucky to be in the mood but I could have put it down at some  points.  So, it is more my dedication to the writing of Mark Haddon that I finished it rather than an absolute love of the book.  In saying that, I would read any more of his books in a heartbeat.  It is a dark tale but not horrible and it really is a slice of life so ends with a farewell as you do when leaving a holiday to go back to ordinary life. 

Sweet tooth - Ian McEwan

I love Ian McEwan's books.  Similarly to Mark H above, they are not cheery light little novels to read on holiday.  Although extremely readable they often deal with odd situations and characters and a happy ending is not always on the cards.  In saying that I loved 'Sweet tooth'.  It was very readable but all the way through, knowing McEwan's writing, you are waiting for something bad to happen.  The bad things are always of the personal nature, not guts and gore but dilemma's lies and treachery.  Set in the late 1970's in London this is the story of Serena Frome and her tale of time in the British Secret Service which was short but eventful.  She had one mission which ended badly.  This book is not of the James Bond ilk but has enough twists and turns to keep you very engaged.  I loved it!  That's it, loved it.  Enjoy


Wednesday, December 26, 2012


It is Boxing Day morning and I have just enjoyed a little bowl of tarty fresh raspberries from my parents garden, coupled with a couple of dollops of tarty yoghurt.  This is my antidote after a day or two of delicious indulgence. 

When I talk of distraction I am referencing the fact that is has been over a month since my last post.  Days have been flying by and energy levels depleted with work burnout and Christmas preparation.  Perhaps next year will be better.  Apologies to anyone who pops in regularly.

My camera has some issues with uploading photos onto the computer and as Jonty is still asleep and he sorts these things out for me, I am going to post up some pics that Jasmine took of our festive day yesterday.

As you can see, she focused on the table decorations more than the people which is totally cool.  Since I was a child the decoration of the Christmas table has been my job and it is probably still very high on my list of most enjoyable activities.   This year, last minute, I made paper chains which looked awesome.  I also picked some flowers from abandoned sections in our neighbourhood.  As homes are being demolished due to the eq activity, lovely gardens are being left also.  The poppies are courtesy of Churchill Courts  Stunning.

Ruth, Simon and the children bouncing. 
My wish for 2013 is normality, a wish unlikely to come true.  Mended roads, houses fixed or removed, people continuing to thrive and be kind to each other, health and happiness for all my friends and family.  For myself and my small family, I am looking for harmony and adventure on top of all the other things we wish for.  Some things we can make happen ourselves, others are in the hands of others.  I intend to influence what I can and not get too bent out of shape about the other stuff.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Coastal journey

Instead of roaring up the highway we decided to check out the views and little townships of the Dunedin coast at a slower and very windy pace


...more Dunedin pics

Playing chicken with the waves at St Clair....

Dunedin School Holiday

I cant believe I havent told you about this great 4 day holiday we had in Dunedin.  We normally rush down there to visit Jasmine, stay a day and then roar home again but this time, considering it was the school holidays, we took a few extra days to spend in gorgeous Dunedin and celebrate Jonty's birthday too.

The weather was not very good most of the time but there is something about windy rainy days that make things just a bit more interesting.


Gasworks Museum where Jasmine works every second weekend.  It is one of only three known working gas museums in the WORLD.  It was the first in New Zealand to start working and the very last to stop.  It is an awesome place well worth a visit.  I took a few pics trying to capture the industrial beauty. I am not sure that I succeeded but I had a lot of fun trying.

 Jasmine's pikelets

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Art in a garden

We went to this a few years ago and have been meaning to get back every year since.  Didn't make it until this year and the light for photos was great.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Email from my dad

Greetings Daughters,
Diary November 1 2012.
9;15 A.M. Found car park in Cashel St.
9: 30 Reported to X Ray dept. at hosp.
new X Ray completed 9:50
located the” bone shop “on 2nd. floor and reported to reception.
Waited waited waited
1 0:37 ushered into consulting room,waited.
Mr. Penny entered and introduced himself as surgeon. ( pleasant fellow)
examined Patient and found Right leg 10mm. shorter than Left ????
Some explanations ventured and then went to his office where Horror pictures on screen
explanation: right hip (previous implant ) socket detatched and floating .
left hip ,top of femur disintegrated and no sign of ball joint.
Remedy ; 2 new ball joints required, whether done at the same time still to be decided.
departed hosp at 11:15 A.M. and had Pizza for lunch on way home. Nice ..
Personnel satisfied with mornings activities but will need time to digest ..
Await contact from Mr. Penny regarding next step in system.
Best Love ,Dad.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Just finished reading #59

I just found this languishing in my drafts...lovely book

Linda Olsson - the kindness of your nature

Linda has written three books and I have read them all and I am a BIG fan.  Check out 'Sonata for Miriam' and 'Let me sing you gentle songs'.  The latter is gorgeous.  Linda has an amazing way of sharing gentle and interesting characters how should be desperate and sad but are warm and engaging.

Again the story is of a woman (Marion) living a solitary life, this time on the wild west coast of the North Island.  She is s Dr so has some community face but generally keeps herself to herself.  The reason for this is revealed during the story.  She comes across a young boy (Ika) who has a bunch of problems of his own and from there they start a relationship.  Both are lonely and isolated and together they learn about trust and love.  It could be an achingly sad story but that Linda is such a master storyteller you just love the whole thing.  Just beautiful writing and story telling.

Just finished reading #58

The shadow girls - Henning Mankell

This book was written in Swedish and published in 2001.  Ten years later it turns up in English and even ten years on it is very relevant and surprisingly current.  It is the story of a poet Jesper who is moderately famous and his discovery and interaction with the underworld of illegal immigrants.  We learn about the life of Tea Bag, Leyla and Tanya.  All have tales of horror about how they ended up in Sweden or how life is for them once they got there.  There is a lot of train travel, a boxing gym and mad mother and some very funny scenes with Olaf the idiot editor who is trying to get  Jesper to write a Swedish crime novel as a money maker.

Interestingly, Jonty is reading Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the barely veiled references in my book about crime novels are referring to his book. Spooky,  Another spooky incident was the mention of New Zealand in both of our books pretty much at the same time as we were reading them.  NZ always sounds a little exotic in other peoples books. 

This story is not surprising  as we know more about the subject than we might have a few years ago but it is still sad and thought provoking. The level of value placed on human life in many countries is probably astounding to most people living in our first world.

I love Henning Mankell's books and this is no exception.  Not as good as 'Italian shoes' but a good read.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


There is a very nice habit forming whereby people who don't live here do nice things for us.  Some people find it annoying because they want their homes fixed and will not have a bar of anything good until the very last house is back to normal.  Some of us is broken houses on shitty streets in sad neighbourhoods embrace teh good at every opportunity and are very grateful to the lovely people who take a moment to help make life a little better.  Life is not that great if you live here and have no city and all of the above shittiness.

So, when 300 architecture students from universities in NZ decided to make us an event in the city, on a bunch of rocky empty sites that once housed buildings we just went for it.  What a fantastic event and many of us were very happy to be there doing something interesting in a place of despair.  THANK YOU.

We went early and left as the many thousands crowded in but we had such an awesome time seeing friends and connecting with bars and cafes who were on trestle tables in the rubble selling their wares.  I took some very average photos but there are some stunners floating around in cyber space so you could check them out if you were of a mind to.

Experimental balloon lights...not sure they worked out as intended but great anyway.
The music was very LOUD here and that is what dancing looks like in our house
Alex, Jonty, Nic, Pete, Oliver, Joseph and me
Shadow play