Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Currently girding my loins

for the horrifically long flight to Amsterdam tomorrow.

But I have three stories to write and movies to watch and meals to eat. And sleeping tablets to gobble down in the vain hope they may give me some respite from the madness.

The Animator flies a day after me, but I'm on the same flight as the other Kiwi journo and her hubbie so at least that gives us a chance to catch up before the Uniworld river cruise starts on Sunday.

See you on the other side...

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Monday, 27 October 2014

Happy Labour Day

Here in Aotearoa, it's Labour Day, the first public holiday since June and the day we commemorate those brave souls who decided eight hours was enough to work in one day.

And what did I do to celebrate Labour Day? I lashed myself to the laptop and worked, of course! But it has been a productive long weekend and I managed to file several stories.

In other news, I just received my flight reminder from the good folk at KLM  which informed me that my flight time from Welli to Amsterdam on Thursday is 34 hours. Sometimes, I wonder why I put myself through this torture....

Today's visual is of this wee poppet, who I shall miss terribly...


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Te Parae

It's been a while between drinks, but my story on the lovely Angela Irving and the Te Parae Homestead she runs features in the Nov/Dec issue of  NZ Life & Leisure Magazine (click here to read).

This is the place we visited last month, where Bristol made friends with the extravagantly monikered lamb, Hector Rodriguez.

And guess who's mug is featured up front in the magazine's Contributors section?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Auschwitz to Aotearoa

Today I spent an hour interviewing an amazing woman, 80-year-old Inge Woolf, matriarch of the Woolf photography family, for a story about an exhibition the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand is running next year to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the hideous GERMAN extermination camp.

I've been to Auschwitz on two occasions; I've seen the gas chambers and walked alongside the train tracks that brought so many innocent people to their death. Like those before me, I've wondered at the absence of bird song across the complex and been horrified at the atrocities that were perpetuated there. Many of the exhibits moved me to tears, particularly the glass display case of artificial limbs taken from prisoners as they arrived. It sounds odd, but there was something so ineffably sad about those prosthetics, waiting for owners that would never come back to claim them. It remains one of the most profoundly moving things I have ever seen.

Anyway, if you are in Wellington in January, get yourself down to the Holocaust Centre to see how nine remarkable Jewish women who survived the camp came to live in New Zealand, as far away from the horror as it was possible to get.

Today's visual is of beautiful woofers, because sometimes we need to be reminded that such beauty exists in the world.

  (Pic credit: Tumblr)


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A day of interviews

It was all about the Royal NZ Ballet today and their upcoming production of A Christmas Carol.

First up was an interview with the English Producer, over here for six weeks, and then a chat with the principal dancer for one publication. A few hours later, I came back to chat to a couple of 10-year-olds (and their mothers) who are playing Tiny Tim for a magazine story. It's a good thing I live nearby.

I was more than ready for a drink by 6.00pm.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Finding Momo

Could this photographic project get any cuter?
Ontario photographer and graphic designer Andrew Knapp has an unusual dog - when he throws Momo a stick, instead of returning it, the border collie hides. So Knapp did what any self-respecting snapper would do - he turned his camera onto Momo, playing hide and seek with him in all sorts of places.
Wonder if Bristol could be persuaded to play this game?

(Pic credit: Andrew Knapp)

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Saturday night

Finally managed to wrest myself away from my laptop and do what regular folk do on a Saturday night - go out, eat too much, drink too much and talk way too much shit.

Thanks to our visitors from London, Sarah and Grant, and a mutual friend Andy who we haven't seen for ages, we sat in our garden drinking wine and catching up, and then when the sun tucked itself into bed for the evening, we wandered into town to the always lovely Sweet Mother's Kitchen. 

Catching the end of the rugby, and a spectacular win over the Aussies, topped off a lovely night.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Catching my breath

Apologies for the radio silence - has been a week of visitors.

First up were my parents, over from Oz for a few nights. We had barely dropped them off at the airport than Marty's cousin and his partner from London arrived for the night. I am becoming a dab hand at washing sheets.

There is also a shit-ton of work to get through before I go to Europe, so that is being squeezed into pockets here and there.

This week my first Budapest piece was published in NEXT Magazine (click here to read).  Only two more pieces from that famil to write...


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Too much work, not enough time

Today I spent the morning with the political journalist I'm profiling for a magazine (the master interviewer becomes the interviewee), watching him go through his paces grilling MPs. It was fun and exciting but reminds me why news reporting is not my thing. Still, he gave good copy and after another sess on Thur arvo, I should be good to nail this 3,000 word sucker.

The afternoon was a flurry of copywriting for another client and I landed a big, meaty writing gig, for which I am eternally grateful (they are even willing to wait until I get back from the Europe media trip, which is bloody nice of them).

And while I am as far from ungrateful as it is possible to be, sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could spend my days writing stuff like this...


Monday, 13 October 2014

T-Birds are go!

The project the Animator has spent more than a year slaving over a hot computer for had its first showing at the weekend. Sadly it was in Cannes, not Welli.

But reports from the screening say the Kiwi remake of the classic teevee show Thunderburds are Go! exceeds all expectations. Next year cannot come quickly enough.

Here's what the Guardian had to say about it.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Random photos of fairy bread

I neglected to share photos from Friday's fairy-bread sess at work - apparently a Canadian colleague had never heard of this nutritionally-deficient Kiwi childhood party staple. So the whole comms team treated her to the white-bread-and-butter-hundreds-and-thousands mash-up which tastes as disgusting as it sounds.

I managed to abstain, given the fact I am now firmly back into the running groove (three runs completed last week, go me) and didn't need this white bread shite (who, apart from elderly father, even eats white bread any more?!) to be messing with my get-fit-for-summer thing.

But others in the team reported an enjoyable stroll down memory lane.

Yesterday, being the responsible citizens we are, we went along to the Council's Open Day about the Town Belt Master Plan. A whole raft of issues are on the table, but key among our concerns is the separation of paths for pedestrians and those pesky mountain bikers who think it's their duty to mow down anyone smaller, older or not on a bike. They are, frankly, a goddam menace and one old chap at the open day told me he is terrified to take his grandchildren into the Town Belt because of the bikers. This is only the first round of consultation but here's hoping something good comes out of it so it's safer for all of us.

Speaking of the Town Belt, here's a pic of His Highness half an hour ago up there - chilling in the glorious sunshine.


Saturday, 11 October 2014

Le Cordon Bleu Food Camp

About a million years ago (so long, in fact, I can't be arsed trying to find it in the archives), I did a two-day food camp at the only NZ outpost of the posh French culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu for a story for Taste Magazine.

It has finally been published in the October issue. Click here to read.

(Pic credit: Sam Heeney)

Thursday, 9 October 2014


As I type a shaft of sunshine is coming through the skylight, making me want to curl up in it and take a nap.

It has been a busy two days. Yesterday morning I spent a good two hours interviewing one of New Zealand's leading TV journalists for a magazine profile. He was good fun and intensely bright. And, of course, one of life's natural blatherers. That meant we only got though about half of my questions before he had to rush off and meet his deadline for the 6.00pm news. Next Tuesday I am shadowing him around Parliament and then we'll need to find another time to finish the rest of the interview.

Last night was the running group, which tackled the nasty incline that seems to last an eternity. But I made it, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Today, my second working from home day, was spent in a flurry of interviews and stories written and filed. I have also started in on the next lot of review books. What I want to know is why those sciencey type blokes can't figure out how to give us an extra few hours in the day?

And yes, I have come late to this, but today's visuals are the remarkable photos of American snapper Seth Casteel of  Underwater Puppies fame, the follow up his earlier book Underwater Dogs. Adorable.



Monday, 6 October 2014

Another parcel of goodness

Nothing says 'angry' like a woman repeatedly hailed on whilst walking home from work.

But this courier parcel of five new books to review for North & South Magazine that was waiting for me when I got home soon lifted my mood.

As happy as I am to have a part-time contract that pays well, and oodles of freelance work, in my ideal world I would do nothing but read and review books all day every day...


Sunday, 5 October 2014

When life hands you a block of wood and five vintage test tubes

you do as the Animator did and turn it into this funky vase.

Which he did in about two hours.

Apols for the rubbish photo but my phone has been dropped one too many times and I am hoping Santa will bring me a new one.

That aside, this vase is currently top of my thankful list. Along with a Sunday filled with friends, dogs, sunshine and the completion of a story that has been driving me mad. All in all, a very good day.


Saturday, 4 October 2014

World Animal Day

We're not religious in the slightest (that's what a Catholic education will do to you) but every year I see the SPCA Blessing of the Animals on teevee and wish I had gone.

So today we forsook our usual Saturday morning sleep in and drove to the Anglican Wellington Cathedral where we joined about 100 other dogs, cats, rabbits and even a larma (!) and their owners for one of the most hilarious services I've ever been to.

I'll admit to some trepidation as to how many levels of crazy it would be, and how the Wonderdog would behave. Weirdly, despite the range of animals, everything went without a hitch. There was the odd outbreak of barking - usually when the organ and choir started up - and there were a couple of wet patches on the tiled floor, but other than that, there were no issues. As the woman sitting in front of us, the owner of a gorgeous black lab and a veteran of the annual event said, the (mainly) dogs seem to realise they're in a church and behave accordingly.

Both myself and Bristol were even blessed by one of the priests!

And while I'll probably always come down on the agnostic side of the fence, this morning's service was so much fun we will definitely go next year.


Thursday, 2 October 2014


How do you piss Shazzy off?

Offer her a media trip from Athens to Rome. One that leaves next week. As in, I would need to be in Athens by next Friday.

Brain goes crazy trying to see if a million commitments, interviews and deadlines can be rescheduled. And then realises I would get home a few days before I would have to schlep back to Europe for the Rhine cruise which starts early next month. And that the parentals are spending three nights with me in a couple of weeks. And that I have several social commitments that can't be moved.

And then I put my head in my hands and cry. This is the second famil I've had to turn down this year and I DO NOT LIKE IT.

Currently giving the finger to the Travel Gods.  

Today's visual is of the Wonder Dog because after the depressing events of  today, I need something beautiful to rest my gaze upon.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

How nice is this?

Spent a goodly chunk of this morning talking to a very nice architect who has done the fit out of one of Welli's newest cafes, Loretta, for Interior Magazine. The terms 'raw, honest materials', 'natural textures' and 'intimate spaces' were flung around a lot.

The afternoon was spent attempting to make sense of my notes, setting up what is going to be quite a tough interview for a national magazine next week and walking the Hound in the glorious sunshine, which we soaked up like wasps drinking syrup.

Tonight I go back to the running group after what feels like an eternity. Wish me luck.

Today's visuals are of the lovely Loretta cafe.

(Pic credit: Thonet and Stuff)


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