Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Holiday Open Thread 1: Beach and Backyard

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  • sally jones,

    Punakaiki on the West Coast was a revelation. The hostel was reminiscent of Titirangi and the coast of Muriwai beach in Auckland, only wilder, though we swept through and doubtless missed the southern subtleties. In the hostel we almost had an entire bush house to ourselves but for a Kiwi-Brit couple just landed from England (lots of bump in the night ;)). We lucked in with the weather (often rains), and got to see the Pancake Rocks, so called, in all their Mt Rushmore, Blue Mountains’, glory. Actually better than either because of the surrounding sea. There, on NYD, people enjoyed the sight of a lone surfer beyond the rocks taking on the big rolling waves, all before most of us had mustered our morning coffee.
    We swam at two beaches (near Lyttleton and Nelson) and two lakes (in Twizel and Taupo). Of course Taupo is north, but gets a mention for the Mediterranean warmth and clarity of its waters. We realised we had never been to or through Taupo in the summer and lucked in with a scorcher of a day that we had otherwise ill-chosen to drive home from Wellington on. We changed into our togs in the stinking hot – crammed with grubby camping gear – car (no changing sheds), and threw ourselves with reckless abandon into the cool water. Bliss.
    Twizel, we stayed with friends and I got drunk and swore off the bottle for 2011, but that’s another story (a pretty tired and tedious one too).

    Today is our anniversary: 23 years – not hundreds of years as previously reported. To commemorate, in addition to a card and book-clothing present, I swept and mopped the kitchen floor then cleaned the downstairs shower including the centre piece that collects all the slimy hair. I replaced our dark dreary sheets with lighter, cooler ones, and bought a fitted sheet so it doesn’t move about with us. To save the cost of a new underlay I (finally) sewed – yes, sewed!!! – the corner elastic and tightened it elsewhere by means of a simple knot. In return I received fancy chocolates, flowers and indoor painting of younger son’s room – two years in undercoat :)).

    New profile picture: a recent good hair day.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2010 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Happy New Year, Sally.

    And how does your garden grow?

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Speaking of your garden, Sally, I have some fantastic photos to show you of Ian's cucumbers and tomatoes....... right about here.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Speedos went out of fashion when people stopped even pretending to swim at the beach. They're still the best garment for actual swimming.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I disagree, Ben. The best garment for actual swimming is your birthday suit.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Kia ora Geoff- the most welcome packet of potential endame arrived yesterday, courtesy a neighbour of mine (with whom I will be sharing the seeds -she’s got a better garden than mine.)

    I especially loved the address: PO Box 1, Lake Okarito- yeeessss!

    It bloody near was!

    I am keeping that envelope! (not least to send a small koha back.) Like Giovanni,
    there are people who deserve my cheeses – or books…

    By the time my mother & self got back here (31st) the weatherclock had swivelled to ‘fine’ – and NYD was indeed brillantly fine. Howver, next day the rain the rain the rain it rained – and we have only just dried off the sacks and sheets of the hangi (I’ve left the firebricks out for another night – they were sodden.)

    Jackie C – message coming privately soon. David Hayward, stuff underway. Jolisa – working on a coherent response to your Metro article – which is one of the most stimulating insights into ANZ fiction I’ve read for yonks.

    To everyone – may 2011 be a good year for us all-kia ora!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Wow, the fish-hook cukes! The amazing tomato shrubbery!

    And I total agree - swimming naked is The Best Suit!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Undies, undies, Troggs.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    @Islander. Oh dear--that was a major mind lapse. Still,, Westland has so many beautiful lakes and Okarito deserves something more resounding than a lagoon.

    We went by St. James Church in Franz too but it was locked, so I just had to imagine the scene of past foolishness!

    On the homeward journey to the Waikato today,...and it is my birthday. Perhaps I will get a chance to drive...!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • sally jones, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    Apologies for indulgently long previous post. It ran away on me. Hadn't known about the word limit til I tried to send it as one; oops ;)

    Speaking of your garden, Sally, I have some fantastic photos to show you of Ian's cucumbers and tomatoes.

    A very useful shape...thank you JC. And a special HNY to you :)
    Ian? ID? Sorry for inexplicable vagueness.

    And how does your garden grow?

    Totally deserved, tacky jokes about 'personal' gardening aside, HNY to you too, JD.

    My garden could be worse. As it turns out, leaving the care of fledgling plants to a 17yo computer nerd for three weeks is not top of the list of recommended treatments for fledgling plants in the manual addressed to that subject. Not to be too terribly down on my truly terrific teen. However the tomatoes, predicted to be unlucky, were sadly felled in the first storm that erupted just as we escaped Auckland. They, in their cloudy greenness, are hanging in there - literally - and may pull through, by sheer dint of will I think, not sure a gambler would back them. The rest of the garden survived, more or less. No sign of various underground plants, other than above-ground leaf, so am leaving well enough alone and hoping that no news is good news, for the time being.
    Lettuce is great, though dinner guest last night exclaimed 'It's gone to seed!' upon seeing it. But we ate it anyway. Tasted fine to me.
    Thanks for asking.

    One more thing, ever so quickly. Best Christmas-NY book out there, IMHO, the latest biography of Katherine Mansfield by Kathleen Jones. Her life and work proves in spades the productive potential of tragedy. This account is the most detailed and 'balanced', sympathetic yet critical, account I've come across. I'm no expert of course. But the surrounding characters in KM's extraordinary life are given much more flesh and bone, which in turn adds depth to KM's experiences and choices; the woman who thought of herself as 'a Writer first and a Woman after'. It was a present from M for xmas. On the road I nearly vomited driving round the bendy bends between Punakaiki and Nelson rather than put it down. Then M pulled the car up alongside a sign for a 'Rural Insurer', which produced much roadside mirth and merriment for the car-load of fierce 30Rock fans - and no vomit. Go M! Knew there was a reason I married you.:)
    But great book.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2010 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to sally jones,

    Ian's my husband, Sally. He looks like he' s in ZZ Top - the ginga's edition - but really he isn't. Funny story - when he had leukemia, and was in hospital, toward the end of his year's treatment, one of the nurses was surprised to see that he had red hair growing back on his head. " I can't believe you're a redhead" she exclaimed. To which I could only look at her, and shake my head in wonder that anyone at all would ever mistake his irascibility - let's call it fierceness - for anything other than what it really is. They don't call redheads fiery for nothing.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    They don't call redheads fiery for nothing.

    Actually, they do.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Its funny, no strange, that people feel free to say and do things to red heads that would be quite unpardonable about people of any other colour

    No I am not a red head although I can grow a red beard,but I am married to one, have red headed sons and syblings

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • sally jones, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Ian's my husband, Sally.

    Well I might have presumed; sorry about that, Jackie. Doubtless I have not been privy to PA dialogues for long enough.

    I Like ZZTop; the green fingers are a bonus :)

    Auckland • Since Sep 2010 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Its funny, no strange, that people feel free to say and do things to red heads that would be quite unpardonable about people of any other colour

    Which pretty much proves that no-one really believes that irascible bloodnut stereotype. If they did they'd be extra cautious about winding them up.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Which pretty much proves that no-one really believes that irascible bloodnut stereotype.

    My sainted mother falsifies the theory every day.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    They don't call redheads fiery for nothing.

    Actually, they do.

    OT, but almost the only thing I can recall from the "Italian Unification" unit of UE History is that Garibaldi was a ginge.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    Is anyone else watching the cricket? Bloody depressing.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    OT, but almost the only thing I can recall from the "Italian Unification" unit of UE History is that Garibaldi was a ginge.

    The fierce one was the missus though, and she wasn't red - at least not hairwise.

    Is anyone else watching the cricket? Bloody depressing.

    If we make Pakistan bat again - which is touch and go, admittedly - at least we'll be better than the Aussies.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Is anyone else watching the cricket?

    DON'T DO IT!!!

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I have a mother who was born with auburn hair, and a sister who is a redhead, and a nephew (her son) who started out whiteblond but is now 6'4"+ of ginga manhood...none of them explode easily.

    But it's *really* interesting when the volcano finally blows-


    In other news, it's a very fine day in the Free Republic of Big O.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Whoops,

    I've been enjoying nearly a month at Lake Okareka, but yesterday's stupidity has put a chill over the lake.

    What a waste.

    here • Since Apr 2007 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    I especially loved the address: PO Box 1, Lake Okarito- yeeessss!

    Heh. I can nearly match that. When we lived in Little River in the late 50s, the old man was the Peninsula Farmers Coop Stock Agent. He had the privilege of a single phone line. Ooohhh. In the days of 10 phone party lines it was significant believe me!

    When folk called home it was "No 1 Little River please" after you turned the handle and a REAL operator came on the line.

    When he wasn't doing business and wanted to have a bit of time to himself, it was amazing how long he could convince the operator to tell a caller that "That line's engaged sir".

    And how long is a mobile number these days???? 9 numbers?? 1 to a billion. Hmmmm....we have come along way baby.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Yo Ross! I used to be 63 z on a party line that encompassed everyone south of Ross unto deepest darkest Okarito…we were always aware of one paticular person who picked up as soon as they heard handle turn…

    I’m about to shower & go to bed after restacking and making rain-proof all the hangi/umukai bricks**. And, after cleaning out Jaw’s* tank – it’s doing fluidly lovely arabesques in the clean water now- I’ll cook a nice piece of rig (courtesy a neighbour) and reheat my courgette fritters & add my beetroot relish, drink another quaff of Tullamore Dew, and go to bed easy. All jobs for the day done…

    *Jaws is an axylotol – they are asexual until certain hormones are introduced into their environment. I am 100% certain that latter insertion does not apply to human asexuals.
    **There were several hundred.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner,

    I remember that some small person would occasionally experiment with the telephone on a party line. Wobbly, uncertain rings and a tentative little voice saying "hello?". Used to taste the milk in the billies, too...

    Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report Reply

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