Right as rain

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Rain thru a window Pictures, Images and Photos

It rains and still it rains and then it pelts some more. Officially it’s summer, it has been for six whole days. Seemingly, no one told the weathervane, silly cock.

While the atmosphere continues to spatter darkly outside my window, I don’t feel too much like grizzling of the drizzling dampening this town’s sunny reputation. Even for a girl who loves feeling the warm kiss of relaxed summer sunshine on bare skin, it’s somehow calmingly, refreshingly serene.

I’m imagining the sodden cowboys out on rainy plains in the brilliant novel I’ve just laid down, where it’s also pissing down racoons. I’m infatuated with the Wild West at the moment, you see. Well, more than usual that is. I might have to venture to the American wilderness just to get it out of my system. Or in it, depending how you see it. 

In the puddles I reflect on another year. I pulled finger in this one and haven’t been at the old homestead much. I liked it more than I thought I would. This small town, I think, I continue to enjoy not least because I leave it often.

I wrote down 15 intentions back in January, of which, looking back today, I’ve done pretty well. It ain’t over yet. Perhaps for the very first time ever it feels like I know where I’m heading, even if the exact trail remains a bit of a mystery. I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Next year I will most likely move house (who knows where), grow my hair longer (because I feel like it), write like Oscar Wilde (I wish, and maybe not here), ride madly like a cowgirl (with a bit of an English twist), laugh like a crazed banshee (I love that) and shout out to the hills, “hello wildest dreams!”

It all comes out in the wash.

Have a fantastic summer xx

The silk worm and the monkey

Thursday, 24 November 2011

There’s an effortless lightness.
Legs swing gaily in the sunshine atop a sleeping log, scanning across tall grasses and seed heads bowing allegiance to the spring-time breeze god.
Slipping nakedly into the river, into the slipstream, life becomes silk. Floating, smooth, natural, free. Flowing across skin beautifully.
Alongside discarded garments strewn on the riverbank, a monkey scratches at its pits. Clothes gone from the back, so too the ape’s hairy grip.
No more skulking inside a bulbous back end, the heaviness of dark. Great things begin subtle, the silk worm tells the monkey.
With an ever expanding heart.

11.11.11 at 11.11

Friday, 11 November 2011

I spent mine amongst the daisies.

Risky business

Friday, 28 October 2011

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool
To weep is to risk being called sentimental
To reach out to another is to risk involvement
To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self
To place your ideas & dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try is to risk failure
But the greatest risk in life is to risk nothing
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and becomes nothing
Only the person who risks is truly free.

These are not my words, but the verse a friend wrote down and gave me in this card today. I don't know what will happen next - neither do you - but I hope I always find the courage to take risks. The freedom of our hearts and minds is all any of us really have for sure. At least I believe so.


Monday, 24 October 2011

You scream until your throat hurts like a bastard, until your ears crackle and shrill inside your own head. This was your exact intention when you stopped the car on the top of Takaka Hill, but that it's coming out of your own body still astonishes you.

Head thrown back wild animal-like, your tonsils vibrate and pitch for miles down the rock-scattered hillside. Out they leap past the golden sandy crescent far below and across Tasman Bay, where it seems like the distant cliffs must be bouncing the decibels back at you.

It ceases only because you know someone somewhere, even up here in all this nothingness, must hear you. It would be difficult to explain. “I’m desperate,” you would say “to alter the current trajectory. Maybe if I can make something jump over, even just half an inch, then something important might change. I need to believe that good people get rewarded in the end.”

They would look at you strangely of course, or assume you were from Golden Bay and raise their eyes, not unlike a Tui advert. That would be bad, because then you might feel the need to convince... “It’s not that I’m unhappy. I know exactly who I am, and I can do anything I put my mind to... but after all this time I still don’t have a clue where I belong... and I’m not sure I see the point.”

About then they’d start freaking out big time. Hopefully enough to see them high-tailing it out of there immediately, but in the case of a goody-do-gooder you’d be stuck until the men in white coats arrived to whisk you away. That’s always another option. It might not be so bad to be drugged up to the eyeballs, living an emotionless life playing scrabble for the rest of your blank days.

Perhaps the easiest explanation would just be to say you’re trying to be a writer, but you can’t get the words out and, right at this point in time, you're feeling a wee bit lost in the frying pan of life. This would be followed by their understanding sigh and sympathetic smile, because everyone knows that writers are mad.

Mechanical fear factor (and the road to recovery)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

I faced one of my greatest fears this week. I took my vehicle for its Warrant of Fitness. That’s when they test to see whether you’re fit to be out in public, or something like that.

It is, I admit, a ridiculous fear. I mean you either pass or you fail. You are deemed to be fit or you are not. As far as tests go, it’s no big deal. It’s not like you actually have to do anything (at least initially) and it’s a cut-and-dried experience – you know at all times exactly where you are at.

There’s no “Madam, I’m informing you that you are simply average” and they don’t even scowl or tut-tut-tut you particularly if you fail. Instead, you get a decisive list of the competencies you still need to fulfil and the chance to try again inexhaustively until you do.

Nonetheless, it’s right up there on the fear factor scale for me. It harks back, I think, to growing up dirt poor with nothing but hand me downs to wear and watery cabbage soup to sustain oneself upon (that last part’s not actually true, but it’s a fairly accurate portrayal of my mother’s cooking).

The problem is, I’ve never had a flash car so whenever someone uses the phrase “vehicle repairs”, my head immediately fills with big red dollar signs and my gut with the ocean panic of a vomiting oil slick.

I let my WOF slide for over 6 months last time. It took a Policeman pasting a bright green sticker on my forehead windscreen and a $600 fine to even get me to the warrant station to attempt the test. It turned out I needed only exceedingly minor mechanical attention. The time before that, a visiting male friend took it to the warrant station for me because he noticed it had expired when he borrowed it. It flew right through, no problems.

So this morning – just a month overdue – in one of my prettiest, most colourful dresses (Dutch courage) I swan into the crowded warrant station office with my $5 discount voucher grasped tightly in my hand. I announce to the elderly lady behind the counter as confidently as I can, “A warrant please. Oh and I’m a little behind in my diesel road user charges.”

Tap-tap-tap into her computer and, as I knew full well was going to happen, her little eyes grow to the size of hubcaps and she bites her lip a little bit.

WARRANT LADY: [nervously] “Errrr, well 20,000kms will get you up to your current odometer reading” and totters off a price in the range of a thousand bucks.

YOURS TRULY: [matter of fact] “No worries, I was expecting that. You better add another few thousand kms on, it will be a good feeling to be legal again.”

WARRANT LADY: [gushes] “Oh I know. Last week I went out in my car to the shops for half an hour without my licence in my purse. I felt so guilty all the while until I got home.”

YOURS TRULY: [most pleasant smile] “I know exactly what you mean.”

Proceeding to sit in the waiting room, I try not to terrorise myself about what the testing man with his little clipboard will have to say. And... it’s good news. Just a small earth wire adjustment required on one headlight. It will give me a good excuse to see my wonderful and extremely cost-effective mechanic who sometimes even gives me a flagon of his most delicious homebrew beer for my continued loyalty.

Feeling even more confident and happy than before, I turn the ignition on my vehicular, for once not even worrying that someone behind me might be dying from asphyxiation, and depart overjoyed midst my plumes of exhaust smoke.


Monday, 22 August 2011

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy". They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.
~ John Lennon

Moths and flames

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

“Look at that weird guy, him and his long hair. Pacing up and down like that for ages, I’ve been watching him. I pity whoever he’s here for, he’s obviously entirely deranged.”

Darklis didn’t recall precisely what he looked like, having met while under significant influence all those weeks before. But her immediate recognition of the ‘nutter’ was because, in fact, she had invited him to attend.

Something in his silent stalking movements did indeed scare her, a fear tinge seeded deep within her belly. Screaming – OBSESSIVE! A characteristic she had learned to turn and bolt from with Olympic speed and precision.

Rather unfortunate then, that intrigue snagged her in the same moment and by equal measure. Of this dark moody looking man, waiting outside the theatre all this time in the puddled cold to catch her as she left.

By loudly declaring his judgement, Darklis’ opinion of her companion diminished right there and then, never to be regained. She understood all the reasons why he’d said it... but he was shallow and irrelevant.

She also knew inside herself, driving away from the scene as quickly as she dared, that from that exact instant in time she was well and truly fucked. And that it wasn’t necessarily going to be good.

Trouble was not, and still isn't, what Darklis wanted. For her sake, or his. If you were one of these two, at least slightly, off-centred people - tell me what would you have done next?

Joy (it's my middle name)

Friday, 5 August 2011

I dated a guy once, many many moons ago for a very short time, who told me I was delusional for looking on the bright side of life most of the time. It wasn’t reality he said.

We’d just broken up due to the extreme limitations of his dating repertoire; namely eating (but never ever potatoes, which in itself is sacrilege) and fucking. That, and the way his dreadlocks used to grease filth down through all my bed linen grossed me the fuck out.

In his favour, he did have the gruntiest of motorbikes, which thrilled me to pieces riding high-speed pillion over the Rimutakas. But there was just never enough of that and I was craving carbohydrate.

I take joy wherever I can find it, and not just because it’s my middle name. But because bitching and whinging like a victim about the things not so great in life is easy. It’s the weak man's (or woman’s) cheap way out. To amuse myself on a daily basis and make the choice to be happy is SO, SO, SO much more fun.

My crowning eureka moment, when I was catapulted forward to meet my whole new life, found me driving round a Petone roundabout - just another ordinary, everyday moment in a 30-year black dog battling lifespan. I was about to bark off down that same road, when suddenly, for no discernable reason, I thought to myself: I wonder what would happen if I purposely chose a different path?

So I concentrated on something else, some happy thought or other, rather than following a life time of embedded habit. And I kept consciously practising, until that was the behaviour defaultly ingrained. I’ve hardly looked in my rear vision mirror since (which might also account for the shocking state of my present truck).

Now, on Saturday mornings during my most-weeks ritual doing what I like to do, I often find myself thinking about joy. While I indulge in delectable finger to spine thrilling touching at Page and Blackmore's, or as the sunshine warms my back on my way to market and my favourite stall.

I don’t know his name. We don’t speak much, except for my good morning cheery hello and his out loud calculations toting up my fruit and vege. But every time without fail, he looks at me and I look at him, and he splits into the most humongous Thai-boy grin you’ve ever seen. His face completely taken over and mine responding helplessly in kind. Yes, I think of joy then too.

It makes me chuckle for the rest of the day, that for a few seconds on a Saturday morning, there are these two great grinning fucken idiots in a crowded carpark sharing a passing moment, with nothing else needing to be said or done.

My deluded reality? Yep, I’ll take that. I recommend it to everyone.


Thursday, 21 July 2011

My big blister is outstanding. She only started running two years ago and last week took out a three gold medal title haul at the World Masters Games Championships in Sacramento. I think the NZ shirt suits her damn fine.

Out of the woods

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Ropeable she awoke, spitting like a nail gun gone rogue. She hated anger vehemently and by god she fucken hated hate. That ironic thought bringing with it a fresh wave of repulsion, riding her stomach lining fast and hard like a fix of sweet and dirty drugs.

That goddamned book had started this. Who knew reading another's words on a page were possible of wreaking such bloody havoc, seeding the subconscious with this insuppressible vile. The thought both petrified and impressed her by equal measure.

A truckload of firewood was never carted and stacked as proficiently as that morning, head and body ravaging violently against a grasped-together list of extensive crimes and injustices, collated in panic. Tears, meet fuming eruption. An unsavoury pity party.

How she detested this mercenary wrath, choking on it, yet indulging it still. A deep coal seam breaking through to light, a solidifying energy source fighting for a look in. How dare it? She so thought this thing had already been split wide open, chipped out and ordered be gone.

The woodshed was a work of art, no question. Anger washed away with the rains in a paper boat, set free to navigate other shores. Contrary to popular belief, Custer’s last stand wasn’t with Sioux Indians - but inside a girl and a book and an unsuspecting wood pile on some Nelson street.

Clean sheets

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Habits form nonsensical
Boredom prevails
I want OUT you shout
Only to yourself
In hidden moments
Through vertical bars
You fitted yourself
Give the prickly cactus away
Fix the bed that squeaks
Old leaves fell with autumn
On my doorstep ushers spring.

Time travellers

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

SILK SCARF ENTWINES a young and graceful neck, floating softly in her wake. Delicate? Yes perhaps. Melded with an ambling self assurance, an energetic peace.

Busy city street, a thousand beating feet. Nameless thoughts bleat from blank mosaic faces. The silently deafening blah that's so unattachedly intriguing.

Scanning wallpaper as it passes, until… glue hits an image embossed unforgettably upon the brain. Too late, the nanosecond fleet of double-take is observed, noted.

Instant recognition, despite never having met. Silver now sheens his well-groomed hairs. Same unassuming exterior disguising the inwardly intense. Those drilling eyes.

Neither knows which has travelled back in time or who may have travelled forward. Magnetic strangers, numerous concurrent lifetimes. Neither uttering a word.

Pen pal

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Hi there. How’s ya handle jandal? We haven’t checked in with each other for a while, but I’ll try my best with this one-sided conversation I’ve got to work with. Life on this side of the typeface is pretty swell, mother sends her love and the dog’s wagging its tail with glee, as always.

So my hairs won’t be taking me to NY I found out this week, but I’m all good with that. It was a very surreal experience and gi-normous fun having a platinum blonde personality for a while, even if my eyebrows had trouble keeping up at times. Plans to ditch the Gaga in favour of the Lady are now imminent, and who knows what that will look like.

So my NY visit will have to wait for my future book signing – yes, my first work of literary significance has begun! Or perhaps a stopover on my way to Colorado – due diligence is currently underway on my next business venture, which I’m truly excited about, and if proven feasible shall lead me there. Then again, there could be innumerable other reasons that take me to NY and I just love that unpredictability about life.

I hope you are well and laughing more often than not. The world delivers exactly what you ask and move in the direction of, so be who you want to be and watch all the marvellousness being propelled into your sphere. That’s really important, so please don’t forget. I want you to have everything of your wildest dreams.

All my love,
Anthea xxx

P.S. That smile really suits you, keep it up :)

100 things

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Yes I know it’s not all about me but… Alice Gray did it and it made me want to too. But no, I wouldn’t jump off a cliff just because she did it first.
  1. My favourite foods are potatoes and cheese
  2. And salty, sour or savoury things
  3. I am the youngest of 5
  4. One of two girls
  5. My mother says I was an accident, but a nice one
  6. I was almost called Andrea (they came to their senses)
  7. I am a terrible daughter and never call
  8. My favourite colour is red
  9. It speaks to me of passion
  10. I have one tattoo
  11. And a few scars on the outside
  12. A black cat called Mary-Plain was my first pet. He was actually a boy.
  13. I cried when my Doberman died. I was 33.
  14. I suspect I think about sex more than other girls
  15. I love my body
  16. It only took about 30 years
  17. I am my own worst critic
  18. And most loyal friend
  19. I have been in love 3 times in my life
  20. My ex-husband wasn’t one of them
  21. Only 2 of them ever knew
  22. And I still am, because to me that’s what love is
  23. I think people are hugely interesting and monotonously dull
  24. This could be due to my extremely low boredom threshold
  25. And very active imagination
  26. I like the shape my mouth makes forming certain words beginning with C
  27. I should stay away from brown-eyed puppies and bookshops
  28. For fear of bringing them home
  29. I feel my way through most things in life, rather than pure logic
  30. I didn’t always
  31. But I find it helps a lot
  32. I learned HTML in 2001
  33. It’s the only other language I know apart from English
  34. Unless you count XML and basic SQL
  35. And a few Maori words. I'd like to learn more.
  36. And to do calligraphy properly
  37. There’s just something I love about ink
  38. I never say “never”
  39. And also try to avoid using the word “should”
  40. If I could have one domestic servant, it would be a chef
  41. I once thought I really, really wanted to be a veterinarian
  42. But it seemed like too much effort
  43. Which are unusual words to hear uttered from my mouth
  44. I’m a firm believer in nana naps, but not for too long
  45. Taking a bath, riding my horse or dancing is how I de-stress
  46. Just generally being horizontal works well too
  47. I notice whenever you make spelling mistakes
  48. But won’t judge you for it. Much.
  49. I started going grey in my 20s
  50. But will take bets that I won’t go bald ever
  51. I have never broken any bones
  52. But have smashed 2 yard glasses at 2 separate twenty-firsts
  53. I only drink Tequila with people I trust
  54. And can get a hangover while still drunk on white wine
  55. I’m a country girl at heart
  56. But also like the town
  57. The suburbs are the pits
  58. If I had to choose, I’d rather be watched than do the watching
  59. Would like to time travel
  60. Don’t watch much TV, it’s a waste of time
  61. I love the sound of torrential rain on a corrugated iron roof
  62. And the feel of clean sheets
  63. One day I want to have my own tack room
  64. Where I will sit in an old-fashioned armchair
  65. Drinking copious amounts of tea
  66. While listening to music
  67. Kept warm by pot belly rays
  68. Writing and sometimes cleaning tack
  69. Eeewwl, number 69. What to say about that?
  70. I’m right-handed
  71. One of my most favourite things in the whole wide world is the feeling of warm sunshine on my back
  72. I’m a perfectionist
  73. Except when I can't be arsed
  74. I’m healthy as a horse
  75. Strong as an ox
  76. Soft as a kitten
  77. Loyal as a dog
  78. And woolly as a sheep at times
  79. I like antiques
  80. And boots
  81. I like to dress up, in character sometimes
  82. I buy nearly all my clothes second-hand
  83. It’s much more fun that way
  84. My favourite variety of apple is Eve
  85. I drink hot toddys and consume chilli en masse as the only remedy for colds
  86. I can’t stand the taste of coffee!
  87. Unless it’s in alcohol or cake
  88. I notice the smallest details
  89. I can tell when most people are lying, even those I don't know very well
  90. Although I don’t usually say anything
  91. I’d make an excellent detective
  92. I’ve always wanted to jump out of somebody’s birthday cake
  93. But the opportunity hasn’t arisen
  94. I’d also like to ride in a hot air balloon
  95. Jump a proper round of jumps on my pony
  96. And go on a horseback cattle drive
  97. Make me laugh and respect you and I’ll be yours forever
  98. I see humour in most things
  99. If not at once, then after a while
  100. I try to see the goodness in everyone

If need be

Friday, 15 April 2011

Propositions were nothing new to Sissy, from men and women alike. It was with their increasing frequency and obscurity the realisation dawned that she was living on an entirely different planet to mostly everybody else.

“You know how I feel about you. And we can do anything you want... even move to deepest darkest Peru if you like. I want you to be the mother of my kids, we don’t even have to be together if that’s what it takes.”

I need you and neither of us are getting any younger he had inferred. You’d better hurry up or you'll be left barrenly standing outside the gate. Meaning well, but the declaration also evidenced that he didn’t know the real her at all.

Exactly when Sissy had reversed roles with practically every man she had ever dated she couldn’t put her finger on. But there it was. No longer her key to feeling secure, happy or even ok, and along come a bombardment of the desperate to prove their manhood and correctly functioning sperm. Murphy’s Law Sissy, Murphy’s Law.

It wasn’t that Sissy didn’t want these things. Rather, the intense need upon which they hung their hat kept her navigating in the opposite direction. As the hats, for the most part, were ten gallon – heavily flourished with laden bands of ‘at all costs’, societal rule books and obligatory norms.

You can bark up that tree all you like, she thought, and never find what you really seek. “Thank you,” she said quietly instead, declining politely as had occurred so many times before. Fully confident of realising the fulfilment of her own deep-seated desires and dreams, that were, as she spoke, manifesting on their way to her.

Share with me your freak

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


When anybody asks me “Is it easy to forget?”
I’ll say “It’s easily done you just pick anyone
And pretend that you never have met”
~ Bob Dylan

The Mild West

Monday, 4 April 2011

At the foot of the bed lie a shotgun, a serious looking baseball bat, didgeridoo and a purring pussy cat called Pansy curled up in a tight ticklish tortoiseshell ball.
Aztec-patterned Pansy blends right into the furnishings as Geronimo, chief of the Chiricahua Apache, gazes out from his nearby wall-mounted frame of glass with troubled eyes and a chiselled mouth set in sepia tones. He too brandishes a shotgun within his well defined hands telling tales of strength and wisdom. He lived some eighty years Geronimo, until 1909. A grand age in those times no doubt, he must have known a thing or two.
It’s autumn and in the corner of the living room of this basic little rustic converted woolshed abode, the fire already crackles warm and hearty in the firebox. Horizontal dogs adorn its surrounds; the best place to be on such a grey, rainy day. Tools, horse shoes, bridles and other times-past knick-knacks are slung over nails banged into old hardwood timber struts, probably salvaged from some ancient bridge fallen into disrepair somewhere or other out in the boonies.
I’ve died and woken up in the Wild West after slinking back to bed at 10 o’clock, unable to function, absolutely worn out before the day has even begun. I’m delirious, I must be dreaming, but it feels... well, like it’s doing me the power of good.
So, in the absence of a gunslinger to coil up cosily with and snuggle, I stroke Pansy back to full throttle purr, roll over, closing my eyes sleepily once more. Vaguely aware of the soft rustle of wind through the oak trees outside the bedroom window, nature sets to gently healing my exhausted self by way of restful sleep and wonderful empowering dreams.

The week that was

Friday, 1 April 2011

A very strange week. One in which words have failed me on numerous occasions, much to my chagrin. So instead, a random shot of recent Womadic adventures. Because this week, as every week really, I'm reminded how truly awesome my friends are and because it's probably the last photo taken of me with that hair. Aliens landed on Tuesday morning and replaced me with a Lady Gaga/Annie Lennox/Andy Warhol lookalike. I'm not yet sure what I think about it, except that a change is as good a rest and Hello New York, we shall be meeting soon!

As good as your word

Thursday, 24 March 2011

I like words, a lot. I’m not exactly sure why, as despite my love for them, actions do speak louder. Too many empty nothings have been whispered to believe everything you hear. Many of the people I respect the most don't feel the unnecessary need to fill up all the silences, thankfully. Because understated is dead sexy.

But a word or phrase in the right tone and time conjures meaning, understanding and imagery way beyond the rudiment. The lilt of a tongue... the impression of crisp black font on a sea page of white... original thought and original expression without fear... long vowels in the throws of passion... now that’s what I like.

A trick of the tongue and a word in the ear take me where actions alone cannot. Ironic really, for dirty old fickle old words of which I hardly believe a jot.


Saturday, 12 March 2011

Came across this journal in a bookshop yesterday. And had to laugh 'cos sometimes I am just this kind of fuck wit, which is useful to remember :)

Bomb shelter

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Yesterday I tightly embraced an old friend I hadn’t seen in a brave while, an earthquake survivor. I couldn't get enough of him. Because I got the distinct impression he would have liked to shut out the world and shelter there a while, send occasional notes from a coma.

His partner, his child, his baby on the way and his employees are all, thankfully, okay. At least in a manner of speaking. Their homes, although severely quaked, are mostly salvageable. The business has been lucky enough to relocate to slightly calmer ground and retain its clients, at least thus far.

But he admits they’re all having trouble focusing on anything, sleeping, making decisions and attempting to again live ‘normally’, whatever that is. Tall buildings and built-up areas make this previously ardent believer in historical building restoration extremely nervous to be around. He doesn’t hesitate now when saying, “If they’re badly damaged, just knock ‘em down”.

I have no true comprehension of what these stellar folk are going through, that’s just not possible unless you were actually there. But I see in their eyes, the way they hold themselves and form their words now that something big has changed inside.

My arms are but a minute's shelter from the bomb while an innocent afternoon's sunshine warms our backs.

Bored secretary

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

His belly quaked and wobbled each time he paid credence to his own cleverness or made cutting remarks at the expense of those not present; evidence of too many decades' convivial conversation with fine claret and burgeoning cordon bleu.

Would the straining shirt buttons hold strong their jelly jail until the meeting's end she wondered, envisioning with horror and amusement alike the pickled flabby white flesh liberating itself all over the boardroom table. In which case, her strategy would be a quick exit stage left if there was to be any hope of holding back her lashing sarcasm, or laughter.

By many measures of society, he would be considered a huge success – wealth, status, power and those who hung on his every word in the hope that it would somehow rub off on them. Unfortunately, it often did. Her in-case-of-emergency escape plan would only work assuming she could first push past all the egos in the room.

Then once again invisible she would be. She didn’t mind a bit that most of them ignored her existence in public, oblivious as they were that she saw right through the hot air of their puffed up chests. You can tell a lot about how much respect someone has for themselves by the way they treat other people.

She wouldn’t be missed until she wasn’t there. That secretary, who sits quietly, diligently, recording the profoundness of their altogether remarkable words. Bit of a nerve she had at times though; something in her silent air. As if she knew anything. Someone really should bring her down a peg.

Taken for a ride

Saturday, 5 March 2011

When in doubt, talk about your horse. I sometimes use the icebreaker: “What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever killed?” but you get a few sideways looks at that, so you’ve got to be in the mood. Horses are safer. Let's talk about horses.

The thing I like about my brown boy in particular is, he’s such a dude, a hard case. Do anything most days, but also perfectly capable of putting you in your place. I like that in a bloke, just quietly.

So the aforementioned bareback buccaneering thing, it's fantastic. Natural. Second-nature almost. It’s a bit like this – and you un-horsey folk - this is a new experience just for you.

Legs enclave. A warm, fit, noble body moving, rhythmically with you. Hopefully. Otherwise it's much more awkward and clumsy. Gentle, yet definitely bold. Your skill of balance, flexibility and sense of adventure growing ever-stronger. In good stride.
Your skin. Their skin. One skin. Tuned, without needing to speak out loud. But sometimes you might, or inside, just to catch a briefest of flickers across their face. Adrenalin, endorphins, flickers, flutters. You each feel everything of the other.

No kicking yanking slapping to slow down or speed up, no visible movement at all perhaps. Because every bit of it is in your… breath. Building up the energy and electricity in your body to achieve quick accelerated exhilaration. Slowing down, deep breaths, every ounce of tension relaxed, gliding smoothly… or even a sharp stop. To start, on urge, again. In the motion and the moment.
Of course, I’ve no idea if my horse would describe our bareback rides the same way. He can get a bit cantankerous if he wants, although he’s seems pretty happy these days.

Christchurch aroha muster

Friday, 25 February 2011

Subdued. I’m not even sure what words to write next.

Chriiiiissstchhhuuuurccch earrrrtthhquaaaaake reeeliiiieff,” tolls the Lions Club man collecting money on the corner of Lambton and Willis in his eerie elongated monotone this morning. A town crier.

A silent screaming numbness overrides everything. But for some reason it feels really important to remain calm and open-hearted, rather than to go along with the depressive hysteria that’s all too easy to fall into and so bloody difficult to climb out from. It won’t help anyone. So apart from occasional quick glimpses at the general gist of things via the Internet, I’ve been avoiding all forms of media like the plaque. I can’t keep it together otherwise. Tears still break through the border when I'm caught off guard.

Everybody knows someone involved in one way or another. Everybody is affected. To my Christchurch friends, I’m so proud to know you guys. I see you all clubbing together and lovingly supporting one another with your usual super-amazing attitudes. I so want to wrap my arms around you all tightly and give you the mother of all squeezes xx

My Welly flatmate was flown down first thing Wednesday morning by Hercules to muck in. I haven’t been able to contact him since; it can’t be pleasant. There are many others I know doing their bit as part of their jobs or in their own personal way. Yes, you can also donate money or give shaken Cantabrians a place to get away to.

For everyone saying they feel helpless, another suggestion is pulling together all the aroha that is an intrinsic part of you from your insides and sending that strong, powerful, positive energy out with purpose. Not your sadness, your heartache or your fear - just the good stuff. Imagine it flying from within you through the air, culminating and growing stronger as it merges with the same energy from others on its journey.

And show the family and loved ones around you now how much you love them, unconditionally. That trivial day-to-day crap we normally get so caught up in really doesn't matter. Ever.


Dear Aunty Agnes

Sunday, 20 February 2011

To the girl who lives close by: The reason why you keep going back to that evil, nasty piece of work who constantly disrespects you and everyone else around, and who you actually feel ashamed to be with and you don't even really like, is because you fail to see what a gorgeous, super talented, wonderful woman you really are. So lacking in self belief. That might be a good place to start. Just trust me on this one okay.

To the silent boy around the corner: We complicate life with socially acceptable rules and half-truths, serving to feed an illusion of security and compromise who we really are. Those around you might be fooled, but I don't for a minute believe an ounce of your facade. I see you. You visit here all the time. I get your logic, but still think it's a shame. I'm still very much a (faaaaar from perfect) true friend even though you're not allowed to be the same. Happiness to you xx

To the girl in the mirror: When you act from a place of heart rather than insecurity, and don't buy into other people's crap, things always work out for you and usually better than you ever imagined. This has been proven time and time again. So worry not, always believe you can do it and keep aiming for the stars. Everything you ever dreamed of and more can and will be yours. P.S. Don't forget to dance.

Sssh... it's a secret

Thursday, 10 February 2011

In our divine wisdom, the three blonde bombshells decided it would do us all good to get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day and send out some good natured, light-hearted love this year. Which began a bit of eeny-meeny-miney-mo on various counts...
I decided to steer clear of gifting the once-prized (if never by me) musical romance that is Piano by Candlelight. Although the write up in North & South was almost convincing, I didn't want to risk complete petrification. Richard Clayderman-esque is not for everyone. Far too squidgy for my tastes, soft toys were definitely out. And what with the delivery complications, flowers do have that tendency for dying on the porch. Chocolate... sticky, melty... nah.

But if in your mailbox you should find a pink envelope backed with a question mark – and after opening it you’re not too put off by my own dubious style of cheeky wit – then, my chosen inamorato for the day, maybe I’m doing something right. Or quite possibly not. My affections can be something of an acquired taste.

L-O-V-E. That four letter word that the world has never quite been able to define. I have my own ideas and, quite likely, yours are worlds away from mine. Because mostly, I look around me and feel... well, quietly disillusioned... I don’t want for myself what it looks, from the outside, like many others have got.

The single most attractive quality in a person for me - lover, friend or passing acquaintance - is someone who knows what it is to be true to themselves. Unfortunately, as a very wise gay friend who laughs at me when I share with him this thought says: “Yeah, we’re both f****d. That’s pretty rare to find in anyone, and especially in a bloke!”

That’s okay. I shrug my shoulders with a grin. I’m also really happy right here, right now - and obtaining that seems more of a mysterious secret to most folk than who sent a silly unnamed card...

The big fill

Saturday, 5 February 2011

When you stop smoking, the mother of all appetites starts. You gain health and additional padding. It’s been 35 days and probably half a dress size thus far. But I’m still squeezing into my size 7 jeans… just. Which is ridiculous, no grown woman should be able to fit into size 7 jeans, unless she's an elf. Least of all me, I am more used to having hips and a posterior Noah could park his ark on.

Last year was a bit freakish. I smoked heinously huge quantities, ate practically nothing and lost something in the realms of 3 stone. Not on purpose, I just wasn’t hungry (and now I know why fashion models fag their heads off like there’s no tomorrow). As for cooking, well it just didn’t venture that high up my priority list. There was too much other stuff to do.

So now I’m ravenous again and into food. Correction, I’m into good fresh food. I’m reinventing myself in the kitchen, or at least I’m trying. If you know me at all, you’ll realise this is quite a shock, horror, gasp moment – my culinary skills definitely exist more at the consuming than the manufacturing end. I make no promises, it’s not my natural forte, but watch this space… if there’s any left behind the expanding silhouette…

Dead centre of town

Friday, 4 February 2011

I fell upon a dead place. It called to me on my vague no-particular-destination meanderings, appealling to a fervent curiosity, knowing I would respond. So I stayed a while, soaking up the overgrown ancientness of Hallowell Cemetery, “The Old Burying Ground”, lying somewhere down Nelson’s Shelbourne Street.

It shares whispers of neglect and long-forgotten secrets, the carpet of fallen leaves underfoot crackling loudly, traversing across splintering old bones. Hundreds of years on, the headstones marking graves of the dead and buried are all but gone, but no interpretation sign is really required to inform of their presence deep down underneath your shoes. You just feel it. Earth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes.

Hallowell today is an odd slopey wedge of land, juxtaposed at weird angles between houses of various eras and different lives. Like a peculiar three dimensional shape that doesn’t quite fit into any of the purpose-made holes of a child’s toy, instead remaining precariously and awkwardly perched – not quite in and not quite out of the space in which it used to reside. Slowly eroded away to this little patch of memorabilia turf, and I wonder who even comes here now.

The raucous din of cicadas snap, crackle and pop like sap burning and bursting in the bottom of a fire grate at a million degrees or suped-up electric fence waves on overdrive. Yet it’s strangely peaceful, fine great trees standing steadfastly, not succumbing to the downward slope as they look out down Manuka Street and onto the ranges beyond. I briefly muse upon how the dearly departed handled the slope lying horizontally in their beds of earth.

A just-ripe windfall Black Doris plum suddenly appears on the ground in front of me. It looks delicious, so I place it next to the only remaining grave to be seen, as a blessing. Annie Eliza Letitia Crawford died January 2nd 1866, in an asylum, age 10. She was one of the last to be buried here.

Hallowell well hallowed, dead centre or very much alive?

Barely there

Sunday, 30 January 2011

My latest phase is riding bare. Without a saddle that is.

While pretending recently that I was 7 writing an essay inside my head on what I did in the holidays, I realised that amongst all the cool crazy fun I had, my bestest most favourite thing was the stinking hot day my friend and I took our ponies down the river for a swim on the spare of the moment.

Sun glinting off the clear, cool sparkliness, it was so relaxing moseying upstream riding bareback amongst the happy wildlife. Our horses, with refreshing water up around their bellies, thought all their Christmases had come at once and so did we. Hooked I was, hooked.

And also because Peter Karena from that movie This Way Of Life and his kids ride bareback all the time and seem to have such a bloody good time. Not to mention that he’s exceedingly hot and rides naked on occasion too, but I'm sure this can have little if anything to do with it…

Benefits of my saddle-free summer are being able to ride in shorts, better horseback balance, more trust between me and the cheeky nag – who used to buck me off at every opportunity once upon a time and could achieve this in nanoseconds with my riding bareback should he desire – and after only a couple of weeks, the beginnings of buns and inner thighs to make Xenia Onatopp proud.

Good times.

A break for freedom

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Here's an admission. By in large, I don't like what I write. I wrestle for days, sometimes weeks with a piece, and to me it still comes out like shite. My flatmates are driven mad at least once a month by my torment.

It's like there's a prisoner inside me rattling at the bars... and rattling... and rattling... and rattling... being able only to pine and dream of what the outside world might be like.

So, enough of this bullshit. It's time for a new approach to such things. I'll let you know how it goes - or maybe you'll just be able to tell. A little trust in the process, okay here we go...

Airport bingo

Monday, 24 January 2011

I’m delayed in the airport en route to somewhere that isn’t here. Still, what better excuse to watch and write, as I sit sipping a ludicrously extortionate cup of hot water with flavouring of tea.

Ms Snooty stalks around, nose in the air and a carrot up her arse. Perhaps she’s perfectly lovely... but nonetheless, there’s something repellent about the unhappy set of her haughty mouth.

A lady sits at a table across the cafĂ©, full of sadness. It’s there in the vague, hollowed lifelessness of her eyes and the lanky droop of her hair. I'm fighting the urge to walk over and give her a big hug.

I haven’t yet heard the middle-aged man across from me speak, but I bet you $20 he’s a Yank. The iPad, loafers, beige chinos and style of his jacket give it away. But more than anything, it’s his face structure, the cap and his affected wife.

The podgy woman to my right is onto me. Full of cheeky grins, twinkly eyes and her chin constantly a-laugh. I like her immediately. A wave of passengers arrive and she embraces the two blackest people I’ve ever seen.

A spectacular example of a handlebar moustache is in direct line of sight. Peter Plumley-Walker has nothing on this guy. I admire his individualistic approach, but I wouldn’t want to be revving up that particular bike at night.

The guy behind me is a writer. I know, because I’ve met him somewhere or other before. This could be a chain reaction: me watching and writing about him watching and writing about me. Just as well it’s time to board.

P.S. I was totally right about the Yank. He just opened his mouth.

In the Depp End

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Johnny has eyes only for me. “In the Depp End” trumpets the M2 magazine headline looking sexily lusty up at me. Although, I'd prefer to change it around to  be "The Depp End In" ...well, me.
I’m dreaming ofcourse, but without dreams, wherever would we be? Just now I’m on the Interisland ferry heading for Welly. In the posh lounge – with refreshments, Internet access and magazines – hence Johnny being here with me.
It seems a fitting end to my pauper’s Christmas turned rock’n’roll lifestyle of the past few weeks; unfathomable, unexpected and mostly all for free. You wouldn’t believe the half of it even if I told you, trust me. But come Monday, hi-ho hi-ho it’s off to work I go and the summer holidays will be over.
I don’t mind. 2011 is going to be another fantabulous year, even better than the last, and I’m keen to throw myself in at the Depp End. This year, amongst many other things, I’m going to write something of significance and fall in love. It’s high time I did both I reckon. So you'd wanna be quick Johnny...
Oh yeah, and today I’m 15 days smoke free. Yay me! And yay you! Here’s to a most groovy year for us all. Much love from a soon-to-be writer of ill repute xx

Heart warming

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

A good friend of mine reckons that when you're in the positive flow of life you start noticing random hearts appearing everywhere around you. I like this idea, it warms my heart.

And she's right. I've noticed there's a heart etched into the door knob on the inside of my back door at home. Then I came across a big unmistakable piece of heart-shaped chicken in my Pad Thai the other day when out lunching at yummy Chokdee. But yesterday at the beach took the cake thus far and I couldn't control my amused laughter when I saw this...

So keep your eyes pealed for hearts in unexpected places and I bet you'll start seeing them too. A warm heart and good spirits is an unbeatable combination xx

Lives of the rich and famous

Monday, 3 January 2011

This is a very fine flying machine, let me tell you ...and that whole thing about always expecting the unexpected because that way it’s more likely to happen; here be another most excellent case in point. I’ve always wanted to experience flying in a chopper, but admittedly have never gone out of my way to make it happen. Out of the blue yesterday came an opportunity to fly into the stunning Abel Tasman National Park for free in this magnificent machine. Taking off from a private airport in Mot, I was at Awaroa Lodge in time for breakfast, some golden sand R&R and back in Nelson in time for afternoon jazz with friends. Life is pretty sweet people. And I didn't even have to sleep with anyone :P