See More Seymour

That’s David Seymour, local Member of Parliament, butt of many jokes, man about town. You can tell it’s him because his name and face are plastered all over his bright pink car.

I saw him four times yesterday morning in the course of getting a couple of early errands done and getting to work. That’s a record even for someone so overexposed as to have been a contestant on Dancing With the Stars…

Dawn Swim

Last Sunday we swam extra early to celebrate the coming of spring. Setting out we could only see each other by the flashlights and glow sticks in our float buoys.

By the midpoint, it was light enough to enjoy jumping off the wharf. The early morning fisher people were bemused.

On the way back to the beach the sun finally broke the horizon just off the shoulder of Rangitoto volcano, and it was beautiful.

Stormy weather haikus

Windblown e-scooters

Like a row of fainting goats.

I’ll go on by foot

Cheap brolly! Windstorm!

Too-small trash bins tell the world

You should’ve spent more.

Catching Up

It’s been a quiet couple of weeks here in Lake Whaungangong, my hometown.

In addition to seeing Downton Abbey, my birthday included cupcakes and ice cream, a nice walk around St. Heliers, a giant church rummage sale (not pictured) and a great dinner out.

Besides that, it’s been workaday life punctuated by weekend stuff: ocean swimming on Sundays, a boat ride and picnic, day trips around town.

Winter is giving way to spring, and the final citrus harvests from Tom’s grapefruit tree yielded gallons of delicious juice.

Now it’s wisteria time, and the tulips are blooming.

I’ve joined a community jazz band, the Auckland Big Band, and I’m busy learning the repertoire. My first gig with them will be at a retirement home in early December.

Local elections are coming up soon.

Desley Simpson, who looks quite a bit older in person, has plastered her campaign picture all over town. Defacing things is bad, but the observation that she is the voice of big money is not unreasonable. She really always wears things in that pink color.

That’s all for now…


You know you’ve turned some sort of corner in life when you’re more excited about going to see Downton Abbey than any of the last several Avengers movies.

You’ve got one job

This beauty is a puriri moth that we found, probably just at the end of its life, on the footpath.

The caterpillar lives for up to five years inside a tree, eating and growing. When it metamorphoses into a moth, it lives a maximum of two days (has no mouth to eat), during which it hopes to meet another puriri moth and make babies.

Cat got your cart?

We’ve been really happy with this little cart we got to haul our farmers market finds. It’s easier now that we’re too old to care if we look like old people pulling a cart.

Misty is a great fan of anything with a string attached.

(Tiny {House) Concert}

Last Saturday we did two fun things.

In the AM, we went to the North Shore Miniaturists show. Which is like dollhouses, only a bit more varied than just the traditional dollhouse idea. Lots of cool stuff… some real talent on display. Lee is working on a couple of mini arts and crafts projects and this was an inspiration.

Then in the evening we went to the KBB Music Festival gala concert, for the second time. It seemed less good than that first year, but the kids still did some great work.

Rites of spring

This pink tree is definitely one of the nice early signs that spring is around the corner. The birds love these flowers.

Running through Cornwall Park yesterday… no dogs, please, it’s lambing season. It’s pretty great to have this park, totally available to the public, in an otherwise ordinary suburban neighborhood just a few miles from downtown.


I had a quick visit to Melbourne last week. It’s a big bustling boomtown, construction everywhere, lots of buzz in the streets.

There were a bunch of cool steampunk sculptures around, including this one. I turned the handle and looked through the lens, as you are seemingly intended to do. I saw something, but didn’t stick around long enough to know if I’d actually seen the point.

Who’s the fairest?

Our furnished rental house came equipped with a very sleek black and white colour scheme. It showed well, but over time we have found both the furniture and the decor to be too sterile.

We’ve been acquiring stuff of our own here and there, but the dining room wall was still home to some old framed stock photos. They were only united by the B&W scheme.

So, did a thing we’ve done before: a collection of mirrors… united only in being mirrors, I suppose, but still happier for us than the noir.

We laid them all out on a sheet first, trying a bunch of different arrangements before ending up pretty close to the very first design. The sheet technique worked great for transferring the positions to the wall.

Whenever we do move out it will be a fair bit of work to restore the look back to the original… maybe we’ll choose to say goodbye to some of our deposit.


Above, Tutukaka’s Paradise Bay, where I went for a swim on Sunday morning that featured a sea cave and a fur seal.

Below, Auckland’s Rothesay Bay, where I went for a run yesterday afternoon.

Tawapou Farm Community Planting Day

Tawapou Farm is my ex-boss Tom’s family place. A few years ago they decided to put the land into a conservation trust and (over a decade or more) restore the native plants that had been destroyed by 100 years of cattle and pine tree farming.

Now, they have a community planting day every year to further that cause. Tom’s brother, who runs a large plant nursery on the property, does all the prep work (including killing off all the existing grasses), and they put out the call for volunteers. We were replanting between a pretty little stream and a new road they’ve put in to get to the children’s homes on the coastal ridge.

The Orca Research lady had first world conservationist problems… she had to arrange special permission to park down by the work site because there had been an orca sighting in the bay and she was on call to rush off and document any repeats.

Tom’s partner Isabella’s daughter with her beau… is this a pose they might repeat some day???

I don’t know how many people actually showed up today… maybe 80-100? But many hands certainly lightened the work. We planted over 5,000 shrubs and trees in under three hours.

After, we were treated to a great lunch and a long talk about bird habitat management (which mostly means killing rodents by any means necessary).

Kiwis feel about their gumboots the way many Americans feel about cowboy boots, and there many on display. And as with cowboy boots, some looked more authentic than others.

We are sore and that will get worse tomorrow. But it was a fun morning of community and I think it will be a long-term memory of doing something that feels unequivocally “right.”

And then, the long walk from the hotel to the bar… life is good.

Warkin’ It

We are in Tutukaka this weekend planting trees. En route yesterday, we stopped in Warkworth for some fried chicken. Walking around we found this clock tower, presented by the local Jaycees in 1967.

And we got to witness the free market in action at a local op shop. Supply of cricket books outpaces demand, resulting in depressed prices…

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