Sunday, 21 February 2010


Our garden was so alive this morning.

Amidst the rain, Mr. Fox was leaping over backyard fences like an equestrian horse; our big fat pigeon, hunched over on his crooked branch was lazily keeping one eye on the action, whilst the other one snoozed; the neighbour's well-fed black and white cat lorded about his territory making sure the blackbirds didn't come too close. And all the while, one of the squirrel duo had paused his pas de deux for a moment, to rest on the stump of a branch.

The rain had just started to fall again, and instead of running for cover, he unfurled his tail, flattened it and rolled it out along his back like a sleeping bag, all the way over his head so it acted as a furry umbrella.

There he squatted, quite peacefully watching and waiting; sheltering himself from the icy winter morning's rain.

Rain's Sunday morning chorus

Sometimes I love to wake up to the sharp sound of rain on my window. As I press my eyelids apart I can see the water sliding its way down the slanted skylight, almost within reach from my bed. It is as if I could stretch out and feel the drops on my skin.

It is the days like today, when I know that there's no getting up to go to work to be had; that my day will be filled with books and endless cups of tea; extended breakfast conversations in the kitchen, examining our spring bulbs and commenting on their last week's growth; yes, days like today that it is good to hear the rain.

Maybe I'll venture out later on, but for the moment I'm very content to lie here and listen to the Sunday morning fingernails of rain drum on my window as I'm wrapped in the warm, comforting hands of my duvet.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Books to read before I'm 30 - Book seven

'Affluenza' By Oliver James

I very distinctly remember being on a train in India, and having an in depth conversation with a local man who was very insistent on the fact that everyone in Western countries must be so 'happy'. How could they not be? And I could see his logic. Relatively we're very well-off; have health care which covers us, even if it is our own fault; and a welfare system to catch us should we 'fall'.

Then I remember boarding the Piccadilly line from Heathrow on landing in the UK, and looking around at my fellow passengers. I realised he was wrong. We weren't any happier. Despite all the extra capital.

Oliver James introduces the concept of 'Affluenza', an epidemic of needing to keep up with the Joneses which is making us twice as prone to depression, anxiety and addictions than those from the non-English speaking world.

I wont bore you, but this book should be read by anyone who feels they 'should' buy a house; 'needs' a so-called good job; or feels torn by the fact they want to be at home to raise their children rather than go back to work full time. In fact, just about everyone can get some good messages from this book. I certainly got plenty. A very appropriate book for someone to read before entering into their 30s.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Happy 200th post Nomadic Emma

It's been quite a ride.

We first started way back over the other side of the world at the end of 2007, with saving snails and dodging 'lady sleep'.

Very shortly we found ourselves in the wonderful city of New York, and crossing the border into Canada on a train, eating a hot dog bought for me by a mad Londoner called Tom who had just found $100 in a cab.

Soon we were enjoying the delights of London's Northern Line on our way to work in the morning. In fact we loved London so much, we decided to stay.

During our first year in London, we went on 17 dates in 17 days; went through a 'cheese of the week' phase; and started a list of '100 things to do in London before you die of chronic lung disease'.

Soon enough it was 2009, which brought with it a new visa, and Nomadic Emma's '52 shots'. A few months later and '9 things to do in the 9 months whilst I'm still 29' kicked off with the 9 course dinner for 9 people. In amongst all of that however, a new life came into the world in the form of baby Niamh Isabella.

2009 continued on its merry way, with me and Nomadic Emma just along for the ride. In August, we saw the light in the form of a beer and ale stew; then in October we climbed a mountain; and in December, baked 33 cupcakes.

Before we knew it, the year had flicked into 2010. And here we are. 200 posts later. A couple of years older, and probably not much wiser.

It's been fun. And it's not over yet. There is a lot more blogging in us yet. If anyone out there does actually ever read this blog (apart from my family - who are obliged to) thanks for listening. It's nice to have you on our page.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

And so it grows...

The 'thirty quilt' slowly grows. It is a pretty gradual process, but I'm in no particular rush.

It is bigger than it was here, and has certainly moved on since I first mentioned it here. Perhaps it was a teeny bit ambitious thinking I'd have it done in the '9 months whilst 29' but I'm happy to give myself an extension on this project.

It is nice to see it begin to take form. And wet winter weekends provide only more opportunity for expansion.

Monday, 8 February 2010

So what do you do....?

The other night at the pub post-work, we somehow came around to the conversation of whether your friends and family actually know what you do. The answer was a resounding 'no'.

Gone are the days when most of us are nurses, teachers, journalists, and farmers. Now we are account directors, consultants, project managers....

To my left's friends know he does something to do with numbers; diagonally's brother thought she was in PR for three years; and the most senior at the table's dad has always thought he is a management consultant. None of which is true.
Directly across from me once appeared in one of our campaigns, for a medical client of ours. Now half of her friends are sure she is a nurse.

Some of you may well remember the Friends episode when Rachel can't remember what Chandler's office job is, so then calls him a 'transponster'. This term now appears in the Urban Dictionary:

Transponster is now commonly used to describe an office job not clearly defined as one role/responsibility, but a combination of data entry and analysis. This sort of role is difficult for the employee to describe to friends or family, often sounding boring, confusing or both to those outside the office environment.

So there we sat on that Thursday night, a table of 'transponsters', enjoying some drinks and giggles after a hard day of 'transponstering'.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

A New Zealand Gallery - Jan 2010

Pizzas, rustic style, at Phoebe and Shane's wedding

At the beach with Beth & Niamh

The annual beer tasting gets a second go for my birthday celebration

Bath time with the Bramwell-Cookes

Looking fairly pleased with their present haul from London

Back to Piha, second year running. Once again, she turns on a beautiful day for us

Three bridesmaids
I don't know if I've ever felt as lucky as I did this past Thursday.

From the very start of the day to the absolute finish, I had reminders from all different directions about how wonderful the people in my life are.

Toasting the day with champagne at breakfast; a singing voice mail from Switzerland; homemade cakes and cards at work; krispy kremes with my new team; talk with Mum and Dad; and finally, at the end of the day, coming home to a house filled with wonderful people who had gone out of their way to make my day as special as possible.

And so, we sat around the table, laughed, ate and drank until the late hours. And I thought to myself that surely there was no better way to celebrate thirty years of life, than this.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Books to read before I'm 30 - Book six

'The art of walking upright' by Glenn Colquhoun

Deep in the bath
the water climbs my neck
pages just above the water line
I'm almost back in New Zealand.

I can taste the salty fish & chips wrapped in The Dominion Post
Wellington's wind on my cheek
the tide wraps itself around the beach
as the London water curls its way down and out the drain.

We share a moon, and our sun carves the same path
but it's the two minute noodles, lava-lavas, eftpos, L&P, peanut slabs
the vege gardens, the Crown Lynn, Fly Buys, and Super 14
which make things so different.

And in a very unpoetic way, that is kind of how reading Glenn Colquhoun's 'The art of walking upright' makes me feel.

Monday, 1 February 2010

A silver finger

I awoke deep in the middle of last night to find a moonbeam shining down on my pillow. Peering up through my skylight I could see that solitary silver face in the sky.

What he wanted to tell me, I wasn't sure. But I closed my eyes again with the feeling of his hand on my cheek.