Mum’s 70th Partieme Trois

We had an awesome afternoon with the kids, the somewhat parents (us) and Mum, Nancy & Murray (the actual adults). The boys are all pretty much 23 now – some weren’t but they were close enough and happy enough to give it a shot.

Kids and an adult. Not Nathan FYI

Mum’s 70th part two

So. We’re quite comfortable with the idea of travelling down south, merrily picking up people on the way… actually loved it a lot! We’ll all chip in and it will be an awesome convoy to Invercargill. And despite popular opinion Invercargill is actually awesome!

Fat Bastards Pies.

Oh my gosh.

So I was excited about Invercargill, Fat Bastards Pies, and my mum’s 70th and the grand reunion around that. Also obviously my grand daughter, who, while was not present was absolutely part of the proceedings.

Of course we didn’t go down in convoy. Of course we didn’t co-ordinate in anyway except see you at the Working Men’s Club on the 13th. We are us! Not you.

It was a great trip down, stayed in Little River with Shelly

Da da de dah

And then booked it to Invercargill where we stayed at the Monarch Motel. Which is awesome because it is pet friendly.

Was actually fun all the way down, mostly because my not-son-in-law (official name) insisted onlooking for castles. Thankfully there were a great many churches that fit the bill, how ever there were a surprising number of homes that also fit the bill.

Mum’s 70th

So. My siblings and I agreed not long after mum’s 60th that we would all get together for her 70th. We didn’t all get together for her 60th, but I’m pretty sure we all made contact about then as the ChCh earthquakes were about that time and while she was part of an awesome community there, we felt the need to be part of it. My mum never asks for help, so not sure if she either wanted or needed us, but we turned up. Because we both need and want her. Separately ideally. We love each other obviously, but we are better apart. Actually I cherish both my sister and my brother and one of the things I cherish most is that they absolutely understand that we are better kids to mum one on one.

So. The earthquakes is a seperate and longer story that I’m not doing here, except to say that my world view was absolutely turned upside down and shaken to the nth degree. As were many many others on a much deeper level. Not skimming as such, just touching upon.

Mum’s actual 70th birthday was the 13th of March, 2021. Insane! It’s the future! My brother & sister and I had discussed it in the abstract, but 3 years ago realised it was going to be coming up pretty damned fast. So we were all in agreement, we would absolutely be there and do our best to get our offspring there too. So. Please note that we decided that in 2018.

So. Come the beginning of 2020 my Uncle suddenly realised he had a wider family and was keen to get as many people as close as possible. So he told mum that he’s keen. And as I told mum that I was keen Dave and I became the co-ordinaries. In name. In actuality it fell on Jo, Dave’s wife and Caitlin, my daughter. Because in actual fact Dave and I are both assholes.

So funny it’s actually embarrassing to laugh in front of your dog…

Okay, I’m sorry. I’ve been hiding. I live in New Zealand, I have no reason except laziness. And actually maybe a small tinge of fear. I’m in the middle of my last Tonga adventure and just want to talk about books!! Books are safe, omgosh I could inundate you with really interesting things!! But I won’t. Except to say that right now I’m reading Bill Bryson’s travels and bloody hell, don’t read them on a bus or at the pub while waiting for your quiz team to join you.

But mostly I want to distract you right now with TJ Klune. His “How to Be A Normal Person” is actually so funny you will be embarrassed by the fact that even though you are reading it in your house, by yourself, your dog will be extremely concerned by the noises coming from you. And this has happened to multiple acquaintances. It’s NOT just me! Do not read on a public place. But bloody hell, this story of really weird guy meets quite a lot less weird guy and tries to ensure he follows societal cues is just brilliant. And weirdly skips the British thing of embarrassing and goes straight for laugh out loud, heart warmingly perfect. Mr Klune has a multitude of books, all of which I’ve enjoyed, his Brother series is awesome, though tbh I’m not keen to read twice. they’re absolutely a great series, but hard work if you’re trying to be upbeat. Which is a stupid reason not to read them so do it. The Otter & Bear books are fricking fabulous. Not funny though. Well yeah they are, but not laugh out loud funny like “How to Be A Normal Person”. I SO want to read the next book, “How to Be A Movie Star”, but am finding it hard to get hold of.

Long story short, when I set up this site I didn’t really know wth I was doing, but am now glad my travel stuff is tucked away in menus and I can blather out here. GO FIND TJ KLUNE! He’s really funny, really clever and absolutely will make you cry.

Lucy Mangan I love you

And have been talking to you for the last 24 hours. In my head. Mostly.


You’ve read most of the stuff I’ve read, and some of the stuff we have differing experiences – for example pretty sure I was well indoctrinated into the David Attenborough way of life on earth (and definitely was actually living on a farm) when I read Charlotte’s Web. But doesn’t change the fact I was devastated. Just possibly not as surprised.

Milly Molly Mandy is still a strong presence in my head. Possibly helped by the fact my girl got into her too.

And you’ve read a lot of stuff I haven’t and am going to. Though tbh, not going to go back to Enid. Unlike you I met her through the Wishing chair books and so so so loved those books. But never actually wanted to read the famous five or secret seven. Did read the wishing chair again when my daughter was little(r). She didn’t take to it. I didn’t have the same love as I did for Matilda or the BFG but I still have a warm place in my heart for it.

Gosh. So yes, this is me NOT having a conversation with you.

Actually would be keen to do so. Is that weird? Not necessarily in person. Maybe more have a conversation with Bookworm. Because I agree with so much of it, and disagree with some and I want to discuss that with someone!!! I have no literary merit obviously. Have been reading for 45 or so years but otherwise nothing to tempt you.

But there is nothing on earth I’d rather do than discuss books with someone that knows the books and have an intelligent conversation. Like yes!! Marchpane = Marzipan = insanely sweet and also slightly yucky. Very important realisation!! But for me it hung over the March family – I think I read them about the same time. Should revisit.

You know?

This is my love letter to Lucy Mangan. Who at 802 years old is slightly older than myself but not by much. Maybe by 4 years.


Teddy Bears everywhere

Okay so me and my friend need a bit of stimuli. We’ve challenged each other, and I’m including everyone in this, to make a setting for our Bear Hunt bears. #bearhunt

So. Our challenge is to create a scenario. Today’s bears were pilot bears and are on Instagram.


Sunday’s are Pirate Bears!!

We’re doing this thing every Sunday and Thursday. Any ideas for themes let me know. Any pics of cool pirate bears find me on Instagram teddy_bear_challenge


I had no idea. I don’t have any of the skills I thought I’d need at a time like this. Presuming we’re heading for a zombie invasion obviously.

BUT if we are actually kind… I do have skills! I’m good at bread and pastry… have rudimentary knowledge of motor engines.

Also know that even if I could write with any idea of a story, this one has been done WAY too many times.

This sucks right?! And I’m fucked off because I don’t even have a dog to talk to… but I have awesome neighbours and am so so lucky with my job. Let me know if you don’t have that because I’m happy to share.

Do new stuff!!

Life, the universe and everything

This has been a big week. Actually really awful. It started last Monday when my dog had a massive heart attack.


He’s the happiest dog ever invented. Always so pleased to meet his new best friend and not shy about telling them. Annoying. Obviously. But just so damned happy it was a pleasure. Okay. So I’d spent Sunday with a very good friend preparing for going for my job on Tuesday. Which was absolutely worth the time and I will love her forever for taking the time to do that with me.

Monday my girl came over for dinner and it was yummy – Hello Fresh Chirizo Penne, so good! We’d literally just finished when Tuck collapsed and I thought he was dead. He wasn’t, but he was not well. We took him to the After Hours vet and they put him on oxygen and diuretic’s. They kept him for several hours and then I was able to take him home. They took xrays and showed me that he had no Hope really. His heart was HUGE. Couldn’t fix him, but could keep him comfortable. IF I could keep him calm! So. Next morning went to my interview. Actually kinda enjoyed it. Didn’t really give a shit tbh. And then spent the day working at various sites. My girl spent sometime with Tuck, cleaning my house and making him feel normal. I luff her.

My Girl

Interview done ✅ yay!

Got a call on Thursday, one of my oldest friends dad had died that morning. I was gutted. Had such respect for that man and felt so much for my friend that was hurting. So. Organised to go to ChCh to be there for her for the hardest bit. And then Tuck had another heart attack. And then Friday he had a bigger one. And during his heart attack on Saturday I took him to the vet and said goodbye. Which sucked the big kumara mightily. Fuck.

Have spent the last week in Christchurch roaming around a bit. Had rented a Corolla Hybrid and have to say it’s the best damned car – handled beautifully going out to Little River, was fantastic in traffic, and was just a joy to drive. Loved it. Want one. Did more than 300km and paid $26 to fill.

I’m sad. On so many levels. Am so so sad for my friend who has lost her very much loved father, am sad that my cat is kinda traumatised by me leaving her and her not having her dog. Am absolutely traumatised by my quiet house. It’s not right.

So. Big week. So big it’s stretched to two.

firstly please indulge me…


Now… to carry on.

It’s been a weird couple of years, but to be honest the last 6 months have been the hardest. Weirdest. Not the hardest as I have been reminded recently, but most definitely the weirdest I’ve done so far.

I never finished my last Tonga trip posts, will do that over the next week or so. Funny thing about blogging that I never appreciated, you have to keep working at it.

I’ll let you know on here when the Tonga posts are done and you can check it out in the menu above.

And then I’ll write my wee happy story about diving in Oriental Bay 😁

Meanwhile am back to reading Elizabeth Gilbert. God I LOVE her The Signature of All Things. And have just finished City of Girls which made me cry.

And so for something completely different…

I’ve been away a wee while. I’m so sorry.

I have a much better diving story which I’ll relate next post, but meanwhile I’m keen to tell you about my surprise awesome reading experience! I don’t know if you’re into intelligent women, I don’t know if you’re kinda nerdy. I don’t care tbh – Mary Robinette Kowal is the best thing I’ve found this century since Fibre. She’s clever, she’s funny and she makes you feel smart while you learn stuff.

Her first series is about a woman who wants to become an astronaut from the age of something silly like six. This chick grows up to be a mathematician and is hired at the alternate equivalent of NASA as a computer. She’s AWESOME!! Bloody hell I love when you find awesome.

Her last released book is called Ghost Talkers and is about a woman in the Second World War and her fiancé, who dies early in the book (okay, maybe should’ve put spoiler but it’s kinda obvious so I’m not going to. If it wasn’t obvious I’m SO sorry) but plays a key role all the way through. Again, inspiring, heart breaking, and totally immersed in this world she’s built. AWESOME!! Everyone needs to see what awesome looks like sometimes – go read Mary Robinette Kowal