‘Hello bear, here we are. How ya doin?’
Our lead guide was talking to an enormous white bear which had appeared 20 metres in front of us. It stood straight up on its hind legs, a dazzling tower of power. It blinked. It focused. It tried to make sense of this huddle of hyperventilating polar bear spotters fumbling with our cameras.
But I was not afraid – and not because there were eight other tasty morsels, including my children, between the bear and me. Continue reading
It’s book-writing time, but this blog is tap-tap-tapping against the inside of my head. I’ll have to let the damn thing out so I can get on with it.
It’s about a landscape. One of those terrifying, big country, exploding-out-of-the-earth places that remind you that this planet will survive all the madness – it’s us who will end up fossils. Continue reading
It’s funny what a little distance can do.
Last year was our first white Christmas, spent high in the Austrian Alps. It snowed on Christmas Eve and we spent a week in the bosom of warm Austrian hospitality – candlelight feasting, skiing and tobogganing . It was such an enchanting and different experience that I feared that returning to normal – no matter how good to be with all the family again – would be a disappointment.
Then, while hanging out the washing the other day (bear with me) I looked up to see the blood-red blooms of the pohutukawa tree at the neighour-two-doors-over.
Boom. It was like a wee Christmas elf had waved a magical pine wand and transported me to the beach. Continue reading
What a blur it’s been.
Smiling faces and hugs and kisses at the airport then whammo: into the car and back onto the left hand side of the road, heading north past Mangere Mountain, onto the bridge across the harbour, taking the Hillsborough Rd exit, passing through Epsom, past the rubbish bin I threw up in in 2008, past the café that does the baguettes, past Dog Mountain, up the hill to Mt Eden village, past the family doctor on the left, the family dentist on the right, the chemist, the favourite deli, turning right at the fruit shop, right again and there you are.
A week to go. A week!
What a strange limbo this is.
I went out to buy fruit the other day, paused at the end of the driveway, sighed, and turned left instead of right.
What a coward. Instead of heading to my favourite little fruit shack up the road, I went to the big, bland, unfriendly place down the road, spoke to no one and slunk back home with my inferior produce.
It’s so stupid to be avoiding the Raspberry Man who I have enjoyed talking with so much over the last 18 months.
Today I realised why I’ve been doing it. The business of leaving is messing up the business of living. Continue reading
Sometimes a landscape is so painterly that it can make up for a technical screw-up on the camera front.
I was initially horrified to see that I had accidentally enabled a cheap camera effect on the day we finally brought our boys to one of our favourite landscapes in Provence – the dizzying Route de Crêtes between Cassis and La Ciotat. Continue reading
There were good reasons not to take five children on one of the best hikes in Provence.
Risk of death was the principle one.
The highest point takes you high along the face of a cliff so thin that it looks like a gormless rock giant has patted it together out of wet sand and tapped bits out of it with a finger.
The French call it Les Lames – The Blades. Continue reading
“This is just like the summers of my childhood,” a friend who was born in this region said the other day, lifting her face up to the sun.
“Il faisait si chaud que le goudron fondait sous vos pieds [It used to be so hot that the tar was melting under your feet].“ Continue reading
I must be turning French because I am outraged.
I want to act like a French protester and spontaneously flip my people-mover on its side (kids, husband, bag, phone charger out first) and set fire to it, then go on strike from telling people how great New Zealand is.
Back in my home town, a panel of pointy-headed morons has given the Auckland Council carte blanche to throw out the rules that were meant to protect public views of the city’s fantabulous volcanoes forever – or at least until the city gets blown off the face of the earth. Continue reading
We had big plans for our long weekend in Corsica in May.
Driving, hiking, rugged mountains, deserted beaches, excellent food, fabulous wine – we were keen to try everything we’d heard about this island-mountain of the Mediterannean.
Fate had other ideas. Continue reading