The Plague Tour – Part 2

‘I’m going for a poo.’

‘No you’re not.’

‘Come on. It’ll be fun.’

‘Let go of the door. You are not going in there.’

‘Someone has to christen it.’

‘No someone doesn’t. The camper van toilet is for emergencies only — between the hours of ten pm and six am.’

‘This is an emergency. I need to christen it.’

‘There is a flushing toilet thirty metres from here with hand dryers and soap dispensers. Go and use that.’


‘Step away from that door.’

‘Why are you so grumpy?’

The honeymoon was over and we were still at Queenstown Airport.

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Red is the colour of a New Zealand Christmas

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

View from the driveway

The driveway is not the place for quiet reflection.

It’s the hub of arrivals and departures, the place where you are always hunting for the house key or the car key, busting for the toilet, tucking sweatshirts under your chin, drink bottles under your arm, grabbing shopping bags or school bags or day bags, yelling at kids to help, kicking doors open, kicking doors closed, putting everything down to hunt for keys, running back for sunglasses, putting on sunblock, finding hats, reaching for the map, plugging in the phone, fiddling with the air-conditioning, checking your reflection for toothpaste on your chin…

Then one day you glimpse a painting reflected in the wing mirror.


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Perils of the home straight


Nerves of steel are required to drive this road every day

Whoever dares to question French courageousness needs to drive on my road.

Countless fearless Aixois commuters do it every day of the week. Twice. At speed.

The road is as wide as a catwalk model’s ankle.

Steep ditches line each side of it.

Huge trucks travel at ferocious speeds on it.

Tractors and trailers, graders and even horses and carts can be seen on it.

Yet the only one who is terrified is me – leaning pointlessly toward to the centre of the car where it feels a tiny bit safer.

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