Category archive: The Good Life

Superstitions – Impotence

If they have faith in an old superstition, men who are concerned about their sexual vigour should eat a generous amount of rabbit kidneys. Rabbits are known to very procreative, by why their kidneys were regarded as the seat of their rampant passions has never been explained. (Nor is there any suggestion that another part of the male rabbit might provide a more logical encouragement.)

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Max’s Dogs – Kublai Khan’s dogs

In the 13th  century Marco Polo reported from China that Kublai Khan of Cathay had two kivichi  or Masters of the Chase, each commanding 10,000 men assisting the Khan to command a total of  5,000 dogs in tracking, hunting, and killing  wildlife. Marco Polo didn’t mention how big the kennels must have been.

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King Henry III of France (1575) was a devoted dog lover – perhaps a bit too devoted. He owned 2,000 dogs, so perhaps it is just as well that he had several palaces. He liked to have 100 dogs within patting distance, and he went walkabout with 20 at a time.

Popcorn

My daughter named him Popcorn, a cockatiel that came into my possession as a present some years ago. There are many things that come into the unwise-present category, and animals come near the top of the list.

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‘The next time you see it will be when you die…’

He boarded the outbound 737 from Auckland looking out of place and time.

He was a Buddhist monk, replete with flowing brown  robes, practical sandals and on his  left wrist, corded bangles. Not a sober sort, he joked with other  passengers  as he settled into his seat.  One asked him what religion he belonged to.  A pause.

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A tropical flower in Spring

Winter lingered like an unwelcome visitor, but finally Spring arrived – one little step after another.

Jasmine scented the air on crisp mornings in the lull between seasons; daffodils thrust dreary winter aside, lambs gambolled in Auckland’s Cornwall Park and  in the burbs,  pink cherry  blossom brightened the streets – on days when it wasn’t raining!

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Rangitoto’s ‘blood-red skies’

It’s there.

It’s always been there.

And I, like so many other Aucklanders looked on it as an iconic sight, simultaneously  everyday – and spectacular.  Like Mt Eden where we  could climb any time for  360 degree views of  Auckland. Or  humble Mt Roskill where  as kids  we  hurtled over sheep ruts in  wooden sledges.  Or  gracious  Cornwall Park and  One Tree Hill,  (now better known as None Tree Hill).

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Green and gold vines amid gently tanned hills…

If I had my way on this autumn day, I’d be standing with my back to the sea, near Seddon in Marlborough, amidst grape vines with their lime green and gold lines. And I’d be looking out over gentle tanned hills, up to a great hunk of a mountain streaked with snow.

Instead, I’ve got to make do with the cover of a book.

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Autumn – raking leaves and a bit of navel-gazing!

Never mind the  Pin Oak leaves  swirling in a sudden backyard leafstorm –  those russet layers of  red and  gold are the stuff  of  deferred gratification: raking them in the  backyard,  in  the pale autumn sunlight.    And forget  pulling out the spent summer crops, trimming trees and  the other gardening  chores.

Most  can be ticked off as done and dusted but the one I’ve put off  longer than usual because it’s been such a gloriously golden farewell to summer, is cutting back  our grapevine.

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