Category archive: The Good Life

Max’s Dogs – Every Dog has its day

When pioneer Scottish settlers in the nineteenth century arrived in the southern part of New Zealand, the terrain was a challenge – but they had brought their dogs. In the area known as the Mackenzie country (where part of The Lord of the Rings was filmed over a hundred years later), the mountainous plateau might have remained unfarmed had it not been for the hard work of the shepherds and their tireless dogs.

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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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A view from the barber’s chair…

There’s not much to look at from a barber’s chair. On my last visit a notice at the bottom of the mirror caught my attention: “Like us on Facebook and follow your barber on Instagram.” since the barber was standing behind me with shears in his hand I was afraid to ask if it was a joke.   Perhaps it’s just in Wanaka where this kind of strange behaviour can be found? Not that I’m paranoid, but I’ve noticed that most of the books in Wanaka library are written by women – well, maybe I am paranoid, but I can read. So why is every book a world-wide best seller?

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How did I get here?

I had just celebrated one of those ‘big’ birthdays.  I found myself musing, “How did I get here so quickly?”  A question that surprised even me!  I had hit the end of one decade and was starting another.  While moving through the previous decades had been pretty effortless, this one felt different. The realisation that most of my life is behind me.  Now the future is not sometime out there but is right here, right now! 

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Thank God That’s Over: The 2019 Academy Awards

I watched a little of the television coverage of the 2019 Academy Awards and  briefly scanned the online updates from sources such as Variety and Indiewire., The was one bright moment in Olivia Coleman’s acceptance speech and the US audience ratings appeared to reverse last year’s slump, but it wasn’t essential viewing. It hasn’t been so for the past decade or more.

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The virtues of gratitude

 How quickly 2018 passed, Time  now to pause, look back  and reflect on your priorities in  this brand New Year!

Personally  I‘ve looked at the gains and achievements of the past year.  From that I’ve also  tried to  find, and focus on a theme for the year ahead. There’s already an element here which needs more priority  – and it lies in the simple but neglected word,  gratitude.

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