Category archive: The Good Life

Max’s Dogs – Wealth

Dog JacketFrom Max Cryer’s book  Every Dog has its Day

When she died in 1991,  German born Countess Karlotta Liebenstein, left her entire  fortune to her pet German shepherd, Gunther III.  The amount she left was  sufficiently eye-watering to be  reported confusingly in  amounts ranging from  $106 million to $145 million.

Continue reading

Christmas on the Coast

9 a.m. and the mercury is racing up to 30 degrees. “Better watch out” locals tell us. “It’s going to be a ripper”. They’re right, so we retreat into the air conditioned world which reminds us of home and  what temperatures at Christmas should be.

But then we’re on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and it’s a cloudless Christmas Eve. Still, Christmas is Christmas and though the Mooloolaba Beach is scattered with bodies, the radio station plays – rather incongruously – White Christmas.

Continue reading

Around the mountains

I started my cycle circuit of Northern Southland’s Eyre Mountains from Cromwell at 7am on a Saturday morning. But traffic around these parts has increased markedly and 7am was at least an hour too late for a quiet road. It was not until just past the Nevis Bluff in the Kawarau Gorge that a cycle path allowed me to get off the road.I put my tent up in the Arrowtown motor camp. $20.

Continue reading

The Price of Honesty

Over the years I’ve been privileged, on occasions, to live with local families while visiting Fiji and Samoa. This has led to memorable, enriching experiences, far removed from those of the tourists staying at the resorts.

Of course, staying with someone usually comes with expectations, for example, Sunday church attendance. It’s compulsory – no ifs, no buts.

Continue reading

Hooked on the Hokianga

I could write a whole catalogue of clichés to describe the beauty of Omapere and the impact it has had on my life. But, let’s just start with a couple – it’s a beautiful jewel on the Hokianga Harbour, which has totally taken my heart.

“Oma-where, Oma-what. Where the hell is this Omapere?” I remember saying.

Continue reading

My friend – the earwig

Let me start with tomatoes. My home grown tomatoes have thin skins and flesh as dense and true  as wild meat. I have red, orange and pinkish heritage type with a variety of wonderful favours. But we have a short growing season and my toms are just about finished, which is why my wife bought some supermarket tomatoes.

I ate half of one.

Continue reading

The Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

When this wacky titled book, turned up – some new age novel I thought.

Not so. This is a true story about the jihadist takeover of the real Timbuktu and the remarkable story of one man’s finding, collecting and then saving hundreds of thousands of priceless manuscripts in Timbuktu.

Continue reading

To Waiheke with love

Bumped into an old friend the other day. Goes by the name of Waiheke. Used to know the place well when the S.S. Baroona chugged into the channel and about an hour later, discharged us on to Matiatia’s humble wharf.

Continue reading

“I will do thy bidding gently…”

Richard Wagner was  devoted to his King Charles spaniel named Peps, who  actually participated  in his master’s composing.

Wagner’s biographer H.T. Finck records that Peps constantly sat near Wagner when the composer was at the piano. Sometimes Peps would leap on to the table and peer into Wagner’s face, howling piteously.

Continue reading

Joining the hordes

I decided to visit my daughter in Christchurch via the Haast and Arthur’s Passes. Not the easiest route on a bike, even with my friend (electric motor) to help me up the hills.

Continue reading