Monday, July 30, 2007


Hello all! Forgive my absence, I know you have been bereft without me. I could hear the gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes all the way over on Waiheke, where I have been sequestered for the week.

Mrs J has a place on the island, and offered it to Mrs S, who then invited everyone else to "pop by." Mr Smith has been pulling faces at me for the amount of spending I have been doing lately, so it seemed a good idea to travel far from the sweet siren call of mid-Winter sales, and go rural for a while.

It's nice to occasionally live simply, and have to fend for oneself, living off the land. But how one struggles! While there are plenty of places to fill the old nose-bag, there are no decent bars within staggering distance at all! How primitive. One actually had to mix one's own G & T. And the spa-pool was of the meanest proportions, forcing everyone into the closest proximity, which could explain why Mr S’s hand mistakenly ended up on thighs that did not belong to his wife.

Thankfully, Ms W is pregnant (hush! No-one is meant to know!) and did not come, as she has transformed into the Sacred Vessel of Motherhood, and will not spend any time around people who are drinking, as drinking people sometimes smoke, and the faintest whiff of smoke may forever taint the Guaranteed Genius-ness of the Baby Jesus she is bearing.

One had been thinking uncharitable thoughts about the impending Baby Jesus (I do not wish to hear in any detail about what stage of cellular development it is at), but now see there are advantages to it.

If only she were pregnant more often, or had an elephant-like gestation period.

The rest of the company was a mixed bag. Some new people, Mr and Mrs Z - I can't remember their names, so Z (short for Zzzzz) will have to suffice. He stayed a day, then left us to baby-sit his spouse. She was bearable I suppose, if one didn’t mind blood congealing in one’s veins every time one caught sight of her face. He made discreet enquiries as to whether anyone had brought a helicopter, which no-one had – so I suppose this meant he felt safe to do whatever he planned to do without his wife walking in unexpectedly. A special treat for him, perhaps, to have sex without employing the use of a paper-bag over his partner’s head.

The last night there was a good one – at least I imagine so, as I can’t quite remember it. I woke up, fully clothed, but missing a shoe (found later in a bush outside). Someone else, however, woke up fully clothed, but missing their underpants (never found), which might be worrisome, but it was Mrs L, so unsurprising really.

Anyway, back to civilisation now. I need a break from my holiday.

Friday, July 20, 2007


There are days when one knows exactly how that kitten feels...


I am not sure how it came up, but had been talking about Naughty Things Done In One's Youth, which turned to stealing, and who had, and what it was they had stolen.

I admitted that when I was a teenager living in London, I stole a sixty-pound smoked salmon from a delicatessen on Sloane Street, by shoving it down the back of my tights. Someone thought that seemed a rather heavy thing to shove down one's tights, so I had to explain sixty pounds was not what it weighed, but what it was worth – and it while it was rather large, I had a bulky winter coat on, so as long as I stood up straight and didn’t move too fast, it wasn't all that difficult.

"A salmon? In your tights?"
"It was shrink-wrapped," I sighed.
"What would one do with a sixty-pound smoked salmon?"
Oh god. "I befriended it, and together we roamed the world, carefree and in love, until a tragic accident during a bungee-jump in Las Vegas."
Blank look.
"I ate it, of course, which is why I had also thought to steal three packets of Philadelphia cream cheese while I was about it."

Despite the odd looks, I had thought it an excellent story, and better than their ones of petty school-girl pilfering (although one had stolen quite a lot of designer clothes from her employer – but I didn't think that was at all nice. Clothes are personal. I don't think anyone had a personal attachment to my dear smoked salmon).

Ms W primly claims to have never stolen anything, which is utter rubbish, as before she was married, she made a regular habit of stealing boyfriends and husbands. Due to personal attachment, I would put men in the same category of clothes, so do not wholly approve, although as she returned the men when she was done, perhaps it wasn’t stealing so much as borrowing.

I felt my story qualified me as rather the dashing desperado, until much later, when my salmon was trumped by an art-theft. T, a quiet girl, who with doll-like blue eyes and blonde curls, looked as much a criminal as a Dresden figurine.

"I stole a Picasso," she piped up.
"Not that big a deal, really. It was just a drawing."
House-sitting in NY. She and her friends traded in the drawing for cash and cocaine, had a great weekend (which culminated in them trashing the apartment), then they all legged it to Europe.

I was a bit jealous. A Picasso! But then, you can't eat a Picasso, so I still think my salmon the winner.


What winter? The weather this week has been quite marvellous. More like spring, in fact.

Bit of a shame really. My fur coats may have to stay in the wardrobe this season.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I caught a bus! And it was just as horrid as I imagined it would be.

Why would I catch a bus? The why isn’t very interesting, so a brief synopsis would be that I was meeting Mrs S for lunch in Parnell, and she insisted that catching the Link bus would be a good idea, as we should all be using our cars less anyway because of global warming. I pointed out that driving with the air conditioner on would negate any warming effect my car might have on the globe.

"It would only take ten minutes to get there if I took the car," I grumbled, "How much warmer will the globe get in that time?" But she was insistent. I had banking to do first, so got Mr Smith to drop me off on Queen Street.

Finding a bus stop was hard enough! Queen Street is a building zone (again), so all the bus-stops were closed. I eventually found one hiding down by Fort Street.

11.50 am. A Link bus comes. I hail it. The driver sails past, and stops at the lights, a few metres away. I run after it, and knock at the door. He jabs his meaty, minimum-wage hoof in the direction of the bus-stop. "I was at the fucking bus-stop," I politely point out. He shakes his head. I thoughtfully show him my beautifully manicured middle-finger, and suggests he perform a particular act upon himself, presuming he has the requisite genitalia to do so.

12.10pm. Another bus comes. According to the schedule, Parnell should only be three stops away! Hurrah!

12.17 pm. We are now outside Sky City. It has taken us seven minutes to travel 500 metres. Why are we heading the wrong direction? Half the population of Saudi Arabia piles on to the bus.

12.25pm. We arrive in Ponsonby. I think of making my escape to home and car, so tantalizingly near, but the solid wall of bellowing Muslims means escape is impossible.

12.28pm. Through the greasy film on the windows, I see people driving their cars. I am sure there are more people on the roads than usual, flaunting their cars. They are mocking me.

12.36pm. Sweet baby Jesus! We are back on Queen Street! Realize now I must be trapped in some loop in the time-space continuum. Must keep morale up. Tear cloth strips off my A/X shirt to make a head band, and start a camp-fire by rubbing two lip-sticks together.

12.40pm. Am in a severely weakened state. My bottle of Evian is empty. Armed with a nail-file, I go in search of food. I spy a suitably plump young animal, but its mother glares at me.

12.50pm. According to earth time, it has been an hour since I was waiting at a bus-stop. Oh! What innocent care-free days! In the space-time continuum however, three years have passed. My clothes are ragged, I have violent pains in my head, and am feverish. The end is surely nigh.

1.11pm. Parnell! I am here!

I greet Mrs S with grimy, tear-stained face. Having been so long without human company, I have lost the ability to speak, and can only make grunts and whistles. Through this mode of communication, with hand-gestures, she understands I need wine, and much of it.

I share my tale of woe.
"Poor you!" she said. "You caught it going the wrong way. You should have got on the opposite side of the street. I’ll give you a lift home."
"You brought your car?"
She shifted uncomfortably in her seat, and said nothing.


Auckland's sharply superior society scribe, Ms Saunders, wrote some jolly nice things in her Sunday Star Times column. Thanks so much!

Note: "$18,500 for a TV? Is there anything on TV worth that kind of investment?" wasn’t actually written by me, but by Mark, but we’ll just keep that to ourselves, I think.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Everyday Etiquette

Mr Smith reminded me yesterday that I had invited friends over to dine with us tonight. Oh my – true friends indeed, to know what culinary horrors await, yet accept the invitation anyway.

There is a reason why we eat out so often. After a few glasses of wine, my cooking ability flees like a frightened child from the violent wrath of an alcoholic mother. At the last dinner, the main course rudely announced its presence with the smell of burning. I panicked, turned off the oven, having forgotten about the desserts, which remained almost entirely raw.

At this point one is thankful for having a plentiful supply of good wine, as one’s guests will (hopefully) be rendered physically insensible to what is served them.

However, I found a delightful book, this week; Everyday Etiquette by Clifford Montrose (published in 1935), with advice for the success of ‘A Small Dinner Party At Home.’

In the first place, choose your guests wisely – that is, see that they are congenial. Don’t attempt to include Mr A on account of his social position when you know that there is a possibility that he may bore all others by his airs of superiority or condescension.

Absurd! If that rule were adhered to, I’d never get invited anywhere.

In a section sternly capitalised; THINGS THAT ARE NOT DONE, we have some directives that are as valid today as they were seventy-two years ago.

Loud argument is always a sign of lack of breeding.

If her escort is late for an appointment, a lady should never reprimand him in front of other people. Smile pleasantly whatever your feelings may be.

You will never make people believe that you’re a person of consequence by incessantly grumbling at, and bullying, waiters.

Persons who use a nail file or toothpick otherwise than in a dressing-room can scarcely expect to be numbered among the good-mannered.

All readers are cordially invited to add their own advice to the list.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I don't believe in psychic clap-trap at all, but "Champion astrologer-tipster" Don Murray has something very interesting to say;

Seems to be lots of high-profile broads getting busted for "P" of late. Latest is an heiress to millions who was sprung with a P lab in her Remuera home. Strange how she's eventually gonna inherit millions from the alcohol industry but makes P her drug of choice. The downhill slide began when her boyfriend, known as "Meth You" in some circles, ditched her for another. Ms Heiress retaliated with a vengeance and absolutely trashed Meth You's waterfront apartment....


Wednesday, July 11, 2007


The weather is a mindless source of conversation, which is precisely why I am so interested in it. The storm that swept the upper-half of the North Island yesterday was quite dreadful, although in Auckland City the worst thing that seems to have happened is that this apartment block in Newton got its roof peeled off by the high winds.

One is extremely pleased – and astonished – that no-one was harmed.

That’s the roof lying on the ground. Burly men are now cutting the roof up into manageable bits, for removal by crane. I think there is perhaps a little boy inside of all of us, who finds these sorts of things fascinating to watch (I am assuming I am not the only one). Mr Smith and I have often talked about moving to the countryside. If we do, I am going to buy a digger. And a steamroller. Hours of fun guaranteed.

Anyway. A reader emailed this picture to me. Has anyone seen Poppy?

It's far too hideously cold and horrid to contemplate going anywhere. I'm so bored. Where's a steamroller when you really need one?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


The weather has truly turned terrible – the perfect day for staying at home and reading the newspapers. Or it would be, if they weren't riddled with nonsense.

Since when was Millie Elder an "Auckland Socialite"?

When it makes a better newspaper heading, apparently. For fuck's sake, I thought the Dominion Post was above the kind of fictional nonsense that the NZ Herald manufactures.

Speaking of which, Spy columnist Rachel Glucina claims to have a "Masters Degree in the History of Art." I wonder what her thesis was about? There is no record of a Masters Thesis by Ms Glucina on the University of Auckland website, so I suppose my curiosity must remain unabated.

Why must newspapers and magazines come with so much extra advertising crap buried within their pages? I don’t even look at it (does anyone?).

I have decided to buy some shares in Burger Fuel. That is not a hint for everyone else to buy some. I have no idea if it is a wise investment or not, as I couldn't be bothered reading the prospectus.

Monday, July 09, 2007


One can tell a lot about the calibre of the company one keeps by the quality of the gossip it manufactures. Good gossip is interesting enough to make one want to listen, but bad enough that one feels slightly ashamed for doing so, a shame that can only be assuaged by passing it on as quickly as possible.

Knowing what is worthy of passing on seems an obvious sort of thing, not an art, or an arcane science. If it makes one utter "Good grief! How deliciously appalling!" or fill one with a sense of relief that it’s not about you, then it’s pure freaking gold. Prurient interest in the details of ordinary, day-to-day activity, however, is the domain of the sadly socially-deficient.

Some, however, just don't get it. The Spy column in the Herald on Sunday is an example. This weekend – no less than five photos of Nicky “they are all natural because I paid for them” Watson walking along Ponsonby Road, adjusting her underwear. Photos on the front page, more on page two. Wait… now is not the time to vomit with excitement. Ms Watson is not throwing her nipples into oncoming traffic, or waving her musty municipal cockwash at underage boys. It merely looks like she is removing a bit of dust from her jersey. Marginally better than last week though, when readers were treated to photos of a local actor out walking with the nanny.

Given the columnist's biggest story ever was about how she didn’t have sex with Mick Jagger (who can blame him), I suppose this is as good as it's going to get.

Next week: An explicit centrefold of Judy Bailey buying milk at the dairy.

I Spy With My Little Eye

The husband of which well-known television presenter is known as The Over-Ripe Fruit? Actually, that doesn’t narrow it down much. It could apply to a few of them.

Like soft, bloated fruit marred with rot, his ‘best by’ date has passed; although he is the only one who hasn’t noticed. It is obvious he was attractive in his youth, as he carries with him that casual expectation that women want him, despite how undeserved that expectation is now. If only he would realise this, and stop his unrelenting flirting. One is afraid of what one might catch.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


No one likes public toilets. Even the best maintained ones threaten to reveal some horrible remnant of a previous visitor, although one does what one needs to do, and gets on with life. Not Mrs H! I didn’t know her well, so her extreme aversion came as rather a surprise.

We were at a thoroughly nice restaurant. The sort that has proper porcelain facilities, not dug pits. She went to the toilets, and returned quickly. "Mr H," she said, "We have to go. The toilets are disgusting. It's like a farmyard in there."

I couldn’t help but take that a little bit personally. I had been in there only moments before, and it had seemed satisfactory. Had I had some psychotic break, wherein I had smeared faeces over the walls, without knowing it? I was quite sure I hadn’t, but if one is mad, does one know it?

Mr H, however, seemed unsurprised. He sighed heavily. "We’ll be back soon," he said, with the tired tone of experience.

They left by taxi, to go home, so Mrs H could use her own toilet. We warned the kitchen to hold the meals, and sat, pouring cocktails into empty stomachs, until the H’s return. Unfortunately, they lived some distance away, so an hour passed before they returned.

The first time I met the H’s, was at their place. It was a cool summer evening, so we sat outside. "Do you mind if I have a cigarette?" I asked. Mrs H's face pinched slightly. "Of course," she said in a voice that said otherwise. "Over there will be fine." So, I stood in a distant corner of the garden, like a naughty child.

"How rude," someone murmured in my ear afterwards.
"It's fine," I shrugged. As a smoker, I have become used to feeling like a Typhoid Mary, although I did think the required distance a little extreme.
"She's terrified of getting cancer," someone whispered.

People mock her behind her back, and her fastidiousness is rather amusing, but one can’t help but feel a bit sorry for someone who is so permanently afraid.

Life lived in fear, half-lived, etcetera.

Monday, July 02, 2007


They live just off Jervois Road, so after sampling a few bars, we went back to their place and continued drinking highly potent bellinis. She is frighteningly smart (a rapid rise up the ladder in a top firm), and quite attractive. Thus we have all wondered how and why she ended up with such a complete loser as G.

He comes from a reasonable sort of family, had a fairly decent education, but has no money - what he did have, he gambled away. G is deeply in debt, which she is helping him "sort out" which transparently means she is paying them off, and she even had to buy her own engagement ring. She also finds suspicious receipts in his pockets, of which she says nothing to him, but tells her best friend, who, naturally, tells us.

What else were we to assume, but that he must be a gold medallist in bed gymnastics, as there could be no other reason she would put up with him. Until I discovered how wrong we were.

Many (many) bellinis later, it was time to go home. We staggered out to the waiting taxis, myself last. G followed. As the others turned a corner, he slipped an arm around my waist, pulled me to him, and proceeded to kiss me.

I have often thought that how a man kisses, generalises to his oral technique for … another location. There needs to be a building of intensity – an initial teasing sweetness that develops (if appropriate and reciprocated) to a Bacchanalian mouth-party.

Note: The etiquette of tongue is that it should wait to be introduced, not rushing forward like a cruise missile before the lips have even met. It gives one rather a fright.

G's technique however, was not entirely dissimilar to what one might expect of a washing-machine. The tongue went straight in, and around and around it went like my teeth were on the spin cycle. I wished I had a load of laundry in there. It was horrid, and I told him so in the sharpest, cut-glass tone possible, pushed him away, and left.

So. No money, no oral technique. Why is she going out with him?