Friday, June 29, 2007


I'm back. And mildly depressed.

Some are blessed with brains, some are blessed with looks. I have never noticed the presence of the former, so have spent a life attending to my appearance. Whether through genuine attractiveness, good grooming, large breasts, or probably all three, I have always enjoyed my share of lust-filled (male and female) attention and, a possibly more significant barometer, jealousy (female).

Truthfully, I imagine I probably am not nearly as hot as I think I am, but I have always been graced with a happy ability to ignore any evidence to the contrary, so self-confidence has remained untouched by the occasional bad photograph (I bin them), or ghoulish reflection in a fluorescent-lit bathroom (always disregard the effects of bad lighting).

And, I have to say, life is good to those who look good. The problem is – here is the plot-twist! – an integral part of beauty is youth. No feminist diatribe will commence – it is just the way it is and will always be. There is no denying it. Charming men will demur and insist that older women possess elegance, sexual-assurance, conversation-skills (oh god!), and other blah-de-bullshit-blah, yet their eyes inevitably linger long on the high-breasted twenty-somethings, despite their lack of conversation.

I'm not past it yet, and I have a long way to go before genuine panic sets in, but I can see the sign-post looming large on the horizon. I fear becoming invisible. Go ahead and laugh at my superficiality.

I have a phone-number. I am going to make an appointment.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


When travelling overseas, it is easy for some to think fondly of one's homeland, and develop a kind of nationalistic fervour. I don't. Travelling always reminds of what a dopey little shit-hole New Zealand is. We are surrounded by so many sheep, we have started behaving like them.

It's monsoon season, and a light rain sweeps through this city in seemingly unpredictable episodes. The moment it does so, these contraptions materialise outside the hotels and department stores.

I don't know what one would call them, but essentially one inserts one's umbrella, and hey presto! One's umbrella is neatly wrapped in plastic. No dripping umbrellas turning the inside of one's handbag to mush, or creating dangerous slip-n-slides in the Gucci shop. Fantastically simple yet brilliantly practical.

There is no monsoon season in New Zealand. Perversely, it can pour with rain at any given point. So why in hell have I never seen these in New Zealand? Why didn't a New Zealander invent one first? Decades of sodden weather and dripping umbrellas should have inspired someone to do something about it.


Sunday, June 24, 2007


Those crazy Asians will eat anything. You can even buy bowls of uncircumsized penises at the local food market.

I am very bored with being a pleasant corporate wife. Being ever-so-nice and polite all the time is bloody tiring. I long to run through the streets screaming obscenities and drinking until I vomit. Not that I do that sort of thing normally (well, not too often), but it seems it would be satisfyingly cathartic. I can't wait to return to Auckland, where being nice is entirely unnecessary.

However, they have given me loads of presents, and I am quite sure I have lost weight, so it is not all bad.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Holiday snaps. Circle theme. No particular reason why.


Despite her diminutive size, she commands utter terror amongst her posse of assistants. One can tell when her arrival is imminent, as activity amongst the assistants turns into flurries of anxious activity, and they scatter like a flock of birds when she enters the room. She is charming, and sweet, and speaks with a soft, flute-like voice, until something is not to her exacting standards. She has allocated some of her assistants to look after us, and they dog our every step. God forbid they leave our side for a moment. We float entirely passively through this city, everything is given to us, and done for us, except, thankfully, for wiping our bottoms and digesting our food, although they would probably do that too, if she told them to.

We were at a restaurant when she decided to go to a bar. All assistants simultaneously reached for their cellphones and located a suitable bar, making sure a selection of the best tables would be available for our arrival. They made sure the driver was outside and prepared to drive the moment we were ready. She never waits.

We went to the bar. It was beautiful – there were banks of flowered gardens, and the trees were festooned with lights. The candle-lit tables overlooked a harbour wreathed in evening mist.

She was not pleased.

"No, no, no," she said, lips pursed. "I want to go up," and she jabbed an imperative finger skywards. Assistants fled to find a skyscraper bar.
Up we went.
We drank Manhattans above the city lights and watched fireworks ignited from a moored barge. I don’t think the firework display was actually her doing, but she seemed to be taking credit for it.

"How are you?" she asked. "Do you have everything you want?"
Perhaps I shouldn’t have had five Manhattans.
"We have been given everything we want, except for one thing," I said.
She turned slightly towards the flock of assistants.
"I have always wanted a pony."
She started to raise a hand, and the flock reached for their cellphones. Fortunately, she realised I wasn’t serious.
"Oh, a pony! Oh, ha ha ha!"

She swept past us at breakfast the next day.
"Did you like the pony I had sent to your room, Mrs Smith?"
"Oh yes, thank-you so much. You are very generous, but I don’t think it was necessary to send three."
"Oh, three ponies! Ha ha ha!"

We will be heading home shortly. I am slightly afraid there will be a herd of ponies grazing our lawn when we return.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Hello all,

My goodness it is hot! Steaming hot! Shopping in the sweltering sunshine is hard work. Did I forget to mention I was not in New Zealand at the moment? Winter is horrid, and I had to escape. Never mind where I am, nosey parkers.

It is not good to be in a country where all the women are the size of Hummel figurines. Most clothes would not fit me unless I sawed off a few limbs, although this does not concern me too much, as I have no desire to dress like a slutty grannie (which appears to be the local trend, if one can imagine it). However, even shoes in my size have proved to be impossible to find, and it is dispiriting to go into a shop, head to the 'large size' section, then have to shamefully shuffle from the shop as nothing can contain my (apparently) gargantuan monster feet.

However, the food is truly excellent. I have had almost no booze or coffee, instead loads of simply, yet perfectly prepared vegetables, and plenty of water and iced fruit teas. This entire country is like a giant health spa! I am sure I shall return home completely detoxified and cleansed, with health radiating from every pore. I will need to drink twice as much to make up for lost time.

Yours, etc,

Mrs Smith

Friday, June 15, 2007


By the way, shortly after writing my less than flattering opinion of Wendyl Nissen's Herald article, she popped by to leave this invitation:

Hi, just thought your readers might like to see all my Herald on Sunday columns which I publish on my site and get really outraged.


If Ms Nissen publishes her columns on her site and gets really outraged by doing so, one wonders why she bothers? Perhaps she meant something else.

Anyway. Perusing my lovely little site-meter, I observed that I am now Google's number one choice for housewife afternoon masterbators. Hurrah! Now there's something to celebrate. Lashings of champagne for everyone!


There are two types of 'friends.' The VIP ones, who get immediately whisked past the velvet ropes of reserve and small-talk, and are allowed access to the Champagne Room of the Real You. The sort you can be yourself with in a small-talk free zone. Then there are the other friends. The ones who have to queue up outside, and sometimes never make it past the bouncer. I'm very exclusive, you know.

You can tell which is which, by how one reacts to seeing someone on the street. Do you go up to them straight away, grab their arm, and start chatting like one shares an ongoing conversation, that occasionally has breaks, but can be immediately picked up on every time you meet? That's a VIP.

Or when you see them, do you rather hope to avoid their attention? If avoidance is not possible, the conversation will generally start off with the usual social script of "How are you?" and various other polite noises... Very dull.

Thus – avoidance is a carefully crafted work of art. If one is to pass an acquaintance in the street without appearing rude, it has to be quite convincing that one has not seen them. Turning one's head the opposite direction, or staring at the ground with a studied fervour will not work. Much too obvious. One needs to acquire a look of 'distance;' this is where one can actually look straight past the acquaintance, as if one is thinking of something quite engrossing. Shorten your gaze for a moment and the illusion is gone. Rather like those 'Magic-Eye' pictures, when I think about it. Hard to do, and takes practice.

It's not as rude as it might sound. It's a viable time-saving strategy.

However, some people don't get it. Mrs F is a very nice person I suppose, but much older than I, and we have nothing in common. We crossed paths in the supermarket yesterday. I focussed on the meat department over her shoulder, but she cornered me with her trolley.

"Hello! How are you?"

I made the appropriate social noises, yet Mrs F looked twitchy, like she was in a hurry to be somewhere. This annoyed me, as if one is in a hurry – that is the perfect time to engage the Magic-Eye Avoidance manoeuvre. Don’t bloody well stop and talk if one is going to look annoyed at the obligation of doing so.

I stared at her hair. She had obviously just had it done. It was a huge, greying -blonde candy-floss halo around her head. Huge. I am guessing her hey-day was in the '80s, and she can’t get over the idea that one’s hair is not ‘done’ unless it is big enough to frighten children and small animals.

"I better go," she said, "I think I'm blocking the aisle." Yeah. With your hair.

"Fuck off then," I said, cheerfully. No. Not really. But I felt like saying it. Sometimes it is more polite to ignore someone, than to stop and ask how they are.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Mr Smith wants to buy some art. I told him to get this work that I saw last year at the Michael Lett gallery, by painter Seraphine Pick.

Imaginary Friend, by Seraphine Pick

Love love love. Want want want. Pretty please.

But Mr Smith wasn't keen, and baulked at the $20,000 (or whatever it was) price tag. I told him I would look for something else, so I hit the Karangahape Road galleries this afternoon.

At the Starkwhite Gallery, I found this sculpture, 'No Exit,' by Glen Hayward.

It was $1,850, which I think is quite a lot for a toilet seat, but a better deal than the goat skull which was $3,000.

However, a bargain was to be found upstairs, in a work by painter Nick Austin. Only $650. Yes! It is a newspaper.

Yes! It really is only $650.

Further down the road, at ArtSpace, Elam art students were having a “time-based art exhibition” called 'Vegetable Memory.' There was a video of someone riding a horse.

I was rather bored by this stage, and gave up. I did buy some really delicious Indian sweets from Rasoi Vegetarian Restaurant across the road, though, so the day wasn't a complete waste.

Monday, June 11, 2007


In an effort to get customers to use fewer plastic bags, supermarkets have been producing reusable 'eco-friendly' bags. Handbag designer Anya Hindmarch produced the hugely popular Not A Plastic Bag for the English supermarket chain, Sainsburys.

Unfortunately, the ones available in NZ have been so hideous, I have ignored them, and continued using plastic. I wouldn't want anyone mistaking me for a styleless hippy, or worse, a Green Party supporter. Anyway, I never go to the supermarket often enough to make the indignity worthwhile.

However, New World in Freeman's Bay are selling this reusable bag, for just $2 each:

Not sure I like "streets of the hood" sentence (what is this? East L.A.?), but I like the sentiment of a product made for its market.

I think it's rather neat, even if they did spell 'Curran' Street as 'Curan.' I bought three.

Herald Hysteria

Going by this article in yesterday's 'Herald on Sunday' newspaper, I think Wendyl Nissen needs a stiff drink and a lie-down.

Ms Nissen is utterly fed up with the new residents from "Middle White New Zealand" moving into her Grey Lynn suburb;

"We older Grey Lynners, on the other hand, have earned the right to stand up for ourselves, so, for the New Residents who might be finding it hard to fit in, here is a guide:"

Ms Nissen is an "older Grey Lynner" ? I have been told she only moved into the suburb seven or eight years ago.

Wendyl chastises the newcomers for spending too much time in the local cafes ("[Cafes] are for eating, talking to friends then pissing off. [Not to] while away three hours"), for discussing house prices in the supermarket within earshot of the "Samoan shelf-stacker," and for not befriending the local homeless people;
"They are a part of us, they belong there… We like them, and some of us talk to them, not about them. The least you can do is leave them alone."

Ms Nissen’s middle-class cringe is so great, her 'Us' includes the local bums, but not the new residents with their "really bad clothes," and Lord forbid what the Samoans might overhear! Furthermore, the New Residents are "insular," so she advises them;
"Do not try to engage us in conversation. That's why we're wearing headphones on our walks around the neighbourhood now... Nor do we want to partake in a street party, a pot luck dinner, or form a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. If you’re lonely, you only have yourselves to blame."

Which is probably the best example of insular behaviour I have ever read.

"… in the cultural richness that is Middle White New Zealand, money buys you the right to be pompous, insular, judgmental and wear really bad clothes."

As a new resident from Middle White New Zealand herself, I think that is a fair description of Wendyl. Does she think the area's real "older Grey Lynners" – the working-class, the Pacific Island families, the homeless, all who were a characteristic part of Grey Lynn for decades before Ms Nissen ventured over the harbour bridge – really feel any differently about her?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Agnes Curran

All this talk about shoes made me decide I needed some more, so I went shopping in Ponsonby this morning. Mr Smith grimaced slightly when I came home laden with bags, but I pointed out that as the shoes were all on sale, I hadn’t really spent money, I had actually saved hundreds! He didn’t look convinced, so thank goodness he doesn’t know about all the other things I bought.*

Auckland is very blustery today, with frequent showers, so I took respite during one such episode. A good opportunity, I thought, for another café review (I have forgotten to do one for ages).

Agnes Curran, 179 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby

Decor: The kind of place your grandmother might have, if she was French and a tiny bit insane. Stacks of books and magazines to read.

View: Of Franklin Road.

Clientele: The place was stuffed to the gills! An absolute mosh-pit of local middle-aged ladies (and a couple of gentlemen). A tv-type person was there – can’t recall who. She does a morning show, I think. Rather convivial, especially as the establishment's popularity meant everyone was quite squished together. Makes eavesdropping very easy.

Poached Egg Barometer: Agnes Curran is a proper little tea-shop, not a breakfast place, but they have a delightful array of sticky cakes and sandwiches to choose from (and they do make coffee, too). I had a chocolate lamington. It was wickedly nice, and came with jam and cream. Such a cheap indulgence - the tea and the lamington only cost $7.50.

Coffee: I had a pot of Earl Grey tea, made with tea-leaves, just as tea ought to be made. Tea-bags are the devil's tampons.

Service: Very pleasant and helpful.

*Mr Smith - if you are reading this, of course I am only joking. Bugger off and do some work.


I am not much of a cook, and it is a relief to all that I tend to steer clear of the kitchen. However, there are a few things I can make without setting the house on fire or inducing bouts of gagging. I have a fool-proof tomato soup recipe that is really very delicious, and perfect for wintery sorts of day like today. Quantities are incredibly approximate. I usually make it up as I go along.

Roughly chop:

  • 8 large vine tomatoes (I think I must insist on vine tomatoes – home-grown ones would be even better! The usual sort they sell in the supermarkets are entirely flavourless and horrible)

  • 1 onion

  • 1 red capsicum

Place in a roasting dish, with a little olive oil and some rock salt. Add a few garlic cloves (still in their skins). Sprinkle liberally with dried oreganum and thyme. I add fresh basil too, if I have any at hand. Add some fresh chilli (if you like it spicy).

Roast in a 180 degree oven until everything looks nicely cooked (probably about half an hour ?). Pour in a litre of vegetable stock, and keep in the oven for another ten minutes.

Remove from oven, and let cool. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins, and return to the mix.

Pour it all into a blender, and whiz for just a few seconds, until smooth. Serve heated, and if you make extra, it freezes well.

I am sure any clever foodie types reading this will cringe at my technique, but I don’t care. This soup is low-fat, nutritious, and tastes fantastic, AND takes minimal effort.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Poll: Update

Dear God. I just checked my shoe poll. Thirty-nine percent of my readers own fewer than eleven pairs of shoes! Ugh. I am definitely attracting entirely the wrong kind of person. All of you go buy some bloody shoes before I have to enforce a dress code.


I was lying on the sunbed, when my phone started ringing. It eventually went to voice-mail, but would start ringing again. And again. My few moments of peace were ruined anyway, so I reached over, and answered my phone. It was Ms W.

Lying on a sun-bed is very relaxing. From one’s prone position, various high-powered fans can be turned on so a perfectly warm yet not over-heated temperature can be maintained. The beds have an in-built stereo-system, and it used to be that one had a choice of about ten channels to listen to. I don’t know if the place has changed ownership, but this selection has whittled away over the last year to one channel. This one channel only ever seems to play Sheryl Crow, or noisome hip-hop, neither of which I am especially fond, so the whole experience is less enjoyable than it used to be.

But I digress.
"Where are you?" she asked. "What's that noise? I can hardly hear you."
"I am being sucked into the whirling vortex of hell," I said, which was partially true.
"What? Do you want to meet at SPQR? I need to talk. You’ll never believe what The Bitch has done now."
The Bitch is her mother-in-law. Or her husband’s ex-girlfriend.

I could have said no, but didn’t. I wanted a drink, and drinking alone in public is impossibly tragic.

Ms W only ever has one topic of conversation. Like the sunbed, she used to play a variety of channels, and was quite good fun, but now plays only the one tune; My mother-in law/husband’s ex is a bitch. I do have a limit, and I finally reached it.

"You know, perhaps we could talk about something else. Every time we meet up, all you do is complain about them. You never ask about me, or what I am doing."
Ms W went quite red, and I swear I saw wisps of steam escaping her ears. She got very angry. After the exchange of a few terse words, I realised that leaving was probably the wisest thing to do. I put $20 on the table to cover my one glass of wine, and left.

Oh well. At least I will have added a new topic to her repertoire; Mrs Smith is a bitch.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I saw a bumper-sticker yesterday that read, "No one is a failure if they have friends." I thought to myself, what low standards for success some people have, and no wonder they are driving a Mazda.

I am quite sure that what one likes to read in the newspaper says a lot about one’s relationships. Those of a breeding persuasion read the Births and Marriages, to see what their friends are doing. Those of an older generation read the Deaths, to see what their friends are no longer doing. I like to read the real estate section; it is the best barometer of what one’s acquaintances are lying about.

My favourite is the mortgagee sales pages, which features an increasing number of homes in the blue-chip suburbs. It impresses me how many people manage to put on a jolly good show, while, apparently, their cancerous $1800+ a week mortgage slowly eats away at their lives and bank-balances. Some get out early, before the indignity of slithering permanently off the society pages, and into the “Vendor says sell!” section becomes a certainty.

"We decided to down-size," said one. "The children have left home, so we really don’t need so much space."

"Actually, a one-bedroom apartment is all we need."

"After X had his heart-attack, our priorities changed. Moving out to Onehunga is the best thing we ever did."

Yeah, right.

Red is the New Amber

The long standing belief of Auckland drivers is that the red traffic light means stop, green means go, and the amber means go faster. However, I think this has changed.

Regular readers will know I walk a great deal, so I have plenty of opportunities to observe that when the pedestrian signal goes green, there are still a large number of vehicles sailing through intersections. The pedestrian signal does not turn green until the traffic’s light has been red for four (I think) seconds. This means that the drivers have had ample time to stop, but driving through red lights is clearly now the norm.

I am not at all sure if I have described this clearly, but if you are clever, you can work out what I mean. If you don’t understand, it’s not my fault you are a thicky.

Last week, one of the offending red-light drivers, was a police-car (and no, their sirens etc weren’t on). Now – I do not wish to abuse the dear men and women of the police-service who do a valued, and dangerous job, but really.

The worst location for this appears to be the intersection of Queen Street and K’ Rd in the inner-city. I defy anyone to cross there, and not be almost run down by at least three vehicles running a red.

I assume that this behaviour is a typically Auckland thing. Perhaps I am wrong, and the whole country is in on it. In any case, stop it at once. It is most annoying.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Important Message

As seen on Queen Street:

Thank goodness for that sign! Until I saw it, I was planning on driving on the footpath. I wonder what tomorrow's helpful message will be? "Wash your hands after going to the toilet"? "Don't operate heavy machinery while drunk"? "Pay your electricity bill"?


Let's face it - New Zealand's international image is not one of style and sophistication. Here's why:

Carla Rawson and Kelly Swanson-Roe
at the Sapphire Ball

When our 'celebrities' front up at a ball wearing Dame Edna Everage's cast-offs, one can't help but turn to alcohol to numb the pain. It's also a shame they ran out of time to do their hair. A lilac-rinse would have really finished the look.

Still - we must be thankful that, at the Louis Vuitton VIP night, Mrs Kirkpatrick chose to leave the hot-pants at home. However, I don't think the inflatable life-vest was a good choice.