Monday, December 24, 2007


Christmas is a time of year that must give the ecologically-sensitive veritable conniptions at the thought of its huge gift-wrapped carbon footprint. Writers of the 'Eco-centric' blog, Matthew and Natalie Cutler-Welsh, suggest the following for ‘Last minute prezzies that are good for the globe;’

For kids, what about swim lessons (concessions), an annual membership to Willowbank (a wild-life reserve) or a home-made voucher for ‘a special 1 on 1 outing of your choice’. Encourage your kids to 're-gift' some of their items to younger siblings or cuzzies.

I do not know much about children, but I do know that vouchers or promises of future outings will fail to impress on a spectacular, chin-quivering, watery-eyed level. For adults, they suggest a worm-farm, donations to Oxfam, or East Timorese coffee, all of which would also induce some chin-quivering of my own, and possibly screaming and threats of divorce over the worm-farm. It is daft ideas like this that puts me off the Green movement, and no doubt many others too.

Thus, for those who might wish to reduce their big carbon-bootprint to that of a diminutive stiletto, I thought I would suggest a few last-minute present ideas of my own.

Vintage 1940s/1950s Rolex watch:

I would love one of these (and have broadly hinted at such). One with a leather strap – it looks like something Katherine Hepburn would have worn.

Of course, not only would it be fabulously chic, it is essentially 'second-hand' so surely this would qualify as a 'green' gift (?). I have seen some available at Lord Ponsonby's antique shop on Ponsonby Road.

A sterling-silver Tiffany hip-flask

Typically a present for men, but I wouldn't say no to one of these myself. "What a smashing gift – but what of the environment?" I hear you cry. Well, the Tiffany and Co. Foundation of Environmental Conservation supports organizations dedicated to conservation of natural resources, responsible mining, etc. And much nicer than a bag of coffee.

Hand-made Hetty-Rose shoes

Lovely shoes, n'est-ce pas? And all made from recycled stuff, including vintage kimono fabric. Only problem – they do take several weeks to make, so unless you have a time-machine handy, probably not a good last minute idea.

YSL cocktail rings

Madly love cocktail rings at the moment, and these YSL ones are cheap as pommes frites. Don't know how 'green' they are, but they look organic.

However, if you want to support a local designer (buy local - and you reduce carbon point things), try the lovely designs at Kagi, available at a bunch of places.
Kagi uses real gemstones and crystals in the jewellery. It is believed that when worn against your skin, these gems and minerals will bring energy and balance to body and mind.

I have one of their peridot pieces, which promises, "This stone prevents you from being envious of others and allows you to focus on positive aspects of life. It teaches you that holding on to people, or the past is counterproductive." Not sure its working in any of those regards, but it certainly is gorgeous.

Designer cat bowl

New Zealand fashion designers Trelise Cooper, Cybele and Liz Mitchell have each designed a lovely bowl for the fashionable feline. Not only are they rather swish, the proceeds from these limited-edition bowls support local cat charities.

They are 'available for purchase from Animates and Jansens stores throughout the country.' I have bought two.

In any regard, no matter what Santa brings you, may you all have a wonderful Christmas. I shall be going away shortly after Christmas for a wee break, and shall return early January. That is, unless I get a worm-farm, in which case I will be blogging from prison after knocking Mr Smith over the head with a blunt object.

Keep safe and well.


Mrs Smith

P.S. Bloody hell! The photos are all mashing together. Hope I have fixed it, it looks fine on my screen now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


He had to have been a gigolo.

The heat of early summer brings those annoying foreign insects that land on you – you flick them away, but they lazily circle, and land again on the same spot. You hope they go away and bother someone else.

He was devastatingly good-looking (and knew it) - and would have been a lovely afternoon distraction if I wasn’t a married woman of the most virtuous calibre (Shut up. Yes I am). He had a mop of dark curly hair, and intense green eyes (actually, bit off a put-off – the colour verged on improbable and I suspect coloured contacts. If men are handsome, they should look accidentally so).

His English was probably very good, but with such a rich and colourful accent, he spoke too fast to be understood easily, and I did eventually lose my patience.

"I bet you have a beautiful smile," he crooned.
"I bet I do, too," I said.
"Oh," he played a sad face. "Will you not smile for me?"
"Not with a mouth full of food, I'm not," I replied, tersely. He persisted.
"And I bet you have beautiful eyes – but I cannot see them behind your sunglasses!"

With no response, and thwarted by my failure to reveal smile or eyes, he moved downwards.

"Your skin – so beautiful with the sun, the colour, so nice."
He touched my hand - wrong move. What a novice.
"Yes, quite. One gets rather tanned toiling on the farm."

He looked confused – he thought he'd hit gold, but gold isn't found in a farm-hand's knickers, no matter how they looked to the contrary.

We were both too young for this game – he too young to know that these lines were not novel territory, but had been well-trammelled for decades by hordes of hungry handsome Lotharios before him, and I was too young to be desperate and appreciative for the attention and silly compliments of a pretty man.

It only works on those whose age frightens them, and husband neglects them, which he too, soon realised, and he left me to find less-resistant smiles, eyes, and credit-cards elsewhere.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Christmas, Auckland-style.

Santa has a cell-phone and a latte, and the thunder-storms and pouring rain have just rolled in.

By the way, the NZ Herald reports;

Auckland also came fifth-equal out of 215 cities on "quality of life", ahead of all Australian cities, and registered less traffic congestion than Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth.

Wellington came a stinky twelfth. Ha ha.


Haven't I been dreadful! Dear readers neglected for so long… Tsk tsk. I shall give myself a sharp slap on my bottom, to teach myself a lesson in manners.

I have been so very busy lately – time soaked up with festive alcohol like a sodden bar-towel. The arrival of December has invariably lead to the obligatory rounds of Christmas sociability, where everyone, fuelled by unnatural amounts of champagne, feign fairly convincing displays of mutual affection and bonhomie.

Christmas is generally my favourite time of year – the specials on champagne makes one's eyes water with glee. However – it is so very hard on the waistline. Clothes which hung with comfortable ease a month ago are now straining at their zippers like over-stuffed sausage skins.

Have also been helping (?) Mrs D make up hampers for her husband's clients. I query the use of the word 'helping,' as my role is limited to murmuring "Why yes, that would be lovely" and finding her car-keys. She usually leaves corporate-gifty things to a company to do – but for some reason thought she/we would do it this time.

Personally, I think the most help a wife can be to her husband's career is to stay well clear of it, something Mrs D should heed. Having bought voluminous French wicker hampers the size of hot-air balloon baskets, then stocked them with champagne, she said gaily, "Now let’s go buy loads of yummy things to go in them!"

I pointed out that there was a budget assigned to us, and with the remaining funds, the loads of yummy things couldn't cost more than six dollars per hamper.
She froze. "Sixty dollars?"

There was a long silence, in which we both tried to think of ways in which three cubic metres of unfilled hampers could be made to look full without resorting to wads of screwed-up newspaper. I think Mr D will be using the usual company next year.

Other updates: I have decided to write a children's book! I tried a novel earlier this year, but used up all my ideas after one page. Thought a children's one might be easier – the print is bigger, for starters.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Today, Dear Readers, you have a special treat - a maths quiz courtesy of another Dear Reader, who I shall call 'Miss Maths';

Metro reports Gilda Kirkpatrick's husband is 43 years her senior.

But in another article they report she is 33 and he is 79.

Now, 79 less 33 is 46 years.

Question: Is Gilda K. shaving a few years off???

A tricky quiz, Miss Maths. Could it be that socialites age in dog-years - one year for every seven human-years? Hmmm.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


From my observations – these are things to have or do in the city.

Tiny cakes and sandwiches; The afternoon tea is back! Somehow more leisurely than lunch – at three o'clock the day is practically over anyway. Dust off the bone china.

Long Island Iced Tea: Have one at Mea Culpa – the emphasis on one. A local bar-fly claimed his record was six – which I thought far from impressive, but after two my head fell off and rolled around the floor, so now think any more than three of these a death-defying stunt.

Rolls Royce; The city is positively teeming with these stately machines. How delicious!

Orange tan; I'm passing on this one. Think I’d rather go the natural way and get melanomas.*

Shoes on the side of the motorway; How and why do so many solitary shoes end up on the side of the road? Do people drive with one foot out the window? Is hurling one’s heels from a moving vehicle a substitute for using indicators? I have no idea.

Is this Roadside Shoe Phenomenon is a New Zealand-wide thing? Has it gone global?

*I've never claimed to be a role-model to anyone.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


When I arrived, she answered the door wearing a bikini and a fur jacket. I thought it a brilliant look – like something from a '70s Helmut Newton Vogue shoot, but she had been crying, and her nose was quite red, which ruined the effect.

She had a drink in one hand, and from her effusive greeting, it was clearly not her first. She wasn’t happy – her husband wanted to go to the company Christmas 'do' alone – she had insisted on going, but he had hidden a change of clothes in his car, and not come back to get her.

We went and sat by her lap-pool.

This is my opportunity to say I HATE lap-pools. Yes – I know how very trendy (voice soused in disdain) they are but they look like miserable pools for people who can’t afford or lack sufficient room for a proper one. Don't tell me how much they cost – I don't care. They look cheap.

In my mind, a pool is for splashing about aimlessly in or basking next to – neither of which can be done satisfactorily in something designed for swimming straight lines.

Lap-pools stingily allow nothing but exercise, not relaxation or fun.

Stingy, tomfoolery-free zone

How could one have a cocktail-party around a lap-pool? Drunken tomfoolery, which full-size pools encourage, would be limited to no more than two guests at a time. I suppose one could draw up a roster, or insist that everyone lines up for their tomfoolery in an orderly fashion.

Infinity pools! Another pool type that annoys me. Amazing in the right location where the end of the pool overlooks ocean, which makes the pool look endless – hence the name INFINITY.

Infinity pool - good

Some don’t get the 'infinity' concept at all, and build one with a sordid view of a back lawn.

Infinity pool - fucking useless

In this case the only 'infinity' is the measure of their owners unmoderated doltness. Infinity pools MUST have an unimpeded view of an open body of water or it's NOT A FUCKING INFINITY POOL.

Roar moan wail. I have a hangover. A rant about pools. That is it for today.