Wednesday, April 23, 2008

See you later

Hello all! I have been terribly slack in writing on my blog - that is because I am writing furiously on my book! For the moment, at least, writing about my characters seems so much more interesting than writing about myself, so shall retire the blog for a wee while.

I shall be back when I have finished the book, or when the realisation that I have written 300 pages of utter crap sets in - which ever comes first.

Shall still be visiting my blog-pals, so do all behave.
Thanks to all my dear, dear readers.
Mrs Smith

Friday, April 11, 2008


Yesterday, I was on my way to Mahadeo's Indian food warehouse (a wonderful source of spicy delights - my only reservation in commending it is that last time I did, I was inundated with emails from people in India wanting to know if I wished to buy bulk-lots of saris and pashminas. 'No' to the the first, a big 'hell-no' to the second. Pashminas are for the elderly and the mentally infirm. I am definitely not the former)... My goodness. That sentence is so long I have lost track of where I am. In any case, I took some photos along the way.

I adore this building:

The entire exterior is studded with these wee cameos - the edifice looks like a giant Wedgewood plate. I wish I had thought to get the street number, so I could find out its history. Perhaps the cameos are likenesses of the Queen, and the building thus decorated to celebrate her coronation? Pure speculation, I will endeavor to find out more.

Nothing much to comment on here; I just thought the mobile death-traps looked very pretty lined up liked this:

An oddly augmented street-sign:

I Spy With My Little Eye

Have you ever heard of a 'Track-Stick' before? I hadn't, and neither had the young wife of a much older and wiser spouse, until she found one hidden in the recesses of her handbag.

The website suggests that these devices are a grand way to keep track of favourite fishing sites, or to see the normal routes of one’s day (snore!); furthermore, "the possibilities are endless and our users are always finding new and interesting uses for the Trackstick." Keeping tabs on a wife’s whereabouts is apparently one of those uses.

Those with clear consciences would have the right to feel indignant upon finding one of these hidden about their person – but those with less spotless scruples (such as the Young Wife) may consider not mentioning their find at all, but instead leaving it with a trusted pal for a few hours while they do their boyfriend errands.

Propositioning your son's friend – somewhat disgusting. Having the son's friend confide this to his girlfriend’s mother (who tells everyone else, and all laugh and laugh at the aged propositioner's expense) – priceless.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


What beautiful, crisp autumnal mornings are upon us now! I was walking happily, a gay spring in my step, breathing the freshly carbonated traffic fumes, and thinking all was well with the world, when a car drove past at speed.
The passenger bellowed at me.
"You're going the wrong way – K Rd's that way."

For those uninitiated with Auckland's streets, K Rd (as it is casually referred to, Karangahape Road if addressed formally; my foreign readers might like to attempt its pronunciation), is known for little more than its preponderance of night-time prostitutes. Thus, it was clear that, far from being helpful, the bellower was actually being very rude. (One wishes to point out here that my attire - a fetching knee-length trenchcoat, and jeans – didn't merit the comment; the only skin exposed to view were my hands and face, and it's possible I had my hands in my pockets).

It was very odd. I recall another time, when I was a teenaged Miss Smith, when a bus of hooligans drove past, and one shouted out the window, to much laughter from his fellow primates, "Show us where the axe gotcha." The phrase is embedded in my head forever, as I repeated it to myself for some moments, until I fathomed what on earth was meant by it.

Men think women are hard to understand, but really! Shouting vulgar things at strangers who are minding their own business seems singularly odd. Can anyone explain?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


I heard some interesting advice yesterday. Someone was complaining about a woman in her husband's office; the woman worked under the husband, but it seemed clear she had intentions of wanting to work on top of him as well. And perhaps behind, to the side, on a desk, and whatever else. That's not surprising, or necessarily a problem –these things happen, but the problem was that the husband was flattered by the intention.

Mrs N, much older and wiser, asked, "Does this woman come up in conversation much?"
"All the bloody time!" was the heated reply.
"Good," said Mrs N, "then they haven't slept together yet. Invite her over for dinner."

The suggestion was met with disbelief. Mrs N remained serene.
"She won't be able to resist the invitation – she will want to see what she thinks she's going to get her common little hands on. Be utterly pleasant and charming, but cool. Once your husband sees her in the context of his family and home, he'll see how out of her league he is, and nothing ruins an infatuation like a dose of reality."

The tactic is brilliant, but does require a cool head. Not sure I'd have the guts to do it. My strategy is far more rudimentary – I have told Mr Smith that if he ever strays, I shall set the house on fire.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Country Life

I'm so bored, and I don’t mean bored in the "Oh, I have nothing to do at the moment," kind of way. I'm bored in the "there’s barely any point doing anything, as it's all the same anyway" dogged ennui kind of way. I fantasize about crashing the car, just for the thrill of it. Terrible, n’cest ce pas? But there you are.

So when in doubt – go shopping. I rang a real estate agent. "I want something nice, out of Auckland," I said, "but not too far away from the civilised world. No more than an hour's drive would be super."
"Have you considered somewhere north?" she asked.
Oh God, I thought. She's about to say Omaha.
"If I wanted to be neighbours with a bunch of middle-aged Aucklanders, I could just stay at home, you fool," I roared.

No, of course I didn't, but she got the general idea, and I had a list of properties to inspect. What sugar-plum visions of a country-life danced through my head! I imagined stamping around lawned vistas in leather boots and tweeds, raising free-range chickens, shooting guns, and making jam. I even put Roxy Music's 'Country Life' album on the stereo to inspire me, but unfortunately, none of the songs had anything to do with tweed, or jam, or indeed, the country in any respect, from what I could tell.

Misleading Title

Anyway, so that is why, on the weekend, I was cursing the decision to wear heeled boots to an 'Open Home.' My god – the countryside is in desperate need of a few excavators and a decent landscaper; I almost broke my ankle on the bumpy terrain but a morbid fear of cow-pats kept me upright. A family of five was also inspecting the grounds – the children gave me some fierce stares of loathing. I have no idea why.

On the way home, I read an article about free-range chickens in 'NZ Lifestyle Block' magazine (the one with Sam Neill on the cover), and the article said vaccinations against salmonella were mandatory (for the chickens, not Sam Neill). Sticking needles into animals isn't quite my sort of thing, and to tell the truth, I don't even like jam, so am rather going off the whole idea, which is a shame, as the wardrobe options would be marvellous.

Just add corgis and stir;
Country-look from Dolce & Gabbana (Fall 2008)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Faux (Pas)

In the latest Fashion Quarterly, features editor Zoe Walker writes, "... there’s possibly no bigger fashion crime than carrying a fake handbag" (page 59).

However, in her profile on page 20, she announces "I usually carry vintage handbags but my favourites are a tan vintage Oroton, and my faux Chanel 2.55."

I think Zoe needs to find a new job.

Also saw David Hartnell the other day. From the sight of his florid Hawaiian shirt, I assume he will be putting himself at the top of his own Worst-Dressed list this year.


Easter weekend afternoons were spent drinking wine in the shade of a peppercorn tree, reading Fashion Quarterly, and eating feijoas from the surrounding orchard – they were still warm from the afternoon sun, and somehow all the sweeter for it. Fruit from the supermarket never tastes near as good.

I've been spending more time out of the city lately, and every time wonder why I should return. One can't help but feel in some ways that the life-marrow has been sucked from the city's bones. Who's left really, but the taggers, and screaming blonde girls in mini-dresses?

Last week - Ms S was in Yvonne Bennetti, trying on an embellished evening dress from the sale rack. Not sure I'm keen on Yvonne Bennetti. It's a place where a lot of the screaming blonde girls shop, and the sizing is obtuse – "What's a size 2?" I asked (it clearly wasn't smaller than a standard 8). "A size 10," I was told. This kind of in-house sizing system reeks of pandered vanities – many prefer to wear a single-digit clothing label, no matter how undeserved.

Mrs R flung back the velvet fitting-room curtains.
"Fabulous," she said, a-sparkle with silver bugle beads.
"You certainly wouldn’t go unnoticed," I remarked, "They could see that dress from Jupiter."
"Oh, good." She looked pleased, which surprised me as I hadn't intended my comment to be entirely complimentary.

"I hadn't intended my comment to be entirely complimentary," I said.
She stared at me, smirking. "So you don’t want to be noticed?"
"Not particularly."
"Bit pointless buying that Gucci bag, then, wasn't it?"

Hard as I tried, I could think of no response that would rescue me from my own hypocrisy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I have been so busy, my French lessons have been quite neglected.

Actually, that reminds me of a dear friend who lives in London, who saw a notice in a shop window for 'French and Greek lessons.' She was dating a French man who had a home in the Greek islands, so she rung the number with dreams of impressing her beau with a new-found grasp of the necessary languages.

She was utterly confused by the response she received from the tutor.
"...Then she said 'I don't do women, love,' and slammed the 'phone down."
We pondered this for a while, before I started to laugh.
"The sign in the window," I said, "It didn't actually say it was for language lessons, did it?"

She demurred that she didn't know, and didn't see what difference it made anyway. I pointed out that there was quite a big difference (need I point it out to my filthy-minded readers? I'm sure I don't), but thought the French beau would appreciate the benefits from either type of tuition.

Knowing what men are like, he would probably prefer she learned French. The non-speaking type.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Hello everyone! I'm back! Thanks to those who sent emails and comments. My pre-midlife crisis is over for now! (The emphasis on PRE).

I know loads of people who are having minor melt-downs. One fellow threw in a top executive position, and its eye-wateringly good salary, to be a motorbike courier in Napier. Another threw in a top executive position, and its eye-wateringly good salary to tend his olive groves somewhere near Coromandel. Ms R is redecorating. Again. I'm not one much for motorbikes, olive groves, or redecorating, so I went on holiday instead.

I went away, but unfortunately, wherever you go, you take yourself with you, which is a shame, as I find myself quite annoying. However, the last night away, I was lying on a sun-lounger, drinking a glass of wine, and looking at the night-sky. The pure swathe of the Milky Way was above. One never sees the Milky Way in Auckland, the glory of the universe just can't compete with the orange blast of the street-lights, and we get a watery, dilute version of the real thing.

But this – this was beautiful. Something about it was just so... well, beautiful, everything else fell into perspective. Our smashingly-pretty galaxy is so very big, we are so very small, and on the scale of it all, who really cares a jot about all the inconsequential annoyances of daily life.

Anyway. I have decided on a course of self-improvement. I am trying my hand at painting (pictures, not houses. I'm not very good), and writing (started my novel again). I also bought a Rosetta Stone language course, to improve my v v rusty French, which is quite fun, except I am not sure how useful the phrase "The ball is on the boy" will prove to be. The phrase "The man is under the table," might though. Oh la la!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


She stood in the dressing-room.

"What do you think?"
"No," I said firmly.
"Do you think it's a bit tight?"

My inner Mrs Smith laughed uproariously. My inner Mrs Smith wanted to point out that the skirt was as tight as a rubber-band around a Land-Rover. My inner Mrs Smith was ignored.

"Well – a bit," I said, cautiously.
The Land-Rover looked sad. "It's a 14," she said. "I've never been a 14."
I shrugged noncommittally. "Different labels size very differently," I said, with an award-winning degree of vagueness. I picked at my nail-polish, avoiding both her eyes and the boldly obvious, that she had as about as much chance of being a 14 as Nicky Watson did of having natural DD cups.

The Doctor was no less deluded. He had the appearance of a small nocturnal creature forced into the sunlight – blinking uncertainly into a foreign environment. He started off an anecdote, "Years ago, when I was working in Scotland..." which improbably involved himself, a priest, and a lawyer, and ended up with something unfortunate happening to the lawyer. I was quite confused.
"Oh dear," I said, "Was the lawyer badly hurt?"
He continued, with more anecdotes, starring himself, and an unlikely cast of drunks, nuns, and quite a few shared acquaintances. The penny eventually dropped with a resounding clang – he was telling jokes. I have never before heard jokes told in such a fashion.

I hate jokes. I hate knowing that at some point I have to laugh (a minor smirk is never sufficient). Jokes make me feel like I am performing in someone's badly-written play;

Doctor: (gabbling faster and faster) … then the priest said, 'don't worry, I got him with the car-door!'
Mrs Smith: (vein throbbing in temple) Oh! Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Very good! Ha ha ha.
Doctor: ...and there was the time I was working in Africa with three nuns…
Mrs Smith: (brandishing a knife) Take that!
Doctor: Arrggh gurgle thud.
Fini Digression

That ending doesn't work well, so instead I ha ha ha’ed painfully through some more real-life jokes, then exited stage left while murmuring something about seeing if the hostess needed any help in the kitchen. Later the Doctor cornered me again, and was saying how his daughter was also studying medicine, and hoped the younger one would too.
"She has what it takes to be a doctor," he said, eyes shining with pride, "a really great rapport with people."
The sub-text to his words was I am a doctor. I have a really great rapport with people.
That was the funniest thing he said all night.

Anyway – we have all met such people – those who think they are witty, or charming, or clever, or whatever, when others think they are anything but. And one does begin to wonder what delusions we have about ourselves. It's a grim thought.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Mere moments ago, I found this in my kitchen;

It is huge! About 20 centimetres long! However, I behaved quite admirably - I uttered no sound upon seeing this monster lurking suspiciously by my right foot - but anyone watching may have thought I was doing a mime version of Edvard Munch's 'The Scream.'

According to Landcare Research, it is a stick insect, Clitarchus hookeri (sounds rude).

It has a shoe-box sitting over the top of it at the moment - Mr Smith will have a pleasant surprise when he gets up.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Stream of consciousness blogging…

Have you ever noticed that in all the house/garden type magazines – no-one has a television?

If one goes to a fashion designer's birthday party – does one HAVE to wear the designer's creations? The odds of wearing the same ensemble as someone else are high. Would it be rude to turn up wearing Tamsin Cooper? Or an organic wool aran jumper?

Three-cheese tortellini at Cin-Cin is fabulous, delightful mounds of creamy loveliness on a fork – but what’s up here? This used to be a fairly decent place to strap on a nose-bag, but the view of the grubby 'smoker's tables' outside is reminiscent of some horrid westie bar. Cin Cin's ambience is getting dangerously close to AC/DC on a jukebox and chips in a basket.

Speaking of chips – why does the "fine dining" French Cafe have chips (sorry - french fries) as a side dish? What is your chef, like 8? (P.S. Dear Engine Room – I had been going to book dinner with you, but your website was so repugnantly impossible to read, I gave up.)

Note to all – don't ever say in public, "Mortgagee sales are a really great way to pick up some bargains." People look at you with stabby-eyes of hate if one does. Really very rude of them. Not my fault their mortgages are creaking at the seams.

What's the fuss about Havianas? Aren’t they just $50 jandals?

Anyone else going to the polo on Sunday?

Thursday, February 07, 2008


We had Herr and Frau Fossil staying with us over the weekend. I am battered and bruised from the storm of disapproving looks fired my way. The Disapproving Look is swift – a mere ‘up-down’ glance, and were pinging off me by the end of Tuesday like I was caught in a hail-storm.

Saturday night - we sat down to have a glass of wine. After one, they declined more, and started drinking water. I poured myself a second glass. Peow! Disapproving Look. Glass number three – peow, peow!

I have also learned that the very people who say that they "are not fussy eaters – we eat anything," are invariably the fussiest eaters of all. These "not fussy eaters" did not eat:

Red meat, potatoes (althought Herr Fossil did help himself to some, for which Frau Fossil rewarded him with some peows of his very own), soft-drinks (I had a Diet Coke – peow!) and anything that might contain butter, milk, sugar, etc.

We took them out for lunch – the meal portions were too large (peow), but I still managed to eat the majority of my meal (peow) and had a beer (in the daytime! Peow).

They have now been released into the wild – on a grand tour of our fair isles, so I wish to send a storm warning to the South Island. Despite the weather forecast, temperatures over the next fortnight will be chilly, and there will be storms of Disapproving hail.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Looking up something on the internet yesterday, and accidentally stumbled across a very special type of website.

Horror-movie porn!

Thought I had a fairly innovative imagination, but must say, fantasies involving demented creatures from the dark side had never occurred to me before.


I'm back! No – I didn't run away to join the circus. Realise that a skill is probably required, and I'm scared of heights, and don't think being the Incredible Shopping Woman would be much of a draw-card.

Oh – about the missing penis. Should point out here that bike-shorts are not for everyone. While riding a bike is a very good form of exercise, I am not convinced that full racing gear is necessary (or appealing) apparel for non-athletes.

Mrs L and I were sitting, having a glass of wine on her verandah, escaping from the furnace blast of the afternoon sun, when Mr D rolled up on his bicycle (must come up with a better system for naming people. Think I might now have multiple Mr Ds). He was wearing an ensemble fit for a fatties version of the Tour de France. Tour de Fattie ha ha! He looked very surprised by my presence, I by his penis' absence. I could not stop staring at his groin.

The tight lycra pants had smeared his genitals into a flat, barely undulating mass like a hot knife on beurre. He had – dare I say it – a camel toe. Did you know that men could get camel toes? I didn't. Amazing. Perhaps the circus has a position available for the Incredible Camel Toe Man.

He stopped long enough for a beer, then cycled off again. I thought little of it (apart from pondering his smeared penis), until the same thing happened again yesterday. Given that he has been 'cycling' for some time now, without any discernable difference to his girth, I suspect these bike rides are much shorter than he is telling his wife. Indeed, for various reasons, I strongly suspect his two-hour bike rides take him no further than once around the block, with a prolonged pause for aerobic activity of a different type.

By the way – the herd of Hollywood types that rushed through our diminutive isles over the last month caused a nauseating amount of activity on the social front. The number of people who suddenly decided to dash off to Waiheke in hopes of bagging a Charlize Theron or a Jack Nicholson was embarrassing. When members of the herd were spotted in the Coromandel, or at the car races, the hunters swung their sights that way with remarkable alacrity.

I have no interest in famous sorts… I have met heaps, and the most I can say about them is that they are A. very short. B. fairly dull. C. have surprisingly bad skin. My cleaner could be thus described, and I wouldn't rush off anywhere to see her.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I could not stop looking at his penis. Or at least, where his penis should have been.

My goodness, isn’t it hot lately? Humidity yesterday got up to about 94%. There is so much more to that story, but it's too hot and clammy to think.

All the ceremony over the passing of Sir Edmund Hillary makes one think about one's own demise. I thought long and hard (which for me, I confess, is barely a minute), what my obituary might look like. If someone had to put fingers to keyboard to summarise one's life, what could they write? All I could think of was;

Mrs Smith
She was very tidy.

After this, I get writer's block. It may be time to run away and join the circus.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Competition Results

Who won the Kagi bag competition? Reader 'Wonderferret' did, that's who!

Email me at your earliest convenience, Mr Wonderferret, and we'll get your prize sorted.

Thanks ever so much to everyone else who emailed/commented, your fabulousness, although unrewarded with a prize, is appreciated.


It was a perfect evening for a BBQ – the sun had gone down sufficiently, and the slight breeze meant we didn't cook like the sizzling main course. The children, aged six and up, were sitting alone, disconsolately, clearly forbidden to retire to their rooms and Playstations as they would much rather do, but had to remain on display. Wine on an empty stomach had made me unexpectedly charitable, and I wandered over to the table where they were seated.

"Hello!" I said cheerily, sitting down.
"You're dumb," shouted Six.
"Oh, I say, that’s not very nice," I said, "People need to know me for at least an hour before they can say that."
The others giggled, but Six (after thumping his sister for her mirth) continued, unabated.
"You're so dumb, you probably think one plus one equals a thousand."
Regrettably, there were adults within earshot, so I had to bite my tongue and refrain from ripping his out, but I have a special form of torture I reserve for small boys.

"I farted," he shouted, waving the thus polluted air towards me.
"I do so love rude boys who fart. And the more they talk, especially with their mouths full," (his was stuffed with semi-digested chicken throughout the exchange) "the more I want to kiss them." I leaned forward, lips puckered.

He screamed in anguish, chicken falling from his mouth, and ran off.

The other children turned out to be quite pleasant (despite their appalling table manners. It appeared that they have never been properly introduced to Mr Knife and Mrs Fork). Six returned later. He threw a wine cork at me which bounced off my head. His grandmother, who had minced around Six all evening bringing him special plates of food, wrung her hands apologetically. "Six! Be nice!" she wailed.

I wish I could say that this semi-feral species of the urban child is rare, but indeed, their population seems to be increasing. Thus, any school-leavers wondering which field to study at university, might be strongly advised to pursue psychiatry. I think this may be a booming industry in the next decade.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Albert Park

Albert Park in the centre of Auckland is – I think - a typically Victorian design. The Victorians loved overstuffing their houses with bulky furniture and a lurid array of dust-collectors (ornaments). Similarly, Albert Park is overflowing with statuary, cannons, a rotunda and vibrant flower-beds. My favourite is the flower clock, which was paid for by the founder of Farmers department stores in 1953.

However, the banks of cheery flowers are but a painted-on smile, for Albert Park used to be a favoured spot for all shades of deviant acts and those intent on bidding adieu to the mortal coil.

Clock of Doom

The first reported suicide in the park was in 1893, and after that, self-inflicted death by revolver (two in 1904), hanging, poison (carbolic acid, Lysol, ‘Rough on Rats’ rat-killer), and various of unknown causes, became rather commonplace over the next few decades.

In 1888, Sir Charles Wentworth Burdett, seventh baronet of Benthwaite, was spotted carrying roses in the park by a policeman, who queried as to where the blooms were acquired. Sir Charles denied picking them from the public garden, but was arrested nonetheless.

Crime scene

In court, it was shown that the sole of his boot matched that of a print left in the flowerbed, and a rose expert was called in to testify that the roses the accused had clutched in his hand were the same species as that planted in the park. Sir Charles was convicted to fourteen days hard labour.

Governor Grey attempted to save the baronet from this ignoble fate, but the judge countered that such an educated man ought to be made an example of. Apparently the example made was an imperfect one – flower thefts continued unabated, but pilferers thereafter removed their boots to do so.

Poor Sir Charles! The aristocratic title belies his impoverished existence – having been a dashing captain in the army during the Waikato war, then a member of the police-force, he fell on hard times. He was described as “often with shoeless feet and a battered hat, picking up a precarious subsistence by stripping bark from trees, cooking for bushmen, and doing odd jobs about squatters' stations.” By the time of his conviction, he was no stranger to the walls and bars, having experience the dubious charms of the debtors prison.

Such a tragic image – the shoeless tramp with his bunch of stolen blooms. The sentence signalled the beginning of the end. Two years later, he became a resident in the most unfortunately titled 'Costley Home for the Aged Poor,' and died in 1892 at the age of sixty-five.

Facts gathered from the fabulous resource, Papers Past, a collection of New Zealand newspapers dated from 1840 to 1915.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Competition Update

Hmmm. Although, perhaps in jest, Lita's comment bothered me a bit, and I realised I didn’t think the details of the competition through very well.

It probably contravenes all sorts of rules regarding internet safety, after all, you don't know who I am or where I live, so why should I expect those sorts of details from you?

So thank-you to the brave few who have ventured forth anyway – but I think I had better change the competition a bit. Nominate yourself for the prize – via comments or email, and I will draw a winner with a bit of eeny-meeny-miny-mo, then forward the winner's email address to the designer, and the two of you can take it from there.

Nice, stalker-free bag

Friday, January 11, 2008


Dear Readers – time for a competition! Put your thinking caps on.

If you cast your mind back (and if your mind fails to cast, just look further down the page), you’ll see that before Christmas I wrote about some ideas I had for ‘green’ presents – including Kagi jewellery.

Anyway, Kagi's designer, Kat Gee, wrote to me, and offered one of her darling canvas eco-totes in way of thanks, but because I am so super-fantastic, I thought I would offer it as a prize instead.

Fact. New Zealanders use over 1 billion plastic bags yearly.
Fact. Each bag takes over 500 years to biodegrade.
Fact. Thats 243 bags per person.

Use one of these instead of a plastic bag and you’ll not only be doing something nice for the environment, but you will look stylish too, not like those sad-sacks trawling their fake Anya Hindmarch shoppers around town.

So – EMAIL me (email link on the left), by next Friday with your creative suggestions on how to do something nice for the environment, with your postal address, and the winner takes the bag!

I'll announce the results next Monday (the 21st).

I Spy With My Little Eye

Bill Ralston – leave me alone.

My god – the man is infatuated with me. No matter where I have gone over the last few months, I turn, and there is my lovelorn shadow. Dining at Soul or SPQR, walking down Queen St, or coffee at Agnes Curran – there he is. Of course, those with a cold, cynical heart might argue it is purely coincidence, and point out that he doesn't seem to know who I am, but I laugh in the face of reason. I know he's just playing it cool.

Speaking of Agnes Curran, a slight acquaintance was there in line in front of me. The label on her 'Chloe' dress was turned up from her collar. Everyone could see it, how embarrassing! "Oh, your label is sticking out," I said, and thoughtfully folded it back in again. From her terse smile, I could tell she was thankful I had amended this lapse of grooming. However, I am sad to say, standards have slipped in the designer market – sewing skills not what they once were - for minutes later I saw her leave, and the errant label was sticking out again.

Such a fairytale marriage – although Prince Charming might wonder how his Shagging Beauty turned into Coldilocks.

New Year's Eve party, the Lanson was flowing freely, but when the clock struck two, she turned into a nagging pumpkin and sent him to bed. Gosh. What with the early bedtimes, endless complaining, and no sex, he may as well have married his mum. And so they all lived crappily ever after.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Oswald Bastable and Poneke have tagged me to do a wishlist for 2008. So here are eight things I am crossing my fingers for this year:

1. A refrigerated pillow. Don't you love the feeling of sinking into a bed made with cool crisp cotton sheets? Possibly not. I suspect many of my readers sleep on rough hessian sacks, or worse, polyester. So take my word for it. Unfortunately, the pillowcase warms so quickly; in the heat of summer I find myself flopping my pillow over and over to get the cool spots. Someone needs to invent a pillow with a central cooling system. That would be nice, thanks.

2. Walking uphill in heels is fine, but downhill? Impossible to do without bending knees in a peculiar fashion, so choice of footwear is limited depending on location. So, wish that Auckland was made flat. Will suggest this to John Banks.

3. My garden in 'NZ House and Garden' magazine. I did it all myself, and it is quite fabulous, and everyone ought to know it.

4. Lucie Boshier to release a line of lingerie. Trelise Cooper has stopped producing her line of frilly essentials, which I suppose means there is no money to be made in it, but just imagine! Bet it would be so gorgeous you’d grope yourself.

5A. Wally Simpson famously said, "You can never be too rich or too thin." No chance of the 'too thin' taking off in New Zealand, we're a nation of hammy heffalumps, but I'd like to change this to "You can be too blonde and too thin." Eek. My wish is that more women would realise blonde does not suit everyone, and brassy urine-yellow suits no-one.

5B. Aiming for a size zero? Stop reading the celebrity-gossip shitazines. Women who don't know how to get out of a limousine without flapping their legs open are not viable role models.

6. All Croc shoes, leggings, shapeless smock tops, and men wearing chunky white sunglasses, to disappear in a cloud of vapour.

7. 'What Not To Wear' to return with Trinny and Susannah. The current presenters are shining examples of the programme's title.

8. That Ms W would hurry up and have her baby. I know more about her bodily functions than I do about my own.


When you live in Auckland, you really do need to escape it at regular intervals. There is nothing like arriving at one's destination and the first thing to marvel at, is the silence. Silence! What luxury there is in stillness and quiet. After a few days away, one almost dreads going back.

One thing I must say – and this may surprise some – is that I do not approve of the current trend of the modern holiday home.

When I was but a small Miss Smith, the well-heeled family bach was a far more casual affair. They were large and comfortable, but the kind of place we children could run wild, and track sand indoors without someone shrieking that we were ruining the carpet. Sunny days we only returned to the house for meals and sleep. Rainy days were spent playing board-games (somehow most of the pieces and rulebooks would have wandered off, which meant amusing substitutes were invented), charades, and violent games of hide-and-seek. I don't remember there being any televisions.

New Year's Eve parties were the only times the women dressed up and rolled out the gowns and the heels, soon discarded for dancing (the heels, I mean, not the gowns. Well, possibly the gowns too, but that would have been after I was sent to bed). One lived in a glorious state of feral-gentility.

Now – no matter how far one goes, it rather feels like the city came along for the ride. The 'baches' are not much dissimilar from city homes – looking like they were packaged up and air-lifted in from Parnell. I don't see the point. Baches should be to escape, not recreate, the city.

I saw a small girl on the beach attempting to make a sand-castle, attired in a fetching Trelise Cooper Kids sun-dress. "Sophie!" her mother called with a sharp tone. "You'll get your dress dirty."

God. New Money People are so dreary.