Arrowtown book buyer Miranda Spary continues her regular
column about her recommendations for a good read and life as
she sees it ...
I'd forgotten so many things about living here.
It takes forever to do the shopping because there are so many
people to stop and chat to.
When I go to the airport to collect my darling, I know every
single person who gets off the aeroplane before him. When I
get up each day, there's none of that boring same old
The first day I got home it was windy and oh-so-warm, the
next day there was new snow way down the mountains (even on
the seats at the top of Tobin's) and the next was sunny but
The coffee is amazing - I'd forgotten how fantastic our
coffee is here.
And the food ... home comforts indeed.
Even though the Wakatipu is so small, it's easy to go for
months (and sometimes years) without seeing people whose
company you enjoy.
It's always fun to catch up.
When you have been away though, it's so exciting seeing
everyone again and hearing all the news.
Lots of lovely news - such as Dan Egerton and Olivia Porter
getting engaged and lots of new babies and pregnancies and
new houses and relationships.
But it seems so funny how everyone is still the same.
Everyone except brothers' delicious children.
People who are 3, 4 and 5 change a lot in five months and
I've come home to the new, taller, chattier version, with all
sorts of new friends and interests and abilities.
I love being an aunt and can't wait to be a granny.
My children are so lucky to have the grandparents they've
I grew up with only one and she lived in London.
Our only contact with her was receiving much appreciated
postal orders and very unappreciated handknitted atrocities.
My childhood memories of that granny are the pain of being
made to write thank-you letters when I wasn't a bit grateful
for all the time and effort she had put into knitting yet
another appalling garment.
My parents are quite different - my mother now has the
littlies round on Sundays to watch their favourite star,
Annabel Langbein, in her cooking show and then they cook
something from it.
It's extraordinary how these small bundles of dynamite will
sit entranced and take it all in, then happily help prepare
I thought it sounded a disastrous idea, but everyone loved
it, especially me with my penchant for a great burger.
The mountain of mail I haven't got to the bottom of yet means
I am trying to stay home and tackle it before I go and try
all the new places that have opened.
I haven't been to the new burger joint, LaneWay, in
Arrowtown's Arrow Lane (but I'm reliably informed I should).
Neither have I been to La Rambla for great tapas.
And apparently Queenstown Bounce, the new trampoline place in
Glenda Dr, is really fun.
On top of all that, I am longing for all my tried and trusted
The trouble is, as well as all the boring jobs I have to do,
I keep weighing myself to see if I have lost any weight.
Despite all my weighing and dieting, I keep weighing more, so
if anyone knows of some reliably inaccurate scales that will
give me the good news I want, do please let me know.
We are a bit homeless right now - we rented our house out
while we were away, so we are flatting with my parents and my
daughter for a while.
We have only been here for four days and already my parents
and daughter have fled to Dunedin. Is there a problem?
It's a strange feeling living back in the bosom of my family.
I feel like a child again, especially today.
I got a long, and I mean very long, show-and-tell session
from my old dad, whose latest thrill in life is to manage the
He obviously thought I couldn't manage to feed and put to bed
their motley gaggle of chooks without full instructions.
Apparently, the chooks are very intelligent and care who
feeds them their slop, so I should disguise myself as him.
They are chickens and their brains are too tiny to notice.
He was a soldier in another life and he's still big on
secrecy - both the gathering and keeping of secret
information (I am completely useless at both and am itching
to tell you what I know about next year's Festival of
Last night, when I threw the food at the hens (not the
prescribed 12 piles) and tucked them into their nice warm hen
houses, three silly twits were unable to work out how to get
round the open door to get inside.
To teach them a lesson for being so stupid, I shut the door
and let them sleep rough for the night.
The old man would never know.
Or so I thought.
First thing this morning is a telephone call from Russell
Hamilton wanting to speak to him, to tell him some chickens
are not in their beds.
Spies are everywhere.
There are lots of people like my dad who believe animals are
smarter than we think.
And so it is in the beautiful Caroline, A Mystery by
A journalist is contacted by an old friend who is upset that
at his father's funeral, no-one mentioned the beautiful
As soon as his father met her, he was smitten and he found
ways to have his wife and son, his workmates, employer,
neighbours and friends all accept his extraordinary
relationship with her.
It's a beautiful fable about obsession and about people's
ability to accept the extraordinary as normal.
I loved it, and I know there are lots of people who love
donkeys who will love it as well.