Arrowtown book buyer Miranda Spary continues her
regular column about her recommendations for a good read and
life as she sees it...
Don't forget the dog trials at Closeburn today and
tomorrow. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Everybody's children have gone back to school now - there's a
general feeling of relief as the routine of school kicks in
again, at least for those lucky parents who still have
children at school - ours are making me feel very old by
having such big birthdays - our youngest son turned 22 this
week - Happy Birthday, dear Michael!
And not having the structure of the school terms and holidays
still feels strange - nice, but you do feel a little bit wild
and out of control - a bit like not wearing a bra.
Having a little shape and control to the year is helpful.
I can't help reading all the advice in newspapers and
magazines about how to get your children's year off to a good
start, even though I have seriously missed the boat in that
regard. And some of the advice is so odd. Do they really
think that having healthy sandwiches and fruit in their
lunchboxes is going to make children do better at school?
Mine never ate a single thing from their lunchbox - healthy
or unhealthy, it was all still there at the end of the day.
They said lunchtime was far too busy with all the games and
fun things to do that they never had time for eating.
I know what they mean. Life in Wakatipu over the Christmas
holidays is so busy (although I do always fit in plenty of
eating time) that we ended up going to Matarangi, on the
Coromandel Peninsula, for a bit of peace and quiet.
I do love the New Zealand beaches and there is something very
delicious about the smell of the ocean and a few days of
doing nothing. We watched some teenagers fishing in the surf
catch a huge shark and their faces when they realised what
was on the line was priceless! They managed to get the hook
out and release it back into the ocean (I didn't swim once
after I saw that).
Coffee is a 9km bike ride away around the cliffs - and back
again. I really felt I'd earned my cappucino.
We managed to get to Waiheke Island on the way back, to see
the sculpture exhibition. We could hardly move without
bumping into Queenstown connections. Not only had we been
staying at Matarangi where so many diehard Coronet Peak fans
have their summer hideaways, but while we gorged ourselves on
culture, we bumped into Geoff and Christine Bradley from the
old Bradley's Pharmacy, then Simon Carnahan and his beautiful
new wife Angela, our waiter at the lovely Oyster Inn was none
other than Perry Newton, and our neighbouring table held Zak
Darby. We were happy to see so many Central Otago wines on
If you feel like a good laugh, look up Sam Neill's speech at
last week's pinot noir conference. The video about
identifying grape varieties is wonderful and he was quite
out-starred by the glorious pigs.
As I write this, we are in Christchurch where my darling is
having surgery for cataracts. He is getting some magic lenses
sewn into his eyes so that he will be able to throw away his
glasses and stop driving me nutty asking me where things are.
I would much rather he went to an audiologist and had a
hearing aid fitted but he is more interested in seeing pretty
girls than hearing what his nagging old bat of a wife is
Every time I visit Christchurch, I am shocked by how much
more demolition there has been and how much more energy and
enthusiasm there is. New places are popping up everywhere and
we finally managed to be here on a day when Pedro's House of
Lamb is open - a container next to Liquor King where you buy
a meltingly tender shoulder of lamb on a bed of potatoes and
you go home and pretend you cooked it yourself. The best news
is ... shh ... I think he might be setting one up in
Queenstown. Fingers crossed.
I finally managed to read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn -
several of you have recommended it and I just hadn't really
understood what all the fuss was about. If you've suddenly
got 9am to 3pm free and want to celebrate having a silent
house again, get a copy and lie down with it - what a treat.
The style leaves a bit to be desired, but the plot and its
twists and turns are dynamite. It's like those poor teenagers
trying to hang on to the shark - whichever way they thought
it would turn, it did something quite different. Very ''he
said, she said'', two completely different versions of the
truth from a husband and wife and hopelessly unputdownable.
Don't forget the dog trials at Closeburn today and tomorrow -
it's going to be a lot of fun watching the wonder dogs.
Actually, the naughty ones that don't listen to instructions
are even more fun to watch.