Arrowtown book buyer Miranda Spary continues her
recommendations for a good read and life, as she sees it.
Ooh - cold weather and heavy rain - how delicious to hear it
thumping down, washing all those poor dusty trees sparkly
clean. And it's so nice lighting a fire in the evening again.
The end of summer arrived unexpectedly making my Virginia
creeper blush a deep, embarrassed scarlet, which looks
wonderful. It's lovely to see you again, autumn.
Time to start chopping firewood and putting the garden to
bed. Get your ski pass. A night in front of the telly starts
to have more appeal and especially for locals who are gagging
to see Jane Campion's new series Top of the Lake.
Keep an eye out for the nurse who is talking to the pregnant
teenager. She's a familiar face around town and spent a very
long time practising her lines. Oops, line ... I'm sure this
is the start of a huge movie career for her, and we'll all be
able to show off that we knew her before she got famous.
I was in Taupo at the weekend supporting the Queenstown team
who had Greg Turner as their pro in a men's health charity
I wasn't really watching the golf, although I accidentally
walked past some of them occasionally.
They were playing at Wairakei, which has so much more than
golf to look at. The owners have spent millions of dollars
building a massive predator fence around the course - some
5km long - and the native bird population has increased
One of the kiwi conservation groups uses the course as a
place for teenage kiwis to learn some life skills in a safe
place before they get taken out to the wild (imagine how bad
you'd feel if you hit a kiwi with a golf ball).
From the look of the deep scratches on the lady who was
talking, the grumpy teenage kiwi had already picked up some
useful self-defence tactics. I had never seen a live one
before, apart from behind glass, and it was weirdly
To be perfectly honest, I didn't go to Taupo to support my
darling's team. I just saw it as a perfect opportunity to do
the Tongariro Crossing. It's too far to go to Taupo just for
a one-day hike, so tagging along on their boys' weekend made
a lot of sense.
We had thick cloud for most of the way to the top, and just
as we were sitting down a bit depressed about no view, the
clouds vanished almost before I could get my camera out.
All that unearthly farting and vomiting from this
geologically busy bit of the world has created a fascinating
landscape, and even though it is way more crowded than any of
the South Island walks (apparently the record is 2500 people
doing the crossing in one day ), people are still only a tiny
blip in the vastness.
The downside of being out in the wilderness like that is the
lack of loos. Lunar landscapes don't offer much in the way of
privacy and with just two long drops at the start of the
Devil's Staircase, it's a good five hours away from one. We
were nearly knocked flat by a frantic Japanese guy racing
towards them. On to lovelier thoughts - Sarah Kate Lynch's
new novel, The Wedding Bees is out. She's coming to talk with
our own Leeanne Malcolm at Dorothy Browns on April 15th.
To buy a ticket right now, ask a Dorothy member to book it
for you, or wait till April 1 when the ticket sales are open
to all. I love Sarah-Kate's books and the way she makes me
laugh out loud while getting across her constant message that
there is no perfect life, so enjoy every good thing while
you're living it.
And a very clever, funny book about an unfunny assassination
is HHhH (which in German stands for ''Himmler's brain is
called Heydrich'') Heydrich being the Butcher of Prague, and
one of the rare Nazi leaders who embodied the Aryan ideal -
tall, blonde, blue-eyed and handsome.
As happened in Anna Funder's brilliant Stasiland, author
Laurent Binet includes himself in the story, with problems of
research and his very clear opinions about Hitler and his
hideous plans. The Czech assassins chosen to do in Heydrich,
and their mates in the Czech resistance are true heroes, and
the painful last pages make you want to cheer out loud for
I've mentioned before that many of the great books I read are
recommended by Wakatipu homeowners who spend much of the year
away in other parts of the world, and this historical novel
was yet another of John Watson's excellent suggestions.