Arrowtown book buyer Miranda Spary continues her regular
column about her recommendations for a good read, and life as
she sees it ...
Queenstown is definitely in Turkey this week.
We've got Matt Patt and his gorgeous Kelly aboard, and also
David Arnau who stayed with Don and Kath Andrew when he came
to learn English about 12 years ago and has since been every
Queenstowner's best friend in Barcelona, showing them all the
high life and nightlife of his home city.
And we bumped into the beautiful familiar face of Ana Aoke
who is working on the super-elegant superyacht Ad Lib, as
well as getting a surprise visit from Michael Hanna.
It's probably why I'm not too homesick yet.
There are also many very sad and sour Australians who do not
love a Kiwi flag right now - they have pointed out theirs is
the five-star version, and we are downmarket from them.
Oh really ... ? Time for a new flag, in that case.
Tyler Brule, who writes "Life in the Fast Lane" in the
Financial Times, wrote a great column last week about
the need for countries, businesses, whatever, to
differentiate themselves from others.
I'd never remembered how many stars we had until the frosty
Australians made their caustic comments.
Everyone everywhere seems to know why New Zealand is
different: they know we have a very green country, very
incorrupt, they know about The Lord of the Rings and
the All Blacks, but nobody knows our flag, not even many of
I am always interested to know which subjects create the most
feedback in this column.
Our boating disasters have the top rating, but boat toilet
disasters are at the top of the top.
Thanks for all the emails and suggestions and the total lack
of sympathy! And I loved getting Garrick Tremain's Augusta
cartoon - lucky us having this strange and wonderful man in
In case you don't know, you can often buy the originals of
his cartoons from him but my darling is trying constantly to
get me to tighten my belt. I don't often succeed, partly
because I am very greedy and prone to portliness, but also
because I think it is my duty to keep spending and
stimulating the economy in my own small way.
Obviously my dear old Dad doesn't think that way.
At his vast age, maybe he's getting a little confused and
thinks Angela Merkel is telling him, not Greece, he needs to
tighten his belt and practise a little austerity.
Whatever, he's taking it to heart and has taken the battery
out of his 20-year-old Mercedes and will not register it for
a while in an attempt to save money.
We did ask if he had thought of just selling it, or the two
ancient Nissan Sentras he drives rather than wear out the
Mercedes, but he can't see any sense in that.
He's also bought my mother an iPhone, but without a contract
or any data plan; again a money-saving initiative if ever I
heard of one! It is hard to imagine what she plans to do with
this device, but I'm only a child in his eyes, so even though
he asked my opinion, he didn't really take any notice.
I can't wait to be his age and ignore all my children's
advice, but they say that is already the case.
I can't forget I'm getting old because my birthday has gone
on and on.
On Saturday night we went for dinner at our favourite kebab
It's actually our favourite restaurant overall, not just
because the food is so delicious, but because dinner for six,
including booze, is a whopping $NZ80.
We always seem to over-order and overeat, so our hearts sank
when the waiter - who is our boat boy's brother - brought out
a dangerously rich looking chocolate cake exploding with
sparklers and big hearts saying "Miranda" and all the staff
singing Happy Birthday.
Our boat boy's family had ordered it for me as they are so
grateful we have given him a job and let him have a day off
for the recent holiday (boat crew aren't meant to get a
single day off in the whole season here).
I feel ashamed as the job is gruelling and involves his
working 18 hours a day (our captain is a ferocious
slavedriver) but all his friends are jealous because he says
his job is so fantastic.
I can't imagine how tough life must be on other boats.
I told you last week about the card that said reading a book
was a way of trying on another person's life for size.
Often I feel very pleased the life I am trying on finishes
when I finish the book.
Tom Lubbock's excellent journal Until Further Notice, I am
Alive is one such.
This British journalist kept a diary from when he was first
diagnosed with a rare and malignant brain tumour.
He asks why he says he is dying when all of us are living,
until we actually die.
And questions what our lives are and why we want them so
It's beautiful, tragic writing by a young, intelligent man
with a very young son and wife who mean the world to him.
Sometimes reading about lives we don't want makes us value
our own so much more.
Loads of you have already got the fantastic Black Dog
Cottage cookbook, and if you're interested and quick,
contact Cath Hanna at Gently Used Clothing or Motogrill and
put your name down for the launch of book two, and if you're
even quicker, get your name down for author/cook Adie's