A Kind of Paradise

I was recommended by a friend, a TED talk  given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie after I reviewed her book Americanoh in the last post. And only this morning I have had time to listen to it. I’d like to recommend it to you as I found it very enlightening about  the importance of stories as well as single stories and the damage single stories do.

It is finally Easter and a time to relax after the many visitors since I moved in to my new place. Things are settling down and in. The internet is working, the paintings are mostly hung, and I seem to have spent a lot of time reading manuals and assembly instructions lately. I hope I have finished.

1000 worms eating their way through my left overs in the Hungry Bin


It looks more or less like the diagram
Now for the plug in lawn mower.


Come on people…it’s harder than it looks.

While my friend was staying I had the pleasure of seeing the doco about Peggy Guggenheim. What a fascinating character, an enigma really. Hard to like but yet I really admired her. She was used by quite a lot of the male artists (and they were nearly all male) it seemed to me. But she created the most fantastic art collection. I didn’t see her gallery in Venice and now I am fired up to go. Unfortunately it will require a Lotto win to make that happen.

As always, when this particular friend, Bev,  visits we shift and change furniture. We have done this all our lives together. This time it was the table repainting and the ripping off the back of the kauri cabinet to fit the TV in as well as shifting it into the snug. I inherited the table from Bev and it holds many memories, firstly of sitting at that table as a teenager seeking refuge from home and from teenage angst. It was their family table and the five of them sat around it for dinner. I babysat the three children which is how I came to know Bev. Later it became the table we sat at after Brett died and the table little Sam sat at while he and Bev discussed music, bugs, animals, climate change, cats and many other very important topics. I think Sam became and environmentalist because of Bev’s influence and still today they spend a lot of time discussing these same topics.

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Now you see it.
Now you don’t.

I’m at home for Easter and I have assembled a little collection of keepsakes for the occasion. I have also managed to develop a passion for the M and M crispy eggs unfortunately.

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It bothers me that I am still holding on to all this stuff. Poor Sam what will he do with it all when I kick the bucket? I even have scrap books filled with his birthday cards from birth. I am going to make it a winter project to discard, organise and file this stuff so that it doesn’t become a burden to him or me.

I have always loved my little French antique bed but now there just isn’t the room so I have put it on Trademe. https://www.trademe.co.nz/MyTradeMe/Sell/Current.aspx  I  paid over 1000 dollars for it and I see others the same for over 2k but so far I have had no bids. At the moment it is squashed into the living room and I admit to having a delicious afternoon kip on it the other day. So maybe it won’t sell…

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There is something refreshing about an enforced no- shops- open day. How delicious knowing I can catch up on Grand Designs, read my book, bake something all without a shopping thought invading my mind. Not to mention the chocolate- eating excuses.

Happy Easter! FG

A little dose of reality

The bliss of a quiet house, my stuff, my fridge, my three toilets to be cleaned… What happened to all those fantasies of being minimalist, tidy and healthy? Dinner has consisted of a big box of flash chips that came with the Jalcon basket and half a box of Movenpick chocolate ice cream. Where is that raw quiche, that quinoa salad? Why can’t I down that tonic of Chinese herbs?


All those good intentions seemed to have evaporated in the Hobsonville Point air. Still I have a new fridge that makes ice so if you fancy a gin and tonic you know where the ice is. A positive alternative to the beetroot juice. (Hey it has lemon in it.)

My book club book is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. Really loving it and must get her other books, Half A Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus.

The author was named on the New Yorker’s list of the best 20 writers under 40. Nigeria is so far from any understanding I have and her experiences in America have helped me get a little bit to grips with racism. Her fictional blog on page 327 felt true to me despite never having been to America.

Not that it matter but here are the awards.


● Winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
● One of The New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year
● Winner of the The Chicago Tribune 2013 Heartland Prize for Fiction
● An NPR “Great Reads” Book, a Washington Post Notable Book, a Seattle
Times Best Book, an Entertainment Weekly Top Fiction Book, a Newsday Top 10 Book, and a Goodreads Best of the Year pick.

It was published in 2013 so heaps of you may know all about her but she is new to me and I intend to read her other books.

So much to learn so little time. I had better stick to the quinoa and not the chips if I am going to get through all the things I want to do.

Such joy in being surrounded by my paintings.

Thanks Margaret Hudson-Ware
Picasso, you may have been a Casanova but I can forgive anyone who can paint this exquisite dove.
Tony Cribb,this painting brings me pleasure every day.


Well I am finally in my new home at Hobsonville Point. It has been a whirlwind February with work and the big family wedding and get- together and now it is late Saturday evening and I am alone. It’s a strange feeling as the house is really a recreation of all the places I’ve lived. I found opening up the storage and getting out my paintings the best thing. They felt like old friends and as usual there is nothing minimal about my house. Already it is full of stuff.

Sorry about the toilet seat, this was really about the bath which I have yet to use but I’m looking forward to it.
Guest room ready for family this week.
The kitchen minus the new fridge which is yet to arrive despite the promises.
The dining table area, The light is the same as one I had at Sunnynook but is closer to the ceiling so is more spidery and less dandelionish which is a bit disappointing.
Other guest room. I am rattling around in the place really.
Knitting corner ready for the autumnal months ahead.
The snug- which is the least prepared room in the house as yet. I am going to paint it a murky colour as this is my cosy south-facing winter reading room.
Well alright it is a bit over the top but my own room is dramatic and warm and rapidly becoming a sanctuary. and
See what I mean about stuff?
I could pretend this painting project was mine but actually my wing woman did most of it with meticulous attention to detail. Thanks Deb.

I am also enjoying super fast broadband yay.

The family wedding was a lot of fun and we took a few family replicas of our baby photo.

The before…
The after… we could just about do the fifty shades of grey.
Proud mother as Sam plays the guitar for guests and then for the bride as she came up the outdoor aisle.
Did I mention how gorgeous they both were together?

I haven’t had much time for films recently but tonight I went to The Lady in the Van. Maggie Smith is a stunner and this could only be a British film. Americans just don’t have it in them. Beautiful pace, understated, moving, and the most incredible acting performance from Maggie.

I’m also reading about a couple who have fallen on hard times and are living in a car but this version is a great deal more frightening. I love Margaret Atwood and can’t believe I missed this one. It’s pretty dark so far. Great title.

Have a happy week. FG