A Charmed Life


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this kiwi girl muses about… Easter

I went to Christian schools so I had it drummed into me from a young age that Easter was about Jesus sacrificing his life for my sins and then rising again from the dead on the third day so I would have eternal life. I remember being very confused about someone I never knew dying for me. It is a heady concept for a child to understand and I have to say as an adult it never felt much clearer; but then religion is all about the interpretation and interpretation is why I do not do religion.

Still I may not do religion but that has not stopped my brain working overtime all bank holiday contemplating on the meaning of Easter. It would have been more comfortable to muse over Easter eggs but I am not a chocolate eater so it holds no interest, or to talk about the Easter bunny but I am not American so have never taken part in any bunny activities; no instead my thinking has been all about Jesus and about these events that may or may not have occurred and this is kind of a big deal for me, for although I am happily content with my spiritual path, I remain vehemently anti religion. This means I choose not to veer towards religious dogma. I am the first to say ‘for one day would it not be nice to not have to read about some religious crap in the news.’ Before I come across all blasphemous, apathy aside, each to their own I just do not see why I have to know about it.

Anyway about Easter. In adulthood Easter has always been a welcome respite from hectic work life no further thought heeded, yet here I am fresh from this Easter break thinking what is the lesson of Easter.
And my takeaway is this – and I have to say I think it was a case of when the student is ready, the teacher will appear because I am surprised how easily it came to me, and it may be a little simplistic but here goes – you do not need to be Christian or religious to deduce that Easter is about love. I believe that the idea of someone giving their life for me is an act of kindness and the idea of that someone rising from the dead fills me with joy and gives me hope for the redemption for all of us. And I am rather happy to bask in that feeling for as long as I can.

 Sat Nam

And…  Issues, Movements. I am feeling an exuberance for justice I have never felt in my lifetime, a wave of change upon us. Whether it is Mental Health Awareness or the fight for Equality or Black Lives Matter, whatever the issue it will not be ignored. And nor should it. Pepsi managed to balls this current feeling up royally, first by hiring Kendall Jenner, the idea that anyone from that family gives a damn about anyone other than themselves is an obvious fallacy. Then the ad itself is a WTF! There is a bit in the beginning of the ad of Kendall blithely handing a blond wig to a bemused African-American woman – that says it all #I’mNotInThePepsiGeneration BUT for incite and context look no further than I’m Not Your Negro, a documentary film, based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript. James Baldwin was one of the most important voices to document the civil rights movement and to hear the words of this man who knew Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr is a thrill for anyone interested in history but why I believe this documentary is required viewing is because it speaks to the present moment with greater clarity and force. I watched it thinking ‘when will we ever learn!’  I am somewhat confused who is whom in the Syrian conflict. There’s Assad. There’s IS. There’s Iran. There’s Russia. There’s Saudi Arabia. There’s the US and somewhere there in the mix are Britain, France, Turkey and Qatar. I don’t understand what motivates Assad anymore; his country is in ruins, it has been six bloody intractable years. Assad has to go and so do IS but I have concerns about other countries being involved, you don’t just fire missile strikes on another country but more importantly you don’t just fire missile strikes on another country without a game plan. The strikes just feel like that thing at the White House thought to do on a whim and because he could. It doesn’t demonstrate a move to resolve the conflict and it certainly was not out of concern for the Syrian people. And speaking of airstrikes on what possible realm does it make sense to threaten North Korea, launch a MOAB on Afghanistan, and then go off for a golfing holiday. Every day it is like watching a James Bond movie but from the psycho villian’s point of view. You never know what is going to happen next but you know it will not make sense and you know it will not be any good. 

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see – Paddington

paddingtonWhat is it they say, inspiration can hit you anytime anyplace, well that certainly rang true for me over the weekend while I was watching the film Paddington (for the umpteenth time). There I was thinking how Ben Whishaw’s dulcet tones are perfect for the voice of Paddington much better than Colin Firth’s would have been (he was originally cast) when I had an inspired thought into why my cinema tastes have changed in the last few years. 

Of late I had noticed that I don’t have the same stomach I used to have for much of the cinema ware that is on offer today but I never really considered how this came about until Paddington. As a child Paddington and the Wombles were my happy place. I have this very vague memory of a birthday party – maybe my third or fourth – that had a mixed Paddington/Womble theme. It was memorable mostly because I was gifted a Paddington Bear and a duffle coat of my own; the coat was worn to death, even when it no longer fit I would try to pour myself into it until one day it mysteriously disappeared and reappeared on my cousin (my mother swore it wasn’t my coat but I have never been convinced).

And while the coat might have gone walkies, Paddington always remained ever dear to me. In fact one of my first to-dos when I landed in London as an adult was to visit Paddington station and pay homage at the statue of him – I wasn’t overly impressed by it (far too small) but out of nostalgia it had to be done and nostalgia was what drove me to the cinema to see the film a year ago. I have seen it many times since, I can’t help it – Paddington has become my happy place again. Cinema has always been a means of escapism for me. The 90 or so minutes I watch something I want to be absorbed into a world different from the one I live in. I think because we live in these precarious times, I am choosing more and more not to expose myself to negativity where I can, like in the films I watch and this film with its loveable central character and rather twee story is the perfect anecdote.

And yet as lovely and family friendly it is, it is also entirely appropriate for today with its central theme of tolerance and acceptance the film strikes a palpable chord within all of us – for Paddington is a refugee. You know this of course if you grew up reading the Michael Bond books (do children today read Paddington?) if you did then like me, you are familiar with Paddington’s journey from deepest darkest Peru to London and you remember the note attached to his coat that read “Please look after this bear. Thank you” and how he eventually found a home with the Brown family at 32 Windsor Gardens. If you know this then also like me you have most likely embraced the talking ursine with an endless capacity for getting into trouble into your life. How could you not! It’s always the naughty ones we love best.

Paddington – a joyous and witty film about a bear called Paddington who has a penchant for mischief and marmalade, for kids of all ages especially really BIG kids who might need reminding that xenophobia has no place in our world. The perfect activity to while away a few hours during the Christmas hols. The added bonus is Nicole Kidman, who plays a kinky stiletto heeled taxidermist, the villain in the piece. She looks like she’s having the time of her life in the role.

Sat Nam

Also in the news: I would like to know whose smart idea it was to release Star Wars: The Force Awakens the week before Christmas! Boxing Day releases are bad enough but in Christmas week! Seriously! It is going to be a good ten days before I get to go by which time save for a social media blackout I’ll know too much #NotHappy #theForceAwakens #theForceisStrongwithThisOne ♥ Something I can get behind 100% is the climate change deal. See what can be achieved when we unite as a planet. The world has set itself a serious goal now that a deal has been agreed in Paris, its historic, its ambitious, its time – let us hope this momentum continues into the new year for this is not our planet to pillage and there is no time to lose #COP21 #ClimateChange #GlobalCitizen ♥ As loathed as I am to mention the thing that is Donald Trump, I have this theory about him: I am of the thinking that he has been recruited by the Clintons. Think about it; he is/was friends with them (they even went to his last wedding) and he was a Democrat once upon a time. Any thinking person knows the GOP has become a joke, that their hatred for the President has overshadowed their love for their country thus thwarting what could have been an inspirational residency for Obama. The rise of the Trump has potential to not only get my girl Hils into the Oval Office but to tip the balance of Congress in favour of the Democrats because heaven forbid he win the nomination who in their right mind would vote for the Republicans. Yes the more I think about it, the more brilliant it is, it’s like the Manchurian Candidate has leaped from the screen into real life. What else could possibly make sense of the vitriol that comes out of his mouth, the alternative is just too awful to contemplate #Hillary16 #ImWithHer ♥ And lastly I appeal to you dear Reader. I pray you never become a refugee. I pray you never have to flee your country with nothing more than the clothes on your back. I pray you never have to leave behind your home, your pets, your burgeoning career or business. I pray you never lose loved ones by torture, or missiles or drowning or malnutrition. I pray you never have to spend an European winter in a tent. I pray you never find yourself hopeless in a foreign land not knowing the language and scared because you don’t know what is to become of you. I pray all this for you but most of all I pray, that god forbid should you become a refugee, that you experience the very best humanity has to offer – kindness and compassion and love. This is my prayer for you and I appeal to you as you get busy buying Christmas presents for loved ones, PLEASE spare a thought for our fellow refugee brothers and sisters; who were once like you and I – doctors, lawyers, shop-keepers, bankers, business owners, drivers, architects, students, care free school children – who ARE human beings and PLEASE show you care what happens to them and donate what you can PLEASE #RefugeeCrisis #PleaseGiveHere #SpreadASmileOfJoy #WeAreAllRefugees

akiwigirlabroad wishes you peace and so much love Merry Christmas xxx


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fairy tales don’t always have a happy ending, do they?

I expected to feel a gamut of emotions when I read Go Set A Watchman. I suspected I would be more disappointed than satisfied, in much the same way I felt in the casting of Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. When it comes to much loved characters you get an idea in your head about who they are don’t you? Their look, manner, nuances… so I didn’t hold much hope in actually ‘liking’ GSAW. I did consider not reading it for about a millisecond, I thought maybe I didn’t need to know what Scout did next, but by dint of her being the daughter of Atticus Finch would always make me want to know what Scout did next.

I’ve read it twice now, that is about the only good thing that comes out of being laid up with bronchitis, it renders one with little else to do but read. And yes I expected to feel this gamut but I don’t… I mostly feel sadness. Sadness for the crumbling of a fairy tale.

I first read To Kill A Mockingbird as a teenager on the plane from Harare to Mumbai and it was one of two books I had on me (the other being Lucky by Jackie Collins). For the ensuing 6 weeks as I toured India with my family, both books would provide a welcome escape when I needed a reprieve from nagging parents or an annoying brother. I read TKAM four times in total during this time, then it wasn’t picked up again until I was in my 20s living in Sydney. By this time I understood the cultural significance of the story, I had watched the Gregory Peck film, I knew the minutiae of Harper Lee’s life, heck I even knew the minutiae of Truman Capote’s life. I knew it all and the book – the story had found a special place in my heart.

But not for the obvious themes of courage and integrity.

For the little girl who found a hero in her father.

Because it was the same for me when I was little.

There is a line Jean Louise “Scout” Finch’s uncle Jack, a retired doctor says to her towards the end of GSAW “As you grew up, when you were grown, totally unknown to yourself, you confused your father with God.” I think that’s what little girls do. Daughters with their fathers. I know I did.

I had the luxury of having my father pretty much solely to myself until I hit double digits (baby brothers don’t count on account of them being too small to actually do anything with) and I was lucky because back then he was a very present father. Despite what the passage of time has brought about, I can still remember moments that were just ours; watching airplanes take off or reading at the library, drinking from his whisky glass, or sitting in his lap and steering the car while he was driving. It didn’t really matter what we did, it just always felt that we had our own secret thing that no one, not even my mother or brother could penetrate. Like Jean Louise recalls in GSAW “I can only say this – that everything I learned about human decency I learned here,” lessons I learnt from my father either by osmosis or by example remain with me today. And just like Jean Louise, I grew up, moved away and realised what a fallacy it all was. We see what we want to see.

I wasn’t surprised that the Atticus in GSAW is a flawed human. I mean quite literally I wasn’t surprised, social media makes it neigh impossible to keep anything a secret these days. This particular nugget became known to me before I had even read the second chapter but still…

I wasn’t surprised by the idea of it either; just open up a paper today and it is very clear, race is as big an issue now as it was over 55 years ago when GSAW was first written. This story is set in Alabama in the 50s before the civil rights movement properly gained momentum. I didn’t live in this time so I don’t know what hardships must have been endured but I do know regardless of the era you live, you do get conditioned by your environment; so that an aging white man of the South has racial attitudes is actually a realistic portrayal. That he is the same man who defended a black man wrongly accused of raping a white girl shows how we got swept up in the idea of Atticus being the ultimate icon of fatherhood and the law. Harper Lee obviously never intended it, GSAW was written before TKAM.

When Atticus revealed himself “Then let’s put this on a practical basis right now. Do you want Negroes by the carload in our schools and churches and theaters? Do you want them in our world?” I screamed ‘NOOOO!!!’ and I could feel my heart being crushed a little. Atticus as a reactionary racist, destroys forever the Atticus Finch I created in my head when I read TKAM, but I can accept this, in the same way I have accepted how my father, the hero of my childhood isn’t the romanticised ideal I imagined him to be. We see what we want to see but ultimately we are all flawed and men get old, set in their ways conditioned by their environment…

and little girls grow up and realise fairy tales don’t always have a happy ending.

Sat Nam

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee; beautiful in parts, long in others. while comparisons to TKAM are inevitable, they are not companion pieces and as such should stand alone. Having said that no one is reading GSAW having not already read TKAM. TKAM is a far superior read but I thought GSAW was a good read, and I was happy with the epiphany (of sorts) at the end for Scout, it balanced out the story of the two books to a nice natural resolution.


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this kiwi girl muses about… the words of others

lovewriting
What would Gwyneth do? Not sure how this turn of phrase came about but this is a ‘thing’ on social media; and while I think she certainly knows how to rock a frock and has some very cool friends, I’m not sure I see her as an aficionado of anything in particular, but then again these things do tend to take on a life of their own in these days of twitter, instagram and the ilk.

I do often use the expression though, only depending on my mood I replace the Gwyneth bit with one of the many writers who inspire me.
You see, I like to write.
I have never really given much thought to whether I am any good at it.
I just like to write.
And it is a privilege to be spurred on by so many greats.
 
Dr. Seuss taught me that just because a word is not in the dictionary does not mean it is not a word. The art of whimsy came to me by way of Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis, not that this was a happenstance for I was born a dreamer but reading their books stretched my imagination beyond the world I was growing up in.

Jane Austen instilled in me the premise of the sisterhood and the strength which came from within that bond. Through the steely yet passionate character of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte gave me a heroine of my own sex to admire; whilst the autobiographical storytelling by Maya Angelou taught me that the heroine or rather shero I should believe in was me.

A spiritual awakening of sorts came by way of The Alchemist and more poignantly By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. These works of Paulo Coelho along with much of his work throughout the 90s resonated in my soul, even though it would still be another decade before I would consciously walk my spiritual path.

Speaking of spiritual awakening, when I read this sentence ‘Davie brightened up as the insidious comfort of the plum jam stole into his soul’ written by Lucy Maud Montgomery (in the second book of the Anne of Green Gables series), I had my first epiphany about the power of words to evoke emotion for this one sentence stole into my soul and still remains there today.

The discovery in the importance of the structure of a sentence came from the journalistic stylings of Ernest Hemingway and Joan DidionBryce Courtenay’s stories interwoven against a historical backdrop ignited my interest in history. The poetry of Paolo Neruda versed me in romance in a way Keats and Byron had failed to ignite. F. Scott Fitzerald taught me to love a narrative, Kipling gave me my love of prose, from Tolstoy I learnt perseverance and from Wilde irony. On and on it goes for many great writers have lived and still do today.

In my wildest dreams I could never wish to be as good as them nor do I aspire to be, as I said I just like to write. Sometimes though when inspiration is not forthcoming and I suffer bouts of writer’s block I call upon these maestros and say to myself what would (insert here) do? If I feel melancholy I ask what would Dickens do? If I feel a want for romance I ask what would Neruda do? And eventually from no thought comes my muse and I know in no small part that it is down to invoking the spirit of the said writer. Got to love those winks from the universe.

Sat Nam

And lastly before I leave you, I couldn’t resist jumping on the bandwagon, especially as it is my favourite magazine  – Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair… simply stunning #yougoGIRL #BeautifulMomentinHistory


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club tropicana

clubtropicana
A few posts back I mentioned Desert Island Discs and since then I’ve been asked either one of two questions; what did I mean by Desert Island Discs or what would my selection be, so…

Desert Island Discs is a radio programme that is on air on BBC Radio 4, on which the featured guest is asked to choose eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item that they would take if they were to be cast away on a desert island.
Now you know what it is, onto my selection but first you need to know it will be a cold day in hell before this could ever be a reality. Club tropicana it definitely would not be and I’m not someone who would survive that kind of situation on account of –
*MOSQUITOS and creepy crawlies in general and
*I do not like being out in the sun (sensitive skin) and
*I have no survivor skills; I was never a girl guide, never managed to stay motivated enough to finish the Duke of Edinburgh award, and have never been able to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together (and actually if your name is not Bear Grylls is that even really possible?)

But in a parallel universe where anything is possible these would be my choices.
eight pieces of music
In choosing these songs I thought about the best case scenario of being on a desert island (like there is one!) and I figure if I was to try survive it I would need to stay positive and motivated so I chose these songs for the happy vibe they give me; and then because my shortlist came to over 50 songs, to help narrow them down further I opted for their theatricality, because if I’m going to be alone on a desert island you can be sure I will be channelling my inner rock goddess, singing to my heart’s content with no fear of anyone telling me to shut up or threatening to kill me (thanks bro, still haunted by what you did to my favourite Madonna poster all those years ago!)
♣Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. I couldn’t survive without bringing a little Mac with me, and I imagine I’ll be doing a lot of dreaming on this island so this song seems appropriate.
♣Cruisin by Smokey Robinson. Every time I hear this I find myself in a duet with Smokey.
♣Sound and Vision by David Bowie. Click here to read why.
♣Nessun Dorma from the opera Turandot by Puccini sang by Luciano Pavarotti. Have to have some opera on the island to keep things a bit civilised; although this isn’t my absolute favourite opera, it’s the one I feel I can do the best impression of.
♣Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush. Such a sexy song. I like the idea of prancing around to this.
♣Because the Night by Patti Smith. If I could go back in time my era of choice would be New York in the late 70s/early 80s – the years before AIDS; I’d dance at Studio 54, be photographed nude by Robert Mapplethorpe, hangout with Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and a not yet known Madonna and watch legends like Blondie, Talking Heads and Patti Smith perform at CBGB. This song is all about dirty sex for me, so if I’m not getting laid I might as well have something with me to remind me how good it feels.
♣Happy by Pharrell Williams. The title says it all plus one and half years on and I’m not the slightest bit over it.
♣Into the Groove by Madonna. What? Did you really think I would get myself deserted on some island without her? She’s been with me since I was ten years old, I’m not about to be without her now. Click here to read why this song still does it for me.
Castaway favourite: If all my music were to be stolen by a monkey and I could only save one disc it would be Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. The Mac are always my go to when I’m feeling happy or when I’m feeling blue or just cos.

a book (you are automatically given the Complete Works of Shakespeare and depending on your preference an appropriate religious or philosophical work).
It’s a tossup between
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Pros: It’s my favourite book, and who knows how long I am being cast away for so it has to be something I never tire of and I already read this at least once a year so it’s got staying power. And what a great role model for someone trying to survive on a desert island; Jane survived an unkind aunt, Lowood Institution, the Moors and a crazy woman. Cons: None. It’s my favourite book.
The Oxford English Dictionary. Pros: Firstly being cast away is no reason to be a dunce and secondly I’m a word geek and take great pleasure in reading the dictionary. Currently I’m working my way through words beginning tri (yes I’m ace at Scrabble, if anyone wants to Words with Friends with me my handle is Ree2311).
Cons: I maybe a word geek but it is a bit geeky to take a dictionary.
and the winner is… neither I’m not stupid, I’ll take a How to Survive on a Desert Island for Dummies guide along with my Shakespeare and Bible.

luxury item (it can’t be a living thing or be of use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside)
I did consider notebooks and pencils so I could continue with my musings but I have chosen a more practical item -> a bath with a supply of fresh water for it has multiple uses. It can be used for shelter, to sleep in, to store water and of course to bathe in.

Alrighty that’s me ready to cast away, now over to you.

Sat Nam


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curiouser and curiouser

curiousandcuriouser.jpg

It is with great anticipation I write this next line. The sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird is coming out this summer. Fifty five years after the first book – imagine that! Many reasons to gush about this, firstly for a book geek like moi this is the best kind of news. Secondly it is serendipity that this manuscript (Go Set a Watchman) was even found as it was thought long lost by its author. And lastly I do not come from the ‘let well enough alone’ school of thought, out of all the characters I have gotten to know from the books I have read – what Scout did next is often something I pondered over and now come July I actually get to find out.

This week’s post is about books so Harper Lee has provided a most appropriate segue way.

Via this blog I get all kinds of requests. Requests to take part in surveys; to attend events like a tantric sexuality workshop (which I was unable to attend) or wine tasting (which I did attend); to trial products, skin whitening pills anyone? And occasionally I get a request for my guidance which is why I am writing today. Recently I was contacted by an expectant mother for my advice on how to build a library for her baby. This is the best kind of request for me, anything to do with books and I’m there. And no she didn’t actually mean a hammer and nails type of build (I did check just to make sure).

 “The best candy shop a child can be left alone in, is the library.” Maya Angelou

It is not as easy as it seems, think about it – there are a plethora of books out there in any genre and the only direction I had was that the mum-to-be wanted to make sure her child read all the classics. I’ve taken my time compiling this list, even then I know there are plenty more gems out there I’ve forgotten or not had the good fortune to read; but in any case I see this list as a start, for the best part of growing up is discovering and a library, school or a book store are the perfect settings to be curiouser and curiouser.

So here’s the list(for under tens specifically but also for the inner child that lives in you): Barbar MEG AND MOG Alice Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass THE GRUFFALO Matilda PUSS IN BOOTS The Little Prince HARRY POTTER Charlotte’s Webb THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS Winnie the Pooh CURIOUS GEORGE WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE The Tiger who came to tea THE SECRET GARDEN Are you my mother? A BEAR CALLED PADDINGTON The little Engine that could FANTASTIC MR FOX Famous Five THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLER Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go THE VELVETEEN RABBIT Asterix MILLY MOLLY MANDY Guess How Much I Love You RAMONA THE BRAVE Chronicles of Narnia THE SILVER SWORD Five Children and It BLACK BEAUTY Secret Seven TREASURE ISLAND The Swiss Family Robinson MARY POPPINS The Wizard of Oz HEIDI The Jungle Book POLLYANNA Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairytales WHAT KATY DID Just So Stories PETER PAN The Prince and The Pauper Grimm’s Fairytales TINTIN The Story of Doctor Doolittle Pippi Longstocking BALLET SHOES The Borrowers WATERSHIP DOWN The English Roses THE BERENSTEIN BEARS The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear THE RAILWAY CHILDREN

And my absolute favourites:
oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss First of all anything by Dr. Seuss is golden, I love the playful and lyrical way his books are written, they leave me filled with wonderment and a smiling face.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

This book was published 1990 so it wasn’t a childhood book for me, instead I was gifted it when I first moved to London but I find myself referring to it every now and then when I’m feeling blue and in need of a smile.

“I’m afraid that some times, You’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win, ‘cause you’ll play against you.”

It is a book for children and yet is filled with an insight that is completely relevant for grown ups we become. By the by it makes for a great graduation or leaving present.

 ♠

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton The books of Enid Blyton (and Roald Dahl) spoke to the dreamer in me then and they still speak to the dreamer in me now. Some of their books might not be considered pc¹ anymore but I find a flaw in that line of thinking. Words only become good or bad by people making them so. These books fueled my imagination that’s it plain and simple.

“I don’t believe in things like that – fairies or brownies or magic or anything. It’s old-fashioned.’
‘Well, we must be jolly old-fashioned then,’ said Bessie. ‘Because we not only believe in the Faraway Tree and love our funny friends there, but we go to see them too – and we visit the lands at the top of the Tree as well!”

Even as recently as two weeks ago I was talking about this book with a dear friend, we shared our love for Fanny, Dick, Bessie & Jo, Moon-face, Silky, Saucepan Man, Dame Wash-a-lot and the Angry Pixie and we talked of our favourite lands (she was curious about Topsy Turvy, I quite fancied Do-As-You-Please). She related how it was her wish that her daughter read it some day. That to me makes a classic, something that holds fond memories, something you want to share with others.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery After Jane Eyre this book and the series that follow are my absolute favourite books. I have been asked why on many occasions and my answer is the same every time, ‘because they are delicious.’

“People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?” 

My attraction to books comes from a love of words (I’m the type of girl who has favourite words but that is a whole other post) so the way L.M. Montgomery weaves a sentence is sheer magic for me, I truly believe when people talk about richness in language they must be referring to her work.

“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”

Anne and I have friends since I was ten years old… that’s over thir well it’s been a very long time and as such it is not easy to describe my love for Anne so I will simply say Anne and I are kindred spirits and these books are filled with delicious sentences that make you fall in love with the English language.

And so ends what has been a labour of love for me but this is by no means a definitive list and I’m sure you readers will have your favourites (please continue the discussion in comments).

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” Dr Seuss

Sat Nam

 ¹ politically correct


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not even if you hold a gun to my head

MY ANTI-BUCKET LIST: I always feel a bit wary when I use the word ‘never’ because if life has taught me one thing for certain – it’s that you just don’t know what is around the corner BUT I know for certain (well 99.9% certain) I will never:

Go shark diving, swimming with sharks, down in a shark cage or anything to do with sharks. This is a girl who still gets scared when she watches Jaws, yes I know it’s not real but what can I say I have an over active imagination (ps totally anti shark culling though – hopefully that will keep the bro happy)

Partake in a bungee jump. I know it’s a kiwi thing and yay for that but it just doesn’t feel right. 

Wear a crop top in public. My days of acting like a young Madonna are over unfortunately, yet another sign I’m getting older.

Drink kombucha. Just the smell of it freaks me out.

Run for a political position. I am a very opinionated person and have a view of how I would run the world but I’m not sure I have the thick skin or the cunning required for any type of public role and in any case the idea of old photos of me being dug up and put out there for all to ridicule makes me cringe.

Ride a hot air balloon – seems romantic but looks boring. What if you need to go to the loo up there?

Finish 50 Shades of Grey. I read the first 166 pages but couldn’t make myself read anymore. To those who stayed away from it, I concur it really is a lesson in banality… still if you are interested I know of this new author who has her first book coming out soon 😉

I can think of a load more that I could add; like how I will never go to North Korea (well Kim whatshisface doesn’t sell it very well does he?) or that I will never wear crocs (one word yuck) or that I will never get plastic surgery (fingers crossed I continue to look like I’m under thirty for many years to come) but I can’t know for certain if North Korea, crocs or plastic surgery will pop up in my life or not. Anyway enough about me – what’s on your anti-bucket list? Come on spill…

Love


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one proud kiwi

I’m having a little bit of a kiwi moment right now, in the last week Helen Clark has been rumoured to be the forerunner to take over from Ban Ki-Moon as Secretary-General of the United Nations, Lorde won two Grammys and we bet India in the cricket. Rewind a few months back – a kiwi also won the Man Booker Prize (Eleanor Catton for the Luminaries), rewind a wee further back to when we passed legislation to make same sex marriage legal and by last count we still held the Holy Grail that being the Rugby World Cup. Okay we didn’t win the America’s Cup this time but we are still the nation that gave birth to the people behind ‘Top of the Lake’, ‘The Hobbit’ (the movies) and ‘Shrek’ as well as a wealth of talent that can be found all over Australian television and on a global stage.

Can I just say – for a small country in the arse end of nowhere – we certainly make ourselves known.

Love


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that’s the end…

To know me is to know that I love a great read – these are my favourite book endings:

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

“And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning–
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzerald

“When they finally did dare it, at first with stolen glances then candid ones, they had to smile. They were uncommonly proud. For the first time they had done something out of Love.”
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Süskind

“I find I am excited, so excited I can hardly hold the pencil in my trembling hand. I think it is the excitement that only a free man can feel, a free man starting a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain.
I hope Andy is down there.
I hope I can make it across the border.
I hope to see my friend and shake his hand.
I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.
hope.
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Stephen King

I couldn’t finish this without mentioning my two all time favourite books. Although the following lines are not the last lines written in each book, they are in the last paragraphs.

“Reader, I married him.”
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

“I don’t want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want YOU. You see I’m quite as shameless as Phil about it. Sunbursts and marble halls may be very well, but there is more ‘scope for imagination’ without them.”
Anne of the Island, Lucy Maud Montgomery

That is exactly why I love these endings… for they provide so much ‘scope for imagination.’

Love


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books, books and more books

In the UK currently there is a debate going on about whether kids should read more books. I’m not sure what context the ‘more’ means but my answer to this would be ‘hell yeah.’ When you are young, you are a sponge absorbing everything around you, therefore books can only enhance your development. I’m not sure I believe all these electronic gadgets do the same thing so trash the tablets, idle the iPhones and wither away the Wiis (my poor attempt at alliteration) and get kids reading I say. I loved reading as a kid, which in turn is most likely the reason I love reading as an adult. I still remember being read to as a child and visits to the Wellington Public Library with my dad. To this day a visit to the library makes me break out in a smile. I guess it is no surprise then that I have written a book it was probably my destiny to write one. Books are my friends who invite me to visit their worlds. They feed my imagination: Reading Huckleberry Finn made me want to sail down Mississippi River, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe I actually read in my wardrobe, Lord of the Flies kept me awake at night, Anne of Green Gables made me want to make mischief, The Magic Faraway Tree and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory made me believe in just about everything. There is also an added benefit to reading when you are a child, for as your belief system is formed; reading and what you learn from books came be incredibly empowering and useful to you later on in life, you can’t exactly say that about Candy Crush Saga can you? I’m currently reading 1Q84 by Huruki Murakami in case you are interested 😉 Love