Walking along a beach …


… has always been one of my favourite things. Here I am on a beach in Awhitu with its characteristic black volcanic sand. Just over six weeks ago, I was walking on a Cronulla beach when I fell and hit my right shoulder on a rock, fracturing the humerus in the process. It’s amazing how one wrong step taken in a split second can have such far-reaching implications. Having one’s right arm immobilised in a sling means that it’s very difficult to wash and dress oneself and washing one’s hair is impossible. I can feed myself provided someone else gets the food to the table for me and gives me a spoon to use in my far-from-dexterous left hand. I’ve discovered that I can load and unload the dishwasher with said left hand and wield the vacuum cleaner, though the corners remain dusty. The worst aspect of my present day-to-day life is that I am unable to lie down and have to sleep in a reclining chair. However, the excellent medical care that I have received both in Australia and at home, the wonderful help from Jim and our daughters, the good wishes from family and friends mitigate all the pain and frustration. And I am slowly getting better and look forward to starting physiotherapy at the end of the week.




On my recent trip to Sydney I spent time in Cronulla – an underrated and much  maligned part of the city. This is due to the racially motivated brawls that took place there in December 2005 and the prevailing opinion that Cronulla beaches are for locals only. However, I thoroughly enjoyed being there and not only because I had the welcome company of my children. The beaches are beautiful, with tall cliffs that provide heaps of shade, and warm, clear water. The village is charming and there are plenty of good cafes and interesting shops, including a wonderful bookshop. I highly recommend a trip out there and it is the only Sydney beach with direct train access.

La Traviata


Last Thursday the five of us got into our glad rags and caught the bus to Circular Quay. We walked in the direction of the opera house and got to the end just as the sun was going down. We had a drink and a bite to eat while watching the lights from the harbour bridge appear through the twilight. Then we went into the opera house for a performance of Verdi’s La Traviata. It was a first for all of us and we enjoyed everything about it – the spectacular building with its views of the harbour, the orchestra playing the overture, the sumptuous sets, the singing and the familiar music. We got tears in our eyes when Violetta parts from Alfredo and were stunned when she dies! None of us will quickly forget the wonderful experience.

Sydney in the sunshine


We took a risk visiting Sydney in the middle of winter but as you can see from the photo above, we had plenty of sunshine. The views of the opera house and the harbour bridge (see pic below) from the top of the Museum of Contemporary Art were spectacular. Our children flew from Auckland to spend the week with us and we enjoyed their company as well as that of other family and friends who are lucky enough to live in this wonderful city. The week flew by in a happy whirl of sightseeing, art and music, cafes and restaurants, bus and train rides and browsing in book and record stores.