Hamilton, my home town, has changed it's slogan so many times I've lost count. But the one old slogan that just summed Hamilton up perfectly for me was "It's more than you'd expect". Which is pretty hilarious really. But Hamilton has come a long way. Hamilton is OK!
1.5kg (3lb) rhubarb, young and tender
1.5kg (3lb) sugar
25g (1oz) root ginger, tied in muslin
125g (4oz) crystallised ginger, chopped
Trim the ends of the rhubarb stalks. Cut into short pieces and layer it with the sugar in a large pot. Add the root ginger, the grated zest and strained juice from the lemons. Simmer until pulpy, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove the root ginger, stir in the crystallised ginger and then boil until the jam thickens to a soft set. Pour into sterilised jars and seal. Eat on Vogels toast with a cup of tea.
My aunt in Nijmegan once said to me that "going to Wim and Fonsa's house was like stepping back in time to Holland in the 1950's". For me the house is like stepping back into my childhood. Huge family dinners around the modest kitchen table. Hide and seek amongst the mandarin trees. Waking early and watching the sunrise with Oma.
—land of tree ferns, such a dark kingdom that the boundaries could not be seen except in the imagination, land drowned in mist and silence, where sap trickles through the long skirts of night—land risen from the night, from water and music—
excerpt from Drowned in Mist and Silence by Nadine Ribault.
When Toby and I moved to Amsterdam, we had nowhere to live. Our mates Kate and Joe, who had promised us a bed, were full up. So I combed the classifeds and came across a room available immediately for one month only. I sent a polite email asking if a couple from New Zealand would suit? Nigel emailed back, coincidentally him and Merrin were also Kiwis. And New Zealand being the small country it is, we had a good friend in common, Tim Molloy.
We actually moved into Nigel and Merrin's apartment while they were away on holiday in Portugal. They arrived home, newly engaged and we were the first people they told. We had just met. Two and a half years later, I attended their wedding. It was a gorgeous summers day. Nigel and Merrin were so happy. Tim's speech was hilarious (and so was his dancing).
You're just too obscure for me
Oh and you don't really get
Through to me
And there's no need
For you to talk that way
Is there really less special little
Things to say?
Do like Paul Verlaine?
Is it gonna rain today?
Shall we have our photo taken?
We'll look like Death and The Maiden
Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine
Death and the Maiden - The Verlaines
(One of the best NZ songs ever and the video is awesome! The girl with the rabbit is so serious.)
There's something lovely about old houses. Every corner is a nostalgia trip. I just want to photograph it all. Nothing is perfectly straight, steps get a little overgrown and the kitchen tap drips. I love the community watch sticker. I reckon that must've been there forever.
Drinking L&P on the back lawn with Ellie. The neighbours' freaky (but nice) cat Monty paid us a visit. We went to see The National play later that day at the Powerstation where I bumped into an old friend who told me how her boyfriend just proposed. I touched Matt Berninger's shoulder. Ate homemade pizza at midnight, sitting on the kitchen floor with Matta and Ellie. A perfect day.
I was playing with Felicity and her kids at the gardens when a nosy old biddy walked past and told us to keep an eye on our bags. "New Zealand is changing!" she cried.
It certainly is. For one thing there's lots more kids.
Introducing two of the newest ones, this is Olivia and Bella. Olivia belongs to Felicity, Bella belongs to Kat, both of whom I went to school with.
I went for a walk with my Dad in Yardley's bush, one of the largest Kahikatea stands in the North island. It was early evening and the tui's were calling to one another. There is a quiet damp darkness to the New Zealand forest that scares me a little. I think that's what I love the most about it.