What’s in a name?

Okay guys we are after a new name for our yacht. Vote now!

I asked my face book buddies for some ideas and below is a selection of the greatest hits.

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State House of the Sea

On the off chance that anyone reads this blog, and in the even more unlikely event that you are wondering what our new home looks like, this is the new yacht.

Her name, is…. wait for it…. Summertime! 

As you can see she is rough.  

Check out all the ropes though. Not going be short of things too tie things up with. Luckily I have been practising me bowline. Arhhhh.

. This is the cockpit  where two dogs have lived for 10 years.

 Oh look! Jazzy red flowers. A great way to disguise the faded, filthy fabric.

 Check out the built up grunge on the woodwork, the easy access to the oil from the lounge….

Tidy room, tidy mind.

 Nothing like an inflatable bedroom accessory.

  Looking forward to spending time in here.

 Every yacht needs a home entertainment centre, and Summertime doesn’t disappoint.

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Buy our boat

 Okay team, we need to sell our yacht Astra. NOW. 

She is a beauty. A true beauty. This is what we say about her.

Astra is a well-found wooden sailing yacht with exceptional sea keeping capabilities. She has been sailed solo in a circumnavigation of the New Zealand Islands, spending a month cruising the Fiords encountering all types of weather conditions along the way. Her home waters are the South Island and more lately Cook Strait where she has made countless safe crossings of Cook’s “Wild” Strait in every condition other than storm. An exceedingly safe cruising yacht that will handle an extended off-shore passage perfectly. Astra would need only the usual preparation and additional equipment to become Cat’1 capable. Built of the world’s premier boat-building timber, this kauri yacht is a classic vessel that has all the modern considerations that a contemporary yachtsman demands.

Astra is on the market as the owners have purchased a larger yacht to accommodate a growing family.
She is SERIOUSLY FOR SALE and the owners are keen to look at all serious offers.
Because we are going to ARUBA!!!


This is where I figure out where we are going.

Ahhh Astra

Imagine me martini in hand

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Brand Spanking New

New Year’s Eve has always held so much promise. 

As a young teen,  magazines (think Dolly), promised romance from handsome hunks (think  Scott Baio) offering pimple free kisses.   These were the days when tutti frutti lip gloss was de rigour, when mesh shoes meant you were stepping out in style, when my world was confined to biking up and down Sheffield St. I knew, of course, that this was ridiculous but it never stopped me hoping.  Hoping that Mr Handsome would ride his 10 speed (also extremely cool, way cooler than my no name Raleigh 20 rip off) to my doorstep and ask me if I wanted a “dub”.

Once I was old enough  to  “go up north with my mates” for New Years a whole new world of disappointment opened up.

The pilgrimage to the Pap Tav, the drunken fumbling in rain-sodden tents, bitchy cat fights with the chicks in the caravan next to me, and the dawning realisation that no amount of calorie counting or fake tan was even gonna compare to the smooth bronze goddesses with their flicky hair and short shorts from The Mount. (It is no accident that David Hasslehoff launched a new ice cream there.)

NYE was yet another tragic reminder of just how uncool I was. 

I would like to say that as an adult things looked better. But I would be lieing.

The new millennium kicked off in a freezing stone villa deep in the Tuscan countryside with my pockets stuffed with lira in preparation for the inevitable collapse of the international banking system. Y2K anyone? oh wait that was 2010…

Other years saw me in Tokyo with creepy American’s,  getting pickpocketed on Tottenham Court Road, drenched at a keg party in Tokamaru, hiding out from an angry drug dealer in Tauranga. ( Don’t ask)  and once stuck out at the East Cape Lighthouse  with an ice queen who clearly wanted me gone.

Finally after 36 years I can safely say that THE New Year’s Eve celebration location is ….. Longburn.

Nothing happens. You go to sleep and when you wake up it is a new year. No Hangover. No flash backs to embarrassing moments. No crushing disappointments.

Just a brand spanking new year.

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There is something about 01 01.  Every time these numbers roll around I decide I want a body like Scarlett Johanson’s.

This year was no different.

I had just finished doing the positive visualizations, imagining my new body, practicing poses for the endless paparazzi shots I will no doubt be subjected too, because when you are thin you are famous,   when I came down with nasty stomach cramps.  Was this my body actioning my dreams of thinness already? I didn’t expect it to happen quite this quickly. Maybe it is my body shrinking? My abs doing their own workout? Was this the universe working it’s thinning magic?

The universe was delivering something; the trots.

And to add insult to injury we are currently in Palmy, which coincidentally, is as tropical as it sounds.  I know for some people the thought of a virulent tummy bug in Palmerston North is their idea of pure hell but aside from the illness, Palmy has been it has wonderful.

Dash wakes up at 5am saying Brmm Brmmm Tractor. I toss him a copy of Farm Trader and that keeps the little chap happy until 6am. Then we open the curtains count the ducks on the lawn, put on our shoes and head off to the chicken coup where we collect eggs, I put on a head scarf to rival the local Breathens and commandeer the tractor and  spend the rest of the day cruising the farm!  Felicity Kendall ain’t got nothing on me!

Well actually she does. She doesn’t have the bot.

Instead of welcoming the new year in with fancy picnics and chinking glasses the entire family was struck down. Dad reckons he ate a dodgy pie but this was no ordinary tummy bug- this was the norovirus kind that laid the entire scout camp of 2009 low. What is it they say? ‘A family that spews together says together.” I reckon after last week’s effort we are joint at the hip…. for life.

I have to find a bright side and this is it.  I am a little closer to Scarlett’s measurements.  Norovirus  is great for weight loss, you have a few days feeling rotten and then a good week with no appetite… my only regret is I didn’t chow down more over Christmas!

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Positive Poverty – Lead me not into Temptation

What is positive poverty I hear you ask?  An ace way of living your life. I reply.

The idea is you have just enough to get by and don’t have to worry about building up an asset portfolio as you have  no cash to purchase ‘wants’.

Obviously it is a nice western idea of poverty cos I am pretty sure those people stuck in the slums aren’t calling it positive poverty… more like no opportunities and fark all to eat. Setting that glaringly obvious comparison aside,- it kinda works.

All the self help books say it is important to take ownership of your financial situation.  I own my poverty!! As someone who has spent most of their life in debt or ‘working in the arts’ I have always struggled with the desire for the flash stuff and pittance pay checks.

I got myself into a bit of strife a while back taking an exhibition to London- with no funding!!  Maxed out the credit card and had to spend the next five years paying the thing off.  I vowed and declared that I would never do such a thing again. I felt like a loser.

And yet I find myself about to give up a great job and head out into the ocean with about $10k in my bank account for a whole year!

This positive poverty spin is great, instead of being freaked out I am excited. I love living on the boat, coming up with creative ways to cook the paltry provisions. One old apple, one hungry child….. bingo the most delicious crispy apple pikelet treats are whipped up in 10 minutes. Eat ya heart out Jamie Oliver.   

As other friends’ traveling days are curtailed due to mortgage repayments, my misspent youth means that I missed the opportunity to buy an overpriced house in the suburbs. Positive Poverty means I can go sailing. It means I get excited about recycling soft furnishings, it means I make shorts for Dashkin out of remnants. It has forced me to be creative,  given me more time to go running and made me think very carefully about needs and wants.

Ross has long espoused the principle of positive poverty. In fact I think he may have coined the term. His commitment to positive poverty has definitely shaped my attitude to all things luxury.  It is kinda hard to gush about a new pair of shoes when your hubby is sporting a threadbare shirt.

 having said all of that I am a sucker for a bargain and it takes all my will power not to succumb to the summer sales. Seems the best way to get through this is to head miles away from temptation.

Positive poverty, ocean styles.

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Hiding in the bushes was a watchful pair of eyes..

The Lost Islands!!! Remember this genius programme?? It was on after school in the late 70’s early 80’s.


This, coupled with the brainwashing of Casey Casum, is the reason that a lady from a land-locked PNorth  is going sailing.

Oh yeah.. sing along… “hiding in the bushes was a watchful pair of eyes.”

“There once was a wealthy man who had a wonderful idea, to bring children from all places with all kinds of faces, together into a sailing ship there were 30 boys and girls…they would sail their ship around the world so they called it the United World…..”

I also use this to discover how old people are. Seems only those over 34 know this show.

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Rimutaka Incline

Yeeeeehaaaa! I knocked the bugger off!!  Not quite Sir Ed but I ran 18km over the Rimutaka Incline.

10km up a freaking hill and amazingly, 8km down the hill.  It is not even half a marathon but it I have been lifting weights and balancing on balls and jogging up hills and swimming in pools all in preparation for the big sailing adventure and this puppy is the top of endurance-o-thon so far.

In 2010  I set myself a goal of running a half marathon. (Not achieved.)  I had my sights set on the Wellington one in June, I trained like I have never trained before. Dashkin and I were out in all weathers pounding the pavement, tearing up the tarmac. I shed some pounds, I felt great and then I injured myself. It hurt like billy-oh and with a hit dance show on the horizon I had to go easy on the training.   When the day of the race dawned, and it was utter shite, (think horizontal rain) I decided I couldn’t take a 11 month old child out in that  ( I ain’t ever gonna be irresponsible) and so wasn’t too upset to be snuggled up in bed.

But the old Do It, Make It Happen, Blacksmith  family motto kept nagging away at me. Like this   “come on loser, if you can’t get your act together to jog to the Wairarapa how are you gonna sail across the seas? eh? ” Damn you internal monologue.

There was only one thing for it,  to do it. So I did.

Speaking of internal monologues here is a list of the things I thought about while running. I know, what you think is funny when you are stoned in your lounge room is not funny on stage but this is where the blog turns diary, so indulge me.

  • Start slow, shoulders over hips
  • I will have thighs of steel
  • Do not walk… only losers walk
  • I am legend
  • V is disgusting- but fark me it works
  • Broom sure does look pretty, although it is not native so should I be admitting to liking it?
  • ahhh it feels like summer
  • don’t walk
  • dear god don’t let there be rats in the tunnel
  • there could be a killer lurking in the tunnel
  • what if there is a dead body rotting in the grass
  • I feel surprisingly good
  • I am almost at the end.
  • What are all those school boys doing?
  • Look! The end.
  • Ace. Show me the pies.

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Lady Marmalade

I just made the marmalade, I call it the Life Preserver.

Three bottles of tangelo, lemon, grapefruit goodness. Right here, in my kitchen.  Next Monday they will be en-route to Aruba.

Oh what a tale those jars will tell.

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Bitch on Ice

Check out this photo of my good friend and fellow Real Hot Bitch, Jane Chewings, busting out some ice melting moves in Antarctica.

Freda Stark, Gertrude Bell, Isabella Bird, Rosie Swale, Susan Hiscock, – Lady Adventurers or as I like to think …..  Real Hot Bitches of their times! These ladies gallivanted around Arabia, explored 18th century Japan,  sailed across wide oceans and have inspired the hell out of me.

JC   is on  my legendary ladies list.

Five years ago we were busy running our dating agency business, spending long hours playing cupid to Wellington’s singles. In our tea breaks we would imagine ourselves bitchin on the ice in Antarctica.

Back then Jane was studying  geology part-time, being the CFO of the ManBank full-time and also working full-time as a marketing manager and helping me run the bitches. You could say it was busy, you could say that the numbers don’t add up, one part-time job and study and two full-time jobs how does that work? Well  JC made it work. She did it.  She studied rocks. She studied dust,  not just any old dust, she studied ancient ice dust.

And now she is in Antarctica. Bitching on the ICE.

To quote  Chicago  “You’re my inspiration.”

A bitchin high kick to you Tiff.

You Rock.

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