Wednesday 30 March 2011

Overheard: Ponsonby Road, Auckland

If you were denied access to the youtube video, then you should be able to listen to the sample here.
And if that doesn't work ... you're clever, you'll figure something out.


In which Hints to Lady Travellers introduces a new feature* and figures out how to get more singing on this blog.

Where: Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland
When: a sunny, late-summer Saturday afternoon
What: the Henry Mancini/Police mashup that takes a song I don't particularly like and renders it a billion times cooler.
Effect: made me walk along the road with more of a strut in my step.
Historical note: my parents had (and may still have) a Henry Mancini record (I think it must have been a 'best of'); I recall lying on my tummy in the sitting room listening to the original theme from Peter Gunn, so this also hits my personal nostalgia button.

*so you can expect to see it every Wednesday/sporadically/never again because I will forget that I intended to make this a regular thing - delete as appropriate

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Waiheke + Wine = Win

I'm catching up on the backlog of posts.  One of these days, I'll even get round to posting pictures of Toronto from last December.  (I'm almost certain I was there, but my memories are very hazy and jetlaggy.)  But first I have to clear out the more recent adventures.  So, let me see, the Sunday before last I decided to visit a mildly tropical island in Auckland Harbour - Waiheke (excellent tropical name, no?)
Because I was on my own and didn't feel like cycling or driving, I signed up for a wine tour - yes, that's right, a tropical island with wine.
This was an excellent way to spend the day: 
admiring the scenery, admiring the wine,
admiring the scenery with a glass of wine in hand 
(This was Te Phau: delicious wine, by the way.)

And look - it wasn't my imagination (or the wine) there were some llamas there too.
I did get a little sunburnt, but this was a small price to pay for a lovely day.

Monday 28 March 2011

Broadsheet Café

Allora.  Back in Melbourne, where it seems the reports of summer being over may have been premature.  25 degrees today, baby!

Spent Saturday recovering from two intense weeks in New Zealand and Sunday on my own Melbourne walkabout - five hours wandering the city, appreciating all the things that make Melbourne, Melbourne.  Including: great breakfasts (although I still can't bring myself to adopt the local habit of avocado, feta and lemon on sourdough first thing in the morning), interesting and unusual shops, pretty parks, eye-catching buildings and excellent coffee.

This last brings me on to an excursion I made a couple of weeks ago.  Broadsheet is a Melbourne magazine (mostly online) that champions the best the city has to offer.  The Broadsheet Café was a pop-up coffee shop where the best coffee makers in the city were invited to take up residence over the course of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.

The day I went, the lovely folk from South Melbourne's Dead Man Espresso were in charge.  

Great coffee, excellent croissant and a fabulous selection of reading material.

Very Melbourne, very cool, very fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Sparrow Love

Lifting my head up from the day I've dubbed 'six diagrams before lunch' (either you'll get it, or you won't) to post a photo.

If you take a glance around this site, it quickly becomes clear that Lady Traveller, she loves the sparrows.  So I love this note I spotted on a window in Auckland:

Saturday 19 March 2011

Auckland Round Up

This past week has mostly been about work, work, work.  But I managed to squeeze in a few Lady Traveller experiences in between times.

My first feijoa - smells like strawberry bubblegum, but tastes like a cross between a banana, a kiwi and a pomegranate.  Quite extraordinary.

Auckland War Memorial Museum dressed in crimson on the national day of mourning for the victims of the Christchurch Earthquake - note the appropriately dramatic stormy sky.

La Cigale French Market in Parnell for breakfast on a sunny morning.

St Kevin's Arcade on K (Karangahape) Road, where I poked in the cool vintage shops and admired the Art Deco ironwork.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Cocktail Hour

Design*Sponge's guide to Auckland recommended Housebar at DeBrett's hotel for its cocktails in/and Art Deco surrounds.  I went for a walk this evening and, wandering along High St, I passed DeBrett's and decided that the evening just called out for a cocktail and a little Art Deco appreciation.

Behold, Housebar's Parisienne Tourist (elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, Pelorus), as enjoyed by this Irlandaise Tourist:

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Guest Blog: Toronto/St. Patrick

Kia ora from Auckland!  (You never stop learning: kia ora is, it turns out, NOT just the name of a fruit drink with a catchy jingle, it's actually a Maori greeting.)

I am planning to update from here, but yesterday Lady Traveller's Big Brother (nothing sinister, actually my big brother) sent me the following guest post about the St Patrick's Parade in Toronto.  Hurrah!  

March in Toronto and it's getting warmer (although the doomsayers here exaggerate a lot about the weather). LTBB and LTBBW decided to go for a walk this afternoon [Sunday] and we bumped into the Toronto 2011 St Patrick's day parade! It was a relatively big event in a very multiicultural city with some interesting mixing going on. 

True to all St Patrick's day parades there were dodgy floats pulled by dodgier tractors (note the legs of the man sitting on the toilet):

Lots of irish dancers, cold majorettes and a large, yellow, irish school bus:

There was a bloke on a lawnmower handing out chocolate:

The usual groups of people walking down wearing green t-shirts with catchy phrase (Irish for a day) or with shamrocks:

There were marching bands - the Clare/Galway chinese marching band:

Proud Cork people:

St Patrick:

A "grand marshal" (Brendan O'Carroll):

and my personal favourite, the Ontario Delorian society with real, live Delorians made in Belfast (one was kitted out like the Back to the Future car):

Can't wait for next year, maybe we'll join in?

Friday 11 March 2011

Picture Dictionary: Clic-Clac (Oh My Aching Back!)

(Image via

Clic-clac [klik-klak]
Noun (French)

Thanks to the lovely Mrs W, I recently rewatched To Catch a Thief and determined that, like Grace Kelly, (though without her wardrobe), I should like to summer in France this year.

Luckily this fits in nicely with the plans of several of my nearest and dearest (to include one new French bébé in July) and is the reason my sister just sent me an email about the house she has rented for us.  The email was in French and I understood everything except the word 'clic-clac'.  So I looked it up.  How French.  How onomatopoeic.  How hilarious.  Hilarious?  Pourquoi?

LTLS and I share a love of the Andrews Sisters and Lílí's favourite song is 'South America, Take It Away' ...  in which Bing Crosby and the girls bemoan the fact that 'there's a strange click clack in the back of my sacroiliac.'  

How funny if the clic-clacs should give us pains in our sacroiliacs.  Well, not funny, exactly, in the sense of being fun; but droll, nonetheless.

Thursday 10 March 2011

Here's Some Shopping I Did Earlier

If Tuesday was Pancake Tuesday then it follows that yesterday must have been Ash Wednesday and, lo, we are now well and truly in Lent.

For a couple of years now I have given up shopping for non-essentials for Lent.  Bad sentence.  What I mean is, I take the opportunity Lent provides to think about what I really do and don't need.  New shoes, however lovely, are not usually absolutely necessary.  Shampoo, on the other hand, usually is.  It's not so much about depriving myself for the sake of deprivation as making the most of what I have and remembering to think twice or even three times before I buy something new.

But that doesn't mean I won't be posting about objects of affection in the meantime.  Au contraire.  In fact, I'm going to use this opportunity to reflect on some of the excellent purchases I've made over the last few months and enjoy them all over again.

All of which is a very lengthy way of introducing this my new water bottle:

Why do I love it?

1. It has swallows on it.  (You may have noticed they're a bit of a theme with me.)
2. It saves me from buying bottled water, feeling guilty about it, refusing to buy bottled water and then getting stuck somewhere with no water and also trapped in a cycle of guilt and indecision.
3. Did I mention it had swallows on it?

Water bottle from Earthlust.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Pancake Daaaaaaay!

I was on my way somewhere else, when I remembered that today was a VERY IMPORTANT FEAST - or at least an excuse to eat pancakes.  Luckily there was help close at hand.

I had a late lunch/early dinner at Breizoz on the corner of Getrude and Brunswick Streets, where I've eaten some of the best crepes outside Brittany.

Being a purist I had a galette jambon fromage, followed by a crepe beurre sucre.  

Yummy.  Anyone out there have pancake-related adventures to share?

Friday 4 March 2011

Birthday To Yoshi!

Aside from today's regular programming (see Official Hint below) I wanted to say happy birthday to the sister-formerly-known-as-Róisín, rechristened Yoshi by The Adorable Nephew.

Ró, it turns out you share your birthday with Chaz, the-child-formerly-known-as-Chastity of Sonny and Cher.  Which seemed like as good a reason as any to play this song for you.  (How cute is Cher with her stripes and her fringe?)

... put your little hand in mine, there ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb.


The Blessings of Good Thick Socks

Presently I came to a place where it went out, but appeared again on the other side of a clump of underbush fairly distinctly.  I made a short cut for it and the next news was I was in a heap, on a lot of spikes, some fifteen feet or so below ground level, at the bottom of a bag-shaped game pit.  It is at these times you realise the blessing of a good thick skirt.  Had I paid heed to the advice of many people in England, who ought to have known better, and did not do it themselves, and adopted masculine garments, I should have been spiked to the bone, and done for.  Whereas, save for a good many bruises, here I was with the fulness of my skirt tucked under me, sitting on nine ebony spikes some twelve inches long, in comparative comfort, howling lustily to be hauled out. 

The Blessings of a Good Thick Skirt have been mentioned before on these pages; Mary Kingsley recommended them for intrepid Lady Travellers exploring Darkest Africa.  I myself would like to recommend a pair of good thick socks, specifically when flying long-haul.

Planes can be cold; they make your feel swell; the toilets are often not as pristine as they might be.  So I get into my seat and put on my thick socks: warm, cozy, comforting.  For preference, I use the socks the airline provides (most still do on long flights) to pull over my  own socks like slippers to create a barrier between me and any nasties on the floor of the plane.  

To read more from Mary Kingsley's Travels in West Africa see Project Gutenberg.  

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Once Upon a Time...

... I lived in EAST Melbourne.  And then I moved to SOUTH Melbourne.  But (since yesterday) now I live in NORTH Melbourne.  My new (non red riding) hood is North Fitzroy and it's very hip 'n' happening.  Lots of promising-looking cafés to try out and blog about, interesting shops and pretty, leafy streets.  Fun times ahead!  THE END