The Quest to be Cool
So many men, so little time. Did I just write that? What I meant to say was, so much to do, so little time. I know everyone says time speeds up as you get older, but this is ridiculous. It can’t possibly be July 2014. Where did the first six months of the year go? I swear I can still taste my father’s Christmas pudding on my lips.
Just to briefly get back to the first phrase however, I initially used it, or should I say became aware of it when I was 13. It came in the form of a T-shirt with the words emblazoned on the front. I took great glee in buying and wearing one because I thought it would make me look cool. Oh how I cringe to think about it now… what was I thinking?
Appearing cool was really important to me, because I was decidedly uncool. In fact, I was a nerd and I probably still am. An aging nerd, like Bill Gates I guess, but with less money.
I remember wearing the T-shirt once when my father took me to one of his naval officer friend’s house. The two of them looked bemused but were kind enough not to say anything. They must have realised that it is impossible to get inside the mind of a teenager, even though we were all young once.
Teen psychologist Nigel Latta describes teens as highly tuned racing cars, with no one to drive. And just to clarify, not only were there not “so many men” for me to occupy my time with, there wasn’t a single, solitary bloke. Luckily, I didn’t come into my own with the opposite sex until my early 20s. Before then I was a bookworm and girlie swot and long may my own daughter follow in my footsteps!
For those of you with teenagers, or maybe teenage grandchildren, I hope this latest issue is enough to take your minds off the stress!
Charles Cole spends several days in the Waitaki Valley that separates Otago and Canterbury. Not only are Charles’s photos eye-catching he keeps his usual standard of thorough research of the area he writes about and the gold mining, armed holdups and other history will have you captivated.
The history of how the hydroelectric dams came to be is fascinating as is the fact that he finds the only South Island winner of the Cuisine Restaurant of the Year. We also meet Dot Smith, wearer of pink and sometimes red hair and builder of her own castle. Charles discovers some old Chinese miners’ huts and even tries to find some buried gold. I found his experience at Duntroon fascinating. It is one of the best places in the country to find fossils and incredible rocks. I always find this type of ancient history interesting in New Zealand. Although we are a young country we are only young in terms of human inhabitants and this is often forgotten.
Charles also traces a mystery postcard he mailed all the way to England. A British traveller dotted self-addressed postcards throughout the country on a recent visit here. He was thrilled to receive so many back. You will be inspired to do something similar.
Have you ever wondered how Lemon & Paeroa came into being (and more importantly what do you think of the new chocolate)? Well, wonder no more, Steve Hale has the answer. He spends a weekend in the “world famous in New Zealand” town in the North Island’s Hauraki Plains, most famous for its sparkling beverage. It is having a bit of a renaissance thanks to John Key’s cycle trail and Steve gets a taste of the new businesses that have popped up to service the cyclists. As he has now hit the big four-oh no, he also tries his first hand at antiquing. A must read.
I head north from my home in the capital, to Turangi. Home of the country’s best trout fishing and the stunning Tongariro River, where I get chilled to the bones white-water rafting at the beginning of winter. Another amazing opportunity I get is to be the first skier of the season when I encounter an unseasonable April snowfall. Awesome fun.
Mark Merriman takes a road trip, with family in tow, down the beautiful South Island West Coast and then across to Queenstown. He visits some of his favourite haunts including the Pancake Rocks and also tries daredevil tubing in some recently discovered glowworm caves. I am most jealous. Mark has a mystical quality to his writing that I just love. Don’t miss some of the intriguing epitaphs he recounts from a visit to an eerie cemetery.
John Warrington talks about the indomitable female spirit as he explains how his girlfriend gently coaxed him into doing the Heaphy Track (and I am being sarcastic about the gentle aspect). John’s style is ironic, funny and entertaining but it is also a very good overview of what you can expect when attempting one of our famous multi-day bush walks.
Simon Sweetman is here with his latest book reviews. I particularly like the look of Maybe We’ll Have You Back: The Life of a Perennial TV Guest Star, by Fred Stoller. It’s the story of someone who made it as far as the middle in the cutthroat world of showbiz and sounds hilarious. We all dream of being at the top of our game, dread the thought of being rock bottom, but what is it like to be middling?
Ken Strugnell takes a test drive of the latest in hybrid technology. Find out if he is impressed.
Finally, I go ga-ga over French heartthrob Gerard Depardieu reminiscing a quarter of a century after two of his greatest theatrical performances. Enjoy. Sarah