Author Archive

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I remember Yesterday

I saw Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle’s film Yesterday last week. It gave me a sense of déjà vu. Because I can remember living in a world where The Beatles didn’t exist. A world where it felt like I was one of the few people who knew and cared about The Beatles.

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Living with Alice in Wonderland

Most people think Alice in Wonderland is an amusing story for kids. But it’s never been that for me, thanks to the name my parents gave me. For many years there was no love lost between me and that other Alice. But I’ve warmed to her. I’ve been inspired to write about

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My fiddling journey

This is the story of how I became a fiddler. I’ve been fiddling for more than three decades. I’ve played fiddle across a wide range of genres. I’ve played in covers bands, bluegrass bands, folk groups and alternative rock bands, and bands that play Celtic music and Eastern European music for folk

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A tale of the sting: celebrating nettles

My favourite plant is the nettle. The European stinging nettle, Urtica dioica.  There’s a nettle patch at the bottom of my garden. Nettles aren’t pretty or sculptural, unlike many other plants that are considered weeds. But they are interesting and very useful. Nettles have culinary, cultural, healing, ecological and gardening purposes. And

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My third grandmother

I consider myself lucky to have had three grandmothers. At the age of 24 I was gifted a new grandmother, Dr Mary O’Meara Pepper. I received things from my bonus grandmother that I’m only now making sense of, more than three decades later. Like, unconditional love and a sense of belonging. She

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Me and Lois

For the last six months I’ve been having the delightful experience of discovering a new favourite author. Lois McMaster Bujold isn’t a household name like Diana Gabaldon, or JK Rowling, or Charlaine Harris, or even Ursula K Le Guin. But I think she should be. Bujold has been famous for about 30

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The economics of local food in New Zealand

This is a post about local food. I love eating food grown in my region, the Waikato in New Zealand’s heartland. I don’t think local food is just an idealistic middle class fad, as some cynical commentators claim. But the local food economy is an interesting and paradoxical phenomenon, particularly in New

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Jamie Fraser, my maths teacher

Like a zillion other people, I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. If you’ve never encountered Diana Gabaldon, her novels are packed with romance, feisty heroines, brave heroes, swashbuckling adventure, hot sex, and characters you’re happy to spend 700-odd pages with. Plus a bit of time-travelling to justify the plot. The hero, Jamie

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Nothing sacred?

In this post I’m writing about my spiritual experiences in a world where soul and spirit are very hard to talk about. Spirituality is seen as a subjective, personal thing that you can’t talk about to anybody else. (Maybe I’ve already lost you!) This isn’t a theoretical discussion. It’s a personal account

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A watershed moment

Watershed – two definitions: an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. an event or period marking a turning point in a situation. I’ve written this post to get my head around the multiple, complex issues surrounding water management, that are currently facing New