Stuff Around My Neighborhood

I’m in the middle of packing (“Phone charger? Check. Gloves? Check. Goldfish underwear? Check check check it out.”) for my South Island trip and I keep getting these texts from my friend Lydia, with whom I’m traveling, going IT’S REALLY COLD THERE and WE CAN BUILD SNOWMEN and CAN YOU BRING ME AN EXTRA HAT? It’s been a pretty ordinary week thus far, involving some time putting extra blankets on the bed and some time on the phone with the IRD and watching various
make-believe boyfriends , so I’m ready to do something a little different. I kind of have no idea what this trip is going to entail; this is very much Lydia’s thing, her last couple of days in New Zealand before returning to the UK, so I haven’t done any planning at all. I’m curious to see what this week is going to be like. (My first guess is “Fun.”)

I am really unhappy with my writing lately so I am going to show you a couple of random pictures from around my neighborhood because hey! Haven’t done that for a while! And! That involves less writing! EVERYONE WINS. Y’all look at pictures of Wellington while I’m in the South Island and then when I get back from the South Island I’ll post some more pictures, thereby cleverly avoiding further actual writing. Okay? Okay!

Fungi and Lichen

Okay, I lied. This isn’t actually from my neighborhood, it’s from a trip to the sanctuary a couple of weeks ago on Queen’s Birthday weekend. Apparently—fun fact!—it’s not actually the Queen’s birthday that day, New Zealanders just pretend it is so they can get a day off work. This is fine with me. I was with my friend David who is a fantastic photographer so I didn’t bother taking many pictures myself that day, just this one and one of a weka that didn’t come out so good. I was thinking that I’d like to paint my room these colors for some reason.

Stick Insect

Following the nature theme, here is a scary closeup of a stick insect I saw in a bush on the side of the road. It was very well camouflaged but fortunately for me and all eight of my readers, I have extra-special wildlife sensors embedded directly in my eyes that allow me to pick up on this sort of thing.

Hiding Teddy Bear

Okay, here’s another example of what I’m talking about. I don’t know if you can see it, but if you look in the middle, there…see? Right there where I’m pointing? No, like, just right where my finger is. It’s kind of brown and it’s got a black eye? Kind of in the middle but sort of to the right? See it? Well, anyway, if you don’t have extra-special wildlife sensors embedded directly into your eyes I’ll just tell you that it’s a teddy bear. A little lost teddy bear. Alone in the bushes. So alone. Poor teddy.

Or maybe…maybe it’s not lost. Maybe it’s stalking you.

On Sale For A Limited Time Only

Moving on to more cheerful subjects, here is a sign advertising dead body parts at very reasonable prices. Working at a medical school has its benefits, man—if I weren’t saving my pennies for Australia you know I would be all over this sale.

Terrifying Caged Monkey "Toy"

And here is a terrifying caged monkey toy…game…thing I saw on my way home from work today, outside one of Newtown’s many op shops. I just one question about this, and it is what kind of prize would you get from such a…thing?

Best Ice Cream Cones Ever

After that there was nothing for it but a trip to New World.

I'll Pass, Thanks

This wasn’t at New World, no. This was in the gutter outside my house. Right where it belongs.


And this is just a bilingual warning to all you North Americans out there, in your strappy tank tops and breezy shorts, who are just about to celebrate the summer solstice with a nice barbecue or some fireworks (at the ABL party, perhaps? Confidential to party-goers: love you! Miss you!) instead of putting on your very thickest socks and your very stripey-est hat and heading on down to the extremely chilly bottom half of the bottom of the world.


  1. That toy monkey game thing is so, so scary and wrong.

  2. Hey, we’re not the ones who have “coffee creamer”.

  3. You’re going to South Island? Go see the penguins! And take pictures of them! So we can see them!

  4. Reader #4, checking in!


    Btw teddy bear? No idea what you are talking about, you crazy woman. Kthxbye, &c. Give my love to the mainland.

  6. THE MONKEY! They used to have one of those at the Cobb’n’Co when I was a kid! It was the most exciting part, it used to dispense these little eggs with toys like puzzles, etc inside them! It was a bit more upclass though, and it actually moved and talked and stuff! My parents used to let me get an egg each time.

  7. I’m a new reader. Am enjoying it so far and look forward to reading past entries too.

    I guess I’m #9, unless I was already counted for lurking.

  8. I am the 10th reader in absolute awe of the fact that you have Goldfish underwear. Check it out, indeed!

  9. OK, I’m confused from a few posts back.
    What kind of heating do you have, if not central heating?
    Even the lousy rental joint I had in (admittedly) New Hampshire had oil-heated hot water radiators regulated by 2 thermostats (one upstairs, one down). The Seattle rental basement had one thermostat, upstairs, in landlord-land, but they had a baby who needed to not freeze to death, so we were toasty despite having heating possibly TOO centralized. Single-family/ stand-alone houses in Seattle, which AFAIK is about as cold in the winter as Wellington (only 6 months out of synch), seem to all have central heat. I know cuz we looked at, and poked and prodded in the guts of, a lot of houses last October. (We got the best one!) (It’s purple, too.)
    How do you keep warm in the antipodes, you?
    Do you just not have thermostats, and have to adjust the baseboard heater/ radiator/ wood stove/ infrared lamps in each room separately? Or do some places not *have* heating, and you have to burn unconscionable amounts of electricity using one of those portable, plug-in radiators?

    It’s not quite as mystifying as what a “dairy” is. But still.

    PS Why don’t they have mixing taps on most sinks in England? You know, faucets that have both cold and hot knobs/valves but only one outlet-spout, so you mix your own warm water. They’re not exactly novel technology. I hope those, at least, are pervasive in NZ.