Yesterday was a day out of the box. A strange combination of circumstances that created one of those experiences you don’t forget.

Firstly I drove for about an hour to another rural town with the enchanting name of Otorohanga. They have a kiwi house. I was addressing the monthly meeting of the Otorohanga Lyceum Club. A room full of lovely ladies who had all brought a plate for lunch. Yum! The coronation chicken was a highlight, so was the scalloped corn and quiche about six different ways. After lunch and tea/coffee/biscuits I spoke for around 45 minutes and took some questions. For most of the speech you could have heard a pin drop, either they were listening hard or asleep. It seemed to go well and everyone seemed keen to come to the next book launch.

I was listening to my latest audio book in the car, a Kathy Reichs book. Tempy Brennan is quite different from the ‘Bones’ version but my goodness, she writes well! Very clever.

Got home about 3pm and went to the computer to check email and Facebook. And that’s where I learned that Jonah Lomu had died. Oh how sad! Far, far, far too young. My heart bleeds for his wife and young boys. It is hard enough to lose the one you adore without having to share your grief with the wider world, and in Jonah’s case, it truly is the wider world. Hopefully in days to come the outpouring of kind words and love will bring them comfort.

Then the phone rang. One of my fellow parishioners was looking for the Vicar. No, she wasn’t with me. Her little dog, a Sydney Silkie called Brodie, was out and running around Putaruru. I shall spare Mr Brodie’s blushes and not go into great detail. Save to say there was much calling and driving and searching. I found him way out on the Arapuni Road because I had asked some school kids if they’d seen him and when they did, later, one gave chase and followed him out of town. Brodie was distressed and tired, so I took him home and we had cuddles and tummy rubs (him, not me).

The day finished with home group, singing, prayer, Bible study and sponge cake. Brodie lay quietly at Jan’s feet while we all discussed his adventure.

This morning a press conference has told me that Captain Richie McAwesome is retiring from professional rugby and is going to get his commercial helicopter licence in Christchurch. Good on him. Time for one passion to end and for him to devote himself to a new one.

So what does it all mean? Life can change in the blink of an eye. Some people  have it all organised and planned and seem to be masters of their own fate, but there is always that ‘spanner’ that can turn everything upside down. It is good to have a day, once in a while, that reminds you of that fact.






From Dan Carter to Canada to the Warriors

It’s a day to think about sport. Particularly elite sport. It’s a fickle and unforgiving business, amazing when you’re winning and agonising when you’re losing. I guess we do need to keep it in perspective, Dan Carter has a ruptured groin, unlike Jonah Lomu, who has a failing transplanted kidney.

But still, Carter has trained for years for this, it was going to be the realisation of a dream and he is the best player in his position in the world, some would probably argue the best player in the world. And some think we can’t win the World Cup without him. With all due respect to Dan, I think that’s bollocks. Look at the Canada game today, OK there was some iffy handling for a period in the second half and they let in two tries. But they scored 12 themselves and some of them were glorious. Zac Gilford, Jerome Kaino, Israel Dagg, Victor Vito and others played out of their skin. Colin Slade was good, very good in parts and he needs to grow in confidence. I am going to join the Colin Slade fan club, you go get ’em Colin, you prove to us all that you have what it takes. No, you’re not Dan Carter, you’re Colin Slade and you play your own game. The most heartening thing about that display was how versatile our players are. For goodness sake, we had a flanker on the wing, a half back at first five, a lock at flanker and a first five at fullback. We have so many players who are able to use their incredible ball skills in more than one position.

Can you REALLY see us losing to Argentina? And then we play the winner of South Africa and Australia and that will be a hard match, maybe. And then a Northern Hemisphere team. France lost to Tonga, England had a ding dong battle with Argentina…I do really, honestly think we are going to win this cup. And I feel for you, Dan, I really do.

Haven’t the minnow teams done well? And haven’t they been great fun? Supporters dressed up and painted and having a ball. My favourite rugby tweet tonight was, “I love the fierce Welsh fans, bearded and painted. Chanting and shaking their fists while wearing a daffodil on their heads.”  Gotta love fans who are prepared to dress up in strange costumes and cheer on 15 grown men running around after a leather ball.

So the Warriors didn’t make it all the way. But they did bloody well to get there and I guess there is always next year. Have to admit I didn’t watch it apart from looking at the score occasionally, as a sport it just doesn’t float my boat.

Apparently Jonah’s kidney is failing and he will most probably need a transplant. After being so well for so long and following his dream. He is on dialysis. I met him once at a shoot we did for a car commercial. Years ago, around 1999/2000. But he was a star. And he was very nice. Mum brought sandwiches and she’d made corned beef and he genuinely made her feel like a princess in his own shy way. Contrast that with the Black Caps we used to shoot cricket coaching videos in 2000. They were members of the NZ cricket team and some of them were lovely and funny. Some were so arrogant and had their heads so far up their own backsides, when they thought I was a production assistant they wouldn’t speak to me, until they learned I was the Producer and scriptwriter and could have them fired. And Matthew Sinclair gave us his mantra, to camera, “keep it stupid, simple.” Right…says it all, really.