Friday, 14 April 2017


Yep, one thousand days of not touching a single drop of alcohol. Feeling proud today. 
I made a decision and I stuck to it. Not one slip. I am so glad. So much has changed for me in these thousand days. I feel so well and healthy and even a wee bit fit coz I've been walking and running most mornings for the last 3 months. Getting a bit trickier these last couple of weeks with all the rain and the colder weather. I never get tired of the clarity I feel at all times. I've had some very challenging curved balls thrown my way and faced each one of them without dulling down my senses and numbing my brain. 

It's been an interesting revelation to discover that outings and interactions with people, live music performances and theatre, art shows and parties, are all enhanced experiences by not putting alcohol in the mix. Who knew? It just seemed the normal thing to do, have a few drinks before, during and after just about everything. I don't need it. It adds nothing. It actually takes away the authenticity of my interactions, and it takes away from my appreciation of people and music and theatre and art. It has been a happy discovery for me to learn that I am enough, just as I am. I appreciate people and their stories and conversations and laughter. I give them my full attention and genuine interest. I am not distracted by any concern about my next drink. It is incredibly freeing not being addicted to anything. It makes me so self contained, and easy to be anywhere. I don't even drink coffee, never have. I do have one pot of organic lemon and ginger green tea every morning these days, for the first time in my life, and I add fresh lemon juice and sliced fresh ginger, so that's not going to harm me. Oh, I am a wee bit addicted to chocolate but I've given up eating it in bed! haha. I've been off the ciggies for 19 months now, I still crave them, probably always will. Particularly in times of stress, of which there have been many lately.

So life is not a bed of roses, it never was, shit still happens, alot. Lately I have had some terrible luck with my rental properties, right at a time when I desperately need financial stability. Suffice to say one has been seriously trashed, has cost thousands to clean up and repair, thousands in loss of rent, and is now finally rented but at a lower rate because of damage. The other one had a serious fire this week. Unbeknown to me, one of the two tenants was sleeping in the garage and managed to burn it down, along with the neighbours garage and the corner of the house. I don't know why he slept out there, the fire started in his bed. He is in a terrible state and has been flown to middlemore hospital with burns to 90% of his body. Very sad, and I feel sick that it has happened at my house. The other flatmate has disappeared and two guys who aren't on the lease are there, no one is paying rent, and the driveway is blocked by a mass of burned out belongings. Difficult to know how to approach this one. A house full of gear, no paying tenants, and a charred blackened mess. My landlord insurance is looking uncertain as I didn't have written references for my tenants. My stress levels are rather high.

The build is coming along beautifully. Never without it's ups and downs which can be challenging, but Rory is doing a marvellous job of keeping the show on the road. It's at a stage now where lots of progress is happening at once so it's quite exciting. My benches went on yesterday and I'll go and see them tomorrow. It's a rather common occurance for builds to cost way more than expected, and this one is no exception!! My business is very slow now for the winter, and once Easter is over it will grind to a halt I think. It is a challenge to remain calm. But I am, somehow. I have had a flatmate here at home for the last month, and I have a young English couple moving in next week as well. Not sure how I'll handle this, but my thinking is that it's only for a few months then I'll be in my new home, and between the 3 of them they are paying $550 per week which helps me pay the rent on the builder's apartment in Duvauchelles. It's a pretty good rent to collect when I'm still here myself, and I'll still have my room when I go, which will make it an easy transition for me, and give me somewhere to be, and work from several days a week when I'm in town.

Our friend Steve is going downhill very quickly now, and is in the Hospice at Merivale. I went in yesterday and was shocked at how much more frail he is now compared to last weekend. His spirit is still very strong, and he's planning on doing a last gig next Saturday night. He wanted to go to the Folk Festival in Waipara today. I doubt the poor darling will make it to either, but it keeps him going  thinking about it I think. Marion is one very strong amazing kind and lovely lady. I am so grateful to have had some wonderful outings with Steve and Marion, the last big one was an afternoon at Takamatua a few weeks ago and with Gloria as well, and showing them the build, then dinner on the waterfront in Akaroa and then to a fabulous concert with Ben Waters, Bernard Fowler, Tim Ries, all musicians who sometimes play with the Stones, and also Chris Jagger, Mick's brother (but he was a bit of a dick compared to the others, unfortunately). Bernard Fowler was spectacular singing Wild Horses.

I am looking forward to the next few months passing quickly so I can soon get settled into my new home. There's so much I need to achieve here sorting and planning, it is daunting on my own, but I'll get there in the end. And it will be grand. And it will be the biggest thing I have ever accomplished in my life, and what I have worked towards for so very many years.

Bring on the next 1000 days, starting today!

Sent from Samsung tabletI've 

Saturday, 25 February 2017


It is a time of much turmoil for some in my world. Last night a lovely old friend had one of his fabulous House Parties that he's been putting on for about 25 years. He is a much respected musician here in Christchurch and he played and sang last night with some excellent and well renowned guys on piano, keyboards, horns and guitar. They came along as a tribute to play one last time with our friend Steve, who's cancer has ravaged his body with a fierce vengance, even after the most valiant fight, with many organic juices daily, seaweed extracts, THC extracts, cancer retreats and everything he could throw at it. Mainly a very brave, positive and heroic attitude, and a profound trust that he would beat it. In November another friend had a massive party in honour of Steve, out in the country in his purpose build "70's night club" where they re-formed three seventies Christchurch bands, including Steve's band Sentry, almost completely with it's original members. It was an amazing, memorable and beautiful night, as was last night. Although his voice was a bit ragged and scratchy, that just added another dimension and Steve's performance was outstanding. It was quieter, and deep and soulful, and had a realness and rawness to it that could only possibly have come from the dreadful news he has had earlier this week. From the knowledge that although he will play his guitar again, this was likely to be the last time he will do it for all of us, his friends and his beautiful and brave family, who still have so much to face. It was a poignant and beautiful evening and it was a priviledge to be there. It is humbling to witness the raw pain and the strength, simultaneously, of his wonderful wife and daughter, and of Steve himself. 

I am so glad I started going to his garden parties again when I first gave up alcohol. Daytime music events close to home, where I at least knew some people, seemed like just the ticket for me when newly single and also learning to socialise sober. As a result, it has rekindled a 45 year friendship with Steve, and allowed me to get to know his gorgeous wife Marion, and see and get to know more of his family and friends, making new friends in the process.

A few short years ago my brother had almost the exact same cancer diagnosed and experienced a ghastly year of extreme surgeries and some horrific chemo treatment. Miraculously he has survived it, and for this we are all overwhelmingly grateful.
In the recent Port Hills bush fires, just ten days ago, he and his family watched their beautiful home of 30 years burn to the ground at 7.30 in the morning, after being kept safe all night by over a hundred firemen fighting the blaze. How strange life is, that so much can be dished out so unevenly. That one family should bear such fear of loss of life, and hideous illness, survive it, only to have to suffer such a terrible shock and loss. I wonder if perhaps the very fact of what they went through just a couple of years ago, makes them the people who are strong enough to face this next big massive inconvenience and sadness. Their loss is enormous, they got almost nothing out, yet they know first hand that their loss could have been far greater. They are strong and stoic, all of them, even the grown up children, who have only known this one home for their whole lives. It really is an enormous blow and loss for them all.

The loss of alcohol from one's life is such a small thing when compared to real loss.
There are always gains to be had from loss. With alcohol it's a no-brainer. The gains so far outweigh the loss, I don't even need to go on about that, as I've done so many times in my previous blogs. I am grateful to be a person with the clarity of mind at all times to be able to communicate clearly and to give support if I can to those I love, and who are hurting.

Somewhere, and some how, there is always an opportunity in the crisis. Often it is just bringing people closer together. Sometimes it is more than that, and paths can change, a deeper purpose can emerge, and lives can be enriched by the very loss they are suffering. 

May my friends and my family navigate their sad and difficult paths with continued strength and bravery, and with the knowledge that they are loved, admired for their courage, and deeply respected.

Saturday, 11 February 2017


This weekend I've remembered the importance of self nurture and giving myself treats. In general in my life I am pretty good at it and always have been, I don't deprive myself of much. However, with so much on my plate for the last long while, I tend to forget to do the little things I love, like watching a movie on a Sunday afternoon, or driving somewhere beautiful and reading a book there. Or going shopping just for the sake of it. I think I've felt, and rightly so I guess, that in building my home I am giving myself the biggest treat possible so I should not indulge myself with the small stuff. Wrong! It isn't working! Yesterday I did something about it. I bought a lovely causal linen shirt on a half price sale that I will get heaps of wear out of, and I discovered Little Island Creamery chocolate and coconut ice-cream. It has sugar and fat and carbs and all the bad stuff but is dairy free, and it is to die for, it is beautiful and amazing and the best taste bud sensation I've had in ages. It is very hard to write about it without rushing to the freezer.

I think treats for us sober warriors are under-rated and easy to forget about in the busy hustle of daily life. After all, we used to think we deserved hours of downtime to indulge in expensive alcohol on an almost daily basis. Every day that we don't drink we are saving a significant amount of money, and even though that is not what this is all about, it does mean that we can afford to, and should, indulge ourselves in many little things which keep us feeling cared for and happy. 

I have felt unable to express myself for a while, so that's why this is just a simple wee blog about nothing much at all. And now, on this lazy Sunday afternoon, I shall choose myself a good movie, hopefully a courtroom crime drama, and perhaps have some chocolate coconut ice-cream while watching it. It's the little things. They matter.

Friday, 6 January 2017


It’s now two and half years since I kicked the booze to the curb, and one year and three months since the ciggies went by the wayside too.
On reflection, it is interesting how much I have learned in this time, and even more interesting how much there still seems to be to learn.
It reminds me of what my Mother used to say to me after one of my endless questions when I was little. “Darling, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”.

The 2016 year was quite a tough one in many ways, as far as life lessons go. I’ve struggled quite a bit with feelings of hurt, and abandonment by my friends. This is because they are not much in my day to day or week to week life any more, and don’t really keep in touch much at all unless there is something big to tell me or invite me to. I have even lost one lifetime friendship, dumped as it were, after a two week road trip together…..a bit strained and tense at times, but nothing that couldn’t be resolved with communication and forgiveness. I will never fully understand it, I trusted our friendship, and especially the longevity of it. At first it made me feel worthless, thrown out with the dishwater. Now I have come to terms with it. I do not need this friendship, if it is so willingly let go…..after 48 years…..bizarre!  This friendship does not support me at all. I think perhaps she preferred me pissed! I have tried to communicate. I can do no more. Life is long. It is sad, but not all friendships need to last forever.

I have learned to “hold my friends lightly”, which at first seemed abhorrent to me when suggested, as I think of myself as a fiercely loyal friend, but after some thought I realised this was exactly what I needed to learn. I need to let go of my need for their presence, which gives validation of our friendship. I need to let go of my need of them full-stop really, and to trust that deep down all is well. Love them, don’t need them. It is, after all, me that has changed, not them. They don’t know quite what to do with me anymore, and that is okay. They are still there. They are still my friends. They probably even admire and respect me for the changes I have made. They are just doing what they are doing, and social drinking takes up a lot of time, and then there’s work and families, and life. I just don’t fit so easily into their picture anymore, because much of the time spent was on the downtime, which involved relaxing, which involved drinking. The fact that I don’t drink alcohol and they do doesn’t bother me at all. I am still me, I can still have a laugh and enjoy their company, but it doesn’t occur to people to include me most of the time, and that’s okay.
I needed to learn to have confidence in who I am, and I am learning that. You change your life in this way, you need to change who you hang out with, to a degree. I am slowly forming new friendships and resurrecting some old ones too, where there’s already a long affinity and trust between us.

Navigating this sober goat track is not always easy and there are many obstacles as I come to terms with such a different way of life. I am still learning so much about myself and about other people too, and sometimes it hurts. Sometimes I unintentionally hurt others. I would much rather sit with these raw and painful feelings, until I can accept them and move on, without blunting the edges or distorting them with alcohol or any other substance. I love the clarity.

I have been giving a lot of thought just lately to who I can really count on in my life. Who can I count on completely for loyalty, honesty, trust and support? Who will absolutely always be there for me? The answer is Me.
I can be a lot of things for a lot of people, and I can give my honesty, loyalty, trust and support to my children, my family and my friends, and to a large degree I get the same in return. But if I really want to count on someone absolutely, it must be me. So, to this end, I strive to become stronger, wiser, and braver. What I aim for this year is to learn to love my aloneness. (I’m going to have to where I’m going)! Alone is self-sufficient, alone is resourceful, alone is dependable, alone is often good company.

I need to be able to give support and comfort to myself when I am misunderstood and bewildered.
I need to turn to myself for wisdom and guidance in all aspects of my life. And I need to dig deep every day for the courage I need to continue, and to succeed in all I’ve taken on, with the build, with my business, the move, decisions on how exactly to run things once I have left Christchurch.
2017 will be an interesting and very challenging year, as was 2016.

I’ve also been giving some thought as to boundaries. I have realised that as a consequence of no longer getting shitfaced on an almost daily basis, I no longer put up with shabby behaviour. Not in my personal life or my business life.
I can and do stand up for myself better than ever before, if treated unfairly and inconsiderately.
I told a customer the other day not to bother coming back to my company for his rental caravan next Christmas, that I don’t need negative, rude and pedantic whingers picking holes in anything and everything they can, instead of enjoying a fabulous camping holiday like everyone else. He was a right twit and it felt rather empowering, and I hope it makes him realise what a dick he is! Probably not the greatest thing I could do for my business reputation, but for each one of him there are 100 happy campers… who cares? Not me!

Wishing everyone a Happy, Hopeful, Humourous Humdinger of a New Year

We all need someone we can lean on, and if I want to....I can lean on  me!