Yes. My holiday had a hashtag. #levinloveinn

Just after Christmas 7 of my favourite people and I travelled to a fancy mansion in the middle of almost-nowhere* to have a fantastically bourgeois time of reading, tweeting, lounging, croquet, woodfired pizza, & drinking**.

Mansion House!

Inside Mansion House

Saturday: Inside Mansion House

We had a day of rain, a day of blistering sunshine and a lot of in-between

Sunday: Game of Game of Thrones

Rain through vintage glass windows

Laura just looks so fucking romantic

Swing chair and crappy holiday reading

Standing on the verandah
(the boys took to the spa in the rain)

Craig and Brendan look at the pizza oven

Pizza woodfiring away

The mansion even came with pre-arranged wildlife.

(Such creeps)

Noisy annoying rooster

The rooster decided that his favourite place in the world was right outside Craig & my bedroom window. It was not the best. Stupid rooster.

romantic roses

On New Year’s Eve we all dressed up fancy

Friends on New Year's Eve

Which quickly devolved into





But I think my favourite photo may be this one:


No but actually

Cutest friends.
Cutest friends.

On the first day of 2013 as I lay in bed I tweeted

So a couple of hours later, Laura, Craig and I set off to walk to Waikawa Beach.

Not because it seemed particularly enticing, but because on google maps it didn’t look that far and the directions were ‘at the end of the Mansion House driveway, turn right. At the end of that street, turn left. Continue until you hit the edge of the country.’ Or, you know, something like that.

Incidentally? In the two weeks since this walk? I have been for 8 runs, 2 big walks, and to the gym (THE GYM) three times.

New Year's day walk to Waikawa Beach

Calf friends

Horse friends


We walked and we walked and we walked. We guessed that the beach would be beyond each turn and rise in the road. We were always, always wrong.

Craig pointing at ... something. Where we are

Realising, with dismay, that we were probably only halfway.

Tuesday: Laura watching Craig try to commune with the cows

Craig and Laura and the Waikawa Beach sign


We decided to find the beach

SEE. This is not a beach.

Waikawa beach was not so much a Beach as a Stream. It was very disappointing.

Craig disappeared into the forest

Craig disappeared off into the forest. Laura called after him “don’t go too far” to which he replied “okay mum” THEN WE LOST HIM FOR HALF AN HOUR.

Interminable sanddunes

After climbing three hills in our attempts to find my wayward husband, and realising that Waikawa Beach didn’t even have a corner store at which to purchase something, anything to drink, we called back to the house and begged them to drive down and collect us.

The final day at Mansion House was grey and humid.
We spread cushions over the floor of the television room and drank whisky and watched Cabin in the Woods and Pitch Perfect. There was much excitement when Cobb the wandering Hund came to visit

Much excitement when Cobb comes to visit

Saying goodbye to the Mansion House

We ended the holiday by attempting to consume all of the leftover perishable foods in the house and driving away in cars laden with empty bottles.

It was kind of the best holiday I’ve ever had in a teeny tiny town close to home.

* Manakau in the Horowhenua district. Otherwise known as the town that I did not know existed. Despite having driven through it countless times. I knew Otaki, I knew Levin, and in between? Manakau, apparently.

** there was a lot of day drinking. The day we started drinking whisky at 11am was a particular favourite.


A tweet I regret.

Tweet I regret. A lot.

I was sitting at my desk at work, eleven stories up, when I felt the earthquake.
It went on for a long time. So long that I sent a message out on twitter and saw both before and after my tweet, similar Wellington based messages. After it stopped I thought about it and decided that I really rather liked these little reminders that we are small and insignificant. And then I sent the message that starts this entry.

What I didn’t know then was that the earthquake I’d felt in Wellington was actually centred over three hundred kilometres away in Christchurch.

NZPA Photo of Quake Damage

6 months ago Christchurch was rocked an earthquake. It hit in the early hours of the morning and there were no deaths or injuries.
It seems that was only a practice run.
This earthquake hit just before 1pm on a weekday. People were at work, at home, out at lunch. Exchange students were in classes and tourists were in the Cathedral. I was in my office, wondering why my screen was shaking.

Everyone I know spent that afternoon glued to the television.
Parliament rose early.
There was a profound sense of shock. We saw the shock we felt etched on the dust covered faces of the people in Christchurch. I watched the unedited footage and saw someone rescued from the top of a flattened building, I saw people loaded in to the back of SUVs as the city ran out of ambulances, I saw broken buildings and broken people.

We clung to social networking sites and I have never been more glad to have twitter. Never more glad to be able to help in my small small way.
I watched as messages headed into the ether, asking if this person or at person was okay, people sending messages that they were okay, offers of assistance. I retweeted what I could, getting messages to a wider audience, but terrified of sending out misinformation.

I have no family in Christchurch. There was no one I was frantically trying to get hold of. I am loath to admit how much the earthquake has affected me because, in the most basic sense, it has not.

But I live in Wellington. We have been warned how overdue for “the big one” our city is. There is the guilt that it should have been us and not Christchurch. There is the guilt that we are relieved it was not us.

I held Craig close that night. We decided on meeting places in Wellington and vowed to get a survival kit together. I thanked whatever gods there are out there that we were safe.

At the time of writing the death toll in Christchurch is 145. There are still more missing. Our garden city has made news across the world and international urban search and rescue teams have come to our aid.

I have donated. I have worn black. I will observe two minutes of silence.
I will offer all I can and do my job diligently and to the best of my ability. Christchurch needs the rest of New Zealand to keep the country running.
They are a little busy right now.

If you can please spare a dollar or two to help

Last night: Wellington Tweet Up

Wellington Tweetup: @McQuillanator (Laura), @sarahrose (Moi), & @MsConstantine (Kim)
@McQuillanator (Laura), @sarahrose (Moi), & @MsConstantine (Kim)
Polaroid taken by @kathrynwilson24

I met people from the internet. A lot of people.
And they did not chop me up into little pieces and distribute me around the city.

There was a Wellington “TweetUp” at The Malthouse and I went along, arriving just before the name badges and sending Craig frantic messages trying to look busy as I tried to find someone I recognised (turns out, twitter icons are TINY and NOT USEFUL FOR IDENTIFICATION PURPOSES) until, finally, someone I knew approached me. And she had the name badges.

But oh, I met a lot of lovely people.
And I met a lot of the lovely people I have been following on Twitter for some time. That was probably the best part.

Post Tweet Up Tweet

I Tweet Too Damn Often…

ohdarling: Drinking Cranberry juice with a splash of Rosewater. But no Jameson. It’s a Virgin Rosebud! (dirty)

With a few simple (inappropriate) (or HILARIOUS) words, I realised that I have sent THREE THOUSAND twitter messages.

Either I spend way way too much time on Twitter, orrrrrrrr perhaps I’ve just been using twitter for a long long time. And I have! since April something-or-other 2007. Two years, most definitely.
I only tweet (on average) 4.10958904 times a day. That’s nothing!

Okay. So I just went back over allallall my twitter messages and my very first one was in MARCH 2007 :

ohdarling: Dreaming
9:46 PM Mar 7th, 2007 from web