Street Art – Baroque the streets exhibition in London.

Wednesday May 22 2013 – London.

Yep, I am back in London – again and I will do a more general blog post when I have something worth writing about and the photos to prove I have done it.

What I did do last Saturday was attend “Baroque the streets” a street art festival in Dulwich organised by the very worthy Street Art London. The concept behind the exhibition was for a bunch of well-known international street artists to create pieces based on the historical art works housed in the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

El and I had a late start to the day and headed down to Dulwich in the late morning, via a very nice full English breakfast in Islington on the way. It was another cool day in London and I am hanging out for some warmth to kick this rather delayed spring in to life – maybe I have gotten to used to warm days again ? We took the overland train to Denmark Hill and had a nice walk down to East Dulwich where the street art started. We were not aware that there was a street art walk until we had arrived at the exhibition and found a map – but we did see a good section of the work on the way. Starting with these pieces by Remi Rough and System.


Conor Harrington from Ireland


One of my all time favourites, Stik.



Dscreet from Australia.


One of London based South African, Christiaan Nagel’s famous mushrooms.


The bulk of the work was done in a house at 265 Lordship Lane, the house is soon to be demolished and the owners gave permission for the massive artworks to be completed inside and outside the house. It was very cool, but also quite crowded. It was one of the days when I wished I had my big old Canon camera and its wide-angle lens so I could really capture the art on display, but sadly I had not picked it up from my uncle’s house yet.



Israel’s Broken Fingaz crew on the fence outside.


There were a couple of gems in the garden, including these two pieces by My dog sighs, the first one being my favourite in the house.



There were loads of small pieces by Mexico’s Pablo Delgado all over the place, inside and out.


The garage was painted by Malarky.


And the side of the house by Italy’s RUN.



Cityzen Kane had produced a whole series of very cool sculptures, some on a wall under a mushroom.




There was a fabulous piece by Belgium’s ROA above the back door, like the Phlegm pieces I loved the level of detail in the painting.


Dscreet had a piece outside as well as an entire room inside the house.



France’s Thierry Noir was painting in his room.


The Rolling People had a very cool room, but it was really busy in there so I did not get a chance to capture the whole thing.




Christiaan Nagel room, all created with foam.



Some of the many small Pablo Delgado works scattered all over the house.




As well as these phones. I do not know who did these but I really liked them – if you know please let me know too!




Dscreet had obvioulsy visited the bathroom.


The kitchen had some really cool faces by My dog sighs, I have not knowingly seen his stuff before, but I am definitely going to look for some more.




I bought a poster of the event created by RUN, one day I will actually have a wall to hang it on ! We also grabbed a map of the art on the street as I wanted to find the Phlegm piece before we left.

On the street outside the house we found well known chewing gum painter Ben Wilson at work on the street. Ben has been painting chewing gum that has been left on the side walk for many years.



Just round the corner we found the Phlegm on the side of a house. Wonderful as always!



We both really enjoyed the walk and the art, a fantastic idea and I marvel at the talents of these artists. Thanks Street Art London and Dulwich Picture Gallery for putting on this event.

Street Art – Sydney

Some of the street art I spotted on a quick trip to Sydney, Australia.

Most of the art was found in and around the main street of Newtown, though the first three are from Manly.

I am not entirely sure of the order that WordPress uploads photos, the bulk were inserted into the post in one go, and the order seems entirely random to me, I guess there is some science to it !

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This mural is the most well known and has been here since 1991. I really like the next image as well, which was painted on the next wall, they go so nicely together and I really like the message.

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I really liked how this door had been hung upside down 🙂


There were a whole series of large monochrome photos on some walls as part of an old exhibition, though most had been badly torn – I kinda liked the effect though.

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Yes I was here, I was never her though!


A few days in Sydney

Sunday  – Tuesday 12 – 14 May 2013 – Sydney

I was not up too early on Sunday, I took half a pill as I was desperate for a sleep and it was really noisy sleeping so close to the street, the half a pill made no difference sadly and I was still feeling tired – my state for most of the Sydney weekend.

The weather was as fabulous as yesterday which was fine by me as today we were taking a trip into Newtown, one of Sydney’s inner suburbs and a bit of walking around was planned.

I walked up Manly beach again to Nicole’s place and snapped a shot up both ends of the beach. You can see why people live here !



And this is not a bad way to get to work in the mornings either!


Newtown has a bit of street art and some cool shops and is one of very few Sydney suburbs I could happily live in. It is also the scene of some very drunken evenings with Australian work colleagues back a couple of decades. Especially here…




The street art was pretty cool and there was plenty of it around, I will put some more up on another post, but I particularly liked this.


This mural is one of the better known and oldest ones, painted in 1991.


Next to this, and a more recent addition is this mural, which makes the first more poignant.


We walked around for a couple of hours before meeting one of Nicole’s Sydney friends, Azra. She showed us a bit more street art before we stopped for lunch and a wine in the sun. Soon it was time to head back to Manly for the evening – much as you don’t want to, you have just got to love that harbour bridge…


On Sunday evening we met up with Nicole’s friend Aaron in one of the Manly pubs, Manly has all been tidied up since I last visited in the mid-nineties and the old pubs are quite nice now. Sydney even has a decent range of micro-brewery beer as well, a huge step up on my last visit, though I stuck to wine and seemed to drink a wee bit more than my share. Loved this cider product from lunch.

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Nicole had taken Monday off work and wanted to take a car for a drive up to the beaches north of Manly. She had not driven since arriving in Manly at the end of last year and wanted to have a wing man for the first attempt. Go Get is a car rental company with a difference, I have never heard of this before, but apparently there is a similar model in London, so I guess I am just behind the times. To use Go Get you sign up on-line and get sent a swipe card that unlocks the cars. Cars are left scattered all over the city so to use one you just book a car, find where it is parked and swipe yourself in. When you are finished you park it and let them know where it is. I have no idea how it is charged though! A great idea as the car was just round the corner!


The morning broke cloudy and was a little cool as I walked up the beach towards Nicole’s place.


We had breakfast before finding the car and heading out of Manly up the coast. We drove up to Palm Beach where we spent a couple of hours walking around and in my case, drinking a damn good coffee. Palm Beach is better known to fans of the (truly awful) soap ‘Home and Away’ as Summer Bay.




We had a great morning out, Nicole’s driving was not too scary:) and we made it back to Manly in one piece! I found this as we parked the car, an oldie but a goodie.



I had a major lie in on Tuesday morning and left my hotel at the last possible minute at 10:30. Nicole was at work for the day but I had made plans to catch up with a couple of other friends in Sydney, starting with an old recruiting/mountain biking buddy Michelle – who also happened to live in Manly.

I was then on the ferry over to Sydney city where I dumped my pack at Nicole’s office and then walked up town to meet with Winnie, an old colleague for lunch in the park.


One the way I walked through St Marten’s Place.


And past the under-renovation town hall. I love how the building has giant pictures over the bits being worked on. I have never seen this before and think it is a absolutely fabulous idea and I would love to see it elsewhere. Downtown Sydney is pretty cool – well warm, but cool all the same.


After lunch I walked around the Museum of Contemporary Arts.


Visiting artist Guan Wei was painting this mural “The journey to Australia” in the foyer, I really liked it – along with his other smaller works in the museum.


There was a really good exhibition of photos from Canadian Jeff Wall in the museum and the space was just massive, a wonderful venue.


It is impossible to visit Sydney on a sunny day without being lured across Circular Quay to the iconic Sydney Opera House. The building is just so cool it is irresistible !



And that was pretty much it.

I had a final catch up with Nicole for dinner at the uber popular Jamie’s Italian restaurant, the food was fabulous and I would have liked to have lingered and enjoyed the food slowly over a wine or two but the airport and my flight/s to London were calling.

I had a fabulous time in Sydney, Manly and Newtown were cool spots to visit and it was great to spend some time with Nicole again. till next time !!

Needing some sun – off to Sydney

Saturday 11 May 2013 – Sydney

I was up very early for my flight to Sydney, I stayed at mums for my last night in NZ and she gave me a ride out to the airport which was much appreciated. I have my normal backpack and a massive suitcase that is just heaving with stuff I ‘need’ in London – though I did manage to sneak a small bit of vinyl in there. I guess it means I will have to buy a turntable in London 🙂

Through good planning I met my bro-in-law Allan, whose house I had been staying in, at the airport as he returned from a work trip to Perth. It was a nice change to share coffee with someone and it was nice to be able to thank him and wish him farewell.


Though Air New Zealand seems to have gone ‘low cost’ on the route to Sydney the flight to Sydney was a good one, we arrived early and by some miracle both my bags were together on the baggage carousel and I was on the train into town before the scheduled arrival time! With further immaculate timing I jumped straight on a ferry at Circular Quay and off to my final destination – Manly, in record time.

It was a glorious day in Sydney, much as I love Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, Sydney Harbour on a great day has to be the best in the world. I had a great view of the bridge and sat outside on the deck for the entire thirty minute ride.


One of my closest and most treasured friends, Nicole, now lives in Manly and there was no way I was going to make a trip to New Zealand without spending a few days here. I have booked myself into the Manly Beachfront Apartments and have the budget room – I think there is only one of those. It is right on the street and is approximately one foot larger than the bed. However, it was cheap for Manly and that was all that mattered, though I had to pay extra for wifi which always annoys me! It’s location over the road from Manly beach is just perfect and sort of makes up for the cost.

Once I had dumped all my stuff in my room we took a walk around town, had some lunch and walked up to Shelly beach for a coffee.

I really liked all these cast figures on the rock wall alongside the path.

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Manly is a stunning town, I can see why Nicole (and everyone else) lives here, twenty minutes on the ferry from the centre of Sydney, yet it is a small slice of paradise here. We had a walk around then I went back to my hotel for an afternoon nap. Once refreshed I walked up the beach side to Nicoles place, stopping to watch these guys play volley ball as the sun set.

We had dinner and a couple of wines at one of the local cafes, before saying an early good night and I went and crashed back at the hotel. The two hour jet lag between NZ and Sydney always mucks me around.

It was a good day, good to be on the way back to London, good to relax and enjoy some sun and good to see Nicole again.

A visit to North Head

Friday 10 May 2013 – Auckland.

On Monday night I picked up my oldest son Dom from the airport after another stormy day, luckily his flight was only delayed by a few minutes as i was kind of expecting a long wait. He has been on a training course with a fishing company based out of Nelson at the top of New Zealand’s south island and has some time off before he goes out to sea for two months on a fishing boat [edit] Just got the news he leaves next Tuesday, I am very excited for him! [/edit]. I had fingers crossed that I was going to be able to see him while I was here so was really pleased to be able to collect him from the airport and bring him back to my brother in laws house where I am staying.

Tuesday set a whole new standard for weather and was stunning – clear clear skies and nice and warm. Dom and I took a trip out to North Head and Devonport for a walk and (another) massive lunch, it was great to spend the day with him and great to have sun all day. While we were travelling to Devonport a helicopter crashed into the harbour – fortunately with no lives lost. We were wondering what all the activity was.


You have to say on a good day Auckland is a beautiful city!



All the war time tunnels were open on North Head, so we had a bit of an explore as well, it was the first time we had seen then all open.




Tuesday night was a family dinner with both boys – all up a very good day.

The rest of the week was busy with visiting people, eating and more eating and plenty of rain. I managed to knock a couple of runs off which countered some of the over eating. Luckily I was driving all week so did at least manage to not drink too many beers, though an evening at Galbraiths Ale house could easily have gotten messy if I was not behind the wheel, so many lovely beers to sample!

And that was sort of it for the week, and for the trip !

Many many thanks to my bro-in-law Allan for having me stay over while I have been here, to my sister and nephew and niece for letting me use the car for the whole time. It would have been impossible without it !

Aiden, Dom and mum, it was lovely to see you and I was tempted to not leave, I do miss you a lot and love you dearly and am looking forward to seeing you again. Fraser and the Davis’s – I will definitely come down to see you next time.

New Zealand and Auckland, you are a spectacularly lovely country and city, ditch the current heartless government (who just signed a bill allowing spying on its own people by the security services – bastards) and you will be a better place again.

See you in January 2014.

Next stop Sydney and then back to London, to El and the dreaded job hunt.


All Fresco – K’ Rd Street Art festival

Sunday 05 May 2013 – Auckland

I had been casually looking around for street art in Auckland and hand not really had a lot of success so I resorted to good old Google to see what I could find. I was so glad I did as there was a street art festival on and around Karangahape Rd from 3-5 May, which was now…

I arranged to meet a friend and photographer Katharina in a cafe so we could walk around together, look at the work and take some pictures. As it was a Sunday I managed to get a park on Cross St, right near one of the walls being painted. It rained – heavily, almost as soon as I got out of my car !

Mica Still – painting in the rain.


I ran up through the rain to St Kevins Arcade for lunch with Kats until the rain had stopped and then we went for a walk. First stop was down the stairwell at the back of the arcade. There is a fair amount of painting here, some is old and some is new, and most of it is great ! I cannot tell you who the artists are though there is a Gasp! and I think a Component or two. If anyone stumbles upon this post and can help out that would be great.

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Out of the side door of the arcade we found a couple of pieces on the there, again I am not sure who they are by, but the tiger is beautiful – and very well hidden. Th K’ Rd Masive have been painting here, but I could not get a decent shot of the wall as a truck was parked there.

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While we were looking at this lovely shadow play we met some people who gave us a map of all the All Fresco paintings which was just great – well done to the organisers for doing a  map – as well as organising the festival!

We took a walk down one side of K’ Rd and back up the other, most of the work was in side streets. Starting with Haha in Pitt St. All done by stencil.

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Gasp ! had a piece on Bereford Sq.


Next was Wert 159 still working in Samoa House Lane, you can see where the rain had been washing some of the colour down the wall 😦


And TrustMe


Walking to the next site we passed this alley which had quite a bit of interesting stuff to look at, including another Trustme. There was not enough space to fit it all in, but it says “We drink to forget our nights to remember”, I liked that.


On Hereford St there was this amazing piece, the scales were a cityscape, but did not translate well under my camera.


There was also this piece hidden behind a wall.


There was a large wall with a cherry picker on it on the corner of Gundry St but the artist must have given up in the rain as there was no one home and not much paint on the wall. I felt sorry for the artists, it was not a good weekend to be painting on the streets.

Edinburgh St and West Terrace had Jonny 4Higher pieces

P1010690 P1010684And we found this on a wall down the back of Edinburgh, I do like all these sort of hidden things.


And then back to where I started on Cross St and thankfully the rain had stopped so Mica Still could finish her work before jumping on a plane back to Wellington.

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Mica was sharing a wall with Xoe Hall and Erin Forsyth who were doing a joint piece that was just fabulous. I loved the skull moths.

Xoe Hall.


Erin Forsyth


And finally I found this up an alley – love it !


It was a great day out, thanks Kats for keeping me company and a massive thanks to all those involved in setting it up, to those fabulous property owners who allowed out city to be a bit brighter and happier and to the artists who contributed their work !

Auckland Street Art – Part 1

Street art is sort of hard to find in Auckland, I looked in some of the obvious places first and visited a couple of spots where there used to be some – all to no avail. My mum told me about some at the Corbans Estate Art Centre near where she lives in Henderson and then I used Google to find some more. It would be great to see more in the inner city.

There was a street art festival on in Auckland’s K’ Rd last weekend and I managed to get along to that as well and will show those images in another blog.

It is good to see there is a scene here and even though it is small there is some great talent.

Corbans Centre, stupidly I did not record the artists names!

I really like the Maori influence in some of the work, keeping it uniquely New Zealand.

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Though I recognised this artists style – Wert 159

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There is massive hole where a failed tower was supposed to be built in Ponsonby, the hoardings have been painted and there was some really good pieces. I didn’t get to see it all as it hammered down with rain while I was there.

Jonny 4higher – I think!


Wert 159

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I spotted this wall on the way!


It was great to see some art and not just the usual tagging that plagues the streets of Auckland.

Two weeks (or so) In New Zealand

Monday 6 May 2013 – Auckland.

I have been in New Zealand for just over two weeks now and have five days left before I leave for Sydney and onwards to London. It has been great to spend some time with my family and friends and I have had some very special moments with them. I have not been able to see one of my sisters as time and cost have made it impractical which is a shame. Tonight I pick up my oldest son from the airport and I am really looking forward to that.

I have been pretty busy the past couple of weeks, loads of dinners and lunches – with far too many wines and lovely micro-brewery beer to go with them. Luckily I have managed to squeeze in a bit of exercise or I would be forced to buy clothes a size or two larger!

I started off with a nice, but windy, walk to Muriwai Beach with my mum, I love the west coast beaches of Auckland and Muriwai is very special to my family as dad’s ashes were scattered here on this cliff top in 2007, it is one of my beloved spots.


The cliff here is famous for its gannet colony, but it was not the right season for them this time round, I have visited and photographed the gannets and the area on numerous occasions in the past and have some great images.


I had a couple of mountain bike rides. One of my best friends and my riding buddy has been storing my old DMR single speed, I love this bike but it is hard work now after so little riding. Our first ride was at Woodhill, the local pine forest and bike park. I have been riding here for many years and the forest is now being logged with some of my favourite old trails long gone. It was great to see ‘no brakes’ a trail I built over a week in both 2004 and 2005 is still there and still riding well. Sadly my fitness level meant I actually had to get off and walk a small section – embarrassing to say the least. Luckily no-one was around to see.

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The following week we took a trip down to Rotorua for some superb riding in the forest there. Again this is a working pine forest and a number of trails have had the trees logged from around them, but in the case of ‘Be rude not to’ the trail was still rideable – and still wickedly fast. Not for me though, I had no confidence at all and nana’d the whole trail.

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I also managed to get a few trail runs in which was fantastic. I had a great little run up through the hills from Huia dam, short and sweet and at an hour long, enough for my first run for ages. It was great to catch up with my Vicki, a great friend and my best running buddy, to hit some trails and get fifteen months worth of nattering caught up on.

My next run was to take some photos with the Neary family out on the trails around Piha, it was a lot of fun running with Steve and his two young daughters and I have never heard so much giggling on a trail run before. Sadly the weather was not playing ball so we did not get to go out to the beach side blow hole for some photos. I love the trails around Piha especially Kite Kite Falls.


A few days later I ran the Okura walkway on Auckland’s north east coast. The trail has changed significantly since I left and is now gravelled the whole way. It was an easier run, but much less fun without all the mud. The view from the hill down the coast was great and worth puffing and panting up the climb.

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And of course it rained !

Luckily just at the end and we didn’t get too wet.

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My final run last weekend was again at Piha – up and over Piha Valley Track and down the ridge to Garden Rd. I just love the tracks here. Vicki and I were joined my Mal, who I supported on his epic Coast Path Run in England in June last year. It was great to hit some trails with Mal again and I look forward to hearing about his next big adventure….

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Yep, you guessed it, it rained…

As well as the more active things I have been a wee bit cultural, after a great lunch with friends on Anzac day I visited the Auckland Museum and for the first time in ages had a good walk around the newly renovated Maori section which I thoroughly enjoyed.



As it was a day ending in the letter Y it rained again on ANZAC day, just as I was out of my car in the middle of the road taking a photo of the poppy installation on Titirangi roundabout that was commemorating ANZAC day.


I also took a trip to the Auckland Art Gallery, but the section I wanted to see was closed while preparations were made for an up coming exhibition. However, I did see one my favourite NZ paintings – Robin White’s ‘fish and chips, Maketu’. I love this picture and ended up buying a cheap print for my wall back in London.


For a change it was sunny all day so I parked down on Auckland’s waterfront and walked back into the city.


I was surprised to found a small spirit house in a park leading up to Symonds Street which was really nice, something new and something showing the real diversity of Auckland city.


After the gallery visit and lunch with Donelle I walked back down to my car and drove along Tamaki Drive, it has to be one of the most stunning inner city roads in the world. I then sat and had a wine in a bar and enjoyed the sun and warmth and the view over Rangitoto Island.

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Last Sunday I visited the All Fresco Street Art Festival on K’ Rd with a really old friend Katharina. There was some great stuff happening and it was really cool to see some art in action especially in what has appeared to become a bit of soulless city. I will blog it separately, but for a time as usual – it rained…


We did find this cool box of what looks to be rubbish outside a shop on K’Rd. Katharina had recently done a photographic exhibition based around a mannequin factory so we stopped for a few shots.


I have also had a good session going through the stuff I have stored in NZ, surprisingly I only tossed a small amount out, but I did get to move it from a storage unit into my brother in laws spare room, which is great. I still have more stuff than I thought ! Though most of those boxes seem to say books or photos, so it is not all bad.


The most important thing to be done was to pay a visit to my record collection that my nephew looked after until he went away to university at the start of this year. It was a special reunion and I also got to see the records I have bought on-line while I was away that were sent directly to my sisters house, and even play one on my turntable.



And that was pretty much the first few days of my time in New Zealand.

Good times, good times 🙂

Jumping ship

Wednesday 18 April  2013 – Auckland, New Zealand.

I originally started this post on April 18, it is now May 5. I managed to get four words written that day in April before running out of whatever it was I ran out of. Even now, when I have had some time to reflect, I am not entirely sure what it was; motivation, inspiration, energy, mojo – is it possible to run out of mojo ? I know it is possible to have mojo and then to not have it, but does it run out ?

To cut a long story short – I was not enjoying myself on the boat, it was nothing to do with the boat or life on board, I was just not having fun. I was never sea-sick or felt cramped or uncomfortable or anything and in the main my boat mates were great.  I was also really looking forward to going to Layang Layang to do some diving and possibly seeing the hammerhead sharks as well. But it was not too be.

If I step back a week or so, I had noticed I was not taking many pictures during my last week in Sri Lanka and really did not do much sightseeing at all. I should have taken this as a sign that I was ready to call the trip ‘over with’ and gone straight to New Zealand; my half final destination.  

My first plan had me visiting Jordan for a couple of days, followed by a day or so in Dubai and then Sri Lanka for two or three weeks, all up I was thinking of a three to four week transit to New  Zealand. Somehow this plan got skewed and extended and my trip turned into a nine week journey and I didn’t go to Jordan or Dubai, damn that mis-placed enthusiasm ! If I had stuck to what I had first considered then I certainly would have saved some money and maybe some sanity.

My last blog post had me on the yacht Infinity which was anchored off Pulau Aur a small island between the Malaysian mainland and the larger island of Pulau Tioman. We spent a couple of days there before motoring over to Tioman where we passed through immigration and were officially in Malaysia.

I had a couple of dives off of Tioman, the first dive had really bad visibility and almost no life but the second dive at this reef was quite good and finally after thirty nine dives I saw some rays – only small blue spotted rays, but I was dying to see any kind so I was very happy.


When we left Tioman we were going to be at sea for around three weeks before next land fall and it was here I decided I was just not having fun anymore and it was time to get off the boat, change my flights and head to New Zealand a month earlier than planned…


There were a couple of other people leaving from Tioman on 16 April so it made sense to jump ship and ferry over to the Malaysian mainland and catch a bus up to Kuala Lumpur. That is tea by the way,  not beer – it is 7:00 AM !


I stayed the night in KL and had to do a wee bit of shopping the following day to get some clothes for the flight and my first day back in Auckland and then it was all over. I was back on a plane and heading off to see my boys, the rest of my family and my friends. Yay 🙂 – I should have just gone straight there from London.

So, here I am in Auckland a month earlier than planned, and a fair bit poorer after having to shuffle around flights to Sydney and back to London. The good news is I get back to London sooner than expected and can start the process of job hunting, something that is weighing heavily on mind as I write this.  The even better bit is I get to see El in May rather than June: )

I am pretty much ready to start writing again, so it is now on to updating the past two weeks in Auckland. The best news, for me anyway, is I have started to use my camera again.

Maybe the mojo is coming back again after all.