Reaching For The Sky or For the Footprints of the Rainbow God


Having a writing break feels like freedom that feels like boredom with a hint of abandonment. Like a rubber band after it has been pinged then left to lie where it landed.


After a year of writing prose, I’m looking forward to writing some poems. Some years ago, my friend Jenny Powell (click on the link to see Jenny’s beautiful website) and I formed a poetry reading duo, calling ourselves J&K and with On the Road Again as our logo. We go to out of the way places, mostly in Otago and Southland, taking and receiving poetry.

2022 is our ten year anniversary. Almost since we started, I have been writing up our ‘poetry reading adventures’ which can be found on the J&K page of this blog HERE – and on an earlier blog of mine, HERE and HERE

Kapukataumahaka Mount Cargill

Covid, that Great Disruptor, has put paid to some of J&K’s plans over the past two years – mainly our attempts to read in the tiny West Otago town of Tapanui. I do love the description of the name of the town, as written up in A.W. Reed’s, Maori Place Names Their Meanings and Origins (4th Edition) ‘Possibly a contraction of Te-tapuae-o-Ueneku, the footprints of the rainbow god.’

I believe that our planned visit to this magical-sounding place has had to be put off three times. We are now scheduled to read in the library there in a month.



Not writing right now, means I have more time to read. I have a very tall TBR pile to get through, so I am looking forward to making it disappear (even if it’s only to be replaced by another stack; which is, of course, fine by me.)

My son and daughter in law gave me this book for my birthday in June.

I love this book. So much so, I’ve already ‘blessed’ it by spilling a cup of tea over it. The writer, Bette Howland, died in 2017 at eighty years old and was not a prolific writer, publishing only a handful of books. The book above is a series of short stories, or essays – highly autobiographical in nature. What an eye and ear Howland has for character. If like me you are into character-driven narrative, you too will love this book.






I call this cat Korner because on my walks, more often than not, there it is, on the corner, a study in silent patience as it waits for its owner(s). It tolerates – maybe even appreciates – me and other passers-by who stop to give it a pat.

New Zealand’s shelduck – putakitaki – or paradise duck. HERE is some Department of Conservation info. on these ‘ducks with goose-like feathers’. They describe the male’s call as ‘zonk zonk‘ and the female’s as ‘zeek zeek‘. It appears to me as if the female is highly reliant on the male’s protection. Her call sounds alarmed, pleading for assurance, to which the male replies in the affirmative, with a distinct, “I’ve got this, bae,” undertone.

The inlet is obviously the breeding ground for this particular pair who have recently arrived back there ready to set up for Spring. From now on, I will be calling them Zeek and Zonk.


The day I took this photo, there was a pair of these kereru, patiently waiting out a storm. For me, too, just now is a time of waiting – first for Spring but mostly for Summer and the arrival of our son and his partner and their family of three, taking the long way to New Zealand from Berlin. If you’re au fait with the Deutsch language, you might want to check out Jenny’s podcast, Holy Sheep Neuseeland which is documenting their travels. There are also two episodes in English featuring Robert and me talking about our favourite places in New Zealand.


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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