Of Hamsters, Lavender, and Immigration

I freely confess that I had not realized how much the general “What Even Is This” of the last year had affected me until I came to start actually writing this new novel. It turns out that I now have the attention span of a hamster who has slurped down three large mochaccinos. A rather stressed and easily overheated hamster, moreover, with a long to do list.

hamster looking nervous


I have been trying to get into the garden lately as a way of reducing stress, and it has been teaching me some lessons. (#1: There are Always More Weeds.)

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Real-Life Masquerade

As many of you know, I live in New Zealand, which is one of the countries doing pretty well pandemic-wise. But we are nonetheless encouraged to have masks on hand (actually, on face) when at close quarters with strangers at Level 2 or above, just as we are encouraged to have emergency supplies stashed about the place in case a big earthquake takes out all our infrastructure.

Now, there are, it turns out, some people who get huffy when asked to wear a mask. I am not one of them. I am always happy to don a mask and slip anonymously through the streets of the city. (Or at least, what would be anonymously if there was anyone else round here who dressed like me.) I mean, come on! This is your chance to let your inner superhero out for an airing at last, without people casting doubt on your adulthood. Masks are awesome.

Moslema in style (8093611310)
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In Praise of Not-So-Old Technology

In some countries, the windows are double-glazed. In some countries, the windows are triple-glazed. In New Zealand we are a hardy bunch, and unless you live in a fairly new house (or a house with fairly new windows) there’s a good chance you have single-glazed windows.

Yep. A single layer of glass between you and the chill of the winter beyond. Admittedly, our winters aren’t as cold as some places, but when flights head to Scott Base in Antarctica, New Zealand is where they leave from.

Scott Base Antarctica Sign
I’ve spent the last 15 years in two of the cities closest to Antarctica. Brrr.
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