Katherine Hayton | 2014 September

September 2014

Today instead of actual writing I thought about writing. Thought hard. There was a big gap between the middle of my story and the end of my story. I knew there were things she should be doing, and things that had to happen, and things that had to be revealed, but no real idea of how those things were going to transfer from vague ideas in my head onto the page.

But now I’ve cracked it.

Coincidentally I’ve also decided that it’s just as important to take long walks on the beach as it is to do actual writing. They obviously help. And since I’m soon coming back to Christchurch where walking on the beach is inconvenient and cold, I should make the most of the beach that I currently have.

I may have sorted out my storyline, but I’m obviously not going to get much time to actually write for the rest of my holiday. Not now I have a task-list.

Until I fly back on Wednesday feel free to interpret #amwriting as #ambeachwalking – in my mind they’re now the same thing.

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19 Sep / The gasman rules

Halfway through my darling cooking his breakfast he came out to join me on the balcony with a forlorn look on his face. ‘The gas is gone,’ he announced, and stared down into his half-way to boiling water. ‘I can’t cook my egg.’

I walked him back into the kitchen and performed an inspection myself. In my defence this wasn’t automatic disbelief, it was based on the memory of our first day here where my darling decided his failure to light the stove was proof positive that it didn’t work. It was proof positive of something, but as I managed to have it lit and running a minute later it wasn’t of the stove being broken.

But this time it turned out he was correct. I recovered from my shock, and tried to work out what to do.

‘I know where the gas tanks are,’ he announced, and led me downstairs to the cupboard with the hot water cylinder in it. I let him go back to his half-breakfast (at least the toaster doesn’t require gas to cook) while I decided to mount a full inspection of the property.

I’ve just realised that the title of this blog could be taken the wrong way. Especially if I’m referring to eggs in the first sentence. I’m too lazy to go back and change it now though, this piece is half-written and if I change the title then this whole paragraph will have to go. That means the already-typed-but-then-deleted word count would be added onto the word count for my novel, but I’ve already spent the time writing it out. Just a moment…


There, that should do the trick. Now readers will refer to the blog title, find the possibility of a double entendre, then their eyes will be drawn to the capital letters above, and they’ll be reassured that it doesn’t exist. Problem solved, now where were we…

Right. I walked around the entire property. I thought they might be located in the shed next to the garage, but aside from the ventilation fans for the air-conditioning there was only a few lawn chairs. I thought they might be beside the pool, or under the cushion on top of the built in cabinet that was three meters by two metres – solely for the reason that I didn’t know what was in it. That lid was heavy. But I proved that they were not located there and that was the main thing.

Next I tried around the side where there was a hose and a short clothing line. There turned out to be a hose, and a short clothing line.

So I wandered back to my starting point and tried again. Shed – no. Pool – no. Clothing line – no. Shed – no. Wait a minute.

There is a large group of trees and bushes next to the fence-line on the right-hand side of the property. For some landscaping-type reason (maybe a drunk landscaper for example) they’re grown in stones. Sharp red stones.

I did not have shoes on. I was so confident that they would be located in the obvious place for them to be – the shed – that I hadn’t worried about putting on shoes. Or even shoe-like things such as jandals. Bare feet. That’s what I had on.

Those stones were sharp. They were sharp when I stepped on them. They were sharp when I stood in confused silence on them. They were sharp when I finally figured out the complicated structure of the gas tanks and that in order to get gas flowing again I needed to turn a switch so it was pointing at the second tank and walked back to the driveway.

But at least I was victorious!

I returned to the kitchen and tested the stove. There was the lovely sweet smell of gas, the lovely buzz of it emerging from the burners, and the lovely woomph as the flame caught hold.

The gasman rules.

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Today I woke up at midnight. That’s 2.00am by Christchurch standards, so not quite as bad as it may sound, but still midnight by Mission Beach standards so bad enough.

I tried very hard to sleep. Very hard indeed. Unfortunately sleep appears to be one of those things which requires effortlessness to work. Like dance moves. Concentrating, screwing my eyelids shut, and trying really hard did not do a jot of good. When my darling started to exercise his nostrils in his nightly snore, I decided that for me it was now morning.

Welcome World.

It is pitch black in Far North Queensland when it is night-time. I shouldn’t complain because there is beautiful sun all day long (at least the last couple of days) but when the light goes out – it goes out. Ten minutes of sunset if you’re lucky, and then pitch until 5.45am when the sun rises in equal time. That’s a lot better than the other end.

So I sat in the dark (with the light on – if you want to cut down on the melodrama) and typed away at my computer attempting to make sense of information that just requires a few more hours sleep to make sense of. In other words, I stared blankly at the screen for three and a half hours, and then went back to bed.

My darling did briefly wake up when I did so, but then he fell back asleep to taunt me with how easy it was. He also began to snore again to ram my feeble attempts home.

I have been very restrained since being on holiday, I haven’t kicked him once, and I was good once again. I calmly waited with my eyes closed tight until he woke naturally a couple of hours later and then I finally managed to fall back to sleep.

When I woke the second time the sun was full in the sky, and the wind was non-existent; the glorious beginning of our finest day yet (if you believe in judging days by hotness and availability of swimming pools which I do.) But with my broken sleep I couldn’t be bothered to do anything.

Luckily it’s holiday time, so that doesn’t actually put much of a cramp on my style. I did coax myself into a nice walk along the beach, I did get my 10,000 steps by mid-morning, and I did have a couple of lengths of the very short pool, but aside from that the only time I left the house was to walk to lunch, and then walk back replete.

And this is the thing I want to know. Using Mission Beach time I woke up at 2.00am and ate breakfast within the hour. I then had a mid-morning snack at 5.00am shortly after which I decided that I could definitely sleep now, and returned to bed. When I woke up at 8.30am I was starving again, so I ate a second breakfast. I then needed a snack for morning tea, and when we went to lunch at midday and it took more than half an hour to receive our order (of pizza and sliders – health conscious to the last) I felt like chewing my arm off to stop my stomach grumbling.

I had a milkshake with ice-cream at mid-afternoon, and then ate another couple of magnums to round off the meal. That would usually be the last time I ate for the day, as we’re going to bed on the dot of 7.00pm because we can’t keep our eyes open, but tonight I was once again starving after an hour and so ate some cereal and some salami. And no that’s not as bad as it sounds.

So what I’d like to know is how on earth is my central digestive system getting these messages to pig on out on food. Yes, I am walking about a little bit more, but seriously? Three extra meals more? There is just no way. I’d also like to go off on a small tangential rant about why Australia seems to have missed out on the Sugar-Free revolution but I’ll put that aside for the moment because it’s currently 13 minutes past my bedtime and I can’t think straight.

I can always go to bed tonight thinking that perhaps tomorrow I’ll wake up not wanting to eat the house of its food, and the world of its ice-creams, but I’ve thought that before.

I no longer believe it’s going to happen.

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I have been experiencing beautiful sunshine the last two days at Mission Beach. (oh yes, I’m on holiday – did I not mention that?) The first couple of days there were numerous overcast periods (really putting the rain back into rain-forest) although the bright yellow disc has been making an experience for a few hours here and there nevertheless. But yesterday and today there was sun from the moment we got up (after waiting for four hours for it to rise due to some inability of Australia to keep to NZ time) until the moment we go to bed (making the assumption that the next hour or two will continue to be glorious.)

However, I’ve discovered the drawback that I discover each year due to my reckless disregard for learning lessons from history. The warm glow I had after my swim and consequential lie in the sun to dry my swimsuit (because I’m all into solar power at the moment) has subsequently turned into a burny red glow. Ah yes. Hello sunburn my old friend, it’s not good to meet with you again.

So with the temperature edging up around 29 degrees outside I have now stupidly added a few more degrees virtue of my skin.

It will teach me to be more careful with the sunscreen over the next couple of days, but I do wonder if there’s something in the back of my mind screaming out “But it looks so awesome when you get a tan. Just a little one. Just this once!”

And it’s true that a tan – a real one not an orange one thanks – does still look pretty damn awesome. Especially when you spend most of the year pale blue where the only tinge of colour comes from occasional bursts of high blood pressure. I just need to keep in mind that my tan won’t look so awesome when grotesque moles and melanomas start popping up all over it.

Example of Grotesque Mole

Actually – that doesn’t look too bad. Hmmmmmm.

(ps if you’re a burglar and you know where I live I can assure you I’m most definitely NOT on holiday. Nope. I’m sitting in my lounge right now. With a knife. In the dark. Waiting for you. Well, do you feel lucky punk?)

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Today I saw a real cassowary. In the flesh. And feathers. And the funny knobby thing on top of its head so it won’t knock itself out if it runs straight into a tree at speed.

We came to an intersection after going on a trip to the Supermarket (I know, I know – our holidays are packed full of super-exciting stuff) and we wondered what the hell the dicks in the blue car were up to as they were sitting in the middle of their lane about twenty metres away from the intersection. It’s not like we’re in Italy where that sort of parking is acceptable.

What they turned out to be doing was watching a cassowary. They drove off and we subsequently pulled to a stop so we could have our own moment to act like Italians while tracing the journey of an almost mythical creature (by FNQ standards.)

Here it is…

And yes I do realise I have terrible photo skills thank you very much for asking. I was just lucky to have my phone on me at all because in holiday mode I forget that I have it, and even if I have it I’ve also often forgotten that it also needs to be charged occasionally. I’m on a break from Farm Heroes too.

We came over to Cairns and Mission Beach for seven years before we saw our first cassowary, and now we’ve seen two in two years. Or one twice. I’m not familiar enough with the birds, and have no photographic record of the first (see I told you I was lucky to have my phone) so I can’t compare.

Splendid days! Now I just need to see a few kangaroos and we’ll be set for our annual zoological target.

(and that stuff about Italian parking is not like racist or stereotyping you know. That’s based on keen observation from the viewpoint of a tourist bus over an extended seven day period. Over twelve years ago. I’m pretty sure it’s still accurate. Quite sure. A bit sure?)

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Taking a break from long walks on the beach, investigating randomly shaped pieces of driftwood that look rude if you pretend you’re a three-year old and eating, I actually produced something of value today.

First up, a logo, because something something brand something blah blah need one.

Just wait till I get that plastered on a t-shirt! Or a business-card. Or something else printable and stuff. I quite like the idea of wandering around the office with my own brand emblazoned across my fabulous chest. I hope I have the choice of princess-cut to hide my equally fabulous ice-cream filled belly.

My website is not quite finished. There’s a page missing, now what was it? That’s right – the homepage. But there’s a blog with one post on it (because I haven’t got around to sending the others yet) and a reviews page with one review (because I haven’t got around to sending the others yet.)

But you can still see all the ideas and thought that’s gone into it, in one morning. Yeah, alright, there may be a few changes coming in the next couple of weeks. But still – website, domain name, social media stuff – I might even confuse myself for a business if I’m not careful. Yeah, write that one off against the profit column Doris. What do you mean what profit column? Are you having a laugh? Oh, I see. We are far from breaking even let alone…

I have a new website!!!

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There are many things that are annoying and uncomfortable about airports. Signs that point you in the direction you want to go until you think you’re close and then dry up and leave you having to retrace your steps to try again. A plethora of clothing stores which I don’t need, and a complete lack of comfy seating, which I do.

Even if you’re lucky enough to be on one of the sacred flights that leave on time you still have to set aside a good chunk of your day just to spend time in these infernal hells.

I have Koru club membership, so I keep thinking this gets me out of the majority of the inconveniences that befall most travellers. I keep thinking that. I’ve yet to see any real proof. There’s a lot of nice food and drink freely available, but if you’re travelling at a popular time of the day, say between 6.00am and 9.00pm for example, then you have to trawl around the entire lounge to try to locate two seats together. They won’t be in the area you want to sit – for some reason children accumulate around the areas we usually sit – but you put up with it because you’ve already put in a couple thousand steps, and you didn’t have breakfast because you were going to the Koru lounge so you knew you’d be able to pick it up for free.

Free. Freely available. I’ve obviously used these words as synonyms. Synonyms for very expensive food and drink that you would have to work far harder at consuming to get anywhere near to the amount you spent on obtaining them. Payment made in advance against goods and services that you didn’t even know if you’d ever be able to collect. So, nice food and drink that’s costly available.

And having Koru lounge membership doesn’t stop you from coming into close contact with all the other horrors that the airport has in store. Eight minutes’ walk. That’s how far away our gate was from the main terminal. Eight minutes. We set out thinking that the airport would have catered for all people in that calculation. It would have to take into account the little old folk and the tiny wee toddlers and the obese middle-aged. Yeah, we’d be able to knock this one off in four minutes, maybe three. Maybe five minutes if we ambled.

Well, we didn’t amble and guess how long it took us? Give up yet. In that case I’ll tell you then.

Eight minutes.

The eight-minute walk took eight minutes to walk. I was horrified. I don’t know how the little old folk were doing. Certainly far too many toddlers made the long walk in time. Something about me not factoring in that they wouldn’t be travelling by themselves and therefore might be carried part of the way. I wish I’d been carried half of they way.

We then got to experience the lovely plastic seating in a variety of one style that was available at the gate. I say at the gate, not at our gate, because it wasn’t. Our gate ran out of seating before a tenth of a plane-full of people showed up. But at least we didn’t have to sit on the ground. You may say the people who sat on the ground didn’t need to sit on the ground either, they could have stood on the legs they were born with unless they’re Oscar Pistorius. You may say that – I couldn’t possibly comment.

Finally we were in the third wave of people to be called to board – or last as we called it – and we made the long walk down the airbridge to the plane. It was a dual airbridge, because the Gate had a (L)eft side and a (R)ight side. There was a glass and plastic barrier up to waist height to stop us accidentally going to Niue.

That would have been fine. A high glass and plastic barrier is enough of a sign to me that I shouldn’t cross the centre line. I try to follow the straight and narrow line.

So why in their infinite wisdom did the airport decide to put tempting signs all the way along the barrier extolling the horrors of breaking the implicit rule and jumping over the barrier? Did you really think that Katherine was going to jump over the barrier. At waist height. At her (non) fitness level?

Well Katherine didn’t think of jumping over the barrier. Not till the airport decided to pop into her mind that this option was possible BECAUSE OTHERWISE THEY WOULDN’T NEED SIGNS TO TELL YOU NOT TO DO IT!

Auckland airport if you DON’T want Katherine to jump the barrier, you don’t tell Katherine NOT to jump the barrier. Katherine is tired and susceptible and the last thing that Katherine needs put in her head when she’s been waiting in a plastic crowded hell for three hours after already having flown for an hour and twenty minutes after waiting for ninety minutes at a different airport is ideas about how barriers are made for jumping.

And then you further tempted Katherine. By placing not ONE sign – putting the idea into her head – but a second sign. Now Katherine thinks there must really be something good in this barrier jumping otherwise they wouldn’t go to so much trouble to try to ensure that I don’t do it.

And then just before Katherine has to commit to the plane, what do you do? Just before Katherine has to board the plane that’s going to make her legs swell up and her eyeballs lose the ability to focus and her ears to bubble and squeal and pop and her head to bang like a (insert simile for headache here please – I’m too tired to think of my own [and make it clever guys – put the effort in – don’t just bang in drum ’cause I could’ve done that for goodness sake.]) Just before Katherine has to spend an exceptionally painful and ache-inducing five hours and forty minutes trapped in a metal tube in the sky, what do you do?


Katherine was forced to seriously consider going to Niue. Katherine got so far as to put her hands on the top of the barrier and try to lift herself in the air to see if it would hold Katherine’s weight if she decided to vault over it like she’d never thought of doing until someone decided to repeat over and over that she could.

Luckily Katherine loves the thought of Mission Beach more than she loves the thought of Niue or the Auckland Airport Police Station. She loves Mission Beach even more than she loves talking about herself in the third person.

So Katherine I kept on my side of the barrier and made it onto my plane. There was horrible things after that which have undermined my ability to think about going to New York at this time next year, but such is the nature of pain that I’ll hopefully have forgotten that in two months’ time let alone twelve months.

And we landed and got off in heaven so it just sounds like whining now. And I’ve even got it off my chest now. Onwards and upwards.

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I have made it to the beautiful mission beach. Finally. Here’s the view from the lounge out over the balcony.

To those of you from Christchurch the yellow glow reflecting off the sand is called the sun, and it’s causing a rather lovely 28 degree temperature at the moment.

Well, as my mother always used to say, you shouldn’t waste a gorgeous day by sitting inside. Even when you’re meant to be working.

See you tomorrow for a real post. For now, just send me your envy to bask in.

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A very exciting day yesterday. After using a couple of working titles that didn’t feel at all right for two months, I’ve finally hit upon a new title that I think fits my new book (okay draft) perfectly.

The most exciting news of all is that now I have a title I also have the perfect idea for a book cover, and therefore have permission to take a break from writing for the next day or so (or week) while I design the perfect book cover. Because it’s no use writing all those words unless someone wants to pick it up (physically or digitally.)

I love full-on proper excuses to stop writing. Guilt-free opt-outs. Reasons that are vitally important for the future security of the writing itself. And I love book covers. They may not be appealing to the general readership at large – but I love my designs, and right now I’m the only person that counts as far as this one is concerned.

So I’m off to pick up my figurative tools and slap on a bit of pixelated paint. Wish me luck.

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