Katherine Hayton | BLOG

My, how the year has flown. Once again it’s time for the New Zealand Attitudes and Lifestyle Survey. I’ve been doing this for six years, according to the website, but it always seems such a short time between the surveys that either I’m getting old and time is flying or they’re sending it out more frequently than I imagine they are.

Just checked their website again. I’m getting old.

I do now think that I should’ve taken a note of all the questions and answers over the years, and then I’d be able to see where my answers have changed. Certainly I earn more money, have a better job, have developed a hobby into a completely non-lucrative business, have a wonderful and steady relationship, and take a lot more pills. That must have been an improvement?

They should certainly be less mopey. I had angst for a lot longer than the usual teenager.

But to do that would require effort and commitment to data-gathering, and although I’m happy to type it out on a blog for ten minutes, I’m not about to put the same effort into recording my answers twice. And I think a lot of the questions change.

They used to have quite a weirdly offensive one about how I felt about obesity-related diseases eg heart disease. Really? Heart disease. Because prior to the “obesity epidemic” heart disease was unknown in the Western World. Just like cancer. No one ever used to die of cancer. Or bollocks. Prior to the obesity epidemic there wasn’t nearly the same amount of people dying of bollocks in the world.

It also amusingly lists fat people as an ethnicity. I’m not kidding. It asks you how much you feel anger or don’t feel anger towards certain ethnicities and then lists NZ Europeans (always first – no they don’t reveal their own prejudices), Maori, Pacific Islanders, Arabs, Asians and Fat People.


Maybe I should try listing that one on my next passport application form and see if it makes it through.

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Such exciting news this morning. A tiger loose in Paris. PETA said that this should show to the public the dangers of keeping wild animals in captivity, but they seemed to have missed the main point of the headline.

The very idea of a tiger taking a lazy stroll around Paris – napping in the branches of a strong tree in the midday sun, chasing small puppies who’ll grow up to have a very complicated relationship with cats in the neighbourhood – fills me with warm joy.

And there was even photographic evidence. Such a rare thing in these cases, but whomever first thought of including a camera in a mobile phone must have a warm place in every newsman’s heart.

I’ve seen that photo. It looks like a cat. Quite like the tabby that was lolling on the front lawn this afternoon and which I had to shoo away before my darling fetched a gun.

I’d quite like to know why that woman and her fuzzy photo was believed when the twenty years of eyewitness reports about the Canterbury Cat are mocked.

This is her picture…

And these are the pictures that local Cantabrians have captured over the years…

Don’t you think they look exactly the same? Yes?

Ha. That was a trick. Of course they look nothing alike. The Canterbury Cat is a panther, not a tiger.

So the woman in Paris gets showered with glory, and the poor men of the Canterbury Plains are afraid to come forward with their stories because they’ll be pelted with ridicule.

The truth is out there.

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This morning we drove past a service station with a sign out front announcing:


The entire sign should have been put up backwards, and then it would have been completely in reverse. I do understand the need to provide clarity when an abbreviation is used, but using an abbreviation as clarification for the full description?


And that’s it. I started this list off this morning with great hope and excitement, but either I haven’t been paying attention or everything else in Christchurch is going just as it should.

Oh well, plenty of time over the coming long weekend to spot more nonsense that takes my fancy. Or I could put the time to better use and go looking for the 99 giraffes that have been let loose on Christchurch. This is my favourite one:

Not that I’ve found it out in the wild yet. I’ve only driven past a gold one at the Casino, and a serious looking giraffe with a tool belt who looked like he was definitely in on the rebuild effort.

Stand Tall Christchurch.

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Katherine Hayton,
You have a new follower on Twitter.

Follow back
08:02 PM – 11 Nov 14

Hello…thanks for following back. ….am dave Collins, may I know your name?
09:04 PM – 11 Nov 14

Course you can Dave… but that was an hour ago so in the meantime I’ve gone to bed. I won’t be able to read your message until tomorrow.

Hi..thanks for following back, am dave. May I know your name??
09:34 PM – 11 Nov 14

Now I’m asleep Dave, so you’re out of luck. But I’m sure I’ll get to your message tomorrow.

Hi ??
02:32 AM – 12 Nov 14

Still asleep Dave. Give me a few more hours, eh?

Hi Dave Collins, you may know my name. It is Katherine Hayton 🙂
06:11 AM – 12 Nov 14

Nice name, I like That
06:13 AM – 12 Nov 14

Seriously Dave. Are you sitting in front of your computer waiting for people to reply to you on Twitter? Are you sitting in front of your computer waiting for me to reply to you on Twitter? You’re starting to creep me out Dave.

Would like to know more about you, if you don’t mind
06:14 AM – 12 Nov 14

I’m sorry; I can’t do that Dave.

06:18 AM – 12 Nov 14

Block or Report?

Goodbye Dave.

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This morning I got dressed up in my fancy clothes, found out my fascinator was now called a hatinator on account of it having a brim, and set off to work in a reasonable mood.

A couple of hours later I was fighting tears in a meeting room while the leadership team learned that we’re losing the best boss we’ve ever had.

And it was a good four hours before we could reasonably break out the strawberries and bubbly for cup day.

The day was rather on the skids from that point on. The restructure that we’ve all been trying to ignore for months on end has finally started to bite.

Like most people, I’ve been down this road before. There’s the restructures that you barely noticed have happened; the ones that leave swathes of destruction in their wake; and the ones that you wake up hoping that a depression ain’t about to hit New Zealand because you need a bouncy job market to find new employment in.

Of course now I’m a famous writer – cough, cough – I needn’t worry about these things (snigger.)

And yes we’re all told that change is good, and to embrace it, but that’s hard when it’s spiky all over and has razor sharp teeth.

But those berries were good when we finally got around to them. Even if I drew a loser non-placing winner in the sweepstakes it’s still Cup Day and there are things that demand to be celebrated.

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10 Nov / #Iamnotadisease

I’ve been having an amusing time over the past hour looking through people’s twitter descriptions. Lots of occupations, even more hobbies, a whole city worth of twitter spouses and children, and a collection of instantly favourite phrases.

What I don’t get is the diseases.

I have my illnesses, chronic and acute, physical and mental, but I tend to think of them as annoyances that you just get on with (after the suitable complaint period.) I’m giving a free pass to the cancer survivors who then go on to list the loves of their lives; I count that as perspective.

There’s one twitterer I came across whose description comprised of one acute physical disease, one chronic physical disease (a very popular book-of-the-month type at that) and then one mental illness. That was it.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. How can a person define everything about themself in such terms? I could get on board with celebrating some aspects maybe; the community spirit of lice and their incredible feats of reproduction say, or the way the little patch of eczema near my elbow makes the rest of my skin look unblemished. But the entirety of your description?

It reminded me of a tweet that I saw earlier in the year. A hashtag was viralling around the place gaining supporters, as they do. It was nice and empowering and non-threatening all at the same time. This tweet was mixed up in the middle of it. I thought it was irony. Now I’m not so sure.

“As an OCD sufferer #Iamnotmymentalillness”

Yeah. Good on you love.

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Tonight on Olive Kitteridge there was reference made to how Chris may be a complicated boy but at least he’s never bludgeoned his girlfriend to death. No, it’s no use explaining, you should watch it if you’re not already.

Anyway that got my darling and I onto the subject of how nice it was that neither of us had ever bludgeoned each other to death.

I explained that even if I felt the need to, my arm is particularly sore this weekend so I wouldn’t have the strength. My darling said he had the strength to do it, but only ’cause it’s easier to bludgeon girls.

I hastened to point out that we would have to be talking about a little girl – like five or six – and who wants to be the town pariah?

It all petered out a bit after that. I considered that maybe I could try with my left arm – not much aim but far more strength – and my darling just seemed to stop thinking altogether.

If they do find my battered body anytime in the next week do me a favour and pass this onto police.

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08 Nov / Cup Day Dress-up

It’s only a couple more days until Cup Day. I’m not foolish enough to actually go to the races and be thrown up on by young girls who are wearing little more than belts and high heels, but I always reserve the right to dress up as though I am.

Saves a lot on the dry-cleaning.

Evil clothing elves have even afforded me a genuine reason to purchase a brand new dress for the occasion rather than just making do. There’s been a little bit of that going on lately – it’s far more difficult to get inspired to try to lose my sudden-change-of-medication weight pile-on when I’m getting a new wardrobe out of the deal.

A talented woman at work has even fashioned a fascinator for me. It matches beautifully to my shoes and my handbag, which is lucky because my dress came from a completely different colour spectrum. Can’t have everything going together though, can you? Or is that in this season? Who can keep track?

There’ll be strawberries and bubbles for breakfast on Tuesday. The bubbles in question will be of the non-alcoholic variety, but the strawberries will be the real thing. And then I believe later on in the day there might be something else happening. Aside from the best-dressed competitions I mean. What is that again..?

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07 Nov / Expired food

Our office held an expired food party today. Yeah we’re cheap, what’s it to ya?

I happily poured out some Coke Zero safe in the knowledge that nothing can ever make Coke taste bad. I’ve seen You-tube videos where it melts coins. Time isn’t any match to that power.

It turns out that my knowledge was belief, and faulty at that. It was flat. I can handle that – sometimes I even prefer it. It wasn’t sweet. Say what?

Yeah, you heard me right. The Coke Zero wasn’t sweet any longer. The vast array of chemical symbols that adorn the fine print of the ingredient list have no staying power. A mere year after the best before date and it was almost undrinkable. I could only manage three glasses. Ugh.

The chips fared a lot better. I thought at first the Doritos had gone off as well, but it turned out they were Salsa flavoured and were meant to taste like that. Why would anyone buy Salsa when they could buy cheese? I didn’t even know you could buy a flavour of Dorito that didn’t include cheese. Maybe they were a limited edition?

I only realised when I reached home that I’d forgotten my cans of cream. Again. They only expired in July and September respectively so I’m confident that they’re still good to go. I sprayed a couple of handfuls into my mouth the other day and I haven’t died so I’m backing myself here.

There is a weird sense of urgency to consume it as soon as possible. But I hope it can last the weekend. It’s made it this far.

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