I caught up with a relative over brunch on Saturday. It was a meandering chat over porridge and coffee.
We talked about family, fashion, housing, Tintin and some reminiscing of times long past.
I’m not sure how we got onto Tintin, but we reminded ourselves that he was ageless – stayed the same over decades of stories – but the stories moved with the times.
There are lots of connections between the stories. Obvious ones that are one story in two books like Destination Moon followed by Explorers on the Moon. Others are not so direct: The Crab with the Golden Claws and The Blue Lotus, about drug runners.
Tintin is one of the first books I can remember. I borrowed them from the Christchurch Public Library, in the old brick building that once housed the Library on Cambridge Terrace near Hereford Street.
The stories are rich in meaning, thoroughly researched with events of the time depicted – fascist Europe in King Ottokar’s Sceptre – and beautifully drawn. I love the trains, cars, boats and outsize characters and never tire of reading the 62 pages in each story one more time.
My personal favourite is The Crab with the Golden Claws, a classic detective story, and where Tintin first meets Captain Haddock.
I could talk all day about Tintin. It’s been a life-long pleasure.
He’s a great investigator with a cool head and a sense of adventure like no one else.
I oftenfind myself thinking how many big things are not going right globally: climate change, our management and respect of the environment, fervent nationalism and the resulting damage to democratic institutions.
I can make small steps on some of these things and show leadership to provide positive role-modelling and examples.
At the risk of sounding shallow there are some things that I think we might be in a golden era for. One of those is television.
Watching detectorists on Netflix this last week was an outstandingly enjoyable experience. So much so I watched the entire two series through twice.
But wait, there’s more. They’re not going to give you the warm fuzzies like detectorists but The Americans, Homeland, Ozark and my personal favourite that I’m waiting impatiently for the third series of, Occupied.
Detectorists involves shallow digging and has deep human truths in it, but Occupied gets uncomfortably close to the current nationalism, foreign interference and environmental challenges as you might wish for. I had to double check that it really was conceived before the last US presidential election. It was.
I used to take time out from my day job once a year, suit off, and drive a truck delivering telephone books for a week. It was refreshing, great exercise, and I got to know parts of the city, especially Parnell, very well. It was slightly jolting at first to realise that your attire (and the job that went with it), had a big impact on how people treated you. “Put them over there”. Fine, and good morning to you too.
Five or six years ago colleagues would check in as to whether to wear a tie. Casual Friday was once a month. It soon moved to once a week and then it was “dress for the day”.
Today you’ll see male and female colleagues in smart jeans, shirt in, shirt out, smart suits, open shirts, hoodies, and the occasional tie.
So what is the look of leadership? Is there a look of leadership? What should a leader look like?
Are there really clothing expectations of a professional leadership position? There’s some places you don’t have much choice for formal clothes – a court lawyer, or member of parliament – but almost everything else there’s a lot of flexibility. If you take it.
I do. Some days a suit, others jeans, the occasional hoodie. I’m not sure it makes much difference. Maybe I should try being a delivery person for a day and see if the world has changed!
Getting up at 5am has had its rewards – exhilarating yacht racing, a capsize, a mistake when winning and then winning by only 1 second – but ultimately success today.
Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Cup today and are official challengers for the America’s Cup again. Team New Zealand has been there before and it hasn’t always gone well but I reckon we should enjoy the success now.
A few minutes ago the Otago Highlanders beat off the British and Irish Lions 23-22. What a great game. And there’s more to come – ABs vs Samoa and Maori All Blacks vs Lions.
Travelling on two wheels up the bus lane on Dominion Road most mornings gives me a sense of the futility of single car commuting. I spent years doing it, love driving and retreat to the car when I’m not feeling 100% or I feel the weather is a risk factor.
This morning there was quite a group of scooters and motorcycles together for most of the distance. A feeling of camaraderie and freedom. It’s a lot of fun too.
The e-bike is just as good, if not better, and not much slower. The fantastic Grafton Gully to Tamaki Drive cycleway is mine to luxuriate on for half the journey.
The other day I counted how many cars I passed on Dominion Road, many stationary.
I’m deliberately grouping bike and motorcycles together, there are similar advantages. It’ll take quite a lot more commitment by leadership to make it a preferred option for the solo-car commuter.
From the car it can appear mildly annoying, not like real road users. From the two wheels it’s freedom, fun and most of all fast!
It might not be an alternative across the bridge (yet), but for many people I see, it would be a great option. Forget lectures about the environment, congestion or your wallet.
You don’t need to go away to enjoy an exotic summer’s day. There’s so many cruise ship tourists downtown at the moment, stepping out for lunch it can almost feel like you’re on holiday.
I got chatting to a couple from England on the escalator in Westfield Downtown the other day. They were staying in Mt Eden, visiting their daughter and family.
“This place has changed a lot since we were last here seven years ago” he said, “there’s well a lot more, feels like a European city now and there’s you know…“, more people I offered “yes a lot more people, it’s really gone ahead“.
We parted after this brief exchange. We’re all ambassadors for our country and city. I didn’t really have much to add, they were clearly loving their time in Auckland on a hot summer’s day and wanted to share their enthusiasm.
It’s easy to ignore the pleasure of what we have every day. Outsiders can see it quite differently.
Apart from the colour they looked quite similar. 303 was a creamy white while 302 chestnut brown. They had two friends, but we couldn’t see their numbers. At our first viewing up the drive from our holiday house 303 seemed quite taken aback and aggressive. it didn’t look like they had too much in the way of human interaction.
They were good looking cows (however you measure looks on a cow I’m not sure!) and were pretty happy in their field of grass, flowers and weeds.
Next time down the driveway, same thing, 303 was on full alert while his mates showed some interest then went back to their grazing.
Each time was much the same, so we called 303 the “boss”.
Once we stayed a while once. Curious. Which is what 303 was. A little aggressive at first, probably unsure, but he seemed just plain curious about us.