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The COVID-19 diaries: rain


The gun emplacements around Wellington are a curiosity – built in World War 2 on the tops of hills to defend from possible invasions. They seem almost a folly – who would bother to come so far to invade New Zealand? Also they seem eminently sensible – Wright’s Hill has such a good vantage point. They are now ruins to be opened to the public on ANZAC day, when you can wander through the tunnels.

I guess I have been thinking a lot about the war lately because my lifetime has been characterised by a constant background anxiety – the threat of the nuclear war, the threat of war in the Middle East, the threat of imminent climate collapse, the threat of earthquakes and tsunamis – but so far I haven’t had to radically change my lifestyle because of any of these threats. I try to do my bit to stem climate collapse and I compost, recycle and ride my bicycle, but because the rainforests continue to be clear-felled and big industry gets huge tax breaks and we keep consuming like crazy, it feels kind of tokenistic.

But now, here, we are doing something real, because the numbers of infected keep jumping everyday, and it feels strange and strangely normal, and the threat is still as out of sight as it was from the top of Wright’s Hill in the 1940s, but I know there are patients in Wellington Hospital only a few hills away and we are safe in the tunnels of our houses.

The COVID-19 diaries: writers’ group


It’s weird how communications have so rapidly escalated under this new regime. I never used to FaceTime people – I’d message – and now I’m video chatting all the time. I noticed that zoom had been installed on my work desktop too, so I guess I will be zooming all next week!

Jonathan and I decided to stay in our respective houses – the apartment and the Karori house – because I was higher risk (T1 diabetes) and I also thought I would go mad stuck inside the apartment alone for two weeks or more. Jonathan is popping up to visit the younger children every few days, and he has our eldest living with him, so I am not parenting entirely alone, but it does sometimes feel like it.

I guess this is why video messaging is so incredibly valuable. Suddenly there are animated faces and a cacophony of voices inside your home. Suddenly you can do things together – eat lunch, have a coffee, do the office quiz. I do worry that the internet will break under the weight of our frantic communications and then we’ll really be in trouble.

In the meantime, I am still ok. I have people to talk to, I have my comics diary project, I have baking and cello playing. I have dance playlists to compile and books to read. This is curiously more social than my usual life. It’s just that we’re together alone.

The COVID-19 diaries: the bear hunt


And the weather now is truly Wuthering AF, as my friend George described it. It is windy, it is rainy. I might put my raincoat and gumboots on and pretend that I’m Cathy searching for Heathcliff in the hills, but Heathcliff is in social isolation if he knows what’s good for him.

The bear hunt is quite a cute idea, endorsed by the prime minister, and our bear has special significance. It was sent from the US by my diabetes nurse who looked after me whilst I was pregnant with my first child. I wrote about her here. The bear is 16 years old, a little younger than my oldest child, who will probably turn 17 in captivity.

Thank you for all your lovely words of encouragement! I hope you are all doing okay out there….

The COVID-19 diaries: the supermarket


Hey! How have your supermarket experiences been? I found it incredibly frustrating that I tried so hard to keep the 2 metre rule and then someone would careen past me with less than a metre between us. I guess some of us are more worried about the pandemic than others. I normally also try to chat to the checkout operator but in her mask and gloves and with me standing 2 metres away, conversation wasn’t forthcoming.

I really should get my children off so much milk (they are eating vegetarian for the length of the confinement though!) but they are constantly pouring themselves mugs of the stuff and making bowls of cornflakes or muesli to eat over their iPads and laptops. The silly thing was, I couldn’t bring myself to buy too many bottles of the expensive organic brand and now either they will have to swap to soy (ew yuck, Mum!) or I will have to brave the New World once more…

Also, in regards to the leeks: last night I made a pie from a recipe my friend Kirsten sent me and it was delicious!

The COVID-19 diaries: the walk


Today is the first day of the official lockdown. I am feeling somewhat anxious about how I am going to make it through with only virtual contact with other adults. I guess I will have to cultivate adult conversation with my children, and I think that my own cat is part of my bubble, even though she’s turned a little feral lately.

I hope you are all surviving! Let me know how you are doing!

The COVID-19 diaries: home school


Hello again! I am still at it… I hope you are all doing ok out there. I feel a little more resigned/optimistic this morning, probably due to having a good night’s sleep. Thank you for your encouraging messages.

The COVID-19 diaries: lockdown


Arrgggh – there were a lot of tears and a lot of difficult questions last night. I spent a reasonable amount of time trying to figure out what was the deal with separated families, and how my ex and I were going to co-parent and minimise house swapping, and whether I technically lived with my boyfriend and could go visit him when I wasn’t parenting, since I spent three nights a week with him. Still trying to figure that stuff out, and the clock is ticking… level 4 hits tomorrow.

If you want to read Jacinda Ardern’s full speech, it’s here, and you can watch it here.

The COVID-19 diaries


Hello again after a long absence! I have been feeling out of sorts, as I imagine you all are, and I thought it might be useful to record this collective experience that we are having. I set myself some constraints — no pencilling, ink straight to paper and no more than ten panels so that I can also post this on instagram. I’m trying not to overthink this. For any international readers, we are still waiting for COVID-19 to fully hit New Zealand but there is reason to believe there is community transmission, so the government is taking firm measures. I am just waiting for school to be cancelled…

Let Me Be Frank book launch



Hello! I don’t even know if blogs are a thing anymore, but I am temporarily resurrecting mine to tell you about my book launch. But first, a bit about my book! It’s comics collected from here, going right back into the archives, and also new comics – about 100 pages of new material all up. So if you’re a fan, please consider buying the book!

Ok, onto the book launch: it’s on the 10th of October at 6pm at Marsden Books, 159 Karori Road, Karori, Wellington.


Old sailors



Do you guys know the AA Milne poem that I’m quoting? It’s pretty great and sums up my life. I have been feeling rather sheepish about the hastily-drawn comics that I’ve been posting but I’ve been promising myself that I will focus on a project once I’ve got my commitments out of the way.

A few of those commitments: I will be in Marlborough at the end of next week, teaching comics and appearing onstage. If you live nearby, please come along!

Then, the following week (yes, it’s that soon!!) I will be heading off to Edinburgh via Portland, Oregon and Reykjavik, Iceland. I’m going to be taking part in the Edinburgh Book Festival. Yes! For real! I am so excited.

I probably won’t be posting so much over August, but I hope to gather up lots of overseas inspiration, and not get shipwrecked (although basking could be nice if I landed on the right island).