What’s been happening – August 2020

I used to do a summary of what I had been reading, watching and listening to at the end of each month, but some of the things got a bit repetitive (well, we do have our favourite podcasts don’t we?). This week I came across the blog post idea ‘what’s been happening’ over the past month, which gives a much broader range of things to talk about and also have a look at the past weeks. Thanks to Life at No. 22 for the idea and also Zimmerbitch who inspired Life at No. 22.


I read a real mix of things this month from Rose Macaulay’s What Not, first published in 1918, a tale set slightly in the future (of the time) and said to be one of the influences behind Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World to Zadie Smith’s collection of short stories Grand Union, a lovely selection of pieces by one of the top writers of her generation. I also read Rachel Cusks Arlington Park which while not making much impact at the time, has stuck in my mind since, with its almost claustrophobic description of domestic life. I got about half way through Haruki Murakami’s Killing Commendatore and came to a stop. I am not sure why, but I just can’t keep going at the moment. I might return after a small break. Instead I finished reading Anne Kennedy’s poems about her brother Moth Hour, who died when he was young. Some really lovely moments and so well worth picking up.

Watching and Listening

The month began with the end of the New Zealand International Film Festival, which went virtual this year as I mentioned in earlier posts. On the small screen at home we watched the film Official Secrets, the docudrama film based on the life of whistleblower Katharine Gun, starring Kiera Knightly and Red Joan, the story of a long-serving British spy, played in her old age by Judi Dench. I can highly recommend both films to curl up and watch in the evening.

Two particular podcast episodes I enjoyed this month were from This American Life and 99% Invisible. The former was Something Only I Can See, which had some quite wonderful tales, and an episode from California Love, Scared Straight, about graffiti artists in Los Angeles. Do catch them both if you enjoy hearing about others lives.

There should be this month’s ear worm somewhere in this post. Not a new song, but one I have heard quite a bit this month. Not my usual taste, but there is something about this Anne Ternheim duet with Dave Ferguson The Longer The Waiting (The Sweeter The Kiss) I really like (note – I could not access the video on YouTube in New Zealand).


My current favourite source of inspiration during these colder months is Diana Henry’s From the oven to the table, filled as it is with warming dishes, most easy to make and just pop in the oven. The new Cuisine and Dish magazines have also been lovely to browse. It is the season for root vegetables, Jerusalem artichokes, lemons, limes and what we call yams. All good things. We ate curry out (twice), pizza (twice) and sausages and mash at a local pub.

Going places

Well, we still can’t leave New Zealand (well, technically we can, but you all know what I mean), and there have been travel restrictions in Auckland, but we did get over to Martinborough at the weekend. Hopefully next month we can also get out of the city on a fine day. The picture below is of the museum in Martinborough.

See what else has happened this month with This week’s small pleasures #202, This week’s small pleasures #203, This week’s small pleasures #204, This week’s small pleasures #205 and This week’s small pleasures #206.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


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