Ali

Beauty amidst the engines: railway station gardening competitions in New Zealand

This is a paper I presented at the New Zealand Historical Association Conference, Wellington, November 2019. Railway stations have romance attached to them: they are places of meetings and partings and beginnings of adventures. But they can also be bleak and utilitarian, especially in rural or suburban locations. They are industrial, with huge engines roaring […]

Two years of reading novels

Wondering what to read? I have a few recommendations! I’ve neglected this blog over the past two years, since I’ve been preoccupied with finishing my own book, which has just been published. There’s always time for reading, though! Indeed, I think it’s an essential part of the writing process, not to mention a fantastic way […]

2016 – a year in reading

I didn’t have a lot of time for ‘recreational’ reading in 2016, as I was too busy writing – not for this blog, unfortunately! However, I kept a list of all the books I read and gave them scores for both content and writing. I thought I’d mention a few of my favourites here for […]

Drama at Victory Beach

Victory Beach, a 3-km long straight beach at Wickliffe Bay on the Otago Peninsula, is one of my favourite places. It’s never crowded – the 2-km walk from the road no doubt puts some people off – and I’ve never seen anybody swimming there. But for those willing and able to make the effort, it’s […]

A swimmer’s delight

I thought it would be fun to write an occasional post about the history of some of my favourite places in Dunedin. The St Clair salt water pool is right up there. I head there to swim laps once or twice a week, no matter the weather. In fact I prefer it when it’s raining […]

A Scotswoman and her sampler

This 1830s sampler, made by a young girl in rural Scotland, eventually made its way across the globe and has been handed on down her family, together with her craft skills. The sampler and its provenance I got the history bug early, and when I was set a family history assignment at school I wrote […]

A Victorian heroine

Mary Leslie (1863-1927) was a true working-class battler; she is one of my historical heroines. A recent visit to a remarkable medical museum – of which more later – brought her to mind. In 1890 Mary gave birth to a daughter in New Zealand’s first ‘successful’ Caesarean section; that is, one in which both mother […]