[SPEAKER] Interview with @VaughanParkChapel on Instagram

Normally, with the Vaughan Park scholarship, a public lecture happens towards the end of the scholarship. Obviously, this has not been the scholarship as planned, but one of the things that has happened is that have helped Sapati get going with an Instagram account for Vaughan Park Chapel – and we decided that we’d do a short set of Q&A that could be posted on there (and Facebook later). Earlier today, Sapati and I undertook a short series of videos (6!) before I fly home on the charter flight on Saturday, and here’s the first:


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Short interview #1 in #lockdown #gettingtoknowBex #vaughanpark #scholar #nevergiveup #keepthefaith #keepgoing

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Here was us after we’d just finished filming, and with our elegant setup … it seemed to work:


[LIFE] A Week In New Zealand

This time last week, I was still rushing around doing last minute work tasks, and thinking again ‘have I got everything I need, and, more to the point, what have I got that I don’t need’ – whilst wondering if the Coronavirus is going to mess anything up … but the flights were go… go… go…

Getting To New Zealand

Well, we started smoothly – Andrew offered me a lift, and we were surprised at the lack of traffic, so arrived at the airport in plenty of time…


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It’s a different #WiatingRoomFeet. Thanks to @andrewgraystone for the lift. Getting ready for #Newzealand

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Fortunate I was so early, as I had totally missed that I would need to get a visa before going (I’m sure I had checked this, including when I checked in online) … so Emirates helped me sort that for New Zealand and Australia … still had to wait at the check-in desk as they queried why it was still ‘Pending’ (because although I have a flight out of Melbourne, I don’t have one – with Emirates – out of New Zealand) … he said it would be fine, and would have come through by the time I got to New Zealand (reader, it was the day after I arrived, in fact!)… so I went to enjoy the hour I still had left in the lounge I had treated myself to; then it was onto the plane; didn’t sleep on the first leg (sending Instagrams from the plane); arrived in bright daylight in Dubai; went straight to sit at the gate; sending more social media from the plane… and then finally, we landed:


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We’ve landed … #NewZealand. Taxiing … #BusyLivingWithMets

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It was wonderful to be greeted by the familiar face of Stephen Garner, and we joined his family at a nearby shopping centre for lunch, contemplated getting a NZ Sim card as my phone says ‘dual SIM’, but one of those is an eSim, and no one was doing these. TBH have a good deal with THREE – 12GB data per month plus all my normal texts – just calls are v expensive and people are having to call an international mobile – but there’s WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, right? And who knew that the New Zealand mobile network 2degrees is based on the degrees of separation there may be in New Zealand:


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Bundle of photos from airport and lunch stop with Stephen, Kim, Philip and Laura .. #NewZealand

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The Place

So, my Writing Scholarship is at Vaughan Park, near Torbay, right next to Long Bay (marine park), about half-hour (in a car, longer on the bus!) above Auckland itself. There was a bit of confusion over when I was arriving, but we got me in, and was lovely to find the place I’ll be living for the next couple of months – and the wine, fruit and flowers that have been left:

This place revolves around food, man! Breakfast 7.30-8.30am; teabreak 10am; lunch 12.30pm; teabreak 3pm; dinner 6pm 🙂 Also frequent daily prayer held in a beautiful chapel with one of the best views in the world!

There are such lovely people at this place too – enjoying chatting to them over all the various meals … those who work here, and those who visit. Also a fellow Brit working here who doesn’t drink tea/coffee, went to Haywards Heath Sixth Form, and failed first driving test because examiner used dual controls … me too on all those!

I’m making sure I get lots of fresh air – I’ve walked to Torbay; beyond Torbay; noticed some things; checked out some food/drink; made myself at home; tried the fruit that’s not a kiwi (feijoas) – not over-excited by it; been to Brown’s Bay to get a bus pass (have to get the bus to get this!) – using AT Mobile app – which I clearly need to learn how to read better; had wine/worked out top loader washing machine; slept A LOT; and gone in the sea every day:


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Worked outside then went for a swim – now it’s food time (again!) 😉 #NewZealand #BusyLivingWithMets #outdoorswimming

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Or do you want that in video form:


The Work

So, if you check out my previous post, you’ll see that my planned outputs for here (when I can stay out of the sea, or having teabreaks :-)) are:

  • Work on a revised version of book*Please do complete my survey 
  • Thinking about an associated academic paper;
  • Present some talks on faith, media and digital life; *I’m starting on prepping these (includes Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Melbourne)
  • Develop collaborative partnerships;
  • Enjoy a refreshing and restorative rhythm of spiritual life and community.

Where my brain is starting to get over jetlag, starting to get somewhere with some work, and even work out how to combine it with beachlife: here and here.

I’m flying back via Melbourne to give more talks … and have treated self to tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (both performances for less than one would be in London!)… Just watching what’s going on with Coronavirus, etc. but know is nothing can do about it for now (aside from the obvious hand-washing, etc.) so…

The Cancer

You thought you’d seen the last of #WaitingRoomFeet for a while, right? I’m on a treatment break until 11th May (well infusion break, tablets and all that continue) as my scans have been good. But, no … at my last appointment, my nurses said ‘probably should have your portacath flushed every 4 weeks’. Monday I checked into the local medical centre who gave me a number to ring, that number led to another, etc., until I was referred back to the medical centre. So I sent a long email to the medical centre. After much discussion, Tuesday morning they agreed I should come in for registration/an appointment for a referral ($96) to the district nurse. So Wednesday:

Friendly staff, friendly nurse who did blood pressure, etc., friendly GP who said he wanted me to leave knowing what was happening, passed me onto nurse who said she wouldn’t know until she’d talked to someone else… Thursday I got confirmation of where/when to go, but there was still uncertainty about whether I would have to pay … today I got a phone call saying due to a reciprocal agreement, I won’t have to pay 🙂 So, anything else being an emergency (which hopefully won’t need), then those appointments are sorted.

For now though, I need even more SLEEP!