My life of leisure may lose its lustre as the months unfold

16:00, Feb 01 2013

Most of you are, I imagine, back at work, be that at school or in paid (maybe not if you are a teacher) employment.

I too have put my nose to the grindstone and my shoulder to the wheel to produce this, my first column of 2013. It hasn't been easy with the sun and the calm weather and the general sense of idleness that overcomes one during a month or so off.

But we seem to be doing all right in picking up where we left off in December. With the news media back in business we can forget the barbecues and the beach and the apparent demise and resurrection of the Black Caps and resume life as normal.

The Maori Council is into it with its water claim before the Supreme Court, Joe Karam has fired up the old David Bain bandwagon over the compensation claim and the aforementioned teachers are busy fomenting anti-government mischief and quite rightly wondering when the Novopay debacle will finally get sorted.

John Key kicked off the working year with a bit of bloodletting and glad-handing non-performers were demoted (though not Hekia Parata) and some young (Nikki Kaye) and not so young (Nick Smith) blood was injected into the Cabinet plasma bag.

Parliament has a new Speaker but the same old caterwauling dominated the chamber this week. Labour says we are in a mess, the Greens say we are killing the planet and National says: "Trust us we know what we are doing."


The point is nothing much has changed in the past four or five weeks and if we all survived for that long without our daily or hourly fix of news why do we need to resume the habit?

If you're anything like me, the holidays are pretty much a news- free zone where radio news bulletins are a precursor to the weather report, television news bulletins are much the same and newspapers become highly important for cryptic crosswords, Sudoku and the odd quiz.

Despite that happy state of affairs, come Monday when the new Seven Sharp programme launches on TV One we will be back in the grip of the shock horror exclusive story that could change your life, instead of actually living it with our family and friends as we do over the Christmas break.

By way of admission, I am planning to resist the grip of mainstream media for a little longer than most. Due to the competitive nature of the commercial radio sector and certain contractual obligations, I won't be back at fulltime work until after Easter, this column being my only work obligation until then. That means I can resist the mind-numbing opiate that is our daily media and well . . . ummm . . . relax, I suppose?

Actually, I'm finding the prospect of not having any daily employment a little daunting and while it is all very nice lying in and staying up late I wonder if I won't feel a little guilty and left out now that everyone else has their feet under the desk again.

I've been advised to keep busy, which strikes me as rather hard if you are not at work but I do have a short overseas trip in the offing and have signed up for a rather wacky car rally.

The British High Commissioner has organised The Great British Rally from Auckland to Christchurch this month. It is a charity event and all you need to qualify is a British car, including any vehicle with any component that was made in Britain. The event takes six days and stops in some lovely places like Tauranga, Gisborne, Wellington and Blenheim. I have a co-driver who is excellent company and someone to mind the dog while I am away so that is a week taken care of.

As for the rest of the time, I am open to suggestions. I thought about a cruise but that would just end up in Wellington anyway. I like fishing but not for eight weeks and I don't have a garden.

In many ways the challenge I face is much like retirement: What the hell do you do if you don't work? One thing is for sure, I'm not going to stress about it or write angry letters to the editor about what I read in the news. I just hope the golden weather continues.