My holiday came to an end a couple of days ago, when a text arrived from my editor.

"Just a little reminder", she wrote, "that I'm expecting a column from you by first thing tomorrow." Nooooooo. How could two weeks go by so quickly?

After a splendid Christmas in Christchurch with our blended, extended and mended family, my husband and I went north to our place in the Hokianga.

My mum joined us for a bit, our daughter and her husband arrived, and we have all concentrated pretty seriously on doing nothing.


There's no radio up here; the television hasn't been turned on and we don't have the internet.

To get the paper, I would have to drive 15 minutes each way to the dairy.

I can access the world from my phone but I've used that only to google the number of Steve at Hoki Smoki, to check whether he has any flounder or to see what time the Rawene ferry leaves for Kohukohu.

The rest of the time I've been watching the ever-changing colours of the water or enjoying the impressive aerial display of a particularly energetic tui, who has set himself up in a cabbage tree outside our door.

When night falls, we play cards or Scrabble or other board games and to be honest, I haven't given a moment's thought to the world outside my place.

I tried to put the boss' text out of my mind for the day and set off for lunch at the Kohukohu pub with my family.

A couple of local women on the car ferry called out to me: "You're the lady that used to be on TV, eh?"

I said that I was, about a million years ago. "And you write that column in the Herald, eh?" I said I did.

"What are you writing about this week?" one asked.

I told them I had no idea as I hadn't been keeping up with the news.

"What about Sir Peter Leitch?" one of them suggested.

Crikey, I thought. What's the Mad Butcher been up to?

Once we got to Kohukohu and sat down for lunch, I opened my phone and reluctantly reconnected with the world.

The Mad Butcher had said something dumb to a young woman about Waiheke being a white man's island.

She had taken offence, he had apologised; she had posted about the encounter on a video that went viral.

Yet another example of a well-known person being called out on social media and it becoming headline news.

Nothing much to write about there.

The road toll, I learned, was particularly bad this holiday period.

So much pain and suffering for so many families, and I feel for the men and women of the emergency services who are first on the scene.

I thought of my pregnant daughter and her husband who would be making the four-hour trip back to Auckland the next day, and knew that I would be in a state of low-level anxiety until I heard they'd made it home safely.

The Williams sisters had exited the ASB tennis tournament early, which is a shame for tennis lovers and the organisers.

And another quake had rocked the country. So after an inadvertent two-week news blackout, I'm back in amongst it.

The column today and starting another year of talkback tomorrow.

But to be perfectly honest, the most newsworthy event that happened in my world over the past fortnight was that the beautiful wood pigeon who visited our place when we were here over Labour Weekend graced us with another visit this time around.

And that's what holidays are all about, really.

Happy New Year.