I spent Christmas and the early part of 2014 in Hawkes Bay. In typical holiday mode, I drifted aimlessly through the days and didn't manage to do all of the things I planned. I saw The Hunger Games: Catching Fire but missed August: Osage County. I tried the well reviewed Restaurant Indonesia in Napier but didn't make it out to Waimarama Beach.

I visited the Fiesta of Lights at the show-grounds, bought Herman Koch's The Dinner from Wardini Books and served very well-done sausages to old school friends. I batted away sand-flies, applied sun-block and snoozed in a hammock. It was an idle break but certain occurrences made me ponder some burning issues.

What are the side-effects of almost swallowing a fly?

I put my anti-hayfever pill in my mouth and took a swig of water from the glass on my bedside table. I suddenly had the sense that there were now two items in my mouth. Wondering if the tablet had broken up, I spat out the contents - and nearly fainted. On the sheet were one small white pill (stationary) and one small black fly (wriggling its legs). Needless to say, I was aghast. In hindsight I think that swallowing the fly and not knowing about it might have been a better option. But, then, what if it managed to crawl up and out of my stomach? That would have been even worse. The moral of this story is to look before you drink.


Would you put down your handbag in a shop?

My mother and I were leaving Birdwoods Gallery, an eclectic space selling decorative objects, when we spied a colourful handbag neatly displayed on top of a cushion. A handbag enthusiast from way back, Mum swiftly picked it up, held it against her outfit and tried it out at all different angles. "OMG, that is so you," I said. She was just about to look inside for a price when a woman nearby (who had, in fact, given us the evils when we first exclaimed over the bag) said: "Um, actually, that's mine." The three of us collapsed into fits of laughter. Mum said she'd wondered why the bag had felt so heavy. "You can look inside it if you like," joked the bag's owner. And, I just thought how lucky it was that we actually approved of the bag. Imagine if we'd said how hideous it was instead. That would have been awkward.

Do prescription glasses make your vision worse?

About two years ago I was prescribed glasses for reading but until this holiday I used them only once (to fill in overlooked arrival documents in a darkened aircraft cabin on descent into Singapore). Then in Hawkes Bay I started using them regularly for bedtime reading. I enjoyed the difference they made but not the fact that things that I used to be able to read easily without glasses (standard iPhone text and the menu at the Starlake Restaurant, Havelock North) suddenly seemed nowhere near as legible as usual. Is that my imagination or have I now trained my eyes to rely on this assistance?

Why must journalists and broadcasters take holidays too?

Every year Canvas magazine in Saturday's NZ Herald seems to take a break at exactly the same time I do. Just when I have lashings of extra leisure time in which to devour every word in every article, this publication sadly shuts up shop. I also miss seeing Jesse Mulligan on Seven Sharp and, in the absence of Breakfast, my mornings aren't the same either. Being a creature of habit, I've been having tea and toast in front of Dickinson's Real Deal instead - which might not be such a bad thing. It's full of unexpected delights, such as the time a man brought along some old object he'd been using as a doorstop. When told it was an antique worth a staggering sum (over £50,000 from memory), he said: "I've got another just like it at 'ome." Classic. (Unless, of course, that was on Antiques Roadshow. Sometimes I get the two programmes mixed up.)

Do you have any thoughts on the aforementioned issues? Or would you like to share your own summer holiday adventures?