Leila Adair & the American Consul

Wanganui Herald 9 June 1894 I drew on this article for a scene at the end of Chapter 20 in The Only Living Lady Parachutist, but I thought it was probably just bluster on Leila Adair’s part – that she never really intended making a complaint to the United States Consul because, despite her claims,... Continue Reading →


The Only Living Lady Parachutist is now out in the world — as print copies and as an ebook. The book launch was such fun — a bit like a wedding — and it’s all a bit of a blur. Fortunately there are photos. I organised a fabulous cake from Cake It Forward to match the... Continue Reading →

Cora Brown Potter: Actress

Now largely forgotten, Cora Urquhart Potter was an actress whose stage career attracted an extraordinary degree of misogyny and vitriolic criticism as well as plaudits and acclaim for her luminous beauty, lavish costumes and — less often — her acting talent. Treatment that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex could probably empathise with today. New York Public... Continue Reading →

Publication Pending

Cover design by At long last, my book will be published on 28 June, 2021! It's being printed locally by YourBooks in Wellington and distributed through Nationwide Book Distributors. At this stage I’m concentrating on just the physical book — the ebook will come later. The Only Living Lady Parachutist can be ordered directly... Continue Reading →

Best Books 2020

A Journal of the Plague Year: On 21 March 2020, I started keeping a daily journal to record and process these “unprecedented” times. I use these quotes ironically as one of the papers I did for my degree was The History of the Plague and although our scientific understanding of disease has advanced, our social... Continue Reading →

Eureka! Arthur B. Adair

A few weeks back, I was checking a few details about Leila Adair’s New Zealand tour on Papers Past when I noticed something that had previously escaped my attention. Auckland Star 30 March 1894Taranaki Herald 21 April 1894 Mr A. Blackwell appeared to be part of Leila’s entourage! He is listed as a passenger with... Continue Reading →

Granny Dalton: Eccentric

One of the many colourful characters I came across during my research for The Only Living Lady Parachutist was a local Whanganui identity known as Granny Dalton. She doesn’t feature in the novel, but when Leila Adair made a balloon ascent from the Whanganui Racecourse, Granny Dalton was living in a shack nearby. Feisty, independent,... Continue Reading →

Historic Petone

One of the best things about my new locale, Petone, is the history associated with the area. Since we are all restricted to short walks in our local area during the Covid-19 pandemic let me invite you to a virtual walk through Discover Historic Petone. Many of the Petone streets are named after the early... Continue Reading →

Best Books 2019

2019 has been a busy year for me: my first grandchild, moving house and getting back into researching my family tree – no apologies, but this blog and my writing have been neglected. I still found time to read, however, and here is my annual book-reading summary for the year. My reading habits haven’t changed... Continue Reading →

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