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Publication Pending

Cover design by LayaRoseArt.com 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 →

Leon Sagehomme

Most barnstorming aeronautical performers (including Price and Van Tassel) kept scrapbooks of clippings, photos, and advertisements to prove their worth when arriving in a new town — and at last, I’ve managed to locate one of these elusive items! A few weeks ago, I obtained a copy of Leon Sagehomme’s ballooning scrap album from the... Continue Reading →

The Notorious Jimmy Price

In a previous post, James William Price: Balloonist, I bemoaned the brick walls I ran into tracing his elusive genealogical origins. I can now report after a bit more sleuthing on Ancestry and GenealogyBank, thanks to a tip-off from Jerry Kuntz (who is researching a non-fiction history of the parachuting craze of 1887-1890s) — I’ve... Continue Reading →

19th-century Hotels: The Eagle Tavern, Wellington

I’m fascinated by the history of early New Zealand hotels — and there were a lot of them! While researching The Only Living Lady Parachutist I sometimes found mention of the hotels that Leila Adair stayed in: Albion Hotel, WhanganuiClub Hotel, Palmerston North Digby Andrews’ Coach and Horses Hotel, Nelson European Hotel, Dunedin Burnip’s Criterion... Continue Reading →

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