Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Best Restaurant in the World


Our favourite restaurant, The Old Stamp House, has just been named the Best Restaurant in the World by Trip Advisor.  Amazing!


A brilliant tribute to owners Chef Ryan and Master of the House, his brother Craig.


Bloody marvellous.


Well done lads!


Read about it here: The Independent Article re The Old Stamp House.



Monday, July 26, 2021

One Step Forward, One Step Back

15 months ago I introduced the notion of Survive, Revive, Thrive as a blueprint for the difficult Covid-19 times we were expecting.


At the time I thought that would be a sequential, linear framework for action (KR Connect, April 20 2020) and focusing on doing the right things in the right way would help us navigate the unchartered waters that were ahead of us.


But it wasn’t linear, it was circular and random.  After surviving for 12 months by isolating in our Arizona haven, we’ve been reviving following our Pfizering and are ready to thrive – in the US now and internationally before year end.


But we’re being knocked back by the Delta variant.  The US and UK are trying to re-open but Delta is rampant.  The vaccination progress is slowing and stalling and the majority are being put in danger by the (unvaccinated) minority.


I’m back in the Grief Cycle (KR Connect, April 27 2020).  After moving through all five phases in 2020 (Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Sadness and Acceptance), I’m back into phase three – Anger.  I’m pissed off at the selfishness / ridiculous political positioning of the unvaccinated who have stopped the US/UK reaching Herd Immunity, have put our grandkids at risk of being ‘Delta’d’, and are overloading hospitals/healthcare workers again.  And I’m pissed at my freedom dissipating/dissolving after 18 months of sacrifice.


The next few days are all about getting through this Anger stage and moving back into Acceptance – and adjusting accordingly – mentally and emotionally.


Wherever you are in the process, I wish you strength and hope.


Survive the Delta threat, support vaccinations, trust the science, stay vigilant, and Revive this year, to Thrive in 2022.



Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Big Apple

We’ve had a home in New York since the late 1990’s – well two actually.  First on West Broadway in Soho, which we sold as real estate values rocketed and Soho turned into a tourist shopping mall with the artists leaving for Chelsea/Meatpacking/Brooklyn – and then in Tribeca, which thanks to Robert de Niro, became a cool village with its own artistic/boho lifestyle.


We sold the Tribeca penthouse pre-Pandemic and we haven’t been back (obviously) for the past 18 months.  Last Friday we re-entered, deplaning at Newark at 7.15pm, straight to Cipriani’s Downtown – our ex-local hangout.  We went there every week for a decade.  And the same crew are still there.  We were welcomed as the Prodigals returning.  Warm, Family, Personal.  The menu was unchanged, the Peter Beard photos still in place (reminding me of one epic night with Peter Beard which ended at 4am in his gallery – The Time is Now – with me and three Maori friends – all well-fuelled – performing a brilliant Haka as Peter filmed it for his diaries).


The menu was the same – full of traditional Cipriani classics.  (I had my usual, Vitello Tonnato and Fegato Veneziana – Trudy had carpaccio and salmon – plus Harry’s famous, original Bellinis.)  And the buzz hadn’t changed.  Young, noisy, fashionable, Europeans largely, Latinos – full of life – and us!


The adrenaline was flowing (plus the Tignanello!), the night was warm, NYC was open.  So we went up to Soho House and had a couple of Camparis poolside on the roof, feasting on New York’s silhouette, water towers and high-rises.


NYC is bouncing back – just as it did after 9/11.


After Bruce on Broadway on Saturday finished (10.30pm), we went up to Soho House again for an 11pm supper and a cleansing Peroni on tap.  Our second 1.30am in a row – feels so good, feelin’ good again.


Sunday – lunch in another old-time favourite, Marea – Michael White’s elegant, high-end, modern Italian Fish and Seafood place just two blocks from our hotel on Central Park.  Luxury vagabonds enjoying tuna tartare, seafood pasta and spigola (bass).


To New Jersey and the grandkids the next day.


Living Life Slow in The Big Apple.



Monday, July 19, 2021

No Surrender

31 months ago I saluted The Boss on Broadway (December 19, 2018) as he closed his 2½ hour show on Broadway.


In the mayhem we are still living through, The Boss is back.  He led the way and re-opened Broadway with an updated version of his 2½ hour masterpiece.


Open only to vaccinated fans, the St James Theatre was packed – after a vaccine proof / ID check, we were in.  Side by side, shoulder to shoulder with unmasked, undistanced neighbours – and it was glorious.  Free.  Fun.  And for 2½ hours we were mesmerised.


We flew in from Arizona, our nearest neighbours on one side were in from Michigan, on the other side from Louisiana – just for live music, live Bruce.


And did Bruce deliver!  The greatest storytelling I’ve ever seen – written, produced and directed by The Boss himself; a guitar, a harmonica, a piano, and a microphone (and a couple of songs with wife Patti Scialfa) – he took us through his/our lives and his/our futures.


As Delta ravages the US, and some stubborn, selfish retards remain unvaccinated, Bruce reminded all of us of the power of truth, Freedom and our tribe.  Let Freedom Ring.  No Surrender.



Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Mana Ake - 2070


Legendary leader, activist, inspiration and role model Denis O’Reilly is running a workshop (waananga) for 30 young Black Power leaders in Taranaki later this month.


The workshop looks forward to 2070 and uses 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World as a text.


Each participant gets a book.


Way to go Denis.


Mana Tu      Stand Up

Mana Ora     Live Well

Mana Ake     Determine your own Future



Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Art of Football


“When the opponent has the ball,

Take it back as quickly as possible.

When we have the ball,

move as quickly as possible

to create as many chances as possible.”


Brutal simplicity from the Best Football Coach in the World.


Finita La Musica.



Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Summertime and the Living is Easy


I’ve been working with the founding Family and top leadership of Portugal’s leading family-owned wine company Sogrape for a few years now.  They make the biggest selling Portuguese wine globally – the iconic Mateus Rosé which has evolved into new formats, new drier Provence style taste (give it a go!) and Portugal’s top, top premium Red, Barca Velha which is truly world class.


Some key wine trends from Bloomberg’s Elin McCoy for Summertime.

  1. The Wine Country of 2021 will be Portugal – great quality, outstanding value, superbly food-friendly, easy to drink and enjoy – the Douro and Alentejo regions will be particularly popular.
  2. Pink Prosecco will be the new, new Summertime thing – Rosé is the gift that keeps on giving.  Refreshing, light, easy, bubbly and fun.
  3. Wine seltzers will be the new hard seltzers.
  4. Virtual tastings, live-streaming experiences will be the new wine tourism adventures and on-line wine access will get way better.


Sogrape’s Spirit is to share Sograpiness (friendship and happiness over a bottle of wine in the sun) and their Focus is ‘Take the Shot’.


Good advice!!!



Monday, July 5, 2021

The Fab Five – 2021


Following Thursday’s Throwback Fab Five post, I’ve been asked for my current list of five things I love.


During the last 15 Pandemic months I’ve loved:


1)  Spotify.

Gets better every day as it learns more about me.  The Daily lists, the More Like lists and the Specific Cccasion lists (July 4’s The Best Damn 4th of July playlist accompanied our hot dogs, burgers ‘n beer July 4 BBQ celebration yesterday) get my day off to a great start.


2)  Firestick.

Trudy surprised me with this terrific piece of tech which unlocks all the world rugby via Flosports, great drama from the UK’s Britbox including Series Six of Line of Duty, Manchester City’s in-house videos, amazing shows on HBO Max and Amazon Prime, Premier League, Champions League and UK domestic cups via Peacock, Paramount and ESPN – and streams them onto our Samsung TV screens.


3)  Cannondale.

Another surprise from Trudy a couple of years back supported by our cycling curator (The Dykester).  A super-light, super-fast road bike which I’ve used every single day since March 15, 2020.  10 miles a day on the beautiful roads of our Desert hideaway in The Boulders, Carefree.


4)  Porthos Wines.

A brilliant wine importer/counsellor founded by Hal Oates in the Napa.  Recommended to us by American Express last year – and expertly marshalled and curated by Rebecca Rodriguez who is to my wine cellar what Spotify is to my music.  The more she gets to know me, the more interesting her recommendations/offers become.


5)  My Grandkids.

Still on the list five years later – and now we’re lucky enough to have seven – with one more to join us in a few weeks.  Truly God’s reward.



Thursday, July 1, 2021

Throwback Thursday – The Fab Five

In December 2015 I was asked by Paul McNally (artist/philosopher/designer) to name five of my favourite things in life for a book he was writing.


Here’s my list and the blog I posted in early December seven years ago.




If you could choose just five favourite things in life, what would they be? That was the challenge put to me by the very talented designer and typography artist, Paul McNally, who’s currently earning a Master’s degree in Multidisciplinary Designs at the University of Ulster, Belfast.

Paul’s MFA project is Five Things, a website and book that form “an archive of information and stories about humans and the things that we love.” Among the very cool, interesting, and diverse people Paul has tapped for Five Things are: author and musician JB Morrison; founder Jaime Derringer; photographer Dan Rubin; iconic British New Wave band Madness bass player Mark Bedford; branding specialist and designer Debbie Millman; Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn, and many other talented people.


My five things:

  1. Grand-kids: God’s Reward!
  2. Castiglion del Bosco: Ferragamo luxury, a down-to-earth, authentic Tuscan masterpiece for all five senses.
  3. Booths Supermarkets: The Taste of the North.  For foodies, me and you.
  4. Watching the All Blacks: No opposition is more intimidating than the legacy.
  5. Friends from Childhood: Benny, Brian, Eric, Barry – you can’t make Old Friends.


Everyone is invited to submit their Five Things to the project by using this form. A Kickstarter campaign, launched in mid-November and closing on December 12, will help fund the publication of limited-edition Five Things books and a range of high-end typographically-led products inspired by the website that will be shared with contributors. With Thanksgiving upon us, think hard about those things that make our terrestrial turn worth taking, and consider sending some dollars or pounds to Kickstarter to support this lovely and worthy project.




What would your Fab Five be today?