Chicken sermon.

It’s time to come clean.

Fortress Mamea is not an actual fortress. I have described various parts of it with fortress-like words (like armoury) — all of the parts exist… but in a real-world Kiwi quarter-acre section and house kind of way. (Hey, what did you expect? I’m a writer.)

And the reason for this moment of truth is that the inhabitants of Fortress Mamea are leaving West Auckland and moving north where — with, as always, the Goddess’ indulgence — a new home has been established.

Located in the rolling hills outside of Whangarei, the new, more substantial and redoubtable Fortress Mamea is over fourteen acres of land, bounded on three sides by a moat stream, and includes:

The Wood
There’s acres of this stuff. Ideal, one might say, for paintball adventures…

So, yeah.

More space. Less excuses.

New chapter.



Until a couple of years ago, my attitude to horses was similar to Billy Crystal‘s “Yeeha” in City Slickers (at 1:44 in the trailer below):

My first experience with horses was a sunset trek with friends more than a few years ago. I remember being taken aback at how big these beasts are, never having thought through the amount of muscle and bone required to carry riders in countless westerns and Black Beauty reboots. When we were led to a corral with horses, I requested a “quiet one with a touch of adventure” and was introduced to a gelding called Bruce.

Bruce and I got on fine: he followed the rest of the group over various tracks in the hills behind Johnsonville. I remember thinking how westerns never show a horse pooing voluminously or farting freely as they moved about.

A while into the trek an open paddock beckoned and the more experienced riders broke into a canter, leaving us behind. I remember urging Bruce on — with maybe a polite “Yah” and a tentative kick of the heels — and he accelerated from a walk to a trot to a canter, all the while I slid in slow motion from the saddle, hung onto his neck for a couple of strides, slipping further and further down until I was deposited on the grass and Bruce showed me his heels and backside.

There were no hard feelings. I was only winded. I had requested a mount “with a touch of adventure” which had obviously exceeded my ambition. Someone caught Bruce, I got back into the saddle and the rest of the trek was uneventful.

I’ve ridden a horse once since that trek, and although I’m told I “look good on a horse”, they’re not really my thing (though a part of me thinks horse riding could be a useful skill after The Crash). The Goddess is — there’s no other way of putting it — horse mad.

Which brings me to an overdue introduction of the cavalry troop at Fortress Mamea:

Call sign: SUNDANCE
Call sign: SUNDANCE

The Goddess’ mount, The Kaimanawa Pony stands 14.2 hands high.

In the past week, the troop has doubled increased by two-thirds with a new recruit:

Call sign: BONFIRE
Call sign: BONFIRE

A paddock companion for the Kaimanawa: The Exmoor Mini stands 10 hands tall.

Onwards, ho, indeed.