Today I bought a barbecue. I have never owned one before, and I think I was suffering from barbecue envy as chargrilled smells wafted around the neighbourhood this weekend. So I bought one off TradeMe (our version of Ebay) from a man called John. I trekked all the way out east past St Heliers, along the waterfront, to pick up my pre-loved and somewhat still greasy barbie. "He's a fine one," said John. Obviously barbecues have masculine qualities, but we should know that, as in this country men are usually to be found clustered in a gaggle around them. Instead of going home, I got fish and chips and sat on the beach, and because I didn't have L with me, there was a feeling of calm solitude about it all. Now, as soon as I work out how it goes back together, I can finally make all those marinated things on skewers and join the rest of the New Zealand population chucking them on barbies in the last few months of summer.