Tuesday, April 18, 2017

South Island Day 2

The second day of our trip took us across the top of the South Island in the coach to Westport.   Our first stop was at the Ernest Rutherford Memorial not far out of Nelson.  He was born and schooled in the area.

We continued in the bus stopping at Murchison for lunch and then at a park where we crossed the Buller River on New Zealand's longest swing bridge to a bush walk.  By chance Doug and I then had a most enjoyable jet boat ride.  One could then return either over the swing bridge or on a flying fox.  As we had been on the jet boat we used the swing bridge as there was a queue for the flying fox.  The eldest member of our group was 97 and she went over on the swing bridge and back on the flying fox

After this we had some rain on our journey to Westport.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

West Coast

I see that I haven't posted since the 6th March but life has been hectic.  Most of the time has been spent just settling in.  Among other things, Doug has been busy building a new cupboard in the kitchen which is just about finished.  As well as this we have just  been on a trip to the West Coast of the South Island.  We booked with a local tour group some months back.

Neither of us have been on a coach tour before and were a bit apprehensive.   The weather forecast for the week was not good as the remnants of Cyclone Debbie were due to hit New Zealand after causing havoc in Australia.  On Saturday (April Fools Day) we had to be at the nearest bus stop at 5.45 a.m.  with our luggage.  Needless to say we were hoping it would be fine and it was.  People were picked up around town and we headed to Auckland Airport where the coach was left and we flew to Nelson on two separate flights.  It was a beautiful day and a good flight.

Gary (the tour owner) was on the first flight and collected a coach he had hired in Nelson and picked us up at the Airport before taking us on a short tour around town and dropping us at our very nice hotel.  We had a short time to settle in and he picked us up again for another tour on the other side of town before returning to the hotel.  We had a delicious evening meal.

Views of Auckland

The harbour at Nelson

View across the river from our hotel

Monday, March 6, 2017


The move went well and I was very pleased with the Removal firm that I used.  Doug and I moved all the smaller items and just left the larger items of furniture for them.

Still boxes and spare furniture everywhere but the lounge, kitchen and dining area are comfortable. We have moved the fridge and Doug has started to build a cupboard/larder where it used to stand. When that is finished I will have a lot more storage.

Apart from trying to empty a box a day I have been busy preserving peaches from "our" tree.  I try and do a pan a day.  In spite of neglect over winter the garden is looking good and my plants make a show at the front door.  I find it hard to believe that it is nearly a fortnight since I moved but, of course, life goes on around the move.  We had a trip up north to a funeral and the usual gym sessions and Parkinson's walks etc.

One of the rose bushes which has flowered continuously over the summer.

Mainly zinnias in the front border.

Begonias and streptocarpus that I brought from Kamo.

This bromeliad that I brought from Kamo looks as though it is about to flower.

Part of one of four trays of peaches left to preserve.  It is just a seedling tree growing behind the garage but the fruit are delicious.  As well as stewing and freezing them I made a peach crumble yesterday.  

After a hot dry summer it is forecast to rain tomorrow and the rest of the week so we picked a lot of the remaining peaches this morning.

Doug is doing his utmost to help me settle in and it just seems right.  It is so much easier for him not to have to drive between Kamo and Tikipunga several times a day and better for me not having to ask him to bring items from the deep freeze.  (I only had a fridge/freezer and the bulk items have been kept in Doug's larger freezer.)

Monday, February 13, 2017


Only two more sleeps to go till moving day.  On Sunday my stepson came up with a friend to help.  I asked him to cut the hedge along my drive.  It is actually my neighbours' hedge.  He didn't take long and I think it looks great.  Meanwhile his friend, Erika, swept up all the clippings.  The red bits you can see on top are on the neighbours' side.

A couple of nights ago I noticed the cacti next to the garage was in flower.

and now the frangipani is starting to flower.

I think we are on track with the moving.  Lots has been given to the family, Hospice, Women's Refuge,  SPCA and this morning the Salvation Army are picking more up from Doug's.  Not much is left in my house now except the furniture for the removers on Wednesday.  That will leave Thursday for the last of the cleaning.

A new life starts.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

IT'S RAINING !!!!!!!

Yes, it is finally raining and there has been lovely steady rain all night.  The forecast is for it to continue for most of the day - yipee.  A drought was declared last week.  New Zealand has been like two separate countries this summer.  Most of the country has had a lot of rain whereas Northland has been hot, dry and sunny.

We have had the occasional forecast of rain but it has come to nothing until this.

New South Wales has been in the same situation and yesterday we read of floods in Sydney but it looks like our rain will just be steady.

It is wonderful not to have to do watering to keep everything alive.   It won't be enough to break the drought for the farmers but it is so very welcome.

The temperature has dropped as well. In the past weeks it has usually been over 30 degrees whereas the forecast for the next couple of days is in the early 20's.  At the moment the forecast is for light rain on Monday and Tuesday, fine on Wednesday (for my move) then rain again for Thursday to Sunday which would include the purchasers moving in on Friday.  We have often had these forecasts over summer and they have come to nothing.  Anyway, although the rain is much needed I have my fingers crossed for a fine day on Wednesday and, hopefully, Friday as well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


When Doug bought his house at the end of 2008 he redecorated.  He is doing it once again.  First he sold the lovely bedroom suite he had built for one of his daughters many years ago and then decorated what had been the spare bedroom.  Now he and Sophie have moved in there and he has just painted what was his bedroom and is soon to be mine and Kim's with entry to the new cat run through the open window.

The first two photos are the "before" with Sophies bed beside Doug's

It has now been painted in the colour scheme from my current house that Doug redecorated over winter and is ready for my furniture to arrive in just a fortnight's time - so much to do in the meantime!!!!

While Doug is painting I am sorting through cupboards and we have been either giving items to his family or selling (in the case of the bedroom suite) or donating to charity.  We have to fit the contents of two houses into the smaller of the two.  Hey ho....

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Unfortunately, my cat Kim is scared of dogs (and people) and Doug's labrador, Sophie barks at cats and, if they run, chases them.  To keep Kim safe Doug has just built a cat run onto the side of his house.  Kim will be confined to one end of the house and Sophie the other and Kim will be able to get into the run through the Master Bedroom window.

Yesterday I took some house plants around to Doug's and they are now sitting happily on a table in the cat run/shadehouse.  I do hope Kim likes her new home and appreciates all the hard work that went into building the run.

Friday, January 20, 2017

House Sold

My house sale went unconditional today and settlement is in four weeks on 17th February so it will be all go between now and then.

Doug is working on the finishing touches for the new cat run to keep Kim safe today and will then start work on painting and enlarging the lounge.

So I will be moving from this

to this

On the right is a deck off the lounge and Doug will incorporate this into the lounge - something he had always intended to do.  The house was built for the local constable in the days when there were  such things.  Next to the front door was a cupboard where all his "police items" were stored.  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Whangarei's Ball Clock

A group of men in Whangarei has been working on a ball clock for several years.  The prototype is now running and was open to the public at the weekend.  Naturally, we went along. It was quite difficult to photograph but was fascinating.

The following is an excerpt from the local paper about a year ago.

The model includes a clock portion as well as a "fun" section designed to teach passersby the basics of physics. It even includes a small lifting version of Te Matau A Pohe Bridge.
"It would be getting up towards 1000 hours that we've spent on it," said About Time project team member Graham Brice.
The ball clock has four main rails, one labelled with seconds, two with minutes and one with hours.
The bottom rail represents the hours; the next rail represents 10-minute increments; the third, one minute increments; and the top rail, seconds, in 15-second increments.
The top rail receives a ball from a racheted electronic motor every 15 seconds dumping it onto the rail below every minute, while the other balls disperse.
Every 10 minutes, one of the "minute" balls drops onto the 10-minute rail below, while every hour, one of the "10 minute" balls becomes an hour marker. Confused?
Imagine trying to build it, complete with a washing machine motor and series of cogs that have to deliver balls.
"Something has gone wrong pretty much every step of the way," said committee member Pete Romer.
Mr Brice said he was "very proud of the creative imagination and endeavour the team have put into it."

Friday, January 13, 2017


Last Friday I got an offer on my house, subject to a builders report, LIM (council) report and finance.  Apparently they have already seen the bank and finance is a formality.  It takes 3 weeks to get the LIM report.  If it goes ahead the sale will be 3 weeks after that so we will be working to a tight time frame.

Saturday was spent as usual with going to the Growers' Market, walking Sophie and Supermarket shopping but then I came back home early as two more groups were looking at the house and I wanted to open it up as it was so hot.  I then went back to Doug's to do some work.    Apparently, one group was quite keen but were looking for their parents.

Sunday, was the usual "Sophie Walk" followed by morning tea at Doug's then the gym.  After that a couple from the Gym came back to my place for tea and pikelets.  Then Doug would have gone back home to work on the cat run and I did jobs here.

Monday, Doug picked me up and, after walking Sophie, he worked on the run and I did some weeding.  I had lunch at home and walked to the dentist for an extraction at 3.30.  Doug picked me up from there and we collected my antibiotics and I took it easy.

Tuesday, Doug's daughter came up from Orewa so he picked me up at about 9 a.m. and, after a chat, they went and walked Sophie and her dogs while I rested.  We then had lunch and they dropped me back at home.  His grand-daughter, her husband and great grand-daughter also visited later on the way home from their holiday.  While watering the garden I got a bee sting which didn't help things on top of the extraction.  (it would also have been Max' 87th birthday).

Not sure what happened on Wednesday but it would have been working on the properties.

Yesterday, the Building inspection was carried out.  The real estate agent came and the purchasers who measured up while the inspection took place.  It was very thorough and he reported to the purchasers then told me that there were only minor problems.  As Doug was leaving he noticed his rear side window had shattered.  He phoned the glass company then put his car in my garage and we swapped cars.

Taken from the outside

and from the inside.

Today we went in both cars to the glass company and then walked Sophie and had an iced coffee while the window was removed, the glass vacuumed up and a temporary window stuck on,.  We were told about an hour.  After the allotted time we returned to find that the temporary window had been put in on top of the shattered one.  This would have been too dangerous for Sophie so I took her home to Doug's while he waited for the job to be redone.  It will take a week or more to get new glass from Japan or Timbuktu or wherever.  We could have done without this as time is precious at present.  Well, let's face it, time is always precious.

It has been hot all week .  The 29 to 32 degrees.  Today was forecast to be rain clearing about now but nothing yet.  At least it is a bit cooler but very muggy.  Rain is desperately needed.

The only green in my lawn is the kikuyu grass.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 - A NEW START

2016 was not the best of years.  I found it very hard visiting Max with no sign of recognition (even when he was awake) and general deterioration.  It still came as a shock when he died at the beginning of October.

Since then things have moved on.  While I was still married Doug and I kept to our respective houses (a bit old fashioned I know) and two gardens and two houses to maintain was quite hard.  When it was no longer necessary we decided there was no point waiting and I have put my (newly decorated) house on the market.  It was decorated and new carpets and curtains for me to live in not to sell but looks good for sale.

I put it on the market 3 weeks before Christmas but that was obviously not a good time.  Since Christmas there has been more interest so we shall see.  I do not need to sell urgently but it will be good to know a time frame to make things more settled.

When the house has sold Doug and I will be married and I will move into his house.  It is smaller than mine and easier to maintain and has the added advantage of a double garage woodworking workshop that Doug had installed.

Currently he is building a cat run adjacent to the main bedroom so that Kim can have somewhere to be outside safely.  She is still not too sure about Sophie.  After that he will be enlarging his lounge onto part of the deck and then the inside will be painted in the same colour scheme as my house.  The arrangement is his house and my furniture and decorating choices.  Sounds fair to me!!

We also hope to do some travelling both around New Zealand and to Australia and possibly U.K. but time will tell - I hope there is no rush but at our ages one can never be sure.

I  wish every one of you a happy, healthy and safe  2017