Saturday, December 31, 2011


Another year older today.  Last night I photographed most of the hydrangeas we have on the property.  Most were here when we bought but the lovely white oak leafed hydrangea I got from a friend - it is still only small and just one flower but it almost sparkles.

The deeper blue one didn't have quite the depth of colour in the photo as it does in the flesh so to speak.

Unfortunately, hubby has had what I assume are hallucinations while in the Rest Home and is not at all happy - I know it is not really him that is talking.  He also picked up a nasty cough and is on antibiotics and asleep at the moment.

The weather has been atrocious - it is supposed to be summer - it is not cold but has been wet, wet, wet.  Have just stayed indoors for the whole of the holiday period.  Hopefully, the sun will reappear over the coming weekend.

Still it is another year soon.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Every year for about 15 years my lovely cousin in Canada has sent us a pewter ornament by Amos Pewters in Nova Scotia.  This is the one for this year. They are slightly smaller than horse brasses.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


With Christmas being in the summer we don't have holly with it's red berries but I think these alstroemerias, especially the small old fashioned one are a great alternative.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Getting There

It has been a difficult time.  I visited my lovely hubby on Monday to find him not pleased to see me.  I don't know whether it was vivid dreams or hallucinations but I had been doing all sorts of things.  Luckily, he settled down and was quite content when I left telling him I will collect him on Christmas Eve and bring him home.  I am not sure whether he knows where home is though.

I have finished the two lots of double antibiotics I was given and been having lots of rest.  For the first time in my 68 years I didn't really feel like putting up the Christmas decorations but I made the effort and am pleased with the result.  I finally went into town today and did a supermarket shop so we shouldn't starve for a few days at least.  I also bought some lettuce and penstemon plants and got them in the ground this afternoon.

Tomorrow I will bake some bread and a cake and gets lots more rest.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011


My lovely hubby is in a Rest Home for 12 days until Christmas.  This is the seventh day and, so far, I have spent most of the time resting.  I hadn't realised quite how exhausted I was.  We have had a very wet week which was more conducive to resting than working.

Anyway, yesterday I got out in the garden and did some dead heading of the roses and then cutting up some bamboo that has been down for a few weeks.  It will make good kindling in the winter months.

Whenever I have a container - be it bucket or wheelbarrow - Kim will always get in it.  Yesterday she stayed there even though I was putting rose prunings in with her.

In the other photo of Kim (in which her eyes are a bit unusual due to the flash) she is sitting about 10 feet up in a tree looking down at me trimming and cutting up the bamboo.  Meanwhile Kath was sitting on the path.  You can see how long the grass has got with all the rain.  I am assured it will be cut on Tuesday and the forecast is fine for then.

Kim is the only cat I have known to do a Meercat imitation which I have never managed to get on camera.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Season of Goodwill

As with most of the rest of the world New Zealanders are finding things tough this year and most are cutting down on their spending.

On Wednesday evening on one of our current affairs programmes there was a young boy with the most amazing buck teeth.  His orthodontist said they were the worst he had ever seen.  The poor lad even seemed to have trouble talking and was being bullied.  Not only is orthodontist work needed but operations on his jaw as well.

Last night we heard that $99,000.00 had been donated.  This is an amazing amount.  A trust has been set up and a car was bought for the family so that the father can get him to his appointments. We also learnt that his sister needs orthodontist work as well but she wasn't willing to go on national television.

The spirit of goodwill is alive and thriving and this will be life changing for the family.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This week must be an improvement

This last week started off with taking the car in to get new front shocks in order to get a Warrant of Fitness.  A catch 22 situation now.  One has to get the work done to get the warrant; cannot sell without the warrant;  but is it worth spending the money on.  Anyway, it is done now and it is much more pleasant driving over the numerous railway crossings with the new shocks so we will keep it and hope that there are no more major things that need doing.

The middle of the week went as usual, taking M. to the optician for new lenses in his glasses following his cataract operation, and to Alz Club etc.  I also received a phone call from a clinical nurse specialist at the hospital relating to what level of care M. needs when he is in the rest home for respite.  Thursday, I took M. to Iris while I went to the Alzheimer's Carers' Meeting, a much needed monthly event.

Friday was the climax though.  I had been waiting for the builder to come and do some work on the bathroom.  At the end of June he installed a new vanity unit and we were very pleased with it.  This time he is to put new skirting boards as we are planning to replace the grotty carpet with vinyl and we are putting a much needed new tap in the bath and having it tiled.  Anyway, he phoned first thing in the morning and came around.  I took M. in to Alz club and did a quick shop before returning home to be told that when he started the job he discovered that there was a leak from a faulty washer in the flexihose to the hot tap in the vanity and the water has been soaked up by the vanity which will need replacing.  I immediately phoned the insurance company and it sounds as though we are covered which is just as well as it will cost about $1500 to replace the vanity cabinet as the tiles and vanity basin will have to be removed in order to do the job.

So tomorrow Iris comes and sits with M. as usual while I go to Pilates and do some shopping in the morning and then in the afternoon we have the nurse specialist coming to assess M. for the level of care needed for respite which is due again in a fortnight,  the insurance assessor is coming to look at the vanity unit and, hopefully, agree to replace it, and the plumber is coming to fit the new tap on the bath.

At least the sun has been shining, although the ground has been drying out so fast I have had to start watering the garden.  The roses are starting to bloom and we have made some good friends here so there are some positives.

I finally got some bean seeds in the ground and have just bought some more silver beet (swiss kale) seedlings and a couple of buttercup squash so must try and get out in the garden.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Winning Raffle

Recently, Cro posted about winning a prize at his local grocery store.  This reminded me of the only time I remember winning anything.

I would have been 8 or 9 years old and the village fete was held that year in the recreation ground.  Time came to draw the raffle and I was asked to draw it.  I said I couldn't as I had a ticket and can still remember the laughter at that.  Anyway, I put my hand into the basket of tickets and drew out my own.

I only remember two of the prizes, a lovely basket of fruit which I imagined was the first prize.  No, the first prize was a tea service.  My mother thought this was great - I wonder where it ended up.

This memory is still with me as though it was yesterday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A lovely spring day

Today has been a perfect spring day.  I started at about 6.30 spraying the roses with garlic and pyrethrum as some of them had aphids.  It was so pleasant that I also wandered around the garden pulling out a few weeds.

The first of the roses is in flower.  This looks like an old rose and I would have expected it to have been hardy but it is the one that has the most problems either aphids or mildew.

I am pleased with this area, when we moved here it was a mess overgrown with calla lillies and other problem plants.  The main roses are Icebergs, both the white one and the burgundy.  They are just coming into bud now and the lavender cuttings I placed around the base are doing well.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Maidenhair Fern

It was at the very end of July, in winter, that I cut the maidenhair fern down to ground level.  The poor plant had been in a pot for many years and was pot-bound when I decided to plant it out in the garden.  I am trying to get as many plants as possible in the ground to save on watering in summer.

It is now coming away very nicely.  It amazes me how well plants can survive a certain amount of neglect.

Friday, October 21, 2011


A lovely sunny spring day but with a chill wind.  Everything is bursting into life.  At the beginning of this month I posted a photo of plum blossom, now it is in leaf with small fruit forming.  The bay tree that had been in a pot for years and got planted out last summer is bursting into fresh growth, the roses are in bud and the huge Australian Frangipane is covered in its lovely yellow blossoms.

The garden I made last summer and planted with acanthus, bergenia,  oak leafed and variegated hydrangea is coming on well

I must try and find the energy to pull out the last of the broccolli,  put in a teepee and sow some beans.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Rena Shipwreck

Yesterday I mentioned the Rena - the ship that has gone aground in the Bay of Plenty.  The following is a link to some amazing photos of this ship

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Respite is Nearly Over

My period of respite comes to an end on Monday.  It will be good to have M. back home.  I am still a little tired but that is because of having to go up to Kaitaia last week for a minor operation which I am still getting over.  Still I generally feel a lot better.

Have just been for a walk around the neighbourhood and noticed in particular this tree (not sure of its name).  I must keep an eye on it to see what develops from the buds.

Another tree that looks pretty at this time of year I thought was called Rhus but when I look up Rhus it appears to be something different and very poisonous.  Still this is pretty.  There are a lot of them about.

When I got home I thought the Banksia rose looked very pretty.  This was huge when we bought the property two years ago but I have cut it right back and still want to cut a bit more but am waiting for it to finish flowering.  The large trunk is to the right of the post.

We have a second more fragile looking Magnolia out at present as well.

Earlier I went out with some friends to the Town Basin (as in yacht basin) and on the way stopped at a new plant nursery and bought three kowhai trees and a red flowered titree or manuka.  Apparently every fifth customer qualified for 8 vegie plants so I also got some Italian parsley, leeks and a selection of lettuce plants thrown in.

Meanwhile the Rena is still spilling oil and containers into the sea in the Bay of Plenty.  It could just have easily been adjacent to our harbour.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Yesterday I had coffee with a friend who  has an avocado tree that is laden but she has trouble picking them.  The tree is planted on a steep slope.  We still have the pickers from our previous property so I went and picked some for her (and me) this morning.  Yum,  we are both pleased with the arrangement.

I also went to visit M. in the rest home.  They are going to move him to a room closer to the nursing station which is good.  Apparently, he has been wandering at night and causing chaos when he has inadvertently gone into the room of the lady next to him.

He was actually very bright when I visited and we took his coffee outside onto the deck and had a chat there.  he needed reassuring that he will be coming home again.  The trouble is he forgets and then gets worried that he is in there for good.  He seems quite happy to be there for a fortnight and I explained that in six weeks he will be back for another fortnight.

Anyway, I think his new room is a lot better - it is closer to the heart of the building and looks over the deck.  I hope he will settle in there.

When I got home our wonderful handyman was here - yesterday he put some batons on the top of the fence and today he painted it - I am thrilled with the result.  The top photo is the one after he had painted it for us.  There is still a lot more to do but we are getting there slowly.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Missing her "Dad"

Ever since M. has been in the rest home Kath has been missing him and spends most of her time on a dining chair situated in the lounge.  Have never seen her there before but she hardly leaves it.

The rest home has been very good and are trying to keep M. occupied.  I went to see him yesterday (and collect his washing) but he was out on a bus trip.  He will be at the Alzheimer's Club again today.  Unfortunately, they tell me he is very confused.  I will walk down again today after he is due back to see how he is.  When I phoned he was having difficulty - not sure whether it was hearing or comprehension.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Alzheimer's poem

Do not ask me to remember,
Don't try to make me understand.
Let me rest and know you're with me,
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I'm confused beyond your concept,
I am sad and sick and lost.
All I know is that I need you,
To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me,
Do not scold or curse or cry.
I can't help the way I'm acting,
Can't be different though I try.

Just remember that I need you,
That the best of me is gone.
Please don't fail to stand beside me,
Love me 'til my life is gone.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A new season?

Today dawned bright and clear the forecast is only for 17 degrees C. but it is great to see the sun and not have the cold wind and grey skies of yesterday.  Our plum tree is covered in blossom - the photo is just of a couple of branches low down but the whole tree is like this.

When we arrived here two years ago the tree was in need of a prune which we gave it.  In spite of this it has fruited well - just after Christmas - and the fruit has very kindly ripened in succession.

Let's just hope for another good crop this year.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where has spring gone?

I gather that in the Northern Hemisphere summer has returned.  We, however, started to get some lovely weather and it was even too hot to be weeding in the garden.  All this has changed in the last week or so and it turned very cold.

Not so cold today but heavy showers and strong winds with the forecast that a severe storm front could bring damaging tornadoes.  It seems as though winter has returned.

The other evening the sky went almost black and I took this photo from our lounge.  The sky doesn't look as dark in the photo and, in fact, the storm went somewhere else in that instance.

On the home front I have taken M. into a Rest Home today to give me two weeks respite.  I do hope that he likes it (or at least doesn't dislike it).  Even though I know it is necessary it is hard to get rid of the feeling of guilt.

Still he has accepted that I will be going back in two weeks to collect him.  Now all I need is some nice weather in order to do all the things I have planned.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Rugby World Cup

Well, the day has come for the start of the  Rugby World Cup.  Last night on Close Up, our current affairs programme, we saw a contingent of French Supporters who were hiring a fleet of camper vans to follow the French team around.

We also saw and heard the choir that will sing all the anthems and they were singing what was described as one of the more difficult ones - the WELSH anthem.

We will watch the opening ceremony and I will follow some of the games (or results anyway).  One of my cousins has said that he expects me to be supporting Wales!  I tend to sway between  New Zealand and Wales.

There are two games here in Whangarei but I am not sure which teams are playing which shows how much I follow Rugby.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sand Mandala - 2

Another wonderful day - it must be spring.  We went down to the Town Basin to see the Sand Mandala sprinkled in the river.  This photo was taken just after the sand had been sprinkled in the water followed by everyone throwing in their flowers.

These two shots are looking both up and down river from just above where the ceremony took place.  The white "sails" are a canopy that is being put in place over the old bridge which will be used as an artisan's market.

When we got home this New Zealand Pigeon was in the tree at the bottom of the garden.  Not the best shot as it was taken from a distance from inside the house.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sand Mandala

A wonderful clear sunny day today and we went to see Tibetan Monks creating a Sand Mandala.  It takes ten days to create and was nearing completion.  Tomorrow is the closing ceremony when it is blessed and then taken to the river and scattered.  The Buddhist Centre is on the outskirts of Kamo but the Mandala is being created at the new Yvonne Rust Gallery.  Also in the gallery is the Great Plate Auction Exhibition and I took some photos of some of the plates.  Each artist is given a bisque fired ceramic plate and they create a plate in sellable form which is donated to the Gallery.

Well, the pictures didn't all come in the order I expected but they are of some of the plates and the Sand Mandala.  The colours in the Mandala are amazing and it is fascinating to see the fine work being done.  We may go down to the Town Basin tomorrow to see the scattering of the sand in the River.

As you can see there is great variety in the plates many of which have been sold and removed.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Surely Spring Can't be too Far Away

Surely Spring can't be too far away with these flowers appearing in the garden.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Keeping Warm

It has been cold in the mornings here this week but Kath knows all the places to go to keep warm.  The photos are not the best but at about 6 a.m. our new Econoheat panel switches on and when we get up in the morning she is sitting next to it keeping warm.  Then I go and light the pot belly stove which gets very hot but she just loves getting in behind it to get the warmth.

Have spent this week trying to get medicine to correct M.'s low blood pressure - finally today I took him for a blood test - he had to be in town by 8.45.  The traffic was very heavy but luckily I got there just in time as it would have meant a trip back tomorrow.  Looks like the results won't be through till tomorrow - he was prescribed fldrocortisone on Tuesday but the doctor then decided he would check with the geriatrician first hence the blood test.  Tomorrow he comes home so I have my fingers crossed about his health especially over the weekend when most things shut down.