Monday, December 31, 2018


Yesterday was quite an eventful day.  Quiet with lots of phone calls, emails etc. but just after I had viewed the birthday video from blogger (and brother) Cro my computer shut down with the message "from Microsoft" that I had to phone them on a particular number in order to unlock it.  I immediately switched it off, unplugged and checked with my stepson who told me to turn it on again after about ten minutes.  I waited 15 to 20 minutes and, luckily, everything seems to be all right.  It all looked so real - I can understand why people are taken in by it.  

We also had a message from Doug's grandson telling us that there is another dinner at his sister's farm tonight when they are going to divulge the gender of their baby due in May.  He asked if we wanted to go out there but we declined so they came here for lunch today and told us the news (not mine to share).  

I started the day with my morning walk at 6 a.m. and then watered the vegetable garden and picked today's vegies, various beans, cucumbers and courgette plus a lettuce.  For lunch we had a ham, feta and roast vegetable frittata with a bean and tomato salad, lettuce and a cucumber salad followed by a bowl of cherries.  Doug has been working on the new hutch dresser - a lot of work.

Sunday, December 30, 2018


I find it hard to believe that today (December 30th) marks my being on this earth for three quarters of a century.

I have had a lovely quiet day.  Still a bit under the weather and didn't feel like going out for a meal.  We started the day watering the garden as we didn't get the forecast showers yesterday.  I also picked a few beans, cucumbers and a courgette plus some flowers for a vase I arranged yesterday,

The yellow beans have been doing well for a while and the others are just starting so there should be plenty for some time to come.

I have had a lovely day - a lot of it spent talking on the phone I had a long conversation with a cousin from the Welsh Borders as well as former workmates going  back 50 years.  I have also had lots of emails and cards.

Saturday, December 29, 2018


Finally a day to try and catch up with some gardening and other jobs around the house.  I am able to eat bland foods now and poached a chicken which was nice and moist.  I also dug some more of our Jersey Benne potatoes.  We are now picking 6 or 7 varieties of beans,  yellow, green,  purple and green with purple markings as well as cucumbers and courgettes.  Tomatoes are ripening although Doug's granddaughter's ones were well ahead of ours on Boxing Day.

I picked a lovely bunch of flowers this morning as well as doing the usual weekly household chores, changing sheets, washing etc.  Doug is getting on well with the new hutch dresser. 

We skipped going to the market this morning as we have such a good array of vegetables.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


A couple of days before Christmas I ended up with a stomach bug and have barely eaten anything for four days.  In spite of that we have had a wonderful Christmas.  8 of us enjoyed Christmas lunch (well 7 did) We had our first new potatoes - Jersey Benne - after I had planted them I read that they didn't grow well so far north but they were delicious (I have managed to eat the odd potato).  We then opened our presents.  All of them this year were great presents with a lot of thought put into them.  One was a Shakti mat from Doug's youngest daughter.  Apparently she has been using one for a few months and her daughter a bit longer.

My stepson took some photos - me opening the shakti mat (looking very old) I am still not wearing my glasses but the bruising is a lot better. A selection of desserts - pavlova, fruit salad with guava, trifle and cake.

Today we visited Doug's grand daughter and her partner for a barbecue.  They are 50/50 share milkers (or rather he is the share milker and she is a nurse).  50/50 share milkers are where the owner owns the land and the share milker the cows and the milk fat payout is shared 50/50.  Of course there are a lot of other things that come into the equation including fertiliser and maintenance   It was the first time we had seen the farm and we were really impressed with it.

When we left daughter and grand daughter went off to do the milking.   

Sunday, December 23, 2018


It has been quite dry and we have been watering both the vegetable and flower gardens.  Today it is raining.  Great - no need to water.  There has been thunder rumbling through all afternoon and more is forecast overnight and into tomorrow.

I just poked my head (and camera) outside and took this photo through the gloom.

I think we have all the provisions we need for Christmas Day.  Tomorrow we will start the preparations.  Still picking beans although I think we have enough.  Will make the trifle, sort out the vegetables we need.  Make the marinade for the lamb and leave it overnight ready to go in the oven early on Christmas morning. 

The rain is forecast for tomorrow and Christmas Day but, luckily we don't need to go anywhere.  Everyone is coming to us.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018


When we first moved to the Far North in the early 1970's we used to collect blackberries  from various farms.  Gradually, over the years the blackberries must have been cleared and it ended up with us not getting any blackberries.

A year ago we purchased a raspberry and a blackberry cane at the local Growers' Market.  We are now harvesting the most delicious large blackberries.  At first we thought we would just get a few and were eating them "as is".  We then realised that we were not keeping up so last week I made a blackberry and apple crumble.  It was delicious.  We are still picking blackberries and there are still more forming.  The raspberry is just starting to set fruit so we hope it is as successful.  If not it will come out and be replaced by another blackberry from the first one.

The funny thing is that my memory of picking blackberries in England is that they were an autumn fruit whereas it is spring/early summer here.

Monday, December 17, 2018


After having waited to see my own G.P. or at least one in the same practice Doug phoned at 8 a.m. and, after several calls, was told I could see someone on Wednesday so we went to White Cross. the After hours/Emergency Doctors.  Sods law as they said it was eerily quiet on Saturday but busy today.  

Finally saw a lovely young lady doctor who was very thorough and said it should take 4 - 6 weeks to heal.  She was worried about my neck as it was very painful when she felt it so I had several x-rays.  The outcome being what is usually is - AGING.  

Anyway, if I notice anything untoward in about a fortnight, once the swelling subsides, I am to go back and see her again.  This took just over three hours.

Don't know how long it will be before I can wear my glasses again.  Luckily I have a very light pair of reading glasses and can just manage them for short periods.

Sunday, December 16, 2018


Everything was going well until yesterday morning.  Doug was vacuuming the deck outside and I went into the office not realising that he had the vacuum cord pulled tight across the doorway.  It all happened so suddenly.  I came crashing down on my face and my glasses pushed into my nose.  I heard a crack so not sure if nose broken.  I bruised my knee, jolted my poor right shoulder and neck.

It is actually much more colourful than the photo.  Tomorrow I will try and see the G.P. to get it checked.

I had thought it would be nice to have a photo for my 75th birthday in a fortnight but didn't expect one like this.

Thursday, December 13, 2018


Monday was a busy, tiring day.  We headed up to Kaitaia to visit friends up there.  We left home at 8 a.m. and made good time to Kaitaia (about a 2 hour trip).  We managed to visit all the friends we intended  as well as having a pleasant lunch and got back home at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday we were still quite tired but went into town to do some shopping for gifts and I ended up buying a trinket for the tree.  It is actually "a dream catcher" but it just took my fancy.

Yesterday, Wednesday, we were supposed to go down to Orewa to visit Doug's eldest daughter but she is coming up here on Saturday so it saved us a trip.  Just as well as I managed to get a cancellation for Intense Pulsed Light Therapy for my eyes.  Something I dislike and the only good things about it are that it is quick and seems to help.  We then went into Kamo to pick up Doug's cuckoo clock which has been in for service (it was given to him by his late wife for his 70th birthday so was overdue for a service).  While there we had a prescription to pick up and I ended up buying a couple more trinkets that caught my eye.  Not the best light for the photos.

As well as this Doug is busy building a hutch dresser in the dining room but more of that later and I have been busy with the usual chores plus getting final presents and cards organised.  I think we are on track though.

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Every year my cousin north of Toronto sends us a Pewter Ornament - this year it is of chipmunks.  I received it about a month ago and usually don't open until Christmas Day but last night I not only decided to open it but to put the Christmas decorations up as well.

The tree is in almost the same position as last year but the big difference is that last year it was outside on the deck with some corrogated roofing protecting it from the weather whereas this year it is inside in the new Sunroom.  

Apart from the new pewter ornament each year I also buy something for the tree, not that I have done so this year.

                                                          and in the Front Hall

I also put up the wreaths at the front door.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


I have been waiting for some Hollyhocks in the garden to flower and was surprised when they turned out to be black.  They must have been a punnet of seedlings I bought somewhere but I had no idea they were black.  Here they are :

with our first poppy

and the lovely oak leafed hydrangea

                                                         the gardenia is in flower

                                                              and one of our alstroemeria

Sunday, December 2, 2018


At the beginning of October I posted some photos of the unusual trees in the Park behind us.  I have since sent the photos to the Council and have had this response:

"Thanks for your query.  These are a variety of cypress tree (possibly Italian) but I’m not 100% sure.  The effect is unusual and has likely come about as a result of damage (vandalism) when the trees were young, forcing the trees to produce new leaders, which is what we see in the strange shapes.  Ironic that vandalism can result in something visually creative sometimes!"

When I thanked him he added this:

"It was an educated guess that this is what happened to them, based on their form.  It is possible that the result is genetic but I would still argue that damage at the formative stage was the most likely cause."