Saturday, August 31, 2019


Yesterday we travelled up to Taipa for the 90th Birthday Celebrations for a friend.   Hilary and I worked together in Kaitaia in the 1970"s.    Taipa is 150 kms north and we had a lovely day for the drive.  Apart from a couple of roadwork stops it was a good run through.  We had a stop at Whangaroa where Doug had a coffee and cake at the Whangaroa Hotel looking over the harbour

We had a lovely lunch and I met up with friends and acquaintances  I had not seen since leaving the area 10 years ago.

Hilary asked her daughter for a rainbow cake and by all accounts it was as good as it looked.

We allowed ourselves three hours to get there giving us time for any hold-ups and a coffee break but got home in exactly 2 hours.

As far as my eyes are concerned I saw the specialist on Wednesday and am booked for the left eye on Thursday and the right eye a week later.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


Today we decided to do a slightly longer walk.  We started the same way going to the main road, down the hill and along Paranui Valley Road to A.H. Reid Park.  Then, instead of walking along the river to the Whangarei Falls we went through the Park, along the boardwalk to the Paranui Falls  at the other side of the Park.

By coincidence we arrived at the Park at the same time as Doug's daughter and great-granddaughter so they joined us for the boardwalk before returning to their car while we continued on.  

One of the stairs we went up

to get to the Paranui Falls

We then headed up Clapham Road

and then a rough track until we met up with Sands Road, someone had painted these birds on their fence.  A pukeko, a tui and a kingfisher.

Looking back toward Clapham Road

This brought us to the Glenbervie Road and it was a short walk back to the Whangarei Falls and home.  According to Samsung Health we walked just over 7.5 kms in about two hours.  A very pleasant stroll.

Sunday, August 25, 2019


As well as the concert on Friday there was also a screen on the side that played advertisements and clips from days gone by.  One of them was Goodnight Kiwi.

In the days before 24-hour television, there was Goodnight Kiwi, a short animation from Sam Harvey that bade viewers goodnight once the day's broadcasting ended. Each night the plucky Kiwi shut up shop at the TV station, put out the milk, and caught the lift up to sleep in a satellite dish with The Cat. For a generation of kids, Goodnight Kiwi became a much-loved symbol of staying up well past your bedtime. Viewers never questioned why our nocturnal national icon was going to bed at night, or sharing a bed with a cat. The tune is an arrangement of Māori lullaby 'Hine e Hine'.

 I hope you can see it 

Friday, August 23, 2019


Last month we went to an Operatunity Concert for the first time.  We returned today for their Iconic Kiwis Concert.  These are daytime concerts designed for the "older generation" and are a lot of fun.  One of the artists today was Marian Burns and one of the tunes she played was Orange Blossom.  I couldn't find a video of her playing solo so this will have to do.

Another song was Blue smoke.  

The whole show was varied and thoroughly entertaining. 

Monday, August 19, 2019


I see that it was at the end of March that I planted two mixed bundles of broccoli, Italian Broccoli and Brocoflower as well as a bundle of kale.  They were planted rather close together as there was just the one built up garden available at the time.  We also planted Swiss Chard, Rainbow Chard, spinach, leeks and beetroot in other beds.  I did not make a note of when we started picking the greens but the mixture has really worked well, the broccoli started first with the other two following on.  We have also been picking the chard, beetroot greens and spinach for a change.

I will definitely be planting the same mixture next year.


Sunday, August 18, 2019


I have just received this in an email.


Friday, August 16, 2019


Eyes are very precious.  A fellow blogger posted recently that her eyes had mysteriously improved.  Unfortunately, mine have been deteriorating.  We like to watch The Chase and I have been having trouble reading the question at the bottom of the screen.  We have recently changed our television and it is slightly better but still blurred. 

Yesterday, I went to the Optician, after a two week wait, and was told that I do not need new glasses but, instead, have cataracts.  She said that my eyesight was only borderline for driving, so  I have a referral to an Ophthalmologist,  I must say I am not looking forward to the operation although both Max and Doug have had it and said that it is not as bad as one expects, so I look forward to life not being such a blur.

I know the Ophthalmologist as I already go to him for Intense Pulsed Light Therapy for my Blepharitis . Oh, the joys of aging.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


I bought a delicious Camembert at the market on Saturday.  It is made by the Grinning Gecko, a local cheese company.  The company was founded by a local couple.  Here is an article from our local paper

"In three short years novice Whangārei cheesemaker Zev Kaka-Holtz has gone from washing the dishes to being recognised internationally for his cheese.
The 30-year-old started working at Grinning Gecko Cheese Company in 2015 after a Work and Income referral.
"I was picking avocados, doing seasonal jobs before."
The advertisement was for a cheesemaking assistant. He needed a job, so he took it.
Then I realised there's a lot more to it, it's really interesting."
Kaka-Holtz said he spent about six months washing dishes before his boss Catherine McNamara started getting him more and more involved in the cheesemaking process.
He developed his own cheese, the kau piro, which means smelly cow in Te Reo.
"It starts of as a camembert and then it gets washed in a bacteria solution."
He worked on it for about six months before entering it in the NZ Cheese Awards in 2016, where it won a gold medal.
"It's taken me a couple of years to get fully right.
The kau piro was entered into the best cheese made by a novice cheesemaker with less than five years' cheesemaking experience category at the International Cheese and Dairy awards in Nantwich, England last month.
He picked up bronze.
"At first, the competitor in me was a bit gutted I didn't get the gold."
Then McNamara told him the two British companies that won gold and silver had been around since the 1880s and 1930s, bringing years of mentoring and experience to the table.
He said his international recognition was quite a big achievement.
"It's really humbling."
But he said his three young children, aged 8, 4, and 2, "keep dad's feet on the ground".
His kau piro takes about a month to complete. It takes seven days to make the camembert. Then he starts washing it - every second day for two weeks.
Then it needs time to mature.
"There's a lot of mahi, a lot of love that goes into it."
Zev Kaka-Holtz has honed his craft in cheesemaking in a short period of time. Photo/John Stone
Zev Kaka-Holtz has honed his craft in cheesemaking in a short period of time. Photo/John Stone
The cheese had to be packaged up in a poly bin with ice to get to Australia before it was flown under refrigeration to the other side of the world for judging.
He said they picked the cheese younger, and had to imagine what it would look like in a few weeks.
Not surprisingly, the kau piro is his favourite cheese.
He was immensely grateful to McNamara for "taking a punt on someone who had no experience".
Grinning Gecko cheese owner McNamara said Kaka-Holtz had a natural curiosity and a thirst for knowledge.
"It became very obvious he would take on the cheesemaking process very easily."
She was "absolutely stoked" after Kaka-Holtz claimed bronze.
"I can't even put into words how proud we are of him."
Kaka-Holtz also picked up the aspiring cheesemaker award at last year's NZ Cheese Awards.
He hoped his story would inspire others to keep pushing"

The camembert  won gold this year.

Friday, August 9, 2019


In yesterday's newspaper we discovered that here in Whangarei water is coming into our supply from the river because of low rain and, consequently, low dam levels.  We have had some wet days but it has been more drizzle or short showers than a good drenching.

Auckland is also asking people to use less water suggesting showers of less than four minutes and says that August will have to be twice as wet as usual to bring levels back to normal.  

Meanwhile in the Southern Highlands between Sydney and Canberra my stepdaughter has been buying water for all of this year and last year (and possibly even longer) .  I am sure she won't mind me sharing a paragraph from her email earlier in the week.

"There is concern here about the long-term weather forecast - it doesn't involve any rain.  They are saying that it will be a dry Spring.  Every morning there's a constant flow of trucks going into B....... Station with hay bales, silage and grain for the cattle and sheep.  I can't imagine how much it must cost.  The man who owns B....... Station also owns a few other large properties in the area so he must store all the feed on one of the other properties.  The dust is unbelievable - even in our house.  C & J from across the road have sold all their cattle because they can't afford to keep feeding them.  No-one seems to know what is going to happen.   A lot of towns are running out of water and are having water trucked in.  This is the worst drought we've ever seen.   Hope our local water supply doesn't dry up or we'll be in trouble.   Amazingly our dam still has quite a lot of water in it so we can keep pumping water up for the garden although we can't get to everything so there have been a few losses."

On a happier note here is a photo I took of the waterfall down the road on our walk yesterday.

Friday, August 2, 2019


Last week's Parkinson Walk was at the Quarry Gardens.  As its name suggests it is in an old quarry.  Apart from the "Man in Charge" it is completely volunteer run.

When we go there the majority go on the gentle walk to the lake with 2 or 3 going up the hill.  I went up the hill with a couple of Parkinsonians while Doug walked the lower level and took photos.

It was a lovely mid winter's day and, as you can see, there were three men in shorts.