Monday, December 30, 2019


Christmas was unusual this year.  We had an enjoyable day with family but food wise I only ate a frittata that I made and some salad.  It was delicious with sweet potatoe, sweetcorn and festive ham.   I had  been to the G.P. on Christmas Eve as my cough was getting worse if anything and that was after about 3 months.  It was agreed I would stop the meds for high blood pressure as they can cause a cough. She also prescribed prednisone and an antibiotic and I had a chest x-ray.  I was still not 100% on Christmas Day and did not feel like anything heavy so the frittata was ideal.  Since then we have been eating the ham and on Saturday we ordered a roast scotch fillet as we had friends and family coming for lunch yesterday (Sunday).  Partly to celebrate my birthday today and the almost completion of the deck (it just needs painting, gutters and some weather curtains installed).  Co-incidentally yesterday was  my sister-in-law's birthday (Lady Magnon).

We had a most enjoyable lunch and the new tables were ideal placed lengthwise for 8 people.  This morning I arranged them side by side which is ideal for just the two of us and we ate our lunch out there.  Tomorrow we have Doug's grandson, his partner and 7 month old daughter coming for lunch (leftovers).

Yesterday was to be a "no present" day but I still received presents from everyone.  I thought Gwynneth would be interested in the one below - a butter/cheese dish.  It would be a local potter as my friend said she bought all her presents at the Town Basin so presume it came from the Bach.  I like the decoration on it.

One of our Christmas presents was a generic seagull that will not need feeding.

I thought I had taken a photo of the two tables end to end for our Sunday lunch but these are all I can find obviously before we set the tables.

 Then this morning I moved them side by side which worked very well for lunch today.

We are very pleased with the artificial trellis (well, the trellis is wood and the leaves artificial) it provides some privacy from the neighbouring property.

Very happy with the whole set up.  Not so happy about being another year older although the alternative does not appeal.

Saturday, December 28, 2019


The tomatoes are coming on well.  Doug and I garden in different ways and he prefers to plant close together.  We planted 6 tomatoes of three different varieties.  The Russian Red were the first to go in and we have picked a few of them, they are a smaller tomato but very sturdy.  I have had to cover the ripening ones with net curtain as the blackbirds think that the apples they are given are not sufficient and some tomato goes down well with them.  They ate a whole one before I put the net on.

Now they just have to withstand whatever the weather gods throw at them, hopefully, they will go on to flourish and not get blown down or blight or some other problem.  They are looking good at the moment.

They have been sprayed with copper to help prevent blight.

The newer tomatoes that I grew from seed and had to put plastic netting around to stop the blackbirds from digging them up are also doing well.

The lettuce seedlings I planted last weekend next to the tomatoes are also thriving.

Thursday, December 26, 2019


Doug has been a busy boy today.  He has built the second table and given it an oil/stain.  Meanwhile, I have been working  in the garden.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019


It was a cloudy but warm day here and we had an enjoyable time with the family at Doug's Granddaughter's this morning.  

The only use for the new table so far was to put the presents we received on.  

It is now just after 7.30 p.m. and the Queen's Christmas message will be on shortly followed by the Celebrity Chase.

Monday, December 23, 2019


Doug has been working like the Energiser man, as usual, and on top of the regular day to day jobs he has got the roof on the back deck, put up new clearlite plastic for one wall, built a railing for the edge of the deck and just finished the first table with a second one cut ready to assemble.

The painting and new gutter will have to wait until after the festive season.

We go to one of his granddaughters' place on the outskirts of town for Christmas morning for a family get-together - a brunch at 9 a.m. then the plan is to take it easy and just eat a salad if we feel like it later.  On the 29th we are having  a small get-together.

Doug did a wonderful job of the table.  Tomorrow morning I have a G.P. appointment to see if she has any other suggestion for this cough that has been lingering for months and been very tiring, followed by an appointment with the specialist to remove the stitches from my back.  After a visit to the library, Post Office and possibly Supermarket if it isn't too mad, we will sort the deck out in the afternoon and I will make a frittatta to take to what I gather will be a barbecue on Christmas Day.  If I have the time and energy I will make a cake for us.

Then looking forward to some days reading and relaxing.  

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Good Health and Happiness in 2020.

Saturday, December 21, 2019


I had never heard of a fire risk at Catastrophic level until this month.  My stepdaughter lives in New South Wales and this is today's fire risk.

She said in an email yesterday  "At the moment it's like the end of the world.  It is stinking hot and the smoke is almost unbearable" .  They have two horses, four dogs and two cats.  All very worrying.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


Last night, as we were watching "the News", we heard a cheeping and looked down to see a very young blackbird sitting next to the hearth.  Kim the cat came in and looked at it.  It must have been her who brought it in but she had done no damage.  We put it in a box and fed it with dog food overnight.  Because of all the cats around here we felt we could not raise it safely so phoned the Bird Rescue Centre at 10 a.m., when they opened, to see if they would take it.  The answer was "yes" so we drove to the other side of town with our charge.

It was also the day for the Operatunity Concert and we got back just as it was starting.  Today's concert was Christmas at the Proms and it was just as good as all their other concerts that we have been to.  It incorporated songs such as There'll Always be an England, I Vow to Thee My Country, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Jerusalem, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah, Pie Jesu, O Holy Night, Rule Britannia, Pomp & Circumstance, Land of Hope and Glory and Feliz Navidad plus lots of other songs and general entertainment.  

We thoroughly enjoyed it.  As I had an osteopath appointment afterwards we headed straight into town and had lunch at le Bistro de Paris.  A very pleasant day.

Sunday, December 15, 2019


Last week we planted some more tomatoes.  Prior to planting them Doug emptied the worm farm into the soil.  The following morning I went out to find one of the plants out of the ground and lying about 6 inches away from where it had been planted.  I replanted it and put a cut-off bucket over it.  The following morning another tomato had been uprooted so we replaced the bucket with mesh around all the tomatoes.

That evening Doug saw the culprit in action,  a blackbird looking for worms.  The damage is not as severe in this photo but it does show where the digging has been since the mesh was put around.

We were just about to head off to the gym this morning when we got a phone call from Gwynneth from ook?! blog.They were further north and just heading down to Whangarei.  We arranged for them to meet us and they were here when we got home.  We had a pleasant catch up before they left for Titirangi.  

Saturday, December 14, 2019


Saturday mornings are very predictable - Growers Market, Walk down at the Town Basin followed by a grocery shop (quite a large grocery shop today as we are making up food hampers for the family for Christmas).

Anyway down at the Town Basin the gardens are looking good

including the garden around the large sundial

the pohutakawa (also know as New Zealand Christmas tree) are in bloom.

the Christmas tree has been erected and decorated

more gardens

and the roundabout (I really need a drone to photograph this.  There are several roundabouts here with a boat as part of their decoration).

As the saying goes - WHANGAREI, LOVE IT HERE.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Melanomas, timber and gardening

A while ago Doug went to see a G.P., Peter, who specialises in skin cancers, to have a couple of  lesions removed.  They got talking and discovered both had a love of working with timber and gardening among other things.   I booked in for a skin check and had one on Tuesday, just as Peter got back from holiday.  He burnt three lesions off with dry ice and there is a fourth that will be cut out on Tuesday.  Peter and Doug had arranged a swap of the Clearlite roofing we had removed from the deck for some native timber.  Peter wanted to use the clear roofing for a hot house so yesterday we loaded the trailer and went to the other side of town.  We had a tour of the garden which included plants such as blueberry, bananas, Tropical paw paw as well as the more usual berries,  tomatoes and greens.

Peter and Doug then loaded the trailer with the native timber Peter telling Doug to let him know if he needed anything else or anything specific before we went up and had a tour of the pool area and then the house which is built of native timber.  This was followed by a cuppa.  We would have been there for a couple of hours and enjoyed the company of Peter and his wife.

There are some lovely people in this world.

In the afternoon, after the trailer was unloaded  we  decorated the Christmas Tree which now has a new pewter ornament received from a cousin in Canada, a humpback this year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Yesterday, we called in to the library while in town and I noticed the Jacaranda in full bloom and the nearby gardens.

Monday, December 9, 2019


Today's Parkinson walk was from Reotahi to Little Munroe Bay and back.  Rain had been forecast but it was a lovely day.  There was an oil tanker being manoeuvred out and we stopped and "supervised" 


Meanwhile down in the South Island there is major flooding with the Island cut in half due to road closures and in some places people will only be able to get out by helicopter until at least Friday.