Thursday, July 30, 2020


Doug had his pre-op appointment for his Hernia Operation this morning so we drove across town to the Hospital for the appointment which took an hour.  His had the usual tests and lots of questions and then had to walk up stairs.  I always walk up stairs when I get a chance so joined him and the nurse.  I think we went up 5 flights.  All was o.k. 

While we were near town we went to the Main Library.  There is a branch a 10 minute walk from home but the Main Library has a better selection.

It was lunchtime so we went to the Cafe de Paris where we had a pot of tea and shared a slice of gluten free cake while we waited for a big breakfast for Doug and Buckwheat Galette with mushrooms, blue cheese and potato for me.  I remembered to take photos this time.  It was all delicious.

We then went to a couple of shops before driving to the Supermarket then the doctor's for a blood test that was needed for Doug's Pre-op.

When I checked out my library books the machine told me there was a book on hold at our local library so we went there to pick it up and got home a little after 3 p.m.   

Hopefully, we have done everything and won't have to go out except for a walk for the next few days.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


We had a planned 6 hour power cut today while a nearby transformer was replaced.  (Actually, the job only took just under 4 hours). 

We decided that as we would be without power we would  go to a beach and, at the last minute, decided on the above.  I have driven past the entrance to Uretiti hundreds of times when we lived further north and were on our way down to Auckland. 

The day was cloudy and a bit cool but it is winter after all.

Uretiti Beach

We then drove on to Waipu and went for a wander down the street.  We called into a cafe for a cup of tea (delicious made with real leaves).  On discovering that they had gluten free pies we bought two lamb and kumara pies (one gf and one ordinary to take away)

We then drove along the coast a short way to Waipu Cove.  Unfortunately, a shower came over just as we got there so we ate the pies in the car.

When we finished our pies we decided to go home but we had only driven a short way when the rain stopped.  Never mind, we will go back another day.

Monday, July 27, 2020


Today, we walked the section of the shared pathway which goes into town.  There were 9 walkers and, as everyone was a good walker, we managed a bit extra and went across Rust Avenue to Cafler Park before returning the way we came.  It was a bit cool but a nice sunny day and, as usual, we finished with a cuppa and chat at a nearby cafe.

Doug is currently at the dentist as he had a filling come out a couple of weeks ago.  

A mural we passed as we neared town.  I see the iconic kiwi buzzy bee (Prince William was given one when he visited as a baby).  Also in the top photo our Bascule bridge.

and in the bottom one our pedestrian bridge and canopy.

The magnolia are in flower.

While we were walking I received a message from Doug's youngest daughter who has the Rural Mail Delivery Run and while she was putting some mail into a letterbox she had a visitor get into her van.

Sunday, July 26, 2020


After breakfast, we went to the small local market mainly in the hope of getting some leeks but arrived just as the last two had been sold.  We then had a small supermarket shop mainly for cat food - Kim seems a lot better but is still very fussy so I needed to get the current preferred brand for her and I was able to get a couple of nice leeks.  I generally prefer to get them at the market as they are smaller.  I find the ones in the supermarkets are left to get too big.

We then went  to the gym, the first time since  Lockdown.  It was good to get back into the routine and we must try and keep it up.  Apart from anything else, it is good to catch up with the other gym goers. 

After the recent storm we read about a house that is uninhabitable because the foundations have been undermined, it is just the other side of the main road from us.  I have not been into this reasonably new subdivision before so that was my walk after lunch.  It was just a short walk but quite pleasant.

It has been a cloudy day but mainly fine and the load of washing I did is nearly dry (yes, we are now able to do washing as the treated water reservoir is nearly full).  This is the view towards Kamo, where I used to live.

I was amazed at the size of this retaining wall for a private section.  It is also unusual to see water tanks in the town - useful in the drought and restrictions following the floods.

Friday, July 24, 2020


Now things are back to normal here we keep getting reminders for regular appointments.  Today, I visited the Hygienist.  Luckily, my teeth cleaning regime is working well so there was not much to do apart from a polish.  Precautions are taken, I had to rinse first with a Bettadine solution and the Hygienist was wearing a face shield.  It only took 20 minutes but, of course, there was the time getting to and fro.  While I was there, Doug popped across the road and bought  a new thermometer for outside and some more super glue from the $2.00 shop.

The town reservoir is slowly filling and we can now use about half the water that we would normally use so, when we got home, I put a load of washing on.  I had just done that when Doug's grand-daughter arrived.  She was lucky as she could easily have missed us. 

Anyway, she stayed for a cuppa and a chat for an hour or so and, as she was leaving, gave us the invitation to her postponed wedding.

We then had an easy lunch of cottage pie and cabbage, made from precooked and frozen mince and extra mashed potatoe and kumara from yesterday topped with grated cheese and paprika and browned under the grill - it was delicious.

We finished the crossword and it was time for our respective walks.  We don't seem to have done anything and now I am tired and going to put my feet up and read for an hour (Doug got there before me).  Oh well, I suppose that is what retirement is all about.

Thursday, July 23, 2020


In yesterday's local paper we read that a young lady from Whangarei who went to London 10 years ago has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London.  She is clinical lead physiotherapist for critical care at St. Bartholomew's Hospital and has been at the forefront of the pandemic response.

Apparently, the only other New Zealander to receive the  award is Dame Kiri Te Kawana.  

Apparently, she has been told that she can now drive her flock of sheep over London Bridge to sell in the city without having to pay a toll - how good is that?

We read a while back of a Kiwi who had treated Boris Johnson in intensive care but this is closer to home.

Well done Natalie.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


The forecast was correct as we have had very heavy showers and strong winds.  My phone tells me it is 8 degrees C.  but it feels less.

The local paper reported on damage at the Quarry Gardens this morning.  The estimated cost of repairs is $100,000 and the work could take months.  These photos came from the Northern Advocate.

The damage at Whangārei's Quarry Gardens could take months to repair. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Volunteer crews were in clean-up mode on Monday. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Volunteers (from left) Mike Morresey, Kayla Franks and Stuart Peterson get stuck in. Photo / Michael Cunningham

There are a number of slips and areas where large holes were gouged out of tracks.  They hope to get part of the gardens open next week.

Yesterday I picked three small roses.  We would not usually expect to see these for at least another couple of months


I have just received an email from the Quarry Gardens that the gardens are to be partially opened tomorrow but "Stage 2 will require contractors and engineering reports. We have significant structural damage to our stream banks that will require filling and stabilising. This is going to cost the Trust anywhere between $50,000 - $100,000." .  

There are more photos of the gardens here

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


We have had heavy showers and then this afternoon wonderful, if short, bursts of sunshine.  We took Sophie to the vet as she is having trouble standing because of her hip.  A lovely locum vet did some tests and prescribed a non steroidal tablet. 

We are still under orders to use as little water as possible as the reservoir is only just keeping up with demand.  The Poroti Treatment centre got flooded and the other one is taking longer to treat water due to the amount of sediment.

I came across this photo of the Whangarei Falls (I posted a photo yesterday) and this shows the footbridge above the falls under water as well as the area below the falls with the picnic table.

I also, just came across this forecast.

'I wish it would blow as well as rain tomorrow' 🤔
Said no-one in Northland ever and especially not this week
There is a Strong Wind Watch in effect for southwesterly gales for the whole area from Coromandel north.
Winds are turning southwest and becoming strong in exposed places this evening.
Tomorrow's forecast is for frequent showers, some heavy, becoming isolated from late afternoon. Strong southwesterlies will continue, gusting 110 km/h in exposed places until evening.

Still, right now the sun is shining - yipee.

Monday, July 20, 2020


We arrange what walk we will do a week in advance and today's walk was planned for the Quarry Gardens.  Of course there has been a major weather event in the meantime.

9 of us turned up for the walk to find the Gardens closed.  We were told that it is not likely to be open for a couple of weeks at least and that it will never be the same again.  Lots of volunteers were busy getting ready to work.

We decided to leave our cars in the car park and do a walk around the streets (Russell Road) which is a walk we have done before.  There was some damage but not too much.

An orchid at the Gardens

It was fine when we started the walk but was not long before it started to rain.

This small stream is still much higher than usual but was well above the bank in the height of the storm.

Back to the gardens.  We passed a Taiwanese Cherry that was full of Tuis but they were too hard to photograph.

We  went to a nearby cafe then, after a supermarket shop, Doug and I drove to the Whangarei Falls to see what it is like 3 days after the storm.  There is still a lot of water going over the Falls.  We decided not to take the path down to the bottom to get a better shot.

We then decided to go the Whau Valley Dam and, as we had heard, it is full to the brim.

Sunday, July 19, 2020


We are still not going to the gym.  Haven't got around to re-starting after lockdown.  A cloudy day, the thunderstorms have been removed from the forecast.  Doug's youngest daughter came for lunch and we had some curry flavoured sausages.  I prefer sausages to be "sausage flavour" but these were some given to us by Doug's nephew when he visited a few weeks ago and were very pleasant.  There are a couple more packs in the freezer, sweet chilli plum and spanish chorizo flavours.  I just got out the first one I came across.  The packs are a bit large for us so it was good having C. to share them with and there are enough for us for tomorrow as well.  She actually cam around to pick up the recently renovated rocking horse but it was good to have time for a catch up.

After she left, Doug took Sophie on a short stroll and I did our usual walk around the streets.  It started to drizzle but nothing much and now the sun is trying to shine.

I noticed this daffodil poking through a fence.  An early sign of spring.

Most of the roads in the north appear to be open now except for the Mangamuka Gorge which goes to the Kaitaia area where I used to live.  These are a couple of photos I got from Civil Defence of just a couple of slips.

Saturday, July 18, 2020


Last night as the storm raged we were watching the Repair Shed.  During the "ads" I went into the kitchen to get a glass of water only to find water dripping through the ceiling. After putting down newspaper and buckets we emptied the airing cupboard as that is where the manhole to the ceiling hides.  Doug fetched a small kitchen ladder and managed to get the cover down but then needed a higher ladder in order to see into the roof.  He had to go outside and to the bottom of the garden in the pouring rain for this.  

He didn't get into the roof but could see pretty well from the top of the ladder but could find nothing.  At this stage the rain had eased a bit and so had the drips.  We then went to put the kettle on and discovered the isolating switch for the kitchen had tripped so that was reset.

We went to bed and hoped for the best but I could hear quite heavy rain in the night.

When I woke this morning I checked and there was no further leak.  We then put the news on and discovered the problem.  Whangarei was the main item on the news - apparently 220 millimetres of rain fell in ten hours with most of it being at the time the water came through the ceiling.  Our roof is tiled and the leak was where there is a valley - we think that the extra heavy rain combined with strong winds the water got under some tiles causing the problem

As for the region as a whole there are slips everywhere - emergency centres have been opened both here in Whangarei and further north for travellers unable to get any further because of road closures.  Firefighters were busy overnight with one firetruck having to be pulled out of floods.  It is being called a one in 500 year event.  A group of twelve were stuck in a service station in town overnight as the flood waters raged outside.  

The Hatea River at Whaeora Road, where we walked on Monday peaked at over 500 cubic metres per second at 10 p.m. - that's half a million litres a second.

Two of the water treatment plants here have been closed down due to the heavy rain and we are being asked to conserve water.  The main highway is closed near the centre of town due to slips.  At least the forecast for the next week has gone down to just showers.

The latest just half an hour ago is that there are two breaks in the sewer lines.  Happy days.  This is just what we don't need as it will cost thousands of dollars to put everything right on top of Covid.

On a happier note I pulled the first carrots for lunch.  They went into a stir-fry with some broccoli side shoots, sugar snap peas and pak choi.

Thee is now a lull in the rain so while Doug took Sophie for a short stroll I did our usual walk around the streets - everything looked pretty good apart from this retaining wall at the end of our street 

and some scouring of the road further on.  Not much damage considering the area as a whole.

Friday, July 17, 2020


Once again, the Coromandel Peninsular was hit harder than us and on the news this morning it said they had nearly a metre of rain with major flooding and road closures and people abandoning their cars.  Here, the wind kept emergency workers busy with power poles and trees down.  The good news is that the main Dam, the Whau Valley Dam, was at capacity yesterday and, as it is still raining could possibly be overflowing now.  It is 15 degrees C.  at present which is quite a good winter temperature and we weren't going to light the fire today but as the air feels very damp  we changed our minds so it is gently ticking over.

The forecast is for heavy rain showers with thunderstorms.  A good day to be indoors followed by several more of the same by the look of it.  The thunder has just started to rumble around here.  Time to go and read a book I think, isn't that what retirement is for.

Thursday, July 16, 2020


The netting behind the bird bath is to stop the neighbourhood cat.

We had quite a storm last night and let the fire die down as it sounded as though the chimney was going.  Today the forecast was for thunder storms but we awoke to some mist which soon dispersed and it is a lovely 19 degree sunny day.  Once again the bad weather has gone further east with flooding on the Coromandel Peninsular.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020


We have a weather warning for today through to Friday for heavy rain and easterly gales.  This morning I had an appointment for a diabetic eye check.  I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2000 and my eye check was fine but then my blood sugars are good as well.  The lady who took the eye check photos suggested I ask my doctor whether I should, in fact, go down to being pre Diabetic as everything is so good.  I will be seeing her in about a month so will ask.

Ten days ago, when our washing machine leaked we ordered a new one.  It was not available ex stock and I did not try using the old machine for a few days and then did just a short low level wash and there was no leak.  Yesterday I did two heavy loads and still no leaks and the odd problems we had previously did not happen.  We have been wondering what to do so, this morning, I phoned Noel Leeming and they suggested getting a refund and we can re-order when needed, so after my appointment we did just that. 

Luckily the rain had not started.  It has started now although not in heavy quantities yet.  It has turned cold again and this is what a cat does when it is cold.

When we got home I had planned to make small meatloaves in loaf shaped muffin tins but Doug (having a sweet tooth) decided to call at a grocers on the way home and get a cake.

Of course, he would not just buy a small cake.  One slice went while I got lunch ready and another after lunch.  I had planned to make a cake but think I had better wait until he finishes this first.

The little meatloaves were over half vegetables and were served with a mash of kumara and potato and creamed leeks.  They were delicious and I will definitely be making more.  They would be good cold on a picnic.