Monday, August 31, 2020


We had an enjoyable walk today following the route Doug and I planned last week.   

We went a bit further along Vale Road and I noticed this flowering plant - I think it is a rose but it seemed very early.  We have had the odd flower but this was covered in flowers.  Unfortunately, it has not come out very well.

This native I noticed last time but did not get a photo.  I am not sure what it is but the leaf is in the following photo.

Plenty of ducks alongside the river

  and the mother duck had brought her eight ducklings out a bit further.

Afterwards Doug had to get a fitting for the tank so I walked into town and noticed this lovely mural of a Hongi






(Not recommended during Pandemics)


Saturday, August 29, 2020


A beautiful spring day here so I went out to the front garden and did some weeding.  I have not done much gardening over winter as, when I have some free time, it always seems to be cold,  blowing or raining.  Today was perfect.  The weeds had taken over so I did not get a very large patch weeded but it is a start.

While I did this Doug has built the stand for the water tank we were recently given so it has been a very fruitful day.

When Doug's nephew came to visit a month or so ago they gave us a chilly bin full of meat and amongst it was what we thought was a part leg of pork.  I got it out of the freezer a few days ago and it was actually bacon so, yesterday, I boiled it.  We can't remember the last time we had boiled bacon (before we met for both of us) and it was very good indeed.

Of course, now that we , almost, have the new tank connected we were told last night to expect a wet summer.  Not too wet I hope but it will be good if we don't have to water the garden every day.

Thursday, August 27, 2020


 This is the first time we have walked the river track since Lockdown.  The Walking Group decided that this week we will walk from Mair Park but most of the walks have been closed since the flooding in July so Doug and I went for a reconnoitre.  The walk we would most likely have taken back towards Whareora Road was still a bit muddy and closed half way along as work is still being done on it.  We walked past the first cordon as it had been pushed aside but decided the walk was not really suitable so went back to Mair Park and walked in the other direction and, although a bit shorter, it is a pleasant walk.  

It was lovely to walk through the trees.

Then we came across this mother with her babies.

On the return looking back to where the mother duck and her babies were.

On Monday we will stick to the track and not cut through the bush.

Sunday, August 23, 2020


We like to listen to Jim Mora on Sunday Mornings and in particular a segment called "Calling Home" in which he talks to Kiwis now living in various parts of the world.  This morning it was Grant Phelps, a wine maker, who now lives in Valparaiso.  He was visiting Christchurch two years after the earthquakes.  A shopping mall had been destroyed and a young student came up with the idea of making a mall from shipping containers.  This gave Grant the idea of building a hotel out of containers.  My brother (Cro) often talks of the property next door to him that is building holiday accommodation from containers so, after the programme, I went to Mr Google to see what this hotel looks like and was impressed here is a review from the N.Y. Times.

This is a photo of the outside from their website.

Hotel WineBox Valparaiso from the front

So, Cro, hope the one next to you turns out better than expected.

Saturday, August 22, 2020


 We have not had much of a winter but, suddenly, it seems as though spring is here.  Yesterday, I finally planted out the two punnets of dwarf beans that I bought recently and also potted up the broccoli seedlings as they are still a bit small and did some much needed weeding.

It has also been a great couple of days for getting the washing dry with sun and a gentle breeze.  We are also noticing the extra daylight both in the morning and evening.  

Family coming for lunch tomorrow so I made a large pot of vegetable soup and the topping for an apple crumble.  Our Supermarket order should be here shortly.  Unfortunately, two of the food items that Kim will eat were not available so may have to go to the other supermarket to get them.  May try and go early tomorrow when it should be quiet.

So all is well with the world.

Thursday, August 20, 2020


We had rain and wind over night and into this morning with some thunder thrown in for good measure but it all  cleared up about lunch time so I have just been on our usual walk around the streets.  Doug just took Sophie for a quick walk around the park as, although his gout has cleared up, his hernia came out again on Monday and he only managed to get it back today so he has been taking it very easy and I know he has not been getting a lot of sleep.  I have been trying to help by getting the firewood in and doing other jobs that are usually his domain.  

Anyway, on today's walk I spied a new sculpture which I thought you would enjoy. (Mr. car parts man taking his dog for a walk).

Tuesday, August 18, 2020


 Over Lockdown we have been watching Jamie Oliver's cooking programme that he recorded at home.  One particular recipe that I wanted to try was Buddy's Flapjack Biscuits and I have been trying to get around to making them for a few days now - I got the butter weighed and out to soften a few days ago.  Today is quite miserable, squally showers and, luckily, we did not have any reason to go out so I finally got around to making these biscuits.  I was using a new machine that I am not quite sure is meant for such mixing and the biscuits don't look particularly attractive as I was also cooking lunch and only roughly cut them while they were still warm but they are delicious.  The recipe is here - Jamies biscuits look more appetising.

So I am just going to have a cup of tea with one of these biscuits.

Monday, August 17, 2020


 One of our regular walkers suggested a new walk.  It was just on the edge of town and was a street walk.  We started at the beginning of Millington Road walking alongside the Golf Course to the end of the road and back.  It was a very pleasant walk with just one short sharp shower.  Doug and I had driven up it before to collect some native timber he was given but you see more when you are walking.  Unfortunately, the Golf Club Cafe (which specialises in gluten free food) is closed on Mondays as are a lot of cafes.

We were surprised at the number of new houses being built along the road.  I forgot to take photos until we got to the end of the road but here is a sample.

This is the view from the end of the road

and an olive tree just behind us with a lot of buds

Showing signs of spring

There are some nice old stone walls.

We then drove further out to Maungatapere for coffee/tea at the Office Cafe named as it was the office of the former Dairy Factory next door.  We had a room to ourselves (there were 13 of us)   I noticed a cat curled up on a cushion in the next room when we arrived and we were not there long before he/she jumped onto the lap of the lady next to me and curled up for a long snooze.

Sunday, August 16, 2020


 In the summer I stewed the peaches from our self sown tree behind the garage and then froze them in small lots.  I use them on my morning porridge.  The excess summer tomatoes I  froze raw in bags Both of these I have just finished this week so that is not bad going as I use a lot in casseroles etc.  The sweetcorn was from the market and  I froze in meal size packets after blanching and removing from the cob and I still have some of that left.

We have finished the cabbages and broccoli and I removed the cabbages yesterday and today Doug has weeded that bed ready for the early bean seedlings we bought the other day (a spur of the moment purchase).  It will be interesting to see how they do but they are good healthy seedlings (a punnet of green and one of yellow beans). 

Before he did that Doug fixed up the two water fountains and two lighthouses that fused during the heavy storm a few weeks ago.  He had to wait for them to dry out before he could work on them.  (Doug, of course, made the lighthouses).

A beautiful day today - started at 5 degrees and ended up at 18 degrees.

Saturday, August 15, 2020


It must be about 8 - 10 months ago that we got new neighbours - a young couple renting with at that stage a toddler and the wife expecting.  Now with, a 2 year old little boy and baby daughter.  They have had quite a few parties and continued over lockdown but the noise stopped at a reasonable time.

Last night, however, when I went to sleep it was reasonably quiet but I was woken by loud "music" with extra loud base noises.  I checked the time and it was 1 a.m.  I got up and put my bedroom light on and then the spare bedroom or office light.  It turned out that Doug, who is nearer to the light and noise had not had much sleep at all.

After I turned the lights on the music went quieter but when Doug looked out of his window there was smoke billowing from their garage.  He called out to see if they wanted him to call the fire brigade but they were all high and we just got repetitions of Call the fire brigade, call the fire brigade.  The lad who lives there did  grab the hose and put it out but there was acrid smoke for some time.  

We have no idea what it was that they had set on fire but luckily things quietened down after that and the fire was out.  It took me a long time to get back to sleep as I could still smell the acrid smoke.

We know there is usually vast quantities of beer drunk but last night it seemed as though they were on something a lot stronger than that.  I hope we don't get a repetition tonight.

Friday, August 14, 2020


Today we went to Kamo to buy a few necessities.  First stop was the Vet to get some ear treatment for Sophie, then the bulk garden supply place for some wood chips that I use on the base of Kim's run and the Farm Supply shop for wheat for the birds.  Into Kamo itself for a couple of items including some broccoli plants and some dwarf bean seedlings - not on our list it seems a bit early but we thought we would give them a try, they look good seedlings.

On the way home we thought we may go to the supermarket but as there was a queue we passed on that and I have just done an internet order for delivery tomorrow.  I did, however, go to the butcher next door to the supermarket and bought some lamb chump chops.  

I got a load of washing done and dried which is good as it is now pouring with rain.  

MUCH LATER: The Prime Minister has just had a press conference and announced that we are staying at the same levels (3 for Auckland and 2 for the rest of the country) for the next 12 days.  It appears as though there is only the one cluster of Covid 19 in the country.  That is far better than having to go back to level 4 and 3 respectively.

Meanwhile, here in Whangarei, there was a sudden death this morning and, although the deceased was not a known Covid 19 case, precautions are being taken as the person had been suffering respiratory symptoms and had recently been in Auckland.  The ambulance was stood down and Search and Rescue, who are trained in body recovery, were brought in.  I hope it is a false alarm.

Thursday, August 13, 2020


There are now thirteen new cases in the community bringing the total in this outbreak to 17.  Meanwhile there has been panic buying and queues at Supermarkets.  I have not tried to go to the Supermarket, we will do an on-line shop in a day or so.  Our only panic was going to the Libraries yesterday, first to Tikipunga Library to pick up an item "on hold" and then to the main library as they have a better choice of books.  There was a queue to enter, one had to sign in and use hand sanitiser.  From lunchtime yesterday, when Alert level 2 came in the outlying libraries have been closed.  At least we now have a good supply.

There are also queues to get tested.  Obviously, Auckland, where the outbreak is, is the worst area with people wanting tests and people waiting over six hours for a test but also here the wait time at present is two hours.  The testing is for people with symptoms or connections to the Pacifica community or who have visited the various areas of concern but people are just wanting to get tested even if they do not have symptoms hence the extra long queues.

Auckland is at a higher level than the rest of the country and there are road blocks all around the city as people are not to travel either into or out unless they are returning home or in an essential service.  Apparently, a lot of people left to go to their holiday homes straight after the announcement was made on Wednesday night and people are still getting turned back.

I have also just read that there were two protests here in Whangarei today with groups saying that "they do not consent to the restrictions".  I think they have been watching too much news from overseas.  

The source of the outbreak has not yet been traced but I know that everyone is working hard on contact tracing.

On a happier note I spied Mr. and Mrs. Blackbird from the kitchen window this morning.  Usually, they fly away before I can get a camera but today they stayed just long enough.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020


 After 102 days with no cases of  Community Transmission we have just had a Special News Announcement at 9.15 p.m. telling us that there are now 4 new cases in Auckland in one family with no known source.

Auckland is going to Level 3 tomorrow and the rest of the country to Level 2.  

We had planned to go to an Election Meeting tomorrow but have decided to stay home.

Monday, August 10, 2020


 A Camera Obscura is being built near the Bascule Bridge and on Thursday we read that the steel part of the structure had been put in place.  It was fabricated by a local company then barged up the river before being transferred to a truck for the final part of the journey.  Its shape is a tribute to Whangarei's ship building past.

Part of the Camera Obscura sculpture project passes through Te Matau a Pohe as it is barged up Whangārei Harbour to its site next to Hatea River.

Camera Obscura being moved from Culham Engineering to its site on the banks of the Hatea River.

The photos above are from the Northern Advocate but coincidentally, we started our Parkinson's walk at the Bascule bridge this morning so I took some more photos.

There is still a lot of work to be done and it should be open in November.

Meanwhile, on the weather front we have another "Weather Watch" for heavy rain and strong winds  tonight and tomorrow.  With the ground still wet from our previous deluge there could well be more flooding so we have planned to stay put tomorrow.  

Sunday, August 9, 2020


It is citrus season and I just picked a few Lemons and Mandarins.
It is also a sunny day and quite warm out of the wind so I have been busy weeding one of the vegetable gardens.  Not quite finished but good to get most of it done anyway.

Friday, August 7, 2020


A lovely (mid winter) spring day here today.  When I was pegging out washing earlier there were a pair of Magpie moths fluttering around.  They were too fast for me to take a photo.  Doug went out later but could not find the moths  and, instead took photos of spring flowers.

I just went out again and found the Magpie Moths on the corner post of the back deck.  It is lovely to see them as they have been absent for a while.