Sunday, February 28, 2021


 We got Emergency signals on our phones at about 9 p.m. last night.  It was to announce that Auckland has gone to Level 3 and the rest of the country to Level 2 for 7 days for Covid 19.  

This is because people who were supposed to be isolating have been going to work or the gym.  Level 2 is not too bad for us but it is amazing how people can be either so stupid or so uncaring.  We are still going ahead with our Parkinson walk tomorrow as it is around a Lake and there are not likely to be many other people there.  The reason we cancelled previous walks was because they started and ended at the Information Centre where there could have been people coming from Auckland.

Auckland is actually in Lockdown and people can only travel to other areas for a valid reason but I gather people were heading up here before the road blocks were put in place.

Now to Bobby - yesterday he brought us two raw sausages.  Someone must have left them out, presumably to thaw.  It amazes me that people leave food out like that, think flies and other insects.  I know it doesn't excuse Bobby but he, obviously, had to fend for himself for several months so grabs anything available.  He got growled at but was so proud of himself.  We are going to try and train him to use Kim's old run so that we can at least keep him indoors at night.  

We went to the Tikipunga Market this morning and bought another 6 sweetcorn and I have just processed them and they are now in the freezer.  

Off the cob

and ready for the freezer

Saturday, February 27, 2021


 I have been kept busy in the garden and dealing with the produce.  Finally, the peaches have come to an end.  I have 30 packs of lightly stewed peaches in the deep freezer weighing about 700 grams each.  These will mainly be used on my morning porridge but also for crumbles and sponges.  

We still have tomatoes ripening and should do for a while yet.  I have not counted the number of bags of tomatoes in the freezer but about the same as the peaches.  There is not a lot of room left for sweetcorn although we did buy some this morning at the market and it is off the cob and in small packages in the freezer.  I will try and get some more at the Tikipunga Market tomorrow.  I made a batch of tomato chutney and, if I get time, will make some more or tomato sauce.

The beans I was given by Blogger Jean have done really well.  For a couple of weeks there were no beans but they have started providing a good crop again and we had the Dalmation beans as well.  

We have been giving away beans and tomatoes all summer.

Here are some photos taken today.  The butterflies and bees are enjoying the plants we put in for them.

The bananas are shooting up and now have three baby plants. 

Opposite the bananas is the "plantation" of Swan Plants for the butterflies.

I have planted silver beet (Swiss Chard) and Perpetual Spinach.  I bought two 6 cell pots of seedlings and only used 2 cells of the silver beet and gave the rest away. They have been in the ground about a week and are looking good.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

St. Margaret's Convent, East Grinstead.


I went to an Anglican convent school, St. Agnes and St. Michael's which was run by the sisters from St. Margaret's convent.  I was there for a massive 13 years.  At the beginning of November I discovered that there had been an article on the convent in the Country Life magazine of November 4th.  

I phoned a couple of chain stores and neither of them stocked it but one recommended a small card and magazine shop.  They do stock it and said they would put one aside for me but they were not expected for a couple of months.  Last week I got the call that the magazine had arrived and went and purchased it.  The article is here.  

The actual school was next door to the convent with two houses having been converted and added to for the Junior School, Dormitories and Dining.  The Secondary School was the other side of the Convent so we had to walk through the grounds four times a day for boarders as we went back to the main building for lunch.  Here are some photos of the Convent.

Both the school and Convent closed some time ago with the Sisters moving to a Convent in London, so both school and Convent are now apartments.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2021


Doug and I do not celebrate St. Valentine's Day in fact it was about lunch time when I remembered. However,  in the evening I found a "Memory" on FB telling me that it was four years since I moved in with Doug.  My house had sold so I moved in and we got married at the beginning of May that year.  Too much to organise the move and wedding at the same time.

Anyway, we both had appointments in town today at 12.30 and 1 p.m. so decided to go out for a meal to celebrate the four years.  We went to the Town Basin.  

It has been a showery day, better than yesterday when it rained all day.  After lunch we went for a walk to the Reyburn House Art Gallery.

The Rain Lillies or Zephyranthes Candida were a real show.  We have some in a pot here but not as thick as these.

Our view as we ate our lunch

Monday, February 15, 2021


 Yesterday, three new cases of Covid were announced.  They are in one Auckland family.  As a result Auckland has been put into Lockdown 3 and the rest of the Country in Lockdown 2 while the authorities try to find the source of this outbreak.  In view of this and the weather forecast for heavy rain and strong wind I sent emails last night  cancelling our Parkinson walk.  I must say when I woke to heavy rain it was good knowing we did not have to go on the walk.

I did go out when the rain eased for a while and picked up peaches that had fallen as well as  picking some off the tree.   I have a very high-tech picker - a fruit tin on a pole.  I place it under the peach and if the peach falls into the tin then it is ripe, if not, it is left for another day.

They look a bit green but ripen quickly.  Later on I cooked another batch ready to freeze.  Some are eaten fresh.

These will be delicious on my porridge over winter, in fact I am already eating them in the mornings.

Saturday, February 13, 2021


The common Asclepias here is known as the Swan Plant because of its seedheads.

Some of the larger ones do, in fact, look a lot like swans.

We were interested to see what the seedheads would be on the new orange Asclepias and it is completely different.

Funnily enough the seedhead of the Tweedia is similar to this.

I must have hit something on my camera to give me the dark edges to my photos.  Anyone got any suggestions.  I have a Canon Ixus.  Otherwise it looks quite good so can stay as it is.

Thursday, February 11, 2021


We have been very pleased with the plants from the seeds we bought for the butterflies and bees. 

These are the Asclepias - a relation of the "swan plant" above but much more colourful and the Monarch butterflies seem to prefer it.  There are two on the plants below.

Both bees and butterflies like the Tithonia Goldfinger below.

 Photos taken in different light 

We have had two lovely days of rain and it is wonderful not to have to water every day.  The peaches are starting to ripen as well but they don't like the rain so it is good we have a few rain free days forecast.  Life is good.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021


It is over eight years since Doug's first wife died.  This afternoon Doug received an email from our bank telling us that :

"In a recent review of our products and services, we identified that we charged a fee for a credit card jointly held by you and 'your late wife' after we were notified that she had passed away. This fee was charged incorrectly and we’re sorry that we made this error.

To correct this, we’ve already made a payment to your account  of $25.87, so there’s nothing you need to do. 

This payment is made up of $16.00 to reimburse you for the overpayment plus an additional amount of $9.87 to reflect that the money has not been available to you."

So, not only have they paid the amount they overcharged but added some extra to it.  

Monday, February 8, 2021


It is a public holiday today and the weather is cooler.  Cloudy and, according to my phone, a pleasant 23° C.  

For the Parkinson walk we did The Loop starting at the Aquatic Centre then past the shops and back along Riverside Drive.

Gwynneth, this is for you - the Hundertwasser from the river.  I will try and get a photo from the other side.  It is not due to open until December so there must be a lot more work to do.

The area alongside the shops looks almost deserted when we started our walk although there were plenty of people along the way.

The gardens in front of the National Clock Museum always look good.

The playground has just been renewed.  Difficult to get a photo as from behind the swings all I would have got was a row of "backsides".

There were 14 of us today and three young children.  We planned the walk so that we could go to the Kafe with a "K" for our coffee.   It started off with  takeaway coffees but then added tables alongside the river and real  cups,  This is the large pohutakawa tree alongside the cafe.

and the view of the river.

I then wanted to go to Farmers Trading Company and the gardens were looking stunning.

Thursday, February 4, 2021


A while ago, Doug made two "houses" for Bobby and Blue.  Bobby now sleeps indoors and Blue often sleeps on the two seat cane settee in the porch so Doug decided to turn them into houses for the many skinks we have here.

He put lengths of bamboo in one and old pieces of concrete in the other.  I hope they like them.

There are lots of skinks particularly in Kim's old run.  The skinks are far to quick for me to get a photo.

The orchard stall has not been at the market lately so we have been buying peaches, nectarines and pears at the supermarket.  They have all been good and we have just eaten a particularly sweet large nectarine between us.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021


We watch the channel that runs one hour late so watch the news from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.  We were watching it tonight and it was nearly the end of the news when we heard Bobby come in making a "Look what I've got" noise.  On checking, he was proudly bringing us a raw pork chop.

Doug took it from him and put it in the deep freeze.  Bobby then went out again and not long after brought home a second pork chop.  Doug decided to let him go again and see where he went and he appears to have gone to the house two doors down where the other cat he feeds comes from.  Sure enough, a third pork chop was brought home.  He has never brought anything home before.

I insisted we lock him in and close the doors of "Kim's run" and he went out there and then lay happily for some time.  Doug decided a few minutes ago to let him out again and we have not seen him since.  He has been out for about 15 - 20 minutes and it is now nearly 10 p.m.  I hope we don't get any more pork chops.  The worry is that now he knows what he can find that he will keep going back there.  10 p.m. He has just returned with no more chops.

The funny thing is that if it is the house we think it seems odd that they leave meat out when they have a cat much more likely to steal food.

Monday, February 1, 2021


It is a Public Holiday today so everyone is out and about and with the recent Covid scare  we decided to walk on Beach Road, Onerahi and take our morning refreshments to have at a picnic table rather than go to a busy cafe.

The weather was perfect.  

Most of the walkers, two more turned up after the photo and one was taking the photo.

This is a view of some of the houses that look out across the harbour.

The airport is just above us and this was an Air New Zealand plane taking off, presumably headed to Auckland.

There were all manner of boats coming and going on this perfect day.

Doug took this photo of a Monarch butterfly on a solar light bottle he was given for Christmas.