Saturday, July 20, 2024


As usual, our Saturday started with the Growers' Market.  We didn't get much, just persimmons and eggs.  The eggs were the main reason for going as the eggs being sold there now are delicious with lovely dark yolks.  (This reminds me of taking some of our own eggs down to our daughter-in-law about 30 or 40 years ago.  She went to use them and asked me if they were o.k. to eat as they had such dark yolks and she was used to supermarket eggs.  I must say the supermarket ones have improved since then.

After the market and supermarket we came home for breakfast and, as the forecast was not suitable for washing to dry, I got baking.  First up was a gluten free white loaf then an almond and pear cake followed by some chocolate chip biscuits.

Doug is the washer upper so I then had a short break while he washed the dishes then I got a beef casserole ready to go in the oven.  I then cooked our lunch (a bit late as usual) sausages and mash with creamed leeks.

After lunch I got a white loaf into the bread maker for Doug. That is enough for today.  Tomorrow I am going to slow roast a corned silverside in the oven as recommended by the butcher, a first for me.

Monday, July 15, 2024


 We had some lovely fine days last week and both of us worked in the garden getting some weeding done and moving some plants around.  

We had a heavy rain and strong wind watch for today and although neither are too extreme it is definitely wet and windy and I cancelled today's walk.  

Our newspapers were wet this morning and we opened them up to dry.  Kim who was running around like a mad thing then decided to have a go at the paper and we have just noticed that he has eaten Donald Trump - could be a message there.

Thursday, July 4, 2024


I don't usually grow garlic as I have always bought it from the Growers' Market but the man growing it has sold up and retired.  I refuse to buy the Chinese garlic that looks as though it has been bleached so decided to grow some this year.  

I bought "ordinary" garlic I think it was Printanor as well as Elephant Garlic and planted them on June 12th.  This morning I decided to weed the bed, well they were not actually weeds but hundreds of tomato seedlings.  It was only when I started to do this that I realised the garlic has come up in just 3 weeks.   

There are a dozen that have come up and I think another one or two plus the Elephant garlic that haven't shown yet.  The plastic mesh is to stop the birds scratching.  In spite of that there was one bulb at soil level which I replanted.  I was pleased to see it had some good roots.

We have had so much rain I had wondered whether they would rot below ground so was pleased with this first step.  A long way to go yet but it is a start.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024


Our thoughts have been confirmed.  The major outage that cut power to about 100,000 people was caused by a team removing the nuts from three of the pylon legs at the same time during routine maintenance.  I can just imagine their faces when the pylon started to fall.  (It was lucky no-one was injured or killed).  

We had some power restored that evening and by the following evening had full power when one of the 220 kV circuits was re-livened, it is hoped to have the second circuit  sorted by the end of the week.  The pylon landed on it so it is a more difficult job.  There will, of course, be several investigations and lots of calls for compensation.

Meanwhile, we were lucky, once again, with the weather for Monday's walk.  The weekend was very wet (although most of the rain was at night) Monday dawned fine but cloudy.  We had a very pleasant walk from the Information Centre to the Raumanga Falls.  

The waterfall is always very hard to get a photo of but, after all the rain, it was in full flow yesterday and could easily be seen through the trees.  (we walk to the top of the falls)

After the walk we met at the home of one of our walkers for a mid-winter get-together.  Everyone brought a plate of food and I fully intended to take a photo of the spread but completely forgot about it.  Anyway,  it was enjoyed by all and we sat chatting for a couple of  hours.


Friday, June 21, 2024


Yesterday, at 11 a.m. our power went off.  When we lived in the more isolated Far North this used to happen from time to time but since living down in Whangarei power cuts are usually for planned  maintenance.

It took a while before the extent and cause of the cut became apparent.  It seems that work was being done on the alternative power line to Northland when a pylon on the line in use fell over.  Presumably, someone was having a bad day as it looks as though the bolts holding the pylon down had been removed and the pylon fell over.  This cut power to just under 100,000 people.

We are on fibre so were without a landline and only had intermittent cellphone coverage.  Luckily, our wood burner has a removable top giving a hot surface and we were able to boil water and heat a casserole and rice for lunch.  

The power eventually came back on at about 5 pm although full power is not expected until after the weekend so everyone is asked to conserve power and water in the meantime.  

Of course all the traffic lights were out and police were on duty at major intersections.

                                           photo of fallen pylon from New Zealand Herald

Several large businesses including the milk giant, Fonterra, and Portland cement have stopped using power until the emergency is over.

Monday, June 17, 2024


The Parkinson's walk today was the Waimahanga track, another favourite and, once again, after some heavy rain at the weekend mostly at night we had a glorious day for our walk.  There were 15 of us and we all enjoyed a catch up at a nearby cafe after the walk.

The view of the mangroves from one of the bridges

  • from the other bridge a view of ducks on a small island with the mangroves in the background

  • the lovely track.

Monday, June 10, 2024


We had a miserable weekend weather-wise.  It wasn't cold but was cloudy/misty with drizzle and no sun.  The forecast for this morning's Parkinson's walk wasn't much better but, luckily, the clouds lifted early and we had a lovely walk with warm sunshine.  

We do the larger part of the walk before we get to the cafe leaving just a short stretch back to the cars.  The walk is 4.2 kms long .  While we were waiting for our teas I took some photos.

After the cafe we go past the Rolling Ball Clock.  I can't remember whether I have posted about it before but I find it fascinating.  I find it quite hard to get a good photo because of the reflection from the glass.  The top two photos are mine and the bottom one stolen from the internet.  If anyone is interested you can see more about it here.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Mexican marigold bush

 With the start of winter there is not a lot of colour around and we have had a lot of comments on our Mexican Marigold Bush which is flowering in all its glory at the moment.  We bought the cuttings for these plants from the Monarch Butterfly Society in September 2020 and now have plants spread through the garden.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024


It was 2018 when Doug built the sunroom where there used to be an unused deck.  It is a very narrow room (I don't know why the original builders (the State as this was the local Constable's house) didn't just make the lounge larger.

Anyway, all the work was well worth it as it is warmer on cold days.  It is also the ideal place for our rowing machine.  Several days a week I do 100 rows and am sure it must help with my fitness.

The chair is a nice place to sit while having a phone call. and at the other end a useful bookcase.

Monday, June 3, 2024


Today is a Statutory Holiday for King's Birthday.  We went for our Parkinson's walk as usual.  15 of us enjoyed a walk in perfect weather followed by a caffeine fix at a nearby cafe.

The path will run from the suburb of Kamo to the city centre when it is finished a distance of 5.6 kms.  It goes past several schools so is ideal for children to walk, bike or scooter to school.

Sunday, June 2, 2024


 Life and busyness has got in the way of gardening for a while but, yesterday, we finally got back into it.  The bananas were starting to look tatty with some yellow leaves.  The two stems from our recent bunches of bananas also needed cutting out.  I did this and cut them into short lengths to put as mulch around the plants.

Doug in the meantime  removed the blackberry and raspberry plants that were to the left of the banana as well as the trellis and posts supporting them.  A difficult job as he discovered he had cemented the posts in the ground.  

It was hard work but we are pleased with the result and will now encourage the bananas to spread to that area and may even transplant one.

Today, Doug emptied the worm farm and pruned the peach tree while I cut back one of the crepe myrtle bushes, Doug having cut the other one back a couple of days ago.

There are six flowers on the banana and I see several new plants growing on this side.

Friday, May 17, 2024


 A few weeks ago Doug's youngest grand-daughter and her husband lost their chocolate Labrador, Whittaker.  (Whittaker is a New Zealand chocolate brand)

She asked Grandad to paint Whittaker for her and this is the result.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024


 Yesterday 13 of us had a lovely walk from Vinegar Hill Road to the Tikipunga sports fields and back.  The autumn colours are starting to show now.  We don't get a lot of autumn colour  as we have a lot of evergreens here in the north.

It is a lovely park and is where we used to walk Sophie and meet up with other dog walkers.  

Friday, May 10, 2024


Not a frost but very cold this morning, 5 degrees C.  I lit the fire first thing but then we let it go out as it warmed up.  The wind has been icy coming from the south but it was warm in a sheltered place.

5 p.m. and the fire has just been lit, four baskets, 1 of paper, 1 of kindling, 1 of slightly larger wood and 1 of the large pieces.  On top of the stove is a pot of frozen soup defrosting for my evening meal.  Doug is having poached eggs.  We have our main meal at lunch and often have something different in the evening.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2024


Better timing this year.  Just finishing the last bunch when we noticed another bunch turning yellow.

I have just delivered a hand each to three of our neighbours (each hand containing 6 or 7 bananas) and had one with my lunch. Still a lot left so will be giving out more.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024


For many years now I have had hearing checks and always been told I need aids.  Finally, I have agreed to get them as I know I have some hearing loss.  On Thursday I had them fitted.  As suggested, I am only wearing them for part of the day while I get used to them but, so far, they are not as bad as I had feared and I can hear.  I had worried because I have very small ears but they are good.

One of my problems is that people with Parkinsons' Disease tend to speak quite quietly so I have had a problem with that.  Can that grey haired lady really be me?

Monday, May 6, 2024


Today is our seventh wedding anniversary - how time flies.  Doug was still not feeling up to going on the Parkinson Walk so stayed home.  We had a pleasant walk alongside the river from Whareora Road to Mair Park.  Rain was forecast but stayed away until we had finished the walk.

I skipped the  cafe and came home.  I didn't take any photos just enjoyed the walk.

                                                              seven  years ago

Monday, April 29, 2024


We used to be on a power plan (electricity) that gave us 30 cents a litre off petrol every month.  This came to an end in January and we are now on a plan that is slightly more per Kw but we have free power on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  This has made my weekends much busier as I do my washing then as well as some cooking.  

A while ago we bought a Bissell Upholstery cleaning machine and it has been sitting in the spare room but yesterday (Sunday) Doug decided to try it.  He ended up cleaning the cushions on our three piece lounge suite as well as 6 dining chairs.  While he did this I got several loads of washing done and roasted a leg of lamb.

After lunch I decided that I might as well wash some cushion covers as well as the arm covers from the lounge suite.  We usually try and put our feet up for a while at about 3 or 4 p.m. but it was nearly 5 p.m. when we finished and I noticed our neighbour opposite was home and I had some bananas for her.  As I went to cross the road her daughter was coming to see us in the other direction, she had been fishing and had a snapper for us. This meant that I went home and filleted the fish but it was well worth it with delicious fresh snapper for our evening meal.

We have both been out of action and not been on the Parkinson Walk for a couple of weeks.  Doug after having a skin cancer removed from his nose with a skin graft and me being on two lots of antibiotics with a sinus infection.  Today, I rejoined the walking group and eleven of us had a very pleasant walk around the Loop at the Town Basin.  Hopefully, Doug will be back walking next week.

Life is busy but good.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024


I always have a vase of flowers in the house, usually on the dining table and pick them from the garden.  This week at the Growers' Market I noticed some bunches of Chrysanthemums and just had to have them.  I had some growing in my previous garden but none here.  I have always enjoyed their unusual scent and like the colour of these ones.  They were the princely sum of $4.00 (GBP 1.89) and there were enough for a vase on the dining table and a smaller vase in the lounge.

I have been keeping an eye on the Hydrangea Paniculata Sundae Fraise as it has been changing colour and picked three stems yesterday hoping that they dry to a pleasant colour.  Not sure, I may have left them a bit late.

Saturday, April 13, 2024


 It is just over two years since this opened and we have finally been to see the Gallery.  We had been waiting to go with visitors but it never worked out and our visitors who went on Monday while we were on the Parkinson walk said we must go and see it. I had read that it was well worth getting a guided tour so that it what we did.  Thursday was horrible with strong wind and much needed rain and the school holidays start today so yesterday seemed a good day.

The hour long tour started at 11a.m. and we thoroughly enjoyed it. You are also able to visit the Gallery for the rest of the day if you like.  

A couple of photos of Friedrich Hundertwasser at his home in the Bay of Islands

Some of his paintings

Two of the rugs he designed.  He liked top one so much he had it in his cabin on his final trip on the Q.E.II.  He had a heart attack and died on the ship in Cairns.

Some of the posters he designed. I understand his first one was for Conservation Week then he did several others for causes he supported.

A fantail in the floor tiles

On the spur of the moment we decided to have lunch at Aqua which is attached to the Gallery. This is a seahorse in tiles reflected in a mirror in the Ladies Toilet.  We were so pleased with our decision to have lunch there.  Line caught snapper with the most delicious salad.