Sunday, 21 November 2021

Lady, help me ...

"Please help me. Your cat attacked my dog."

A little blonde girl, a bundle of blonde cuteness with at least four top teeth missing, was standing outside my kitchen window, bouncing from foot to foot, obviously agitated.  I had expected her to ask to use the bathroom.

She pointed an accusatory finger in the direction of the cat, who was obviously on guard duty, looking nearly as agitated as the little girl.  

I rushed to her aid hoping my cat had not done any damage because she is fiercely territorial and very unfriendly.  I asked the name of the dog so we could call him and both little hands went over her face as she dropped her head, and said, "Oh no.  I can't remember!  I only got him today and I've lost him already."

He was easy to find, came running up to her as soon as we walked into the back yard.  A little foxy.  She scooped him up and away she went interspersing "Thank you, lady" with kisses to the dog's head and the occasional "He's heavy".

I hope she enjoyed the short time she had that little puppy for a pet.  Can imagine how heartbroken she must have been when his owners came to pick him up.  He's the village escapee, a regular on the community Facebook page, known and loved by many in the community and the little girl's dad had already posted a photo of the little girl holding him, looking for the owner and saying a little someone was falling in love.  I will know Fritz if I see him again on one of his many adventures.  And I'll certainly recognize that dear little girl.

Alleycat, dog attacker

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Wants and needs

I thought I'd sorted out years ago the difference between wants and needs and when my children were teenagers I mastered the art of explaining the difference quite succinctly.

Yet during the week I found myself totally convincing myself that my want, my desire, my craving to see my son and his little daughter had become a need.  And for a brief few hours I wasn't functioning as normal, I behaved like a teenager denied a Saturday night party.  Luckily there was no-one around to witness my mini hissy fit, my angry ranting about our bloody government and their 'need' to keep our borders locked so tightly, denying their citizens who live elsewhere the right to come home.  I really did let my frustration get the better of me.  My admonition to myself to 'let it go' made no difference, the very thought that I have no control over the situation just riled me more.

To distract myself I decided to go for a drive to the nearest cafe and have coffee and cake.  And take photos of the countryside to remind myself I have so much for which I should be thankful.  However, it seemed even Zeus was on my side, I drove into a storm.  Although it did me good to stop on the roadside and take in the rural scenes, the rainy day photos aren't the best.


Even the spring flowers seemed to be having a bad day.

It really wasn't my best day.  The absolutely decadent looking cake I chose for myself, giving the fingers to healthy eating and anything else that could be associated with what I should or should not do or feel, was horrible.

And that nearly sent me to the point of hysteria, I thought it was so funny. 

I felt better immediately.

Monday, 18 October 2021


I've been saved from dwelling on the demise of the English language by a weekend at the beach.  I was first told I had antiquated views of the use of English over thirty years ago, so it's unlikely to be the last time it occupies my thoughts seeing as my views haven't changed.

My daughter has been the other member of my bubble during our Covid lockdown and this weekend instead of her visiting me to see if I'm OK, I went to stay with her.  Her current house-sit is my favourite of all the places she's stayed.  It's right on the harbour beachfront, not the flashest of houses, its design is a bit higgly-piggly but it has a feeling of home for me.  

Thanks to a lovely friend who offered to call in to feed my two cats, I stayed two nights and now feel like I've had two week's holiday. 

And because of very changeable weather the view out the front of the house was constantly changing.   I could probably claim to have seen the four seasons in two days.  No, not really, although the wind was extremely fresh from time to time it was never cold.

When I arrived on Saturday white caps were racing across the harbour.

The little boats out front were bobbing around and I spent most of the day on Sunday, when rain came along to accompany the wind, worrying about that little boat on the right.  I thought it was sitting too low on the water. 


It was fine.


Last night the wind and rain really strengthened but it was all blown over by this morning when the harbour was as calm as usual, sun shining and the little boat added to the charm of the place.


A boat came down the channel and looked to be heading out to sea but it just did a quick tour around the anchored boats before returning to the marina.  Some sort of harbour watch I guess.

I had a quick stroll along the beachfront before returning home.  Correction, a short, slow stroll.  There were a few people out enjoying the sunshine. 

Lately I've had a hankering to feel the wind of a west coast beach on my face.  That would not have been acceptable under the current Covid level but that changes from tomorrow night, so that's where I'll be heading in the next few days. 

Monday, 11 October 2021

Pegs and pins

I can't remember the details of the chit chat but somewhere along the line I promised to make a bed for little Lexis' doll.  She's just turned five and has a plethora of toys at home but only one doll (a mermaid) at my house.  I didn't stop to think that I no longer have a bottomless supply of craft materials, I gave it all away when I downsized with the move into town last year.  Couldn't even find an old shoebox.  (Shoe boxes have endless potential!)

Thanks to pegs and a glue gun (thank heavens I didn't part with that) I managed something resembling a bed. 

Then using an old sheet, part of which had already been used for something else, and the stuffing from outdoor chair covers which I never use - and lots of pins - wallah, I had a mattress.  A bit lumpy, perhaps.  Surely she won't notice that.  You'll be relieved to hear I did sew it together.  The old fashioned way with needle and thread, hand sewn with love.


I must remember to ring my friend, Chris and tell her I misappropriated some of the material she gave me to make beeswax food wraps to make a bed cover and cover a bit more of the chair cover stuffing for the pillow.   

Happiness if enjoying the simple thing in life.  Yes, indeed.

Gee, I hope she likes it because I made two of them.  One for her home and one for here.  The other one had to be a double bed because that was the only other box I could find.  It has a warm blanket, too.

Both beds need some sheets. I think I might have to splash out and buy some material for that.

Hold on, I've just had a thought.  A cotton handerchief should do the trick.  She won't know what it is.  She belongs to the tissue generation.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Low tide, Whangarei Harbour

It seems like a long time ago although it was just 7 years ago.  When I was a working girl and had something resembling a social life, I often had an hour or two to fill between knock off time and social engagements.  If I just wanted to sit quietly by myself, my favourite go to place was down the harbour towards the port.  Yesterday, when I saw it was low tide, I had an urge to re-visit, I always liked this spot best when the tide was out.  Back then rarely was there anyone around, now I couldn't even gain access, the area is chained off.

So I went a bit further along the road and then had a short walk to get these shots.


My new camera and I were travelling to Taranaki back in July when my trip was cut short by a health scare and I returned unexpectedly home.  Yesterday I finally remembered to get a new memory card for my old camera.  Now, I've just got to remember to take it with me when I leave the house.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Hooray for the older persons

The International Day of Older Persons was yesterday.  I think.  I'm one of that number now and have the bad memory to prove it.  It’s meant to raise the awareness of the issues and challenges of ageing in today’s world.  But I'm not here to moan about all that.

This year’s theme ‘Digital Equity for All Ages’ reinforces the need for access and meaningful participation in the digital world by older people.  It's aim is to increase older persons trust and confidence in carrying out online activities.  So here I am doing my bit, doing it while I remember how.

And I'm never averse to sharing one of the great the joys of my advanced years, in this case my little great-grand-daughter, Lexis.  Here she is with a little surprise I had waiting for her, a pretty little mermaid who she named Alexander.  I suggested it might be Alexandra but she poo pooed that idea. And she didn't much like the idea of Alexander being a mermaid so her tail had to be removed and Lexis and I undertook our first joint venture of designing and making her a new skirt "that she could walk in'.  She's a practical child, could see no sense in having a tail. 

Lexis and her mother were at my place for haircuts from my daughter.  More of a trim than a cut but she didn't appreciate the difference and was more than a little concerned.  But she trusts her "Aunty Lone" and was a model client.

This was her second haircut, the first was also in my dining room, same hairdresser. 

She's losing her babyish look, growing so fast.  Off to school in the new year.  Ah, well.

I'm a bit late to the party for Mental Health Awareness Week which finishes today.  As I said in my previous post, I was feeling a bit unhinged last week but having that lovely connected feeling with my daughter, grand-daughter and g-g-daughter has put all that to rest.  Finding happiness in the simple things.

Friday, 1 October 2021

The seasons

 “It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” ~Mark Twain 

I feel slightly unhinged. I blame spring.


My memory travels down seasonal paths.

What’s that?  What restaurant?  Oh, yeah!  When were we last there?  I remember it was cold, windy, too.  Was it September?  I remember wearing the green coat, the one with the fabulous collar.  And Di wore a short sleeved dress and sandals, impatient for summer to arrive. How did she stay warm?  Oooh, and around the same time, do you remember that farewell do at the restaurant by the harbour before it changed hands?  Lisa was there.  She wore those really high heels, the red pair; she came to regret that choice around the end of her third drink.

'People' has become a season.  I remember hanging out with people, sometimes in large groups.  We sat next to each other, laughing out  loud into each other’s faces.  Sometimes we hugged and kissed each other's cheeks.

Now it's spring.  The sun rises, falls.  Little changes.  When did I last take time with my hair?  Was it yesterday?  Was it last week?   Does it matter?  

hear people.  Sometimes I even see people. There are people just over that fence, walking to and from the sports-grounds, exercising their dogs, sometimes even in pairs talking to each other.   

But are they present?  They don't seem so to me while so much of them is hidden.  I seem to have to get up close to see what the eyes are saying behind the masks.  And that makes so many uncomfortable that I must desist.
People on TV.  I can see all their faces  but they annoy me with the ease with which they remove their masks so elegantly.  I want at least one to get their hair twisted in the elastic.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Politicians and pigeons

I fluctuate between being impressed and being irritated by my contact yesterday with several politicians.  I'd sent off similiar emails to our Minister for COVID-19 Response | Minister of Education | Minister for the Public Sector | Leader of the House | MP for Remutaka, my local member of parliament and our local opposition party list member of parliament.  The emails were sent around 4.30 after I'd had a chance conversation with a couple who were lunching at the same cafe where I was treating myself.  A very politically vocal couple.  Is there such a thing?  You know, strong views about politics and not shy in sharing them.  I shared many of their views, by the way, but was stunned by their lack of compassion for the huge number of Kiwis who are stranded overseas and unable to return to their home because of our MIQ (Managed isolation and quarantine) system which has recently turned into a lottery that gambles with people's lives (in my opinion, of course).

I wasn't expecting replies till this morning but before I left my email page on the computer, there was a reply from the Minister.  I appreciate he must be a busy man with all those portfolios.  He's one of our leader's few trusted MPs.  But surely there is a way he could at least pretend to have read my concerns rather than sending me an auto response with no fewer than 15 links where he suggested I may find an answer my query.  No go on any of them.  His bio says he has a team of advisers and (2) press secretaries who do a lot of the day-to-day interfacing - with those with whom it is deemed important enough to be interfaced, I presume.

Two hours later I received a response from my local MP.  A lot of its content followed our leader's Be Kind approach and explained in a caring manner the party policy.  I knew what the policy was, that was not what I was on about.  However, her words in a couple of paragraphs told me she really had read what I had to say and that she has a heart.

The opposition MP took a bit longer to reply but it arrived around 9.30 pm.  It was short and to the point.  No waffle, no kindness, but he addressed my issue.

So I'm impressed with the time two of the three took to respond but I'm still smarting about that auto response.  I don't know why I expected more.

Today, at around the same time of day, I'm delighting in the company of my two regular visitors to my neighbour's old plum tree.


I had a close call with one of these two last week.  I'd waited for the rain to stop to go outside to retrieve something from the garage. I was reminded that I'd taken longer than I'd planned by very heavy rain on the roof.  There is a gap of a few metres between the house and the garage and as I stepped out from the garage door a low flying pigeon whooshed over my head, close enough to disturb my hair.  It's mate followed close behind but adjusted its course to go over the roof of the garage rather than take the shortcut through the gap.  It seemed to me they were fleeing from the heavy rain.

Sometimes they sit side by side

This is the time of year that kereru are laying their eggs so I'm hoping to see some of their babies in a couple of months.  It's lovely to see them so at home in town, I miss the two pair that nested in the big tree above my house on the farm.  But it doesn't surprise me, as they don't frighten easily, allow close approach.  I haven't heard these two make any sounds other than the whoosh of their wings as they fly.  The only time I've ever heard a kereru make a little "oos" sound was when there was a kestrel flying above, I think their call was an alarm.  

Sometimes they sit one above the other

Monday, 13 September 2021

First, find the right spot

I did.  I found a spot where I had a good view of little Lexis opening her fifth birthday presents.  Being able to see her delight was more important than getting good photos.  

Yesterday was a glorious sunny spring day, warm in the sun.  The glare from the sun coming in through the windows bathed Lexis in lovely soft light.  Beautiful.  But not very good for photography.

My very worst photo of the day is the one I simply must share with you.  Lexis has been asking for some weights.  No-one has any idea why, must be from something she's seen on TV.  The only one to listen is her godmother, who always has the knack of giving her the perfect gift.  Forget the dolls, books, toys, even her new scooter, nothing gave her a thrill like those weights did.

Lots of concentration required to open some of those gifts.

Little fingers busy decorating their own treats.

I can't think of a more perfect way to pass a Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Perhaps the first safari

I'm often amused at how the memory works.  I know the first time I met Graham (GB, Eagleton Notes) it was a Friday.  I think it was 2009.  As I waited for him to arrive at Whangarei Airport I ran into the chief executive of the polytech where I worked and he asked where I was off to on a Friday.  I had great pleasure explaining I didn't work on Fridays and was then a bit embarrassed when I realised he was just being chatty and not censoring me in any way.  

Graham, was it that trip that we discovered the flat tyre on my car when we went to leave for the airport for your return?  That was a record breaking tyre change.

Was it that trip that my granddaughters offered to teach him to ride the quad bike?  Can't remember.

So many details lost.  But there are some highlights that will never be forgotten.

You know, when you hear of people who wouldn't be alive were it not for ... (fill in the blanks).

I think it was the following year that we had our lucky escape. When Graham drove north in Dora the Explorer, a Ford Explorer and we ventured to the very northern most point of New Zealand, Cape Reinga.  We'd travelled over some rather treacherous dirt roads, including the steep and winding road down to Tapotupoto Bay.   Had Dora flown apart on that stretch of our journey we would have been in serious trouble.  Instead something broke with very loud bank under the bonnet (can't remember the details) and we lost power on a long straight downhill section of road and could roll to a gentle stop and pull off the road beside a letter box.  Often you will find a house near a letterbox but not in this case.  Here an access road lead to houses at a distant beach.

Here's Graham's photo of our plight.

But, all was not lost.  Graham's vehicle insurance covered not only the rescue of the vehicle but of it's passengers, too.  (I changed my vehicle insurance as soon as I got home to include that service.)

The bad news was the tow truck we needed was busy elsewhere miles and miles away and it would be hours before it would get to us.  It was very hot sitting there beside the road.  After a while I decided to ring my niece who had a holiday home not far from where we were stranded on the off chance that her family was there that weekend.  Our luck was in, she was visiting some distant relatives who lived even closer to where we were than her own home and within minutes she arrived to whisk us away for a birthday family barbeque in that family's new home high on a hill overlooking Doubtless Bay.  We enjoyed a glorious, warm evening and a stunning view.

Finally we received the phone call telling us the tow truck was at the scene of the accident and the driver was not amused to find us not there also.  He was a bit grumpy but Graham's friendly chatter had him relaxing as he ferried us and Dora back to Kerikeri where we were staying (over an hour's drive away).  

I remember that part clearly but the following couple of days are a bit of a blur.  We were given a vehicle to use while repairs were being done to Dora.  How did we get it?  It must have been delivered to where we were staying in a nice Air Bnb on a kiwifruit orchard just out of town.  The next day we drove back to my niece's beach house to pick up Graham's sunglasses which he'd left at the house on the hill in our rush to return to the vehicle.  Somewhere along the line we had coffee at a bustling cafe in the middle of Kerikeri.  I've been there many times since and always remember that first visit.

The repairs couldn't be started until the damage to Dora could be assessed and I think there was some delay getting that done.  Graham had to put off his return home while repairs were being done and I returned to work.  He probably missed a game or two of croquet.  No wait, I think he visited a croquet club in town one day to fill in the time.  

Then he had to drive back up north to pick her up before heading back to Napier.  I think Graham did a bit more driving than he'd reckoned on during that trip.  Oh, hold on a minute, I think Graham was following his Sat Nav for directions to my place when he arrived and it took him on an unfathomable route, miles and miles longer than it should have been.  Yes, he sure did do a lot of driving!

I'm pretty sure this next photo was taken that trip but can't remember whether it was before or after Dora's misadventure.  I'd guess after, the next day.  After we went back to pick up the sunglasses we must have taken the long way back - surely not! - as that looks to me like the beaches around Te Ngaere Bay.  

So thankful to have so many memories that make me smile.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Spring time memories

Thank you, Monica, for suggesting making use of my memories when my imagination is out to lunch.

Do other Facebook users enjoy the "You have memories to look back on" function?  I only hooked into it recently and am loving it.  Seems this is usually a very busy time of year for me.  But perhaps re-living my trip to UK and Europe around this time of year 6 years ago has left me feeling a bit sad thinking about how the world has changed since then.  

Instead I decided to dwell on how thankful I am that I made that trip when I did and the pleasures that remain the same. I'm surrounded by the signs of spring, new life, so the beauty of the changing seasons came to mind

Then I remembered the dolphins. 

During the autumn and winter of 2009 I ran a backpackers at surfside Mangawhai.  Most of the time during winter it was very quiet, many nights there was just 21 year old Aiden, a permanent guest during the week, and me.  Looking after the backpackers wasn't a fulltime job, I had three other part-time jobs, so I was kept busy.  It was a really happy time of my life.  I enjoyed meeting the backpackers from all over the world, I was pretty much in my element having new people to chat with all the time.

But the very best thing that happened during that time was the dolphins that visited at the surf beach.   A guest who was there for the surfing came in one evening hardly able to talk he was so excited.  He'd been riding a wave and saw a dark shape in the water beside him, on the side closest to the rocks.  At first he thought it was a rock, then he fell off his board as the "rock" shot out the front of the wave, flipped in the air over the crest of the wave.  He got back on his board and sat there, stunned, looking around and sure enough the dolphin came back, along with 5 or 6 mates.  He said they were obviously showing off, showing him how to really ride a wave.

After that, I started to take my regular walks along the surf beach rather than along the estuary closer to home. I saw them a number of times playing in the waves, sometimes only one or two, sometimes quite a gathering of them. They were small, were they children?

One day when I had with me 5 Finnish backpackers we all rolled up our trousers and waded into the surf with them. It was September, around this time of year, the water was freezing but we got quite carried away with the excitement of being there in the water with the dolphins. The taller guys could spread their legs wide enough for these darling little creatures to swim through. Obviously they were enjoying the fun as much as we were.

It was a remarkable, unforgettable experience. Just to see the delight in the eyes of the tourists would have been enough but I know that delight was also reflected in mine.

That was the last time I saw the dolphins. I figured that as the water warmed up they moved on.

But I will never forget the excitement and sheer joy of that day.

Magical Mangawhai where the dolphins played 

Today I believe summer really is coming.  I'm not going to get too excited about it, because I know what a witch Lady Spring is.  She lures you into tossing aside you winter woolies then hit you with a wintery blast, she may not be ready to roll over and make way for summer just yet.

And then, there's the good news for the day.  We in the north, along with the rest of the country outside Auckland, will have our Covid restrictions lifted from mid-night tomorrow night. 
Ta da!

Friday, 3 September 2021


Does anyone else think that imagination could have a lifespan?  Or is it just my brain has grown old and isn't as active as it used to be?

I remember when I was a kid and could turn any boring day into an exciting adventure.  I was creative and imaginative.  What I couldn't do in reality I could easily achieve in my head.  Mind you, I had a good go at achieving in reality most things I wanted to do, too.  I would fearlessly swing on a rope high in a tree and compete to see who could land the furthermost from the tree.  And in my imagination I would fly.  I'd play football and cricket in the back yard with my brothers and I'd be playing for Australia.  Being a girl didn't limit me.  Even when I grew a little older and was forbidden from playing football (to protect my lady bits as my father said) I was the best commentator, Pauline Lovejoy, better even than the legendary George Lovejoy.

Eventually, I put away my childish dreams and became a pragmatic realist but there was always a fairy tale or a story in my head waiting for a child to hear it.  I wrote poems for my children and grandchildren, little books of fantasy for each of my grand-children.

Now I want to do something special for my great-granddaughter and there's nothing there.  When I play with her I can't keep up with her "Let's pretend" games.  My imagination is slow and dull.

May your imagination and sense of adventure never fade.

Thursday, 26 August 2021

It's time

I can easily survive in my Covid lockdown isolation but just today started feeling the total isolation from all my usual activities.  I haven't visited other blogs or felt much interest in life in general since little baby Mason died.  Such a tiny wee child, he had a huge impact on so many of us.

But before I allow myself to slip into a quagmire of self pity, I'm putting on my Big Girl panties, squaring my shoulders and vowing to do better.

I had to go into town to collect my prescription from the chemist a few days ago and stopped at the lookout on the way home to remind myself that I still live in a beautiful world.

I'm looking forward to a good catch up.

To my fellow Kiwis, I hope you are coping well in Lockdown.