Thursday, 30 June 2016

Edward Heath's garden fence

The eyes of all are on Britain and the EU.  From the place where surprising things lurk in my memory I recall that Edward Heath was Prime Minister when they entered the European Economic Community.  I visited his former home when I was in England last year.  These are two fences in his garden.

 I poked my camera through the fence at the bottom of the garden to capture this scene. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

I hope it's OK

Yesterday was much like today, cold, wet, windy and pretty miserable.  

I was engrossed in the last few pages of a crime novel when a loud bang lifted me out of my chair.  It sounded like a bird flying into the window right beside where I was sitting but much louder than usual maybe because it was so close.   As I lifted my head I saw a kestrel approach and fly over the house and guessed that it was indeed a bird fleeing the hawk that made the noise.  

When I first found what had made the noise, the little kingfisher was splayed on the front steps, wings akimbo, head at an awkward looking angle, beak on the step.  By the time I grabbed the camera he had tucked his wings back in and perked up a little but was still obviously dazed as he took no notice of me opening the window above his head.  

It took the poor little thing about 15 minutes to recover and I kept as quiet as possible hoping it wouldn't leave until it had recovered completely and not make an easy meal for the kestrel.  

I do hope it's OK.  They make lovely neighbours.

The colours of the kingfisher reminded me of the new mural on a side wall at the shops in a low socio-economic part of town.  The bird in this artwork is a tui, a beautiful New Zealand native bird.  The wall is part of a mission to brighten up the city.  It sure does that.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Friday, 17 June 2016

Waipu fence

I resolve to improve my labeling.  If nothing else good comes from this week, let that be it.   I searched for Waipu fences and this was all I could come up with, when I know there are many more hidden in my files somewhere.   

I am linking to Teresa's Good Fences.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Turkish fences

It's miserable here today, overcast, wet, dismal.

I let myself drift away to a warmer place with clear blue skies and sparkling seas on the banks of the Bosphorus in Intanbul, where the fences were crispy white and majestic.

Linking to Teresa's fences.

Thursday, 9 June 2016


I found myself talking to the radio announcer on my way home from the shops.

He was talking about the traffic lights that are being installed in pavements in Sydney to prevent accidents caused by pedestrians distracted by their phones.

The “in-ground traffic-light technology” will shine red to indicate when it’s dangerous for pedestrians to cross the road.  Such texting pedestrians are now called textestrians.

I wanted to know what we call the shoppers who forget what they are doing while texting?   I was still annoyed about the texting woman, who couldn't even use youth as an excuse, who had run into me in the supermarket aisle.  I had seen her coming and I guess I could have moved out of her way as I was no doubt expected to do but was gripped by some sort of pigheadedness and stood my ground.  Or aisle.  I could have moved my shopping trolley so she hit into that but chose to turn my body so I took her forward action on my shoulder and not front on.  I could even have dropped by shoulder and hurt her a little but, to give myself some credit, didn't.

I almost blurted out "Sorry" as one tends to do when one accidentally bumps into someone in the shops but restrained myself, waiting for her apology.  Might as well wait for that star to appear in the east again, it wasn't going to happen.  She barely missed a step or lifted her eyes before stepping around me and carrying on.  I started to give her an earful before I realised I was wasting my breath.

I had a bit of difficulty "letting it go" on the way home and the news from Sydney set me off again.  I tried many forms of pedestrians to use as a descriptive word for such rude people before settling on "pestestrians".  

Have you got a better suggestion?

Monday, 6 June 2016

The possum hunters

My grandmother had a pet possum.  In fact several generations of the same possum family came to her roof early each evening to be fed.  When we arrived to visit she would tell us not to be alarmed if we heard a bang on the roof around 3 am, that would just be the possum.  These pets of hers never had a name and any hand other than Gran's that put out food for them on the low overhang of the back porch would be badly scratched.

I found it hard to accept when I first came to New Zealand that here possums are pests.  In their home environment they are as one with nature and create no problems.  But what is a loved native animal in Australia has become a hated pest here in New Zealand. A major agricultural and conservation pest.


Blame the early European settlers who wanted to establish a wild source for food and fibre and fur pelts for clothing and so they introduced the common brushtail possum from Australia in the 1850s; by the 1980s the peak population had reached an estimated 60-70 million.  Today there are estimated to be 10 million possums here in Northland where I live and they are doing awful damage to our native forests.

Possums eat native vegetation causing damage to trees. This leads to competition for food with native forest birds.  Possums are opportunists and will eat the eggs of native birds and chicks.  They eat foliage to survive but prefer other foods.

They also carry bovine tuberculosis which is a major threat to the dairy, beef and deer farming industries.

So now I don't blink an eye when my grand-daughter and her young friend, Devlin tell me they are going to make some money shooting possums, although I was bit squeamish wondering how many they would have to skin to make it worth the cost of the bullets.  No, no they tell me, they intend to sell the fur.  Apparently you can pluck them like a chicken if you do it while they are still warm.  I figure shooting is a lot more humane than trapping or poisoning and encourage them in their endeavours.

Can you make out the fur at the bottom of the bag?

The young entrepreneurs tell me it takes between 15 to 20 possums for a kilo of fur and they expect to get about $110 per kilo. When they called in to show me their haul so far they had shot 22 possums so were on their way to their second fortune.  

They were also in a hurry to show me their latest victim (before it cooled down) which they noticed was looking quite comfortable when they threw it on the back of the quad bike.  

I'm wondering if I should tell them some N Z companies are exporting possum carcasses to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia for human consumption, where possum is regarded as a delicacy and known as "Kiwi bear".  There is also a small industry processing possum meat as 'Possyum' dog food, also for export.

Something I stumbled upon when trying to find out the going price on possum carcasses (gave up), you can study for a Bachelor of Entrepreneurship Degree at Waikato University and even carry on for a Masters (offered by the University of Adelaide in Australia).

Sunday, 5 June 2016

It's still an anniversary

I know a lot of people will say it doesn't count but I disagree.  Fifty years is fifty years.  And an anniversary is just that.  So, regardless of what anyone thinks, today I celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary.  As I was actually married for only half that time the celebrations will be a bit half hearted, but I no longer have  the inclination for celebrations on the grand scale.

I've reflected on those 50 years and am thankful that there have certainly been a lot more good than bad.  A lot.  The difficult times are a mere flash in that time span.  I have four terrific offspring and six grandchildren I adore.  I'm basically healthy and definitely happy.  

I have no regrets and firmly believe there's no point dwelling on the past and what might have been.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda I call it.  Who knows where any one of thousands of different decisions would have taken me?  I could be better off than I am now but, then again, I could be a hell of a lot worse off, too.   

I've forgotten a lot of it but still remember the bits that were important to me so that, alone, is reason for celebration.  Or I think I do.  Maybe I just remember the bits I choose to remember and have binned the rest.  I still remember the joke one of my uncles told at my wedding reception. 

Songs that were popular then have stood the test of time. Remember When A Man Loves A Woman and Frank Sinatra crooning Strangers in the Night. Pretty Flamingo by Manfred Mann.   I doubt very much if today's brides will remember todays pop songs on their 50th wedding anniversary.  Or maybe I'm showing my age with that comment.  

I think I'll bust out some Frank Sinatra to add to the atmosphere.