Friday, 26 June 2020

The ducks are happy

The creek had burst its banks in a few places yesterday and we've had a few decent downpours since then, with steady rain in between.  Good snuggling and reading weather.
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. John Ruskin
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. John Ruskin
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. John Ruskin
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. John Ruskin

The road and the creek

There is no such thing as bad weather
Only different kinds of good weather
John Ruskin

Monday, 22 June 2020

Early manuka

It's said that early flowering manuka is a sign of a dry summer. 

If that's the case we are going to be in real strife come summer.  I've never seen it flowering this early before. As a rule I think it's early if I see the flowers in September but the young trees in the forest are starting to flower now.  Maybe it's only the young trees, I haven't seen any big ones flowering.  They look so pretty with their delicate snowy whiteness. 

While I was walking through the bush the 'wrong' colour green caught my eye.  Don't ask me how that clothes peg got there.  I have no idea.

Sunday, 21 June 2020


Do you ever want to give yourself a good, hard kick?  A kick that will shift the brains from your backside back to where they should be?  Maybe you don't misplace your brains the way I lost mine yesterday.

And the one to suffer was my cat, Alleycat.  She's a flighty thing, in the nearly three years she has shared her life with me she has never liked to be touched much.  She'll come and rub against me but the minute a hand goes towards her she's gone.  When anyone comes into the house she'll make herself scarce.   But she is a talker, the loudest, most talkative cat I've ever come across.  She can be a right pain when I'm on the phone because if she hears my voice she thinks I'm talking to her and joins in the conversation, so loudly that people have been known to ask if the cat they can hear is alright.

Like a lot of cats she loves a box to hide in.

She's great little hunter, usually brings in at least one mouse a day for me to stand on.  And occasionally she catches a bird which upsets me.

So that's the back story.  You know how everyone, every entertainer, every quizz show contestant these days has to have a backstory?  There is more back story to Alleycat, of course.  I took two of my grandchildren with me the day I went to choose a kitten from the SPCA (A Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) but didn't take the least bit of notice of what they thought once I spotted Alley.  She was the image of a wild kitten in a alleyway that I'd taken a photo of in Istanbul.

The ladies at the SPCA said they didn't know her history but warned me that she might be difficult to settle.  They even called me after a week to see how we were getting along and said I could bring her back and swap her for another if I wasn't getting along with her.  But she had been fine with my 7 year old grandson, happy to sit on his lap and be stroked so I thought she'd come around to me sooner or later.

Wrong!  She's still good with children.  They can pick her up and cart her around the place and she doesn't say a word, although you can hear her purr from across the room.  So it obviously wasn't children who abused her.

Anyway, my daughter has been helping me sort through my 'stuff' and we found a cat collar with bells on it.  She threw it in the Donate pile but after she'd gone home I fished it back out thinking I'd wait my opportunity and put it on Alley.  Why I thought a nervous animal would like bells tinkling in her ears I have no idea.

My opportunity came yesterday morning when she was in her box and, to my surprise, she just sat there while I put the collar on her.  However, when she stood up to shake the strange thing off her, the jingle sent her into a frenzy and she took off outside at speed.

I thought she'd be back before long as she spends a lot of time in her favourite in the house places.  The box is her latest favourite.  By mid afternoon with no sign of her I was beginning to worry and I called and called her off and on for the rest of the day, feeling more and more guilty about my stupidity.

For the first time ever she didn't speak up to remind me when it was 5 o'clock and her dinner time.  That's when I got seriously worried.

She finally came home at 4.20 this morning.  I heard her come through the window and run quickly to the lounge room but when I went to look for her I couldn't see her.  I put out fresh food for her and went back to bed.  When I got up this morning there was no sign of her but as I walked though the lounge room I heard a very quiet meow.  Extremely quiet for her.  I eventually tracked her to under the couch where she used to hide when she was little.  I had no idea she still fitted under there, she's quite a big cat.  I lifted the couch and she slowly came out from under there but slowly and careful not to jingle the bells.  Uncharacteristically she just sat at my feet while I took the collar off.  Maybe if I'd left it on her she might have learned how to live with it but she looked so traumatised, and I was so traumatised, I couldn't do that to her. 

She hasn't left her box all day and is very wary.  She lifts her head to check for the lady monster every time I make a sound.  And she hasn't said a word all day.  I hope it's just the sulks.  I hope it doesn't take too long for her to learn to understand what "I'm so sorry, Alleycat" means!

Friday, 19 June 2020

Fungi lovers' delight

With the arrival of Covid 19, the lodge I look after lost all its bookings right through until November.   Once we came out of lockdown the trustees took advantage of no traffic on the access road to undertake some major road repairs.  Then, wouldn't you know it, after months of wanting more rain, we had too much to be compatible with roadworks.  So they have been abandoned for the time being leaving a rather unattractive approach to the forest. 

Today was the first time I've been able to get in to the lodge to see if everything is in order.  Rats and mice can be a real bother in winter and I was concerned they may have gained access to the lodge while no-one was around.  Thankfully, there is no sign of them. 

I took a walk to the Clearing and the Confidence Course.  It seems like forever since I last did that.  Felt so good to be back in my happy place.

With no children visiting I fantisiced that the little people had taken over and made themselves some unique little homes.  I've never seen so much fungi on the one day.

a little swirl of creativity

the bakers in round dimpled bun homes

the chocolate makers

A solitary topknot

The colourful folk

This poor settlement has been under attack from feral pigs

A large community

My foot escaped unharmed

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

The 1948 Vauxhall

Graham recently posted about the first few cars in his life.  His memory is so much better than mine and his fondness for cars far outweighs mine but I do have very fond memories of the first car in my life, a 1948 Vauxhall, known as The Bomb.  Not in the modern da bomb meaning.

Vauxhall Velox -
Image courtesy of Vauxhall

I was about 18 and I'd got my driving licence the previous year driving a boyfriend's brand new dinky little mini minor, when one of my uncles gave us a big, old 1948 Vauxhall for my brothers to learn how to tinker with motors.  We didn't even have a family car so it was quite a novelty.  The boys didn't have licences so I was the only one to drive it.  It couldn't have been more totally different to drive than the mini.

If I wanted to take it anywhere there would be a discussion on what they were tinkering with at the time.  They did a lot of tinkering but usually not with anything important although it did occasionally break down at inopportune times.  The main problem seemed to be when the car stopped so I dreaded traffic lights.  Way back then they weren't on every corner, just very busy intersections, not the place you wanted to be stuck.  My girlfriends and I got quite experienced at attracting attention of people to give us a push.  I have an image stuck in my mind forever of a chubby Italian greengrocer in his white apron gesticulating wildly shouting, "Boys, boys, we need strong boys!"  We were quite embarrassed when the 'boys' who stopped to help us turned out to be three that we knew.

"Boys, boys, we need strong boys!" became something of an anthem with us.

My father would forbid me to drive it at night if I wasn't going somewhere where I could stay the night.  Most of the time even when it would start, the lights were dodgy.  I got pulled over one night on a very busy road right out in front of the Brisbane General Hospital by a good looking young policeman to tell me my lights weren't on.  By the time he walked around the front of the car I had pushed the light knob back in and pulled it back out again and wallah!!  By the smile on his face I think he knew very well what I'd done but rather than warning me asked us where the party was.  Ahh,  those were the days!

On another occasion the horn came on as I was going around a corner in front of the local police station.  I should have just kept going but no, I pulled over and lifted the bonnet to do what my brothers had told me to do if that happened.  I'm pretty sure I was so flustered I just forgot what it was I was meant to do and the although the noise was horrible it was a while before a policeman came to investigate.  These days I'm pretty sure the car would be deemed unroadworthy but the cop patiently listened to me venting my frustration about my useless brothers and how I was sure they had sabotaged the horn to cause me embarrassment.  Then he gave me a kind pat on the shoulder and sent me on my way.

My girlfriends and I had such fun in that car and I think it's thanks to that car that I'm a confident driver.  I think it may be responsible in some way for my developing adventurous nature.  I can still hear my best friend laughing when something went wrong and I'd rant about my brothers until I ended up laughing too.  I really should have appreciated my brothers more.  Somehow they kept that old bomb going well past its use by date.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Welcome mud

In a month or two I know I'll be totally fed up with mud but for now it's a welcome sight.  Our prayers for rain have been answered and one thing always leads to another.

I was thinking about taking a drive out to the lake at the back of the farm but decided, after looking at the track, that it might be wisest not to tempt fate.  I'd be very embarrassed if I got the car stuck and had to call for help.  I admired the last of the autumn leaves instead.

Adrian, I finally figured the photo thing out.  Thanks for your offer to help.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Doing what's good for me

I know what's good for me, what I should do to nourish my spirit.  Why I don't do it more often is the question I ask myself.  After a day out just going for a drive, no hurry, no set destination I feel so good.

Yesterday started with a plan but the plan was scuttled by the ill health of the friend Chris and I were to visit so we decided to go somewhere anyway.  We picked the right day for it, the weather was glorious.  Although by the time we returned home it had turned rather nasty.  

We hugged the coast heading south, took a side road or two for no particular reason, just to see what had changed since we were last there.  Along the coast between Ruakaka and Mangawhai the change has been constant, the rate of development is astounding.

The bright sunshine was a little too bright for photos and I wasn't in the mood to fiddle with my camera settings so didn't take many photos.

The surrounding area might have changed but the nearby cemetery and the Waipu river mouth are constants.  

On what was once farmland situated where we used to think was a long way from the beach at Mangawhai, the hillsides are slowly being covered.  Here we are parked on a new development with already one completed house and another being built, looking across at a development that has been there for quite a while and was slow to take off. 

While we were in the area we called in to visit Sharon, one of my nieces, in her new family home.    Luckily her husband and daughter (who has returned from university in the states because of the virus) were also home.  Her other daughter will be out of quarantine next week after finally getting back home from Edinburgh.  What a troubling time for parents with children overseas.

I certainly know about that but I can't allow myself to dwell on my son, his partner and little baby in Brasil.  I give thanks that Bernie is a besotted father and loves to share frequent photos of his little princess.

A day with a good friend, family and familiar beauty spots - what more could anyone ask.

Adrian, I give up, still can't find how to enlarge the photos.  I don't want to ruin my day by the frustration of trying any longer.

Monday, 1 June 2020

The Subritzky Homestead

Blame the times.  I've been feeling a bit unsettled (and lazy) lately.  Blame the times.  Might as well, can't think of any other reason.

Before the laziness overcomes me I thought I'd have a look at this new Blogger interface as I can imagine the day coming when I have something on which I want to make a blog post and then having to grapple with learning a new way of doing things.  And, oh look, here's one I prepared earlier.  I would never have found it if I'd seen the New Post icon before I spotted 'Drafts'.

This is the best shot I've yet to take of the old Subritsky Homestead at Houhora.  It looks like it's had some attention recently, especially in the grounds.  I forgot when I was posting about my trip to Cape Reinga with my sisters (back in January) that we had called in for a brief stop at Houhora.  The Subritzky family were the first European settlers in the Far North.  I've always been fascinated by this old home and its history.  It was constructed between April 1860 and June of the following year.
In 1898 the homestead was sold to Ludolph Subritzky's married daughter Lousia Wagener and has remained ever since in the care of the Wagener family.  In 1991 the Subritzky Homestead was named a National Historic Place.

Haven't figured out how to enlarge the photo.  Give me time.