Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Kite surfing

There are so many different summer sports involving a board and a sail or a kite I'm not sure of the correct title of each.  Or it might be that different people use different titles.  Either way I had been watching a lone figure having what looked to be a wonderful time riding his board, harnessing the wind through a parachute type kite, shooting over the waves, propelled along at speed.  I call it kite surfing.

He'd been whipping back and forth across the bay, and then I lost sight of him.  A little while later he appeared trudging up the beach his kite/sail still flapping in the wind.  He stopped just short of where we were gathered to deflate the kite completely.

And then he trudged on past us.  Maybe I was imagining it but he looked tired but happy to me.

The weather has been sunny but quite windy, perfect for his particular sport.

 I'm linking to Betty's My Corner of the World.


Sunday, 27 December 2020

Just add a child

There was a child in the house, just in time for Christmas!  My grandson arrived, oh and his parents too, but it's the child that had been the missing ingredient.  

I tell him Santa Claus was granted an exemption to come to NZ and he did try to look like he believed all that nonsense to keep me happy.  

He's a thoughtful child and I think he realizes how lucky we are to be able to relax with our loved ones, to be able to gather freely, go wherever we please, hug whomever we please.

Nothing better than being woken on Christmas Day to a hug from a young one before you've even combed your hair.  To be fair it does look like he's more of a hugee but he wasn't complaining.

We saw most of the family on Christmas Day but when there's a farmer in the family you accept sometimes other things take priority.  Water pump problems in summer can't be put off to another day.  Luckily a temporary fix was possible and it was a full muster on Boxing Day.

A catch up with the missing sibling, my younger son in Brasil.  We all miss him so much at times like this.  How we'd love to have his little family with us one day.

The cooks allowed a brief respite from kitchen duties to say hello to their brother.

Cricket on the lawn before lunch.

Uninterested in cricket, my great granddaughter, Lexis has some quiet time in the garden clutching on to her favourite gift, a toy guitar.

 Cricket at the beach after lunch.

Time to strike a pose and point the toes for family photos.

And for little Lexis to learn about the annual silly photo.

I love Christmas.  I wonder what the year between this one and the next will bring.  My prayer is I will get to meet my 8 month old Brazillian grand-daughter and get to hug my younger son again.

This is my favourite Christmas photo.  My younger daughter playing a happy tune on Lexis' toy guitar.  Oops, I should have cropped out that pair of feet.  I think they belong to Rose, my grandson's girlfriend.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Two more sleeps

I often I think the best part about Christmas is the anticipation.  I've never lost that joyous tingle of anticipation that I had as a child.  Although, as the oldest of a large family (there were 12 of us), I was expected to curb my excitement and help keep the younger siblings from getting too strung out, to get them settled in bed at night, counting down the sleeps.  I might have suppressed it, but, believe me, it was well and truly there.  

It was never about the gifts because what we received wasn't very impressive when compared to some others but we were aware that another family in our street received the same sort of gifts that we did but we had a father and they didn't.  So we knew we were better off by far.  We knew their presents came from Legacy, a wonderful Australian institution that supports Australian Defence Force families to carry on with their lives after the loss or injury of their loved one.  We remembered being told Mr Cook had died from injuries suffered during the war and the sorrow we felt for the Cook kids.  We knew something was wrong when the nuns asked the Cook children to return home as we finished our morning assembly at school.  We didn't call it that, can't remember what it was called but it happened at the start of the school day and it had never happened before for children to be told to go back home.  Imagine those children, I think 4 of the 6 children had started school, walking the mile back home.  Surely they wondered what was going on.  I often think about that.

(Getting off the track a bit but my father became the Cook kids' substitute father figure when one of them played up.  Mrs Cook would send one of her brood up the street with a note for Dad telling him what the naughty child had done and expecting him to provide the discipline she found difficult.  Dad hated doing it but saw it as his Christian duty.  He was a very good man!)

Somewhere along the line I must have been gifted a doll.  I don't remember that happening but I do remember opening a gift of hand made clothes for my doll, made from the same material as one of my grandmother's dresses.  I adored my Gran and couldn't have been more thrilled.  I can imagine my mother and Gran having a chat and Gran offering to lighten the load for my mother by making me some doll's clothes.  I don't know if my daughters realize how I loved making the time to make clothes for their dolls, I always thought of it as the biggest possible expression of love.  I was a busy mum when they were young but at least I still had good eyesight and could sew after they were in bed at night, something that would be out of the question now.

Today I did my grocery shopping for Christmas. Such a tame build up compared to when I was a child and the excitement would go up a notch on Christmas Eve as Gran called for volunteers to help catch and kill the ducks and hens we would feast on.  It wasn't really volunteering, when Gran said, "Who's coming to help?" it was like a royal command and I just can't imagine anyone refusing.  Gran would be prosecuted by SPCA these days.  First of all there would be mayhem in the chookhouse as we chased and caught prospective victims and took them to Gran for inspection.  I swear she vetoed the first five or six presented to her just for the fun of it.  The final decision made, she'd then have one of us hold the duck or chook over the chopping block while she chopped off its head.  I was glad when one of the others was old enough to undertake that task, it seemed like I'd had to do it forever.  Then she'd let the bird free to run around without it's head until it dropped, by which time we would have scattered far and wide - up on the shed roof, down the gully beside the house, out into the cow paddock, up the back to the cow shed.  And Gran would be having a great old laugh.  

When we felt it was safe to return, we'd get on with the plucking and gutting of the birds.  I didn't mind the gutting, it was easy enough to close my eyes, pretend I couldn't smell it and get on with it but I absolutely hated plucking.  The monotony of it!

The thrill of Christmas was about having that special sit down hot feast in the middle of the day (in the heat of Queensland summer) with all of us and our grandparents, uncles and aunts and cousins.  Christmas pudding with coins to be discovered and Gran's homemade icecream.  Doing the dishes after the meal with everyone in good spirits, then a quiet time before a swim in the creek - if we were lucky and there had been recent rain.  Cricket in the paddock beside the house followed by the first watermelons of the annual crop.  Other relatives arriving during the afternoon to visit for a while, laughter, happiness.  And the perfect end to the perfect day was one of the uncles playing the mouth organ (harmonica), the farm dogs howling their objection noisily and then, if we were very lucky, we'd hear dingoes howling back up in the mountains at the back of the house.

I don't think a Christmas has gone by since those wonderful days of my childhood without me remembering the dingoes howling.  It's a sound I've never heard since but one I carry with me still.

I took a photo on the way home from the supermarket.  It was a dull, overcast day.  The freshly mowed hay paddocks add a patchwork effect.

And look, fresh tomatoes for Christmas.  I am now enjoying the first of this year's crop.  Not quite the same as watermelon!  I got a bit over-excited at its size of the first one and picked it too soon. 

I send Christmas greetings to you all.  I do hope you have a happy day wherever you are, especially if your celebrations are effected by Covid. 

We cannot change the direction of the winds but we can adjust the sails.

I'm linking to Betty's My Corner of the World. 

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Colours of the season

My blog is turning into episodes of, "That was the week that was." I'll try to channel David Frost and be entertaining.  That, in itself, is funny.  

Can you believe that show was taped in the early 60s?  The episode I just watched on You Tube would be seen as dreadfully offensive these days.

I stretched my corner of the world this week to include Warkworth and Matakana, about a 1.5 hour drive from here.  Except the return journey took an extra half hour because of roadworks on the highway.  we are learning to live with roadworks lately, there sure are a lot of them around here.  One day we might end up with some decent roads.  Some hope!

With the coming of the warm weather of summer our farms are starting to look a bit dry but we aren't as dry as around Matakana.

If you can ignore the dry grass, it's a lovely time of year for flowering trees and gardens that have acces to plenty of water.

On Monday, to avoid the roadworks, I came home from town via an alternative route and stopped at a little cafe I like in Maungatapere for a late lunch.  The Office Cafe is in the building which once housed the office of a dairy factory.  I remember it from its operating days. It closed in the mid 80s and now houses a car museum and several other businesses.

On a wall outside the cafe sits this cute, brightly painted little children's book exchange.

Just up the road from the cafe I pulled off the road to take a photo of this jacaranda.  I can never see a jacaranda without thinking of where I grew up in Brisbane, Australia.  You'd think jacarandas were native to the area the way they thrive there, the climate must be very similar to that of south-central South America.  They don't grow quite so profusely here but still catch the eye.


While I was stopped taking the photo I noticed a street off the highway I'd never ventured into before so took another detour.  And was rewarded with another sight that reminded me of home except this Bougainvillea was very well behaved.  My favourite memory of them is an old abandoned farmhouse on the roadside going to my grandparents' farm and watching it being devoured, year by year, by a riot of red until there was no sign that once there had been a home there.  It's another native of South America that found Queensland to its liking.

The agapanthus in the foreground originally came from southern Africa and floourishes here.  I made the mistake of planting some years ago, then being told they are an invasive weed and a major threat to native plants.  It took years to get rid of them and I once broke a spade trying to dig one out.  They do look lovely, though, at this time of year when they line the roadsides for miles on end and when they can be kept under control in a lovely garden like this one.

I'm an old misery, talking about things that come from somewhere else when all around us at the moment are flowering pohutukawa our very own New Zealand Christmas tree.  Note to self - stop next time you go past the school and take a decent photo of one.

 Linking to Betty's My Corner of the World.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020


'Tis the season of abundance.  In the garden and in the fields.  I don't know how much lettuce I thought one person could ever need but I just know if we'd only planted one or two plants they would have died.  Luckily my daughter in law has a few catering jobs at the moment so can use most of the crop.  The rest goes to our little community Sharing Shed.

Everywhere you look along the roadsides there are bales of hay and silage.  This scene caught my eye during the week as it has so much more than usual going on.  The cars in the middle ground are at the rifle range, the cows are totally ignoring the sound of gunfire.


I'm linking to My Corner of the World.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

A changed outlook

A last look at the lovely trees along the fence I share with my neighbour.  They had warned me that the arborist would be coming to trim their trees, that their chainsaws and mulcher might be a bit noisy.   

I successfully ignored the noise until lunch time and was then alarmed when I looked out the window and saw the workers surveying their handiwork on the avocado tree.  I've never seen a pruned avocado before but I'm not convinced that's how one should look.

Now the outlook from my kitchen window to my corner of the world is very different. 

In other news I've now had two visits to a lovely young osteopath and my body is much more at ease.  The horrible fuzzsy head has disappeared completely, the aches and pains are back to normal and, dare I say it? I think my back could be better than before.

I'm linking to My Corner of the World.