Sunday, December 31

It is New Year's Eve.

We have invited some friends to spend the evening with us. And DJ & SIL if they wish to come. DJ has to work in the early evening, so may not feel like going out.

Past experience has taught us that low key, quiet NYE's suit us very well. Some years we are even in our beds sleeping!

GOM says he will be glad 'when all 'this' is over, & we can get back to knowing what day it is!'
I suppose that sums it all up, really. You do lose track of what day, & where in the week we are.

When I was young, BFJ & I used to go to dances on NYE. As I recall they were fun filled affairs, & alcohol didnt really feature in them. Occasionally we would go on to a party, after the dances & there must have been alcohol, but it doesnt stand out as a primary feature.

The holiday period would be spent lying on the beaches, with the current man-of-the-moment, going to further dances, & reading, & generally lazing about. At that time I was working as an assistant in a shoe shop- yes, I loved shoes, & had 36 pairs. And I am so glad I wore all the lovely high heels, & ridiculous fashions that there were... because arthritis prevents it now, but at least I can say 'once upon a time'.
The shop owner gave the young staff the full holiday period off, & we made the most of the time, I think.
We didnt seem to have time to be bored. But we were single then, & I suppose our thoughts & dreams filled our heads.

I wish everyone a safe & happy New Year.

Saturday, December 30


Sorry, I sneezed as I typed.!!

New Year's is my least favourite time of the year.

"December 31st,
is the very worst time of the year,
Just when your'e having fun,
It's January One,
And you wait for, explanations/expectations to appear"

The words of that Pheobe Snow song have always stuck in my mind. I think of that song every New Year of my life, since I heard it.

When we were 'YP's" - ie Young Publicans- we were always expected to have a really late night, to usher in the New Year... which would include staff, sundry 'regulars', & any 'stray cops' who were without alternative destination.

I remember, one of our customers had a 'wooden foot'. He was a very good looking, & wealthy young man. His wife had just given birth to their first Son.

So, what does a young man do?? He 'shouts' all his mates a few rounds of drinks.

And of course the young mates, who are fully aware of the 'footless' situation, demand that he 'toast the baby with his shoe'.

So, he removes his 'foot' -complete with shoe- & fills it with Chamapgne. He then plants it upon the bar, announcing to all company present, "Here is to my son!!" And proceeds to pass the Boot around the gathered friends to have a drink.

Our little 'barmaid' - which is probably now, un- pc, but was ok in those days- faints behind the bar!! When she awakes she is so shocked to learn that H had a 'false foot' & she really never recovers from that shock!

I think my most miserable gripe about NYE was the fact that strangers felt they had the 'right' to descend upon me, or anyone else, with open mouths & expect to kiss -initmately- any one close. I object. People who invade my space need to be very close, or have earned the right.

I am an old Fuddy Duddy... but I dont care!!

Friday, December 29

It's a Dog's Life- & sometimes it Smells!

This pic is of Honey sitting in my computer chair, this morning.
She doesn't exactly look relaxed, but that is because she was barking at some other dogs, & making a real racket. And once she starts, Leo joins in. And here is Leo in his favourite chair. His morning has been spent 'throwing' his treat ball down the stairs. SB is sleeping downstairs, so I am sure the hard ball sounds like thunder going down the stairs, & then clattering on the tiles in the foyer. Leo races down to get the ball, races back to the top, & repeats the process.
This is the treat ball, & it is quite large. It was to be a shared gift for Honey & Leo, but it is a bit too large for Honey. Leo has learnt to pick it up in his mouth, & so he races about with it, even when it hasnt got any treats left inside. It 'giggles' occasionally too, so is quite funny to see & hear- though I am sure SB is not really amused about the stairs at 7am, when he is trying to get a few more zzzz's.

An unexpected Chrissy 'gift' for the dogs is fleas. We dont normally have trouble here with fleas. I use the antiflea treatments regularly, but they seem to be getting less effective, or perhaps the fleas are getting immune. Where the dogs got the fleas, will be from the grassy back lawn at DJ's. Oscar has the same problem, poor little chap, & he gets dermatitis from the fleas, plus the Buffalo grass. Every time we take our dogs to visit, they come home with another set of fleas . Luckily the fleas dont seem to like us humans, but they do make the dogs life a misery.
So today, I will be trying to get them clipped a bit more, & then give them baths tomorrow. Leo has become very wary of me, since he had his last vaccination, & has become a 'Daddy's boy'.
SIL P takes SG fishing quite often & they take Oscar along. Apparently he has a such a good time...but they always have to bath him when they get hi home, as he rolls about in the mud, & finds horse manure, & dead birds & all sorts of unspeakable stinky things.
You can see why I am very reluctant about the idea of taking our dogs there! I dont mind taking them to swim down at the waterfront/harbour here- sand is messy, but 'clean'.
Speaking of 'stinks'... I ran out of my usual washing powder, & only had some liquid detergent to do the wash yesterday. As soon as I poured it into the machine I remembered why it has sat in the cupboard for months, unused.
The smell of it makes me feel quite ill.
I wonder why manufacturers keep using strong odours for washing powders?
(And yes, I am aware of the so called 'non perfumed' variety- but why should they cost more??)
I regard the smell of fresh washing dried on the line, as a 'free treat'.
But not when it is so overpowered with 'perfume'!
Is it because I am getting older or what?? I find I give all shampoos, & conditioners, soaps, detergents etc, the 'sniff test' - I can be found lurking about the shelves of the Supermarket taking the tops off things to sniff them!
I have been known to complain to the manufacturers of a certain hair product- they sent me free replacements- but they smelled the same!
All these things are not cheap, & the last thing you want is to find youve laid out good $$$ only to find you cant use the product, because of an overwhelming urge to vomit or sneeze every time you smell it!
And as to that 'Calvin Klein'... all those products should be banned from the planet!! grrrrr.
A little post Chrissy grouch!!

Wednesday, December 27

Aren't Families Hilarious?

Last evening was a long one.

Not feeling well for the whole of the day, I just felt like an old wornout dishrag. I would have just liked to hide away & lick my 'wounds' quietly.

When Leo woke early I snarled at him to go back to sleep- & he did! I wanted to just lie there & die. No coughing- agony. No nose blowing- pain.

But my body is a fool, & once I have been woken I usually have to rise fairly soon after.

And so began a day of very mixed feelings. Post Xmas Blues, blended with a snakey infection make for one pretty grumpy Meggie.

We usually have a tradition of all getting together again as a family to eat leftovers & rejoice in each other's company. And, apart from my being rather unwell, I am not sure why this didnt really happen.

DJ came with SIL,P & SG & AAG who had to leave to go off to work. We didnt partake of food, all claiming to still be 'too full'.

Drinks came out later, & were consumed slowly, -no one really 'in the mood'. We were expecting some friends to call later in the evening, & so DJ & P left with SG, who was still incredibly on fire. His favourite gift was a 'Light Sabre' which strikes fear & loathing in the dogs hearts, & some trepidation in the grandparents hearts. Also, as his Uncle pointed out, it has some strange warnings printed on the side.
'Do not try to insert this object as it will become hard & could inflict injury' WTF?? ( I suspect it could be made by the same manufacturers of the infamous Punisher??)

However in the lull, I decided to have a glass or two of wine. Felt a little better. Friends arrived, a little wine with them. More laughs, night picking up, jokes flying. Debates starting.

Son B getting on incredibly well with friends. Hilarious discussions. GOM (& here I reveal, what SB & I regard as his 'ugly bits) saying he agreed with the Mayor of Tamworth & Somalians shouldnt be invited or welcome to live in said City.
"I dont see why we should have refugees here" he declared. " They wont assimilate or mix with us"
SB & I shouting with laughter at this ludicrous statement, & reminding him they cant mix or assimilate- they are stuck in camps!! And spend bloody months there, without human thought or care- ("the bastards, they need flogging! How dare they?" we shout) haha. GOM fails to see the irony in this. It really is no laughing matter, & we shouldn't try to make jokes to make him see our point of view, but isnt that what families do? We do.

Our friends have other things to fume about, & we have very lively discussions.

I absolutely refuse to discuss politics- they are all tarred with the same brush to me! And after listening to my grandparents futile arguments for 2 opposing sides, I cannot see the point.
And watching my mother have almost apoplectic arguments with BFJ's HYTB, about opposing sides- though they always remained friends!

And I refuse to discuss religion, though I will agree with anyone who disagrees with any & all forms of it! (Which view our friends happen to share).

We had a very late, fun filled night. One of our friend's had to go to work this morning- early. I hope she survived her day.

We had SG here for the morning, as DJ & SIL both had to work this morning. SG brought his Light Sabre, & it remained in his hand or by his side for the whole of the morning. And DAMN! I forgot to get a pic of it! We are having him again tomorrow morning, so hopefully I will remember then.

I have lain about 'resting' & feeling really lousy, & though 90% of it is due to the infection, I suspect the remainder is from the wine?

SB has gone off to play cards & games with his sister & BIL & says there will be no alcohol in his plans. Better not be, - he has our car.

Tuesday, December 26

Life After Christmas Day.

Christmas day is past.
The weather was very obliging, & was neither too hot nor too humid or cold.
We had a lovely family day, & SG was in paradise. He was so excited, so patient, & so good for a small 4 year old.

We took our small woolly 'babies' to play with Leo's brother, & the dogs had a great time.
Honey is more sedate, & she has some arthritis so she doesnt leap about too much. But she seemed to enjoy the huge grassy backyard, & all the little treats.

I am paying the price this morning, for Honey's treats.... she seems to have some residual flatulence!

I dont think any of the humans overindulged, either in the food line, nor with the 'cheer'.

We had phone calls to & from our NZ rellies & friends, which was very nice. They said it was freezing in Christchurch, & the weather had been most unseasonally cool in the North Island also.

And, here today, it is one of those 'Magic Days'. It is so still & clear, & there is no humidity, & it does feel as if miracles could happen.

A miracle I would like to have happen, would be to suddenly lose the awful chest infection I just as suddenly developed!

I spent yesterday silently begging not to have to cough- it is one of those terribly painful infections, that leaves me feeling, if I had had testicles, they would have gone missing!
'Balltearing', as my Son in law says!

I was kidded into thinking perhaps some good wine would oust the infection. It didnt seem to work! Never mind, it tasted great.

By evening my voice had almost gone, & this morning I am a croaking wreck. And I am wondering is the whole herd of reindeer hooves trampled my poor body, as they passed.

GOM had a slighter variation of this infection some time ago, & he is most sympathetic.
He has told me to go lie down, & it is lucky we have so many left overs, we wont have to do any cooking for a day or so.

This impish fellow appeared to me, just before Christmas. Hmmmm.
He looks vaguely familiar!

I hope everyone out there in Blog land is having a Great Christmas.
Keep warm/cool, as the case may be, & hope you are all healthy, above all!

Sunday, December 24

This is SG taken about a fortnight ago at preSchool.
When I came home from my holiday, I noticed he only had one eyebrow. It is not very noticeable, as he has very fair eyebrows.
I asked what had happened, & he proudly told me he had shaved it off!
His mother said he came out of the bathroom, very proud of himself, & announced, "Look everybody! I have had a shave!"
Daddy's razor had been left too handy! SG loves his pre School, & will miss his favourite 'teachers'.
His excitement levels are about bursting, told me yesterday "Only TWO sleeps & it will be Christmas!"

This next little story really made me laugh- it was not SG.

Hurtling along in a crush of busy shoppers, I had been following a mother & her small son. The mother was about at the end of her tether & I could tell the little boy was a real 'challenge child'- by that I mean a boy not used to confined activity, or large crowds.
Fed up with the heat, crowds, & his mother's "Dont touch!" "Walk properly!" "Dont whine!", he was getting well past it all. And she was obviously well 'over it all' as well, limping slightly & loaded with parcels to lug, as well as her small son's lagging , squirming, reluctant hand.
As the crowd surged forward across the pedestrian crossing, he pleaded with his mother "PLEASE can we just go home NOW!"

Upon reaching the other side, the site of large Department Store we came upon a window display, with a huge animated Nativity Scene.
The large well lit stable, the bright colourful clothing, the mysterious 3 Wise Men. Mary & Joseph, seated beside the well lit cradle, containing the small baby. The animals standing in adoration, gazing at the cradle.
Mary & Joseph nodded & moved their hands, the 3 wise men made movements every few seconds, the donkey nodded his head, & moved his feet, the lambs shuffled about, or slept and twitched, & a huge 'twinkling' star lit up the 'sky'.

The mother & son paused to watch the scene, as did several others of us as the tide of shoppers swirled about us.

Suddenly the little boy spoke in a loud voice.
"Is that kid in the bed dead?"
There were gasps & a loud silence. Nothing was said.
So the little boy answered himself.
"He must be, 'cause he's not moving & everyone else is! C'mon Mum, let's just go home!"

Every time I see a Nativity scene I think of that little boy.

Saturday, December 23

A Christmas Tale

This is SB & DJ. It is my favourite pic of them when they were small.

My "Xmas Tale" is not really a 'Joyous' one perhaps. It was the first Xmas I had after my Daughter J was born. She was only 6 weeks old for her first Christmas, & seemed like the best present I ever could have wished for.

After a somewhat traumatic birth experience, (Previously blogged about) she was a very good little baby, & once I lost my milk, (due to MIL problems,) she settled well onto a bottle, & was a model baby.

Which was just as well, because her older brother, SB, was a bit difficult about then, & being not quite 2, probably could not really understand why we had to have another child when we already had the perfect one!

And he had indeed been the perfect little toddler, which was partly why we decided not to have a long gap between our children.

And of course we assured him he was a lucky little boy to have such a lovely little sister. He seemed to be convinced.

In his admiration for her, he picked up her little fingers, & gave them a good hard biting, with his new little sharp teeth. So we quickly learned that it was not wise to leave him unattended with DJ.Of course, when the tantrums of 2 kicked in, it was far too late to change the plan!!

On that Xmas morning, I heard plaintive little mews coming from somewhere. On investigation, I discovered a small ginger kitten on our front lawn. It was actually a cold wet day, so I brought the poor little thing inside, & we decided we could keep him, & call him Santa. Our neighbours were all elderly, & I checked to see if little Santa belonged to any of them, but they all assured me he was not theirs.

Which was ok, except SB decided he would make a nice snack too, & he picked the little thing up & bit his back! So we kept little Santa under observation too!

Xmas Day was spent with the In Laws, a long tiring trying day. But it passed.

I have cousins who are considerably younger than I am, & their mother had asked me if I could have 2 of them to stay for 2 weeks of the school holidays.

This particular Aunt had been very good to me when I was a child, (before said cousins were born) & I had spent a lot of time staying with her & my Uncle- who was the blood rellie.

So of course I agreed to have the brother & sister to stay.

And on Boxing Day they flew down to our city, & we collected them at the Airport.

I imagined these 2 teenageers would be helpful with the household. WRONG. They were bone idle- normal teenagers I guess. I cooked for them, so they would have nice meals- their mother was a great cook. The just sneaked down to the local shops & bought junk food, & wouldnt eat any meals. They were totally disinterested in our children, and the kitten, so couldnt be relied upon to watch either for me.

I really knocked myself out for New Years Day meal, as it had traditionally been a special day in our family. They totally scorned the food, & walzed off to the shops for further supplies of chips etc. I couldnt believe it, & felt very hurt, & no doubt emotions were running high, having a relatively new baby & all.

About a week after the Cousins had returned home, & I was settling into what passed for normalcy in our little world, a woman & 2 small children came walking past, & caught sight of little Santa. The children were overjoyed, & claimed he was their little kitten who had gone missing on Xmas morning. So I gave him back to them & hope he had a good life. We had made sure SB didnt sample his little furry back any more, & he seemed a happy well adjusted little kitten.

SB & DJ are the best of friends now, & they always were pretty close, but of course, had their moments!
A tail of another type;
Just a quick note... yesterday I visited my GP. As we were talking, we both caught sight of something outside her window. It dashed up a tree branch & onto the roof.... it was a rat! We saw it's long tail vanish. A little disconcerting. The surgery is right beside a creek, so not surprising I suppose. They are well pest treated, I hasten to add! We had a good laugh about it anyway.

I do wish everyone of my lovely Blog friends a Happy Christmas, & Joyous Holiday season.

And 'Old neighbour' - you take very good care of yourself!!!

Thursday, December 21

A Meme

I cannot be bothered thinking today.
Something hurts, so thinking is not a good plan.

I have decided to go with the 4 things meme from Stomper Girl.

4 Jobs I have had
1. Nurse
2. Receptionist
3. Apple picker
4. Hotelier

4 Movies I could watch again
1. The Deerhunter
2. Pulp Fiction
3. Things to Do When you Are Dead in Denver
4. Shawshank Redemption

4 Places I have lived
1. The small town I was born in- for 18 years!
2. Auckland
3. Christchurch
4. Sydney

4 TV shows I love
1. As Time Goes By
2. Life Begins
3. Morse
4. Almost anything English, but also love Sopranos, & NYPD

4 Places I have been for Holidays.
1. Gold Coast
2. Thailand
3. New Zealand North Island
4. New Zealand South Island

4 Websites I visit Daily
1. My blog.
2. My email
3. Favourite Blogsites
4. Antiques or just Google something to learn about.

4 Favourite Foods.
1. Fish
2. Vegetables- raw or cooked
3. Prawns, oysters, scallops.- I know that is cheating, but hey, they are so small.
4. Mangoes

4 Places I would rather be.
1. Somewhere cool
2. A great deal thinner!!
3. In my cousin's lovely home, sharing laughs.
4. In my brother's lovley home, sharing laughs.

Wednesday, December 20

Colours & Designs

Here is GOM sitting up at the table on Sunday, before the guests arrived.
Dont you just love the way that shrub is growing out of the middle of his head!?

Little Longface Jumeau.

Look what I got in the mail yesterday! My lovely cousin, S who crocheted the little outfit for me, sent me the lovely little handmade doll she specially ordered for me! So of course, I dressed her immediately, & here she stands waiting for her bed to be made. O, S, you have made me so happy!!

My thoughts have been on colours & designs after reading about Mission Brown Windows on Suse's Pea Soup of the Day blogspot.

It reminded me of the now totally unPC colour, 'Nigger Brown' which no longer exists! We had been talking of colours & how the fashions change so dramatically from year to year.

Not only 'fashions' in clothes, but furniture, carpets , wood stains, colour schemes for houses, etc. I remember purple being 'big' about 34 years ago, & if you didnt have a purlple beadspread in brocade, you were seriously out of touch! And the oranges of the 80's!.

Our current kitchen has burnt orange bench tops, which is probably the reason I know about it so well! This house was built in 1983, which was the year we arrived to live in Australia, & I like to think of fate, & how, little did we know it, but our future home was being built as we arrived.

I would dearly love to change those benchtops, & renovate the kitchen, but now that we are paupers- er I mean pensioners, we wont be doing that.

Which brings me to another aspect of colour & design. I am a 'safe girl' as far as colour schemes for houses go. I like neutral backgrounds & colourful decorations,- ie cushions, quilts, curtains etc.

There are so many design aspects about this house, that I would love to change. Though the kitchen is large by most standards, it is not a well planned layout, & I always say you can tell a man designed it. A man who never did any cooking, or baking, or meal preparation. The pantry has deeeep cupboards, which are dark, & so you never can reach the things at the back. On occasions, when we have a 'springclean' we discover all sorts of forgotten treasures hidden away in the dark, deep recesses of that pantry. Some of them have legs & furry looking coats.. haha, who knows what they used to be?? No not actual animals, but I suspect some sort of snack stashed away for a 'special treat', only to be forgotten! And though there are many cupboards, they are inaccessible, in corners, & some are too high for the average woman to reach. I wish Lotto, or the universe, or whatever, would grant us some monies for a 'refit'.

There are old brown coloured tiles in the walls behind the benches, which make the kitchen a little darker. There used to be brown lino on the floor, but the dishwasher died messily, one day, & ruined said floor covering. Lucky us! Insurance saw that we got a nice new floor in a light colour of my choice. But Insurance didnt run to replacing the benchtops, & the resultant raw cutout, under the bench edge, to fit the new dishwasher into the recess, did not please Meggie at all!! Insurance seemed pleased though- they dont have to live with it, & I am sure it saved them squillions.

And on, to the windows. They are sliding windows, which is ok, but! with all these bitching little panes!! No man ever thought about cleaning the damn things! They are floor to ceiling almost, so a hideous task to clean. But they do let the light in nicely, & give us a great view, as we are situated quite high on a hill.

The bathroom is another area which could do with a good reno. The floor tiles are dark, & so gloomy, with deep grout... and obviously designed by another man, who never had to mop a floor in his life. And those bloody louvre doors on the vanity!! And the Pantry!! No matter what you do, they never look clean.
We have a 3-way bathroom, which has a bath as well as a shower. I think the bath has been used abut 5 times since we came here 8 years ago. I read a wonderful article in a magazine about how to turn it into a storage area. We dont have a handy man in the family- it used to be me, but my days of that are long gone.

And the toilet is so small you have to turn around before shutting the door! I dont see why it is so small, there was plenty of space for a larger 'closet'. Man strikes again?

But in spite of all my moans about this house, I love it! I fell in love with it when I first came to see it. It does leave a lot to be desired, but somehow it is home, & when I think about having to sell & move, I feel a bit sick. We have been here the longest we have ever stayed in one house, & I still love it. I love how we have got the back yard now, & even though the Garden Vandal keeps ripping out my herbs, & we need to get the fence garden tidier, I still love it.

We ripped out the whole messy front garden, hacked down privet, & all the other nasties. Discovered there were steps in one garden. Redid all the retaining walls in another- with a little 'help' from the previously-posted-about Thieving Tinker Irishmen. So we feel we have invested quite a lot of ourselves here, & though I might grizzle about some aspects, I still call it home, & consider myself very lucky to have it!
And when I think of others less fortunate, I feel ashamed for my 'wants', & wishes.

Tuesday, December 19

This is a pic of GGA taken at an RSA Xmas party in NZ. BFJ tells me that Mrs Christmas was a very good idea, it seemed to settle the nervous children, who were otherwise very averse to 'visiting' Santa. ( I love A's skirt... I was with her when she chose it!)This is GGS, who doesnt like the idea or Santa at all! But the presence of Mrs Christmas was a lure, as were the gifts!
The weather has actually been quite kind, the last 3 days, with a little rain on Saturday, balmy weather Sunday, & quite bearable yesterday.
As we are going to DJ's for Xmas day, I am feeling quite relaxed about things, which is nice.
I need to get wrapping gifts, & then we are ready to go, apart from cooking several things on Xmas eve, ready for the Day.
I have always enjoyed the wrapping of gifts. I remember as a child, our rellies would always come to stay, & one of my Aunts hated wrapping, so I would volunteer to do it for her, when I got older. We would be sent off to bed, when younger, to ensure we didnt see what 'Santa' was bringing!
We were told the old bribes about being good, & Santa knowing what we had been up to. I can still remember making cards & decorations in class, in the Primary School, as it was called. Looking back, the only non- Christians I can recall were a family of Sihks, who wore turbans & the boys had beautiful gold bracelets on their slender wrists. I dont think they had a sister- well not that I remember.
I also remember walking home across the paddocks of various farms, & being told by some of the neighbouring children, that Santa was not real, & I ran home so upset, & indignant, & fronted my mother, so accusingly. I remember her stricken look- it is a moral dilemma really isnt it? Deceiving our children with a lie... I have always wondered about it all, and the arguments for keeping the 'magic' alive for the children, & not telling 'lies' to children.
And then, of course, there is the next step- I decided then & there that the myth of God & Jesus was just that, & though I attended Church, & tried so hard to 'believe' I never did.
I know my mother didnt 'believe' either, & try as she might, she never could be convinced. I know my Grandmother did believe, & she used to read her beloved Bible most nights. She never preached, but she must have been disappointed when none of us took after her, in her beliefs.
My Grandfather had been raised a Roman Catholic, & even ahd a sister who was a Nun. He never bothered about any religion, & they never argued about it
When he was dying, my grandmother asked a Priest to come to visit him, & the Priest refused, stating that my Grandfather had never been to the Church.
Needless to say, this reinforced my mother's opinion of the Catholic Church.
Well my little 'Angel' SG has suddenly arrived, for an unexpected visit, so I had better get off here, & give him his brekky!

Monday, December 18

A Matter of Waiting/Weighting.

Last week we were invited for some drinks, & delicious food, with friends. It was a lovely evening, & the food was delicious. I always tend to eat more when I am feeling happy. I wonder does this happen to others?

Had some friends over yesterday, for a get-together, & it was really nice.

The weather played the game, was not too hot, nor too cool, & even the flies were not TOO persistant.

We had food, some wine, & some beer, & some of us had neither. But it was so nice to get together with good company, & just laugh & relax.

But now, I think it might be time to bite the bullet, & admit, my "days of wine & roses" should really end!

I think I gained about a stone- in the old money- while on holiday in NZ.
I cant really afford to gain weight. There is Type 2 Diabetes in my family, & at the rate I am going, I will be a candidate.

Due to my arthritis I tend to avoid exercise. My hobbies of choice dont involve exercise as such. (Quilting can be quite strenuous to the shoulders! but doesnt really count?!)

Of late I have tended to think, 'Never mind, when all else fails, there is always food! '
And I do love food.
Not so much the sweet things, & I dont crave chocolate, wouldnt care if I never had any.
But I love pastry, & savoury things, vegetables, fish & most shellfish. And living here in Australia, I love the fresh prawns! Also love the fruit.

GOM likes his food, but not nearly as much as I do.
When we were younger, GOM was always the plump one.
I seemed to manage to stay reasonably slim, & burned up all my calories.
Now, as we age, GOM is about the same as he has always been.

But, BUT, ....I have gained such a lot of weight, I am appalled! I suppose it is not till I saw the photographs of myself, that I realised how large I have become.
My bum seems to have become a positve cake tray! (Not that I eat cake very often!)
Surgery has ensured I have a very odd shaped barrel for a middle body.
My ankles tend to swell monstrously, & at the end of the day, I resemble the Michelin man!

I really must try to get myself onto some sort of eating regime where I can cut down, & lose a bit of weight. I did have my blood tested for insulin resistance, & took a drug to reduce it.
I dont think I lost much weight, but it did greatly curb my appetite.
I find if I get too hungry I start to shake, & am told that runs in the family.

My mother was a very small, mostly thin, woman, who never seemed to have to worry over her weight. My sister seems to have the same, 'small', genes.
I used to tell my mother she was an unnatural grandmother- she was so small, & thin, & my nephew once told her that her skin was too big for her!
And once, when she was crocheting a shawl, my son looked at the picture, & looked at Mum, then asked her if she was making it for herself.
When she replies "Yes" he said, "But it wont fit you, you're not as big as a woman!"

My maternal grandmother was a plump woman, so squashy & comfortable to cuddle into. I am told I resemble her very strongly. I guess I do have the 'squashy comfortable' body!

Perhaps I had better get downstairs, & exercise on my daughter's exercycle!
Before the heat of the day takes over!

Sunday, December 17

A Fresh Day

This is a pic of Small Grandson taken last year, with Santa. I think the body language says it all.
Thus far, this day is looking beautiful. Which is good, since we are having some friends over for a little get-together.

And I should be off this & onto the food preparations.

But a little time to myself before the day is underway, wont hurt.

We went to a busy Mall to do our last bit of shopping on Friday, & I heard piercing screams coming from a corner in one of the large stores. A mother with a little girl in tow, said "Whenever you hear screams, - there will be Santa!"

And, she was right!

The corner was sectioned off, with piles of toys stacked about to form a sort of alcove.

Inside, at one end, was a 'throne' affair, with a large, seated, smirking Santa.

And on the floor at his feet, was a sobbing, shrieking, squirming half naked little boy!

(That sounds downright 'indecent'. And it was, but not for reasons that first spring to mind.)

From what I, & other horrified onlookers, could gather, the poor little shrieker had decided to undress, frantically hoping to avoid having to sit on the 'Santa Ogre's' knee! And his equally determined mother, was frantically re-dressing him, to have the all important photo taken.

The mother who was instructing her little girl on the reason for the screams reiterated her message to her daughter. "I told you so!" she said triumphantly.

I felt too distressed at the sight of the hapless little chap on the floor, surrounded by gaping faces, & I left before the spectacle ended.

Why do people subject their poor children to such torture? I am sure that little boy will never get over that experience.

My mother always told me she had been terrified of 'Santas' & they seemed to have scarred her for life, but she was never really sure 'why'.

I think my first sighting of 'Santa' was in the small town 'Parade' that took place on Xmas Eve. A huge truck, decorated with various ferns & foliages, would drive through the main street, & a Santa would be seated on a throne affair, waving at the onlookers who lined the street. I think there were mostly pretty girls surrounding the Santa, & from memory, they threw lollies out at the children.

The truck would go down one side of the street, & return up the other. The street was a wide one, with a tree lined piece in the centre.

Another memory of Santa, was at my Uncle's work Xmas Party. Santa was always reeking of beer, & forgot everyone's names, & grasped too tightly, & handed out gifts, after calling your name out. How I squirmed to think of having to go forward & be grabbed! The gift was somehow tarnished for that experience, & could never be regarded as something pleasant.

When my children were young, they were not very keen on Santa either, & I would never force them to 'pose'. Once, one of my sons decided he would like to sit on Santa's knee, so he went forward. The old "bugger" looked at a mole on my son's neck, touched it, & then told my son, "You should eat your vegetables, that is why you have got that!" The hurt & surprise in my son's eyes were awful, & he never forgot that incident. Tears sprang to his eyes, & the photographer captured his stricken look. I couldnt believe the old swine, & never bothered to take my kids near a Santa again.

Small Grandson is not keen on Santas either, but he is really excited about Xmas this year, & keeps telling me there are presents, 'but I cant tell you Nan, because they are 'SECRETS'.' And he is very good about not touching them, or attempting to open them. Which must be hard when you are only 4!

Saturday, December 16

This is a photo of the Fruit cake I made last night. It is my Aunt's recipe, & it is so easy- and delicious!

Here is the Recipe:


2 cups of fresh organge juice. I found 5 lovely Aussie oranges were just right.

1 kilogram of Mixed Fruit. You can add nuts to your taste.

2 cups of Self Raising Flour.

Mix all together well.

Pour into a lined tin. I used non stick baking paper.

Bake in a moderate oven for 1 & 1/2 hours. I set my oven to 160c.

It is not a fan forced oven, so I dont know how you would go with one of those.

I wanted to decorate the top with almonds, but I didnt have any, so the top remained plain. I did add some cinnamon, & about 1/2 a teaspoon of almond essence.

I let the cake cool in the tin, but am not sure what my Aunt does.

It makes a nice cake to either serve plain or it can be 'tarted up' with nuts, cherries or a fancy 'skirt'.

Ideal for BFJ's little Granddaughter S, as it has NO eggs!

Also NO fat... but it IS very sweet.

I had already done this post, when Blogger took it into draft, & try as I might, I could not retrieve it!

It is raining here this morning, & has rained lightly for most of yesterday & last night. How very odd for this time of year. Apparently we have had a very hot Spring- in spite of the odd rainy, & cold days.

Yes Henri, I am enjoying Dylan's new CD, & of course it reminds me of you!

About to play some Bob Seeger, love all those old songs!

Friday, December 15


These beautiful pics are of one of my girlfriend's gorgeous twin granddaughters. Arent they just lovely looking girls!

They look so happy & healthy! As you can see they are identical, & must be a joy to have.
This pic is an old one of twin dolls I made. I accidentally uploaded it, & dont know how to delete it! how pitiful is that.

Yesterday we had SG for the morning, while his mother & sister dashed off to do some shopping. He made 'cubbies' with the quilts, & tried to convince Leo that he would be happy to share in the cubby. Leo sat on it, & collapsed it, so he wasnt the most popular little dog in town!
Once more, I missed getting photos of SG. I cant believe I didnt get any, but time just seems to rush past while he is here.
My brother made a comment about time seemingly vanishing, & I am sure it is stolen somehow by 'time bandits'. When I stop to think about it, it frightens me to realise how much time has passed since I was young... and there are 'holes' in each day, where I find myself thinking 'How did an hour just vanish?'
If I am sewing, whole days seem to be swallowed up, & I have no memory of them.
I have always done some sort of craft, it seems. When my children were small, I knitted their warm jumpers & cardigans, & also crocheted items. I made most of their clothes, until they grew older, & 'homemade' was not so fashionable. The time spent knitting sewing or crocheting, seemed to fly past. And still does, if I am busy.
I cant really understand it when people seem to find time sits heavy on their hands.
But I think some days GOM finds it that way. He has no hobbies, apart from reading, & often sits staring into space.
When he was young he loved to play sport, but is not interested in bowls or golf, so he doesnt have any sport either.
He is not really the handy man type either.
He tried to fit a new water saving shower head yesterday... to SG's delight & full interest.
Alas, it seems to be leaking this morning, so he will have to re-do it. I can see frustration ahead...
But I am sure a whole chunk of time will be stolen, while he works on fixing it!
On a completely different 'note'. I have Bob Dylan's new CD, 'Modern Times', & there is a track on it titled "Beyond The Horizon".
To my ears it sounds suspiciously like an old song called "Red Sails in the Sunset". Just wonder does anyone remember the old song, & have they heard the Bob Dylan song??

Thursday, December 14

This Beta Life??

Blogger tells me I have posted 100 entries today.
Hadnt even noticed.
Too busy wondering if this would work, & it seems I am now officially onto the Beta system.
I have just been informed that exclamation marks are not allowed...why?
This is going to be another learning curse- I mean curve.
Maybe now, I can leave some of my favourites bloggers some comments.

Frustration, intimidation, moderation, castration,......

I am fuming, in case you wondered.
I have been reading all my favourite blogs, trying to leave comments, which is half the luck. Keeps telling me my password is 'incorrect' 'try again later' WTF??
I know my own password! I know I am not making a mistake.
I have not been offered or bombarded with further Beta crap either.
As one person says, Beta just means 'tester'... I am sorely 'tested!'

Is there some other idiot proof system out there??
Does anyone care??

Wednesday, December 13

This is a photo of an Aunt I never met. She was my father's elder sister, & the firstborn daughter in the family. She had auburn, curly hair, & was very loved & adored.
Sadly, she died when she was only 8 years old.
She died of Meningitis, and the first my Grandmother knew of her impending death, was when little Molly lay in a hospital bed.
A Doctor came along, with some student Doctors, & informed them, "This child is dying. There is nothing we can do to save her."

Family lore doesnt recount how my Grandmother reacted. But all who knew her, said she never really recovered from the loss of little Molly. She had other children, but her sadness remained forever.

This photo was taken of Molly when she was older, & perhaps not long before she got ill, & died. She looks to be about 8 years old, & her solemn expression makes me wonder about her.

I know there are probably no families who are not touched by tragedy somewhere.
I used to have nightmares about something happening to one of my children. An illness, or accident.
And before they were born, I agonised over the thought, 'Would they be born alright?'

My sister-in-law has a child, -woman now- who was born with Cerebal Palsy, & I used to wonder would I have a child the same. I could see how difficult their lives were, how much the second child missed out, how much stress it cost the marriage.

I was lucky, my children were born healthy & 'normal'. They were intelligent & whole. They seemed to do well. We felt so blessed with our children, & our lives.

Then, when GOM's daughter, from his first marriage, was 16, she died as a result of a motorbike accident. She hadnt lived with us, but with her mother, who had remarried, & moved away from our city. We saw her whenever we could, & our children loved her, & it was mutual.
We were perhaps 'lucky' in that we had our other children. Her mother didnt have any more children.
You never get over the loss. You just learn to live around it.

Then, my eldest son, was kicked & beaten almost to death, as an adult. He was not expected to live. Or walk, or talk again, if he did. He has done both, & exceeded all expectations since, but will never have a 'normal' life again. He suffered brain injury, that is permanant. His badly broken body has been mended -not perfectly, but well enough to enable him to walk, ride his bike, & care for himself. He has ongoing problems with his body, has arthritis, will require more surgery. And his speech is a lot slower than it used to be. His motor skills will never be the same, & he is doubtful he will work again. As he says, who wants to employ someone who needs a nap every afternoon? He seems to have retained a lot of his old sense of humour. He has a pet dog, & he says he is happy. He hates the term 'invalid'. He says it implies a person is in- valid. Everyone should be 'valid' regardless of the way they are born, or 'made'.

Reading of the terrible things people say & do to their children, I cant help but wonder how there can be such cruelty in the world. Life can be cruel enough, without humans adding to it.

I just hope all the children are safe & carefully cared for, not only in this Season of Joy, but all year round.

NN told me she thinks she found her sense of humour yesterday, while out shopping. She met an old man, who told her he "will be glad when this is all over, & we can go back to hating each other again". Really made her laugh. Me too!

Tuesday, December 12


This is Leo's "Happy Xmas" pic. He doesnt look very festive, does he?
Honey is unwell, has been to visit the Vet, & she has possibly 'popped' a disc in her spine, so she has to rest & really get pampered. She has had a needle to help the pain factor, & has some anti-inflammatory drug to help her heal.

We had a huge thunderstorm here last evening, & big woossy Leo does not like thunder at all! He came & sat right on my knee, & tried to hide.
Honey was resting beside me, & so I was the flavour of the evening. Most unusual, the dogs both seem to prefer GOM in the evening.

This is beautiful Beau, who belongs to Nice Neighbour. He has just had a haircut, & he looks so gorgeous!

Nice Neighbour tells me she has lost her sense of humour. I seem to have misplaced mine too, & so I told her I think perhaps they are off somewhere having a bloody great time without us!!

We had a brief thresh about at the shops yesterday, & visited 2 shopping Malls. We noticed there seemed to be 10,000 cars in the parking lots, but not that many people in the actual shops. Curious.

It was a hideously hot day, & perhaps the cool malls were havens from the heat, but I dont know where the people were actually hiding.

I can see the attraction to those lovely snowy Xmas cards. They seem so inviting when it is pushing 40 degrees celcius here, & we are swimming in perspiration, & itching, & our brains are frying in our head!

I feel sorry for mothers who have little ones, that they have to take shopping with them. I have heard harsh criticism about mothers taking the toddlers out, but we dont all have the luxury of relatives or friends to Care for the children, & the shopping, for whatever reason, still has to be done.

When my children were small, I had to lug them about with me, & must admit I totally lost my sense of humour when the weather was hot, & they were grizzling, or nagging about things. One old 'Lizzie' earned my wrath one day, by berating me for having 'tired children' out with me. I screeched at her to mind her own business, she knew NOTHING about my life,or children, & was not likely to!

BFJ & I used to sometimes meet for small shopping expeditions with our young ones, & I remember vividly one day, when we were both vastly pregnant, & had a toddler each in tow, her daughter decided to 'stack on a turn' in a crowded lift. BFJ just quietly said, "Stop that K, or I will have to beat you". K immdiately stopped & there were shocked gasps in the lift. I dont think BFJ ever even smacked her children, & goodness knows, K treated her to some scary behaviour. Once she rushed out of a crowded shop, onto a busy road in the city before we could stop her- try lunging for a determined, fleet-footed toddler when you are 8 heavy months pregnant!!
K also once told a bus full of passengers almost every swear word she had ever heard her father say. BFJ just pretended to be deaf, & looked out the window. And K once told the school 'Dental Nurse' who tried to look at her teeth, just where to go, & what to do. The Nurse was shocked & BFJ just slunk away, quietly saying 'Perhaps another day?' -& wisely, never did return!!

K now has beautiful girls of her own, who seem to be very well behaved children, lucky girl.

Yippee! We are having SG today. His father will be at work, & his mother will be at work all morning, so we are going to collect SG & I am sure he will be fun to have.
AGG has offered to have him until 10am, & then she is off to her parttime work also.
I had better get off this & onto the day.
All you young mothers out there, you have my sympathy if you have to take toddlers shopping!

Monday, December 11

Cheeky Cockatoo.

I took these pics through the window, last week. This cheeky chap came to sit on the balcony rail, & seemed to be taunting the dogs inside, who were barking furiously at the cheek of the cocky. At first I thought he may have been a tame one, who had escaped, but there were several birds, & the others were down in the street pecking at the road, & our lawn- or what remains of it!
They are large birds, & I would not like to come too close to that beak!

They are very beautiful, but they can be so destructive, & friends had their wooden balcony railings destroyed by disgruntled cockatoos, looking for food. We see them in the trees often, but it is the first time one has come to perch on our railing..which is metal, in need of a paint!

And this is a pic to enrage all the conservationists among us!
A neighbour does the house up every year, & this year it is just loaded with all these lights- it has been getting bigger each year. Of course it has become a target for the 'lookers' so we get a lot of traffic up & down our otherwise quiet street. GRRRRR!

The pic hasnt shown the full horror/glory of it all, but I couldnt seem to make it happen- even with the fancy borrowed camera.

And this is dear old 'Paddy'who belongs to my neice. She is a very old girl now, & has 6 claws on each foot! She is a regal old lady, & has certainly earned her relaxed old age, having survived many house moves, & building of some of said houses, plus the arrival of 2 dear little girls, who are now 7 & 5 years old.

In one of the Hotels we 'inherited' 2 dogs, who were supposedly watchdogs. One of them was a big old 'yaller' dog, who looked like a real mixture, but my guess would have been what we called a 'pig dog' in NZ. His name was Sandy, & he was a ferocious looking old chap, & I am sure he would have demolished any intruders. The other dog was a mixed breed also, looking most like an Alsation, but he was rather timid, & totally cowed by old Sandy. Let's call him Wimpy.
We used to have to feed Sandy, & then shut him in the gas room while we fed Wimpy, otherwise he would have starved to death.
Old Sandy could be as full as he could be, but he wouldnt let Wimpy eat a bite, & would stand guard over the food, growling, or attacking, should Wimpy get too close.
We used to laugh about it, & in our family it became known as the 'Sandy Syndrome'- indicating the person neither needed, nor wanted a thing, but just had to have it to be greedy, or to prevent someone else from having it.
This continues to be a joke with us, & I find the Sandy Syndrome alive & well, sometimes between GOM & SG. If I make a green jelly- dont ask why green is the preferred colour, we cant find out either!- as soon as SG has some 'Sandy' has to have some... same with icecreams. And sometimes, even toys!

Poor old Sandy had never had vet's attention, & had never been given immunisation for diseases, & as he had spent his life having to sleep on bare concrete, he developed severe arthritis. We got vet attention for him, & were shocked to find he had been so neglected. Vet gave him cortisone shots for his arthritis, & he had a better quality of life for some time. We also provided him with some bedding, & also poor Wimpy. When old Sandy got ill again, he had to be put to sleep, & I felt glad he would not have to live in pain. Though, of course, I cried when they put him to sleep.
Wimpy lived on, & though he became 'top dog', I dont think he ever achieved the ferocity old Sandy had.

Sunday, December 10

Undisguised Angels

These two little Angels may be the 'Spirit of Christmas'... what do you think??
The gorgeous little girl on the right is BFJ's Gorgeous Granddaughter S. Thanks BFJ for another lovely photo for my blog!

I have just been outside reading Sunday papers.. not very inspiring.

Got almost eaten alive by huge helicopter sized mosquitoes!
Came inside to slather myself with Tee Tree Oil to stop the itches.
What with the drought, you would think the mosquito population would die off!

I have bromeliads in the garden, & suspect the mosquitoes breed in the water, that lies in the top of them. I leave the bromeliads to give shelter to the Blue Tongue lizard, who usually comes to live for the summer in our garden. He/she hides under the concrete near our back door, & we try to ensure the dogs dont get near- hence the bromeliads.I have been trying to get the Bluetongue on camera, but it has been very elusive this year. I think one year there was a baby & there seemed to be several lizards. We have lived here for 8 years, & the lizards have returned every year.

We like them, though they do resemble snakes, until you notice the little legs. I found one in the rumpus room downstairs, so took it outside & let it go. The one on our path this year looked enourmous, about 12-14 inches long, & very fat. I like the touch of them, & actually like the feel of snakes too! Of course I wouldnt dream of touching one, unless I was sure of what type it was!

Floral Treats

This is a picture of my Nice Neighbour's lovely Orchid. Isnt the photo beautiful. Thanks, NN!!

This is another of my sister-in-law's lovely orchids. She also has a lime green one, but I dont think I managed to get a clear
photo of that one.
This is one of the plants flowering so happily in the rich soil of SIL's garden.

And this rose spills unruly down my nephew's bank garden. There is another unruly little rose on a trellis with a beautiful perfume, & apparently it just runs wild, & they have to keep cutting it severely.

My brother tells me they had very high winds on Friday evening, & his little canvas & metal-framed pergola was destroyed.

Music of the minute, Cat Stevens, k.d.lang. Songs of the 49th Parallel.

Saturday, December 9

Still Searching...

I think I have found the picture of the Modern Xmas Spirit.
It is a Xmas bloom, with some glistening sparkly parts, just laid on the top, in the modern deceitful way.
The colour is right, & bright.
The glitter is certainly lovely & clear & magical.
But, see the little patch of rot peeping out?
I will probably get hate mail for being so cynical about Xmas.
I AM cyinical about Xmas.
I have no religious belief left, ( if I ever really had any.)
I have to thank BFJ for this photo. She did not intend it to mean so much to me, but we did discuss what I felt it signified.
I hypocritically celebrate Xmas- as a family ritual, tradition, with my family.
I do believe in the love, & the concept of peace & joy to all.
But I get increasingly infuriated by the rampant, care-less attitude of greed, material 'things' & the lack of thought for less fortunate folk.
I dont put my money where my mouth is, in refusing to take part, so perhaps I dont have the right to make any criticism. I am not trying to offend anyone, but I do hope people think a little more about the less fortunate, in our world.
Also, I dont wish to denigrate anyone else's beliefs. I do try to give gifts for the less fortunate. And in the past we have opened our doors & hearts to less fortunate folk.
But we should do that every day, we possibly can. And I have put my money where my mouth is, in that regard.

Here are some Orchids just to soothe my crabby soul.
I have not been too keen on orchids in the past, but I found myself drawn to the pure beauty of these beautiful blooms of my Sister-in-law's.
She has had a death in her family, so I wish her & her family well, & send thoughts of sympathy for them all.

Friday, December 8

Happy Memories

I must have slept 'crooked' last night, & today I have a very sore back.
We had SG with us for most of the afternoon, & as I hadnt seen much of him, since I have been back, I really ejoyed his company.
He got in behind the curtain, & I heard him say "Holy Moly, I can see the whole world from up here!" It seems to be his favourite exclamation at present, as there was another "Holy Moly! There is a huge spider web!!" He had decided he doesnt like spiders, in spite of us telling him they are good for eating flies & mosquitos.

These next 2 pics are of my SIL's garden. She has green thumbs & always has lovely things growing. She works for a company who grow roses commercially, & likes the work. Her house is often filled with beautiful roses, & she gives them to friends. She prefers not to grow them in her garden, & is very keen on Bromeliads.

This is a lovely corner with a pretty foliage tree- again I have forgotten the name, but I think my brother told me it is a native to NZ.

This pic is of some of the revellers at my brother's party. PaBu can be seen leading the dancing! My SIL is behind him.

This one is of the Birthday Boy, about to make his speech. It was an Island Theme Party, & as there were all sorts of Pacific Islanders present, it was a very colourful party, & most of them dressed in their traditional party clothes for the occasion.

It really was a lovely party & everyone was very friendly, & a lot of fun was had by all. There were prizes for various things, & the star of the evening was a baby girl, who won 'prettiest girl' prize. I missed getting her picture, as I discovered I had the camera on the wrong setting. Luckily a friend fixed it for me, later.

In Stop Press news, I have learnt that Patterson, the dog, has had a reprieve, & is being treated to prolong his life. It wont be long term, but BFJ says he has really perked up, & seems as happy as can be!

Thursday, December 7

The Inevitable Shearing!

No visit to New Zealand would really be complete without a story of some sheep, now would it??
Yes, I can hear all you Aussies laughing fit to kill!

This is a pic of my almost-85 year old Aunt's pretty garden. She does it all herself, & also has a huge backyard.
There are 2 old sheep she tends to, that normally live in the vacant piece of land next to her house She owns the land, but not the sheep 'tennants'.
One sheep is an old Ewe, the other an old Wether- A wether is a castrated ram, & this one is an ex pet lamb, who won many ribbons, but of course, outgrew his status as 'pet lamb' & could not be sent off to the 'works', because he was loved. So he came to live next to my Aunt. The Ewe loves the old chap, & she trots about after him.
During the Winter when the grass dies down a bit in the vacant paddock, my Aunt allows the sheep to graze in her back yard. She has more Rhododendrons in the backyard, & she suspects the silly old sheep had been eating them. I think there is something toxic in the Rhododendrons which would affect the nervous systems of the sheep, & the old Wether kept getting himself cast. -which means he would lie down, & be unable to get himself up again.
As my Aunt suffers from Diabetes she has to be very careful of her legs, & her skin is now paper thin. She would go & get the old boy up onto his feet again, & off he would trot.
He was a bit inclined to kick out, so my Aunt should not have been near him really, but she has a very soft heart.

My cousin is a Shearer, & he often calls to see his mother is OK. The old Wether loves my cousin- a fact which he makes unsavoury jokes about!!
The sheep had been grazing in the paddock over the road from our Aunt's for some time, & their wool was full & heavy, so our cousin decided he would shear them whilst we were still staying with our Aunt.

This first pic is of my brother helping to get the old wether lined up for our cousin to shear. The peaked hill in the distance almost above my brother's head, is called Kahu, & it gets covered in snow sometimes. I had confused the name with Titiraupanga, which in fact is in the opposite direction- I stand corrected by my brother, who spent a couple of years living with my Aunt & Uncle on the farm, which was not far from where my Aunt lives now.

Our cousin shore the old wether first. It got quite hot, so he took off his heavy woollen shirt to shear the old Ewe. He said they were both better behaved than they normally are, & didnt kick & perform as usual.

As children we spent many school holidays staying with our Aunt & Uncle & cousins. They had a sheep farm, & there would often be orphan lambs for us to care for. O how I loved those little woolly creatures, & the cousin you see here, & I, were the ones who spent most time on the little things, desperate to save their lives.
My uncle would bring their limp little bodies home across the saddle of the horse, & we would set about warming them & getting mild for them to drink.
One particular little lamb we called Tommy, & he was a strange little deformed lamb.
My cousin & I were determined Tommy would live, & he did, but was always a very odd little runt, who had one ear that always hung low, & he walked with a limp. I suppose nature would have despatched him, but we interfered in his fate.
He lived a long life, & could never be taken to the 'works' - our uncle used to laugh & say he would be ashamed to let anyone see such a weird looking little creature. My Aunt never wanted him to be in the road paddocks, in case anyone saw him, & thought what dreadful sheep they were breeding.

My cousin the shearer is still a softy about animals, & he is quite gentle with them when he shears them.

Wednesday, December 6

Looking for the Xmas Spirit...

Perhaps I will find the Spirit in this flower?? the name of which I have forgotten- is it of the Fuschia family?? Anway, it is flourishing in my nephew's garden.

This pic is of Meggie & BFJ at the Whangarei Falls. It was beautiful, & so green & peaceful... apart from the tourists, haha.

Another pic from the Falls. This is taken looking down on the greenery. There are walkways around the area, & you can go down to the bottom of the falls, but it was getting late into the afternoon, & my knee would not have made it anyway.

More of the gorgeous green bush.

This is a pic taken from my brother's house, of clouds over the Waitakere ranges. those clouds were not idle threats- they produced some very heavy rainfall that night!

This was of the sun setting under the cloud & over the ranges. This is a common pattern, over those ranges.

I should have managed to get some pics of the red Pohutukawa flowers which were just coming out. They were coming out in style down in the Bay Of Plenty, but didnt seem to be quite ready further north, which is curious. They are know as the Christmas flowers, and are said to indicate whether the summer will be a hot, long one, if they bloom early. They are very similar to Calistemon or Bottle Brush flowers, but are a richer crimson red, & look very impressive when in full bloom.
When we were young, I can remember reading books about Hutu & Kawa, who were twins, & somewhat like the Gumnut Babies in Australian childrens books.

On our travels down to Bay of Plenty, we stayed in 2 motels, in different towns. One was in the small town of my birth, & as we walked the streets- which have not changed much since I was born!- we searched the faces, trying to find someone we could recognise, but though my brother was sure he recognised one or two, I could not find any familiar faces.
It is long years since I left that small town, to go nursing in a nearby city.
We still have family living in the town, & we visited an Aunt & cousin, & met her lovely little boy, who is very bright for 2 1/2 & a lovely little chap.

Brother & I had fun rating the Motels- the one in this town is a familiar one, having stayed there often in the past. The layout & bathroom are very nice. Most New Zealand Motels, have kitchen facilities, though the more modern ones are not so equipped. Motel No 1, as I shall call it, had a stove, toaster, microwave, fridge, electric kettle etc. In the morning we made some toast & coffee.
Imagine our horror when the smoke alarm blared off, almost deafening us, it was so loud & earsplitting!!
My brother leapt onto a chair, & belted the thing until it stopped! Foolishly I turned the toaster down a notch, & tried some more toast. Same result!! Agony of eardrums!! Brother leaping about on chair clouting the bloody smoke alarm!! We couldnt understand why the damn thing kept going off- it was nowhere near the kitchen area of the room, & the toast was barely coloured.
When my brother complained about it, the proprietor laughed & said, "Sensitive, isnt it?" rendering my brother speechless.
We rated Motel No 1 a 3 after that! Prior to having our showers we had rated it about 6, but the water pressure in the shower was so feeble we had to hurl our bodies about under the thin stream to try to get wet!! I had showered first, so warned BB about the paucity of water.

Post shower the rating went down 2 notches, & post smoke alarm, it dropped a further notch.

Motel No 2 had a great water pressure in the shower- in fact it could almost rip strips out of your scalp, if care was not taken. However, it was an older establishment, & we had also previously stayed there. Once whilst attending our father's funeral, so it had some bittersweet memories.
The dreaded smoke alarm had already been tinkered with- in fact, ripped apart! no doubt by some disgruntled guest!
My brother made sure to inspect it before risking toast, & we laughed imagining the scene of it's destruction.
We had noticed a lot of truck drivers used Motel No 2- it isituated on a logging route, & so we were given a unit well away from the road.
However, we were woken by the sound a jet engine roaring into life in the early hours of the morning, followed by loud slamming doors, which sounded like gun shots, to our sleepy ears. As this town is somewhat 'troublesome' at times we wondered what the hell was going on. We never did find out what the jet engine was, & there were no police about, so the 'gunshots' cant have been real. The proprietor was a lovely woman & very friendly so the Motel got 3 points.

We left early to visit our Father's grave, which I am very glad I did, as the last time I was there was when he was buried, & it was not a pleasant memory to be left with. We then called in to see our beloved Uncle, who is almost 90, & so proud to still be alive & well, & his memory is great, & he is full of irreverant stories, & hilarious little ditties. He is going to have a party for his 90th birthday- "Assuming I am still alive!" And he says even if he drops dead tomorrow, he has had a wonderful life, & loved every minute of it. We had been there gor tea the evening before, & had a great night- he even stayed up late for us. We also got a severe lecture from our Aunt & Uncle because we hadnt landed on them, to spend the night.
Uncle told my brother he will kick his arse if he does that again!!
And, seeing he has a 'new' knee, he just might!

We sure had some fun, travelling about, visiting our rellies!

Tuesday, December 5

Little Pipi.

Isnt this the most gorgeous tree. I took this pic up at the Whangarei Falls, & just loved it. I had forgotten how different the NZ bush looks to the Australian bush, apart from the greens.
I am ashamed to say, I dont know what the tree is- I had thought it to be a Totara, but Pa-Bu says not. It is a native to NZ though.

I am late getting on here today. Still seem to feel tired, & we have been out trying to do a little Xmas shopping.
I cant seem to get enthused about it at all. I would just like to buy some little gifts for the children in need, & have a very simple meal with my family. I guess we will do our usual overindulgence, re food, & it will be lovely to have family around, regardless of the food or the gifts.
I do feel a hypocrite about Xmas really, since I have become convinced I am an Atheist these days, but I do believe in the message of love & peace for all.

I heard some children singing songs in a Mall today, & they sounded so pure & sweet.

These next pics are of Little Pipi, a little bear given to me by my talented cousin, who makes lovely bears. I fell in love with Pipi, who was named after the pipis that are found on the beach at Papamoa, in New Zealand. (Pipis are a type of shellfish, & we used to dig them up & cook them on pieces of tin, over a fire, at the beach when we were older. I dont suppose it would be allowed these days!) Papamoa Beach is where my cousin used to live, & we used to play at the beach when we were children.
Pipi is a very adventurous little bear, & she got up to all sorts of tricks.
She was sitting on top of the stairwell at my brother's house, in this pic.

And in this one she climbed into the pot with my SIL's beautiful orchid for a closer look at the gorgeous flowers.

Then she gave a comforting hand & hug to poor Blind Ted, who has been blind since my brother was a very little boy. Blind Ted had those glass eyes, that were pushed into his head, on very long sharp & rusty bits of wire! Our Grandmother took the eyes out, so that there would be no danger to our little eyes, & where the Ted's eyes went, we have no idea. I did try to get some new ones for him, while I was in NZ, but alas, the ones I bought were too large, so he remains blind.
As he is 60 also, perhaps he doesnt mind. He is a really lovely old chap, & relatively well kept, as my brother never allowed his sons to play with him.
I like to think, that although Ted is blind, he 'sees' all, anyway.

I hope others are having better luck with Xmas preparations!