Thursday, May 8

Life's Random Swipes

Last Saturday evening, we had a family party, to celebrate our Granddaughter's 19th Birthday.

It was very nice, & as the evening wore on, I became aware it was rather cold, & I turned on my electric blanket for a little comfort & warmth for my retirement. Which was odd in view of the fact that the whole time I was in New Zealand, I was hot every single night! The weather seemed to be unseasonably warm, & the high humidity made it seem even warmer. Oz is traditionally warmer than NZ. Not so in April in the North Island, this year.

I slipped away to my bed before the night's revelries had finished. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the bed felt cold. As I turned back the sheets, I noticed the burn mark. Horrors! The electric blanket had burnt a hole in the mattress protector, melted the control, & singed the sheets, & the quilt cover.

I decided not to alert anyone else, & just unplugged the thing, & climbed into bed. Next day when I told Gom he was quite horrified. I thought we were really lucky it didn't burst into flames, & either burn the bed, or cook me. The blanket was not very old either. We had one for 30 years that never did get checked or malfunction.

Off today to purchase a new one. Plus a new mattress protector. The sheets can wait. As I trundled about looking for electric blankets, I couldn't help but notice the mall seemed to have the smell of a hospital. I couldn't work out if it was just me or if they have started to use some new cleaner. I had noticed the smell on Monday when we were there too. No one else seemed to notice it. I asked Gom about it, but he doesn't have a very strong sense of smell at the best of times.

Electric blankets seemed a bit like hen's teeth today. Very hard to find. To cap that off, the large Department Store, beginning with an M, had staff of hens teeth rarity too, & one poor harried woman was trying to field a long queue of intending purchasers, plus complaints. What is wrong with these large stores? Surely they can afford staff? The temptation to stump off without purchase was only thwarted by the fact that I had eventually found one, several stores later, which seemed a minor miracle. The fact that it seems to need a license to operate, is a minor detail, I am sure. I hope it goes well, & suffers no malfunctions. Has a 3 year warranty, so should be ok for that time at least. It also seems to smell vaguely medicinal... hmmm perhaps it is me......?


Further photos from my trip around family.

This wonderful tree, seemed so magnificent, I felt moved to take a photograph.
No idea if it is a native of NZ or not, but it is wonderful to see it so large, & healthy.

This is another tree that I greatly admired, & in spite of my Uncle telling me the name, I have forgotten again. It is host to many other plant forms, & is on the side of the road which winds through the Waioeka Gorge, beside the Waioeka River. In the distance behind the tree, the naked hills can still be seen, where the farmers to the district tried valiantly to clear sheer cliffs & turn the land into some kind of farms.
This is an area of my early childhood. My father's family farm was in this hostile region, & my mother's parents lived beside the river, so I spent some time here, & still find it a thrill to revisit.
The poor hills have largely regenerated to native bush again, & are beautiful & wild to behold. We took a drive up to the old homestead, which now has some Chalets, for deer stalkers & pig hunters to use or folk who want a true holiday off the beaten track. They are also very popular with trout fisher folk, as the river has wonderful trout.
Here is a shot of the wonderful regenerated bush above the river. I feel homesick just looking at it. It was wonderful to smell again, the river smell, & the damp bush smell. As a small child my father's sister used to collect me on her horse, & take me back to the homestead, & she taught me the names of all the native trees, & the native birds.

A lot of the farmers just walked off these farms back in the days before the Second World War. The sheer hills, had little to offer the farmer in either sheep country or dairy. Most of the land has now reverted to bush.
In this pic, the River can be seen, & it had recently been very high, so we saw a lot of logs washed up along the banks, & there had been some huge slips on the road, where the rocks on the side of the road had fallen with all the rain causing instability. There are now a lot of holding nets alongside the road, to prevent the worst areas from spilling onto the road.

It is so very different now, from the rough road that existed in my childhood. My maternal grandfather's job was to patrol the road & deal with any slips that might occur, & keep the water tables clear. It is all paved roading now, & is quickly cleared should slips occur. My maternal grandmother was the Postmistress.
We drove up to the house where my maternal grandparents had lived, but it was impossible to see much as the new owners have huge hedges on the roadside now. The Uncle & Aunt who guided us on this trip had owned it at one stage, & had a tea rooms in the old home. I never did get to see the tea rooms, but they were very popular, & a lot of hunters & fishermen use this road.

This is a pic closer to Rotorua, of rolling green dairy farmland, with huge sheer cliffs in the distance. It was a very dark day, & the photo is not very clear- plus my brother was driving at a fair clip! I kept trying to get a photo of the dairy herds, of Jersey cows & Fresian cows, which are the most popular for milk on the dairy farms, but missed every chance. I didnt even get to take pics of the sheep!!

This last pic is of a Rimu tree. I have always loved Rimu trees, & this one grows near a church in my hometown, where a friend & I used to go to Sunday school together many years ago. The church has been rebuilt since our day, but I wonder if the tree is a survivor?


Mary said...

That electric blanket could have caused a lot more damage so I guess getting a new one is a small price to pay. We have avoided buying electric blankets up here (J hates them) but rely on flannelette sheets and heavy duvets and just this past week invested in hot water bottles!!

I could almost smell your homeland through your pictures and words. Oh and the medicinal smell at the mall!

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, that is very scary. It is amazing though how many close shaves we survive. I once had a mirror fall off a wall in the night and shatter just inches from where I was sleeping. I woke of course but amazingly did not get a single cut and yet glass we littered over the bed.

Beautiful photos. I really must go to NZ one day.

Sheila said...

Just read your last post and this one Meggie, you don't sit still for a minute. What a hectic few weeks you have had. I'm glad there was not more damage from the blanket. Now we know why they say not to sleep with them on.
NZ looks wonderful, there's nothing quite like going 'home' again is there.

Joyce said...

My parents had an electric blanket with dual controls. Once, I accidentally flipped when I made their bed. Imagine the scenario. He turning his control up and she turning hers down. He kept getting colder (his side was by the window) and she was getting warmer and itchy (She had excema). It made a funny story.
Loving the NZ photos.

Peggy said...

Love the photos! I am getting ready to take my electric blanket off the bed as summer is fast approaching. I sometimes smell things no one else can smell. For a few days no matter where I went I could smell the scent of a burnt rag. Checked the whole house and could even smell it in stores, in the van, etc. and yes I took a shower LOL. It finally went away after about a week.

Dawn said...

Oh, my, Meggie....what an ordeal with your electric blanket but your photos and journey into your childhood was sooooo fascinating! I felt as if I was there with you getting the guided tour.

Christine Thresh said...

You were lucky that more damage was not done. Whew!
Our neighbors at my childhood home had a fire in their guest bedroom because an electric blanket was left on.
I've been afraid of electric blankets ever since then.
Your pictures of the trees in NZ are great.

PAT said...

Hello Meggie...What an amazing story! We don't use electric blankets. It's so good to hear you weren't asleep when this happened!!

I've been catching up with you this morning. I enjoyed the photos. The one of the pine forest along the highway in a previous post, reminds me of Northern Minnesota.


Finn said...

Hi Meggie, boy, oh boy, I'm sure GLAD you weren't IN the bed when that happened! And of course, so very happy it wasn't a serious house fire.
I've not heard of that happening, just can't imagine. Maybe a power surge?
Glad you found a new one...I know i've grown quite dependent on mine, as has Ebony. Love the gentle warmth without weight on my body.
Great pictures! Hugs, Finn

ancient one said...

A neighbor lost most of the inside of there home from fire.. the cause was an electric blanket... They moved into an old barn on the farm until they were able to redo the inside of the house...

We don't use electric blankets any more.. flannel sheets and a couple of quilts keep us warm...

I am so glad that you are ok and didn't have much damage...

Enjoyed the pictures of your homeland..

ancient one said...

Hey... I did enjoy my day.. had to run an errand and cooked supper. My son with all the computer smarts came over and helped me move all the old files on the old computer to this one. I enjoyed his visit. He even installed the tv boxes all of us are having to buy before 2009 since we still have old tvs and no cable in this area...The government helped us buy the boxes... Our reception on the tv is better all ready ....

Ali Honey said...

Hi Meggie,
I have got behind with my blog reading. Good Ol NZ! What a beautiful alert little baby - Lucky you. Love the rose!

Glad your blanket didn't burn your house down. We had a fairly new ( expensive sheep skin one ) that got a fault. It was replaced no questions asked which was wonderful. This latest replacement one for this winter is the same but has an added safety featute - it automatically turns off after one hour. If you want in on again you just turn in on again. We usually heat the bed and turn the blanket off when we put the light out or before.

Lots of people do get sinus problems from the pollen!( the ones om Matakan Is. affect us most )

Rosie said...

I am petrified of electric blankets and have a collection of hot water bottles of such variety and artistic interest that I might leave them to the nation when I die...but which one, France or UK?

alice said...

Hubby is an electrician and FORBIDS electric blankets after all the dodgy ones he has seen / tested / heard about. I have wheat packs and hot water bottles instead.

Loooovley photos.

Mike said...

I love electric blankets in the winter, but they can be dangerous. Be careful with them Meggie!

~Bren~ said...

How fortunate you were not burned!!! Scary.
Happy birthday to your DGD.

Ian Lidster said...

Love your tree photos.
That's a bit frightening about your electric blanket. That should never happen. Actually, I really dislike electric blankets. Had one years ago and it merely made me sweaty. Bought a lovely down duvet and have never looked back.
When I lived in England years ago we used an electric heating pad to warm the bed. If we didn't, there was so much chill and the bed felt so clammy when climbing in it felt like somebody had peed in the bed and not changed the sheets. Most unpleasant. The pad worked wonders, but you turned it off before climbing in.

Thimbleanna said...

Wow Meggie -- that's pretty scary about the blanket. It's so wonderful to be able to go back home (your pictures are beautiful btw) -- just sorry it had to be for a sad occasion.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I have an electric mattress pad that warms from scrumptious! I would have gone right out and bought another, too. Your tree photos are wonderful.

molly said...

Lovely trees Meggie! I have a cousin who went to live and work in NZ. Now I see why it appealed to her so much! TG you weren't fried in your bed! I use an electric blanket sometimes in the winter, especially when the human one is missing up to the frozen north! Very cozy, but a little dangerous many folks say. I like the shut-off feature Ali mentioned....

LBA said...

Geez about the leccy blankie - I love mine, despite the dangers :)

As for Myer, we have been twice, to two of the BIGger stores in Melb, for different things. There was like one staff person for the WHOLE STORE and the multitude of service desks, and queues and queues of people looking for service ??

And one of the days was the start of their BIG SALE ( WTF ? ), and the camera we wanted, which was advertised, was not in stock yet.

Again, WTF ?

So glad you didn't fry to a crisp though !

jovaliquilts said...

Glad the electric blanket story has a better ending than it could have!

Love those trees. That first one is totally amazing -- huge, gorgeous!

Tanya Brown said...

Eeek! Close call with the electric blanket. I wonder what went wrong with it?

Lovely, evocative photos of the terrain. Isn't it funny how smells can take us back too? A certain smell will catapult us back to a moment in time we'd almost forgotten we lived through. One of life's free treats, to be sure.

Tanya said...

I never was too fond of electric blankets but your tale gives me the shivers! I think I'll keep my cats in my bed for warmth!