Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Lost: Two Mousetraps

A few weeks ago I bought a couple of mousetraps. The reason for the purchase was that mice had climbed into the conduit in the wall in which the air conditioning tubes pass between the outside unit and the inside unit. They appeared to have nested in the inside unit. I placed the two traps at the point where the conduits went under the house and into the wall. I caught a couple of mice. I feel really bad about that 'cos I actually love mice but in situations such as this it's the survival of the best prepared. I just went out today to see if there was any more bodies in the traps. The traps have gone. I have searched the area round the Cottage and there is no sign of them. Presumably they have been dragged away by either Comet (unlikely given how well she's fed) or one of the feral cats which inhabit the area. Either way I don't really think that I want to find them again!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Tournament is Over

The Tournament is over and my life should now return to what passes for normality. Mind you I have absolutely no idea what constitutes normality ( or 'normalcy' as Simply Heather blogs about). It's been seven days of concentrated physical and mental effort from 0830 every morning until late afternoon or early evening. I once read that one can walk 7 k during an afternoon of croquet. Given that some of the players are in their 80s that's not bad going.

Mike has returned this evening to Gisborne and The Cottage now feels empty. After two weeks of guests it seems quite odd.

There is lots to catch up on and it may take me a day or two to get back into the swing of things: especially as I have entertaining to catch up on, friends to catch up with and Club competition games to play in both Golf and Association Croquet. But, hey, the time will pass so quickly and, if I'm honest, I don't want it to. People keep reminding me that I will be going off to Lewis for my Scottish life in 4 weeks. Oh how the time doth fly.

The Welcome Swallows fly round the lawns constantly and one was kind enough to sit on one of the hoops for long enough for me to get his picture. They are such wonderful companions on the lawns although if one flies within a few feet when one is addressing the ball or trying to take a shot it can be a bit of a problem.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Normal Service Will Be Resumed

Sorry about the glitch in service. Last Monday was the start of the Hawkes Bay Croquet association's 75th Annual Tournament. I am playing every day until about 4pm on Sunday. There is (or has been) golf and association croquet on all week. My partner in the golf croquet doubles (who is from Gisborne) is staying for the week too. We came second in the doubles tournament.

I came down from a 3 to a 2 golf croquet handicap today. I know it's boring for anyone who isn't me but, hey, it's news in my small world.

I'll be blogging again asap.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Kingfisher Returns

Last week I mentioned that the Kingfisher visits me but that photography was not particularly easy. Yesterday he and a mate landed on the clothes whirligig as always although, unusually, first thing in the morning and not the evening. However he suddenly obliged by flying along the front of The Cottage's deck on which I was standing and perched on the field gate some yards away.

Another Earthquake

Just 30 minutes ago I was sitting chatting on the phone to Pat (as she was on the Isle of Lewis it was too far away to shout) when I felt an earthquake. It was not a big one but enough to startle me and tell Pat about. As soon as I came off the phone I checked on Geonet and, sure enough, there were the details. It'll have rattled a few teeth in the Whakatane area.

Reference Number3063166/G
Universal TimeMarch 21 2009 at 20:28
NZ Daylight TimeSunday, March 22 2009 at 9:28 am
Latitude, Longitude37.79°S, 176.78°E
Focal Depth160 km
Richter magnitude5.8
RegionBay of Plenty
  • 10 km north of Matata
  • 20 km north of Edgecumbe
  • 30 km north-west of Whakatane
  • 210 km south-east of Auckland

More details can be seen at seen at http://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake/quakes/3063166g-maps.html

More Shop Sayings

These two are from Emerson Street in Napier a few days ago

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Marry Me

Do you come here often? Fancy a date?

David's C of Thorns

The children came down for dinner last evening before I fed my visitors and Wendy and Martin. David brought a C of thorns which he had made and which, I have to say, quite took my fancy.

Dramatic Sky

On the way home late this afternoon I drove towards one of the most dramatic of skies.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Misty Morning

It's been a superbly warm day with the temperature reaching 35 on the deck of The Cottage. This morning the mist hung over the orchards in front of The Cottage but quickly dispersed as the heat of the sun took control.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

A Town Called Bulls - Revisited

I said when I blogged on the town of Bulls in February that I would return to take some more photos. I had the opportunity on the way back from Palmerston recently.

Bulls School

More wall art on the school

Self explanatory


How do they do that without getting sore necks?

It's in here somewhere

Feeling blue

Love you

What the budgie saw.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


At this time of year my friend the Kingfisher who nests in the bank near The Cottage visits my washing line, the fences round the Cottage and the trees nearby. He is difficult to photograph because he visits quite late in the day when the sun is low. Occasionally his colours in the sun are truly wonderful but I've never managed to get a photograph in the correct circumstances. The best I've managed this year is this photo. I'll keep trying.

A Friendly Tussle, Not.

There are three Highland bulls and a Highland cow in the field in the front of The Cottage. One of the bulls is the alpha male and, as such, has claim on the cow who follows him around as though she were tied by an invisible cord. However every so often one of the other males expresses an interest in the female. The result is a few minutes of very serious sparring.

I Saw It First

When we were in Wanganui we went to Virginia Lake which is just a short walk from where we were staying. There is an aviary there.

That Time of Year

It's that time of year again. Almost to the day (13 March) that it started last year the picking of the apples in the orchard in front of The Cottage commenced again this year.

Monday, 16 March 2009

A Straight Line

Now that's a straight line! I wish that, on the odd occasion that I do the lines, I could get them that straight. This is from the lawns at Wanganui earlier in the year.


I bought a couple of mouse traps today. On the back of the packaging are the words "Attractive, clean styling. Nobody but you will know that it's a mousetrap." Unless, of course, you can read English!


I just couldn't get over the way she holds her thumbs!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Wanganui Revisited

The following pictures (except of Ruapehu) were taken from the top of this tower above Wanganui. The elevator inside the tower goes through the hill to a tunnel at street level.

The River Whanganui

The paddle steamer which plies the river

Looking down on the town centre and St John's hill opposite (with the croquet club)

A closer view of the croquet lawns

More of the town centre

Down to the sea

Mt Ruapehu as seen from Wanganui

A Few More Plates

Saturday, 14 March 2009

A Garden in Wanganui

Perhaps not my choice of garden adornement. But amusing nevertheless.

Modern Technology

I woke at 0455. Not the 'I need the loo' sort of wake not the 'Just turn over and go back to the land of nod' sort of wake but a full blown 'I'm awake' sort of wake. The moon was still streaming into the bedroom and the world seemed a very inviting place. I popped my head out of the ranch sliders and was suddenly struck by something amazing: silence. I don't think I can recall hearing silence here before. There is usually so much noise in the countryside: crickets, insects, night birds, the trees rustling even in the very gentlest of breezes. But no. Not a sound could I hear. The silence was almost overpowering. That was a time for the correct use of the word 'awesome'.

I couldn't return to bed so I've been reading blogs and commenting. I've also been burning a DVD with photos for a friend. I switched the air-con on to take the chill out of the air. I made tea. I opened the dishwasher. Sitting here I was getting puzzled (and a little bit irritated) by a regular but insistent beep. The air-con sometimes beeps when it changes program so I assumed that's what it was. It wasn't. Then I assumed it must be the smoke detector alarm. It wasn't. Then I assumed that the DVD player must have an alarm to tell me that I'd left the drawer open. It hasn't. Curiouser and curiouser. Eventually it dawned on me that I'd opened the dishwasher but not switched it off. Why would a dishwasher need to beep to tell me that? Modern technology can sometimes go just that one step too far.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Magic Moments

I was on the phone this afternoon when a Fantail which was flying around outside the cottage flew to within a foot of my face to catch some insect invisible to me. It's not the first time that a Fantail has come so close but the moment was no less magic for that. After, he (or one of the three who were cavorting around) alighted on the fence. They do alight but are rarely still enough long enough to enable a photo to be taken.

More Little and Large

"Mummy. Will I be like you when I grow up?"

The "Aaaah" factor. When we were staying with friends who have a stud near Palmerston North a little while ago they were waiting for this foal to be born. We popped in to visit and see the foal last Friday. Colin (for that is to be his name) will, all being well, be a racehorse following family tradition.