Thursday, 31 January 2013

Thankful Thursday

At 0900 the reminder on my iPhone told me it was Thankful Thursday.  Again?  I really must find a way of slowing time down.  So much to do and so little time in which to do it.  How many times have I said that?

I spent quite a lot of time today thinking about what to post because I have so much for which to be thankful.  Indeed the list is endless.

Today, however, I have decided to be thankful for sleep.  Whilst I was staying at a friend's in Tauranga over the last weekend I slept the sleep of the just or the dead or whichever saying you use.   I slept well.  I slept without nightmares.  I always have when I have stayed there.  Many I know do not sleep well in a strange bed but I think that sometimes one can have an affinity with a house and I have one with that house.

All my life I have been blessed with the ability to sleep soundly and most of my life I never needed much sleep - 5 hours was my usual.  As we get older convention has it that we need less sleep.  I sleep longer than I used to do.  I rarely go to bed before midnight but I am asleep within minutes and I often sleep for 6, and sometimes 7, unbroken hours.  I very rarely wake in the night (the occasional natural comfort break excepted and then I'm usually fast asleep within a minute of replacing my head on the pillow).   I'll skip talking about the nightmares.

So today I am thankful for the gift of sleep: long, deep, unbroken sleep.  I wish it for you too.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Time to Water

The last few summers here in Hawkes Bay have not been dry nor, by the Bay's standards, very hot and sunny.  Although the orchardists have not had to irrigate nor have they had the sun at the right time for really good quality and quantities of apples.  The irrigators in the orchard in front of The Cottage have not been used for several years.  In fact the last time I mentioned irrigation was in 2008.  When I arrived back here at the end of October the hills of the Bay were verdant.  However since then the amount of rain has been small and in many parts of the North Island only 5% of the average rainfall has fallen this month.

So the irrigator which stands like something I imagined from the original War of The Worlds (the one with music by Jeff Wayne - ah, memories) is back in action.  What is striking to me when I look at the following photos is the brown paddocks on the hills behind the orchards.

The water for the irrigators comes from a natural water reserve under the geological bowl in which the orchards and The Cottage are situated.  It's the same reserve that we get our water from.  Fortunately despite the huge amount used by the irrigators it's never run out.... yet.

Our very own rainbow.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Not For Men

The subject of personalised number plates surfaced on the blog of Frances Garrood recently and I think that there seemed to be a general feeling that it was something men did.   I have no thoughts on the matter but these two in Tauranga were unlikely to belong to the macho NZ male!  I thought that Spesh might like the VW not for its plate but for its colour!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Too Late

We went to the Tauranga Art Gallery this afternoon.  Two decades of Paramount Award winning works from the Wallace Art Awards were on show but I particularly wanted to see the Victorian paintings which were on loan from various art collections in New Zealand because I'd had popped in on Saturday to see what was on and espied what I took to be a Pre-Raphaelite and a Millais and was very excited to return for a more studied look.  When we got there today the Victorian Exhibition was closed and being dismantled.  There was, they told me, a Pre-Raphaelite and a Millais.   I was rather disappointed.  I didn't really take to any of the Wallace exhibits but I did like the collection of work by the New Zealand-born, Australian-based artist Emily Valentine who uses feathers for her artworks.
She creates mythical beasts - winged dogs, cats, lizards and airplanes - and wants to "stimulate the viewer with the uncomfortable nature of the feather, to question our callous treatment of animals and birds, and ask how we subconsciously classify animals - pet or pest, valued or worthless, beautiful or plain, and why".

After we popped into the Comida, a new Tapas Bar by the Art Gallery, the for a cold drink and a coffee.  We were tempted to have a Spanish Donut or Churros with hot dipping chocolate though. It was absolutely wonderful. What really struck me was the superb service.  It's a new place and I hope that it does really well.

Sunday, 27 January 2013


On the drive from Napier to Tauranga on Friday I stopped, as is my want, at the small town of Tirau. It has a population of just over 700 and is an attraction for tourists and motorists traveling on the three State Highways that go by it.  It is an important junction on the state highway network.

Great location in the NorthIsland within reach  of many town’s and citie's
It is famous for having lots of things made out of corrugated iron.  Such as the Information Centre in the shape of a dog and the church's Good Shepherd:

The building shaped like a sheep"

Many shop signs of which these are a couple:

The school sign (which I've blogged about before for Heather):

I was, however puzzled by this sign:

...but then it was 2.55 in the afternoon.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

White-Tailed Spider

New Zealand is fortunate in having very few poisonous creatures which are likely to be a problem for humans.  One that can cause a nasty bite however is the Australian White-Tailed Spider which was first discovered in New Zealand in 1886 and which has now become established throughout the North Island.  This evening I met the first one that I can recall seeing at close quarters and photographing.  I'm sure that if I'd photographed one before then I would have blogged about it.

Their preferred habitat is under dry bark and plants but will often be seen inside houses, where they look for shelter from the light, after hunting at night. The spider often hides in clothing, especially if it is left lying around on the floor.  Note to me: 'Keep clothes in case whilst in Tauranga!'

This one is a fairly small young one (the light bars on either side of the abdomen fade when they become adults).

Friday, 25 January 2013

Away Again

Some of you will have seen it before but this is the view from my bed before 7am on a morning like today:

and a little later as the sun rises above the rim of the bowl in which The Cottage is situated.

Today I'm off to Tauranga to visit a friend who has invited me to her Aftermas gathering.  Hopefully I'll manage lots of photos of the journey.  In the meantime I'll leave you with a photo of the Highland Bull in the paddock in front of The Cottage with a Mynah Bird on its back.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Thankful Thursday: Apple

Why is it that blog posts are like buses: you wait for ages for an idea and then three come along at once?  The 'Apple' I'm talking about is nothing to do with the fruit trees that surround The Cottage for hectare after hectare in this, New Zealand's fruit bowl.  No it's the Apple.

0500 hrs this morning and my iPad 'rang' and woke me.  My iPad rang??  How come? It is wifi only.

One of the beauties of the iPhone is that it has a programmable sound notifications so that I have it set for no 'ringing' during the hours of midnight to 0630.  It's also programmed to take calls from designated numbers or people or from anyone who tries twice in quick succession.   However Apple has Facetime which enables people using an Apple device to contact each other orally and visually over the internet free via their Apple device.  It is only recently that a friend in Australia (Fiona, daughter of one of my oldest friends who lives in Canada who is not into modern technology and doesn't even have a cellphone) got me to start using it.

Fiona is in Canada at the moment.  Fiona is trying to persuade her Mum to get an iPad so that she can communicate more effectively with her daughters and friends scattered throughout the world (Fiona doesn't have a landline telephone).  To that end they were in an Apple Store in Canada.  Who better to demonstrate Facetime on but someone in New Zealand.  They miscalculated the time and were quite surprised when a rather sleepy voice answered his cellphone wondering how it could have rung and why it was still dark.  It was, in fact, the iPad that had rung but my sleeping brain hadn't computed that.

Frances Garrood would, I am sure, say that that demonstrates all that is bad about modern (ie post 1970) technology (see Pre-1970s - The Best Inventions) but for me it demonstrates all that is good with the ability we now have to communicate with each other in this physically large and yet very small earth.  

So whilst I might have some misgivings about being woken at 0500 I am very thankful for the ability to communicate with my friends so easily.

On Gifts and Giving

Frances Garrood is a novelist who blogs under the unnervingly original title of Frances Garrood.  Her posts can be irritatingly controversial.  I say irritatingly because often I want to disagree with them but there may be a theme within them with which I agree.  Frances wrote a post last December (which many of my readers may have read): "Gifts". A brief guide.

I quote: "'Gifts' are things that are bought by the desperate for the ungrateful. They are things that you don't need.  If you needed them, you would (probably) already have them." 

Now the problem is that I fundamentally disagree with the statement whilst, unfortunately, also agreeing that there is an element of truth in it.

I love it that someone has spent the time and effort to give me a present but if they don't then it doesn't put me up nor down.  Mind you I seem to be fortunate in that music and books make up many of my gifts and I love those.  Some of my friends also have a wonderful knack of giving me things which will mean something intrinsically for as long as I live.

I love giving presents too.  On the other hand I loathe having to give presents to order ie for Christmas and birthdays.   I love spontaneity.   I love seeing something and thinking that would be wonderful for X or knowing someone needs something but perhaps can't justify (or afford) it at that moment when I can.  It might be for a birthday.  It might not.  I would love the freedom to give as and when I felt like it without the need for a specific reason or event requiring me to do so and without feeling guilty that I'd failed to mark a special event with a present (although I always try and remember to send birthday cards) or being looked at oddly when I do buy spontaneously and asked "What is that for?"

On a matter of detail one of the things Frances singled out as a no-no for men was handkerchiefs 'because most men use tissues'.  Well I, for one,  can't abide tissues unless I have a streaming cold.  I use at least two handkerchiefs a day - usually for wiping my eyes which stream a lot if there is any cold air or wind around (and I live in New Zealand and the Hebrides!). The other I keep for emergencies and cleaning my specs.  Have you tried to buy 'proper' men's handkerchiefs? It is almost impossible. The things masquerading as handkerchiefs even in M&S are little better than tissues. If anyone bought me proper ones (I can't repeat handkerchiefs again) for any occasion I would be happier than a - very happy person.  Try finding them though!

I would also love to know how is it that very polite children brought up to do all the correct things seem to have lost the ability even  to say thank you for a present never mind write a letter or send an email or a text or a Facebook message or any one of the other means at their disposal? I stopped sending some children presents because I never even knew if they received them.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Shallowness of Mind

Driving home from town this afternoon I pondered on life, the universe and everything and came to the conclusion that Deep Thought was wrong and the answer is not 42.  Of course in reality we don't actually know what the question was but wotthehellarchiewotthehell. 

Why was I pondering?  Well my day has, so far, been spectacularly good: in a superficial sort of way that is.  Actually in a very superficial sort of way.  However (I was going to use 'but' but I keep getting chastised for starting sentences with conjunctions so I thought I'd use however which is usually an adverb and the purists might not notice I've used it as a conjunction) quite a lot of not-so-good is happening to some of my friends at the moment and it's been affecting my thoughts because I can do nothing for them.

In fact these photos reminded me of my mood: full of admiration for the beauty of the nature they portray but full of foreboding for the storms they presage.

One of the emails I received was from a friend who is always amazingly cheerful and really does live by the mantra given to her by her father when she was a child: smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone.  It was a very cheerful email which just happened to mention that she'd been burgled a day or so previously whilst she was out (doing voluntary work) but the the burglars had been very neat and tidy and even put everything back on the bathroom window ledge whence they had gained entry.

On reflection it makes me realise how shallow I have become. I did a puzzle given to me by a friend yesterday and on the first attempt I got 'pretty smart' and on the second attempt 'genius'.  The fact that I'll probably never manage to do it again is irrelevant!  Then my GC partner and I had a  comfortable doubles win in a Club competition match.  Last of all a friend invited me to play a game of Words with Friends (it's like Scrabble played over the internet) and promptly put in a word with a score of 71.  I think the highest I've ever achieved is in the 40s.  After thinking and experimenting (I had two wildcard tiles) for many hours I came up with a word scoring 95!  I have absolutely no idea what the word means but I tried to put in a word and had one tile left over so just fitted it somewhere until the computer accepted it.

So perhaps the answer to the unknown question is 42 after all.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Photos From Lewis

I received and email from Spesh this morning.  Not that that's unusual.  Spesh also sent some photos from home.  Whilst most of the UK seems to be having snow and real winter weather the morning on Lewis was brilliant sun although there was a very brisk Lewis breeze whipping up the waves!

Lews Castle Grounds
The Braighe
The Braighe
 Briagha was exhausted - this walking lark was just toooooooooo tiring

Friday, 18 January 2013

Palmerston Clubs A C Tournament

I don't usually post specifically about a tournament.  Bearing in mind the way this tournament went and that this blog is partly a sort of diary and there are a few interesting bits (including one for Adrian) I've decided to give it a post of its own.

The Palmerston Clubs tournament is one of the most enjoyable of the many I play in each year and one at which I have always had a memorable and enjoyable time.  The other thing about it is that there has always been a huge variation in the weather over the six days.  We played in the sun and high 20s and in Feilding (see the article and photo below) in the teens and pouring rain.  In the very last game of the tournament for me at Takaro (which was also my best game) we also played in torrential rain and strong wind where I was so desperate not to lose my concentration (it is well known that I would not insult a gnat by claiming to have its attention span) that I played on and was soaked right through to the skin at the end of the game.

I should add that we are not wimps in the croquet world and only stop tournament play when the lawns become unplayable which generally means that they have to be under water.

In short I played the best association croquet I have ever played.  It's still not first class play but for my handicap level it was very satisfying and I managed to be the runner up in the two singles events in which I played and reduced my AC handicap from a 6 to a 5.  Still a way to go to get down to my GC handicap of 2 though.

Ironically in the last game of the last event (the Open Handicap Singles) I played André again (see article below) and won 26:13.

The local press decided there was a story in the 'Scotsman playing in New Zealand' after hearing someone talk about The Godwit (my nickname in some fields given the traveling habits of the Godwit and that it's iconic to New Zealand in the way that the Swallow is in Europe).  Of course there are errors in the story - never believe all that you read in the papers but it gives the game some publicity.

Adrian would have been delighted with the photographer's Canon equipment.  He had two Canon lenses the size of houses one of which fitted the same description as Adrian's  new toy and which was out in the rain.  The photo below was taken from a long way off in very poor light (it has to be really bad if I'm not wearing sun glasses).

Okay this post has far to many uses of the first person singular but wotthehellarachiewotthehell I don't have very many occasions to be so delighted with anything I do so please just accept it on this occasion.

And now for bed.  Another day of underachievement and too many 'to dos' still on the list.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Thankful Thursday

It's just before midnight on Thursday here in New Zealand and I am back home in The Cottage and back on wifi and no longer reliant on my iPhone for internet access - not ideal for blogging!

I have various things to say from my time away - assuming that I can remember them all - but for now I shall simply say how thankful I am for the hospitality of croquet friends who housed, fed and watered us whilst I and a few others from our croquet club were away at the tournament.

The days have been long out on the lawns in weather ranging from very hot and sunny to (relatively) cold with pouring rain and gale force winds. We have walked for miles (according to my iPhone app I walked over 5 miles in two games today and we usually play three) and spent a great deal of time tiring the brain by concentrating.  The evenings (when we eventually managed to get home from the lawns) have been filled with friendship, good food (and the occasional red libation) and good humour.  The - all too few - sleeping hours have been sound and deep notwithstanding strange beds and surroundings (well actually my friends have very comfortable beds and surroundings but they are strange in the sense of being unusual to me).

Within the hour (by which time it will be tomorrow) I shall be gratefully fast asleep in my own bed with no need to be awake at 6am in the morning (which probably means that I'll be wide awake by then).

On the way home I saw the most unusual rainbow that I have ever seen.  It was taken through rainy car windows across the front of the driver at speed but is, I think, quite impressive.

So for all these things I am very thankful indeed.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


Those of you who follow on Facebook will know that I am away in Palmerston North for a six-day Association Croquet Tournament.  I came away last Friday and am due home next Friday.   I forgot to post about my absence on the blog and since then it's been very hectic indeed: playing croquet for 10 hours during the day and in the evenings enjoying the company of friends with whom we are staying.  I've had a number of friends wondering where I had disappeared to.  So now you know.  I'll be back posting again soon.

Friday, 11 January 2013

What Am I Worth?

A friend has just texted me to say that she has had a reminder from her cellphone service provider to top up.  If she tops up by £30 she will get a free GB.  She thought that was a bargain.  I thought it was rather expensive.  After all look at the specification:

One well used ((in most senses of the phrase) male.  
Still alive (or I was when I wrote this but not looking at investing my capital on long term)
Medium height (according to the doctor's records about 1" shorter than 40 years ago when I joined the medical practice).
Bits missing as a result of cancer and bits added as the result of a heart attack.
Gammy knee shortly due for replacement.
Bald(ing) but good eyebrows and beard and what there is is grey to white.
Reasonable eyesight and hearing (and that's about the best bit of the description).
68 years on the clock.
Reasonably well educated (so far as I can remember but the memory has always been suspect).
Happy and optimistic disposition (when I'm not being a grump).
House trained and a passable cook. 

So would you even accept the above if given away?

Note: Comments have been disabled for this post.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Thankful Thursday

Many of you who follow this blog will know Jaz of Treacy Travels .  Jaz hasn't been blogging for a while but posts of Facebook.  For those of you who don't follow Facebook  but would like to know how things are going Jaz has just had the results of her latest scans and there has been no tumour growth now for 9 months!  How absolutely fantastic is that?  I am over the moon.

Jaz is, of course, the person who was the instigator of and original inspiration for the Thankful Thursday posts.

So today merits a second Thankful Thursday post.  If it wasn't for the fact that I would have to drink the whole bottle myself I would be toasting you with fizz, Jaz.  As it is I shall toast your health at 5pm with a large glass of sav.   Go well.

Thankful Thursday

One of the advantages of getting older is that one has more memories: some good, some bad but at least there are a lot of them.  Some of mine have been brought to mind by a book a friend lent me entitled A Present of Laughter.

I was surprised by how many of the rhymes and so on I knew.

My brother, CJ, and I often come up with lines from well-known works like Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky, The Walrus and the Carpenter, or "You are old, Father William" but I had never heard of his The Mad Gardener's Song and I have to admit that although his The Hunting of the Snark is a title well known to me, when I read it I couldn't recall it at all.

How many of you have heard A Song About Myself

There was a naughty Boy,
A Naughty boy was he,
He would not stop at home,
He could not quiet be -
     He took
     In his Knapsack
     A Book
     Full of vowles
     And a shirt
     With some towels-
and so it goes on.   But can you recall who might have written it?  I know it well and I know it's author well - he was one of my favourite poets with great epics like Hyperion to his credit.  He was the serious John Keats (1795-1821).  But could I remember that he was the author?  No.

I'm not a great lover of Edward Lear (1812-1888) and his nonsense rhymes but I do love his The Owl and The Pussycat going to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat, eating mince and slices of quince with a runcible spoon and dancing by the light of the moon.  The wonderful illustration is by L Leslie Brooke (1862-1940).

W S Gilbert (1836-1911) is well known for his half of the pairing of Gilbert and Sullivan but how many have heard of his Gentle Alice Brown and it's sage tale of love and corruption most amusingly put.  I had not.

I'm sure that I heard the following limerick (anonymous) before I'd gone to school:

There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a Tiger
     They came back from the ride
     With the lady inside
And the smile on the face of the Tiger.

Can you imagine this anonymous ditty being allowed anywhere near a politically correct book these days:

Little Willie hung his sister,
She was dead before we missed her.
"Willie's always up to tricks!
 Ain't he cute? He's only six!"

Hilaire Belloc (1870 - 1953) lived long and wrote much - very much - including his cautionary tales such as Jim (Who ran away from his Nurse and was eaten by a lion) or Rebecca (Who slammed doors for fun and perished miserably).

I shall finish with Ogden Nash's (1902 - 1971) The Wombat for no other reason than it has an  antipodean connection and, if you have ever seen a wombat, is quite ludicrous:

The wombat lives across the seas
Among the fair Antipodes.
He may exist on nuts and berries,
or then again on missionaries;
His distant habit precludes
Conclusive knowledge of his moods.
But I would not engage the wombat
In any form of mortal combat.

So why is this a Thankful Thursday post?  I'm very thankful I have known (most of) these wonderful pieces of nonsense and had so many years of enjoyment out of them and their authors.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Heath Robinson

William Heath Robinson (31 May 1872 – 13 September 1944) was an English cartoonist and illustrator, best known for drawings of eccentric machines.

In the UK, the term Heath Robinson has entered the language as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contraption, similar to "Rube Goldberg" in the U.S.  Heath Robinson is perhaps more often used in relation to temporary fixes using ingenuity and whatever is to hand, often string and tape, or unlikely cannibalisations.  Its popularity is undoubtedly linked to Second World War Britain's shortages and the need to "make do and mend".

Why am I telling you all this?  Well tomorrow's Thankful Thursday post will explain about the book which gave me the idea for this post but when I saw the illustrations by W Heath Robinson I suddenly wondered about the origins of the saying.

And now I know.  And so do you (if you didn't already).

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

I Think It's Tuesday

and it seems ages since I posted.   Life seems busy and ordinary and plods on between croquet matches, the gym, coffees and occasional meals with friends and, of course, The Family.  I even have some posts almost finished but not quite.   So before I go to bed I shall post a few snippets.

The public road off which our drive comes is beautiful and it's been hot so this horse has been sheltering:

When your country is shown on the television in map form as happens in the UK and New Zealand we appear as islands - 'cos we are islands.  For the UK there is always a relativity to the landmass of continental Europe.  When New Zealand is shown it becomes obvious just how isolated we are

This evening I was at a friend's for dinner - on the terrace overlooking the sea.   Wonderful.  Even if we had the weather for it on Lewis the midges would drive you back indoors very quickly.   Later we had some supper: fruit and chocolate and almond paste cookies.  If you come to me you will likely get a good selection of cheese for supper which is nowhere near as healthy nor as photogenic!

I had a moth in the house yesterday.  Quite a beauty in a quiet sort of way.  I think it may be a Looper Moth - perhaps a Carpet of some sort - but an identification would be appreciated.

And on that note bed and Words With Friends beckons.

Night night.

Post script - Wednesday.  Following the link in Katherine's comment I trawled through page after page of pictures of Looper moths on the New Zealand Landcare Research website.  The nearest I could come up with is Gellonia dejectaria (commonly known as the brown evening moth).  According to Wikipedia it is a moth of the Geometridae family, it is native to New Zealand and that G. dejectaria caterpillars eat the leaves of the māhoe, supplejack and bush lawyer plants.  So far as I am aware there are none of these in this vicinity but then there may well be.  However whilst looking for other pictures of the G. dejectaria I discovered that many of them bore absolutely no resemblance to the NZLR image nor, often, to each other.  So I am really not a lot closer.  Given that there are hundreds of different moths around here I think this is one area that my curiosity is about to leave alone!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

A Dog, A Cat and A Carrot

One day soon after The Cottage had been built Catriona (then 6 or just 7 years old) came down from The House for a visit.   At one stage I asked if she would like anything.  What had I got?  I opened the biscuit tin and then the fridge to reveal chocolate and other goodies.  Her eyes alighted on the carrots.  Overjoyed and ignoring anything else she plumped for carrots.  Ever since when The Family come for dinner the starter includes, amongst other things, carrot sticks and dips.  They disappear at an amazing rate of knots.  Last night, however, we discovered something we all regarded as amazing.  Misty loves carrots too.  A dog eating carrots?  Absolutely woofed them down. 

Yes, carrots - the umpteenth carrot stick of the evening
What's all the fuss about?  Yuck.  What is she eating?

Friday, 4 January 2013

Kingfishers and Cameras

I took some photos of a Kingfisher on a post near The Cottage a few days ago.  They were taken at full lends magnification and the light wasn't as good as it could have been but at ISO100 and a stop of F5.6 the speed was between 1/80 and 1/160 sec.  That's really too slow for a hand-held photo with a 30X magnification (approximately the equivalent of an 800mm lens).   It's all part of the compromise of using a bridge camera.  What was more unfortunate was that the bird had decided to sit with the light behind it so that I got a rim of light on some of the subject edges (particularly the post).  Anyway I thought I'd show a few of the pics and hope for something better next time.   I'm sort of doing an Adrian at the moment (only on a much much cheaper scale) and thinking of a camera with a larger sensor and RAW capability. 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Thankful Thursday

Phone call from a friend this morning at 0730 "Are you still ok for dinner tonight?"
Me "I thought it was the 4th we were going."
Friend "It is."
Me "But that's tomorrow."
Friend "It can't be.  Friday is the 4th.  I've just checked."
Me "Yes.  But today's Thursday."
Friend "It can't be I've just looked in my diary."

So it's not just me who has problems!

Phone call from the same friend at 0740 "X and Y can't come tomorrow.  They are too tired after all the relatives left yesterday.  Can we postpone it for a few days?"

We had lunch instead to catch up.

Friend lived in Auckland for years until retiring to Napier about four or five years ago and has become immersed in the Napier life but still has a rather Auckland pace to her life.  "I still have difficulty with the fact that people stop at every roundabout whether or not anyone is on the roundabout.  Then I stop thinking shouts [she is far too ladylike actually to shout] at them and remember that I came here to get away from the Auckland way and pace."

I was reminded of the poem Leisure by W H Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

I quoted this poem on Eagleton Notes some time after I started blogging.  Blogging has given me the reason for stopping and staring and taking life - albeit a very full life - at a much gentler pace and living in the Outer Hebrides and Napier has assisted that.

For all of that, and for butterflies, I am truly thankful.

A New Zealand Red Admiral - the first I've photographed this time here.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Do you ever wonder why

you didn't do something years ago?  

I have spent every summer since I moved into The Cottage thinking about having fly screens put on the ranch sliders and windows.   In fact two or three years ago I did put a fly screen on the second bedroom so that guests sleeping there could have the door closed and the sliding window wide open at nigh: not all guests want to leave their bedroom door open to take the benefit of the airconditioning on hot nights.

This year has been hot and, very unusually for Hawkes Bay, we have had some relatively humid evenings and I've fallen prey to mozzies or other bitey beasties when the evening has turned to night.  Living right in the country we also tend to attract lots of flying insects at night lured in either by the light or the carbon dioxide that we humans exhale.  So come time to put the lights on the doors and windows all get closed.

Recently I wondered why I had never thought of making proper fly screens with frames which could be fitted into the ranch sliders and open windows.  Some years ago I did try a screen fitted with Velcro but it was very short lived.   Yesterday I made a proper fitted screen for the ranch slider in the bedroom and today I've made screens for the living room ranch sliders and some windows.

Tonight I am sitting typing this after 10pm with a very strong wind and a temperature of 22℃ outside - and considerably more inside - but a lovely breeze blowing right through The Cottage and no insects!  Why, oh why, didn't I do this 5 years ago?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Last of My 2012

Highland dress - Kiwi style
The last sunset of 2012 from The House
Not quite a full moon
How many of you would be in the pool 11pm New Year's Eve?
The Gay Gordons - last couple standing
It's all over
The last people leave

There's the clearing up to be done
And the walk back to The Cottage