Thursday, 30 September 2010


We have a beautiful botanical garden in the capital, complete with hot house, begonia house and rose garden. It also has a conservatory coffee shop. Welcome to happy afternoon dreaming in the sun

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Foxglove Hollow

We dubbed our home "Foxglove Hollow". These purple bee high-rises are scattered amongst the native trees all over our property; a constant source of fascination to our two cats.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Friday, 24 September 2010

Random shots out of the archives

Wellington Harbour

Traffic, S. Island style

Plimmerton, looking to the S.Island

Welcome to my world. Wishing my visitors a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


I felt hard pressed on every side

intellectually at a standstill

and seriously not amused

but trusting for a day in the sun tomorrow

Monday, 20 September 2010

Basket Case Robbery

Tonight's content of the shopping bag: tinned and packet cat food, rice, washing up liquid, tinned fruit, chilli beans, marmite, olive oil, two loaves of bread, sliced sandwich beef, kippers and evaporated milk. Total bill (with discount) NZ$99 or US$71.75 / UK pounds 45.80.

A recent article in the Weekend Herald did an analysis of comparative shopping baskets in NZ, Australia, the UK and US. The US and UK shopping baskets were cheaper than the NZ equivalent. Given that our salaries average one third less than a comparative UK salary, you can understand why we gasp with amazement at grocery prices in the UK. It is cheaper to buy NZ lamb and milk products in England than it is here How is it that we are told we pay "export prices" for lamb and butter here, and yet the price in the UK is cheaper? It doesn't make sense but it does make me mad. We have only two supermarket chains, so competition is poor and we have less than 5 million people so the "economy of scale" argument is used all the time.

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful I have food to eat, but boy, this country is EXPENSIVE!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Bells and baking smells

The only place to be on a Saturday morning - La Cloche Kaiwharawhara.

Friday, 17 September 2010

A Storm and what to do!

When a storm has been forecast
It’s important you see,
To play in the sun
And run up a tree.
But as hailstones come rumbling
And taking their aim,
So much more sensible
To skip out of the way.

And as for the humans,
They are quick to agree
They must go drink coffee
At a place by sea.

Cumin in our Kowhai tree, Coffee courtesy of Bella Italia Petone

Yom Kippur

Today we are enduring the beginnings of a storm "the size of Australia" coming across our country. The birds have stopped singing and the wind is building up.

In the build up to this maelstrom, I have been reflecting how much I need God's forgiveness. So many wasted opportunities, such a rebellious heart. Yet I have such hope for tomorrow when I remember the mercy of God, the unfailing love that pours from the heart of Adonai.

For those who I have hurt or offended in any way, I ask your forgiveness and trust that I may grow a better person in the year ahead.

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Today I knew it was the first day of spring. Today was our local town's Spring market and the first day of fundraising for the "New Year".

The funds from today's jewellery stall are going to support an inspirational couple in Haifa. Philip and Violette are passionate about children (they have 6 of their own) and are starting a new kindergarten. It was the vision of their entire family and they have all got involved. It will be for Jewish and Arab children, reflecting the way that Haifa's Jewish and Arab Israelis live side by side in the city. It will fill a much needed gap in the early education facilities in their area.

They don't have government funding or piles of money to do this, but they do think it is the right thing to do. I am passionate to help them. I saw them in action in 2008 when I volunteered in Israel for a while. They are always taking care of people and met the needs of many mothers bringing their children to Israel from Iraq for life saving surgery. Philip and Violette just adopted entire families during their stay. As I say, inspirational.

Photos to follow (if the weather holds!)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Play dough

There is something mystical about making bread. Even though you think you know what you are doing, one day you set about the task and it is different. It is not so much you making the bread, but the bread playing with you.
Tonight, my tormentor was a large basin of challah dough. I tried a different recipe, and the whole lump in my hands behaved in a strange way. It was too wet, then the elasticity changed, then the smell. When I tried to braid it, the neat long rolls of dough wriggled and bulged and popped in my hands. I felt like a circus performer, a juggler, a boxer. The rascal was fighting me; doing a side shoe shuffle through my fingers.
Then it settled, relaxed and allowed itself to be decorated with sesame, lounging on the oven trays. I swear I saw it sighing and dozing, dreaming of the cooking to come.
Tomorrow is Jewish New Year. I think my bread intends to celebrate too, and was just getting a bit too over excited the night before.
Chag Sameach and Shana Tova ve metuka!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Christchurch Earthquake

This morning we planned a leisurely drive to town. We intended to go via a French Cafe en route to drop off our guest at the ferry terminal. At 7 am when we checked our internet news, we were faced with the chaos of the biggest earthquake in a built up area of New Zealand since the Napier quake of 1931.

Christchurch sustained a 7.1 earthquake at 4.35am which was only 10 kms deep - in other words shallow. It has caused major damage, but miraculously no loss of life. We have family in the city, and they are OK but their house isn't. We both feel incredibly helpless. The whole of the country has been touched by this disaster, in the sense that most have family and friends in Christchurch and surrounding areas. The airport was closed temporarily, the rail network is closed and many of the roads. Bridges in certain areas are impassable.

The quake was felt as far south as Invercargill and as far north as New Plymouth on the N. Island. For more details, please check the following link.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Great Yorkshire Sayings

"Laid aht leak lamb 'n salad"

Meaning "to stretch out luxuriously".