Sunday, 31 October 2010

Spice Travel

After using the final spoon of my cardamom coffee, and knowing my one supplier of the blend had given up trying to import it, I resorted to good old Kiwi ingenuity. Yesterday I haunted an Indian shop in search of good quality cardamom pods. They were located within seconds; but walking into an Indian spice shop is much easier than walking out. My poor husband had to tolerate my "oohs" and "aahs" as I wandered around the shelves, floating in memory heaven.

There sat Iglee flour to make the S. Indian doughy flying saucers - stuff that turns to wallpaper paste in inexperienced English fingers, Parachute coconut hair oil (guaranteed in Mumbai's atmosphere to transform your hair into polluted, grimy dreadlocks if you didn't wash it out properly), sandalwood talcum powder prompting memories of the crowded ladies’ compartment on the commuter trains, Gullab jaman, sticky gluey divine spheres bobbing in a bowl next to the cash desk, chappati pans and rolling pins, masala chai mix, incense sticks burning (just like my local grocer at Grant Road who also sold yoghurt “curd” in plastic carrier bags).

Squeezing into the crowded interior, I was propelled to Bahrain’s old souq. There at the back of the store stood towers of aluminium cooking pots, some enough to feed up to one hundred people – oh you know, the usual recipe, “Take one camel and marinade until tender….” A curtain covered a door to the store room – I so wanted it to be the Arabic version of Narnia – If I pushed through the fabric would I be transported to the Bab al Bahrain and Baraa’s uncle’s jewellery store next to the fabric souq?

All this just because I wanted to drink spicy coffee. Cheaper than an air ticket I suppose.

Monday, 25 October 2010

The flowers that bloom in the spring tra la!

Taken on our beach walk today.

Simply red on the bed

I love it when she "helps" me to make the bed (which actually means it is done in three stages) Part One, I take off all the sheets and she jumps on the bare mattress. Part Two I put new bottom sheet on the bed and tuck it in - a wriggly lump tries to find her way out. Part Three, she jumps down and snoozes indignantly on the duvet until she feels it appropriate to let me reapply the feathers to the bed.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Red Capital

Yesterday evening we strolled around the capital and I took a few photos here and there. It wasn't until I got home I realised that I had been drawn to the warmth of the colour red all around me. Appropriate I suppose, as we are celebrating "Labour Day" this weekend.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


In New Zealand we would like to offer the cast of "The Hobbit" our sincerest commiserations. After all, you could have been staying in a place like this for the duration of filming; one of the thousands of bijou rental properties and b & b's around the country.
But I guess Watford will be really exciting by comparison.

Friday, 15 October 2010

There's something about Fridays

Last Friday, my gorgeous bundle of joy climbed up to base camp on our 25 foot tall cabbage tree (there's a natural platform at around 11 feet). On the way to rescue her, I slipped and fractured my toe. I didn't know it at the time, so proceeded to climb a ladder, balance a 20' long plank to a retaining wall, and get madamoiselle down. Only Sunday did I get around to going to hospital

This evening she is once again charging around in the garden, defying gravity and making our elderly tom cat dizzy. She has just been stalking our vacuum cleaner and bringing in leaves and twigs faster than I can vacuum them up.

This was her 6pm invitation to come outside and play.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Stranger than fiction

Quoted in full from the Nelson Mail, New Zealand

A duck that visits a Nelson bakery daily for several months at the same time each year has been named Bruffin after the business's most popular product.

Brumby's Hardy St bakery co-owner Shelley Sims said Bruffin was proving to be a real hit with customers. "Every single person who walks past comments."

The duck had been coming to the bakery for three years, usually from about now through until Christmas. She arrives each morning with "her boyfriend" who waits at the door while she comes in to take a bite from the free taster box, Ms Sims said.

"She stands right by the counter and quacks until we feed or pat her."

The pair usually stay until about 11am and then depart. Ms Sims does not know where they come from and cannot believe they manage to make their way through inner city Nelson without getting skittled.

"The really bizarre thing is she comes in every year at the same time," she said.

Fish and Game biodiversity officer Rhys Barrier said mallard ducks were "pretty good at finding out where a free feed is".

"They go away to breed and things like that – their habits shift."

But they have a "good memory" and it was likely to be the food that draws them back, he said. "They have a bit more intelligence than people give them credit for."

Fish and Game has been called from time to time to get mallards and their ducklings out of urban swimming pools, he said. "They're a breed that's very tolerant of people."

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

New skills

This morning she jumped onto my keyboard and activated a voice inside the computer which verbalised everything I did with the mouse and keyboard from then on. It took me five minutes to figure out where the "deactivate" button was.
Later, she had me grovelling through undergrowth at dusk to retrieve her from a narrow part of our boundary fence. I lost a clump of hair on a tree branch in the execution of my grande jette through native bush.
She is now plotting her exit via closed curtains, locked doors, bolted windows and grilled air vents.
Thank goodness she is still a baby and eventually keels over exhausted - usually in a long sausage shape, neatly tucked between us in bed.
Learning to snore thankfully is still on her "To Do" list.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Cumin's question

"You know you said I wasn't to bring anything with 4 legs into the house? Well this one has an extra 96. Is that OK?"

Twigs that Cumin couldn't bring into the house

Plimmerton, New Zealand

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Conversations with Cumin

Sunny day, sat on the deck drinking lemonade, kitten about to pounce on jumping insect.

"Cumin, if you catch that cricket, you stay outside and eat it."

Kitten darts into the dining room with cricket hanging from her whiskers.

"Cumin, now you have brought it into the house, you'd better eat it."

Kitten drops cricket and darts out into sunshine. Surprised cricket jumps away.

"Cumin, bring that cricket out of the house now!"

Lonely chirp from underneath the Queen Anne secretaire.

It seems we will be serenaded to sleep tonight.........