Saturday, 30 April 2011

My favourite wedding dress

I loved Catherine's dress, but preferred this one.

Designed and made by Solida Marcos, Dubai 2004

Oh, and the dress is mine.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Of teacups and tiaras

I am not a monarchist, but neither am I a Republican. Any country should be grateful for an apolitical figurehead who does all the tedious diplomacy, handshaking, and networking that an elected politician doesn’t have the giftings or time for.
I’m grateful for Queen Elizabeth 2. She’s an absolute marvel that woman. She’s a year younger than my mum, and still has both a day job and an evening job, and was riding horses until only a few years ago. It was a job she didn’t ask for, but she has done it faithfully for over 60 years. Anyone out there who can compete with that? She’s done the job in spite of wayward kids, a very undiplomatic husband and private trials.
Ma’am you are an international treasure.
Your choice of dogs leaves something to be desired, but no one is perfect.
Tonight I’ll be glued to the telly down here in the southern most bit of the Commonwealth. Not because I’m a royalist, but because I’m a romantic and love a good wedding. I’m excited about the frock and the bridesmaids and that gorgeous young chap in uniform. I will be giggling at the Archbishop’s eyebrows and looking to see what outfit Princess Anne has re-cycled. I’ve been running a bet with myself to see if I can guess the colour of the Queen’s outfit, like I did when she visited “my town” (I was 10 years and my city had just turned 1900 years) And I guessed right – she wore canary yellow.
I will be the one looking for the member of the Household Cavalry who wants to sneeze because his bearskin is too low at the front.
And for the record, I think she’ll have her hair up, because it is difficult to wear a tiara with long heavy hair. The dress will be close fitting and not a meringue with a train the length of Buckingham Palace Road. It’s a long shot, but I think she will have been loaned one of Queen Mary’s Tiaras - possibly the sunburst one which the Queen wore at her wedding, and I think the bridesmaids will have a splash of colour – most likely blue.
I doubt she will carry a hedge of flowers, but opt for a more understated bouquet, more like Sarah than Diana. I think the Queen will be in pale blue or lilac. I suspect the newly minted couple will be given Duke and Duchess as new titles, probably the Duke and Duchess of Clarence.
OK folks, you heard it here first!
William and Catherine, I wish you many happy years. I lift my teacup of Earl Grey Tea to toast you!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Flowers at the Cenotaph

In spite of 120km winds in the capital yesterday, the flowers at the cenotaph survived.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Feeling just a little blue

Today temperatures plummeted, and the Waikato had some mini tornadoes. Summer suddenly feels a long way off! This was the last blue hydrangea to burst.

And these are the final flowers in the garden, so from now on, we are battening down the hatches, hibernating with porridge and honey and fighting the cats for the duvet.
See you again in spring!


Monday, 25 April 2011

An appointment with the Crown

I don't normally leave visiting exhibitions to the last two hours of the LAST open day, but such has been my schedule recently. I press-ganged my friend Jane and we hot footed down to the City Gallery to view a retrospective of Crown Lynn pottery. Crown Lynn is THE name in Kiwi ceramics. Sadly the pottery no longer exists, but there is a serious revival happening amongst the younger generation. It is collectable, and more importantly, retro.

Oh and we stopped in at La Cloche on the way home for some post exhibition sustenance. Two hours very well spent.


Thank you to all our servicemen, both near and far old and young.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Tulips and Spice and all things nice

My favourite flower named after my favourite kitten. Cumin, you are famous!
Photo courtesy of Michael Pansters, Keukenhof, The Netherlands

Friday, 22 April 2011

Chair backs and chat backs

Chocolate Fish Cafe, Shelly Bay, Wellington

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sea flowers

On the beach at Eastbourne, New Zealand

Friday, 15 April 2011

I'm in love with the tuba

Tuning up, NZSO, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington

Thursday, 14 April 2011


On a walk by the sea, a table top tree,

Bear dogs parading (Honey and Moses)

and this chap on a ship (with freezing cold toesies).
Oriental Parade Wellington

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Window shopping for Pixies



"Baby Vintage" Plimmerton

Monday, 11 April 2011

Zsa Zsa kitty

No scarf is safe in our household
Cumin - aka the Orange Blur, taking a Sunday snooze

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The "truth" for breakfast

Sometimes crystal is required for a Saturday breakfast

and views from the window need to hint "continental"

Cakes stands must stand to attention

and blushing tomatoes peek over the buffet

and brazen bunches blare from the bowl

A morning to remember comrade
Pravda, Wellington

Friday, 8 April 2011

Line dancing

Views in the harbour with our national museum, Te Papa in the background

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Please write your poem and be seated.

Wellington Harbour

Memories of orange

Going through some old emails from 2003, I stumbled across one I sent from my lovely island of Bahrain (which is much in the news these days, and mostly for very sad reasons). Those of you who know me will smile at the reference to colour

I have found, to my great amusement, that Bahrainis are very fond of the colour orange. Not only is my hair colour commented on, but also many of my clothes.

Today, I went to the port to clear my books through Customs. Being nervous of how the tomes might be treated, I decided to accompany the clearing agent.

First stop, 8am, was the Customs clearance hall. We arrived in an office still pre-occupied with breakfast. Samosas and Q’bs (pancake bread) were strewn amongst the papers, rubber stamps and glasses of tea on the desk.

I was offered a samosa. “No thank you” was my reply “If I eat those, I might turn orange” – the joke being, I was dressed from head to foot in it already. But I did steal some of the chief’s large Q’bs. “You like Q’bs?” He was surprised; not so many westerners do.

Thirty minutes later I was back in the office with 24 CDs of Classical music and a video of the “Aristocats” for him to either ignore or send to the Ministry of Information. Hardly contraband, but I suppose they have to be seen to be careful. By that time the Q’bs was rock solid and suitable only to mend warships with. The papers were duly stamped, and for the second time in 6 months, I got out of the port in record time.

The moral of the story: If you want to impress officialdom, wear orange and steal the boss’s breakfast.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

I don't know you, but let's have a chat

Fountains, Midland Park Wellington

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Monday, 4 April 2011

I blame George Bush

This is the second time in three years I have had felt the need to blame George Bush for something other than the invasion of Iraq. In January 2008, he was responsible for my pizza arriving stone cold in Jerusalem (see blog post). Today, I blame him for my passport photo being rejected.
It is all to do with biometrics. More and more countries are insisting on visitors having them and therefore on countries issuing them. It supposedly prevents fraud, forgery and international terrorists.
Small problem, I have buck teeth.
The regulations of my new country require a photo taken with a neutral expression and mouth closed. You are under no circumstances to smile.
I submitted my application this morning and was told my photos were unacceptable because one small part of one of my front teeth was visible. I tried to explain that I can't close my mouth without my lips assuming a "smile position", which was verboten. So, what are the likes of Cilla Black, Janet Street Porter, Bugs Bunny and myself supposed to do? Clearly, we are too toothy for a biometric passport.
I returned to the photographer to have another set of photos taken. I took the previous ones and explained what the issue was. They kindly agreed to re take the photos. I needed Velcro, or superglue to keep my lips firmly over my mouth for the nano second it took to press the shutter. It took six attempts to get something that improved on the original photos.
If by some miracle the passport photo is approved, I am going to have to practice the contorted expression at every passport control for the next five years.
But you know what really puzzles me. I could wear a full head covering, which would disguise my hair colour and style, and that would be fine.
As our American friends would say, “Go figure”!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Coffee and the art of remembering

"Bella Italia" Petone

"Smith the Grocer" Wellington

"Steam" Oamaru

"Smith the Grocer" Wellington

Drinking coffee in New Zealand is definitely "couture" rather than "off the peg". Every coffee house has a distinct style, often decorated with delightful objects or pictures. More than once these objects have had me sauntering down memory lane whilst downing a French roast. There is always the possibility that you bump into a part of the past as you sip your latte.

The Pinocchio boy is the trade mark of one of our coffee companies in the city. He appears in a number of shops, to advertise the brand. I had a small pinocchio toy as a child given to me by a neighbour who travelled regularly to Italy.

Take the coffee pots. I was a child in the 1960s. It was fashionable at that time to "perc" the coffee and serve with milk boiled in a pan. My mother had a block of glass which would be set in the base of the pan to alert her when it started to boil. The rattling could be heard in the next room.

The tin boxes remind me of my grandpa Cyril. He ran a bicycle repair business from his garage. Every imaginable item for spare parts were stored in old biscuit tins on shelves.

I can kid myself that visiting a coffee shop is actually jogging. But in this instance it is only the memory that gets exercise.

Friday, 1 April 2011