Monday, 30 May 2011

Through a florist's window

On a Sunday, the flowers snooze in the window waiting to be bouqueted or corsaged on Monday. They gossip about the window shoppers and the wanderers and the starers, the pointers and gigglers, the kissers and wishers.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Masala Dosa

Lunch on the run today at the Harbour outdoor market, next door to the Te Papa museum. After which I felt

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Underpaw heating

Cats are smart. This little cat who lives in Wellington harbour is a good example. He hangs out at the doorway of the restaurant Wagamama - a fluffy flunky purring a welcome. As the sun sets he snoozes on one of the floodlights, a good way to keep the paws and derriere snug in a southerly.

In an autumn garden I wish you....

Berry earrings on your trees

static seagulls gulping sardines

water hovering over stones

and a panda puss to protect your perimeters

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The second Viking Invasion of Britain

According to a number of international surveys, Denmark is very high on the list of “most desirable countries” of the world to live in. The Danish are supposedly the happiest and most content nationality in Europe.
But “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” It seems that they are restless, they are guilty of a deep and dark secret.
That dark secret is Marmite. It has been banned in Denmark, supposedly because it overdoses the Danes with vitamins. And we all know what happens when Vikings get under nourished and restless.
I foresee a second Danish invasion of the north of England to escape this Dane Law. I see Danes armed with slices of bread and knackebrot landing at Grimsby and storming Sainsbury’s, ambushing Asda and surrounding corner shops, demanding Danegeld. “Your Marmite or your life!”
I predict a British shortage of Marmite as it becomes contraband in Copenhagen, smuggled in iPhones and manbags. Sniffer dogs at airports will be trained to detect brown marks on suitcases or inside the soles of Nike shoes. “Toast soldier” will be the password for smugglers on the run.
These are frightening times we live in.

Tidying up the car park

Yesterday we had a feathery visitation. Over 40 goldfinch picking up tiny seeds in our very wet car park. The photo was taken through a window on 35 x optical zoom, hence it isn't very good. But these "masked vacuum cleaners" were so funny and cute, I had to get a photo, even it was a bit blurred.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud

Taken from our bedroom balcony on Sunday afternoon. Long shadows on the garden - winter is on the way.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Ladies and Gentleman Players.

For the last month, one corner of our living room has resembled a haberdashery as I have been busy making curtains. I gave up putting away the rolls of fabric every evening, as both cats had decided they were useless as claw sharpeners. Into this mix a scrabble board was added to the table making it a few square metres of happy chaos.

This morning I had a sense of deja vous. There was something about that cluttered small corner which reminded me of somewhere. Then I stumbled across this photo, taken in the Arab Quarter of Jerusalem in 2008. Note the rolls of fabric and a tailor's measure in the picture. Playing backgammon between making outfits for the locals.

Perhaps I have more in common with that part of the world than I realised.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A few if my favourite things

Courtesy of

Big boy, little girl

It is almost a year since Cookie died. I often wonder if her big brother still thinks of her and misses her companionship. The Ginger Girl is definitely a diversion and amusement, but her busyness wears him out sometimes. I see his stoic stare and wonder if he wishes she would sit still long enough for a kitty conversation.

Breakfast in bed

After quite a late night at the Ballet, Stravinsky (Royal NZ Ballet)
I managed to oversleep until 7.30 am. Thank goodness it is Saturday. Both cats were ensconced on the bed - old boy purring at my knee, ginger kitten zipping in and out of the bed, her cold silky fur trying to wake me up.
I finally emerged at 8 am. It seems that Her Kittenship had gone the extra mile to give me a lazy Saturday morning experience. She had provided room service at the door - neatly placed was a slice of toast, brought freshly from the garden where it had been thrown yesterday.
Thankfully we don't have chickens, or she may have brought eggs too!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

May moon

One of the amazing bonuses of crisp autumn evenings are the crystal clear skies and moon. My photo doesn't do the evening justice, but here are a few seconds of paradise taken from our bedroom balcony.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Camel stew

Recently, a friend reminded me of a letter I sent her when I lived in the Arabian Peninsula. It included this:

I found this recipe for camel stew in a local cookbook. It might make a useful stand-by.
One whole camel,
2 rabbits (optional),
Salt and pepper to taste.

1) Cut the camel into bite sized peices - this takes approximately 2 months.
2) Cook over a kerosene fire for about 4 weeks at 405 degrees.
NB: if more guests arrive, 2 more rabbits may be added. Do this only if necessary as most people can't stand more than 4 hares in their soup.

Serves 420 people or 2 small tribes.

Dietry information
fat - yes.
carbohydrate - definitely
Fibre - depends on what the camel has been eating
Calories - enough to keep you going for a very long time."

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Saturday selection

A social weekend, saying farewell to a travelling niece and hanging out La Cloche.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The office cat - again

Am I the only blogger who lost my last post? It vanished in the last 12 hours. Sigh. Well here is Hadfield, sitting rather pointedly on the car of the manager who dislikes him so much. Smart cat!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The office cat

For the last 8 months my office has been feeding two "kittens" who were left orphaned in our car park. They have done us a huge favour by keeping down the mouse population underneath the building. We feed them too, and they oblige us by looking very cute. Sadly they are not loved by the office on the first floor (who are dog lovers to a man). As if sensing this, they have been pointedly sitting on the car of the manager of the company upstairs.
I think if you look close enough you will see a faint smile on the face of Hadfield.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Ye olde curiosity shop

I recently came across a part of Pataka Museum that I have never seen before. It is a reconstructed General store, with an oven inside that I am SO GLAD I don't have to clean!

Pataka, Porirua, New Zealand

Sunday, 8 May 2011


Yesterday I made a bowl of Chummus / hummus. Not earth shattering, but since I became the owner of a food processor, this has been on my list of things to try. I will boast that it contained top quality NZ olive oil, garlic and juice from the lemons in our garden. Like many traditional foods, everyone has their own "take" on it. Mine didn't include tahini (sesame paste), but was a mixture of chick peas, cannelini beans, coriander, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.

Random facts about hummus. The Hebrew word for chick peas is chamitz, which means "sour" from which we get chummus (the c is silent in Hebrew). This legume has always had a central place in Jewish food from the Sephardic (Spanish/N. African) tradition. During the Spanish Inquisition, if anyone was caught cooking with chickpeas they could be arrested as being a Jew.
According to Gil Marks in his book “Olive trees and honey” the chickpea’s round shape traditionally symbolised fertility so they were a favourite food at parties celebrating birth, or at Rosh Hashanah – to symbolise the hope of a well rounded year to come.

This post is dedicated to the Jewish comedian Benji Lovitt - his obsession with hummus is the stuff of Israeli legend

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Bowls, but not THAT kind

Today we visited an exhibition of wood turning at Pataka Museum, Porirua. Each bowl was made out of a single piece of wood. And the two which are glowing don't have a light inside, but a very soft one above. Amazing!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Wistfully Wisteria

We only have two plants in our garden which drop leaves in Autumn, a wisteria and a maple. I miss the bare trees of the N. Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, Ms Retriever Kitten is busy bringing the leaves inside and hiding them, filing them, storing them and playing with them. So Autumn comes inside and we kick through leaves in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

Good thing she can't bring in puddles......

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Playing dress up

As an eight year old girl I was allowed to buy a comic each week, and for years it was the “Bunty”. The comic ran from 1958 - 2001, (I was reading it in the mid 1960s). My favourite part was the back page that featured the cut out of a small girl, and a selection of outfits that could be cut out and clipped onto the figure. I would spend hours with these figures, often designing my own clothes for it out of scraps of wrapping paper or sketches I had made myself.
Fast forward forty years.
On Friday I was sat on the train waiting to leave the station and was mesmerised by the small girl opposite me. She was five years old – I know that because her dad had just told the train conductor for the purposes of her fare (which incidentally the conductor didn’t bother charging). I was in a bit of a world of my own when I noticed her, because I was looking forward to the Royal Wedding that was being shown on TV that evening. I was day-dreaming, along with probably about a billion others, about THE dress.
It was then I noticed what the little girl was doing. She had an iPad on her knee and it was programmed with the figure of a Barbie doll. She was scrolling her finger across the tablet and changing the dress on the doll. Occasionally, she would nudge her father’s knee and ask if he liked the dress. Sweet man that he was, he would have a short conversation with her then return to what he was doing. For 15 minutes, she must have changed the outfits at least a hundred times, and I found myself watching the upside down Barbie, and making my own preferences, cheering on this child’s sense of style and colour.
Which just proves to me that technology isn’t the death knell of imagination for little girls, old or young.