Friday, 30 September 2011

Ten Four Rubber Duck

The following story appeared today in the Dominion Post. Photo credit Phillip Johnson

GRILLED DUCK: The duck lodged in the grill of Phillip Johnson's car.

An indestructible duck hit by a car at almost 100kmh survived with bruises after getting stuck inside the vehicle's grill for a day. Wellington man Phillip Johnson was driving on State Highway 1 near Levin on Wednesday when two ducks waddled onto the road. He braked to avoid the pair, but heard a thump and thought he had clipped one.

"I looked in the rear view mirror and it was walking. I thought the other one had flown away."

Mr Johnson forgot about the incident till the next day, when he thought he should check the car for damage.

"I saw some feathers, then I saw the whole duck was still there, and it was still alive. I was surprised more than anything, then concerned about how badly was it damaged."

The duck proved quite unflappable however.

"It was just sitting there looking at me the way ducks do. It was quite curious. It looked like the grill had bent back and it had gone straight in."

Mr Johnson left the duck where it was, and drove to his local vet Allan Probert.

"He said he had never seen anything like it."

The two men plus duck then drove to a local panel beater.

They bent back the grill to extract the female bird.

"It got a bit agitated so we let it go for a bit. It went straight to a puddle, I think it was pretty thirsty."

Mr Probert said the duck had bruising and a damaged wing.

It was expected to make a full recovery.

"It's one of the most unusual cases I have come across.''

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


It has been a day of randomly wonderful encounters.

On my walk to the station was the bunny. A small black and white chap hopping around close to the neighbour who works for the SPCA (a great charity working for animal welfare). This little fellow was breakfasting on the “over the road” verge, revising the age old question to “why did the bunny cross the road?” – obvious really; the grass was more plentiful. He would have dodged cars, bicycles and the recycling collection to get there. When we introduced ourselves, I noticed he had a long scar running between his ears. Oh mercy - a vivisection rescue! That made me want to cry and smile. Here he was, large as life, being given a second chance to do bunny things.

The next encounter was a bright green neural pathway on the pathway – a massive bunch of wild fennel leaning against the bridge over the stream near our railway station – a herbal computer sending important messages up the line.

At lunchtime on the way back to the office I almost dropped my sushi when I randomly spied President Saakashvili of Georgia! He was being given a traditional Maori Powhiri, complete with warrior challenge and much shouting and aggression in front of our Parliament building. It was all softened by the friendly smiling soldiers of the NZDF and the RAF band playing cheerful music as he walked up the red carpet. I'd like to think he was planning to recruit a few Maori warriors to help him with a few issues "back home".

Me, I got back to my desk all of a flutter and didn't know my Saakashvili from my Sushikashvili.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Bring a Plate

Everyone stumbles with cultural differences when they settle in a new country. I am currently living in my sixth country, and even though it is English speaking I have made some serious bloopers.

The first was the misunderstanding of the word "supper". Where I come from it means a main meal. Not here; it means a drink with a piece of cake (or something similar). So I hadn't eaten a main meal when I arrived at 7.30pm at the house of my new friends. Needless to say, I was still hungry when I went to bed that night.

The other mistake was responding to the "bring a plate" request. Usually, this is mentioned for large gatherings, so I assumed it meant "bring your own crockery". It actually means bring a plate of food to share.

A book was published a few years ago called "Ladies, a plate" and features all the marvellous home baking recipes of NZ. I have just finished baking Afghans from it (these are biscuits which have NOTHING to do with Afghanistan).

So, here they are. I don't put the traditional chocolate icing and walnut topping on them - far too sweet for my taste. I highly recommend the book if you enjoy well tested recipes that work and don't involve exotic ingredients.

The Final Coffee

Not long after this "silhouette" coffee was served, the coffee machine had a meltdown, so we had to leave without our coffee shot. What a thing to happen on a busy Saturday afternoon.
Finc Cafe, Wellington

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Royal visit

Is it time to go shopping?

Only if you wash behind your ears first.

Pussy cat pussy cat where have you been? I've been to Wellington Central to see the Queen.
Finc Cafe, Wakefield St, Wellington.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Fashions that age?

A cousin recently sent me this photo of my dad and grandparents, taken in 1949. It just dawned on me that my grandma is the same age in this photo as I am now. She looks so much older - or am I kidding myself?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

They don't feed me you know

Cumin's recent favourite snacks include stamps and wisteria buds.
Is this normal?

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Florist reflections

Early morning stroll, Petone

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Busy doing bee things

Botanical Gardens, Wellington

Waiting for the table to be vacated

This chap was sat in the grapevines above my head. No sooner had we finished our cranberry and pecan slice, he was cleaning our plate of crumbs.
Botanical Gardens, Wellington

Celebrating being different

Wellington Botanical Gardens

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

and now, the weather

Today we had over 500 lightning strikes in the capital, and a hailstorm which dropped hail the size of gooseberries. It was SCARY!
Now, my husband left the country the day before the snow arrived in the capital. He returned to the storm.

I'm slightly worried there may be a connection........

19,000 kms off track - the best kind of story

From the Dominion Post 13th September.

A South African couple promised "splendid" views of the bustling Eastbourne pier from the Majestic Hotel couldn't understand why it wasn't on their GPS – until they realised they were about 19,000 kilometres off track.

"I booked into the right hotel, just in the wrong country," said Michael Adendorff yesterday, who was unfortunately unable to keep his booking at the $180 a night Majestic Hotel in Eastbourne, England, for last Friday and Saturday night.

Michael and Sunette Adendorff found themselves driving around in circles in Eastbourne, Wellington, on Friday afternoon, wondering why a street named Royal Parade wasn't registering on their GPS system.

When they pulled in to Eastbourne pharmacy on Rimu St to ask for directions, employee Linda Burke had some bad news.

"They just walked in and asked me where Royal Parade was, with the Majestic Hotel, and I said: Oh no, there's no hotel here.

"I looked at it and said: That's in the UK, that's in England.

"He checked on the internet and said he did think it was funny they charged him in pounds."

Ms Burke wasn't about to let the pair go without accommodation, so offered to put them up in her own house for the night.

The long-term Eastbourne resident then took the pair to the local RSA for beers and dinner, where they watched the New Zealand v Tonga match and received some good-natured ribbing.

"We met a lot of locals from Eastbourne, it was very nice," Mr Adendorff said.

"The Kiwis took the piss out of us because of our silly mistake but it was very nice and they were very friendly."

The website of the Bay Majestic Eastbourne Hotel in Eastbourne, England, advertises splendid views directly opposite the beach, "within a few minutes walk of the bustling pier and picturesque Redoubt Gardens, and lying close to the heart of the town".

Mr Adendorff couldn't understand how they managed to make the colossal mistake, which left them about $363 out of pocket.

But Ms Burke's hospitality more than made up for the mix-up.

"The welcome and the way we were treated and the way we saw Eastbourne was much better than if we had booked into a hotel," Mr Adendorff said. "She took in two complete strangers, and it all worked out well."

However, the English hotel would not refund him, saying he left it too late.

The pair are now in Picton, and will be back in Wellington next week to stay at the West Plaza Hotel – which Mr Adendorff has double-checked is indeed in Wellington, New Zealand.

Yesterday, Ms Burke shrugged off her generosity.

"I've done a bit of travelling, and sometimes you get in a tricky situation and people just help.

"That's what Kiwis do, don't they? They were a lovely couple."

- The Dominion Pos

Thursday, 8 September 2011

A wry observation on Rugby

This afternoon I was walking to the bank and in the distance I could hear loud chanting. My initial reaction was "Humph, the Rugby mob has arrived!" But as the "mob" moved closer I saw that it was group of about 20 guys, and they weren't grunting or singing some meaningless chant, so beloved of crowds at international matches.

This group were swaying with an off-the-beat rhythm, and as they drew closer I recognised harmonies - perfect pitch harmonies to be precise. This was no drunken prelude to the Rugby World Cup, this was a four part harmony, swaying smiling group of supporters from Samoa. In a strong southerly wind they shuffled and danced in their lap laps and jandals, nodding and smiling to everyone in suits running back from their lunch-hour.

I reflected later. I have never been to a football match in my life, but I have had the misfortune of being in the way of drunk and loud supporters exiting a stadium and staggering home, smashing windows as they went. I have only ever been to one Rugby match, in S. Africa. It was marked by hilarious good humour and singing on the terraces, and grunting good humour on the pitch, in spite of the mud and the rain.

I hope this snapshot today will be indicative of the mood and fun of the tournament. I'm not interested in watching the matches, but I wouldn't mind bumping into more supporters from Samoa on the streets.

God bless you islanders.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Just something I threw together

Mustn't get caught in the rain dahlingk, it's newspaper don't you know.
Barnard Castle, Co. Durham

Saturday, 3 September 2011

High Tea for the soul

High tea was a feast for the soul as well as the body. We were eating in one of the old libraries at Wynyard Hall and every table had the most amazing flowers.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Very High Tea

Wynyard Hall, Cleveland