Saturday, 29 October 2011

Where did you get THAT hat?

About a week ago I was asking my colleague how her unpacking was going after her recent house move. She told me that she was trying to downsize her possessions due to lack of storage space. That is when the hat doffed itself into the conversation. She had bought it for her mother and had somehow managed to get it back from the UK to NZ preserving its shape by lining it with cardboard and stuffing it with newspapers – vintage 1981 – dated typeface and stories about Charles and Diana.
The hat was purchased in Moscow on a holiday and was reminiscent of the hat Julie Christie wore in Dr Zhivago, fur, moulded to the head and oh so Slavic.
My colleague very generously asked would l like it? I was touched but said even if I accepted it would be unlikely I would be able to wear it, as I have such a huge and weird shaped head.
Today she brought it to work, I tried it on, and it fits like a glove (if you know what I mean). I don’t know who was beaming the widest, me or her, seeing how happy it made me.
On my first trip to Russia in 1991, I had neither the money nor opportunity to buy a fur hat. The second and third time I visited in summer, so they weren’t anywhere to be bought. I had to come to New Zealand - where it is politically incorrect to wear animal on your head.
Perhaps I will wear it to the Premiere of The Hobbit. I’ll blend right in.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Mad hatters

Greytown, Wairarapa

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Winsome Wysteria

This year our 30 foot long wysteria had to survive not the Southerly, but our 3kg kitten who thought plucking the buds and bringing them into the house to play with was a "Good Thing".

Do-er Upper

Greytown, Wairarapa

Monday, 24 October 2011

Cardamom bread for tea

Thanks to my lovely French friend Isabelle for the recipe.

Framed in red and green

Greytown, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Days Bay, Eastbourne, New Zealand

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Sugar and spice

Sitting on the table at Chocolate Days Cafe, a romantic assignation between a slender salt and a sugar daddy.

Day's Bay, Eastbourne

Friday, 21 October 2011

Of books and progress

For a number of days I have been pondering something as I have travelled on the train. It started as an observation of the two men sat opposite me, one late middle aged with an iPad, the second a young guy with an open pocket bible (we live in what is known as the Bible Belt of our city). They were surrounded by people who, without exception, were playing with Kindles, mobile phone applications or iPods.
Two things bothered me. Firstly, here was a place where only a few years ago you would have heard the buzz of early morning conversations between passengers, even if it were only the initial “good morning” or “is this seat taken?” kind of conversation. Now, everyone was pre-occupied with “social media” whilst being anti-social with the living being sat next to them.
Second, the Kindle. Just in case you have been living in the jungle for the last 30 years, this is an electronic tablet that you can download entire libraries of books onto. It is cheaper than buying the somewhat antiquated type of literature that involves paper, a bookmark and the ability to turn pages.
As anyone who has ever owned a computer knows, technology changes so fast, it is difficult and expensive to keep up. If you have data stored on a floppy disk these days, you would need an equally “antiquated” computer of say 1995 vintage to extract the data. The most recent model to incorporate a floppy disk drive is probably 2001.
So, say you bought a Kindle, and decided to download ALL of your books onto it. What happens in 15 years time when the technology is obsolete? What happens when your two year old drops it in the bath? How do you pass on the joy of pictures and the smell of a new book, or the magic of the illustrations in a children’s alphabet primer?
What of precious discoveries of papyrus scrolls in the desert, or Genizas where worn and broken holy books were stored and rediscovered centuries later? Or libraries that stretch back half a millennia. They exist because the learning bound in the Moroccan leather was considered precious to store for future generations. I doubt Johnson’s dictionary or Josephus or the writings of the early church are exactly fighting on the top ten of downloads from Amazon.
So, are we in danger of losing our heritage, each and every culture and language that ever wrote or printed a book? Perhaps we are the last generation to haunt dusty bookshops and trail our fingers over shelves of Dickens, Dostoyevsky and Dante, the last to scuttle home with a precious find, dive onto the sofa, open a packet of digestive biscuits and delve into paper pages of fantasy, mystery and parable.
I’m so glad that my university studies were punctuated by the daily stagger to the library with a satchel of books, and the equally exhausted stagger home to tip my precious quarry onto my desk. A desk piled high; the challenge of a wall of wisdom to scale.
I currently have three piles of books next to my bed. I am thinking that a Kindle would make a great coaster……..

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Lebanese Italian

Sometimes, you just HAVE to make pizza. I love this yoghurt and olive oil bread dough (actually a Lebanese recipe) - so versatile.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Sparrow peek a boo

On an early morning walk, I encountered a sparrow suburb in a very large palm tree. They were a noisy bunch, gossiping over breakfast and peeking a booing with my lens.

Greytown, Wairarapa

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Monday, 10 October 2011

Warm Fuzzies

We stumbled across a Pantheon to the 1960's and 1970's on the high street in Carterton. The music playing was "my music" from that era, the clothes on the racks were crimplene and nylon, lurid maxis, midis and minis, with a nice bit of glitter thrown in. There was Hornsea pottery, boucle sofas, plastic chairs and vinyl records. Kipper ties, platform heels, baby doll nightwear, Afghan jackets, Swedish glass and lurid lamps.
"Fuzzy" is a must visit if you are over 40 and want to wiggle down a nostalgic corridor into to psychadelic heaven.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Too good an opportunity

The White Swan Hotel, Greytown, Wairarapa

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Do dogs with black spots live here?

Greytown, Wairarapa

Whisked away to the Wairarapa

Antiques shop, Carterton

I'm going to Greytown, Greytown the tune of "Graceland". Watch this space for photo fest, coming soon.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Drunk as a Lord

It's that time of year. The Kowhai trees are dripping with amber nectar and our resident Tui are getting drunk. They have been singing rugby songs all afternoon, getting progressively more squiffy and silly.
The blur on the photos is because they are very high in the trees, and there is only so much wobble I can compensate for with a long lens.