Does anyone know if there is a cure for this complaint? I am so happy when I come across a packet of random buttons. They give me so many ideas to create things. I already see the Tour Eiffel in this little lot. I will post the result.
Yesterday we drove around the bays with friends. The top photo is of the entrance to Wellington Harbour from the Cook Straits. It is a dangerous passage to navigate due to the shallow channel, rocks and weather. The tree obviously fell foul of the latter.
There is something about Floridita's restaurant that reminds me a lot of Parisien cafes. Its high ceilings have globe lamp shades, the walls are white tiles, and the wooden chairs the type you would expect to see in the Moulin Rouge. All that is missing are the waiters holding the trays at shoulder height.
At lunchtime today I had to run the gauntlet of several film crews on the main street of the capital. I vaguely recognised an actor, but was too busy dashing for sushi to dwell too much on where I'd seen him last. I can say with some authority that the rest of the lunchtime traffic looked like they felt the same way, and the whole "we're filming something important" was actually treated by the foot traffic as "Oh, please move, I only have a 20 minute lunch break!" If one of them had happened to be height challenged with hairy feet, it may have been a different story.
Two days ago, this bouquet of flowers arrived at my office. I was somewhat amazed, as it turned out they were for me! A thank you from someone I have worked with for three and a half years. When I took them out of the carrying container I also found a box of wonderful chocolates. Thank you so much!
It's been a hot day, which was perfect to shampoo all the carpets at the house. But the sun is now going and I've been enjoying the light in the garden. The foxglove around the property are humming with bees telling their stories. The cats are having a wander around and I'm about to make myself a "sundowner". Feel free to drop in some time.
We have a stubborn briar rose in our jungle garden. I trimmed the roses and whilst disposing of the very long and thorny stem, placed the flowers in the bird bath. This is Ruppin's first encounter with roses. He has taken to sleeping under the jasmine bush in the shade, so is now a "Pomaded Puss"
The Hannukiah was made by an artist in Jerusalem. He was trained at the Bezalel Art School. It represents each of the 7 fruits of Israel, including my favourite, the pomegranate. The prayer book was from the Austrian Jewish community. Strangely it is in English! I bought it several years before I met and married my Jewish husband. The blue tin with the flag of Israel on it is from the Jewish National fund. Every Jewish home used to have one and save money in it to give the JNF to buy land in Israel. The spinning top is known as a dreidel. The letters on it represent the saying " a great miracle happened there"
The miracle referred to is remembered at "The Feast of Dedication", when the sanctified oil at the temple lasted for 8 days, hence 8 candles. These are lit each evening during the feast of Channukah. And because the miracle being celebrated is linked with oil, the food eaten at this time of the year is fried - it includes doughnuts (Sufganiot) and latkes (fried potato pancakes). So, if you have a heart problem, this is a festival to take in moderation!
Happy Channukah from one the places furthest away from Jerusalem. May we all be Light in the world.
One of the many things which has amused me since moving to New Zealand, is the entire protocol surrounding food, entertaining at home and eating out.
For example, a question I always ask when inviting someone to dinner is, "Is there anything you can't or don't like to eat?" I wish I had a dollar for every time the response has been "tripe" or "liver". An entire generation of Kiwis have obviously been traumatised by being force fed overcooked / undercooked / not washed properly cow stomach, or boot leather liver. What a shame. I am also perplexed why anyone would serve such food when you are treating someone to dinner. They must think immigrants like me have sadistic tendencies.
So, when I asked the same question to a friend who is coming for dinner on Christmas day, I anticipated the same reply and wasn't disappointed. We laughed heartily about this, and I threatened to make a liver Pavlova for dessert.
Which brings me to a Kiwi "sacred cow" and the dessert of choice, Pavlova. I'm sorry folks, but it is completely over-rated. Given the choice of a Pavlova, slathered in cream with Kiwi fruit or a plate of cheese, I'll take the latter any day of the week. Not good for a planet that teeters on the edge of diabetes, this dessert is sure to fast track you into a sugar coma by Boxing Day.
When eating out, you can BYO - no I didn't know what it meant either. It means Bring Your Own wine, and not pay over the odds restaurant prices, although you do get charged for corkage. I guess this pays for the bloke washing up the glasses. Oh, and it is rare to tip waiters, because they actually GET PAID, unlike the poor souls in Europe and America that depend heavily on tips.
To turn the tables, the other question which continues to leave me puzzled is the "Can I bring anything?" question. Where I come from, you invite someone for dinner to give them a break, and allow them one evening in the week that they don't have to think about food preparation. My standard reply is "Just your wonderful selves". This does not deter a determined local though. They will usually show up with flowers / chocolates / cases of wine or pot plants. Delightful, but really not necessary.
The vocabulary for meals and meal times has caught me on the back foot too. In NZ, supper is a snack before bed, in the UK it is a meal. In NZ "tea" is a full meal in the evening. Dinner can mean a variety of meals (in the north of England where I come from, it is the main meal at noon, but in the south it is the equivalent of Kiwi "tea" - you still with me?). The request to "bring a plate" means bring some food to share, not your own china to eat from!
All this confusion aside, I have to give credit where it is due. The best Kiwi invention is "morning tea" which most offices stop for and which usually gives people an excuse to bake once in a while. I suspect it is also sponsored by Weight Watchers, as it has produced a happy but generally overweight population, permanently padded out by date scones and muffins to die for.
I am heading to the "top of the north" for meetings over the weekend, so these are early photos to bless you on the Sabbath. The two roses I took with a macro setting outside my office window. The third photo is in front of our parliament building. Happy weekend everyone.