Tuesday 31 March 2020

Raindrops On Roses

It is so easy to get down and depressed about Covid-19, to worry about ourselves and our loved ones and to wonder what life will be like when all this is over.  If you or a loved one have tested positive then this burden is even greater.

It is quite natural and perfectly normal to be concerned over events in our life that we have little or no control over.  But is there a way we can combat our fears and put our minds back on to happier lines?

Do you remember the song that Julie Andrews sang to the children in the movie, The Sound of Music?  The children had been frightened of a thunderstorm and these words were part of the song she sang to comfort them:



What favourite things do you have that give you warm fuzzies and happy feelings when you encounter them?  They might be photos, music, hearing birds singing, sitting in the sunshine, or one hundred and one other things. 

Thinking about things we love takes our mind off our fears.  It is good, therefore, to take some time out, to slow down, to ponder on things we love and to remember happy times.

On my Facebook page I have begun posting a “happy” picture every day.  I got this idea from one of my sisters-in-law who posted a picture of a beach and suggested we all did the same, so that we could combat some of the negative things being said.

I am posting some pictures today that I intend to share on Facebook over the coming few days.  I hope they will remind you of joyful times in your own life and help to put more smiles on your face.

Remember to tell your family how much you love and appreciate them.  
Spread the happiness J


Monday 30 March 2020

Sea Lions at Waipapa Point

Waipapa Point is a great place to visit to see rugged coastline, sea mammals and an historic lighthouse, and is situated on the eastern side of The Catlins at the bottom of the South Island.

The wooden lighthouse has been in continuous operation since 1884, and became fully automated in 1976.

The New Zealand Sea Lion, endemic to New Zealand, occasionally comes ashore here to rest on the beach and in the coastal turf.  Fur Seals look similar and sometimes come ashore here, although they generally prefer a more rocky beach.  Sea Lions are much larger than seals and have a blunt snout and short whiskers, but are very similar in the colouring of their fur.

The snoozing sea lion on the beach here was a female, about half the size of an adult male who can grow up to 3.5 metres long and weigh up to 450kg.

As my husband and I walked up towards the lighthouse we were startled to see a large male sea lion waking from his sleep, hidden in the turf beside the path.  We prudently retreated up the hill to a safe distance and watched him.

The New Zealand Sea Lion, known as Rapoka in Maori, is one of the rarest sea lions in the world.  It is a species currently in decline and is fully protected by law.

If you ever come across one, feel privileged but be warned that they can chase you and deliver a nasty bite.  Do not disturb or frighten them and stay at least 10 metres away, or more if you have a dog with you.  Never run away from a close encounter, but back off slowly and avoid direct eye contact.

The male we were observing took his time to wake up.  He stretched and yawned and rolled around a bit, before slowly lumbering across the turf and down onto the beach.

Once on the beach he began flipping sand up over himself.  He must have done this for several minutes, in a slow and calculated manner, before finally sprawling out motionless on the sand and beginning another snooze session.

It is generally thought sea lions, along with other similar species, flip sand over themselves as a way of keeping cooler, of protecting themselves from the sun.

We felt very honoured to have witnessed this male and female sea lion in the wild, and left them sleeping just metres apart from each other.

They were living their lives doing what sea lions have always done.  They were not worried about where their next meal was coming from, or the fact that their species is under threat.  They were appreciating and enjoying the moment.

Whatever crises mankind faces, time passes and life continues.  Nature carries on like it has always done – the tide comes in and the tide goes out, birds build nests in springtime, and the sun shines every day (even when we cannot see it!).  We can learn so much from our observations of Nature.

As we left Waipapa Point I stopped and photographed these trees.  The wind down here can be extremely fierce at times and I believe it blows on most days.  We were fortunate on the day we visited as there was no wind and it was sunny.


Never give up hope, look for good things in your life and be thankful for them.

LINKING UP WITH Saturday's Critters

Sunday 29 March 2020

What If You Die?

Nobody likes to think about their own mortality, yet at some stage every single one of us will die.  This may sound morbid, so think of it instead as Positive Preparation.  It will give you peace of mind when you are organised, and your family will thank you later on.

Do you have an up-to-date will?  Have you recorded what your wishes are after you die (e.g., cremation, burial, organ donation)?  Do you have a preference for a certain style of funeral or a particular cemetery?  What type of end-of-life care would you prefer?  Do you want to be resuscitated?  Or kept alive on life support?  Where would you rather die?  Is the information readily available that will be needed to complete a death registration?

Each person will have different preferences, and each country will have different legal requirements.  For instance, in New Zealand if a person dies without a will (“intestate”) then it can take at least six months before their estate can be finalized.  If you die owning substantial assets then the process becomes even more complicated.

Thinking about all of this, I dragged my will out of the drawer and considered it.  It is over ten years since it was created and both of my named executors have since died.  I now have grandchildren as well.  I have written out on a page, and signed it, what my new preferences are until I can get the opportunity to have a new will legally drawn up for me.

When my husband was told that medical help could not save him, we were urged to consider creating an end-of-life document that set out what care he preferred to have in his last days.  We did this, in conjunction with our doctor, and it became an important document as he did not wish to be resuscitated and the hospital was then able to follow his instructions.  This allowed him to die with the dignity he desired, rather than undergo a futile attempt to keep him alive for a little while longer.

When it comes to registering a death a bereaved family member is usually requested to answer questions they may not know the answers to.  Having studied my family’s genealogy over the years I know that there are many death certificates with incorrect information recorded on them.

Each country will have different requirements, but usually they need to know things like when and where you were born, who your parents were, when you married, who your spouse was, what military service you participated in.  Ask around to see what information you need to have (search online or try places like a funeral home, library, Citizens Advice Bureau etc.) and then write it out and place it with your will.

Of course, apart from keeping all your documents together, your family needs to know what you have done and where it can all be found.  Tell more than one person if possible.  I have seen a family member belatedly inform his siblings of a parent’s last wishes when it was almost too late to enact them. 

None of us wish to die of Covid-19 – or anything else! – but thousands are dying every week and we should all be prepared, and I do not mean just the elderly.

Face it – death is an immutable fact of life.
Prepare for it – get your papers in order
Forget about it – go and enjoy every day of your life

Life is wonderful.  Enjoy every day, every precious moment, as much as you can.
Margaret xx

Friday 27 March 2020


We are now a week past the autumnal equinox (20 March in NZ) and autumn has most definitely arrived.

Late autumn splendour on the farm

The nights are much cooler and some places further south have even had light frosts.  The days are no longer swelteringly hot, but pleasantly warm.  The mellow warmth of autumn is what makes this one of my favourite seasons.

Hamilton city has a very temperate climate so we do not get as much autumn colour as places further south do. 

A lone spot of autumn colour

Birds are now more in evidence again.  Their summer moult is finished, they have no nestlings to care for, now is a time to fatten up before winter cold arrives.

Can you see the thrush who had been eating these berries?

The garden is returning to life after struggling with drought conditions for the last few months.

An autumnal display on Napier's Marine Parade

Autumn harvest is also beginning.

Crab apples ready for picking

When we lived in the country I loved the misty atmosphere of autumn mornings.

Early morning, south of Te Awamutu

Autumn is also the time for cleaning up things before winter, the time for autumn fires in the garden and out on the land.

Clearing tree rubbish on the farm

I am trying to learn to appreciate each season as it happens, instead of my usual complaining about it being too hot or too cold.  This morning we had some rain to water the earth and I am doing my best to look for beauty and be thankful.  The cloud is breaking up now and the sun is peeping through – and I am finding it much easier to be thankful!

Enjoy every day as it unfolds,

LINKED TO Skywatch Friday

Thursday 26 March 2020

Lock Down Day One

New Zealand is now in total lock-down for at least four weeks, starting midnight last night.  News photos are showing empty motorways and deserted streets, except for journalists reporting while standing in the middle of a road!

I have a friend in Christchurch involved in an essential service – delivering firewood to homes so people can stay warm during winter.  He has been at work today, but says there are a lot of people out and about.  Many of them are on cycles, quite a few are at the beach, and a lot of families are walking the streets.  No doubt they are all trying to keep their regulation distance from each other’s groups, but one wonders if they really do NEED to be out in public at this time.

We are quite content here at our home today.  Son has been working in the garden, building another wall, and grand-daughter has been sorting out her school lessons.  I have cleaned the bathrooms and washed the towels and talked to a lot of people by phone and online, before making myself a lunch of a meat pattie with lettuce salad and sautéed leftover dinner vegetables. 

We usually keep our breakfast and lunch meals separate, and then join together for dinner in the evening.  It works well for us. 

My lunch

The majority of our population have a lawn and/or garden area around their home, and I am so thankful that we also do.  They can be a great place for children to play – and I even heard of one mother who has made a competition of who can pull the most weeds out of the garden!

Many gardens have room for a Frisbee or two

Making sand-pies in the garden 

I do admit to feeling a little envious of those who are confined to farms as they have so much more space to wander over.  I used to love walking around whatever farm we were living on when we were farm workers, but that was many years ago.  I seldom have any opportunity these days to wander freely over farmland, and public walkways through farms are extremely rare.

Much easier to maintain social distancing out here!

I see that Prince Charles has tested positive for Covid-19, but only has mild symptoms so he should soon be on the road to recovery.  It just shows that no-one is immune against this viral threat.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, stay safe and have a good day J

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Virtual Walking

There is an eerie calm over our neighbourhood today.  It is obvious that there are people staying at home, but everything is so quiet.  No road traffic noise.  No vehicles coming and going.  No machinery working.  No planes flying overhead.  Not even any over-loud radios playing.  All I have heard is an occasional dog barking and a tui (or it may be a bellbird) chortling in the nearby reserve.

Full lock-down comes into place at 11.59pm tonight (Wednesday).  We are allowed to leave our homes for walks as long as we remain local and maintain distance from anyone we may meet.  I don’t find walking around streets particularly inspiring, so usually drive to wherever I wish to walk.  I think for this period of isolation I will simply remain at home.

I can walk around the house, inside and out, and potter about the garden.  There is space in the living room for dancing and jumping up and down, so plenty of opportunities to get some exercise.  I am truly thankful that I have this space surrounding our home that we can move around in.  Son will be our designated shopper, going to the supermarket for fresh supplies as needed (probably weekly). 

There are many beautiful walks around New Zealand, some short and easy and others long and difficult.  I thought maybe looking at some over the next few weeks could create a “virtual walking” experience.  It would certainly help me to remember that life will once again return to normal and I can once again get out and about and do more of these walks.

Today I thought we could climb Mt Maunganui, or The Mount as it is often referred to.  Known as Mauao in Maori, this extinct volcanic cone rises 232 metres high (761 feet) from the ocean at its base.  The ocean beach here is famous for surfing, and it is located close to the city of Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty.

This walk will be a composite of different ascensions taken over the last twenty years.  There are several paths on The Mount, but some no longer exist as there have been several landslides on the mountain in recent years.

Mt Maunganui viewed from Leisure Island

Start of the trek up, from the Ocean Beach side

This is one of the pathways that no longer exists

Steps on the Waikorire Track

Looking back down on the ocean side

Almost to the summit

Trig station at the summit of Mt Maunganui

The view back down over the town of Mt Maunganui

Heading back down on the other side

The path down this side is very steep in places

Sheep graze on this side of the mountain

Almost back to sea level - this time on the side of Pilot Harbour

I hope you enjoyed the walk J
Stay safe and well,


LINKED TO My Corner of the World

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Life Is Surreal

Everything has changed yet everything is the same.  It is a really weird feeling.

Shops (not just supermarkets) are being swamped as people scramble to prepare themselves before going into lock-down for at least the next four weeks.  A lot of older folk are already isolating, so a lot of the shoppers now are ones who generally expected their work and lives to go on pretty much as it has always done.

Very few are prepared to be spending time at home, especially when they now have children home from school as well.  There are tips all over the place on how to work from home with children present, how to school your children from home, and what sort of activities you can do to stop you getting cabin fever.  Social media pages are crammed with memes (many humourous), and messages to each other.

The farmer still needs to take care of his stock, whatever is happening around him

On the other side of all this preparation is life as it normally is.  Things go on as usual.  We eat, we do housework, we cook meals and do laundry.  The clock chimes, the cats need feeding, the lawns get mowed, the neighbour is using his chainsaw to cut down a tree. 

This morning I planted bulbs in the garden.  Bulbs for some spring colour.  I planted hyacinths, ranunculus, anemones, and blue Dutch iris.  I never got to buy any daffodils or jonquils, which is a shame but too late now.

The bulbs I have now planted

However I am glad I have planted a vegetable garden, small though it is.  And I also bought vegetable seeds online a few weeks ago, of which I am now also very glad.  Our food stores are classed as essential businesses so will remain open, but who knows what the future will bring?

No separation rules in place here!  (Mittens on top, Millie below)
One thing is for sure, our world will never be quite the same again.  We must learn to live new lives, as we do when we have had a serious life-threatening disease, or have lost someone we truly love.  It is not easy, and it takes time, but it is possible.  We can all do this together.  One day we will look back on these days and say “I remember ….”

Unfortunately, this time of global crisis has also brought out some very spiteful comments being made on different blogs.  I am tired to deleting them into my spam folder, so have now (hopefully only temporarily) enabled comment moderation.  I hope this does not put off anyone from making a comment, as I appreciate the genuine comments that you make.

Sending virtual hugz to everyone J

Monday 23 March 2020

We Are In Lock-Down

New Zealand is going into lock-down.

Our PM, Jacinda Ardern, has announced we will be in lock-down as of midnight Wednesday.  Out of the four levels of response assigned to this pandemic, we have now moved from level two into level three and will move into level four in 48 hours’ time.

Walking around the garden will be the order of the day from now on

All except essential businesses will now close.  Schools will close from tomorrow.  All gatherings are banned and people are expected to remain at home, except for those regarded as being in essential services (health, supermarket, police, journalists etc.).

The government has announced extra financial help for those affected by these restrictions, but the economic repercussions will be immense.  Cabinet met this morning and have taken the decision that it is most important to protect our citizens by going into total lock-down for an initial period of four weeks.

We are told the country has a "small window of opportunity to break the chain of community transmission" to help us get ahead of the virus so our health care system is not overwhelmed.  Through isolation the hope is to slow transmission right down, so that those who need specialist hospital care can receive it.

Jacinda announcing what lies ahead for New Zealand in the next few weeks

Now is the time to each do our part and follow what our government is asking of us.  And remember, a little bit of kindness goes a long way.


UPDATE:  A national Civil Defence emergency has also been declared to allow services to do what is needed during this time.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Watching The Hobbit

What better way to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon than watching the extended version of The Hobbit. 

I have actually never sat down and watched The Hobbit series before, although I enjoyed the Lord Of The Rings series.  So far I have watched the first movie, An Unexpected Journey, and am now half way through the second, The Desolation Of Smaug.

By tonight I will probably have also completed the third and last tale, The Battle of the Five Armies.

I watched the Lord of the Rings movies as they came out in the theatre – after the first one, my children refused to go with me because I laughed too much!  Apparently it is not meant to be funny, but I found parts of it hilarious.

It is the same now with The Hobbit.  I have had several good laughs which apparently I should not have.  But the stories are too over the top to be taken seriously, and therefore I view them as comedies.  Am I strange?

When I saw the last of the LOTR movies I found another woman with the same sense of humour.  We sat in the theatre laughing together at the most inappropriate times – and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I will probably watch the Lord of the Rings again once I finish The Hobbit, as it is years now since I last saw it.  Son has both series in the extended versions as he is a fan of this type of story.

I was so impressed with one speech by Gandelf the wizard that I copied it down.  I thought it was appropriate for our current times:

“Sauron believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I’ve found.  I’ve found it is the small things, the everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay;  it is the simple acts of kindness and love.”

Stay loving and kind to each other, and it will help us survive through this current crisis.