Friday 31 December 2021

New Year's Eve


The last day of the year 2021!  I wonder what 2022 will bring us?  Hopefully much cheer and happiness!

This morning I visited a cousin of mine.  She and her husband only live a short distance out of the city, but it has been almost twelve months since I last saw them.

It was great to catch up over a cup of tea and some shortbread and Christmas cake.

We got to talking about the “good old days” when we were children and our different memories of our shared grandmother.  She always wore a hat and gloves when going into town, and was quite a stickler for doing things “the proper way.” 

We remembered her home and the large section it sat upon.  She had two full-size plum trees in the back garden, a large vegetable garden, and a dug-out beneath the house that was used as a garden shed.  I can still remember the smell of that place, all dusty and cobwebby and full of shells she had collected over the years.

And then my cousin produced a diary her mother had passed on to her.  It was dated December 1899 and was a record of a holiday my grandmother’s mother took when she sailed from Wellington, New Zealand, to Sydney, Australia, and stayed with some of her many relations there.

She had taken her two children with her – my grandmother (then aged 4 years) and my great-uncle (then aged 2 years).

I have spent a happy afternoon reading the account (the words I can decipher, anyway!), and it is intriguing to read about shopping for silk and lace to make a bonnet, catching the train to get around the city, and being met at the station by a cab and two horses.

Her diary entry for today (31 December) reads:  “Charlie opened the bottle of champagne for dinner.  A sleepy afternoon.  I read on the verandah while the children blew bubbles.  Still very hot, day and night.”

She could almost have been writing about life as we know it today 😊



Monday 27 December 2021

A Riverside Stroll


A bit of cloud cover this morning meant that the temperature was more tolerable, so I took the opportunity of go for an early walk along the banks of the Waikato River.

I was not alone, as there were several others with the same idea – many of them exercising their pooches at the same time.

The path I took was accessed from the Ferry Wharf below Hamilton Gardens, and descended steeply to a small beach before meandering along the river beneath a shady canopy of mature trees.

Eventually this pathway is planned to go for some distance, but there is currently a new bridge being built across the River so my lovely walk came to a sudden and definite halt.

I considered retracing my steps, but, instead, took the uphill climb towards the old Hamilton East cemetery which operated from the 1860s until 1957.

At one end of the cemetery there is an outdoor consecrated area that has been set aside for religious use, and a little further along there is a lookout point dedicated to John Mashlin, one of the founders of what is now Hamilton Gardens.

The view is back over the carpark, with the Gardens entrance on the right, and the River flowing behind the trees on the left side of the photo.  For some strange reason, I forgot to actually photograph the River!

My walk took me 60 minutes in total, and I was glad I had arrived early.  By the time I was leaving there was a steady flow of traffic into the parking area and hoards of people heading off in all directions into various parts of the Gardens.

It was good to get out in Nature again for a change 😊



Sunday 26 December 2021

Celebrating Christmas


It is now Boxing Day here and the day has dawned warm and sunny again. 

We had a lovely Christmas Day yesterday – quiet and peaceful and very relaxed.  The afternoon was spent sitting around talking and drinking lots of water as the temperatures climbed into the low 30s (Celsius).

Lunch was our main celebration.  As was befitting for a mid-summer meal, we had cold meat and lots of salads and finished off with a pavlova.

On the table we had ham and (moving clockwise) coleslaw, pickled onions, brie cheese, tomatoes, rice salad, lettuce and cucumber salad, green grapes, salad dressing, savoury eggs, beetroot, potato salad, and asparagus.  The centrepiece was the pavlova – a purchased one this year and not my usual homemade one.

For our beverage we chose Bunderberg Lemon Lime & Bitters, a slightly bitter very refreshing fizzy drink that suited the weather we were experiencing.

With a fair amount of food remaining, and temperatures forecast to reach the late 20s, today looks like it will be a good day to do as little as possible!

Have a happy day 😊


Friday 24 December 2021

Merry Christmas


Here it is, Christmas Eve 2021.  It has been quite a year, one way and another.

I am glad I took a bit of a break from blogging.  I pulled back from other computer things at the same time, and have quite enjoyed my three weeks off-screen (well, mostly off-screen!).

Celebrating Christmas in 1956

It has been quite a busy time, sorting through old boxes and meeting up with old friends.  This last week Son and I put up our Christmas decorations, along with a tiny tree.

Decorated bookshelf, 2021

The Christmas Cake was made and iced.  I don’t normally ice fruit cake (it gets too sweet) but we had some bought packet icing (both royal icing and white icing) sitting in the cupboard from two years ago.  It was way past its expiry date (September 2020!) but there is nothing wrong with it at all so it got used.

No fancy decorations on the cake though.  I have been known to sometimes go to some effort to decorate the cake, but this year it will be eaten and enjoyed without anything fancy being added.

One very ordinary Christmas cake

My wish is that you all have happy times together with your families over this holiday season. 

Stay safe and be happy 😊

Margaret xx

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Taking A Short Break


Stop the World!  I want to get off it for a little while.

I know I am often sensitive to the feelings of those around me, and it pains me to see so much despair and frustration in the eyes of the people I meet.  Nobody smiles anymore – what is the point when you can’t see it behind the mask!

Christmas Silly Season has taken off in full force, with crazy drivers on the road and frantic shoppers in the malls.

The TV News is brimming over with anger and hatred and overly-sincere people trying to put their own opinions forward.  And let’s not mention all the lies and political intrigues that also fill our screens.

Things can grind you down, but what has really tipped me over is my brother’s serious illness (thankfully he is slowly improving).  It makes one realize just how short life is.

Hiding from life for a short time

I am finding myself becoming more and more crabby and impatient, as well as developing some alarming health issues I would rather be without.

Time to do something!  But what?

It is hard to know exactly what to do for the best, but I do feel in need of taking some time for myself; to pull back from the world for a little while and concentrate more on doing things that I enjoy.

No more watching TV News, try and avoid crowds as much as possible, stand back and let those around me make their own decisions, and consciously turn away from things that currently upset me.

Blogging will also join this list of on-holds for a short time - I have been struggling to visit Blogland the last couple of weeks and the thought of writing something fills me with despair (a situation I don't like, as I generally enjoy blogging).

Life can be a bit of a rocky road sometimes

I need to take some time to better care for my health, to catch up on chores around the house, and sort through the last few boxes that were stored in the garage.

I want to go to the beach and paddle in the ocean, take time to hug a tree or two, and find some people to visit so we can enjoy some smiles and laughter together.

I need time to relax, and reconnect again with my inner core of peace and harmony – and when I have done that, I shall return 😊

Sending lots of luvnhugz to you all,

Margaret xx


P.S.  The new header is a photo I took of Lake Hawea, near Queenstown in the South Island.


Saturday 27 November 2021

Fifty Years Ago


I always think it is strange how memories have no time frame to them.  Whether it happened yesterday or last month or decades ago, the memory remains the same and takes no account of time having past by.

In some ways fifty years sounds like a long time, but in other ways it is no time at all.  That is how I am feeling today, as it was fifty years ago that I first met my husband.

We met on a Blind Date, organized by my girlfriend as I never had a partner to attend a 21st birthday party.  I am so glad she set us up together!

It was the start of a relationship that lasted nearly forty-seven years and left me with multiple happy memories, and gratitude that I was able to meet such a wonderful man and become his wife for so many years.

My Garden this morning

It has been a bit of a hectic week this week and I have spent very little time on my computer.  My apologies for not visiting anyone's blog.

One of my brothers had a triple bypass heart operation that never went as smoothly as was expected. He is on the road to recovery now and hopefully will soon be able to leave ICU and head into a cardiac ward.  It is always a major concern when a loved one becomes ill, and the longer I live the more it seems to happen.

Ginger, a scented-leaf pelargonium

Shopping has gone crazy this week.  Everywhere is full of Black Friday Week sales, Christmas is looming, the easing of covid restrictions means more places are open for business, and next week there is the threat of unvaccinated people with no ‘pass’ being not able to go to many places.  So it seems that this week, every man and his dog (as the saying goes!), has been in town.

I still went shopping though. 

I bought a new floor mop and bucket, and a yard broom, as well as a decorative box to hold my ironing while it waits patiently for me to get to do it.

But my happiest purchases have been some new pelargoniums.  Five, in fact.  

Harmony has pink flowers with a white centre, Really Red is red, Vancouver Centennial has pretty leaves, Lady Plymouth has rose scented leaves, and Ginger has ginger-scented leaves and pretty flowers.

Really Red really is RED!

I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend,

Margaret 😊

Sunday 21 November 2021

Weekend Pottering


We have had some lovely weather this weekend, and this morning I made the most of it and pottered around my little potted garden, deadheading and planting and generally tidying things up a little.

This Dianthus (often called pinks) is in full bloom.  It has a delicate scent that can really only be smelt when close to it.

Son came home with some plants from the garden centre last week and a couple of them had no name tags.  This was one of them, and I planted it into one of the hanging baskets.

At a guess, I think it may be one of the new types of petunias.  It is pretty anyway.

This afternoon, when it was getting too hot to be outdoors, we watched replays of rugby – the All Blacks (dressed in near-white!) against France, and then the England against South Africa game.

The All Blacks lost dramatically so the less I say about them the better!

The English game was nail-biting.  The sort of game that has you sitting on the edge of your seat – England managed to win by one point.  Very exciting.

There were protest drives throughout the country today by farmers – so there were many tractors and 4WD utes on the road! 

I have family members who participated.  The farming community is fed up with how they are being treated and feel totally ignored in all major government decisions that affect their livelihood.

Unfortunately, there are also people protesting vaccinations and freedom restrictions (and others protesting climate change), so all the different protests are becoming a bit muddled together.

I find it quite alarming to see how angry some people are becoming, and often wonder where it is all going to end.

And then I remember what the Dalai Lama once said: “Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace.”

So, smile and be at peace with yourself 😊


Friday 19 November 2021

Howling At The Moon


This week seems to have gone by awfully fast.  Perhaps I have been busy but I am hard pushed to say what at.  Just lots of little things that seem to add up to a lot of time.

And for some reason they have left me feeling a bit worn out.  Even so, I did manage earlier today to make a couple of jars of Mustard Relish (similar to Piccalilli) for the store cupboard (and a large jar for eating now!).

Mustard Relish

Tonight, there is a partial eclipse of the full moon – with a 97% shadow coverage, it will be a “blood micromoon.”

A supermoon occurs when the moon is close to earth (perigee), and a micromoon happens when it is furtherest away (apogee).  The red (blood) shading is expected to reach its peak here around 10pm.

I thought about going outside during the eclipse and howling at the moon – some primeval instinct at work, maybe? 

Mittens' opinion of me howling at the moon

It was certainly a crazy thought, so I looked it up – howling at the moon signifies wasting your time and energy trying to do something which is impossible or trying to get something which you cannot have.

I don’t really think either of those apply to me, so maybe I will give up on the howling idea.  Besides, the neighbours probably wouldn’t like it!

Margaret 😊

Monday 15 November 2021

A New Goggle Box


Years ago, we used to call our television The Goggle Box – presumably because people sat in front and “goggled” at it!

My over-ten-years-old Goggle Box television decided to curl up its toes in the weekend and stopped providing sound on a consistent basis, so this morning Son and I visited a local store and purchased a new one.

Times have changed since I last bought a television! 

DVDs have become obsolete (but I did manage to find an adaptor so I can still use my DVD player), and screen sizes have grown to absolutely ginormous (I was looking for one with a 32 inch screen, but they are apparently too small for most buyers).

Watching Covid News on my new television

We finally found one that met my requirements and I have spent the rest of the day “playing” with it!

Goggle Boxes have become Google Boxes!! 

It is a Smart TV and I’m thrilled I can now log into Netflix and Disney and On Demand and all sorts of other things I have yet to explore.  Everything is based on an Android platform and Google apps.  I am loving it!

Son and I watched more Weekend Rugby, on his big screen TV

The government held their normal Monday Covid News Conference at 4pm, and Waikato is to revert to Level Two tomorrow night.

Yay!!  That means hairdressers and movie theatres and cafes will all be open again, albeit with number restrictions, but still open.

I was a bit peeved though when our Prime Minister was asked about Waikato’s border, which the police have  been randomly enforcing, and she announced that the Waikato had “never had a hard border” as “it was only recommended.”  

Boy, I wish they had told us that before!!

This honeysuckle hedge was beside where I parked when out shopping.
The scent was so heady.  Delicious!

Now, I wonder what TV programmes I can watch tonight! 😊


Friday 12 November 2021

You Call That Busy?


I have been so busy today – busy doing absolutely nothing!  I think I have been out from home every single day this week and it is starting to tell.  I’m tired!

Add to that Mittens the Cat not settling to sleep last night and keeping me awake until I finally gave up and kicked her out of my room.

I think she deliberately waited until she thought I was asleep and would then walk over me.  Grrrr!

Mittens wearing her "I've been falsely accused" face

I suppose, “doing nothing” is a bit of a misnomer.  It is almost impossible to do nothing at all. 

The basic housework got completed (make the bed, wash the dishes, and so on) and then I spent a good part of the day looking for dinner recipes online and in my vast collection of recipe books.

Buckwheat Salad Bowl (recipe below)

I am changing my lifestyle a little, so a lot of my stand-by recipes no longer are suitable.  The search is on for meals that are mostly plant-based, as well as easy and quick to prepare. 

Lunch was a Buckwheat Salad Bowl, and dinner tonight was a lamb cutlet with steamed kumara, carrot and asparagus. 

It will be interesting to see how things go.

Margaret 😊


1 cup cooked buckwheat groats

1 hard-boiled egg, roughly chopped

A little lemon zest

1 finely chopped spring onion (scallion)

½ cup chopped tomato

½ cup diced cucumber

Shredded lettuce

Place lettuce in the base of a bowl and top with other ingredients.  Pour over extra-virgin olive oil (or a French Dressing) and toss lightly before garnishing with some viola petals.

Serves 1.


Thursday 11 November 2021

A Stunning Waterfall and Other Bits


Yesterday I had the wonderful experience of being able to ‘escape’ the city again.  This time it was down to Waitomo, near Te Kuiti, and our trip was made more memorable by the superb sunny weather we had.

On our way we passed through Temple View, where the attractive church of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is situated.

First stop was at the Mangapohue Natural Bridge.  There was nobody there except us (one of the few benefits of covid restrictions!), so it was incredibly peaceful.

The boardwalk travelled along beside a stream that once flowed through the base of a large cave system (this area is full of limestone caves). 

The cave roof collapsed long ago, and all that remains now is a natural rock bridge that towers 17 metres above the stream.

Next stop was Marakopa Falls.  The track to view these is only 420 metres long, but it is extremely steep (and it took me more than twice as long to come back up!).

But, wow, the walk was definitely worth it.  The falls were breathtakingly beautiful, with the sun making the water sparkle as it roared over the 35 metre rock face.

We stood in the lookout area for a long time, just admiring the view and feeling the light misty spray brushing against our faces.

Another twenty minutes’ drive and we arrived at Marakopa itself, with its river mouth and black sandy beach.  There were people swimming in the river and others were fishing off the beach further down from us. 

It was full tide and the distant ocean waves could be seen crashing over the sand bar at the mouth of the river.

It was also hitting 25 degrees, so we never stayed long – have you tried touching black sand in the heat?  It is burning!

A shady tree further up the river made a pleasant spot to have some afternoon tea, looking out over the river with all its reflections. 

It was so still and balmy, that it was possible to hear the sheep bleating from the opposite hill.

All in all, it was a most pleasurable day – the sort of day that lingers in the memory to be treasured and brought out every now and then when one needs a bit of cheering up.

Margaret 😊

Tuesday 9 November 2021

A Bagful of Delights


It is a beautiful day here today.  The sun is shining, the skies are blue with only a few fluffy clouds, and the temperature is beginning to feel like summer.

This little garden is loving it!

I made a visit to a local charity shop to drop off three boxes full of ‘goodies’ for someone else to treasure – and came home with a small bag full of ‘goodies’ for me to treasure.

At least I came home with less than I took.

The Queen Anne cup and saucer set cost me $15 but everything else was only $1 each, so I was quite happy with my purchases – a couple of table mats, a photo frame, a sweet glass horse and an iridescent kitty, a Victoriana photo album (with places to slip your photos inside), a book of vegetarian cooking, and a Country Diary book of decorating (following the style of Edith Holden).

I didn’t really need any of these items, but it always feels good to do some Retail Therapy (especially with the bonus of it being a bargain).

The cup and saucer set has been washed and used already. 

Fine china always seems to make tea taste so much better, don’t you agree? 😊


Sunday 7 November 2021

Thunder, Cats, and Lots of Rugby


It has been rather a lazy weekend, but I did get some parsley planted and some of my pots weeded.

Last evening, we had a thunderstorm bearing down on us, but at the last moment it veered away – we heard lots of thunder, saw several lightning flashes, but never had any rain.

Threatening thunder clouds

The cats were not disturbed by the storm, nor have they been worried by all the fireworks going off each evening.  I think they are getting older and it is all a bit of a “ho-hum-here-we-go-again” for them.

Millie and Mittens

This morning we were up early to watch Wales play rugby against South Africa.  It was such a good game, and I felt sorry for Wales when a spectator raced onto the field and prevented them from scoring.

Final Score: South Africa 23 and Wales 18

Soon afterwards, we watched a replay of the All Blacks against Italy.  That was not so inspiring, but we still managed to win convincingly. 

It was the referee I felt sorry for this time, when he was hit in the face with the ball during play.  It must have hurt, but he continued on doing his job.

Final Score: New Zealand 47 and Italy 9

Then, this afternoon, it was time for another replay.  This time France playing Argentina in Paris. 

This was a really intense game, with both sides evenly matched.  The game was fast, and a bit frenetic at times – a couple of yellow cards were issued when all the testosterone on the field got a bit out of hand!

Final Score: France 29 and Argentina 20

Today was a great day if you are a rugby fan!

Tomorrow I will have to knuckle under again and get back to doing some housework and cooking 😊

Cheers, Margaret.


Friday 5 November 2021

Escaping The City


For the first time in several weeks, I was able yesterday to leave Hamilton City boundaries.  We are still not allowed to leave our Waikato Level Three Lockdown area, but are able to travel if we stay within that area.

The day started out with brilliant sunshine, and the sea along the Raglan coast reflected the blues in the sky and made an absolutely beautiful scene to gaze out at (can you tell I love the ocean?).

First stop was at Te Toto Gorge lookout.  It was so quiet and peaceful here, with lovely views up and down the coast. 

The lookout itself was a little scary though, as the platform was built out over the cliff edge – not a safe-feeling place for those of us who are not so fond of being at heights!

Most of the road was gravel (not sealed), with the occasional cattlestop to negotiate.  This road winds along the coast as it skirts Mount Kariori.

I loved seeing all the birds in this coastal rural area.  There were an abundance of yellowhammers, tuis, magpies, kingfishers, and one thrilling sighting of my favourite kereru (wood pigeon), as well as the odd other bird to be seen (including turkeys).

Ruapuke Beach was next on the itinerary, but it was only a short stop as the wind was getting quite strong and blustery so it wasn’t that nice.

The waves were great to watch though, especially when the wind caught the tops and blew the spray backwards.

The last place visited was Bridal Veil Falls.  These 55 metre high falls are a spectacular sight and good viewing points can be had from near the top.

It is possible to walk to the base if wished, but it is a very steep climb back up again.  I have only done this once, and that would be 50 years ago! 

There was no proper pathway then, just a muddy track to negotiate while making ungraceful grabs at branches and roots to stop oneself from sliding down the bank.

Now it has become a tourist attraction, and there is sealed road access, wide well-formed tracks, and proper viewing points.  So much more civilized!

It was great to get out into the countryside again, even if only for a short time.  Now that summer is approaching and our lockdown conditions are easing a little, hopefully I can be doing more of this.

Sometimes our souls need a bit of time out 😊




Wednesday 3 November 2021

Nothing Is Private Anymore


Most of us know that each time we go online information is being gathered about us.   This can be good or bad or totally irrelevant, depending on how you view it.

Every time you participate in a questionnaire on Social Media, information about your personality and preferences is being collected.  (You probably know the sort of thing I mean – what sort of tree are you?, can you see the black dot?, which actress are you most like?, can you add this up correctly?, that sort of thing).

Every time you do an internet search (using Google or another search engine), information about what you are looking at is being recorded and stored away.  It is then used to personalize advertisements for you, or to make collective decisions about things like what type of restaurant is most suited for those living in your area.

Every time you travel somewhere with your phone, your location is being recorded and then utilized to show what time certain shops are busy, where there is a hold up in traffic flow, how many people are flocking to the beach for the weekend, and so on.

We live in the Age of Information and can access information on almost any subject at any time of the day.  But it works both ways, and information about us can be gathered and used by others.  It all comes down to Algorithms. 

Basically, an algorithm is a series of instructions telling a computer how to transform a set of facts into useful information.  This is neither a good thing or a bad thing, it is just a process used to deal with information.

I had a startling reminder of algorithms the other day after spending an afternoon tracking down all the different colours in the spectrum of blue.  Then that night I began a list of what clothes I would like to have in my ideal wardrobe, with an emphasis on which ones I would like to sew.

Now, when online, I am receiving advertisements for BLUE FABRIC!  I can understand the blue, but how did it know I wanted to sew and not buy clothes?  All I can think of is that during the last six months I have probably visited more sewing sites than clothes-to-buy sites.  Or was IT listening to me talking?

Son recently had the experience of having advertisements tailored to him regarding something he had been TALKING about.  He figured his phone picked it up, as his microphone is on all the time as he frequently uses Google Speak.  

Or is it all just Coincidence? 

Virtually anywhere you go outside of your home you will be recorded on CCTV.  Cameras are everywhere, outside homes, businesses, looking at traffic flows, in malls, you name it and there is invariably a camera present.  If you do something wrong, or scratch yourself when you think nobody is watching, there will nearly always be a camera there to record it!

There is not much privacy left to us now.  It is the world we live in, and most of us accept that.

So, smile at everyone – it might be Candid Camera returned to our screens! 😊



Monday 1 November 2021

Food Should Look Good


Food should be a sensual experience, something enjoyable in our lives and not just an exercise in sustenance.

Ideally, each meal should appeal to each of our senses to give maximum enjoyment.  Add some friendly companionship and a happy attitude and you have a recipe for health that is hard to beat.

For dinner tonight, we had a garden salad with steamed fresh asparagus on the side. 

The salad was lettuce and comfrey leaf from our garden, topped with tomato, buffalo feta, cucumber, and hardboiled egg, then sprinkled with viola petals from the garden.  A little French Dressing and dinner was ready in 15 minutes, looked great, smelt good, and tasted delicious.  What could be easier?

Always remember what celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme said: “You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.”

May all your meals be happy ones 😊