Books Read 2020

Friday, 30 July 2021

Out All Day

 

I’ve been out for most of the day, galivanting around enjoying myself.

A brother-in-law and his wife took me out to lunch at a little country café.  What a lovely way to catch up on things, as well as all the extended family gossip.

Afterwards, we drove to a nearby garden centre – Wairere Nurseries, who are well-known for the wonderful collection of roses that they sell, alongside the usual plants and shrubs and trees.




We wandered around for quite a while, but in the end neither of us purchased anything.  I was surprised to see these japonicas for sale – such an old-fashioned shrub (my grandmother grew it).  Perhaps it is about to have a resurgence in popularity.




My next stop was the bookshop for a couple more puzzle books – this time, pixel puzzles and a word find book.  I like to do a puzzle at night when I am having trouble sleeping.

Then it was a spur-of-the-moment visit to another sister-in-law and more gossip!

Finally, it was time to drive home.  I thought I was early enough to miss the rush-hour traffic, but I was wrong.  So many sections of the trip home were bumper to bumper, and negotiating some of the intersections was a bit hairy.

New Zealand Olympic athletes did well with medals today.  Not bad for a little country of five million 😊

Margaret.

 

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Eleven Years Ago

 

With lots of wet weather and the Olympics in progress, it is easy to guess what I have been doing the last few days! 

Thankfully, son and I are fairly compatible with what we enjoy watching, so there are no heated discussions about what we will watch.

My favourites so far would have to be the cycle road races and the rugby sevens.  The most boring I have seen would have to be taekwondo – and my apologies to all those who enjoy it!




Eleven years ago, we were living at the campground at the foot of Mt Maunganui at Tauranga (seen here in the distance), so I thought a few memories from that time might be interesting.

We often went walking around and up and all over the Mount, but this track was one I usually avoided.  I believe it has now slipped down the bank, so I feel my fears were justified!




The views were always awesome.




Californian Quail used to wander through the camp and would sometimes even come right inside the caravan to stand and look warily at us.




Looking up towards the top, from about half way up




Being winter, we were not immune to the odd storm passing through




Nearly all the time, whatever the weather, we could watch the surfers out in the waves




Time now to go watch the sailing 😊

Margaret.


Friday, 23 July 2021

A Foggy Cemetery

 

It was very foggy this morning as I made my way over to the cemetery to visit my husband’s grave.  The traffic was heavy as well, so it was prudent just to travel along slowly and not take any silly risks.  Thankfully, all the other drivers felt the same and the trip was made in safety.

It may be three years now since I was widowed, and I am finding the saying is true that “you never get over it – you just learn to live with it.”  I am so thankful that I got to spend nearly fifty years knowing my wonderful man (we were married for forty-five of them).




Memories are such precious treasures,

Margaret 😊


Monday, 19 July 2021

Weekend Books

 

Here it is, Monday again!  We had rather a lot of rain over the weekend so it was very soothing to get distracted with looking through my new books.

I find I am not a great fiction reader – only one book was fictional (an old book, “Bracebridge Hall,” by Washington Irving) – and some of them (like the one on English country pubs) are more a “coffee-table” book that can be picked up and put down at will.




There are a couple of garden books and one on how to make a Kate Greenaway doll with clothes, and then a couple on travel experiences (like Michael Palin’s “Pole to Pole”).  They might, on the whole, be old books (it was a Book Fair of donated books, after all), but I like going through them.

One book I was particularly attracted to was “The Darling Buds of May Book of the Seasons.”  It contains sketches and excerpts from the writings of H.E. Bates, and is full of descriptions like this one:

“The August rain is heavy and dark; it seems to blacken the green of the trees and wash out the burnished shine on the wheat.  At the same time it gives the oats a fresh, airy grace.  Beads of clear rain hang on the beards.  The black seeds are shown up like darts.  The oat-stalks are washed clean, opalescent, and all through the rainy, windless days they do not move.  For some days the wheat has an astonishing colour, especially against the hedgerows.  It is part green, part gold, partly the colour of dark honey.  The colours shade into each other and are more than ever like waves as the wind gently blows the corn.” (from “In the Heart of the Country”)

Don’t you just love how he manages to paint a picture with his words?

Margaret 😊



Friday, 16 July 2021

An Upset and Some Books

 

It seems the only constant in this world is change, and we are all exposed to it.

Grand-daughter had her sixteenth birthday this last week, and the following day decided she was moving out and going to live permanently with her mother.

It made me sad to realize she has made this decision because there will be less restrictions placed upon her activities (not that she had anything draconian placed upon her here).

Having your own way in everything you do does not, in my experience, lead to a happy life.  But I respect her decision – during life we all have choices to make, and then consequences to bear as a result of those choices.  It can be a harsh learning curve sometimes.


The first daffodils for the season are making their joyful appearance


This morning the sun was shining (it has clouded over now!) so I headed off to the Lions Club annual book fair.  I have come home with twelve books to peruse and digest – which I am going to go and do now, with a cup of hot chocolate to keep me company.

Then I will have to figure out how I am going to fit them into my bookcase!

Enjoy your day, wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing 😊

Margaret.



Friday, 9 July 2021

Cup of Tea Anyone?

 

On the edge of Hamilton there is a tea estate, the only place in New Zealand that produces tea on a commercial basis. 

Tea is not something that you would expect to grow in New Zealand, but here at Zeelong Tea Estate there are over 1.2 million Camellia sinensis shrubs producing up to three crops of tea leaves each year.




I enjoyed my visit to their retail shop and came away with a tea caddy of organic whole-leaf Oolong tea – which I have yet to taste!

I see they do estate tours as well as running a restaurant and function centre, and I enjoyed their garden art surrounding the carpark.

It is a place I would like to visit again and explore a bit more closely.

I much prefer drinking tea to coffee.  Do you have any preferences?

Stay happy 😊

Margaret.


Wednesday, 7 July 2021

A Clean Kitchen

 

Our weather has changed to slightly warmer temperatures and a lot of clouds, after heavy overnight rain, and that was enough to enthuse me into tackling the kitchen and giving it a good cleaning.

I used to follow a strict timetable that had everything being done on a regular basis, but those days have long gone and I now find that every few months surface cleaning just isn’t enough and a session of deep cleaning is needed.

And, I must admit, it is much more satisfying to clean something a bit grubby than to clean something that is sparkling clean!

Once that was all done, I called on a sister-in-law and spent most of the afternoon visiting her.  It is always nice to catch up on all the family gossip and discuss the state of the world and how we can fix it!


Lake Te Ko Utu, in the heart of Cambridge township


I found this joke in an old woman’s magazine:

This week, just for a change, I thought I’d give you my favourite recipe for fruit cake.  You’ll need a cup of butter, a cup of sugar, four large eggs, a cup of dried fruit, a teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of salt, a cup of brown sugar, lemon juice, nuts and a bottle of whiskey.

Sample the whiskey to check for quality.  Take a large bowl.  Check the whiskey again.  To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.  Repeat. 

Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.  Add one spoontea of sugar and beat again.

Make sure the whiskey is still OK.  Cry another tup.

Turn off the mixer.  Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.  Mix on the turner.  If the fruit gets stuck in the beaters, pry it loose with a screwdriver.  Sample the whiskey again to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt.  Or something.  Who cares?  Check the whiskey.

Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.  Add one babblespoon of brown sugar, or whatever colour you can find.  Wix mel.  Grease the oven.  Turn the cake pan to 350 gredees.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.  Throw the bowl out the window, check the whiskey again and bo to ged.

 

Hope you enjoyed it 😊

Margaret.



Monday, 5 July 2021

Just For A Change - Fog!

 

Just for a change from our heavy frosts and sunny days, today we have had heavy frost and thick fog. 

It has been so heavy and murky that the street lights have been on for most of the day.  

The fog lifted slightly around midday but never broke up, and now it has settled back down again like a great silent white curtain covering everything.

It may have been sunny on the other side of Hamilton, as I was told Auckland had a sunny afternoon.  Fog can be very localized in our city, and as we live between the river and a peat swamp the fog can be quite bad here sometimes.

I checked my phone before, and the temperature was six degrees, feels like four, with a humidity of 98%.  And they are forecasting showers for tomorrow.  Winter!




The fire got lit at lunchtime, once we realized the sun wasn’t going to appear, and I have spent a quiet afternoon sitting in front of it doing some family tree research on my laptop.

Millie kept trying to jump up to sit on me – she lands on the computer and bounces off again, leaving me with all sorts of weird messages and symbols on my screen.  

Mittens had the right idea though, she curled up on her fluffy blanket on the bed and ignored the world around her.

It is son’s turn for cooking dinner tonight (I think we are having nachos), so I can continue to vegetate for the evening in my favourite chair.  Might even be time for a little pre-dinner tipple.

Be happy 😊

Margaret.


Sunday, 4 July 2021

Rugby Rugby

 

Not sure I should have got out of bed so early this morning.  We had another good heavy frost, great for killing bugs, but not so great for cold fingers and toes! 

The cats seek out any little spot of sunshine to warm up, and the rats almost go into hibernation in their ‘nests’ of torn newspaper and coconut fibre.

However, it is now nearly lunchtime, most of the frost has thawed in the sunshine, and the condensation on the windows is vanishing.  Sometimes I feel like a lizard, it is difficult to get going when things are cold – I need to warm up first.


A soulful singing of the National Anthem


Son and I enjoyed our evening last night, sitting by the fire and watching two games of rugby.  The first was the Maori All Blacks winning against Samoa, a good game with the Samoans scoring an amazing try right on the final whistle.




The second game was the first for the All Blacks this season.  I felt sorry for their opponents, Tonga, with their inexperienced team.  They played well but were unable to stop the ABs beating them by 102 to zero.




It was a treat for me to watch these games – four haka challenges to watch!  I do so love to watch a good haka – it stirs the blood just like listening to bagpipes does.




And now, time to find something warm to eat for lunch, then I should be right for the afternoon.

Have a great weekend everyone 😊

Margaret.



Friday, 2 July 2021

Another Chilly Morning

 

We had another good frost this morning, followed by another lovely day of winter sunshine. 

I took this photo a few years ago, one cold frosty morning on the farm with just a few wisps of mist wafting around.




It was a day of phone calls today.  Half of my time seems to have been spent on the phone catching up with different people.  Strange how it all happens on one day, instead of spreading out over the week!

The washing all dried outside on the line, but I now have it airing in front of the fire to completely dry it.  One thing I hate is musty-smelling clothes, because they haven’t been aired correctly.

We had risotto for dinner again tonight – mushroom flavoured this time.  I took this photo as I began cooking – and then promptly forgot to take anymore!




We are heading into another weekend.  I have nothing planned, will just see what happens and go with the flow.

Have a cheerful day 😊

Margaret.


Thursday, 1 July 2021

Frosty Mornings

 

This week an icy “polar blast” from Antarctica has swept up the country, bringing snow to many places and colder temperatures to everyone.

The last few days it has given us heavy frosts in the morning, but yesterday (and forecast for today) is fine and sunny even if it is still cold.  I can handle frosts when they are followed by a nice day!

There is one advantage to cold weather and that is being able to really enjoy a steaming bowl of hot soup. 


Homemade Minestrone Soup

Soup makes the perfect lunch meal with a few Toast Soldiers on the side.  Hearty and warming, it is hard to beat on a cold winter’s day.

(Apologies to all those suffering the intense heat of summer at the moment – soup would be the last thing you want to think about!)

Have a happy week,

Margaret 😊