Books Read 2020

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Spring Flowers and Pressure Valves

 

I was very happy this morning to see the plumber drive up to the house. 


Our native Kowhai

For the last couple of days, the overflow pipe from the hot water cylinder has been pushing up water – which then drips down into our back porch area.


Snowflakes, often referred to here as Snowdrops

Everything is wet through and one could not walk across the porch without getting dripped upon.


I have no idea what these are - does anybody know?

We were afraid it may have meant a new hot water cylinder (this one was installed in 1985) but that checked out fine.  The fault was a pressure valve, which has now been replaced – no more drips!  


Star Magnolia, a beautiful spring-flowering shrub


Spring continues to advance and our weather is quite variable but the temperatures are slowly rising.  


Polyanthus nestled into a tree-shaded garden

I have been enjoying seeing spring flowers almost as much as I enjoy seeing autumn foliage.


Old fashioned muscari (grape hyacinths)
are always a pleasure to see

I hope these pretty flowers have cheered your day up a little,

Margaret 😊




Saturday, 25 September 2021

Sanatorium Hill

 

During this past week I had the opportunity to spend a couple of pleasant hours wandering around Sanatorium Hill, near the town of Cambridge (the Hill is now officially called the Maungakawa Scenic Reserve).

Situated at the top of the 1624 foot (495 metre) summit is a radio tower, with brilliant 360 degree views for miles in each direction.




A grand mansion was built here in the 1890s and a large garden established, the remnants of which are still visible today.




In 1902 the house passed into the hands of the Health Department and a Sanatorium (hospital) was established, specifically to treat patients with tuberculosis.

During World War I the Army took over and converted the buildings into use for convalescing soldiers, after which it all fell into disrepair.

By the 1930s it was considered too expensive to refurbish, and most of it was demolished.  Today, all that remains are some concrete foundations and the shell of one solitary small concrete out-building.




The Hill is criss-crossed with several walking paths, many of which connect up with walking trails from the nearby bush-clad Te Tapui Scenic Reserve.




It was most enjoyable wandering around looking, and, judging by the amount of picnic tables available, I am thinking it must be a popular place to visit in summer.

I was amazed at the birdlife here.  There were innumerable tuis, squabbling over the available flowers, along with bellbirds, Californian quail, pheasants, fantails, and all the usual garden birds.

Different places allow views out across the Waikato countryside.  This view was taken from one easily accessed viewing spot.




It would have to be over thirty years since I last visited this place, and it was marvellous to be able to see it all again.

Have an awesome weekend everyone 😊

Margaret.



Tuesday, 21 September 2021

My Garden and The Moon

 

Going to bed last night, I caught sight of the full moon with a beautiful halo around it (the camera on my phone doesn’t do it justice).

Apparently, halos like this are not that unusual, and are believed to indicate that we are in for an unsettled period of weather (what else is new? Spring is always unsettled!).

Whatever causes them, and whatever they mean, moon halos are still amazing to behold.




The last few days have been rain-free and I have become the victim of Spring Fever again.  It seems to happen every year, and I am almost powerless to prevent its occurrence. 

It is the time of year when I want to get out in the garden, when I want to clean the house from top to bottom – at least I no longer get the “birds and the bees” feelings (leaving them to the young ones!).




My little container garden (I leave the main gardens for son to care for) is looking a little tired.  Time to repot a few things and buy some annuals to add colour and interest to this little area.

Time to smile, everyone!  Have a happy day ðŸ˜Š

Margaret.


Thursday, 16 September 2021

The Famous Five

 

Sometimes I look back over the week and wonder where all my days have gone.  If I didn’t keep a daily journal, I’d be wondering what I had done on each of those days as well.

Our weather has been so wet, wet, wet, this week and the best thing to do is stay indoors.  I’ve not been idle (all the time!), though.  My display cabinet, with ornaments, crystal etc. in it, is now sparkling clean, and my book shelves are being cleaned and the books organized a bit better than they were.

I added to my collection this morning when visiting a charity shop with my younger son, purchasing this Famous Five book.  I used to own quite a lot of them but they have disappeared in different directions over the years.

I know they are children’s books, but I actually enjoy reading one on a dreary afternoon.  This is not one I have read before, so I think I will be settling into my lounge chair with it this afternoon.




Last weekend I was invited out to dinner with some friends.  It was a lovely evening together, just five of us, and not something I have done for a long time.

There were three lemon trees on the property, absolutely laden with fruit, and I was thrilled to be given a bag of them to bring home.

Some of the lemons I have sliced into rings and dehydrated – I thought they might be nice to plonk into a glass of chilled water over summer time (not something I have tried before).  

I also dried some peel, which will probably get used when cooking different meals.




My apologies to all my blogland friends for not doing any visiting lately.  Some days I don’t even make it onto my computer!

And some days, like now, I just want to curl up with a book.

I hope everyone is keeping safe and well,

Stay happy 😊

Margaret.



Friday, 10 September 2021

A Yowch Money Moment

 

I think I may have discovered the fastest way to spend money when you don’t really want to – get your car repaired!

The engine light was refusing to go off, so the car has been in the garage for three days and came home again yesterday.  $616 for the needed part, plus freight, plus labour, plus GST (goods and service tax), and you can see what I mean.

After the initial “ouch ouch ouch” moment, I felt thankful that I was able to pay for it without any issues.  My little car is my ticket to being able to move around freely, and I am happy to have trusted people I can take it to in times of need.


Spring is Coming!


The country has been getting buffeted with a couple of storm fronts these last few days, but we have so far managed to miss the worst of it here in Hamilton.

We have had heavy rain showers and a fair amount of blustery strong winds, but nothing exceptional for a winter weather system.

South Island friends have sent me photos of the snow that was falling around their home – sometimes I am glad that we are far enough north that our climate is warmer, and we can mostly escape those conditions.  I must be getting soft!

Wishing everyone a pleasant, peaceful, and happy day 😊

Margaret.

 

Monday, 6 September 2021

Rainbows on my Roof

 

I love rainbows.  Full ones, half ones, double ones.  Even the little mini ones that come off the crystals hanging in my window.

When I woke this morning, I could see the sun shining through the chinks in the curtain so I opened the curtains up to let the sunshine in, and my crystals sent gorgeous little rainbows skittering across the ceiling.

I jumped back into bed (it was cold!) and lay there admiring them.  What a great start to the day.




As children we were taught that ROYGBIV gave you all the colours of the rainbow.  I never could see any difference, when looking at a rainbow, between indigo and violet.  All the other colours are quite distinct in a clear rainbow, but to me the blue always seemed to go straight into violet.

And then, not so long ago, I was reading that there are actually only six colours in a rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.  The indigo was added to make seven colours, as men in the Victorian age were very much stuck on seven being a complete number in the Bible.  As the rainbow was created by God, it obviously had to be complete and therefore had to have seven colours.

I have no idea if this is actually correct or not, but it makes me feel better about never seeing indigo in a rainbow!

May all your thoughts be as cheerful as a rainbow 😊

Margaret.

 

Friday, 3 September 2021

Jam First

 

It seems to be an ongoing debate – do you put jam and a blob of whipped cream on your scone, or do you put whipped cream with a blob of jam on it?

I made scones for lunch and we had apricot jam and whipped cream with them.  The consensus was that jam should be put on first – after the butter, that is – and then a blob of whipped cream.

These scones were made with half white flour and half fine wholemeal flour and the end result was light and crumbly and very filling.  I only ate half the number I usually do! (And, no, I am not letting on how many I can eat LOL)




We are having typical spring weather this week – early morning frosts followed by fine sunny days.  The sun is even warm if you can get out of the wind.

I enjoyed sitting out in the garden for half an hour with a cup of tea this morning and almost fell asleep.  I guess I must have been feeling relaxed and if the neighbour hadn’t started hammering something I may have fallen off my chair!




We are heading into the weekend now.  My current favourite TV programme is on tonight – The Great British Sewing Bee.  I’ve been enjoying it immensely the last few weeks.

It is almost – almost! – inspiring me to pull out my sewing machine and make something 😊

Stay safe and be happy,

Margaret


Thursday, 2 September 2021

Spring Is Springing

Yesterday, the first day of September, was officially the first calendar day of Spring.

During the last week there have even been signs broadcasting the arrival of the new season.  The dawn chorus of birds is beginning to ramp up and we even have a resident blackbird chortling away at sunset.  Distant trees that we can see from home are beginning to get a pale golden-green hazy sheen over them indicating that buds are about to burst into a profusion of green.

Spring, the season of hope and new beginnings.  A great time to look forward to warmer sunnier days, with new projects to think about 😊

 

Opoutere Beach

On the Home Front, most of the country (including us here at Hamilton) reduced to Level Three Lockdown yesterday.  Auckland, where most of the cases are found, is to remain at Level Four for a bit longer.

There is not much difference between the two levels socially, and it is still a criminal offence to not wear a mask when visiting public places like the supermarket, but it does mean that many businesses can begin operating again. 

A friend of my son owns a café and he is happy to open his doors once more.  He has moved his whole shop to the front, with the counter across the doorway, so that they can serve people out on the street.  Other businesses, such as hardware stores, can now operate on a click-and-collect basis.

I ventured out and went to the supermarket.  Everyone wore a mask, but social distancing was nowhere in sight – the shop was crowded and I began to feel quite claustrophobic behind my mask and foggy glasses.  Came home utterly exhausted.

But this morning I woke to the birds and the sun rising in a clear sky.  It looks like it is going to be a lovely day.

Be happy and keep smiling 😊

Margaret.