Monday, 31 October 2022

Do You Believe

 

I’ve been thinking lately about how gullible we, as the general public, can be when it comes to believing everything we are told.  I was speaking with a man who loves to research what is behind stories in the News (he does it almost as a hobby) and it was quite an eye opener.

He was telling me some of the history behind the Ukraine war and why it has come about.  He wasn’t condemning or condoning either side, stating that war was war and generally it can be found that there are faults on both sides.

What he was pointing out, was that we are being deliberately led to buy into the idea of “Big Bad Russia invaded Good Little Ukraine,” without giving us any information as to why the war has happened and little or no verifiably factual information about what is actually occurring. 

It is very easy to jump onto a popular platform and condemn the side we perceive to be as “wrong,” without stopping and questioning anything.


A recent sunset


This actually applies to everything we hear/see in the News – we are inclined to believe it all without realising it is frequently filled with deliberate propaganda, manipulation of the truth, hidden agendas, and can even reflect the personal bias of a reporter.

I remember once speaking with a couple who had passed through Jerusalem on their honeymoon in the 1980s.  They had spent a whole day wandering around a particular area, and were astounded that evening to watch the TV News and see film footage of all the bombing that had been occurring in that area that day.  They had heard and seen nothing at all, not even a gunshot let alone several bombs.

It makes it very difficult to know what to believe.  Who can we trust to tell the truth? 

Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. 

Not much we can do about that, but I like to think I can become more aware of what I am being ‘fed’ in the News.

As the old saying goes, there are two sides to every story – and the truth is usually found somewhere in the middle.

Margaret 😊

 

Sunday, 30 October 2022

A Little Bit Wet

 

For the last 18 hours our temperature has sat at a constant 18 degrees (Celsius), and it has rained continuously for almost as long. 

Millie has found the ideal way to spend a wet day and has only moved once to go and have some food.




I haven’t been snoozing but have to admit I haven’t been exactly busy either.

Last night we watched rugby again – the All Blacks against Japan (Japan played a great game but we still won) – and this morning we watched a live replay between Australia and Scotland (Australia just won that game).

Now (late afternoon), we are watching a live broadcast of T20 World Cup cricket.  Bangladesh is playing Zimbabwe in Brisbane – and their weather looks to be the total opposite of ours today!

In between the two games I sat at the table and coloured in a lot of the line drawings I have in my journal.  This book has been in use now for three years but I will finish filling it this month.

I like to make little sketches (most of them you could probably call scribbles!) with my daily notes, and colouring in some of them adds a lot of oomph to the overall appearance of the journal.




The next 24 hours are forecast to remain at a steady 16 to 18 degrees, with more rain and the threat of thunderstorms.  That translates as more humidity – ugh!

New Zealand is still under a La Nina weather pattern, causing our coastal waters to suffer a bit of a marine heatwave.  The result is a forecast of expected above-average temperatures in November – the Waikato has a 75% chance of being hotter than normal.

We’ve been through it all before, so no doubt we will survive it again 😊

Margaret.

 

Saturday, 29 October 2022

Keeping Rats As Pets

 

I am finding having rats in the house as pets is becoming a very traumatic experience.  They die a lot!

As regular readers know, my son loves his pet rats and often has up to four of them at a time.  They have a large cage to roam around in, and he gives them lots of care and affection (rats are very social creatures).

Each rat has its own personality and even though I don’t have day-to-day care of them (and can never give them cuddles!), I still get attached to each one.

Domestic rats only live around two years, but this year we seem to have lost a lot of them.  One of my favourites was a small black rat named Rattle – named because of the different colour at the end of his tail, much like a rattle snake.

We were down to two rats – Rattle and Spike – when both became sick with some mysterious illness (it happens in rats sometimes).  Rattle never survived and I was surprised how upset I was. 

I was thinking that perhaps I need to learn how to step back from loving pets (cats included), but then I remembered that life needs to have love in it.  The price we pay might be grief, but feeling and expressing love and receiving it in return is really what life is all about.


Rattle in one of his cheeky moments


Spike is now alone – never good for a rat – but son has been offered the adoption of two 13-month old rats and has accepted the offer.

Son will remain on the list for two new babies when next a litter comes available with his breeder. 

Life is enriched with fur-ever luv 😊

Margaret.

 

Thursday, 27 October 2022

Earthquake Drill

 

This morning, at 9.30am, was the time given for this year’s National Earthquake Drill. 

It is called New Zealand Shake Out and is designed to test how ready the country is to face a major earthquake and/or tsunami.

There are around 20,000 recorded earthquakes in our country each year – thankfully, only about 250 of those are felt!

I set up the alarm on my phone, as earthquakes can happen anywhere at any time and I wanted to be “caught out” while doing normal things.

I happened to be hanging out the washing.  I’m not exactly sure if I reacted correctly – after the first “what’s that noise?” (it was my alarm), it was “earthquake!” and I imagined the earth rolling beneath my feet and grabbed hold of the clothesline to steady myself.




Then I remembered a friend telling me how her mother had been hanging out the washing when the 7.8 Napier earthquake struck on 3 February 1931.

The ground opened up all around her in great cracks, and the poor woman fell to her knees and prayed.  When the shaking stopped and she opened her eyes again, all the cracks had closed up and the ground was back to normal.

What a frightening experience that must have been.

I’m grateful that I have only ever felt minor earthquakes, as I know others who have experienced major quakes and never yet met anyone who enjoyed the experience.

Be prepared and stay safe,

Margaret 😊

 

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Technology Grrrrs

 

I don’t consider myself as being stupid, but sometimes I have great difficulty in figuring out technology.

It has been some time since I added a new contact to my email list, but when I tried to do so today everything is different!  The old way of doing it is no more, and I had the greatest trouble trying to work out what I needed to change.

In the end, I got Son to look at it – and it took him a few goes to work it out, but we eventually got there. 


Four years ago today, I went for a walk below the Arizona Snowbowl ski field

Why, oh why, do THEY have to keep changing things?

Blogger does it to me, Facebook does it to me, Windows does it to me.  Even my phone does it to me!  And just when I think I have the television worked out, it wants to do an update and sends me cryptic messages that throw me all out again.


It was a glorious autumn day

Sometimes I want to throw my hands up in frustration and say I don’t want anything more to do with technology, then I remember my grandmother refusing to buy a certain fridge “because it has a computer in it” and realise we have to adapt to our times and go with the changes.


These fallen Aspen leaves looked like golden pennies scattered on the ground


I get used to the changes eventually 😊

Margaret.

 


Thursday, 20 October 2022

A Town Full Of Sunshine

 

Whakatane is a town in the eastern Bay of Plenty, about two and a half hours driving from Hamilton, and has the reputation of being one of the sunniest places in New Zealand.

A friend asked if I wanted to go there with her on Tuesday and stay the night before coming home yesterday.  Yes, I would love to!

It is many years since I travelled through Whakatane and I have never actually stayed there before, although I have stayed at nearby Ohope.


Looking down over Ohope


Whakatane was a pleasant surprise.  What a lovely friendly town – it appears to provide everything a busy city does while still retaining the feeling of a laid-back country town.


In the heart of downtown Whakatane


We did some touring around, including an obligatory visit to see the iconic Lady On The Rock near the mouth of the Whakatane River.  The statue was unveiled in 1965 to celebrate the bravery of Wairaka.

The story goes that when the first Maori waka (canoe) arrived here, the men went ashore to explore and left the women in the canoe.  When it began to drift back to sea, Wairaka defied the tapu (law) that forbade women from handling the waka and grabbed a paddle to bring them back to shore. 

As she did so, she called out “Kia Whakatane au I ahau” (meaning, “I will act the part of a man”) and that is how the area got its name.


The Lady on the Rock


The town’s other claim to fame is having volcanic White Island on its doorstep.


White Island on the horizon


Before we left yesterday we visited Te Wairere Falls, a hidden gem that we almost missed.  This stunning multi-step waterfall drops 22 metres and is hidden among beautiful bush that was full of tui song.  

We could hear the waterfall when we left the car and it was barely a minute or two of walking to reach it.


The top of the waterfall


I had difficulty fitting it all into the photo frame!


The bottom half of the waterfall


On our way home we made a stop at the shopping centre at Tauriko.  I have never been here before and was amazed to see how many shops were based there.

A couple of hours later and I came out with two new tops, a dress, and a sunfrock.  I was one happy shopper!

Have a great day everyone 😊

Margaret.

 

Monday, 17 October 2022

Cheese Scones

 

I got to make my Cheese Scones the other day and we both enjoyed them for our lunch.  I was asked if I had a recipe, so we had them again so I could take photographs!

It is not an exact recipe (that is, measurements don’t have to be exact), and this amount is to serve two of us.  If there are more people, I just double or treble the amounts involved.


Ready to eat


First of all, preheat your oven to 210/220 degrees Celsius.  Scones need a very hot oven to cook in.

Into a large bowl, place 1 cup of white flour, ¼ cup cornflour (I think it is called maize starch in some countries?), a pinch of cayenne pepper, and 2 tsp of baking powder.

Grate in about 50g (around 2oz) of cheddar cheese and roughly rub it in with a pastry cutter or your fingertips (it won’t go crumb-like as it does when you rub in butter, as cheese is much harder).


Ready to add milk


Mix in some milk, usually around ½ cup, adding it gradually until the dough comes together in a soft ball.

Turn out onto a floured board, flatten the dough and cut into pieces.

Place on an oven tray (I don’t grease it) and sprinkle a little more cheese over the top.

Bake for about 12 minutes in a very hot oven until scones have risen and are turning golden on top.


Ready to cook


This is my recipe, tweaked over the years to give a result that our family likes – I hope you enjoy them as well 😊

Margaret.

 

Saturday, 15 October 2022

A First Taste of Summer

 

The garden is slowly recovering after last week’s unexpected heavy frost.  Things are starting to shoot away again, although we doubt whether the grape will recover enough to fruit this season – but Nature is amazing, and it may do so.

We have had our first harvest off my Camarosa strawberries and enjoyed them for our dessert.  I prefer my strawberries to be soft and juicy, but these were still a little firm although definitely ripe and full of flavour.  Perhaps it is the variety?  Or maybe we simply haven’t seen enough warm sunshine yet.




We have another grey day today, although there is no prospect of rain and it isn’t really that cold.  Just one of those drab days where one needs to find something to occupy the time.

I think I will go and make some cheese scones for our lunch 😊

Margaret.

 

Thursday, 13 October 2022

A Slight Mishap

 

Sometimes the days seem to slip by so fast and when I look back I wonder what I actually did with my time.  Thank goodness I keep a journal to remind me!

After much thinking about whether to or not, I finally went and had my second covid booster shot.  I know many people this time round who are not going to have it, but as I fall into both the Seniors and the Immunocompromised categories I decided it was prudent to do so.

I had the usual after-effects – headache, sore arm, lethargy.   Nothing too major and I just needed to rest for a couple of days and drink lots of water.

That would have been fine, only son needed me to move my car so that he could get out.  It is only a matter of backing down the drive, waiting for him to back down, then driving back up again.

Only, because of my grogginess (at least, that is what I am blaming!), I failed to see that the wind had blown the gate partially shut.  You can guess what happened.

With a mighty crash, my car and the gate had a close encounter and I nearly died of fright. 

It wasn’t too bad though.  The gate now has a big dent in it, there are superficial scratches on one car door, and the casing for my wing mirror was broken.

The last couple of days, my dear son has been tinkering around with the casing and gluing it back together again.  This afternoon he put it all together and everything works.  Thank goodness for that.




Always remember the Golden Rule of Safe Driving – check to see what is around your vehicle before you hop in!

Margaret 😊

 

Friday, 7 October 2022

Enjoying Springtime

 

Although Autumn would have to be my favourite season, I am finding that Spring also has its pleasures.

These Dutch Iris are making a beautiful show in the garden, and everything is growing rapidly as we move towards Summer.




The weather can be a bit unpredictable though.  Temperatures are rising, but one day can be fine and sunny and the next wet and dreary.  The odd frost will come along to nip off new growth on plants eager to get growing.

We had one such frost this morning.  Much of the country has been experiencing freezing temperatures the last couple of days, with snow in several places, and it is being called an “unseasonal polar blast.”

I call it Spring!




Enjoy your day 😊

Margaret.

 

Monday, 3 October 2022

Rhubarb

 

I love stewed rhubarb – with Weetbix, with icecream, with milk, warm from the pot, in a crumble, you name it and I will love it.

Rhubarb can be tart/sour so it is usually sweetened with sugar before eating.  Cooking it with a piece of scraped ginger root can reduce the need for sugar, but I find another method works even better.  This was told to me by an elderly gentleman many decades ago (he also was a rhubarb fanatic and had umpteen containers of stewed rhubarb in his freezer). 

Slice the rhubarb into pieces as normal, cover with cold water and bring to the boil.  Strain off the water, then barely cover the rhubarb with more cold water.  Bring to the boil and simmer until it reaches your desired level of softness (some like it to remain in pieces, others to let it cook down into a mush).

Stir in sugar to sweeten, if using.




This picture is of our present rhubarb plant.  It got transplanted this year into a trough and a new one was planted beside it (son’s idea – he reckons rhubarb gets lonely and needs to have a companion!).

It is growing well and almost ready to take a harvest from.  I won’t take too much off it this season as I want to give the crown time to recover from being moved, and will take nothing from the new plant.

The gentleman mentioned above used to say if you grew rhubarb and silver beet (Swiss chard) in your garden you would never go hungry.

How true 😊

Margaret.

 

Saturday, 1 October 2022

Local Body Elections

 

There are many different forms of government on this earth, and the one we currently live under here is called Democracy. 

Abraham Lincoln once described it as “of the people, by the people, for the people.”  In reality, what it means is the people get to choose, every so often, the people they want to rule over them.  Once those people are chosen, they have the authority and power to make decisions for the country and the voting public have no further say in the matter (they may grumble, but that is all).

The same goes for local authorities, and voting is currently taking place to choose our city mayor, city councillors, and regional representatives.

Although it is a legal requirement to be enrolled on the voting register it is not a legal requirement to vote, but now I am a permanent resident here in Hamilton I have decided to exercise my right to do so.




A little pamphlet arrived with the voting papers and I read through the candidate descriptions and chose the ones I wanted.  Now all I had to do was find somewhere to post it.

Post Offices are almost non-existent now, only to be found lurking at the back of a shop somewhere (usually a book shop).  Street post boxes are also becoming more difficult to find – I guess with the advent of email there are fewer and fewer people actually using the postal system any more.

A search online discovered our nearest Post Box was only a couple of kilometres away, hidden down a side road.  I went for a drive, but do you think I could find it? 

I drove past twice before I caught sight of it hidden in beside a bus-stop shelter.  It was small and tatty-looking but still had a plaque stating collection times, so I entrusted my voting papers to its inner bowels and drove off with a small feeling of satisfaction at having done my bit for the governance of our fair city.


What a pleasant surprise to discover son had planted tulips in his garden


What a lot of drivel I write sometimes!  I hope it hasn’t been too boring 😊

Margaret.

 



HEADER PHOTO FOR OCTOBER 2022

This coal train was photographed at Arthurs Pass in May 2019. 

Arthurs Pass is 739 metres above sea level (2424 feet), and is one of three passes that cross the Southern Alps in the South Island.  It was the first Pass to become a proper road, being opened in 1866 to cater for gold-rush miners accessing the West Coast.