Tuesday 31 January 2023

Garden Grasses


Son has been shopping!  He came home from the hardware store this morning with more grass plants to place around the deck. 

Most of the grasses are hardy, and will withstand our normal summer temperatures and the usual winter climate we have here.

There are so many different varieties and they look great scattered amongst the flowers or grouped together like in this corner.

It is very windy here this afternoon, and the grape vine has broken free of one of its supporting wires.  It was probably weakened a couple of weeks ago when we had strong winds, and the neighbour’s gazebo-tent decided to flip itself up and over the fence and land on top of the grape vine.

I can hear the chimes in the car port clanging around in the wind, and I know the tomatoes, that have almost finished cropping, are also waving around.  I suppose I should really go out and tie them up a bit more.

Have a happy day 😊



Saturday 28 January 2023

I Bought A Fitbit


I am beginning to think that losing weight is a bit like giving up smoking – you have to really want to do it. 

It is all very well saying you would like to slim down or give up tobacco, but it isn’t until you really really want to that the motivation kicks in.

Finally, I have arrived at that point.  I’ve known for ages (like, years) that I need to lose weight but my efforts have always been airy-fairy attempts that result in my giving up before anything is achieved.

This time I am determined it will be different. 

Hence, the purchase of a Fitbit Charge 5.  I researched the different ones, and this one appeared to be the best on offer for the use of Seniors.  It will track my heartbeat, count my steps, and check on my sleep patterns.

It does heaps of other things as well, but those are the ones that are most important to me.

I have been wearing it for a couple of days now and finding my way around how it works.  It’s fun!  And I really love the little message it sends me when it tracks that I haven’t been moving much – “time to move!” is a great message.

After steady rain yesterday, today we have had some sunshine.  It has now (as I am writing this, in the early evening) turned to rain.  It was forecast to arrive twelve hours ago, along with severe thunderstorms, so we will see what the night brings.

Auckland, the  largest city in New Zealand, was declared a State of Emergency last night because of the torrential rain and flooding they experienced.  Rainfall for the 24 hours there (245-400mm depending on where you live, which is nearly10-16 inches), broke all previous records.  

Unfortunately, three people have also died as a result of the weather, and another person is still missing.

Other areas are also experiencing severe rain issues.  Many roads are closed because of flooding or land-slips, and several communities are completely isolated.  It is going to be a big clean-up.

Take care and be safe, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

Margaret 😊


Wednesday 25 January 2023

The Mooloo Bell


When I was an older child, my father took me with him to see a rugby match.  I have two enduring memories of that match – one was of a crowd of people bigger than I had ever seen before, and the other was the loud sound of clanking cow bells.

Those cow bells have now been around since the early 1950s, becoming an iconic representation of the Waikato Rugby mascot, a cow named “Mooloo.”

The Waikato was famous for its dairy farming industry, so it seemed only proper that their mascot would be a cow – albeit, a two-person animal with a fancy head. 

The cow bell was an obvious follow-on, and a great adjunct to the noise made by eager rugby fans when their favourite team scored.

Today, the cow bell is still much in existence although the mascot is not often seen.

I have an ex-Waikato friend living in Christchurch who asked me to find a bell for him, so he can combat the enthusiasm of his Cantabrian friends.

I have sent him his bell, with the wish I hope he gets to clang it many times.

Go Waikato Rugby!

Margaret 😊


Monday 23 January 2023

Old Friends


There can be much joy in meeting up  with long-lost friends – or much disillusionment!

Thankfully, I can report having much joy over the weekend when I met up with some friends I had not seen for nearly thirty years.

Ostrich Foot shell, Otamarakau Beach

While in the supermarket last week, I had been approached by a woman who thought she knew me.  I never recognised her at all, but when she said her name I could then see she was the much older version of my one-time friend.

Through a series of events (nothing malicious), our ways had separated in the early 1990s and although I had heard odd reports of her and her husband, I had never met up with them again.

Ram's Horn shells, Ruapuke Beach

It was with some trepidation that I set out to have afternoon tea with them, not really knowing what to expect.  Our respective children have all grown up, her husband has now retired, and I am now a widow.

But everything went well and we laughed a lot over our reminiscences and caught up on what had been happening with mutual acquaintances.  

Sand Dollar shell, Waikawau Bay

I even discovered another friend, whom I had believed dead, was still alive and I intend catching up with her this week if I can.

Good friends can make the world a happier place 😊



Saturday 21 January 2023

Do I Have A Choice?


Sometimes governments can be incredibly sneaky.

It has come to my notice that our parliament very quietly, near the end of last year, introduced a huge bill that has the potential to impact the lives of every single New Zealander.

It is called the Therapeutics Products Bill, and, if passed in its present form, it will set up one person (called a Regulator) who will have god-like control over every single medical drug, medical device, active pharmaceutical ingredient, and natural health product in New Zealand.

Martinborough Hotel, Waiarapa

It will especially impact any medical therapy that is outside the conventional Western drugs medicine system.  This includes herbalism, ayurveda, homeopathy, aromatherapy, rongoa Maori, traditional Chinese medicine, as well as lesser-known areas like reiki, and generally accepted practices like osteopathy and massage.

Going to a chemist or supermarket and buying vitamin and/or mineral supplements may become a thing of the past.

Potentially, the Bill even has the capability of preventing anyone cooking with aubergines or using cinnamon or turmeric!

Kaeo Hotel, Northland

My understanding is practitioners of non-conventional therapies will still be able to practise. 

They cannot claim any benefits for their work without being liable to a fine of $200,000 or a five-year prison sentence (but doctors are allowed to say a certain drug “works”!).

Anything prescribed will have to be manufactured by the practitioner and sold to the client only after a consultation (imagine if a doctor had to make up the drug he was giving you?).

Glenorchy Hotel, Queenstown

All of the above sounds absurd, but shows how little the proposed legislation has been thought through.  Yet it is being rushed through the legal process, with nary a Select Committee to consider its implications or consultation with the health industry, and the public have been given only until 15 February to object.

Once again, I shake my head in disbelief at the way governments can use their power to rob people of their free choice.

Just as well I am still smiling 😊



(If you want to object, head off to https://www, to state your opinion).

Thursday 19 January 2023

So&So Does It Again


I’ve been offline for a few days after picking up a bug when looking online for cotton sheets to buy.  It covered my screen with constantly-moving flashing advertisements and froze everything else.

It took So&So two hours of concentrated searching but he finally found the bug buried deep within my Google Chrome browser (so deep even the virus detectors weren’t locating it).

A little bit of magic (or a large dose of it!) and I was given my computer back, but the experience has left me very wary of going online again although I know I must.  Silly of me really, to feel like this, but there it is.

The Modernist Garden in Hamilton Gardens

Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, made a shock announcement this afternoon by saying she was going to step down from office.  There is almost equal amounts of jubilation and consternation in the streets, as people react with either joy or dismay.

Personally, I feel she has done as much as any reasonable leader could be expected to do over the last few years.  But our country is facing dire economic times and a lot of Labour Party policies have been deeply divisive, so the time is probably politically correct for a change in leadership before the General Election at the end of the year.

Entrance to the Chinese Scholars Garden in Hamilton Gardens

Once again, I am glad I don’t have any political affiliations (to me, they all seem as bad as each other!), so I can watch proceedings with a neutral eye and wait to see who our new PM will be.

Keep smiling and carry on 😊



Sunday 15 January 2023

Simple Nails


Keeping with my Simplify theme for this year, I have thrown out all my nail polishes.  

Sometimes I used to enjoy painting my nails, but of late it has become nothing but a hassle and I have discovered I quite like the look of my nails with their Nude Look.

I can still go and visit a professional manicurist if I want something special, but for now I will stick to a very simple nail care routine.

After trimming with scissors, the nails are filed to shape.  The cuticles are gently pushed back and a little jojoba oil is rubbed into each.

Any oil can be used, but I prefer jojoba because it soaks in quickly and doesn’t leave any greasy feeling behind.

Massage some hand cream into the hands and the manicure is finished.  Couldn’t be easier!

And I am loving the extra space in the top drawer of my dressing table 😊



Thursday 12 January 2023

A Confession


I confess.  I am a secret long-term Data Hoarder!  You wouldn’t believe how much Stuff I have in my computer data banks (so many documents, photos, music, and videos).

Until receiving back all my ‘lost’ files from the old laptop, I never realised just how much data/information I was hanging on to – and still hang on to, on my present computer.  I was shocked!

In my garden in 2015

It appears that every time I research anything or find something I like, I download it to my computer and then KEEP IT THERE!

Long after they have served their purpose, multiple files sit around cluttering up the information that I am currently using.

My haphazard means of backing things up means I have often ended up with several duplicates of files, and they certainly aren’t needed either.

Anchorage Bay, in Abel Tasman National Park

I might be facing an incurable problem, but I am determined to do my best to combat this type of hoarding in the future.

To begin with, my plan is to move all except obvious Keeps on to a new external hard drive (which I will call Library), then organise the Keeps on my laptop so they are in some sensible order before backing them up on another hard drive (which I will call Back Up).

A Banded Dotterel

The Library will only need to be accessed if I am looking for something specific.  There is no way I intend to spend hours and hours sifting through it all to remove duplicates or old files.  

What a waste of time that would be!

Overlooking Akaroa Harbour in Canterbury

I am wanting 2023 to be a year to Simplify my life and get things more in line with how I am living my life now.  It looks like my first decluttering project is this computer I am currently typing on.

Wish me luck!

Margaret 😊


(The above photos were among those retrieved from my old computer)


Thursday 5 January 2023



I am house sitting for a few days, caring for my little friend Rusty while his owners are away.  Apart from the rain and a clock ticking, it is very quiet here this morning. 

I have just read the news and there are weather warnings out for several places in the top of the North Island for severe gale force winds and torrential rain.

It seems likely that we will receive some of it as well but I don’t imagine it will be too bad here.

I was rudely awoken yesterday morning at around 5.45am with my bed shaking badly and a loud roaring noise.  It took me a moment to waken properly and realise it was an earthquake!

This one was about 50km (25miles) away from us – a 5.1 (on the Richter scale) at a shallow depth of 7km near Te Aroha.  The biggest quake I have actually felt for some years.

The cats were unperturbed and nothing was damaged, but it was the end of sleep for both Son and I.

Have a great day everyone 😊



Tuesday 3 January 2023

Thankyou So&So


Nearly five years ago my laptop crashed, and the following week my back-up hard-drive corrupted.  Thankfully most of my records were still available on a much older hard-drive, but there were still some important files I was unable to access.

Among them were nearly all my photographs from 2015 to 2018.  I mourned those photos and always hoped that one day I might take the laptop to an expert somewhere and maybe, just maybe, it would be possible to “rescue” them.

My husband died soon afterwards and the laptop disappeared into all the other bits and pieces that got packed away through all the upheaval and put into storage.

It got unpacked again when I moved in to live with Son, but got pushed to the back of a wardrobe and almost forgotten about.

Gore Bay, Cheviot

Recently I was talking with some people and it came up in conversation.  Why not ask So&So if he can help, I was asked – and so I did, and he has!

It apparently took a bit of working to get into the laptop system, but all my files were still there.

Grand Hotel, Akaroa

I have spent a few hours today looking through them (now on a terabyte external solid-state hard-drive) and all I can say is THANKYOU to So&So for all his help. 

I am so thrilled to be able to see my photos again.  They included three major trips away, two down to Christchurch and the other one trekking at Abel Tasman National Park.

Awaroa Beach, Abel Tasman NP

Photographs may only be records of memory, but they can be very precious to us and I am so happy to see these ones again.

Margaret 😊


(The photos are all “rescued” ones from my three trips away.)


Monday 2 January 2023

A Delicious Treat


There are certain foods that I adore eating but that only ever appear in the supermarkets for a very short time, usually at a high cost. 

Food like New Zealand whitebait, scallops, asparagus, tamarillos, feijoas, local grapes, cherries, and passionfruit.

It is one of my little luxuries to treat myself to one purchase each season if I can manage it.

At the moment there are cherries for sale.  Yummy deep-red delicious meaty cherries.

Last week they were selling for $15 for 700g, this week the price is down to $10.  Yes!  I will have some of those.

I was at the supermarket just after lunch and it was surprisingly busy.  I thought a snack of cherries for afternoon tea would be perfect, although I confess to nibbling a couple after I came home!

The afternoon here is cloudy with a balmy breeze.  Son is watching the ASB Classic (tennis) on TV, and I’m about to bring in the washing off the line – and then it will be Cherry Time!

Have a great day 😊



Sunday 1 January 2023

The Start of Another Year


Happy New Year everyone!

Today is the first day of January in 2023.  The start of another year and traditionally a time to set new resolutions and begin things off fresh.

I didn’t stay up last night.  I haven’t done that for many years now – the new year always arrives without any help from me!

Even Millie and Mittens wish you all an awesome 2023!

I remember my parents used to stay up until midnight, share a glass of Port together and then retire to bed.

Another family member was telling me that at midnight all the doors of their house would be opened, to let out the old year and usher in the new.

When I was a teenager, I remember going to New Year parties where the lights would all go out at midnight and the boys would kiss the girls closest to them!

Do you have any traditions you observe as one year changes to another? 

I’d love to hear about them if you do 😊



HEADER PHOTO for JANUARY 2023          

This 2012 photo shows the Karangahake River (pronounced car-rang-a-hack-ee) in the gorge between Waihi and Paeroa.  There are some lovely walking tracks through this area, and lots of history (mostly gold mining) for anyone interested in relics.