Saturday 29 July 2023

Thank You


Thankyou to whoever sent the sunshine to us yesterday and today.  What a difference it makes to my attitude!

Yesterday I was able to visit a dear friend for a couple of hours and that certainly helped make me feel better too.

Then I went down to the lakeside for a while.  This view is looking across the lake towards the hospital.

I never walked far, spending most of my time sitting in the car watching the birds swim by and all the different people walk/jog past.  What a diverse-looking species humanity is!!

Then this morning I spent a couple of hours out in the garden, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine after the hard frost we had earlier in the day.

Sometimes, I quite enjoy just sitting and watching the world go by. 

And I don’t feel grumpy anymore! 😊



Thursday 27 July 2023

Dark Skies


Do you ever get grumpy with the weather?  I’m afraid today I have been!

I woke up cold, with frost on the ground, and hurriedly dressed and scuttled out to the living room where there was a nice warm fire burning.

The sun rose, the frost disappeared, and within two hours the skies turned a deep inky blue and it poured with rain.

The showers have continued on and off all day.  The ground is wet, my spirits are damp, the whole day seems to have been a bit of a disaster.

Just as well there is always tomorrow to look forward to 😊



Tuesday 25 July 2023

Nine Years Ago


It is nine years ago today, to the day, since I last visited Zion National Park.  How I love that place (been there twice and would love to go again).  

I love the towering rocks and the whole vibe that the place has – when visiting before the crowds arrive, that is!  We were among the first visitors for the day, before we had even had breakfast.

The Virgin River is so pretty, although it can also be lethal when it floods.  On this day it was in a placid mood and hubby and I enjoyed a short paddle in its clear waters.

We used to try and paddle in as many different waterways as we could, taking a photo each time to prove that we had been there, done that.

On this particular day, we travelled from Zion across to Bryce National Park before camping at Kodachrome Basin for the night.

I find Bryce Canyon a fascinating place, with its various hoodoos and other rock formations.  It was sweltering hot this visit (on my previous visit it was the beginning of winter) and so we just admired the view from the rim.

There were some hardy (or fool-hardy) souls down walking among the rocks, much too hot for us.

I’m so glad we got the opportunity to visit these wonderful places when we did.  They are memories that I shall treasure for the rest of my life.

Have a great day 😊



Friday 21 July 2023

Spring Will Come


Jonquils flowering in mid-winter are a wonderful reminder that Spring will come.  I photographed these ones at the entrance to a cousin’s farm, when visiting them this week.

The day was dull and colourless, as the majority of our days seem to be at the moment (thankfully, the company was great!).  

Today has also been dreary, a good day to curl up inside and potter around not doing much.

The scent of white daphne fills the living room, from a small sprig I picked from my cousin’s garden.

I do like these little reminders that winter does not last forever 😊



Wednesday 19 July 2023

Cat Antics


Pets can be so funny sometimes. 

Mittens has taken to curling up to sleep on my handbag – presumably in an effort to stop me going out!

It doesn’t work 😊

Margaret xx


Monday 17 July 2023

Sweet Violets


Sometimes it is so cheering to see the sun shine.  This morning the yellow globe in the skies (which I believe has been working overtime in the Northern Hemisphere), braved the shower clouds and sent some glorious rays of bright sunshine down into my little garden. 

However the clouds took their revenge and this afternoon is dreary and grey again, but I did manage to sit outside and soak in the sun for a little while. 

That was when I noticed that my Sweet Violet (Viola odorata) is flowering.

I first fell in love with violets when my eldest son suffered croup as a toddler.  The doctor advised holding him in a bathroom full of steam (running the hot tap into the bath) to help him breathe, but there was little else he could do for him.

Around this time, almost by accident, I found a book on herbal remedies that explained how Sweet Violet flowers can help with whooping cough.  With croup being so similar – and having violets flowering in our garden at the time – I decided to try it (recipe below).

That was one of the best things I have ever done.  The results were fantastic – the syrup cut through the croup and halted it immediately.  He still coughed, but the frightening croup was gone.

For many years afterwards, I kept violet blossoms in our freezer ready to use (both of our boys got croup but our daughter never did).

Nowadays, I just appreciate the sweet scent of the flowers.

Margaret 😊


This was the original Violet Syrup recipe that I made up:

Put 3oz of fresh violet flowers into a jug and pour on 5 fl. oz. of boiling water.  Cover the jug and let it stand for 24 hours.  Strain out the blossoms.  Add 4oz white sugar to the liquid.  Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Cover, and keep stored in the refrigerator.

I used to use a teaspoonful at a time and sometimes would administer another one if needed.  It kept quite a long time in the refrigerator, although now I don’t remember quite how long that was!

Saturday 15 July 2023

The Freedom Cup


The Freedom Cup is competed for between two of the world’s greatest rugby nations – New Zealand and the Republic of South Africa.

It originated in 2004 as part of the tenth anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic election and is played for on an annual basis.

That was the game we watched tonight, with the Springboks playing the All Blacks in Auckland.  The intensity of play was exceptional and at times it was difficult to keep up with the fast pace.  

It is seldom that we see a referee get cramp and out of breath during a game!

In the end, the All Blacks won by 35 to 20 and we get to retain the Freedom Cup for another year.

Faf de Klerk, who plays for South Africa, would be one of my most favourite rugby players ever.  What an amazing career this man has had.

A pity he doesn’t play for New Zealand!

Have a great weekend everyone 😊



Wednesday 12 July 2023

Huffing and Puffing


The Big Bad Wolf might have huffed and puffed to blow down the houses of the Three Little Pigs, but I’m not a Big Bad Wolf and I don’t blow down houses. 

I blow up balloons instead!

Last night we had a family birthday dinner for one of my granddaughters, who turned 18 years old, and balloons were a must-have to set the right party atmosphere.

Being 18 today is like 21 used to be in our day – the day where in New Zealand you become legally responsible as an adult, are able to vote, can buy alcohol, tobacco and fireworks, and get married without parental or court consent.

It is quite an event and we celebrated in style with grilled steak, various vegetables and a red wine.  She loved all her gifts and letters and cards, and I think it will be a day she will long remember.

Milestone birthdays make great excuses for family togetherness.

Margaret 😊


Friday 7 July 2023

Taste of Life


Many years ago, probably the 1980s, I used to own two cookbooks by Julie Stafford – ‘Taste for Life’ and ‘More Taste for Life.’ 

They were written in line with Pritiken diet requirements, but I always found them good for reasonably healthy recipe ideas (although, I confess, I used to use a whole egg instead of two egg whites).

When we moved permanently into a caravan to live, we had to down-size dramatically and these two cookbooks were given away.

Some time ago, I found ‘More Taste for Life’ at a book fair and have since been on the lookout for its companion. 

Today we found each other!  The Lions Club were having their annual book fair, and there, sitting all by itself and looking at me, was the book I have been searching for. 

I found a couple of other books to buy as well, but this one made my day.

It has been cold and grey most of today, and there is more rain in the forecast.  

It is almost time to light the fire for the evening (I try not to have it going during the day, to save on firewood). 

A blanket to wrap up in usually sees me through the day, if I am not out and about doing something.

Margaret 😊


Wednesday 5 July 2023

Coffee Cheesecake


Morning tea today could be described as decadent.  I had a piece of coffee-flavoured cheesecake with a cup of lemon ginger toddy. 

It was very rich, but I forgot all about my waistline and thoroughly enjoyed the treat!

I was visiting Lava Glass near Taupo (they produce hand-blown glass art), having driven down there to purchase a special present for my granddaughter who turns 18 next week (where did the time go?).  I hope she likes her present (no photo – sometimes she reads my blog!).

Afterwards it was a quick visit to Huka Falls.  It seems I cannot go to Taupo and not visit this iconic waterfall. 

At this spot, the Waikato River is forced to enter a narrow ravine of hard volcanic rock before tumbling 11 metres (about 36 feet) into a pool and then continuing along its way.

It is said that over 220,000 litres of water crash through here every second.  It makes quite a phenomenal sight and the noise could be described as thunderous.

There is a foot-bridge over the top of the falls and then the path continues beside the river for a little way (a great way to walk off some cheesecake!).

The sun was playing hide-and-seek with the clouds and the wind was rather cold, but it wasn’t raining and I enjoyed the pleasant walk.

Keep smiling 😊



Monday 3 July 2023

Horizontal Rain


This photo may not show it that well, but most of today we have been having horizontal rain.  As if that isn’t bad enough, the strong wind has an icy bite to it that sends one rushing back inside if you dare poke a nose outdoors.

One of our neighbours has had to brave it though, as extra strong wind gusts have been lifting one of the panels on his verandah roof and he had to tie it down.

The blue thing is a hose - no watering plants needed in this sort of weather though!

It is getting dark early and we have lit the fire to keep the house warmer. 

The two cats have been funny.  They both dislike getting wet (like most cats) and won’t head outside unless absolutely necessary.

But they still have energy to burn off, and this results in them turning the hallway into a racetrack.  The noise is akin to a herd of baby elephants!

It always amazes me that a cat can be so delicate and quiet when it wants, and then deliberately be able to make excess noise by somehow thumping their paws down harder on a surface.

Time now to go and make some dinner,

Margaret 😊


Saturday 1 July 2023

Eggs Benedict


The start of a new month, and I am drawn to my blog to post a new header.  It seems I have been unintentionally slack with blogging during June.  I guess other things have been occupying my mind!

June has been a fairly quiet month.  We have had rain and we have had sunshine, and we have had frosts and we have had wind.  Typical winter weather for this region.

This last week I was able to meet up with an old friend for lunch.  I had Salmon Eggs Benedict and it was delicious.

It reminded me of the first time I had fresh salmon with Eggs Benedict – it was in America at Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

That time was with Atlantic Salmon, and this time I was eating Pacific Salmon. 

I wonder if the salmon stops to think “I better not cross that line because it is a different ocean.”  Haha, I may perhaps be displaying my ignorance – they might be totally different types of fish!

Have an awesome day,

Margaret 😊


The header photo this month is of the Artist’s Palette at the Wai-O-Tapu thermal area in Rotorua (photo taken 2012).  You can see the people in the background – this area is one where it is definitely better to stick to the paths provided!

I have mixed memories of this particular hot pool.  It is beautiful but it is also deadly.  The day we visited was rather windy, and the wind blew a favourite hat off my head – it sailed through the air, over the barrier fence, and settled on to the acidic near-boiling water.  In infinite slow motion, it slowly sunk out of sight.

No doubt the fabric was eaten up and my hat destroyed, but I always wonder if it has been preserved instead and some archaeologist thousands of years from now will one day discover it.  How cool would that be?