Saturday 29 June 2024

R.I.P. Silver

 We have had a beautiful sunset tonight.

It is a fitting send off for Silver, one of our rats, who has passed away quite suddenly.  We do not know what ailed him, just that he went from us very quickly.

That leaves us with one lonely rat, named Storm.  Some rats are happy to be by themselves, but others will pine away with loneliness.

Time will tell which Storm is.

One of the down sides of having pets is having to say goodbye.

Margaret xx

Thursday 27 June 2024

Blue Skies

Today was one of those rare winter days where the sky was cloudless and blue and the sun felt warm if you could find a sheltered spot to enjoy it.

I sat at a table in the sun to do some stitching. 
Mittens was quite happy to sit beside me and soak in the warmth.

I finished sewing the pocket on my apron.

A wander round the garden discovered my potted Daphne odora is bursting into flower.

The sasanqua camellia is also flowering,

And I found the first buds on my dwarf sweetpeas, which aren't meant to flower until spring.

Blue skies and sunshine make for a much  happier mood than grey clouds and rain!
Margaret xx 

Tuesday 25 June 2024

It Must Be Winter

The sun managed to break through this morning. 

Many years ago, I developed the habit of buying myself a treat when I bought the weekly groceries. 
Today, it was a chocolate lamington with fresh cream.
I'm not sure it's a particularly good habit to have! 

My flowers welcomed the weak winter sunshine. 

It wasn't long before the clouds took over again.
Definitely winter weather!
Margaret xx 

Monday 24 June 2024

Slow Stitching

I've watched several YouTubes lately where people have been using hand-sewing instead of machines.
So I decided to give it a try with my new apron. Of course I was very slow, but it was quite relaxing just sitting and stitching. 

Our day began beneath a blanket of fog, which managed to stay around all day. 

The heavy moisture in the air made for some pretty cobweb displays.

I enjoyed a piece of my coffee cake for morning tea,

And had some Corn Chowder for lunch.

The fire has been lit early.
Time to pull the curtains and block out the grey outside world.

May all your dreams be pleasant ones 🌻
Margaret xx 

Sunday 23 June 2024

Coffee Cake Recipe

A couple of people have asked for my coffee cake recipe - what a great excuse to bake another one!

Begin by preheating the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease a 7" diameter ring cake tin with butter, and line the base with baking paper.

Sift 6oz flour and 1 tsp baking powder into the cake mixing bowl.

Add 5oz sugar, 4oz soft butter, 1 Tbsp instant coffee, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 cup milk.

Beat with electric cake mixer for 2 minutes, by which time the mixture should be smooth and a light coffee colour.

Spoon into the prepared cake tin and level off the surface.

Bake at 180C until cooked, about 25-30 minutes. 
Turn out onto a cake rack and leave to cool.

Make an icing using 2oz soft butter, 3oz icing sugar and 1 tsp instant coffee. 

Double the icing if wanting to ice the sides as well.
Decorate cake with halved glace cherries or walnut halves

Enjoy cooking - and eating the results!
Margaret xx 

Friday 21 June 2024

The Shortest Day


We officially reached Winter Solstice at 8.50am this morning, making today our shortest day.

The sun rose at 7.34am and it will set again at 5.07pm.

We almost had a frost today, but had heavy dew instead.  I loved the way the dewdrops sparkled on the grass in the lawn.

There is some cloud in our blue skies, but it isn’t cold.  We reached a high of 15 degrees Celsius mid-afternoon, but the temperature is dropping now.

My polyanthus plants have started to bloom.

After being out every day this week, today I managed to stay at home and do some baking.

I made a Coffee Cake, which is always popular with my boys.

For all my Southern Hemisphere readers – stay warm and cozy.

To all my Northern Hemisphere readers – enjoy your longest day and shortest night!


Margaret xx

Thursday 20 June 2024

A Garden Stroll


I took advantage of our reasonably sunny afternoon here today and went for a pleasant stroll around Hamilton Gardens.

There were a few people doing the same thing, but nowhere near enough to say the place was crowded.

The Kitchen Garden was showing off a lush plot of winter vegetables.

I admired this large patch of Globe Artichokes,

And wished my rhubarb would grow as well as this.

The Italian Garden was one of the loveliest of the Theme Gardens I visited (I never had time to go round all of them).

Anyone for a game of Edwardian tennis?  It comes with dainty cream puffs and tiny crustless sandwiches!

Or perhaps you would rather join the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party?

The American Modernist Garden was quiet.  The only other person present to myself, was a gardener scratching around under the shrubs.

I loved this snake-in-the-grass in the Picturesque Garden.

The Waikato River could be glimpsed from some of the Gardens.

It was a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

Margaret xx


Tuesday 18 June 2024

A Family Funeral

It was an early start this morning, being on the road by the time the sun rose.

I had a family funeral to attend in Orewa.
It was a three hour drive each way, so I was happy that my youngest son could be chauffeur. 
We went through fog,

And got held up in a snarl of heavy traffic as we crossed through Auckland.

Traffic was much better once we crossed the Harbour Bridge.

We finally arrived at Orewa, in plenty of time for the service.

Coming home, there was a bit of heavy traffic for some of the way but we didn't have to stop at all.

We were treated to an amazing cloud display as we returned to the Waikato (and a much quieter road!).

Back in Hamilton,

And home again, home again, jiggety-jog (I must be tired!).
Margaret  xx

Monday 17 June 2024

A New Local Park

I heard about a new park that had opened up in a nearby subdivision, so went and checked it out.
I think it has the potential to become a very pretty place for a walk.

The footpaths were wide and there was plenty of good seating to be had, so one could sit and enjoy the view and the local birdlife.

I saw several pukekos and there were mallard ducks hiding in the reeds.

Stupidly, though, there wasn't anywhere to park a car. 
The road was too narrow for safe roadside parking so I ended up parked half over the kerb. 

It looks a bit like the Powers That Be want to keep the place for the exclusive use of the residents who will live next to it.
But perhaps, when the subdivision is fully developed, a decent parking area might magically pop up somewhere nearby.
I hope so.
Margaret  xx