Thursday, 25 December 2014

Te Harinui - glad tidings of great joy

Christmas greetings from my home to yours.
As you open your Christmas gifts pause for a moment to remember 
why we celebrate at this time of the year. 

'For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son
so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish 
but have eternal life'.

Two hundred years ago on December 25th, 
Samuel Marsden preached the first sermon on new Zealand soil 
to the Maori people and the pakeha (europeans)
 who were in Oihi Bay at the time. 
Today we commemorate that momentous event
 as we celebrate the birth of our saviour.

Let me finish with a well loved New Zealand carol
written in 1957 by Willow Macky.

Te Harinui 

  1. Not on a snowy night 
    By star or candlelight 
    Nor by an angel band 
    There came to our dear land
    Te Harinui 
    Te Harinui 
    Te Hari-nu-i 
    Glad tid-ings of great joy

  2. But on a summer day 
    Within a quiet bay 
    The Maori people heard 
    The great and glorious word
  3. The people gathered round 
    Upon the grassy ground 
    And heard the preacher say 
    I bring to you this day
  4. Now in this blessed land 
    United heart and hand 
    We praise the glorious birth 
    And sing to all the earth

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas
and all you hope for during 2015.
Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Walk through Christmas

This year at church we are having a 'Walk through Christmas' rather than a production. It is open to anyone who wants to come and we have it on for three days altogether. A couple of us have been working on the concept for about 4 months and about halfway through a team joined us to do do sewing, baking, painting and building. It's been so satisfying and a lot of fun.

So let me walk you through Christmas.

Mary is visited by an angel who tells her she will give birth to God's son. 
We made a cut out figure so little, or big, girls could have their photo taken if they wanted. 

Nine months later Mary and Joseph are making their way to Bethlehem 
to take part in the census decreed by Caesar Augustus. 
Mary is said to be riding on a donkey.

We were able to have a donkey for the children, and adults, to interact with.
They were able to feed her with carrots or apples 
and some of the boys had a go at brushing her down.
Everyone loved her. She was so quiet and gentle.

It was a long three day journey to Bethlehem.

As they approached Bethlehem Mary was due to give birth but there was no room left anywhere for them to stay. They found accommodation in a stable and Mary gave birth and wrapped her baby in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.

Angels also appeared to shepherds who were tending their flocks in the fields
 and told them of the birth of a saviour. 
" Unto you is born today in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord". Luke Ch. 2 verse 10. 
The shepherds decided to go and find the baby and when they had found him in the stable with his parents they worshipped him and went out and told the rest of the community.

The sheep were a collaboration between the Sunday school kids 
and some of the adults. 
The kids drew, copied and painted them and the adults cut them out.

Meanwhile there were three wise men, (kings, astronomers),
who were travelling from the East in search of the child. 
They called on King Herod to ask directions, saying
"Where is He that is born King of the Jews?
 For we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him".
 Matthew Ch. 2 verse 2.
Herod was rather worried about this as he was King but he told them to go 
and find this new king and to come and tell him when they found him. 
Herod planned to kill the baby but the wise men were warned by God 
in a dream and after visiting the stable and presenting their gifts they returned home by a different route.


There is a film clip depicting the shepherds and also a chance
 for the kids to ice and decorate some star biscuits
 before they follow the star trail into Bethlehem. 
Mums and Dads get Christmas cake or truffles to nibble on 
while they are waiting for the kids to finish creating.
When they arrive at the stable everyone who wants to can dress up 
and have their photo taken in the stable with the baby.

Those who have been through so far seem to have enjoyed themselves.


I hope you enjoy what is left of the lead up to Christmas.
On Friday I am heading back into town with my girls 
and leaving my GKB behind. I have shopping to finish
and when I told him I the area I intended to cover
he decided to give it a miss. Coward, haha.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Jimmy and Santa - a story for kids


Jimmy wasn't very happy. He'd been off school for a couple of days with a bit of a bug and today he still wasn't quite right so Mum said he could stay home one more day. Mum was going into town to finish the Christmas shopping and said he could go too. He didn't mind doing  that, he might be allowed to go and see Santa at the mall. The trouble was it was all girls going - his Aunty Jay, Gran, his big sister Beth and his even bigger cousin Rose. Not much fun with that lot, he thought. But he trudged along with them anyway, looking in girly sort of shops that didn't interest him at all. But then Rose said to him, "Look what I've found Jimmy." There was a toy shop next door to where Mum and the others were, so in they went. Jimmy found lots of cool stuff he'd really like Santa to bring and couldn't wait until he could tell him all about it. Outside the toy shop he saw a big poster telling him to follow the reindeer tracks and they would take him down to Santa's cave


"Let's go and see if Santa is here," he said to Gran. So they all followed the reindeer tracks, over to the escalator and down two more floors to the basement. They followed the tracks right down to the other end of the basement and there in front of them was Santa's cave - in total darkness. Santa had gone out for lunch. Jimmy was so disappointed it was all he could do not to cry. He had been so looking forward to seeing Santa all day, the only reason he was putting up with all these girls, and he wasn't there. "Never mind," said Aunty Jay "lets go and get pizza for lunch, maybe he'll come back before we leave."

After lunch Jimmy wasn't feeling too good. He was too tired to go to any more shops, he just wanted to sit down somewhere and wait for everyone to finish shopping. He and Gran found a seat not too far away from the escalators and sat down to wait. "Look Jimmy, who's that?" said Gran. "I don't know and I don't care," said Jimmy. "No, look Jimmy, up on the escalator, up there," said Gran excitedly, pointing. Reluctantly Jimmy looked up and who do you think he saw? Santa! Santa was on the escalator, with all the other people. He was dressed all in red with shiny black boots and a white satin sack tied with a gold rope was thrown over his shoulder. He had a little gold tinkly bell in his hand and every now and then he shook it. Jimmy couldn't believe his eyes, Santa must have been looking around the shops, otherwise why would he have his sack with him. And he was coming down the escalator, all the food places were downstairs, so he hadn't been having his lunch. As he walked past Jimmy, Santa gave him a big smile and a wink - and made Jimmy's day. He couldn't wait for the others to come back so he could tell them all about it. It was even better than going into the cave to see him, although he got to do that before they went home as well. 


Happy Advent Season,     

All names have been changed in this 
story to protect the identity of teenagers 
who are easily embarrassed.  ;)

Linking with Natasha at her:
 Say G'day party

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

It surely is the silly season

This is a lazy post really. I was playing with some of the editing effects on one of the computer programmes and thinking about Christmas so decided to post one or two of the photos. Or four or five of them. 

home nativity

I seem to be very busy at the moment trying to get ready for Christmas, which is coming all too quickly, but I'm sure I'll be ready on time.
Hand crafted nativity set
Tonight I've been back to my old work place, the rest home, to watch my youngest grandson take part in putting on a few Christmas items with his scout troop. He was surprised to see me but also pleased when they were told to go and talk to some of the residents. He made a beeline for me, haha, so I took him in hand and went with him while he spoke with a couple of the old ladies. He's 8 and found it just a little daunting I think.

Christmas tree in hotel foyer

I've also been helping make props for our church Christmas outreach, Wednesday mornings spent painting and cutting and fitting and everything else that goes with putting displays together. A lot of fun really with people just turning up randomly to help. I have some sheep at home now waiting to be cut out and have legs attached, the Sunday School kids drew and painted them. Cute.

Santa in the city

This week my daughter and I spent the morning in town, mostly window shopping while we waited for my GKB who was at an appointment. We found some shops we never knew about and had a good old time poking around - and I got some great ideas for Christmas presents. My mind had been blank up till then. When we had finished we had to have coffee of course. I love going into town with my girls, I always enjoy it.

Missy climbing the Christmas tree

I'm looking at my diary, *retired and needing a diary*, and next week is filling up fast. But I love Christmas so I don't mind really

It surely is the silly season. 

All of the photo's have been cropped and sharpened apart from the top one and the bottom one. The one at the top has been localised. Photos all taken using a Canon PowerShot A540.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A weekend away

I have just spent a weekend at a conference in Auckland, our largest city. I loved it - both the conference and the city. Auckland really gave me a buzz. With a population of 1.42 million it has more people than the entire South Island. Now the only times I have been to Auckland have been to conferences or to number one son's graduation. So I still haven't seen it. I intend to go back for a holiday in the not too distant future.

Auckland Town Hall
The weather was grey, stormy at times and blustery. And the temperatures weren't much different than we get at the bottom of the South Island. But when you're on holiday or in a conference hall who cares? Not me. On Sunday morning I was up early, rudely awakened with cramp in my foot and leg!
As my room mate was also awake we decided to go and join the other idiots, um, nice people who were over in Aotea Square for devotions. It was not too far away, just across the road in fact.

Aotea Square and the banners
They were using banners and I thought 'that's okay, I'll watch'. But that wasn't an option so I grabbed one and guess what? I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Then it was breakfast and back to the conference
That was a real ordeal, not that there was anything wrong with the speaker, he was great, but due to circumstances the night before I hadn't got to bed till the early hours of the morning. I opted out of the afternoon workshop and went back to my little bed in the hotel. By mid afternoon I'd finished snoozing and I really needed some fresh air so after a nice coffee I went for a walk and took in some of the views. So here are one or two photo's I took while out wagging, um walking.

Sir Dove-Myer Robinson, a former mayor of Auckland.
 Sir Dove-Myer Robinson was mayor of Auckland when I was young.
 He was a real character and a  man of the people.
Sadly missed when he retired from public life.

Waharoa is the Maori word meaning gateway. 
It is situated at the Queen Street entrance to Aotea Square. 
The gate was designed by Selwyn Muru, a Maori sculptor,
 and is a contemporary design built in wood and copper.
On the back is a Maori inscription which has been translated into English.

Knati to
ake irarona o
te awtipi haere
Pikimai e te ua
o te whatu
katakata mai

your snivelling
creek bed
come rain hail
and floodwater
laugh again

The Sky Tower
The Sky Tower through the trees. This was as close as I got, I didn't really know how far away it was and didn't want to run myself late to meet the rest of the group when they finished. I've been in it before anyway when we came up for the graduation. And as you can see, the sun shone for me,
 the only time it did while we were there.I really felt blesssed that afternoon.

Santa and his reindeer atop the Whitcoulls verandah
I then took a stroll down Queen St. in the CBD where our hotel was situated and just so we don't forget that Christmas is coming the big man himself was standing on the Whitcoulls verandah, larger than life.

Christmas tree in the hotel atrium
And that my friends is a little glimpse of my weekend away in the big  smoke.

Go well until next time,

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Guy Fawkes night

Remember, remember the 5th of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot...

So begins the old rhyme we used to chant in the days leading up to Guy Fawkes night. They were exciting days, we'd never heard of halloween, let alone celebrated it, but Guy Fawkes night, now that was something to get excited about.

During the year all the mums had kept back an old pair of dads trousers and an old jacket or shirt that would normally go into the rag bag. This was for the boys to make a 'guy'. And this was definitely the boys domain, we girls were allowed to look on and admire but please, no advice. And definitely NO touching. The trousers and shirt or jacket were stuffed with scrunched up newspaper and somehow or other the boys managed to bind them together to make an effigy of Guy Fawkes. Then it was down to the shop, with all the other boys in the neighbourhood, to buy a mask to put on the head they'd made of an old pillowcase or sack. Anything really as long as the mask stayed in place for the duration.

Then one day shortly after there would be a yell at the gate, "Hey, ya made ya guy yet? Where's ya trolley? We're on our way out, ya comin'?" And away would go our brother with all the neighbourhood boys - and the girls were left behind. What were they doing? Mans work! They'd drag those trolleys with the guys all over the place, calling out as they went, "Penny for the guy, penny for the guy".  And that's what they got. Most households had a little stash of pennies in preparation and I don't think any of the kids were ever turned away. And you know, we girls didn't care that the boys got a few pennies and we missed out, that was just the way of it.

Then the BIG night arrived. No matter whether it was a school night or not, after tea we all headed down to the beach, each one of the kids wearing an ugly Guy mask, to where the fathers had been building bonfires for the week or so beforehand. The beach was lined with dozens of bonfires and they were all lit as dusk fell. What a sight that must have been from the sea. The guy was put on the top, in our case two guys, ours and our cousins. Sometimes crackers had been secreted into the body of the guy and this made it all the more exciting and then as it began to get dark the fireworks were let off. No public displays, just dozens of dads (and uncles and granddads) setting light to all those fireworks, sky rockets and crackers. To any one who sat on the hills behind town it was probably a great display, and all for free.

Sadly, 'gunpowder, treason and plot' are being forgotten in our part of the world. The kids still celebrate 5th November, but not to the extent we did and I don't really think they know the reason for it.  But at this time of the year I still get around occasionally saying:

Guy Fawkes, Guy  
Stick him up on high,  
Hang him on a lamp post  
And there let him die.  
 I usually stop here but it goes on:
Poke Him in the eye,  
Put him on the fire  
And there let him die  
Burn his body from his head  
Then you'll say  
Guy Fawkes is dead  
Hip, Hip, Hooray!  

-Folkestone, Opie op.cit. p 281.

A bit macabre I know, and I only knew it to the bit about putting him on the fire, but there you go. Guy Fawkes was actually executed in the reign of Charles 1st for treason and his death was quite horrible. Hanged then drawn and quartered. Barbaric really. If you would like to know more about where the bonfires and fireworks fit into the picture here is a link for you. Guy Fawkes and about a dozen others decided to blow up parliament while it was in session, on 5th November. He was found in the basements with 36 kegs of gunpowder and overpowered and that was the end of the plot.

That was it until Christmas. Three celebrations throughout the year, Christmas, Easter and Guy Fawkes. And of course our birthdays.

I hope you've enjoyed reading a little about my childhood. 
See you next week,

Linking to:
Say G'day Saturday
Wake Up Wednesday

Friday, 24 October 2014

A morning at the mall

We looked out the window at breakfast time and this is what we saw. A lovely rainbow after the squall that had just blown through. More squalls and icy winds were expected throughout the day, oh wonderful spring, so we decided we'd tidy up and go into the mall for the day.

There's a long weekend coming up, Labour weekend,
 and with it being Friday it was quite busy.
We decided to start at the top and wander our way to the bottom. 
There was a little bit of this... 

...going on but I was very good and only bought a couple of the bells you can see in the photo. I like to buy my grandkids a Christmas decoration each so got one each for the little boys. The girls are bit older so I try to get them something that teenage girls might enjoy, like blingy handbags or shoes, just for fun. After I bought the bells I was shunted quite smartly out of there, I'm a bit like a magpie when it comes to sparkly things. 
Then we went into a big chain store and I came out with this...

...for my daughter who has just moved house. 
I put it on my kitchen table to take a picture and now I'm not sure,
 I may have to keep it for myself. Hmm. It looks really pretty where it is,
and I was wanting something just for that spot.
Lunch time, so we decided to head over to the Warehouse, 
where we get coffee the way we like it, and where a little bit of this...

...was going on. I said to my GKB that we needed to get some of those treats
on the way out just in case we had kids knocking on the door.
 But we got home without them. There's time yet though.
There was also a little bit of this...

...happening, so I bought a couple of the tin soldiers
 you can see hanging on the rack.
I thought they were cute and there were only 2 sets left,
 no good leaving them here, this might be all they get in!

We had a good day out, now to make something quick and easy for tea 
and we can put our feet up for the evening.

Have a good week,

Tuesday, 14 October 2014


Do you remember Leo, my friends cat? I transported him to and from
 the cattery while she was in hospital. 

Well I thought I would  give you a little update on him.
He has had a hair cut!

Yes this is the same boy.
You can see he looks quite different with short hair.
But still has the ruff and cute face.

He will feel so much better during the heat of the summer.

These were taken the day after he came home from the vet 
 and I think he was still a little dozy from the anaesthetic. 
I laugh a little when  see him, I can't help it, to me he looks like a 
character out of the Star Wars movies.
(I just can't remember what the little creatures were called).

Have a good week,

Monday, 6 October 2014

St Paul's Cathedral

A wee while ago I posted some photo's from inside St Paul's Cathedral, Dunedin and I still have a few photo's so thought I would share them. Some are from outside and others inside, including one or two from the first post. There are quite a few of the stained glass, but they are beautiful in my opinion, so I've put them in.

The current bishop on the day of his installation, processing into the cathedral with his entourage.

Looking from the bottom of the steps to the main doors. Most people come in through a side door, thus negating the need to walk up all the steps. I have been told that once upon a time bridal parties paid a price per step to walk up or down them, but that could be folk lore.

Detail above the big main doors.

Taken from below a set of side steps.

The perspex cross was added when the chancel was completed in the early 1970's, amidst a lot of controversy. Work wasn't completed on the cathedral earlier through lack of funds and so it is quite unique in that the first building was constructed in the 1800's, construction of the cathedral in it's current form began in 1913 with the foundation stone laid in 1915.  

The Bishops' throne

Pulpit carved from Oamaru stone.

A magnificent pipe organ often used for recitals as well as worship services.

More Oamaru stone in the form of a beautifully carved font.

And so to the stained glass.

Some of this glasswork is quite modern and the face of the current bishop 
graces one of the depictions of St. Paul. 

Looking back to the West door.

If you'd like to know more about the Cathedral this is the link.

I hope I haven't bored you 
with such a long post.
See you next week.

Linking with:
inSPIREed Sunday