Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New Year

Wishing you all a happy, 
prosperous and blessed 2018.

Photo courtesy of Otago Daily Times

Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas greetings

Christmas Day has arrived in New Zealand
 and so...
From our home to yours,
 we wish you all a very happy 
and blessed Christmas.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Two birthday girls

We've had two birthdays in the last couple of weeks.
We celebrated eldest daughter's 50th birthday on Saturday 
with a Mad Hatters tea party. Lots of fun.
Today it is my little mother' 88th birthday, a couple of her 
younger grandsons are taking a fish n' chips tea around for her. 
She loves getting fish n chips as a treat so they'll have a good evening together.

The birthday girls.

Jacqui with her offspring, Caitlin, Monica and Andrew.

The cake, made and decorated by Andrew.
The roses are fresh from the garden.
Roses and owls are two of his mother's favourite things.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Stained glass cake

or as it is also known...
Cathedral Cake
I found this recipe while looking for my Christmas cake recipe so I decided to try it. It is delicious and was a hit with everyone who tried it. It's also a great alternative to the traditional Christmas cake and a lot easier to make :) 
I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do.

 Cathedral Cake
200 grams dates    
150 grams mixed peel
100 grams green cherries
100 grams raisins
200 grams walnut halves
250 grams brazil nuts
100 grams flour
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
170 grams sugar
3 eggs
Line a 6 cup loaf tin with 3 layers of paper 5cm higher than the tin.
Combine fruit and nuts in a a large bowl. 
Sift flour and baking powder and add sugar - mix with fruit.
Beat eggs until thick and creamy and pour onto fruit etc - combine thoroughly.
Spoon into tin and spread evenly. 
Bake at 150 degs C for about 2 hours.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes then turn onto cake rack.
Wrap in foil when cold and store in refrigerator. 
Cut into fingers or thin slices to serve.

Happy Christmassing

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Summer, but not quite Christmassing.

 Hello there. I would like to say I am back to regular blogging but to be honest I don't know. After the past year with little mother being so ill and having to travel from one end of the country to the other with her for her treatment, (more than once) I found at the end of it all I was quite emotionally and mentally exhausted. I don't think I'm quite back to normal yet, but getting there. So...working on it and will post when I can. I have been visiting but just haven't had the energy to comment.
So...Summer came in beautifully at the beginning of the month and so far it has been very hot for our part of the world. Temps in the mid to high 20's and nights in the mid  teens - too hot for comfort and not a lot of sleep happening. But the upside of that is that I have managed to get most of my spare blankets washed and back inside and put away. You can see that the grass is already burning off and I believe we are in for more of the same.

Number one son came and removed all of his gear at the weekend. They have just moved house again as where they had gone to was only a temporary house sit. They hadn't realised it would be quite so temporary or they may not have taken it. But this has proved a blessing in disguise because the new house is closer to the family, only a block away from his younger sister and her family. And it is in a bush setting while still being part of the city.


I haven't really got much Christmas stuff done yet but have made a start. Below is my Advent calendar, a New Zealand holiday scene. As you open each door it tells a little of the Nativity story with photos of children playing the parts. Iconic and cute.

I also manage to play some Christmas music occasionally - when my GKB isn't watching darts...or cricket or snooker. So not very often at present :)

And I have managed to get my overseas Christmas cards written and posted away. Now to get started on the local ones.

Then it is a Christmas cake or two, but I'm not stressing about that. If they have to be store bought this year they have to be store bought.

Happy Advent.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

November scavenger hunt...

Hello folks :) It's that time of the month when we join Hawthorn and friends over at I live, I love, I craft, I am me... for the monthly scavenger hunt. I hope you enjoy my offerings.
The evening before the full moon this month my GKB 
snapped this. A lovely royal blue sky don't you think?

Aged about three. This is me sitting on a little wooden rocking chair. Every December one of the department stores in town ordered in dozens of these little chairs and just before Christmas my grandfather would go down and get enough for the small grandchildren and paint them a lovely shiny red. We loved them. 


Starts with a ...W 
A warning -  sign seen at Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch when we visited last month. I found it rather amusing as the animals mentioned include big cats.

A large group of people with flags in Aotea square, Auckland.
The flags were very bright and colourful, a rainbow of colours.

On the outskirts of Alexandra in Central Otago, the arches
 from the original bridge crossing the Clutha River. 
Part of the modern arch of the new bridge is to the right. 

Do you see the fishing rod in here. To my GKB it is the ultimate toy. In fact he loves this one so much that he has more in the garage cluttering the place up waiting in case he fancies a change. Why he would need more than one is beyond me as he can only use one at a time or take the risk of having everything confiscated (including the very expensive license) if he is caught with more than one in use. This was after a day at the river.

Brought out to celebrate their 80th birthday. 
Tip Top Ice Cream's new flavour - Birthday Cake Swirl.
Very nice too, but not my favourite :)

I hope you can see this brush. It is very pale pink and sitting on the white background it has tended to fade away. I was going through the stuff in my old glory box (hope chest) when I found this little china pram with the brush sitting in it. The brush was a baby gift on the birth of my eldest daughter, who is about to turn 50 in a few days, and the pram was part of a flower arrangement sent into the nursing home while we were in there.

 The same daughter's wedding nail
nearly forty years later. Very elegant.

My choice
I like this neon sign. It used to be on the top of a butchery in the city, which has been demolished. The pig is now housed in Toitu Settlers Museum. He's rather colourful and I tossed up between him and the flags for the rainbow prompt.

If you want to see how others handled the prompts 
head over to I live, I love, I craft, I am me... and take a look :)


Friday, 27 October 2017

An icy start

I know I haven't been around much lately but I have managed to find some pics to put up for the photo challenge over at 
I live, I love, I craft, I am me with Hawthorn. Most of them were taken while we were on holiday earlier in the month. I hope to get back to normal in the not too distant future, in the meantime I will visit and post when I can.

1)  Making
We have been away on holiday for a few days and decided to go into the city centre for a bit of a stroll and look around. It just so happened that there was a street party and a good crowd of people. Amongst all the food stalls were one or two more interesting ones and this one caught our attention. An ice sculptor at work. Making!

And I'm sorry there are two pictures but I wanted 
to show you some of his finished work (even though they are not very clear).

2)  Empty

Once more two photos but you need to see the size of the pre meal 'while you are waiting snack' to appreciate the empty bowl below. We were out with our grandson, his partner and friend while on the same holiday. An enjoyable meal followed.

3)  Starts with an F

On another nice day we decided to go and have a look at the 'Cardboard Cathedral' which is being used in place of ChristChurch Cathedral after it was devastated by the earthquake almost seven years ago. This is the font just inside the entrance. The font and base are made from beautiful wood but the upright is cardboard. 

4)  Paper
Now this one is from the archives. We went up to Alexandra one Saturday during the blossom festival a few years ago to watch the procession and just generally hang. When I was young I always thought the procession floats were decorated with blossoms but of course I now realise that is not possible if we want to have summer fruit. So these lovely floats are made with tiny paper flowers.

5)  Neat
I think this tiny pansy is neat. It was only half an inch 
across and those little light dots on the purple are actually
 specks of pollen. I hope you agree this little flower has a neat 
little face as well as being so dainty and pretty.

6)  Street
Still on holiday. On the day we went to view the cardboard cathedral we also found this memorial to the 185 victims of the earthquake across the street. It stands on a street corner and is quite poignant. It consists of 185 white painted chairs. The tiny chair in the front is a baby's car seat and what makes it more moving for me is that it represents a young girl and her tiny newborn baby from my town. They were killed when a building collapsed onto the bus they were sitting in at the bus stop. 

7)  Kettle
This one had my brain ticking over...what to do that was different? Copper kettles? Nah. Electric kettles? Nah. Then one 'Aha' moment. We have a sports field in the city named Kettle Park! So last weekend in I went and took a photo and here it is. Football (rugby) and football (soccer) are both played here but not in the same areas obviously. The park adjoins the beach just over to the left and a wild wind blows off the water at times during the winter. Believe me I know - I've stood in it whilst watching my grandsons playing football (soccer).

8)  Unexpected
Another holiday pic - when we went out with our grandson for an evening meal we saw this round, glass topped table in the main bar but didn't take too much notice. It wasn't until we were leaving that we managed to have a closer look at it - a well in the middle of the bar! Totally unexpected. This is taken looking down the well and that is a light reflecting off water at the bottom. Unfortunately I never thought to find out the background story to share.

9)  Vase
Not very original I'm afraid. I mean what can you do with with 'vase'? I asked myself. And so all I came up with was this pic of shelves of vases in the Warehouse. A real challenge here so I'm interested to see what others have done with it :)

10)   My choice
Back to the holiday pics. I would love to have a ride in a punt sometime. It always seems quite romantic to me. This is a punt on the Avon River in Christchurch. Taken after we had spent a restful afternoon strolling around the botanic gardens.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Busy, busy, busy

Well some people have been today. Today our number one son and DIL moved to their flat in the city. They were up and working away while my GKB and I were still counting the zzzzzzzzzzz's.
Breakfast was over, the washing machine was running and boxes and bags were beginning to mount in the hallway and kitchen by the time we surfaced.

A friend was arriving at 10:30am with a ute and trailer to help move them and we were ready to go when he arrived. The flat is in an older part of town but only 2 years old and is really lovely. In fact my son whispered in my ear that 'this is the sort of place you and Dad need, Mum'. It is quite compact without being cramped and has just a small yard with a small raised garden. Ideal for a couple with no family, it has 2 bedrooms and a reasonably large living area. No photos of it though, sorry.

DIL took us all out for lunch before we came home for the last load. We went to a local garden centre and although it was a relatively cool day with a bit of wind we sat outside, the only place with a table for five. We didn't notice the wind though once we got talking and our meals arrived. Once back home I supervised while the men did the heavy lifting :) Then after a coffee they were away and we are once again empty nesters. The house feels strange and quiet but no doubt we will get used to it once again.

Have a good week,

Saturday, 9 September 2017

A slow week

It's been a slow week.
My little mother has gone home and it is 
a bit strange not having her in the house.
Our son and DIL have also been offered a flat 
and will be moving into it in the next couple of weeks.
We shall be empty nesters once more.

Tete a tete - miniature daffodils

My GKB and I decided to drive to Outram one day
 to see if the cherry blossom was out yet. It wasn't 
so we opted for an ice cream instead. While we were 
eating it I spotted the spring bulbs on sale 
and decided to buy a pot for DIL to take to her new home.
They are getting past their best now but will be lovely
 in a pot next season.

Chopped and ready to freeze

I was rostered on this week to do a meat dish for our church outreach and as the man in charge was to be away he asked me to do a big pot of potatoes as well. That was fine but what he failed to do was let the lady know who usually cooks the veges and she had done a big dish of roast potatoes. Oh well. For some reason our numbers were down so we decided not to use my spuds and I brought them home. I'll freeze them and turn them into a potato/vegetable bake dish for next week. AND I shall remember to tell everyone, lol.

I finally found a Jan Karon book and must say I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it a bit hard to get into as looking at the cover I imagined Mitford was an English village and couldn't work out why the author was using American words and expressions. Thank goodness for the internet, I looked up Jan Karon's books and discovered these ones are set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, phew. You don't realise how much easier it is to read something when you have it all in context rather than a wrong world view of it. I found it very hard to put this book down :)

Enjoy your week

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Little mother...and a scavenger hunt

For those of you who have been asking about my little mother, she is doing well and talking about going back to her own home at the weekend. She takes care of all her own personal needs and is walking well. She hasn't walked for so long she had to ease back into it and now walks around the yard and up and down the footpath outside the house. I'm sure she will cope well with the help she has coming in and with my brother and me keeping an eye on her. We have a hospital visit this afternoon just to check all is well. Thank you for your care and prayers.
I didn't think I was going to get all the photos this month but I enjoy the photo challenge and was determined to take part. Last night I found my final picture. Once again some are from the archives but I think there is only one I've used before. Most are new. I hope you enjoy them.

1:  Relaxed
This is our old boy, Claude, not long before he began to lose condition prior to his death. One of his favourite places when he wanted a snooze. The wood chips under the fern still held the heat of the sun as did the large stones. Very comforting for an old fellow. We miss him even though he has been gone a couple of years now.

2:  It begins with an M
and it's Mum, aka my little mother. She was only young when this was taken, in her early 30's I think, and looking at all the nappies on the line I'm guessing this was not long after my youngest brother was born. It was hard work with all those cloth nappies to wash every day but a fact of life. I rather like this photo of Mum, a peek into life as it was only half a century ago.
(I hasten to add that is not our house in the background
 but part of the neighbouring property).

3:  Time for...
...a hot chocolate on a cold winters day. We'd been out shopping and it was time to warm up. Really delicious and I love the marshmallows on the top to sweeten it rather than using sugar.

4:  Tangerine
I'd been wondering what to put up for this prompt and was going through some photos and spotted a pop of tangerine in this picture. We held a country gospel service at church a couple of weeks ago and one of the singers was wearing this lovely tangerine top :)

5:  It begins with an O
I was trying to think of something out of the ordinary for O. I thought I could look for something 'oresome' as a famous sportsperson once spelt it but then decided to just go for 'ordinary'. So this is my ordinary kitchen table with an ordinary bowl of fruit on it. And of course there are oranges in amongst the fruit. 
It also has some O shapes in it such as the table, place mats, fruit bowl, grapes and cake plate, none of which begin with an O.

6:  Whiskery
This is Missy. Isn't she gorgeous? I was visiting a friend when Missy decided to take advantage of the sun and leapt up on the back of my chair. I was going to put up a photo of one of my brothers, he has whiskers and looks like Santa Claus. Unfortunately he looked a bit cross in the photo I had so I decided on Missy instead. We can call her face whiskery I think, and she's cuter than he is anyway :)

7:  Lace
We went into the Octagon a few years ago to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the gold rush in Otago. Of course a lot of people were in costume and character and my GKB was chatted up by a 'lady of the night'. This is her back view with the  bodice all 'lace'd up. 

8:  Bridge
A road/rail bridge over the Taramakau River on the West Coast of New Zealand. Yes, this bridge is shared by trains and cars, trucks etc. There are barrier arms at each end of the bridge to stop road traffic if trains are coming. We always found it exciting when we were kids and wondered whether the car wheels would get stuck in the rails. When we went over at Easter a new road bridge was being built alongside this so I'm wondering how long it will be before this bridge is no longer in use or whether it will still be used for rail traffic.

9:  Letters
How to be original with this one? This may not be terribly original but while I was thinking about it I realised that whenever I was sitting in the doctors waiting room  I looked at a large wall hanging (about cot quilt size) with the alphabet on it, so I went in and asked permission to photograph it. What makes this a bit unique is that all the letters are orientated to New Zealand flora and fauna, that is why I study it. I always admire the work that has gone into it, all the individual panels have been beautifully cross stitched. People are so talented.

10:  My choice
My GKB took this photo of a goldfinch under our rose bushes. Isn't it beautiful? It was feeding on the chickweed that I had been thinking I should get out and remove very soon. We have never seen goldfinches on the property before and if the chickweed is what is attracting them then as far as I am concerned the chickweed can stay!

joining everyone at:
for the monthly photo scavenger hunt

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Notown Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church of St Lawrence O'Toole.
The church was built in 1866 in Notown on the West Coast of New Zealand. Later it was moved to Ngahere and after it was replaced
 it was moved to Shantytown (museum village) in the 1960's.

A beautiful little church, lovingly restored and 
still used as a wedding venue in the old pioneer town.

I haven't had a church to share 
for a long time so thought I would 
share this with inSPIREd Sunday