Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Reversing seasons

I'm off to the UK tomorrow, so won't be posting for a while, sorry. Look forward to reporting on winter at Coneysthorpe when I return.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Trinity Rose Garden

Our local area is not only known for its vegetable and fruit growing ability, but also a number of flower growers. Mostly there are roses, lilies and sunflowers. A well known garden also hosts an Arts and Crafts exhibition / sale over the Easter weekend. We were amongst the first visitors on Friday morning, as it was going to be a hot day. I have become more lettuce like as I have got older and wilt very quickly under the hot Horowhenua glare. We were pleased to have had the garden almost to ourselves for the first half an hour, and this also meant that we were tempted to buy a garden ornament or two from the very talented potters in our area.
Yesterday, I took two English friends with me for a second look. One is the local vicar's wife, the other a friend from our days in Wellington, and also my namesake. I was known as Tall Orange Jane, and she dubbed herself Short Grey Jane. It is how we sign our emails to each other even now. So here is a bit of a stroll around Trinity Rose Garden, Otaki on Easter weekend.
That's me in the white jacket, carving Oamaru stone at one of the workshops.

Monday, 14 April 2014

le recherche du temps perdu

Yesterday we had a roaring fire going for most of the day in the kitchen/living room. The temperature had dropped by 10 degrees on the previous day and rain precluded washing the bedding - or at least that is what I thought. Then a roll of memories from my childhood unravelled before me. Mum used to have a wooden clothes airer she would park in front of the baxi fire and items would dry quickly to biscuit texture. So yesterday the bedding got washed and draped on an airer in front of the wood burner. I did wonder if it would make sleeping between the sheets later a bit like being in a log cabin, but there was no trace of "eau de macrocarpa pine".
I reflected later on the layout and size of our current home to the 1957 semi detached bungalow where I grew up. One side of this house is the size of my two bedroom childhood home, and the three of us ate meals in a kitchen area which is comparable to my current kitchen, but without a table squeezed in it at one end.
My parents bought their house from new at the beginning of their marriage. It was a lovely place, on a corner plot, so that dad could have three lawns and plenty of rose bushes. He added beautifully made stone walls and a conservatory type extension on the front, so that mum could have a sewing room. I remember thinking that sewing room was huge to play in, but the available space to extend the bungalow was very limited, and in reality there was only enough room for mum's sewing table (made for her by my dad) and a few other items, like my toy box. Dad's radiogram backed on to the sewing room wall, so it was possible to listen to "children's hour" with mum sewing and me sitting on the Lino floor with my spirograph or writing books.
I wonder what household chores will bring back the next tide of remembrances?

Saturday, 12 April 2014


Some fundraisers simply hit a spot, which stimulates the nerve, which opens the wallet.

Fabricabrac - "Fabric by the people for the people" - is one such. The amazing fundraiser for Mary Potter Hospice took place yesterday. Last year I went as a customer, this year I was determined to be there as a seller. It was the most fun I have had in a while, mostly because I was sharing a table with a delightful lady who was friendly and funny. We got on so well, we already have a coffee date organised for June.

I sold donated buttons to crafters, school children, sculptors (!) and various other haberdashery junkies. I raise funds for a variety of causes in the Middle East, and this is one way I do it. And the buttons went down a treat. In fact I even had a middle aged chap persuade me to sell him one of the button tins, minus the buttons! Brave man - he was the only one manning a stall.

At a guess I would say a couple of hundred came, saw, shopped and collapsed in a heap of heady fabric glee. I took $20 to spend and came home with a delightful array of fabrics. I can't decide if the animal one or the turquoise and yellow one next to it from Provence is my favourite.

Happy Sigh!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Possum tales

.......or tails.

When our ginger was a very tiny kitten, she would go to sleep in my grandmother's pine chest of drawers, curled up with a possum tail. She loved playing with it, then would treat it like a warm mother cat to curl up next to.

Fast forward 3 years. We gave the possum tail to our latest addition, but he wasn't terribly interested. He's never been very kittenish in that regard. But this evening he humoured me, and he "Killed" the possum many times on my sewing table. After about 5 minutes he fell asleep, all tuckered out with the effort.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A view of the hills

The best view of the hills near Otaki is from the cemetery attached to the Rangiatea Maori church. If you climb to the top of the graveyard, the views are very special.

The cemetery is fascinating, being the final resting place of many of the early Christian missionaries. It is the bi-centenary this year of the Christian Gospel arriving in New Zealand. As always, the sad reminder of the sacrifice of many of those early Christians; grave after grave of their young children who died of disease.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Moving House

We have maintained contact with the couple who sold us Coneysthorpe. On Sunday, we had a lovely visit from the wife and daughter. They brought us photos of when they moved Coneysthorpe from its original home in Mangaweka, which is about 90 minutes to the north of where the house stands today.

The roof of the house was removed and the building chain sawed in half for transportation, then reassembled on the new site.

We must be the only owner of a house, half of which was once pulled over and given a speeding ticket. Evidently, at one point on the journey, the rig carrying that part of the house snuck over the speed limit and was greeted by a lady police officer who promptly fined the driver!

Getting the house over our local bridge involved raising the building on hydraulics in order for it to clear the posts on the bridge.

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Queen of Tarts

The Queen of Hearts she made a tart
All on a summer's day.

26 degrees here in the shade and it is Autumn! I couldn't bear to cook a big dinner for our evening meal, so had to be inspired by a lemon tart instead!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Birds in residence

It occurred to me this morning, as I was retrieving our wheelie bin from the front gate, and saying hello to our resident kingfisher, that I should start a tally of all the bird species I have seen at Coneysthorpe, with a sub-list of those I have heard only.

So here goes from memory:

Blackbird, Song Thrush, Sparrow, Starling, Magpie, Rook, Chaffinch, Plover, Shell duck, Pheasant, Tui, Fantail, Hawk
Kingfisher, Rosella Parrot, Goldfinch

Heard only - Morepork Owl

I'll let you know when I can add to the list!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Three little eggs

I am still finding all sorts of treasures in the garden. In the process of pruning the hydrangeas, I found this. I don't know what kind of bird abandoned the nest, but suspect it could have been a thrush, as we have so many of them in the garden. It makes me sad that her eggs didn't hatch.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Autumn chores

I always hoped I would settle in a country where autumn = bare trees and ankle deep leaves.

I got my wish.

But today it was 25 degrees Celsius and I was raking leaves. There is something very wrong about that activity/temperature combo.