Friday, 30 January 2015

An ideal home - 70 years ago

I recently came to own eleven copies of "Ideal Home" a post war aspirational home and living magazine. I was intrigued by the adverts from 1946 and 1947. Here are some of the home and car adverts.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Away days and naughtiness

On Monday and Tuesday we went to the Wairarapa. This is a wine growing region "over the mountains" as the crow flies, from where we live. Of course, we can't go "over the mountains" so had to take a long drive to get there. It was a lovely drive through the Manawatu Gorge. Our first stop was at the amazing Mount Bruce Wildlife centre. This centre preserves many of the wild birds and reptiles which are threatened by introduced mammal predators in NZ. I even got up close and personal to a Tuatara, a miniature dinosaur type reptile.

We stayed in the beautiful town of Greytown at a delightful hotel called the White Swan. There is a backstory now. The two other occasions we have visited this town, we have returned with large pieces of furniture. What started out as a "let's go and have lunch" ended up as "we need to organise a furniture transportation".

This time, we promised ourselves we would be good. We didn't need any more furniture. All was going well, until we drove back through Greytown after a putter around Martinborough. We stopped for a second look around a furniture restoration place.....then the inevitable happened. Oxygen was lost to our brains and we bought a large kitchen table, restored industrial design from the 1960s.......oh dear. It's big. We had to come home and measure our kitchen to see if it would fit. It does, just.

So we are now selling our current 10 year old dining room suite. When it arrives, we won't have any chairs to sit on, so will need to get some of those too. There will be no return trips to Greytown for a LONG time.

Here are some pictures of our naughty adventure.

Driving through the Manawatu Gorge




Martinborough region through a heat haze

Cheese shop Featherston

Footnote: Driving through the Manawatu Gorge, seeing a Tuatara and "Manukura" the white Kiwi, count as experiences 5, 6 and 7 for 2015

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Oh give me a home where the ___roam

Well, New Experience no 4 in 2015 has to be what happened this morning when we came back from the local town. We swung into our driveway and my husband pointed to a very large black bull in the driveway next door, looking somewhat longingly at the paddock beyond! At first we thought it was our next door neighbour's bull, but evidently not. A few phone calls up and down the road to various farmers, and one took pity on us and came to round him up.

It turned out to be owned by someone way up the road. The beast had busted out this morning and gone AWOL. When I had heard amorous bull noises and strange calling sounds in the early hours, I just thought the Highland cows were being wooed. Not a bit of it. It was Mr Lonesome Lost trying to figure out where he was.

I think we might be locking our large gate from now on, just in case he gets wanderlust again.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Number 3 of my "things to try for the first time" and a warning

I have loved and eaten many a custard tart in my time. It comes with being a Yorkshire lass - they qualify as cuisine where I come from. But I can't remember ever making one; today I tried. I didn't make the pastry - mostly because it is too darn hot and I wanted to do other things as well as cook on my day off. So here is attempt number one. It smells fantastic and I suspect it will be consumed at one sitting (it is a small pie dish, I should point out!)

The warning is not to do with pies - custard or otherwise. It is to do with reading the Latin names of plants. My dearly beloved bought me a gardening voucher for my Christmas present and off we went today to spend it. I am planning to have a "picking patch" where our veggie patch used to be. It will be random. There will be lavender and other colourful / fragrant flowers - sunflowers etc. Then there will be bean teepees, because I want to grow sweet pea flowers as well as the beans.

I saw a delightful plant positively singing with bumble bees and looking very pretty and purple. "That will go with the lavender" thought I. I had hardly got it out of the car before our large elderly cat was all over the thing. "Raht sqwiffy" as they say in Yorkshire. I turned the tab over, and the lovely bee magnet was cat mint.......oh dear. I expect my dad is watching me and having a good laugh about that!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

100 new books, 100 new things

My New Year's promise to myself was to read 100 books in 2015. I have added to this by challenging myself to make or experience a 100 new things.

Well, so far I have read two books, and I am half way through three more. As a result of reading one book "Paris in a Basket", I have learned to make two things I love to eat; Tapenade and Madeleines. I have to clarify that statement. I have always wanted to try Madeleines, but only the REAL French ones, rather than the type that come mass produced and sold in supermarkets. When I found a Madeleine tin in a local shop, it was only a matter of time before I test drove it!

We had an English friend, an artist, visit us yesterday evening. He is a Francophile and so it was with a bit of trepidation I served the first batch of the French delicacies to him. I was told that they were perfect. Happiness all round. Between three of us, we devoured the lot! Batch number two is ready to eat as dessert this evening.

Eh voila!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Wild flowers of Ohau

I just love the kerbsides in the Horowhenua. In summer they are filled with amazing varieties of wild flowers. Here are just a few. Taken outside the Ohau Community Hall built in 1900.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

In the 'hood.

I am back at work, hence I have been lazy posting. However, a delightful event, organised by a friend got me clicking the camera - how could I resist in such surroundings. About 15 minutes drive from Coneysthorpe is the residence and cooking school of a famous chef / caterer in NZ. She has a conservatory attached to her cook shop, where you can chat with a good cup of coffee and a cake from the kitchen. You can then amble around the kitchen garden - we got to talk to the gardener and sample red hot wild rocket. Yum.

Here are a few shots of the day. The miniature cooker was for sale in the kitchen shop......I didn't buy it, but was very tempted.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Pew, Pew, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub

Today has been a "bit of a day" at Coneysthorpe. We waved off some visitors this morning, then had a series of "incidents" which caused our feline family to run for cover.

The first was two large dogs running through our garden. We have neighbours with dogs, but these weren't theirs and they were huge. Exit cats stage right as I shooed the dogs out of the garden (I was scared to put it mildly, one could have been the Hound of the Baskervilles). The second event was the arrival of a pew which we have bought for one of our verandas. Its installation involved a trailer being driven onto the lawn. The third visitor was a neighbour with his Leyland tractor. He had kindly offered to remove some vegetable beds which had been installed with wooden surrounds. The wood wasn't the right kind and it was in the wrong place for us. We also needed a shed uprooting. One cat has still to emerge from under the house after all the banging and clashing.
The turned soil where the veggie garden used to be has been used four times as "facilities" by the moggies. The pew was also being quality tested later by Ms Ginger, who jumped off the sunny cushion the minute I arrived with my camera.

Oh and the title of this post refers to a TV programme called Trumpton - a delightful stop motion children's series in the 1960s

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Walking with wildflowers

My grandmother was a great naturalist. She taught me many names of wild flowers as a child, but many of them don't translate to a New Zealand context. Last night I came back home from a dusk walk with a lovely posy, which includes wild wheat, clover, trifoil, Queen Anne Lace / ragwort and wild carrot.

I found a beautiful website (from the UK) which assisted with my identification,