Thursday, 22 December 2016

Today: What Is Going On Here?

I have just returned from a walk with Minnie, and spotted this in the shrubbery as I was walking up our driveway, in among the Raglan flowers. That is not the name of the plant, but as the cutting was sourced from Raglan and we have no idea what the plants real name is, we have always referred to it as the Raglan Flower.

Anyway hanging on and I am not sure if it is alive or dead was this Praying Mantis, with a particularly fat belly. And attached to it's nether regions was either a carcass or possibly a newborn?

Can someone help me out with this please? Biology and Entomology are definitely not my strong points

Monday, 28 November 2016

November 26th to 27th Weekend At Whangapoua

It was lovely to have a weekend away, staying with friends at Whangapoua in the Coromandel. Whangapoua was coincidentally the place of choice for many a stay, both camping and in various buildings on the original farming homestead for many a year, prior to starting a family, and then as the kids were growing up Needless to say it holds a special place in my heart

Here's a few snippets caught on camera over the weekend.

Can we get this road trip underway please
Saturday we were treated to a beautiful stunning day
A lot more cloudy on Sunday but still beautiful

And finally we had the pleasure of watching a thrush finish building her nest on Saturday. She was very friendly and just hopped around searching for bugs and not scared at all. On Sunday we found these in her nest

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

November 20th Kissing Cousins - No Way!!

Over the weekend Minnie spent 'quality' time with her doggy cousin Benny, whilst we visited my sister and family for a movie night.  I should explain at this point that there is a bit of history with these two apple of our eye doggies. They actually don't like each other. They have never barked, snapped or snarled at each other but with the looks and the behaviour from each of them, you can just tell that when they are together, they endure each other. They follow each other everywhere, ie he better not be getting any better treats than I am getting, oh no that was an extra pat, that's not fair. Hey I am here.

So here we were all comfortably seated to watch some TV, and Minnie decided she was a visitor and worthy of the best comfy seat in the house. Benny was aghast! What is that trollop doing on my sofa!

Benny decided he had no option but to settle for second best - and looked around the room for some sympathy

With no sympathy forthcoming, and Minnie not budging for anyone - Benny had no option but to make the best of what he could

It's a dog's life. Even when it got to normal bedtime routine for Benny - he wasn't going to leave that room until that strumpet had left the house. He even came to the front door to make sure that yes she had exited the premises and entered her carriage to transport her home.

Monday, 21 November 2016

November 18th What Do You Think?

On Friday I was treated out to a very lovely long lunch. And it was a long lunch,complete with bubbles. Actually come to think of it I would have to say my whole weekend has comprised bubbles.

First there was the Friday long lunch - but I was a good girl as I was driving, so only one glass. Saturday an unexpected get together with family, here at ours, and fortunately there were a couple of bottles in the fridge. Just as an aside, in my world a fridge with no bubbles is like the Antarctic with no ice! Sunday, there were more bubbles as we enjoyed the best battered oysters in town and fish and chips.. and drum roll for the bubbles whilst we enjoyed said food and the entire series of the TV show 'Getting On' with my little sister and her family. Fortunately my little sister subscribes to the same motto, ie a fridge with no bubbles.....

However I have waffled. Getting back to Friday and the long lunch which I was enjoying with the CEO no less, of Fine Travel (the group I am a travel broker with) We ordered bubbles with our lunch - and this is how it was served. All very retro. But! And this is a big but! I was not impressed as the move to glass flutes was because there was less space for the bubbles to escape. Hence either Champagne or Methode Champenoise should be served in a tall flute. Big no no to this restaurant. This is just so wrong!

psst note the name on the handbag holder next to my glass

Thursday, 10 November 2016

November 10th Let Us Soup!

George has  been going on for a while now about the Lettuce Soup Mama made. Yes, you read that correctly. Lettuce Soup. And you know what it's like. You start thinking about something and it becomes an obsession. And every time we opened the veg drawer in the fridge - what was lurking in there but one lettuce. Crying out "please take me, take me. Have your wicked way with me and do what you will. It's cold in here".

So the lettuce went from one temperature extreme to the other - George made Lettuce Soup. And can I say it actually tasted amazing. A lot of preparation in the recipe. George was whisking egg whites, grating potatoes, as well as chopping up and frying smoked pork belly and garlic etc.

After we ate our meal, George actually said (but very quietly so as not to wake the gods), that was better than what Mama used to make. I have no idea what hers was like, but I have to agree that it was damned good.

Monday, 7 November 2016

November 4th to 6th Another Weekend Under Our Belts

Friday was the time for our monthly card game. Cristina decided work was more important and couldn't attend. Really! The time before the time before that, her and Crae's excuse was that they were in Rome/Paris/Ireland or the UK.  Young ones these days! But we did have a game and I would just like to discreetly place into this conversation, the fact that I came second.

That was Friday evening. Then the rest of the weekend was spent with a food focus. George was smoking hot. Oh silly me, old age and I am getting my words tangled, that should read George was hot smoking. Yes the neighbourhood was treated to the smells of smoking pork belly, on both Saturday and Sunday. Here is what we ended up with, and this supply should last us a while

George really spoilt me. He finished off our Sunday by cooking dinner. Creamed Spinach and home made hash browns - which put the commercial wannabe's to shame!

Friday, 4 November 2016

November 3rd A Prickly Subject...

Today I have to discuss a very prickly subject. It actually can be quite  thorny issue. You see one of our cacti has all these buds - and I am now wondering. Are these flowers or is it in massive expansion mode?

Monday, 31 October 2016

October 29th - 30th Food Glorious Food!!

You can tell we are getting closer to summer time here. The BBQ burners are burning again.  George is dreaming about Steak, Steak, Steak... feed the man meat.  Here's a selection of our repertoire that we enjoyed over the weekend

This is what George thinks 2 men can eat - and the reality was different
This is what George thinks I should eat - but the reality was different. One was enough!
Stuffed Mushrooms from an 'out of Irene's head' recipe - and all gone

Saturday, 29 October 2016

October 28th Winner Winner No Chicken Dinner

Well today I had the privilege of dining out not just once, but twice. I can certainly live with this sort of social calendar.

Lunch was a more official work capacity. ie Irene remember to be a lady, no four letter bombs, ie where is CAKE! (ha gotcha there didn't I?), all very pc, little fingers out when sipping (ok gulping) one's wine and totally work related - in a very nice environment. And no photography involved.

Dinner was a very relaxed, very friend focused evening. Out for our 4 to 6 weekly dinner with Alvin, Alicia, Ella and Esme for the evening. We decided it had been a very long time since we had enjoyed Thai food - we usually eat Asian, as the food is so good. So Thai it was with a bit of Vietnam cuisine thrown in. The Vietnamese Braised pepper pork was sensational. Actually come to think of it, as was the Prawns, as was the crispy pork, and as was the .. oh dammit! The whole damned lot was mouth watering, saliva inducing and a drool fest.

I had to use the Ladies room, as you tend to do. Well actually as you tend more to do when you suffer from 'old lady's bladder'.  Well when I saw this sign in the ladies toilet, I just had to go out and get my phone to take a photo. According to George, there was no such sign in the Gents. So does this mean some ladies stand on the seats, and pee on the floor - I never!

The water jug was just that too big for my handbag!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

October 22nd to 24th A Looooong Weekend

It was so great to have a Public Holiday on Monday. A wonderful, wonderful long weekend. Winter is bad enough without having a dearth of public holidays to enjoy, with the previous one being way back in June. And after a mild but very wet winter, it was so nice to enjoy fine weather.

Our weekend was a real all sorts of a weekend, but in a damned good way. For instance during the week thanks to our friend Jo we found out about a butcher in her town of Te Awamutu, and they were able to supply us raw pork belly exactly as we wanted (to make Romanian Slanina, or Speck, or streaky bacon - whatever the end product is called it is damned good). It also happened to be Jo's 50th Birthday Party on Saturday, so a trip to the butchers was required for us to stock up on all this lovely pork belly, before we headed to Jo and Rob's for an evening of 50th Birthday celebrations. So we ended our Saturday happy with the knowledge of the meaty goods we had to take home, and happy to help celebrate Jo's birthday milestone.

Sunday was a family day. From here in Hamilton we picked up my younger sis Lynette and brother in law Ian, and headed up the highway to north of Auckland to Red Beach. Why it is called Red Beach I don't know. It is a lovely beach settlement and as far as I am aware the beach isn't Red anywhere? A lovely time was spent with us 3 sisters, my niece and nephew, a great niece (in both meanings of the word) and respective partners. Family get together time is always special and this day was no exception.

Monday... ahhh it is always so nice to have a day at home. A sleep in. And I decided the day would be a day dedicated to greens. Cooking greens that is. We have a wonderful surplus of parsley in the garden. So I decided a nice Parsley Pesto wouldn't go amiss

And a pot of Broccoli was put to the boil in home made chicken stock. To be made into a yummy Broccoli and Blue Cheese soup That's my lunch sorted for the week ahead!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

October 19th A Food Obsession

Today I finally decided to feed a food obsession I have had for quite a while. In fact from the time I was admitted to  hospital, all I could think about was battered oysters from Mahana Road takeaways. I think George was tired of hearing me describe these beauties down to the last little detail. For instance, an oyster that doesn't shrivel when deep fried, and keeps its beautiful succulent moist texture, and then encased in a wonderful batter that isn't too heavy or too light.

My description must have been quite enticing, because one hospital visitor decided after leaving me that they had to have some - and sent feedback that yes my description was perfect, and these were the best.

Yesterday I went into the same minute detail with my friend Judy. Her taste buds went into overdrive as well. We had a shared lunch, and look at what we have here. Mana from the heavens. Not one tiny piece of batter or oyster remained.

George can have some peace now and no longer has to endure my descriptions of the perfect battered oyster. (ps he is not an oyster eater. A fact I am delighted with, as I never have to share!)

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

October 7th to Now.. Off The Grid

Hello everyone. I haven't posted as I was unexpectedly admitted to hospital. I am all good now and on the mend, but spending seven days in hospital, isn't exactly my choice of taking time out. But that is all behind me and after two weeks, I finally feel like the old me.

However what I have decided, is that I will  no longer post a photo a day. Even before my enforced break I was struggling to come up with a photo every day. I would have liked to kept going for one more month, which would have been my sixth anniversary of taking a photo every day.  But health circumstances put an end to that idea and I have been cut short.

But don't despair. I am not going to let you off that lightly. If I do see something out of the usual worthy of a snapshot, believe me I will be there poised. Or I will even just update this blog with my wafflings.

Irene Loves Elephants is not going anywhere thank you!!!

Friday, 7 October 2016

October 6th They Sent This?

I went to start my car and the battery was deader than a door nail, flatter than a crepe suzette, as lifeless as a grain of sand. So what do you do? You call the Automobile Association to give the said battery a kick in the guts and to put some spark into it.

George has AA membership (not to be confused with Alcoholics Anonymous, and in this instance it refers to the Automobile Association of NZ).  So once he was home from work we rang them, and they said it was a busy time and we could expect someone here within the hour. Well it actually got to two hours. When we have used them before a cheery serviceman turns up in his ute or vehicle, covered with the AA logo. We heard the sounds of a very loud vehicle motor outside and were greeted with the below sight. For a flat battery! Complete with a car on the back. I guess any contractor will do?

Thursday, 6 October 2016

October 5th To Whom It May Concern....

5 October 2016

To Whom It May Concern

Please may Irene be excused from posting a decent photo of the day. She was not feeling 100% and did not leave the house. As a substitute she hopes you will accept this photo of a box of painkillers as an apology.

Normal transmission is expected to resume soon

Yours faithfully
Irene's Conscience

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

October 4th This Was Weird

The park close to home is extremely large. Not only is there a sizeable lake, a forest, a BMX track, a playground, netball courts and a vast amount of grass. In one part there is a small concrete pad where the maintenance man leaves all the green waste to be carted away, ie leaf trimmings, tree branches, dead plants etc.

What was weird today, is on his rubbish stack there was an extremely vast amount of Parsley. And very healthy parsley. I have never seen so much parsley in one place before, let alone a public park! The photos actually don't do the total amount justice.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

October 3rd Here is a Fun-Guy

It appeared to be a gathering of the local fun-guy - and the fungi were there too.

Monday, 3 October 2016

September 30th, October 1st and 2nd, Rocky Horror, Grapes and The Yellow Brick Road

It was a usual weekend, with heads down and posteriors pointing to the sky, ie a quiet one with not that much going on.Which means George was out in the garden and I was either working or making like a housewife.

On Friday, George brought home this little flyer for me. Well guess what I have gone ahead and booked for us to see? You don't show this to someone that knows every word to every song in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. My all time, most fantastic, most amazing, most wonderful musical ever. Did I tell you I love this show. I have seen the live show in Melbourne and another one in Auckland, and now it's time to see the live show here in my home town, Hamilton NZ.  And as for the amount of times I have seen the movie - lost count! And every song is on my playlist in the car as well.

Then the actual weekend, as in Saturday and Sunday loomed.  That was more garden focussed for George, and I either worked or made like a housewife. With Spring, dormant plants are coming back to life and there is some colour returning to the garden. Our grapes look like they are going to provide a bumper crop and are coming back after a good end of summer pruning.

And finally George's latest outside  project has been our paths. He is concreting in between to stop the horrible weeds from coming through. The brick path resembles the yellow brick road without the greenery in between

Friday, 30 September 2016

September 29th Happy Birthday To My Darling Better Half

September 29th is my darling George's birthday. He likes to keep his birthdays low key. No going out for meals or doing anything fancy schmancy. His indulgence is to try and take the day off if it's a working day, and couch surf the entire day. He did have to pop out for one errand, and he decided to spoil me!  He thought it very inappropriate that I - yes me - had nothing special to celebrate his birthday with, and came home with the below.

All together now as you raise your glasses - awwwwwwwwwww. Can you see why I love this man. Happy Birthday to my darling George.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

September 28th An Explosion

Because it is Spring here, obviously a lot of the trees are in blossom. However what I can't understand is that one day you are looking at a tree, for instance I see this one from my back door every day. And every day it looks as it has all winter. Threadbare, birds able to be seen easily on the bare branches. Oh  look at that sparrow, oh no the big blackbirds are chasing them away.

Then one morning, as in this particular day, you wake up and you look at the tree, and this is what you see.
An overnight explosion of blossoms.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

September 27th Well What Do I Follow That With?

Yesterday's Blog was quite momentous for obvious personal reasons. But now what do I follow that up with? Because I did take the entire day off work, that meant I had to make up for it, and was desk bound for the day.

Oh boy I thought. Here I go again. Struggling for a photo. Before I shut my work computer down for the night, I decided to catch up on the non urgent emails ignored during the day. Then I found this particular gem on the very last page of a newsletter from Travcour, a Visa processing company we use.

Someone was applying for a Visa to visit Vietnam and this is what they really did put on their application form.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

September 26th Can You Tell The Difference?

Yesterday's Blog was written as an Australian citizen, who lives in New Zealand and has done so for a total of 44 years.

Today's Blog is written by a New Zealand citizen, who was born in Australia.

Yes, today I was granted my NZ Citizenship Certificate, and have that in my humble possession. The ceremony was actually quite nice. I  had the distinction of being the only Australian in a group of 64 people being granted citizenship.  There were South Africans, Indians, Samoans, people from the United Kingdom, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indian and Fijians in attendance. Each individual and each family were gifted a Kowhai Tree (native to NZ).

I didn't expect to be as moved as I was, until it came to the singing of NZ's national anthem, in both Maori and  English. I found myself in tears at the very emotional moment.

So I can no longer be referred to as a Polish Australian Kiwi. I am just a Polish Kiwi girl (OK woman, if you want to split hairs).

Afterwards, you know what was called for. And I really went all out and treated myself and spent the rest of the day concentrating on my celebratory skills and did not work. The shock, the horror!!

Monday, 26 September 2016

September 24th and 25th A Big FAT W for Weekend

Yes folks that time of the week certainly rolled in again. And just as fast as it rolled in, it rolled out.

Saturday we had a wonderful visit from Chantal and Bernice, her absolutely gorgeous 10 year old. And as always, I kick myself after visitors leave as usually I am so engrossed in their company, that the last thing on my mind is taking photos. Then they drive off into the sunset and I realise I have done it yet again. However I did get a photo of a wonderful gift Chantal brought us, complete with flowering pansies. And all in the right colour matching as well

Sunday - bleurgh. George had a job to attend up in Auckland and an early start. So I worked as well as I had some complicated files. But I did venture out in the garden and spotted this in some newly laid cement that George had put down yesterday. Yes Minnie has left her paw print for future generations to know that Minnie lived here

Saturday, 24 September 2016

September 23rd Gaijin Eating Japanese

Time to dine out with Alvin, Alicia and their two gorgeous girls Ella and Esme. Last time we were out it was Indian Cuisine and because we like to change the mix around, tonight we opted for a newly opened Japanese restaurant called Edo.

For those not familiar with the word Gaijin it actually refers to non Japanese, and literally translates to outside person. How do I know the word? Because I read the author James Clavell's Asian series. The books in chronological order (compliments of Wikipedia) are:
It has been many years since I have read these and I still have all the books and must sit down and read them again.

Sorry I went off on another tangent didn't I!  All I wanted to do was explain how I knew the word Gaijin. Which the six of us were in a Japanese restaurant - if we had been in Japan of course. But we weren't. We were here in good old NZ and enjoying extremely authentic Japanese food (according to local reviews), and some very good Ramen.

psst.... Check out the Menu - Sping Onion anyone?

Friday, 23 September 2016

September 22nd Pop Pop

What better way to end a day. Not only with the enjoyment of having a glass of red, but also adding to that pleasure with a sheet of bubble wrap. Pure bliss!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

September 21st Four Ingredients

What do you get when you have Chicken Nibbles, Garlic, Soy Sauce and, and, and the unlikely addition of Coca Cola?  Why Coca Cola Chicken of course.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

September 20th Are You Ready To Drool?

Are you ready to get your taste buds working? Are you ready to salivate? Are you ready to have drool dripping down your chin? Do you remember the Pork Belly I posted photos of? Both at the preliminary stage and another with it ready to hang. We could wait no longer and decided to cook some up for dinner. And this is the result (with advance apologies to vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians, those of religious beliefs, fusspots critics etc)

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

September 19th Homage To The VW

Today I am going to pay  homage to the VW.  I had a tradesman here today and he saw our new front door mat (photo posted last week) and then the below cabinet, and he started saying how much he loves VWs. So forget why he was here, we had a general chin wag about VWs. I think he was here for an hour - five minutes of which was spent to do  his job and fifty five minutes was spent talking about VWs.

Well when you meet a fellow enthusiast - what is one to do? So I showed him the toilet. No, not for that reason. Come on guys, I do have some class. I just wanted to share the VW love that we also have in the smallest room in the house

It's a bit hard to take a photo of all four walls and in a very small room. So here is the majority of the collection combined into photos. Oh you wanted to see them all? Well you will just have to visit us, and ask to use the toilet (or bathroom if you are American) won't you!

Monday, 19 September 2016

September 17th and 18th: The Weekend That Was

Let's start on Sunday when I stumbled upon some Art In The Park. Yes, our suburban green wonderland had it's very own art installation

It could be interpreted as a large block of cheese on a green canvas, or a sea of foam in a green sea... or... OK I give up! I confess, it was just a piece of old foam rubber on a piece of grass. But I am sure if it had a barrier placed around it, and an admission fee was charged - people would flock to see it.

Let's go back one day to Saturday. They day was spent preparing a lovely dinner for all the family to celebrate my youngest son Todd's, 32nd birthday.  Can I just blow my trumpet here and tell one and all that I do make a fairly mean Cauliflower Cheese. Not that I am one to boast of course. But did I tell you about my Cauliflower Cheese?  However, I think I was too busy in my abilities in the kitchen, that I didn't really take any photos. I overlooked a photo of the birthday cake, and mini pavlovas. But I did manage to grab a photo of one of the mini cupcakes that were also provided.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

September 16th Slightly Ironic?

We were driving today, and it was a very grey and bleak day (what's new Pussycat?).  The irony of the message on this truck in front of us, was I thought fairly obvious.

Here we have a truck delivering dangerous chemical goods 

And this is the message written at the bottom of his 'curtain'

As I said, it was a very grey and bleak morning, so the photography isn't that great (I was not driving). But the writing says 'If we take care of the Earth, it will take care of us'

I don't know if my brain works in weird ways as to how I see things, but don't you think that is a strange message to carry on a dangerous goods truck?