Wednesday, 30 September 2015

September 29th A Birthday!!

Firstly it was George's birthday, which is why we had the previous weekend away.We went shopping for his birthday present and let our vehicles indulge in a little tryst of their own, and realised that these two have been together in the family for one year now

 The day ended with a fairly spectacular sky. A lovely sunset on one side and then on the other it was a different story, with blossoms standing out against the dark sky on the other side

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

September 28th Oops I Did It Again

I really could do with a PA. Well actually some days I could do with two of me - although the rest of the world may cough and splutter at that suggestion!

I was bumbling along with my usual day, and as I often do, I think during the day (don't cough and splutter at that either please) and consider my options for what photo I am going to take for that particular days blog. The minutes and then hours ticked by, and I had no idea until it came to dinner time.  Yes I thought to myself - my crunchy roast potatoes will make a nice photo  I make a particularly good crunchy roast potato, even if I do say so myself.

Problem solved you would think. But not so! It was one of those days where everything electrical or bluetooth decided they wouldn't perform to standard  A wireless printer - yes if I am in the same room, but a big fat no to the laptop in another room.  External hard drive - lets fry the spare laptop. The other external hard drive - so you think you can find me. You get the drift. The house is currently undergoing a bit of an electronic meltdown, and a photo of crunchy roast potatoes was the last thing on my mind We finally sat down to a dinner of lovely roast pork, crunchy roast potatoes and coleslaw, and then it was a big ooops. Where's the photo op? Sorry folks you will have to make do with what was left on my dinner plate when I realised no photo had been taken.

Monday, 28 September 2015

September 25 - 27 A Long Weekend

Being of psychic abilities (not really, I just used my common sense). I knew we were ready for a bit of  R & R, and an extended weekend away. Well I knew this month's ago and booked in for a lovely stay at Bethshans Motel, Algie Bay (which is above Auckland).

Firstly, She Who Rules The House, had to be considered. If we can have a weekend away, she has ruled that she must have a weekend away as well. Here she is as we make our way to her Doggy Motel. She can hardly contain her excitement, and had to take over driving duties

A leisurely drive for us

That was Friday, Saturday was spent in much needed Slob and Blob mode - in between admiring the bay,, taking walks to the waters edge we also indulged in a much needed Game of Thrones Fest in between.

At dusk, we decided to venture further afield to explore the neighbourhood on foot and surrounding gardens.

Sunday dawned and it was time to leave. Unfortunately there had been a major road accident and a detour was required away from main roads. Being unfamiliar with the area there were times when we were in a 'Where the Far Kar We' state - but all ended up well (in a country the size of NZ it is impossible for it not to end up well).

George did a job at Snow Planet a while ago, and has been wanting to take me to the Cafe there so I could see the facility. What a fantastic idea, and actually the coffee is good here as well

George came back from the Little Boys' Room all oohs and aaahs..He told me I had to check out the Little Girls' Room. Well I did and it was just your usual ho hum Little Girls' Room. So he took the phone to take photos so we could compare. Ours was nothing like this!

Time to leave the Big Smoke and head down the highways to the Little Smoke

Back from sea views, to green grass and distant mountain views. There is no place like home!

Friday, 25 September 2015

September 24th I'm In The Dog Box

A certain four legged  creature, yes I am talking about our dog Minnie, has kicked me firmly into the dog box. Here's the reason

No this isn't a new addition to the family. If we headed into that territory, we would be murdered in our sleep

This is just Bam, who resides with the kids and for the first time in something like ten years, decided he liked me and wanted the full head massage treatment.

Needless to say a certain Madam picked up the scent when we returned home, and I was ignored for several hours

Thursday, 24 September 2015

September 23rd Double Bubbles

I got just a tad excited today. OK I confess, very excited. I was walking through the mall, on a mission from me, heading to the hairdressers.  Yes it was that time for the bi monthly Pinking again.

Normally I am in a rush, I don't look at anyone or anything. However this particular day, I walked past a food outlet and a bit of advertising caught my eye. They were selling Bubble Tea. Actually they had it listed as either hot or cold - I have only ever had it cold.  The tea comes in various flavours - Paw Paw is my flavour of choice (or Papaya - depending on which School of Snobbery you attended), and I always request Double Bubbles please.  I believe the Bubbles are Tapioca Jelly. I really couldn't care less what they are, but I love my Bubble Tea (well it's the Bubbles I am more in love with).

So Bubble Tea it was. And the staff at the hairdresser's were that engrossed in my Double Bubbles, that they headed out on their breaks to try Bubble Tea (but played it safe and went for just the normal amount of Bubbles).

Just a wee note to other Hamilton residents who may decide to try Bubble Tea. I prefer the Bubble Tea from either the Hamilton Night Markets or the Japanese Restaurant in Ward Street to this one.  The Bubbles were yummy, but the rest was really not my 'cup of tea' - pardon the pun!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

September 22nd Reflections on Thailand

I had a very short work related trip to Southern Thailand. I am still pinching myself that I was accepted and given the opportunity to attend, courtesy of Thai Airways and Tourism Authority of Thailand.

I love Thailand. The food is amazing, to the extent that you can eat anywhere and will always think the meal was just wonderful. Accommodation can range from cheap and cheerful to absolute luxury. My other attraction to Thailand is that a certain mammal resides there, ie my beloved elephants.

When the invitation to all travel agents hit my Inbox, I did not intend applying. I have already been away this year to Seattle and Honolulu, and sometimes this particular person needs a firm handbrake applied. However reading the invitation and the proposed itinerary - one day stood out. That day included staying for one night at an Elephant Camp and one night at a Rain Forest camp, also managed by Elephant Hills.  Well you can imagine when I saw the word Elephant, the blood rushed to my head, the handbrake went into the off position, and I immediately emailed my wish to be included.

Well blow me down with a feather duster (non allergenic, artificial and no animals were harmed in the making of said duster) I was accepted.

This wasn't a shopping trip. I left New Zealand with only 12kg luggage in my case and returned with 14kg - which is the lightest I have ever travelled  And at least 1.5kg of the luggage I  brought home would have been brochures etc.  OK I lied, there were approximately 15 sachets of various Thai cooking pastes (all declared, I promise!).

That day spent with elephants was amazing. Better than amazing. We first saw the elephants in their enclosure and they were brought over to us. The staff were concerned because I was in tears and they thought something was wrong, but it was only tears of happiness.  Time was spent with the elephants, and then we watched them head off for a cool down in their mud pool. We were asked if we wanted to join them, but after seeing one elephant use the pool as a toilet, common sense prevailed. The elephants were then brought by their Mahouts to be washed down and scrubbed with coconut fibres - fortunately I am short, and I did do a bit of scrubbing but then spent my time just admiring these wonderful, wonderful animals. After their wash it was time for us to prepare their dinner - ie chopping up pineapples and sugar cane, and making their medicine - tamarind mixed with salt, and wrapped up in a banana leaf. Then we were able to feed our elephants. My elephant, Moh Dang, was a guts and kept wanting more and more, but then dropping it. A few stern words and I refused to hand over any more food until Moh Dang cleaned her plate so to speak - she got the message.

So what did I come home with? The Mahout could see I had a special relationship with Moh Dang, and discreetly pulled a hair from her for me to keep.  That is now safely framed.. I was surprised as the hair feels like a piece of wire

And I thought I had better go with something traditional. The Camp had wonderful coffee cups, but had run out of new ones to sell in their gift shop.  So what does one do? Offer to buy a second hand one, which I did.

 That day with elephants rates up there with being one of the best days of my life. I can't describe how it feels to be stroking an elephant and staring into it's eyes. Words can never describe that emotion. I know for years to come I will still pinch myself that I was so fortunate to have such an experience.

 "Anything that is unrelated to Elephants is irrelephant!"

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

September 21st Keep off the Grass!

I promise I will post some photos and write regarding my Thailand trip. With catching up with work, I just haven't had the time as yet. 

Yesterday, I was surprised to see this little intruder residing in my money tree. Me thinks this plant took the warning to keep off the grass too literally! A dandelion has decided to reside in our money tree pot.

Monday, 21 September 2015

September 20th Honey I'm Home

After 8 days away in Thailand, it is good to be back in the land of New Zea, and home with my two honeys. The weather gods here are not so kind, with an extremely wet weekend. Well maybe they are kind as it meant a weekend spent with the feet up in between doing the unpacking and washing. And if you are going to have your feet up, a nibble dish is required.

I am not sure if anyone else is like me, but I really don't like sundried tomatoes - I find them too leathery and chewy. I prefer to use fresh on my platter. It was so good to sit down and nibble on my home made cheese, fresh tomatoes and stuffed olives. 

I love elephants, I love Thailand and I love travel - but there is no place like home!

Friday, 11 September 2015

September 10th I Don't Have A Bucket List

I have decided this week that I don't have a Bucket List per se, I have a ten gallon drum!!  There are so many wow factors and wonderful things to see and do in life, so why limit yourself to a bucket?

On that note this blog is in for a short remission. One of my ten gallon drum items is going to unfold. I am off to Southern Thailand for a work trip. Part of my time will be spent.. wait for it... get this..... this is gobsmacking... pinch, pinch pinch yourself material.... in an Elephant Camp.

As much as I love writing this blog, if I am in an elephant camp I want to spend every possible minute I can adoring these wonderful, majestic creatures.

Karma has come my way in being selected for this trip - there were only 5 spots available, and I am filling one of those spots.

"Anything unrelated to elephants is irrelephant". 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

September 9th God Save The Queen

Queen Elizabeth has become the UK's longest reigning Monarch. I wonder if instead of one week's extra leave due to long service, if she now receives two? Also why is the anthem titled 'God Save The Queen'.  Save? From what exactly? Is her Gin habit that bad?

With the above facts in mind, I thought today's photo should pay homage to our Sovereign's longevity. However, being of Polish heritage I am not really a monarchist, even though during my formative years I was raised under Her Majesty's rule.

I finally found an item with her Majesty on it. The document belonging to my mother when she was given Australian Citizenship in 1961, in return for swearing allegiance to the Queen.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

September 8th Random Acts of Kindness

There are still some wonderful people in the world out there - apart from myself of course. Just kidding!!  Today I was the lucky recipient of an act of kindness.  I have mentioned previously that we love doing Jigsaws, but only Wasgij appeals. FYI did you realise the word Wasgij is the word Jigsaw backwards? I told you I was educational. Why we like them is the picture on the cover is only a clue, and the puzzle is different.

Back to me being the recipient of a random act of kindness. There are various garage sale sites on Facebook, and I noticed a woman selling a lot of jigsaws - but no Wasgij. So I thought what the heck I will ask if she has any. Lo and behold she did, so we arranged a time in the future to meet up and for me to buy them (she lives rurally). When I queried payment, she said a bag of lollipops would do for the kids

Today I received a text to say that she was in my neck of the woods, and did I want to meet her. Unfortunately due to work commitments, it was impossible. So she offered to come to my home. So that bit blew me away. I told her to make sure she had her bank account details so I could pay her, as I had no cash in the house and also I don't keep a lollipop stash in the pantry. I also gave her specific instructions on how to find our house.. ie no elephants means no Irene!!

Dee arrived mid morning with the puzzles. And I asked for her account details so I could immediately transfer. And she said not to worry!  I said I had to and there were no lollipops in the pantry and I had absolutely no cash. Finally I managed to make her take a bar of chocolate that was lurking in the pantry (well not lurking, very fresh from the grocery shop, but lurking nonetheless).

Well you most probably think that about wraps it up, and that was the random act of kindness. No it wasn't.  Because I had mentioned elephants, Dee remembered she had one she had held on to for years, and thought I should have it.  This is where I get teary eyed at how lovely people can be.

Actually further to that - I received a message today also from a friend from long ago, who I have re-established contact with on Facebook, but we haven't seen each other for years. She has returned from a trip to Seattle and when we do get together for a coffee, she has an elephant for me!

Have a look at the photo, and in the top left, to the right of the 1000 you will see my elephant gift from today - it is silver and a pendant. As I said, there are some truly beautiful people in the world, and we are lucky when they cross our paths.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

September 7th It's Nothing!

Remember how Seinfeld was a TV show about nothing. Well I have to state that this posting, following in the steps of the renowned Seinfeld, is also about nothing. There really is no excuse for nothing.  For once I am speechless and can think of nothing to write about. Which is pretty amazing when you think I have been taking a photo a day for just short of 5 years, and writing this blog for just short of 3 years - and for the first time in that time span, I have absolutely  nothing to write about

So I sit here contemplating where all the navel fluff goes, would ear wax make a candle (eww that's a gruesome thought isn't it?) and I really have to remember to check which way water swirls down the drain next time I am ever in the Northern Hemisphere, to see if it is indeed different to the Southern Hemisphere (but I am sure that is a load of codswallop).

Don't panic I did take a photo. Here are Freesias from our garden. I purposely placed the vase on the bench above the cutlery cupboard. So every time I need a piece of cutlery my nose goes a little lower, and takes in the wonderful scent.

Monday, 7 September 2015

September 5th - 6th Cas Branza and Chores

A weekend filled with chores and food - making it. I seem to be making a lot of cheese, but we also seem to be eating a lot of it. It is so good, and our now go to snack and nibble choice is 'Fat Bottoms Estate' Cheese. With diminishing supplies, I decided this would be the perfect weekend to replenish the fridge.

Do you know how little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet -what the heck is a tuffet anyway?  On that note I had to rush off to see my best friend Mr Google to investigate, and a tuffet apparently is a low seat. So now you know. You can't say my blog is nothing but educational. Back to Miss Muffet. If you have ever wondered or lost many a nights sleep wondering what Curds and Whey look like. Here is a picture of the one and the same thing. A scoop of Curds being lifted out of whey

There is a Romanian cheese called Cas Branza. I made one wheel for George to enjoy. No he didn't sneak a wedge whilst I wasn't looking. He took a wedge to share with a Romanian friend, he was helping to move.

 The rest of Saturday consisted of the usual chores, some of which are too exciting to even mention here - not!!  On to Sunday and more chores.  Two appliances actually made a rare appearance. The Iron and Ironing Board  - which made it's last appearance six months ago, so not too bad  However my sewing machine only comes out once a decade if that?  I have had it for over 30 years now, and have had it fully serviced once.  Which appears to have done it a lot of good, as it went through a recalcitrant stage, ie spitting it's dummy in the dirt and would start sewing when I stood up from the machine. To the extent that I had to pull the power source when I stood up. I was beginning to think it was The Ghost Of Neglected Sewing Machines pulling a prank on me, but it appears to behave itself now - although it isn't out for that that long to know!! Allow me to present a 1977 Vintage Janome

Saturday, 5 September 2015

September 4th Friday Frivolities

Friday, Friday, the end of a working week
hopefully to catch one's breath and put one's feet up, so to speak
Which means that we are at a week end
I wonder what that will portend?

Just your usual average Friday. I did manage to pop out to pick up an online purchase of these pre 1960's pharmaceutical bottles. Some of them even had the original contents in

Then what a wonderful way to finish my working day. I think for the last month, every Friday has involved working until at least 7pm. Tonight it was only just after 5pm. George told me to get a drink in my hand put my feet up and he would cook dinner. Who is going to argue with such a sound philosophy - especially when he indicated his mashed potatoes would be on the menu. Believe me, no one makes mashed potatoes like George makes mashed potatoes!

Friday, 4 September 2015

September 3rd Thursday Tootles

Another late afternoon/early evening jaunt out to Raglan for George to have his tattoo finished, which apparently now is not finished. Which gave us a chance  to catch up with the family again. Lots of water around due to extremely wet precipitations this week, which means lots of wonderful green hills and green grass around

This tree didn't appear to get the memo apparently that it is now springtime, and it's okay to start getting dressed. Actually on that slant, isn't it odd that trees lose their leaves in winter, which is when you think they would need warmth, ie coverage. Then when Summer arrives they are fully laden?

Thursday, 3 September 2015

September 2nd The Good Oil

Look at this wonderful prize that arrived on our doorstep today.  Am thrilled, as it will be perfect to marinate my Feta cheese in. Which exactly is what I said I would do. I also sent in a photo of my first Feta wheel.. and ta daaa I won. Am salivating at the thought of cubes of Feta, in either Basil, Tarragon or Leccino Olive Oil, and a wonderful crusty bread. Note to self: Dukkah needs to go on the shopping list

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

September 1st A Call Out To Ornithologists...

Before I go down the Ornithology road, it is worth noting that September 1st is the first day of Spring in our hemisphere. The day should be filled with pictures of green grass, daffodils, and lambs playing with a backdrop of a beautiful clear blue sky behind them. Instead it was:

Spring has Sprung
The Grass has 'ris
I wonder where some frigging sunshine is

Rain is pouring down everywhere
I can't step outside without ruining my hair
I just would enjoy one fine day
to feel some warmth and outside to stay

In other words the day blew a gale, it was cold and it wasn't just a spot of rain, it was precipitating down in bucket loads. 

Towards the end of the day I actually started wondering what on earth I could do for a photo. A grey, misty sky didn't appeal. Then I saw this outside. And this is where assistance from Ornithologists would be appreciated. I think this is a Kookaburra - maybe? But they are native to Australia. I googled and there is a very small population in New Zealand, but in the West of Auckland in the Waitakere's and up to Whangarei. They were introduced back in the late 1800s and apparently there are approximately 500 flitting there wings. But that is up there, and I am down here at least 100 kms away.  

If I am wrong, can someone identify this bird please?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

August 31st Words Fail Me..

In the words of my wonderful father in law, who has passed this realm, today I had to say 'words fail me'.  I was in head down and posterior up mode, working away, sourcing an airfare from Brisbane to London return.  As is always the case with airfares, a good read is required. Can we sell this fare from NZ, do we have the right travel dates, what booking class do I use to see if it is available, can the customer use a seat, can the customer breathe, or leading up to my photo, even use the toilet whilst on board.  In all my years of reading airfare rules, this is the first time I have come across this one

Yes folks, we have a POO fare.  I don't know if this is a shitty one, if they are taking the crap out of me or if your name has to be Jack Schitt to travel on this one. I only know this is a POO fare. Now the dilemma of the day.... do I contact my customer and say yes I have the airfare, however it is a POO fare. Can you please make sure you are suitably ummm, ahhh, full of shite when you travel?