Monday, 30 November 2015

November 28th - 29th Xmas Is In The Building!

What can I say. Our annual event happened. We didn't think we would be on time as different events conspired against us. But it all went swimmingly well.  Continuing with our annual tradition, our friends Jo, Rob and Raewyn were here to do the honours.

As part of our evening conversation, we were unsure what their official title should be. George refers to these three as 'The Master Switchers' and my name for them is the 'Switcher Onners'. I think George has the better title, although I could change mine to 'The Switcher Honours' couldn't I?

As it gets dark, we have all 3 at various points throughout the house, and we wait for George to make the call.  And here are some of the results

That was Saturday. On to Sunday and it was a literal day of rest for us. Not without completing the week's Xmas To Do List first

Nails ✓ 
Xmas Light Display completed - Inside and Outside ✓ 

There was one more thing. 
Pimp my Phone for Xmas - oh yeah baby. Give us a big, fat ✓ 


Saturday, 28 November 2015

November 27th It's Beginning To Look Like Xmas

It looks like we are nearing the day of the 'Great Switch On'.  Minnie is surveying the neighbourhood with her sentries

And on a personal level, my nails are decorated for the festive season

Friday, 27 November 2015

November 26th What's Wrong With This Picture?

Can you spot the error? I have been looking at this calendar for close to a month now, and only just noticed. Can you see it? And no, it's not due to the fact that they used the wrong dog and Minnie didn't receive a call up!

If it's bugging you, look at the last line

Thursday, 26 November 2015

November 24th and 25th Playing Hookey

Well I got to play hookey for a couple of days and it was mid week. I almost felt guilty and ready to slash my wrists for being absent from my desk (not).

My initial reason for heading up to Auckland (approx. 100kms away), was to attend an evening presentation for the Rocky Mountaineer train, based in Canada. 

As an added bonus we were treated to a cooking class by the Head Chef, who is based on the train for the 6 months of the year that it operates.

Followed by us splitting into teams,, prepping, cooking and re-creating the meal that was demonstrated to us

That was Tuesday evening. It was lovely to catch up with friends whilst I was up in this neck of the woods. Coincidentally however, I discovered that a long ago acquaintance from Italy was in NZ with a colleague and in Auckland. The last time I met Corrado was 15 1/2 years ago and that was when we both attended a combined 'Chat Meet'/Birthday celebration in Den Bosch, Netherlands. 

Debbie, who was also a member of that long ago chat room, Travellers Chat (which is now disbanded due to the advances of technology, but a lot of us are still friends all these years later), decided on a scenic place for us to get together for lunch. We met at The Riverhead Tavern, an extremely historic tavern, and I confess I have never been there before. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and catch up

And here we are. The last time I saw Corrado was 15 years ago, and I confess that it may also been a very long time since Debbie and I have crossed paths - but with both, it felt like there had been no passing of time

No the pole wasn't for pole dancing demonstrations. That is an umbrella stand thank you!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

November 23rd The Dog That Thought She Was A Cat

George and I have often commented that Minnie is more cat like than dog like, in her behaviour. This is not only because of her regal manner, but her idiosyncracies. Curling up on the bed and sofa, wanting to be picked up and carried (her requests for a satin cushion have been ignored) and her behaviour, in general, has been more noticeably feline than canine. So much so, that we have often wondered if she was a cat in a past life.

Well today she only added to that argument. George was outside Xmas light decorating (as you do). I was weeding the garden (just a small patch - one must take care of one's nails), and it was time for me to head inside and make like a housewife, ie prepare dinner.  I noticed a large blackish clump on the kitchen floor - exactly in the centre. At first I thought Minnie had been extremely sick (and cursed her for not selecting an outside location). However on closer inspection I noticed it was a mouse, that had been chewed (for want of a better expression) and it was in the throes of dying. Stuart Little was gasping his very last breath!

I definitely did NOT want to take a photo of a mouse in it's very last final moments. Even Mice are allowed some privacy and decency in their death throes.  But I will take a photo of the culprit. Yes, The Dog That Thought She Was A Cat, aka Minnie.

One can only hope that she caught Stuart outside and brought him inside to show off her hunting prowess, and did not find Stuart lurking within our four walls! Also does anyone know of any good Animal Behaviourists?  Although I think at age 11, Minnie may be a tad too old to change her ways!

Monday, 23 November 2015

November 21st - 22nd Steak and Christmas

The Weather Gods are still taunting us, and we still don't know if we will be ready with our Xmas light decorations. It didn't help that George was away for four days this week, many miles away in Hastings for work

Due to his late arrival home and us having a house guest for the weekend - that is we were on Nanna & Poppa duties,, a mutual decision was arrived at that we would dine out on Saturday evening. When Havana stays, her meal request is for Macaroni Cheese and sometimes that can be a bit mundane. So we braved the stormy elements and headed out. 

We all had a giggle at this poster

We have a Xmas tree situated on the outside deck, and it has become a Xmas ritual that Havana decorates it, with my help of course after she decides to take on a Managerial role and decides she will supervise proceedings. Yes coats were required, it was blowing a gale outside when we did this!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

November 20th A Pretty Bauble

Our Xmas decorations are mostly up inside, however they aren't switched on I love the look of these hanging lights, as even during the day they are pretty, and resemble a beautiful bubble. When you look through these at various times during the day, they have various colours reflected in them, with the added bonus of looking beautiful at night

Friday, 20 November 2015

November 19th Now These Are Unusual!

I was walking down our shared driveway today and saw the following fungus. I have never seen such large ones before. This tree on a neighbour's property was chopped down a good 3 years ago. Now this mass of fungus has appeared on both the tree and along the strip of lawn.

That isn't unusual in itself, but the size of them amazed me. They are the size of dinner plates. I just walked down here yesterday and I could swear there was nothing there. And I always see this patch of lawn, because this is Minnie's first port of call for a wee on our walks. It's almost like an explosion of alien Fungus occurred overnight!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

November 18th A Bit Of A Pile Of Poo Day

Yes, it was a bit of a pile of poo day. But then I noticed there was blue sky, it still isn't particularly warm, but it was not raining.

Minnie got to indulge in her favourite activity and smelt lots of lamp posts and peed more times than I could ever think possible. How on earth can dogs have a reservoir of pee in them? Wouldn't you think that once they started to tinkle, it would all come out? However every minute or so, Minnie has enough in store to leave a wet patch and mark her walk. A silly thing to ponder, but one I often wonder about when we are out walking.

At home our Cordyline tree (aka Cabbage Tree) has flowered for the first time ever. I have been in this house for twelve years now, and never seen it flower before. So this is a pretty special moment. Especially since at one time not long ago, the scientific boffins were worried that the Cabbage Tree was facing extinction due to a mystery bug killing them. I am so glad they survived.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Yes November 17th celebrates the 5th Birthday of me taking a photo (or more) every single day for 5 years. This eventually expanded into this blog.

Reflecting back on the five years, it is hard to believe how I have managed to find something to photograph each day of those five years. Yes, I am fortunate I do travel - from my office at home, down a short hallway to the kitchen. OK, that is being sarcastic as I do love to travel, but that doesn't happen often. I do love to cook (sometimes, when I am not pressed for time and haven't finished work at 7pm), so food can be a topic Walking Minnie, the four legged ruler of the house, helps. But she selects our routes and doesn't often vary from her routine.

But I have done it.  I didn't think I would last 12 months taking a photo a day. I remember my initial goal was to last one year - and that has expanded to 5. And as my darling George said to me as we shared the one solitary piece of birthday cake I purchased, this has become a part of your life and I can't see you stopping.

So my wonderful friends (and family of course), you are stuck with me, my photos, my routine, my ramblings and my wee observations on life

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

November 16th More Ho Hum

Today wasn't the best weatherwise. I woke up to rain, and it rained, and it rained, and it rained. And for something different (?) it rained again. Even if it didn't rain, there would have been no walkies due to work commitments.

When I finally emerged from the office, it was lovely to see a clearer sky and clouds with lovely tinges of grey and pink colouring them

Don't worry I do not reside in a grass hut (that would be a tad wet on a day like today). This is the bottom part of a large tinsel star in the window

Sunday, 15 November 2015

November 13th to 15th... What Do You Do?

I am ready to post photos for the last three days . However totally inhumane acts in both Paris and Beirut overshadow this. I could post a photo of a French flag but is that going to undo lives lost? I could say a prayer - but isn't religion the root of all of this, no matter who you praise?

I hope no one takes offense at the inanity of my life. I am lucky I live in a country where life can be inane - to date. We have food to put in our tummies. We can walk safely without worrying about a bullet sniper. We can enjoy Xmas - for myself it isn't for religious reasons. But because of the sheer joy I see in innocent children's eyes - and my own and other adult's eyes to be truthful. To share for a small moment in time, how our home transforms into a Xmas grotto

So here is a snapshot from my last three days.  Let's start with Friday. Out walking Minnie, and enjoying the varieties of flax in flower

Saturday was all things Xmas. The various Santa's lined up, in an orderly fashion, for their annual medical. Many a drawn breath could be heard, as they wondered if they would get to join in with this season's festivities

Sunday - a very wet day. With not much going on outside, that is when the kitchen can become the room of choice. With beautiful Capsicum (Bell Peppers) in season, time for some Orzo & Feta (home made) Stuffed Peppers to enjoy, and a Cucumber Salad was in the making

That was my inane weekend. I don't pray, but I do hope. That humanity is restored worldwide.

Friday, 13 November 2015

November 12th A Prickly Situation

It looks like our Mickey Mouse Cactus is ready to expand. I was hoping the buds were going to be flowers, but oh no. Mickey has decided to reach higher for the sky

Thursday, 12 November 2015

November 11th Love Is....

Being allowed to indulge in popping Fuschia Buds, but only two and only from a cutting that had to be pruned. Otherwise we would have none of these

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

November 10th Guardians Of The Galaxy

Well to be honest, more like Guardians of the Garage. Every time I open the garage door (to walk through not to park my car obviously), the triplets are there. You can tell which is the snooty one - or he is trying to pretend he didn't do the smelly!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

November 9th From VIPs on Friday to a Princess on Monday...

Last Friday I attended a function with the Prime Minister in attendance, and Monday I met a customer for drinks - and the handing over of their tickets (yes some people still like to go traditional, with which I am happy to comply with) - and was in the presence of NZ royalty.

Unfortunately it was only a wall presentation for Princess Te Puea. She lived from 1883 to 1952, and is regarding as one of the most influential Maori leaders ever. I have actually just read her history here and it is extremely interesting, and she lead a colourful life.

I have to confess, I was ignorant as to her. I don't know how many times I have been in this hotel lobby and not noticed this montage before. Although normally I am heading to conference rooms, and not indulging in a tipple in the bar!

Monday, 9 November 2015

November 6th - 8th VIPs Followed By A Weekend of Xmas

On Friday I was very privileged to be invited to an opening. Yes I have been to openings before. There was the time a bottle of Pinot Noir was being opened, then another a bottle of Champagne, oh and not forgetting an Open Home.

This was different. This was the official opening of new premises for Waikato Milking, who design and build Rotary Milking Platform systems, for both local and overseas markets, and I was invited. The ribbon was cut by our Prime Minister, other VIPs were in attendance, photographers noted the occasion, and a grand tour followed All very exciting stuff and I felt very privileged to be included

Back to earth with a bump and out of the glad rags. It was the weekend, and I have warned you to start expecting Xmas decoration preparation blogs. What I love about unpacking is finding these gems that have been forgotten. Although we could never forget Ugly Santa. He is back with a vengeance, and residing for the next few months in the only place I can find suitable

I also love seeing our Southern Hemisphere Santa's. They are joined this year by a hand painted Santa shell purchased in Honolulu. So we have a piece of Hawaii coming on board.

That was the weekend. The house is still a mess. George is more organised for the outside I think, then I am on the inside. 

Friday, 6 November 2015

November 5th A Flower For My Flowers

When days or weeks can be a bit humbug, it is so nice, and I am privileged, to be able to walk in our garden and see flowers in bloom. Especially in Spring time. The Roses are starting to bloom, My Today/Tomorrow plant (or some such name I can never remember) has more and more blooms every day, and the geraniums are starting to show their s. The one I can't wait for is the Gardenia. They are in a mass of buds, and it won't be long before everytime we walk past, we will enjoy a fragrance explosion.

So today in my bah, humbug, rushing around like a fly on heat moment, I literally took a moment to stop and smell the roses.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

November 4th It's All About The Brew

A Brewery Tour today of the aptly named local craft brewery, Good George. We got to put on high vis vests, tour the brewery and finish with a sampling of their ales and enjoy a small shared platter.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

November 3rd In The Kitchen

Well Grey Street Kitchen to be exact. A wonderful lunch spot to have lunch with the lovely Chantal

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

November 2nd Ofisaseata Weldabutta

You most probably are wondering what the heck the above heading is referring to!  It is Irene Speak for today I felt like I had my office chair welded to my butt. That when I stood up, the chair would come to.

Don't panic, our little scruff fur ball was not neglected and got her walk. We would both be murdered in our sleep if that event didn't happen. Madam Minnie must maintain her physique as she enters her twilight years (and judging by the looks I am on the receiving end from her, I think that is why she nags me into action).

Isn't it funny how daylight savings affects our schedules. In the dark winter months dinner is usually eaten around 6:30 to 7:00pm. However now that daylight savings is in full swing, George is often outside a lot longer, and dinner occurs around 8:30pm. Fortunately I  had my act together (ie got some meat out of the freezer in the morning) and managed to put together a stir fry.

Monday, 2 November 2015

October 31st and November 1st The Annual Migration Is Upon Us

We did have a bit of an outing, and I am going to include a photo NOT taken by me. We attended a housewarming at my very good friend Judy and her hubby Chris' new home. It was an open day and after a day spent with Christmas preparations, we made it there in the evening. Here is the lovely Judy and myself

Yes folks, Christmas has entered the building.  The Elephants have packed and started their march for their annual migration to deepest darkest A̶f̶r̶i̶c̶a̶  storage in our garage (what they don't know won't hurt them). The furniture has been rearranged and we are  ready for Xmas

We finished the weekend off with more Xmas preparations and have decided to ring in a few changes for this year. But not before George indulged in climbing the stairway to (near) Heaven. He said it was more like hell, very hot up in the roof cavity and he was cramped into a small roof space, with me down the bottom offloading.what he passed down.