Monday 24 October 2022

In the garden today

These people were not in the garden, but they came for breakfast on Saturday to help consume the asparagus mountain...

Our garden is looking wonderful at the moment. I have to give credit where it's due - it is all down to Shona who is the most amazing gardener.

And spring has certainly arrived - the roses are budding, the rhodos are blooming and the cabbage tree is flowering too.

The roses have a lovely perfume, the rhodo is lovely and I have no idea what the other bract of flowers is ...

Cinerarias - self sown and thoroughly reliable

A climbing rose, a camellia, the rhodo and the cabbage tree. Comparing the motorhome and the cabbage tree it is clear just how damn tall it is!

The snowball tree with stocks and a beautifully perfumed mauve rose behind it and a white carpet rose beside.

That bud will turn mauve shortly.

Who knows what this is?

The yellow climbing rose

The lemon tree looks very healthy. It has grown a lot since Rob planted it a few years ago.

We planted this rhodo to replace a beautiful creamy-apricot coloured one we had to cut down to be able to fit the motorhome beside the garage. It smells lovely too. I am still looking for an apricot coloured one though ...

The stocks have gone crazy ...

Thursday 20 October 2022

And away we went...

There is a hiatus in my work at the moment - the Detailed Business Case is out for a 10 day review by stakeholders, so we took the opportunity to head  away for at least 12 days. Judy had planned a Zero Degrees Weekend in Turangi and we were excited to see everyone again. 

We started our holiday by going to see Denny and Cheryl in Whanganui. At first it was going to be an overnight stay, but ended up being 4 nights. Such a huge amount of laughter with too much yummy food (thank you, Cheryl) and lots of chat.

David and I did a lovely bike ride on Monday - it didn't start out as lovely though. Because while Whanganui has a great cycle path down through to the river and then along the northern side of it to Upukongaro, ACP wasn't very diligent or accurate in explaining the instructions he'd been given by Cheryl about how to get down to the river ... I'm blaming ACP because he's not sitting next to me reading over my shoulder. However it is a proven fact that he remembers the first couple of instructions and then tunes out.

So we made a couple of errors, the most severe of which was that we missed the beginning of St Hill St which has a 3 metre wide cycle and pedestrian path, and we ended up having to cycle on a non-cycle way footpath along Wicksteed St - I did stop to talk to 2 policemen and ask them how we had messed up, in case they wanted to send us on to the roadway (too dangerous for pensioners, I think).

We were connected to each other (ACP and me) by phone. However David was using his hearing aids as his listening device connected to his phone and the wind noise was horrendous in my ears. I find noise a real stressor so I had to give up our being able to chat - what with riding on the road down Guyton St, waiting for David to get across intersections even though I had assured him the way was clear of traffic he still felt the need to use his defective eyesight to check (AAARRRGGGHHH!!!), the ghastly noise in my ears was too much!

We made it down to the riverside about a kilometre along from where we should have got to it. But once we were on the cyclepath things were much more settled and happy.

We rode up towards and through Aramoho, and stopped to look at the house our friends Mary and Alan used to live in, and also at the first house we owned way back in 1975. 


4A Caffray Ave, Aramoho. We paid $12,000 for it in 1975, sold it for $18,000 in 1980. A small 2 bedroomed place with a sleepout behind the garage and a quarter acre section - great for backyard cricket.

Then back past the Pylon Dairy (we used to find all the bottles we could get a refund on to buy a loaf of Sunday bread for 32 cents - the weekday bread was AWFUL) and past the former butcher shop on the end of our street - I once won a $70 meat raffle and it lasted for about 10 weeks I think!

Then on up Somme Parade we went (the road on the other side of the river is called Anzac Parade - you can see the connection) and I mentioned to David that I didn't ever remember going up that far. Then we came to the school I used to teach at part time back in the late 70s ... Doh! My memory had certainly faded about the surroundings!

On we went, partly on the very quiet road and then on a lovely cycleway again, and finally we came to the lovely new bridge across the river to the little village of Upukongaro. There is a wonderful cafe there where we met Denny and Cheryl for lunch. 

Cheryl very kindly explained again (but with me listening this time) the way we should have come. So we decided to try that - what a fabulous ride up St Hill St from the river. Just brilliant! And we found we had messed up early on the way down too. On the way back, we followed a guy who clearly knew what was what - and found the right and much simpler route ...

When we got back we needed a nap - we'd cycled about 26 kms all up. But best laid plans and all that. ACP realised he had lost one of his hearing aids - he'd put them both very carefully in his pocket when we'd stopped talking over the phone on the ride. But when we got back into the motorhome, there was only one... Bugger! So after checking the pocket several times with no change in result, he phoned the insurance company. The customer services person was lovely, very helpful and sympathetic. David felt better about it especially as there was no excess given we are so old ... So outside he goes and what does he find on the concrete outside the motorhome - yep, a hearing aid. Even with his defective eyesight, he saw it. What is that about? If I'd asked him to find something that small, he would have declared it impossible. But find it, he did. How he didn't stand on it, I am not sure ...

That evening, I told David I thought it would be good if he could charge my bike battery as it was down to 3 bars. He looked thoughtful and I thought he was going to tell me he'd worked out there was no need. But no - he was pondering and had just realised he hadn't packed the battery chargers... Oh bugger, just like the Toyota ads ( watch this ) We did check to see if Denny or Cheryl's chargers were compatible, but no.

We were going to need more than half a charge if we were to do any biking in Turangi, so we got up the next morning and drove home to collect them. It was only just over 2 hours there and two hours back with lunch at home in between, and we passed the time listening to podcasts (James O'Brien Full Disclosure and Rachel Maddow Ultra). We were easily back in time for David to join Denny for a beer before dinner!

Early on Wednesday morning, I went with Cheryl to the local swimming pool and did about 900 lengths of the pool walking - well, probably only about 30. We were in the water for an hour, so two minutes a length sounds about right. I have to say that later that day my thighs felt decidedly tired ...

David and I were meeting Tom, an old friend from my Telecom days, at a cafe down on Taupo Quay. We biked down and this time we knew the way ... The cafe is called The Burrow - it's more of a deli than a cafe, I think. It has fabulous food and kitchen items and Tom says its coffee is the best. It was good but given I'm not an aficionado, I leave that judgement call to him.

We had been going to bike to see Tom's house in Castlecliff later that day, but realised it involved either an extremely long ride beside the river and a short road piece, or a shorter but-all-on-the road ride. Nah to both. We unhooked from the power, lifted the stabilisers and drove the motorhome instead. 

Tom has done (or as he said, paid others to do) a stunning job of renovating his house and garden. It's beaut!

In between our two meetings with Tom, we had a call from Judy - upshot was the Turangi weekend was called off - one person definitely has covid, and three more may well be in the process of getting it. So a change of plan. David and I would head home the next day.

But not before we had been to cook breakfast at Mary and Alan's house - only for Mary as Alan was in hospital. In expectation of a house-load of asparagus eaters at Turangi, I had purchased a huge amount of asparagus just north of Levin on our way back up to Whanganui after collecting the chargers. Denny doesn't like it, Cheryl eats a small amount of it, but I knew Mary loves it.

So the next morning we packed up and left D&C's place with big hugs and lots of thank yous for lovely fun, fabulous food, much laughter and wonderful hospitality, and we headed up to see Mary.

Scrambled eggs, asparagus drizzled with lemon juice, toasted sourdough - yum. Mary brought out her homemade lime marmalade - more toast required ...

A reasonably rapid drive home and it was straight back to work for me - my leave period had been significantly shorter than planned. But there was a task to do so I did it, but gosh, it takes me a while to get back up to speed!

We still have LOTS of asparagus, even though I gave some to Mary. Hence we have Bruce, Gary, David R and a friend, Leith, and Peter coming for breakfast tomorrow. That'll get rid of a substantial portion of it!

And I only took one photo for the whole time we were away! What's that about?

Sunday 9 October 2022

Food for thought

For various reasons (including lots of rain making it unattractive to go walking or biking, too much work taking up too many hours and too much energy, and too many tempting things to eat) both David and I have regained some of the weight we had lost. In part, David's weight gain has been brought on by the Androgen Deprivation Therapy and not using his rowing machine for several months; however if he'd eaten less, the weight would not have appeared around his middle. 

Bah humbug and lots of naughty words from both of us!

I blame chocolate and ice-cream for being difficult to resist, and I blame the woman in this house who makes delicious sourdough bread. And I blame her because she stopped thinking about the very healthy food and started letting too much of the slightly unhealthy stuff in to the diet. There are two key things there: change from very healthy to healthy, and too much ... Probably too many cheese scones kept being made as well!

Anyway, things have changed - no more relying on two slices of sourdough toast for breakfast and as part of dinner. We have reverted to far more vegetable servings at lunch and dinner, with fruit, yoghurt and homemade muesli for brekkie.

Dinner on Saturday was homemade falafels on sourdough with aoli, lemon yoghurt, avocado and lettuce salad. David has amended his falafel recipe to have cumin and coriander seed, but no cayenne - the downside for him is that I now like them ...

Sunday's dinner: once I have dished out the amount of the salads that I want, David really likes to eat the remaining 70% out of the bowls... This is called a stacked dinner 😆

Here's what it looks like on a plate, properly served: asparagus with lemon juice and butter (I didn't eat all of that butter, honest!), lettuce salad with multiple veg in it and a honey, grated ginger and lemon juice dressing, and a roast carrot with paprika and canellini bean salad with cress from the garden ( and a dressing of lots of parsley and mint, lemon juice, garlic and a bit of olive oil).

The roasted carrot and bean salad was delicious and I will make it again. I reckon it would be yummy with kumara, parsnip or pumpkin or a mix of all of them. Could also be good with potato.

Tonight we had falafels with mushroom salad, and David had some left over cassoulet (no chorizo in it) as well.

David is going to the mid-week market at the little Waikanae mall tomorrow morning to buy more vegetables. Then his task will be to make a coleslaw. My task will be to decide what to have with it. Perhaps a kumara and chickpea curry with cauliflower rice?

Definitely no ice-cream or chocolate though! 

By the way, we now have tickets for going to the UK and for coming home. So plans are coming along nicely ...

Wednesday 5 October 2022

nb Waka Huia is out of the sick bay

Thank heavens for our friend Julia, Debdale Wharf Marina staff and John's Boat Canopies. They have all helped to get Waka Huia well again after her two years out and about between Debdale and London without us...

It's been quite a convalescence for our poor old boat. She has needed wooden panels (and trim) replaced where leaking window frames had been neglected and the panels suffered water damage. 


One of several ...

Window frames have been repaired, a missing light fitting has been replaced, the whiteware has been cleaned out and all the doors have been left propped open, the curtains, squab covers and Duvulay topper pad covers have been removed for washing, and some pillows and cushions that were in a parlous state along with other tat have been dispatched to the tip. And the outside of the boat is getting a thorough wash.

If we had CSI-inclined friends, we could probably get this dirt forensically examined and plot where nb Waka Huia has been over the last 2.5 years ...

The Debdale people are winterising her so she will be in working condition when we return in April - boaters reading this will know that unless the boat is winterised effectively, we would likely come back to burst water pipes, a non-functioning water pump, condensation and diesel bug in the diesel tank, and toilet tank contents that would take a jackhammer to dislodge ...

As it is when we get back, we know we will need to do a thorough clean of the inside of the boat - cigarette smoke lingers and sticks and stinks...

We have arranged with John of John's Boat Canopies to come to us as soon as we arrive to measure up for a new pram cover as the old one is now a shadow of its former self with missing eyelets and broken zips and much mildew and it reeks of cigarette smoke.


And for our bed I am ordering a new mattress that I will ask to be there when we arrive.

We aren't sure what equipment will need replacing, but we can sort that when we arrive. We are going to stay with Julia for a couple of nights so we can break ourselves in gently and shop for the necessities easily.

We are really looking forward to being back on board, and simultaneously we are anxious about what we are going to find.

Trust me, we have learned our lesson well - having to pay a few thousand pounds in convalescent care is a good teacher, and being informed that there will be no contribution from the one who caused the injuries cements the lesson firmly...