Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Hi there

It's New Year's Day here in New Zealand as I type this.  26c in Wellington.  Hataitai Beach was really popular today.

above:  Today, NY's Day 2016, Hataitai Beach

above:  Worser Bay, two days ago

today's blog brought to you via my new laptop,  with a lot of in-depth concentration, stress, and cursing.

New Computer

Hi there

I got up early and was at the computer shop by 8 15 am, all set for battle in the famous Boxing Day sales.  The shop had opened at eight and was crowded already.  The assistants were all on a high and flitting from customer to customer like adrenalin-fuelled bumble bees.

I bought a  little laptop that I have yet to master without being petrified that each thing I do on it is going to be responsible for Terrible Things Happening.  Yesterday i got a computer guy in to set it up.  I swear he was speaking to me in an alien tongue;  is computer-speak registered as a foreign language?  It should be.

So, instead of writing today's blog on my spanking-new laptop, I am one-finger typing this on my Kindle tablet. Talk about a coward's way out  ....?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas TV Viewing

Hi there

On Christmas Day I was going to a restaurant for lunch, so was all dressed up, makeup as perfect as I could get it,  hair shiny bright, and i was filling in time before I left the house.  I switched on the tv to see what film was on.

It was the Winona Ryder version of "Little Women".  Now, I'd loved the book as a young girl so I knew the plot well.  I tuned in exactly at the most sad part of the whole story.  The tears poured down my cheeks.

Darn.  I hared off to the bathroom to wash my face and re-apply my make-up.  I returned to the movie.

And more tears.

Back to the bathroom, back to my make-up bag and, then, back to the movie.

I was sure that it would be safe now to finish watching.  No more traumatic happenings that I could recall.

But that last scene had me blubbering, and sniffing, and wailing, and all but hiccuping.  Kudos to the scriptwriters, and a big thank you to the ghost of Louisa May Allcott for the book.  

And I sure made Max Factor's day..

Thursday, December 24, 2015

CHRISTMAS DAY 2015 - in New Zealand

Hi there

I have just returned home from a lovely Christmas Day afternoon at the beach.  Lots of people came and went during the time I was there.  The water was warm.

For lunch I went to a restaurant for a special Christmas Day buffet.   I was scared that I might sink, going swimming directly afterwards because I had eaten a rather large meal.  But I have read that it's an old wives' tale about not swimming for an hour after you've eaten.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Beach towel envy

Hi there

Fame is a funny thing.  I am not envious of film stars,  or millionaires, or people who can set up computers with their eyes shut  (well, yes, maybe i am a tad jealous of people who can set up computers with their eyes shut).

But I do get - and I hate to admit it - riddled with beach towel envy.  I am always searching for the perfect beach towel.  The fluffiest beach towel ... the thickest ... the beach towel with the brightest colours ... the one that tells a story in a picture.   I want to locate the world's most perfect beach towel, the beach towel to bring me fame throughout Hataitai Beach, if not the world.

Sadly, such fame has been denied me.

My bestie beach friend who goes by the initial J has upped me.  And, to make it even more sad, by a fluke.

Her towel is an exact replica of the beach towel used by the hero in the Australian/New Zealand comedy/drama tv series "800 Words".

"The same pattern, size, colours, border-!"  J is jubilant.  Who knew that an  Aussie journalist who moved his rebelling family to a hicksville beach in  New Zealand (and yes, that's the plot of "800 Words") would shop at the same place as my friend, J.

This guy looks after it as carefully as if the towel were a treasured family  heirloom, only dropping it as he's about to enter the water.  Full exposure for the towel, if not the hero.

J, of course, is smugly happy.  Her beach towel is all but a television star!

Me?  I've thrown in the towel.  You win, J.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Hi there

A few kilometres from Ohope (I stayed at Ohope a couple of weeks ago) is the town of Whakatane.  For a Koha (donation), I hired a bicycle from the I-Site Visitor Information Office and rode along the  shared walkway that meandered beside the water .  One half of the walkway was in a more rural area.  I saw folk walking dogs, there was a bunny rabbit, a Japanese garden, and beautiful horses.  In the other direction, there were fishing boats, sculptures, and a cave.

Below:  a sculpture beside the estuary.  It's a kiwi bird in a sailor outfit.  Kids love it.

below:  a strawberry sundae at Julian's Berry Farm, Whakatane.  Yum-m-m-m...   Here's info on Whakatane.

MERRY CHRISTMAS - we get Christmas a whole day ahead of everywhere else in the world - na-na-na-na-na!   As those in the Northern Hemisphere are waking up on Christmas morning, here in New Zealand we'll be fat, happy, and already had our complete fill of the day.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas parking rage

Hi there

I am not inclined to road rage.  Parking rage, I'll admit to but, then, you already know this because of earlier blogs.  If a driver does dare to cross me (both literally and figuratively) in a public parking spot, my rage knows no bounds.   I ... fume silently. 

Outside The Warehouse, I drove into a marked park - uh, no, not quite right - and I backed out slightly and then drove forward again.  Nope, not in the middle of the white lines yet...  I backed  out again.  And in again, turning the steering wheel and concentrating like a Le Mans rally driver..

Ah.... perfect park!

I did my shopping, weaving in and out of shelves of Star Wars light sabers  and robots, and folk frantically buying rolls of wrapping paper on a two-for-one special, and bored husbands lolling against packed trolleys.

Back to my car, laden down with Christmas goodies -

"Oh, noooo-"

My car was hemmed in.  I couldn't open the driver's door.  I had to slide into my car from the passenger's side, heft my not so light-weight thighs across the gear stick, and wiggle under the steering wheel.

Oh, I was so mad.  I fantasised all the way home of dropping the bad parker into a vat of boiling oil.

Sorry, Santa, you have to take this guy off the nice list and transfer him over to the naughty one (if he ever was on the nice list in the first place) -

above: this is as far as I could get my door open and, no, I wasn't responsible for that mark on the other car's door.  I am the light blue car.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ordering my Coke fix!

Hi there

When buyers went into a dairy (convenience store) in the nineteen-fifties to buy a soft drink, the conversation always went something like this:

"I'd like a Coca-Cola please."

"Big or small?"


"Off the ice?"

"Yes, please."

"Are you going to drink it here?"


"Do you want it open?"


When I was about twelve, I rocked a dairy owner's world by sauntering into the shop at Worser Bay and proclaiming in one long determined breath, "A small bottle of Coca Cola off the ice opened to take away please."

I will never forget this man's happiness that I had cut so quickly to the chase. The bottle opener was in his hands in a flash.

And what's brought this memory back to me?  Well, rumour has it that once again we might be getting a few cents' refund on returned soft drink bottles.  This means that it should be cheaper for a consumer to drink a soft drink in a cafe or on a dairy owner's premises?  Can I really see that working nowadays?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Talking about Grannies...

Hi there

My friend was reminiscing to her grand-children on verses and poems she'd learnt years ago in Britain.  Here's one of them:

O ye canna shove yer Granny aff a bus,
O ye canna shove yer Granny aff a bus,
O ye canna shove yer Granny
'Cos she's yer Mammy's Mammy
O ye canna shove yer Granny aff a bus.

Ye can shove yer ither Granny aff a bus,
Ye can shove yer ither Granny aff a bus.
Ye can shove yer ither Granny
Cos she's yer Daddy's Mammy
Ye can shove yer ither Granny aff a bus.

Now, can you guess what my friends' grandkids did immediately after they got home?  Of course, you can.  They recited the poem to both their mother and their "'ither Granny".  They didn't forget to mention who'd told  it to them.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bright is Right?

Hi there

I love wearing bright colours.  I do so hate walking into a clothing shop in winter and seeing racks of blacks, browns, and navy.  I am immediately depressed.

Today, I wore an orange jacket with a red shoulder bag.  Older folk might still consider this colour combination an abomination, but I felt so happy bouncing down the street.  Summer was here,  I could break out in a rainbow of colours!

When I started work at sixteen, I wore a green dress with huge blue poppies all over the skirt.  Everybody commented on my daring to wear blue and green together.  The saying went "Blue and green, never seen".

Any hint of silver or gold could not be worn until evening, and as my mother was prone to quote  "If you wear green, you'll wear black" - meaning that you would soon hear of a death.  In hind-sight, I wonder if this saying has something to do with the troubles in Northern Ireland?; how sad if, by the nineteen-sixties, it had turned into a fashion statement?.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A load of Bulls

Hi there

I suddenly zipped off to Ohope for two weeks, and returned last night.  Ohope has been voted New Zealanders' Most Loved Beach.  It doesn't have golden sands, or trendy cafes that face the sea, or water that's truly accessible for proper swimming - the breakers are scary, but it's so nice to just wander along this long, long beach and meeting dogs and their owners, and seeing anglers, and nodding 'hello' to folk, and watching kids boogie boarding, and admiring Whale Island....

On my way back home yesterday, I passed through the little country town of Bulls.  As my five readers know by now, Bulls is one of my favourite places because they smirk at themselves over the name 'Bulls'

Bulls is on Highway No 1 in the North Island.   They've gone all Christmassy, with real Christmas trees tied to lampposts.  Sadly, I wondered how long those trees would stay there before being stolen.   They also have seats that folk can sit on and move around to follow the shade.

above: Ohope Beach

below: Bulls

PS:  talk about topical ... I've just seen an article on Stuff about the street decorations in Bulls!  Apparently the decs have been donated because Bulls didn't think they would be able to afford to decorate their street this year.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Paws up for cats!

Hi there

Googling 'cats' is apparently a top past-time.   One memorable episode of The Big Bang Theory shows the gang transfixed in front of a computer watching cats playing ping-pong.  Hey, who wouldn't want to see that?

Through Google you can see cute cats, funny cats, cats not wanting to be bathed, cats leaping toward things (and missing), cats wailing 'Hello', cats in silly outfits ...

Oh, I do so like cats.  And movies.  And food.  And Pepsi.   Talk about a great  picture:  this one has every element that I love.