Friday, December 8, 2017


Hi there

A few weeks ago I got it into my head that I'd like to go to Whitianga which is a coastal town higher up the North Island of New Zealand.  And so I went there.

I was in Whitianga for a week.  Lovely swimming, terrific weather.  So many things to see and places to go.  I ate a lot.  I drove there and back.  My driving is on borrowed time because of my poor eyesight.

  Driving back home, I thought that Lake Taupo looked beautiful, and the weather was extremely warm so. on the spur of the moment, I stayed in the town of Taupo for three nights.

On Thursday, it was so hot in Taupo that I had three swims in the lake over a period of an hour and a half.  As I was getting out of the water,  some scientific guys were arriving with signs that they dug into the ground declaring that the lake water was unsafe to swim in due to high levels of toxic algae bloom.  The guys took water samples and were warning people away from the lake.  Apparently swimmers could come down with rash, respiratory troubles, headaches, eye infections, etc.

I've warned my friends that the time to worry is when I start to glow in the dark, or mutate into a weird creature, or if Skittles-like spots cover my body.  My friends are watching me like hawks, afraid it all might be catching.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tying bows

Hi there

I was at the hairstylists' the other day and please  note that I didn't say the old-fashioned term of 'hairdresser' because I am so up to modern-day usage.

Anyway, I was moaning to the hairdresser (whoops...) about bows on clothes.

"I cut mine off my blouse," I said.  "They were on the sleeves and annoying me with all that  flapping."

"You're so right."  My hairstylist  pointed to her own shoes.  Apparently she'd cut the bows off them.

A second hairstylist butted into the conversation.   "I cut the bows off this top I'm wearing," she said.  "From the middle of the neckline."

This got the three of us talking -

We wondered who kept coming up with the idea that women liked bows as clothing attachments?  Bows are always coming undone. A wearer can never get them looking pristinely tied again once they come apart.   They look ungainly, and six year old girls playing with Barbie and My Little Pony must surely be the only females who like bows as an accessory?

Bows?  Huh?  Who's joining me in a nation-wide boycott?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Supermarkets, drat them!

Hi there

Does anyone else have the same trouble as I do when they pop into the supermarket for 'just one thing'?

"Ooohh, what's this-"  I reach to a shelf.  "Cake In A Cup?  A cake made in a cup?  In the microwave? In just one minute with just a spoonful or three of milk?  Good golly, I need this." 

I take a packet containing four helpings.  Then I  reach for more packets.  I mean, come on, it's a cake in a cup, for goodness sake.

The floodgates are open.  I can get three packets of jelly babies for just $5, two chops for the price of one and, OMG , Weightwatchers meals are on special and so I scoop up three meals.

Ten minutes later, I've swapped my shop basket for a trolley.

By the time I get to the car with a trolleyfull of  swag, I've completely forgotten to buy the four-pack of toilet rolls, the one product I came in for.  Oh well, pass me today's newspaper please!

Friday, November 17, 2017

walking Wellington

Hi there

I love walking around Wellington.  One of my fave walks is from Miramar Wharf to Oriental Bay.  I puff and pant up the Hataitai hill that's behind the cafe at Greta Point, then walk for a while with the sea a long way down on my right.  When I am almost at the end of the peninsular and I can get a glimpse of the sea on my opposite side, I cross the road to go down the lovely green-belt zig zag path to Oriental Bay.  Oriental Bay is named after one of the first ships, the Oriental.

Here's looking down to Oriental Bay and the city from the top of the zig zag .  A dark day -

Friday, November 10, 2017

Being perfect

Hi there

The good news is that when I was assessed yesterday for my forthcoming cataract surgery, I had a health check, and my blood pressure and heart were both declared perfect.  Perfect!  Wow!

Take that, Mary Poppins - you're only "Practically Perfect".  But I am ... "Perfect".  It's enough to make me swoon.

The bad news is I have to wait till almost Christmas for my cataract surgery.  My friend says that he refuses to go to Christmas Day dinner with me if I'm wearing an eye patch.  Another friend says that her Christmas present buying dilemma as to what to buy me is now solved;  she's off to purchase a shoulder parrot and a cutless.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Cataracts

Hi there

A friend of mine's doctor said to her,  "I only have to look at your age to know you've got cataracts..."

Over ten years ago, I was told I had little bitty (not the correct medical term) cataracts in the corner  of each eye.  I worried at the time but, after a few years, when they didn't grow,  I never gave my cataract problem much of a further thought.  The diagnosis of glaucoma was a more important worry.

Imagine my surprise when on my return from America I was diagnosed with a cataract in one eye to justify a surgical procedure. Tomorrow I am to have a Wellington Hospital pre-assessment.  The surgical procedure should be soon.

And, I have heard various tales, rumours, myths about the length of time it will be before I can swim again.  Somewhere between one and two months seems to be the consensus.



(7 swims so far this month.)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

City flowers

Hi there

It's so nice to get a sweet pretty place right-smack-dab in the middle of Wellington city.  It's only a small little garden, and it's between a couple of pedestrian crossings, with shops all round, but how great to spot prettiness where you least expect it.  Thanks, Wellington City Council.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween in Miramar

Hi there

"Trick or treat!"  Two ghostly kiddiewinks (Dad hovering in the background) hollered at me as I opened my front door.  I rushed my hand to my heart in fright.  An Oscar-winning performance if I do say so myself.

I said, "I don't have any lollies ("candy' If you're American, 'sweeties' if you're British).  "But here's $2 apiece-" .

The kiddies oohhed and aahhed in appreciation. Their dad handed me two notepads emblazoned with the logo of his real estate office.

Ah, sponsorship - it's everywhere.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Beautiful Day at Hataitai Beach

Hi there

Oh, yes, we are on the cusp of summer.  Today (Saturday NZ time) was so warm, so sunny, with beautiful blue sky, and people poured out to the beach.   There were a couple of waka (outriggers)  in the bay, kids were splashing and ... transparent baby jellyfish!  The jellyfish were harmless but they kept on banging into me whilst I was in the water and it was annoying.  One of the regulars called them 'creepy'.  The little jellyfish felt about the size of a pea, the larger ones felt about triple that size.  Some kids were scooping up the jellyfish and throwing them at each other.

Oh, I didn't want this day to end, it was so lovely at the beach.  We were all singing that song that goes,  "In the summer-time, do-do-do-do-do-doh!"  However, I won't be there tomorrow if those jellyfish are still there.

Below:  Hataitai Beach,  look at that blue sky-

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Thief at Hataitai Beach

Hi there

One of our swimming group was in the sea the other day when she looked across to the deck to see a guy rummaging through her bag.  She yelled at him and he strolled off as if he didn't have a care in the world, but without taking anything.  He was a short mature man with short grey hair and wearing dark clothes.

So, everyone, beware.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Going to the movies

Hi there

I went to the movies last week, flashed my Reading Cinemas loyalty card, and waited for my ticket.  The guy behind the counter said, "You've got a free small drink, free popcorn, and $5 off your ticket."


I went to another movie today.  "You've got a free large drink and $5 off your ticket," said the guy behind the counter.

"No, I got that last week," I said, mentally kicking myself for my honesty.  Duh.

Turned out that everything was above board.  I happily luxuriated in my half-price seat, chugging my free drink and fighting every step of the way with a broken-legged (whining) Kate Winslett as she clambered over jolly big rocks and snowy mountains - plane crashes can lead movie heroines into such dangerous circumstances!

Thanks, Reading.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Hi there

A short time back I was trying to recall the name of someone from my past.  I was positive it had slipped from my mind forever.  For days I tried to recall it.  I said to myself, "I wish I could remember Pamela Smith's^ name."

Huh?  And, well, what do you know-?  The name had come to me just like that!

But the funny thing is that my friend had the exact same experience some time back.  We had  laughed hysterically over this happening.  It must be more of a common occurrence than we both thought ...

^not her real name

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Airport tower

Hi there

I don't live too far away from the Airport Retail Park which has the normal shops to it, eg The Warehouse, Kathmandu, Briscoes, Bed Bath & Beyond, No 1 Shoes, Rebel....

There was once a time when an airport tower would actually be on the very edge of an airport runway.  Nowadays the towers seem to be away from the airport.  Our soon-to-be-finished airport tower is right-slap-dab in the centre of the Lyall Bay retail complex.  It's quite a way over the Wellington Airport fenceline.  I guess the radar (?) control operators rely on screens rather than visuals nowadays?

You can't tell by the below photo but the tower has been built on an artistic slant.  I wonder how long it will be before photographers start treating it like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and get friends to act as if they're pushing the tower over, or helping it to stand upright?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Those American Sauces

Hi there

Americans sure love their sauces.  I was astounded,  in Vegas, to see the immense range of sauces at buffets and cafes.

Today I'm reading about McDonalds.  Apparently some special sauce was due to hit McD  stores in the States.  Hardly any sauces turned up, culminating in a drastic shortage.  Because of the shortage, there have been riots and demos outside the stores.  Oh dear.

I went to one cafe inside the Rio Hotel in Vegas and was absolutely astounded by the amount of sauces (in packets) for the taking -

Friday, October 6, 2017


Viva, Las Vegas ...


Vegas will rise again!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Car keys

Hi there

I have an ordinary, old-fashioned, actual key for my car.  None of that pressing a button from a distance to gain access to the vehicle.   Heavens to Betsy, I am such a dinosaur.

I can't have a press-from-a-distance key because I  swim a lot, and I keep my car key on a plastic coil scrunchie that I wear on my wrist.  I don't forget the time a Hataitai Beach swimmer got her bag stolen whilst she was in the water.  Her car keys were in her bag.  Her car got stolen as well.

I hired a car a few years' ago and, without thinking, put the electronic key onto my wrist scrunchie prior to swimming in Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu.

Whoops.  After my swim, the car door wouldn't open when I pressed the key from a distance, nor would it open when I inserted the key into the door lock.  Silly (wet) electronic parts!

I had to call the hire car company for rescue.  Never did I admit to them what had actually happened.

Is it any wonder that I now unlock my car doors manually, with an actual turn-key?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Getting back on that horse

Hi there

I was scared going back to the gym this week.  It had been seven weeks, the longest time away from doing gym stuff in 24 years.  I had to be very careful not to overdo any exercise because my body wasn't used to it, what with my holiday, and plus my sickness.

"I'm scared to get back on the horse," I said to my friend J.  It was an old saying but highly appropriate.

J emailed me encouragement by way of the below image.

The gym workout turned out OK.  I was only a fraction sore the following day.  Oh, and 5 swims this month.  Triumph!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hataitai Beach Swimming

Hi there

In between the flu, and the gluggy eyes, and the laser treatment, I have managed to get in three swims this month.  A triumph for me, but still only halfway towards the number of swims that my two swimming friends, The Young One and J, have notched up.

The early afternoon sun now shines on the changing shed at the beach.   Directly after a swim, if I lean back against the palings of the shed and stretch my arms out wide to either side of me, pressing down hard against the wall, there is a summertime warmth all across my wet skin; it's heaven!

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Hi there

No, the title of this writing isn't in Klingon.  It's the piece of equipment that was used on my eyes at the Wellington Hospital Eye Clinic to release the pressure from behind my eyes.

The laser makes tiny holes in the iris.  And a laser?  Goodness, talk about "Buck Rogers in the 21st Century", eh? Today's inventions rival many of those old sf shows.  And again ... a  laser?  Wow!

I admit I was scared.  I mean, lasers can cut through steel, and walls, and concrete.  The operator only had to sneeze and I'd be a goner.

"I've got an eye infection," I had admitted earlier to the doctor operating the laser.  My eyes were red inside, and outside.  The lids were an eyelash away from glueing together.

But after due discussion with a nurse or two (who seemed to be totally against me being lasered), the doctor made the decision to go ahead.  I had to sign a consent form that would absolve him, the nurses,  the hospital, the laser, Uncle Tom Cobley and all, from any responsibility.

And now I have to wait until the 29th of  September to see if the laser work was successful -

"If not," the doctor informed me, "surgery is the next step."

Such a joy germ...

Friday, September 8, 2017

Glaucoma, yuck!

Hi there

Not only do I still have gluggy eyes from my "American Flu", I also have an out-patients hospital appointment on Monday to have the pressure released from my eyes, via some sort of laser technique.

Scared, much?  You betcha.  I had to give up wearing contacts because I couldn't stand seeing my finger coming towards my eyes when I put the lenses in.  When I told the eye doctor this, he said "Well, you're certainly in the wrong place today," and clutching a small bottle of eye drops proceeded to inch that bottle towards my eyes.   I squirmed in my seat like a five year old.

My one hope is that the glaucoma doctors at the hospital will see that my eyes are still "American Flu" gluggy, and will send me home.  Oh, I am such a coward...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Me and Star Trek

Hi there

Yes, okay, all right, I quite like Star Trek, in all its incarnations.  But I also like Star Wars (so sue me!).

In the States last month when I was visiting show biz places, studios, and exhibits,  I chanced upon a lot to do with the new Star Trek: Discovery.  This tv show is starting in the States at the end of this month.  It is set within ten years of classic Star Trek.  It's concentrated more on Klingon people and the Klingon worlds.

Practically the whole series is done with a blue screen (or is that green screen?  I can never remember which colour is used for which thing,  Oops, you can tell I'm not a real Trekker, huh?).  All the weapons, communicators and what-not were done on a 3D computer.

above: Klington stars Mary Chieffo and Kenneth Mitchell (taken from  photo so not very clear).  They had a Klingon language tutor, but only learnt phrases

above:  ST uniform.  Note the zip pocket in the leg.  They must have copied me.  Whenever I travel, I make sure that I have a sideways zip pocket lower down my trouser leg too!

 above:  space outfitt

above: Harry Mudd, a favourite from classic Star Trek, is back

Saturday, September 2, 2017

One not-so-wise monkey

Hi there

For sixteen days I've been sick -

Five days with laryngitis.
Gluey eyes for five days.
Deaf In one ear for twelve days.

Talk about the three wise monkeys all rolled into one.

But there should be a fourth not-so-wise monkey, sitting there all droopy and depressed.  Me.

I'm still coughing, still having trouble seeing, and still feeling completely under the weather.

Still, I went out of the house today for a half-hour walk.  I was as weak as a kitten.  Hey, but ... baby steps?  Better than nothing, eh?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

TV Ads

Hi there

When I was in America I noticed there was a real difference between American tv ads and NZ tv ads.

In the American ads there's no wind-swept hair, no floor mess, no peeling paint, no cluttered kitchens, no mis-matched clothing.  No naughty humour.

The actors look and act as if they're all in Coca Cola advertisements - so perfect.

Here's a couple of kiwi ads -

I don't think the above ad would make it in America?

What is it about kiddies in advertisements that makes it so difficult to understand them?  And coupled with a kiwi accent, would overseas viewers know what the heck the kids in the above ad are talking about?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

My American Flu

Hi there

On my seventh day back from America I dragged myself out of bed to visit the doctor.  Struggling with a runny nose, five days of total laryngitis, innumerable aches and pains, gummy-closed eyes, losing 6kg in four and a half days, and a hacking killer cough ...

"It's going around", said the doctor.

Wait-  what-?  Going around?  I drew myself up tall to my full five feet height, and looked snootily across the desk to the man.

This - my illness - was most definitely not 'going around'.  "It's American flu," I haughtily declared.   "I caught it in America."

'My' flu was so obviously an advanced strain, a strain not included in the NZ 2017 winter flu vaccination programme, of which I had fully partaken of prior to my American visit.
Obviously I truly did have this advanced strain of flu.  I was most probably in the first wave of carriers, if not, in fact, numero uno.   Respect please where respect was due.

After googling symptoms on his computer, the doctor sent me away less $45, with no prescription to make me feel I was, at least, getting my money's worth, but with plastic reassurances that I wasn't in the last throes of some terrible life-threatening illness.  However he did have a lovely bedside-whoops-I-mean-deskside manner.

I'm now in the 10th day of American Flu, my eyelids only clump together now if I close them for over half an hour, and my barking cough is still scaring off every cat in the neighbourhood.  Looking on the bright side, my laryngitis bout is over and I can now talk to my friends about my trip - I know they were so looking forward to hearing me nattering on about that for hours!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

America's Got Talent

Hi there

Above:  Here's a pic of the fountain outside Wynn Casino in Las Vegas.  That flying saucer thing behind the fountain is Fashion Show Mall - love that mall!  I have read that the Bellagio Hotel and Casino people are going to fill in their famous fountains and gardens and also put in a mall.

In Hollywood, I bought a ticket at the Dolby Theatre box office to go on a 3 pm tour of the theatre.  The Dolby is where the Oscars are broadcast from.  Anyway, just as I  almost  reached the upstairs doors, ticket clutched in hand, the security guys put up a barricade blocking my way.

"But I should be going in there now," I shouted.  I could see my group being led in the main doors.

"No, you're not allowed..."

I rushed over to the other side where another barricade was being put in place.  Again, I was refused, regardless of my telling them over and over again that I was on a tour.

A security woman continually told me that I couldnt go in.  She passed the message on to others. 
Several security guards told me to go away.  I did.  I rushed downstairs to the box office and was given a box office security guy, plus a ticket for the next tour as I had missed the first one.  So now, it was security guys arguing with each other.  The box ofice guy gave up with a shrug, and the barricade guys started erecting security beeper doorways, and tables for the future checking of  people and bags.

I moved from one barricade to another. Noone helped me....

...until the box office security guard came back and spoke to some bald barricade guy who looked like he was in charge.

The bald guy was the producer, or director, or whatever to do with the tv show "America's Got Talent" and he thought I was one of the hundreds of shouting fans dangling over the barricades.  His live tv show was due to start in the theatre in a few  hours. He apologised to me, said he'd seen me but didn't understand that the theatre was conducting tours at the same time as he was setting up for his show.

By now five others had joined me for the tour.

Ending: inside the theatre,  we got to see a singer on America's Got Talent in full rehearsal mode, complete with lights, lasers, settings.  He was 17 year old Christian somebody-or-other and he sang "Make it Rain".  He had about ten mirrors behind him and before he got to sing, ten mirror polishers came on and each polished a mirror (why on earth couldnt one man have done the ten mirrors?).  After Christian sang, some woman in a bathrobe and fluffy slippers (Tyra Banks?) came out and told Christian how magnificent he was, and - out of sight - we could hear judges gushing over the singer.  They weren't the proper judges, just a rehearsal panel.

The theatre was so beautiful, and there were dozens of Americas Got Talent people bustling everywhere.  The full show would have gone out live that evenng (Monday of last week) before a live ticket-holding audience of thousands upon thousands who would all be waiting behind the barricades for that night-time show.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

I'm back!!

Hi there

I'm back from my overseas holiday.  I arrived two days ago.  As I emerged from the plane in Wellington, I had a headache.  By the time I got home, my nose was running.  As I got into bed (it was midnight), my throat started to hurt.  The following morning, I felt ... yuck!!!! 

I had a great time in Las Vegas but I don't think I can handle the heat there anymore.  It's time to say farewell, I figure.  When I'm happily on holiday I forget to eat and drink and I got totally dehydrated one day.  I felt so awful!

Other days, of course, I did remember to eat -

I went to Universal Studios in Los Angeles and saw the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction - the butterbeer was sooooo delicious:

 and I visited Paramount Studios where I got transported .....  Yep, Star Trek.


I saw Cher singing her classic hits in the same costumes as her early videos.  She arrived on stage riding an elephant (fake).  Here' a very blurry picture -

I had lots of nice meals and some terrible ones.  I met many lovely people -  I've said it before and I'll say it again, Americans are so-so-so polite.

My plane from Australia to Los Angeles had to deviate to Honolulu to get our toilets fixed, adding three hours to the schedule.  Ugggghhh.... 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

See you later -

Hi there

And bye there .....

Lorraine, xxxxx

Monday, July 24, 2017

We're all going on a summer holiday (etc)!

Hi there

Whenever I'm nearing the start of a holiday I always break out ( very untunefully) into Cliff Richard's "Summer Holiday".  Today, I'm singing, dancing, somersaulting, walking on air because I'm off to Las Vegas next week.

My house-sitting friend from Auckland (plus husband) arrived last night.  I doubt if I'll see her much before I leave. This morning she's off to Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand).  She has all sorts of adventures planned for the days ahead, including Wellington on a Plate - she'll be scooting here, there, and everywhere, all around the Wellington restaurant and cafe scene.

You won't hear from me for about two and a half weeks.  Sorry, but.... wooo-hoooo!!!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

song lyrics- good? bad?

Hi there

I was at the gym a while back.  Vintage music was playing over the speakers.  I guess a nineteen-fifties thump-thump-thump rock'n'roll beat was considered highly motivational for all the fast moving that's required in circuit training..

The song was  "You've Got What it Takes".  The singer raucously vocalises about the faults in his girl-friend.  Apparently, she doesn't dress in the best of taste.  Oh, and nature didn't give her such a beautiful face -

"...but baby, you've got what it takes.."    Huh-?  What-?

How disparaging...

I loved the song when I was young, sang it with gusto, danced with my poodle skirt flaring around me (okay, it wasn't quite a poodle skirt - it had the name "Elvis" lovingly embroidered all over it by my own not-so fair hand and chain-stitched hearts and musical notes were interspersed amongst my declarations of love for The King).

Nowadays, I'm stunned by the writer's lyrics..  Sexist much?


Below are some photos I took a couple of weeks ago when there was a parade in Wellington for the arrival of the America's Cup.   Forty-five thousand people lined the streets to welcome the sailing team.    Yay, Hoo-ray!  We won the cup!  Thank you, Peter Burling, Grant Dalton, and the whole team.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hobbies and interests

Hi there

Every now and then, I get the urge to try something new.  I remember when I decided to give tatting a go.  That hobby lasted a week.  Archery was a year,  vampire romance reads another year, collecting dolls' clothes, phone cards, and paper weights were a fast and furious few months ...

A while back I got the urge to paint shells.  Once they were painted I hadn't a clue what to do with them, unlike a friend who does gorgeous little paintings on small stones and leaves them here, there, and everywhere (I occasionally help her out by strategically sitting a stone on a fencepost at Hataitai Beach).

It's time to toss the silly shells out.

Anyone got an idea for a new hobby?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

more winter swimmers?

Hi there

Wow, there are more winter swimmers?  And winter swimmers who are swimming just a few bays away from Hataitai Beach?  It sure is great to know there are others like J, The Young One, and myself . I expect there are pockets of older swimmers all around the coves and inlets of Wellington?

Hey Liz and Charles, do most people shake their heads in wonder and call you 'mad', like they do us ?  A few (very few) people have called us 'brave' which we rather bask in the glow of.  I very much like the word 'heroic' but sadly that hasn't been used yet, though I'm still hoping.

Thanks for your comments on our 21 June swim.  If we'd known you were around, we would have extended our shortest day Hataitai Beach invitation.  We should have pinned our shortest day flyers on other bathing shed walls, rather than just at Hataitai Beach (it was pretty difficult finding a way to get the flyer onto the wall in the men's changing shed - don't ask!).

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Miramar Creative Centre

Hi there

There 's a new creative centre in my suburb of Miramar.  I'm not quite sure what a creative centre does, but as the building is almost next door to Park Road Post Production, across the road from some casting offices, around the corner from Weta Workshop, down the street from Stone Street Studios, and amongst a spread of graphic/digital offices, I rather figure that the new Miramar Creative Centre  is to do with acting, directing, editing, computer graphics, and the like.  I'm thinking that portraitists, landscape artists, ballet dancers, jugglers and bagpipe players won't get a look in.  The creative centre is a division of Victoria University.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Those Bus Phone Calls

Hi there

And what about those people on the bus who make phone calls?  Loud phone calls.  Somehow these folk think that their calls are extremely  interesting to everyone else sitting captive in that same bus.

Last week, along with twenty or so passengers, i was forced by sheer proximity to listen in on a young lady talking to some guy -

"How about Saturday?" she was saying.  "We could go out Saturday...  Or Friday?  ...  Tomorrow?"

The conversation progressed, with the young lady pushing to set up a date.  It was so obvious to all of us in the bus that the lad wanted nothing to do with her.  How come she didn't see that?

On another day,  i was sitting in the bus opposite a teen of about seventeen as, via the phone, she told her mother how sick with the flu she felt.  Her boss was sending her home where Mum was now obviously waiting with a hot water bottle and a jar of Vicks Vapour Rub.  For 35 minutes everyone in the bus had to hear about this teen's symptoms in excruciating detail, the words sprinkled in and out of sneezes and hacking coughs.

I came down with a terrible head cold a couple of days' later.  I'm not pointing fingers ..

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Americas Cup - we got it!

Hi there

There are millions of people on this earth who have never heard of the Americas Cup, including millions in America who don't even think about yachts.  The Americas Cup Is officially the oldest sporting trophy in the world and I was the only person to voice this answer at a table quiz a few weeks back!  Kudos to me.

After four years of preparation and weeks of gruelling competition in Bermuda, Emirates Team New Zealand won!  I reckon every solitary person in New Zealand, the whole four and a half million of us, watched or listened to the unfolding drama of that final race against Oracle.  Oracle had its millionaire backer, we had dozens and dozens of sponsors and donators.

After the debacle (for us) of the Americas Cup competition four years ago, the country is now deliriously happy.  There is to be a ticker tape parade in Auckland next week.

Goodbye Bermuda, hello New Zealand

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mid-winter swim, 2017, Hataitai Beach

Hi there

Brrrrrhhhhhh!  June 21 was a fine day, but extremely cold.  We weren't going to hang around in wet bathing suits posing for photos, even if it was for J's personal paparazzo. So, we compromised.  Our little group posed after the swim, all wrapped up in our winter woollies, and proudly holding polar bear certificates to show we truly had done the plunge (actually it was my 10th swim for the month, and my friend J had beaten me by one swim).

We have learnt to dress very quickly and get to indoor heat as fast as possible after a winter swim.  Otherwise, for hours, we end up with chattering teeth, extreme shivering, blue skin, and frozen fingers and toes.  An important thing to remember is never-never shop in the frozen food aisle at Countdown directly after a winter swim!

(It's been said we look like a group of carol singers in the photo.  We are so open for paid offers come December.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rimutaka Forest Park

Hi there

My swimming friend J, her personal paparazzo, and myself went for a hike at the Wainuiomata end of the Rimutaka Forest Park.

It was a nice day, birds were warbling, we had a pleasant hike and a yummy picnic.  Also, as an added bonus, there was no slipping or falling (remember my famous forest fall the summer before last?).

Photos by J's Personal Paparazzo

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Speed Bumps

Hi there

I was seventeen.  My brand-spanking-new driving licence had been clutched in my hand for only three weeks.

I was driving through the gates at the Shelly Bay air force base that's right on the coastline here in Wellington.  It's a through road for the public.

A sign announced something to the effect of 'Speed Bump Ahead".

I read it as "Speed.  Bump Ahead".  Notice the subtle difference?

I raced toward that bump like a Le Mans rally driver.  My father's car took to the air.  I landed with a loud crash!  Thank heavens the car was intact.  My nerves certainly weren't.

I notice, nowadays, there are signs everywhere that say "Slow down.  Speed bumps ahead". Even at Shelly Bay.   Good thing, too.  Precious young teens in a funk with so much Road Code clutter in their heads might not be able to cope.

Friday, June 16, 2017

taking surveys

Hi there

I agree to take a phone survey.  I then agree to test a spanking new mystery product.  I am quite excited to be a guinea pig.  My friends will be ever-so jealous.

Wait-!  What?  I'm to test toilet paper?

I find at this point that I am a little over my initial excitement.

When the toilet rolls arrive, I read the accompanying instructions.  I have to fill out a questionnaire:

Is the toilet tissue soft to my body?  How many squares would I tear off at a time?   Does it rip easily?   How is the paper to flush?  Are width and length pleasing ?   How often would I use it ...?

Goodness, I am so finished with phone surveys.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Paying Bills

Hi there

Do you remember the times when we used to get 30 days to pay a bill?  I'm not sure if that was an official rule or just a "gentlemen's handshake" thing?

Last week I received my monthly phone bill from Spark, and from the time that bill landed in my letterbox to the close-off date for payment, it was eight days.

It doesn't help that New Zealand Post now only delivers mail three days a week.  I do understand that people aren't writing letters much anymore.

I suppose the time will come when I only get a couple of days in which to pay my bills.  If I'm on holiday I may miss out completely.  If I'm between paydays, I may be financially embarrassed.  Goodness, I may have to end up with automatic payments, via the internet?

Pity, because I love being a holdout rebel.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Zealandia Nature Reserve, Wellington

Hi there

Last weekend it was gold coin entry ($1 or $2) into the zoo and into the Zealandia nature reserve.  I went to the zoo on Saturday, and Zealandia on Sunday.  I managed to escape the rain, though it did rain later on.  The days were glowering, dull, dark.

I love hiking around the bushland in Zealandia.  Zealandia is huge, and completely fenced in.  Apparently it has the longest predator-free fence in a nature reserve of its size in the world.  There are tracks that take hours to walk, with so many birds warbling.

There's a man-made lake.  It was Wellington's original reservoir.  There are free buses every hour from Visitor Information, Te Papa Museum, and from the top of the cable car in Kelburn. There is a fee to get into both Zealandia and the zoo.

below:   on one of the bridges.

below:  the cheeky kea birds have learnt to press a pedal to open the lid of a feed dish.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Awakeri Rail Adventures, Whakatane

Hi there

While I was on holiday last week I went on an Awakeri Rail Adventure.  I drove something that looked like a golf cart along a decommissioned railway track that was in an area just before the township of Whakatane.

It was a lot of fun.  There were probably about five carts and we were led along the rails by a jigger (?), driven by an owner of the company.  Not that there was much driving involved.  There was a steering wheel, sure, but it was un-usable and it truly felt weird to just sit there, not using the thing.  We used the foot pedal to slow down, speed up, or stop.

We stopped the carts at one point to feed dozens upon dozens of geese, ducks, and hens who came running across from a farm to greedily welcome us.  Another time we stopped for  a bush walk, then we stopped for a bush afternoon tea.  We drove over a couple of narrow bridges over roads and little valleys. In total, about two and a half hours.  We travelled completely through lush greenery.

I took loads of photos but, of course, I lost my phone, so here is a photo from the Whakatane information site.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Those insurance companies

Hi there

It had been three years but finally, at last, thank goodness, I was coming to grips with the basic technological aspects of my pretty-in-pink pre-pay mobile phone.  Hooray.

But last week, in Whakatane, I lost my phone. Noooooooo...

I rang my insurance company. "It cost me $149," I told the insurance lady.

"Stop right there-"   The insurance lady sounded smug.

Turned out my insurance excess was $250.  The company would not be buying me a new phone after all.

I politely said "thank you",  in preparation for hanging up.

"No problem," said the insurance lady.

What?  Of course it was a problem!  I was going to have to pay out for a new phone.  How on earth could she say that wasn't a problem?  It was a BIG problem-!

... I'm so over insurance companies, and I'm going out tomorrow to buy myself that new (pink) phone.   It will take me a further three years to study the ins and outs of it.  I just don't have that much living time left to squeeze in learning yet another new tech contraption.


Friday, May 19, 2017

The Desert Road - snow!

Hi there

6.30,pm Saturday
I've just returned from a week at Ohope Beach (three swims).  Ohope Beach has been voted New Zealand's Best Loved Beach.

I returned this afternoon via The Desert Road. I started along the road at noon in pouring rain.  The rain turned to hail, then sleet, then light snow flurries (snow flurries?  The Desert Road? Oh well, it is right next to three snow-capped mountains).  I emerged from the road into the sun.

I got home at 4 30 to hear that the Desert Road was closed because of the snow.  

Above picture of this afternoon's Desert Road, taken from

Friday, May 12, 2017

Royal protocol

Hi there

I was reading a book yesterday.  The main character was a prince.  And yes, okay, it was a royalty romance, so sue me!

And it truly irritated me all the way through the book when people kept referring to the Prince as "Your Majesty" or "His Majesty".  For goodness' sake!  He's a prince, not a sovereign.

HRH.  His Highness.  His Royal Highness. Never-never-never 'Majesty' though sometimes a sovereign's spouse can also have the title.  The book was by an American writer.

When I was in Las Vegas a few years' back, I chanced upon respected actor Sir Patrick Stewart giving a talk.  There was a queue of people lined up at a microphone to ask questions.

One guy asked, "What is your next film, Sir Stewart?"

I almost collapsed on the spot in hysterics.  Sir Stewart?

Sir Patrick breezily answered the question.  But when the next person in line, an obvious copycat, also  referred to him as 'Sir Stewart', the actor gently pointed out the mistake.

Ah, royalty, knights of the realm, and protocol.  You have to love it all!

Friday, May 5, 2017

A talented writer

Hi there

I have a friend who is a talented writer.  Lyn McConchie lives in New Zealand and, as of this writing, has about 40 published books to her credit.  She writes fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, horror...  She is well-known and respected in the SF and fantasy communities throughout the world.

Her latest published book, "Bastet's Daughters", has been dedicated to - wait for it - me!

     For Lorraine
     In memory of Star Girl

My cat Star Girl passed away some time ago.  Lyn tells me that the cat in the book is Star Girl.  I am so excited that Lyn remembered my beautiful Siamese.

This fantasy book, set in an Egyptian-like country, is  published by Wildside Books, will shortly be out on Kindle, or can be bought as a paperback.  I have the paperback and its got a gorgeous cover -

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Brrhhh... Hataitai Beach

Hi there

The last three times as I've plunged into the water at Hataitai Beach it's been the same thing; I have felt as if there was a freezing block of ice encircling my heart!  Wow, so dramatic but, honestly, it's true.  Each time, for a split second, I've thought, "Is this where I have a heart attack?".

When I told my swimming friend J  -  who was home with her second winter illness in less than a month - she sent me the below pic -

Saturday, April 29, 2017

My Newtown Past

Hi there

There are lots of places in the world with the name of Newtown.  I grew up in Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand.

My mother grew up in Newtown.  My grandparents grew up in Newtown.

In the later 1800s(ish), my grandfather used to ride his horse to and from work in Courtenay Place, where he worked for the council.  Courtenay Place was maybe four km from my grandfather's Newtown house.

I remember my grandmother telling me that Granddad would always stop at John Street on the way home, to let his horse drink from the water trough that was there.

Whenever I pass through the John Street area in Newtown nowadays I always think of my granddad , his horse, and that water trough.  We've certainly come a long way since those days..

Above: here's a pic of modern day John Street area; it's on the edge of Newtown.  And I don't know why I say "modern day John Street" because the area is historic, still with its wild west-style shop verandas and wooden buildings.

(Photo taken from the net)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

My Palmerston North Visit

Hi there

I took a flying overnight visit to Palmerston North last week.  But I didn't actully fly of course - PN is only a couple of hours away from Wellington - I went by car.  I was in Palmerston North to see the stage musical "Chorus Line".

I'd seen "Chorus Line" over twenty years ago in Wellington and even bought the CD.  I had a great memory of the show.  But goodness I am so used, nowadays, to seeing hi-tech shows like "Matilda", "Billy Elliot",  Priscilla, Queen of the Desert", "Sister Act" that "Chorus Line" just seemed so ... ordinary.

The plot is about a group of young people auditioning to be in the chorus line of a big Broadway show.  There is a black background, and the auditionees stand in a row and each one tells the director his or her story, mostly via song.  The director, calling out questions, sat in the audience (right beside me!).  This show was often boring.

How sad that we, as show-going people, expect more in a show nowadays than just acting and singing?  We expect to be entertained with lasers, and pulleys, and flying cars, and umpteen changes of costumes and scenery?

...Whilst in Palmerston I wandered around The Square.  It was the school holidays, and there was a temporary ice-skating rink -

Friday, April 21, 2017

seeing things that aren't there?

Hi there

I was driving out of the city last week and I read a roadside sign -  "Emergency Shopping Area".


Oh, wait!  It doesn't say "Emergency Shopping Area".  It's "Emergency Stopping Area".  Blame my stupid eyesight -

But, hey, wouldn't it be great to have a real emergency shopping area in a lay-by off the motorway?  I could be on my way to, say, a job interview and I suddenly wish I wasn't wearing my grey trousers (the ones with the huge pink polka dots on them).

But I'm approaching the "Emergency Shopping" sign.  With a squeal of brakes, I turn in to buy some lovely black trousers.  Phew, saved.....   

Friday, April 14, 2017

Forgetting words as you get older

Hi there

Sigh, with age comes forgetfulness.  My friends and I "lose" words.  In mid-conversation, words suddenly  disappear from our heads. However, about 2 am, maybe a good half-a-dozen hours after such a conversation,  I will wake up with a start and triumphantly shout "Crumpet"!   It's so good to know the word has not gone forever.

I have just watched veteran actor Ian McKellen talking to tv chat-show host, Graham Norton.  McKellen hesitated twice while he searched for words and I thought of a phone-call I'd had this morning with my swimming friend, J.  I was trying to get her to identify an object with a name to it that, all at once, I couldn't remember -

"It's big.  It moves around a warehouse.  A guy sits on it," I said.

She didn't have a clue.

"It carries cartons.  It's got prongs."

"Prongs?  Prongs..."  my friend ruminated for a time.  Then she screamed, "A FORKLIFT!"

"Oh, yes!"

What are friends for if not to help you out in a word-forgetting crisis?  I swear I will repay her.  Just wait until she has such a memory block - I will be there in a trice with my Pocket Oxford, if not my memory...

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hataitai Beach ... thing?

Hi there

I went for a swim today.  The sea is getting colder.  There was a big storm last weekend and seaweed, twigs and branches have been coming in with the tide.  A few days ago the sea was a terrible chocolate colour.

There was this weird thing in the shallow water.  Was it a starfish?  Seaweed?  A rock with a starfish and seaweed on it? 

There were yellow baubles on the top of the thing.  Were these ... sting-ray eggs? 

I gave up wondering  ...

PS, one day later ....  when I went swimming today there were hundreds and hundreds of lovely little starfish in the water.  It was hard trying not to step on them.  It looked like the night sky upside down.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Hi there

In my last blog i was writing about lamp-posts. But what about signposts?  A few years ago I was walking along the footpath at the back of Wellington Airport, at the Cook Strait end, next to the sea ...

The gale force winds were howling right at me.  I pushed into the wind, head down, eyes to the pavement, inwardly cursing the fact that I lived in Windy Wellington. Thank goodness I was wearing a cap to protect my eyes from the grit and sand swirling everywher-


I had crashed into a signpost.

Rubbing my sore head, and furious with myself for being such a klutz, I read the sign:

               Watch For Low-Flying Aircraft

It should have read 'Watch for Low-Lying Signs'...

Thursday, March 30, 2017

lamp posts!

Hi there

As my four readers know by now, I go power-walking in Miramar a lot, usually up Park Road, past Park Road Post Production, and also past Weta Workshop.  A lot of times I end up over the hill at Worser Bay or Scorching Bay.

For quite some time now, I have been annoyed by a lamp post slap-bang-dead in the middle of the footpath in Park Road.  It has a "Temporary Pole" notice on it. 

When I'm walking, I often have my head down, contemplating the ground, making sure that my feet aren't in the way of tree roots, or ruptures in the pavement, or cats that I have to pat, or puppies that I am required to coo over...

The first time I encountered this lamp post, I banged into it.  Now, I'm ultra-wary.