Sunday, June 30, 2013


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This might all be double Dutch as we used to say so hope it is clear. Thankyou to Kate for steering me through! Good luck to the rest of the blogging world!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I had a wonderful holiday with the NZ lot, was taken care of beautifully and had a productive time you have seen. I do hate saying goodbye but it is also lovely coming home. I did find the day I came home very long, NZ is two hours ahead of Australia so that makes the day two hours longer for a start. Then two stops on the way home including a supermarket shop! Practical I know as we live nearly half an hour out of our shopping centre and I would have had to go back into town the next day. I was SO ready for sleep that night but it was quite elusive for some time!!
The weather is beautiful here at the moment...cold crisp nights with some frost, followed by the most beautiful days, bright sunshine, lovely. As we have just passed the shortest day I'm sure we are in for some cold and not so nice days ahead so...I'm enjoying what we have now.
I'm leaving you with the glorious last yellow roses for the season, only two flowers on the bush. Also a beanie I knitted for a dear friend and a mini hot water bottle cover, crocheted, for the same friend. And a couple of snaps I took on the way up to Auckland on my way home. Oh, and some Kate's chooks, about to fly off the balcony. Kate said I took heaps,of photos of her chooks...and roosters, and none of the boys! Sadly it was true! My only excuse is that,while the boys were near I just didn't think of cameras! Also, some wintersweet, chimonanthus praecox, for Kate! Lucy and Joe gave us the shrub some time ago and it has really taken off. If you don't know wintersweet it has the most beautiful scent, lovely waxy flowers. Quite delicious! Kate had some next to my bed when I arrived, Hiding in behind the books waiting for me.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


It is my last day here in NZ so I'm finishing off some projects. I don't look forward to the goodbyes but I'm looking forward to the hellos on the other side of the Tasman Sea. I am very lucky to have had this time here with the family but home calls very strongly. Sometimes I think of the early days when Australia...and of course other countries...were first settled. Families left home and never saw their loved ones again. Letters were few and far between and so desperately longed for. My great grandmother was born just off Lands End as her parents left England to live in Australia, a three month voyage. I just cannot understand how my great great grandmother set out, fully pregnant as she boarded the ship. Now we are in touch with distant family all the time, phone, email, Skype, not that I use it much, and,easy visits between countries. We are pretty lucky for all sorts of reasons to live in the times we do! And of course I realise that we are the minority in the luck stakes...wars, famine, poverty, refugees, apart from those suffering ill health and on and on the list could go.
Yes!! I'm pretty lucky!
So next post HOME. Unless I have a dizzy bout and write another this afternoon.
By the way, the elephant has a wonky leg....not a wonky donkey but a wonky ele leg! Hopefully I can fix it when I go home, I don't think today I want to do it today.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Still pouring down outside! If only I could take all the rain home! The roosters aren't looking quite so amazing at the moment, tail feathers drooping and very wet.


Kate and Jonno have a glorious trio of roosters. These roosters, when small, were regarded as pets, along with the baby hens! But the roosters grew and grew, their tail feathers looking more and more colourful until one day Kate and Jonno realised the entire family had become very attached to these proud show-offs, these birds that tootle away from dawn or before. Sometimes I hear them in the middle of the night! Maybe they don't have an alarm clock that tells them they are only to announce morning when it actually is morning!
I love them, I love their arrogance as they display their beauty to the world, to their harem of white and coloured girls! While here with the family I sleep upstairs in Kate's studio, a large room, windows all along one wall and large doors along another, opening up to a deck with a slatted protective fence. The funniest thing is to see the roosters wander up the outside stairs, have a look around, jump on the fence, standing to their fullest height, crow away to make sure their girls are watching them and then with a flap of their wings they fly/glide down to their admiring audience!
So, what could I paint on this very wet....and but....ROOSTERS!!

Friday, June 7, 2013


A new bird flying high!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


This morning we went to see Kate's friend who lives on the side of a hill, surrounded by bush...NZ bush of course, tree ferns, cabbage trees and the green, green grass. A most beautiful , peaceful place. One window we looked out went steeply up behind the house where there was a small flock of sheep grazing. Their owner is Swiss and has put bells on the sheep so there is a lovely tinkle as they move around. I'm sure he would think he was back in Switzerland!
After the obligatory nap....imagine having to have a would be rude not to I'm sure....and a cup of tea, we both began our playing. Kate is very occupied with a project she is working on and I went back to my birds.
There is a mouse I completed last night as well, no face as yet but it is to go into a parcel for a special new baby in the family.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


It is raining outside, the boys are at school and Kate and I are happily puddling with paint and paper, each going in different directions. Kate sometimes uses pages from a Readers Digest condensed book, (her thinking is that a book should never be condensed so that it is perfectly permissible to desecrate a book by tearing out pages and using them for a different purpose!)
I have been flicking through a book Kate had found at the library, WATER PAPER PAINT, exploring creativity with watercolour and mixed media, written by HEATHER SMITH JONES. I'm glad to read anything that helps me to lose the boundaries that have built themselves around me, activities to squash my inner critic, the critic that says what I create isn't right, isn't good.
I began drawing birds, (the inner critic being very critical!) and then this bird morphed into shape in my visual notebook. There will be more tomorrow, using the painted paper hanging up in the window. I'm also being inspired with Kate's chooks so there maybe one of them might one did this morning outside my window when I was still in bed!
The photos of the chooks are taken by Kate, my camera...and the iPad just haven't the same oomph!

Monday, June 3, 2013


It is so good having time here with no responsibilities! I did make soup yesterday, ingredients placed in front of me so really it was just chopping. Frying onions, celery, a large leek, then adding chicken stock and chopped up whole cauliflower. It was left bubbling away and then whizzed up until very smooth. I was intrigued that with the cauliflower being cooked for some time it didn't have the overcooked smell. Delicious!
And time to paint, no hurry or squeezed in moments. Just fiddling with the paints, contour drawing for the cyclamen. Happy times!

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I arrived here on Wednesday evening after a day that seemed very long. And now two more days have passed. All exciting as you can imagine, lots of catching up and looking at everything. Lots of reading with a treasure trove of books waiting for me. The Fate of Mercy Albon by Wendy Webb was the first book I read, gobbled up in the first twenty-four hours. It is a wonderfully evocative family saga with hidden secrets. I'm reading Victoria Hislop's The Thread now. It hasn't engaged me to the same degree but still wonderful. Also there were interesting painting and drawing books waiting, lots of discoveries to be made. Today there are more, a visit to their amazing library resulting in another huge load of books! I left the fiction to Kate as we like much the same books so I spent my time in the amazing art sections.
The photos are just a glimpse of life here, I haven't taken many photos yet.