Love those Lurkers!

At the supermarket checkout this morning an unfamiliar woman asked “Are you Ruth?”  When I said I was, she said she was a regular reader of my blog.  I asked whether she ever comments (thinking I might then recognise her name) but she said no, she’s a lurker.  I was amazed that she recognised me.  I guess I must look just like my photo (hmm) and I may have let slip somewhere the fact that I tend to shop at South City New World early on Friday mornings.  It’s always lovely to meet a regular reader, so Warm Greetings, whoever you are.

This year I’ve not blogged nearly as much and my daily average visit number is down to 53.  (Last year it was 72.)  I very much appreciate those who comment, and I’m also delighted to have those who simply lurk – and read.

“As well as commenters I need
the ones who simply lurk and read.”

Hope for Humanity?

The most terrifying disaster impacting on our work in the not-for-profit sector is the human-made loss of the visibility of human beings. This was the message given by Margaret J Wheatley at the Australia and New Zealand Third Sector Research Conference “Resilience and Change” yesterday. Policy decisions and bureaucracy are often based on a distrust of people.

Margaret asked that we be Warriors for the Human Spirit, brave enough to believe in human goodness, and to avoid using fear or aggression to accomplish our purposes. She suggested that the culture prevents people in government from acting individually on their values, and it changes them. Margaret advocates acting locally and says there is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

She quoted a prophecy from the Hopi Nation Elders:

“To my fellow swimmers:
here is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift,
that there are those who will be afraid,
who will try to hold on to the shore,
they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
push off into the middle of the river,
and keep our heads above water.
And I say see who is there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history we are to take nothing personally,
least of all ourselves, for the moment we do,
our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves.
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
For we are the ones we have been waiting for.”

“Inspiring words to keep us true
as we work difficulties through.”





Airport Animals

It’s exciting each time I spy a new giraffe.

Giraffe no. 46

Giraffe no. 46

This one is at Christchurch Airport.  It’s Monarch by Kay Joyce, and is surrounded by a bevy of baby giraffes which have been painted by students from Harewood, Redwood, Breens Intermediate, Cotswold, Casebrook, and New Windsor (Auckland) Schools.  When the exhibition is over each school will get its giraffe back for permanent display.

“The students made these works of art
to play their exhibition part.”

Zest for Zealandia

In Wellington I had the opportunity to visit Zealandia.  This wonderful reserve, formerly known as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, abounds with native birds and bush.    We had lunch in the cafe looking out over the sanctuary, then enjoyed the exhibition hall which depicts 80 million years of Aotearoa’s natural history, and even has a full-size moving moa.

Our walk up the valley was escorted by an extremely knowledgeable volunteer guide. We saw birds, tuatara (they have 200 in a natural setting), weta, and more.  The sanctuary is close to central Wellington, and protected by a predator-free fence.

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The Water organ plays the sound of the kokako when you pull the pipes (not sure what happened to that caption).

“Zealandia’s the place to go
for native birds and plants on show.”



Pink Profusion

One corner of the garden is a mass of pink flowers.

Pink patch

Pink patch

My friend Anne gave me the rose-scented geranium as a cutting a couple of years ago, and it’s now flowering profusely.  I love the scent of the intensely fragrant leaves when they are crushed.  Apparently the leaves are edible and can be used in drinks and desserts.  I haven’t tried eating them, have you?

There’s a pink aquilegia in there too, and a hollyhock which may well turn out to be pink.

“When I brush by this plant, each time
The rosy scent is just sublime.”



Feral Foxgloves

Foxgloves are flowering in many corners of our garden at present.  They come up wherever they please, and I’m always glad to see them.  We have purple ones and white ones.  I take care to shake plenty of white seed around, as those ones don’t seem to be as persistent as the purple ones.  I once planted apricot foxgloves, but they didn’t return the following year.

Foxgloves in the Cottage garden

Foxgloves in the Cottage garden


When I sit near the foxgloves, I can hear the bumble bees buzzing inside them as they busily gather pollen.  Our hive of honey bees sadly didn’t survive the winter, so I’m pleased that there are plenty of bumble bees around.  Apparently bumble bees are the most efficient pollinators of all.

“We know what the bumble bee does
when we can hear her busy buzz.”




Driftwood Den

Someone has carefully constructed this shelter on Waimairi Beach.

Driftwood cave

Driftwood cave

I wonder whether they may have sat there to watch the fireworks display on Wednesday evening?

“This cave could be a place to rest
- the ideal firework-watching nest,”



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