I’d been wary of this 650 page tome, wondering whether it might be rather heavy, but when I saw it in the Book Fridge I thought ‘why not?’  It’s the story of Thomas Cromwell, who became the main assistant to Henry VIII at the time when Anne Boleyn was Queen.  While the story of the Tudors is well known, Hilary Mantel makes it all fresh and immediate, especially as she writes in the present tense.

Her research is impeccable, and there are many small gems of observation, with fascinating side stories.  I liked the details about mathematics and accounting, and how they breakfasted on mushrooms with eggs baked in cream (yum!).  Any cat or dog lover could appreciate Thomas’s observation that “Comfort is often imparted at the cost of a flea or two.”

It’s taken me a week to get through it, and the effort was worthwhile.

“There’s so much detail to digest
historic fiction at its best.”


Seaside Santa

We were surprised to find Santa Claus at the beach this morning.  He must have been hot as the temperature was 30 degrees.   The children were pleased to see him.  Apparently these are photo opportunities organised by Kiwisanta.photo.  They would certainly make a lovely family Christmas card.

“With Santa Claus down by the sea
your photo helps save memory.”


Incensed by Sign

Guruji is an Indian supermarket with a wonderful range of goods, but their spelling leaves something to be desired!

“They sadly lack a good proof reader.
Where’s Lynne Truss when we really need her?

Floral Friday

Geraniums must be one of the easiest flowers to grow.  Once they’re established they require no attention except perhaps an occasional deadheading.  This one is grows outside the fence, suffers traffic and demolition dust, and flowers all year round.  The only water it gets comes from random rainfall, and a rare dose of worm pee.  It has special significance because it was originally a cutting from my friend Carol’s garden.

There is a legend that the prophet Mohammed came down from the mountain and hung his sweaty shirt on a geranium growing next to his tent.   The geranium held the shirt up to the sun until it was completely dry.   At that time geraniums were considered weeds, but Mohammed was so pleased with the service the geranium had provided he covered it with velvety red blossoms that filled the air with fragrance.

“This plant needs only easy care
there are few others that compare.”

Where are the babies?

I often see Canada Geese on the river, but over the years I’ve never seen a Canada Gosling, and I wonder why.  Do you know?

N Z Birds Online tells me this species “Nests as solitary pairs but often in close proximity to other members of the flock. Monogamous, with female completing all of the incubation over about 27 days, and the gander actively defending a small territory around the nest. The nest is a down-lined ground depression often hidden amongst rushes or short protective vegetation. Clutch size generally 5 white eggs. Laying is mainly in September–October but can also extend considerably later in the North Island, and second nestings have occasionally been recorded in December–February. Both parents actively guard the young during their 8-9 weeks of growth until capable of flight. The family may remain together for several months and join with other pairs and families into an extended flock. When pairs nest in close proximity, amalgamation of broods and shared parental duties are common.”

Have any of my readers seen a Canada Gosling?

“I wonder where the goslings hide
somewhere along the riverside.”

Striped plastic sheep which have been seen around the central city for the past few years have now moved in to the corner of Kilmore and Barbadoes Streets by the Book Fridge.

Perhaps their previous habitat has been overtaken by construction, although these ones look brand new.  They are firmly attached to the footpath, so they won’t be going far for a while.

“There’s new sheep standing at our corner
a coloured boost to local fauna.”


Arts Centre Market

The one-off market at the Arts Centre today felt nostalgic – just like the olden days pre-earthquake.   There was a good range of craft and food stalls and pleasant music from Amiria Grenell and Matthew Smith.  As we walked towards the market we met the local Dachshund Walking Group out for a summer stroll.  On this hot day could they be called sizzling sausages?

Note there’s one in a pushchair

With the temperature high it was good to find plenty of shady seats where we could sit and sip a cold drink which came in an ecocup “Made from plants not oil”.

I met a friendly penguin who was promoting the Antarctic Centre.

This was an excellent opportunity to see different goods that are locally produced, and to do some Xmas shopping.

“Arts Centre Market used to be
a favourite shopping place for me.”