Wanted Weeds

“A weed is a flower that nobody wants” is a quote I’m fond of.  Another (from Rory Sutherland in the Spectator) is “A flower is a weed with an advertising budget”.  I have one of those in my garden.

Wild sweet pea

Wild sweet pea

This delicate wild sweet pea with its purple flowers has inveigled its way into my garden, and I can’t bear to remove it.  To me it’s definitely a flower.  Would you remove it?

“This is a very charming weed
to pull it out I see no need.”


Migrant Motor

Our 1984 Honda Shuttle which had served us faithfully for fourteen years failed its warrant this week.  The cost of repair meant it was more economical to bid it farewell and buy something different.   We toyed with the idea of a Suzuki, but eventually decided on a 2006 Toyota Vitz, “new to New Zealand”, i.e. a recent import.  Of course I hankered for a car that was pink or purple, but this one is silver, so it matches the cat!

Our new car

Our new car (parked not very well, by me)

The challenge for me is getting used to driving an automatic car, something I haven’t done for thirty years.  I used to love having an automatic in Auckland traffic, and I’ll soon get used to this.  It’s not so much that my foot seeks a clutch, but rather that my hand is inclined to seek a gear stick.  What I really like is having central locking, a radio (and cd player) that works, and the fact that it’s all shiny and tidy.  Now it just needs a name.  As Star Trek fans we were happy to refer to “The Shuttle”, but “The Vitz” doesn’t have quite the same connotations.

“It’s fun to have a modern car
and with this one we could go far.”


I kept wishing the King would die all the time I was reading this book.  The King is the ailing and repulsive Henry VIII, and the Queen is his reluctant sixth wife, Katherine (Kateryn) Parr.  We know that she outlived him, but the author still manages to keep us in suspense about her fate.  This engaging novel increased my knowledge of Katherine Parr, who was staunchly involved in the reformation of the English Church, and the first woman to publish original work under her own name in English.  She was also a mentor to the future Queen Elizabeth I, possibly the the influence that inspired Elizabeth’s decision to remain unmarried.

“The King was an obnoxious killer
which helps to make this book a thriller.”

Women Winning?

The latest news is all about women meeting challenges.  Michelle Payne became the first woman to win the Melbourne Cup, saying :“Everyone else can get stuffed [who] think women aren’t good enough”.  A week later Kerryn Manning became the first woman in its 111 year history to win the N.Z. Trotting Cup.

Opposition women MP’s walked out of Parliament in protest at the N Z Prime Minister’s suggestion they were backing rapists.  This action was picked up by media worldwide, including being the lead story on BBC’s Friday Woman’s Hour.

Amongst all this we learned that Sofia (and its variations) is now the most popular name for babies.  In the Gnostic tradition Sophia/wisdom represented God’s female soul, the source of his power.  She was somtimes referred to as Christ’s mother, or his spouse.  More recently her name has been given to the Holy Ghost, the feminine aspect of the Christian God.  Perhaps the popularity of this name means her time is coming?

“Outstanding women all around
are planting seeds in fertile ground.”




Petite Poms

Little Poms, a new local cafe, has finally opened, and we enjoyed breakfast there last Sunday.

Little Poms

The decor is lovely and bright.  I like the fact that the kitchen is in full view, complete with large pots of boiling water for perfectly poached eggs.   Black tiles on the kitchen wall complement the black and white china plates.  Some blue bentwood chairs among the brown ones all add to the ambience.

The menu seems aimed at brunch.  There were also yummy-looking pastries and scones available, and prices are reasonable.  Stephen was sorry there was no traditional big breakfast, but was consoled with baked beans, poached eggs, chorizo, etc, on Turkish bread.  I chose poached eggs and a potato rosti, which came with tasty tomato relish, and I was delighted to find they use loose tea leaves.   The tea things are elegantly glass, and the tea was weak as requested.  I forgot to ask for a lemon slice, but I’m sure that would have been available.

Elegant tea things

Elegant tea things

The toilets are unisex – a nice touch in these days of fluid genders.  This cafe is a welcome addition to the north-east corner of the city centre, and will be popular I’m sure.

“We welcome Little Poms cafe
and we’ll go there another day.”




Roses are Rioting

It’s summer- the roses are rioting
all over the garden they bloom
there’s Banksia blocking the pathway
while other flowers jostle for room.

Tall irises stand up like flags
shy sweet peas are just peeping through
granny’s bonnets are ready for Cup Week
and foxgloves have new fingers too.

The lilies of the valley have fled now
overtaken by poppies so bright
but it’s roses that grab our attention
and give us such blooming delight.

"Banksia blocking the pathway"

“Banksia blocking the pathway”

Phryne’s Fourwheeler?

We were intrigued to find an Hispano-Suiza in the car park at Loudon Farm.



This luxury car was made between 1919 and 1933, and I don’t recall ever seeing one in real life before.  The nearest I’ve come to seeing one has been in the television version of Phryne Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  Her one is red and silver, and this one was too.

This one was red.

This one was red.

It had no registration sticker or warrant of fitness, and the number plate indicated it belongs in Victoria, Australia, where Phryne lives.

Victorian number plate

Victorian number plate

Could it be hers?  Is this another of Miss Fisher’s Myteries?

“It seems it could be Phryne’s car
if so, why has it come so far?”


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