Archive for the ‘Cottage Life’ Category

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.”


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Floral Friday

The first hollyhocks are flowering in our garden.  Each year I scatter the seeds of the old plants, and each year new ones appear.  Luckily the small plants are easily identifiable so they don’t get mistaken for weeds.  So far this year they are mainly pink, but there is one red one.  You might enjoy this story of hollyhocks in the days of U.S. slavery.

“I like the stately hollyhock
just perfect for a Cottage block.”

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Floral Friday

This sage plant was rescued from a neighbour’s garden when their house was about to be demolished, and it’s flourishing at our place.

Sage has been used as a medicine and a preservative as long as any other herb.  Egyptians used it as a fertility drug in the first century C.E.  Sage was highly revered by the Greeks and Romans, who first used it as a meat preservative, and believed it could enhance memory.   Arabian healers of the 10th century believed that eating it would grant immortality, and Europeans four centuries later used it to ward off witchcraft.  Three cases of tea leaves were reportedly traded for one case of sage leaves by 17th century Chinese because they appreciated sage tea.  A drink made from sage leaves is called ‘Thinkers’ tea’ and is reputed to cure depression.  The sage plant is said to have protected Mary and the infant Jesus when they were being sought by King Herod.

It’s part of the mint family and related to rosemary.  It’s botanical name Salvia Officinalis comes from the Latin salvere meaning to be well.

“So if your memory fades with age
perhaps you should be eating sage.’



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Fake Flu

This week I’ve been laid low by a heavy cold, the worst I’ve had for several years.  If I hadn’t had a flu vaccination back in May, I would have told you I had the flu.  I’ve been snuffling and sneezing and staying close to home.  Stephen (who’s also been suffering) kindly made me onion soup for lunch yesterday, and Ziggy was very happy to join me on the La-Z-Boy.  One might say he is the original lazy boy.

A close friend is currently in hospital, and I’m frustrated at not being able to visit her.  Thank goodness this morning my head is clear, and the sneezes have diminished.  I believe my fake flu is fleeing.

“A nasty cold has laid me low
I hope that it will up and go.”


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When posting a letter in Mount Pleasant recently I was surprised to see a notice on the postbox which said “Please be aware the Final clearance time of this postbox will become 9am on Monday 4/12/17.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.”  I wondered whether this would apply only to postboxes in the suburbs?  Yesterday I went to post a letter at our nearest box in Bealey Avenue, and sure enough, the same notice was there too.

I’m well aware there has been a dramatic drop in the number of hard copy letters sent, but this change, coupled with the fact that Fastpost will disappear from 1 January next year, will just put more people off sending real letters.  They might have waited until after Christmas.

“Real letters are a dying breed
so N Z Post don’t see the need.”


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Just Ducked In

Two ducks were strolling down the side path when Stephen opened the bathroom window this morning.  I grabbed my camera and found them checking out the back garden.

They communicated the fact that they expected breakfast and, lacking suitable grain, we fed them bread hoping their stomachs were mature enough for this not to harm them.   Ms Duck had a quick dip in the pool, and after another inspection of the garden they flew away.   It’s nearly seven years since we last had a duck visitation, and more would be welcome (provided they have good toilet manners).

“I consider it good luck
to have a visit from a duck.”


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Floral Friday

This group of smiling pansies greets me as I come in the back gate.  This year they are more prolific than ever.

The pansy is the symbol of free thought, because of both its name and appearance.  The name comes from the French word pensée, which means “thought”.  The flower resembles a human face, and it nods forward as if deep in thought.  The French believed that pansies could make your lover think of you.

In ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the juice of a pansy flower (“before, milk-white, now purple with love’s wound, and maidens call it, Love-in-idleness”) is a love potion: “the juice of it, on sleeping eyelids laid will make or man or woman madly dote upon the next live creature that it sees.” (Act II, Scene I).

“Each pansy has a smiling face
they make our world a happy place.’



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