Archive for the ‘Cottage Life’ Category

Oh, the woe, when I couldn’t download e-mails!  E-mail is my preferred form of electronic communication.  I rarely use texts or Facebook chat.  I’d downloaded e-mails around 5pm, but when I went to check again after 8pm Outlook kept asking me for my User ID and password.  No matter how often I put these in, the request kept popping up again.  My internet access was working and I went to webmail, with a similar result.  I tried a different browser, and reset my p.c. – all to no avail.  Stephen’s e-mail was not affected, so it was a mystery.  After I turned the computer off I remembered that Saturday evening 25 March was Earth Hour.  Was it possible that someone/something was telling me I shouldn’t be using electricity at that time?  This morning my e-mail is its usual efficient self, so who knows?  Did anyone else have problems accessing Clear/Vodafone e-mail last evening?

T-shirt from the first Christchurch Earth Hour in 2008

“Why should my e-mail have turned sour
perhaps cos I forgot Earth Hour?”





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A sign saying ‘footpath closed’ was in my way as I walked to the Book Fridge yesterday.  I’d already jaywalked across the road, and along this ‘closed’ footpath before I got to the sign, so I ignored it, as I do many others of the same ilk.

On my second trip to the fridge (I’m decluttering), as I went to cross the road a man in a high vis vest came running towards me, waving his arms to deter me.  He assured me that it was illegal for me to cross near my house and there was dangerous work going on that meant I could be killed.  The work was concrete cutters on the opposite footpath, and a noisy suction truck.

I queried how it could be more dangerous for me to cross and walk along a footpath where I would be further from the work than I was standing at my front gate, and he said “it just is”.  When I persisted he told me I would be acting illegally to cross there (which I do several times a week).  He said I might die, and it was his job to stop me crossing, otherwise he would be responsible for any consquences.  I then queried the fact that a car was parked beside that very same ‘closed’ footpath, and he replied that it had been there all day – presumably that meant it wasn’t in danger!  While we spoke a woman drove up and parked her car beside the path outside Piko (on yellow lines).  He said this was illegal, but didn’t make any attempt to stop her.

I dutifully walked up to the corner and crossed on the pedestrian crossing, and later observed others using the ‘closed’ path without being accosted.

It is this kind of officiousness that has been annoying so many people during the central city rebuild.   I appreciate this man had health and safety obligations, but he needs to have a logical explanation rather than saying “it just is”.  During the night there were continual noises, and this morning the footpath is clear once more.

“I’m sick and tired of road restrictions
and these unneeded path evictions.”

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“Good morning and I hope it stops raining” said in a croaky voice, is the one non-musical quote I remember from ‘Woodstock’.

This is the third morning we’ve woken to persistent rain.  I’m grateful we haven’t had the heavy floods that have struck Auckland.  I regularly check to see out gutter’s flowing freely.  It often gets clogged, and I remove the debris, but it’s been fine this week.

In Canterbury the rain is very welcome for gardens and farms, and will surely have put an end to any Port Hills hotspots.  It’s all linked to global warming and our new normal.

The other quote I always think of when it’s raining is a poem I learned in French class:

Il pleure dans mon coeur
Comme il pleut sur la ville.
Quelle est cette langueur
Qui penetre mon coeur?”

I wonder how many former EGGS students are reminded of this when it rains.

Strangely fine weather doesn’t bring any quotations to the surface.

“”Rain always brings this poem to mind
where sunshine just brings joy, I find.”

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As yesterday was Shrove Tuesday we had pancakes, or rather crepes, the thinner version that is my preference.


The day is named for the Christian custom of being ‘shriven’ before Lent.  The idea was to go to confession and be given absolution.  Pancake day was the time to use up rich foods such as sugar, milk, and eggs, before starting the Lenten fast.

Spring fasting (in the northern hemisphere) dates back to Roman times.  The women of Rome observed a period of chastity and fasting throughout the Kalends of March after their Matronalia or Feast of the Mothers, until the festival of Ceres in April.  This custom, originally intended to ensure the fertility and vitality of the crops, was copied by the Christian church and converted into the forty day fast of Lent.

“For forty days eggs would not last
so eat them up before you fast.”

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One of the benefits of not having paid work is that you don’t have to hurry out in the morning.  At 9am today I was having a leisurely breakfast on the patio – seventeen degrees and no wind.


I enjoy seeing the commuters hurry by and knowing I don’t have to go anywhere unless I want to.  Later I strolled across to Piko for eggs, met a neighbour, and chatted.  I’m about to do a little gentle weeding.  This is the life!

“I can choose what I want to do
or sit and dream the whole day through.”


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Creating Cookies

An urge to make shaped cookies sent me scrambling in remote cupboards to find my aged cookie cutters which had not been used for decades.  Aunty Google led me to Annabel Langbein’s recipe for gingerbread cookies, and I was soon mixing and cutting.  I think I may have softened the butter too much and the mixture was quite moist, but I managed to cut small shapes of moons, stars, and hearts.  They’ve turned out just fine.


I don’t think I’ll bother icing these ones, but another time they would make good gifts or a supper plate.  I might even try gingerbread persons, as I have an astronaut cookie cutter.  Have you made shaped cookies recently?

“Some hearts, and moons, and stars I’ve made
with Annabel Langbein’s wise aid.”



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Flamingo Flock

I’m fond of flamingoes, finding these elegant pink birds attractive.  I have one in my garden, and another on my kitchen wall:


My flamingo earrings are firm favourites.


At London Zoo in 2013 I saw a whole flock of flamingoes.


Last week in Dunedin I spied these flamingo slippers in a shop window.


I knew they were impractical and chose not to spend $90 on them, although I was tempted.   In Ballantynes this week there was a flamingo tea infuser.


It was reduced from $21 to $5, and I couldn’t resist.  Now I regularly have a flamingo in my teacup.  It seems flamingoes are everywhere.  Perhaps they’re planning a world takeover?

“It seems I just turn round and Bingo!
I’m faced with yet one more flamingo.”


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