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Archive for the ‘Everyday Stuff’ Category

An anniversary called for a meal out and we chose Meshino. We’ve often been there for breakfast, but not previously for lunch. We joined the queue where people were all masked, but there was no social distancing, except for those who were clicking and collecting through a window.

I was intrigued to discover the menu included Cauliflower Kedgeree, and made this my choice, cauliflower being one of my favourite vegetables. It was good to find Meshino give 10% discount to Super Gold Card holders. Other places where we appreciate this are Portstone Garden Centre and Athena Books in South City.

My Cauliflower Kedgeree included smoked fish, with cauliflower instead of rice, something I’ve not tried before, and my personal chef is now researching the possibilities for this.

Our lunches at Meshino

Stephen chose meat loaf, and we both enjoyed our generous meals which left no room for dessert.

Afterwards we went to the doctor’s surgery and received our second Pfizer vaccine dose. There’s a tremendous sense of relief knowing that we are now as protected as possible against the virus. Apart from slightly tender arms we have no after effects.

I can report cauliflower rice
is something that is extra nice.

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Headway on Hereford

Have you walked down Hereford Street lately? Named in 1850 by early Pākehā surveyors after the bishopric of Hereford this street has been familiar to me for many years, and has recently had a refurbishment. The old ANZ site on the corner of Cathedral Square has temporarily become a public area, with the lovely mural of the silvereye and kowhai by Brendan Warrell as a focal point.

The refurbished street has two patterns created by Kāi Tahu artist Keri Whaitiri to reveal the hidden layers of the city. Patterns etched in the paving stones reference the way water once flowed through the wetland that is now Otautahi. The grooved patterning is reminiscent of how the pukeko scratches at the ground.

On the south side there are screens which have abstract patterns derived from a variety of pounamu.

Inside the BNZ Five Lanes Centre a blossom tree is in full flower.

At the rear of this picture is Scorpio’s new Telling Tales children’s bookshop, which has taken the site previously occupied by Simply NZ.

It’s good to see all these new developments.

There’s always something new to see
when you walk through the CBD

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Eye, Eye!

Outpatients Building

Visiting the new Outpatients Building at Christchurch Hospital is an experience. When you enter there is a notice suggesting you might wear a mask. I had mine with me, but no-one else was wearing one, so I didn’t bother.

My appointment was for the Eyes General Clinic, for an assessment in preparation for having my second cataract operated on. This one will be done free within the public system.

A machine in the foyer invites you to scan the barcode on your appointment letter which I duly did, and was told to proceed to Level 2. I saw no sign of stairs, so took the lift. On Level 2 I was again invited to scan my barcode, my details checked, and I was told to go to Wait Area 1. All this technology really brought home to me what a problem Waikato DHB had when their systems were corrupted by ransomware. In Wait Area 1 there were lots of chairs which would allow for social distancing, and a TV playing with the sound turned well down. Tea and coffee were available, but no magazines these Covid days. Again, neither clients nor staff were wearing masks.

I was half an hour early for my appointment and had taken a book to read. After just five minutes I was surprised to hear my name called by a nurse who said she was pleased I was early. She tested my vision, then went away with my glasses which left me feeling vulnerable, but she soon returned them. After waiting another ten minutes I was given drops to dilate my pupils and more tests. A third person did a scan of my eyes, then after another short wait (when I finished my book) I saw the eye surgeon. He told me I should receive an operation appointment in about two months, and probably have it done before Christmas. It may be at a private hospital or at Public, and a different surgeon will do it.

My whole appointment had taken only an hour and a half, after I’d been told I should allow four hours for the visit. At the adjacent bus stop a convenient bus arrived within minutes, and deposited me in Gloucester Street, just ten minutes walk from home. This time I did wear my mask, and was pleased to see the driver was wearing his, but the many students on the bus were unmasked.

We’ve recently been warned that the Delta variant is almost certain to cross the Tasman and we must be prepared for a sudden lockdown. Maybe then people will wear their masks!

It doesn’t seem too much to ask
for passengers to wear a mask

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Garden Grooming

This year is the first time I’ve employed an arborist. Previously we’ve always managed to trim trees ourselves in a slow amateur fashion, but some had just got too big, and neither of us is as confident on a ladder as we used to be, so we decided to “get a man in”. (I haven’t heard of any female arborists, but they must surely exist?)

I wanted two quotes and phoned two arborists who had been recommended by friends. I left a message with one who took 48 hours to respond. The other came promptly to discuss what we wanted, was personable and knowledgeable, so we accepted his reasonable price, and arranged for him to do the task on Thursday of the following week. Tuesday morning he phoned to say Thursday’s weather forecast looked ominous and would it be okay if he came Wednesday instead. I happily agreed, and he parked his trailer outside on Tuesday evening to avoid the morning crush of commuter and contractor parking.

He worked hard for six hours, doing everything we’d asked.

Pruning the apricot tree

All the trees we’ve planted are fruit-bearing, except for the yew tree, supplied by a passing bird, and transplanted by Stephen, who’s very fond of it. He asked that the yew, next to the apricot, not be touched.

Pruning the cherry tree

The arborist took large amounts off the walnut and cherry trees. The latter was supposed to be “compact” but after 30 years it was approaching the top of the lamp standard and we are glad to have it reduced. There will still be plenty of cherries for the birds, and for us if we cover the lower branches in time.

“Our” man cleaned up beautifully, piled all the branches into his large trailer, and used a vacuum to suck sawdust and debris from the footpath and patio.

I’d already pruned all the roses (except the banksia which the arborist tamed), and the feijoa tree. Now the garden and I can take a deep breath while we wait for spring. One tiny daffodil has already produced a flower.

The first daffodil

Our trees have all been neatly cut
now we just wait for fruit and nut

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Writers’ Retreat

I was surprised and pleased to be invited to spend a day with a group of writers that I’d had no contact with for six months. Last year we’d met regularly, but this year I’ve chosen to put my writing energy elsewhere. Nine of us met in a home with beautiful harbour views and all took a contribution for lunch.

My pot luck platter

In the morning we shared what’s been happening in our lives and it was a pleasure to reconnect with everyone. We are all getting older, and this means changes.

After lunch we each read something we’d written recently and gave supportive feedback. I was glad of the opportunity to share the first two vignettes of my planned chapbook.

Lately I’ve been thinking about home which is the topic of next week’s vignette, and it occurred to me that this writers’ group is a place that feels like home. It’s somewhere I can share personal feelings, be nurtured, and not judged. My ritual group is another place that provides such a home. Do you have a group that supplies the comfort of home?

Sometimes your home is not a house
rather a group without a grouse

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Dental Addendum

I was pleased when my twice-yearly dental checkup showed no need for any extra treatment. My dentist then encouraged me to have an OPG, a panoramic x-ray of the upper and lower jaws. She’s asked before, and I had previously resisted, but this time I succumbed. The OPG gives a fuller view of the mouth, can indicate if work may be needed in the future, and costs an extra $80.

A panorama of my mouth

Luckily my x-ray showed no need for further investigation although I was told I have small stones in my sinuses. I do wonder about the need for this extra x-ray. Cynically I suspect the dentist needs to encourage clients to have it taken to justify the cost of the sophisticated machine. The idea is to have a panoramic x-ray every five years and they can then be compared to see what changes there are. Have you had one?

Is this a thing we truly need
or was I foolish to accede?


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Rosemary growing on trellis

How’s your memory? Mine has always been good, but I don’t trust it completely. I rely on a paper diary to remind me of meetings and events, and my Google task list is useful to ensure I don’t forget things I want to do.

I’ve been thinking about memory today because this is the only day of the year when Facebook has no personal “on this day” memories for me. Because I’ve been on Facebook since 2007, and my blog posts are re-published there I always have at least one or two Facebook memories and often six or seven. Not today! I remember noticing last year that I had a day with no memories but I was busy and didn’t blog that day. Today I’m determined to create a digital memory to greet me next year.

Memory is the process that acquires, stores, retains, and later retrieves information. Our human memory has the ability to both preserve and recover information we have learned or experienced, and our memories are consolidated and stored while we are asleep. Short term memories last just a few minutes, then they are either dismissed or transferred to long term. Some long term memories are explicit (conscious), while others are implicit (unconscious). The latter include such things as the knowledge of how to ride a bike, or brush our teeth,

Crossword puzzles (and Wordscraper) can help to keep the brain active, which aids memory.

A 2003 study showed that volunteers in a rosemary-scented room performed significantly better on memory tests than those in an unscented room. Scholars in ancient Greece wore rosemary in their hair to help them remember their studies. Perhaps I’d better pick a bunch of rosemary to have inside.

We need to keep our brains alert
else memories may soon desert

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Ethics and Egoism

How to decide between right and wrong is the focus of a current WEA course called “Ethics and Morality”. Tutor Dr Michael Couch has led us through Objectivism, Subjectivism, Relativism, and much more. He is an engaging speaker who provides excellent handouts.

Last week we considered various forms of egoism – selfishness and selflessness. This interested me because I could see the relevance to volunteering. Today we looked at Utilitarianism where the end justifies the means. One situation we considered was that facing a specialist doctor:

A prominent, much-loved leader has been rushed to hospital, grievously wounded by an assassin’s bullet. No suitable organ donors are available, but there is a critically hurt criminal in the emergency room barely alive on a respirator, who has only a few days to live and who is a perfect donor.

Without the transplant, the leader will die; the criminal will die in a few days anyway. Security at the hospital is well-controlled. The transplant team could hasten the death of the criminal and carry out the transplant to save the life of the leader without the public ever knowing . . . unless you want them to know.

What should we do?

My first instinct was that the criminal’s death should never be hastened, then my rational brain thought the priority should be to save the leader. What do you think?

Basically Utilitarianism puts the group before the individual, and this is the kind of decision-making used by the government to determine health policy – a form of scientific morality.

Michael mentioned “Star Trek” where Spock is always rational while Kirk may be more caring of individuals. I enjoy “Star Trek Next Generation” where the plot often hinges on an ethical dilemma.

We learned about the work of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill who were both social reformers and early socialists. It’s thought-provoking to reflect that a more complex life may lead to unhappiness. Perhaps ignorance is bliss? So much to think about!

Equality is hard to find
Efficiency may lag behind

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Bit of Barricade

Did you know we have a section of the Berlin Wall in the central city? It’s in Cashel Street, near Manchester Street. The city was gifted the 3.6-metre tall sections of the wall by German construction company, EMP Beratungsgesellschaft mbH, which dismantled the wall. At first it was suggested they be erected in Victoria Square, but the Council decided Rauora Park was the best place for them.

The wall has been placed north/south and there are different pictures by local artists on the east and west sides.

Berlin Wall east side
Berlin Wall west side

The east side has been painted by Jessie Rawcliffe, and the west side by MEEP.

Not long ago this block stood in
the two part city of Berlin

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Ziggy Zonked

A visiting friend kindly brought Ziggy a bunch of catmint. I’ve tried to grow this without success so it’s been some months since he had such a treat and he was most appreciative.

Ziggy with catmint

Ziggy tends to spend most of the day sleeping, but his dreams today may have been a little more imaginative. Who knows?

When he lies down and shuts his eye
perhaps he dreams that he can fly

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