Posts Tagged ‘Ruth Gardner’

While Auckland copes with the aftermath of flooding and Coromandel assesses the damage to its vital roads, Canterbury is experiencing a heatwave.

At 11.30am today the temperature in our shady backyard is already 30°, the third day in a row it’s been this high, with similar temperatures expected for the next few days. I’ve completed my few essential chores and am conserving my energy by sitting in the swing-seat drafting this blog post.

Last night’s lowest temperature was 20°, and Christchurch Hospital was completely without power for an hour. I hate to think what conditions must have been like for patients and staff.

I slept soundly with just a sheet over me. Today we have doors and windows open, but the backyard is the place to be, especially as there is a light breeze.

Shady spot

With no need for physical exertion, I’m able to remain comfortable despite the heat, and won’t be going for any walks today. I’m very aware that the climate crisis means we must expect many more days like this.

I keep thinking of the Cole Porter song, Too Darn Hot, sung by Ella Fitzgerald (who apparently was Marilyn Monroe’s favourite singer). There may well be a few people humming this today.

The weather’s getting too darn hot
I’m grateful for my shady spot

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streets are quiet
everyone at home
or gone away
Solstice passed
Christmas over
presents exchanged
Zoom brings contact
with family far away

path mowed
through no-mow lawn
jungle tamed
cherries harvested
just seventeen
rescued from the birds

thirty degrees
too hot for exertion
sit beneath a shady tree
read another novel

a fortnight free
of obligations
relax with friends
walk on the beach
crossword puzzles and Wordle
feast on Horotane apricots
chocolate treats
visit cafés
take afternoon naps

without leaving home
or deserting the cat
I have a summer holiday

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Today is Lughnasad, the festival of First Fruits. As we move from summer towards Autumn it’s the time when cicadas sing and the toetoe bloom flies through the air. We are balanced between hope and fear – a time to think about the inner fears that hold you back, and what it is that you hope to harvest. We have worked hard to bring many things to fruition, but the rewards are not yet certain. For the harvest there must be a sacrifice, and warmth and light must pass into winter. What do you plan to store from the harvest to see you through the darker time of the year?

This is a time of abundance when we contemplate what we will harvest, and hope that our actions will bear fruit. In my garden the tomatoes are ripening.

Tomatoes are close to being harvested

We are aware that for some people there will be no bountiful harvest. Many of our friends and family in the North Island are experiencing the effects of our lack of action towards the climate crisis.

Here is a ritual blessing from Patricia Telesco:

I walk to the South of my sacred space:
Herein all negativity is erased.
I walk to the East where the magic winds dance;
Here I evoke the power of abundance.
I walk to the North where the fires burn bright;
There I shall banish, all evil, take flight!
I walk to the West, where clear waters flow;
The circle’s completed, blessings bestow!

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Shady Spaces

Visiting green spaces can improve a range of health problems, especially for those on low incomes. An article in this week’s Guardian reported on Finnish research which confirms this. As we are superannuitants we are a low income household, and we both take a variety of medications. Stephen pointed this article out to me, and my immediate response was to ask whether it meant he would now want to walk across the road and revel in the trees on the riverbank. But, no! He said the research supported the importance of our spending time in the green space on our patio.

Our personal green space

We do spend many hours there. On warm days we have all our meals outside under the shady walnut tree and we often sit there to read or do word puzzles. I’m confident that time spent in our own green space is good for us, and will continue to visit other green spaces as well. Do you visit a green space regularly?

We’re fond of our back garden space
our very own green leafy place

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Crisis Contrasts

Almost two weeks have gone by since I last blogged. Little has happened close to home, but nationally there have been major events. Our much-admired Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has resigned and been replaced by Chris Hipkins. I appreciate all that Jacinda has done for us and hope she will now enjoy a stress-free time with her family.

On Friday it rained in Auckland, and it rained, and it rained. It was the city’s wettest day ever recorded, with almost 300% of a normal January rainfall over just a few days. I lived in Auckland for 37 years, was distressed to hear of the catastrophic effects of this deluge, and to see photos of the flooding in our old area of Onehunga. Ko Maungakiekie te Maunga. Ko Manukau te Moana.

The devastation brought back memories of our experiences during the earthquakes. We know what it’s like to be without power or water, and to be uncertain as to what may happen next. As far as I know friends in Auckland are all safe with only minimal damage to their homes, but many other lives have been shattered. The forecast is for more heavy rain this evening.

Meanwhile in Ōtautahi we are basking in warm sunny days. Today is Stephen’s birthday, we went out for breakfast, and are booked to also go out to dinner.

Breakfast at Meshino

I’m very conscious that people in Auckland have been told to stay home if possible, and that many businesses are not able to open. May everyone stay safe and have the resources to recover from this catastrophe.

May all rain safely drain away
to leave a warm and sunny day

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Charlesworth Wetland Reserve was where Christine and I chose to walk this morning. At the entrance in Charlesworth Street, Ferrymead, there are pamphlets available including one which details a self-guided quiz trail. This is supposed to take thirty minutes, but we dawdled and took longer. There are twenty points of interest on the trail, but some of the numbered markers have either disappeared or are not obvious. At one point there was a signpost with a map although it was not very helpful.

Map on signpost was not clear

The Reserve is home to a number of birds, but the only ones we saw were Mallard ducks and Scaupe.

Ducks on pond

The Reserve is owned and managed by the Christchurch City Council and most of the planting is done by volunteers who work there every Sunday. Many of the trees are still small, but these ones dominate the skyline.

Large trees

Unfortunately convolvulus can be seen in some areas. This weed is a nuisance everywhere. The seeds can survive over thirty years in the soil, which makes it difficult to eradicate.


This was a lovely walk, with the shade especially welcome on a sunny day. There are a couple of spots with seats where you can sit and look out over the wetlands. It’s great to have this reserve so close to the city.

We walked along the Charlesworth trail
all flat, no uphill or down dale

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I’ve bought my eggs from PIKO for the past 36 years. I appreciate that they come from free range hens and egg boxes are recycled. Deliveries are made Monday and Thursday mornings, and I usually get half a dozen at a time, occasionally a dozen.

With the nationwide shortages lately PIKO have limited sales to two dozen per customer, and deliveries sell out quickly. Yesterday we had only three eggs left, so I went across at 10.30am hoping to buy a dozen, as I knew I’d be out on Thursday morning and not able to stock up then.

To my surprise there were no eggs on display, they were all stacked behind the counter where a staff member was busily packing them into boxes. When I inquired I was told eggs now need to be pre-ordered, and that when they’d filled the prior orders they would phone me to let me know when mine were available. I was relieved to get my dozen and have placed a standing order for every Monday.

Egg rack re-stocked

I haven’t checked the egg shelves at the supermarket but have heard of friends who’ve missed out on getting eggs. It’s especially hard for vegetarians and those who like to bake. There are lots of hints around as to what you can substitute for eggs. One friend told me she made a Christmas cake using golden syrup instead of eggs, which turned out fine.

The egg shortage is likely to last for another six months until more young hens come into lay. The upside is that no hens will now be confined to battery cages. The price of eggs and of some baked goods will go up, sad when the cost of living is making life hard for many, but we need to remember that previously it was the hens who were paying.

Have you changed your ways with eggs?

Support for moves to free range hens
means liberation from cruel pens

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Yesterday’s weather was perfect for the beach. Many families were out, splashing in the shallows, building sand castles, or walking their dogs.

Sunday on Waimairi Beach

A large bird had been washed up on the beach and we wondered what it was.

Bird corpse

My digitally deft companion sent a photo to iNaturalist where it was identified as a Giant Petrel. It had obviously been in the sea for some time as it was entwined with kelp. The traditional seafarers’ name for this bird is stinkpot because they have an intense foul smell like rotting flesh. Luckily any smell had been washed away before this corpse came to shore.

Giant Petrels are scavengers who eat penguin, albatross, seal and whale carrion, and kelp, as well as fish and squid. Adult birds can walk strongly on land where they aggressively compete for carrion and prey, being the only petrels that will feed while on land.

Alive this is a bird to fear
and you might not want to be near

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I was keen to see this film after reading the autobiography of filmmaker Gaylene Preston, but I must admit I found it depressing. It covers the year in 2016 when Helen Clark made a bid to be the first woman Secretary General of the United Nations. For the first time the process for election was supposed to be open and transparent, but in fact the same old men made the same old decisions. If we want change at the U.N. the whole system will need to change and this is now unlikely to happen for another decade, if ever.

Helen Clark is always an interesting woman, and it was good to see how she kept regular contact with and cared for her aging father. This would have been a very different film if Helen’s bid had been successful.

A friend in Wellington kindly sent me this DVD as a gift. I will not want to watch it again, so if you’re interested, please let me know, and I will pass it on.

She tried for top job at U.N.
but was rebuffed by biased men

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Big Birds

A mural I hadn’t seen before is on the fence outside Rydges Hotel in Oxford Terrace. It features birds and reptiles of Aotearoa, and is by Chilean born artist Rodrigo Rozas.

I love all these images, and like to think that the people in town for the Buskers’ Festival will admire them too.

I hope that you will spread the words
so folk can see these native birds

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