Monthly Archives: March 2012

Saturday Again!

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go.  If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

Instead I spent it

When it comes to housework the one thing no book of household management can ever tell you is how to begin.  Or maybe I mean why.
Katharine Whitehorn,  British journalist, writer and columnist.  1928 –

Each day this week I have said “Today’s the day”.  The day for rubber-gloving ie housework – ugh.  I am a really organised and relatively tidy person but I hate vacuuming that is until I start.  Each time I find so many reasons not to do this and then find it takes very little time and I am always delighted when the job is done.  Dusting follows of course and as this is an old house (circa 1914) it attracts spiders.

I never see these invaders but they leave evidence of their having visited by weaving complicated webs.  But this is a very strange phenomenon as they mostly appear in the living room and the only windows that sport these webs are in the living room.  Oh occasionally I find a web in another part of the house but never on a window anywhere else.

So rubber-gloving was given up in favour of reading blogs and enjoying the sunshine.

I subscribe to so many fascinating blogs that just occasionally I get really behind in my reading and then have to devote several hours to this happy chore.  Although now I come to think of it when I use the word chore I usually mean a disagreeable task ie housework.  And this is most certainly an agreeable task.

Then later I met with a friend.  We had coffee at a coffee shop sitting outside in the sun.  And that was followed with a glass of wine and so I remembered my favourite Christmas song – Drinking White Wine in the Sun.  OK  – I know it’s not Christmas but sitting with a glass of bubbles brought this song to mind.

So I have had a relaxing day; blogs are read but chores are still not done.  Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.  And just as I wrote that I remembered a song from my teenage years called It’s Almost Tomorrow.  If you feel like a trip down memory lane to 1955 when this recording was made click here for the Dreamweavers singing this song. And again I am reminded of how naive gentle and innocent were the songs of my teenage years.

And on the subject of memories and nostalgia, one of the blog posts I read today was this one from my blogging pal  (well really I think we are sisters, we think so much alike) Dor at Technicolor Day Dreams.

We all recycled although we didn’t know the word for it.  As Dor says, we all washed and returned milk bottles – our milkman who came to the door, uplifted them daily and replaced them with full bottles of milk.  Paper bags were re-used, wrapping paper was carefully folded to re-use, diapers were washed and hung out in the fresh air to dry and most of all we pushed our babies in their prams to the shops and didn’t need to go to gyms and use their electrically operated machines.  We were not the original recyclers, our mothers and grandmothers certainly recycled usually from necessity, but we all indulged in it during my early years.

“Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me would we? Could we?
Memories, may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget…”
As sung by Barbra Streisand – The Way We were.


Loonies and Twonies and Candies

Do you know what loonies and twonies are?  I have just discovered they are the $1 and $2 coins that have replaced the paper bills in Canada.

Where did I find this fascinating, earth-shattering, fascinating information?  Well I was reading a report in the Vancouver Sun describing the confusion caused when a truck crashed scattering millions of dollars worth of coins along the highway.  This has also of course, been reported in newspapers across the country.

Truck crash

Apparently when the Brink’s truck carrying the money crashed into a rock face on the side of the highway the complete load of somewhere between $C3.5 and $C5 million in coins was scattered across the highway.

This caused a chain reaction of course, and one of the casualties was a truck carrying candies.  It too lost its load over the highway.

“Crews used a one-metre round industrial magnet on a backhoe to pick up the toonies and loonies..”  And having commented that it would be an onerous task the Constable  on the scene said “I walked through the scene where there was more money than I will ever see in my whole life,” Ontario Provincial Police officer Marc Depatie with the South Porcupine detachment.

So if you have a sweet tooth are short of a few dollars head to Northern Ontario where I am sure they are still scooping up coins.

Back now to Wellington where the good weather is set to continue at least for a few more days, according to our local paper The Dominion Post.

Oriental Bay


Perfect weather in Wellington is fleeting and this could be the last opportunity to bring out the togs for many long months.  The weekend is shaping up to be sun-drenched with 18 and 19 degree highs forecast for Saturday and Sunday.  After the dismal summer we enjoyed endured, this will be a welcome change.

But the Metservice has also warned that the weather is set to deteriorate by Easter, and urged people to get out and enjoy this weekend.

And now the summer is really ending.  Daylight saving ends at 2am on Sunday April 1; is there a message in that? And the nights will draw in and fires will be lit in homes in this street.  Ah well, this weekend will be the last of the summer weather.


My rainbow

Well, How About That?

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll – “Through the looking glass”.

woman at laptop

While sitting looking at this blank screen today, without any idea on what to write I suddenly remembered a file on my computer which houses all sorts of interesting and daft things.  So I turned to it today..

  • Do you know where the title of GOLF came from?   Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented.  It was ruled ‘Gentlemen Only… Ladies Forbidden’… and thus, the word GOLF entered into the English language.
  • Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from
    Spades – King David; Hearts – Charlemagne; Diamonds – Julius
    Caesar and Clubs -Alexander, the Great.
  • In the 1400’s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb.  Hence the Rule of Thumb.
  • Do you know that if you were to spell out the numbers, you would have to go to One Thousand before you found the letter “A”.
  • In English pubs, beer is still ordered by pints and quarts..In England in olden times when customers got unruly, the bartender would
    yell at them :Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.” It’s where the expression Mind your Ps and Qs comes from.
  •  Did you know that the first novel ever wrtten on a typewriter was
    Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.Early typewriter

Do you want more useless facts and information?

  • In Babylon 4,000 years ago it was the accepted practice that for a
    month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead (a honey beer) he could drink.  This period was called the honey month, which we know today as The Honeymoon.
  • In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames
    by ropes.  When one pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on.  Hence the phrase – ‘Goodnight, sleep tight’.
  • Every day more money is printed for the game of Monopoly than for the U.S. Treasury.

And of course I love this next one:

  • Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and
    laser printers have in common?
    A. All were invented by women.

We can do it

“So be sure when you step,
Step with care and great tact.
And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act.
And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) “
Dr Seuss from “Oh the places you’ll go”.

Unicorns do exist

The Unicorn is one of the most mysterious of all animals. It has been written about, told about and sung about for centuries and remains one of the ‘great unsolved mysteries’ of our world.

Despite the widely held belief in its existence, it has not been seen in centuries; but I have always known that unicorns do exist.

As a young child I made up stories about them and as I got older and had children and grandchildren of my own, I made up unicorn stories for them too.  One grandson was particularly enthralled by stories of Ronald who had a pet unicorn that he kept in the bedroom of his apartment.  The unicorn, for reasons known only to that grandchild, was called Bert.  Ronald and Bert had many adventures over the years.  Ronald first espied Bert from the window of the school bus and took him home with him.  Well the children were very young and believed anything their Granma told them.

So when I read this email from a friend :

British film director Sir Ridley Scott launched a global film making contest for aspiring directors. It’s titled “Tell It Your Way”. There were over 600 entries.

The film could be no longer than three minutes, contain only 6 lines of narrative & be a compelling story. The winner was “Porcelain Unicorn” from American director Keegan Wilcox.

It’s a story of the lifetimes of two people who are totally opposite, yet, very much the same – all told in less than 3 minutes.

Click here – You’ll see why it won.

And a quote on imagination by Michelangelo –

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

Michelangelo's David

As seen in the Academy of Fine Arts, Florence (Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze)


At the outset of my blogging career I wrote a couple of posts one on famous sisters – And The Best Friends of All Are Sisters and one on My Favourite Women Heroes.

Well staying on the subject of famous sisters, today I read  about Katherine and Marjorie Stinson.  Have you heard of these aviator pioneers?

Katherine Stinson

Katherine Stinson, the nineteen year old girl aviator preparing for her flight from Buffalo to Washington, D.C., in connection with the American Red Cross week

Katherine, the eldest was born in 1891, and had plans to study music in Europe and when she heard about stunt flying she determined that this was the way she could fund this ambition.  Barnstorming was a very dangerous occupation early in the 20th Century, but the best barnstormers could earn a thousand dollars in a good day provided they didn’t kill themselves.

By 1912 she’d located flying pioneer, Max Lillie and asked him to teach her to fly.  His response was – no way.  But she persuaded him to take her for a ride and finally convinced him to teach her.

Katherine at 21 became the only the fourth American woman to hold a pilot’s licence.  Next she took up exhibition flying billing herself as The Flying Schoolgirl.  Even though she was in reality 21 she looked to be about 16. Katherine was the first woman to become an airmail pilot and the first to fly a loop.  She flew in exhibitions not only in the US but was the first woman to fly inn China and Japan.  She was the first woman to fly the mail.

By this time she had given up dreams of being a concert pianist and instead considered herself a pilot.  In this is closely linked to Jean Batten the NZ woman aviator who too gave up her desire to be a concert pianist to become a flyer.

Marjorie Stinson

Marjorie Stinson, "only woman to whom a pilot's license has been granted by Army & Navy Committee of Aeronautics", in WWI"

Katherine‘s younger sister Marjorie, born in 1895 followed her example and also learned to fly.  She was the ninth American woman to hold a pilot’s licence.

Katherine and her mother formed the Stinson Aviation Company and after both her sister Marjorie and her brother gained their licenses the family moved to San Antonio and set up a flying school.   The school had to be closed when the US joined WWI the military banned civilian flying and the school had to be closed.

In 1915,   Marjorie  became the only woman in the U.S. Aviation Reserve Corps.  Then in 1916 she began training cadets from the Royal Canadian Flying Corps for service in WWI.  Her teaching methods earned her the nickname, “The Flying Schoolmarm.”

Katherine  tried to enlist as a pilot in the air force but without success and she eventually went to France as an ambulance driver.

After the war, Katherine went back to flying airmail for a short time,  but she contracted tuberculosis and had to give it up. She married a former WWI pilot  and they both did a little more flying but, in 1930, they both decided to quit.

She became a draftsman for the Army and studied architecture. She won prizes for her designs and she lived to the age of 86.

And Marjorie took to barnstorming around the country performing at county fairs and airports. She retired from flying in 1928 she became a draftsman for the  U.S. Navy’s Aeronautical Division. She retired from her job in 1945 and devoted the rest of her life to researching the history of aviation. She died in 1975 at the age of 80.

So two sisters who were very active in flying in the early days and of whom we have heard very little.  The Stinson Award was created in 1997 by the National Aviation Club (now part of NAA) to honor the accomplishments of these two pioneering women.

Read more about these and other notable women aviators at Women in Aviation

Note – photos via Wikipedia.

When sisters stand shoulder to shoulder,
who stands a chance against us?
Pam Brown


A short time ago I wrote a post Dumb and Dumber relating the silly mistakes this elderly lady made.  Well today I have to say that I can add another to the list.

Yesterday I wrote a blog on The Market and then for whatever reason having published it, it disappeared.  Only after I spent time re-writing the blog did I find out that the post could be restored to the way it was when it was published.  Oh dear.  As my late husband used to say “If all else fails, read the manual”.  So maybe I should have taken some time to find out just what we can do with WordPress.

And today was Neighbours Day here in New Zealand/Aotearoa.  I had heard nothing about Neighbours Day but on Friday I found an invitation in the mail box to A Garage Party to celebrate our neighbourhood on Neighbours Day.  What a good idea.

Our Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has thrown her support behind the idea of a nationwide Neighbours Day, saying that it would build stronger, more resilient communities. Click here to read about it.

One of my neighbours had picked up and run with the idea. She organised this for our street and we were invited to BYO (bring your own wine or beer) and nibbles to share.  So after I had been to the one only Open Home we had today, with a friend I went to the Garage Party.  The party was held in the street and it was an excellent opportunity for us to get to meet and know each other.

We had a very pleasant hour or so together and what a good idea this was.  This is a small inner city street and as everybody goes in and out of the street by car, we rarely get the opportunity to speak with each other.  I congratulated the woman who ran with this idea and hope that maybe the same thing will happen again in the not too distant future.

And no, Lotte didn’t come.  She wasn’t invited but it seemed that most people there knew of her.

Lotte on desk

Another helping hand

As you can see, she was left at home in charge of writing a post for the blog.

Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there.
Franklin P. Jones

The Market – A Lesson Learned

Well once again WordPress is playing with my mind.  I published the post but now I have only half of it.  Where did the rest go?

So here it is again –

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go. If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

Today I went to the Market.

It was still raining this morning what a surprise!  I had arranged to meet a friend for coffee and afterwards I decided to check out the Saturday market in the area. I have seen the notices for the market many times, as it is held in the grounds of the school in the same street as Mary Potter Hospice.

The market was full of stalls selling fresh produce, mostly vegetables and fruit but one had freshly baked bread and bakery items, another was selling gourmet salamis – but the choice of vegetables was outstanding.


I was told that all vegetables were grown organically and had been picked either in the early hours of this morning or else late yesterday.  They certainly looked fresher and were somewhat cheaper than those sold in the local supermarket.

I bought far too many vegetables but as winter is almost upon us, what I don’t use this week can be made into soup and frozen.  I like making soup so this isn’t a drag for me.

And then of course, I started thinking about markets when I was growing up in London.  I have written about street markets before.  If you are interested in the ramblings of this ancient mind, click here.

As young girls we accompanied our Mother to the market every Saturday afternoon.  It didn’t come with a choice, and until such time as she determined that we were old enough to act responsibly on our own, we had to go with her.

Road sign

The market was about a 30-minutes walk from where we lived and this time was used to talk about all those things that a mother and her three daughters talked about.  We each carried a shopping bag mostly containing fruit and vegetables as this was all we ever seemed to buy at the market.

It was our special time together.  I clearly remember when I was about 15 and beginning to go out with boys, my Mother ribbing me about my beau.  She was ably assisted in this by my elder sister.

I wonder if the memories of those time are sweetened as we grow older.  Could our lives have been so special then.  As Barbra Streisand sings:

“Can it be that it was all so simple then or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again tell me would we? Could we?
Memories, may be beautiful and yet what’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember whenever we remember the way we were.”

Mother has now been dead for some 16 years and so I can’t discuss those far off days with her.  But I do have two sisters who were there at the time.  I wonder if their memories of those times are as vivid as mine.

Mother and girls

Mother with her three daughters

So what is the lesson learned?  To write my blogs in Word before copying it into WordPress.  That way I won’t have to rewrite it.  And no doubt if you read the original version of The Market (and I know that some of you did as you have already commented on it) you may see the changes.  Obviously, this mind cannot retain what was written just a few hours ago.  Oh dear.
As a dear departed friend once told me “Growing old aint for the fainthearted”.
And now I have restored the original so you will be able to read the same post twice. 🙂 🙂 – sorry about that.
Related posts

The Market

It was still raining this morning what a surprise!  I had arranged to meet a friend for coffee and afterwards I decided to check out the Saturday market in the area. I have seen the notices for the market many times, as it is held in the school grounds in the same street as the Mary Potter Hospice.

The market was full of stalls selling fresh produce, mostly vegetables and some fruit, but one had freshly baked bread and bakery items, another was selling gourmet salamis – but the choice of vegetables was outstanding.

I was told that the vegetables had mostly been picked yesterday and many were organically grown.  What really surprised me was how much fresher they looked and how much cheaper they were than those vegetables currently on offer at the supermarket.

The market was busy in spite of the puddles and the continuing rain; it obviously has a host of loyal followers.  The comments among the customers and stall holders suggested that they were on friendly terms which could only be because of their familiarity with each other.

Of course, I bought far more than I should have, but as it’s coming up to soup weather the vegetables will be put to good use.

And then this reminded me of street markets in England when I was growing up.  I wrote a blog on this in July last year – if you are interested in my meanderings down memory lane please click here.

Road sign

I know that as I get older these memories return and I often wonder are these places, sights and people improved with the passing of time?

I do know that we had no choice on Saturday about whether to accompany Mother to the market.  And only as we became older and in her considered opinion, more able to be responsible for ourselves, were we able to make a decision as to whether or not to accompany her.  But this was a time of sharing for Mother and her three daughters.  It took about 30 minutes for us to walk from the market to our house. Walking along, each carrying at least one shopping bag, we discussed all things that mothers and young daughters discussed.

I particularly remember as I reached the ripe old age of 15 and had a boyfriend, Mother and my sisters ribbing me about him.  Innocent family fun.  Saturday afternoons and Ridley Road market are imprinted in my memory so many, many years later.

Mother and girls

Mother has now been dead for some 16 years and I cannot discuss these days with her anymore.  But I can discuss them with my sisters and I wonder if their memories of these days are as clear as mine.

“Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me would we? Could we?
Memories, may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were.”














..Related Posts

Have You Seen It?

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Poster

This evening we went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  As I said yesterday, it is the story of a group of English retirees who decide to spend their retirement in a hotel in India.  None of them now has a place in the world ; none is rich.  One couple have invested their retirement savings in their daughter’s IT company which is not doing well; one woman has had to sell her apartment to pay her late husband’s debts; one is a retired High Court Judge; another woman is  looking for a rich husband/boyfriend; another woman is there for a hip replacement that she cannot afford in England, and a flamboyant man is there to find himself a woman. So we meet Muriel, Evelyn, Douglas, Jean, Norman and Graham as they set out on their journey to India.

This unlikely group of strangers are enticed to India by advertisements offering cheap accommodation in a grand hotel.  What they find when they arrive is far from what has been depicted in the advertisements.  Penelope Wilton playing Bill Nighy‘s wife, demands to be put into “the other one that was shown in the brochure”.

Arriving at the Marigold Hotel

The movie is full of colour and movement and the retirees each find something different during their time in Jaipur.

The movie is based on a novel by Deborah Moggach, These Foolish Things.  The cast includes such notables as Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton.

It is a lighthearted film certainly worth seeing if one is looking for entertainment.  Click here to see the trailer.

And if you are entranced enticed by the idea of and by the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, then look no further.  There is a Marigold Hotel in Goa –  but it looks in rather better shape than the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

The movie is opening in the US in May so if you want an easy to watch movie and if it comes to your area, I recommend that you take yourself off to see it.

“It will all be all right in the end and
if it’s not all right it’s not the end.”
Sunny Kapoor, Manager, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I Spy

As with most of my friends of my age I find that I now need to wear my glasses from almost the time I get up in the morning until I go to sleep.  The one notable exception is my elder sister who , while needing glasses in her early years now no longer even needs her specs for reading.  How fair is that?

And now I notice that each of my children, and their spouses, need glasses for reading.

So with my glasses on am I seeing any more clearly?  Looking around my world I see that there is still strife and war; still hungry children; still abused children and still homeless people.

But today, we didn’t need our glasses on to see the pod of Orca whales spotted in Wellington harbour; they were swimming about 100 metres off shore this afternoon.


Orca whales in Wellington Harbour

Earlier reports had them on the other side of the harbour.  A local man, with a friend visiting from Hawaii spotted the pod .  Apparently they followed the pod for about 90 minutes.  He also said dolphins were playing with the Orcas and they could be seen diving alongside the whales.

According to the Department of Conservation  Orcas come into the Wellington Harbour several times a year.  We are told the whales could have been following the coast line of the North Island and followed it into the harbour.  Or they could be taking shelter from turbulent conditions in open sea.

We are also told by DOC that while commonly called ”killer whales”, Orcas are actually large dolphins.

But we obviously didn’t have our glasses on when some shady deals were being made.  The Serious Fraud Office has revealed it is investigating another failed finance company over alleged related party deals.

SFO chief executive Adam Feeley this afternoon said a probe had begun into the affairs of NZF Group, including commercial and residential loan provider NZF Money that collapsed in July last year owing debenture holders $16.4 million.

How many more of these finance companies are going to be in the spotlight in the coming months.  And how many people have lost or will lose their retirement funds having invested in these companies.

And I shall need my spectacles to see the upcoming movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  We have seen the trailer for this movie every time we have been to the cinema recently and I am really looking forward to it.

The blurb tells us the story follows a group of British retirees who decide to “outsource” their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.

So what else do I see through these spectacles?

I visited the library today and picked up a couple of books by a writer new to me, Charles Finch.  My elder sister told me about him a weeks or so ago and then today I read this post from Marie at My Life, Such as It is.  I now have both this book September Society and the earlier one in the series A Beautiful Blue Death to read.

September Society book coverA Beautiful Blue Death book coverSo now I am off to bed with a cup of coffee to read about the antics and adventures of this “Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer”, Charles Lennox.  I hope the stories are as interesting as I am led to believe by Marie and my sister, Christine.

“The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn’t indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn’t detect.” Mark Twain.