Monthly Archives: August 2012

Happy Birthday and You are How Old?

Yesterday my baby boy celebrated his 50th birthday.  How can that be?  Where have all those years gone?

It seems only yesterday that I brought him home from the hospital to the delight of his big sister.  She was enthralled/entranced with this little person and was convinced that I brought him home especially for her.  She doted on this tiny being; was concerned if he ever cried; made sure he had his favourite toys at all times and rarely left his side when he was awake.  She was always the first to go to him when he awoke.

Through the years they had the usual sibling rivalry and yes, some quarrels but each always knew they could rely on the other when the need arose.  When my daughter decided to leave New Zealand on her own for some overseas experience (although of course, she had been away many times with us as a family) people asked my son how he would cope without his sister.

Things changed; time moved on; they moved on.  They met and married their partners and produced children of their own.  I see the same kind of loyalty in each of their families.  They each have two sons and those sons are displaying the same kind of attachment that my children had with each other.

We used to think that ours were particularly close because we had dragged them around the world with us, dropping them into schools and situations that they had not experienced before.  We thought that because they relied on each other at these times, the bond between them was made stronger.

But watching the grandchildren I am now convinced that the family bond is there right from the beginning.  I do know that I have this strong bond with my two sisters.

So Happy 50th my darling.  I hope you have many more birthdays to share with us.

























Celebrations and Amazement


WOW how does a 15-year-old from far away New Zealand take on the talent of the women’s golfing world and win?  This young school girl Lydia Ko from the North Shore of Auckland not only beat the leading professional women players but beat them by three.  What a feat for this talented young woman.  She is the youngest to win the Canadian Women’s Open.  Click here for the full story of this achievement.  I just came to make the cut and play the best,” Ko said in a television interview. “I won and I’m going to get the trophy, and it’s amazing.”

And what a joy to watch her play.  She certainly appears to enjoy herself as she smiles and laughs with her caddy and those around her.  And the absolute commitment she has shown is totally amazing in one so young.  She has said that she will not turn professional yet as she has an education to complete.  Apparently she has her sights set on attending Stanford University.  I am sure with the determination she has shown up to this point, she will succeed in getting to her chosen seat of learning.

For no reason at all, when I saw the clip of the win on the local Network News I thought of William Blake‘s “To See a World in a Grain of Sand”.  Do you know this poem?

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour”

I think at the time of being handed the cup – and it was a very large cup for this slight girl to hold – she must have felt that she was holding infinity in her hand.

I have no doubt that the future for Lydia Ko will be exciting and only limited by her will to succeed.  Well done Lydia!

And I can’t close this post today without a heartfelt plea that all my blogging friends in the path of Hurricane Isaac are taking care.  May you all keep safe and my hope is that this tropical storm will not wreak havoc in its path as so many have before it.

And my sister and friends both in real life and in the blogosphere – I hope you are all safe after the flurry of earthquakes reported today.

And wherever you are, whatever Mother Nature is throwing at you, I do hope that you remain safe.

A Man on the Moon!

“Young girl in Calcutta barely eight years old
The flies that swarm the market place will see she don’t get old
Don’t you know she heard it on that July afternoon
She heard a man named Armstrong had walked upon the moon”
Lyrics by John Stewart.

I am quite sure that everyone over the age of 50 can tell you where they were on that July day in 1969 when man first walked on the moon.  If you are not old enough or if you just want to relive that time watch this video.

I know where I was.  In a Holiday Inn in Montreal.  Having arrived with 2 small children from New Zealand via the UK, we were ensconced in two units while we decided on where to buy a house.  It was a very warm day and the children were playing outside and paddling in the pool waiting for me so that they could go into the swimming pool, while I sat goggle-eyed watching the scratchy video footage on this amazing event.

The audio and vision of the great moment came to us all through the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station just outside Canberra, from where it went right around the planet and people everywhere stopped what they were doing to marvel at this feat.

And over the years we have heard little or nothing about Neil Armstrong, the reluctant celebrity.  He lived his life quietly in Ohio away from the glare of publicity.

Then in 2011, Alex Malley the CEO of CPA Australia scooped a rare interview with Armstrong.  The interview was to mark the 125th year of CPA existence.  In fact, the interview was broadcast in four parts and was aired in Australia and worldwide. During the interview, Armstrong talked about his love of flying and his determination to get a pilot’s licence at 15, his feelings about being part of the US Space Programme and how it was to land on the moon.

And now we hear that this stellar figure of modern history (if history can be termed modern) had died following cardiac surgery at the age of 82.  His family called him a “reluctant American hero who served his nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut.”

“And I wonder if a long time ago somewhere in the universe
They watched a man named Adam walk upon the earth”





















It’s Saturday Once Again

So here we are.  Saturday again.  Another seven days has passed and what have you achieved?  For me I can answer very little.  We had only one Open Home last Sunday and the hoped for offer hasn’t yet materialised.  My Real Estate friend arrived home on Monday after visiting Peru and Bolivia  and we spent the day in catch up.  Oh and buying her a new laptop as her one eventually gave up the ghost after about 8 years.  Tuesday as a day spent on database entering – boring but necessary.  Wednesday was good – we went to pick up Major the Afghan Hound from his breeder some 70 kms away.  So we made a day of it, having lunch at a little restaurant where we sat outside in the sun and listened to the river while we ate.  Thursday -at the hospice and Friday doing somemuch needed rubber gloving at home.

Six word Saturday buttonSo now it’s time for Six Word Saturday –

And if you want to play along all that’s necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words – click on the picture on the left  or click here for more details.

Here are my six words –


This was the banner headline in the weekend edition of the newspaper.  Apparently a local museum is to host a video display of Muslim women without veils.  What has raised the blood pressure around here is that no men will be allowed in to see the exhibition.   As you can imagine this has raised a protest from various sectors of the community as well as lots of interested and interesting comment.

The work is by Qatari writer and film-maker Sophia Al-Maria.  It is called Cinderazahd – For Your Eyes Only and features members of her family getting ready for the wedding of a cousin and shows them without their veils.  According to a NZ Imam “It would be inappropriate for a male stranger to see a woman without her veil, even in her own home”.

The wearing of veils by Muslim women has been a topic of conversation here for some time, as mostly we don’t understand this custom.  A spokesperson for the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand explained that a veil or headscarf moves the focus away from a woman’s appearance to her inner beauty.  She went on to say that the veil says to the world ” I don’t want to be judged for the way I look but rather by my intellect, my character and my personality.”  This then forces us to look beyond the facial attraction of a woman.

The Museum Director has apparently discussed the fact that men will not be allowed to view the video with the Human rights Commission and he is comfortable with showing the video with the restriction on men.  A spokesperson for the Human Rights Commission has said it advised the Museum that there was “an arguable case” for discrimination based on gender under the Human Rights Act.   However, the Commission cannot act until it receives a complaint from a member of the public.

Somehow the Race Relations Commissioner has also become involved.  He is quoted as saying it was up to the museum to decided whether to display the video.  “If there is a complaint we will explore it” he said.  Although how sexual discrimination falls into the spere of the Race Relations Commission is not clear to me at all.

I am sure that we shall hear more on this over the coming weeks.  I know that I shall make the 20 km journey to the Museum to see what exhibition o get an insight into the lives of some Muslim women.

And will we soon see/hear discussion on the many married Orthodox Jewish women who wear wigs in public as a sign of modesty?

Judging a Book By Its Cover

Opening my emails from blogging friends has taken on some of the qualities of Christmas morning.  They all purport to come from Lenore Diane so the excitement builds as each surprise package is opened.

Today I opened one that came from my blogging friend Val at Arty Old Bird.  She talked about accepting that one might be different to others and coming to terms with it..  Do go over to read her blog post.  I am sure you will find it interesting/illuminating.

About two-thirds of the way into the post she directed us to Israel who sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow with such feeling that it brings tears to the eyes.  Most of us have heard this version of the song and loved it.  And yes he does look different to most of us.

And then there was this – Jonathon and Charlotte .  This odd looking couple competing in Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year.  Just look at Jonathon; at the time of the audition  he was 17 years old and Charlotte was 16.   As you can imagine Simon Cowell et al dismissed him but that was before he started singing.

Look at the faces of the judges and the audience and then look them as Jonathon starts to sing.  Who would have thought this young man had such a voice.  And how many would have dismissed him because of his size and the way he looks?

We are all guilty of judging a book by its cover and in doing so how much do we miss.  We know that first impressions are important but …  We may miss out on a great friendship because of judging somebody by the way he/she looks.

This couple totally wowed the audience and the judges.  Simon Cowell has now signed them to a GBP 1million contract and admits he was wrong in his first impressions of this duo.

As a footnote do you believe that this couple with those voices, were beaten in the final by a performing dog?  What were the British people thinking.

Related post –    Seeing is Believing or Is It?

Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?

She’s the oldest woman in the world to climb the highest mountain on every continent.
World beating mountain woman

Photo – via Coast Radio NZ

At the age of 50 Carol Masters set a goal to climb the highest mountains on each continent ..  And what prompted this goal? In her words  “When I turned 50, my life fell apart. Within 18 months, I lost a job I loved, I learned the man I loved was involved with someone else, my mother died, and my own health deteriorated.  To cope with grief, anger and stress, I went to the Bolivian Andes for high-altitude mountaineering training, summitting (sic)  seven peaks over 17,000 feet. I found I was a pretty good at it, and felt my best in the mountains.”
‘It led me to later climb Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world in China in 2005. I could see the summit of Everest from the summit and thought: “I don’t want to die without knowing whether I could climb Everest because I didn’t try.”‘
On March 17 2012 at the age of 65 she reached the summit of Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko and so reaching her goal in just over five years. The marathon wasn’t without mishap – she went blind for 10 hours descending Mount Everest, but this is one determined woman!
“I should be learning how to knit and play bridge and doing things that are more age appropriate to people my age, but that’s just not me,’ Carol told the media.
Carol is in the process of having her record validated and will take the record currently held by Kay LeClaire who completed the feat aged 60.
So why didn’t I think of doing that?  Because I have never had any desire to be  a mountain climber and don’t know what attracts men ad women to scale these lofty heights.  But I am in awe of their perseverance and applaud them for their effort.
As a New Zealander I am still proud of Sir Edmund Hilary’s achievement in being the first man to climb Mt Everest.  In 1953 he and his Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed as having reached the summit of Mount Everest.  And he is reported as saying to another climber about reaching the summit “We knocked the bastard off”  What an understatement.
Of course since that time Everest has been climbed so many times that it no longer makes the news.  And now there are guided climbs to the peak.  What a difference 50 plus years makes.

A favourite blogger

For the want of a nail, a shoe was lost.
For the want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
For the want of a horse, the rider was lost.
For the want of a rider, the battle was lost.
For the want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.

One of the blogs that I follow regularly, and in fact one of the first to which I subscribed, is Carl d’Agostino’s I know I Made You Smile.  In case you are not a follower you should know that Carl is a gifted cartoonist, who never fails to brighten my day.

On August 19 (a couple of days ago) he posted Paul Revere‘s Nightmare.  Reading this post immediately brought to mind the above rhyme.  I wonder how often over the years one small thing has changed history.  Of course we shall never know.

Just think, if Sir Walter Raleigh had not been playing bowls on that fateful day the Spanish Armada might not have been sighted and  would have landed.  Then the   course of British history would have been quite different.

William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson in Braveheart) brought the disparate clans together to fight against the English in the battle for an independent Scotland. Wallace’s parents were killed by the invading English and many years later his new wife is raped by an English  soldier causing Wallace to rally the clans and change the history of Scotland.

Would the Second World War have been started had Britain and France not agreed to appeasing Hitler by allowing a take over of Czechoslovakia and Austria.

Would the United states of America have joined in WW2 if Japan had not made the fatal mistake of bombing Pearl Harbour.

And the whole purpose of this blog today is to direct you to my very clever blogging pal Carl.  Do go over and enjoy his quirky sense of humour.  It will be worth your while.

Sunday’s Blog


After dinner last night I sat down to write my blog.  disaster – no Broadband in fact no internet, no phone nada.  I couldn’t work out what had happened.  I had been using both the internet and the phone before dinner, so what had happened.

sick computer

A call to Telecom was quickly answered – sometimes we hang on for ages before getting connected, but not this time.  A very helpful man checked my line and said that there was a phone off the hook and would I please check.  I did this with no change to his reading.  He then asked me to go and unplug all the phones and the internet.  This done his reading was still that a phone was off the hook.  So a technician was booked for today.  So apologies – no internet so no blog.  The technician did come at the appointed time today and unplugged all the phones and plugged them in again and all came right.  Oh the joys of technology.’

What else to complain about?  Well yesterday morning when I turned on the computer I was amazed (and delighted) to see just how prolific Lenore Diane had been.  I really enjoy her posts, the glimpses into her family life with her boys and those other thoughts that race around that great brain.  I counted 23 posts from her.  Of course, it was just WordPress having a hissy fit.  Only one from was Lenore Diane.  But I enjoyed reading all the other posts  whoever they were really from.  Thank you!

Nothing much has changed today except that she posted only 20 new posts.  Are you slacking off Lenore Diane?

And the rest of the Antibes adventure?  Well watch this space.  It will be continued tomorrow.

“Every day is a new opportunity.  You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again.”
Bob Feller, American Baseball Player. 1918 – 2010

The End of a Long Day

Granny on computer

and hours
sitting at
the computer
writing report for
friend’s return on Monday.
Now too tired to blog tonight
so will continue Antibes story
tomorrow after a good night’s sleep
having read more of Charlie Fox’s adventures.

This is another attempt at writing an etheree.  Exactly one year ago today I made my first attempt but got it wrongThe basic etheree form has ten lines, the first consisting of exactly one syllable, the second line of two syllables, and so on until the last line has  ten syllables.  An etheree can also be reversed, starting with ten syllables and ending with one.  But I wrote one word on the first line, two on the second and so on.  It wasn’t until after I wrote my poem on Snow in Brooklyn that I found my mistake.

Snowing in Brooklyn, Wellington

But the date on the camera is wrong – it was 15/8/2011.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to .. Antibes


As I said yesterday, it was a bright sunny morning and we set off to the South of France, the Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera.

At that time, oh so many years ago, there were no GPS systems.  We had to rely on books of maps.  And few motorways, so driving was necessarily more leisurely than it is today.  Added to the fact that we were in an elderly Land Rover.  We did discuss the possibility of driving to Antibes but that was some 500 plus miles away; the sun was shining so we decided that were in no hurry.

We found a lovely place to eat our bread and cheese the local staple lunch time diet, beside a river.  Very peaceful and sleep inducing.  After a quick nap we were off again.  After a further 3 hours driving we decided it was time to find somewhere to stop for the night.  Having spent the last two nights in the caravan we thought we would treat ourselves to a night of comfort, warm bath and soft bed.  We found the perfect place.    A small hotel in a little village (sorry after all this time I just can’t remember its name) where we could get a bed for the night and breakfast the next morning.  We were directed to a secure parking area for the Land Rover and caravan  – secure parking included in the charge for the night –  and also to a restaurant for dinner.  We spent a lovely evening just the two of us speaking only to each other and to the waiting staff as we were the only diners.

Then back to the hotel for that promised bath and comfortable bed.  It was here that I first discovered the joys of the feather filled duvet common in France.  Oh the joy of that discovery.  We settled into bed only to be rudely awakened some time later by loud crying, wailing would be a better word to describe it.  The awful outpouring of grief went on for the rest of the night and so our hoped for night of peace was not to be.

When we went to breakfast in the morning – typically French with croissants, whipped butter, jam and large cups of coffee – we found out why the commotion in the night and what had disturbed us.  A woman had been travelling to Paris with her husband and children when they were hit head on by another car.  Her husband and son were killed outright while she and her daughter were both badly shaken up.  Hence the wailing.  A note here that today they would all have been wearing seat belts and perhaps might have been saved.

We paid our bill, packed up and left in a very subdued mood.  While we were enjoying out dinner the night before, total tragedy had befallen this other family.  We took time to find a public phone to call London and check on our family.

So next stop Antibes – and yes, that was yet  another experience/adventure

“Never drive faster than your guardian angel
can fly.”