Category Archives: Blogs

Bright Orange Balloons

“But there are other words for privacy and independence.
They are isolation and loneliness”.     
Megan Whalen Turner, American writer of
fantasy fiction for young adults.


OK, so we are now on Day 15 of our nationwide lockdown. And how are we surviving?

Oh, I miss coffee mornings with friends; I miss the camaraderie of the new friends I meet on the courses I run; lunch alone doesn’t have the same excitement or interest as lunch with friends; drinks on Facetime somehow don’t fill the need for interaction and on and on.

But these are not problems.  I can overcome each of them and all the others. But what of folks whose lives are set in and defined by schedules. Those who can’t understand why their world has to change in such a way. “Why can’t I go to school?” “Why can’t Jason come to play?” “Why aren’t we going to church?” they cry.

There are many in our midst who suffer this way, either for themselves or through their children. One such is Luke’s Mum. Luke’s Mum lives with this 15-year old’s autism, bravely and well, I might say. She is worthy of our support so please go over to her blog to see how well she is doing in Bright Orange Balloons. 

Found on Pinterest.A

And while I haven’t yet been bored; there’s plenty to keep this aged mind active, and involved,  I have no intention of falling into the trap of complaining about self-isolation.


Head Weak

You probably remember that old rhyme from school days –

Head weak, brain dumb
Inspiration wont come
Can’t write, bad pen
Best wishes…amen.

Well I have been sitting looking at a blank screen for some time – probably close to an hour – and nothing has come to mind to write about today,  So I thought I would look at what I was babbling on about this time last year.  Well it was this post The First Time I Saw Paris.  If you are interested, please click on the link here.

“The last time I saw Paris
Her heart was warm and gay
I heard the laughter of her heart in every street cafe
The last time I saw Paris
Her trees were dressed for spring
And lovers walked beneath those trees
And birds found songs to sing..”

Pont Alexandre

Pont Alexandre III – Via Wikipedia

How come I never had a problem last year in coming up with something to write about.  But that’s just the way it is.  So please excuse this ‘cop out’ of a post.  I shall do better tomorrow.

“In Paris you learn wit,
in London you learn to crush your social rivals
and in Florence you learn poise”
Virgil Thompson, American composer,
1896 – 1989

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.

Art and Inspiration

One of the bloggers I follow is Val Erde at Arty Old Bird.  Val is a very talented artist and generously allows us to use her art in our posts.

In a recent post Val asked Are You a Fan of Anything? and this was the piece of artwork that accompanied the question:

Painting - Quite a fan
Val saw this image as a fan obviously, but I saw it as a woman running  towards her future.  But on looking at it again and in further detail I see a woman swimming towards her destiny.  There are red, wild and dangerous waters behind her but mostly clear blue seas ahead.  What do you see in this painting?  I would love to hear from you and do go over and read the post from Val and all the comments.  Very illuminating.

Almost a year ago Val set us a challenge in one of her posts – “It can be drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, knitting, crochet, animation, digital artwork, poetry, dialogue, short story, anything creative that you like, really!”  To accompany the challenge and to act as inspiration she gave us this painting :

picture by Val Erde

Picture challenge by Val Erde

Val has now changed her blog and the original post is no longer available for me to give you the link.

I immediately saw a woman evolving and becoming and as I said at the time, I don’t paint, sculpt, knit, crochet or do any of the other things suggested by Val so  I wrote a poem having been reminded of one of my all time favourite poems Becoming the Woman I Wanted by Jayne Relaford Brown. 

While my poem in no way compares in the writing style of this poet, I was quite pleased with this my first attempt at writing poetry.  And in an unabashed show of self promotion, I am republishing it here.

This Woman I am Becoming

Memories flowing through me
Making me who I am
Warm thoughts to banish cold nights
And sunshine to dry the tears.

This woman I am becoming
Is learning patience
Learning grace
And learning that love is enough.

I am enjoying this woman I am becoming
She knows where she is going
And where she belongs
She has her place in the world.

So thank you Val for the inspiration and the use of your fabulous artwork.  I hope that I have followed the rules for using these pieces.  If you want to reproduce any of Val’s images please go to  to see the conditions for doing so.

Related Posts aka More Blatant Self Promotion

A new friend

I love making friends, either in person or more often recently, in the blogosphere.  And this happened earlier this week.

In Six Word Saturday last week, I wrote about Charlie Fox,  Zoe Sharp’s leading lady/protagonist.  Charlie Fox is a British ex-soldier, has taught self-defence  and in this book,  is a Bodyguard.  I reviewed the book “First Drop” telling how riveting the story was and how I sat all day reading.

Imagine my surprise and delight when one of those commenting on my blog was Zoe Sharp herself!  How cool is that? And after I responded to thank her she then posted another comment.  I am blown away that an author of this calibre would read my blog and also take the trouble to comment.  Oh I know she probably has a reader and a search tool or person for anything that mentions Charlie Fox or Zoe Sharp but still… You can read the post and Zoe’s comments by clicking here.

And as further icing on the cake, Zoe mentions my blog on her website –  Thank you, thank you. 

Also on Zoe’s homepage is a snippet – “Word of the Week.  This week’s is anchorite, or anchoret, which means a man or woman who has withdrawn from the world especially for religious reasons; a recluse, from which we get anchorage, a recluse’s cell or a place to withdraw from the world.”  I haven’t come across this word before so not only have I a new friend, but also have learned a new word.  Thank you again Zoe.

And I am currently reading “Hard Knocks” so expect a review of this book very soon.

Book cover - Hard Knocks

Temper is never the best thing to wear to a confrontation.  It has a nasty habit of disintegrating into tatters just when you need its protection most and the colour has never suited me.
Charlie Fox in Hard Knocks by Zoe Sharp

The Bonnets – Part 2

Did you read yesterday’s post.  No I meant the part after my rant about WordPress.  Sallyann set a challenge for me :-


Photo thanks to Sallyann at Photographic Memories

Click on the photo to go to Sallyann’s post.

Daisie had planned to go to her grandmother’s for tea that day.  However, she had a call from her friend Charlotte inviting her to a 1950’s party that weekend. The requirement was to dress up in 1950s clothes and to do this the girls had to go to a party hire shop to find the right clothes.

A telephone call to Maisie (who really hadn’t been expecting her granddaughter that afternoon) quickly established that Maisie wouldn’t be on her own as Juliet and Imogen were coming round for tea.

The two girls set off in high spirits.  They knew most of the people who would be at the party and were looking forward to meeting them again and perhaps meeting a few new and interesting people.

Unlike her grandmother and friends, these girls were used to finding their own way around town.  They were used to hopping on and off buses and tube trains.  They quickly worked out the best way to travel across town to reach the party hire shop.  All through the journey they talked and made plans, each outdoing the other in what they thought they would like to wear.

Shop closed sign

But what a disappointment.  They arrived only to find the shop closed for the day.  They hadn’t thought of phoning first having assumed all shops were open every day.  So they took themselves off for lunch and a discussion on where else they might find some 1950s clothes.

Suddenly, Daisie had a bright idea.  Wouldn’t Maisie, who was known to be a bit of a hoarder, have some clothes from that era?  Finishing their lunch they retraced their steps across town and arrived at Maisie’s in time for tea and in time to meet the Terrible Trio all together. Of course, Daisie had met them all before and had seen them all together, but for Charlotte it was a trifle overwhelming.

Having had a jolly good tea with the three women, Daisie broached the subject of clothes to her grandmother.  Maisie enthusiastically entered into the swing of things, telling the girls that she did indeed have some clothes that might fit the bill, and also encouraging her friends to seek out what they still had.  It was agreed that the girls would return the next day for lunch with the three women and that would give them plenty of time to try on the clothes and choose whatever was suitable.  And being Daisie she reminded the other two women that hats were required.

1950s dresses

The next day dawned bright and sunny and the two girls met up to go to Maisie’s for lunch.  They were excited thinking about what clothes could possibly be on offer.  Of course, the women would have been older than the girls were now in the 1950s but nevertheless they were sure they would find something suitable to wear.

And what a lovely surprise they had.  On entering Maisie’s house they saw two very large suitcases parked in the hall and heard the chatter of female voices coming from the morning room.  They let themselves in and found the friends reminiscing about the 50s.

Lunch over the women and girls got down to the task of trying on and choosing clothes.  Maisie, as expected, had a hoard of dresses, jackets and hats to add to the two suitcases that were brought in from the hall by Jackson the maid.

What fun they all had.  Much giggling when clothes that were so outdated in 2005 were tried on.  But eventually they each decided on a dress, jacket or coat, shoes and of course a hat.  And what very pretty hats these were.  Not the sensible hats that were on display in the milliners just around the corner from Juliet’s house but concoctions of lace and flowers.  Any woman would smile if she were wearing one of these.

Tea was served by Jackson and then, clutching their trophies the two young women left the house.  As they made their way to their homes, they congratulated themselves on being so inventive.

The day of the party dawned…..

Related posts:

Hats On
Hats On Again
New Hats
The Beach

Home again

As I wrote the title of this post I thought of that old nursery rhyme:

“To market, to market to buy a fat pig;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

To market, to market, to buy a plum cake;
Home again, home again, market is late.
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun;
Home again, home again, market is done.

To market, to market, a gallop a trot,
To buy some meat to put in the pot;
Three pence a quarter, a groat a side,
If it hadn’t been killed it must have died”

Is it one that you knew as you were growing up?  Note three pence is three pennies and there were twenty pennies to the pound twelve pennies to a shilling and twenty shillings to a pound;***a groat is an old coin from the days of Edward I of England and was worth four pennies.   How times have changed!
***Thanks to my big sister in California for pointing out this error.

Anyway, back to the post.  I returned home from the Golden Door in the early hours of Monday morning and immediately got stuck with an awful head cold, coughing and sneezing my way through the next few days.  So sorry, the thought of writing a blog and even reading any of yours was way beyond me.

A funny thing happened on the way home (no not on the way to the theatre).  I picked up my suitcase and placed it on a trolley.  I was waved though customs and immigration they didn’t even x-ray my bag (but they did my friend’s) and then we  went out to the concourse where we were being picked up by another friend.  So the bag was transferred from the trolley into his car and we went to his house for the night.  However, and this is the point now, when we arrived we found that the wheels had gone from the base of the bag.  How could such a thing happen?  So the next day, coughing and sneezing we went back to the airport with bag as instructed, and found an absolutely charming young lady who took all the details and my bag and informed me that if it couldn’t be repaired they would provide a replacement.  So here is a big round of applause for Virgin Australia who really mean it when they say that they care about their customers.


I have so much to share with you following my seven days at The Golden Door but before I do so I have to ask you to bear with me while I read the 900 plus emails that were awaiting me on my return – of that number at least 800 were new posts from fellow bloggers.  So I am currently catching up on my reading.

Also I am about to change internet providers so I hope to read all of these blogs, and those that have come in today before the changeover on Tuesday, otherwise I think I will lose them all.  So please bear with me.

And today’s news from our corner of the world…Christchurch is still living through continuing, and quite large aftershocks from the earlier earthquake and has now been hit with a freezing cold snap.  In fact it has been reported that yesterday was the coldest day in Christchurch in 130 years; the temperatures hovered between 0 deg Celsius and 1 degree.  Very chilly.  Adding to the problems  some houses were without electricity overnight.  Apparently the heavy fall of snow landing on boughs of trees pulled the boughs onto the power lines.  Another good reason for all power lines to be underground.

The badly damaged Christchurch Cathedral is subject to demolition. Today it was covered in snow.
Picture from The Press, Christchurch June 7/12

Getting around town

Sitting in the traffic today and then driving around waiting for a park, I suddenly remembered this clip I had seen some where and wondered why we don’t use cycle skates any more.  Click here for the link

These were apparently all the rage in the 1920s and it was thought they would become the wave of the future.  These were the ancestors of inline roller skates and think how easy it would be to park them.  Just pick them up and go – no parking tickets, no limit on the time one can be away.  Sounds a little like heaven.

But I guess they have gone the way of the Penny farthing and the unicycle.

And still on the subject of parking.  A few weeks ago I met some friends for coffee and parked my car outside the restaurant.  I duly paid the parking fee and all was well.  It was only the other day when clearing papers out of my purse that I looked at the ticket –

Parking ticket

Look at the date.  Does this mean I have free parking in Oriental Parade until 1.14pm on March 30 2021?  I wonder how many others have this free parking.


And here is a shot from the other day – Andy waiting patiently in the car for Lotte and me to go for a walk.  It wouldn’t stop raining so the walk was off, but Andy seemed to enjoy just sitting in the car watching the world go by.