Category Archives: Changes

A Brave New World

Today we woke to A  Brave New World here in Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand. We are in lockdown. But I am not going to talk about Covid19; everything has already been said.

But in our new world, we have to find ways to keep involved with others and keep ourselves occupied.

My blogging buddy and sister of choice, Chris at Bridges Burning and I are meeting each morning for coffee and Tai Chi on Face Time.  It isn’t very different for us as being on different sides of the world, in different hemispheres and time zones, we are used to talking via Face Time a couple of times a week. So what’s different? Well, it is now daily chats and includes Tai Chi. Everything is better when done with a friend.

And tomorrow we are meeting for drinks. We will meet with drinks in hand. 3 pm for me – oh yes, the sun is over the yardarm somewhere and surely it’s 5 pm someplace – and 10pm for Chris – she assures me it is not too late for a whisky at 10 pm. Who knows what Canadians get up to on long winter nights? Watch this space.

Yesterday I had afternoon tea with a neighbour. She brought her tea up and perched on her steps and I sat on my deck. We both enjoyed our tea and chat without getting close to each other. But how strange to be eating biscuits without offering her one.

And yesterday I drove ten minutes to the beach for my final beach walk for the foreseeable future. It was a perfect day and everybody was taking advantage of the last day of freedom to go where and when they wanted.

Walking is permitted within the vicinity of our home. While we don’t need permits to leave our house as they do in France, we are not allowed to use the car for other than supermarket shopping and visiting doctors and pharmacies. The police now have the power to stop motorists and demand where they are going. It’s not clear what will happen to those who flout the law. Again, watch this space.

Today’s walk wasn’t nearly as interesting, although I did meet others walking either with or without their dogs. And people working in the garden in the sunshine, children on scooters or bikes and everyone maintaining the 2-metre distance. People finding ways to pass time in this brave new world.

Those of us over 70 have been in lockdown mode since Saturday. It’s Thursday now and so we have six days experience. For most of the nation, it is day one. It will be interesting to watch how this pans out and how good people are at abiding by the stay at home rule.

Remember that now is the time to take care and stay safe. Be kind to each other and to yourself. And as my French Canadian friends in Montreal would say – “A la prochaine” – “See you next time”.

Take care






The Match Girls

Everyone knows the beginning of the age of industrialization in England was not pleasant. As more and more factories grew, people who lived in the countryside chose or were forced to move into towns for better-paid work.

People looking for work crowded into cities, which then became cesspools of disease and pollution.

Match makers

Matchstick making was incredibly popular in 19th century England, with hundreds of factories spread across the country. For 12 to 16 hours a day, workers dipped treated wood into a concoction of phosphorus before drying and cutting the sticks into matches. This was a particularly dirty job done mostly by women and children. It actually made them glow in the dark and it contributed to “phossy jaw” a disease as gross as it sounds – necrosis of the jaw bone caused by phosphorus poisoning.

I have been fascinated by the work of women and children in Victorian times, particularly in London as my ancestors lived in and around the sad streets of the east end. And today I found this in my mailbox – It’s worth reading.

But in case you don’t have the time, Samantha Johnson’s Grandmother was one of the matchgirls who went on strike for better working conditions in July 1888. ” Ultimately, 1400 girls and women marched out of the factory, en masse, on that fateful day of 5th July 1888. ” Bryant and May, the employers, accepted all their demands and apparently, working conditions were greatly improved.

I wonder how many other unsung women heroes there are.

And apologies for being MIA for so long. I will try hard to do better.


A New Day Dawns

Today I waved goodbye to my youngest grandson.  He’s on the way to University in Christchurch in the South Island and on the way to the next stage of his life.  I can hardly believe that little boy who wasn’t even born when his grandfather died, is old enough to strike out on his own.

His mother and I shall miss him and his older brother will be lost without him, although sometimes one could imagine that they don’t even like each other.

So good luck Darling No. 4.  He is the last one to leave school and start at University. What a great time he is going to have and as Dr Seuss says:

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
Out there things can happen and frequently do
to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting
So..get on your way!

Two years ago the 13th February was a Friday and I wrote about superstition and then went on to write about my day; a beautiful sunny day in Ohope on the east  coast of the North Island of New Zealand.  On days like that, this certainly is Godzone.  And what was I doing?  I was Watching.  Here’s part of that blog post:

Today I am watching

Judith & Alice

  • The way a newly born baby attracts people and noticing the joy of being allowed to hold her
  • The huge waves rolling onto the beach; they are quite magnificent in their power
  • Surfers battling these waves and some succeeding in standing up
  • Children paddling in the surf
  • Two older couples just enjoying the sunshine, sand, and the water’s edge
  • Puffs of smoke emanating from White Island – New Zealand’s most active cone volcano.  It’s very close only 48kms/30 miles from shore.  It’s puffing away merrily today.
  • And strangers interacting as they meet on the beach
  • A couple walking their dogs
  • A small child clambering onto a tyre strung up to make a swing
  • My partner stretched out on a lounger contentedly reading
  • Teachers from the local school rounding up the pupils
  • A group of teenagers enjoying their lunch on the beach
  • The same group chasing each other and generally having fun
  • The brilliant sun shining down onto our part of the world that we call Paradise.”
So different from today  Again, it raining and windy – oh where has summer gone?
 But some summers are brilliant.  And as a reminder, here’s a photo of the beach in front of our house in Ohope.
Ohope beach
“Abundant sunshine, warm waters and safe swimming make Ōhope Beach the perfect summer holiday destination. Maybe that’s why it was voted NZ’s Most Loved Beach—with 11 km of easily walkable white sand beach from the Ōhiwa Harbour entrance all the way to West End.”  Information.
And have you had a chance to look at my new blog, Books&morebooks where I review the books I have read.?  Maybe there’s a book that appeals to you.

Happy New Year

98102-And-Then-Im-Alone-AgainAs I start to write this post only four minutes remain in this year.

The year 2015 started on a high for me. My partner and I were beginning to build a new life together. We had moved into our beautiful new house when we returned from Europe in the middle of 2014 and all seemed right in our world.

The next few months trundled along as they do. There were short breaks away to the beach house or to visit friends in other parts of the country and visits from friends to stay with us. We were both thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Oh there was a small hiccup when the architect had to have a hip replacement but as he was so healthy he took this in stride and in very short time was walking without the aid of sticks or crutches and life went on its pleasant way.

Imagine the surprise (and devastation) when in June he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and within two months he was dead. What a shock this was not only to me but to all who knew him.

So once again in this long life I was left alone to pick up the pieces. Well as can be seen from the fact that I am stating to blog again, I am picking up the pieces and looking forward to a happy and interesting New Year.

To all my friends in the blogosphere I apologise that I haven’t been around much this year but the only Resolution I shall make is to write each day again.

And to you all, I wish you a safe, healthy and happy New Year.


The Streets of London

“So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind “

This is the chorus from Ralph McTell’s song The Streets of London”.  

This is one of those songs that remind us just how lucky we are.  Oh, we all have something about which to complain but unless one is battling a life-threatening or terminating illness, put alongside those who are homeless and without any hope that things will improve, they really are minor.

If you follow my blog you will know that, until I came to live with my partner (the Architect), Thursday was always Mary Potter Hospice day.  Once a week I volunteered and helped serve lunch to the patients or should we now call them clients?

All these patients were battling terminal illness but in the years that I volunteered there,  I only met one person who was rude and ungrateful for the care he was receiving from the dedicated staff.  Of course, it was understood by everyone why he was like this at the time.  And his charming wife told us that he was never rude before coming into the Hospice.  Apparently, he was a gregarious, lovely fellow who was finding it difficult to come to terms with what was happening to him.

And then recently, I experienced the other side of the service the hospice offers.  My partner, dying from a brain tumour, was transferred to Te Omanga Hospice close to where we live.  And what an amazing place that it.  The love, care and attention showered upon us both was absolutely unbelievable.  Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff.  Cups of tea in the early hours of the morning; a friendly ear to listen when it all became too much for me; food brought to me even though I didn’t want to eat and in all an outpouring of love to help me when the inevitable time came for the Architect to leave this world. And when that day came, the love was showered on our families.

So if today in your travels, you come across an abrupt, grumpy person, give them a smile.  We don’t know what demons they are battling in their lives and maybe a smile will help them.

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.”
Chad Sugg, –  Monsters Under Your Head

Writing 101: Serially Found

This is Wednesday’s challenge and today is Thursday.  But the days have been so full of visitors and trips we have made that I am so far behind.  And I am cheating somewhat.  I think this is easier for me to do than yesterday’s Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon so I shall go back to that one later.

“On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today, write about finding something.
Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.
You could pick up the action where you stopped, or jump backward or forward in time. You might write about the same topic, but use a different style, or use the same style to tackle a neighboring topic.”

Losing Lotte was a big hurt and left an enormous hole in my life and my home.  My daughter and her boys said I must immediately get another dog and in fact, the boys who were on holiday from school, took me to the local SPCA centre to look at dogs.  But how could I replace my darling with another dog?  There would always only be one Lotte and I determined that I would not have another dog.

Fast forward a few weeks and the Beautiful Miss Bella came on the scene.  This delightful little poodle wormed her way into my affections and into my life.  She was in every way different to Miss Lotte.  Lotte’s gentle nature (and wandering ways) made her an instant favourite wherever we went.  The boys (my grandsons) loved her and were very sad when she had to be put down.

But Bella was a dog of a different breed; different temperament and different habits.  Oh yes, she quickly picked up Lotte’s habit of taking her meat from the bowl and putting it on the Persian rug in the dining room.  No matter how often I replaced it in the bowl it would be taken out immediately. She wouldn’t sleep in a basket and while Lotte had to be lifted onto the bed, Bella found her own way onto it the first night I had her.  And she loved to walk.  Unfortunately, she had been born with hip dysplasia caused her to occasionally lift her back leg and run on three only.  This looked very funny and caused much comment. But she could walk for miles/kilometres and particularly loved the beach.  Poodles are water dogs so she would run into the sea at any opportunity as opposed to Lotte, a Tibetan Spaniel, who would have nothing at all to do with water.

Bella followed me like a shadow.  From the first moment, we met she determined that she was coming home with me.  And she did.  And she made herself at home.

Now fast forward two more months.  At this time I decided that I would go away for a while.  Life was going nowhere and I needed a change.  Miss Bella would go to my friend and would be loved and cared for in my absence.  I did doubt whether I would ever get her back again.  And as things have turned out, she is now adopted by my friend and lives a life of luxury with her.

So Miss Lotte was lost and Miss Bella was found.