Category Archives: helping

I’m Not The Only One

“When Solomon said that there was a time
and a place for everything he had not
encountered the problem of parking
an automobile.”
Bob Edwards

On Tuesday I wrote about my computer and how easily my son got the sound and the second monitor to work.  Thanks to all of you who told me that you have done some other daft things.

Well I thought I would tell you about another thing.  Years ago, shortly after my (not now so) dashing young Scotsman died I lived with my son and his family for several months.

One night, while daughter in law was making dinner, I went off to meet my son from the train.  A simple task you say?  What could happen in a 2 km drive?

Well, unbeknownst to me during the day a huge load of top soil had been delivered to the railway parking area.  There were no lights – it is a small community where they live and so a small, unmanned station.  Well, you guessed it.  I drove into the pile of soil.

The train arrived and my son was greeted by his mother and her tale of woe.  He tried to reverse the car without success and so he suggested that we go over to the gas station where we  knew the owner, and borrow his van.  This was quite old and used for run around jobs.  The gas store owner was delighted to spring to the help of a damsel in distress.

So now there are three of us – the owner thought he could tow my Toyota Corolla out of the pile, but miscalculated and somehow ended up with his van stuck in the pile of earth.

So my son, who had a 6 litre Ford something at the time, took off on foot to get his car.  He eventually arrived and did his best to tow out the stranded vehicles but again without success and again, managed to strand his car in the soil.

Even all those years ago my son and I each always had our cell phones with us, but neither of us had them that night.  So three sheepish people made their way back to the gas station to call the AA who eventually turned up and rescued all three vehicles.

Embarrassing? Yes, bus a great story to tell over the next few days.  And dinner – well fortunately my daughter in law hadn’t started to cook the steak when I left so all was well.  But the little boys were in bed when we got back and so their father missed out on the usual bedtime ritual.


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.

Saturday afternoon ironing someone else’s sheets

My second favorite household chore is ironing.
My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed
until I faint.  ~Erma Bombeck

I have a hard and fast rule that sheets that are bought by me for use in this house MUST NOT NEED IRONING.  So what am I doing on this summer, Saturday afternoon? Ironing.

I have told you that one of the things I do is assist my real Estate Agent friend in her business.  Apart from selling RE she also manages investment apartments for her clients.  This week we have to prepare an apartment for lease and as she is away for a few days R & R in Sydney, Australia, I said I would do the basics for her.  This entailed making an inventory, making up the beds, setting up the bathroom etc.  Of course, it also meant that I had to check the state of  the bed linen and bathroom towels etc.

I can’t imagine what happened to the original bedlinen – it was gone, but in its place was several packets of new linen.  So this is what I have laundered and am ironing this afternoon.

At present the towels are rolling around in the tumble dryer and fortunately don’t need to be ironed.


Do you have my lead?

So now I am off to type the inventory and then go for a walk -yes a walk after so long – with my small companion, Lotte.

But before I go, I would like to share this with you.  I just received it from an American friend who lives in Paris.  I am not envious of her choice of city in which to live – well, not very much. Click here to watch the video is of a one year old baby playing ping pong.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Just Another Scam

I had an interesting unsettling experience when sitting in the car in the supermarket carpark the other day.  My friend had gone in to do the shopping for both of us.  Aside – supermarket shopping is not my favourite activity so another good thing came out of this accident.

I was quietly sitting and contemplating the people coming and going into the supermarket when a young woman knocked on the car window.  She had seen Lotte and wanted to know if she bit and whether she could hold her.  Well, I am very used to this reaction to my little dog  and so I said “No” she didn’t bite and “Yes” she could hold her.  So I was about to bring Lotte into the front seat ready to put her out of the car (on her lead of course) for this woman to pat her.

At that moment the back door of the car was opened and the young woman climbed into the car.  I was amazed but not particularly worried at that time.

She fussed Lotte and then regaled me with her tale of woe.  Apparently she had come to Wellington from Auckland for New Year celebrations and had her purse/backpack/whatever stolen.  This bag had held her plane tickets and according to her $4,000 in cash.  The latter was a trifle hard to believe but…

She then told me that she had slept on the street for two nights and hadn’t eaten.  Did I have any food?

She told me she had been to the Police to make a report but they couldn’t give her a bed because she hadn’t committed a crime.  Flags sprung up – NZ police would not have put this woman (who later told me she was 6 months pregnant) out onto the street.  They would have found her a bed or at least put her in touch with the Salvation Army or the City Mission.Wellington City MissionShe followed up this gem with the fact that neither the SA nor the CM were open because of the holidays.  That of course is rubbish as there is an emergency number for each of these services in the phone book.

She sat in the car for a while, expanding on her tale of woe.  She had the name of the ex City Missioner, asked if I knew him and whether I thought he would help.

She asked whether I could give her $5 or $10 for a phone card.  She told me, following my enquiry, that her parents were not answering the phone and calls were going to voicemail and the same answer came when I asked about the grandparents whom she had  talked about earlier.  Note – she didn’t tell me how she had called these numbers having no money.

She wondered if I could let her have the money for the plane fare and assured me that her parents would reimburse me – Oh Yeah!

After more of the same I convinced her to go to the service desk of the supermarket and ask to use their phone and to call the ex City Missioner.  I do know this man well (he had officiated at my daughter’s wedding and my husband’s funeral) and he has been a friend for 40 plus years.  I knew if she managed to contact him he would certainly point her in the right direction

As soon as she left I locked all the car doors.  I was feeling quite vulnerable with only one good leg.  Had it been any other time I would have got out of the car immediately she got in and would have insisted that she did so too.

So my question is – Was this another scam or should I have done more to assist this young woman?  What do you think?

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.”
Elizabeth, Princess Bibesco
(née Asquith)
1897 – 1945
English writer.

Goodbye Charlie and Hello ?

For years we have been reading about robots that can take over many of the menial household and other chores.  I read these reports with a certain scepticism and a “Will it ever happen in my lifetime” question.

Robotic vacuum cleaners have been around for some time but I don’t know anybody who has used one.

Charlie the robot


Well now enter Charlie.  Here in Auckland, a robot named has been ’employed’ as an aged care worker in a rest home.  Charlie is a health care robot and has been working in the village for the past couple of years.

He is designed to do simple tasks such as taking vital signs, reminding patients to take medication  leaving nurses free to focus on more personal care. Work is also being done on applications that will allow Charlie to detect when a patient has fallen or wandered off.  We are also told that Charlie can even chat with the residents albeit simply.

This is part of a three-year study conducted by the University of Auckland exploring seniors’ attitudes toward robots.   Residents of Selwyn Village their families and staff  were interviewed to determine their views on which tasks health care robots could perform and what the mechanical helpers should look like. So Charlie was “born”.   Weighing in at 45 kgs/99 lbs he has a humanoid name but a 26 cm/10.4 inch touch screen instead of a face.

Charlie has now left the village but in his place some 30 robots – in five different shapes and sizes – are being introduced to Selwyn. At this point of their evolution, the Selwyn robots can not only help provide healthcare but also enable Skype voice and video calls over the internet (numbers can be pre-entered and the connection made with one touch of a button). Some have additional brain-fitness programs to help the user’s memory, as well as entertainment in the form of music videos, photographs and games. Patients booked to see the doctor or nurse at Selwyn can interact with the medical centre’s on-site robot before their consultation.

Tubby Robot

"Tubby" - photo David White NZ Listener

One enthusiastic resident has named his robot “Tubby” which was apparently what he was called when he was younger.   And Tubby, as it happens, is rotund, standing about as tall as a domestic vacuum cleaner.

We have all heard and probably used the expression”the inmates are taking over the asylum” well now we can say with some truth “the robots are taking over the village”.

A Holiday Weekend

“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.”
Mario Puzo, The Family

Here in New Zealand the 4th Monday in October is Labour Day.  So most people have a long weekend.

Many years ago just before the holiday my husband asked me “Would you like to go to Taupo for the weekend?”   I jumped at the idea.  It seemed to have been a long time between Public holidays.  The one before this had been Queen’s Birthday in June.

Lake Taupo is the biggest lake in New Zealand and is renowned for its boating activities, fishing etc.  Taupo, the town, sits on the edge of the lake and is roughly half way between Auckland and Wellington.  As a fisherman my husband knew all the best spots in which of the rivers around Taupo.  We kept a launch at the lake and so we were all looking forward to the holiday weekend.

The instructions were for me to rent a car on Friday afternoon, pick up my son from school and drive to the hotel.  The rationale being that we didn’t need two cars in Taupo.  Oh, and would I mind coming by his office to pick up a couple of things?  He would follow us after work bringing my daughter with him.  I should point out that he was employed as National Marketing Manager for a hotel-owning company.

We duly did as we were bidden.  When I arrived at his office I was greeted by one of his assistants who had several large advertising placards, and a couple of boxes all to be delivered to the hotel.

I really didn’t understand why we couldn’t all travel together.  But I found out when I arrived at the hotel.  A new restaurant was to open that night and much of the material, advertising and otherwise, was snugly sitting in my rental car.

I was surrounded by activity and at one stage was asked if I could hang some cafe curtains – this, of course, was many years ago when these were the in things.  They then found all sorts of things for ‘the boss’s wife and son’ to do.   Having never been involved in an opening before I was amazed at how much still had to be completed before they opened for business at 7.30pm.

My husband and daughter duly arrived and he took off to see what was happening.  When he came back he had a comment and another request to make.  They were short staffed and could I help?  The two other company executives were also staying in the Taupo for the weekend and they needed extra waiting staff.  So my daughter (I think she was probably 13) and the other two wives became waitresses for the night.  I thanked my husband politely for the offer with some comment like “I’m not wearing that uniform” and so he/they decided that I could be maitre’d for the evening.

A whole new experience.  Long before the advertised opening time, a queue had formed outside the entrance to the restaurant and then the doors were opened.  It was like a feeding frenzy of the sharks as people pushed and jostled to be shown to a table.  All was going well.  The customers seemed to be happy but where was my husband – oh right, he was in the kitchen giving a hand.  My daughter was playing waitress very happily and horror of horrors I spied my son who was all of 11 years old, speeding across the restaurant with a Cona coffee jug full of hot coffee, in each hand.  He was thoroughly enjoying himself, doing whatever anyone asked of him.

We had a couple of complaints from customers and each time I simply ‘comped’ their meals.  I didn’t have the authority but those in authority were busy playing sous chefs, busboys or wine stewards.  So I made the decisions for myself.

Eventually, at around 2 am the restaurant was empty.  We all helped to straighten things up and then sat with feet up with a well-deserved coffee or was that a gin in my hand?  My children were dead on their feet but they had thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

And we had the next three days of the holiday weekend to enjoy the pleasures of Lake Taupo.  But after that, I was always a little wary of the question “Would you like to go away for the weekend?”

I still have the Robert Carrier Cookery Course book that they gave me as a thank you.  Can’t imagine what they gave the children and what they did with it.

“Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories.”
Judith Baxter, Mother, grandmother, blogger and friend.















A Day With the Boys

Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends – and hardly ever our own grown children.
Ruth Goode, author 1902-1997

The boys are on holiday from school at present and we decided to have a day together.

After picking up two boys from their house and then meeting the other two at the railway station, we went to Mary Potter Hospice.

A call went out the other day for volunteers to do some gardening.  The Hospice had been given a flat of black and white pansies and wanted to plant them urgently to make an  “All Blacks” Garden.  They needed help in moving plants from one garden bed, removing them to another and planting the new plants.

The boys entered into this wholeheartedly and were officially crowned the Youngest volunteers at MPH.  The Hospice grounds rang with the laughter of four cousins enjoying themselves.  James, the eldest commented that if he ever has a house of his own, the grounds will be all concreted.  He thinks his Granma’s patio is just about right.  Little planting, many pots and exposed aggregate.

There was a husband and wife team already there when we arrived and it took hardly any time (approx 1.5 hours) to do all the planting, removing and weeding necessary to make the beds look great again.

Unfortunately, somebody had carried the mulch/blood and bone through the complex instead of taking it around the outside.  The smell that greeted us was truly awful  It smelt like a bad case of diarrhoea but the smell dispersed in a short time.  dreadful while it lasted and of course, each of the boys made a comment as you can imagine.

Cold drinks for the boys, coffee for Granma and we were off to the food court at the mall for lunch.  I tend to forget that growing boys need constant feeding.  The food court is great because they can each choose what they want to eat from whichever concession they like.

The next stop was Hang Dog, an indoor rock climbing arena where the boys showed their prowess at scaling walls.  More laughter as they worked out how to manage the harnesses, belaying etc.




After two hours they decided they had ‘done’ Hang Dog and so we went to my daughter’s house where they spent a further couple of hours playing ‘Black Ops’ on the PS3.

Two teams.  The oldest and youngest vs the other two.  A very serious undertaking quite different from the other things they did today.

More memories to keep and take out later when they have grown up and maybe won’t want to spend a whole day with their Granma.





















And It’s Raining


My rainbow - looking forward to spring

Rainbows apologize for angry skies.
Sylvia Voirol

I don’t know who Sylvia Voirol is but I like the sentiment expressed.

I am finding it difficult to write this post as Lotte is sitting on my lap having inspected the desk and all that’s on it then deciding my lap was the better place to be.

Lotte on desk

Another helping hand

Today the awful weather has continued.  Snow only in the high country and in the South Island but rain, rain and more rain and now we have thunder.  No wonder Lotte is scared and needs to sit with me.  But there is nothing we can do about a rainy day.  My response has always been “Now I don’t have to water the garden” but after this spell of such bad weather even my “Pollyanna” like behaviour is waning.

Several things on my mind today that I should like to share.

  • Obviously my post about homelessness struck a chord with many of you.  Thanks for taking the time to comment.  I am aware of course that this is a problem world-wide and one to which there seems to be no immediate solution.  But one wonders if some of the money being spent on the military were to be redirected here, could it make a difference?

Goods for Mary Potter

  • I had thought that when I moved house last year I had downsized to the extent that I now had nothing superfluous in my life.  What a surprise when I decided to get rid of two bookcases and their books.  This of course, led to more searching and the result of that was this pile of things to be picked up tomorrow for sale in the Mary Potter Hospice shop.  Why do we clutter our lives up in this way?
  • And talking about Mary Potter Hospice I received this blogpost today from an acquaintance, Blair Styrer.  Blair channels Tabaash and whether or not you believe in channeling I encourage you to read Blair’s post.
Bird painting

This one is mine.

  • Still on the Hospice – a couple of weeks ago I had Jae my youngest grandson helping while I served lunches there.  He had a broken ankle and was on holiday from school but his brother was not, so he  decided to spend the day with Granma. What a joy and delight that small (12-year-old) boy is.  He charmed everybody with whom he came into contact.  In particular one lady who was going home that day and gave him one of her paintings.  He was thrilled and she also gave him one for his Granma.  After leaving the hospice we hot footed it to a local store (Briscoe’s) to buy a frame for his painting.  He proudly presented it to his mother to hang in her office.  Again, I am amazed at the generosity of people in the last stages of their lives.

Lotte has been looking longingly outside as she has not had a walk for two days.  Every time I have opened the door she has taken one look outside and turned around back into the house.  On Monday, the day of the heavy snow, I bought her a waterproof, lined jacket to keep her warm and dry on her walks.  On the way home from the shop I stopped the car intending to take her for a short, quick walk.  She had other ideas.  I got her out of the car and she planted her four little feet firmly on the ground and refused to move.  Then she turned around and leapt back into the car.  Who’s in charge here I hear you asking.


Please may I go out?

Lotte at window

Or maybe out here?

So as soon as the rain lets up a bit we shall venture forth into the weather.  This of course is one of the joys of being owned by a Tibetan Spaniel.  We dance to her beat and her program.

If you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance.
From “I Hope You Dance” as sung by
Leanne Womack.

Sleet, Sunshine, Snow and Soup

Thank you

Firstly, I should like to thank all those who read my blog and those in particular who either took the time to comment or else clicked the like button.  Yesterday’s blog has received the most comments since I started in March.  Thank you, thank you.

Today we have had rain, sleet, sunshine and snow.  As I said yesterday, we are so unused to this weather and we do not have the infrastructure  services to cope.  Yesterday we had thunder and lightning and so some areas lost power and some are still without power.  And of course, some of those affected by the earthquakes in Canterbury are still without warm and waterproof houses.  Our thoughts must go to them

So here in Wellington, today is not a normal day:

  • One of the things I notice is the lack of birds.  While I live in the central city I usually hear birds calling first thing in the morning and there are none at the bird feeder today.  Have they all flown off to warmer places?
  • And there are no sounds of happy children going to and from school.  there are several children who live in this street and Lotte usually watches for them in the morning and again in the afternoon.  But many schools have been closed today so maybe they are all at home.
  • No postman has gone up this street for a couple of days, ergo no bills being delivered.
  • No rubbish truck either so the rubbish sits forlornly in its bags at every driveway.  Hope that changes tomorrow.
  • No dogs barking.  We have several in this street who set each other off.  I guess without the postman and the rubbish collectors there is no need for barking,  Fortunately for me Lotte neither yaps nor barks but is disturbed when the others set up.
  • No neighbours stopping for a chat going up or down the street.  Many neighbours take the bus to work and I see them strolling home and taking the opportunity to speak to anybody they meet on the way up the hill.  Not today.  Everybody is in their warm house and those out on the street are hurrying home.
Wellington City Mission

One of several organisations helping the homeless.

And now I have to give a thought to the homeless and those who are forced to live on the streets.

We have many very active, non governmental organisations/agencies here to help.  They provide some food through the day but mainly deal with finding these people a meal and a bed for the night.  But of course, there are never enough beds in the shelter and I don’t know how the people who run/manage these shelters deal with the overflow.  I am sure that they don’t just turn them away. But what do they do?

Minestrone Soup

Picture from Two Peas & Their Pod

As I sit in my warm house, with the fire alight, a bowl of minestrone soup and fresh bread on the table I think of them.  I will also think of them when I go to my warm and comfy bed later this evening.  And I shall think of them later this week when I go to the supermarket and will buy some extra cans of food for their collection bin.

And this is yet another reason to be grateful. My attitude of gratitude has slipped a little recently and this cold spell and the plight of many of our fellow citizens have given me a jolt and a reminder to count my blessings.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
G.K. Chesterton













On Making Decisions

We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” Orson Welles

As some of you may know I have now been on my own for 13 years since the death of my husband.  Of course, at the time, I thought I couldn’t go on and my life was in disarray.

As time passed, however, and the grief and sadness dimmed somewhat I began to think about the rest of my life and how I would live it.  Determining as I always have, that the decision making would be in my hands.

A couple of years after my husband died I met a man at a dinner party.  He had recently lost his wife.  His was quite a tragic story in that his wife was very sick dying and they had separate rooms.  He came into her room one morning bringing her tea only to find her dead in the bed.  Well, we dated a few times but apart from being widowed/widowered (is there such a word?) we had nothing in common.  So I ended that relationship after a few dates.  But it didn’t just end – he hung around my apartment block for days and “just happened” to be passing when I came out the entry door.  And every night he was sitting in his car opposite the apartment when I arrived home from the office.  Ugh.  Not scary but rather very creepy.

So onto number two.  Again his wife had died suddenly.  He had found her on the bathroom floor, dead having had a massive heart attack.  How did I attract these men?  Anyway, true to form he wanted to replace a 40-year marriage in 4 weeks and so this relationship went nowhere.  Shortly thereafter he met and subsequently married again.  And that marriage is working out well from all accounts.

Now number three.  This started out well.  One date for a drink and then I took off for England for six months.  During that time we had a great exchange of emails.  He was very witty and charming.  I thought this could be a long-term relationship.  We enjoyed the same things and I saw a future where we would each keep our own apartments and independence, meeting regularly for company, dinner, theatre or whatever.

However, when I returned home he wanted us to live together, either in his apartment or mine.  Yet another one wanting to replace a 40-year marriage in a matter of weeks.

I enjoyed his company and the side benefits but was in no hurry to enter into any commitment.  Having told him this, he went off to Australia that week and immediately met up with a woman with whom he has been living ever since.

So I have now decided that I am no good at this looking for a partner and am better off living on my own, with Lotte (my Tibetan spaniel) for company.  She asks little of me.  Only to be fed, loved and walked all on a regular basis and these things I happily provide for her.


For male companionship, I have a friend with whom I go to the movies or to dinner but he knows there is no way this friendship will ever morph into anything else and he seems to be happy with that. I am beginning to spend more time with my women friends and discovering what a joy they are to be around.  One friend is a Real Estate Agent with an interest in all things spiritual.  And I am walking this path with her.  Among the others, one is a Feng Shui practitioner, another is a landscape gardener, two are masseuses, yet another is a teacher and another an astrologist.  A wide and varied group of women who are interesting and interested in what life has to offer.

Our discussions cover such a wide range of subjects with each of us listening intently to the other’s point of view and voicing our own.  With the exception of one, they each live alone, mostly by choice and appear to be enjoying the lives they are creating.  As am I.

I am proud and grateful to have these women as friends and will cherish that friendship for as long as it lasts – a season, a reason or forever.  I have said before that we do need friends and these women are mine.

As I read this post today from Winsomebella I realized that there is a definite movement of women deciding to take charge of their own future.  The future is open and wide enough for us to do as we choose, providing we don’t hurt anyone else in the process of course.

I would not have missed the 41 years with my husband but now can enjoy the freedom to make my life the way I want it – My Life My Way.

“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me and be my friend.”
– Albert Camus,1913 – 1960, French Algerian author, journalist, and key philosopher.











With a Little Help From My Friends

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm,I get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends.

So sang The Beatles in 1967.  And that is another reminder for a blog on memories.

But back to the task at hand.  My youngest grandson has a broken ankle and so while he is on holiday from school he hasn’t been able to go to the cycling champs last weekend, to Fiji on holiday with a friend nor can he go skiing later this month with the family.  Life can get pretty mean when you are 12 years old and at a loose end.  His brother’s school holidays don’t start until next week and with his foot in a cast, he is pretty well stumped as to what he can do.

Yesterday, to my great delight, he decided that he would spend a day with his Granma – well I guess anything is better than sitting in Mum’s office watching movies alone.

Garden Centre

We decided that it was a good day to get the rest of the river stones for the beds around the new patio.  So we went off to the garden centre together.

Jae told me that he was certain he could lift the 25kgs bags onto the trolley but I argued against it and went to get some help.  By the time I came back, this slight boy had managed to put three sacks onto the trolley.  But with the help of the garden centre attendant, he lifted two more and they trotted off to put them into the car while I went to pay for them.

After coffee with a friend, a walk for Lotte in the dog park and some grocery shopping, we returned home.  Whereupon this child then worked out how we could get these very heavy bags out of the trunk of the car and into position.

Jae at work

With a little help from a friend

As you can see, the right foot is in a cast but this didn’t stop my boy.  He wanted to continue the job and put the stones in place but the skies opened at that moment and we all ran into the house.

Jae at home

Exhausted and now watching a movie


Hard work for a small dog

So I had another coffee and Jae had another smoothie while I made lunch.

The rain pounded down and we all settled in for the afternoon.  Amazing how quickly a boy can create an untidy corner in the living room.  All in all a lovely day for a Granma and I hear from his Mother that he enjoyed it too.  Tomorrow he is going with me to the hospice to help with lunches.  So that will be the subject of tomorrow’s blog.

Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends – and hardly ever our own grown children.  Ruth Goode













Judith Baxter, Platinum Author Registered & Protected