Category Archives: Nature

Trials of a Rambler

Ramble definition: v amble, drift, perambulate, peregrinate, range, roam, rove, saunter, straggle etc etc

And this certainly covers the range of topics I have covered in my blog posts since I started on March 1.  Right here you need to cheer.  Yesterday was my 200th post.  Aw c’mon – that deserves at least a little recognition.


msn clipart

But back to today’s post.  Usually, well quite often anyway, when I sit down to write I have some idea of what I shall write about.  But at other times.  Well, if you read my earlier post Kiss Your Frogs you’ll know that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, I start with an idea and then this over-age mind of mine goes off on a totally different track and I am reminded of the rambles that I take with Lotte each day.

Town Belt Sign

Here in Wellington, we are very lucky that our original town fathers had the sense to proclaim an area around the city The Town Belt.   For those of you interested here is a pdf of the Townbelt  Deed

“made the twentieth day of March One thousand eight hundred and seventy-three
Superintendent of the Province of Wellington in the Colony of New Zealand
of the one part and
(who with their Successors are hereinafter termed “the Corporation’ of the other part…”

This deed specifically provides access to over 1,000 acres of walks, playing fields and leisure activity areas for the people of Wellington and it’s visitors.

central park 2

Lotte and I regularly walk in this part of the town belt as it is in our area and it has a designated dog area where she can run around off the lead.

Northern bushwalk

This is another favourite track of ours.  Khandallah to Mt Kaukau but since I have had Lotte we haven’t ventured to the top.  It is too steep for her little legs – well, that’s my excuse anyway.

Khandallah Bush walk

The bush is quite dense but is well-marked with paths and signposts.  Other people do let their dogs off the lead here but as there are so very many interesting and enticing smells she might follow them and never come back ,Lotte is kept firmly on the lead..

Khandallah Bush Walk

And so, as you can see it is not only my mind that wanders rambles but also my legs.  And I am so very grateful that I live here and that I am able to enjoy the peace and solitude (yes often we don’t see another soul on our walks).

Rugged coast

Added to the bush the sea is only a 10-minute drive away.  How lucky can you get?












French for Brunch

Simply Paris signbrunch m (petit déjeuner tardif et copieux remplaçant le déjeuner).

Today I had brunch with a group of women.  I knew one of the four women but the other three were strangers to me.

These women meet on a regular basis for brunch and French conversation and I was invited to join them today.  Hopefully, they liked me enough to allow me to become part of this group.


Selection of bread at Simply Paris

My French conversational skills are quite limited, but so then were three of the others.  The fourth woman was the coach/teacher.  This woman was born and raised in Skopje, Macedonia and after deciding that Economics was not for her, she changed to Languages and in particular French for her degree.

She arrived here in the mid 1990s with her two small children and husband, speaking no English.  How hard life must have been for her then.  A new culture, no friends, no way of communicating and two little children.  But  she is a survivor and although I have only met her just once, this is very obvious.

She decided to share her love of the  language with others and runs a series of informal classes teaching others to communicate in French.

As we were leaving and standing at the counter to pay, a complete  stranger came up to me and said “I think you look great”.  What a lovely and totally unexpected compliment.  It rounded off a very pleasant couple of hours.

Do you ever think of paying a stranger a compliment?  I have been known to on occasions but with the effect that this woman’s words had on me, I know that I shall be paying compliments to strangers again.

Then it was time for Lotte and me to go for our walk.  As it was such a lovely day we ventured out to the south coast – 10 minutes in the car.

Inter Islander

Inter Island Ferry

We saw the InterIslander going out from Wellington harbour.  On such a beautiful clear, sunny afternoon  there would have been fantastic views and opportunities for photographs from the upper deck of the ferry.

Rugged coast

This is very rugged coastline and quite dangerous to shipping. This is where one  of New Zealand’s most talked about maritime disasters occurred.  In April 1968 Cyclone Giselle hit Wellington at the same time as another storm which had driven up the West Coast of the South Island from Antarctica. The two storms met over the capital city, creating a single storm just as the inter-island ferry Wahine was crossing Cook Strait.  51 people lost their lives in the sinking.  Click here for TV coverage of the disaster.  It is interesting to hear the coverage and the frightfully BBC type reporting and voice.

Warning sign

We just love signs in New Zealand and this one caught my eye.  Apparently the Moa Point Wastewater Treatment Plant occasionally discharges a mixture of fully and partially treated sewage through its ocean outfall pipe into Cook Strait.  Hence the warning.


These houses clinging to the shore and the hillside are only about 10 kms from our bustling Capital city.  Wonderful on a day like today but I imagine quite frightening in one of the many strong southerly winds that hit this coast.

Manhole cover

On September 1st (before my gmail problems) Hallysann at Photographic Memories posted some photos of covers and so I thought I would add one of ours.  It’s nowhere near as attractive as those that Hallysann found wandering around Oxford but it’s the best I can do for today.

Lotte tired

By the time we had walked for about 30 minutes and Lotte had done some socialising with other dogs she met on the walk, she was ready to return home.  She is now ensconced in front of the fire – her usual place.

And just because I like this quote I shall finish with it today

I’m an excellent housekeeper. Every time I get a divorce, I keep the house.
~ Zsa Zsa Gabor

The Godwits Are Here

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.” ~ William Blake (1757-1827)

Godwits en route

Photo by Bob Gill.

We know it’s spring here when the first Bar-tailed Godwits appear in the South Island.  The Bar-tailed Godwit is the holder of the longest non-stop flight by birds covering about 11,000 km from Alaska to New Zealand. And then at the end of our summer, they do the return flight, another 11,000 km back to Alaska to breed.

In preparation for this long, non-stop flight to New Zealand, that can take as many as 10 days, the birds stock up on fat during the early fall in Alaska.  They use their pencil-thin bills to gorge on tiny clams, the size of a fingernail, found in the mudflats of south-west Alaska.

They put on so much fat that their body shape is totally changed before they start their journey and according to Bob Gill, who studies shorebirds at the USGS Science Centre in Anchorage, “They probably use all of that fat and then burn protein (muscle) for added energy.”

Gill and his counterparts in New Zealand and Australia, have been tracking the flights of these birds for several years.  They have proved that the birds make their migratory flights without stopping as in an experiment two years ago, they implanted satellite transmitters into several of the birds.   And they say that no other creature has ever demonstrated such a feat of endurance.  Read more about these birds at the Alaska Science Forum

Christchurch Cathedral Before 22.02.11

Christchurch Cathedral after 22.02.11

Christchurch Cathedral on 22.02.11

Traditionally, when the birds are first seen in the South Island of New Zealand, usually in the second or third week of September, the bells of Christchurch Cathedral ring out to welcome them.  However, because of the major earthquake in February, the bells are out of commission and this year the bells of another church in Christchurch were rung.

So the headlines in the Christchurch Press today read The arrival of the  Godwits in Christchurch has been marked by the bells of St Paul’s Anglican Church this year.”

The organiser of the bell-ringing at St Paul’s, Bill Thew, says the church’s bells are similar to those at the cathedral and it takes eight people to toll them. He also said that the church had suffered some damage in the earthquake but the bell tower is unscathed.

As an aside, does Sarah Palin claim the Godwits as part of her constituency of voters?

At about the same time that the Godwits were seen, another visitor was arriving some 360 km to the south.  And the bells rang out in Dunedin, marking the arrival of a Royal Albatross (tagged and named Rob ) at the world’s only mainland breeding colony at Taiaroa Head.

It was the second year running that Rob was the first springtime arrival.

“After spending almost a year at sea and with most birds circumnavigating the southern hemisphere in that time, arriving back to Taiaroa Head within a few days of their previous arrival date often astounds me,” Department of Conservation ranger Lyndon Perriman told the Otago Daily Times newspaper.












It’s all English – isn’t it?

You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
It’s only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away.”
So sung the Bee Gees way back in 1997.

I started to write my blog today feeling absolutely ghastly.  The cold that I have been nursing for 8 days has now morphed into an awful cough and all I wanted to do today was lie down with my book.  Waking up several times during the night didn’t make me bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning.  Fortunately, I only had to attend one of the open homes being run by my Real Estate friend.

But I made a commitment to myself some six months ago to post a blog every day so here goes.

Some time ago I read a blog from Robin entitled Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve that started me off on a different tack altogether.  Robin’s blog made me think of the different words in the English language that can have two definite and different meanings.  They often sound the same but may have different spellings.

  • Preserve – for me as I have said means a preserve or jam of fruits or vegetables. For Robin it meant a wildflower park.
  • Conserve – to prevent injury or waste or to make a conserve such as jams, pickles or chutney.
  • Bow – to bow down in homage or the bough of a tree.
  • Left as in direction and left as in ‘he left the store’
  • Address – where one lives and address as in making an address to the assembled people.
  • Close as near and close to shut
  • Permit – allow and permit as license
  • Incline – a small hill and incline towards something
  • Anchor – used to secure a boat or alternatively the shops that anchor a shopping mall ie a large variety or department store at each end of the mall or the newscaster.
  • Rebel – as in resisting authority and rebel the person resisting

And then of course we could open the can of worms of how the same words have different meanings to American and British people.

  • Purse – American handbag, British change purse
  • Vest – American sleeveless garment worn over clothes, British undergarment
  • Jelly – American jam and British equivalent of Jello

And different names for certain things.  For example, in a car

  • Gas in America = Petrol in Britain, New Zealand and Australia
  • Hood in America = Bonnet in Britain, New Zealand and Australia
  • Trunk in America = Boot in Britain, New Zealand and Australia

This didn’t set out to be a lesson in English grammar a subject in which I have always been interested.  But can you tell the difference between  homonyms – words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings, eg bore and boar; homophones – words that sound the same however they are spelled eg whole and hole; and homographs – words that share the same spelling however they are pronounced eg content – happy or satisfied/all that is contained inside something.

As I don’t know where this is going I think I shall end there.  Hopefully my head will be in a better place tomorrow and the blog will make more sense.

But for now, please share my rainbow


My rainbow

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Drawings on cave wall

A frieze of horses and rhinos near the Chauvet cave’s Megaloceros Gallery, where artists may have gathered to make charcoal for drawing. Chauvet contains the earliest known paintings, from at least thirty-two thousand years ago.

I have become quite addicted to movie going of recent times.  Just this last week I have seen Oranges and Sunshine, Incendies a French film about twins searching for their father and brother (more on this movie in a later blog) and yesterday I saw The Cave of Forgotten Dreams.  Click here to see the trailer.

The International Film Festival is on at present and we are spoiled for choice.

But back to yesterday’s movie.  It is a documentary about the finding of the cave in 1994 by three spelunkers and it takes us into the cave to see the fantastic drawings made by primitive man; but drawings that are not at all primitive.

Directed and fronted by Werner Herzog. the acclaimed German film director and producer,  it is a powerful insight into a life so far removed from ours in time and distance.  On the subject of the art Herzog says “Art … as it bursts on the scene 32,000 years ago, is fully accomplished. It doesn’t start with ‘primitive scribblings’ and first attempts like children would make drawings,” Herzog says. “It’s absolutely and fully accomplished.”

Herzog was first alerted to these cave drawings by Judith Thurman who wrote about them in her Letter from Southern France in the New Yorker in June 2008.

The cave has been named the Chauvet after one of the three men who discovered it, and it  is in the Ardèche valley in Southern France.  We are told it is about 400 metres long with many huge  chambers. The floor of the cave is littered with archaeological and palaeontological remains, including the skulls and bones of cave bears, which hibernated there, along with the skulls of an ibex and two wolves. The cave bears also left innumerable scratches on the walls and footprints on the ground.

Of particular interest in the movie, is when Dominique Baffier, archaeologist and curator of Chauvet Cave, tours the drawings . Each one tells a story.  She points us to a hand print that clearly shows the owner has a bent little finger on his right hand.  Further into the cave she shows this same print at one of the drawings.

In another mystery, only one human form was drawn. On a rock pendant, the bottom half of a woman with Venus of Willendorf proportions appears. The team mounts its camera on a stick to reveal the upper half of the image for the first time. It is a bison head.

The cave is not open to view and Herzog considers himself particularly lucky to have been given this opportunity.

The 3-D camerawork brings viewers more deeply into the cave. Herzog’s offbeat narration and  metaphysical musings keep the film lively. A sacred feeling is evoked in kinship with the ancients.

Only a small camera and four small, portable panel lights were allowed. Filmed under strict limitations to protect the delicate ecology, the scenes inspire awe.

Pont d'arc Arch

Pont d'Arch Arch below the cav

I have spent all day so far, on the internet fining out more about this cave and the drawings and now I leave it to you to further research if you are interested.

More on the cave by Craig Packer and Jean Clottes – When Lions Ruled France. and here’s a link to the official Chauvet Cave site

Jubilate! A Festival of Music and Flowers

 “It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.  ~P.D. James, English author.

Those of you who follow my blog will know by now that I have a very special affection for West Sussex and particularly the area around Chichester.

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral via Wikipedia

And Apuldram near Chichester is a very special place.  Still a little removed from the modern world reveling as it does in its ancient history.  Many of the houses date back to the 18th and 19th century.  One could imagine Jane Austen or one of the Brontes setting their stories here.  Its inhabitants are scattered over the flat, sweeping landscape, with its glimpses of the harbour, the Cathedral spire and the South Downs.  The sea still plays a role in the activities of the inhabitants.  Where once boats and the sea were means of livelihood for the people of Apuldram now there are sailing boats and runabouts anchored in the basin at Dell Quay.

Apuldram Church

Apuldram Church © Copyright Chris Gunns

And of course the Church.  The beautiful 12th century building is still used regularly for church services.  The last time I was there, there was still no shop, hotel or petrol station in the village and the Church is the hub.

But it is a very small church and the uses to which it was now being put required some extensions.  With this in mind, thoughts turned to fund raising.

The gardens of West Sussex are beautiful and the gardeners produce prolific blooms.  Music is important to most people, and has a special place in a church.

So it was decided that a Festival of Music and Flowers would be held.  Months of planning would have followed this decision and the outcome of all the work was a weekend in September.  I think this was 2005.  The Festival would run Friday through Sunday with floral displays decorating the church, the gardens of the manor house open to the public for refreshments and of course, music in both the Church and the gardens.

It was a glorious weekend.  We chose to go on Saturday, as did many others.

Music greeted us as we entered the church. The church was absolutely beautifully decorated with displays by local florists, flower societies and churches from far and near.  Every window, each nook and cranny, including the Squint, had a magnificent arrangement.

This Squint, or more properly called an Hagioscope, was installed so that those who were confined to worship in the small chapel behind the organ could have a clear view of what was happening at the altar.  This small chapel is a 14th century addition to the church.

Of particular interest was the organ loft.  Local lore has it that this organ was the one temporarily installed at Windsor Castle for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s first Christmas party.

The design here was a representation of a Victorian Christmas.  Of course, this incorporated a Christmas tree (remembering that Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree to Britain).   The Victorian’s love of fashionable items was also apparent with paisley shawls, finger-less gloves and of course, feathers.

The vestry is accessed through an arch and worshipers at Apuldram garlanded this arch.  Garlands were popular in Ancient Rome and in Greece.  They adorned the heads of Caesars, dignitaries and brides.  Garlands have also been discovered in tomb paintings. This garland was spectacular.

Other floral exhibits and arrangements depicted “Harvest Festival”, “Mountains and Hills and all Green Things Upon the Earth”, “All the Powers of the Lord”, “Light and Day, Night and Darkness”.  In all there were 19 arrangements.  It was a sensational effort by many people working together for a common cause.

Historical notes were included in the programme.  For instance the decoration called ‘The Founding of St Mary’s as a Chapel of Ease” had the note that the church was built in the 12th century for the Bosham Collegiate.  And that before the channel silted up and Apuldram had a burying ground, the dead were rowed over to Bosham.

Apuldram font

© Copyright 2011, Apuldram Church

The font’s decoration was entitled “O Children of Men and Priests of the Lord”.  This lovely arrangement had been done by two of the worshipers at Chichester Cathedral.  There was a historical note accompanying the information “The font is 12th Century in origin and is of Purbeck marble and is most probably the original one”.

The quiet, classical music played throughout our time in the Church was totally in keeping with the floral decorations.  It was uplifting and glorious.

We then went back down the church path to visit the Manor Farm gardens.  Along the way we passed a farmer on a tractor.  But no ordinary farmer this: He was stuffed – literally.

Scarecrow on tractor

At the church gate we saw an old bicycle that was no doubt originally used for deliveries by a local merchant, bearing in its basket a mass of flowers of all colours.  And a pair of Wellington boots planted with flowers.

The children were enjoying pony rides while those of us in need of refreshment made our way to the tea marquee.


Here the ladies of the church and their children (and some grandchildren) had excelled themselves.  The marquee was set with tables and chairs.  Pretty tablecloths adorned each table.  Around the marquee were placards giving information on various plants, flowers and herbs.  Of particular interest to me, was the following:

Woody Nightshade.  Relating to the potato and tomato. Attractive climbing plant with heart shaped leaves and shiny berries. The berries were used medicinally and the dried second-year stems were pounded into an essence. This was then prescribed for skin diseases caused by metabolic disorder, rheumatic conditions and blood disorders.”

It also stated “An overdose produces paralysis of the tongue, difficulty in swallowing and breathing”. Clearly an essence to be avoided.  How many other medicinal herbs commonly used in earlier times, had such disastrous side effects?

A ploughman’s lunch was on offer, as were sandwiches and a variety of cakes.  We were well fed and ready to inspect the various produce and bric-a-brac stalls dotted around the grounds.

A second marquee was set up for the string quartet.  They entertained with light classical music to the enjoyment of all.  There were chairs set around outside this marquee and people were sitting in the sun, some with cups of tea, but many sitting just enjoying the music.

The atmosphere was one of good humour, friendliness and neighbourliness.

 The festival was entitled Jubilate.  We are told by Josie Pound, the Festival Designer, “Looking in the Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 100 ‘Jubilate Deo’ fairly leapt out of the page, as did the Benedicite Omnia Opera, with all its wonderful descriptive verses, ideal for interpretative work by keen arrangers!”   The Festival certainly lived up to its name.

We thoroughly enjoyed this very English way to spend a lovely, September Saturday in this beautiful part of the world.

Judith Baxter, Platinum Author Registered & Protected


“Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it.  Action has magic grace and power in it.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832, German playwright poet, novelist and dramatist.

I have just discovered (or maybe rediscovered) an all-purpose wonder that has been lurking in my cupboard for a while.

Recently, a friend asked me to pick up 20 kgs of bicarbonate of soda (aka baking soda) for her.  When asked what she was baking I was told it was for clearing the moss and algae off the driveway.  So I thought well I would give it a go.


Brushed on - now what?

Apparently all one does is brush it on the surface and then when it rains it does its magic.  Well it is supposed to rain tomorrow so I shall see if it works.

When I met my friend for lunch on Wednesday she reported that her driveway is now clear of moss and algae.

We then started to talk about all the other uses for this long forgotten miracle in the kitchen.  Did you know:

  • Cleaning Sinks Either place bicarbonate of soda directly onto a damp cloth or make up a paste of soda with a little water. Wipe around the sink & rinse well.
  • Blocked Drains Pour about 16 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda down the sink and then pour in about 120ml of white distilled vinegar. Put the plug in for a couple of minutes as the 2 chemicals will fizz. Rinse through with boiling water.
  • Oven Cleaner Dampen the floor of the oven, sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda and dampen again. Leave the mixture overnight and then remove with a cloth. Rinse with hot water.
  • Fabric Conditioner To make your own fabric conditioner, mix equal quantities of water, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in a storage bottle, take care as the vinegar & soda will fizz up. Add ¼ cup of conditioner to your wash.
  • Deodorizing  Drains  To freshen drains & help prevent blockages, pour a cup of bicarbonate of soda down the drain and then wash down with some boiling water.
  • Pet Odors To help freshen carpets, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the carpet, leave for 10 minutes and then vacuum up.

And the list goes on.  I particularly liked the idea of a paste of bicarb to remove tea and coffee stains from cups.  As I drink both black tea and black coffee, my mugs regularly stain.  Until now I have used bleach to clean the stains away.  From now on I shall use my trusty new friend.


And I found out, again from the same friend, that it is good to brush bicarbonate of soda into a dog’s coat.  This apparently, removes all dead dander and makes the coat shine.  I haven’t managed to try this out yet.  Lotte has retired to bed after her walk and shows no interest in having her coat covered in white powder.

Having discovered this hidden wonder I then got out my very old and battered copy of Mrs Beeton’s Cookery Book.  This one was published in 1894 – wow 117 years ago!

Mrs Beeton's cookery book

1984 Edition - Cost One shilling

This little gem opens with:

“It is not given to us all to become famous, but in this busy world there are few who, metaphorically speaking ‘need waste their sweetness on the desert air’ or in less poetical language, lead a useless life.  Specially does this apply to women, whom though perhaps less gifted with brain power than the sterner sex, have yet a greater versatility of talent, and who, if they seek it, can always find a vocation.”

What do you have to say about that?

Then onto another gem.  “A Good Housekeeping Cookery Compendium”.  This was published in 1957 and I remember purchasing this copy when somebody came around the office selling the book.  Mine looks as if it has had a hard life but I think that’s because when I was first married I didn’t know how to cook anything much more than an egg.

This little darling tells me:

“The money spent on food is the most important part of the household expenditure, and you will want to get the best possible value for your money.”  So what has changed in 54 years?  It goes on “It is obviously wise to deal with reliable tradespeople, so compare both quality and prices….bearing in mind that it is false economy to buy inferior goods to save a few pence.”

Then I picked up the book and it opened on page 393 – and the recipe was for stuffed mushrooms.  Well according to Shirley Conran author of Superwoman (among others) ‘Life’s too short to stuff mushrooms”  And if you are not old enough to know Shirley Conran she showed women of my generation that they didn’t have to be drudges (Dirt? Sweep it under the rug. Ironing? Hire someone to do it). Her book sales made her a millionaire. She survived a ‘humiliating’ marriage to design tycoon Sir Terence Conran  . And although Shirley Conran is, well, a bit dotty, she is still a force to be reckoned with.

Here endeth another rambling post.

“My idea of superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors.”  ~Bette Midler

And just because I like it here is a shot of my favorite red shoes

Now the work begins

Whenever I have anybody doing work around the house I think of this song.

Twas on a Monday morning the gas man came to call.  The gas tap wouldn’t turn – I wasn’t getting gas at all.  He tore out all the skirting boards to try and find the main  and I had to call a carpenter to put them back again.
Oh, it all makes work for the working man to do.”  Flanders and Swann

For the rest of this comic song and to get an idea of their quirky show,  click here.

This will be very short today as there is really not much to report.

Concrete truck

The concrete cometh

The contractors laid the aggregate on Monday afternoon.


Stage 2

They returned yesterday to put a finish on it and now I have an exposed aggregate patio.


Waiting for weeding and decorating

All it needs is for me to get out there and weed and plant and sow.  You do remember that old children’s song.  And although I now don’t have to mow I can’t get this song out of my head.

“One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow, one man and his dog named Spot, went to mow a meadow.
Two men went to mow, went to mow a meadow, two men, one man and his dog named Spot, went to mow a meadow……”

Now you will have that earworm with you all day.  Sorry about that.

And while I ramble on about such inconsequential things as my patio, the people in Christchurch are living through another round of earthquakes and huge aftershocks.  I really should be posting about them and how we feel for them in their upheaval and danger.  We are told there have been 49 earthquakes around the greater Canterbury region in the last 24 hours with the largest being 6.3 on the Richter scale.  See a video of the impact of the quakes here.

We are used to seeing shots of war-torn cities in Afghanistan, Turkey, Libya but never thought to see anything like this in our own land.  And this is not anything that man has caused; this is nature showing us mortals its strength.















No change today

“Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.”Plato, classical Greek philosopher and mathematician

and  “Well begun is half done.” Aristotle, Greek philosopher and student of Plato.

Ready for the paving

The sun is shining, there is no wind, the area has been cleared but where are the contractors?  I was full of excitement this morning when I saw the sun shining after a weekend of almost constant rain and wind.  Surely the contractors would be here bright and early to finish what they started on Friday.

But no sign of them yet.  With the rain over the weekend, the area that was cleared is showing a great abundance of sprouting weeds.  But I guess the paving just goes over the top of that – hmm?

On Saturday, in a frenzy of excitement that while the patio was not finished, it was at least started, I went to the local Garden Center to buy plants for the gardens to be made around the patio.

Garden Centre

Lotte quite likes going there and she is a great favourite among the staff.  She wanders around on her lead, of course, checking out what is new since the last time we were there.  Well, I think that’s what she is doing, maybe she is just checking out which other dogs have been there before her.

The choice of plants is amazing.  I wanted several plants for different reasons


Something that didn’t mind having its feet wet for the jardiniere.  There are no drainage holes in the jardiniere and so it fills with water as can be seen here.  This shot is not helped by the fact that no weeding has been done here for weeks. I settled on a Heucherella ‘Brass Lantern’.  I am assured by my trusty friend in the garden centre that this will thrive in my concrete pot.


Something to fill in the spaces left when all the old plants have been removed.   I thought the Hebes would do well there and my friend at the GC agreed.  Here they are in the box just dumped there on Saturday in the pouring rain.

I have lots of pots from my living in apartments with only balconies instead of gardens, so I needed some more plants to fill a couple of these.

Australian Radermachera

Radermachera Summerscent

This is an Australian evergreen which I am reliably informed will do very well in a pot, is drought and sun hardy and tolerant of shade and cold.  And as a bonus, it has highly scented flowers.  A perfect plant for me!

Acacia Fettucini

Acacia Fettucini

and this Acacia Fettucini will also look good once planted as it will droop over the side of the pot.  There was a very large specimen at the Garden Center not for sale.  I am hoping mine will spread and droop in the same way.  And I love the name.


Then I saw these little pots of instant colour and decided that is just what I need to brighten a winter garden so I bought ten.  They will look good and welcoming in smaller green pots on the steps to the front door.

Camellias in pots

Camellias in waiting

And finally, some decision will have to be made about the four camellias I bought and then had no place to put them.  They have languished in pots at the front fence for months.  Finding a place for them in this very small garden will be a challenge.

So whether or not the contractors arrive this afternoon, I shall be busy and I shall start with my instant colour pots.  I do wish I could paint as they are the prettiest little darlings.  Blue tending towards purple with little yellow smiling centres.  This will be a lovely way to spend a cold, but sunny afternoon in Winter.

I found this quote from Abram L Urban in one of my books of quotations but cannot find anything about him.  Do you know of this writer?  I should be very pleased to have something to add to this quotation.

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful”


Concrete truck

The concrete cometh

It’s now 12.30pm and just as I was about to stop for lunch, the contractors arrived followed shortly by the concrete man.  So the patio will be worked on this afternoon and I am told they will be back to put the finish on it tomorrow.

So watch this space.















Changes and Choices

Today I read two blogs that set me on this path.  First I read cycling around the neighborhood from my blogging friend Robin at bogsofohio and then I read Monica’s post   As you know by now I am a quotation and poetry nut so I immediately remembered two of my favorite poems –

The Way Through The Woods by Rudyard Kipling:

 They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Listen to Nigel Planer read the poem here.

and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And listen here to Alan Bates’ rendition of this poem.

In case you don’t know Robin lives an idyllic life in beautiful surroundings and as soon as I saw the first photos today, I thought of Rudyard Kipling.  Kipling is best remembered for his celebration of British imperialism in his poetry, short stories and novels.  Most people know of “If” and “The Jungle Book” “Mandalay” and Gunga Din” but he also wrote political essays for the newspapers of his time.  He  received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.   He was one of the most popular English authors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in both prose and verse.  At the school I attended in London, Kipling was a favorite of the English staff and so we were brought up reciting his poems and hearing about his many other writings.

Monica’s post was on The Road Not Taken and how the decision had affected her life.  From time to time, we must surely all ask ourselves the question of what if we had taken the other road.

Robert Frost was an American writer of prose and poetry. He was awarded four Pulitzer prizes for poetry.

The two authors lived during the same period – Frost 1874-1963 and Kipling 1865-1936 and one wonders if their lives ever crossed.  We do know that Kipling lived in Vermont for a while and it is now possible to stay at his house “Naulakha” where he wrote “Captain Courageous”.

While we were not fed a diet of Robert Frost at school, we did have a brief introduction to his writing and I became entranced.  His writing is not as easy to read as Kipling’s.  It doesn’t of course have the thrum of British Imperialism.  But if you are into poetry I suggest you read some of his.  My favorites include :

  • For once, then something
  • A girl’s garden
  • The oven bird.

“We are where we are today because of the choices we made yesterday” Judith Baxter, blogger, writer, friend.