Tag Archives: humor

Dear Diary

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.


I am blonde (well really more white than blonde now) and I do enjoy blonde jokes, so I am sharing this with you.  I hope it makes you laugh on this sunny but chilly Saturday.  And spare a thought for that Bob – he must be a saint!

Cooking and cleaning

Magnet on my fridge


It’s fun to cook for Bob. Today I made angel food cake. The recipe said beat 12 eggs separately. The neighbours were nice enough to loan me the extra bowls.

He wanted fruit salad for supper. The recipe said serve without dressing.  So I didn’t dress. What a surprise when he brought a friend home for supper.

A good day for rice. The recipe said wash thoroughly before steaming the rice. It seemed kind of silly but I took a bath anyway. I can’t say it improved the rice any.

Today he asked for salad again; I tried a new recipe. It said prepare ingredients; lay on a bed of lettuce one hour before serving. He asked me why I was rolling around in the garden.

I found an easy recipe for cookies. It said put the ingredients in a bowl and beat it. There must have been something wrong with this recipe. When I got back, everything was the same as when I left

He did the shopping today and brought home a chicken. He asked me to dress it for Sunday. I don’t have any clothes that fit it, and for some reason he keeps counting to ten.

I wanted to serve roast but all I had was hamburger. Suddenly I had a flash of genius… I put the hamburger in the oven and set the controls for roast. It still came out hamburger, much to my disappointment.

GOOD NIGHT DEAR DIARY. This has been a very exciting week! I am eager for tomorrow to come so I can try out a new recipe. If I can talk him into buying a bigger oven, I would like to surprise him with a chocolate moose.



Look Who’s Coming to Dinner

Anti bull cookbook

I have written before about this cookbook and how it make fun of the pretentious while delivering some really good recipes.  On looking through it today for some inspiration I came across this:

Dinner Guests

This picture accompanied the suggestion that we assemble a really nightmare selection of guests for a party:

  • Career woman (remember the book was published in 1964)
  • Repertory actor
  • Accountant
  • Pop star
  • Tough young writer
  • Back bencher (for those who don’t know this is a member of the parliament who doesn’t hold a Ministerial portfolio)

The actor, the writer and the star will no doubt have had to starve at times while making their fortune and the rep actor probably is still starving.  So they will be reasonably easy to please.  The author suggests that the career woman has”had t fight tooth and claw to establish herself in a bluff man’s world and she’s nobody’s fool” and the accountant probably has an ulcer or is diabetic because of the stresses and strains of his chosen profession.  And the Back bencher is used to being fawned over and eating at Bellamy’s (or the equivalent of the restaurant in the seat of government) so he is likely to be more demanding.

So what would you serve this nightmare group?  Our author suggests two menus:

  1. Hot grapefruit flavoured with brandied honey; followed by Lobster Thermidor and then Negre en Chemise which I decipher to be chocolate souffle.
  2. Oysters “in the English manner” which I decide is oysters sprinkled with cayenne pepper and then skewered with streaky bacon and grilled; followed by roast lamb, new potatoes and french beans and then brandied melon.

But for these disparate and perhaps difficult people I would serve:

  • Chilled cucumber soup because they would be so busy talking and trying to impress each other that a hot starter would soon get cold.
  • Beef Wellington with scalloped potatoes and a large green salad
  • Pavlova with fresh fruit and cream*

Hopefully this will impress the career woman, the accountant and the Back bencher and totally ‘blow the socks off’  the other three.

*Pavlova is a dessert with a meringue base, topped with fresh fruit and fresh cream.  It is the subject of hot arguments between New Zealanders and Australians as to which of them first introduced this desert.  But we all agree that a well made Pav takes a lot of beating- excuse the pun!


Image via Wikipedia

Then hopefully, they would all make their way home having been thoroughly entertained by the other guests and well fed by me.  And leaving me to clear the table and do the dishes and all those other follow up chores after a party.

“I went to a marvelous party,
I must say the fun was intense,
We all had to do
What the people we knew
Would be doing a hundred years hence…”
From I went to a Marvellous Party,
Sir Noel Coward

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.

The Pohutakawa Tree

Pohutakawa tree

Image via Wikipedia

“I think perhaps I’ll never see
A more magnificent  tree
Than our pohutakawa on display
With gorgeous blooms each Christmas Day.

Those dangling roots in search will cling
To cliff or rocks or anything
And nature put this gem so long ago
Where other trees just couldn’t grow.

Thus in pohutakawa’s ancient past
A gene had formed to make it last
And claim today triumphantly
That it’s New Zealand’s Christmas-tree.”

When noodling (my elder sister’s word) around thinking about what to write today’s post on, I came across this poem.  I don’t know the author but it was in a collection of New Zealand poems on http://homepages.xnet.co.nz/~hardy/poetryNewZealand.html.

The Pohutakawa is regarded as our New Zealand Christmas tree and the Maoris say that if they produce plentiful blossoms then we shall have a good summer.  This year, summer has been late in coming but has now arrived.

So happy Christmas to all.  And by the way, for those interested, I have a new cast on today that looks like Santa’s boot.  Loads of fun in the orthopedic department today – everybody was in holiday mood.  And the good news was that I was in and out, x-rayed, new cast and all in just over one hour!  Whoo hoo.

Santa boot

I have many more attractive shoes!

The Giant Christmas Pudding

Until 1991 here in New Zealand we had only one provider of mobile phone services – the mega company, Telecom.  Another provider came onto the scene when BellSouth was introduced.  BellSouth was part of the AT&T Corp and was subsequently purchased by Vodafone.

However, back to those early days.  In a bid to increase market share, BellSouth identified possible users and wooed us with offers of free phones (unheard of in 1991) and the incentive that if we introduced others to the service we would gain 60 free minutes for each one.  At that time, all minutes were charged – no included minutes in the contract.

Well I was one of those wooed in this way.  In fact, I am told by the guy at Vodafone that I was the 26th person to change to BellSouth and only the 4th in Wellington.

Now go back to that first Christmas.  BellSouth treated those of us who were early users,  royally.  Each day for 12 days a courier arrived with a parcel for me.  [Note here – my daughter who worked for me and whose phone we had transferred to BellSouth wasn’t treated in this way.]  Each day the courier would arrive with a big smile and say  “He’s sent you something again today.” And then he’d leave with a smile on his face.

I don’t remember all that I received but things included mince pies, chocolates, packs of cards, a juggling game.  But the piece de resistance was on the day that we closed the office.  The courier arrived with a very large blue box with a golden bow tied around it.  BellSouth’s colours here.  He insisted that I open the box in front of him because he was determined to find out what “he” had sent me on that day.  Mind you the smell of brandy was very strong.  Everybody gathered around me while I opened the box.  And there was without a doubt the biggest Christmas pudding I have ever seen.  It was in the shape of a bell and even though it had no doubt been well soaked in brandy it came complete with a small bottle of brandy.

Luckily I wasn’t stopped on the way home because the car reeked of brandy and I would have had a hard time convincing the cop that it wasn’t me!

Christmas was two days away and as luck would have it both my children were going to be out of town for the holiday.  My dashing young Scotsman and I were going to be on our own, so with another couple, we were going to a local restaurant for Christmas dinner.  We were regulars there and so the owners sent a car for us and then after several hours, organised the same car to take us home.  But that’s a story for another day.

Back to this enormous pudding.  I took it home and we discussed what to do with it.  It was obviously far too large for us and we didn’t have any intention of letting it go to waste.

So early next morning I started ringing around the organisations who help those in need.  Nobody was interested in our pudding.  eventually, at 11.55am I got a hit – yes they would love to have the pudding.  They were closing at 12 noon and could I get it there in time?  No way.  Did they have another suggestion?  The phone was put down while a discussion ensued with somebody else in the office.  When they came back they gave me the address of a family of seven who had little or no money and would no doubt welcome the pudding.  The family lived not far from us and so I took the pudding to them.

I hate the whole “Lady Bountiful” idea and so I just left the big box on top of the letter (mail) box.  Then drove further up the cul-de-sac in order to turn around.  As I went down the road again I heard an excited young voice calling out “Mum I think Santa came early”.  I was so happy to have found a welcome place for my Christmas pudding.

Unfortunately, that was the only year that BellSouth recognised its clients in this way.  But we still talk about the Giant Christmas Pudding.

For those of you not familiar with a Christmas pudding this is a traditional steamed spicy pudding served for dessert on Christmas day.  The web abounds with recipes.  Click here for a favourite.

There are many traditions associated with Christmas puddings.  Growing up mother always put silver threepenny pieces in the pudding – we had to return it for use again next year if we were lucky enough to find one in the pudding.

Another tradition is for everybody in the family to stir the pudding when it’s being made. As they each take a turn to stir, they make a wish. Of course, they mustn’t do it out loud or tell anyone what they wished for otherwise, it won’t come true.

On a silver dish the Christmas pudding reposed in its glory.  A large football of a pudding, a piece of holly stuck in it like a triumphant flag and glorious flames of blue and red rising round it.  There was a cheer and cries of ‘Ooh-ah.’”
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding’, by Agatha Christie

And I am sorry that I don’t have a picture of the bell-shaped pudding but found this when looking for a picture to use

Christmas pudding

Roger and Valerie Holley put the finishing touches to their giant hedge which they have transformed into a Christmas pudding Photo: SOUTH WEST NEWS

This Is My Life

“I don’t need you to worry for me cos I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone “

So sang Billy Joel in his song My Life many years ago and I immediately connected with it.  I thought he had penned it for me.  When I first heard it I was coming out of the chrysalis that many women were in being stay at home Mothers raising their children.  And it just seemed to fit. And it still does.

I have been thinking back to how often over the years has somebody determined they knew better than me how I should live my life.

Often as with parents and then my late husband, this was always done with my best interests to the fore but there were those other ‘friends’ and acquaintances, and those figures in positions of power, who thought they knew better.

  • The friend who told me I was making a mistake getting married so young.  As an aside most of our group was getting married around the same time; she was the odd one out.
  • The cousin who said I shouldn’t move away leaving family and friends behind when we moved to Scotland shortly after we were married.  I never asked him if he changed his mind after my many moves to new places.
  • The school teacher who said I should continue with my science and language studies, but without telling me what I could do with the results of those studies and really giving no guidance at all.
  • The doctor who told me that after several miscarriages I should give up and adopt.  I wouldn’t have my lovely son had I listened to him.
  • The nurse who scolded me and said my daughter (and later my son) would grow up deprived if I fed her formula.  By the time my son was born two years later, I stood my ground and fed him formula from day one.

And of course, over the years my late husband would advise me against doing something but hey It’s My Life and we eventually agreed that if I decided to do something that turned out wrong, the mistake was my own doing.  I can only now think of one really glaring mistake that falls into this category. And when I make a mistake you can bet your life it will be a biggy.

I decided to purchase a Mini Minor.  I had never owned one.  Each of the children had been given used Minis when they passed their driving tests, many of my friends either had one or had owned one earlier and so I wanted one.  But not for me the plain and simple Mini.  I purchased the top of the range GT version that was approximately twice the price of the regular model.

This was a very smart vehicle.  Bronze with gold highlighted stripes down the sides and alloy wheels.  I thought I had made exactly the right choice.

But it was what my husband called a ‘Friday car’.  The men on the assembly line wanted to get home and so they rushed the final cars through.  The car leaked through the floor, the windscreen wipers had problems working correctly because the surround to the windscreen hadn’t been cut off.  Each time the wipers moved to the top of the arc they bounced off this small piece of uncut surround.  Suffice it to say that when I took the car in for its first check there were 37 defects noted by the mechanics.  They thought it was so very funny; my husband agreed; I did not.  I very quickly sold that car and I hope that the young man who bought it enjoyed it. We often talked of that debacle in the years that followed.

And now, of course, this really is my life.  My decisions without having to confer with anybody else.  My mistakes and my triumphs.

As we go through the various stages of our lives we note that some are better than others, but each has to be lived as it doesn’t come with a choice   So thanks to Billy Joel for penning and singing the song.  And I am enjoying my life as it now is.  The Busy Years are behind me and my time is my own.

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Charles Kingsley, (1819 – 1875)  English priest university professor, historian and novelist.


















Flat Packs

One of the bloggers that I follow is Hallysan at Photographic Memories.  In a recent blog acknowledging an award, she had to give us seven things about herself.  One was that she was good with her hands and that caused me to comment that I was not and flat packs send me into a spin.

I remember one particular time when a flat pack was in order.  I had arrived in London in time for Christmas and was staying with my sister.  A few days before Christmas Day a flat-pack arrived by courier.  My sister had ordered a toy kitchen for one of her grand-daughters.

We opened the package and saw how many pieces needed to be put together, so in the hope that her son would turn up in the next few days, we closed the box and put it aside.

The days passed and Christmas Eve arrived but her son didn’t, so we were faced with putting this toy together.  The first warning read “Not to be assembled by anyone under 10 years” (or words to that effect).  Then there were the usual warnings about small items and small children but hey – we were two adult, grown-up Grandmothers.  We could do this!

My sister is much better with her hands than am I – in fact both sisters are and it would be hard to find anyone who wasn’t.  So she would put the pieces together ie build the kitchen and I would read the instructions and pass the requisite screws, screwdriver, stickers, parts etc.  We were doing very well until I turned over two pages in the instruction book.  Yes, there was a book and it had been translated into English from Chinese, we think by Goofy and his pals.  It made hilarious reading.  I wish I had known the Good Greatsby then and his command of Chinglish it would have been very useful.

Imagine this.  Two adult women surrounded by pieces of a toy kitchen, screws, stickers etc and having no idea how to put it all together.  Hours passed in discussion on how to do this, interspersed with shrieks of laughter when first one thing and then another either didn’t fit or hallelujah it did fit!

Then telephone calls to nieces and nephews in London, to family and friends in New Zealand and to elder sister in Los Angeles.  They all shared in the hilarity and passed comment and advice while we tried to put this danged thing together.

My mobile phone bill reached an all-time high and we did too.  Eventually, a rather wobbly kitchen was put together but my nephew commented the next day that one of the panels was in upside down or round the wrong way, but the four-year-old for whom it was intended loved it anyway.

So no more flat packs for me.  I enjoyed the exercise of putting it together but oh dear me, at the end of it we were left with about thirty extra screws.  I wonder where they were meant to go?  And I never enquired as to how long the kitchen stayed upright.  I left shortly after Christmas and it never came up in conversation again.


As I have said before sisters are the best friends and they are also the best people with whom to share such an experience.

“A hug is a great gift – one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.”
Author Unknown














Look What I Found

“What’s for lunch the lady cried:
I feel a vacuum here inside” Anon

Last week when sorting out books etc to go to Mary Potter Hospice for sale in their shop I came across another, not quite so old book – 1966, that has had me in bursts of laughter ever since.

Anti bull cookbook

This is a hilarious take against the plethora of large, expensive cookery books that were coming onto the market at the time.  And yes, I do have some but my late husband thought this one would bring us all back to the real world.

The book is roughly separated into the various mealtimes, Le Fifoclock ( which according to Peter Evans is what the French call afternoon tea) and any excuse for food at any other time during the day or night.

He introduces us to the Impossible Person at lunch.

The Impossible Person

The Impossible Person

According to the writer “She is so old that there are some who believe she should be preserved for the nation as an Ancient Monument (and others who feel she should have been scheduled for demolition years ago)”.  Did he have me in mind when he penned this description, knowing how I would turn out some 45 years later?

She is portrayed as an archeologist “of great distinction who still rides a camel into the field…”  It is claimed that she has had rows with every eminent archeologist, believing as she does in her own worth and unassailability.  Her manners are appalling; she spills food down her clothes and makes ghastly noises when eating; she considers herself an expert and holds forth on any and every topic, interrupting others ; flicks ash all over the carpet (this was in 1966 remember) and totally discounts any opinion but her own. The perfect guest for lunch.

Oh I do hope that this isn’t how he would see me in the years to come.

We are told that she announces her arrival for lunch by telegram delivered the day before.  What no email or cellphones?  So you could get out of having her to lunch but she would only descend again later.  You may as well get it over with.

Our author further describes her as a glutton and on occasion food has even been known to put her in a good mood – whatever that may mean.  So he decides to feed her Boeuf en Danube saying that his recipe will feed four hungry archeologists.

Boef en daubeHis recipe:
2lbs stewing steak cubed
strip orange rind
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 sticks celery chopped
3 cloves garlic,  a bay leaf
Pint of red bordeaux
12 small onions
6 carrots chopped
4oz bacon and seasoning.

Put steak, to marinade in  wine, vinegar, seasonings, bay leaf and orange rind for several hours.  Heat bacon and brown onions, carrots and celery in fat.  Remove orange rind from meat.  Add meat to the vegetables and fry for 5 minutes.  Add marinade.  cover the pan and simmer for four hours.  Serve with plain boiled rice in which you have mixed peas and shreds of crisply fried onion.

And here is an up to date recipe that I have tried using a slow cooker, but I think I prefer the original.

Our author suggest this be followed by apricot mousse served with stewed fresh apricots and thin cream.

I think even the impossible person would be happy to sit down to such a meal.

And who would you invite to share the table?  Seven others to make a total of 8;  a good number to seat at a round table.

  1. Sir Noel Coward to pay her compliments, butter her up and then later put her into one of his clever songs.
  2. Sir Michael Caine to bring her down to earth and remind her where her roots are.
  3. Angela Lansbury to make sure all is calm and in the event of a murder she will be on the spot.
  4. Mahatma Gandi to pour oil on any troubled waters.
  5. Judith Martin aka Miss Manners to show this character how it’s done.
  6. Eleanor Bron, actress who can debate her choice of career with the impossible person.
  7. John Cleese at his Fawlty Towers best to bring some much needed humour to this lunch party.

I went to a marvelous party,
I must say the fun was intense,
We all had to do
What the people we knew
Would be doing a hundred years hence
From I went to a Marvellous Party,
Sir Noel Coward

Driving Test No 2

View of Montreal


During the original two years we lived in New Zealand, we were allowed to drive on our British licences.  But when we arrived in Montreal, we were told that we would have to obtain Quebec licences immediately.

So shortly after we arrived, my late husband told me that he had arranged for us to take our tests.  There were two other men transferred into the area by the company at the same time, so we all went off to the testing centre together.

Frank and Lise were from Paris, France; Alexandros and Maria were from Cuba, via Bogota and then there were us from New Zealand.

We duly arrived at the testing centre and were separated while we took a very cursory written test.  Then we were each called in turn to take our driving test.  The man who was to test me arrived and sheepishly herded me out of the door into the car.  He then looked at me with hung-over, bloodshot eyes and told me that he had very little sleep and was very tired and I added under my breath, ‘hungover’.


Cartoon from Flickr – raybreakstonewebcomic/3145700127/

We drove once around the block whereupon he asked me to pull over and promptly fell asleep in the passenger seat.  Well, what to do.  In a car in a strange land with a strange man asleep.  So I turned on the radio to some very quiet music and sat there for about 15 minutes.  I then gently woke him and he sheepishly told me to return to the testing centre.  On arriving there, he pronounced me safe to drive, took me inside the centre and signed a form whereupon I was the proud owner of a Quebec licence.

When I told the other members of the party – well out of earshot of anyone in the testing centre – about my tester they thought it a great laugh and very unfair.  They had all been put through the hoops to prove that they were competent drivers while I sailed through.

My late husband always said I was born under a lucky star and I guess in this instance he was correct.

© Carolyn Seelen | Dreamstime.com

© Carolyn Seelen | Dreamstime.com

No day is so bad it can’t be fixed by taking a nap.”
Judith Baxter












Making Time

“Time like the wind
Goes a hurrying by and the hours just fly
Where to begin…” John Rowles, OBE  New Zealand singer 1947 –


Time ticking away

I read this post a few days ago and while I was intrigued and interested in its content I was literally blown away at the number of comments the blogger had received.  How would I ever find time to respond to 427 comments?   While I do know that she doesn’t always get this number but my mind still boggles at the thought.

Time is elusive.  We all have the same amount of it – 24 hours every day.  So how do we use that time?

Since I started blogging I find that more and more of my time is taken up reading other people’s blogs.  And while I don’t have nearly as many comments as 427 to respond to, I always make time to respond to those I do receive.

One of my biggest negative beliefs was that I never had enough time.  I have been working on that and over many years I have compiled a long list of suggestions on how to effectively manage my time.  Some have been very useful and some not so.  Those that I have found useful include:

  • Ask yourself what is the best use of my time right now?
  • Concentrate on only one thing at a time
  • Do it now.  Handle each piece of paper once only.  Deal with it and then move on
  • Finish the things you start.  Having 10 things 90% complete causes chaos and stress
  • Do like things at the same time.  Make a list of phone calls.  Block off the time in your journal and make all the calls then
  • Be clear about priorities.  Clearly mark each item on the To Do List A B or C.  Do the As first, then the Bs and you may find the Cs fall off the list and don’t need to be done.
  • Take your organizer to appointments with doctors, dentists, etc.  You can then use the waiting time usefully
  • Keep systems simple.  Complex systems are cumbersome and difficult to maintain
  • Check emails only three times a day.  Have you ever noticed just how much time can be spent reading and responding to emails?
  • Keep a log of what you do each day, phone calls etc.  It can save you loads of time when you want to remember what you said to whom.

These things work for me – but not, I would hasten to add if I had over 400 comments to respond to.  In the event that I ever received that many comments on one post I would probably have to devote the whole day just to making the responses.  But that’s quite a goal to reach for.

White rabbit with watch

Copyright Disney*

“I’m late, I’m late for a very important date.  No time to say “Hello.”  Goodbye.  I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.”  The White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland

* The colored image of the White Rabbit is the copyright of Disney.  This material may not be used for any commercial or for profitable means in any way without permission from Disney.