Wednesday, December 6, 2017


This year is the first for me in this house and I have just put the decorations up.  The tree is in the verandah off the lounge for this year - next year it should be part of the lounge. 

We were able to give Doug's tree and a couple of sets of lights to the SPCA op shop so, hopefully, a family who couldn't afford a tree will be able to get one cheap.  

                                                                The shelf above the television

                       Hope it doesn't turn cold again as the woodburner has been put to another use

The tree outside in the verandah

                                             A few more decorations on the oak sideboard

A couple of wreaths at the front door

Not a Christmas decoration but Doug gave me this "Welcome" sign last Christmas

Monday, December 4, 2017


 In the late 1960's on, possibly my first trip back to the U.K. after coming to New Zealand I bought Sheila Hutchins Daily Express Cook Book.  One dish I used to make was her recipe for Daube Cevanole.  I hadn't made it for years until recently and on Saturday when I came upon a shoulder of lamb in the supermarket I made it again.

On Saturday I boned and cubed the lamb and put it in a bowl with chopped garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary and basil, half a bottle of red wine and some salt and pepper and left it in the fridge overnight.  After lunch yesterday I browned some chopped streaky bacon and chopped onions, then browned the drained meat and quartered mushrooms.  I put it all in a casserole with some orange peel, chopped carrots and the liquid from the meat.  Put the lamb bones on top covered it with foil and a lid then put it in a low oven for four hours and it was delicious served with new potatoes, sweetcorn and homegrown silver beet (chard).

No photos as it looks just like any casserole (anyway, I was too busy eating it)  There is plenty in the fridge and some will be frozen for instant meals.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas at the Town Basin

At 5 p.m. yesterday we went to the Town Basin.  There was the fortnightly Food Market on the Canopy Bridge and a Christmas Concert.  The entertainment was excellent among other things there was a team of very young girls doing acrobatics, a fashion show from a nearby store,  The Whangarei Brass Band and  a group performing Zumba.

We sat on a grassy mound (not big enough to be a hill) and Doug ate Mussel Fritters and chips while I had Paella and to follow Doug had a delicious looking doughnut and I had a locally made Raspberry Raw Cake.  In fact it was so delicious I had eaten it on the way back to where we were seated and ended up getting a second.  see here  - It was only a small slice (or 2 ) that I ate.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Another visit to the Sculptureum

This morning we headed south on State Highway 1 as far as Waipu and then turned off and went down the coast road to Mangawhai and over the hill to Matakana thus by-passing most of the State Highway with its road works and trucks.

It was a wonderful day (well it is the first day of summer tomorrow so, hopefully, that is a sign of things to come) and a lovely drive through lush valleys.

It was good to see the gardens in spring as it was autumn when we visited last time.

The meal was as delicious as last time and I had intended to take a photo but only remembered too late.

After lunch we went into the indoor gallery where there were some new installations.

                                              Head of a young woman by Paul Cezanne

                     This was made from a block of wood made from several olive trees.

                                                         These were made from plastic ties.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Short Break 6

In the morning after a delicious buffet breakfast we loaded our luggage before heading to the Waitomo Caves.  They are truly magnificient (no photos were allowed)  We walked through several caves before boarding a boat which our guide steered by pulling us along a rope above us.  It was then back on the coach for our drive to the Tree Church and gardens at Ohaupo.  We spent about 90 minutes there and then headed for Hamilton Lake for lunch and back through the Auckland traffic to home.

The trip was three nights (4 days) and, as usual, a lot was packed into this time.

A Short Break 5

The next morning it was out to the coach straight after breakfast for our journey to Waitomo.  We headed to Kawhia but first stopped at the Bridal Veil Falls which were magnificient (and we have some good falls here in Whangarei).  We then drove through some lovely farmland to Kawhia where we spent time in their interesting museum before having a local come aboard the coach to tell us all about the area as we drove around the settlement.  We bought our lunch at a small cafe which produced some delicious meals for a coach load of visitors as well as serving the locals.

From here we drove to the Mangapohue Natural Bridge.  There was a pleasant walk through bush to this natural marvel.

Then it was time to travel to our destination, the Waitomo Caves Hotel built in 1908.  They provided a magnificant buffet meal.