Saturday, 23 June 2018



On the Island the temperatures are up to 3*C warmer than just across the water on the Mainland, today in the morning it was 8*C outside, now it's 12*C , not cold by other people's standards, but even then I feel the cold and it seems to creep into my bones and they take ages to thaw out again.

The thermostat controlled oil filled fin-heater I had been using was just not quite keeping me warm enough and the choice came three years ago of having to decide between replacing the broken wood-fired fire or getting a heat-pump. After pluses and minuses I decided on a heat pump.

The trick of heat-pumps is to keep them running 24 hours a day and rely on the thermostat to do its thing. ( A thought that makes most people shudder). I turn it on as soon as it gets cold, around the end of April, beginning of May and at first the pump is working hard. Then the walls, furnishings, books, clothes in the wardrobes etc. warm up and the heat-pump  just tops up the air temperature. I keep the temperature at 18*C when I go to bed and bring it back up to 21*C when I get up in the morning.This is now its third winter and the house, which is not insulated, has stayed cosy.

But there were other things to learn about owning a heat-pump. The 2nd year the electricity account increased to the same cost as running the oil-filled  fin-heater. Oh! I found out I need to regularly wash its air-filter screen. My neighbour Phil showed me how to do it this past summer and I was surprised how clogged up it was and easy it was to clean -  and now, in comparison to last year, I am only paying on average $50 a month more than my summer electricity account. To compensate for the electricity used to run the household water pressure controlled pump, summer and winter I do only turn on my hot water every 2nd daythough and then only to heat the water back up to temperature again, and I only use the oven occasionally, using the covered frypan as the alternative.

Enjoying the sunshine on top of washing machine

Saturday, 16 June 2018


BEING AN ALL FEMALE HOUSEHOLD, except for Charles the cat, the energy around the home can get a bit wishy-washy. But a day of some testosterone input and the energy is revitalised
So many things that really needed attending to by someone other than me was starting to turn into a list.

Then one of my neighbours who does home-handyman stuff for the Island came in for the day.
* First, fix the leak in the roof,
* then: check rest of roof for any nails that had lifted etc and bang them back in,
* put back in place the rubber around an aluminium window,
* cut down three gum trees,
* cut down to hedge height an Oldhamii that after sulking for 10 years had suddenly gone crazy,
* then came the thoughtful-pruning of three shrubs and a climbing rose back to a couple of metres,
* clear up and neatly stack all the stuff he had cut down,
* to finish up by replacing the headlight bulbs to the Island car.
* Total ? 5 hours. It would have taken me weeks.

The energy in the air is left zinging!

Which seems to bring  both plus and minus.
Plus. My daughter's twins were born ( see pics on previous post ). And all doing great.
Minus. I tripped and face-planted myself rather badly. But fortunately I am a fast healer. (no pics!)

Plus. The last 3 days the sun has been out and a couple of my "to-do-really-soon" things, I have now got done.

Plus. It seems to easier to get things onto the Island, but can be a bit more of a mission getting stuff off again - one of these being the banana cartons the groceries are delivered in. They need breaking down  with a box-cutter/craft knife and packing up first before being loaded onto the boat. Being hard on the back I do put off doing it and the boxes pile up, and pile up, waiting.  Today they were done. Two days before this, it was the turn of the two hedges out the front of the house to be cut, ...the hedges at the back of the house next?
25 cartons packed in tightly

The native Kanuka makes a nice hedge

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


WE HAVE BEEN WAITING and waiting and finally they are here.

My daughter Kay and her partner Ian are proud parents again - this time to twin daughters, Emily and Isla, born yesterday morning the 11th June.

Today - Both babies are feeding well and each has her own individual appearance. Emily today had a full tummy and her eyes were heavy but my bright coloured scarf kept catching her eye. Isla  already has clear eyes just wanting to have a good look at me - ( think it was actually the light catching on my glasses, grin)

Kay  waiting ready to hatch

Ian waiting

And another with Isla

Kay + Isla - two half hours old

Ian with Emily at 2 half hours old

Emily two and half hours old
Emily a day old

A day old  - Isla on left Emily on right

Isla a day old

Friday, 1 June 2018


THE TRANSITION TIME between Autumn and Winter seems to always be a most disorganised time. The winter projects like knitting for the twins (due any moment now) or the sorting and writing up to be done from all the notes I took over summer - while yet there are Autumn projects that need doing, like yesterday: of that damned garden path I started back in Spring, some trees which need a heavy pruning, bulbs and vegetables waiting to be planted, and then some projects I know will probably now have to hold over to Spring because the "must-do-things" had to take precedence.

Now waiting for the colour to come from the winter bulbs

Kitten has made it to Dunedin
One "must-do",  being the kittens had to go to their new homes. That was an interesting exercise in coming across an unexpected variety in human character. (A very different overall exercise from when I bred designer kittens back when I was in my early twenties).These kittens have travelled far and wide, including the last boy who did the really big adventure, including travelling by Pet Bus, even on the Inter Island Ferry, down to Dunedin, which is at the bottom of New Zealand's South Island.

Now freed of the kittens I have my study back to myself, the dog Brie, Mother cat Tara and the two over-active teenagers Charles and Meg.

Tara found the perfect sunny spot
While Charles and Meg have the chair

And Brie takes the mat

And also I have enough spare time now to take a bit longer time over the  walk, I try to do daily, around the Island tracks and visiting the gardens, now mainly free of tourists, at Mansion House. There are spots of colour to brighten the day.

Out walking
Storage shed in Mansion House Park

Close-up of Clivia from South Africa
Purple Japanese Privet berries

The cafe is closed for the winter
Last of the autumn leaves

Though here is an example of a garden that was so thoughtfully planted and well maintained over summer it is continuing to give a glorious display of colour into the winter. An example also of how to have both a garden and wallabies without ring fencing their property.