Friday, 26 May 2017


WISH YOU WERE HERE we say. Last weekend two of the "bookabach" bookings in our bay cancelled because of the Mainland weather reports, not realising that we have a micro-climate out here on the Island. Yes, maybe we had a few mornings down to 3*C on the waterfront, but the days warmed up quickly to a comfortable 17*C - 18*C once the sun was up.

So this week I thought I would share a couple of photographs of what is looking particularly pretty in the gardens and a brief video clip of what sort of days we were having here, in the beginning of winter (though the Mainland at the time was having wind and rain) when I walked down to enjoy Mansion House Bay and the gardens.

The Hibiscus are still flowering
Clivia Gardenii

Clivia Gardenii have been planted en mass under
native Titoki tree in the front garden.
( Note: the Clivia Society of South Africa have
been advised these plants, originally brought in by
Sir George Grey, from South Africa are here and
they come to the Island to especially see them.

This octopus looking tangle are of the
flower skeleton left after the seeds have
fallen off the native Nikau palm 

Saturday, 20 May 2017


CONSIDERING WE ARE ABOUT FIVE MILES OF SOLID TREES, despite what some people fear, surprisingly few fall down or cause problems when they do. But yesterday was an exception and a large tree fell across the access road to our wharf. By the time I heard about it and then went down in the late afternoon to get a photograph, already two of our neighbours were well underway to making a walking access at the very least and had already cut away most of the outer limbs.

I wish I could convey better, the fading light, the bitter wind, the smoke and sounds of chainsaw and falling limbs, the smell of freshly cut pine and chainsaw fuel, the grunts of exertion - just add them into the photographs.

Sunday, 14 May 2017


LET THERE BE LIGHT. When I first moved into my cottage there was no garden left other than 2 diseased apple trees which I had to remove, an apricot tree, a grapefruit tree and 2 bamboos - so I started planting, and with much hand-wringing over having only the poorest of clay that went like yellow custard in the winter and yellow brick in the summer a garden was tempted into growing.

It seems like I am going to have the spend the rest of my gardening time from now on, cutting it back to let in the light and air movement so the garden will continue to thrive.  Don't worry, I haven't killed the bottlebrush - By summer it will be back at hedge height where I want it to be - I have found from past experience if I don't keep it trimmed, it will be over my head again in a couple of years Only another 4 trees to go.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017



Gwyneth Strayer

Gwyneth Strayer 

21st December 1916 – 2nd May 2017. 
Born in Wales, but grew up in Glenfield, on the North Shore Auckland when it was all farmland and metal roads - and no harbour bridge.

Her memorial service will be at 11 a.m. in the Whangateau Hall on Saturday 6th May.

Gwyneth was the Plunket Nurse for Takapuna, North Shore of Auckland, for many years and retired in her 60’s. She was known as being an exceptional Plunket Nurse especially for babies with health problems and with her expertise would diagnose what was ailing them, where often the doctors were at a loss. She loved her babies. Allergies, coeliacs, colic, hip dysplasia, eczemas – she would design a routine, diet, exercise, or whatever, for them all, and so many mothers, as I do, still bless her for her advice and cures and of her going out of her way to help them.

I was fortunate enough that Gwyneth also became a family friend and she gave me free access to her extensive library, on what would be now be called alternative subjects - from natural therapies, to organic gardening and farming, naturopathy to environmental subjects, to healthy house building. It goes on – you name it she had studied it. She never stopped learning and was a fascinating conversationalist, never matter what your age, colour, nationality or religion. We could, and did, talk for hours.

Here is Gwyneth, now days away from 90, and though not well on the day, came to a family party and is seen here, totally holding the interest of one of her more difficult babies, my daughter, who thanks to Gwyneth overcame all her health problems, and like her sister, didn’t have an anti-biotic until well into her 20’s.

And though I did not see much of Gwyneth after she shifted north to be with her niece, I am going to miss having her in my world.