Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year friends!

New Year is only a few hours away. Robert has come to see the new year in with me - whether we will last until midnight is doubtful. Sweet Pete the Jazman and Pat nextdoor have invited us over for drinks at 10.30pm but Himself is not keen and feels sleep may overtake him. Ah well. We'll watch the Royal Variety Show and see what happens.

Anyway! Happy New Year everyone. May 2010 be especially wonderful for each of you. May we learn to live in peace in the world with compassion instead of hatred. May we discover how to feed the hungry and save the planet!

This is the year of:
THE WEDDING.. Annie Gee and Stevie Bee
A trip to Japan with Linda, Damian, Nic, Andy, Ann and Steve.
Finishing my quilts!

Robert aims to stay in His Comfortable Rut

My New Year resolutions? To learn how to keep a blog! I hope you'll bear with me!

To keep in touch with friends.
To do something creative every day. Roll on 2010! Love you all.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Audrey Tautou.

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Coco Avant Chanel.

I slept in this morning but walked into town to see the movie Coco Avant Chanel. Magnifique!
Audrey Tautou is my favourite actress. Amelie. Hunting And Gathering.
And oh the clothes! This is a movie I would like to own.

I am quite happy going to the movies alone. Am I turning into a hermit?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happiness is sitting in your very own sand fort

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Christmas in Whakatane. Linda's beautiful garden

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Little Miss Rosie Purrkins

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Pohutukawa, NZ Christmas tree.

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Creativity at the beach? Nic and I make faces in the sand!

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Happy Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a lovely time.
Rather than going via Rotorua, I decided to drive over the Kaimais and down the East Coast on Christmas day on my way to Whakatane, and a good decision it was. I listened to Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" on Radio NZ as I drove down the long coast road, with the ocean on one side and red flowering Pohutukawa ( NZ Christmas ) trees along the cliffs on the other. So beautiful with the sun shining. A perfect NZ Christmas.

Shared food made for a great feast, outside under the pergola in Linda's garden. A candle for Vince glowed amongst the food. The first Christmas without him. He would have approved of the food, especially the great range of desserts.
From memory - theMenu: cold cuts- roast pork, rolled chicken, ham, smoked chicken, shrimp/vege kebabs, zuccini quiche,
green and red salads, jellied beetroot, potatoes, fresh asparagus..
desserts- pavlova, trifle, jellies, fresh fruit salad, ricotta cheese cake, ice cream
Xmas cake, baklava, Chocolate Marshmallow Surprises, Xmas mince pies...

Entertainment - Secret Santa gifts, The Moroccan DVD Spot The Aunty , and the two gorgeous kittens Miss Rosie Purrrkins and Cruze!

A cup of tea and a lie down about made the day complete.

Boxing day - after lunch of leftovers, off to Ohope beach for swimming and lazing about on the sand.

The two Kiwi Londoner's Steve and Ann, did remember friends freezing in the UK but soaked up the NZ warmth of the sun with glee.

Christmas 2009

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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As I play around with my new blog I find myself wishing on the one hand that someone might read it and leave me a message and on the other hand hoping no one reads it. Like my attempt yesterday. I was sure I had accidently removed my entry so wrote again, only to find I had two messages and I have not yet worked out how to delete one of them either accidently or on purpose!

My aim was to have a blog that recorded my daily creative endeavours. I can see now it could easily turn into a journal of newsy bits and pieces for family and friends. I will try to get my self sorted by New Year! Maybe "doing" something creative every day is not that easy. The hens laying an egg every day seemed to me wonderful but if those hens were to record that daily it could become tedious!

So what arty thing did I do yesterday? I created seven small christmas cakes to give away. Using Mo's easy Christmas cake recipe, I baked them in some enamel mugs Bob and I found in a hardware store last year, and spent a peaceful afternoon icing them with almond icng and then royal icing. Ann was at the dining table typing away on the computer doing her London PR job. Steve was out and about mowing lawns et al.

Mo's Easy Christmas Cake

1 kg mixed dried fruit
1 1/2 cups water
250 g butter
1/2 teasp cinnamon
1/2 teasp mixed spice
1 tsp vinegar
1/3 cup sherry

Place fruit and water in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer until water reduces somewhat. Remove from heat and add butter - allow butter to melt.
Add: 1 tin Highlander Condensed Milk
1 teasp Baking Soda
Add: 2 cups flour
2 teasp Baking powder

bake in 9" tin @ 120oC for approx. 2 hours or in 4 small tins for approx 35 mins.

Today is working bee day - putting wedding invitations together!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

There are snow storms in the Uk and Steve and Ann are enjoying the weather in NZ. Today is a mellow day with the sky filled with fluffy cumulus clouds and higher still there are mares' tails. My favourite kind of cloud.
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Mares' Tails in the sky.

A mellow day today. Steve and Ann are aware of the snow storms in the UK and are enjoying the NZ weather.
One cannot but help notice the sky from this magic house. Today the sky has fluffy cumulus and high above there are beautiful mares' tails.

Another day closer to Christmas Day. I do wish we could have Christmas in the Winter. For eons our ancestors have celebrated this festival of light in mid winter, when the days begin to lengthen and the light returns. Here we follow the calendar not the season. Our days are long, filled with light and we cannot see our Christmas lights until after 9pm.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Five days to go!

I have changed phone companies. I had two days with no computer and one day with no phone connection. I am up and running again.

I am blissfully unorganised regards Christmas. I have a pile of cards written and waiting to be posted. I have baking to be done. Presents yet to be bought. Others to be wrapped.

Nora in Ireland, Monica in Luton and Roger and Liz in Cofton Hackett, Birmingham, UK - cards are coming. I'll send my best wishes and lots of love here now. May your Christmas be very special. We have seen snow in the UK on our news. You may be having a white Christmas. keep warm and snug. love Jb XXXXXX
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why am I blogging?

I am hoping my blog will encourage me to "do" art. My aim is to add something creative every day.
Basically, now I'm retired, I live like a chook. Chook philosophy is simple and effective.
Mo and I had two chooks, Janny and Carla.. They had their own little house and pen for the night, but roamed freely during the day. After Mo died those chooks decided they would rather live with me and it was a constant battle keeping them outside. In the end young friend Jodie and her husband Ian took them to their small farm where I'm sure they live still producing their beautiful eggs.

So how is it I live like a chook? It is what Janny and Carla taught me:

* rise when the sun comes up

* always be alert and mindful

* keep close to your friends

*live the moment -don't worry about what was or what might be

* do something creative every day and take joy in your achievements (Janny and Carla laid an egg each day and what a proud lot of cackling went on afterwards)

*enjoy every moment of every activity

*do something nice for yourself (Janny and Carla had a dust bath every fine day)

*Go to bed when the sun goes down

OK. So I might not be so good at going to bed when the sun goes down. And Janny and Carla weren't perfect. Carla was bossy and Janny submissive. Poo on the back porch was not nice! But as I live the final third of my life I have decided chook philosphy is what I will live by and this blog is part of my daily creativity... all going to plan!

Friday, December 11, 2009

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I set off around the lake every morning at 6.30am. Firstly I walk through the rose garden and because I am the only person there I claim it as mine. I have dedicated special roses to those I love. All the red ones are for Mo and Ross. Mo loved red roses and and Ross arrived home on his last Mother's day with a red rose for me. He confessed later that he and Kyle had taken a rose each for their mothers from this very rose garden after Saturday night out with their friends!

The pink rose "Queen Elizabeth" is dedicated to my Mother, Woman Extaordinary. Every morning I dedicate another rose to someone. If you are special to me you are sure to have a rose. My gardeners take great care of my rose garden.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

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Here I go!

How exciting to discover I have two visitors already! Thankyou, thankyou!
I think I will enjoy having a blog. The previous entry about Morocco was something Steve cleverly copied and pasted from somewhere else hoping I will remember how to do copying and pasting. I will be practising. It is more than one year since I was in Morocco - first with friend Joan and then with the Utterly Fabulous Peta Mathias in Marrakesh! What a wonderful time it was.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Food is Life

Since my trip to Morocco and more especially Peta's culinary adventure in Marrakesh, my relationship to food has changed. Food and I were enemies. My kitchen seems now an adventurous place - a place to grind spices and herbs and produce delicious food to share with friends - or just for me.
I heard an Indian woman being interviewed on the radio " I add the spices and when the food smells right I cook it". Tasting food yes - but smelling it?? That is new to me. I do it now. I use my senses when preparing food. The brightness of colour of fresh vegetables, the snappy crunch, the smell of the herbs and spices, and the taste. Learning to live in the NOW! How good life is.

Day One

I have a blog! My first ever blog.
I live on the rim of a little city valley.
The sky is blue.
The trees are fresh and green after rain.
The houses a hotch potch of colour and style
that tell me we are a country of individuals
that live lightly on the land.
Our human history is brief, the bones of my ancestors not a century old
in the ground, for this is Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Late afternoon at the lake .
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