T’is the season.

My house is taking longer than I hoped and it was making me quite antsy and annoyed. I found myself wishing my life away until the big move. Then I realised how fruitless this was and how much I was missing by doing this. After all it is just a house.

So today I went on a big walk with my friend Deb. We went to the best greens market in the world at Mairangi Bay where I harassed the owner to move to Hobsonville Point but to no avail.

Then we set about putting up the Christmas tree. It is much more fun doing this with someone else. We know it is quite early but as we are both away at various times we decided to do it now and enjoy it for longer. I cannot even remember where I put my Christmas things and it really doesn’t matter. I had my tree and Deb has a wonderful collection of decorations. We put the Christmas music on and away we went.

This is a wall paper Christmas tree and I have a minimalist friend who would love this approach to Christmas. Just hang up the roll each year. Her party-loving daughter will have none of it.
We began with the “body bag”, ruminating on how ridiculously heavy a dead body would be. Fortunately mine was just full of tree.
You would think an artificial tree would be mess-free. Sadly mine is covered in loose “snow” so we started outside. Then we had to move the whole assemblage inside.
Tip for the beginner-start at the bottom with the lights.

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We were very clear that more is more so we put every last bauble on board.

All that was missing was the Christmassy smell. A few weeks ago I fell in love with the Wave, a Timothy Oulton couch made with feathers. It is nothing to look at but the most heavenly thing to sit in. Unfortunately it is expensive. What may you ask, has this to do with Christmassy smells… In the suppliers’ shop (Dawsons North Shore) they have a whole dedicated area to Timothy Oulton’s furniture and it smells divine. Apparently he searched high and low for the right smell to go with his designs. I asked what it was and the helpful sales woman, Vicki, showed me the packet that carries this gorgeous spicey, minty, earthy aroma, Sadly it is supplied from England for his furniture alone. But I wasn’t giving up. I tracked the pot pourri to Maria on the Casa Fondata in Florence which has been making this special brew since nell’anno 1612. Well Maria hasn’t but the monks have. She was very responsive and after a couple of emails I managed to find the supplier here in NZ. I have even put it in the car!


The coveted couch.


We also cooked together tonight making stuffed pork fillets and then we companionably did the dishes. How much nicer it is to share these simple pleasures.

I have become not a little obsessed with the Scandinavian thriller series called The Bridge. Saga is delightfully Asperger and Martin is her charmingly flawed  partner in the police force. I usually watch the whole thing with my teeth clenched as it is chilling (both literally and figuratively). The theme song is  beautiful and unfortunately there are no happy ever afters. I am on the second series which isn’t quite as good as the first but compelling anyway. It has the feeling of the first The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo.

I hadn’t consciously thought how much the natural environment affects my choices of colour. I took the photos below of a church on Ponsonby Road and then noticed how similar the one is I took on the same day of Rangitoto Island .

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I am so aware that these things are so trivial in the grand scheme. Today a horrible helicopter crash here  in NZ, the bombings in Mali, another victim dead from the Paris bombings, marching for homeless children but I can only get  by by making the most of my days and enjoying each moment.

I’m pretty hopeless at this but I am making the effort.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I hope your Christmas preparations are done with a friend, are not stressful and are kept simple and include chocolate. I wish I could send you a whiff of my special potpourri. FG

Red, white and blue

I started yesterday with a haiku in red white and blue.

Tomato stains on

my white shirt and I am blue

in a Paris dawn.

Because in the end the sweat of armpits is closer than the distant sound of gunfire. Or Janet Frame said something like that. I had a delicious 7 weeks in France two years ago and never for one moment felt the threat of terrorism. But I can’t help thinking that Syrians and Iraqis have been facing this terror everyday and that we are all responsible.

I had such a wonderful Christmas in France two years ago.
The little town near St Emilion had nativity scenes in every window. They were from all around the world.
This was just written on the pavement. Look at the sky. What a great piece of advice.
How important- a nice cup of tea in a grandmother’s teapot.
I must remember to be silly.

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How do we manage to make such a mess of things? Not long ago we were killing Germans and they were killing us and for what? Then we are killing the Koreans, Vietnamese, Japanese, Iraqis, Isis and they are killing us. A little boy in red shoes is washed up like a piece of flotsam on a beach.

The only way I can avoid despair is to be grateful to those close to me. To be glad that Deb will pin my trousers up, that Patsy has invited me for dinner, that Granny Di and I had lunch and a scoot around Hobsonville together. I’m happy that Sam drove to a festival in Tirau and came home safely, that we have put up some pretty Christmas lights. I’m grateful for peonies and chiropractors and old dogs. Oh and I quite like angels.

There is life in the old dog yet. How fabulous that she still has the energy to wag her tail in greeting every day.
You can’t go wrong with an angel or two.
Twinkly lights-they are important


I don’t believe in god but I believe in the human spirit. Thanks, Leunig



prayer deco change2

God help us to change.
To change ourselves and to change our world.
To know the need for it. To deal with the pain of it.
To feel the joy of it.
To undertake the journey without understanding the destination.
The art of gentle revolution.


I hope you do something lovely for someone or have something lovely done for you today. After all, we may only have today. FG

Done is better than perfect

Sorry about the delay in writing. I have been away and betwixt and between and then without internet but all is restored. I finished listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic today and the phrase above is hers or actually her mother’s. I find it a very pragmatic and inspiring book and recommend it. I think basically, she is saying just get on with it.

I have been a bit end of tetherish and the idea of just getting on with a best effort has motivated me to blog.

I feel as though I’m losing sight of the good life and eating out too much, not doing yoga, not meditating and slipping into negative thinking. So some resolve, to move, to sit, to observe and to meditate and by writing it down here may be it will happen. However, I have just eaten 4 big squares of chocolate….

I have been to lots of movies though and they are all worth a watch.

The book is a good read too.

Get out your hankies.

Burnt was another blimmin’ bloke yelling in the kitchen but I really enjoyed it.

I saw a beautifully drawn film called Holding The Man about the lives of two young gay lovers living (and dying) through the aids epidemic. It was based on a true story and is also a book written by one of the protagonists, Timothy Conigrave.

As the big 60 approaches I’m contemplating going grey and this has been met with some negativity along the lines of, nobody looks better with grey hair. Well, I may not look better but I think I will give it a try. I think Kim Hill looks pretty good as well as Judy Dench. And if I don’t like it there is always going back to the bottle.

Maybe I will look more intelligent.

I have been out and about and enjoyed a lovely stroll along the Te Atatu Peninsula the other day.

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I have also zipped down to Christchurch to attend the Culverden Fete. Sadly it was a wet and miserable day so we didn’t stay long and a cup of tea at the Nor’ Wester Cafe was much more satisfying. The girls’ day out and road trip was fun though.

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The Nor’wester provided a nice cup of tea.

I also had some time with my BFF at Lyttleton to celebrate her significant birthday (thank goodness she will always be older than I am). We went to the Civil and Naval for dinner and a few wines, possibly a few too many for me as I woke up during the night and didn’t sleep well. The wonderful thing about not sleeping well in Lyttleton is the clanking and shunting sounds from the port and the lights and all the comings and goings. And then when you do wake in the morning, it is to a stunning early morning view of little boats pottering in and out around the big ships. It feels very friendly and might be my next move, you never know.

These photo boards mark sections where some of Lyttleton’s lovely old buildings were destroyed. I spent many a night in the Harbourlight.
My view in the night, I’m not in a cell, these are just the railings outside.

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Going by public transport through from Lyttleton to the new bus terminus was an interesting experience. Yes it was sad to see the piles of rubble still after five years post earthquake but there are some lovely sculptures surprising and delighting on the way through.

A Llew Summers sculpture giving you a foot in the face view from the bus.
Nothing changes, truculent school boys and fed up drivers still arguing about trying to scam a ride.

In the Restart, sculptures by Hannah Kidd portrayed real people with stories about their experiences during the earthquake.

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Some of the new buildings show promise. I liked this entirely copper frontage.


Other spaces are still waiting…

I am hoping this Pyne Gould Guinness site will be turned into a beautiful memorial.

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Egg shell blue is still my fav so I was thrilled to receive this little jug from my sister who had seen it in Australia and bought it for me. I transported it back very carefully in the plane and it is safe and sound in Auckland.


I am returning to Christchurch tomorrow to help my sister at her Bee Stitching stall at the renowned Manderley Fair at Little River. Unlike last week, the weather looks good and it is over both Saturday and Sunday. We are in the shearing shed so come and say hi if you come out. Diane has made some beautiful things ranging from $10 for stars and hearts to around 80 dollars for the exquisite embroidery and Topsy Turvey dollies.

The angels are fifty dollars and well worth it being hand crafted, using NZ wool and beautiful cottons and laces. Their wings are quilted and everything is done with such attention to detail. I think these are heirlooms that will be handed down the generations at Christmas. Not that I’m biased!

I can honestly say, nothing compared with these at the Culverden fete.

Finally a book to savour-our latest book club book is called Life Drawing by Robin Black. I finished it in a few days as it was so compelling.

The Guardian says, “Life Drawing is at once quiet and memorable. This makes it far from fashionable, and all the more to be applauded. Its author pursues real and vital questions. Astringent and wise, Black is not afraid to discomfit her readers. This novel, like life, is uneasy: what a relief.” Highly recommend it.

And so far not a mention of the rugby! Suffice to say I really enjoyed it. Have a good week, FG