A summer Christmas, cookies and a French family

Morning all on this hot summer’s day in Auckland. I continued with another Christmas project on Christmas eve making cookies for friends and then put them in nice jars. As usual my side kick did a lot of the work and I took the photos…

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After the big day I have been kicking back and doing fun stuff. Yesterday I found the idyllic beginner’ golf course at Maxwell’s. They do a fine snapper and salad lunch too.


It was boiling hot but they had lots of shade trees and it was more like walking in a large garden. My son came along and hasn’t played golf since he was about 12 and annoyingly played very well 🙂

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Kaye Maxwell is the owner and coach so if any of you out there want to do a group lesson with me let me know. After the lesson you get a free round of golf i think.

I’ve tried to do a bit of walking to wear off the chocolate and pudding and went with  friend to a lovely waterfall in the middle of the city. It’s called Oakley Creek but I was sad to read it is too polluted to swim in. it is a lovely shady walk though.



If you are looking for a perfect post- Christmas movie look no further than The Belier Family.

It is a tried and true formula but beautifully done and just a charming way to spend a few hours.  If you want to escape the sun then this is a goodie.

If reading is your thing I was given the book below and am about halfway though. It is the sort of book you can just dip in and out of but I methodically started at the beginning with the forward by John Campbell.



They are short non-fiction essays and not the sort of thing I would normally go for as I am a fictional kind of gal but i have been really enjoying them. The most recent one I read was a simple story of a woman who had put a family ring into the jewellers just before the earthquake in Christchurch and thought it was gone forever and of how she eventually retrieved it.

I think I have covered everything one should be doing right now 🙂 -baking, eating, reading, walking and movie-going. Take care out there, I am compelled to read the news and then bitterly regret it as I ruminate over the drownings, accidents and the way Christmas will be ruined forever for some.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my Christmas in France 2 years ago when all was cold and dark but still lots of fun. Everyone in a little village near St Emillion has a nativity scene lit up in their windows. They are all different and it was lovely to wander along the cobbled streets and look at them.

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Oh and my usual note to self …..


Looking forward to the changes 2016 will bring for us all. FG

Christmas Projects

This week I knitted a tie but forgot to take a picture and now it’s all wrapped up for Christmas. I also resolved to walk each day and have already broken that one. However, I am taking time to enjoy the lovely NZ Christmas tree- the pohutakawa which blooms bright red at this time of year.   These ones are at Hobsonville Point are on the  4 kilometre walkway that  is being further completed and extended all the time.

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The walkway is wide and smooth so is suitable for bikes, walking, scooters and so on.

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After reading about Annie Sloane paints and getting all of the books out of the library, I finally got around to giving it a go. This is my first attempt with a little help from my friend. I used a bedside cabinet I picked up somewhere when I was flatting over 40 years ago. I seem to accumulate a load of tat and second hand stuff. I’ve missed Kirstie’s Handmade this year for inspiration.  The paint is as Annie Sloane claims- just slap it on, no sanding, preparatory work and so on. I’ve only waxed the top as it is expensive and I intend to redo my dining room table with it when I move to HP. This kind of painting is instant gratification as it dries really quickly and it doesn’t seem to matter what you do with the brush. Now of course, I want to go mad and paint everything I own. Duck egg blue naturally.

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I’ve pretty much finished my meagre Christmas shopping but am thinking about scrumptious vegetarian dishes for my son and other vegos for Christmas Day. Any suggestions for recipes are really welcome please. FG

Love envy

I was privileged to attend a poetry evening the other night with some real heavyweights-Fleur Adcock, Peter Bland and Kevin Ireland with newcomer (to NZ anyway), Amanda Eason. The first three are old friends and  moving in to their eighties.


Fleur Adcock
Peter Bland
Kevin Ireland

And wow, good poetry is very sexy! Peter Bland’s wife is now dead and he writes so beautifully about her and the emptiness without her.

Expecting miracles
in memory of my wife
Living without you…
Is a daily exile,
Although I could cop out
And swear you’re always here-
which of course is true. But
today I’m not discussing a haunting.
What I’m missing is the living you
I took so mercilessly for granted,
The one who would wake
To put on beauty
Much as the day puts on dawn.
Living without you I keep
The distance between us as free of daily clutter
As I can. In that
Great emptiness
I’m expecting miracles
To take place
Of where you came and went.

Peter Bland

This is just the tip of a wonderful iceberg. Buy the book, it is all very readable and poets get such poor press sales.

Kevin Ireland’s wife is very much alive. I think she was the envy of many women in the room. I know I would loved to have been loved into old age like this.

The title of his poem is Epithalamium and I had to look it up

  1. a song or poem celebrating a marriage.
     for Janet
    Let’s celebrate a mystery solved:you have
    made me aware that I’m here for love, fun
    romance,warmth,dazzling chat and, of course,
    for the glorious food and wine. The list goes
    on and on. It’s the whole deal-including
    the gorgeous intimacy that grips me all over-
    it’s even inside me. I breathe wife in and out,
    and there’s the friendship and the thrill.
    I now know I was born for the buzz of it,
    for that’s what fond words do. Only you can
    make it real. Each time I reach into a pocket
    I find you’ve slipped me the time of my life.
    Kevin Ireland

Buy the book! It was a stunning evening, all free (koha) but I just had to buy four books of poetry. It was in Bookmark, a bookstore in Devonport.

Jam packed but enthralled


Amanda Eason hasn’t published a new book yet but keep an eye out as I am sure she will be doing so in the near future.

On a less uplifting, but quite practical note, my little house has a kitchen!

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It is frustrating not being able to choose colours and wiring placement etc. but I guess that’s why the cost is kept down.

However, I’m not 80 yet and grateful for that, so no use being envious so I’m trying to take the advice below:


And because its the silly season, Maggie is dressed appropriately…


Have a good weekend, FG



A boy in blue, a woman with a red face and at least one shade of gray.

My friend and I were out on a jaunt the other day when her car came to a grinding halt on the upper harbour highway bridge. There were no mechanical problems it was more human error. Yes, we had run out of petrol.  It wasn’t long before a boy who had probably just left school came along with his flashing lights and rubber bull bars. Soon we were being shunted up the hill to get us off the highway and into a byway. A couple of calls and we had good Samaritans coming with a can of petrol. Who would have thought… a funnel is required.

The crisis was soon over and fortunately my companion had a clean driving record, so little boy blue allowed us to take a photo. There were a number of inappropriate comments subsequently, about him being her Christmas present.



I have just been on another little trip; flying to Christchurch and then driving with my sister to Dunedin. I just had time to stay over with a friend whose talent is sewing. she has just made this gorgeous little number for her grand daughter.


My sister is also great at sewing and she reminded me that it took her a whole year to save up for her machine which she still uses. I was a complete klutz but I am tempted to buy one now that they are so cheap. However, I suspect it might end up where all those Exercycles end up-cash converters.  I like to think that with some help I could make cushions, lavender bags and aprons so watch this space.

Also at my friend’s I took this photo to remind myself how lovely a thing a couple of peonies, some lemons and a glass of wine can be.


not to mention a brandy snap and a nice cup of tea in a beautiful cup!



I was born in Dunedin and I went to visit a close friend whose birthday is coming up. It was great, we meandered in the hot sun through Ashburton and Timaru and stopped at Oamaru for a spot of lunch and a bit of an explore.

I fell in love with this beautiful goat in an Oamaru antique store. Apparently she would have once had leather ears.
There were lots of little hide away shops to faff about in.


Oamaru by the sea on a beautiful day.


The old quarter is really worth spending some time in.
The steam punk cafe-The Galley

My friend has known me for 45 years and has always been a huge part of Sam’s life so it was fun discovering paintings he had done as a little boy.

Self portrait-possibly worth millions in the years to come.

it is strange visiting one’s home town-there are many memories and landmarks, places where significant things happened. I was trying to picture myself living there again. We visited the local early settlers’ museum, Toi Tuhttp://www.toituosm.com/ and you know you are getting old when some of the things in there were in your own home. As I was walking around I heard a video playing of Alison Holst with her distinctive voice.

I didn’t ride in a horse-drawn carriage or a tram but I’m pretty sure I rode in this trolley bus.
It was a pity that we were short of time as I could have spent a few more hours here.
I lived in Roslyn all my young life.


Back in Auckland, the development partners for The Landing at Hobsonville Point have been announced. It is no surprise that it is  Willis and Bond as they did the Wellington waterfront and the Wynyard Quarter here in Auckland. It won’t get started until mid 2016 and take at least five years but it is going to look fabulous. Below are just the first very broad brush stroke plans.

The farmers’ market will move back towards the steps and have some more outside stalls under market umbrellas.
The current farmers market will have a mezzanine level over some of it but retain the structure and feel of the previous airforce use.
The cafe in the fabric bay will possibly be the first thing to go in and have outside seating looking towards the harbour and ferry.



The stretches of macadam will go and be replaced by small plazas with a village feel to them.There will also be high end apartments here.

My Project Grey is well underway and by the time I have another close shave just before Christmas I will be completely grey. I’ll see if people start giving me a seat on the bus or offering me incontinence pants at the supermarket before I revert to colouring it again.

Tonight I am going to the movie Youth which has had a Have a good weekend FG