Central Plateau, North Island

Central Plateau, North Island
View from a friend's farm

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Birthday Goodies and phone calls


I will start with a huge “ Thank you so much” for all the  Facebook messages, emails, phone calls, and more . You have given me so many good wishes,love, sunshine, flowers and everything else that made my day such a happy one.

Flowers from Tonia,Matt, Felicity and Charlie

Flowers arrived last week,a combined gift for Joyce ( her day was the 20th) and myself. A big thank you to Tonia,Matthew, Felicity and Charlie. We remembered your  dear Jeanette on her day, 21st.

Then I had been so good not to open the parcel from “ Quilting and Beyond” that had been ordered  some time  earlier. A rotating cutting mat, suction grip for the ruler, and some  fusing tape for batting.  This was from Hugh and Joyce , and more goodies from Joyce, a code cracker book, fancy braids, quilters pencils, 2 eraser blocks, stickers for cards. and a purple torch.


Rotating cutting mat #2Rotating cutting mat

More Goodies

Hugh took me shopping, and I have so many fantastic Sistema plastic storage bins, oblong, with a  top shelf divided into the perfect sizes for threads.

When we arrived home, the florist had been again, with flowers from Jeanette in Auckland.

flowers from Jeanette, 25 July 2016

We have been friends since 1954, YES, add that up and it becomes 62 years. It began at Papakura High School,continued as first Jeanette then I were married, children arrived, life was  busy, and yesterday we agreed that coming from a farming life, we managed to economise,make do, recycle, and more. We have shared happiness, sadness, and  much more. Her dearest Trevor passed away almost a year ago, and on August 2nd, memories of him will be in our hearts and minds

.And we always remember our dearest Jocelyn,  who left us way too many years ago.

Attached to the beautiful flowers  was a spray of orchids.

Orchid spray, 25 July 2016

More goodies to come, a Spotlight voucher, this will be a day out to look, dream, and get something special. Thanks Annette,Mike,.Josh and Dani.

Then a parcel arrived,a  big cardboard carton,and a cluster underlay for our bed. Thanks Kaz and Ralph, it is laid out all ready to go on. And I am sure, very sure, it will add so much comfort.

Then late yesterday afternoon a phone call on my mobile phone. I assumed it was someone in New Zealand!! I was wrong!! Hi, this is John calling from Ontario… now I have a lot of friends there so my mind quickly went to all  your names to remember a John.. the line was not very clear. so I asked ‘ Do I know you”? Could not hear his answer very clearly, then he said those worrying words “ Can you turn on your computer?  You have  a problem there”…I said “ You have the wrong number”, and closed the call. I checked the time, it was 10.50  p.m. !!!After looking up the number on Google, it seems this is a scam call. There are a lot of warnings with the same  number.. But, the funny thing about this, how did he get my mobile number? Guess these days anyone can do almost anything.

So all in all,a fabulous day, on the 25th here in NZ,and again when the 25th arrived in the North. 

Quotation of the day from Henry David Thoreau

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious

as to have friends at a distance;

They make the latitudes and longitudes”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

News from Abroad


Here in New Zealand, the television news is about local events, happenings, crimes, disasters, and weather, and naturally sport has to be on the list. World events are included, but lately I have only read of them on Facebook ( and then went to Google to find more) or on a friend’s blog.

The evacuation of 2 people from the South Pole, one scanty mention here, but this was worthy of so much more, this is  the third time only that it had been successfully undertaken in mid-winter at the Pole.

Then a few days ago, KB   of Romping and Rolling  in the Rockies wrote of the fire so close to their home. Updates on Facebook were so welcome, and to know they had evacuated safely was good news.

Thanks, KB, for the news of your bag and doggy medicines that  went to safety too. This gave me tears.

Cold Springs Fire, on the net gives so much information.

2000 people have been evacuated, hundreds of fire fighters, many fixed wing  aircraft and choppers in the air with fire retardant and water buckets, and  so many roads closed. Three people were camping on private property, and said “ they had nowhere else to go” when arrested, after tips from the public.The two men ,from another state,  are facing arson charges, and bonds were set at $200,000 ,  and    $ 150,000.  One young lady with them did not face charges. Boulder Country prosecutors had asked for $750,000 as they were considered a flight risk. They have admitted to not making sure their camp fire was adequately put out before they left their camp site. The cost so far has been tallied at $ 1.7 million dollars.

The Colorado National Guard is flying Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters out of the Boulder airport to collect water out of Barker Reservoir to drop onto hot spots and around the edges of fire lines.

Slurry Bomber making a drop near a ridge near Highway 119 in Nederland, Co.Slurry bomber at Cold Springs Fire

When one of your friends  tells  of their news, sadness, happiness, or events like this, it brings us all closer together.I think of those  5 families who have lost their homes,  including a firefighter and  his wife, one of their dogs still missing,  the wild life , trees, and more all gone because of one moment of utter carelessness.Sadness is in so many places in our world.

Hugh and I have camped many times at Piropiro Flats. There are large areas of dry grass, bush surrounds the camp sites, and it is isolated. One year, a young couple from Europe were camping there, and a TOTAL fire ban was in place. Notices on all shelters and the large notice board. They had lit a fire on the ground, to cook their meal. I went over and explained about the ban, and that they should put their fire out, with lots of water… This would mean a walk down  15 steep steps to the stream… They said “ What will we cook our food on?” “ We only have this tiny gas stove with canisters and they are so expensive and don’t last long”

My reply, “ If your fire gets out of control, and sparks go into the bush, and starts a bush fire that spreads,  you will be liable for hundreds of thousand of dollars in fines, and even if you have returned home, you will be found and be liable”. They listened, were not happy at all, but did get water, and  thoroughly wet the embers. Hugh kept well away, maybe he thought one member of our family in the self-appointed  “ Fire Prevention Police Authority”!!! was  enough .

This is the Piropiro area, taken on one of our camping trips there.

One tree at Piropiro

Early morning sun at Piropiro

Early morning sun at Piropiro

Swing bridge near a place called “ Angel’s Rest at Piropiro Flats

Swing Bridge at Angel's Rest

Quotation of the day from Zoe Zantamata

“ Being there for a friend is one of

the greatest gifts you can give.

Another one is allowing them to

be there for you too”

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Colours in the sky


Early morning sky from our place, November 2014

Morning sky in November 2014

This morning dawned with a chilly start, and a night that saw me watching the Ladies Singles final at Wimbledon, a 1 a.m. start here in NZ.  A little sleep deprivation is OK in moderation .

Tomorrow, the Men's Final … there is Andy Murray, a man from Scotland but his country of sports is Great Britain, so I should show heaps of support there, as my Mum, Grandma and Grandfather were all born in Scotland. Then, on the other side is  Milos Raonic, born  in Titograd, SFR Yugoslavia (now Podgorica, Montenegro),

but his country for sports is Canada, his residence is Monte Carlo, Monaco.

And thinking of all my friends in Canada, maybe this is where my allegiance should be.

Today I had a short time  outside, in a sheltered place in the garden and soaked up some Vitamin D. Our Ginger Boy did the same late this afternoon. As the sun moved round further to the west, some of that warmth vanished, and then he moved to another spot.

Late afternoon sunshine on Ginger Boy

Snowdrops are flowering, and this shrub  in a large planter has these delicate creamy flowers. I would be so happy for an identification.



I pass on Josh’s thanks for all your comments yesterday, he had flown back from Rotorua this morning  and was busy getting the next semester’s  schedule, unpacking and  seeing  the Wellington harbour from the window . I suggested that he look ay my blog and see the photos there, and scroll down to the end. He did…. “ 16 comments, that’s great”  …he was so thrilled, many thanks from me too. A comment makes so much difference to a day, and I know how I value each and every one.

The next Semester  at University begins tomorrow, and a paper on Antarctica is on the list.

I wonder how many of the students knew about the Medevac and followed the story. The other day I listened to an interview on CTV with  the 5 men and one lady who were the crew and engineers on those flights. So humble, they all acknowledged the backup from so many people  in all parts of the world, that enabled this to  begin  and end safely.They did not dwell on their own skills, bravery,  or the fact that they dared to travel on this dangerous journey.Instead, they told of how they sang  “ The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, 2 verses over and over,  to entertain themselves on the 10 hour flight from Rothera to the South Pole. A meal of Buffalo Steak, some sleep, then a 10 hour return to Rothera.

Photo below, courtesy of CTV news.

South Pole

The Kenn Borek flight crew shared details of their risky South Pole rescue mission, July 5, 2015.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ A ship in port is safe,

but that is not what ships are built for”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Family News and Views


University exam results in New Zealand  are now given in Alphabet letters, with the appropriate plus or minus. I am pleased to announce       ( wow,how formal is that?) that we are so proud of Josh, a student at Victoria University, I guess when you sit your exams, the relief  when they are all over, then the wait till you know how well you did. So long since I sat an exam, but I still remember it all so well.

He is having a wonderful holiday and sent me some photos of the bike ride he and Mike did this week . This is the Umukarikari Track, on the eastern side of the Central Plateau.  They rode  to about 1600 m asl. ( 5249 feet), and it was cold  up there. Spectacular scenery, great views across tussock  land to the Central Plateau Mountains.


Umukarikari-Track #2

Umukarikari track #3


The view from the Eastern side of the Desert Road,looking at Mt Ruapehu on the  left hand side, Mt Ngauruhoe on the right. Mike on the right, Josh on the left.Josh and Mike  near the Umukarikari track

The Central Plateau mountains,looking from the East to the West


Umukarikari track area, rocky area.

Thanks,Josh and Mike for the super photos, A great day out together.

Quotation of the day,author unknown

“ When you have a wish to travel abroad

to another country,

look first at  what your own has to offer”.

Greetings from Jean