Central Plateau, North Island

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

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Birthday Surprise with a Difference


Earlier this year I found that Jenn from

                    Country Cottage Reflections 

would have a “significant” birthday on 26th December. As so often happens, those days are mingled into Christmas Day, and the special day gets left out. I thought I might make Jenn “ a little something” and post it over.  Subterfuge again entered the equation.

But then came the difficulties. This was to be a surprise…. so  I needed to find Caitlin’s email address,  ( Jenn’s daughter) , that was the first hurdle, finally found her husband’s email but this was a government one!!! Sent it off and waited, and waited. Finally  Jean-Luc checked his private emails, and Caitlin replied, and things were starting to go to plan.

Boris and a scarf

Boris checked out the scarf, and it was cosy and warm, but not quite long enough!!!

Joyce did some beautiful embroidery on the pocket of a folder for pages and pencils and crayons for Jenn’s drawing when she is out and about.

Jenn's folio folder  and scarf

I found out  that Jenn had an iPad, and her bag has a padded pocket inside for this, another pocket, and ties at the top.

Jenn's bag inside


Jenn's birthday goodies

Then I found that the birthday  lunch and party was postponed until today NZ time, as freezing rain turned the roads into slick ice.  I woke at 3.30 a.m. checked the time in Ontario, and wondered if anyone was online? No, so after a while went back to bed.After all, plenty of sleep must be good for my heart!!! I missed Caitlin’s reply by one minute. Never mind, when I woke next time, there is another message, and we were good to go at 2.30 p.m. Canada time in Ottawa. Some setting up with Skype, then an iPad contact to be added, and it was all action.

Do you have any idea how magical it was to see Jenn, and her family, then watch as she opened the parcels? This is what makes blog friendships so special.

Happy Birthday all over again, dear Jenn, and Caitlin and Jean-Luc, Isabelle and Josephine,  thanks so much for your part in all of this. Jo, I found out about your birthday just too late to send something off, so  at the end of 2017, it will be your turn.

Many, many thanks for everyone’s lovely caring words for me,  I treasure  them all , and to know you care from  close to home and so far away,  is very special to me . I am trying to go slow,  I treat  each day as a special one, and hope to see a specialist very soon.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Life is full of surprises,

the future is not set in stone”

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Season’s Greetings to All


As 2016 comes to a close, I wish you all every happiness, much love, lots of laughter, and days filled with good health.

I have been so thankful for all your lovely caring words, comments, emails and prayers over the past few weeks.

Did you know that Santa has headlights on his sleigh? They shone down through the sky, onto the ambulance, as it whisked me  off to hospital, and as midnight struck in clock  towers, he travelled overhead. But on the way across the world, he stopped off with some goodies. Red batiks, for the “ 150 Canadian Women Quilt-along”.There they were, waiting when I came home this morning. This was another visit with the yet undiagnosed chest pain, I have been moved up  the list and now should see  a specialist very soon, and then have a  visit to another larger hospital for tests. Staff  wore  Santa hats, Reindeer antlers, and the breakfast was wonderful. For one wonderful nurse, this was the first time she had been in ED on Christmas Day, and ditto for me.  As we drove back though the front gate, home  looked truly wonderful.


Santa dropped these off this morning

More goodies were waiting, among them this fabulous piece. I can see something wonderful to be made with all those words, from round and about the far south . Thanks so much, Ann and Russell.

Another Christmas gift from the Far South

My video failed badly, so here are a few pics from the year.Whakapapa slopes with Josh

Dani  on Joey Oct 2016,

Hugh and his plane October 2016

sunrise  in December 2014


last sunrise

Quotation, author unknown

“ Happiness always comes from within,

and it is found in the present moment

by making peace with the past

and looking forward to the future”

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 16 December 2016

A few more Very Quiet Days


My words here might be few and far between for a while.  I had another trip to hospital at 1.30 a.m. on Wednesday, after waking at 1 a.m. knowing something was amiss, and chest pain began. Then the shaking. not an earthquake for sure. Woke  Hugh, rang the ambulance, ,they must think I like those trips.  My blood pressure was so high, yet the ambulance paramedic wanted me to try and tell her what was wrong, when I could hardly breathe. Then  she wanted me to walk out to the green and yellow truck!!! I struggled,  with her on one side and Hugh the other, I tried so hard, with suggestions “ Keep your eyes open,  Keep Walking !!!” Over and over. Guess she might have been a bit scared I would collapse. Then I think I almost yelled, well it might be called a snappy retort… “ I’m Trying”!!! Truly, it was such a long way, or so it seemed.

St John Ambulance

Whanganui Hospital E.D. has the best staff, from the cleaning lady who sweeps around the bed so quietly, or leaves it until the curtain is open, the nurses,  3 were waiting when I arrived, to all the Doctors from bottom to top. My medication has been changed, once again,  and the new tablets lower my B.P. to the very bottom of the scale.  I  now have a referral to a cardiologist, but am classed as semi-urgent!!! So am off to my G.P. next week, hope another letter might hurry things along.

Sewing is taking a break, as is quilting, baking, and housework. Perhaps in the reverse order might have been a better way to list them.

I promise, I am still reading all your news, admiring the photos, of sunshine, cats, dogs, waterfalls, lakes and the snow.Love that snow, wherever it is.And even  if I have not left a comment, I will have read every word.

Here is a collection of photos  from 2014.

December 2014 collage


Quotation of the day, a Chinese Proverb,

The miracle is not to fly in the air,

or to walk on the water,

but to walk on the earth.

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 9 December 2016

Goodies and a short Holiday


On Wednesday I strolled slowly to the mail box, and there it was. An envelope all the way from Kingston, Ontario, Canada!! The 2017 Quilted Kitties Calendar arrived. This is a project to fund-raise for the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. I have been an admirer of Cheryl, Kate and their team for some time now, and this year supported their project with the  purchase of a calendar .Just a small panic at Kingston, as the post office told her postage to New Zealand would be $72!!!,Some checking up and it was altered to the original charge. Look at these photos of the delightful kitties in all their finery.

Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project Calandar 2017

And here is the page for December 2017. How delightful is that?

All the pages are designed and quilted by Cheryl. Visit her blog on the link below and see more of her drawings, cookies, and kitties.

December 2017 Quilted Kitties Calandar


This week, I had a short visit to hospital, a fast ride in the ambulance, after having the shakes, believe me ‘twas  like an earthquake in my body, then very high blood pressure. Two paramedics and a nurse, Lance didn’t want to stop when I suggested  ( not true, just a random thought ) that on the  straight stretch of the  road I might need a toilet stop !! “ You are out of luck, sunshine” was his reply. As always, the staff in the Emergency Department were so good, I was given the best care, numerous blood tests, and ECG  print outs. Transferred to a much better bed with all the buttons to push to get the most comfortable angles, at 11.30 p.m. , and maybe almost asleep when another Dr came in at 12.30 p.m. and told me the  second blood test was negative for cardiac enzymes and the chest X-Ray was all clear. Off to sleep, and the night staff started to do rounds at 5 a.m.  I am guessing that no-one there has heard the words   “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” !!  They could not find anything in all those tests to give a  positive diagnosis . So maybe there will be a trip to a bigger hospital soon for more extensive tests.

Here are the fabrics from Bryan Gaskin, but I am sure there will be another visit next week before he closes those door for the last time.

top left turquoise and navy  are the finest silk, 3 at the right are fine cotton, the others are lovely brights for bags.

An early Christmas parcel of goodies

Yesterday I made a huge effort, put on some  ‘glad rags”   and off we went to the Christmas Dinner for members of the Model Plane club Hugh has joined. About 30 there,  we met many of them for the first time, and were introduced as “ The Youngest Members”, not sure about the age, but definitely the shortest time there. A wonderful group of friendly men and ladies, but I did find out that there isn’t a lady  in the club who flies her own model plane, so I don’t need to  be sorry when I decide not to join in.

Quotation of the day, from Jake Bailey


“So be gallant, be great, be gracious,

and be grateful for the opportunities

that you have."

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Early Morning Sunshine at 6 a.m.


Suddenly the sunshine is here so early, Rising a lot further to the East, and shining above the roof to brighten up the tall gum trees. This was taken at  6 a.m., outside was  about 7 Celsius,  the fire was lit a little earlier.!!!

Gum trees in early morning sunshine December 2016

The Tibouchina has flowered almost all year, One bloom is  here on the sheltered side, new ones waiting .

Tibouchina December 2016

The pink Alstromeria are prolific, and shadow the few red ones. This is a lot deeper colour in the sunshine later on in the day.

Red Alstromeria December 2016

On the concrete steps, this poppy seed found enough nourishment to grow, and it is one of the very ruffled ones.

Red ruffled poppy 2016

The secret sewing is all finished, more fabrics are waiting, Bryan Gaskin Fabrics in Palmerston North is closing after 50 years in the “ rag trade”. We will miss this fabulous place to visit, browse, look at  those rolls of fabric all over again,  and purchase. I wish Bryan and Barbara a very happy retirement. So if any of my readers are near Palmerston North, visit and find all those fabulous   fabrics reduced!!! Silk, georgette, lawn, cotton,  satin, buttons, ribbons and threads!!!  And more!!!

Bryan and Barbara were one of the very generous sponsors when I started the “ Bags for Japan” project in 2011. Thanks again so much. Your fabrics,  stitched into bags,  winged their way to Japan, and  were so appreciated by those in the earthquake area and at Ronald McDonald House.

Photo courtesy of the Internet.

Bryan and Barbara  Gaskin

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Nature uses fabrics and threads of every colour, to sew and weave beauty everywhere”

Greetings from Jean