Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Bitter sweet memory making

Our eldest cat is very sick. He has cancer, so we know we have him for only a while longer. Mostly he is OK. He is a bit slow (never did move much), doesn't eat a lot (used to be a vacuum cleaner), and sleeps a great deal, mostly on my husband's office chair or in a fruit box on the verandah.

Five minutes ago I was watching our beautiful boy relaxed and dreaming with that dainty twitch that cats apply to their sleepy adventures. His long luscious tail was in "dead to the world" mode, but the paws and ears were moving with semaphoric glee. Suddenly he shot upright, leapt off the chair and into the chaos next to the filing cabinet. I thought to myself, poor lad, he's continuing his dream amongst the files, briefcases, boxes and shoes in the cupboard. He was manic - ears forward, tail swishing. Then it occurred to me, the absence of the daily dead mouse on the office rug may be because one had escaped. Sure enough, our huge cat came out of the corner with a live mouse between his jaws. Clever lad!

So he was taken outside to dispatch it. The years fell away and he was that surprised moggy who we never thought capable of catching anything, proudly playing with a tiny rodent. I think he had early lunch and I am a sad but proud momma. I hope he has many more mouse adventures in the days left to him.

And post-prandial groom

Fur habits

We have noticed a subtle change in the personality of our youngest cat. This is the cat who for the last 3 years has spent all day, every day, come rain, shine, tempest, hail OUTSIDE during the day. He would raid the bowls for food (as if he didn't live here and was theiving) and would only succumb to warmth and comfort in the evening when he would pop in for strokes and a place on the bed.

This autumn, I commented to my husband that I really hoped he learned to live inside during the cold days, instead of under the house or inside a flax bush.

I am pleased to report he has discovered thermal curtains. I was reading a few days ago on the sofa in our kitchen and heard a rustle and chirrup behind me. I checked behind the sofa, which is where he hid for 2 weeks when we moved here. I could detect a strip of tabby tail poking out from a well wound up cat inside the thermal curtain. Later in the afternoon, out he strolled, parked himself on the hearth rug and fell asleep. Now in the evenings he eats, goes out for a short while and then rolls around, relaxed and stretching on the new living room rug. Perhaps we should rename him Rugpin.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Today we needed exercise. We love our home so much, we hardly venture over the doorstep - which is ridiculous, when we are surrounded by such amazing scenery. Today we braved the wind and went to Waiterere, a 20 minute drive north of our place. As you can see, the beach was packed.......

Welcome to the Horowhenua!

Friday, 24 April 2015

100 years since Gallipoli

This morning I attended my first ANZAC commemoration service. Today is ANZAC day, the equivalent in NZ of Remembrance Day in the UK.

I don't know why I haven't attended one before. But this being the Centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, I thought it was important to go. We live 10kms from the nearest town. The service at the local town was packed (possibly 2000 people crowded on the lawns in front of the Cenotaph). There was a parade of servicemen from the RSA (Returned and Services Association), and wreathes were laid by every service, and this included a group of Maori in full warrior outfits (which must have been very cold for them as it is more or less leather trunks and a feather cape!).

I was struck at the age group in attendance. Young families, young families and more young families. Youngsters laying wreaths with their great grandfathers, and a group of young Maori / Pacific Islanders singing "How great thou art" in Maori during the service. It is touching to see how this respect is passed to the young. I don't remember this being the case in the UK. We all wore poppies, but I don't think I ever saw young people at the Remembrance day services unless they were scouts or guides.

I was saddened to see a very reduced representation from WWII, very elderly men sitting in rows, weighed down with medals. I spotted a few Polish servicemen (their caps are distinctive) and Maori from their regiments. As we walked back to our car after the service, I mentioned to my husband that the next generation of veterans will be the broken from doesn't bear thinking about.

Here are a few photos - poor quality due to the lack of light.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bunnies and interior design

I am alone in the house today, and one thing lead to another and I ended up rearranging parts of three areas in our home. It started with making space for a narrow table we bought as part of the "styling" of our now sold house in town. When we bought it, we thought it would look nice in our hallway, but we had forgotten about the carpet runner. This carpet makes a daily attempt to wriggle out of our front door. The table would have to balance partly on wooden floorboards, and partly on the "I want to break free" runner. It wasn't going to work. It looked rather nice in our front spare bedroom, when I removed a large Danish coffee table, purchased during my time in Dubai. Said coffee table didn't fit anywhere except the office, and to put it in there involved moving my computer station, swopping tables and dismantling a round table which my computer had stood on (still with me?). This round table is sturdy and attractive, but there was nowhere to put it except the corridor near our second bathroom. This involved moving a very heavy ottoman. It doesn't look right there, but will have to stay until we decide what to do with it.

After all this moving, vacuuming, tidying papers, chucking out and straightening up, I was in need of a sit down. BUT just as I made my way to the office to flop into a chair, I spotted two rabbits running across the lawn into the paddock. I grabbed my camera and followed them, but was too slow. They High Fluffy Tailed it into the pampas grass.

On the way back from this missed opportunity, I took this photo. A moment of tranquility in the midst of a muscle numbing day. Oh, I forgot, I now need to remove three loads of laundry from the line.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Back from the silence

I have had a period of bad health. Nothing serious, just debilitating. And trying to keep up with a job and fundraising has taken its toll. Hence no blog for a while.

This morning I watched a stunning sunrise over the gum trees in our neighbour's field. I had a sense today was to be a good day. So, I got up, put on gardening clothes and went to scramble around in the autumn leaves. One of our neighbours recently sawed down a tree for us, so there were plenty of branches to push into the paddock for the Highlanders. They love chewing the leaves. No mulcher required in this garden!

Kitty news. Ms Ginger had a panic this morning trying to chase a fantail that had flown through the French windows and was happily squeaking its way around the living room. Thankfully it found its own way out. And Tabby Boy. Well he just watched through the French doors in the kitchen. Not very bright that lad!