Saturday, 31 October 2015

Nutmeg, and the All black fruit

Yesterday afternoon I tried out a recipe from a recently borrowed library book. In the absence of dried cranberries, and in honour of our rugby team, I substituted prunes an all black fruit, hoping they could give me a run for my money, haha.

I then grated in nutmeg (also not in the recipe). The cake is wonderful, half way between a fruit loaf and a bread loaf.

Feeling a bit worse for wear today. Two sundays in a row we have got up at 4am and 5am to watch rugby matches. It was worth it! Must have been the lucky prunes!

Friday, 23 October 2015

The Birds

We have lost the battle for our post box. After three attempts at ejecting the start of a starling nest, we have bowed to their cheeky persistence. Our mail will be covered in poop for some time to come.

Meanwhile, our Empress tree is in full noisy bloom - the noise coming from hundreds of bees and the odd cheeky tui. This photo was taken on a very long lens this morning, hence the camera shake. Thelma, our tunesome thrush was competing with the bees buzzing. She always picks the highest branch of the highest tree. Not a bad idea really when "Sir" is sitting on the driveway.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Gluten / Seismic free chocolate cake

My first attempt at Gluten Free chocolate cake was fine until I tried to get it off the base of my springform.

My excuse is we had a big earthquake on the N. Island today. I am renaming it Richter Cake.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Small pleasures

The new ginger lad likes to assist at all times. When he comes into the laundry, he likes to choose his own pegs. He will then distribute them liberally and fairly around the bathroom, hallway and living room.

He also likes to protect the property from wetas, moths and other creatures. Today he had his first encounter with a chicken in our garden. It was also my first encounter of that kind. I think it must belong to one of our neighbours. Said clucker was very put out by huge bushed out tiger chasing her along the boundary. Thankfully the Horowhenua tiger is also easily distracted and came running back when he heard me with a small stick, shaking the grass.

Mango, putting the Horror back in Horowhenua!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Dancing sheep and feline job opportunities

I have just been watching the 5 lambs in the paddock. Picture if you can lambs dancing, sideways, in crazy twilight fueled dizzyness. More than one mother bleated her disapproval. Some mothers do 'av em as they say.

Meanwhile, back at the office, Mango has decided that his career choice is servicing printers for Epson.

......that is if Dyson won't give him a job food vacuuming.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Drinking bowls

Outside at Coneysthorpe, the cats drink out of old trifle bowls, just in case you were wondering!

Friday, 9 October 2015


Today was a button day, a selling buttons day. Twice a year I head to the capital to sell accumulated / donated buttons for various charities. This is a dangerous hobby, because I always end up buying things at the same fundraiser.

Here is today's swag. I can't use them, the sizes are too small, but I just loved the styles and the illustrations on the pattern envelopes.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Pinning it

A slight departure from stories of Coneysthorpe; although in some ways I suppose this is a small story about one of the occupants. If anyone asks me if I collect anything, I usually say no. I have random things I love, like Scandinavian ceramics, books on Russia and memorabilia from my family, but not a real COLLECTION of anything. At least, that's what I thought. The fact is, I love brooches. I don't wear all the ones I own, but I really enjoy them. They are a great keepsake/souvenir from a holiday (inexpensive and pack well), and they really do say something about you when you wear them.

So today, I'd like to introduce you to the broochabilia of Coneysthorpe, with some of the stories attached to them. First of all, the first brooch I ever owned.

When I was 10 years old, we moved to the town which was to be my home for the next 9 years, and where my 90 year old mum still lives. I was walking to the main shopping area one Saturday morning and saw this on the pavement. I picked it up and walked straight to the Police station with it (what my parents taught me to do with found items). The policemen took my name and phone number and said that if no one collected it in 2 weeks, I could come and reclaim it. I have had it for the last 44 years.

The next group belonged to my mum and dad. One item I bought for her in Canada when I was on holiday there one year (the house painted on a stone), the mosaic brooch she had since she was a teenager. The Morris 1000 dad bought one time because he was so amused at how much it looked like our Moggy - by the name of Jelly Bean Rolls.

I have rather a lot of cat brooches - not all of them photographed. Some were given to me as gifts.

I have bought quite a lot of antique (pocket money prices) brooches at fairs and street markets. The resin rose in this photo I bought in Dublin 25 years ago. The matching bone "costume" brooches were a gift from my mother in law. The lucite brooch was another market purchase, bought because it reminded me of my granma.

I have visited the former Soviet Union three times, and these were holiday momentoes.

A leather brooch momento from my first trip to Canada in 1977

Gifts from Leeds friends Christine and Helen

Purchased in S. Africa, a painted ostrich egg brooch and leather depiction of Africa, made by the Triple Trust in Cape Town.

Blasts from the past, brooches from the 1970s - faux tiger's eye, enamelled copper and a silver Danish brooch set with a ball of moss agate (this is a big favourite with me)

Souvenirs of holidays, pressed clay (Israel with my husband), Liz Claiborne parrots (New York), pavement artists (Paris).

Retro brooches purchased over the years in NZ and overseas. The large brown glass brooch (bottom left of daisy) is an exact replica of a brooch my mother always wore in the 1960s. I don't know what happened to the original, but when I saw this for sale on the auction site Trademe, I bid hard for it.

And finally, birds and geckos. The sparkly gecko was a Christmas gift from Aunty Betty, the green gecko a present from a friend in Leeds. Little did I know when I received them that I would live in apartment in the Middle East with geckos running around the walls!

There are a few more to photograph, but they can wait for another day.