The Real Reason

I've been potting up peppermint geranium to discourage coddling moth, and planting borage and calendula and alyssum and johnny-john-ups and nasturtium to encourage beneficial insects into my orchard garden, but it seems that the real threat is not from bugs, or even slugs or birds. No, this is the real threat (at least to my strawberries) ...

After picking fifty or more strawberries of varying degrees of ripeness, The Most Adorable Granddaughters sat down to enjoy the still warm fruit. I'm not sure I enjoy it at a warmer temperature than room temp but The Most Adorable Granddaughters appeared to, even going back for seconds which were definitely on the green side.

Unfortunately, given the fact that the majority of our fruit trees are young and/or small, they won't be picking fifty apples or pears, nectarines or plumcots, or even grapes or blueberries apiece this year.

I'd been under the illusion for far too long that I plant and weed and prune and water to produce fru…

A Blank Page

I love books. Which shouldn't be that surprising since I'm a writer after all. I will re-read a favourite book over and over again. For that reason, I do not give books away (lend yes, give away permanently, no). If I've lent a book out and it fails to come back, I will remember it for years afterwards and will feel as if I've lost a friend.

I'm not an e-book fan, although I have been known to purchase an e-book or two when the book I'm wanting is out of print. And I would resort to e-books if I were to go away for any length of time where one or even two books in my suitcase would not suffice.

But there's another kind of book I really love.



Softcover. Hardcover. Spiral bound. It doesn't matter. I love them all.

(For the record I hate diaries and even though I buy one every year for work I rarely write in it and never check to see if I have an appointment etc. I think next year I'll just get myself a pretty notebook and use that…

From The Mouths of Babes

The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World#3, aged 7-1/2 years, on viewing my garden: "Nana, you have a lot of weeds." [Seedlings, darling, seedlings. And I grew them deliberately.]

The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World#4, aged 7 years, after I told her I wasn't going to let her wear make-up to church and that if it was up to me, she wouldn't wear make-up before she turned eighteen: "No one needs make-up." A pause, then, "Except you." [Thanks, sweetheart. I'll remember that when next I write my will.]

The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World#5, aged just 6, after she'd checked on their elderly neighbour yesterday after our 6.2 earthquake: "The first few knocks he didn't answer, so I wasn't sure if he was out, or dead, or watching TV." [I wonder what she would have done if he had been dead?]

The Most Adorable Granddaughter#6, aged almost 4, on the weekend: "I hate being three. I want to be four and then …


Officially we are still in the midst of renovations even though our builder has taken - with our knowledge and approval - a hiatus and won't return for another three weeks or so. (By my calculations this means we'll be in a super muddle right on Christmas.) Neither room is fully complete: both are waiting on doors of one kind or another, and DH has to sand and seal and paint the existing doors to both rooms.

He has made a start and had a little helper yesterday:

Her older sisters preferred to spend time with two of their uncles:

So while DH sanded and painted, and Sons#4 and #5 played games, I was also productive. One finished square of my Sediment Scrap Blanket has been patiently waiting for far too long to have the ends woven in and so I decided to attack this task as it's not one that requires a lot of concentration. To my surprise, I finished this square and also managed to weave in all the ends on the other three unfinished squares. I'll still have more to do onc…


While five in our party of seven went off to make the most of skiing and snowboarding, DH and I decided on more sedate pasttimes.

After a leisurely breakfast we began by visiting the memorial at Tangiwai, the scene of New Zealand's worst railway disaster on Christmas Eve, 1953, when 151 people lost their lives after a lahar weakened the railway bridge at Tangiwai and their train crashed into the river.

It was sobering to visit the site which appeared benign in the morning light and think of the loss of life. Warning systems and gates are now in place in the event of another lahar spill from Mount Ruapehu.

After Tangiwai, we decided to go for another walk, this time through beech forest on Mount Ruapehu. It was peaceful, restful, at times muddy, and the scenery relatively unchanging. We stopped for lunch after an hour and then retraced our steps.