Saturday, 31 October 2009

We Just Never Know

Some of the readers of this blog will already know that I had a really crappy first few days at the croquet tournament I am at in New Plymouth.  I have not played well.  I have not played to my handicap.  I have certainly not played well enough to be at an invitational representing some of the top players in the Country.  As I am supposed to be playing at such an invitational next week this is exceptionally worrying.  Today I have been playing to a higher standard but still not to the standard to which I had become accustomed.  Whether I will play in the invitational next week  or withdraw is something I will decide after my games tomorrow.

However all this has been put into perspective by the happenings of today off the croquet lawns.  One of the ladies with whom I have come to the tournament and with whom I am staying received a call this afternoon to say that her husband was critically ill and was being hellicoptered from Hawkes Bay hospital to Wellington for heart surgery following an aneurism.

So this evening Jayne and I are on our own.  In fact I'm finishing this in bed whilst Jayne is in the living room getting the rugby score on the TV and checking our Lotto  numbers.  We have three on the same line.  More than usual but not enough for any payout.  Ah well. 

So we've been chatting this evening about croquet, life, the universe and everything and trying to make sense of it all.  Of course we haven't managed any of that.  And now it's time for sleep.  Night night.

After A Hard Day On The Lawns

The Girls with whom I travel when I go away to croquet tournaments are great.  We have wonderful fun.   However sometimes they go too far and think that it is funny to infringe my personal space in the morning when I am in bed in my dressing gown with Samantha having my cup of green tea with lemon:

So I retalliate:

Friday, 30 October 2009

Mt Egmont/Mt Taranaki

My first view of  Mt Egmont from the Wanganui to New Plymouth road.  It really is an amazing sight and is visible from almost everywhere in the vicinity of New Plymouth. Mount Taranaki, Mount Egmont, or simply Taranaki is an active but quiescent stratovolcano. The 2518-metre-high mountain is one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world. There is a secondary cone, Fanthams Peak, on the south side.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Away Again

In a few minutes Jayne will be calling in Lucy to collect me.  Then we will collect Colleen.  Then we will drive to New Plymouth on the other side of North Island.  The reason, of course, is a croquet tournament:  five full days of tournament.  My first adventure of the season.  Given that I haven't played for three months (unless you count last Monday!) this could be interesting.  It will also be interesting in another context:  I have never been to New Plymouth.  A friend tells me that it is a lovely place.  So I'm looking forward to it.  If the rain stays off and it continues to brighten up it could be a good drive as well. 

The route for those who don't know New Zealand is South from Napier to Palmerston North and then North-East to Wanganui and across to New Plymouth: a distance of 425 kilometres.  We should arrive late afternoon depending on stops.  Right I have 6 minutes to get this posted and get ready.  Bye!

In October??

It's still October.
Yesterday I received a Christmas Card.

At least it's a pretty one!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Where Is Home?

Many people in this world are unfortunate enough not to have a home.  I cannot envisage how absolutely terrible that must be.  I have not only never been homeless but I have never lived in an unhappy home - albeit my life like most others has had some unhappy moments.

A few days ago I made the comment "I arrived home (yes, it is home - I can have more than one home can't I?) yesterday morning."   Spesh commented that  "A thought to ponder on - Can you have two homes? I don't think so. In my life home is not just where the heart (which we only have one of),is but where we pay our income tax!! N.Z. is a wonderful "abode" to enjoy for 6 months of the year."

This got me thinking.  I have only one heart.  But on many things (perhaps because I am a geminian) my heart is split.  My heart is in the Hebrides were I have lived the larger part of my life and in New Zealand where I have lived partially since 2005.  So on that criteria I have two homes.  It's rather a minor point but I have paid New Zealand income tax on my bank interest here.  An even more minor point is that the term 'Second home' is a common one.

For some people 'home' is not where they live anyway.  Many, perhaps most, Scots living away from Scotland still refer to Scotland as their home even if they may never intend (other than in dreams) to visit Scotland ever again.  I, on the other hand, have absolutely no affinity with the place where I was born and brought up.

In my experience (and it will be interesting to see what my American fellow bloggers say) Americans when asked the question invariably say the name of the State in which they are living at that moment.  That's OK up to a point for me but I live each year equally in two places.

So where is home?  I don't know.  I don't really need home to be defined.  I have one.  I have two.   The fact that I don't have no home [double negative intended for emphasis] means that I am blessed. For that I am grateful.

What A Difference A Day Makes

Yesterday the sun was shining and the view from the living room of The Cottage was wonderfully cheerful:

Today it is entirely another story:

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Killer Biscuits?

Some of you who read Scriptor's blog may already have seen this.  But for those of you who haven't I suggest that you do.  I have to say that it tickled my sense of humour so much that I almost wet myself - but then I do have a weak bladder. 'This' is a posting by Granny on the Web entitled Killer Biscuits?.


A neighbour arrives home.  What sort of 'car' does your neighbour have?  I'm not a covetous person but....  I used to go round in choppers occasionally.  They are just the best way to travel.

I've Arrived: What Now?

I arrived home (yes, it is home - I can have more than one home can't I?) yesterday morning.  (Gosh.  Where has that 23 hours gone).  Coffee and catch-up up at The House was first.  Then I tackled The Cupboard and re-inhabited The Cottage with it's contents. That took a few hours and, of course, is not yet finished.  But at least everything is roughly where it should be and I have found everything I need.  Well almost everything.  What I did with the electric toothbrush is a mystery.  I'd say that it was bound to turn up but, given that I've emptied all the boxes, it may remain one of life's mysteries.

The lavender's doing really well already and is covered in bees.

The honeysuckle has recovered well and this may be it's year for a big spurt.

I seem to have a new visitor

Fraser's not altered

and Catriona's still Catriona

In the afternoon I took a ride into town.  It was wonderful not having the roof on the car.  It was a bit chilly but the sun was glorious.  I went to see a friend for coffee and say 'hello' and came home to dinner with the family.  An excellent lasagne - too many helpings (it couldn't have been to many glasses of wine.  Er well...) that made me tired.  Very tired.  I was in bed and fast asleep by 9pm.  And up with the dawn chorus before 0600 this morning.  I feel absolutely great.  It's almost as if I've never been away.

So this morning I had some decisions to take.  What to do first was the first one.  So I downloaded my emails and decided to deal with them first.  Which is why I'm writing this and the emails haven't yet been done.  I seem to be finding keeping to decisions hard these days!  And, of course, I've done a thousand and one other things along the road.  But, hey, it's only 9am and the day is young.  Well, sort of.

It's good to be home.  Wherever home is.  It's good to have friends.  It's good that the sun is shining.  It's good to be alive.  For all that, and more, I give thanks. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

I'll Soon Be On My Way Again

It always seems hard to believe that six months have passed since I left New Zealand for Lewis.  The last six months have been particularly fleeting given all that's happened.  At this moment it's Tuesday morning in Napier and I'm just four New Zealand days away from my New Zealand home.  I'm looking forward to being back.

I should arrive in Napier at 1000 hrs on Saturday.