Today We Are Six

Siddy turns six years old today.
I’d forgotten til I looked at the calendar this morning …. Luckily dogs don’t take too much notice of the passing of time – unless they are waiting for treats that is……

As I prepared this small post in praise of my little companion it struck me that here is the very reason why everybody should have a dog – and most especially those of us who live alone. This guy, named (in case you never knew or may have forgotten) after the prince who became the Buddha, Siddhartha, because the day I first met him and held him in my arms he settled in peaceably, gazing up at me and the woman said “Oh, he looks like a little Buddha there in your arms.” And I thought ‘well, that can’t be a bad thing!’ And he really has enriched every day of my life since.

He takes me walking not once but most often twice every day and makes people smile at us as we walk along. He reminds me what time it is when I lose myself in my art or craft or a good book. Treat time, play time, dinner time……. He pays attention to every move I make and needs me always to be kind. He tells me when someone is approaching my gate, when the postie is at the box, when certain cars pull up outside. He makes sure I cuddle something warm and furry several times a day and that I laugh out loud regularly. He asks that my eyes soften at least three times every day as I tell him what a good and super little fellow he is and he makes me aware that right now is the best time to be doing whatever it is we are doing.

Baby Siddy – taken the day we met, the day he stole my heart…

Siddy six weeks old
July 2014 Siddy takes me to the beach
October 2014 – In need of a hair cut

Almost a year into our relationship Siddy was temporarily deserted when his mumma took off to the US for a couple of weeks to visit with some blogging pals and Siddy spent his first birthday with his second favourite person, Danella. He missed his mum though

Luckily, by this time he was good friends with his kitty

But after that we settled into a routine of simple daily life, interspersed with a few adventures. And so the years have passed on by.

There’s treat time

and cheese time

And mumma time

Siddy still brings joy to every day, loves people more than other dogs and is just managing to survive lockdown – but only just….

Right now I’ve never been more grateful to have this little fellow in my life. He still bounds out of bed every morning, comes at me like a wriggling torpedo, tail waggling his whole body. Good morning, good morning! Let’s have breakfast. Let’s go for a walk. Let’s have at this day!

When I feel the anxiety rising I can look at him and know right here, right now, everything is actually alright. There are things to do, fetches to be fetched, growled at, tossed about. Cuddles to be had. Treats to be entreated for. Comings and goings to be observed out the window. Naps to be taken. Mealtimes to line up for. A spot of hoovering to be done when there is food preparation going on in the kitchen. And sleepy time comes every evening. A kiss, a cuddle and a carry to bed because when a boy is just too tired to make it there himself, his mumma can help out……. All is well in Siddy’s world and therefore in mine.

Happy Birthday Siddy ‚̧

Thanks for coming by today, we love that you did!

March 29 1970

Three weeks after my estimated due date my first daughter was born. She chose Easter Sunday morning to make her appearance, though I had laboured with her since the afternoon of Good Friday. She was a reluctant enterer to the world. But with her porcelain round face, shock of dark curly hair and large blue eyes that never left mine, she took my breath away.

From the first moment I held her and looked into her eyes I was lost. Right there and then I experienced a wave of love that was so totally unexpected it impressed itself into my memory as I saw I held a little soul about to begin her own journey through life.

The feeling, the thought, the moment, was so profound I have never forgotten it. The words of Khalil Gibran were running through my head while her blue eyes looked deeply into mine. I swear she sent me those words to help get me through the early years of parenting when I had so much to learn and made so many mistakes.

Your children are not your children

They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself

They come through you but not from you

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you……

Khalil Gibran


In those early months I would often lay my little baby on our bed while I changed her nappies and her little hands would reach for my old childhood walkie talkie doll that was gifted to me at the age of three by my aunt and sat atop a dresser in the corner of our bedroom.. After a while I began to lay the doll beside her while I worked and tried to imagine a time when she would be bigger than the doll, so big nappies would no longer be required, how big in a year, five years ….. How big would she get? It was hard to imagine this perfect little baby growing up even though I understood she would.

Six months old September 5th 1070

Her love for animals was obvious right from the start. There are tons of photos of Jo with cats and dogs, but this one is a special favourite

Joanna and her Birdie

Love seemed to be a thing that exuded from her, her baby sister arrived and it was love at first sight

Danella, Joanna, Pauline

While mumma looked after the new baby, Joanna practised on her teddy bear

Joanna and Teddy

And the mutual admiration society grew

Danella & Joanna
My babies

I think of those early days now when I see my first daughter and know who she is and how special she is and all her struggles and triumphs that have honed her and made her into a woman of grace and strength and beauty with just the teeniest bit of over the top geekdom to add spice…..

She’s hoping #10 will open the door….

Today, because neither her sister or I can be with her to celebrate this special birthday I’m celebrating her on this blog – and sharing with you all how much I love and admire this amazing little piece of grace who grew to become a woman of kindness, felicity and beauty

Happy Birthday Joanna

Love from mummy ūüôā

Life Interrupted

I’m on a roll with my post titles ūüėÄ Because yesterday the bottom fell out of my world.

Up to that point I felt I had some control over my world. That’s always a false assumption though isn’t it – we never have control over outer events. over other people, over the weather or anything really. Sometimes things roll quietly along and we believe we do. Then we hit the bumps like this one, more an unexpected canyon at the moment than a bump, but you know what I mean.

Yesterday, on our local Anniversary Day when everyone in Otago enjoys an extra day added to their weekend, New Zealand was given 48 hours notice that we are going into Lock Down.

I am so grateful to our government that they are acting as soon as they could in an attempt to contain the spread of this virus. But still it sent me into a mild fit of panic – I had to get some things done and now I knew, everyone else would be thinking the same.

Now I had no control over the timing of that announcement, I have no control over all the people who will now flood the stores and services to get their last minute things done, but I do have control over myself.

We are creatures of free will, that is our special gift, our super power. We are the ones who can look at an event and look at our own response to that event. We can step back from the fear, the sense of disempowerment, the annoyance that this or that option has suddenly fallen away.

We can take a moment, take a long slow deep breath – or several if that is required – and we can self assess. Where am I, right now? Am I safe, right now? What do I really need, right now?

Very often – most often – when we take these minutes to self assess and re-centre ourselves we realise that right now, in this very moment all is well with us.

The truth is if it isn’t, we are in action, we are dealing with the crisis, we are running from the tiger, lifting the car off our trapped child, lending a hand to someone else or being assisted by another person.

Fear is the enemy.

This is kind of my process when the bottom falls out of my world. I go through my process quietly – well mostly quietly sometimes there is another step that requires a bit of whining. Today was one of those times.

I am fortunate (I know I say that a lot, but it is true) I whine at my chosen listeners. My two daughters. They are experts now at hearing my whines and redirecting me. They shine lights and solve problems and steer me where I need to be steered. I retreat silently to lick my wounds and take a couple more deep breaths and – there I am. Back again in control of the only thing I can ever be in control of – me.

So this was my process earlier today.

I had raced out really early – breaking my self imposed isolation because in a few days time it is going to be my eldest daughters highly significant birthday and with the country about to go into lock down I did not want her to be without her birthday parcel. Her sister was to fly to Wellington to celebrate with her, but that cannot now happen. It made my quest even more urgent.

I had a plan. I was going straight to the courier depot at first light. I would be home again in ten minutes. I got to the depot and found a closed door with a sign ‘WE HAVE MOVED’ it proclaimed. With no further information!!

WHAT? I cried back at the locked door, where are you? But no one replied.

I climbed into my car and raced a couple of kilometres to the next courier depot. The car park was full. I carried on, ‘I’ll try the Post Office’ I said grimly to Siddy who was happily hanging his head out the window as I raced along, clearly enjoying the freezing cold southerly wind brushing up his whiskers. The parks in the vicinity of the Post Office were all filled, the cars still holding their drivers captive as the PO had not yet opened their doors and would not for a further half hour. I envisioned the mad rush when the doors did open and gloomily carried on homewards, my daughters birthday parcel still sitting equally as gloomily on the back seat.

At home I melted down. All I wanted to do was give my girl a bit of joy on a day that had changed so much for her.

I breathed deeply. I breathed some more. It helped, but didn’t bring me fully into myself. So I opened Messenger, hit our page and whined. I whined about not being able to send my package, I whined about how cold it is and I whined about not being able to place a grocery order online (because the store is overwhelmed with grocery orders)

My girls, champions that they are sprang into action. I was reminded that it wasn’t really that important – the parcel could arrive later quite easily. Danella would do any shopping required in a few days when things quietened down. We exchanged some thoughts about the effectiveness of wearing dust masks in public and whether looking like a tit was any compensation for indeterminate safety and agreed that scarves did as good a job, provided you weren’t mistaken for a bandit.

I was instructed to burn some essential oils, turn on the heating and make myself a lovely warm drink. Obediently I did all that, and enjoyed a hot chocolate in my special cup with frothed milk. I also listened to a brief talk by Eckhart Tolle and then put on some gentle music.

And now here I am – sharing my day so far with you and laughing at myself.

How has your day been?

Here’s Siddy, a photo taken a couple of days ago after his bath when he is all white and super fluffy and smelling delicious

Siddy March 2020

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you do!






Blogging Interrupted

When last you heard from me I was off to my daughter Danella’s place with Orlando and Siddy for a couple of weeks while the tiny house had some repairs done to it. Then, back home I had trouble with WP and accessing posts, liking and commenting and my own blog was quite elusive too. Any way, all resolved now. This all happened when Covid 19 was just a ‘thing’ that was happening far far away and, I was sure, like all ‘things’ would cause a bit of mad panic then die away…… Alas, I was wrong! But, we aren’t here yet, back to my story…..

Those two weeks stretched into three. We had a fun time staying with Danella. It felt a bit like I was holiday – except for Orlando spitting at George every time he moved and purring lovingly at everyone else.

Orlando being mean to George

However lucky Mr O’s personal servant took his personal watering can on holiday and so he made himself at home on Danella’s kitchen counter

Orlando and his drinking fountain

Then, just as O settled in and began to mind his manners he was moved back to his own home. He wasn’t very pleased for an hour or so, too many new smells – but he soon settled in.

Siddy of course didn’t mind where he was as long as his food bowl and mumma are close by, he’s a boy who enjoys life. Here he is, on one of our morning walks, on a mission, checking out his messages

Siddy

We went for some lovely morning walks and I took photos that I posted on Instagram. Here’s one for those of you who don’t indulge over there. I call it ‘The High Road’ It’s proper name is John Wilson Drive but I don’t know who John Wilson was and I’ve never quite gotten round to checking him out.

view towards the lookout

The road is wide and follows the crest of a hill. It is bollarded and closed to all traffic except between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm. Outside of those hours it is a haven for families and runners and dog walkers.

Chile is somewhere over that horizon

On one side is the expansive southern Pacific Ocean, with nothing between us and Chile and the other side sports the rolling green and patchy brown hills of a not very posh golf course where locals walk themselves and their dogs and both are given to unexpectedly clambering out of the undergrowth beside those of us wandering quietly along the high road minding our own business with a cheery ‘Good Morning!’.

the golf course

At the very end of the road there is a steepish hill we (that’s the royal ‘we’) puff our way up to the lookout point where we admire the view, take a photo and about face for the walk back.

At the Lookout

The view on the return journey looks across the beaches of St Kilda and St Clair, south towards the southern suburbs of Dunedin. It’s not terribly far from those hills to Antarctica – just a tad over 4000 km.

looking south

Siddy and I have continued to make the walk most mornings since our return home. It’s a brief five minute car ride to access all this beauty and fresh air, why wouldn’t we! Now that the days are growing shorter we can set off while it is still dark and get to the Lookout in time for an early sunrise photo.

7 am at the look out

So now, here we are at home. Our home is fixed and revamped and a pleasure to be in – something it wasn’t for a long time. I am both relieved and very, very happy. And if I have to self isolate I am happy to do it here in my safe, warm little home.

Take care, look after each other, look for the good in people and the world and remember that fear lowers our resistance to disease. Practise contentment, be grateful and let your eyes rest on beauty. Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did,

Siddy has a Birthday

We interrupt normal transmission to bring an important update….

April 4th and it’s Siddy’s fifth birthday. He’s a big boy now and lets all those frisky young pups know it. He takes centre seat at the dog park where he entertains his fans – here he is with his pals Poppy and Pamela

He goes drinking and driving, but never at the same time

Sometimes he shows off his tricks, like jumping through the tyre in the park

or greeting his fans through the window of home

He enjoys a good joke – like the one he heard last Christmas

He loves his kitty

Did I mention drinking?

He’s a bit of a poser and a playboy and has spread joy all year every year

He’s always such a good boy, though if you ask him he’s never quite sure ….

And he is, of course, my boy, the best puppy ever!

Happy Birthday Siddy xoxo

On Blankets, Birthdays and Endangered Parrots

It’s been a whole month since my last post , time keeps on zipping by me and although I’m not wasting any of it I have very little to show you currently.

I did get my Seaside Stash Busting Blanket finished Рand absolutely love it!   Here is a pic of it spread out on my bed complete with the obligatory poser

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If you have a good sized stash of yarn – and even if you don’t – head on over to Eleonora’s place and follow her weekly installments, available on her blog under the header picture.

I did have an almost significant birthday a few days back and amongst the lovely cards and gifts was a most wonderful surprise from my youngest.   We will head off in a few more days to trek through the evening bush to visit with Sirocco, the world famous kakapo.

What?¬† You haven’t heard of Sirocco?¬† Where have you been for the past decade?¬† Come on, you are about to meet a pretty hilarious and amazing parrot!

Kakapos are another of our almost endless supply of nocturnal, flightless birds under attack from the almost endless supply of introduced  rodents and predators who have ravaged the population.   Here he is in a pic I pinched off Google, looking perkily ambassadorial

sirocco

Kakapos are the only flightless parrots in the world.¬† They are big, heavy birds who climb trees using their claws and beaks.¬† They mate irregularly and have a prolonged and unusual mating ritual that involves ‘booming’.¬† They were almost extinct and are being clawed back from the brink by dint of human determination.

Sirocco’s behaviour on Stephen Fry’s series of ‘Last Chance to See’ some ten years ago resulted in world wide fame and instant You Tube infamy and as a result he became New Zealand’s official spokes-bird for conservation and most importantly the conservation of our native flightless bird population – and even more importantly the kakapo of which there are now 149 up from their lowest point of just 25.¬† This short clip kind of sums it all up

If you are interested in learning more, the link below will take you to some relevant pages on Te Ara, the encyclopedia of New Zealand.¬† I’ve started it with the male Kakapo sitting in his bowl ‘booming’ his mating call out in the hopes some wandering female will pop by …….¬† He’ll do it for hours and days and it becomes pretty obvious predators aren’t the only reason why these quirky birds are endangered!

https://teara.govt.nz/en/video/10577/male-kakapo-booming

Kakapo generally have a reputation of being fearless, inquisitive and friendly birds.¬† An early Governor of New Zealand, back in the day when kakapo were still plentiful, was said to have been given one as a pet and compared it favourably to a dog.¬† Sirocco’s ill health as a chick meant he was taken from his mother and hand raised.¬† He imprinted on humans and, it seems, specifically the male of our species and as a result has no interest in ‘booming’ for kakapo hens.¬† He will boom for humans though.¬† Despite a couple of years in therapy and some training in acceptable behaviour (some of which you can see on YouTube if you do a search) he is not likely to assist in the increasing of the kakapo population, so Sirocco happily takes himself off round the country from time to time, sets up digs in a suitable outdoor hotel, is waited on hand and foot by his adoring servants and accepts brief visits from small groups of his adoring public¬† – of which I shall¬† happily be one.

Not many of us get to see a real live kakapo.  They now live only on two small islands that are kept scrupulously pest free Рno rodents,  no predators of any kind.  The only humans allowed are those entrusted with their care and scientific research into their lifestyles.  Given those living conditions and the fact that they sleep all day we are really fortunate to have a bird who likes people and who enjoys looking at them as much as they like looking at him.

Any how, I’m really looking forward to it,¬† I just hope I don’t get lost in the bush on my way to my date with Sirocco¬† ¬†ūüôā¬† I’ll let you know how I get on.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

 

 

Best Memoir I’ve Read This Year!!

The plastic bag sat in the parcel tray of my mailbox, the raining pouring down just millimetres away.¬† Once inside and dried off the package was opened revealing my copy of Geoff Le Pard’s much anticipated memoir ‘Apprenticed to My Mother’.

I flicked the book open, reading title, sub-title, flick again, copyright, published by….¬† flick, Introduction,¬† I begin reading this.¬† I read on.¬† Chapter one, chapter two, three, four.¬† The chapters are short, pithy, poignant, honest, vulnerable, loving.¬† Tears welled in my eyes but I am completely unable to stop reading, until I am interrupted first by the door bell and then the pets needs to be fed.¬† I tend to the interruptions quickly and return to reading until the gathering gloom of this wintery day’s mid-afternoon makes it too dark to see.

I attend to my life, but am keen to finish my day early and,as the rain continues to batter the ground, to take myself off to my cosy bed, book in hand and settle in for a couple or three uninterrupted hours.

Over the past year or two Geoff had posted little bits and pieces of this story on his blog and I felt quite familiar with much of what I was reading.  But still, the unfolding story ontinued to capture my attention.  Here is the mutual love story of two people.  She builds him up, she cares for his every need, ensures he feels like the man he aspires to be.  He writes her love poems.  They clash, they work it out, they raise two boys.  She ensures her boys will go out into the world more able to care for themselves than her husband ever could.

As Geoff tells us in the introduction, the book is necessarily also about his father.¬† It is about his parents relationship, but also about his relationship with them – separately and together.¬† It’s not detailed, it’s snippets that we pick up as the final years of his mother are told through their interactions.

It’s a peek into a way of life, a family that functions and revolves around the mother.¬† A real person, a woman who loves, who cares, who rules with a fist of iron,¬† A woman who, having put herself second all her married life, on becoming a widow firmly and sweetly gets life the way she wants it after all.

It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s tender and kind and heart-wrenchingly honest at times.

I laughed, smiled, and blinked away tears as I made my way through this memoir.

As someone who grew up outside of a functioning family it was a healing balm and quite honestly I loved it,  I hope you might too.

*Here’s a link to the Amazon kindle copy

**Here’s a link to Geoff’s blog

A Time to Remember

I know many of you have followed along with my recent adventures courtesy of those more organised bloggers, Laurie over at Life on The Bike and Alys at Gardening Nirvana who put up posts of such loveliness all I could do was hit the ‘Re-Blog’ button and call it done.

Feb 27 selfie

We had talked about a reunion ever since our first meet up in 2015 and seriously planned this adventure for a year.¬† It seemed a comfortable way off, but fortunately, at the six month mark I had chosen the holiday stay venue, booked the house and settled in to start making ‘welcome to New Zealand gifts’.¬† Two months later of course various accidents pulled me up short and curtailed my arty crafty activities and then time curled itself into a ball and hurtled past me into the future.

dav

And suddenly there I was standing early one evening at an airport gate searching the exiting passengers for a tiny Canuck who was arriving via Australia.   The following afternoon there I was again, searching through another lot of exiting travellers for the weary Americans who had missed their connecting flight in Auckland Рdue to some doggie treats that some surly, inhospitable customs officer had decided to study in minute detail.

Feb 26

Just like that, there we were, feeling as if absolutely no time had passed since we last threw ourselves into each others arms in warm and elongated hugs.  Friends of the heart Рnothing to do with proximity or commonality or any of the other usual ways of making friends.  Just four women who started off reading each others blog posts, liking, commenting, following each other around other blogs, sharing stories, deepening this growing, random connection over a period of months, morphing into years.

Feb 26 Dinner

Back then, in those early days, someone suggested a face to face meeting on Skype.¬† It turned into a voice to voice meeting, as Skype was uncooperative on that particular day.¬† ¬†But there were other group video calls and individual calls and letters and cards……¬† All interspersed with blog posts and comments which built into a long, ongoing conversation and burgeoning friendship.

It’s a modern form of pen-pals really isn’t it.¬† Blogging and video calls make it easier to reach beyond the old pairing of pen-pals to include a small group.¬† Reading blog posts soon informs how you relate to the writer.¬† One of us was told surely you can’t trust what people write, they could be pretending to be anybody.¬† ¬† Not so – we are women of some life experience – it’s pretty easy to pick up when there are inconsistencies, falsities or pretense.¬† Our intuitive alarm bells will ring when something jars.¬† There was no ringing of alarm bells – well not for me anyway.

So I went off to America in 2015 to spend a couple of weeks with these gals.

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When it was their turn to come to me on what they all referred to as ‘a once in a life time trip’ I wanted them to meet my small family, see something of the beauty of my country and also get to do what we all wanted to do, which was spend time together.

If we had some fun while doing so, so much the better!

My eldest daughter and her partner Steven arrived via a drive down the West Coast with his E-Bikes attached to the car and his shortwave radio gear stowed in the skybox.  My youngest daughter Danella opened her home to the travellers as mine is too small to accommodate any more than it already has.

JO and Dan LB

I gave them all a couple of days in Dunedin to get their feet on the ground and heads on relatively straight and then whisked them off to a spacious rented holiday house in Wanaka, four hours away from the coast, up in the mountain plateau, near to The Adventure Capital of New Zealand, Queenstown.

We had another eight fabulous days together and were joined by Alys’ husband Mike for the last four days.¬† ¬† My daughter remarked that the group felt complete when he arrived.

Alys and Mike at gondola March 4

We had endless fun

After dinner dancing

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and then, all too soon it was done.

Alys and Mike flew off for a brief visit to Auckland before returning to their home in San Jose.  Laurie stayed another two days in Queenstown before flying to Melbourne for a week in Australia.  Joanna and Steven drove back to Picton and the ferry to Wellington to return to their home and Kelly hopped a plane back to Canada after a month away from her home and kitties.  Danella returned to full time work Рstill sometimes on crutches, still with two metal plates and two screws in her leg, but getting stronger all the time and I returned home to Orlando who was in complete meltdown over being abandoned into a cattery for ten days and who is determined to never let me out of his sight ever again.

And Siddy went to bed.

Though the reunion is over, the warmth, the love, the friendship, all lives on.

Which all goes to show, we never know what might happen when we start to blog.  These friends, and all of you who gather around this blog, are dear to me and enrich my life in so many ways Рthank you all, I am so very glad you are here!

*Photo credits belong to various members of the group.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

Siddy Goes On Holiday

Hello friends!¬† We are home, settled back into normal life and Siddy has pretty much slept for the past few days.¬† He wakes up with me for first breakfast, followed soon after by morning walk and second breakfast.¬† He snoozes until it’s time for elevenses.¬† He takes a wee nap until time for twoses rolls around, which is followed by another little snooze¬† until first dinner.¬† A short game of fetch follows second dinner and then he takes himself off to bed for the night.

You may well ask why is this busy little pup so very tired?¬† Well, you all know we went on holiday yes?¬† The previous twelve posts have all dealt with this momentous event in some form or other – Gosh, I hope you aren’t bored with all this just yet……¬† for right now it’s Siddy’s turn to share his adventures.

Because yes, of course, Siddy came on holiday too!

Every day there was greeting and companioning duty to be done

Feb 26 Dinner

And breakfasts to be had.  Here he is offering assistance to Kelly with her breakfast

IMG_20180226_114246.jpg

He rode in the car – a lot!¬† ¬†Here he is tapping on the window because, don’t you know,¬† tapping makes the window roll down

March1 AM Siddy

He had lunch at a pub in Alexandra

Alex lunchtime Mar 1 DK

Helped Steven with barbecuing the evening feast at the holiday house

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Siddy loved the holiday house.  It had many doors and a garden that wrapped right around the house.  He could often be seen trotting out one door, trotting through the garden, past windows and other doors until he chose which door to enter back in by to greet everyone again.   It was such fun!!

He went out almost daily for coffee, but preferred to wait for the snacks to come

IMG_20180309_115547.jpg

He went for early morning walks with his mumma when the moon was still up and nearly everyone else snoozed on

Early morning walk March 4

He was first assistant to Laurie when she sorted her photos and wrote her blog posts – it is very doubtful that she could have put up so many great posts without his assistance

March 7 LB

He lunched at Speights Ale House, where he patiently waited for the food to come and his good manners were remarked upon by other diners

Siddy at Speights Alehouse March 8

He enjoyed his final lunch in Queenstown at the Frankton Arms – after enjoying a fortifying glass of chardonnay

Final lunch Frankton Arms March 9 LB

He companioned everybody in turn.  Here he is with Laurie, keeping her out of trouble

S and Laurie March 9

And he rode in the car every day.¬† This is the best part of car riding, wind and smells and the joy of speed……..

He’s one worn out little pup – but he sure did have a great holiday with all his family and new friends, he didn’t want to say ‘Goodbye’

First Farewell March 8

But he did, so it’s goodnight to all,¬† and thanks for the great memories ‚̧

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

*There’s one more Blogging Reunion post to come from me and then it is back to the art room.

** Photos are courtesy of the holiday makers whose cameras were constantly clicking away when mine wasn’t.¬† Thanks darlings!

Counting Down

Blogging is a wonderful thing isn’t it folks?¬† ¬†We all start our blogs off with¬† a certain outcome in mind, a certain reason for putting up those first posts and I wonder how many find those initial thoughts and intentions are changed or widened and deepened quite soon after that innocent and hopeful¬† beginning.¬† I bet none of us thought when we started out that what would really happen is we would build a community around our blogs, make new friends and sometimes even get to have real adventures with them.

In just two weeks two bloggers from the USA and one blogger from Canada will make their travel worn and weary ways to my little home in New Zealand for a celebratory reunion.

We all met through our blogs here on WordPress.

Alys from Gardening Nirvana

Born To Organize

Kelly from Boomdeadda

Laurie from Life on the Bike and Other Fab Things

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Three years ago we all gathered in Washington DC and met up for the first time in the flesh.  There was a core group, which included Julia from Defeat Despair, but we also got to meet and spend some time with other bloggers albeit briefly and of course there was Lisa from Arlingwords who toured us enthusiastically and knowledgeably around Washington DC Рit was a fabulous time filled with amazing women!

You know, I got to see many amazing things on that trip – my first to the States – but the memories that stay most strongly with me are of the people.¬† My friends of course, and on one memorable afternoon, the many friends of one of those friends, but also left deeply etched into my impressions are of all the folk I encountered incidentally and accidentally and in passing.¬† Everyone was so NICE –¬† friendly, interested, well spoken, polite.¬† They all happily posed for photographs, took photos of us, for us and seemed genuinely pleased to meet someone with a strange accent from a little known place near (or in one case IN)¬† Australia.¬† ¬†Everyone said ‘Thank you!’ so convincingly I arrived back home saying ‘THANKyew!’ too.

Now it’s my turn to return the hospitality.¬† It’s a smaller group sadly, but still it is set to be great fun.¬† We will spend just two full days in Dunedin before travelling ‘up Central’ to the mountain plateau town of Wanaka which will be our base for nine days and from which we will explore the beautiful places all around the area.¬† While there’s an unending choice of things to do and see I believe there will also be some crafting time and jigsaw puzzling time and crocheting time.¬† We are having a very hot summer this year and currently the temperatures are the highest that have ever been recorded in that area¬† (I’m hoping that by the end of February they may have dropped a little)¬† so sitting quietly creating things might be all some of us can aspire to.

There will be more than just the four of us going on this little adventure.¬† My ED, Joanna and her partner Steven are driving down from Wellington to be part of the convoy that heads west into the high plateau.¬† My YD, Danella, recovering well with her mangled leg will also be coming, but not driving.¬† Siddy won’t be driving either, though his head will be out the front passenger window and his backside on someone’s knee at all times…….

An added extra will be the arrival of Alys’ husband Mike flying in from California for a couple of days as we wind down our time together.

It is going to be FABULOUS!

Before we go up country there will be a couple of days to explore Dunedin City.

There’s this fun trike/ motorbike that takes four people at a time up and around the hills of Dunedin to admire the views with ‘Experience Dunedin Tours’ This photo from their website¬†experiencedunedin.com

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There’s a chance to check out the model for this proposal at the museum – this is my favourite plan ever for a city in this country¬† (Yes, there is no sound)¬† It has already progressed from being a thirty year plan to being possible in just six!¬† I may yet live to see it soaring majestically at the head of our beautiful harbour

On March 1st¬† we head up and west to the Lakes District and the heart of Tourism Capital¬† We are hoping to fit in a few fun adventures between exploring gold mining towns and tourist towns and wine and cheese tasting;¬† There will be barbecues preceded by margaritas and lake paddling accompanied by Siddy.¬† There might be gondola rides up the sides of a mountain, kayaking, bungy jumping or a more sedate visit to a lavender farm.¬† There might even be some adventure cycling for some fit folk………..¬† There WILL be wineries and cheeseries and lots of food.¬† There may even be some shopping.¬† Mostly there will simply be the chance to enjoy each other’s company – how fabulous is that?

We’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!