This and that and the other …

Wasn’t that Super Moon an absolute stunner on Sunday night? Although I was mightily impressed when I spotted it through my kitchen window, I didn’t realise that it was quite so special until I got online later that night and read all the write-ups about the event. And then, having read all about it, it was still there when I left to go to work on a clear and very crisp Monday morning …

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It made for a wonderfully uplifting start to the day seeing that as I stepped outside: mind you, the wind that went with it was straight off the snow-laden mountains, so I wasn’t inclined to linger long in taking the photograph!

I had a very pleasant experience at bridge last night. You may recall my mentioning a couple of weeks ago that I played in a tournament early in June? We had a shocking morning result with a second from bottom score, but redeemed ourselves in the afternoon with a second from top score, giving us an overall result in mid-field. Now, although I play in the Senior grade on club nights, and my partner is from the Senior Reserve grade, we are both ranked as Juniors for tournament purposes, and played in the combined Junior and Intermediate section in this particular tournament, leaving the Big Boys and Girls – as in, those who really know what they’re doing – to battle it out in the Open section. There were prizes for the top Juniors and the top Intermediates, but sadly we didn’t feature when the winners were announced. At least, that’s what we thought … However, it transpires an error was made when assessing our ranking on the day, and we were classed as Intermediate when in actual fact, we are Juniors. Because of this error, we weren’t included in the correct grade when our scores were compared with others, and became ‘also rans’ in the Intermediate section, rather than (Ahem.  A little trumpet fanfare and drum roll, please) … First in the Junior section (woo-hoo!!). Fortunately the eagle-eyed person who checked the scores in the week following the tournament realised that an error had been made and brought it to my attention, and I brought to the Tournament Convenor’s attention, who brought it to the Tournament Director’s attention, who … well, I’m sure you’ve caught my drift by now, yes? Anyway, the upshot was that the results were amended and our achievement was announced last night at our Senior grade club session (unfortunately my partner wasn’t able to play with me last night, so I was called up on my own to receive a very nice letter of apology and our prize money). And you know what the nicest thing about it all was? The congratulations from my peers as I played through the night: given that this is only my third year in the Senior grade, it was extra special to receive recognition from players who are light years ahead of me in playing ability and have won scores of prizes along the way, but took the time to acknowledge my achievement and say, “Well done”.  I was well chuffed! 🙂

Was delighted to hear on the radio as I travelled to work this morning, the last few minutes of play of the T20 cricket match between England and New Zealand, which we won by 5 runs on the very last ball.  Caught the last half of a replay on the TV this evening and enjoyed watching some of our new players coping very well with the pressure of a match that went down to the wire: good stuff!  And the even better news for me is that I have Friday off work, so I can sit up as long as I like on Thursday night to watch the second match if I so choose, and not have to worry about falling asleep at work on Friday … 🙂  I had to smile, when listening to the commentary, at some of the extraordinary terminilogy used in cricket:  silly mid-off … backward square leg … gully … third man (Harry Lime, here we come) … first slip, second slip, third slip … googly …  extra cover … deep fine leg …  Where on earth do they all come from?  Can you imagine someone from another planet trying to figure what the heck we’re talking about??!

On another sporting note, I could hardly believe my ears on Tuesday morning when I caught up with Rafael Nadal’s early exit from Wimbledon! Having groaned in despair on Monday morning when I heard that my favourite hero, Roger Federer, would have to beat Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray AND Novak Djokovic to win this year, I’m now feeling a little more upbeat about his chances (as I’m sure he is, too). 🙂 Sadly, Sky TV isn’t seeing fit to cover any of the matches live so far – I guess it might kick in once we move into the second week, so there could be some additional late nights ahead for me (additional to those which are already late due to my bridge activities 3 nights a week already, I mean …).

And finally tonight, a few shots of Mr Henry Lee becoming acquainted with our new work mascot, called Sockers (after the Sockburn Service Centre, where we were previously located).   Sockers had complained about being left alone in a cold office all night, so I took him home with me.  H.L. didn’t seem too impressed – in fact, I think he’s actually attacking Sockers in one of these shots …  I can see I shall have to talk to him about his manners and making visitors more welcome.


Maybe if I pretend I’m asleep he’ll go away …


Get out of my space!




Take that, you … you … you interloper, you!



Righto, off to watch a little bit of the second State of Origin match before heading off to bed – go, the Maroons!

PS  Have since discovered that the tennis is on another channel, so I can watch it  – but since my friend Roger was bundled out overnight, suddenly I’ve lost a bit of interest … 😦

Brrrr! In anticipation of what’s to come …

We received a weather warning at work today – here’s what’s in store for us over the next few days:

Fine weather today with sunny periods and some cloud, mostly patchy high cloud. Light northeasterly winds.
Cloudy tomorrow, with some light showers developing during the morning, but more persistent rain during the afternoon. Light to moderate southerly winds, cold temperatures. Snow lowering to 400m by evening. Heavier rain and stronger southwesterly winds at night.

Further Outlook
Cloudy and very cold on Thursday with periods of rain and snow, the snow initially to near sea level, rising to 200m around the middle of the day, then lowering to near sea level again from evening. Rain and snow will be heavy at times, with 40-50mm of rain expected during the day, and over 40cm of snow above 200m. Winds will be strong and gusty during the morning, and near gale force during the afternoon and evening from the south.
Severe wind chills are likely, and very heavy swells off the coast.
Cloudy and bitterly cold on Friday with snow showers to low levels. A further 10-20cm of snow is expected.
Strong to near gale force southwesterlies at first decreasing slowly during the day.
Mostly cloudy but dry on Saturday with bitterly cold temperatures as southwesterly winds ease and become light. A clearance late in the day will lead to heavy frosts Saturday night with a risk of widespread ice from frozen snow.
Fine and sunny with some high cloud developing on Sunday and a little milder, with moderate morning and night or northwesterly winds developing.
Cold southwesterlies freshening again Monday with a period of wintry showers.


Thank goodness I have a load of firewood on hand! There have been numerous media warnings through the day to stock up on food, fuel and any other supplies you might need should travelling become difficult due to the snow, so I heeded the warning and stopped at the supermarket on my way home after bridge this evening. And it looks like most of Christchurch has listened and heeded the warnings as well – I’ve never seen so many empty shelves! No milk, very little bread, and a very limited selection of meat – it was almost spooky, like the world was about to end and everyone was determined to have a jolly good nosh-up before it happened … 🙂 Had to laugh at the students in front of me at the check-out, whose idea of stocking up consisted mainly of lots of beer and potato chips and dips! All the essentials, they said 😉 Hopefully I will be able to get some milk tomorrow and also fill up the gas bottle, so the cats and I can hunker down should the weather warning be accurate. Generally when they forecast snow down to 400m, I get it where I am, so we shall wait and see.

Of course, tomorrow evening I have my awards function … have already had two calls today from people who aren’t keen to come out if the weather is as bad as has been forecast, and I can’t say I blame them: I’m almost tempted not to turn up myself, except I’m responsible for organising the darn thing, so it wouldn’t be a good look if I wasn’t there. We’ll just keep all our fingers and toes crossed that it holds off long enough to let me get home OK, and basically I don’t care what happens after that! 🙂 Somehow I don’t think I’ll be heading off to work on Thursday or Friday morning … my imperially-trained brain has just translated that 40cm of snow is darn near half a metre or around 1’6″ in metric measurements: THAT IS ONE HECK OF A LOT OF SNOW!!!!!!!

I have to confess, though, that the African child in me still gets VERY excited at the prospect of heavy snow – there is just something about it that makes me almost gleeful at the thought of being snowed in and hunkered down with the cats, a good log fire burning, plenty of food on hand and lots of good books to read 🙂 (I’m assuming, of course, that my power will still be on and I’ll be able to use the phone and internet to keep in touch with the world – take those away and suddenly it’s not such an attractive prospect … 😉 ) If you don’t hear from me over the next few days you’ll know why!

What a dreary old Sunday it’s been!

It’s done nothing but rain today; the ground is absolutely sodden, and there are puddles everywhere, so could somebody please turn off the tap? Thank you!

With the weather the way it was, it’s been an indoors day for me today, catching up on some reading, doing a little bit of quilting (just started a quilt requested by a family member), and spending a whole lot of time on the computer. I recently took on the (voluntary) role of Marketing Officer for Crockfords Bridge Club, where I play twice a week – there hasn’t been anyone willing to fill the role for the last three years, so it’s almost a case of starting from scratch in the development of a marketing strategy and plan. Our membership numbers have been declining of late, so we’re working on ways to attract (and retain) new members, and have decided to undertake a survey of our current members in the hope it will help us to target our marketing more effectively. I’d heard of, and had a little (very little) experience with Survey Monkey, which we’re going to use for completion of the survey online, as well as hard copies for those who prefer to complete it that way. What I hadn’t appreciated is that the basic Survey Monkey membership only allows you 10 questions free of charge: anything over that and you have to upgrade and pay an annual subscription, which meant that I’ve spent this afternoon trying to squeeze our 24 original questions into 10! There is some flexibility in the way the questions can be structured – you can sort of have two bites of the cherry and combine questions – but there are still one or two of our original questions which will have to wait until another time. It’s been a good exercise in focusing on what we need to know now, and what can wait.

Part of my role as M.O. is getting together information for our newsletter, and I’ve been granted access to some of the club’s old minutes books, which have provided some fascinating reading:
9 September 1938: “Mr. M. moved that Mrs T. and Mrs B. be written to and informed that their standard of play is not sufficiently high at present for membership of the Club and that the suggestion be made that they take a further series of lessons and apply for nomination again in three months’ time.” (Obviously they weren’t so worried about membership numbers back then! 🙂 )
7 October 1938: “The Secretary was instructed to arrange to have the carpets taken away and cleaned. Mr S. moved that Mrs A. and Mrs L. be asked to select a rug for the main room, the cost to be in the vicinity of £2. Mr M. agreed to get what whisky, sherry and ale was necessary for the entertainment of the Tournament players.” Yup, got to have things right for those tournament players 😉
17 December 1938: A discussion was held regarding the party and it was decided to ask lady members to bring supper and men to give 2/6d towards the expenses. It was decided that the Secretary should deal the hands and include six goulashes.” (I wonder what these goulashes were – I’ve heard of Hungarian Goulash, which I think is some kind of stew, but feel sorry for the poor old Secretary if she was expected not only to deal the cards for the party, but also had to provide six goulashes!!)
13 October 1939: “The secretary was instructed to buy two waste paper baskets.”
19 January 1940: “It was decided to buy a new garbage tin and have the Club’s name painted on it.”
19 July 1940: “Mrs R’s suggestion in the suggestion book about giving up cakes for supper … was discussed, and it was decided that no action be taken in this matter.”
Such weighty matters to be discussed and decided upon! 🙂

The week ahead for me is going to be a busy one, with an awards function on Wednesday night which still has a few tasks to be completed beforehand: this function is for the presentation of Community Service and Youth Service Awards to 17 recipients in recognition of their voluntary work in the community. I’ve arranged for a short choral presentation by a local primary school choir as part of the evening, so it should be very entertaining.

Apart from that, I’m looking forward to the Black Caps’ game against England in the ICC Champions Trophy later tonight, although it sounds as though the weather might play a part in the result, as happened in our last game against Australia, and a couple of the other games in the last few days. The Warriors also play at 8pm, so that could be an alternative should the cricket not start on time.

Have a good week, everyone!

The fun side of life

Hi, y’all

Two things have caught my eye lately and made me smile and want to share them with you, in the hope they might make you smile too 🙂

My drive to and from work each day takes approximately 30 minutes each way, most of it on a relatively quiet road with not too much traffic apart from the last 8-10 minutes. Sometimes I listen to the radio; sometimes I don’t. And sometimes, things such as the two photos below make me stop, and look, and laugh. OK, I did say smile at the beginning, but really, it should have been laugh 🙂 🙂

I love the creativity involved in each of them; even though I don’t know these people, I immediately feel a strange sort of connection, a sharing of the love of things unusual, quirky and different.

Here’s the first one:


Have a closer look: the local spider population have certainly given their seal of approval to this creation.

And the second:

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Do you notice the way the sign is even in the shape of a cone, with little chips out of it at the top to give it that pinecone look? Darn it, even though I have plenty of kindling on hand myself, I am SO tempted to stop and purchase some of these NZ made pinecones from Jimmy, Sophie and Becca!!

Don’t you just love them??!   Definitely shareworthy, in my book.

After a pretty stressful day at work, what with one thing and another, tonight I plan to put my feet up and blob out watching the ICC Champions Trophy match between the NZ Black Caps and the Aussies: go, Brendon and the boys!! After the thriller against Sri Lanka the other day, in which we just squeaked home, I’m hoping for a more emphatic victory: couldn’t happen to a nicer team than our Big Brother from Across the Ditch!! 🙂

More from the garden

The weather was a bit of a bonus today, as they’d promised us rain but it never arrived, and instead we had another mild sort of a day, which encouraged me to take a few more shots around the garden.

Today’s gallery features clematis (again, I know!), ivy, grevillea and a spider web 🙂

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DSCF9103 corrected   This ivy leaf is almost like a watercolour painting – look how the colours blend into each other, but in a blotchy sort of way, just as watercolours do.  I was also taken by the ‘L’ shape formed by the two leaves.

DSCF9090  I always think of ballet dancers doing a pas de jete (or whatever that leap in the air is that they do) when I see the grevillea flowers – can’t you just see the legs going out in all directions? 😉
DSCF9075  Such beautiful, vivid pinks amongst the green foliage, all coiled and ready to spring …

DSCF9045  It’s a bit ragged in a couple of places, but this spider’s done a good job with this web, don’t you reckon?

Out with the camera on a winter’s afternoon

Despite the fact that we are now officially in winter, it’s been a lovely day today, quite mild with lots of lovely sunshine and a bustling nor’west wind to go with it: good for drying the washing 🙂

Sat up last night to watch the first men’s semi-final in the French Tennis Open – I got as far as the end of the 4th set, when it was 2-2, before I headed off to bed at 2am, and then watched the final set in the highlights this morning: what a match!!! I’m not a real Nadal fan, but have to admire the way he’s come back from his injury and surgery last year, and now seems to be as good as he ever was. I can’t see David Ferrar getting anywhere near him in the final. And as far as the women’s final goes, I couldn’t care less about either of them: Sharapova drives me mad with her shrieking, and I’ve never been a fan of Serena Williams, so guess who won’t be watching that match tonight. 🙂 The All Blacks (our national rugby team, for those not familiar with NZ sports teams) play the French tonight, so that’s definitely on my to view list, and after that I’ll probably turn over to watch the ICC Champions Trophy cricket game between England and Australia (can’t make up my mind who to support in that one …).

Late this afternoon, after I’d finished setting up a supply of wood for the week, I took a stroll around the garden with my camera to see what I could find. The wind made things a little tricky, but I was fascinated by the twists and turns of the dry clematis stalks; found signs of old and new growth amongst the rhodos and the lilac; encountered some members of the pukeko family who live in the vicinity; and was struck by the glow of lichen growth in the later afternoon sun.

First, the clematis:

Next, the rhodos and the lilac:



And finally, the pukekos and the lichen:


And now it’s dinner and couch potato time! 🙂

Beautiful sunrise

Normally on Saturday and Sunday mornings I tend to enjoy a little bit of extra time in bed, since I don’t have to get up for work; however, this Sunday morning I was up reasonably early as I was being picked up at 9am for an all-day bridge tournament. And thank goodness I was up early-ish, otherwise I would have missed out on the most beautiful sunrise: an absolute stunner, with fiery skies and roiling clouds that quite took my breath away. As soon as I saw the glow out of my kitchen window I grabbed the camera and ran out onto the road (still in my PJs, I might add) to take photo after photo after photo (all the whole keeping an ear and eye out for any traffic, as I didn’t fancy being caught in the headlights in my night attire!). There was a gusty nor-west wind at the time, so keeping the camera steady enough in the low light was a bit of a challenge, but I managed to get some reasonably good shots to share with you.

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What a lovely start to the day it was: it’s just a pity that my results at the bridge tournament didn’t end the day in a similar fashion!! 🙂