Ah, The Start Of A New Week..

Cheese Hound Report

Titch is still ok – just ok though and not overly great yet. We will be keeping an eye on her for a while yet, but her illness may have turned out to be a really serious infection. And not something fatal. Yay!

The other little bugger Polly – has a death wish. She was followed home yesterday by a counsel worker who informed Mr T that Polly had been in the middle of the main road eating a dead rabbit. So it is back to being tied up again, whenever we have the outside door open. I had thought we might be able to start trusting her. HA!!

Other Stuff

Today could have been better if I wasn’t on day two of my hangover. Not that I seriously over indulged, but obviously indulged enough. It’s a bastard really, especially when my friend Sue can drink like a fish and be perfectly fine the next day. Many’s the morning when I’ve staggered out of my noisome pit (which is what any bed turns into when one has a real steamer going) and found her fresh as a daisy. It’s enough to make one spit dontcha know.

My hangover did not have anything to do with the home made cider by the way. Although it turned out to be yummy,  the alcohol level was certainly not anything near 10% yet. Will have to be patient and wait a while for that. In the meantime we will be brewing some more.

You can find the recipe for Speedy Cider here –


Tip – After you have added the sugar and lemon, wait until you can no longer hear the mixture bubbling, at least a couple of days – we left it four. This is because when bottled it is very gassy and has a possibility of exploding. Ours has been stored out in the garage, just in case.

Saturday turned out to be a great for a brazier night. The gale force winds had dropped and we had a gorgeous day and evening, with a half moon riding high.  Ten of us sat around the fire and put the world to rights. Later in the evening I snaggled a bean bag armchair which turned out to be the perfect chair to sit by a brazier in, it kept my back and bum warm and was just the right height.

Topics discussed included

  • Tom Cruise and Peter Jackson spotted in Masterton (our biggest town), P.J. lives near here.
  • Scientology – the madness of it all
  • Pollution of our local rivers. (Oh yes, the myth of the clean green N.Z.)
  • Who is going to the Organic River Festival in Feb 2010 – me, hopefully!

Organic River Festival

I loved the Organic River Festival this year. After a rough start, in which, after telling every one I had NEARLY forgotten our tickets, Mr T and I arrived at the gates of the Festival (held in Levin, approx two hours away from our town) , to discover I HAD left them at home. The mocking was fairly merciless. Much fussing and fuming and negotiating with the official and we finally got in.   The lack of sleep on the first night camping just about put the kibosh on it for me as well, but I got over it, it’s amazing what six million coffees, a cooked breakfast and and the cheer of good friends can do.

I think the laid back, relaxed feel of the festival is the best aspect of it. It’s a very small gathering as festivals go and that helps – no hideously long queues for anything. Lots of like minded greenies gathered together, and the people watching is superb, with heaps of hippys and other alternative folk to peer at.

I also really love the food, great Hari Krishna vegetarian nosh as well as all the normal stuff with and organic bent. And the plum wine was superb.

On the last night the rain forced the organisers to close the main stage, so a few bands played in the large cook tent. Intimate that’s for sure, absolutely brilliant – I heard the best version of ‘Play That Funky Music’, possibly better than Wild Cherry’s original. Even more tickled when the band dedicated the song to the oldies amongst us, and I think they may have been including me.

Saturday night - early on
Saturday night - early on
Mike and Sue at WOMAD festival
Mike and Sue at WOMAD festival

I put this photo in because I missed out a picture of Mike in my last post – aren’t they a cool Aunty and Uncle to have?

Get A Little Action In..

Its going to be Saturday night and we are going out. Not to some mad, roiling night club, I hasten to add, but round to Sue and Mike’s for a brazier evening. This event has been organised because one of their daughters and son in law are home from Sydney for a visit.   (It could turn a bit mad and roiling as we are trying out our home made cider!)

Sue and Mike are some of my best friends and share a fondness for social justice, caring for the planet and all creatures great and small. In addition to this they are convivial drinking buddies and are high up there on that particular list, which is getting smaller the older we all get unfortunately.

I have to say that one of the highlights of my time on this planet was meeting them. And it happened in a rather odd way.

I had just moved to the Wairarapa after a rather sad divorce, and was a art student at the local Polytechnic. Of an evening I was in my studio and looking out the window, spotted a couple  coming up the drive way. Aha! I thought, must be the local religious nuts, Jehovahs/Mormons coming round to see if they can interest me in their particular brand of bollocks spirituality.  Remembering my recently gained assertiveness skills, I decided to open the door and practise upon them 😉  So you can imagine my surprise when the nice lady announced, ” Hello there, you don’t know us but this is your Uncle Mike, your birth fathers brother and I am your Aunty Sue.”   Right…

I have always known that I was adopted and I was contacted by my birth mother when I was in my twenties.  She had let the extended family know where I was living and that is how I ended up with these complete strangers/relations on my doorstep – they just lived around the corner.

I found out later that they had been round to visit friends and, fortified by a few drinks, and happening to be walking past, had decided to drop in on the off chance. So, what do you do? Ask them in for a cup of tea of course.

That was a long time ago now and although my story has taken me to many and varied places, Mike and Sue have remained as the hub of my personal  wheel.

Me and Sue (may have had a drink)
Me and Sue

Well Done That Ape!

I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, can’t begin to say how much enjoyment his books have given me over the years. One of the things that I love about him is that he has written so many books that it is now possible for me to start reading them from the beginning again, because I can no longer remember what happened in them. I had the great honour of meeting him when I lived in Dunedin and he was doing a book tour – got my books signed, so cool!

I love his witch characters – Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax and Magrat Garlick. And I love the Bursar and his Dried Frog Pills, Ridcully the Arch Chancellor and the Librarian.  And let’s not forget Bloody Stupid Johnston and Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler – or Throat for short. I particularly like the Tiffany Aching books – Pratchett books have lots of good, strong females in them.

I receive an email called Discworld Monthly which is filled with all sorts of news about plays being staged, conventions and book signings. This month I found this wonderful letter which says many of the things I feel about Terry Pratchetts books. And she’s the same age as me, Ook!

At the age of 46, I have learned some things about myself.  I
learned a lot of it in Alcoholics Anonymous and from self-help
books.  Too bad I had not discovered Terry Pratchett when I first
decided to figure out who I am.  He has taught me more about myself
than any self-help book ever could.  The lessons Terry Pratchett
teaches have opened my eyes, and opened my eyes again.  To know
myself, I had to simply accept myself.  There is no mystery; I
simply am me and that is nothing to be afraid of.  He tells us, over
and over again, to stand watch on the edge, to speak for those who
have no voice, to never treat people as things or put things ahead
of people.  What better philosophy is there to live by?  If I could
have the courage of Sam Vimes, the absolute certainty of Granny
Weatherwax, and the joy of Nanny Ogg…  Sir Terry has given me
laughter, tears, and a heartfelt desire to become a better person.
I could never fully express my gratitude to the universe for giving
this world someone as magnificent as Sir Terry Pratchett, so I’ll
simply say Thank You.  Selena Harrell

The Librarian (don't, for fecks sake, call him a monkey)
The Librarian (whatever you do don't call him a monkey), and yes, that is mistletoe he is holding.

My favourite Discworld book of all would have to be Monstrous Regiment – what’s yours?

The Cheese Hound Holds Her Own

The hound continues to hold her own, and I continue to poke antibiotics down her throat. We are going to wait until Monday before we make any decisions re further treatment or the big sleep. Still hoping that the pills will work for her. .

In Other News

Feedback on my necklaces from other crafts women who I respect, has meant that prices for my work have just gone up. So there… 🙂

I have signed up for a day workshop on transferring images (photos, etc) onto fabric. I thought it might help me work with the growing collection (thanks most recently to you, Yvonne), of vintage tray cloths, linen napkins, dresser sets and other embroidered linen that I would like to re purpose. I am not a huge fan of sewing, my Mother was to impatient to teach me and lessons at school just led to tears, so I have never learnt.

Now however, I feel the call of the needle and the sewing machine. Maybe that call is just another one of those things that attack you as you get older, that no one ever thinks to warn you about – like the sudden enjoyment of Antiques Roadshow or an aversion to going anywhere during the week after 6pm. Still, it could be worse, I could have taken up collecting Royal Family souvenirs – and actually appeared on Antiques Road Show with them.

My other reason for taking up the needle is that some of my favourite clothes are wearing out. And not being able to find similar, or having the readys to buy them means that I might just have to make them myself.  I think that I am right to feel some trepidation about this, especially knowing my history in the sewing department (I made what was possibly the most appallingly inept pillow case in the history of the world) – but I am up for a challenge. All I have to do now is find some poor fool to show me what to do and I will be away – hopefully.

best dogs

a ‘make soup’ kind of day..

I actually felt better after making soup today – amazing. It had been a rather gloomy morning, unwell hound and another pissy little problem that has been niggling away at me for awhile now, contributing.

Titch was a bit perkier, maybe because of the antibiotic jab she had yesterday. The vet did not ring till 3pm with the test results, I was starting to wish that he wouldn’t. His good news was that her liver and kidneys are ok. Unfortunately that means that there is a good possibility that she has cancer. He has given her some more antibiotics, but I have to ring him on Friday to report her condition.

The vets name is Richard – and he’s a really good bloke. Actually seems to REALLY care,  as opposed to really care, if you know what I mean.

So – although I feel like I’ve done feck all today, I have done pretty well under the circumstances, witness –

  • baked two loaves of bread
  • made an orange cake
  • cooked huge pot of veg soup
  • made three necklaces
  • spoke to many and varied people on the phone, mainly re ill cheese hound

The cheese hound herself has kept me company while I made the necklaces, and is still wanting to get up on the window seat but needs a boost. We will miss her very much if she has to go. I am still hoping that she just ate some thing dastardly at the beach and the antibiotics will kill whatever it is and she will get better.

Obviously wasn’t quite all here today though as I managed to cook the orange cake without sugar.  I didn’t notice – even when I licked the spatula clean after pouring it into the pan, probably because the orange was so sweet.  Still is edible though – of course, LOL.

Here are a couple of the arty photos I took at the beach the other day..

Picture 122

Picture 132

Picture 158


Titch is really not well. Visit to vet today and it was all, pretty much, bad news. Tests were done and now we wait till tomorrow, but apparently it’s either kidney or liver failure or cancer.

Such a shock, she has got ill so quickly. But she is a elderly dog now so I guess it’s to be expected. I’m so sad. She is very brave and doesn’t make a sound even though she is in pain.

Not much done today. Just sat with her in the lounge and did some felting. Keeping the house quiet and calm for her.

In the surf - only two days ago
In the surf - only two days ago

Beach Bums

Lots to talk about this post, and first up is What I Did Yesterday!

Beach Trip

Haven’t been to the beach for ages and so yesterday we packed the night before’s home made pizza, and the cheese hounds and set off for the coast. Headed out to Lake Ferry which is about an hour or so from here. Bit of a sulky day but what the hey – the paddocks were stuffed with lambs, and the countryside looking all bridal with everything blossoming.

Lake Ferry beach is huge – goes for miles and has tons of driftwood. We just wandered along, the cheese hounds gambolling and sniffing and occasionally swimming.  The air was clear enough to see the Kaikoura Ranges in the South Island. The entire time we were there, a seal browsed up and down the line of the surf.

Took lots of photos, gathered seaweed for the garden and found a cool piece of driftwood and a rock with shell imprints on it, to bring home.

A source of stench was found and Polly rolled in it – we didn’t realise until we got back to the car, and then she had to have a compulsory scrub in the sea.

Thought it was a crooked piece of drift wood
Thought it was a crooked piece of drift wood

Other Stuff

  • Got home in time yesterday to bottle our first batch of cider. Will be testing it next weekend  – hope it’s good
  • Going internet crazy. In the last month I have –
  1. Started this blog
  2. Started using Facebook
  3. Spent the better part of today setting up an Etsy sellers account. I haven’t finished yet, and still haven’t listed anything – but I am getting there. Yay!
  • Titchy cheese hound is not well. Don’t know what she got up to at the beach but she’s been very droopy ever since. Wouldn’t eat her dinner last night and has drooped all over the place today, (although she wasn’t ill enough to turn down a very small square of chocolate). If she is not better tomorrow, she will be visiting the vet.
Hounds and Sea
Hounds and Sea
South Island - Kaikoura Ranges
South Island - Kaikoura Ranges
A Lolly that looks like some testicles
A Lolly that looks like some testicles
A stinking dog being scrubbed
A stinking dog being scrubbed
Damned Lambs, won't keep still!
Damned Lambs, won't keep still!


It’s funny what reading does to you. For most of my life I thought of the southern United States as a place full of red necks and racists, the last part of that country I would want to visit. Bollocks of course – product of an imagination fed by Hollywood and sheer mental laziness.  And then I read the complete works of Fanny Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.  Now Missouri would probably be the first stop on my itinerary. In fact, one of the reasons that I wanted to live in this house is because it reminded me of Neighbor Dorothy’s house in Welcome to the World, Baby Girl.

Flagg’s books do not shrink from the darker side of life however, they would be way to sweet for me otherwise.  And that brings me to the main subject of my post today. America is the richest country in the world – you would think that it would be able to look after its own people wouldn’t you?  Well I guess they could – if they wanted to.   Obama and Co are facing an up hill battle in their attempt to bring in universal health care so that the 46 MILLION UNINSURED PEOPLE can get their health needs met. Sorry about the capitals but..46 MILLION!! Bloody Hell!!

My favourite American blogger – Heather B Armstrong  (Dooce) has strong feelings on this subject as her family has had health insurance problems. And I’m with her husband Jon who commented on his blog –

Here’s the freedom and peace of mind I think every person deserves: if one is sick or has a health-related problem, one finds the nearest or most favorite physician and makes an appointment or walks in and gets help. Every person alive deserves this. That we don’t live this way is hypocritical and inexcusable. We have the technology.

The Guardian has an article by Ed Pilkington titled ‘Dying for affordable health care – the uninsured speak’ , it’s an interesting read if you’ve got a moment.  I’m just going to sit back and be thankful that I live here. 😉


Craft – In My Little Corner Of The World

I went to art school for three years in my early thirties,then did a degree in art history and one of the things that stuck me as most unfair in my study of art was the so called divide between fine art and craft. It always seemed to me  to be snobby and sexist.

Agnes Coy brooch

Here in the Wairarapa we are fortunate enough to have a whole heap of wonderful craft artists. The little town where I live in particular, seems to have even more that its fair share – it’s so cool!

One of the good things I did yesterday was to visit one such town talent at her ‘Agnes Coy’ studio/shop. It’s a really lovely space and full of beautiful hand crafted objects – so give her a call if you are in town and pop in.

Agnes Coy Hottie Cover
Agnes Coy Hottie Cover


Agnes Coy bracelet
Agnes Coy bracelet

On A Frosty Morning..

The Cheese Hounds have different ways of dealing with a morning that is beautifully sunny but sparkling with frost. Titch assumes her favourite position on the window seat, muzzle on the sill, and has a wee snooze.. While Polly the Wild Child, prefers to air her parts on the sofa, in the sun.

I Could Hear Her Snoring
I Could Hear Her Snoring
Picture 014
In Preparation For A Hard Days Laying Around