Saturday, March 31, 2012

Autumn Sunshine

What a beautiful day of weather again. A leisurely awakening, a little housework and lawn mowing, then on to meet a friend for brunch. Arabica in Petone is going from strength to strength, reminding me more of its early days as The Screaming Turtle. The owner is hands-on and very focussed on customer satisfaction. The chicken and kumara salad was very tasty. I'm into tea for 2012, but apparently for the fussy coffee drinker the java is of a high standard. Next, we popped into The Lighthouse to check the schedule and quite by chance discovered a recommended movie was starting in three minutes. Just enough time to get a glass of wine and settle into our seats. We had the whole place to ourselves - perfect. The Women on the 6th Floor is a french movie. It's set in the 60s, so as well as a charming story there is also some great fashion and decor. I saw lots of nice things to buy while strolling Jackson Street - boots, shoes, handbags - but the lure of oak won and I now have a gorgeous new tea trolley. None of today was planned, it all just unfolded in the serendipitous way that the best of days do.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Friday night is here. The weather forecast continues to be excellent. A friend has lent me the latest House and Garden, and there is an article about a Petone house I have passed and admired in Patrick Street. Daylight saving ends this weekend and I will sleep for an extra hour. Life is good.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Brave, Bravo

Just home from another brilliant show presented by the Stagecraft theatre society at The Gryphon Theatre, Guznee Street. The production is called The Wife Who Spoke Japanese in Her Sleep. It is very funny and written by a New Zealand playwright. The cast were superb and having the lead played by a work colleague just adds to the fun.The play runs until Saturday - go and see it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Morning at the Rec

In all the time I have lived in the Hutt, I had never set foot on the Hutt Recreation grounds. Too be honest, before starting at the new school I didn't even know where it was. It was out of use last year as it was being upgraded for the World Rugby Cup. This year 'Athletics Day' was held there. I have to say, it makes an excellent venue - loads of space and a real sense of occasion about the event. Quite the nicest sports day - and I've seen a few. The weather was perfect, just as our lovely autumns tend to be. And so the term rolls on, like the rest of my life, at a dizzying pace.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


After a morning spent lounging with the Sunday paper, I decided some action was required to make good use of the sunny day. Finishing the fence painting seemed a good idea. It turned out to be much less fun than anticipated, with the wind gusting my hair so that I could hardly see what I was doing. Not to be beaten, I came up with the perfect solution - phone a friend. Luckily for me he couldn't think up something convincing he was already doing, so with two workers on the go the panels are now all finished and the post caps have their top coat.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


This is not one of my favourite tasks, but once I arrived at Pak'nSave I soon started to enjoy myself. Supermarketing is a great chance for a Paleo lifestyler to feel smug and superior. It's lovely to marvel at the crap others load into their trolleys to feed themselves instead of actual food. It's quite alarming that many are raising their children on it, too. Loaded up with my fruits, veges, nuts and meats, there was time to have a quick read of the Women's mags while waiting at the checkout - interestingly one has Prince Harry dating a Brazilian bombshell, and one says he's getting jiggy with a Monaco princess. My receipt gives me 25c off petrol and we are stocked up for another fortnight.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Say 'Cheese'

Tomorrow is the big day - school photos. Despite all the technology we use in education these days, as far as I can see, this process has changed little in the last century. Line up, sit here, smile. Children who readily laugh and smile delightfully throughout any normal day for some reason display fierce grimaces when asked to smile for a camera. I will set off for school thinking my outfit looks fine for a photo, but will look back in years to come and wonder, "What was I thinking?" 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Panic in the Streets

The fallout from the earthquakes continues - this made the news in all the media yesterday: Marmite production has ceased in Christchurch. Apparently supermarket shelves are emptying, without any prospect of new stock arriving in the next few months. The citizens of New Zealand have been advised to ration use and not resort to panic buying. Not a problem here. I wouldn't touch the stuff - it's so strong and gritty, just plain nasty. This is an ideal time for the populace to make the change to a clearly superior product. Vegemite is the yeast spread of all yeast spreads. The taste is sublime. Those poor Marmite users will do their palates a big favour by making the change. And once they have seen the light in yeast spread department, the change from awful Wattie's tomato sauce to lovely Whitlock's tomato chutney is a natural progression for those seeking the finer things in life.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Best Exotic ...

... Marigold Hotel. This is an absolutely delightful movie. It's gentle, funny and, at times, poignant. Only the British could make a movie like this. See it!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spot the Difference

The gorgeous mantlepiece still looks wonderful, but now it lives in a carpet-free room. Two hours well spent this morning. The floor is in amazing condition, despite the need to remove many nails and staples. This could be an addiction - three rooms to go!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

Another spectacular Petone day. I didn't have a problem with summer - I thought we had plenty of great days - but you can't beat a sunny day in autumn. My prediction of a lovely long autumn seems well on track.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fishy Business

Some time ago the Hutt City Council, obviously flush with ratepayers' cash, decided to improve High Street by putting down the obligatory paving bricks to replace the footpath and removing a lot of handy angle parking in favour of far fewer parallel parking spaces. Surprise, surprise - fewer people came calling on the retailers, because a convenient park was a hard to find. The shop owners complained, so the Hutt City Council stepped up to solve the problem, but not by putting back the parks or reducing the cost of the remaining metered spaces. Oh, no - that's not a creative enough solution. Clearly what was needed was a night market, every Thursday. This would apparently bring vibrancy and the crowds to High Street. The start was delayed, because the ratepayers needed to pay for specially designed stalls to be commissioned and manufactured. In the time this took, the retailers decided they didn't want what was left of High Street shopping closed off for a night market. But we'd already paid for the fancy stalls. Not a problem -  the night market would now take place outside the council buildings, where nobody goes. It started off as a tacky, muddled collection of greasy food stalls and 'craft'. (I've never quite understood why stringing a few tacky beads together, total worth probably 50 cents, constitutes crafted jewellery and is worth $40 at the markets) A few weeks ago, I called again to see if the market had improved. Where was it? Well, most of it had moved into the Town Hall. The crafty folk found our lovely stalls too prone to wind and rain and wouldn't use them. Goodness knows where they would have retreated to if the market had stayed in High Street. Today, however, I wandered through on the way to my bus and spotted a seafoods truck. I have to say the terakihi, when poached over tomatoes, made a delicious paleo dinner. So all is not lost - Hutt City Council, at some considerable cost, has provided me with a source of seafood for Thurday night dinners. But their greatest gift to the people will always remain the delightful clock tower that looks like a pensive owl!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Betsy Lee and Sugary Progress

 When I was a child it was mostly sugar bowls and spoons for the dispensing of sugar in cafes. At Wanganui's finest establishment in the 60s, the peerless Betsy Lee, there was even the highly sophisticated choice of coffee crystals. Some more downmarket places used the totally useless 'tip and hope' glass container method. Strangely, this is still the case in The Pavillion at Eastborne, and I don't think they are even trying to be retro chic.    

In the 70s the move to square sugar sachets began. These worked adequately for the purpose, but by the mid 90s were being seen off cafe premises by the sugar straw. Either of these two inelegant solutions seem perfectly adequate, you might think. Well actually - no. Some boffin somewhere was clearly troubled by the stagnation of innovation in this area and so came up with what was before me on Sunday.

These geometric oddities don't fit well into any container, but they are fun to fiddle with. Which is all one would ever really want to do, because who in their right mind would add sugar to either coffee or tea?

If only such energy and creativity was put into other problems that tax our times - solving world hunger or bringing world peace spring to mind. Or, at the very least, how to bring back the Betsy Lee!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

At the Movies

The way the story unfolded in the book was very clever - a great read. It's always interesting to see how a book will translate to the big screen. In this case the screenplay was done very well. None of the letters to the husband as used in the book, but an equally clever play between past and present. Brilliantly acted by all the cast - go and see it!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

From the Ducks of Petone ...

... a big thank you to SweetPea. These wonderful people, quite apart from supplying the most delicious food in the most elegant of premises, also leave out bags of food for locals to take to the ducks. A visiting seagull also enjoyed today's offerings and a pukeko looked on approvingly.

Garage Sale Day

A beautiful Petone morning for business. I woke just after six and was out of bed soon after, feeling awake and refreshed. How good it is for one's body to wake naturally, and how surprisingly little more sleep I require than the ghastly alarm allows during the week. 

Millie, however, wasn't budging - her body clock was firmly set on 'not a school day'.

The media have been informed - well, ZB and the Dom. Quality signage has been strategically placed.
Let's get selling!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Return to SweetPea and Internet Fame

The Junior team had a lovely 'out meeting' today - high tea at SweetPea. It was just lovely - if you haven't been you should be booking. When I did a Google Image search for a suitable photo this one came up in fifth place. Interestingly, the one of myself and friends, that I posted on my blog after a SweetPea visit last year, came in at number three!

Monday, March 5, 2012

After the Storm

The wind and rain was still hanging about yesterday, but this morning the day dawned clear, though cool. It was sunny and pleasant when I got off the bus just on five c'clock, so I walked the way home via the beach. I have never seen so much driftwood there before - usually there is just a lot of kelp and other seaweeds after a high sea. A nice end to a busy but satisfying day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What Lies Beneath

Earlier this morning this was a blank, white wall. The previous owners had gone to considerable trouble to remove the original fireplace and replace it with blandness. A purchase on TradeMe and the assistance of two wonderful friends saw the transformation this afternoon. There was a short discussion as to the merits of smashing out the wall, not knowing what exactly was behind, then caution was thrown to the wind and out came the power tools. I am so happy with the result, and I think the ancestors hanging above would approve too. I'm thinking the fireplace in the front living room may need a similar makeover in the future ...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Into the storm

Or, into the weather bomb, whichever you prefer. It was well worth it. The movie was great. It's been a while since I've been to Adzuki Bean for a meal. They excelled themselves. The fish was delicious - and, miracle of miracles, I am now a fan of bok choy. I've always avoided this green because it looked no match for lettuce as a salad item and I was afraid it might have aligned itself to nasty spinach if cooked. The lemon tart as lovely as I recall. Meanwhile, the wind and rain continue.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Weather Bomb

Weather bombs - they hadn't invented those in my younger days, so we just had storms. Anyway, one is coming so Millie and I are getting prepared. The sun umbrella has been stowed away in the garage, the outdoor chairs are stacked and my wind weary 'sweet pea' tree has been tied to the fence. As Millie prefers indoor facilities when the weather is inclement, I am about to set off to the supermarket for the kitty litter. I may buy a trashy magazine or two  just in case I need to spend tomorrow in bed as the weather bomb rages. In that case, the 'Come Dine With Me' omnibus will also comfort and sustain me through the morning - it's trash TV at its finest. I have arranged for a movie and dinner out later in the day, so hopefully the worst will have passed by then.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

RIP Davy Jones

It was sad to hear today that Davy Jones has died. Sixty-six is far too young. I loved watching The Monkees on TV in the 70s and, though Peter Tork was my very favorite, the whole group were a delight. They produced some classic songs and just hearing a Monkees tune sends me off into nostalgia for times that still seem so fresh in my memory. There's a scientific reason why one's life seems to pass with increasing speed as one ages, but mine seems to be accelerating at a particularly alarming rate. It's sad to see the passing of so many performers who are still so young in my mind.