When you’re feeling blue

I am a big fan of rose-coloured glasses. I prefer to call it an optimistic POV.

I am also a big fan of positive memories from which I believe we find inspiration when times are low.

My grandsons are growing up, as I may have mentioned one or two or a million times.

I had gotten to thinking about mortality lately. Mine, specifically, and I asked myself what words of wisdom I would leave for them, and pretty much came to the conclusion I had no wisdom to impart. At least, none I could think of in the moment.

Then I came up with an idea.

So I had a few photos mounted on a light board they could hang on a wall. Wrote the blurb below and mailed off the package to them today.

With the note below

I hope you will hang this on your wall,

And when you are feeling down,

And life is hard, as it often is

Look at the pictures for a moment or two

Look at the pure joy,

Close your eyes,

And remember how it felt

And breathe

And for a moment

Let that pure joy

Lift you up and make you strong,

I will love you always and unconditionally


So, from North of 43, I hope if your day is low you can conjure up a memory or look at a picture of a blissful time and remember how it felt. It works.

Chris G July 20th ’22

Aren’t Grandsons Wonderful

“I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?”

9.00 pm and I realise it’s my turn to write a post. My son has just left after dinner. I love my daughter-in-law from heaven but how I love it when there are just the two of us.

We talked about the four grandsons, all growing into fine young men (no bias here, you understand) and some of my special times spent with them, without parents. I could go on about them but I really don’t want to bore you.

But I thought of one day 10 years ago when I had the strangest text conversation with Grandson No 3. I wrote a blog about it and will reproduce it here –

“Monday afternoon. 
Ping – a text arrived from my No 3 Grandson – “Do you by any chance have a set of poker chips.” Excuse me.  This from a 15-year-old to his then 74-year-old Grandmother.
I remember I did have something that might or might not be poker chips.  So after some consideration and much digging and hunting, I found what I was looking for.
Me – “I don’t know if they are poker chips but I have some things that could be”
Grandson – “Are there many and could I possibly have them for the weekend”.
Me – “Yes darling.  I don’t know what they are.  There are red ones, blue and green and white.  There are 16 of each colour.  If they are of any use you may keep them.  How shall I get them to you?”.
Gr – “Sweet I may ask mum to pop by on the way home”
Me -“Good.  See you soon”
Gr – “Sweet”
2 hours later.
Me – “What sort of time will you be here?”
Gr – “I don’t know maybe not today”
Me – “OK  I’ll drop them into Mum’s office tomorrow or bring them when I meet her for coffee later this week.”
Gr – “Thanks”
3 days later. 
Gr – “Is it today you said you would drop off the poker chips?”
Me – “Yes.  I’ll give them to Mum when I see her this afternoon”
Gr – “Thanks”
6 hours later
Me – “Mum has the chips”
Gr – “Thank you so much.”

I wonder why my 15-year-old grandson would think that his grandmother had poker chips?  He didn’t discuss this with his mother, he just decided that I was the best bet (ooh an unintentional pun).  He is going away for the weekend with the rowing team and so I imagine that poker will be one way they will amuse themselves during their long waiting time.  I wonder where and when he learned to play.”

At that time I said ” I don’t send many text messages.  I would much rather pick up the phone and speak to somebody, but we know that all the young of our species are glued to their smartphones sending and receiving many, many texts daily.  I was pleased to see that Grandson No 3 was not using ‘text speech’ obviously either realised that I wouldn’t be impressed or else he thought that I wouldn’t understand what he was trying to tell me.  Over the past few years texts seem to be the only way that my grandsons communicate with me when we are apart,  So I am learning the art of “texting” although I am firmly convinced that text is not a verb, but in today’s changing world, I shall probably be proven wrong in this.”

I just thought I would like to share this with you and see your reactions.

And for no other reason except I love it and over the years the boys have often had to come to Granma’s aid, I share this –

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the
most room in your heart.”
Winnie the Pooh

JB July13, 2022

Time Flies – So we must be having fun.

Tomorrow is June 11, fifty-five years since my children and I first set foot in New Zealand. Their father had come on ahead, so it was just the three of us arriving.

My children were 7 and 4. Oh how very long ago that was! We knew nothing of this country. The Embassy in London was obviously staffed by English people who knew just about as much as me. “Wouldn’t you love to be able to dry your washing on an outside line every day?” I was asked. Yes, but not in Auckland where it rains most days. And in response as to whether I should bring my about to be delivered new car I was told that wasn’t necessary as new cars were readily available to buy in NZ. Wrong again. When we arrived we discovered new cars could be purchased only with overseas funds. At the time NZ was controlled by import licences on everything from rice and aluminium foil to new cars, and everything in between.

The day we arrived and for the following six or seven days, it rained. Auckland in the winter is dull and drizzly and had little to commend it. We quickly learned that shops closed at 5.30 pm except on Friday when they closed at 10 pm and didn’t reopen until Monday. And pubs and bars closed at 6pm This was referred to as the 6 o’clock swill. Men rushed from their offices to get a drink before the bars closed. This law had been introduced in 2017 and 50 years later it was revoked. But more on that some other time.

We felt that we had moved back 50 years in time.

We were to be here for only 2 years and so set about finding a place to rent. We looked at the house the person before my husband rented, but I took one look and decided I couldn’t/wouldn’t live there. We found a lovely property on the North Shore with a path down to a separate beach. Perfect. Among the many rules and regulations at the time, you were only allowed to take $11 a day out of the country. So as we had overseas funds we paid the house owners in British pounds for a year in advance so both sides were happy. Oh, and we inherited their dog a large rambunctious mutt who immediately decided that he was David’s dog – when they sat beside each other the dog was the taller. Our own dog was on the way from Scotland and so suddenly we had two dogs.

The inherited dog was naughty and got into much mischief, but that’s for another time.

We enjoyed living on the beach in this lovely property. Unfortunately, the mother of the owner’s wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer and so their trip to the UK was cut short. Of course, we agreed to terminate the lease and found somewhere else to rent. Another tale for another time.

At the end of two years, we were off to Montreal – another tale. And after two years there we decided we wanted to bring up our children on the beach at Takapuna. But that’s yet another tale for another time.

By the time we left for Canada, New Zealand was catching up with the rest of the world, and in some instances was in advance – eg Women’s suffrage in 1893. And two years later when we returned, it was hardly recognisable as the colonial outlook it had been in 1967.

So now 55 years later we choose to live here in this far-flung land and are all New Zealanders. Each of my children married New Zealanders. Of course, we retained our British passports as here one can have dual nationality.

End of today’s walk down memory lane.

JB June 10, 2022

 The Day The Rain Came

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather,
always bring your own sunshine.”

Anthony J D’Angelo. American author

For farmers across the country, the rain that fell overnight was welcome. This year summer with its heat has continued well into April. But the usual summer showers have not. 

Easter usually, is celebrated(?)  with a wet tent and holidaymakers looking for somewhere to go. But not this year.  It was a perfect four-day break, sunny, warm and delightful. 

I think back on the Easters when the children were younger. We had a boat that we kept at Lake Taupo some 300 km from Wellington. and so on Thursday of Easter, we would pack up the car and take off for the weekend. We always hoped it would be four good days and we could get out on the lake and do some fishing or water skiing; however it so rarely worked out that way.  Mostly it was several miserable, wet days in a motel or hotel, with two children totally bored and itching to get out on the water.

And then when the sun did eventually come out, the mood immediately shifted as we all traipsed happily to where the boat was moored.

Alas for me, those days are now over.  My son keeps his boat in the location where my DYS stored his, and he and his family spend many hours fishing, water skiing and generally enjoying this beautiful area.

So, thanks for the much. needed rain and special thanks to the weather gods for a stunning Easter weekend.

With that weekend and the following days in mind, we can now move on to the cooler, wet days of autumn in New Zealand.

JB April 21, 2022

Easter Sunday Soliloquy

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła)

In this very troubled world the above quote from Pope John Paul II brightens my day.

Whether or not, we are celebrating a religious festival/commemoration we can enjoy the days. But not everyone can. I lamented hard and long on the wars being fought around the world in my post The Question Remains Unansweredand I don’t intend to go over it again. I would rather brighten your day and mine, so look instead at Good Morning, Good Friday.

So to today. Looking back at all the Easter Sundays I have enjoyed over this long life, I remember 

Growing up in London all those years ago, Easter was an important time in our calendar.  We, three girls, went to church in our new clothes to celebrate Easter but of course, Mother, who was Jewish, didn’t accompany us.  And I am not sure why Father didn’t come, but he didn’t. Friday service was always very solemn and left us in a sombre mood for the rest of the day. We would visit Father’s father after church. We didn’t see him often as he lived a couple of bus rides away. No jumping into a car then. There was no car and little petrol/gas was available anyway.

Hyde Park, London

But we all looked forward to the Easter Parade on Easter Sunday.  On this day many Londoners congregated in Hyde Park to see ‘the toffs/the gentry’ parading in their finery.  What excitement for three young girls. In our new Easter clothes we thought we were pretty grand too.

Even as far back as the middle ages, many cultures would strut their new finery on their way to church or visiting friends on this Sunday.  A more spiritual slant is that this ritual represents the procession that followed Christ carrying the cross.

.And each year there was the excitement of The Easter Parade at Collins Music Hall very close to where we lived.  The Music Hall would have a line up of top acts for Easter.  Unfortunately, we were considered too young by our parents to go to this show advertised in 1950.

We had that strange Easter in 2020 when we were in lockdown. Along with the rest of the world, our plans for Easter had to be abandoned. 

This was to be a special Easter. My baby girl was having a special birthday on the 11th of April, the Saturday of Easter. She was born four days before Good Friday and often since then, Easter has been around her birthday.

But now 60 years later (can I possibly be that old?) I had booked a cottage in one of the wine-growing regions for us. 

My daughter, her two sons and girlfriends (if they wished) would all sally forth on Good Friday, spend three nights there and then head back home. We would spend our days wandering the vineyards and sampling the wines. We have a built-in driver as my daughter doesn’t drink. Does she know what she is missing? Alas “the best-laid plans..” It didn’t happen.

There was the awful Easter in 2014 when somebody set fire to the storage area containing my worldly goods.

An arsonist was caught on camera entering the facility and when charged, claimed innocence. Luckily the things  I lost were replaceable, although unfortunately/stupidly  I had forgotten to insure the stored goods. You can read more of this here.

There was a  memorable Easter spent on the French Riviera in an unheated caravan. Great memories of fun and laughter; Easters with my parents and our baby daughter and yet more when our family was increased by the birth of a son (the result of the cold Easter and the French Riviera)

And so many other memories of Easters spent around the world; until 1998 with my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) who by 1998 while still dashing was no longer young, and with my children and then with their children. Then several years here in New Zealand without him but with family and friends, and a few short years with my Late Love, The Architect.

Many Easters have been memorable in one way or another and all sit safely in my Suitcase of Memories (thank you, Patti, of A New Day Dawns, for the title) to be taken out and enjoyed all over again.

“Sometimes I need only to stand 
wherever I am to be blessed.”
Mary Oliver

JB April 17, 2022


Once upon a time, perhaps a millennia ago there were a set of stories for children called Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime stories.  I suppose my Mom started reading them to me but by the age of four or five I  would read them to myself.

Now why I did this, and did it repeatedly I have no idea.  I think Uncle Arthur must have been a very nasty man who hated children.  A lot.  His stories scared the life out of me -for years.  There was always a moral but even as a child I questioned the why of it.  And those were the stories I repeatedly pulled down to read again and again.

One was about a little boy who had been struck by a car and lay in a hospital bed ward all bandaged up.  He was in a lot of pain.  Another youngster in a bed near by could see his suffering.  So he told our critically ill patient that every night Jesus would walk through the ward and take children away who were ill.  All they had to do was hold up their hand.  

So our wee lad tried and tried to raise his hand that night but weakness and pain made it impossible.  His little friend crawled out of bed and bracing the arm with pillows was able to raise the hand.  

Well of course the happy ending was that Jesus did come and take him away from his pain and suffering.  But the residual effect was that every time I sleep on my side and raise my arm that picture comes to mind and I snap that hand back down quickly.  Then my mind reviews the whole story again.  As the song by Joe Diffie goes..”I want to go to heaven but I don’t want to go tonight ” Especially if it was because of an accidental hand placement!  Oh yeah, then I have to sign the song.  I swear Uncle Arthur has been the source of insomnia now and then.

The second awful story was one about a poor family.  A Mom and two children.  Food is a problem and Mama provides the best she can, always making sure her off spring eat first.  So Mama gets weaker and sicker.  A doctor comes and tears a strip off those wee bairns telling them how selfish and horrible they are for eating the food.  And he says that if Mama dies it is all their own fault!  

Well the outcome of that was the children started making sure she ate, and miracles of miracles she got better.  Well good for them!  Me?  I was locked in the nightmare for weeks, watching everything my mother ate and if she offered me something extra I declined.

No way was I going to kill my Mom!  (Which I guess is kind of funny because in my blog about Perception is a Funny Thing at the end of her life she actually did believe just that.

*This is part of a post from 2011. I was rambling around in old posts today and found this treasure from childhood. Well, maybe treasure is not the right word!

Well, back to the present here at north of 43!

Chris G February 25th,’22

What was that?

No distance of place nor lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.”
Robert Southey, English Poet 1774-1843

Yesterday, summer came to Wellington and we are told by NIWA (National Institute of Water and Air) that we are in for a long, hot summer. So fingers crossed.

Over the past couple of days, probably inspired by my last post Is Life an Obstacle Course? I have been musing on past events. Oh by the way, in that post I forgot to mention the brush with breast cancer some 21 years ago and what I learned from that. I learned once again, that I have the best daughter in the world, backed up by my son and daughter-in-law. Of course, at the time the boys were too young to be supportive and in fact, one hadn’t even been born yet.

So back to the musings of this ancient mind. I took the trouble to reread some of the posts made years ago on my blog Growing younger each day. Interesting reading. I came across a post published on December 1, 2017 and I thought it would interest you.

And –

“When the sun is shining, I can do anything; no mountain is too high,
no trouble too difficult to overcome.”
Wilma Rudolph,American sprinter,world-record-holding Olympic champion
1940 – 1994

Until the next time.

JB 2 December, 2021

It’s a Ducks in a Row Kind of Day

Two minutes short of noon here a 43 Latitude N on Tuesday November 30th, 2021. For my down under friend JB in New Zealand it is Wednesday December 1st and only 6 a.m. so she is hopefully still in dreamland.

You know I only mention this not for your benefit, but mine. I won’t tell you the fun we had working out a ’posting’ schedule, as we have sworn each other to secrecy on that bit of foolishness.

Free range stock.com

It’s a ducks in a row kind of day, sort of.

Okay my Ducks are actually Ducts and I had to wait for the Duct Cleaners to arrive before I could head out – possibly to shop.

I’ve feel a bit of lethargy about Christmas shopping this year. So today I felt the desire to shop or at least look. But of course had to wait for the cleaners.

And it turned out to be an eventful enough day so far: some good news, some good memories for those gone before at this time of year but still missed (the time for mourning has passed as it should, and what remains are the memories), and some good plans made.

Oh! and the Stuart Danker post today is awesome so if you get a chance do pop over.

Now, ducts done, plans made, memories honoured, and the snow has stopped, so I am off to see what mischief I can get into in the outside world’

Enjoy your day and drop me a line if you get the chance!

Chris G