The Icing on the Cake?

Thirty minutes ago we had a fairly long, rocking and rolling earthquake. We are told by GeoNet it was a magnitude 6.1 on the Richter scale at a depth of 48 km and 50 km northwest of Paraparaumu. Paraparaumu is where my son lives and where I dogs Daisydog.

It was felt far afield apparently but not, we hope in those areas trying to deal with the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Because of the cyclone, a National State of Emergency has been declared for only the third time in New Zealand’s history.

So more bad news from our little corner of the world. Would somebody please find Mother Nature’s meds and check that she takes them

JB February 15, 2023
Wellington, NZ


Five Word Friday

It’s Friday here in New Zealand and the first Friday of the month.
So please join me. No lightheartedness today..
My five words? –

Following the trials and tribulations of the recent devastating floods in the north of the North Island, we hear today that an earthquake occurred in the same area. We understand that this was a short, shallow quake at 4.8 on the Richter scale but this is enough to make even the strongest, most positive person feel they would like to throw up their hands and walk away.

Auckland is less than 400 kms from us, and here we sit in brilliant sunshine at 25 degrees.  

This is very strange because it is an acknowledged fact by those of us who live here, the weather is always better in the north. But it hasn’t been this year and the results are obvious to all.

Added to the woes, this is a holiday weekend celebrating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.  “The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document. It takes its name from the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed by Gov Hobson, Queen Victoria’s representative and 9 Māori Chiefs, on 6 February 1840.”

Because the day is always “Mondayised”, many people take the opportunity to have an extra, short vacation. unfortunately, for many this will not happen this year because so many of the areas to which these vacationers would be heading are now uninhabitable. So not only are the holidaymakers missing out but so are the hotels. motels, and all other places set up for the tourist trade.  

New Zealand is a small nation far removed from most of the rest of the world.  There are only just 5 million of us and so most of us have friends and relatives all around our small country. Collectively, we feel for them. 

Let’s hope Mother Nature soon decides that they have had enough and she gets back on her meds.

Ready for a walk

JB, Raumati, NZ
February 3, 2023
Daisydog sitting


Sunny Sunday Sensing

“Lazy Sunday afternoon
I’ve got no mind to worry
I close my eyes and drift away-a”
Small Faces  1960s –  an English rock band from East London 

Sunday afternoon and it’s here before anywhere else in the world. Well, this Sunday was great.

The day started with a late rising, followed by a chat with my daughter and then another chat this time on Facetime with my alter ego/good friend Chris.  You know that we regularly chat and although we’ve never met in person, we are firm friends. Maybe if one of us wins the lottery we might get to meet. Waterloo, Ontario is far from Wellington, New Zealand. Aren’t we lucky we live in a time when the internet makes connecting with friends so easy?

After being picked up by another friend and lunch in the coffee shop at my favourite garden shop, we took a ‘short’ run to the supermarket for a very few things. As my daughter says “Why go to the supermarket on Sunday afternoon when you have all week?” No answer to that one.

Then it was time to unpack the groceries and take the opportunity to sit in the sunshine with another book from Tony Park, the author I recently discovered. Another book set in South Africa, about game viewing and poaching.  I am enjoying learning more about this fascinating country. Off now to continue reading. 

Then after lunch, a ‘short’ run to the supermarket for a very few things. As my daughter says “why go to the supermarket on Sunday afternoon when you have all week?” No answer to that one.

Back to reading my book.

JB January 15, 2023
Wellington, NZ

Summer in Wellington

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
Roger Miller, Singer, songwriter, & actor

Another Christmas has come and gone, another New Year’s Eve celebration followed it as always, and has also passed and now we are getting back to the everyday life that we know.

All the festivities and fun are great.  It’s always good to catch up with friends and family and what better time than at Christmas and New Year?  But don’t you feel rather flat when the day has passed, the friends have left for home and things are really no different than they were on December 24th?  If like me, you were lucky to receive some gifts and now you have a few more ‘things’ to find places for, you will be adding the fact that you have friends and family who care to your Gratitude List.

After a spell of summer weather, the worm has turned and as I said in my last post, for the past few days we have had really wet weather.  So what to do in the face of this awful weather?  Another new book to read or maybe just look at some of the posts written at this time over my blogging years, in my blog Growing Younger Each Day.

I see that on January 2 in 2013, I was again bemoaning our awful summer weather.  But I also commented on a TV programme I had just watched. In this programme, Rhys-Jones introduced us to Kenneth Grahame, the retiring scholarly man who wrote this story for his somewhat troublesome only child Alistair.  At the time, Grahame was the Secretary of the Bank of England.  He had written some books about children for adults but this was the first (and only) book for children. Do you know this fabulous fable?

The story is set along a riverbank.  In fact, it is subtitled Tales of the Riverbank. We are introduced to the kindly, self-effacing, industrious Mole (Grahame himself perhaps?), Rat, Badger, Otter and of course the incredible, irascible, Mr Toad.  Who hasn’t met a Mr Toad in real life?

These woodland animals are given human characteristics and live an indolent life on the riverbank, often messing about in boats.

But Toad it is who fills the book with his antics and exploits.  He is very sure of himself and he is very conceited.  He sings about himself  “Ho, ho!  I am The Toad, the handsome, the popular, the successful Toad”.  And he thinks that he alone knows anything.   Consider –

“The clever men at Oxford
Know all that there is to be knowed
But they none of them know one half as much
As intelligent Mr Toad”

When Toad sees a shining red motor car he cannot resist it and drives it off eventually being caught and being sent to prison –

“The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop
As it raced along the road.
Who was it steered it into a pond?
Ingenious Mr Toad!”

The book was originally published in 1908 and  my copy of the book is 55 65 years old, well read, well-thumbed but still securely bound in spite of that.

Quite late in life, by then considered a confirmed bachelor,  Grahame married the shy and retiring, scatty and whimsical Elspeth Thomson.  They had only one child, a boy named Alastair (whose nickname was “Mouse”).  Unfortunately, he was born blind in one eye and plagued by health problems throughout his short life.  It was for this child that the book was written.

So then I was glad for a cold, January evening that allowed me to find this programme on the TV.  I thank Rhys-Jones for taking us along the riverbank and telling us about Grahame and his strange little family.

And as an aside in 2010 a First Edition of the book was sold by Bonhams in London for 32,400 GBP

JB Wellington, NZ
January 8, 2023



The celebrations, activities, and festivities continue here for a couple of weeks after Christmas Many people take their annual leave at this time, so offices have only a skeleton staff and some retailers change their opening hours.

The town is quiet and fairly free of the usual hum of cars, pedestrians, and shoppers.

So I find it difficult to keep track of the days. And that’s my excuse for writing this post a day late.

Now what else to write about. Our lovely summer has come to a grinding halt. We have had rain almost continuously for the past three days. Friends came for lunch on Thursday but we couldn’t eat outside as we had done on previous days. But because PollyAnna is alive and well in Wellington, the upside is our gardens all needed the rain and I haven’t had to go out and water mine.

And today because I was heartily sick of finding things to do while the rain poured down, I made a pot of coffee and sat in my very comfy armchair with a new book.

Via Wikipedia

Have you come across Tony Park? He is an Australian author who with his wife, spends his time between Sydney, Australia and a private nature reserve near the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Many of his novels are set in South Africa. The book I spent all day reading is entitled Blood Trail and it is his latest in a long list of published books.

Apart from getting more coffee and then a sandwich for lunch, I have sat all day reading. What better way to spend a wet Saturday afternoon!

JB, January 7, 2023
Wellington New Zealand, in the rain

I wish

I loved JB’s post yesterday.

You know the one with the game?

I really wish that I could play,

But cannot think of a single name.

The Seasons changed today,

My favourite time of year,

I really wish that I could play

But something else is very clear.

If wishes were horses

All Beggars would ride

If wishes came true

I could decide

To play the games,

Frolick in fall,

Make up names

And manage it all.

Sad to say I’m under the weather,

Happy to say not for long

My brain is more like a feather

Tomorrow, I am sure will be like a song!

So, from North of 43 I must bid you adieu, and wish you well!

Chris G September 23rd!

The Case of the Missing Card.

Today is Friday here in a very wet Wellington. On Wednesday my daughter cleared the mailbox and handed me a rather woebegone envelope. It contained a card from my alter ego on here, Chris.

Of course, I was delighted to receive a card from her but thought “Oh well. She’s losing it” when I saw the date, August 2021 penned in. Then when speaking with Chris yesterday, she said she hadn’t sent me a card, but when I showed her the card and envelope she remembered sending it to me when my sister died last year. Hence the date August 2021.

So the question now arises “Where has the car been for the past twelve months?” I guess we will never know.

Scaffolders working in the pouring rain.

And a little excitement to brighten an otherwise ho-hum day –
Don’t know what they found to be cheerful about.

Now off to discuss an insurance claim – my car was smashed into on the way to Wine and Crime last night. The other driver admitted fault but the main problem is I shall be without a car for the days it will take to fix it. Could be worse – nobody was injured.

JB August 19, 2022

Lightning Strikes

“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while,
nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.”
Kim Hubbard, Editor at Large, People Magazine

Alright, I know I said I would not talk about the weather, but really! We have had the most amazing five days.

Torrential rain, almost gale force winds, thunder and lightning. In fact, according to the DomPost, our local paper “New Zealand saw nearly 20,000 lightning strikes in the 24 hours to 8am, and MetService say there’s more to come with a severe thunderstorm watch …” and this was only until 10am on Friday. And nothing much changed over the weekend.

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”
 Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

Today is Monday here and the newspaper records “There were 9700 lightning strikes over land from 6pm Sunday to 6am on Monday, and 150mm of rain for some, as a cold front with thunderstorms attached moved onto the North Island.” and Severe thunderstorms, high winds, heavy rain, large hail, and even tornados are likely today.”

So may I be forgiven? This is a storm rarely seen in our corner of the world. And it’s still raining.

In much of the South Island, hail and rain have been replaced with snow. And here’s a lighthearted end to this blog on Windy Wellington’s Worst Weather.


Pooh that really clever little bear says

So from a miserable day here in Wellington at 41.2924° S, 174.7787° E, I am off now t read my book, to keep warm and dry.

Oh, look. There’s Chris in the corner of the photo.

Thursday and the Rain Continues

““The rain to the wind said, You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt
Robert Frost

The rain still falls torrentially, the wind blows and the temperature continues to fall.

Yesterday was very hard all around. Very wet and windy. A friend had to come to town to have a PET scan. PET? “A positron emission tomography (PET) scan shows how organs and tissues are working.” I picked her up from the railway station and took her to the hospital. I went in with her and soon a nurse appeared, took my telephone number, took Norma by the arm and led her away, saying to me as they went, “Come back at 3.

I duly returned at 3pm. My friend suffers from claustrophobia and so had been sedated. She was very wobbly and needed coffee. So that was our first stop.

I drove her home some 50 km in the driving rain, thunder and lightning and wind close to gale force. She lives close to my son and his family. I had planned to stay overnight with them but unfortunately, they are all in isolation, so no bed and the only option was to drive back home.

I have to say that after driving for 60 plus years, this was the worst drive ever. I was so pleased to arrive home.

So my question then was how was I going to spend the evening. Are you, like me, with friends who are either moving into or already living in retirement villages? On Netflix, I saw an advertised movie, POMS. In it, Diane Keaton moves from her apartment in New York to a retirement community that is all that I would hate if I ever had to move into one. The lavish, well-maintained property fosters cheery dispositions and relaxed lifestyles — things a cynical curmudgeon like Martha and me, despise.  There are so many rules and regulations, which of course really annoys Martha.

Unexpectedly, Martha forms a strong friendship with her noisy, vivacious, free-spirited next door neighbour. Martha has an unrealised dream of being a cheerleader and together these two women form a group of eight, eighty-year-old cheerleaders.

I don’t think this is one of Keaton’s best movies but it was certainly what I needed yesterday after a difficult day.

So now back to my usual crime movies after that brief sojourn into comedy.

June 2, 2022