Hello Hilda

My lovely Catsitter Birgit sent me a photo of MasterB. It was the first email I opened this morning. My boy looked content and relaxed which is wonderful. The downside was the picture made me immediately homesick. Gosh I am missing my boy.
Over the last two days we have been up and down in Wellington. Yesterday we started at ground level, walking along the harbour. It was Armistice Day, and there was a certain military presence among the shorts and ice creams.

Military presence


We resisted the kayaks and paddle boards, but stopped to look at sculptures and buildings.

Kayaks

Into the wind


There was evidence of yarn bombing.

Yarn bombed clawed foot


Our meanderings meant we were still in the harbour area at lunchtime, so we sat in the shade near the boathouses and ate our packed lunches.

Boathouses


Boat

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First Impressions

Progress through the airport was remarkably smooth which gave me a good first impression of New Zealand. When I emerged I saw Lyn holding this sign:

Isobel and Cat


I have never before been met at an airport with someone holding a sign with my name on so it’s now my first souvenir. I took the photo back at the house where Lyn and Malcolm offered me a choice of two cameras. This was my first shot:

First photo


But that of course was taken after we had arrived at the house. It is reached by a vertiginous drive as, I realise today, are many houses here.

Going down


I’m not sure which direction makes it look most impressive.

Going up


You really wouldn’t want a slipping clutch in this neighbourhood. At the bottom of the drive stands the house, and in front of the house a hollow tree.

Hollow tree


I looked into it, but there was no sign of wildlife, just something that looked rather like a discarded camping kettle.

No wildlife here


The trees that had immediately caught my attention when we left the airport were the Norfolk Pines. They are stunning, and Lyn and Malcolm tell me there is a whole road of them in Napier.

Norfolk Pine

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Captain’s Log 5th October 2018

B0CEA50F-6521-4B16-9399-EEFD03EA1ACAThe sky has now clouded over and there are just patches of blue in the white, but for most of the day it has felt more like early September than early October. MasterB and I were up betimes, showered, breakfasted, he then went to his new favourite post breakfast spot under the rug in the forecabin, I set to wiping off spider poo, dusting surfaces and vacuuming the floor.
I wondered idly what time Older Nephew would arrive and then thought to turn on my ‘phone to see if he’d messaged me. He had, and arrived shortly after eleven, armed with pizza and cans of lager.
We had to put water into the tank before we could set off. Annoyingly, right at the end of the season, it was empty. I shan’t be back before the spring, ON will be here with two friends to take the boat to the pump out, then drain the water out and winterise her. I realise as I type this we forgot to talk about anti-freeze.
So today we just enjoyed some time on the river which was millpond smooth. A few people turned up at the marina this morning to take their boats out, and we met others on the way to and from Ely. Tomorrow’s forecast is for rain and low temperatures so I am guessing those who were able to take advantage of today’s warmth did so.
We saw a bird I did not photograph with a pink mask at Ely. Three of them in fact. Having consulted all three onboard bird books we have failed to identify what it was. There were the coots and moorhens, mallards and swans, herons, geese and grebes, one sighting of a kingfisher. Some of the calves in the fields are tiny, at least one must have been only a few days old.


MasterB spent the day with us in the forecabin, at first still under the rug, then sitting out and enjoying a fuss, finally in a new citadel of cushions. I am hopeful that he is becoming more confident on our boat trips and maybe by the time he reaches double figures in 2020 may actually socialise with us when we go out.
I have put a few bits and pieces I don’t think I’ll need again in the car, I shall put the front cover on in a couple of hours. Supper is sorted, I know what I’m having from breakfast, the more packing up I can do now, the quicker we’ll be in the morning. The biggest job is stripping the bed then putting dust covers on everything and obviously that has to wait. In some ways it would make sense to go home this evening, and it has crossed my mind. But I think we’ll enjoy our last night afloat of 2018 and drive back to London in the rain.

Captain’s Log 4th October 2018

The forecast for today was good, so when I woke up to a morning where the thick mist muted the birdsong, I assumed it would burn off in an hour or so and the sun would shine down on das Boot. Breakfast, shower, washing up all accomplished and still no sun, MasterB had retreated to under the rug in the forecabin, placed on the seating to protect the upholstery from cats’ claws. So I kept my layers on, turned on the car heater and set off on my travels.
Nial and Jan met me at the cemetery. We were all armed with gardening tools, and I had a selection of bulbs. The chrysanthemum I had planted on my father’s grave had vanished, but at Aunt’s more extensive plot (Dad was cremated, so it’s just a small marker stone showing where his ashes were buried) we were pleasantly surprised to find quite a few plants were flourishing. So many in fact that quite a few of the bulbs will be coming back to London with me, even after planting a clutch of them on Dad’s grave.
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Captain’s Log 3rd October 2018

I am at das Boot with the First Mate (MasterB has been promoted). We are both  in the rear cabin, I’m on the director’s chair looking out at the quiet marina, MasterB is purring on the pink fleecy blanket at the end of the bed.

In the field beside us the calves are grazing with their mothers. I got off to photograph some of them. They are so very pretty. One or two were curious but shy. I like to think their mothers recognise me as the woman who uproots sticky weed from my side of the barbed wire fence to give them. Certainly they seem unconcerned by my presence, and do nothing to warn their calves not to speak to me.


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Mr September

 

I think this this photo taken on das Boot last weekend, may have to be included in the 2019 Ginger Ninja calendar. Feedback from those to whom I have sent a couple of versions has been positive, but a bit low on constructive criticism, meaning I still don’ know which of the photos they think are strongest, rather than being happy with the overall effect. Continue reading

Off the Radar

Several hours later I could still the indentation on my wrist where my Fitbit had been. But it wasn’t recording my steps any more. I rather doubt if it was in a fit state to record anything. It was lost in the mud of the marina.

As I attached the last bungee to fix the rear cover in place when I was leaving das Boot I felt the catch open. There was no hope of recovery. It fell like a stone, disappearing below the surface of the water in an instant. I’ve been wearing night and day for around eighteen months. Suddenly my steps are uncounted, my sleep patterns untracked. Continue reading