The Big Cat
Despite the pictures of the Big Cat and Freddy, the story I am about to tell is about a dog. Or rather two dogs. I never met them, but I was telling a neighbour the other day that tonight I shall be lighting a candle to place in the window and remembering Cat and many other animals I have known and loved.
This neighbour knew Cat and expressed surprise that it was already eight years since his death. In all the time I have known her she has never had a pet. I didn’t know she had ever had one at all. It turns out she had. This is her story of her two dogs, Digby and Shane. Continue reading
Next week 20th March it will be eight years since Freddy, aka Cat, aka Freddy the Gorgeous Boy, aka Monkey, died. My lovely boy. Again on the Sunday following the anniversary I shall be remembering him, and all the other animals who have enriched my life, by lighting a candle and raising a glass (or two). There’ll definitely be a toast to MasterB, Freddy’s very worthy successor. MasterB is Freddy’s legacy, and I love him as much as I loved Freddy. I am fortunate. Two cats, two treasures. Continue reading
MasterB has a new toy. He likes it very much. It’s a gift from Octavia who read about it in a magazine at the vet surgery where she had taken the Grey Ninja for her annual check up. Normally Octavia would not read the magazines on offer, but she had forgotten her ‘phone. It’s a good thing I was sitting down when she told me: Octavia without her ‘phone? Unbelievable. I thought at the very least surgery would have been involved to achieve such a scenario.
It was a good outcome for the Grey Ninja and MasterB though as, in the said magazine, Octavia read about honeysuckle wood, an alternative to catnip, and something most cats love. As I said before, MasterB’s opinion was positive. It was also immediately evident.
Thinking about it, MasterB has had a fairly sociable autumn, and in the middle of December I recall remarking to Michèle that his social life eclipsed mine. He spent November living with Birgit, and both Reinhild and Celia visited. In the middle of December, Bridget, who stayed here in 2016 while I was in Australia, called round for a calendar. I knew she was coming and we had agreed to meet downstairs. I left the door to my flat open. While we chatted we heard miaow miaow miaow from upstairs, and then came himself, barrelling down, tail hoisted like a flag, to greet Bridget. I have absolutely no doubt that he heard her voice and was determined that if she wasn’t coming up to see him, he was coming down to see her. She returned a few nights later with Janet, his other auntie while I was in Oz. We had drinks, nibbles and chips. MasterB had a lovely time.
Now I am the first to admit that MasterB is not the sharpest knife in the drawer; invitations to join MENSA have been notably absent, and though willing, he struggles with games demanding much (any) intellectual ability. However, he does know he he likes and loves, and he remembers those people with whom he has bonded very well. I’d love to see his reaction if the student couple who rescued him turned up. So with B&J he was sooo happy. He rolled on the carpet, he sat in the middle of the floor, he remembered the games that Bridget played with him and played them all over again. Animals, non-human animals that is, don’t lie: MasterB loves B&J. Official. Continue reading
Spring weather today, sunshine and warmth, alternating with heavy showers. We took a bus into town and headed for the harbour to catch the ferry to Devonport. It had been on my to see list, but I thought the weather was going to rule it out. Although we travelled there by water, it is attached to the mainland,
Before I came to New Zealand, people told me it was like Tasmania, but until today I hadn’t felt that was true.
But there was something about Devonport that did remind me of Tasmania. I couldn’t tell you what though.
The ferry ride lasts just twelve minutes, so you just have time to enjoy the view before you disembark. A gentle walk along by the sea was a nice introduction. With the sun out, the sea was restored to a blue-turquoise. Dogs were swimming, people too.
A walk by the sea, with driftwood
There were benches to sit on to admire the view.
Bench with a view
There were also reminders that things had not always been so tranquil.
There’s a walking trail from near Nadia’s house to Petone which she hadn’t had the opportunity to try out. I wanted to visit to Petone. Thus our plan for today was hatched. The trail follows the Hutt River, and so is imaginatively named the Hutt River Trail.
I have had a blister on my foot which is both surprising as I have been wearing my boots for some years, and painful, but today it was quite quiet. I have run out of Devil’s Claw tincture which I take for my poorly knee and Nadia has sore ankles.
Nonetheless we set out with high hearts. It’s a shared walking and cycling trail. Quite early on I remarked that it would be great to do on a bike. For me the absolute highlight was seeing a Tui in the tree directly above me. I stared at it, then reached for my camera. Too late, it flew away. There was a nice section through bush, but to be honest, as walks go, it was pretty dull, with little variety to keep us interested. Unsurprising we saw my cyclists than walkers. After 16km we called it a day and took the bus into Petone and a latish lunch.
The most interesting bit
All this culture and sightseeing is hard work, so today I had a rest day. Nadia was working in the garden. She hasn’t lived in this house for long, and it’s a bit of a project. She has lots of plans for when time and money allow, and as it was yet another glorious day, she was keen to get into her gardening gear and get on with it.
I hung out the washing, and performed a few indoor chores, prepared some food for tonight, and once the sun had dropped a little, set off to explore Upper Hutt, a ten minute walk away and a chance to look at the neighbours’ houses.
So far my knowledge of this neighbourhood has been confined to the walk from the station to the supermarket and then home.
I was surprised to find how big it is. There is lots I didn’t see, but I homed in on a shop selling eco friendly products and second hand vinyl. Then I found the Turkish restaurant. I was hoping for a deli attached too, but it wasn’t to be. However, a few doors down I found the Indian shop which is where I shall head if I run out of lentils. The independent book shop was frankly disappointing, but at the chain store I found an A-Z of London in convenient size for just $5. Bargain.
Not sure about the gun shop though.
The cycle racks are well designed, there is far more street sculpture and art than I photographed on this tour.
Walk this way
Monsters go this way
Spaghetti bike rack
Cool bike rack
Not sure about this one
I shall have to go back. Continue reading
Two days into my visit to Wellington, and two days of contrasting weather. Yesterday it rained. When we left the house it was quite light rain, but by the time the train drew into the city station it was gathering force.
Wet weather in Wellington
Fortunately our main goal was the museum, not a stroll along the harbour. Nadia introduced me to some new spots, and then we had an early and d kicious lunch. At Te Papa museum Nadia parked herself in the café and got on with some writing. I joined the queue to see the exhibition about Gallipoli.
Gallipoli, Te Papa
I’m not sure how long I spent in the exhibition, but it was nearer two hours than one. It is very well done, using the stories of individuals to give a picture of the whole. By the time I reached the end I was a paid up admirer of William Malone, and my heart ached for Charlotte, the nurse who followed her brother to Gallipoli, only learning of his death four months after it happened.
Normally two hours is about the limit of my concentration in a museum or gallery, but there was a small exhibition commemorating the 125 years since No women got the vote, and another small one on immigration. I spent quite a while in the exhibition on refugees who have been made welcome in NZ. In these times where refugees are frequently repulsed and demonised by the very societies which have helped to cause the chaos and fear they are fleeing, it is heartening to read of those who have managed to make new lives in a welcoming country.
The rain had continued to fall while we were in Te Papa, and it was hoods up, heads down all the way to the station.
Wellington railway station
We made it home via the supermarket and changed out of clothes that were by now very wet. Continue reading
Ginger Ninja 2019
The price is the same as last year – £8.50 per calendar, plus postage and packing. This varies according to where you live:
£2.50 for within the UK, £4.50 for Europe, £5.50 for the US and Canada, £6.00 for Australia and New Zealand. Continue reading
I dispatched the PDF of next next year’s Ginger Ninja calendar to the printer’s today. Here’s a screen shot of the cover and a sneaky preview of Mr January.