Saturday, December 29, 2007


Hi all,

I am sorry for my recent silence;

I have been at my parents house for the Christmas holidays. There is no cell phone range and practically no internet - certainly not enough to view pictures. It took mum 30minutes to download seven emails which were purely text - no attachments or pictures at all.

I am at our 'other house' at the moment, relaxing after an amazing Christmas day and preparing for a busy New Years!

I hope you all have had a wonderful time with friends and family, and I look forward to reading your blogs when I have the time and the internet in the new year. Thank you all for your holiday wishes - it was almost as cool as receiving a card in the mail (wink).

Much love and best wishes,
Ju's Little Sister.

PS - I see Plumps has put a picture up.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


My latest post has published itself below "something girlie," scroll down please...


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Something Girlie

Martin told me to do 'something girlie' like knitting, instead of taking electrikery to pieces. I have decided not to be insulted, and instead to post one of my hobbies which is actually 'girlie.' I use inverted comma's because I think it is mean of society to stereotype so cruelly.

Anyway - here's what's in my little orange bag off crafts. Well... one craft. ;-)

Yup, you guessed it - I like to do a little cross-stitch. This current project is the most ambitious I have tried, and I don't find a lot of time for it (because once I'm set up I don't like to move for a couple of hours or more, which can be tricky these days.) I don't find the hobby very relaxing, but I do find it very satisfying. With cross-stitch there is very strong evidence of one's progress, which I like. The poem in the top photo is me just mucking about with the alphabet. I may try to design my own images around the poem one day - I have a CD that goes into the computer and will convert pictures into cross-stitch designs, but I haven't tried it yet. I'll finish this first.

See how the picture is built up using lots and lots of tiny little crosses? (and half crosses). It is quite laborious, and the big rule is: don't use knots!!! You are not allowed to tie any knots in your cross stitch as it warps the cloth so that it won't sit flat. I still have lots of colours to put into the little section just above, and that is only part of the lower right quarter of the design.

Plumpy wanted to be included in the photo shoot, to show Elbi and Scaredy &co. that he has a sensitive side. ;-)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Salute to my Ancestors...sort of

Stace and Dean swapped rooms last week. This means Stace gets the master bedroom upstairs with onsuite and more space than she is going to know what to do with. Dean has moved downstairs in the room next to mine, and now I have to share my bathroom with a boy - eeeeeew!

I'm a lazy person most of the time and often I can't be bothered wandering over to my bedroom door and closing it before I change from day-time clothes to uniform (if I'm on night shift) or out of my uniform on days. It's just a quick change of clothes right? I lived in a hostel for the five years of my secondary schooling and am quite in the habit of not caring if a girl happens to walk by when I'm half-dressed. On the other hand - this is Dean. What to do? Should I change my habits and actually make the effort to walk three steps and close the door?


Another solution is required. And this is what I came up with:

Sorry to my friends from Wales - I don't have your national flag.

I have taken quite a leap of faith with this post, and there is a lot of room for comments to be made about hostel girls, about bathrooms shared with boys and about nudity. I would appreciate it if you refrained please. This post is about my new doorway and the lovely flag I have raised there. Runcibility will not be accepted as an excuse. Comments which will offend me will be delected. Comments about what a clever idea I have had are MORE than welcome ;-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007


In a Geekery!

My desk at the moment, all that junk is my Xbox 360 which I have had to pull apart again - this time to see if I can work out what's wrong with it. It is broken :-( But I think it won't be impossible for me to fix myself. We'll see.

A close up. Is is Geeky of me to say I love my mouse? It's the best. It is wireless, AND lives in a little docking cradle thing which recharges it when I'm not using it. Genius.

Ages ago I posted the picture on the left - the Xbox I changed from white with green lights to black with blue lights. Now it is no colour and no lights. But one day....!

Bets are on,
3:1 against that I'll get it going again...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Early Morning Visitor

Okay, okay - I'm sorry.
Thank you for being so patient and for making it so clear you really like my blog. I really think you are just missing my comments on your blogs!

Last week I was on the early shift and that left me very tired and drained, and since then I have been struggling with Christmas Shopping! Woe is Me!!!

I don't have a lot to say today, or very much time to say it so I shall just share with you some pictures of a handsome creature who snuck into my bed this morning. I had opened the window to listen to the native birds living in the back yard give their dawn chorus and forgot to shut it again before I fell back into an early morning doze.
Shortly after I had arisen from bed I had cause to lift my sheets in search of my cell phone which I had been texting Ju on, and had discarded under a pillow or just out of reach in favour of snuggling down for some decent sleeping-in.

Instead of the phone, I found this little friend - who at first didn't want to be disturbed and scuttled under the sheets again...


Now I'm sure Simon would scoff, but he's an Aussie and perfectly within his rights to do so. I am no fan of spiders, and to think I'd been rolling round in bed with this one was enough to give me the creepy-crawlie-heebie-jeebies. In fact it was rather like being attacked with a good dose of non-existant flustra eeeeerrrrrk!

I have been brushing at invisible insects for the rest of the day! And now, I must go to work. Kisses and MERRY CHRISTMAS! xxJLSxx

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Gardener





Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Favourite Poem

This is one of my Dad's favourite poems, and also one of mine. I have known the first two verses by heart for many years now, and have made a resolution to learn the rest, two-by-two (because it's much friendlier with two...)

I have learned R. Kipling's 'IF' by heart and recite it to myself now and again - to keep in practice, and to remind myself of that which I most wish to achieve in life.

There is a lesson in this poem too, which is called "The Old Sailor" and is one of Alan Alexander Milne's:

The Old Sailor
by A.A. Milne

There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn't because of the state he was in.

He was shipwrecked, and lived on a island for weeks,
And he wanted a hat, and he wanted some breeks;
And he wanted some nets, or a line and some hooks
For the turtles and things which you read of in books.

And, thinking of this, he remembered a thing
Which he wanted (for water) and that was a spring;
And he thought that to talk to he'd look for, and keep
(If he found it) a goat, or some chickens and sheep.

Then, because of the weather, he wanted a hut
With a door (to come in by) which opened and shut
(With a jerk, which was useful if snakes were about),
And a very strong lock to keep savages out.

He began on the fish-hooks, and when he'd begun
He decided he couldn't because of the sun.
So he knew what he ought to begin with, and that
Was to find, or to make, a large sun-stopping hat.

He was making the hat with some leaves from a tree,
When he thought, "I'm as hot as a body can be,
And I've nothing to take for my terrible thirst;
So I'll look for a spring, and I'll look for it first."

Then he thought as he started, "Oh, dear and oh, dear!
I'll be lonely tomorrow with nobody here!"
So he made in his note-book a couple of notes:
"I must first find some chickens" and "No, I mean goats."

He had just seen a goat (which he knew by the shape)
When he thought, "But I must have boat for escape.
But a boat means a sail, which means needles and thread;
So I'd better sit down and make needles instead."

He began on a needle, but thought as he worked,
That, if this was an island where savages lurked,
Sitting safe in his hut he'd have nothing to fear,
Whereas now they might suddenly breathe in his ear!

So he thought of his hut ... and he thought of his boat,
And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,
And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst) ...
But he never could think which he ought to do first.

And so in the end he did nothing at all,
But basked on the shingle wrapped up in a shawl.
And I think it was dreadful the way he behaved -
He did nothing but bask until he was saved!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Armistice Memorial

You may remember from my Easter post about a high country station known as Mesopotamia. This is the land I grew up on, and where I took my friend Megs for a holiday. This November I returned again to my roots, but this time I was on duty.

I had been invited by the secretary of the Geraldine Returned Services Association to attend the Remembrance Service they were holding at the memorial outside my old primary school.

Mesopotamia Primary School.
10 pupils at max
1x Classroom
1x Kitchen
Boys loo, Girls loo
Playground of about 18,000 acres

I had been invited because I would be able to represent both the services (as I am in the Air Force) and the most prominent family in the area (Prouting). The Prouting's are in the third generation of running Mesopotamia. This may not seem like a lot to Ye Olde Brits over there on the top of the world, but it is pretty significant for bright and shiny new little New Zealand. My father was on the committee which was formed to research the names to be put on the commemoration stone. Though there are plenty of men who had worked on the station at some point in their lives who fell in the Great War, the committee decided it would be a never-ending task to find them all, and some would always be missed. So they opted to place the names of the men who left the station directly to join up.

Commemoration Stone
Remains of Samuel Butler's Dairy

Frank Boucher, Joe Jobberns, Alex MacRae, Snowy Dalton, Jack MacRae and John McNeil.

The men above all worked together. Jack MacRae was the manager of Mesopotamia, Frank Boucher was the head shepherd. The rest were the other shepherds - or musterers, as they were known. There were eight men in the gang who left to serve. Only two came home.

I went up the day before to take the above photos (without the threat of people getting in the way) and discovered my cousin Sue tidying up the school grounds. In the truck was her daughter Pieta - keeping out of trouble.

Pietey, looking all-too-innocent...

Sunday I managed to turn up five minutes before the bus. They had about an hour's journey from Geraldine up the valley on the winding, dusty, gravel road. Before the service began I met and talked with the men of the RSA who I had already been in contact with. It was nice to put faces to names.
Meeting the President, the Secretary and the Researcher...

Reading "The Gospel According to St John, Chapter 15 Verses 7 to 13 (I think)

Giving my speech. Oh No! There is a cave in my tie. Unprofessional. I blame the lack of mirrors on a farm.

My Dad giving his speech. I think he made his up on the spot.

Famous NZ artist Austin Deans, Mayor of Timaru Jannie Annear, President Geraldine RSA Robert Wood, Vicar, Me, Thom Pike (also of G.RSA)

My Mum (left) and her sister Sue (right). That's the wreath in the middle, leaning on the stone

And below is the best picture of all. This is my Mum. She is also Ju's Mum. She is one of the loveliest people in the world, but she hates having her photo taken. I think she and Lorenzo would love having a couple of gins together.
Mum is wearing her father's medals from WWII, we don't have his father's medals from WWI.
Isn't she just gorgeous?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Today I made Cassata, because tonight I am going out to a friend's for dinner.

The friend is Emma, my ex-flatmate, and she was going to cook some food for another friend named Anke. Anke's Mutti is German. Anyway, Anke is living in barracks, which means she eats at the mess or she eats out so the offer of a home cooked meal was too good to resist.

Being a social butterfly, Emma didn't want to have dinner for two, and I was the next person to be invited. I was pencilled in for a movie/dinner/drinks with another friend on the weekend, so we arranged for the meal to be on Sunday night. I had caught the sight of a lovely looking dessert in my illustrated copy of the Edmond's Cookbook and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. "I'll bring dessert" I stated proudly.

The next time I saw Emma, I learned our good friend Macchi and her husband Mike were coming too, and they were bringing the cheese board. Emma was in more of a dilemma now - Macchi is pregnant and Emma had to ask lots of questions to find out what foods Macchi will eat. During the course of the day I discovered that Anke (who is supposed to be bringing the DVD's) hadn't replied to Emma's text messages. It will be a surprise to find out tonight if Anke will make it after all. By the way, I don't care what Macchi can eat. She'll either eat it or not. Tough luck if not.

Anyway, I started out by tidying the bench and putting all the ingredients across the front in the order that I would need them, wiping the bench perfectly clean and having a neat stack of implements nearby.

Then I took a litre of chocolate ice cream and mixed it up with half a teaspoon of vanilla essence before smoothing it out to line the bowl. It was still pretty soft so I put it in the freezer and made a mental note to try again when it was a little bit firmer.

Next I had to turn 300ml of runny cream into stiff whipped cream. I don't have a whip, or an egg beater so I decided to pour half out of the bottle and shake it like a Polaroid picture,then repeat the process with the second half. After a while I realised that dancing round the lounge to Bowie's Jean Genie was not conducive to detecting when the cream was suitably stiff in time, and I discovered I had made - not whipped cream - but butter. Mmmm.
It was off to the dairy and $2 later I had 300 more millilitres of cream. This time Bowie was paused and I listened carefully to make sure I didn't over do it. And this time I was successful. Bowie was permitted to move on to his next song - Sorrow.

Now it was time to chop! up 1/2 cup of dark chocolate, 1/2 cup of toasted almonds (replaced with silvered almonds) and 1 cup of glace fruit. Well no one likes plastic cherries, so I replaced that cup with half a cup of white macadamia chocolate, and half a cup of walnuts.

Then these all were folded into the cream - along with 2 Tablespoons of icing sugar. About this point I realised that while this batch of cream was not butter, it probably was a little too mixed. Never mind - it can't be helped now!

Now I take the ice cream out of the freezer, touch up the shape, and put the cream into the hollow. Yum. Edmond's said I should cover with foil and freeze again, but there is no foil left in the house because my flatmates did not buy any on the last shop. My fault for not going I suppose. Anyway, I just put it in the freezer without the foil. What're they gonna do, huh?

And this is what it is supposed to look like! But I won't find out how good mine is, or if it tastes nice until tonight. Maybe - if you're lucky - I'll let you know!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Breakfast at The Brigham, with Jim

I have been intending to post this all week, but I lost my camera for a while. I wasn't worried as I knew it would turn up. And it did. Between the door and the seat in my car. Lucky it didn't fall out!

Last weekend my brother (nickname Jim) came up to Auckland to visit. He was flown in on Friday night and I drove him to Hamilton to meet up with another friend on Sunday. Saturday morning we went out for breakfast.

Now, as much as I love my brother (and I do, very much) this post isn't about his stay. This is mostly because he's not the sort of bloke to have a blog written about him. He's talented, but modest. He's a friendly guy, but this weekend a bit quiet - mostly because staying with me means he has time to relax and not do anything. I get the impression this is rare for Jim. So although Jim is my main character in this post, today I am writing about The Brigham.

The Brigham is a little eatery which used to be known as Serendipity and is nestled away behind some hedges and trees from a busy-ish, rural-ish road. Brigham Creek Road is the 'main drag' driven by most of my work mates as they make their way from Married Quarters in Hobsonville, to the operational Air Force base at Whenuapai. All the same, if you didn't slow down to have a gander at the sign - you wouldn't know The Brigham was there.

It is a quiet little place, possibly once a house, and the gardens are lovely. They hold weddings there. When it was Serendipity, it was one of the best places to go to for an all-day breakfast. The pancakes Jim ordered were a special for the day, now that the place is under different ownership. We sat out on the balcony in the sun and talked and ate at a leisurely pace.

Jim's pancakes with bacon, banana and maple syrup

Now, however, it caters more to midday-meals. I decided to compromise with my meal, and asked for the potato salad to be replaced with hash browns. Mmmmmm.

3 Chicken Kebabs with peanut sauce and potato salad.

I decided to respect Jim's privacy and did not even go so far as to ask to take his photo. Instead I copied the wonderful photographic talent of Merisi, and took a sneaky snapshot of his reflection in the window.

After the meal and some pleasant chatter, we made our way off the balcony and went for a wander through the gardens. But not all the way - it was a wild and untamed wilderness out there and we didn't want to get lost.

Entry to the wilderness

Keeping each other in sight...

Dangerous Swampland

Although there were sections where the garden and grounds catered to different tastes, there never seemed to be a solid border delineating one part of the grounds from another. Through the arch was a path to trees and grass, a dove cote, and plenty of dappled sunlight to wander or picnic within. Or directly outside the 'house' was a little cobbled courtyard with neat little rows of resine chairs and a lectern, waiting for a best man to come along sometime and give his speech. Down the side were rather dainty little citrus bushes. And between the two was the above water feature, which ended at the main grounds. Patrons could opt to eat here and alone, rather than with the others back on the balcony or inside.

We stood at the end of the water feature, and looked out into the lawns and trees, and Jim spotted a dotard*, a lone Pukeko amongst the ducks.

View from the above picnic table

We turned then, and made our way along the arduous jungle track towards the tiny shack, and I couldn't possibly resist taking a photo of that too.

And lastly, just before we went inside to pay our bill and leave forever, I caught side of a meticulously manicured piece of garden, which was within view of more outdoor eating spots.

Beyond - into the real unknown. Notice the top of the tree-fern in the mid ground, it is in a gully!!!

* FOOTNOTE: Word Imps may recognise the term dotard from the Imperfect lineup in September. It was my first entry, which happened to be my first winning entry too! For my definition you'll have to go here.