Friday 30 November 2012

weather and stuff

The moon was full last night, and was beautiful.  Apparently there was a lunar eclipse too, but I saw none of it.
Also Mercury is no longer retrograde, which is a good thing, but after this morning's cloud and rain, the wind is up and is unsettling.  
I'm glad we are not out on our bikes today-we had a ride yesterday, the Pirate on a road bike and myself on a mountain bike, so it wasn't easy.  I'm not sure how far we went, possibly about20 to 25km.

I've been mixing bread with the au pair here, it should be baked this afternoon. 
We're thinking of other cake recipes to use as well....this could be fun!!

The Pirate has continued yesterday's task of hedge trimming.....and now I have toast and peanut butter and strawberry jam, courtesy of the I must stop!!

vegan chocolate cake

I've been hunting for my chocolate cake recipe....not easy when your files are 13,000 miles away

So I'm trying this.....cobbled together from memory and a couple of other places....

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder...not hot chocolate mix!!!
1 tsp baking soda  ("bicarb")
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract (must be the real stuff!)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar......

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix everything together to make a dark brown batter.....

then place in a greased and lined cake tin- 8" (20cm) square should do it, a little bigger will just give you a shallower cake.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when gently poked in the middle- if it wobbles, don't try it, give it another 10 minutes.   Depending upon your oven it could take an hour--- but it IS worth waiting for---you're supposed to cool it in the tin for two hours, but I can never wait that long.

I wouldn't glaze or ice it, as it bakes with a good finish and is sweet enough anyway.


Thursday 29 November 2012


I was fortunate to get in contact with Jenni Taris in Matangi near Hamilton just before she had the second firing in her new kiln.
The Pirate wants me to have one of it was a good opportunity for him to see just what this entails!  He joined in on the stoking and helped with the catering...and played with the dogs!!

Over half a dozen other potters came and went,  as it is a shared firing- much better to share firings in each others kilns, that way you all get work finished sooner and learn more quicker.

I made half a dozen pots as a Thankyou for letting us descend upon them at short notice, on a Leach kickwheel that was sitting just waiting to be used!!!!

The forecast rain only stayed for ten minutes , the rest of the day was beautiful.
 We'd travelled on the bus from Te Aroha leaving just before 7am (two hours after the kiln was lit) and unfortunately had to get the bus back two hours before the end of the firing.

The surprise of the day?    Meeting a friend who lives only a few hundred metres up the road...we hadn't written for e few years.....and not seen each other for over thirty!! We met first in the 70s as competitors on Meadowbank track, she for Scotland, from Dunfermline, me for Wales, from Cardiff.

Good to see you again Wilma!!                                                                                  

lake Taupo trip

Monday 26 November 2012


I've been helping at a junior school this morning, where T's son attends....helping his class mix and roll out and cut gingerbread house parts!!  (Aaaargh....backache....standing at junior school height tables all morning!!!)

The other progress?

The Pirate has been given a secondhand I phone AND has an email address...he still uses a secretary to write emails, but at least it will be cheaper than texting and phoning.

He is still getting frustrated with the phone....yet another different system to learn...just a pity it didn't come with the instructions.
Not that HE would have read them!!!

Another post script....he is only just beginning to understand that you DON'T call back every call you missed....that way you're paying for everyone else's calls.
 He has also  been given a phone he can email from....but has no internet usage on his plan....oh dear....

Sunday 25 November 2012

cycling and geology live

Criterium racing ("round the houses" on a closed course, this one 2.6km) on the front at Taupo ....with a gently steaming volcano across the Lake.

The following day nearly eight and a half thousand riders  took part in the Lake Taupo Challenge, riding the 160km course around the lake.

Six thousand did a single circuit.  Two thousand took part in the relay where the average length was 40km, most doing one section only.

Then there are those who do two, four and EIGHT laps !!!!!

The eight-lappers started at midday on last Wednesday, aiming to finish by Saturday afternoon.    The fastest one of these?  A Pocket Rocket called Christine Coudley, who did the eight laps in just over 72 hours,  just over  68 of those in the saddle.


The volcano?....Mount Tongarino is just sitting there steaming at present, having surpised everyone with a mountainly burp, putting ask 4km into the air last Wednesday.....but the one to watch is its neighbour, Mount Ruapehu.

The last  eruption was last August, so far they've been every fifty years.

Thursday 22 November 2012

cycle racing

Off to Lake Taupo to see the race....lets hope the volcano's indigestion improves!!!!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Good Morning!

I've been trying to find the translation for Te Aroha....and looking at the Maori online dictionary I found this....
  • aroha

    1. (verb) (-tia,-ina) to love, feel pity, feel concern for, feel compassion, empathise.
    Aroha ana ngā tangi a ō mātou wāhine (HM 4/2009:1). / The crying of our women was heart-rending.
    2. (noun) affection, sympathy, charity, compassion, love, empathy.
    Tērā tātau e rongo kei te tuwha haere a Henare i ana hipi, i ana kau ki a Ngāti Porou, hei kaihaukai māna ki tōna iwi, he nui nō tōna aroha! (TP 7/1900:8). / We have heard that, because of his charity, Henare is distributing his sheep and cows to Ngāti Porou as feasts for his people. See also aroha nui.
  • aroha mai

    (verb) sorry, I'm sorry, my apologies - a modern usage.
  • aroha nui

    much love, with deep affection - often used in signing off letters to friends. See also aroha, nui.
  • arohanui

    (noun) with deep affection - often used in signing off letters to friends. More correctly, it should be written as two words, aroha nui.

    Te is the equivalent of The.

    It is the name of the mountain,  and also the town founded in the gold rush, about 1830.

    edited to add- thanks to Susan Heather (see comments) I now know that Te Aroha is the Mountain of Love.


I like Cro's suggestion of taking home fresh oranges to make marmalade, BUT.....

you don't take any fresh fruit into Australia-even if you don't leave the airport and are just in transit for 40 minutes.

You don't even have the option of eating it to make it disappear.

It means a heavy fine AND you're on the computer system.

At least in New Zealand you do have the option of a bin before you go through customs to go in and you can discuss what you may have that they might question.


Mount Tongarino erupted this morning.....

1.   The Pirate is due to fly from Sydney tomorrow afternoon....

2.  We're all due to travel to the Lake Taupo race on Friday.....and that is just 100k north of the volcano........


Meanwhile, I hate sandflies and mosquitoes.....

a mooch round town

After putting the washing on the line (and the first batch of towels were dry by the time the second wash went out!) and blog-checking  I took advantage of a lift to town and had another wander.

Half a dozen quilters were very busy in the Arts Centre,  so I had a chat in the quilting shop instead! (that is in the same link).  The I- centre was good for some maps and info on local artists.

After another cup of coffee and a read of the daily newspaper in Banco, I looked at other shops in town, the knitting shop which sells secondhand books and some sewing items, the Asian food shop and The Organic food shop and cafe.

Then the walk home, only 15 to 20 minutes in the sun, time to think and consider.

Tuesday 20 November 2012


Two days ago we did a little gardening....
collecting the windfalls,  then  T set to with her saw....

and I used the secateurs...

with some help from T and one of the chooks to finish off

Not forgetting digging over the bed at the front.

and you can see The which we treated ourselves to a Girls Day Out yesterday, getting the NZ equivalent of an MoT certificate to make it legal to drive for another year, getting the Hi Fi fixed into it, having coffee in a chocolate factory and  buying power you do!!

We also called in to Waikato Potters Supplies and the Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville- I could be a bit nearer finding other potters to talk pots with!!