Wednesday 30 November 2022

History , for Weave.

 Grandpa, as far as I know had been working as a purser on liners.. certainly between Liverpool and New York....ended up in Australia, and being that time, joined the Australian Army.  

He was apparently an artist, working where a camera would not be suitable. He was in Gallipoli, and invalided out with thanks to the Aussie army I am here...the British army had a nasty habit of shooting people with what woul now be called PTSD.

He then after the war travelled back to London...and married his first cousin, my Grandma. Being astute (aka tight!) with finances he realised that he could get her a free passage back to Australia!!

He studied and worked at the Art school in Adelaide. Learnt to swim by wading in a river and suddenly finding a deep pool. Rode a fixed wheel bike..I have a photo at home.

Grandma was extremely happy there...I have a photo on my wall of her wearing a hat that she made for a garden party in Adelaide.

Come the late 1920s and the strikes and hunger matches in England...her mother, grandpa's aunt, helped to run a soup kitchen in London. Grandpa thought that was not respectable, so decided to return to London...Grandma was broken hearted at that.

So mother was born in 1928 in Bromley, Kent.

My grandparents, after several moves (including being flooded out of their home beneath a church in London where he was the the bottom end of the Caledonian Road where five roads meet and a main water supply was hit by a bomb.) lived in one end of a terrace of three thatched cottages in Micheldever.

Mother returned there to have me.

An aside....the village is two miles from its railway the station is a farm, where they had a lodger. Six years ago we started tidying the garden of that lodger, now living in Kirkmichael, South Ayrshire!! He had also been at Gallipoli....

Their next move was to one of the Homes for acre of ground, a concrete base and a wriggly tin house with wooden panelling and two good fires back to back. A dunny out the back and ice on the inside of the windows in winter!!

We had been living in North Wales where my parents were youth hostel wardens, and my brother was born, then in Darlington over a bike shop on the A1 road by where it went under the railway. Six o'clock every morning you could awake to the BingBingBing of the shunting yard.

I started school there, age 3..the playing was boring, the learning fascinating...and school milk defrosted on the school radiator was foul!!

I loved living in the tin house and started gardening there when I was 5. We had Walnut and plum trees and an apple orchard with Beauty of Bath early apples, and a barn where apples were stored.

Despite having thin soil over the chalk the vege and fruit garden was very productive.

Grandma used to call us "CooooEeeee" from the house...the call of the Grandma Bird she called it!!

Moving on to when I was at Junior school in Eastleigh in Hampshire. Grandma bought Arnotts biscuits from Australia, the thin savoury oaty ones, and Tim Tams, from a local deli run by German Jewish refugees.

A big jump then to the mid 60s..I was in Grammar school, Dad was working as a technician in Southampton University. He applied for a job in Sydney University in 1967, and we jumped through all the hoops in the application. At the last minute his sponsor pulled out, so no job and no emigration.

So in bits and bobs, there are some of my Antipodean links....

Pirate nearly moved to Auckland at the same time as we didn't move to Sydney..but his then wife wasn't he wasn't going to take her 13,000 miles away.

He still has the letter of introduction..and the firm is still going!!

When we got together, he had just booked tickets to go to New Zealand for just under six months....and he wasn't going to leave me I bought my own ticket.

That was in 2012....and I have felt at home here on every visit since.

Glad to be here

 We are definitely glad to be here. It just feels like we are back home.

Giving our friend a hand around the house and garden. Visiting mutual friends.

The hills there appear to have snow on them...or was it just the sunshine?

Christchurch harbour is the other side of them.

Then we had the delights of the Westfield Mall in Riccarton.   It is huge! Not my idea of fun atall, but we did miss the rain while sorting pirates NZ phone.


Monday 28 November 2022

The last hop to here

 Brisbane airport was a pleasant place to be...even when one had slept on a firm sofa! The coffee shops open at 4.30 am, and we found a corner to sit outside for a while as well. It was a long day...and communication problems with setting up roaming on my phone meant that we missed seeing our friend, even though she came after work in the afternoon to see us...and missed us.

There are real trees growing inside, plus the roof supports look like tree trunks. This all makes the place beautifully airy even when busy.
Off to the next aeroplane...looking rather small after the 777 then the 380 "scarebus"...the most modern apart from the Dreamliner, a 737-800.
I was fortunate to have a window seat, to see the sunset and clouds. We saw the moon as well, but that photo didn't come out well.

Our host was waiting for us as we cleared customs, then a twenty minute easy drive to Tai Tapu, where his eldest son was excitedly waiting to see us!!
He is probably reasonably severely autistic, but although not able to work he is a nice helpful person and lives in a sleepout so has his  self contained space to call his own.
We all chatted and drunk tea for a couple of hours or so, which helped us unwind after the journey.
Yesterday we helped get a campervan ready to go out...just the final polish of the windows. Then I drove our host's car following the van as he delivered it.
He hadn't thought to get back into renting camper vans again after the lockdown...but regular renters contacted him...and off they went in their regular vehicle.

It was good way of getting used to NZ roads again and easing us back into things.

Today it is cooler and a little showery...maybe warmer later...and we hope to get the camper car for our travels!
It was good to wake a little before 5am to the dawn chorus. Something we have really been missing. It is so good to be back here.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Getting there.


So far so good...

The sofa benches were more comfortable than an economy airline seat!!  Twelve more hours least it is light and airy.  Plus Pirate can watch football to his heart's content!!He wandered off to do that at 2.30 am to do just that, but omitted to point out exactly where the TV is....he was rather in my bad books...I woke again at 3.15 and he wandered back half an hour later!!!! He has been through here before, four years ago but we have never been through here together, only Melbourne or Sydney.

Thursday 24 November 2022

Ghost signs

 By the Auld Brig in Ayr.

We were there yesterday, a few last minute things plus a dental appointment for Pirate...and the dentist did this re check on his work for free... thankfully!!

Today it is blowing a hoolie here..yellow weather warning and all, with added rain.

No reason to be out then...just packing and getting the house ready for our house sitters.

We are so glad this time that the house will not be empty.

Monday 21 November 2022

A long day

 Up at six, out at first light..and off to collect a reading magnifier that belonged to a friend's late wife. 

It looks like a microfiche reader that archives and libraries used to have..but has different degrees of brightness, colour and magnification that you can adjust, so that you can read on the screen what you place on the movable flat plate below.

We have bought it (luckily it is third hand, so far from the full price..which is eye watering!) for Pirate's ex-wife who has developed macular degeneration, the same as its previous owner.

Coffee and tattie scone and egg set us up there, and we retraced our steps along the Solway Coast to Castle Douglas..5 miles further than the cross country route, but we had found a short section of flooding which we had no wish to repeat!

We watched the end of a rather muddy Cyclo-cross..after a long night of rain! Our Fife friend was second in the 60+ is a series, so he still leads that.

The course was in a park by a municipal camping ground, just off the centre of Castle Douglas. It has a beautiful loch in the park, with all sorts of waterfowl..all looking healthy, thankfully.

Lunch was bought at the event catering..for a change, not a burger van!!

Quiche, samosas and a chocolate brownie were welcome at the next stop!

Gretna Green shopping village was too full!! A quick foray for underwear in one shop then on down the motorway to Tebay and the Westmoreland of the few that you can quietly cross from southbound to northbound! As we left Scotland the weather turned grey and definitely unfriendly!!

There we met with Pirate's machine to exchange presents and pass on the reading machine to go to his mum.

A meal and chat...after saying hello to a junior Scots team on their way home from a track event at Newport Velodrome!

Then the long drive back home, with the weather initially improving again as we left England! A break for a rest and a drink at the services where we left the motorway..very sensible ones that are off the motorway so can get business from all sides.

Then across on the A 70 all the way home, with some sleety rain on the highest parts as we came back into Ayrshire.

A long day, but not too tiring as we had enough breaks.

Saturday 19 November 2022

Sunrise and a successful day


A relief after the rain.

It has been a productive day.

A special treat, coffee in a posh café in Ayr and then a little shopping.

Then we made the most of a dry and sometimes sunny afternoon, despite a chill breeze.

Tidying the garden, it almost looks presentable! Bare earth where there was a crop of beetroot has been covered with the earth from the runway excavation, then cardboard boxes..these will prevent soil leaching and degredation and by the spring will be breaking down nicely. 

I have pressed the wild pears, that had turned brown and bletted as they were out on the garden bench in a bag and had been frosted. I had hoped that this would work, as with medlar fruit.

Before this they were hard and sharp and the juice is delicious!  I don't have a large quantity so this year I will mix it with that of the sweet crabapples.  

Now it is dark so much earlier, it is hard to be enthusiastic about working on as late as one would in the summer!  But perhaps we are meant to relax more at this time of year?


 After a very wet night

Friday 18 November 2022

The man himself

 We have finished the runway, as far as we can.  Concrete slabs have risen so much in price that we won't go further unless we can get some secondhand ones.

The ground is completely sodden, but we are glad that we haven't had the amount of rain that the East of Scotland has one place the usual amount for November in one day.  Ballater has again flooded, but not so bad as 2015 with Storm Frank.

It has been teamwork, but it is a job to steer pirate away from overdoing it.  Luckily a friend called by for a cuppa and chat..very convenient!!

We do need an easy day tomorrow, although there is so much to pack into the next week!!

While he was doing his share of the job, I trimmed the grass back from the concrete paths and pruned the roses and shrubs.



Despite the rain, progress is being made. 

The tender plants are in the kitchen, and we have done half the runway extension.

Then we will be able to have our car right back and on concrete slabs when our friends comes to stay. They both have 23 foot long vans..good thing they don't both come at the same time!!

The workshop extension now has guttering both sides and the water is being directed away from the building. One side goes into an old wheelie bin for now, but there will be water butts both sides next year.

We have had a bucketful of rain overnight and everything is sodden. Luckily today's yellow and orange weather warnings are over on the East of Scotland. Not lucky for them. 

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Blogger comment problem

 I can't leave comments on some blogs...Cro and Kamo Lady to start with.

Something to do with the Captcha system not loading properly.

However I have commented on Boxes and Bellows, Weave's blog and Steve's blog with no problems.

For a while I have sometimes had to hit Publish a couple of times for it to work..but I think that is my tablet and/or internet!!

So I am still reading you all..keep writing!!!

Sunday 13 November 2022

Social media..where next?

 Seen on Making a Mark's Blog

What do you think?

I am not sure.  I have reconnected with good friends..lost because I have moved so often throughout my life. I have made many more, through printing and ceramics groups with common interests. 

Kept in contact with cycling friends and family all round the world. Even our own children, as they live from three to eight hours rest stops...away.

Managed to stay in contact with friends and family in Aotearoa NZ .

Met online friends and family in person  where we could.

I know that the blogosphere is shrinking, although in the past three years a fair number on my following list have returned to blogging.

Saturday 12 November 2022

Keep on walking


We just had a short walk yesterday, down to the mill and back. It was good to catch a break in the rain but it was very windy.

I think these trees are what is left of a hedge.

We thought that the water would still be higher.  No sign of the dippers or kingfisher.

A longer walk today, just around Hannahston nature reserve.   Plenty of mallards chasing around, but not many other birds apart from these geese on our way there.

They don't seem to be moving further south at the moment. Possibly it is still too warm.. unseasonably so.

Thursday 10 November 2022


 We have had an interesting couple of days.

Pirate had to hop off to A&E..and was being assessed for a couple of days.

Nothing mega.. basically the after effects of prostate cancer radiotherapy, plus the post viral effects of covid in April on his gut.

Things calmed down so they sent him home...the NHS waiting list for a camera Where the Sun Don't Shine is three months here...better than the UK average of just over a year....if it was that bad it would have been done.

Interestingly the list has ballooned 500% since Covid started.

Why am I not surprised?!

The main thing is. He is still here!!

I also got a lot done whilst he was elsewhere 😎

Monday 7 November 2022

While the weather blows hard and wet

The jobs indoors get done, slowly.

Three batches of apple juice next.

I have been downloading, emailing to myself and printing some sheets of genealogy, to give to our cousins. I will be able to email them with this information as well, so that they may pass it on to others in the family.  Not being in the UK, they can only access matters at great expense, if atall. The reverse is true, so I need to make a list of those names I need to research....

Then there is the matter of getting the house sorted and tidy enough for our house that is a job and a half!!

Saturday 5 November 2022

Cumbria visit

 We stopped over in Cockermouth last Tuesday, on our way home.

Breaking the journey seems far more sensible and longer the heroics of arriving ten hours after you started!!

Neither of us had been to Cumbria for a it was Kendal for lunch...and not one piece of mint cake in sight!!

On the wall in the café.....and outside, the same street..

There are information plaques in many places, giving the history...perhaps we need to spend a whole day here!!

There are lanes and alleys everywhere!

Then a detour to the river Kent

Where they are working on flood defences

And back up to the high street through another alley, or vennel.

Then on to Cockermouth for our overnight stay, via Ambleside..where a hail shower was knocking the beech mast from the trees, making a lot of noise on the car's roof!

You see the green fence just this side of the white building?

Then read the plaque on the pub wall where I took the first shot....

Like so many places...I want to go back and really have some leisurely time there!!

And Pirate met the dog in the bike shop....who definitely approved of him!!

A small friendly hairy hound!!