Friday, February 21, 2020

Retro fashion I would wear

This is pretty groovy. A dress from 1966.
 Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 34-S832D

A Poncho!! So Seventies. We had ones a bit like this.  I will might knit one. Or at least, have a go, one day!
 Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections FP08477

I'd wear the dress second from the right. It's a 1930s floral dress, neato length, too. And maybe the bathing suit next to it, if I ever went near water. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections FP3000-0088. 

I like the black dresses. But spare the hats. This from a fashion show in the sixties.
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1269-W212-32

Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Desert Romance

Today is Valentine's Day and I was looking through some old images on line for something Valentine-ish when I found this. It is not actually Valentine's Day material at all, but it was very interesting. Winnie Comber and Irene Speller were actresses in Damascas when they were seen by a young Prince who became so infatuated with them, he asked Winnie to become the chief wife in his haram of 50!! She refused, he tried to kidnap the young women, and they then had to seek protection from the British Consul. This was reported in August 1927!! Fake news perhaps?  I don't know but an interesting story, none the less.

Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19270804-48-2 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

An adventure with Bobbie the cat

A cat story.
It began eighteen months or so ago (actually July 2018) when we became the proud parents of Billie and Bobbie, two female cats from the SPCA. Adorable tabbies, they were a "bonded pair" who may or may not have been related. It was quite sad because they had actually been adopted some months earlier but their new owners had returned them.
I have never heard of that before. Who would return such adorable kitties?
Well, we were the lucky ones. So we adopted them and we love them to bits.  I am not sure how much they love us back, but you take that chance, as cat owners.
About a year ago we became convinced Billie had a serious skin condition and so took her to the vet.
Geoff the vet pronounced her a bit on the chubby side, but that she didn't have a terminal skin condition. What she had were fleas which were aggravating her. It was mortifying to say the least. We are not newbie cat owners (she thinks defensively), but he pronounced Billie in excellent health. Although, he said, she could do with losing a wee bit of the flab.
A few months back, we noticed that Bobbie, the smaller of the two, had lost a bit of weight. In fact, I thought she was looking quite skinny; malnourished, even. We gave her  a flea treatment, and also a worm treatment, assuming this was the cause of this sudden malaise. Nothing really altered, so we began to monitor her eating, just in case big Billie was eating all her food.
But no. Bobbie was eating quite well. Yet she definitely had changed a bit in herself. She seemed to be a lot more unsettled, she'd leap in and out of windows, she was terribly energetic, but also slept very well, and while you would think this was nothing to worry about, I was worried. She seemed to miaow a lot more, too, although she didn't appear to be in pain or discomfort at all.
It was odd. But even more was that she was skinny. So skinny. In fact, she was positively starving-looking next to Billie.
A family member thought it sounded like she might be suffering from hyper-thyroidism, and when I was chatting to a cat-loving friend this week, they said Bobbie's symptoms sounded very much like it. They had a cat with it, and it's quite a serious condition.
Blimmin heck, I thought  and I rang up the vet and got an appointment for later on that afternoon,
I kept an eye on Bobbie in preparation for the  vet visit, and allowed plenty of time to capture her. And when it came time to get her... well. What a fiasco. She ran away. Then a bit later when I nearly got her, she slipped under the fence and couldn't be bribed out even with her favourite treats. She went up on to the garage roof, and would not come down. I got the fam to help (that is, the six foot three family member) but Bobbie was clearly suspicious of all this, and it was agreed. This was hopeless.
If I was a smoker, I'd have had one.
I rang up the vet and said, I'm not going to make it, and they said, we can fit her in in two hours time.
Praise be.
Relieved, I pottered around, but about an hour before we were due to leave, I was informed she had gone up the tree in the back yard.
No worries. I gritted my teeth. It's all good. I had time.
I paced the kitchen, looking out the window. Bobbie was clearly not coming down from that tree, She was high, high up in those branches. Escaping capture. Maybe even planning to live up there.
This was a nightmare.
Time passed, the pacing increased. There was much swearing and panic.
If I was a smoker, I'd have smoked the packet.
But there was still time. I had the keys in the car ready to go. All I needed was Bobbie.
And then,  finally, she came inside, because it was getting close to tea time. I grabbed her, locked her up in the carry case, and off we went.
I got to the vet in good time. All the other people in the waiting room were patting their cats, and talking soothing words to them.  I didn't bother because Bobbie hated me and no amount of "good kitty" was going to change that although, in hindsight, I may have looked like an actual caring cat owner if I had been all loving towards her, but I can't be bothered faking such things. So I read magazines while she tried to escape from her carry case.
Soon, her name was called, we went into the consultation room, and I told him (that would be the lovely Geoff) why I was there. Bobbie had lost weight, had been acting strangely, and I had diagnosed her as having an over active thyroid.
He laughed (politely). She would be a medical outlier, he said, because that is reserved for older cats.
I felt a bit of a twit, again, but was pretty happy it wasn't the dreaded condition,  but was still  concerned as to what it was and what he was going to find. The vet weighed her, he checked her out.
Her weight, he said, was nothing to worry about. In fact she was a really good weight, and the perfect weight for her frame. She had some fat on her, actually,  but she was just a lean machine.
Bobbie, you beauty, I thought.
Then he asked a few questions about her and he came up with a possible explanation for her strange behaviour and her weight loss. He determined that it could be she was acting a bit oddly because she was defending her territory against other cats.
Indeed, I told him, with excitement, in the past year there have been a couple of cats around which weren't there before.  We have chickens, too, so these interloper cats tend to like to observe our chooks.
Many's the time I've run outside and chased off a cat who is eyeing up our birds.
This was all coming together as a plausible explanation.
I told him that she had in fact, just that afternoon, gone up the tree. Clearly to do a reconnoitre of the hood, I thought to myself. Not escaping from me at all.
Two and two was making four and as I gazed at non-hyperthyroid Bobbie, I knew I was looking at a (lean) warrior princess.
But that wasn't all.
Geoff got out a comb, ran it over her a few times and he said, "And she's got fleas."
FLEAS?? I just wanted to faint dead away.
I had a noticed a flea or two, I admitted, but not on her or Billie. For a start, they'd had treatments less than a month ago, and I had flea combed Bobbie a few times that week and found nothing.
Clearly my technique was rubbish because she had fleas, and Geoff the vet had the evidence.
Talk about feeling an incompetent cat owner.
YET AGAIN, oh my golly gosh, I had taken a cat, with a diagnosed-by-Joanne condition, to the vet, only to be told they were in good shape and by the way, they had fleas.
But what great news. Our Bobbie is not sick.
Oh, no.
What she is, is the defender of her universe, bounding around and using energy and building muscle as she preserves her territory, defends it against those neighbouring intruders.
What a cat!

Saturday, February 1, 2020


Until February 5th, two books are currently free on Amazon.
They are Marrying Melinda and Blue Creek Bachelor.

These are stand alone books: that is, they are not part of a series, so please grab them.

Head to my AMAZON author page for the links, and if you enjoy them, please do leave a review,

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Mini Golf Och Aye

Summer holidays means... mini golf!  Actually, any holiday means Mini Golf, if its not too ridiculously expensive. Not that I play it a lot, and I didn't really play it regularly, eg on holidays, until some years ago when we went along to a cute mini golf course in Feilding, in the Manawatu, and it became a regular thing we did when we were in that great part of the country.
I was in the South Island recently and happened along to the Riccarton Park Golf Complex in Christchurch. It has big golf too, if that be your thing, but it is not my thing, at this stage in life. 
So MacDuffs is an 18 Hole Mini Golf that has a really cute Scottish theme, including a castle, a Loch Ness Monster, and the sound of bagpipes along the way. I liked it a lot and next time I'm down that way, will pay another visit and try and beat my appalling score.
 Plus we got a free Chuppachup at the end. Can't think what it was for, now, but... yay!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Happy Anniversary Day Auckland

Today is Auckland Anniversary Day.
On to that in a minute....
I still hope to have Bringing Back Emily up by the end of January. That is ... in a few days time.
I have gone back over Jack and Sage to fix up a few issues with those stories and to double check consistencies.

Also I am removing my books from wide distribution (ie Apple, Kobo etc) to focus on Amazon and having them enrolled in the reading programme.
It has been a bit of a decision to make but I will trial it again and see what happens.
If it doesn't prove a good decision, I will go back to wide again. That is the joy of indie publishing; nothing is set in concrete and you can play around and find your market.
So FINALLY I will have my first trio of books in the same series, the City of Sails series.
Interestingly, (I think that's a word), today is the anniversary day for Auckland, aka the City of Sails. 180 years old apparently.
The weather is hot and fine, and last night there were spectacular fireworks in the city.
Not that I went, being a non-fan of such events which involve crowds of people and jostling and crowds of people and parking/traffic dramas, and crowds of people (did I mention crowds of people?) and  all that stuff that one, ie me, tends to avoid.
No. I stayed home with the fam which was nice. I watched some telly, read a bit, washed a dish or two, and I made some mega-fattening, uber-wonderful afghan biscuits which have all gone.
A pretty good evening.

Friday, January 24, 2020

New Years reading

One of my first reads for the new year was A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh. I bought the trade paperback version, cover below.
It was gripping right from the get-go, set in a coastal tone in New Zealand where the South Island setting is perhaps
the star of the story. It is of course a murder mystery;  a beautiful young local woman is murdered while out on a run. There is wild sea and dense bush, and danger in the elements. Beautiful, dangerous New Zealand.
I'm always a bit reticent about saying I like a book that deals with awful topics. I went through a Jack Reacher phase a year back, and did my dash there. And much as I'd give A Madness of Sunshine a high rating, which I do, I think I'll stick to light reading. This book is proof, though, (if we needed it)  that our Nalini is one heck of an amazing writer and story teller.

In other reading, I've been taking part in a summer reading challenge for the fun of it.
Besides a graphic novel about a zombie cat (kind of gross), and watching a movie based on a book (Sense and Sensibility with beloved Alan Rickman),  the classic I chose to read was Requiem for a Wren by Nevil Shute. Not 'light' reading in that it deals with WW2, though and how war keeps killing. A lot of WW2 detail as our heroine, Janet, is indeed a Wren. The story begins with Alan coming back to his parents Australian farm to find their maid has killed herself and he explores her personal papers and his own memories of her to uncover why she ended her life.  So not happy.
Clearly, something funny and... cheerful,  is needed right about now!

Monday, January 20, 2020

A Zoo Visit

We paid a visit to the zoo over the holidays. We got there first thing in the morning, before opening, as we needed to borrow a wheel chair for our family member, and there was already a queue waiting to get in. It had been  a while since my last zoo visit and below are some of the photos. I didn't get a terribly good pic of the Capybaras as it was feeding time when we arrived and there was a huge gathering watching them. The kereru was hilarious; he perched on his own sign. It was a good day though, and great to see so many people there. I will add I burnt a zillion calories pushing the wheel chair around, up hill and over dale (so to speak). But it was worth it.

The Capybaras

A Kereru, wood pigeon

Galapagos Tortoise

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Cover Reveal

It's been a long time, but here it is.
The cover for Bringing Back Emily.

Most of my covers I make myself using Gimp software and You Tube tutorials. The hardest part is finding an image and I had planned to use this one for another book.
But thinking about, it's perfect. It suits the character of Emily so well.  Emily  has fair hair, she lives in the country, and she wears boho style dresses, so what could be more perfect?

I may tweak it a bit more, and try some different colours for the wording... perhaps... but I get the feeling I won't stray too far from this.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Remembering winter

I took this photo a few months back in winter, but since its winter in other parts of the world, and since I'd forgotten I even took it, and found it when I was deleting all the rubbishy pics on my phone, I thought I'd post it. It's the Makatote Viaduct, north of Waiorou in the North Island. It has a heritage listing as an important heritage structure around rail in New Zealand, and it was built between 1905-1908.

I was driving up the north island, and it was a beautifully freezing day. Snow wasn't falling but it was lying everywhere. The roads had been cleared, but it was just lovely and picturesque. The viaduct was repainted a few years ago, and I usually see it with all the green around, but with the red paint, against the backdrop of the snow and ice, it was quite something. I stopped and took these pictures.

I don't know how many times I've driven under the viaduct and admired it and it's surround nature, but in the snow it was quite wonderful to look at it.

Retro fashion I would wear

This is pretty groovy. A dress from 1966.  Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 34-S832D A Poncho!! So Seventies. We had ones a...