Happy Ramblings: 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wishing you a Happy Easter!

It has been a very lazy day today. I slept in late, catching up with some well needed sleep. Then I breakfasted on toasted waffles with apple sauce.

The waffles were made last week and then put into the freezer ready for emergencies. I simply popped them into the toaster without the need for defrosting. Wonderful! And there was a bowl of stewed apples in the fridge, made from apples from our tree, which I just passed through a seive to make puree.

Then I spent a couple of hours reading and had a long luxurious bubble bath...bliss. A perfect holiday!

Smoked salmon, salt herrings, pickles, prawn cocktail, salads

Mum and dad made a lovely Easter dinner tonight. We had a cold meal because the weather is still very hot here in here New Zealand, even though it is Autumn. It still feels very strange for me to have Easter in the Autumn. For me Easter means spring flowers...pots of blue hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses.

Easter dessert of Kulich and Pashka

We had Kulich and Pashka for dessert. Mum made the Pashka a few days ago and the Kulich was made this morning. They are my favourite Easter desserts and a Polish tradition that we have had since as far back as I can remember.

The icing on the Kulich is a little sparse because dad doesn't like icing on Kulich and he caught mum putting it on....sigh....I love heaps of icing on Kulich, so I had a little separate bowl of icing to put on my slice when I ate it, so we were all happy :)

I hope that you have a wonderful Easter and that the Easter Bunny is very good to you.


Rose xxx

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm back again!

Garden Lovers and Breakfast Google Plus Community

Hi, I am back again in blog land, feeling more like my usual cheerful self!

Thank you all my blog friends for your support and staying around while I was away. I have missed you all very much and can't wait to catch up with what has been going on.

While I was away I kept myself busy on Google+, setting up 2 Communities there. A Breakfast Community and a Garden Lovers Community, which some of you may have already visited. You need to be signed up to Google+ to be able to access the Communities, which is really simple to do, and free.

I am finding it great fun to share breakfast ideas, photos and recipes with other people in the Breakfast community. And also garden and flower photos and ideas with the Garden Lovers Community. Feel free to pop over and join in if you wish.

In the meantime I will sort through my photos from my trip to Australia, that I had the beginning of February, and share some with you very soon. I have a lot of catching up to do!

See you soon. Lots of hugs xxx

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Cat Guido - Happy Memories (Episode 2)

funny Siamese blue point cat helping photograph

It didn't take us long to realise what a clever Guido was. That is one of the great things about Siamese cats. He wanted to join in with everything that I was doing and when he thought I wasn't paying enough attention to him, the mischief started!

While I had to spend hours studying, Guido would sit on my desk, in front of me, and walk backwards and forwards over my keyboard. He didn't want to sit quietly on my knee. He wanted to type my assignments for me and do what I was doing. He was very creative with making up new words with a never ending combination of letters. This made studying very interesting indeed!

If this didn't provide enough attention for him, he would hop onto my book case and systematically knock the books off one by one. I thought he had knocked the first couple of books off by accident. But then I watched what he was doing. Guido was poking his paw behind each book and slowly nudging it to the edge of the shelf. He then gave a final nudge and watched over the edge, fascinated, until the book crashed to the floor. Then moved on to the next book. He carried on doing this until I picked him up off the shelf.

That was a mistake...he realised that I would stop whatever I was doing and pick him up if he did this. He soon learnt to climb the book shelves in the sitting room next to my bedroom and did the same thing. So in the middle of studying I would hear...crash...bang...silence...crash...bang, until I got up to investigate.

Then Guido learnt how to open cupboard doors and had a wonderful time exploring. But when he wanted more attention, simple exploration wasn't enough. When I was soaking in the bath he liked to sit on the edge of it. But he soon got bored and found it more fun to open the bathroom cupboards and empty them of all the towels and flannels.

He would also empty the toilet paper out of the toilet cupboard and bat the rolls around the floor. We often found the cupboards empty and the contents in a heap on the floor. Luckily he never discovered the joys of shredding paper!

Guido also developed a fascination with emptying drawers. Even if a drawer was only open enough for him to fit his paw through, he managed to get things out. Socks, underwear, anything he could grab, all ended up on the floor. We had to remember to keep drawers tightly shut.

When ever I played the piano Guido loved it. He would hop up on the stool next to me for a little while and watch and listen. Then, still sitting by my side, he would press the keys down with his paws one at a time. We played some interesting duets. The only thing was that I laughed so much it disturbed his music playing and he would abruptly stop playing looking offended lol.

Sometimes he would then hop onto the piano keys and walk backwards and forwards on them while I was playing. And he also helped me turn the pages of music. At other times he was just happy to sit on top of the piano and watch and listen to me play.

In later years Guido learnt that the quickest way to get attention was to stand on his hind legs and tap me repeatedly on the shoulder. You could almost see him saying "excuse me...but 5 minutes is long enough at the computer...I want you to play with me now...and I mean now...please." He was so cute.

To be continued...
Tomorrow morning I will be hopping on an aeroplane and heading off to Australia's Gold Coast for a week. See you when I get back with a few photos to share.

Big hugs xxx

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oscar my kamikaze cat

Gray cat with white bib in tree
Here is Oscar in his favourite spot...up a tree. He loves trees. The higher the better.

When he goes for walks with me and we get near a tree, he gets very excited and runs up as high as he can, really really fast, without thinking. He then runs back down the trunk head first and leaps out from 20 feet up!

When he adopted us, as a stray starving young kitten, he leapt out of a gum tree on our first walk which ended up badly. He landed on a branch poking upwards. My heart stopped...luckily he only had a few broken ribs, but he was sore for months and it stopped him from being able to purr properly.

He is fine now and still stupid about trees. He didn't learn from his accident and still leaps out of them! I don't go near trees when he goes for walks with me now because he just gets too excited. It worries me silly seeing him leap out of them.

He has really short stubby legs. I wouldn't be surprised if this has something to do with his love of leaping out of trees!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A wild flower meadow next door

Paddock full of blue chicory flowers

Imagine my surprise when I drove down our drive on my way to work, and saw my next-door neighbour's front paddock filled to the brim with large blue flowers. One day no flowers, then the next day a sea of blue!

Field full of blue chicory flowers

I thought I was seeing things at first, so I slowed my car down and stopped by the mail box to have a closer look. And sure enough, there they were, the prettiest blue flowers, everywhere I looked. Even though I was running late I hopped out of the car for a closer inspection.

I couldn't figure out what the flowers were. I thought at first it was blue linum which flowers on our land. But these flowers were much too big to be linum.

I puzzled about it all day. Then I remembered that a few years ago some of these flowers appeared in our vegetable patch. It was chicory. A whole field full of it.

I decided that I would take some photos of the chicory flowers when I got home from work. I couldn't wait. It was a lovely sunny day with blue skies, perfect.

But...when I got home I couldn't see any flowers in next door's field. I wondered what on earth had happened to them. Surely I didn't imagine them in the morning. Maybe they were flowers that just opened for one day and that was it? I was so dissapointed that I had missed photographing them.

Blue chicory flower meadow

The next day there they were again...a field full of bright blue flowers! But I hadn't got my camera with me and I didn't have time to go back and get it because I was on my way to work again.

It then rained for a few days, so on the next fine morning I was prepared. I had my camera with me, and I caught the little blighters unawares and got pictures of them with their flowers open hehe.

Close up picture of chicory flower

I don't know whether the chicory was sown there intentionally to make a wild flower meadow, or if it seeded itself there. I would have really loved to go for a walk amongst the flowers. But yesterday my neighbour put his horses there to graze...such a shame. I am so glad that I managed to take these photos just in time.

See you again very soon xxx

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My cat Guido - Happy Memories (Episode 1)

Guido helping me with photographing beads

After my Ocicat Alexei died, when he was only 6 months old, I decided that I needed another kitten, both for my sake and also to keep his sister Tasha company while I was at work. Tasha and Alexei adored each other and played together like crazy kittens do.

I wanted a Siamese kitten and managed to find a breeder that had some kittens for sale. When I arrived at the cattery I was taken to a little room where the kittens were kept with their mother. All I could see was a haphazard pile of little black and dark brown Oriental kittens climbing all over their dark brown mother.

I was puzzled and said to the breeder that I had come to chose a blue point Siamese kitten. She said yes. At this stage I thought she was going to try to sell an Oriental cat to me. I do like Oriental cats, I lived with two for a while when I was flatting, but I really wanted a Siamese cat.

Then a little white head popped up from the middle of the pile of kittens and I saw my Guido for the first time. The breeder wouldn't let me handle him because of risk of infection and she said he was very timid. But I fell in love with him immediately. I had to wait a month before I could take him home.

When I arrived home with Guido I kept him in his cat carrier while I introduced him to Tasha. Tasha had an absolute fit when she saw him! I thought oh nooooo, what have I done? Guido was safe in his carrier and I took Tasha out of the room for a few hours and let Guido run around. Then I put Tasha into the cat carrier and let Guido inspect her for a short while from the outside. I kept both of them in separate rooms for a few days gradually introducing them to each other like this for longer and longer periods.

After a very stressful week they suddenly became best friends. Washing each other, giving each other hugs, playing together and sleeping on my bed. They became inseperable. It was such a relief.

Then a couple of months later I moved to the countryside and they had a great time being able to run around outside. Guido kept bringing me things that he found; slugs - yummy (not), especially when you wake up to see one lying next to your face on your pillow, dead butterflies - crunchy when you roll over in bed on them, twigs, a huge cutting from a rose bush which I have no idea how he got through the cat door. His favourite was to bring me large V-shaped pine needles. He held the join part in his mouth and watched the pointy bits as he ran along trying to catch the ends until he reached me.

One day I decided it would be fun to show him what he looked like in a mirror. So I took down the long mirror from my wall and put it down on the floor. Guido had a great time trying to figure the mirror out. Looking at his reflection and the other reflections from the room. When he pawed at the side of the mirror I asked him "what's behind the mirror?" a few times, then lifted up the mirror from the floor for him to have a look. That really confused him. We played for ages like this and then I put the mirror back on the wall.

The next day I was in the sitting room and asked Guido what was behind the mirror and he ran into my room, put his paw under the bottom of the mirror and pulled the bottom away from the wall! That was the beginning of another game we often played.

After dad had fixed the television aerial outside, Guido appeared in my room with a 3 foot long piece of black coaxial cabling off-cut that dad had left on the ground. Guido had dragged it through the cat door and through the house to me. He was only a little kitten. I played with the cable with him for ages, then tossed it into the sitting room. Guido hurtled after it, picked it up and brought it back to me! He loved that cable for many years.

When he lost the cable outside somewhere I decided to replace it because he like to play with it so much. So I went off to the hardware store for some more. I asked for 3 feet of black coaxial cable. The assistant asked me which type. I said it didn't matter. He then gave me an incredulous look and asked what I needed it for. So I told him it was for my cat to play with. You can imagine the look on his face then, it was a real picture!

Guido then started to bring anything long and black that he found to me to play with, including shoe laces, elastic, wool and ribbon.

Years later when I was at university I had to spend a lot of time studying at my desk. One day Guido appeared at my side carrying a cyclamen flower and he dropped it at my feet. I laughed and thanked him, giving him big cuddles. But when I picked the cyclamen up the flower fell off the stem. I told Guido not to mind, it was a lovely thought. Guido then dissappeared and returned a little while later with another cyclamen flower for me! I don't know how he managed to pull the flowers off the plant. I thanked him again and put the flower in a glass of water on my desk.

To be continued...xxx

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thank you for your kind thoughts

Thank you for being with me through this difficult time. Your support and kind thoughts, here and in Google+, are such a great help to me.

I am on a bit of an emotional roller coaster at the moment, being very upset one moment, then okay, then very angry at the vets that didn't help Guido when I knew something was wrong. I went back to work today and my colleagues were very supportive. I got through the day, but it was very hard coming home with Guido not waiting on the doorstep for me.

I am trying to keep busy and I am going to write down all my happy memories that I had with Guido. All the clever things that he did. And put all his photos together. The hard drive on my old computer has lots of photos on, so I am going to see if a technician can rescue them for me.

Oscar has decided that he needs to nurse me. He is spending a lot of time with me sitting at my feet purring and looking up at me to be stroked. Hopping on my bed and lying next to me and sleeping with me at night. I went for a little walk with Oscar and Ginger this evening but for some reason Oscar started bullying Ginger and wouldn't let him near me. I think they are a bit mixed up without Guido.

Big hugs...will see you soon xxx

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Not a happy birthday for Guido today :(

Guido my Siamese cat's 17th  birthday

It is Guido's 17th birthday today. He is my beautiful Siamese cat. I mentioned how special and clever he is in one of my comment replies here.

Guido has not had a good day today. We noticed something wrong with him a few days ago and then on Friday he didn't want to eat. When I got home from work I noticed him going every few minutes to his litter tray without success. Then he started vomitting. I got very worried and phoned the after-hours vet. The vet met me at the clinic within 20 minutes of me phoning. He thought Guido was just constipated, so treated that and sent us away with some medicine. The vet said to phone him on his cell phone if I was worried any time during the weekend.

At 3.00 am this morning I woke up with Guido sleeping at my side and the bed felt a bit wet. I turned on the light and there were patches of blood on the bed. I panicked and checked Guido over and found that some faeces had burst out through a hole near his bottom. Then I really panicked. I woke mum up for help, then phoned the vet again.

The vet said he could meet me at the clinic first thing in the morning at 6.30 am. When I saw him he said he thought that it was a ruptured perineal hernia and that it would need surgery. He gave Guido some intravenous fluids, antibiotic injection, pain killers and a vitamin B shot, then sent us home. He wasn't able to treat Guido any further as it is Sunday and he had no support staff. Plus he said he didn't really know how to fix the problem.

Guido is being referred to a specialist vet hospital tomorrow. I have to wait until 8.00 am tomorrow to make an appointment for him as they aren't open today. Guido is now not allowed to eat anything after 8.00 tonight, in preparation for his operation. He appears comfortable and is sleeping at the moment, but he has been very clingy with me today, more than usual.

I will keep you updated on how he is getting on by adding to the end of this post.


  • Guidos's appointment at the vet hospital has been made for 11.30 this morning. He seems a lot brighter this morning and has been begging for food.
  • Guido is staying at the vet hospital for the week on i.v. fluids and food tube with 24 hour nursing care. He is having a series of tests done today. He isn't well enough for exploratory surgery. I am waiting for the specialist to let me know test results this afternoon and she will let me know if anything can be done to help him.
Very Sad News

Guido had to be put down this evening. He had multiple organ failure and extensive cancer throughout his body. He was such a brave little cat. I am going to miss him so much.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A very special afternoon tea at the Langham

Huge chandelier in the Winery at the Langham

My Great Aunty and her sister are amazing. At the ages of 90 and 83 respectively, they both travelled together to New Zealand from Canada for a holiday. They stayed in the city where I live for 3 days, so our family took them on tours and out for meals and re-lived memories from years ago.

Then just over a week ago they set off on a cruise around New Zealand, Tasmania and the rest of Australia in the lap of luxury, with a butler at their beck and call. If this isn't amazing enough, last year they cruised over 700 nautical miles down the Amazon. Each year they travel somewhere exciting.

two three tier cake stands full of goodies

We decided to treat them to Tiffin afternoon tea at the Langham Hotel. The setting was lovely with comfortable chairs and setees around low coffee tables and a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the centre of the room.

Two cake stands full of little savouries and scones were placed before us and we were offered different teas, coffees and hot chocolates. I chose their special blend English Breakfast tea with a slice of lemon. My Great Aunty and her sister and my mum had hot chocolate with grated white chocolate and hand made marshmallows. They could choose if their drinks were to be made of dark or milk chocolate...Yummy!

sandwiches, savouries and macaroons for afternoon tes

There was a large variety of savouries, including tiny cucumber sandwiches and potted shrimps. But I don't know what the chef was thinking about by serving very sweet, bright green macaroons filled with salty smoked salmon! That was a little bit of a shock to the taste buds....eeks. A few gulps of refreshing tea helped me recover...tea is good for that.

scones with jam and cream plus savouries

The scones with jam and cream were lovely. There was a choice of plain or date scones. I like to put jam on my scones then top it with cream. Though some people say that you should put the cream on first then the jam. I don't think their is a right or wrong way though...Which way do you prefer?

Then, when we thought we couldn't possibly eat anything more, a huge three-tiered cake trolley, full of delicious petit fours appeared! The left-over savouries and scones were taken away and boxed for us to take home.

cake trolley full of petit fours

You may have noticed that all my cups of tea have a slice of lemon in (here and here).

I must confess that I judge a cafe or restaurant on their willingness/ability to provide me with the essential slice of lemon for my tea. I usually get blank stares when I ask for a slice of lemon instead of milk. Sometimes when they have lemon they give me milk as well! But I am slowly training them and they are getting used to me at my favourite cafes hehe.

four little cakes and English Breakfast tea

My Aunty's sister told me all about her house in Canada. She lives in a forest next to a lake. It sounds so beautiful. She goes picking wild berries, including large and sweet blueberries. Just imagine being able to do that! And foxes and brown bears visit.

In Winter the lake freezes over. They bulldoze the ice at the edge of the lake, then flood the area with water for three nights in a row...and hey presto...they have an ice rink. They mark with a channel to show where it is safe to skate. Then they put candles all around the edge and ice skate by candle light...magic!

the wine bar

I hope that we are all just as fit and active when we are 90 years old! xxx

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A romp with a herd of alpacas and a power failure

Cute alpaca face close-up

Phew, what a time we had yesterday! First we almost ran out of water and had to buy a tank load of it. Luckily it was delivered within an hour. Usually, when the weather has been so hot and dry here, there is a wait of 4 days to a week for water to be delivered. We live in a rural area and rely on rain water collected from our roof to supply the house.

Then when I arrived home from work, all ready to sort through my alpaca photos and write my new blog post, mum told me that we had no electricity. The power failure had started at 3.00 pm. And because our water is stored in a huge water tank outside, it has to be pumped into the house using electricity. So, we had no water and no electricity!

We can't even flush the toilet without electricity...eeks.

Dinner time came and still no electricity. Luckily we had plenty of cold things to eat, so didn't go hungry. But, oh, I really did need a cup of tea. In the end I hopped into bed and read my book by torch light and snuggled up with my cats.

I was rudely awoken at 2.45 am when my light suddenly turned on...electricity...yaaaay. I went round the house turning taps off, as water was gushing out of some. Then back to bed, hoping that my cat Ginger wasn't going to bring me any more live mice to play with, causing me to get locked out of the house in the middle of the night in my pyjamas again!

And now, finally, after much sorting and oohing and aahing, here are some of the alpaca photos that I took on Monday. My brother-in-law took me to see his neighbour's herd of alpacas at feeding time so that I could walk with them and take photos.
Caramel and cream coloured alpacas

We walked into the first field which contained 4 male alpacas. They were very shy and stayed at the top of the hill watching us. So my brother-in-law put food down for them and we went off to see the females.
Black, cream, white, fawn and caramel alpacas

The female alpacas were very curious and came running up to us. They were friendly, but I was warned not to get caught behind any, because if they get frightened they kick really hard.

Cream and white female alpacas

There were 10 female alpacas with a mixture of different coloured coats. There were black, creamy white, cream, fawn and caramel coloured ones. They probably have special names for alpaca breed colours. They had just been shorn and their silky fleece bundled up to be sold.

Beautiful cream alpaca face

It was really difficult for me to get close up photos of them beacause they wouldn't stay still for more than a second. I have lots of photos of bits of head and ears! I did manage to get 2 face pictures that I like. When I saw the first face photo enlarged on my computer screen I burst out laughing. As I took the photo she looked me straight in the eye and pricked her ears up. She looks so cute and comical with her big, shiny, black eyes.

alpacas lining up for food

Here they all are lined up waiting for food to be put in their bowls. Each alpaca has their own bowl to eat out of. Their food is carefully mixed with different types of feed and then precisely measured out.

Feeding time for the alpacas

They quickly settled down to eat.

alpacas in a field in New Zealand

Then we went back to check on the boys again to make sure that they were feeding.

Caramel and cream alpacas

The one-year old males decided that I wasn't so scary this time and came to say hello. I hope that I get to do this again as I had a great time. I went home with a big smile on my face.

Until next time. xxx

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spot the odd one out! hehe

My three cats and...what is that? an alpaca!?! lol

Guess what I did after work today!

I had a great time taking tonnes of photos of these amazing animals. I need to sort through them and do a little editing, then I will show them to you in my next post. Now it's time for me to wind down for the day with a bit of reading and a lovely cup of hot chocolate. It's been a long but fun day. I hope that you had a great day too.

See you very soon. xxx

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A week full of smiles

A beautiful photo of my lovely cat Ginger

Lots of smiles when my cat Ginger sat next to me under the plum tree while I read a book after work. He then posed beautifully for this photo.

a cup of tea, jam on toast and bottled peaches for breakfast

A leisurely breakfast before work. Some delicious Anatoth raspberry jam on toast, peaches and English Breakfast tea.

After reading a post on delicious breakfasts by +Emma C on her Adventures of a London Kiwi blog, my New Year's resolution was to make what I eat for breakfast more interesting. Thanks for the idea Emma.

As you can see I need to work on this. Usually I have a bowl of Ready Brek (instant porridge), which I do love. But I was eating it every day!!! So this is a start. And the fruit is adventurous for me first thing in the morning, even if it was out of a tin haha.

a colonised clump of yellow canna lilies in my garden

I found a huge clump of yellow canna lilies in my garden that I thought had perished. They look really cheerful mingled with a native purple flowering shrub. Lovely contrasting colours.

a snack of Sushi

An afternoon Sushi snack. Yum! Need I say more :)

My Siamese cat Guido almost 17 years old

Guido my gorgeous Bluepoint Siamese cat sat with me under the plum tree the next day. He will be 17 years old on the 20th January!

a plate of little cakes for afternoon tea

A fun afternoon tea at the Langham Hotel with my 90 year old Great Aunty and her sister who were visiting from Canada. (More to follow in another post).

Strawberry and cream sweets, Marshmallow lip balm and cat note pad

The arrival of a courier parcel from my brother and his fiancee with these cute Birthday presents for me yesterday. Lots of pretty and yummy things!

Beautiful carrier bag made of hessian

And another courier parcel arrived, also from my brother and his fiancee! A beautiful handmade hessian and string tote bag with printed birds and flowers on. So cool, and eco-friendly too! I can't wait to use it.

bouquet of red roses and white calla lilies

Huge smiles yesterday when a colleague gave me this amazing bunch of red roses and creamy green calla lilies. The roses have the most beautiful scent. I kept sticking my nose in them all afternoon at work. They are now sitting on my bedside table and my room smells wonderful.

my desk full of birthday cards

And a desk full of pretty birthday cards!

I hope that your week was full of smiles too. xxx