Ingredients for a happy life...

OK. I'm warm, well-fed, and I have shelter - three vital ingredients for a happy life. But I want more. I want some even half-decent New Zealand gardening weather - some mid-day winter sunshine, no extremes, nothing like snow.

And, by the way, southerly storms are perfectly acceptable as long as they blow up the island (and off my garden) during the hours of darkness. That makes it really fair, I think...

 Sitting in the winter sunshine.
Histeria the Tabby Welcomes You...

Wednesday 15th July

Again it's gloomy, damp, dreary, dismal, greyish, and cold outside. Sounds like I'm describing a typical summer's day in England? Oops - sorry about that! My plan is to wait until 10:30am, then fill myself up with hot coffee and venture outside in my thermal underwear. The men are here again, working on the new Car Bridge - there are dozers, and diggers, and important looking trucks all parked around the Stables. I plan to get wet and muddy - energetic movement of the Moosey body should take care of the cold.

 What a beautiful cat - and a beautiful painting!
Pamela's Painting

Beautiful Cat Watercolour

The best surprise ever - a friend in the USA has sent me her painting of my beloved Moosey cat B-Puss. He is peeping shyly around some warm pink summer roses, looking extremely beautiful.

B-Puss was what some call a calico cat - white with soft caramel markings. Pamela's painting has a wonderful 'paleness' about it, making him look like a beautiful spirit-cat. I'm smiling - this is wonderful mail to start the day with.

Right. How wet and muddy am I prepared to get? As wet and muddy as it takes to empty the trailer of compost and plant five new pink roses in the Island Bed. Sounds fair enough. So let's get on with it, shall we? I am test-driving my new system of merino singlets (plural) and my new super-duper top-of-the-range Bridgedale socks.

Ha! Later, At the End of the Day...

Rusty and I have been outside for ages. The pipes are in place for Car Bridge, and Rusty, who can smell a workman's lunch a million miles away, has been busy visiting the 'men' and begging for crusts. Notice to all prospective Moosey burglars - don't worry about the dog, just bring some sandwiches. Just kidding!

 Men at work...
Building the New Car Bridge

I've done something rather forthright. Two climbing Icebergs have become rather old-wooded and sparse-flowering, so I've completely cut one down at the base, and almost done the same to the other. I've planted a new Coconut Ice climber about a meter along from the hacked Iceberg, and the Pink Peace rose on the other side of the (now nude) rose arch. These are my rose insurance policies.

I've done lots more pruning along the driveway, but I need Non-Gardening Partner to deal to the conifer, rather than me wobbling up (and off) a step-ladder. Remembering the ease with which old chooks can fall and break their arms, I've 'chickened' out. A light trim every year would have been the answer, of course. And the best bit of all about today is the most boring - finally all my compost is spread. So NGP won't hassle me any more about the trailer bottom rotting. Phew!

Thursday 16th

If I am going to continue hiking (and gardening) I need to keep up my fitness programme, so I am off swimming. The Moosey knees have even started protesting when getting up from the couch. Oh dear... When I get home today I might start sawing down that disappointing apple tree. Might.

Percy :
Percy the ginger cat gets mentioned quite a lot in my journal. That's because he provides such good cat-company.

Good morning to Percy the ginger cat, who is snuggled on my lap, appreciating my new blue down-filled vest.

Cats like Percy are such good judges of thermal clothing - for example, he'll always choose the cat basket filled with merino wool material over synthetic fleeces.


Car Bridge is finished. All the machinery and the men have gone, and once again there is a peaceful watery silence (?) behind the Stables. There's little damage - just some digger tracks on the grass lawn, but these will easily heal. Car Bridge is a success. Hurray for the new bridge!

 Rusty the dog is posing for the camera.
Car Bridge - Before and After

Rusty and I have been down the road for a walk in the cold. 'We' have been talking about warm clothing and why dogs like him don't need any. And what would we both do in a blizzard? Hunker down, says Rusty. Don't even be out there, says me.