Back home - yippee!

After gliding across the international date line in the middle of the night we're back home. Yippee! And yawn... Good morning to the Moosey cats, and to the house which is toasty warm. I can hear the bellbirds, and dawn is just breaking. Wonder what my garden will look like? Cold, I guess...

Saturday 9th July

Little Minimus is back, wide-eyed and attentive, as is Rusty the dog (who is very squeaky). While we've been away the little birds have finished their feeder, so I've made them another with vegetable fat and seed mix. It's hanging right out in the open down from the patio pergola, where even the doziest birdie would spot a sneaky cat's approach.

 Silly rose! Flowering again.
John Clare Rose in Winter

With a slightly fuzzy traveller's head I've been happily gardening around the house. Lots of ferns have been trimmed, immediately making dreamy mind-connections with the green ferns of Rarotonga (love that Tangle fern). Mine are damper, though! I've buried the bag of seaweed (far too stinky) and heaped a mountain of fern fronds on the top, a primeval, heady mixture of nature's treasures. Oops - forgive my feeble attempt at emotive eloquence there.

Holiday Memories

Heaps of wonderful holiday memories are jostling with the home things that I love (like little Minimus and silly Percy who keeps peeping round corners to check for strangers). I know I had a really good holiday - I didn't write one single list of garden things to do, hee hee...

 On the Raewera track. Thanks to Son-In-Law for the photo.
Holiday Hiking in the Tangle Fern

I've picked up three new retro concrete garden gnomes (bid for while on holiday). They come from really old moulds, and cost me less than a leg of lamb. My swimming friends (note the plural!) point out that this gnome-buying money rule is based on a rather arbitrary and somewhat floating scale. But never mind. I enjoy collecting them.

 The big Wattles are in flower.
Winter Water Race

And now it's fish'n'chips West Melton style, while I rug up in another woolly and start watching my recorded TV programmes. Yippee for the Tour de France! Let the couch cycling commence...

Sunday 10th July

I'm up early after twelve hours sleep in Pond Cottage. I miss the Rarotongan roosters crowing - maybe it's time for me to rechook, to forever refresh the holiday memory.

I have so much to do today, both in the house and the garden - it's really exciting. All the pictures have to go back up on the house walls (apres-painting), books back in their bookcases, and excess stuff directed to the recycling. I have my hammer and proper picture hooks ready.


Oops - my house walls remain minimalist (that is, blank) but I've had a busy, busy day in the garden. I've been working in the Stables Garden weeding and scraping and doing what I loosely call 'rationalising'.

'One oversized shrub can spoil the whole garden border.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

A huge Phormium had reverted to the huge olive green tenax species while I was away - just kidding. But I didn't realise how big it was, so I've cut it down to the ground. One oversized shrub can spoil the whole garden border - now, no matter in which direction I look at the Stables Garden, I see improvement. All the other plants look so much better. I must remember that...

Pot in Winter Sun

Monday 11th July

Aargh! Little Minimus my Pond Cottage cat loves me with a grand passion. So when she brought a live mouse in for my 4:30am inspection I knew I was in trouble. In the bedclothes? Eek! I leapt out of bed and chased her out (nicely) with the cottage broom. At 7:30am I rewoke to the sound of my bellbirds - they were chiming isolated harmonious notes from their 'song', just tonic, dominant, and octave. Ah...much more restful than Minimus squeaking with a mouthful of mouse.

But now in the kitchen the soundscape has taken a turn for the worse. It's Rusty the dog, groaning loudly at me, as if in pain. But I know him - the man at his kennels has been giving him better breakfasts than I do. He is displeased, and has now taken up a position on the patio underneath the bird-feeder. Desperate dog, desperate times...

Right. I'm home from swimming, and I must, must, must take advantage of the relatively benign day out there, particularly since we are the only area in the country without extreme rain, thunderstorm warnings, and/or gale force winds. Gardeners of New Zealand - I will be your hands and legs this afternoon, for at least two hours.


I'm inside, warm and dry, after a short and sharp gardening session. I finished by standing in the water race trimming Gunnera - that water was icy cold! Now I'm sitting in front of the TV with little Minimus and my laptop. The plan is to couch cycle with half an eye on the road while patting the cat and writing up my journal. Enjoying the beautiful summer scenery while cycling through some old French villages on le Tour will warm me up.