Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Packing tips .......

  Are you off for a summer holiday? Well if yes, here are some tips from the travelbaglady.   Its been a travelling year. I've had 67 nights out of town not counting holidays.  I'm really good  now at packing in 5 minutes on a monday morning before I take to the road.  "Really good" requires a little qualification. I usually take just enough to wear for the days I am away with one change of old clothes for after work downtime. I now have a travelling toilet bag all good to go and a cooler bag with essential food items- a little oil, container of homemade meusli,  jar of chutney. container of crackers, box of meusli bars, box of UHT milk, box of plastic ziplock bags and box of mini glad wrap, also small container of washing powder in case emergency washing needs doing if I havent packed enough to wear after all.  I always pack on a Monday. I cant bear being pushed into monday on a sunday night. It ruins the weekend.  So if you adopt the same approach to going on holiday beleive me it can be done simply and easily. Less is more and you can always buy it or make do if you cant.  

Aside from travelling for work I have had a holiday in totaranui and and a mini break in Auckland.   These pictures below are from both those places. Both seem like distant memories but ones I will hang onto. These holidays are to be spent in Dunedin, packing up my house and hopefully finding someone to buy it.  I have had the last 2 days off work throwing much of my past into a skip which has proved to be too small. I didnt know my life had so much in it. It's been a tiring, nostalgic and kind of sad couple of days.  Anyway Christmas soon and a day of good cheer.

Heres to a restful pre christmas week.
Cheers Marg  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Object of Ugliness

You can't really tell but the cardigan in the book promises a lovely garment to however takes up the challenge of knitting it. This is not the case. This cardigan is both a testament to not knowing when to quit ( the story of my life I think) and ugliness. It is really hideous. It's like a horrible school cardigan. I've been knitting it for about 3 years. When dad was in Ross Home for those 12 weeks I knitted the front about 3 times and it is still full of unsightly mistakes.

So why carry on with this thing.? Well one reason is because I dont like to leave projects unfinished but also it has been quite literally keeping me sane when I've been travelling to some of the most obscure and at times unlovely places in the South Island. After the night meetings are done and all I have for company in the motel room is sky T.V and me , this knitting porject has become my friend. Now that it's nearly finished I am almost becoming fond of it. I may even decide that it looks beautiful on me after all.

I have been in my new job for exactly one year this week. I have also had a whole week based at home. This is very unusual  and Ive enjoyed cooking in my kitchen and sleeping in my own bed. Next week Im off to a lovely part of Otago. 3 days working in Wanaka. Now that will be a lovely spring treat.

Happy spring.

Cheers Marg

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Objects of beauty include - woodpiles!

Is there anything more beautiful than than the sight of a wood pile. It holds the promise of cosy afternoons with a good book in front of fire - it signals more than one worry free winter - just as face cream advertisements sell youth - a firewood pile equates to comfort, warmth and always knowing there will be enough.  So while the sight of this pile might not move any of you to tears in warmer climates - In Dunedin it brings great joy indeed.
It's been a crazier than usual time. Tom turned 20 and Rosie came home for 10 days before heading back to Wellington.  We went to the Catlines for a few very cold but very relaxing days.
 It's strange to think that I no longer have any teenagers.  Probably just as well. A young whipper snapper called me Grandma at the harry potter movie the other day ! Still I was soon vindicated. Rosie sent me a text saying that her good friend Jade could hardly believe I was nearly 50 because I have such a young face.  But my age is what I am and I love every minute of it and am making the most of it.  Even if that means most weeks out on the road for work and a strange existence inbetween.

Heres to a week of keeping warm

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hobbies and Interests Include ... firewooding.

 Yes  it's been a while since I had anything to say ... for a great many reasons.  Glitches with technology, time and generally managing a life in what I would called "Transition"... but from what and to where...?  My anchors are loose right now. 
Even so a number of weekends of late have been spent at a work- mate's  farm in Dunback where we are  clearing a gully for the farmer in return for the firewood. The farm is set quite high up in the backhills. It is quiet, remote and beautiful. I find the physical work deeply satisfying.

 You might be a little upset that it is native wood going down - but reassured the farmer is a great conservationist and has mature stands of trees - set aside to keep- and has cleared the land of the predators so that the native birds have thrived. This gully is full of scraggly wood and it is hard to see or clear the stock.

 We take plenty of food and work as long as we can manage without overdoing it.

 At a guess I would say that fire wooding is set to become the new hobby for 2011.  It certainly is a good feeling to know that already next years wood is in.
Tonight I have the fire going - it is warm and cosy. Tomorrow I'm back on the road to live out of suitcase in yet another motel with no fire. So I'm making the most of it 

 So here's to week of pursuing all hobbies and interests.

Cheers Marg

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

the best 50 cents ever ............

This last week I have had more or less a week at home - that is not travelling for work and so have had time to check out some of my favourite haunts and finish various projects that have been on the go. But first here is what I consider the best 50 cents worth of fun I've had for ages. I found this CD at where else but Wiers and have had much amusement from it. Ive already used it as a joke gift for someone who will only dance when he is very drunk and Im sure I know a few more people in that category too who would love this CD if only they knew where to get one.

Ive been working on an easter craft project. It didnt come together as perfectly as I had hoped but the end result is cute enough.  

These little birds have a flap that opens at their rear ends and inside they are stuffed with mini easter eggs. Somehow I also find that very amusing. ...   SO there we have it ... making your own fun has a way of elevating that good enough life into a terrific one. Even better because it costs only 50 cents.

Heres to a lovely easter all for less than a dollar. 

cheers Marg

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A good enough life.......

So what makes life good enough... I've been thinking about this and this week have had plenty of opportunities to think about what that means in practice...

 Take these two photos. The first is sunflowers which on their own have not come to much but nevertheless make a passable photo and the second is this bowl of tomatoes - clearly never ever going to ripen in any Dunedin summer outdoors - let alone this dismal one just gone. But they've become green tomato pickle and therefore proved their value.  So whats a good enough life? well  for me it is making the most of everything even when everything is imperfect. 

 One thing I really like about my job - is that even though it is busy and I'm often away these days is that when I am at home I have more energy to be creative because I have more room inside my head.  So with the April birthdays approaching and Easter coming up I am in full swing of making things. I can hear Rosie and Tom groaning  already!!

SO here's to a good enough week. 

Cheers Marg

Friday, March 4, 2011

Chilling out in Papatowai

This week I have been in Wellington where over night there was a small earthquake - a jolt and shudder that woke me up on the fifth floor of the hotel I was staying in.  Nothing at all compared to the what happened in Christchurch but even I who have not been directly affected felt wary and a degree of edginess I wouldn't usually feel.   I cannot imagine what these days and weeks must feel like for those in Canterbury. The organisation I work for was in the PG building that collapsed. One of our colleagues was the only person who was rescued alive 25 hours after the building went down. No one is unaffected.

Last weekend we went to Papatowai. Me to walk the 15.5 km walk and the other two to do a spot of bike riding. Look at the glorious views. It was so lovely !!!. The crib was a treat too. Very cheap at $25 per adult per night and I couldn't help but take these photos. It was such a cosy restful place to be ... if only we didn't have to come back for work......sigh !!! 

SO last week was in Wellington and this one coming up in Central Otago. NO rest for the wicked goes the old saying. OH well that's why Im trying to idle in my personal life. Why not book yourself a weekend at Papatowai soon? you wont be sorry if you do.

Cheers Marg

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The blog that languished .......

Small things are so often underestimated.  Take my garden for example. On a tiny scrap of postage stamp sized section I have managed - mainly by neglect - and only by sheer virtue of putting things in -to have  produced so many beans, courgettes, onions and lettuces that I am sick of the sight of them. My neighbours and friends have smiled weakly and muttered a gracious thaaaanks as I deliver more bags of beans and courgettes. MY PLEASURE!!  I would never have thought that it was possible. I am reminded that you always need a lot less than you think and that applies not just to plots of land.  That's my garlic crop - grown from the bulbs Miriam gave me last winter. I think that will keep me going for a month or two at least.

It really feels like the end of the summer that never quite was. I got the first lot of wood in last week for the autumn and in a week or so am off to a colleagues farm where she has Manuka to get rid of.  Mind you that will be next years wood because it has to be chopped down and dragged out a gully first. Picture me wielding a chainsaw with gusto! No - I have managed to rope in some manual labour with the promise of some beer and a home cooked dinner as an exchange. Pretty much a win- win I'd say.( for me anyway)
Between working , and being out of town a lot and also juggling some house sitting my blogging has been languishing.  Also for practically the first time ever my plans this year are to have no plans. I'm trying to do less so I can do more. As a person prone to extremes I am teetering on the brink of complete inertia and kind of liking it.  Next weeknd I'm off to Papatowai to walk 15km in beautiful surroundings. That should get me going. Im taking my camera so you will see some lovely shots of the Catlins no doubt next time. The photo above is from the bedroom of the house where I was house/cat sitting. I awoke to a most glorious view of the sunrise in the mornings overlooking the city. Magic indeed!!!

Heres to a week of no plans.

cheers Marg

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Home alone follies.....

I must be insane- in fact I am convinced of it. I am home alone - Rosie in the UK and Tom now away flatting - and so what do I do - I buy 5 kg of apricots and make jars and jars of chutney and then more bottles of apricot sauce than anyone person can use.

Those January habits of pickle making are hard to break. I tell myself that pickle is just as worth making for myself to enjoy as for others but still it seemed absurd even to me to make that much - as delicious as it is. This is a recipe from the Stewart Island cook book. Easy and yielding good results.
Here it is if you care to try it.

2 kg apricots
360 g raisins
560 ml vinegar ( 1 pint)
2 tsp curry powder
500 g onions
2 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger.

make in usual way - simmer one and a half hours. Bottle.  ( enjoy - all year long if you are by yourself and perhaps for a month or two if there's more of you.)

Ah well - becoming accustomed to whatever stage of life you are at  takes a little getting used to and Im sure a little foolishness along the way does no harm.

Here's to week of summer fruits.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To market to market to buy a fat pig......

... home again, home again, jiggety jig. That is the start of the rhyme and an apt one for travelling cattle class in turbulence. Not pleasant but flying for me is always about the destination and never the journey.  And so it was we arrived in Los Angeles with no destination in mind but a whole journey ahead of us.

On our first night we walked along Hollywood boulevard

just out of Santa Monica on the way to Santa Barbara and already we needed a walk along the beach ... same ocean as the one back home but different beach. A strange feeling !
I really liked this place for no special reason. Monterey Bay. We had Christmas here

Dougs enthusiasm for Redwood trees took us to the tiny town of Felton 

from memory this tree is about 2000 years old - maybe older
a glimpse of a cable car in San Francisco

the grand canyon left me almost but not quite speechless
homeward bound. Our 3rd last day was spent in Palm Springs.  Holiday resort of many of the famous. 

Its hard to capture a holiday in words. Any attempts to explain the experience either seem lame or boring or both. So I wont try. Enough to say it was an amazing time in a country of great extremes. Good company, good fun, bad food, good bye. Here's to great holiday memories. Have a good week Marg