Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



Back in the workaday world after drinking in (and drinking, in!) the glorious Spring sights and sounds of Auckland…

Yes, I did take some pictures. And, yes, I will inflict them share them with you.

Beyond this thicket of acacias, eucalypts and bladey grass is the log cabin we called home for almost 20 years…

I used to work here, as vineyard worker and gardener… the main house with part of the vineyard…

...and here… the winery and restaurant and more vines.

We stopped overnight near Brisbane to visit an old friend and, just for laughs, he drove us back to the village where we all lived til a few years ago. They say “never go back” and I have no desire to, but it was fun to see how things have changed, if only to strengthen the resolve never to return!

The gardens, once the showpiece of the winery, appear to have been ripped out. Granted, it’s still early Spring, but what has become of all the roses? I still bear scars from the annual pruning of some venerable “Albertine” and “Milkmaid”  and “Dorothy Perkins” and many other pricklies. No sign of them now, so ,presumably, their woodland underplantings will also have been ripped out…

So…an evening of talking, laughing, eating, drinking, reminiscing, eating, drinking…and then an early trip to the airport.

About halfway up the motorway, one of those lightbulb billboards flashed: accident 2kms ahead. right lane closed Oh, great! And there is no way to get off this damn’ road! So we slowed to near-snail -speed and by the time we got to the supposed accident, all was clear.Not a sign of broken glass, crumpled fenders, ambulances. Nada! I think they just like to scare the bejeezlehoop out of people en route to the airport!

Most of our trip was to do with family stuff. No, really, it’s not interesting blog material!

I had hoped to catch up again with blogger friend Denise, but between meetings (me) and workmen(her) we were not able to connect. Next time, eh, Denise? And we did not go South this time so that’s another reason to look at the 2009 calendar!

But the Fujica got a work-out!

It’s been a long time since I saw cherry blossom, but this trip made up for it! The flowering cherry lines just about every street in the suburb where we stayed.

Magnolia, almost at the end of its season…

And it would not be an Auckland Spring without kowhai

or tui...

Clicking the link will take you to Wikipedia’s much better photo (personally, I reckon theirs is stuffed ‘cos these birds are incredibly acrobatic when feeding; I think it might have to be “tripod time” if I want to get decent shots!) Despite The Man’s mother having kowhai in both front and back gardens, with tui reeling drunkenly from one to the other, I finally took this picture several streets away. Heard them, too, on this trip.

I went “a bit mad” with the Toon pictures…

Toona sinensis; hundreds of Aucklanders have these in their gardens, but it’s only now, in their Spring pink foliage that they are noticed.

Let’s take a little break from gardens…

This is a picture of a 1973 Mustang Mach 1.

It is also a picture of The Man, who bought it in Toronto, drove it to Vancouver (oh, c’mon, you don’t need a geography lesson!), shipped it to Auckland and drove it there for 5 years before selling it to a friend. This friend still drives it every day.

And if you still want gardens, look at the lovely broad beans against the fence!

Another bright garden…

On a trip further North, to visit a friend at Warkworth, we had a day out seeing various sights

Female Paradise Duck at Tawharanui Reserve….            and here with her mate

This reserve has an electronic gate, part of the pest-eradication programme, at the entrance. Once inside, you are free to get out of your car.We did, braving the cutting wind and threatening showers.

Part of an interesting enamel information board…

Looking towards (I think)  Kawau Island . Or maybe Little Barrier Island. I should know, as I’ve sailed over to Kawau more than once!

Never mind the multi-layered tropical tourist – just look at that beautiful crab apple!

This is the entrance to  famous Morris and James Pottery at Matakana,  an hour or so North of Auckland. Apart from some lovely ceramics, their small cafe has an oh-so-scrumptious menu!

We “hit the ground, running” on our return, with The Man back to work on Monday and me back to school on Tuesday. Then, of course, there was the Big Shopping Trip to the supermarket, the tangle of stuff in the garden, the mail to sort through. What? Back-read all the blogs? Surely, you jest! I’ve managed to get around some of you and will try to catch up as I go. Better than that I cannot possibly promise. Especially as I have added swimming to my programme!

Yep! I finally got back into the pool yesterday, after too long on land. I never was fast or stylish in the water and am now very “rusty” so it’ll take  a while before I have any hope of racing my friend on our weekly dips. But I’m sure the exercise will do wonders for my creaking shoulder. Coupled with regular elbow-bending, I could be a force to reckon with. At the pub, at least!

Before I go…I had an email from our sculptor friend telling me I had mis- credited him with the steel sculpture in his garden. These striking birds are, in fact, from Zimbabwe. Sorry, I don’t know who made them, but thanks, Adriaan, for pointing it out.


Author: dinahmow

A New Zealander, currently living in tropical Queensland,Australia (with 2 cats and one Main Man).Old enough to remember George VI, white tennis balls and life-before-television.You want more? Read the blog!


  1. Your post is the closest I got to a vacation this year!


  2. Great little travelogue. Not dull at all! The top photos have a plantation look to them and look at the innards on the Mustang! More pristine than my best dress! And what happend to all your curls?


  3. rew…well, I hope you got your pennyworth!

    andrea…yes, it does look a bit “Tara.” When the gardens were at their peak it was fabulous and always drew a good crowd to the Open Garden Days.And my curls? Well, I need a little chemical help to be curly!


  4. Ha, twas perhaps a narrow escape as it turns out, with the outbreak starting the very next day after we spoke… 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the spring finery of flora and fauna, despite the persistent southerlies 🙂


  5. denise…well, I’d have been OK as I had chicken pox at about P’s age, but I’m sure the family are glad I didn’t “bring it home!”


  6. Spring eh? if only!
    Amongst my pony problems I am also having pc problems! (I have bought a new vaio but can’t make it ‘go’ either!) so sorry for not passing by sooner xx Aukland looks beautiful. NZ (and Oz) are definitely on the list, I’m so looking forward to 2020 when Himself tells me we will be able to afford it!


  7. ziggi…I know how you feel! My pc was dead when I got back from NZ. It’s fixed now, but I still have a mountain of stuff to do.
    If I’m still this side of the hallow’d turf in 2020, do come and visit!


  8. This different hemispheric-seasons thing always boggles my circadian rythms or something – seeing you enter spring as we sprint through autumn.

    Sad about the missing gardens in your ‘plantation’ photos. I hate it when that happens. Unless the plants were dug up and given to appreciative recipients (ha! rarely done). I get very protective of plant life. 🙂


  9. tara…wait til we start in with the Christmas barbecues and beach parties!
    And I know what you mean about “lost” gardens, but don’t be too upset – quite a few bits n pieces from that garden came with me! Perhaps there was just too much work involved for the new owners.


  10. What a nice post! I love looking at your land. So pretty in spring. And aren’t you just cute? Sounds like you’ve been busy and having lots of fun.

    Hope swimming helps your shoulder. I just ice, and then use heating pad. Doctor says change jobs, but no can do. I’ll just have to suffer in silence…riiiiight.

    (I checked with Melanie recently re: sketchbooks. She says she has three she’s working on. So we’ll get them rolling again soon.)


  11. kate…thanks. Yes, Spring in all places is special, but the NZ spring is a very personal thing for me.And it’s been a very long time since I was called cute!


  12. Oh, those toons – aren’t they the most gorgeous things for a brief moment? I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in Australia but maybe that’s cos I only ever see them in their “other” state. Loved your photos of NZ, and your tui pics are better than any I’ve ever managed.


  13. carol…yes, despite their greedy reputation, toons still feature in many gardens.


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