Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

(The second in an occasional series)

  1. Being warm in bed listening to the rain on the roof
  2. Watching a good storm
  3. A night in with a good bottle of red wine
  4. Boots and woolly socks
  5. No guilt going to a movie on a Sunday afternoon (or any afternoon, or morning, or … )
  6. When it gets dark early you can’t see what needs doing outside
  7. Wearing layers to hide under, with lots of flattering black, is acceptable if not compulsory
  8. Knowing it’s going to end (just not too soon, please, as I’m quite enjoying it)


ngaio winter


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I’m currently wearing a scarf inside, as the house is slow to warm up this afternoon once I got home from spending the morning out at the gym (and enjoying a coffee, of course). We’ve had four days in a row when temperatures haven’t got over 7oC, and my weather app says that it is currently 4oC outside, but with wind chill feels like -1oC, and of course, on top of all that, it is raining. Yes, I need to be careful what I wish for.

On the bright side, today was a good day in my extended family, as  – after spending most of my schooldays hearing my name used in a mocking way – I could finally be proud to hear it called out, when my cousin’s daughter’s name was announced, and she stepped up to the dais to receive her silver medal at the Olympics. She won her medal in the trap shooting competition, a sport she took up when her parents were looking for a sport that the family could do together, including her wheelchair-bound eldest brother. It was perhaps a logical choice too, as her grandfather and my father and their other brothers and brothers-in-law were all keen duck-shooters back in the day, shooting for the dinner table, not Olympic medals.

The Olympics have only just started, and due to the time zone, events begin around midnight NZ time and run right through the night, so I suspect I won’t be getting a lot of sleep for the next week or so. I’m also still a sop, a sucker for an award ceremony, or the elation of an athlete at their great performance, so I have to watch the Olympics with a tissue box nearby.

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I’m still waiting for winter to really kick in. We’ve had some windy weather – I live in Wellington after all – some rainy weather, and some windy and rainy weather. But we’ve had some almost balmy weather, and with clear skies and bright sunshine. As I try to strengthen my foot – it’s taking as long as I was told, but so much longer than I expected –  I’ve been able to take advantage of calm, fine weather, and walk around the Bay.

Oriental Bay jul 16 ed

I do hope though that we get a few cold days, although I’m probably tempting fate by even saying that. I like to wrap up warm and have an excuse to wear a hat and gloves, and then I can truly appreciate spring when it arrives. To be fair, I could also probably experience much colder weather if I went for walks early in the morning. But I don’t have the same appreciation for getting up early in the cold and dark!


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I have a number of posts prepared, but rather than post them now I’m waiting for other things. For example, I’m waiting to do some baking (and take photographs) before I can publish my afternoon tea posts. I’m waiting before posting any travel-related posts because I’m hoping (soon) to kick off the travel blog and perhaps I should post there instead. But I’m waiting because this is all tied up with a business proposition, and decisions are difficult. I’m waiting to post about my year of Mandarin simply because parts of it are difficult to write.

I had been waiting on low winter temperatures to post this photo, wanting to write about rugging up to keep warm, about hats and scarves and woolly coats, bare trees, and wild weather, but despite the short days and long nights, the temperatures have been stubbornly mild. Finally, though, on the weekend, I looked out the window, and exclaimed, “they’ve all gone!” Yes, the trees know that winter has arrived, even if the thermometer isn’t quite there yet.


P1190686 last leaf

Lonely last leaves


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Today is the last day of a three-day weekend here in New Zealand. We have had magnificent weather – sunny and calm, chilly but not too cool. So yesterday we drove over the hill to Martinborough, participating again in our friend’s annual olive harvest. Their crop this year was abundant, and the 33 workers (okay, some of the kids didn’t do too much) who turned up were unable to complete the job (though some slackers spent some time with their (her)  foot up, and then left earlier than some, but not as early as others), as not only did time run out, but we all proved to be too short to reach the tallest 20% of most of the trees. But the bumper crop still meant that they ended up with 1.5 tonnes of olives, their most bountiful crop yet, and twice what we gathered on the first harvest five years ago. I wrote about the 2011 harvest here – check it out (it’s a much better post!) and see how the trees have grown.

P1190656 olive harvest

This year the sun shone more brightly, we ate Indian food and drank beer or wine for lunch, but the timeless tradition and the camaraderie continued. In a few weeks, we’re looking forward to our free bottle of oil.

P1190653 olives


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Winter is upon us

June arrived, and so did winter. Actually, it settled in a few days earlier, and late last week we brought out the scarves and raincoats and winter coats, and revved up the heating. I have to confess that it’s taking a while to adjust, and summer suddenly seems a long time away. This year will be my third consecutive winter (I tend to broadly categorise this as the period May to October) when we haven’t travelled to warmer climes. That hasn’t happened since my university days! So I’m suffering a little from cabin fever.

To be fair, the cabin fever is as much due to my enforced immobility over April and May as to our financially-enforced incarceration in New Zealand these last three years. I am now enjoying being able to get out and about a little more the last week or two. I need quite a bit more time and medical attention to be fully mobile (the knee I twisted on the way down the stairs is affecting my rehabilitation), and so I guess the reality is setting in that even if we won the lottery, I couldn’t really get on a plane this weekend and head off on an adventure. None of this makes me happy!

So I guess it’s time to focus on the little things in life. To do that, I need to make some mid-winter resolutions. So I have.

  • I aim to see my friends more often, after the first half of this year being (necessarily) inwardly focused
  • I’d like to get out and do some walks, once I can, to build up strength and fitness, and appreciate the outdoors
  • I am going to start a new travel blog, after neglecting Travelalphablog for many years
  • Work search will continue, given that it has been effectively on hold for well over six months now
  • Cook healthy food, after the intensive Husband-provided period of takeaways
  • Find a recipe and bake some gingernuts (for some reason, I have an urge to make gingernuts)
  • Become a more proficient photographer – at least with my camera
  • Finish putting together, and orderr my Lemons to Limoncello: The Book of the Blog book.
  • Continue working on my Spanish, in case sometime I get to travel again in the future!

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Winter is coming soon to a southern hemisphere country near you. On Wednesday and Thursday, it popped in to say hello. It was, I think, a promotional visit, reminding us that it will be here soon, giving the occasional taste of what is to come, and letting us know that we should start making plans now. The permanent release will come soon enough. That promotional tour  around the country was bad enough that for a day or two I needed a fleece, something called socks made a cameo appearance, and we had to remember where to find the heating control, and how to use it.

But today, summer has returned for one last ditch push to stay on top of the charts. This morning the harbour was calm, but deserted. The ship berthed at the wharf was piled high with containers, and the Blue Bridge ferry crossed with some of the last of the summer tourists, but there were no cruise ships, or yachts, or swimmers out in the harbour. Gone too were the sunseekers on the beach, and even the joggers and walkers had an extra layer of clothing on. Still, there were one or two rowing crews and a just two kayakers making the most of the glassy surface, and the sun pushed through, the temperatures returning to the 20s just in time for the weekend.

As the harbour reflected the buildings and hills that surround it, I became reflective too. I haven’t been able to make the most of this summer – not a single picnic (unless a Subway sandwich on Petone foreshore counts) or barbecue on our deck – but for once, after months of consistently warm weather, I don’t think I will feel cheated when winter returns for a blockbuster season. Just as long as it holds off for a while yet.

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