Now my dear dear best friend is having a birthday and I've been thinking. In fact I even made notes earlier in the month when a lot of these thoughts came to me.

Great cook
Great friend

This was the beginning of my thoughts.

I can stay at her house, read her books, fall asleep and then wake up and eat her food. I feel so much at home, so comfortable.

I randomly phone and natteraway for hours, stopping her mid stroke, but she stops or she tells me whats she's doing as she expertly balances the phone between her neck and ear. Despite the great distance between us, the joy of the internet, flickr, blogs and email I feel so close. I love SPT.

She still talks to me after I burped in her face.

We both like our toast slighty cold - with butter.

She needs to send me a list of music I should buy, she knows I need help in the music department, but she loves me anyway,

She took me to see Duran Duran on my actual birthday. Nothing I can write here will match that.

Happy Birthday Em

Outdoor Entertainment

Remember, it's summer here in NZ. So while I read in other blogs, emails and receive messages about snow, rain, cold cold weather, it has warmed up here and we have sunny days. Sure it still rains and it can be windy, but it's summer. So it's time for outdoor entertainment.

Coca-Cola has sponsored Christmas in the Park for 16 years, now I didn't go last year, really don't know why but I was there this year with a few folks from work. As did the rest of Auckland, seriously there were thousands of people there. It was great, music, dancing, dodgy entertainment and wondeful fireworks. I really can't work my camera at night so no great photos of the fireworks. It reminded me of the nights at Battle Abbey and there was a tearful moment when I closed my eyes and wished Emma and Sharon were dancing beside me. As the crowds left The Domain, the crowds were calm though jolly, we filled the roads with Beckie commenting that it felt like we were on a protest march. Did I mention the most wonderful fireworks - the sort of that fill you heart with joy and make you smile on the inside (I really like fireworks - can you tell).

The next dose of entertainement was A Day on the Green. The Pink Flamingos, The Proclaimers and the B52s. A wonderful idea of picnics at a vineyard with a concert. I've written a bit more fully on here and there are some videos there as well. It was fab. The Proclaimers were excellent and the B52s had us dancing from the start.

Both events had a brief downpour that did nothing to dampen spirits or dancing.

Other outdoor entertainment has also meant our works Christmas Party. No posh dress or high heals needed this year. A BBQ at Long Bay Beach and nature reserve. Slighty more rain this time, but we waited, some with coats, some with umbrellas, some just hiding in the trees! It stopped, we had BBQ, loads of food, cricket matches, and a particulary wonderfuuly tasy tomato salad (just add red onion, a wee bit of salt, lots of basil and some feta). Cool times.

So I'll just finish the stawberries and ice cream I've been slowly eating while writing this post.

Weekends Off

Contrary to the image I probably create we do have to work out here, and we work very hard. My new role as clinical charge nurse has seen me step up a bit, though I am not the bossy, controlling freaky workaholic I once was. I've been enjoying getting to grips with the appraisial system and the portfolios that have to be submitted every three years. The senior team are great to work with and we've been planning what to tackle in 2010. They have a fabulous database of admissions and I have been loving creating slides, graphs and charts, that stir up interest, ask more questions and show the varied and fascinating world of a cardiac care unit. I also was at an amazing study day yesterday on adult congential heart disease, my knowledge has expanded loads - but then I actually knew very very little before!
Plus it is shift work, now I'm still useless at getting up for a 7am start but12 hour shifts have many benefits. We don't usually request weekends off, but we seem to have had quite a few lately. This is a novelty in many regards (though why are the shops so busy!) and we've been out and about. We visited Adams brother - who being a Mon-Fri worker only gets the weekends off. He lives in Whangarei and is having his own house built - very exciting to go and see that.

We went further north to KeriKeri and followed the art trail - Emma how I wished you had been with us. I will return and buy you lots of gifts, it was fab. I didn't buy you anything this time because I am very selfish and fell in love with a piece of art. It made the ladies day at ArtShed when I purchased it.

So, sorry Em, you'll have to wait for our next trip.

On our next weekend off we joined the throngs of people at Woodhill Park Mountain Bike Park. I should have no trouble completing number 18 on The List, as even the beginners course here scares me! What is is with getting older and fear - or is it all about control. Either way, I don't like going downhill, uphill kills me and I looked so red faced at the end of one run that Adam said we should call it a day! But it did mean that we had finially brought our bike racks and managed to get the bikes on.

So after our rather wonderful picnic at the bike park we headed to a few winerys for some sampling and purchasing! Seriously if anyone ever come to visit, this is what we'll do. It so great, very easy and most have food of some sort, or you can take a picnic and enjoy their wonderful grounds. We do this locally fairly frequently and while you do pay more for the wine, there is a better choice and you usually end up chatting to the owners or winemakers themselves. This time we visited Westbrook, where we purchased a few wines from their BlueRidge selection. Then onto Soljans where we came away with two bottles of rather fine Barrique Reserve Chardonnay.
Then of course I still have to put some gardening time in. I've cut the broad beans down, they didn't look happy anymore, but I have one tomato that is changing colour and I'm very very excited about that!

It's not a disaster....part two

Well a few weeks ago I wrote concerned about bad kama in the garden, that being one of my passions. My other concern at the time was with my baking. A few bad cakes, things not going quite right culminated in the brocolli cake. Now I found this receipe and though, OK, I have a fair bit of brocolli and courgette cake is always good, so lets try. Well I didn't have the 800g of brocolli needed, so I carefully quartered the receipe (therein may lay my first mistake). It ended up more like a brocolli bake or omlette in a cake tin. It wasn't actually that bad to eat, but you wouldn't have wanted a large slice. The worst however was the next day - oh boy the smell in the tin...very very bad....into the bin it went. And then I felt bad about wasting the brocolli (and all the rest of the stuff). Mine looked nothing like the picture here, so all rather interesting really.
The baking is coming good you'll be pleased to know. A few slices, cakes and muffins plus I makde a rather wonderful polenta bread for one of the many goodies on our recent camping trip.
The garden may well be taking over my life! The broccolli and cauliflower all eaten and now waiting for the next batch to grow. I have learnt so much about gardening in these few months it's great. I spend a lot of time fondly remembering times in the garden with nan and grandad and wishing I had paid more attention.
Ants continue to be a pain and I did resort to ant killer when a fair area of the veggie patch just wasn't doing anything. The next morning in response I'm sure, the bedroom was swarming with ants.....eeeehhhh!
All resolved now, but this house may sit apon the largest ants nest in the world. They are everywhere - and they bite! But it did induce a great amount of spring cleaning.
And something seems to be biting off the courgette flowers....not sure what's going on there. Did however have the first lot of rhubarb - oh boy how very very wonderful. Broad beans at the end and now cutting them down (can't be the end of spring - summer hasn't really started). Have had death of one tomoto plant which was sad, but I don't think anything has spread to the other plants. May buy a few more just in case!

Strawberries are producing a few more, and I seem to be beating the ants and slugs to these now, not a good as last year so may go back to the hanging basket idea for them. Spinach doing wonderfully, and blueberries looking good, carrots looking very very good, lettuce going well. Sunflowers and sweetpeas not so good!

Have brought a few more seedling to continue the learning curve - a honeydew melon and some sweetcorn. Put some pak choi seeds in last week and they're coming up already. Still no good at rembering to space things properly - this may be very true of the melon.


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