Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scary Times

Sad to relate, after sixteen and a half years Mr Shoestring has been faced with the horrible "R" word and so we have had a rather fraught week of it.  (I assumed everybody would immediately comprehend the meaning of the "R" word - what it means is the dreaded "redundancy".)  We are making vague plans but until we find out what job prospects are, there is not a lot to be done.

 As if to compound our woes the weather gods looked up their annual calendar for New Zealand and decided that since it was March, that meant the commencement of ferocious wind and torrential rain and a cessation of sunshine, so Saturday was a day when nothing could be accomplished in the garden.  Luckily by Sunday they had changed their minds and we were back to sunshine and we had a chance to potter a bit before it was time to return to The Big Smoke.  Surprisingly after a battering from gale force winds there were still quite a few things flowering in the garden.  A dear friend from the south had couriered me a parcel of her special geranium cuttings and I was able to plant them before they had been too long out of the earth.  Actually they looked surprisingly happy, she had cleverly provided them with plenty of water and I think we should have quite a high "strike" rate.

 Gardenias still blossoming their hearts out

 All the fuchsias have enjoyed the wet summer

Yuck - dahlias were never my favourite but any blossoms welcome after the storm

We were able to pick lettuce, tomatoes, basil, spinach and silver beet.  The Jerusalem artichokes had mostly withstood the buffeting, only one had to be tied to the fence to stop it flopping its flower buds on the ground.  It must be nearly time to harvest these little beauties and I have found a new recipe for making a puree with the tubers, so that it may be frozen and defrosted later on for soups and other earthy delicacies.  This year we will be more careful, bearing in mind Mr Shoestring's past experiences with the windy properties Jerusalem artichokes undoubtedly have.  He will only be allowed one serving per meal.

To cheer Mr Shoestring Bobby gave him his very own magnificent vintage leather suitcase.

It has bravely ventured across the Cook Strait on the inter-island ferry!  Whenever we watch deco-themed movies it is interesting to see weekend visitors to country homes arrive in their little MGs with wire luggage racks, leap out and jauntily swing their leather suitcase off the back.  What has only recently occurred to me though is how little these leather suitcases actually hold.  By the time you had put your toothbrush and a clean pair of undies into them there would be precious little space left for an evening dress, tennis outfit or even a couple of pairs of shoes.  No wonder packing was such a highly regarded art in those times.  And the weight of the suitcase even without anything inside it is something to amaze!  No wonder people were so fit, heaving your suitcase to your destination would be equivalent to a session in the gym with weights.  Slightly different to the way we pack up when we return from art deco weekend, hastily tossing discarded costumes into one of those hideous PVC stripy bags and hoping the zip will hold and not burst open!  Mr Shoestring already had his very own Gladstone bag (also kindly given to him by Bobby).  I have it on good authority that men actually used to transport flagons of beer around in these bags, rather than their lunches packed in greaseproof paper, and the tools of their trades as I had always fondly imagined.  Here is the Gladstone bag and according to its original label it was owned by one H A Finney of Sidlaw Street, Wellington.  It too has its fair share of stickers to document its travels.

Though the weather was ghastly on Saturday we braved the elements and went to a church garage sale - they are always the cheapest - and since we need to be even more Shoestringy than usual we gave ourselves very strict budget.  We found three unusual brass butterflies to adorn trees in the back garden - 20 cents apiece - and a mirror with a pastoral scene of a farmer with his sheep - 50 cents.  I was very disappointed that I was pipped at the post by a man who made a dash for a gorgeous art deco mirror complete with attached vase made out of mirror but c'est la vie, the butterflies and mirror were enough of a thrill and only set us back a little over a dollar.

I am rather worried that the farmer (you can just seen him on the path on the bottom left, his sheep are trotting obediently along behind him) has no sheep dog to assist him.  We all know that sheep while they may be a little on the silly side, are not so bereft of sense that they would just follow along behind a person.  In fact having mustered sheep myself I can attest to the fact that they are very obstinate and unlikely to do any such thing.


  1. Your flowers are lovely, especially the Fushia. Hope Mr. Shoestring gets the job situation sorted really fingers are crossed!

  2. Thanks so much for those kind words Egretta, it means a lot! My fingers will be crossed too! XXX