Well hello possums! I must apologise for my lack of posts in recent times. Mr Shoestring and I have been preoccupied with the installation of our "new" gas fire which Mr Shoestring rashly purchased second hand on TradeMe, only to discover it needed extensive refurbishments in order to be legally installed. This weekend he spent most of his time up on the roof (and you know how he hates heights, the poor thing) trying to install the flue which he has laboriously modified to make it fit the old chimney space. He eventually informed me that he had lost one glove, two screwdrivers, a level and a hammer. He seemed to take a certain grim pleasure in retelling the loss of all these items which apparently have fallen down the chimney and can never be recovered. He also broke three angle cutting blades (whatever they might be) and ripped his overalls. Well, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs and no doubt you can't install a new fireplace without losing most of your tools - c'est la vie!
It has not all been toil though. A couple of weekends ago we went once more to the local RSA on Saturday night to see "Roy Orbison" and "Elvis" and to dance our socks off. Last time we sallied forth to this hallowed venue we were approached by a woman who enquired, "You're not from around here, are you?" after we had danced a particularly vigorous swing set. This time a venerable gentleman told us we had put on a great floor show (I am not sure whether this was supposed to be a compliment but chose to take it as such), and after that whenever we sat down he would express his surprise not to see us dancing, as he thought this would be "just your kind of tune".
Then last weekend we came back to Auckland early to meet up with Senor and Senora Valentino and watch The Glenn Miller Band perform. What a treat that was. As well as the band we were treated to performances by The Swing Kittens (think of The Andrews Sisters) and a troupe of swing dancers. Beforehand though, Senora Valentino and myself were treated to the expert ministrations of Rose from Decadia Vintage who transformed us. Senora Valentino who usually sports a sleek asymmetric bob ended up with curly locks (which suited her very well) and I was thrilled with my victory rolls. We both had scarlet lips, of course, which was a great responsibility - the retouching, you understand. The other members of the audience looked rather startled as we arrived (attired in the best we could do for 1940s costume of course), but we were absolutely delighted with our glamorous appearance and afterwards went out for a little swing dancing. (Only a very little for me because Mr Shoestring becomes petrified in the presence of expert dancers and his limbs seize up completely. He did manage one dance though. Senor Valentino being a more confident dancer rarely sits down.)
This weekend the weather was very fine and in between swearing and cursing up on the roof Mr Shoestring descended for a walk around the wetlands, where we were charmed to see the bare trees full of abandoned nests. I wonder whether the same birds come back year after year to use their nests again, or if the nests are taken over by other birds (but of the same species one would presume), who recycle them.
One particularly voluble fantail seemed to be following us. It is tempting to think they do this because they are companionable and genial, but (disappointingly) it is apparently because they want to catch all the tiny insects we disturb as we clumsily lurch over the surface of the earth. Sigh.
We noticed this butterfly feasting on nectar in the sunshine. Obviously some Monarch butterflies must overwinter but it is always surprising to see them in the middle of winter.
In the garden some bromeliads are flowering (still, or already?), some with blue/pink blossoms and some with a more shrimp-like shade.
I was pleased to see the first of the hyacinths, and the primulas about to follow suit.
The Dancing Queen came for a visit recently and I was enchanted by this little pansy plate she gave me. This weekend I realised my next crazy quilt must be a pansy themed one - how had it not occurred to me before? My favourite flower, and I have been neglecting it entirely in my crazy quilting! I can't wait to get started, but first of course the other two must be finished. It will have a small black silk piece in the centre of each block with vibrant orange/purple/yellow/pink and other assorted jewel shades around the outside. That is the plan so far, but of course these things change. Good to have a plan though.