Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reaching The Summit

Here we are - well not quite, but it is a very picturesque representation of our mountain

Last weekend Mr Shoestring and I exerted ourselves mightily and hauled ourselves to the top of the mountain, which was a very satisfying accomplishment.  We did it once last year and I think it was easier this time, I like to think that it is because we are fitter after all our early morning walking/jogging but it could be just that we knew what to expect and so weren’t disappointed when the top of the mountain came into view and then receded as the path wound away and then back in the right direction.   This happens several times and the last part of the climb is very steep so when you finally achieve the summit it seems like a wonderful thing.  (A miracle, in fact.)  It was a lovely day for a walk and because we set off quite early we had the gratifying feeling of walking down as a lot of other people were climbing up.  (This gives you the opportunity to say condescendingly, "Not long to go now!")  The actual transmitter on the top of the mountain always reminds me of the one on The Rocky Horror Picture Show and as the man who wrote The RHPS came from Hamilton I wonder if he was influenced by the look of the mast there at the top of Mount Te Aroha.  It is more likely that it is supposed to resemble the RKO one, but it is an interesting thought. 

 It was surprisingly hazy at the top but we could still see for miles
The transmitter looks more prosaic from underneath and up close than it does from the plains but very impressive all the same

As a complete contrast to the physical exertions of the hike we had Mr and Mrs Peaceable around for morning tea and it was a great chance to get out the pretty china and play ladies.  (Though Mr Shoestring and Mr Peaceable wouldn’t agree that was what was going on, I am sure.)  We ate outside and it was a beautiful day to sit in the shade of the old flowering cherry tree and watch the birds come and go. 

Mrs Peaceable brought the most heavenly brownie and I made a new recipe, a kind of summer fruit cake which was a very good way to use some of the beautiful fruits we have in season at present.  I used apricots, nectarines and peaches with a few blackberries thrown in for deep colour but you can use whatever is in season and in winter time could even use tinned fruit if needs be.  I will put the recipe up so you can try it, even though there are always dire warnings about making a recipe for the first time without an audition this one worked out perfectly - dead simple, delicious and effective. Mrs Peacable had the same experience with her brownie so it was a good outcome all round.

Even the sugar spoon was pretty - look, a bird!  You don't often see that at Shoestring Cottage!.

We had ham and cheese muffins and bagels with smoked salmon, capers and cream cheese so it was a veritable feast. 

 Plus which, our fish have had a fish baby!  I saw it a couple of weeks ago but it wasn’t seen again until this weekend and I feared that the fish mama and papa may have behaved in a very disappointing way and devoured their own offspring.  As well as the small fish baby I spied two tiny ones this weekend, so small as to be almost invisible to my (admittedly failing) eyes, and I hope that these two might also be spared and boost up the numbers in the pond, which is looking most attractive now with the new swallow flying above it.  (Not sure about the combination of the flying swallow and the lion’s head but in time when greenery grows around the lion’s head perhaps it won’t look so out of place.)