Cousins a few years ago ,how special is that !

We were ready and waiting, not allowed to touch the food🙄

Calvin turned 80 !

We enjoyed a grand gathering of friends for a champagne dinner party at our apartment . Julie and Russell arrived from Tauranga on the Thursday and helped in the preparation , it was a super time together as hadn’t seen them for 5 months whilst Calvin has been in semi isolation . Callum helped so much before and during plus all our lovely friends .

Calvin looked well and I dropped sparkles and beads everywhere !
A pause after Callum and Calvin had their memories of a well lived life through photos projected onto the tv screen.
Julie, Holly and Peter and the baby grande piano became a fine receptacle for the champagne and glasses
Brenda and Bruce having a lively conversation with Alan
Phoebe and Yvonne
Raewyn, Phillip and Yvonne
Callum Whois help was tremendous
My favourite photo of Calvin 80 and Peter 81 ‘the gunslingers’
At the beginning as folk arrived !

Supermarket shopping for two persons!!!!

My original proto type coat designed, woven , sewn by moi in mohair and wool

Grocery shopping for two plus wine, fortunately friends calling In Later this week haha . Always a full larder in case of serious conditions , I always say we have sufficient for three months !!!!!

Narrow spaces become interesting given some thought !

Covid Vaccination

Yesterday we both had our Covid Vaccinations number one.

Driving and finding the vaccination centre in Mt Wellington Auckland proved to be a bit of a challenge with one or two hesitations due to GPS and my ideas not aligning with good reason !!!!! However I got us there with a few mins to spare. Following all the instructions and checking in at the various tables made me feel a little. ‘Senior’ worse than in a international airport where we navigate with ease.

However we have been vaccinated , have our appointment for our second jab 1 August so life moves on .’

Our corner of Provence !

Though this photo was taken in Lyon many years ago ,

Mirabel aux Baronnies

In the top corner of western Provence nr. The Drome is this lovely hilltop village. Very ancient with the church at he top of the hill and streets ( alleyways) cascade down from it where we reside when there is just below the church in a very ancient modest house with spiral stone stairs, a Grande cave which goes right under the house and the road withmoulded vats , where Jos has made it into a wonderful summer house for him to live in whilst he rents out the two apartments above. Jos is a collecter of art and fine fabrics so we are very privelidged to be able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and quirkiness of some aspects 🥴

He is indeed a great friend and we enjoy his company for many weeks each year.

Calvin and I have certain duties expected of us like watering the outside pots and looking after the plants on our terrace. Which we love doing.

The tissue paper on the petals gives it a luminosity which is appealing !

Chemo is over ,🙏

Calvin has had his last chemotherapy session, we look forward to being able to celebrate in about 10 days when he starts feeling much better. In the meantime we take each day as it comes , mainly indoors , reading books, and he is drawing and painting as it’s difficult for a man of action not to have the energy to do more physical stuff outside. Being in the middle of winter helps.

Our friends from Mirabel aux Baronnies organised a Zoom meet up the other night and we spent an hour talking and catching up on the gossip of the village. They showed us the landscape and surrounds and sent us a photo of Michael and Jos inJos’s garden admiring his new sculpture. A wonderful time and they promise to do it again before the end of summer.

They both look so well and of course dear Lena took the photo.
Calvin with wonderful flowers sent by Julie and Russell celebrating the end of his Chemotherapy. What a lovely surprise. All the family have been so supportive as well throughout , interested in all my numerous updates , firstly hour by hour, now I have calmed down and it’s just after his toxic download haha a daily report for a few days .

Another early Imari plate purchased in Mirabel aux Baronnies Provence many years ago , well used and loved ,rather heavy and impractical to fly home with , but I did it 💃

I made another purchase the other day, a great serving dish circa 1850 Imari Minton/Spode not sure . Lovely shape to scoop out veges . Debut Calvins 80 th birthday dinner party woohoo

Him and her . Him by her, her by Rob McDowell 1979 Mt Michael .

More Art as we go through chemo 5

Not fun for Calvin of course but he is enjoying his art and now developing style with a palette knife. Indoor activities as his energy levels are zero at this time plus other hideous side effects.

Calvins beautiful lily on the right , I love his background

Art Fun at ours

Tutors Ill so Brenda joined me at the table. Calvin joined in, all fun.

Calvin is drained of all energy this time,I feel for him, the sooner the next two sessions of chemo are over the better . The meds are biting into the bone marrow and hopefully doing a lot of good !Hopefully again , we can walk to the corner and back today , there is a seat at the corner overlooking the Harbour towards Waiheke, a different view from at home.The sun is shining it looks a beautiful day .

Calvins 4 th chemotherapy

So far so good, powering his way through treatments, no complaints, always smiling, cracking jokes with the nurses and and other chemo recipients. Oh what a man and inspite of some pretty horrible side effects. Unfortunately no Covid 19 vaccination for him til at least a month after his last chemo session. We are being careful, no infections as we are pretty much staying clear of any situations when you can catch infections, isolating but worth it.

Books are being read at an amazing pace, viewing the two renovations next door and next door to that and guessing what will be happening next. My new Art hobby is fun and cooking is taking up more time with much pleasure involved. Of course the activity in the Harbour is ever changing as well. It’s a quiet life.but worthwhile for a good outcome.

Mothers Day

Photos of yesteryear, our mothers, family weddings and welcoming Noel and Phoebe into the family. Feeling very blessed x

Omg these photos provoked such memories as Marie and I reminisced on Instagram , happy happy family times with help from everyone. Never again will I cater for a family wedding or the day after bbq. Though at the time I managed 🤣 I nearly expired after the last one but such super memories made it worthwhile .

3rd Chemotherapy for Calvin

As Calvin is taking the infusions well they were able to speed up the process this visit to Day Stay at the Auckland Hospital . 4 hours rather than 9hours seemed a vast improvement.

Once again a humbling experience with other patients, in Calvin’s room a tv and radio celebrity young at 50 having his infusion then off back to the radio station. A young girl with her mother and a middle aged man . So busy in there you don’t feel alone in your battle. All being so positive and getting on with what needs to be done.

No photos this time except this one of Calvin last evening , over his hiccups which went on for a few hours then showing he hasn’t lost his appetite and feeling great .

Today’s Art ,Getting better 😂!!!

Not so sure about the cow ! But Amanda likes ‘ Biddy’ and I am not to finish it but frame it as is……………

I didn’t realize cows had such strange conformation in their faces, eyes and ears in line near the top of their heads , you learn something each day haha .

Easter 2021

The ‘bubble’ between Australia and NZ will be open in the near future ( we hope) how great that will be !

Meanwhile in Melbourne on Easter Sunday a lovely dinner for Amanda, Noel, Ellen Frances and Rosie. Not forgetting Biddy whose portrait I will be endeavoring to capture on Wednesday,

The table Melbourne
The people and Biddy , Ellen’s taking the photo🙄
Darby and Joan

Another wonderful doodle by Ellen, so insightful and powerful

When you are 78yrs and decide to go to Art School !!

A 14 week course of drawing , pastels, and acrylics it is perfect for me. I have the time, it’s something I have wanted to do for years.

Over the decades of living in the country firstly as the headmasters wife , mother, and later as a farmer , I created a life for myself in the Art World firstly as a Spinner , knitter and weaver, then the weaving became my life and through that Art Exhibitions, active in the local Art Society , my own exhibitions with two friends a potter and an artist,

Later in Christchurch it was developing our historic home into a Bed And Breakfast,welcoming guests from all over the world for about 16 yrs

All the while I wanted to dabble in drawing and painting but the time Was never right ! Now it is …………..

Next morning !

Unexpectedly an uneventful night, the lad slept , no expected sweats or flu like symptoms, just wakened with the hiccups. Now we are off for a gentle walk , to be continued………

In 21 days we have another visit to the hospital DayStay and they tell us it will be for less time, about 3 hrs. Then this routine will continue for about 5 months. We are ready !!!!!!!

9 hours in a chemotherapy ward , a very humbling experience

It was a happy place to be in, plenty of smiles and positivity oozing in the atmosphere. From Young fit and handsome young Polynesian man, university lecturer type, young mother, Muslim lady, middle aged man and Calvin the oldest, he didn’t look the oldest 🙄

The staff were fabulous and explained all the different toxic chemicals being introduced, we read books, I went through two, plus exercises and a bit of walking to help my numb bum from sitting in the delightful upright chair. Even Calvin was past the lying down by the time it was all over for the day.

I bombarded the family with updates and photos until my iPad lost power, note to self to take a charger next time 🥴 all in all it was a bit like a long haul flight even the thought of destination home seemed rather appealing.

Son Callum responded to requests for picking up meds , taking delivery of my leopard skin chair delivered a day early and he also left lovely pasta in the fridge. Lovely daughter Amanda in Melbourne Australia answered my innumerable texts and lent great support and love.

Wearing my 1980. Chanel blouse in our hotel in St Germaine des Pres !

35 yrs ago back on the farm our Woolshed painted by dear friend Alison Ryde . Later in her Exhibition

Alison ,David and family often came to stay on the farm, a breathe of fresh air from Christchurch City 3 hrs drive away . Alison would paint and sketch, David would help Calvin on the farm, the children similar ages to ours would disappear for hours exploring the native bush and river , riding ponies and generally being free.

Alison recently found this amongst her memorabilia that has travelled with he and family to Montefalco in Umbria Italy and been hiding for about 25 yrs. a great memory especially for Calvin. I think this was his favourite painting.

Sailing home, part of the spectator fleet sailing past us after the first two races in the Americas Cup

Did I Mention Dinner last evening!!!

Amy made the most delicious raspberry cheesecake , it was to be strawberry but the gods were smiling on Granny and the supermarket only had raspberries!!!! granny’s favourite fruit!!!

Daddy /son Callum awaiting his slice feeling proud

As you may have guessed I love my ‘ Camilla’ top

What we wore, what we ate in Russell , such a relaxing time !

Oyster farming Whangaroa  Harbour , Northland

Oh the Oldies had such fun yesterday!

We had booked a session at Spark Arena at the Wynyard Quarter home of the Americas and Prada Cup as we were excited about entertaining the grandchildren for the day.

Well the weather was perfect, the crowds were having a breather , the sun shone . We arrived down there early so we’re able to wander around admiring the super yachts, and various other grand boats , choosing favourites .

First off trying the simulator and taking the helm of the Emirates Team NZ Americas Cup Yacht. Well that was 10 mins of exhilaration that’s for sure. Calvin at the helm he raced around the course, the children hanging on for dear life.

Then a quick dash next door to the Spark Arena and a hands on experience of designing the yacht which the kids adored. Into the wind tunnel and how the wind was currently blowing around the Hauraki Gulf, then the full on experience in the yacht experiencing the thrill of racing and though standing on terrafirma my toes were curling up as I tried to keep my balance as we powered along in a race. My sense of balance lost with this 360’ imagery.

Oh what a time we had and all for free, welldone organizers of the Americas Cup Village.

Time for a restorative and food which we found at a cafe restaurant nearby. Granny and Grandad sank gratefully into comfortable seats as we enjoyed the quiet of our surroundings and discussed our great long morning.

56 th wedding anniversary tomorrow

We slipped down to Soul at the viaduct for a quiet lunch , enjoyed whole flounders cooked in butter and glasses of French champagne. Perfect day .

Then home to watch the first of the Challenger race offs for the Americas Cup

The good thing about the long summer holidays ,

We have fun with the grandchildren who live around the corner.

Today Granny Jo and grandad Calvin thought a little trip out to the Historic Puhoi Pub for lunch and other pursuits with Olivia and Angus would be appropriate . Of course we had to have the roof down on the car all the way home hah !!!!!

Olivia ‘ lady about town’

Cruising into 2021

What will the new year bring?! Our 56th wedding anniversary on 16 January, Calvin’s 80th birthday in July, my 79 th in October omg where have the years gone.

Meantime we have the Americas Cup Sailing to watch over the next 3 months, a lovely summer to enjoy . Calvin’s Chemo for 6 months from Feb. then in October after Covid Vaccines and hopeful of borders opening again ,we will visit France and all our friends.

Christmas Day 2020 at Phoebe and Callums

Angus with ginger beer in case you were wondering
A beautiful Christmas dinner enjoyed by all
Andrew, Callum and Phoebe
Well now is that Phoebe with a bottle of Blood Orange Gin ?!
A very satisfied looking Granny ?!

Masks worn all over the world . Brendan and Kola

Amy sleeping over!

Breakfast. French toast ,banana , bacon and maple syrup .plus cinnamon sugar, and dusted with icing sugar for visual impact 🤣

Our lovely family , gorgeous Ellen , Frances and daughter Amanda from Melbourne, Callum, Angus, Amelia and Olivia ; Auckland . Several years ago, like 2015 !

What I wore to the glorious picnic at the Community gardens. Toasts with Prosecco , Rose and good Chardonnay the drinks of preference on this wondrous day.

A beautiful picnic hosted by Holly and Peter at the Ngataringa Community gardens nr. Devonport.NZ.

Holly and about 40 others have their garden plots, they share chickens, vegetables, a fine clubhouse, potting shed , and shady trees over glades of grass . So sheltered from breezes and yet so sunny . A magical lunch with old and new friends .

78 and not out! Best birthday

Up early ready for a 8am pickup by Callum and family for a drive to the car ferry to Waiheke Island for a day out and lunch at Cable Bay Vineyard.

It was a lovely day in the sun, fun, shopping , eating , dining taking in fantastic views , beaches and swimming . Culminating with very tired but satisfied late arrival home , shoes off, cool clothing on and my dear man mixed me a lovely martini, made me a tomatoe sandwich in time for a long phone call from Amanda and family in Melbourne. So lovely to see all those lovely faces , two beautiful girls and their equally beautiful mother and handsome father .

A wonderful birthday indeed!

Afternoon tea time , springtime, almost birthday time !!!!!woohoo

A repost of darling daughter protecting her mother from thoughts of plunging out into the traffic, of dogs, pigs,cows, tuktuks and motorbikes. Delhi last year

More about Spring 2020

Mixed temperatures but into summer clothes sometimes layering . Strange times with Covid uppermost in our minds and the restrictions to living created by this pandemic. Summer though is a joyous time , colourful clothes, blossoms, perfume in the air lifts one spirits .

At ‘ Giraffe’ Viaduct ! ver good 👏

A nice photo of our car and some old bird about to get in !

Our road trip down the Whanganui River.

From Tongariro National Park we took the small winding route down the Whanganui River to Whanganui. This takes you through Pipiriki and Jerusalem

At this time of the year early spring, many of the trees were still bare of the bright green leaves , a few early flowering shrubs were out in flower , it was still very beautiful.

Staying at the Nice Boutique Hotel in New Plymouth for three nights

A lovely place to stay, so full of character, and so different in decor.

We had an enjoyable drive up from Whangarei even though it was raining most of the day. The countryside so green and lush with rolling hills and , lovely trees just coming into leaf and the blossom bravely putting in an appearance.

The dining room at the Nice

Another small adventure in our own country.

Recently we headed south from Auckland ,down past Hamilton then Lake Taupo, and further still to our destination Chateau Tongariro.

We weren’t disappointed though the weather was lousy for the three days we were in residence. The warmth of the hospitality and such very comfortable lounging areas, great dining options and generous sized suite left us very comfortable indeed .

After a great nights sleep we were ready to face the day and decided to drive to Ohakune where Calvins grandparents had lived and his mother brought up with her sisters . We had great fun exploring in a very changed town and Calvin managed to locate some of the buildings he remembered.

Next day after a light fall of snow ver night we headed up the mountain to the Wkakapapa ski field . Freezing 3c snow getting slushy but still beautiful in the spring. Later Taumarunui beckoned , a beautiful area and prosperous town so very different to what I envisaged .

Amanda and Callum still at the Schoolhouse prior to us buying Mt Michael ( Madame Cholet in Amanda’s arms )

Callum at Hambledon off to a Ball ( probably with dear Phoebe)