sherbet or sorbet

 After all this time, I thought I had heard all the differences of meanings between American and British words. One again, I am wrong.

The latest discover came about with a discussion with Hubby when I was describing a hot-weather concoction I made that I have always called 'stuff'. I got the idea many years ago from a punch recipe. It's made with 7-up or Sprite poured over a glad full of sherbet, mixed with a spoon and then drunk with a straw.

Well, he had no idea what I was talking about since 'sherbet' is a whole different animal in Britain than it is in America.  The British version is a powder (it made me think of 'pixie stix' from my childhood) that you eat by dipping a piece of licorice into it. Click here for a recipe for the British version of sherbet. 

The American version is made with cream.

Hubby brought home some sorbet for me to try the other day. For those that don't know, it's a water based 'ice' that is flavored with various fruit flavors that is available in most stores. 

It's nice on its own but, alas, doesn't translate to 'stuff' very well.



We had originally booked flights on Air New Zealand from New Plymouth to Auckland and then straight to Queenstown. But Covid showed up again in Auckland and we had to reschedule. So, we flew from New Plymouth to Wellington with a layover until our Queenstown flight.

The domestic flight from NP to Wellington was rather uneventful. 

But our flight to Queenstown was from an international gate and, boy was that different! It reminded me of my flight to New Zealand with all the safety checks! Yep, put your carry-on stuff in a bin to be checked (even inside my camera case!), walk into the little machine to check your body for illegal stuff.

That's definitely a big difference to my boring stay-home-because-I-want-to life!


There's a cow in my garden

It's not often you get to see a cow in your front garden!
This little lady escaped from the paddock next to the house and
was trying to find her way back home.

 Fortunately, she knew where she was going.


super saturday

Tomorrow is Super Saturday here in New Zealand in an effort to get more people vaccinated and two TV stations will be broadcasting the even for most of the day.

It never occurred to me that I'd ever see a day that is set aside for a whole country to come together to get the 'jab' but then I've never been accused of creative thinking!

I guess it's just one more way that New Zealand is leading the way for the rest of the world.

Shot, bro!

(Please do not use this post to argue for or against vaccinations.
Your comments will not be published.)


mangamahu church


This little church is on Mangamahu Road and was built in 1907.

I found a video of Christmas carols being sung inside as a church in 2015,

but can't find any more about church services.

Click here for more information.


Riding Ducks

World War II amphibious vehicles called 'Ducks' that go from road to water 
are a  great way to tour of Rotorua.


Best Pound Cake

 I have gone through several recipes for Pound Cake and each one has its own pros and cons. Most of them have been a little dry...until this one!

Pound Cake Recipe

1-1/2 c butter

8 oz cream cheese

3 c sugar

6 large eggs

1 t vanilla

3 c flour

2 t salt

Combine butter and cream cheese.

Add sugar and mix until creamy. 

Add eggs, one at a time.

Stir in vanilla.

Add flour and salt and mix until incorporated.


Just before baking, spray two loaf pans generously with cooking spray. Pour batter into pans.

Bake at 300/150c for 60-70 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.




 It's been over a year since our part of the country was in lockdown, but that has changed.

There is one case of Covid in the Auckland community so we are all locked down for three days and Auckland for a week.

For me, that means....no changes to my extravagant life style (as she tosses her hair back and smiles coyly--LOL), like last time. Of course, we are only the size of small sections of most countries, so that makes it very much easier to deal with, but I am grateful that New Zealand is able to handle things well.

We had planned a trip to the Auckland area in a couple of weeks, but that is off for now. Hubby has 'Plan B' (he must have been a boy scout because he's always prepared!), so I'm sure we will find some place to visit when we are allowed.

Let's hope we can be rid of this plague soon.


I know things change...

 It's been fifteen years since I moved to New Zealand. I have adjusted to a lot of things that living on a small island presents.

I have learned to live without filter/drip coffee and drink instant. When I first got here, I could get a cup of filter coffee in a coffee shop while Hubby had some fluffy, strong stuff, but not any more. 

Before you ask, there are very few places to buy ground coffee and the ones we tried did NOT suit at all. Hubby recently found a place that will send us Folgers coffee, but over $100 shipping for 3 large cans is more than I can bring myself to spend, even if Hubby is willing.

Upon my arrival, I could buy grape jelly at any grocery store. Strangely enough, it has not been found anywhere for a few years now. A member of a FB group of Americans in NZ found some a while back and we were all jealous! I guess all those grapes they grow here are for fancy-schmacy wine now!  Actually, most of our stuff is imported from Australia since we are too small to manufacture very much for ourselves. So, I guess I can blame it on Aussie.

I am not sure how Pizza Hut and Dominos pizza in the US and other countries have changed in 15 years, but they advertise terrible abominations here.  Ground beef/mince, Peking Duck, smoked salmon, spinach, cranberries, prawns. And then there is the 'swirl' of sauces on top--aioli, hollandaise,  BBQ sauce. *shudder*  What happened to simple Italian sausage with cheese? Progress? This is why we make our own now and then, but I still can't find Italian sausage in the stores very often.

Twenty years ago, if you had told me I'd have these 'problems' I would have laughed. But, life throws you a curve ball sometimes, and you have to adjust your swing. But the biggest change is that I realize that many of the 'problem' I have are because I'm old and set in my ways.

Ah, life is always interesting.


A new experience

I've been in NZ for about 15 years and haven't seen anything really 'new' in 
a while. Well, that ended today. As usual, I needed to use the public toilet
while we were at Castlecliff Beach with Missy in Whanganui. We found
the doorway and walked inside to find the stalls, as we usually do.

 One stall had no toilet and we were a bit taken aback because neither of the
other two toilets had any toilet paper dispensers. Fortunately, I usually have
tissues in my pocket and they came to our rescue.

On the way out, I was waiting for Missy and looked around a bit.
That's when I found it. We had totally missed a large sign
that instructed us to take the toilet paper from the one dispenser just
inside the door!

 It struck us as really funny that we had missed it and Hubby probably
though we had lost our minds when we got back to the car!

We still don't know why one stall was empty but that's a mystery
for another trip.


Jersey Boys onstage

Hubby surprised me with the chance to sit with a few hundred other gray-haired fans at the Wellington Opera House to watch the stage musical Jersey Boys over the weekend!

What a wonderful performance by all and, of course, the music was magical!!

I am copying an article from 'aucklandlive.co.nz' to tell you about the cast (in case the article disappears). 
They were ALL really talented and the audience seemed to enjoy ever minute of the performance. You sure couldn't tell that all but 'Frankie Valli' were New Zealanders! I can't praise them enough for their work. If you get the chance (and are 'of a certain age), you should see this show.

Producers of JERSEY BOYS – THE STORY OF FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS are delighted to announce they have secured one of the world’s best musical theatre artists to perform the role of Frankie Valli in the Tony Award-winning musical’s seasons in Auckland and Wellington, from May.



Hayden Milanés, who has travelled internationally playing Frankie Valli in Broadway’s hit musical JERSEY BOYS, arrived in New Zealand from New York last week and will join an outstanding New Zealand-based cast.

To land the role of Frankie, the actor needed to be 5’9” (175cm) or shorter, have a strong tenor with sweet and strong falsetto, and be able to sing in the style of Frankie Valli: strong tenor to high A or B plus strong falsetto up to treble G; be charismatic and charming; a very strong actor (comfortable with narrative text) and have a gritty side as well as a polished veneer, and must be comfortable with traditional four-part harmonies.

Director Grant Meese explains that no stone was unturned to find a Frankie in New Zealand. “We went out to all New Zealand agents and held open auditions in Christchurch and Auckland but were unable to find someone with all these special attributes.

“As the role is unique in the world of musical theatre, we decided we’d go after the best in the world,” says Mr. Meese. “With Broadway and the West End remaining closed, and New Zealand being one of only a few countries in the world where people can enjoy live performance, Hayden said yes.

“We then had to apply to have him come into the country. All the correct processes were followed and we were given the green light. I guess you could say that all our stars aligned.”

Mr. Milanés joins an exceptional New Zealand-based cast that includes one of New Zealand’s finest theatre and television actors, Andrew Grainger, as gangster Gyp DeCarlo. A veteran of the West End, film, and television, Andy’s New Zealand theatre credits include Chicago, Billy Elliott, Guys and Dolls, and Six Degrees of Separation. Full bio here.

Tauranga-born Matt Cranleigh plays singer and songwriter Bob Gaudio. A graduate of the prestigious NIDA performing arts school in Sydney, Matt spent six years working in film and television in Australia and the UK,  including Dance Academy (ABC Australia), Home & Away (Channel 7 Australia), and The Great Gatsby (Warner Brothers). Following time in London, Matt’s career found its way back to its roots in musical theatre as he worked in Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore with Disney and Universal.

Reprising his role as the reckless gambler Tommy DeVito is Fergus Inder (Chicago; Titus Andronicus; Jesus Christ Superstar; The Wind in the Willows, A Streetcar Named DesirePriscilla, Queen of the Desert; Wicked; and Les Misérables).

Andrew Coshan will play Nick Massi – the vocalist credited with training Frankie but ultimately leaving the group after tiring of their internal battles and flatting with Tommy.

A graduate of Otago University, Andrew has spent much of his professional career in Melbourne, receiving a Greenroom Award nomination for best performance in a supporting role, and then his professional musical theatre debut in the ensemble of The Production Company’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. Recently, Andrew made an appearance in Neighbors as River Hannlon. Andrew’s top New Zealand-based credits include Hairspray as Link Larkin, Mamma Mia as Pepper, PUNKROCK as Nicholas Chatman, Les Miserables, and The Phantom of the Opera.

Russell Dixon plays record producer Bob Crewe. Having recently directed the sold-out season of Mary Poppins at The Civic in Auckland, Russell’s credits include Wicked, Blood Brothers, Mamma Mia!, Miss Saigon, and Holiday InnTop Hat at London’s Aldwych Theatre,  and a cast member of in the UK tour of The Witches of Eastwick, playing the role of Joe Marino.

Playing radio personality Barry Belson is Lewis Francis, last seen on The Civic stage in The Book of Mormon.

After being on the Australasian tour of The Book of Mormon for nearly two and a half years, Barry is thrilled to be performing again in  NZ. While completing his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Auckland (majoring in Marketing and Commercial Law), he trained extensively with Frances Wilson Fitzgerald at the Auckland Opera Studio. He was then successful in joining the NZ Opera Freemasons chorus from 2015 – 2017. In 2015 Lewis won the President’s Cup for Most Promising Vocal artist at the North Shore Singing Competition, and also won the John Bond Award at NZ Aria in 2016, for most promising vocal artist.



when you live on an island

...you can expect rainy days and drab photos, but that doesn't keep me 
from taking a lot of them, even roadside flowers out the car window.

 I enjoyed making my photos look a little better with Photoscape, as it
was very simple to use.

Well, now there is a better version that does a lot more than I ever wanted!

The new version of Photoscape X took very little effort to transform 
the shot (above) from rainy and drab to a flowery photo 
I would gladly post on my blog (below).

They have short videos to show you how each feature works. 
I could even take the cows out of the picture with one click on each one, 
but I decided to leave them in.

So, now you know what I'll be doing in my spare time! 
If you are looking for a good (and free) editing program, 
click 'photoscape x' .

I bought the Pro version as a way of support for using the free version all these years and it has even more of everything for a very small price.



Hubby came up with another first for me over the weekend--a pig show!
Some were being shown and some were being sold.

They were in pens where you could touch them and they reacted like family pets;
they snorted when you petted them and squealed when you stopped
because they wanted more! 
A couple of them fell over in ecstasy when you rubbed their backs!

It was nothing I had ever seen before!


uneven surface

Somehow, I think they could have come up with a different
sign to tell you that there are bumps in the road on major roads.

These from a park are much better and easier to 'decorate'! 


Lake Rotoiti Hot Spirngs

Our weekend included a trip to Lake Rotoiti Hot Springs.
[In Maori, 'roto' means lake and 'iti means little.]
 They are only accessible by boat or plane.

There are seven hot tubs fed from underground thermal springs.
 They get cooler from top to bottom.

Hubby went up to the lookout and took some photos.

The swans paid no attention to all the human goings-on!



 Sometimes, being left out is not a bad thing.

When I woke up and got some coffee, I settled down to see what was happening in the world while I slept. I was absolutely shocked to find out that we had slept through another earthquake felt in NZ! It was quite a ways off shore from the other side of the north island but people all over the country felt it.

There was no major damage, so after looking around online, I found that some people in Taranaki (where I live) felt it and others slept through it, too! 

Other than some concerned relative on social media, we weren't affected.


Date night at the theatre

Hubby took me to the movies at the King's Theatre in Stratford over the weekend and we were the
first to arrive. There was a total of 8 in the audience for the movie!

TET The King's Theater is supported by grants from the Taranaki Electric Trust.

Here are some old photos I found online.




Yes, those are American flags on the side of a New Zealand road!
It's time for the yearly round of American muscle cars gathering together
 and touring Taranaki!
This year it's the 24-27 of February.

The main street of each town is closed and the cars fill the street.
The sheer number of cars is mind-boggling!

Stratford kids get out of school each year to come see the cars. 


Huiakama School

We came across this school on our backroad journey along the
Forgotten World Highway. The first thing you see beside the sign is a bus shed.

The original building is on the left.

The space in front of the water tank looks like it could be a garden.

The football field has other uses, too!


Flock House, NZ

 These photos were taken in 2015.

Flock House, near Bulls, in the Manawatu, was founded in 1924.

It was first used to accommodate and train the sons of British Naval personnel who died during World War I.

In 1947, the school was opened to New Zealand boys aged between 14 and 18 years who wanted to gain an education in farming.https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/business/commercial-property/6796032/Flock-House-has-huge-potential

Below are links with some history of the place.

The property (as I understand it) has been 'returned' to the Maori people and sits along with many other properties dotting the countryside--mostly schools that have closed-- that are returned and sit derelict.