Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 10

What day is it?
Yep, you know it. Another sunny day, another round with the paint brush.
Whiteboard Day 10
This Hawaiian shirt is never going to be the same.
Deb tapeface
The final touch. I learned a while ago to cut around the edge of the tape before pulling it off. What happens is the tape and the paint have relationships and get married while you’re not looking, then when you pull the tape off, all hell can break loose and your paint AND tape come off together. I ain’t falling for that one again.
Cut tape
Finally! Brown doors. With a wee bit of tweaking required, but it’ll do for today.
Brown doors 2
I was so relieved to finally finish that job!
Brown doors 1
And then I turned around and saw this. Oh good grief! It never ends!!!
More door to paint
This got painted too. My wee hobbit seat. The name of of this shade of paint is Jealous. Are you?
Painted hobbit seat
Touched up the swingseat too. It sort of resembles a piano that fell into a candy factory conveyor belt.
Touched up swingseat
Yep, another round of scrubbing. Your handy hint for today: use a pumice stone. With soap. Otherwise all your skin will come off and your blood will fall out. You’re welcome.
Painted hand
Meanwhile, Smudge Friday is out munting the rubber mats. She thinks they were created to sharpen her talons on. Not a single one of them has escaped this vicious and unprovoked punishment.
Smudge munting mats
Yeah, butter wouldn’t melt.
Smudge green eyes
What am I supposed to do when faced with this? She’s the only cat I’ve ever known that asks for a tummy rub and doesn’t turn into a deadly hand-shredding machine after 1.25 minutes.
Smudge on deck
I had a wander around to experience doing nothing useful for a little while, and found the brick forms I’ve been stashing in one of the sheds.
1 brick form
I reckon they’ll make great shelves. And if Armageddon comes, I can make my own hobbit house.
2 brick forms
I counted up the jellyfish I made recently, which are waiting for the verandah roof to go on before they can be hung in all their glory.
Jellyfish 2
There are actually 9, but one needs fixing and is a bit embarrassed.
Jellyfish 1
Oh look – a random self-planted flower being all purdy and, um, quarantined?
Random flower
What day is it? It’s Ciderday!!!!! Time for a bit of this…
And a bit of this.
Uke and banjolele
Oh hello beautiful. Or, Kia ora Marama. It’s going to be another beautiful night. It’s the perfect view for the end of a busy day. Cheers y’all.
Moonrise with bamboo

Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 9

You’ll never guess what I did today…

Woke up, beautiful day. There’s something about sunshine that triggers my inner painter, like I’m a painting zombie or something. Tried. To. Resist.

Whiteboard day 9

Nope, didn’t work. I don’t even like painting that much. I just like the results. It’s very rare that you can get something out of the cupboard, or whatever, and just slap paint on, isn’t it? Never works like that, does it? “Won’t take long” she says. “Just a quick sand” she says. I HATE sanding. But I hate it even more when my careful paintjob falls off, so I gritted my teeth (painful pun, I know) and got on with it. Screech screech screech screech. Urrggghhhh. Kill me now.

Table of stuff

The third most hated job – masking off. I just want to put the paint on already!! The second most hated job being scraping the paint off places it shouldn’t be because you couldn’t be bothered with masking tape. “I’ll just paint really carefully.” And the Universe laughs… Evil.

Masking tape on door

So here we go, doors duly sanded, wiped and masked off. I’m such a good little hobbit.

Both doors before painting
This bucket of Surprise Me with the Colour paint is brought to you by the pile of paint buckets in the corner at the Recycle Centre. Today’s colour is Crushed Blackberries Thrown into a Very Surprised Bowl of Chocolate. Fourth hated job: mixing dark coloured paint until it behaves itself and is even in colour. Which never happens. I just give up after about 10 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back, and start slapping it on. Too bad.
Bucket of paint
Hours later, and I finally have ONE SIDE of the doors painted. And due to the fact that I, as per usual, started to get a bit slap-happy at around the third coat, you will not be viewing any close-ups of my work today. I don’t wanna talk about it.
Doors after painting
It does look rather snappy from afar though, right?
One door after painting
I did do something besides painting today though. I measured Smudge Friday. She’s this long.
Smudge this long
I also did some dirtless gardening. No weeding, no dirt under the fingernails. That’s the story.
Bean sprouts
And finally, the ubiquitous “Look what I made for dinner” shot. ‘Cos it’s purdy. And yummy. And all gone now. Before its passing, it was a bowl of leftover jeera rice stir-fried with cabbage and some other stuff, at the risk of sounding vague. Who cares? It was food and I ate it. Goodnight.

Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 7

Fig tree shenanigans and a Gas Station angel.

This morning I duly donned my rubber gloves (it’s the fashion you know, darlink) and ventured out to the supermarket. There was a long line of people outside, but most were happily chatting. Many commented that they’d never been so damned happy to get out and go shopping! I had to laugh when I got inside. Who knew how difficult it would be to keep away from other people in a supermarket aisle?? Inside my head a song started to come into being, to the tune of Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show (you gotta sing it in your head – this is the audience participation bit):

“It’s just a sweep to the left
And then a veer to the right
With your gloves on your hands
Keep your shoulders in tight
Yeah there’s the 2-metre rule
So you just keep to your lane
Let’s do the trolley dance again
Let’s do the trolley again.”

Sheesh, I obviously have a bad case of quarantine brain!
I also went to the gas station, where we obediently stayed on our lines when we went to pay. A woman accidentally gave the window-pay-slot lady my pump number instead of hers, and got charged for my gas. And then she said to me “Don’t worry about it – it’s your lucky day. I’ll pay for yours. My mistake.” What a lovely thing to say! I didn’t let her, of course, and insisted the pay-slot lady sort it out, but I was blown away by this woman’s generosity and cheerfulness. Totally made my day! She’s a blimmin’ angel, that girl!

Whiteboard day 7

When Smudge Friday and I wake up, we look out the window together and check out bird t.v. At the moment, the fig tree leaning over our fence from the neighbour’s place is full of ripe figs. The birds are loving it! And it would appear that there is a system in place for fig foraging. First, the mynahs arrived. They stay on the outer perimeter of the tree and move around a lot, and are not at all shy about scoffing. Then they leave and the thrushes and sparrows move in. They go further into the tree and stay put while having breakfast. After that the starlings come along, and one sits on the neighbours t.v. aerial on guard duty while the rest of them delicately nibble on their share. Who knew they had it all worked out? I’ll watch again tomorrow morning and see if they do it in the same order. There’s another fig tree leaning over from another neighbour’s place, but apparently that belongs to the Tuis. End of story. Tuis are beautiful, but they’re also pretty staunch, so don’t y’all be messing with their territory! They’ll bite off your face!!

Fig tree

Aaaaaand, then it was back to painting.

Lanterns painted

And scraping more old paint off these things. Erk! However, it has been worth the effort, as they came out rather nicely with a dash of black paint.

Filligree painted

Things are starting to look more lived in at the sheds. Plants are creeping onto the verandah, the swingseat has claimed its place and then there’s the sculpture…

Deck and swing

Ta da!! This is Peter’s “Found Stuff Water Holding Combination Sculpture.” Pretty nifty aye? He has a bit of a nack for putting random things together in a way I never would have thought of. A lot of stuff that would otherwise go to the dump gets repurposed around here, thanks to him. He’s sort of like the Salvador Dali of 3-D art, but without the weird moustache.

Peters sculpture

Finally, Smudge Friday signalled that it was the end of another day, and so I downed paintbrushes and gladly clocked out. Because…

Smudge stretching

Yeah. What he said!

Wine o'clock

Oh yeah. Come to Mama, you cheeky little wine bottle.

Come to mama wine

Note the pinky finger. ‘Cos I’m couth like that. Welcome to the evening of Day 7. *clink

Wine pinky


Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 6

The bagpiper is alive! And a spider alarm goes off early this morning.

The bagpiper was playing again this morning. I’m so glad to know he’s alive! I’m thinking maybe he and his wife have an agreement – he agrees to only play every third day, and she agrees to feed him.

Whiteboard day 6

I was woken at dark a.m. this morning by a spider walking across the palm of my hand. It felt like it was about the size of Jason Momoa. I disinvited him from my person immediately, and heard him thud on the floor. So he weren’t no lightweight! I had to wonder if it was Bruce, the guy who lives in my ceiling. Smudge Friday slept on, unconcerned that her flatmate was potentially being sized up for an arachnid dinner. That does it – she’s getting one less cat bickie today!


I thought I had finished painting all my boards, then I found this. Hiding in plain sight. How in the heck did I miss it???

Painted board

So another painting day it became. This schooldesk I got at the recycling centre is DEFINITELY getting painted!!


Other bits I dug out for a recoat. Of course I decided to wirebrush them and paint rust convertor on them first, ‘cos I’ve got nothing better to do, right?? Oh, hang on…

Stuff to paint

In case you were ever wondering, this is what the inside of a lantern looks like.

Inside lantern

Some frilly cast iron bits I bought months ago at a second-hand shop. At first they were in for a casual wire-brushing, but then muggins here decided to get all the old paint off, didn’t I? What an idiot! Three painful hours of scraping with a flat-blade screwdriver, and I’m almost there. Another couple of days should do it.


Them’s working hands. They’re now holding up a glass of wine. They’re versatile like that.


Later on, Smudge Friday has a crack at getting the last of the evening sun.

Smudge sunset 1

She has an audience. Again…

Smudge sunset 2

And finally she turns her back on the despised backyard paparazzi. Oh well, that’ll learn her for not rescuing me from the 10-foot mankilling spider this morning.

Smudge sunset 3


Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 5

Repurposing and gravitational experiments, and the neighbours have hours of fun on their motorbike, bless them.

Day 5 whiteboard

Did even more painting today. All duly inspected by the local official. I’m not in the slightest bit bored yet. So far, so good. For the record, a tablespoon of paint contains 295.74 drops of paint.

White boards

We turned the lawn into a wrecker’s yard and dismantled a couple of micathermic heaters in the name of repurposing and lateral thinking. “If they were alive, they wouldn’t be very ‘ealthy.”

Wrecking heater

This is the repurposing idea for the grills off the front – safety grills for glass doors instead.

Grill and door

Also duly inspected by the local official.

Heater grill inspector

Combined gravitational and repurposing experiment #2: tacking my lovely wool insulation to the ceiling with strapping from pallets and cartons. Hopefully it stays up there until the lining is on. I swallowed a fair amount of wool putting that up there. Hopefully it doesn’t affect me. Baaaaa.

Insulation gravity

Smudge Friday has gone from being Beauty Queen of the Neighbourhood…

Smudge on deck

To being utterly sick of the local paparazzi.

Smudge paparazzi

Have spent several hours listening to one of the neighbours enjoying his little 2-stroke motorbike today. Bless his heart. Oh, good news! I found my slingshot…




Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 4

The bagpiper is silent. WHY is he silent??

Got lots done today. Cleaned out a garden shed, painted some more boards and stuffed some insulation into a very difficult place. How on earth did I ever find the time to work??




Potential table legs?


Look and weep. What organisation, aye? Corrrrr!!!

Organised shed

Okay, so, I’m gonna need a little fortification before I tackle this next shed…

Messy shed

Insulation that I found in the now-impressively tidy shed. This is what got stuffed into the difficult place.


I then ended up talking to my tree-triffids. Why?

Tree triffids

Because when I went to see Smudge Friday for a chat…

Smudge don't care

She told me she’s a cat an’ she don’t care.

Smudge don't care 1

NOT For Sale – One Maine Coon Holder with Bamboo Accent

Aha!! I have found a nest. I will get very comfortable, for obviously this is My nest. MaineCoonHolder 1 72

But wait, there is a human watching me. It must be jealous, for I have never seen it in a nest.

MaineCoonHolder 2 72

I will wash. I will wash and ignore it and it will go away.

MaineCoonHolder 3 72

This is not working. The human is not going away.

MaineCoonHolder 4 72

I must come up with a plan. Let me think.

MaineCoonHolder 5 72

Aha! I will stick my leg out. Everything knows that when a cat sticks its leg out, it is obviously washing. And the universal law of cat washing says that a cat washing must be left in peace.

MaineCoonHolder 6 72

Hmm. It is not going away. Okay, I will act nonchalant. Everything knows that a cat being nonchalant must be left in peace.

MaineCoonHolder 7 72

Not working. Okay, I will sniff. Everything knows that a cat sniffing something is busy and must be left alone.

MaineCoonHolder 8 72

This human is not leaving. It is obviously ignorant of cat law. I shall put it to sleep. I will yawn and it will go to sleep.

MaineCoonHolder 9 72

Drat! It is not going away. Then I must go back to my nesting.

MaineCoonHolder 12 72

Perhaps it will leave me alone and go and inhabit the other nest I have left for it. Then it will not be jealous any more.

MaineCoonHolder 11 72

It is seriously ridiculous what a cat has to do to keep a human happy.


The Convoluted Adventures of Cat Mountain

I went to a lot of trouble to get a large, triangular, traditional Thai cushion on one of my journeys to Chiang Mai, North Thailand. At the furthermost corner of the eclectic (and quite frankly, pungent) local Warorot Market, past the water barrels full of strange be-tentacled beasties and over the metal grate gangway where the rats hide, I had spied this, the perfect cushion that folds out into a bed, on one of my reconnoissance missions. On my last day in Chiang Mai, I ventured back there and  haggled the shopkeeper down until I got a price we both liked. That left me with not quite enough money for a tuktuk, so I walked quite a few blocks with it over my shoulder in a huge plastic bag. Continue reading

8. Smudge – The Tree Bear Stunt Cat!

Spot the tree bear.

Spot the tree bear.

Servants POV:

We woke up one morning and couldn’t find Smudge anywhere. Grey hairs were almost instantly developed while running around calling her for ages and worrying ourselves silly that she was okay. Then ‘other servant’ called to my attention a creature sitting very high up in one of the tallest trees in the neighborhood. Sometime during the night, Smudge had decided that she should be a tree bear. By the time we found her though, she looked like she’d had enough of being an arboreal-type animal and wanted to come down. Read it HERE Continue reading