Monday, May 30, 2011

Plum Tree Reprieve

I am happy and delighted to report my neighbours eventually understood how 'devastated' I would have been at the loss of this tree. The victory if anything like this can be called a 'victory' is not one in which  I can take any pleasure  because to save the tree I had to resort to one of those letters that one writes in the heat of the moment that should be 'slept on' and should never be posted. Sadly this was one letter that could not wait for as tomorrow would have been too late. It had to be highly emotional, from the heart and absolutely frank. Not the sort of letter any of us wants to write or receive.

Why do we all find it hard to say how we feel when we meet face to face? Why do we think that we are free to do whatever we want because we have the right and not take others into consideration? Why do we not seek out our neighbours opinions before we  put up the conservatory, or paint the house pink or thoughtlessly block a  cherished view. My neighbours obviously had no idea of what that tree meant to me.

On their side it looks rather scraggy and bare but for me it is the thing I look at for hours every day. Because of my illness I spend hours in bed and it is the thing I look at from my bedroom window. It also shields me from my neighbour's rusty iron roof which has not been painted in 36 years. From my elevated position I see the plum in its full mature glory. It is huge and the most beautiful shape. In Spring it is covered with blossom.  In summer a mass of green leaves and purple plums . It is  always full of birds, tuis, golden eyes,  even a little owl which sings 'More Pork' and in the winter rosella parrots. I cannot move, I am not young, I cannot wait another 36 years for its replacement.

Just talking to my neighbours made no impression but after the stay of execution on Friday when it rained and Saturday's rainbow  that highlighted it as I awoke on what I thought was its last day my best friend, who had put up with my grief, thought I had to write and tell them exactly how I felt and what the tree's loss would mean to me.  I knew it would be a letter that would a watershed. It should never have come to this but I did.

What makes 'sense' to one side may not make 'sense' to the other and if it is discussed  early it can be 'sorted out'. But on the whole with neighbors we fail to do this. Israel and the Palestinians are an extreme example of what happens when neighbor's fall out. The Palestinians feel trapped and the Israelis feel it is their right to take over  as they are God's chosen people and it is their land. The result is chaos for us all. Israel and Palestine have the ingredients to destroy the world. Would being nice to the Palestinians hurt Israel?  A cessation of Palestinian bombing of Israel would really help too. We are all humans of the same species and all have human rights and so do trees. They like us are alive and depend on us for their well being and we need them for photosynthesis.

My poor neighbour rang to say the tree was spared but the letter was 'devastating'.  It was and I should have hated it but I had no choice. She just had to know.I have sent her the most extravagant bouquet of flowers I have ever bought. She and the tree are worth it!

Friday, May 27, 2011


My neighbor's plum tree is putting up a fight for life!

This morning as I woke a rainbow descended on it as if to say 'goodbye'. I just happened to have a camera to hand.

It rained so the tree has a reprieve until Monday. Rang council but seems fruit trees are unworthy of preservation and in fact come January 2011 a new Act of Parliament has given open slather on all New Zealand trees with the exception of a few named ones on a list. Actually the council is hopping made as the next thing the typical NZ male likes next to rugby is a chain saw.

The early settlers did a magnificent job of cutting all the native bush down and it seems before long NZ will be a complete concrete jungle. So much for the green clean image. Have a look at Auckland on Google Earth and you will see other than the tine green line around the coast the whole thing is brown. The only green patches are the school playing fields and golf course.

Didn't sleep last night because of this. It is like executing an old friend and all for the sake of a car park!
That is the bit that really gets me.  So no more parrots, no more tuis just a rusting iron roof.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chelsea Flower Show Gardens disappointing

My garden Auckland New Zealand
Being an amateur gardener it was a yearly thrill to be taken to the Chelsea Flower Show.Having only a tiny semi detached back garden which was a long strip of Middlesex clay I used to marvel at the tiny show gardens and what could be achieved in such a small space. It was my ambition to make my garden look like theirs even in a small way.

Obviously I can no longer go to Chelsea but I can look at the images and here is the slide show from the Telegraph and I find the urban gardens disappointing. I wouldn't want any of them. They  look 'bland'.

I would not have wanted to actually live with any of these gardens. This one looks as if it needs weeding!

I think my actual 'garden' is as nice as any at this year's Chelsea and I find that disappointing. It shouldn't be. I do live in Auckland and have the advantage of a fabulous climate and no frost. This does make a difference as my garden is lush.

It is a constant garden as it always looks beautiful. When I came I walked around the neighbourhood and noted down what flowered each month and planted accordingly so there is always something in flower. This month it is the time of the Red hot pokers and Birds of Paradise. They put up a tremendous show in late autumn.

At other times the climbing roses are magnificent and the hydrangeas glorious. I have Green Goddess arum lilies and Quince and Orange trees grace the Spring. It is the perfect place for tea and scones! The grass takes just five minutes to cut.
Mine is a secret garden for me as my friends are not into gardening. I love it and it gives me so much pleasure for about an hour a week of my time. I spend nothing on it. It is all cuttings.
I have learned how to get the most out of a tiny suburban garden. Mine is the size of half a tennis court. It is amazing what one learns to do!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Facebook and the $750,000 scam

This impressive looking certificate arrived via my Facebook Messages yesterday from a Helen Dickson  informing me that I had won the Facebook Lottery run by BT and over seen by the British Lotteries Commission. I was number five in the draw and had won US $750,000 all I had to do was to claim it.

Being of a highly skeptical character, I am inclined to not believe anything since my doctor failed to inform me of the dangers of Benzodiazepin, I did not break out the champagne but I did click on the link and you can see the contents.

I must admit it did look very convincing especially the first Facebook message.  Security on the web is a problem. To comment and buy things one is asked for personal details. To solve this, or at least put a spanner in the hackers works, I just never give out my real birthday on the web. As I have two names, although I should prefer just one I have two birthdays, a real one and a web one and that way if a thief tries to steal my profile and use my web birthday they will not have a chance. Also I don't mind my photo being on line as me as I am hard to duplicate.

I then reported it to Facebook.....I think as it is actually impossible to contact Facebook so an entry on their security page will have to suffice.  I fond one or two others who had had similar prizes. Then I warned all my friends. I think this scam wants me to pay courier fees for my prize and at first glance $750,000 looks quite a prize.

It set me thinking what would I do with the money. If I invested it at the moment and added my income  half of it would go in tax and I should only be a little better off. I have everything I need so I should buy my dearest friend a new car, sort out my daughter's mortgage and possibly a new car for me but I don't need one and that would be it. Not much really!

No US$750,000 would be useful but a lot of trouble. I am happier without but to somebody who is struggling this is a cruel scam and one which should be stamped out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ben Laden's death and Mrs Miller

My mother Mrs Honey Miller was a very ordinary conventional person who believed virtually everything that she was told by the Daily Mail, a Conservative or the Pope. She believed that because she married my father in a Registry Office during the war that she was rightly punished by being excommunicated for life by the Vatican and for forty years she never received communion although she went to Mass every Sunday. I think she was wrong to believe she was gong to hell because some unkind and vengeful authority said so. My mother sincerely believed she was 'going to hell' and short of leaving my father there was nothing she could do about it.

So it came as a BIG surprise to the family that my mother stoically refused to believe that the USA had landed a man on the moon until her death. She thought it was a con trick and of course since then many have thought it was a 'con trick'.

So this morning I am somewhat skeptical about the supposed death of Osama bin Laden. It is such a pity that the body was buried at sea before an independent pathologist had confirmed that this indeed was bin Laden and thus start a full scale conspiracy theory that will go on forever.

Having experienced the press and 'spin' myself and the tricks played on the general public for political and social reasons and how easily the public is hoodwinked I can only take a skeptical stance. At the moment I don't know.

Just take a look at the two photos above. This 'Death' photo taken 'at the time'  looks convincing until you look at the portrait on the left. It looks a bit suspicious don't you think? Even I with my limited photoshop skills could manage this.  This photo has since disappeared from the media but nothing on the web is lost forever and a quick search of Google Images turned up this pair.

Personally I think bin Laden has been dead for years. Bin Laden never acknowledged 9/11, all the so called 'acknowledgement' is controversial and weeks before bin Laden had received treatment at a USA base for diabetes.  However I could be wrong. I am not infallible. It is a pity the USA authorities did not keep the body just a tad longer to avoid this situation. Now we shall never know.