Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been?

"Pussycat pussycat, where have you been?" 
"I've been up to London to visit the Queen."
"Pussycat pussycat, what did you there?" 
"I frightened a little mouse under her chair" 
"MEOWW!" 

Common modern versions include:
Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I've been to London to look at the Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you do there?
I frightened a little mouse, under the chair.

The last line sometimes sung as: I chased a little mouse right under the chair.

The origins of the "Pussycat pussycat" rhyme dates back to the history of 16th century Tudor England.

One of the waiting ladies of Queen Elizabeth Ist, the fifth and last monarch of Tudor England, had an old cat which roamed throughout Windsor castle. On one particular occasion the cat ran beneath the throne where its tail brushed against the Queen's foot, startling her.

Luckily 'Good Queen Bess' had a sense of humour and decreed that the cat could wander about the throne room, on condition it kept it free of mice!

The earliest record of the rhyme is found in the publication "Songs for the Nursery," printed in London in 1805. The melody commonly associated with the rhyme was first recorded by the composer and nursery rhyme collector, James William Elliott, in his "National Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Songs" (1870).

The Queen most often depicted in illustrations is Elizabeth I, but Caroline of Brunswick has also been suggested

Percy B. Green, author of A History of Nursery Rhymes (1899), wrote the following about the Pussycat, Pussycat nursery rhyme: "No doubt the incident giving rise to this verse had to do with the terrible fright Queen Bess (Elizabeth) is supposed to have had on discovering a mouse in the folds of her dress - for it was she of virgin fame to whom pussy-cat paid the visit.

It has been asked again and again, 'Why are old maids so fond of cats?' and 'Why are their lives so linked together?' Maybe it is to scare, as did the cat in the rhyme, 'a little mouse from under her chair.'"

James Orchard Halliwell wrote the following about Pussycat, Pussycat in his book "The Nursery Rhymes of England" (1843): "There is an old proverb which says that 'a cat may look at a king.' Whether the same adage applies equally to a female sovereign, and is referred to in the nursery song, or whether it alludes to the glorious Queen Bess, is now a matter of uncertainty."

While staying at my parents I discovered they were often visited by a cat. He would arrive in the mornings and after a good scratch of his ears and a few cat biscuits he would then roam the house looking for a warm spot to snuggle up in. Sometimes he would go downstairs to where the night store was kept on to dry the clothes and other times he would snuggle down on my mother’s feet as she rested on the couch. On one occasion he slept on my bed.
 
Dad commented that sometimes he wouldn’t come for a few days and after I had been there for a week I realised he would arrive early on week days leaving as the night drew in and kept away at the weekends. I supposed that perhaps his owners shut him out when they went to work but on weekends he was allowed inside during the day.

Needless to say he would arrive at Mum and Dads, sometimes entering in a downstairs door wondering up the stairs to linger for a while and then disappeared out a front door to proceed across the road and up to another place. They have no idea where he lives or even in which direction he comes from but he sure is happy to stay in the warm with a few snacks on the days he does.

It made me think of the rhyme "Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?" and wondered if its owners had any idea what it got up to when they shut him out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

McVan Lent Tartan

My Dad loves a cup of tea.
But he hates tea bags.
He has a two cup pottery teapot that he uses and a very large selections of Twinings teas. He has his favourites but he still has the occasional others.

His teapot cosy was wearing thin and needed a good wash so I thought I would make him a new one to have as a spare.

While In Wellington visiting them and our grandchild I found some wool and started to make a cosy to fit.
I wanted to make a tartan as Dad has Scottish ancestry and loves his tartans.
I didn't follow any particular clan and could only use the wool I had found.

I started doing just stripes and then stitched vertical strips to hopefully add thickness and so insulation.
Some how I had the idea of a tartan wrong so it didn't quite work.
Anyway it serves as a tea cosy which was the main idea.

When I stayed the second time Dad seemed quite chuffed with the cosy and called it his McVan Lent tartan.

The First Flight to Wellington

When I went to Wellington before Easter to see our new Kate and stay with my parents I flew down from Hamilton.
It was a Saturday late morning flight so as to miss any fog that may have closed the airport.
We left Tirau in what we thought was plenty of time to be on time for my final check in call.
Unfortunately it was the day Prince William and Kate who were touring New Zealand were due for a walk around in Cambridge and by the time we were pacing through traffic was heavy and there were delays.

Watching the clock tick by I phoned air New Zealand - twice - only to be told they would not be holding a flight for me.... well I wasn't asking that, just that I was going to be a bit late for check in and they still said it couldn't be helped. So we continued to drive as fast as was acceptable and made it to the airport 5 minutes after check in time.

Harry dropped me at the door and then went off to find a park while I raced to check in...

Well I was told it was fine.
The flight was delayed. Phew.
"Why?" I asked
"We are waiting for the arrival of another plane before the one you are booked on can land."

Dah

I knew what she meant... "the royals".

It was due in before the plane to leave for Wellington could land and even disemnbark its passengers.

By this time Jennifer, Jason and the grandchildren had arrived to wave Nana good bye.

So we played and waited...

Finally a large plane arrived.

Once it was stationary the huge air stairs were attached and the cars started to arrive ...

and arrive...

and arrive.

Who were all theses people?

There were so many and that also included huge vans with numerous seats.

We waited, the doors were opened and the people started coming out.

More and more people.

We wanted to see Kate and Prince William.

I mean we had a prime view up there in the airport viewing room and you can see I had my camera pointed to get a good view.

We were almost thinking this must be another flight of just officials etc and maybe the royals were already somewhere else as they had a few duties to attend to while in Hamilton and Cambridge.

But finally wearing a bright green Erdem coat, in fitting Waikato green colour the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William emerged from inside the plane.

Once they finally reached the ground they were met Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker and her husband Steve Perdia and talked with each. After another five minutes they waved and were escorted to their waiting separate cars and driven off to their appointments.


The tea party was held in a marquee with the Mad Hatter in attendance and jellied eyeballs, huhu grubs, flower pots of sweet chocolate mud and crispy chicken lollipops on the menu.

William paid a visit to aircraft factory, Pacific Aerodrome at Hamilton Airport, while Kate attended her first solo engagement of the tour - attending an Alice in Wonderland themed party at Rainbow Place hospice which provides care to kids experiencing grief, serious illness or the death of a loved one.
Afterwards, the couple will reunite to visit the town that shares their title, Cambridge, becoming the first duke and duchess of the title to do so.

Among the locals they'll meet is Cynthia Read, who was commissioned by the prime minister's office to knit a lace shawl for their son Prince George.

The royals then open a national cycling velodrome just north of Cambridge before returning to Wellington.

Soon the hype of the arrival reduced and the plane I was to board had arrived. The passengers disembarked and then another huge air force plane arrived with more "staff, reporters and other security and dignitaries" and they too were loaded into waiting vans and cars.

Finally the call came to board my plane and half an hour late, we were taking off on our way to Wellington.

It was a good day with the sun shining and with a window seat I was able to take some shots.

The Waikato farming land was finally starting to green up again after the second drought in two years.
However by the time we reached Wellington the clouds were thick again and the ride a little bumpy.

We landed arriving over the habour and straight down the runway.

Off the plane I was met by my Mum and Dad who took me around to see Theresa, Steven and baby Kate.

Now that seems familiar but we are told that the choice of baby name had nothing to do with the currant royals who just happen to be visiting New Zealand at the time.

Oh yes we are sure. All the same it is a nice name.

So with the opportunity of four generations of Mothers and Daughters we gathered around for some memorable photos.
Kate, Mum and Theresa
Kate (my grand-daughter), my mum, me and Theresa my daughter
Mum and Dad with Kate

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Introducing Kate

I have been so busy with so much happening I havn’t posted on here much.

There have been a mixture of events and things to be doing and one of them is the new arrival of grandchild number six.

Theresa (our eldest) and Steven have had their first baby… Kate.

We now have three granddaughters and three grandsons.

Kate was born on April the 2nd after an over stay in mum’s tum and an eventual delivery with an emergency caesarean.

Not at all what anyone had wanted but, all is well with Mum, Bub and Dad and they are doing fine...as you can see!!

They are truly enjoying this new chapter in their lives.


Unfortunately for Harry and me we don’t see them as much as we would like as they live in Wellington.

Traveling there is not something you just do in a day.
But since the birth I have flown down twice and spent time with them to have cuddles and give support.

I have also had some special times living with my Mum and Dad. Harry was able to come down the first time at Easter as I flew down a little earlier and then came home with him.

I wasn't able to spent all the time I wanted with Theresa and her family but then I did get to help out at my parents and just spend time enjoying each others company. It is a slower pace of life for them so it was good for me too.

Because I work and they all live so far away the months go past with out seeing them but we do talk every Saturday on the phone.

Kate is growing so quickly even in the five weeks of not seeing her she had changed so much.  From a new baby discovering life in a new world to one that smiles and gurgles.

I don't know when I will get to see her next but I am sure she will have changed again.

Needless to say the knitting needles are clicking away...

The top left hand photo is a jacket I knitted for her when she was still "the baby"

Monday, May 19, 2014

What Happened to the Garden?

A while ago a friend asked me how my garden was going. Well like the lack of posts on this blog of late, my garden was also suffering from neglect.

Sure it had started out with a hiss and a roar and I had posted a bit of progress but then it all seemed to stop.

I had been harvesting the odd zucchini when I remembered and we have had a few meals with the lettuce but the rest of the garden just got ignored.

I have reasons for the lack of time but I also just never got around to it either and so the weeds took over.

Yes this is the same garden!!

In fact if you look carefully in the left photo you can see the zucchini plant just above the weeds in the top left corner.
There is also a glimpse of a pumpkin plant in the bottom right corner.

It sure looks lush even if it is just mainly weeds!

Determined to get back into everything I decided to see what I could salvage from my left over summer plantings once I removed the weeds.

Not only that but I had left a frame over some seeds to stop the birds from scratching them out and now not only had the weeds grown through but the carrots and parsnips were well and truly established growing out of the frame.

I carefully rolled the frame back pulling the tops of the carrots and parsnips down trying not to up root them in the process. Most of it was successful and the ones that did come out I replanted hoping they would continue to grow.

There had been plenty of rain the week before so the weeds were quite easy to pull out and it didn’t take too long to discover what had grown, what had survived and a few little surprises along the way.

A tomato plant had grown and had ripened 'fruit'.

The zucchini plant was still producing.

Although a few pumpkin plants had grown from my plantings only one was fruiting, but then I found a whole plant that had self sown right in the middle of the garden. There was no fruit on it as yet but plenty of flowers so I left it there. 

There were even some capsicums still producing green peppers.

I discovered that last years parsnips that I had left to go to seed were already dispersing their seed through the garden and there are parsnips popping up all over the place.


Normally I wait and collect seeds myself to sow but it was doing it all on its own - everywhere!

So once the garden was looking like a garden I planted out some seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower,  broccolli and lettuce and also some peas making a tee-'pea' frame for them to grow up.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Harry Turns 60

In January Harry turned 60 and so we celebrated.



It was lovely to have all the family together especially as we couldn't all be together at Christmas.
Katrina and Callum came up from Christchurch; Theresa and Steven from Wellington; Daniel had the weekend off from the farm in Rerewhakaaitu and Jennifer and Sarah with their families meet us from Hamilton.

With every one here over the weekend we met and went to dinner at Five Stags a restaurant and bar in Leamington, Cambridge. It was great to all be together with no-one having to cook, do the dishes or clean up and there was plenty of choice for everyone including the five grandchildren. Some of us weren't too happy with the meals as the meat seemed to be over cooked but that didn't stop us having family fun

Theresa and Steven with niece Natalie

Jennifer and Jason (parents of Jacob and Natalie)

Sarah and Carl (parents of Ryan. Evelyn and Sean)

Daniel

Katrina and Callum

Ryan
Evelyn


Sean

Jacob. (He wanted to take a selfie)






























Some special moments...

 Sarah feeling the baby kick







Yes it did!!!









And this card was from.........












"He ain't heavy...he's my brother...."



I want to sit next to Nana.... No I want too!


You can sit both sides of me and then you will be both sitting by Nana.


Oh Nana that is so funny












Harry and me



So for desert we decided to buy our own ice creams and met down at the Lake Te Ko Utu reserve at Cambridge.




Look at me!
No hands!














Mummy wait for me..

Its OK you can walk with Opa










Watching and feeding the ducks does not mean you can get in the water too.












Ice cream Natalie?

Nope Its too cold and I'm too tired.

All the girls (except Evelyn, she's gone bush with the boys)

The following day we had a bar-b-que with the family and lots of friends and so we took this opportunity to get a group family photo.

What a good idea!
who's baby is this?
Sorry Evelyn that is Opa's seat
I just need to sort the hair!
Is every one ready??
Testing... testing ...testing...

Would someone stop Ryan crying.
Yes well.....
Sean's had enough


Back row: Steven. Jennifer holding Natalie, Jason holding Jacob. Carl holding Ryan, Sarah, Katrina and Callum.
Front row: Theresa (and bump), Daniel, Me holding Sean, Harry holding Evelyn.

But isn't that what family is all about?
Love you all.