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Loyal readers (anyone?) will know that every year, I wait for the cherry blossom to bloom in our front yard. It is usually in full bloom by October 22 and it didn’t fail me this year.

I started to see tiny buds around October 14 or so and, for some reason, this always signals the start of the Spring/Summer season for me. The daffodils bloom earlier, as do other cherry blossoms on the property (which are much smaller trees). But I always anticipate the awakening of this soft pink cherry blossom.

The garden is looking very lush and green right now. Zeph and Zsa Zsa are enjoying time in the sun, snoozing on their pet beds.

It’s a lovely time of year.

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Been up North people. North Island that is. I wasn’t visiting my Uncle this time; we just decided to see more of the North Island. People in the South Island often say that people aren’t as friendly up north or that the South is prettier than the north. Ah, frankly I find people in the North Island very friendly and the scenery can be gorgeous. Maybe not as dramatic as the ruggedness of Otago or the snowy-peaked Southern Alps but, in its own right, just as interesting. Particularly, when you see large ferns or palm trees.

I’m afraid I had a brush with sugar whilst away. Oops. I did succumb to a couple of desserts and some great Turkish Delight at an Israeli restaurant. This is what I like about the North too – more variety than the South Island. Just that little bit more cosmopolitan and less farming-oriented.

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Remember Zeph’s daughter, Maybe? For Zeph’s fourth birthday last week, we took him for a visit to the kennels. He loves going there as he is one of two males, the other being his brother, Wot. Of course, they both strut around huffing and puffing but the breeder is very good at keeping them apart.

For his visit, he met his daughter for the very first time. Of course, he’s seen her when staying at the kennels but we were all waiting for Maybe to be a little older before she met her Dad. Maybe is now 10 months old and what a bundle of energy. I thought Zeph was a handful but Maybe is double Zeph’s energy capacity!

She looks so much like Zsa Zsa; I can’t get over it. Zeph and Zsa Zsa share the same great-grand parents so no doubt, if I do some digging around, I’ll found out how Zsa Zsa and Maybe are related.

In extra exciting news, Maybe will be coming for a visit to our place in the next month. The friend of ours who has five Pointers (including Zeph’s dad, Sam) is training for sled racing. She regularly races with her Pointers and the breeder, in an effort to burn off some of Maybe’s puppy energy, has asked our friend to take her some weekends and introduce her to sled racing. Maybe will pop in for a visit on those weekends and we’ll let her run in one of our large paddocks. Can’t wait!

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It’s me, Maybe! But don’t you think I look like Zsa Zsa?

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Zeph meets his daughter for the first time.

Cue Hollywood music people! I have an uplifting story for us. I decided it was time to separate Saffy from her mum, Karma. She was separated when weaned but I felt she needed to become more independent. And I wanted to start her schooling and teach her some good manners.

I split the herd: Karma and Muff were together in one large paddock, whilst Saffy experienced daily horse life with Miss Rosie and Danny. Danny is my most experienced horse. He’s 16 years old, an ex-pacer and stoic. He’s very well-behaved and I thought he wouldn’t tolerate Saffy’s juvenile carry-on.

Saffy hasn’t quite got the hang of horse language yet, particularly the ears pinned back situation. When a horse pins its ears back, it basically means I’m angry, watch out. You ignore this warning and you’re likely to then get the teeth bared and biting situation. Saffy has often ignored the ears pinned back, only to experience being bitten on the neck or bum. Her own mother nips her and still Saffy doesn’t get it.

I noticed though with Danny, he would flatten his ears, bite Saffy and then Saffy would be very wary of Danny. When it came to hay time, Miss Rosie gave Saffy warning nips and so, over two weeks, Saffy learnt that she was not top horse but bottom of the herd of three. A very good lesson for her.

I then decided to reunite Saffy and Karma. I don’t think Saffy missed her mum but Karma very clearly missed her daughter. They were separated by two paddocks but I purposely let them see each other so Saffy would gain comfort. But it wasn’t Saffy who needed the comfort because I often saw Karma standing and staring across at her foal.

The reunion photo below really needs some tear-jerking, emotional Hollywood music don’t you think? What music would you cue?

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Mother and daughter run to each other after being separated for two weeks. Awww!

Remember Fritz? And the coffee identity theft? For newcomers to the DailyOxford, Fritz is like my second mother. She’s the mum of my great Aussie mate and the grandmother of my God-niece, the gorgeous Emily. Fritz is German, hence the nickname, but her real name is Rita. She has a wonderfully bizarre sense of humour but I’m afraid she continues to steal my identity.

How? Well, every time Fritz orders a take-away coffee, for some reason she uses my name, Kim. I realise it’s an easy name. Three letters that you can’t really stuff up. But Rita is a pretty easy name too. Should I be flattered do you think?

This coffee identity theft business was first revealed last November when Emily was born. We were all talking about what the baby might be named and Fritz favoured Leila. I pointed out that my grandmother had a hand in naming me and sometimes it’s wiser to allow the parents to name the bub. This led to her confession that for years, when she goes to cafes and they ask for a name they can call out when your coffee is ready, she has used my name instead of her own first name. I was stunned, speechless but we all fell about laughing. Especially when she further confessed that she was sitting in a particular cafe with Jason, her son, and someone walked in and said hi Kim. No doubt Jason was pretty confused.

Now my mate has found evidence that Fritz is continuing with her fraudulent activities but….is at least trying to hide things a bit. She was throwing out some garbage and found an empty takeaway coffee container. And what was written on the lid? KIM.

Well, today dear reader is May 8. THE most important day on the calendar. Why? Because IT’S MY BIRTHDAY and here I am in Rome. Guess there could be worse places in the world to be on your birthday. But I am missing being with hubs, Zeph, Zsa Zsa and the horses. Nevertheless, Happy Birthday to me!

But the point of this post is to tell you about my God-niece, Emily. I’ve introduced you to her before. She’s my God-niece because she’s the daughter of my great mate, Karen, and I’m part of the family. Karen’s mum, Fritz (whose real name is Rita) is my second mother. And so that makes Emily my “niece”. Thankfully, I can report she is one super-cute baby. I spent two days in Sydney, enroute to Rome. It was really too short but that’s all the time I had.

Now, I should preface my remarks by telling you that I’m not, and never have been, a baby person. Babies are cute to look at but that’s about it. Hold them cautiously, hope they don’t cry and pass them back to the mother, pronto. I haven’t avoided having kids myself; it just never happened. Wasn’t my destiny. So babies and children have not really been on my radar. Things like changing nappies or at what age a baby starts crawling may as well be from the twilight zone. Yep, I was a teacher for a few years but I taught mainly high school.

I wasn’t worried about how I’d cope with Emily or engage with her. I was just happy to be spending two days with my mate and her family. But to my great delight, I can report that I’ve never seen a baby smile so much. Not than I’m some living expert on babies but seems to me Emily is an extremely happy, vivacious bub. Every time I looked at her or she looked at me – smile time.

I managed to hold her without dropping her; I gave her the bottle without choking her; and even managed to put her in a cute little pink sleeping bag thingo without smothering her or breaking any bones. Miracle if you ask me. I kept her entertained whilst she did tummy duty. Emily doesn’t seem to be overly keen about spending time on her stomach, which is apparently something she must do to build up muscles for sitting, rolling over and crawling. I guess it also gives bub a different view of the world.

The most hilarious thing was when hubs and I Skyped. Emily was propped up in the corner of the sofa, sitting next to me and, as hubs and I chatted away, Emily would look at me or smile at the funniest moments. Almost on cue. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear she was following the conversation and participating in it.

And this bub works the floor. She loves going out, so she accompanied us to several cafes and was busy eye-balling everyone. Doing her smiling thing. I’m hopeful that when I next pass through Sydney, she might be able to score us some free coffees because some waiter (ah, waitron!) gives in to her charm.

Super cute bub, Emily Addison.

How cute am I? Yeah, I know: too cute for words.

Mum and bub.

One of the many meals I enjoyed in Sydney. This is Breakfast Board #1 at Pablo & Rusty’s, Lane Cove.

I don’t mean to single out Thailand but I was there recently visiting Lalida and I happened to spot some curiosities. And they are curiosities because regular readers know I love nothing better than to Spot The Mistake.

I’ll start off with less of a mistake and more of a curiosity. I’ve never tried a durian but I’ve smelt one. It’s a fruit and there’s not better way to put it – it stinks. To me, it smells like smelly feet mixed with manure. Awful. Disgusting, Phew. So I was pleased to see a No Durian sign at our hotel. Apparently, many hotels in Southeast Asia ban guests from taking durians to their rooms. I think Singapore public transport also bans durians.

And now to the mistakes. Lalida, hubs and I were quite fascinated with a sonic jewellery cleaner and went to a particular shop a couple of times to see it. Well, not really see it as much as whack our combined jewellery in it and get a free clean. I told you recently about the Chinglesh I spotted on a sonic jewellery cleaner box here in New Zealand. Well, the sign in Thailand was equally as good fun for me.

The astute reader will immediately see the mistakes – the misspelling of glasses (as glesses) and the incorrect spelling of Stationary (which should be stationery because when something is standing still, it’s stationary).

Then we went off to see some Art Galleries but, because of the threatened flooding of Bangkok, we didn’t get to many. One sign seemed to be confused over whether it was Opening Hours or Opening House – so ended up with Opening Houes. The other gallery was in such a rush to flee the oncoming floods that it totally messed up its sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, people in Bangkok seem to slim up, as opposed to slim down. Curious.

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