Carolyns Musings

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Have I Got News For You?

Posted by NanaMacsPlace on September 9, 2014 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello folks.  I have some exciting news to share with you.  At the ripe old age of 60 I have decided to do something new with my life and I don't mean retire!

I've written a book. It's called BUMBLING ALONG and tells the story of a cricket hating woman who marries a cricketer.  When kids are added into the mix, chaos ensues.  It's partly autobiographical and explains the role cricket has played in my life, from people I've met to weird and wonderful experiences I've had.  It is available in Paperback & Kindle by clicking this link.

I've made a start on a new book.  A work of fiction, it is a sexy, saucy whodunnit. More details as I progress.  I also have an additional website at

The Joy of Daffodils.

Posted by NanaMacsPlace on March 22, 2014 at 5:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Growing up I had 2 younger sisters and Dad cleared a patch of garden for each of us.  We planted every kind of vegetable you could imagine.  We'd compare our successes with each other and revel in our crops.  One day, that changed.

I wanted to branch out and grow flowers.  My parents warned that some flowers are harder to grow than carrots or potatoes. I was undeterred.  I bought 3 daffodil bulbs. Eventually I saw them poke through the ground.  Every day I'd be out there checking on progress.  It was a glorious time.  The inevitable happened.  They burst forth into the spring sunlight.  Each one was a magnificent trumpet saying to the world "look at me, I'm beautiful so I won't hide from the world.  You can all enjoy my beauty & presence".  I still love veges but I'll never forget the joy the daffodil gave me.

Love, Life & Knitting Needles.

Posted by NanaMacsPlace on February 28, 2014 at 3:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Recently I had a conversation with a friend about knitting needles.  It activated that part of my brain that often lets me down.  My memory.  The more I thought about knitting needles, the more I was remembering.  I'm referring to time spent with my paternal grandmother.  I miss her very much.

She was always knitting and, as a child, I often wore garments made by her. When I was quite young, she taught me how to cast on and how to knit the first row.  I was in Heaven!   I took it home and spent the next few weeks knitting and knitting.  Mum asked me how it was going and I proudly showed her my handiwork.  Imagine my horror when she said "what are you knitting?".   I was crushed.  In truth, I hadn't really thought about what it was I was actually knitting.  On seeing my sad face, Mum told me I had only a few rows to do & I'd have a lovely scarf.  Perfect!! I told her that's what I was planning all along.  In no time at all, my entire family was walking around sporting a bright new scarf.

To this day, I've never really progessed beyond scarves.  What gave me so much pleasure wasn't the act of knitting, it was the time spent with Nana learning how to do it.  It's odd isn't it?  How a short chat with someone about knitting needles brought back so many memories of my childhood.

Throughout our lives we touch, and are touched by, other people.   Often it is by conversations or a chance meeting.  Let's make sure we value those in our life by making the memories they will have of us are happy and kind ones.  To the person who evoked all the memories of knitting and happiness I say thank you :-)

Saying No to Cyber Bullying.

Posted by NanaMacsPlace on February 25, 2014 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (1)

Recent news has brought to the forefront the insidious and cruel nature of cyber bullying.  We've all heard of it but, sadly, it has taken the death of someone in the public eye to get us off our backsides and talking about it.

TVNZ made a video of their well known and, for the most part, respected staff reading aloud some of the taunts that were thrown at them.  They were personal attacks directed by nameless, faceless cowards.  I was shocked and saddened by what I saw as, I'm sure, most people were.

As much of the bullying seems to occur via social network I'm taking the fight back to where some of it started.  I'm using Twitter to push home the message that we all need to Say No To Cyber Bullying.   This link will be posted on Twitter and I urge everyone to get behind it.  Name & shame those responsible and offer support to anyone who may be a target.  

Feel free to comment on this link and, as a show of support, use the hashtag #NoCyberBullying  We owe it to ourselves and each other to have a safe environment in which we can keep in touch and share news etc.  Do it for yourselves, Charlotte & anyone else who may be vulnerable.  Let's keep each other safe.

October 21

Posted by NanaMacsPlace on October 21, 2013 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

What does October 21 mean to you?  It is a significant date for me and here's why.

In 1976 on October 21 I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I was on top of the world.  I was living my dream.  I had the hubby, our own home and now a child to complete the picture.  3 months later we were shattered when our darling daughter became a victim of cot death.

Every year on October 21 we indulge ourselves, doing whatever we damn well choose.  For me, it's usually reading and/or writing.  Hubby likes to potter about outside or sit in the sun with either a book or a jigsaw.

Not once did I ever say "why me?" even though I was sorely tempted.  The reason I never said it was the people who do say it drive me to bloody distraction.  I find myself wanting to say to them "why not you?".   We're all part of the human race and if I've learned anything at all it is that shit happens!!  None of us are exempt.  Some days you're the statue and some days, the pigeon.  You just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on.

Life is for living and that's what hubby & I try to do every day.  Both of us have lost our parents.  He has lost a sibling and my dear sister lost her beautiful home in the 2011 earthquake.  Statue days for sure.

I am an avid reader of horror/thrillers.  I love movies of those genre too and I've noticed something.  Invariably, the baddie was abused as a child or showed violent tendencies which later, of course, made him/her into a psycopathic serial killer.  If I ever get to meet God this is what I'm sure I'll learn ...

As a child, he pulled the legs off spiders.

Hubby Has Been in the Kitchen

Posted by NanaMacsPlace on October 8, 2013 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (0)

My hubby decided to cook me a meal, bless him.  He is not an experienced chef, by any means, but he is full of good intentions.

I tasted the meal and found it to be delicious except for one small problem.  It was hot and when I say hot I mean HOT.  I asked him what was in it.  He said it was only pepper and that he'd put a little extra in as he knows I love hot and spicy food.

I'm not an expert chef but I knew a little extra pepper wasn't the culprit.  All I had was black pepper and white pepper so I asked him which one he'd used.  "The pepper powder".  I was puzzled so I asked him to show it to me.  It was pepper, CAYENNE pepper.  "How much did you put in?" I asked.  "I was generous so I put in a heaped teaspoon".   Have you heard the expression 'twice burner'?   I'm still suffering.  Beware of a man in the kitchen!! 

'Muddle Up'

Posted by NanaMacsPlace on October 5, 2013 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)

If the kids get bored in the holidays or the weather makes playing outside unappetising, you might want to try this game with them.

All you need is an exercise book, as many pens as there are willing participants and healthy imaginations.  If they are older an unhealthy imagination can be fun too.

Write a paragraph and pass the exercise book to the next person.  Each of you write a paragraph of what will probably end up as an interesting and, often disturbing, short story.  It can be as long or short as you want it to be.  The ending usually happens when imaginations dry up or boredom sets in.  My son and I did one not long ago and the ending frustrates him to this day!!  Chiefly, as is the way of a good story, he didn't see it coming.

It started out in a light, fairly tame, way but rapidly mutated.  My son is 28 and I have to admit he is a very good writer and far superior to me.  His interests, however, lie elsewhere but he's always up for a challenge.  Bless him.  The story was evolving into something Stephen King, Clive Barker and others of that ilk would be quite proud.  Without much of a warning, it just got worse!!  From mildly  'adult' and scary it shifted up a gear to R18 and was definitely headed for XXXXX when I decided it was time for this mother/son 'bonding' to stop.

I read it over and over wondering how best to put an end to things.  My son was having way too much literary fun.  He'd described his central character being nervous with sweaty palms etc so I ran with that.  Son sat there looking at my furrowed brow and was definitely smug, knowing he had come close to beating me.  The smile was quickly wiped off his self satisfied face when I ended it with ...

The Director called "Cut.  That's a wrap.  We'll break for lunch now. Thank you people".   My son screamed a lorry load of expletives starting with "Bugger" and "WTF??"  and all I could do was laugh hysterically.  No doubt he'll have his revenge but for now, the pages of our "Muddle Up Stories" book lie blank.

The Pot Hole

Posted by NanaMacsPlace on September 26, 2013 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I'd like to share with you an experience I had when I stood as a Local Body candidate many years ago.  It involves an amazing lady I'll call Mary and a small, seemingly insignifcant, pot hole.

Mary asked me, at a public meeting, when the council was fixing the pothole near her home.  She had already written to me about it and I had chased it up.  This is a condensed version of the problem.

One bright sunny day Mary set out for the shops and stepped into a pothole.  She broke her ankle & her wrist.  Although she was in a great deal of pain, it wasn't her discomfort that troubled her.  Mary wasn't made that way.

She had been on her way to the shop on behalf of an elderly neighbour.  This was something she did on a weekly basis.  She shopped, gardened, cooked and cleaned for several folk and she also provided a friendly ear to them.  If the weather had been wet or cold she'd have taken the car but it was fine and sunny.

She was very upset that her 'good deeds' would go undone for the time being.  She phoned around and eventually found others to fill the gap she was leaving.  Mary was in her 80's but never thought of herself.   She worried about all the people around her who would be disrupted by her 'absence'.  Unable to walk or drive she was housebound.  He family paid quite a price especially Amy.

Amy was Mary's great grandaughter.   Keen on ballet she was to attend an audition the afternoon of the pot hole incident.  Amy's mother worked so Mary was to pick Amy up from school and take her to the audition.  It didn't happen that way, of course.  By the time Amy finally got to the audition she wasn't allowed to dance owing to her lateness.  Amy's little heart was broken!

Mary had counted up the number of people whose lives were disrupted by her fall.  It totalled 26!   I was very happy to be able to tell her the pot hole would be fixed the next day.  Sadly, Mary contracted pneumonia and passed away a few short weeks later.  I can tell you her passing affected  more than 26!!

No problem is too small to be concerned about.  Ask your candidates about your worries.  Don't let your neighbourhood lose another 'Mary'.

Local Body Elections

Posted by NanaMacsPlace on September 25, 2013 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello folks,

Just a reminder that it's time to vote !! If you haven't received your papers yet or need any assistance in any way call 0508 440 020.

Votes must be in by 12 MIDDAY SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER 2013.  It's really easy, you just fill in the form and mail it away.  It must be in the post no later than WEDNESDAY 9 OCTOBER 2013.

Some of the candidates may be unfamiliar to you but you can change that by taking time to attend public meetings and asking questions.  I'm sure you understand that space doesn't always allow for a full profile of each candidate so get to know them!!

I'd just like to point out that putting yourself forward as a candidate takes guts and you deserve respect.  All the best to you.

Again, if you have any queries phone 0508 440 020. 

You all count so have your say by voting!!

Chapter 1

Posted by NanaMacsPlace on July 1, 2012 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (2)

Chapter 1.



In the beginning I was alone but two and a half years later I was joined by a younger sister.  Three and a half years after that,  yet another sister joined the family.  (When I was almost 20 we were joined by a brother but as this chapter deals mainly with my childhood, this is possibly the only time I'll mention him. Sorry kiddo, nothing personal).

From then on, my poor father was beseeched by that dreaded comment from not just one but four females. "Put the seat down".  In fairness to him I have often wondered why no man ever says "put the seat up".  Having said that, there is nothing more unnerving than the feel of unexpected ice cold porcelain meeting nice warm butt cheeks!

Like most who grew up in the 50's and 60's, we grew up happy, healthy and strong. We had little but had everything we needed. Very few in the street had telly but most had kids and most of those kids had bikes and, more importantly, an active imagination.  Back then roads  were quite safe due to a lack of cars and we would have regular races up and down.  Behind our street there were huge sandhills which were just perfect for kite flying.  Quite often we'd have races down the hill. Equally often, someone would tumble and roll down the hill instead.  Whether this was by accident or design was never quite admitted to. These were very happy times and I remember them fondly.

Being the firstborn I had certain responsibilities placed upon me.  I was told that I must always set an example.  Looking back, I realise that I had, but missed, a golden opportunity to turn my sisters into the ratbag I just might have been.  Instead, I was well mannered, well groomed and more often than not a perfect little angel.  I loved to help Mum round the house and learned how to cook under her patient guidance.  In years to come, when I first started working I was given the choice between paying board or taking over the running of the household.  I chose the latter and am very grateful for that chance.  Mum taught me budgeting by taking me round the grocery shop (supermarkets were yet to come to our area) and to buy the things we needed for the least amount of money.  It was a challenge but an experience that was invaluable.

But I digress, something I am fond of doing. As a youngster I was fiercely protective of my younger sisters.  One day that changed slightly.  My parents couldn't abide what we now call a 'potty mouth' and if we were heard swearing it was the old soap in the mouth trick.  My father heard my younger sister utter an expletive (probably something tame like 'damn') and marched her off to the bathroom for the soap treatment.  Poor thing was crying and screaming so I, very stupidly, smacked Dad on the arm and said "leave my bloody sister alone".  I'm fairly sure that was the last time I stuck up for her. By the end of the night my throat was sore and so was my bum.

My childhood is best remembered as very happy, full of laughter and fun. My parents did everything they possibly could to ensure our health, safety and wellbeing. They succeeded admirably!  A perfect example of their efforts can be found in the winter days.  For many years we had no car and this meant walking to and from school in cold, wet weather.  We always left home with our bellies full of hot porridge and returned to find Mum on the doorstep with warm towels and the wonderful scent of home made soup to greet us.

I credit  Mum with my love of writing and Dad for my love of mischief making. Mum herself didn't do much in the way of writing but she created a novel way of keeping us entertained.  All birthday & Xmas cards were kept and during the school holidays she'd cut the fronts off them for us to put in a scrapbook. We then had to write a short story on the facing page.  We'd write & stick until all the fronts had been used.  The scrapbook was then taken to the Childrens Ward at Christchurch Hospital.  This was long before the days of electronic gizmos to entertain the kiddies and they were always gratefully received.

Dad was always a lot of fun and had a wonderful sense of humour. When I was quite small, we had a neighbour who was fond of 'borrowing' things. All manner of things were requested from sugar and milk to soap powder and toilet paper. Dad decided to play the fool. When she next asked to borrow toilet paper, he replied saying we only had the 2nd hand stuff left. She frowned then roared with laughter saying "Oh you silly bugger". Dad being Dad didn't stop there.  The following week, the same request was made but Dad was ready for her. He'd purchased a rubber turd & placed it on a square of toilet paper just inside the door.  This, of course, was the first thing she saw when the door was opened to her.  Dad apologised profusely explaining how dirty his kids were and she never asked to borrow anything again!  Result!!

Our neighbour was a kind and generous woman who bore Dad no malice at all but he still wasn't finished. She had a fear of mice. We could tell if she'd spotted one because her screams could be heard all over the neighbourhood. A day or so after her birthday, Dad had me deliver a small, gift-wrapped box to her.  She thanked me, gave me a hug and opened the parcel. It was a small soap box. She lifted the lid to reveal its contents. Dad had put a dead mouse in it!!  She shrieked hysterically and told me I was a horrid child.  I was completely innocent!!  Talk about shooting the messenger.  In spite of our awful treatment of her, she was first if needed in a crisis. She was everything a good neighbour should be.

Mum, herself, was not averse to mischief of her own.  I remember the night we'd been to the movies and we were coming home from the bus stop.  Mum came upon a hedgehog about to cross the road. She told us the road was not a safe place to play so to keep the hedgehog safe (she said) she picked it up and placed in a mail-box. It was many years later she told me about a woman round the corner who had done her a wrong. She went on to tell me that she'd 'fixed her' and, in future, this woman may not be so prickly to others.

Dad was an expert when it came to lighting the fire for us. Our home was always warm and inviting. It was in front of this fire that camphorated oil would be rubbed on our chests to soothe a cold, scrapbooks would be created and stories read. It may be a less efficient way to heat a house but, in my opinion, heat pumps just don't measure up.

Both Mum and Dad instilled in us a sense of fair play and social justice. We were raised to treat everyone as equals no matter their colour, race or creed. Many youngsters in our neighbourhood had stories read to them at night but we were treated to Dad singing the Maori Batallion song to us.  He also taught us how to use pois. Not bad for a Pakeha fulla.

Dad hated anyone being treated unfairly and he had a particular hatred of racism. This was never more evident than when his mate Hori Joe (the term was used affectionately by Dad and enjoyed by Joe) was the target of workmates.  Dad was outraged and couldn't understand why Joe never stood up for himself. Joe assured him that everything was cool and that he'd have the last laugh. How right he was.

After the Xmas break the workers returned full of New Year cheer and enthusiasm.  Joe waited till the morning tea break and then he struck!  He sat at the table and looked at them one by one and smiled.  Several of them shifted uncomfortably and Joe said 'you blokes me laugh. You go on your holidays, lie around in the sun. Why? Just so you can come back to work looking the same as me'. He put his arm next to one of the more bullying of the group. 'I'm gonna call you Hori' said Joe.  The taunts stopped.  Joe winked at Dad and that was that.

My parents were a very hard act to follow. Mum was an expert cook whereas I'm fair to middling. She was an expert dressmaker and I can't even thread a needle. Dad just seemed brilliant at everything and I'm about as boring and interesting as cold dish water.

It was, however, in the field of sport that they well and truly shone.