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We Live In Interesting Times

Today dawns nice and sunny with about enough breeze to lay the moored boats to the west.  And otherwise the village and the bay is completely deserted. No parked or moving vehicles visible, , and not a soul to be seen.  And it’s quiet, usually there would be some sounds of life. But today utter hush.

So we are all now in lock down.

I guess most of us have been moving ourselves towards this for some time now. Iris and I certainly have, our own thoughts have been reinforced by what Anne has been telling us.

For me the self isolation should not be a major, as in my early working career I had several extended periods of total isolation …. in one instance for over two months I never saw a soul or heard a radio voice and apart from hearing one aircraft and seeing a boats wake heard no evidence of any other human presence . Now we have internet, pod casts, radio and TV. And of course there are two of us…. although for me that may be an issue, looking at the expanding “Honey Do” list Iris has.

Changes of Focus

Iris was booked in early May to travel to Spain to holiday with Swiss friends, and then having 3 weeks in the UK rail touring to all sorts of historic places and of course gardens. As the Wu Flu crisis started to develop legs we thought the chances she would actually go were rapidly fading and we had canned it (at least in our minds) probably a month before the bans went in place.  Her bags were more or less packed some time ago…. Iris is ALWAYS organised ……. but now they are being modified to a “grab and run” bag for each of us, if, heaven forbid  either of us is carted off to hospital




Deserted Village
The Deserted Village

Deserted Wharf
Normally this time of day the wharf would be bustling

Autumn or Easter Orchid
There are a cople of Clumps in flower or bud on Ulva
More in our garden, but nothing like I would expect to see


Ladies Slipper Orchid
The only blooms I found were in our own garden


Bifolia Orchid
Normally these are quite prolific on Ulva
This year lots of plants, but only 3 flowered



Black Orchid
Again I found only two flowering
And they were in Kowhai Lane Garden


The Summer Past

Looking back I see my last post was on February 2nd. Really not good enough, as I try to post much more regularly. But we have been busy, actually very busy with guests, and then of course the implications of the gathering pandemic storm started to focus our attention.

It’s been a wet year for us. Especially as we have been spoiled by the previous two summers fine dry months. This year more like some of the summers I remember from years ago. And its showed in Iris’s garden. Normally we would have courgettes and tomatoes  in bulk, and I would have put 20 or more quart bottles of relish down, and as much stewed tomatoes frozen away. This year we’ve had a few small courgettes every second day, and the tomatoes not much better. It’s the poorest crop of spuds we’ve ever had, and our grapes are very ordinary.


In the forest it’s been the poorest orchid season I’ve ever seen. And not just one or two species, it seems to be across all species, with some not flowering at all. Or at least I’ve not found any.


Last year was without the best mast year I have ever seen for both Rimu and the Coprosmas. Parakeets tie their breeding to this late summer fruiting season, and last year must have been very good for nestling survival. I joked with my guests that every egg hatched probably fledged. Followed by a very mild winter … I noticed a frost on our lawn just twice … this seems to have resulted in a large increase in parakeet numbers on Ulva. And their behavior seems to have changed as well. I’ve noticed bigger flocks over summer in the pre nesting season, and recently parakeets have been very tolerant of our presence. Normally parakeet are the most nervous of our forest birds, but this year we’ve been as close as a couple of metres to ground feeding birds. 

Not so much Food

This may be because the Coprosma fruiting is much much less than normal, and so the birds are focused more on food than on us. And I generally find a couple of nests, this year none.