News for March 26


Well, we’re now in four weeks’ lockdown. Not a great problem for me as I can’t get far on crutches. It’s an ideal time to do some planning because we’ve got too much ‘stuff’.  The years go by and new things appear – but the old ones still lurk around. Are you the same?

Philip came home from his last day of work clutching two big bunches of gorgeous pink lilies. “Did you buy me flowers?” I asked (because he never does. He buys me trees and plants and I grow my own.) He turned about as pink as the lilies and said, “No – they’re a present from Amanda.” Amanda is the boss of the Small Acorns design store here in Wellington. Because she had to close the store, she was giving away all her newly arrived fresh flowers. We’ve installed curtains and blinds for her for several years now – gorgeous fabrics, and cost no object. Have a look at her website at and indulge yourself.

So here are some of my lilies, and that’s what got me thinking about ‘too much stuff’.  I’ve had that tall Japanese vase since I was about twenty. The label on the bottom says ‘late 19th century’. I planned to turn it into a lamp but no lamp has yet happened. A couple of years ago we had author Shirley Wine and her husband Marty to dinner while they were down here on holiday. Shirley had an antiques and collectables store for years. She made an instant beeline for the vase and assured me I had something very nice there, so I can’t throw that out.

I took the photo to show you my lilies, but I’ve spotted another long-time possession beside them; the silver jug. My Dad acquired the silver jug as part-payment for a car (before I was born). Even as a child I liked it – and used it for flower arrangements in the local flower shows. I’ve just taken a closer look at it: it needs a good polish, and it has no less than eight hallmarks in its base. It might be precious! Maybe I’m lucky no-one stole it at the flower shows. As Mr Google has made it easy to research things, I’ll see what I can find out. I wonder how much car it paid for, all those years ago?

The painting behind is from Darcy Nicholas’s first-ever exhibition. I bought it around 1970. It’s full of Maori colours and imagery and no doubt looks way out of place with my old sideboard. I don’t care. I still love it, so that’ll be staying. Not doing well, am I!

Maybe the linen cupboard had old sheets and towels hidden away in its depths? A thorough search revealed items that could definitely go. But wait a moment – toilet paper is in ridiculously short supply with all the panic-buying that’s happening. Perhaps I should keep the frayed towels and thin sheets in case I need to cut it into useful absorbent squares?

At this rate I’ll end up a hoarder. (And a hoarder is the main character in my third cozy mystery.) Am I just building up empathy with him? Find out when ‘Dead and Disorderly’ hits Amazon. It’ll be a few weeks yet, what with family dramas, and my new knee joint, and falling downstairs.