Sunny Days are here again

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas. Well, the forecast rain and flooding thankfully did not eventuate and after a few days the rain stopped. Mummy was very busy taking advantage fo the few sunny days we were having by going outside and “hanging washing on the line” and daddy was very busy “mowing the lawns”. However, their plans are being thwarted by yet another storm that is about to hit New Zealand in the next few days.

Here are a few photos mummy took of the swollen river and damp countryside, when she went on one of her walks.

Off, we three go, for We have heard rumours that we are having guests over Easter and that brother could be coming for a visit.  As loyal readers know, We love having visitors.  All those tasty treats just waiting to be given to the three bestest maremmas in all the land.

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Rain, Rain, Go Away

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas. As they say it never rains but it pours and believe Us it is pouring here in the sunny Mangamahu valley.  The storm is the tail end from a cyclone that has caused devastation in Australia.  In fact it has been raining so much and there is more rain to come that there has been a state of emergency declared this afternoon.  Evacuations of homes in Wanganui will commence tomorrow.  The mayor says the flooding could reach levels of “historical precident”.

Daddy is in Wellington and is trying to get home, hopefully tonight.  Don’t worry about the three bestest maremmas in all the land.  We are safe and warm, snoozing inside.

Here are some photos taken by aunty this afternoon at about 5 pm of the Mangawhero River, which is about 1.6 km (just under a mile)  from our place.

We are about 30 km (18 miles) from Wanganui and the weather prediction for the next few days is not good.  Due to flooding and slips we could be cut off for up to a week depending on how high the rivers get.  We will keep you posted.

Love the three bestest maremmas in all the land and their family.



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Doggy Poem

This Is Just to Say: A Mad Lib For Dogs

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Skiing in Foreign Lands

Me and Nellie have a rest in front of the fire.

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Now as you all know, aunty likes to go off and ski in interesting parts of the world.  Rather her than Us, for We do not like snow.  It is cold and as loyal readers know We three do not like getting our fur and paws cold.

In January this year, aunty travelled to Iraqi to go skiing.  Here is an article about her time there, from the Guardian

Iraqi Kurdistan: intrepid skiers break new ground

Three hours’ drive from Mosul, the small unspoilt pistes at ski resorts around Mount Halgurd, northern Iraq, are luring the first overseas tour groups

Iraq’s sole ski lift, at the Korek Mountain resort.
Iraq’s sole ski lift, at the Korek Mountain resort

‘For those who want to just ski a nice piste, have a beer, then go to a disco, it’s probably not so appealing.” James Willcox, co-founder of adventure travel company Untamed Borders, is talking about who might – and would definitely not – be interested in its latest offering: a ski tour of Iraq.

In January, Untamed Borders ran what was “probably the first ever commercial ski trip” to the country, taking a group of six intrepid travellers to the region around Mount Halgurd in the north-east of Iraq, three hours’ drive from Mosul and 500km north of Baghdad. Flying in to the city of Ebril (via Istanbul) they spent two weeks ski-touring this part of Iraqi Kurdistan, through landscapes rarely seen by western travellers.

Skinning near Choman.
Skiing near Choman

The ski season might be coming to a close, but if you’re looking for a trip for 2018 that’s got a little more edge to it than a week in a chalet in Chamonix, then this could be for you.

Willcox and his team have years of experience organising tours to less-travelled countries such as Uzbekistan and Somalia, and this tour was led by a guide who has previously led skiers in Afghanistan. The tour cost $2,400 for 10 days, excluding flights.

The tour group skied Choman and Mount Halgurd in January, while boarding with a local family. It also visited Penjwen, near the city of Sulaymaniyah, which has a nordic ski club, and the Korek Mountain, a “tiny” ski resort with a gondola, which was celebrating its annual Snow Festival.

Ski touring near Mount Halgurd - Iraq’s highest peak.
Ski touring near Mount Halgurd – the highest peak entirely withing Iraq.

Still, as one would expect, skiing in Iraq comes with its own unique challenges. The Foreign Office advises against all travel to much of the country, and all but essential travel to the rest. As a result, many insurance policies are void, but Untamed Borders is able to recommend companies that still offer cover.

“You have all the usual issues of skiing, but also need to avoid landmines, and unexploded ordnance from the 1980s near the Iraq-Iran border,” says Willcox. “You can’t get too close. But we work with local partners, guides in the area who know this, who know the areas you can’t ski for various reasons. We also use GPS, so if there’s a whiteout you don’t stray from where you’re meant to go.”

Not surprisingly, Mike Hinckley, 56, one of the skiers who joined January’s tour, had his reservations. Among them he listed “Islamic State, ongoing aspects of war and the perception that I, as a US citizen, might not be exactly welcome.” But he was drawn in by the opportunity to ski in a place where “virtually no one, if anyone, has ever skied before”. He admits it was frustrating at times, having to work around the “logistical, social or administrative limitations” of skiing in a country with a completely different set of safety concerns to a regular mountain zone, but it was about more than just the skiing.

“When we attended the Korek Snow Festival, we interacted with so many people (and TV personalities), and they seemed so happy to meet us, talk and take selfies with us – that was wild,” says Hinckley. “At that moment, the skiing almost became secondary.”, details of the 2018 trip will be on the website in April

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The Heron in the Tree

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Now that mummy has new glasses she can see all sorts of things that she might have missed with her old glasses. Dirt, dogfur and cobwebs. When she was outside yesterday morning, she noticed this strange bird up in the big elm tree.  She rushed inside to grap the camera and surprisingly enough the bird was still in the tree when she returned. After consulting Dr Google, she discoverted the bird was a White-faced heron.

Would you like to see some photos?  Of course, you would.


And what were the Three bestest maremmas in all the land doing?  Why, We were having our after morning dinner nap.


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Dog Statues of New Zealand

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Mummy found the following article on a place called “Stuff“.  We three do not know of this place, but mummy says it is full of news and other stuff and you can while away a few hours.  We hope you enjoy reading about all the doggy statues there are in New Zealand.  Love the three bestest maremmas in all the land.

Barks in bronze: The dog statues of NZ

Majestic dog and scenery: the sheepdog memorial at Lake Tekapo.

Pavel Spindler

Majestic dog and scenery: the sheepdog memorial at Lake Tekapo.

The other day I saw a dog sculpture in a little New Zealand town (more on that below). And I wondered, how many other pieces of public art are dotted around New Zealand that feature a dog?

Well I looked into it. And I discovered that there are a lot – you could do a Dog Sculpture Tour of New Zealand and be busy for weeks.

Why so many? I think it’s because dogs are deeply imbedded in life in this country. Farming, hunting, exploration, the outdoors – dogs helped build this country! You couldn’t record or celebrate life in New Zealand without giving dogs their due.

And I’m glad that, in terms of public art, we do.

Rajah the wonder dog is memorialised in Methven.

Methven Heritage Centre

Rajah the wonder dog is memorialised in Methven.

Probably the most photographed dog statue in New Zealand is the Sheepdog Memorial at Lake Tekapo. It has stood since 1968 as a memorial to the dogs who helped form and keep alive the farms of New Zealand. The bronze statue is fittingly glorious, depicting a border collie (the breed brought from Scotland by 19th-century settlers) atop a rock with head high and ears cocked.

The Tekapo collie was created by sculptor Innes Elliott, basing his work on a sheepdog named Haig.

Sheepdogs also get due recognition with statues at Hindon in the Taieri Gorge (a collie named Sue) and at Roxburgh, where there’s a state of a farmer and his dog, created by Bill Clarke.

One man and his dog, times two: James Mackenzie and Friday in downtown Fairlie; an unnamed drover and his unnamed dog in ...

Shirley Williams/Supplied

One man and his dog, times two: James Mackenzie and Friday in downtown Fairlie; an unnamed drover and his unnamed dog in Feilding.

Not too far away, if you’re spending a weekend visiting dog statues, is the one of James Mackenzie and his dog Friday, in the town of Fairlie. Mackenzie was the supposed sheep rustler who kept escaping custody in the 1850s and disappearing into the great expanse of land that now carries his name.

The statue of a drover and his dog in Feilding doesn’t mark a specific life, but locals see it as a landmark that captures the spirit of their farming district. The statue, by John Fuller, was featured as one of a series of New Zealand stamps a few years ago, putting it on a level with Ohakune’s carrot and Te Puke’s kiwifruit.

Many of the rural dogs depicted in these sculptures are collies. But in the almost-aptly named North Island town of Hunterville, you’ll find a shrine to the other breed that helped build the country’s early farms – the huntaway. The sculpture, installed in 1999, is low enough for flesh-and-blood dogs to climb up and share their bronze pal’s view.

The Hunterville Huntaway: alert face, and accompanied by flesh-and-blood visitor Skye.

The Hunterville Huntaway: alert face, and accompanied by flesh-and-blood visitor Skye.

As far as I can tell, huntaways didn’t originate in Hunterville, but the town has proclaimed itself Huntaway Capital of the World. And why not? The town hosts a yearly Huntaway Festival that includes obstacle courses (humans plus dogs) and a barking competition (strictly dogs).

By the way, I’ve been meaning to say… why doesn’t Treasury put a huntaway on a bank note? Is anyone with me on this?

Back to sculpture. Last year, a statue in recognition of Antarctic sled dogs was installed in Lyttelton. The sculpture, by Mark Whyte, celebrates the contribution to the port town of the exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. “The Sled Dog symbolises the courage and comradeship of all those involved in this continuing endeavour,” the plaque says.

John Plimmer and his dog Fritz, at the bottom of the Plimmer Steps in Wellington.

John Plimmer and his dog Fritz, at the bottom of the Plimmer Steps in Wellington.

Quite a few statues mark the closeness of human and dog, either generally or specifically. In Hastings stands a statue of the prominent citizen William Nelson, hatted and bearded, with his eager dog a foot or two away.

With this sculpture, by artists Gillie and Marc, you can actually go up and be alongside the figures – plinths seem to have gone out of fashion in public sculpture, in favour of human-scale closeness.

The sculpture “Barry, a Kiwi Bloke” in Katikati is one of the interactive sort. The bloke of the title sits on a park bench, reading a newspaper. If you like, you can sit next to him. On the other side of Barry is Jack, his dog. The low-key artwork was made by Donald Paterson, Barry Menzies and Mick Cassidy.

The Napier lady with her devoted dog - a sculpture titled A Wave in Time.

Nick Barnett/Jane Nearing

The Napier lady with her devoted dog – a sculpture titled A Wave in Time.

One of my favourite dog-plus-human artworks is in central Wellington. At the entrance to the alley that takes you up the Plimmer Steps is a bronze of the man for whom the steps were named, John Plimmer. Running next to him is his little dog Fritz, tail and ears flying.

Unlike the other statues, in this one the human and the dog are looking at each other, and so close as to be made in a single piece. If you sit at the Starbucks on the opposite side of Lambton Quay, you’ll see passing tourists taken by surprise by this very human, delightful sculpture, and stopping to take photos and pose with it.

John Plimmer and Fritz was created by Tom Tischler, Ross Wilson and Judy Alexander, and unveiled in 1996.

Relaxed bloke, attentive dog: Katikati's statue of Barry on his bench, and Hastings' memorial to founding figure William ...

Waymark/Hawke’s Bay Art Guide

Relaxed bloke, attentive dog: Katikati’s statue of Barry on his bench, and Hastings’ memorial to founding figure William Nelson.

I also like A Wave in Time, a statue by Mark Whyte that stands in Napier’s shopping centre. It shows an elegant woman striding along with an adoring greyhound in tow.

The woman is modelled on Sheila Williams, who led the New Napier Week Carnival in 1933 to mark the city’s recovery from the earthquake of 1931.

The sculpture, unveiled in 2010, reflects Napier’s embracing of its art deco heritage. The city’s mayor praised the work and pointed out, for the benefit of any critic, that “the dog is securely on a lead”. More a preoccupation nowadays than in 1933, probably…

Christchurch's three bronze Corgi dogs getting up to mischief. Right, a dog is part of Hamilton's Farming Family sculpture.

John Kirk-Anderson/Janine Faulknor

Christchurch’s three bronze Corgi dogs getting up to mischief. Right, a dog is part of Hamilton’s Farming Family sculpture.

Another great example of human-scale, or dog-scale, public art is in Tauranga: the set of sculptures based on Lynley Dodd’s characters: Hairy Maclary, Bitzer Maloney, Bottomley Potts, Hercules Morse and others. Brigitte Wuest brought the characters to life and they’ve been installed at a place where children can pretend the cartoon creatures are part of their games.

Then there’s Wal and Dog from Footrot Flats. You can stand with the Murray Ball characters at a park in Gisborne, where they were placed last year after Weta Workshop created them.

I suppose the worst case scenario with accessible public art is that, well, someone will nick it. That’s what happened to one of three bronze corgis after the Christchurch earthquake of 2011. Sculptor David Marshall had to remake one of the dogs before the set could be put back on the High Street site they’d occupied since 2003.

A closeup of Dog, from the bronze sculpture of Wal and Dog made by Weta Workshop. The sculpture stands in Gisborne, the ...


A closeup of Dog, from the bronze sculpture of Wal and Dog made by Weta Workshop. The sculpture stands in Gisborne, the hometown of Footrot Flats creator Murray Ball.

Dogs have inspired less literal, more abstract art works. In Dunedin, Stephen Mulqueen’s Kuri/Dog sculpture is shaped from railway-sleeper-type pieces and set on tracks – but the canine spirit is still in it.

In Hamilton, visit the Tongue of the Dog statue – though it might take you a moment to cotton on to its abstract shape. It represents the loving spirit of a servant dog who, according to a Maori legend, saved his human’s life by cutting a path for curative waters to flow from the land of her birth to reach her; that waterway became the Waikato River. The tall sculpture is by Michael Parekowhai, and stands at the entrance to Waikato Museum.

Also in Hamilton for dog-statue completists is a statue depicting a farming family: a man and woman carrying young children, and standing with a cow, a sheep and a sheepdog. Sir Robert Jones donated the work to the city in 1990.

Hamilton's art sculpture in Victoria Street called Tongue of the Dog.


Hamilton’s art sculpture in Victoria Street called Tongue of the Dog.

Occasionally, a sculpture is dedicated to one certain dog. An example is the one devoted to Rajah the wonder dog, in Methven at the entrance of the Mr Hutt Function Centre. The artist, again, was David Marshall.

According to a local website, Rajah was owned by police constable Robbie Robertson and lived in Methven from 1929 to 1936. Though Rajah was never an official police dog, he was famed for being able to find lost objects and understand commands.

In the south Taranaki town of Manaia in 2007, a little Jack Russell terrier named George became a hero when he fought a pair of pitbulls that were threatening a group of five children. His attempts to protect the children meant the dogs attacked him, and afterwards he had to be put down.

The dogs (and cat) of Lynley Dodds' Hairy Maclary stories are caught up in a game at Tauranga's waterfront.

The dogs (and cat) of Lynley Dodds’ Hairy Maclary stories are caught up in a game at Tauranga’s waterfront.

George received two medals in posthumous recognition of his bravery, one of them bestowed on his owner by the then governor-general.

Now, a bronze statue to George stands in Manaia.

Harawene was the name given to a stray dog who lived for 15 years by the side of Te Ngae Road in Rotorua. She was “nobody’s dog”, but everybody around knew her, and many helped care for her.

Local heroes: Rotorua's Harawene, left, and Manaia's brave George.


Local heroes: Rotorua’s Harawene, left, and Manaia’s brave George.

After she vanished from sight in 2008, local sculptor Trevor Nathan went to work on a memorial sculpture. It now stands next to the street where Harawene was often seen.

There’s one more dog statue I want to mention. It has its own category, and I saw it for the first time last week in the town of Te Aroha. It’s a giant bronze steampunk Dachshund that serves as a bicycle stand and drinking fountain; surplus water dribbles out its bronze “pizzle”.

I loved it, and not only because it features my favourite dog breed. It’s fun, and it does a job. I had to dig around for details about it – the Piako Post reported that it’s the work of sculptor Adrian Worsley and is part of a push by Te Aroha to become New Zealand’s most cycle-friendly town.

The sausage dog that serves as drinking fountain and bicycle rack in Te Aroha.

Nick Barnett

The sausage dog that serves as drinking fountain and bicycle rack in Te Aroha.

Dog sculptures – are there any I’ve missed?

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On the Road Again

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Now as you all know, our sister is a u-ni-ver-sity student, up in a place called A-uck-land.  We three do not know of this place, but mummy says it is far, far away and We would not like it there.  Too  much traffic and not enough tasty treats.  So, on Saturday they loaded up the 4 x 4, left Us three in the tender, loving care of Auntie (yes, she is back from foreign parts) and went off to take her back to u-ni-ver-sity.

It is a long way to A-uck-land from the sunny Mangamahu valley.  Mummy didn’t take too many photos as she took lots of that part of the country,  when they went to collect Itai last year. You can see some of them here:

But you would like to see some of the photos, mummy took of this trip.  Of course you do. Enjoy. Love the three bestest maremmas in all the land.

On the way home, mummy and daddy visited mummy’s aunt and uncle in a place called WhitiangaWhitianga is on the Coromandal pensiular and is very popular as a holiday town in the summer.

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Hazelnut Tree

IMG_5108Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Now as you all know when mummy and daddy first came to live in the sunny Mangamahu Valley, they planted a number of fruit trees and two nut trees: an almond and a hazelnut.  Unfortunately, the almond tree did not thrive, but the hazelnut tree did.  Now in it’s seventh season the hazelnut is producing lots of nuts daily.

img_7641img_7638img_7639img_7640Mummy likes to add hazelnuts to her homemade museli and daddy has a nice fish, hazelnut, chickpea and chorizo recipe.


350 g Chickpeas
1 Onion
2 Tbsp Olive oil
2 cloves Garlic cloves
350 g Chorizo sausages
80 g Hazelnuts
1 handful Rocket
20 g Unsalted butter
4 Fish fillets, 180g/fillet
1 to taste Salt
Lemon, juice


  1. Drain then rinse the cooked chickpeas under cold running water. Drain in a colander.
  2. Chop the onion finely. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and allow to soften over a low heat. Finely slice the garlic and add to the pan, cooking until golden brown.
  3. Slice the chorizo into 1cm-thick pieces and stir into the onion. Cook until fragrant – about 4 minutes – then tip in the chickpeas and hazelnuts.
  4. Cook, stirring, over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes to let all the flavours develop.
  5. Add the rocket leaves, tossing them through the mix as they slowly wilt. Spoon out onto deep plates and top with the fish.
  6. To cook the fish, heat the butter in a frying pan and when it’s foaming place the fish fillets carefully into the pan.
  7. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn over and cook for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  8.  Spoon any cooking juices over the fish and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt only.

Needless to say, the three bestest maremmas in all the land, are never offered any fish to taste. IMG_5133

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Water, Water

Our water tank. It is filled from water coming off the woolshed and yards.

Our water tank. It is filled from water coming off the woolshed and yard roof.

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas. Now as you all know We live in the countryside. As the locals would say, We live in the “wop wops“. Far, far away from any city amenities, such as water.  We rely upon a combination of tank and bore water for our water needs.  A 30,000l tank supplies the house with water for everything expect the toilets and outside taps, which come from the bore.  The bore also supplies the household needs of two of our neighbours, as well as a number of stock troughs.  Over the last week it was apparent that there was a problem with bore water supply.  So it was D.I.Y Daddy to the rescue.

Firstly, the suspected leak had to be located.  Our property has been in existence for over 150 years and there are pipes all over the place. No-one alive knows what pipe goes where, which makes life rather difficult.

There it was lurking behind the old water tower.

img_7621Once found then the digging and bad language commenced.

img_7619Then this appeared in the house.

img_7630Then the connecting of pipes started.


After two days of digging and two visits to the local plumbing and drainage shop, and a quick crash course in do it yourself plumbing, daddy managed to fix the leak, reattached the pipes to the correct connection and Volia it was all done!!

Me and Nellie having a look see at what is happening.

img_7627That’s all for today.  Love the three bestest maremmas in all the land.

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Woofless Wednesday

This gallery contains 9 photos.

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