Letterbox legend

This was my letterbox in the early 2000s. It was not new when this photo was taken, as the brass lip of the letter slot is tarnished. I bought it from the Mitre 10 store which used to be just around the corner until the earthquakes. I painted the letterbox to match the house.

There was a space at the back for milk bottles. We still had glass bottle deliveries of milk, although only three days a week when this photo was taken, until they finally stopped in 2009.

After my new fence was built in 2018, my nephew sank a sturdy post into the ground and secured the letterbox to it.

It has served me well in that spot, with a self-seeded bay tree sheltering it and shasta daisies flowering around it in summer.

This year, in October, a neighbour from the social housing complex nearby, took exception to it for some reason perhaps not even known to himself, kicking the letterbox off its post and smashing it beyond repair.

My nephew took it away and put an ordinary metal letterbox in its place.

On Christmas Day I received a new letterbox my nephew had modelled on the old one. Instead of the milk bottle compartment it has a larger space for letters, with a new handle and a firm latch at the back.

The original brass lip and brass numbers have been polished and it looks (and otherwise is) brand spanking new. My nephew assures me it is very strong. “Good luck with kicking this in,” he said.


The met service issued a strong wind warning yesterday. All gardeners dread the damaging effect of this on new growth. My tall globe artichoke seemed to be hanging on to its companion.

I’ve got you, Artie!

The sweet peas weren’t so lucky. When one container was blown over, the other stayed upright, but the plant went down, connected by the tendrils of the first plant.

Fortunately, I was able to right both plants once the wind had died down.

A very tall tomato plant was blown sideways and wilted at the top.

It was revived later by a generous helping of water.

Dora sheltered under the feverfew.

I carried on stacking wood. I had hoped to have it done before the wind arrived, but the delivery was late. It’s nice to achieve some order when the weather is in chaos.

It took three and a half hot, sweaty hours, with a barrow load taking five minutes to fill, wheel to the woodshed and stack.

A hiking companion used to cheer us up when the going got tough with you-think-you’ve-got-it -bad stories. The terrible effects of the tornado in the Philippines put our nor’wester into perspective. The ominous feeling that such events will be increasingly common everywhere remains.

Post Script:

We’re saved!

Good weather for ducks, not chooks

Awkwardly holding umbrella and camera, I took a photo of the rising water in the Avon from the Gloucester Street bridge. The ducks on the far bank – or side, rather, as the bank was underwater – seemed unperturbed. The Gormley sculpture in the river looked as if it might disappear, and a half-submerged bucket floated past as if redundant and useless against the flood.

The Met Service heavy rain warning reports heavy rain from 10 am today until 6 am tomorrow. With more than 12 hours still to go, I will need gumboots to get to my local shops where I had to pick a careful course through the already flooded streets after getting off the bus from town this morning. It’s the first time since I retired two years ago that I have had to take the bus to and from a WEA course due to rain, rather than walking. As I was leaving the WEA, I met a friend who had walked. She was soaked through, but cheerful. She prefers not to use an umbrella, and I imagine that the two hours she had ahead, sitting in class, would be uncomfortable.

Inside the house looks good, thinks Betty.

At home, the chooks are sheltering on the deck – along with numerous sodden sparrows. Rain doesn’t run off them as it does from a duck’s back. Settling in for a long snooze seems the best way to pass a rainy day.