Welcome Home

Losing your parents can be a bit of a struggle.

Not just the emotional and psychological turmoil, but whole volumes of history can vanish.

“What were your mother’s parents’ names?” I was asked when organising Mum’s funeral.

I honestly couldn’t remember. Grandad died before I was born and Grandma passed away before I was 5.

Mum always used to say we were related to the late broadcaster Sir Paul Holmes somehow – something to do with a branch of her side of the family called “Manning” (this sort of stuff seemed to matter far more to the older generations, than to us younger ones).

“What about (this), or (that)?” other topics might come up. It used to be so easily fixed – “I’ll just ask Mum, or Dad!”

I can’t do that now.

I can only really remember an nth of everything Mum and Dad told me about their growing up and our family history – We’re so busy focussing on our own learning and growing that so many things that might seem trivial at the time are left by the wayside.

I do clearly remember one thing – It’s the house Mum and her parents lived in when they moved from Gisborne back to Napier.

I remember its exterior very easily, because I see it almost every day – it’s just down the road from our current home!

The interior, however, is much hazier.

I remember tiny glimpses of the inside it from childhood, because I got to visit it briefly while my grandmother still lived there, and from the old photo albums I inherited.

As fate would have it, the woman who presided over Mum’s funeral knew the family who live there.

I asked afterwards if I could be put in touch to possibly have a look inside again and see if/how it had changed from my (very vague) memories. They happily obliged and a few months later I got to have a look around.

It was an interesting experience on multiple levels. I brought some photos with me to compare the old and the new, so I will post them side by side.

This is Mum – In 1966 she would have been 25. It looks like she was ready to go out for some event by the looks of it, or star in the original “Mad Men” series…

These are my maternal grandparents – Isabel and Allan, or “Peg” and “Knobby”. These photos are from around the same time and similarly sartorial.

A rakish angle on Grandad’s trilby..

One memory I DO have of the interior of their house is sitting on the wooden stairs that led up to the second storey, staring at a stained glass window.

The window is most certainly still there, and the stairs were carpeted long ago, but the odd thing was I remembered the stairs in reverse – I was certain they went up from left to right, when they actually go right to left.

There had been a few other minor changes, but nothing of HGTV-knock-every-wall-out level. Much was as it had been 40 years ago. Even some of the drapes were original – How do I know?

I found bits of this exact same material in Mum and Dad’s house when I had to clean it out a few years ago! (For what it’s worth, it has held up VERY well!)

Here’s a picture of two of my cousins Alan and Jonathan Brough with our Grandma. The snooty looking critter on her lap is yours truly.

I went up the (“back-to-front”) stairs and had a look around.

My grandparents’ bedroom had apparently been on the ground floor, so upstairs was where Mum and her siblings would have slept.

I had seen a photo of Mum, taken from the street looking up as she poked her head out of an upper window, but that room looked more like a sunroom / study.

As I poked my head into another room, though, something told me “this was Mum’s room” – there was a connective feeling about it. (This was later confirmed by a cousin who had also been there regularly in their younger days).

I took a few photos of the room (albeit with furnishings from the current occupants), perhaps hoping to catch a wisp of a spirit, a familiar face in a reflection, drape or pattern, but sadly none were to develop.

I was asked if I wanted to be in any of the photos I was trying to recreate – “then and not”, or “a new generation” sort of thing, but I declined.

It wouldn’t feel right personally. I didn’t feel like I deserved to take their places and I thought it spoke more of the loss I was feeling.

The place was still here, but all those who connected me directly to it were gone and I was feeling that missing link.

It had never been my home, but the occupants, and the house, had made me feel comfortable and welcome.

It’s all part of the healing process, I guess.

Many things may have been forgotten, but there are still lots of other things to be discovered.

Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas Deliciousness: 2018 Edition

For over a decade now, Mrs InFrame has been coming up with a special 12-day menu to celebrate the “Twelve Days of Christmas”.

She alternates each year between the traditional and the New Zealand version, otherwise known as “A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree”.

This year was the Kiwi Christmas Deliciousness Edition!

Most of the dishes have a direct correlation to the songs (Five Big Fat Pigs = Pork/Ham/Bacon), others use a fair chunk of artistic license as, with the original “Twelve Days” song we’d be swimming in poultry with French Hens, Swans a Swimming, Geese a Laying etc. etc. otherwise.

I’ll do my best to explain as we go.

This year’s menu plan is one that was SUPPOSED to be the one in 2016, but went missing just a few days before we were to begin and resurfaced, too late, on Christmas day (It was a Christmas miracle!).

So sit back and enjoy as I reveal what my true love made for me over the Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas Deliciousness for 2018:

A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree

Blue Cheese, Date and Walnut Parcels:
The blue of the cheese represents the Pukeko, while spinach represents the foliage and the flaky pastry looks like flakes off like Ponga Tree bark.



Two Kumara

Kumara, Spinach, Goats’ Cheese and Walnut Salad:
Pretty straight forward here – Mrs InFrame baked the Kumara into chips to give them a lovely texture.



Three Flax Ketes (“Kits”)

Cherry Pie:
Woven flax Kete are used as baskets and bags to carry things like berries, so we latticed the top of the Cherry Pie to give it a woven look.


Four Huhu Grubs

Huhu grubs are a creepy crawly delicacy at most “Wild Food” festivals, mainly for their gooey-squishiness when you bite into them, so filling tree-bark like Brandy Snaps with oohy-gooey whipped cream seemed a wonderful take on the idea!


Five Big Fat Pigs!

Pork and Pepper Sloppy Joes:
Five big Fat Pigs make a lot of pork mince and while they might not appreciate the alliteration of “Pork” and “Pepper” I’m sure your average Captain Cooker or Kuni-kuni would be quite happy munching on a fresh, crunchy capsicum.


Six Pois a Twirling

Teriyaki Chicken Rice Balls:

Mrs InFrame had the day off for this one, and our friends Tim and Junko from Tu Meke Don in Napier made us some rice balls to represent the soft balls that are swung on braided threads in Kapa Haka and other Maori songs and dances.

They look like Poi, E(h)?


Seven Eels a-Swimming

Slippery Sausages in Muddy Mashed Potatoes and Been Reeds:
The Longfin Eel are native to New Zealand. and can be found in lots of waterways – even the creek that runs past our house. They like water that has things they can hide in, like reeds (represented here by the beans) and mud (the Mashed Potatoes and BBQ Sauce)


Eight Plants of Puha

Faux Pho-ha:
Puha is a green, leafy green, wild vegetable that usually grows near water, so we made a watery Pho soup with mint, coriander (leafy green herbs) and meatballs.


Nine Sacks of Pipis

Pipi Truck-style Pizza:

The Pipi Pizza Truck is a bit of an institution her in Hawke’s Bay – being on the first new wave of Food Trucks, so tonight’s pizza paid homage to the Pippi truck, rather than the bivalve mollusc.


Ten Juicy Fish Heads

Sri Lankan Fish Curry made with Hawke Bay Snapper:
My boss had been fishing on Hawke Bay a week or so back and kindly gave us some of the snapper (fillets, not heads thankfully..) he had caught. It went perfectly with this Sri Lankan curry!


Eleven Haka Lessons


The Haka is, of course, synonymous with New Zealand’s national rugby team, so it was fitting that we went to our usual café, Six Sisters, and had (All) Black coffee, with a rugby ball-shaped dollop of ice cream!


Twelve Piupiu Swinging


Piupiu are a Maori grass skirt, as can be seen in the Poi e video above. When the dancer wearing it sways or spins the individual threads spread out a bit like octopus tentacles. When you split Frankfurters into quarters lengthways at one end and cook them, they split and twist upwards and outwards just like tentacles, or the swaying piupiu skirt. It also seemed like a novel way to close out this Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas Deliciousness!

We hope you’ve been inspired to try some of these, or your own version next Christmas.

From the Napier in Frame family to yours, we wish you a Merry Kiwi Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!