This week’s small pleasures #271

The protesters outside Parliament have now been there for two weeks and show no sign of moving. Their behaviour is disrupting lives and livelihoods, the university has had to close its Pipitea campus just at the start of the academic year and the law courts can’t function. I’ve even changed my route to work…

Anyway, it is even more important to look around for small pleasures at the moment, to distract us from what is going on down the road. I will start with my sunflowers which have been such a small pleasure and bring a smile to my face every time I look at them. This is one just about to unfurl, with the promise of bright yellow petals.

And so to food, and on Saturday evening, we went out for a sort of late St Valentine’s Day dinner, heading over to Wellington institution, Boulcott Street Bistro. Housed in a Victorian cottage, tucked away in between concrete blocks, the restaurant opened in 1991 and is still going strong (and was full on Saturday night). I started with smoked venison tartare, served with sourdough toast, while Karl chose the calamari. Both were excellent, and we enjoyed a glass of Neudorf pinot gris alongside. I had the market fish, which was John Dory, served with an aubergine (eggplant) caponata and potato slices, and Karl had the fillet of beef with sauce Béarnaise and double cooked fries. The main courses were washed down with a Guigal Côtes du Rhône. As usual, we skipped dessert, opting instead for an espresso each which came with a little dark chocolate truffle. A wonderful meal!

Still on food, in the basket this week were aubergines, which I am loving at the moment, and will go into a pasta alla Norma during the week. There were courgettes (zucchini), sweet corn, a shiny red capsicum and these gorgeous tomatoes, along with limes, plums and black peaches. I made a hot smoked salmon and courgettes tart from Sophie Hansen’s A Basket by the Door, for Sunday dinner which was followed by raspberries.

On Sophie Hansen, I subscribe to her 5 things to be cheerful newsletter that pops into my email box every Monday. It is full of small pleasures and a great start to the week.

Over to sport, which is something I have very little interest normally, but New Zealand won a second gold medal at the Winter Olympics – Nico Porteous for something called a half pipe (some sort of skiing I believe). Sweden won the gold in the men’s curling and Great Britain in the women’s game – at least I know what curling is!

What were your small pleasures this week? Here are some other blog posts from a few fellow bloggers looking at the good things in life.  The picture above was taken on my way home from work today.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. Beautiful (and tasty!) pleasures from you this week. I love aubergines and you have reminded me about pasta alla Norma – thank you for that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The trees look stunning in your first photo, it must be lovely living so close the Botanical Gardens, we really enjoyed walking around the gardens. You can see autumn is coming.
    Yes, we also have protestors still here and there, I’ve heard the people who live in the inner city have not been as disturbed as the week they arrived. Very tough on people who are working.
    Your fresh vegetables look very tasty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is so nice being next to the gardens. I took the cable car up to the top for a long way home today to avoid the protestors – sorry squatters – and took a walk home through the gardens. Clears the head! I love vegetables…all the colours, shapes and of course, tastes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Count me as a sunflower fan; thank you for sharing your delight with us! I’m also glad that curling — my new passion — found its way into your post this week. More important, I watched the half-pipe NZ gold and thought of you. And now I’ll also think of you when I see palm trees: Wow!

    Finally, thanks so much for your very kind words about my blog! Getting to know Wellington through you is one of my pleasures too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love any photos of sunflowers and have been known to photograph each day’s unfurling just to capture the magic! Your photo is great 🙂 I also know what curling is because when we were on a. cycling trip in NZ a few years ago we went to the Ranfurly ice rink and had a lesson in curling, we laugh now whenever we see it on as it was so much fun! Another great collection of small pleasures 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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