Blind­ness no bar­rier for this home baker

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

SHE’S fea­tur­ing on TVNZ’s One News Good Sorts on Sun­day night and rightly so – Rose­mary Locke is a gem. Barely a mo­ment goes by when she is not on the phone or lend­ing a hand at one place or an­other.

Ms Locke has been blind since she was 21 af­ter a hered­i­tary con­di­tion, ker­a­to­conus, slowly de­te­ri­o­rated her sight. She now uses her guide dog Jazz, a pure­bred black Labrador, to get around.

She has be­come par­tic­u­larly well known for her date and rum, and car­rot cakes, choco­late brown­ies and choco­late chip cook­ies which she bakes and gives away to the sick, the el­derly, churches, com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and any other event that needs a bite to eat.

‘‘I am al­ways be­ing rung up for one thing or an­other,’’ she said. And cook­ing is never a prob­lem for her.

‘‘I know where every­thing is in my pantry and my com­puter reads the recipes out loud,’’ she said. ‘‘I cook with my good old faith­ful scales and it is easy.’’

The scales are more than 100 years old and came from Eng­land in 1917 with her great grand­mother.

‘‘I know the feel of each weight so if I need four ounces of but­ter or what­ever, I just mea­sure it up.’’

But Ms Locke said she rarely ate any bak­ing be­cause it dis­ap­peared out the door the mo­ment it was cooked.

When she isn’t bak­ing she likes to walk around town with Jazz.

‘‘He is just bril­liant. We walk around Mata­mata and he just loves Espresso To Go,’’ she said.

‘‘It seems I am al­ways drink­ing cof­fee in there – he won’t go past with­out stop­ping.’’

Mrs Locke has been in­volved in Red Puppy Day in Mata­mata for many years and of­ten speaks at events for it; this year fea­tur­ing on TV Cen­tral. Af­ter be­ing on the lo­cal sta­tion she never imag­ined she would make it on to national tele­vi­sion.

‘‘I got such a shock when Haydn Jones from One News rang to say I had been nom­i­nated. I nearly dropped the phone,’’ she said. ‘‘I told him there were far more in­ter­est­ing peo­ple than me but he wouldn’t take no for an an­swer.’’

She said they filmed for nearly five hours just to get the three-minute clip for the news.

‘‘Haydn took rather a lik­ing to my kitchen scales and me knit­ting in front of the tele­vi­sion,’’ she said.

And as usual, she sent him away with a va­ri­ety of cakes, and a knit­ted cardi­gan and hat for his new­born baby.

National Blind Week is Oc­to­ber 25 to 31.

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