May 30, 2009

Winter Beauty, Confusing Christchurch Weather for Queens's Birthday

WINTER BEAUTY: The Southern Alps and Kaikoura mountains with a mirage effect as seen from the Port Hills Friday morning.

Today we braced ourselves for bad weather... but we got it wrong - it must be tonight it arrives.

Although technically winter has not quite begun, New Zealand is in for its second polar blast in two weeks with snow expected to sea level in some areas.

The MetService has issued a severe weather warning of a strong, very cold southerly expected to reach southern parts of the country this afternoon, spread over Canterbury tonight, and quickly spread north tomorrow morning.

Snow showers are forecast to lower to sea level from Southland to the Kaikoura coast and fall to "unusually low levels" on the hills in southern, eastern and central parts of the North Island.

Duty forecaster Oliver Druce said the warning had been issued not because of the amount of snow expected but because of the very low levels involved.

The snow is likely to close many roads and wind chill is expected to be severe.

Instead, we have a perfect, still and warm day of sunshine - so we are making the most of it.
The house is clean...

The washing is done - even managed a load of dog blankets and towels.

The back deck is useful for getting it all dry, as well as being ideal for dog sunbathing!

Lunch in the sun...

I am having a carless day as my daughter has gone out to visit friends in North Canterbury... she has left me her old starlet, mainly because she had her doubts that it would make the distance.... but rather than brave the supermarket in hers, satisfying some basic urge to replenish the cupboards before the snow arrives (stupid as the whole idea seems as I sit in the sun eating lunch), I think I will wait for my partner to return from Bunnings with the new kitchen light fitting... YES it is going to be repaired, fingers and toes crossed as I am sooo tired of trying to work in the half light of the kitchen. It has been sporadically failing for months - a sort of random lottery of will we cook in the dimness tonight or not - and it has now been two weeks of complete failure. Mind you, the main bedroom light hasn't worked for over a year, even two??? Not a complete loss - I am sure I look better in dim light.. but it does make it challenging selecting from my extensive wardrobe of black clothes on dark winter mornings....

After that, project B, we will work on the repairing of the cat door... which means replacing the glass completely as the dogs cannot seem to realise they are not cats!!!! As the cold weather approaches, I have added a second dirt tray to the house to compensate for it's loss to the cats, but so far they still seem pretty casual about it all and I have been wondering what my next plan of action will be when I catch one of them in the act - can someone remind me again; why do we have six cats??? Anyway, I digress.. Phoebe's dad arranged to cut the glass for us before they went north - today, hopefully, the putty arrives - and next week we might actually get the glass from where it is waiting for us to collect it.

I do have some chores waiting for me - mainly the pile of junk from the rubbish area where the trees were cut down - old bikes and chairs mainly.. so I will have to do a trip to the dump as I am the only one with a car large enough! Love my wee CRV :) This will have to wait until the car gets home.... after the dump closes... ho hum, next week will do.

Tonight, we are off to the town hall to watch men play puppets with selected parts of their anatomy. This could prove interesting, hopefully also amusing, .... but there will be no photos for you all! I will, however, post you less interesting but safer pictures of the snow, if, and when, it arrives - sure many of you saw enough to last you a lifetime last winter in the northern hemisphere... but as you now bask in glorious spring weather it will make you feel grateful for it being our turn to shiver. But not today - today is for warm, barefoot enjoyment for the first day of Queens Birthday Weekend.... bliss.


May 27, 2009

Secret South of New Zealand

I get a lot of people interested in visiting New Zealand and not all because of Lord of the I thought I would choose some pictures of the South Island to show you.  Recently, one of my veterinary colleagues changed his lifestyle and went off to study eco-tourism; in the summer, he takes overseas trampers around the South Island on various guided tours.... for the winter, he has gone to Europe.

These pictures are all from one of those tours.... so here are a few thousand words.......

 Interested in  seeing it for yourself?
Check out

May 24, 2009

the birds have flown

They left this morning..

they remembered both the cats..

all the bags

the computer

The car seats and buggy were all helps that their uncle works there  - and is an inventor :)

the baby

and lots of people came to say goodbye...

They are up, safe, settled into the temporary unit... and a bit shellshocked. As we all are...

all the best up there guys and see ya in September

May 23, 2009

Wild weather in New Zealand

A severe wind warning has been issued as gusts of up to 140kmh bear down on Wellington.
MetService forecaster Oliver Druce said yesterday's bleak weather was only going to get worse as southerly gusts increased today, reaching gale-force speeds of up to 140kmh in exposed places.

Not having a very good run of weather here in Christchurch- in fact the whole country is being lashed with storms, cold weather, rain, flooding and gales, the inter island ferries care mainly cancelled, and it's just the sort of day to sit by the fire with a bowl of hot minestrone, the internet ( pleeease no power cuts) and listen to some music... currently David Bowie, "The Man who Sold the World"...

I might venture out later... everyone else is out - so I am having a "Home Alone" session... my daughter has decided to run into town to visit her brother at his work..... after advising her of the risks of hypothermia, checking how she is dressed, that she is carrying her phone in case of injury, I have gone back to the fire.. I realise that while she might achieve a sylph like figure this way, I would need to be offered a choice between doing it or sacrificing a limb before I would choose to run out there right now! Luckily his work is in a hotel - there are promises of hot coffee and heaters when she gets there....but then she has to run back...hmmm..

Yesterday my parents called in so we had hot soup by the fire for afternoon tea, and then Phoebe's family came over later and we all had takeaways... mmm Hell's Pizza delivered... decadence. Was a lovely night. My beloved did some work on their blog last night and they have a lovely new header and title. Do have a look - Treacy Travels.  Tomorrow they fly away to Auckland... weather permitting! The weather is probably warmer, but no drier up there either.

How do you eat your "Mallowpuffs" ... the girls cracked theirs on their heads first ...

Someone is going to miss Saffy... and their own dog, who is staying here in Christchurch with some friends.

They all went through to catch the final of "American Idol" - 24 hours after it screened in America, but we still didn't know the results - the wee rock star to the right knew all the words to Pink's song.. "So What.I"m Still a Rock Star...", and is singing loudly as I took that picture.

The animals are not so keen on this wild weather...  but they have the right idea - sleep on electric blankets or near the heaters...

It is my partner's birthday tomorrow - not the best day to farewell the family, but we will go and have lunch with my parents.. meanwhile I might just go and meet with him at work and see if we can have a romantic dinner together in the break between the dress rehearsal and the concert... he is looking after the Symphony Orchestra all day - the radio ads for it keep playing the Harry Potter theme!

CSO Proms Series: The Magic Wand

The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra presents a world of fairy tales, dreams and mythical creatures at Christchurch Town Hall as a part of their AMI Insurance Proms Series.

Let the CSO whisk you away into a magical musical kingdom. Magician/compere Tom Woods will create illusions of supernatural feats for the whole family to enjoy.

This concert will delight and entertain those who believe magic really does exist.
 Sounds right up his alley - he loves magic :)

Take care everyone, and keep warm if you are in New Zealand :)

May 19, 2009

Family and work updates

Phoebe's family have started a blog of their travels ... I will add it to the links on my page too.  Hope you enjoy following their journey too :)

Meanwhile, here are some pics of Phoebe taken the last couple of weeks: she is 7 months old :)
 "I have two teeth and like to play with my food"

"I crawl everywhere and like to play with small things...."

Then I stand and examine stuff... until I sit down suddenly or topple over backwards!

 I took my family out for a farewell dinner - Grandpas and uncles and all....

Yesterday, I started the week with some Monday morning fun as my class had their traditional, annual revision session for their first test with me... so we had chocolate fish races and fitted in some other activities... it was a fun morning. :)

Engrossed, but check out the headgear.... some years the winning team wears them, other years they make the losing team wear them!

Competitive creativity between questions.... balloon animals...

The winner of the card tower.... 

Its a stormy cold night here and the rain and wind are lashing the windows! It might be snowing by tomorrow - Keep warm everyone

May 17, 2009

Air New Zealand in Autumn

I have been enjoying the new ads for our national airline....

Here is the one showing.. a fairly brave, but tasteful ad that is catching a bit of attention!

and, if you enjoyed that, here is the making of it....

Off to spend our probably last day with Phoebe's family before they fly off next weekend. We have already bought the tickets for a visit to see them in late September- prices are too good to ignore! In fact, we should really book some for Australia next year as they are unlikely to go lower and we have been discussing having a family holidays over there with them the following September.

It is a beautiful day - warm breezes, sunny and the autumn colours are sooo beautiful at the moment. The garden is looking wonderful, with the second lot of trees behind the sleep out being cut down this week, letting a little more early sun into the house.

I have always loved the spring and autumn changes here - I guess as I was from the UK, it was the main reason I wanted to move to the south island after years of the far north. They do beaches well up there, and the flowers are stunning, lush tropical colours of pohutakawa, bougainvillea and hibiscus, but I was getting tired of the humidity and heavy rain, flooding, and to be honest, the crime levels!


Our first jump was from Whangarei to Queenstown in 1995 ... almost opposite ends of the country.

We stocked up on wool clothes, thermals, electric blankets and ski gear, and learned how to drive a log burner. Our first winter was minus 15C... and we loved it...

The autumn colours are spectacular too!
Arrowtown autumn festival

In 1997 we moved to Christchurch, and I now see it as home. I get the best of the seasons, and I can usually sleep at night, not too hot, and the cold frosts give way to clear sunny days.
Christchurch - punting the Avon in autumn

I also don't miss the creepy crawlies... ants, and sand flies and mossies... we do get them a little bit here, just not in the huge amounts we had up north. I do miss the rainbow colours of the lady birds.. up there they are not just red, but all shades.

As I grow older, I find the changing seasons have increasingly begun to measure the stages of my life. I have learned to really appreciate the colourful changes, and I look at the spring flowers with a new appreciation that I lacked completely in my youth... "yeah, pretty, so what?". Now, I know I will not be here to see them forever; they are a special treat to be savoured.



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