February 28, 2013

The Cardboard Cathedral

At singing today I realized that our Jazz School has a view of the new cardboard cathedral rising up. It is on the site where St Johns Church stood before the earthquakes, in Latimer square, where James and Jess were married six years ago.
A nice view to sing rounds by :)

February 26, 2013

Love, life and death

Love.... A glorious weekend celebrating the wedding of two wonderful beautiful people... a sunny day, great venue, good food and much happiness and laughter with a wonderful lunch to carry on the celebrations on Sunday. Congratulations to Caitlin and Hayden. Wishing you every happiness in your lives together.  

My daughter was chief bridesmaid.... I am still waiting on pictures as I didn't take any, but the flowers back here at home are beautiful. 

We both appreciated all the horses behind the gazebo... but laughed at finding the broken white model one down the back of the vineyard. The same one that was loaded onto a truck here at home recently ... strange to discover the absent wedding planner is your ex partners new girlfriend .. this explained a lot to the families involved in the wedding! New Zealand is famed for there being only two degrees of separation instead of seven, bu it is still surprising how life has a way of being stranger than fiction.

iPad and I hung out with some special girls later on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a fish and chip dinner (well I did, iPad just risked getting a bit greasy).  

Rosie was such a good girl too. 

Poppy was recovering from some hard work with the class on Friday...

Had a lovely chat with my first mother, Mollie, who lives in England, last night,  and then dinner with my lovely parents here tonight.  So privileged to have the chance to enjoy them all. One father still to go :) 

So that was love and life this week.... but finally, sadly, the death part. After procrastinating for some days, I put our little Nala to sleep tonight when I got home. The wee wild, squitty, mad but affectionate creamy cat that was ill and finally reaching the end of her days went off to sleep in my arms and I bawled my eyes out.  It never gets any easier. It was special to actually sit and cuddle her as contact like that has been rare and always strictly on her terms. Alex did the honours digging in the dark and she is sleeping peacefully near my window in the garden where she has lived for half her life.  I couldn't face having her cremated.  This is her home and she can stay here, even if we don't stay for ever.  

Sleep well Nala.  Hugs from us all.

February 22, 2013

Christchurch Before and After the Quake

In the middle of this clip, they show some before and after footage of the central city. It would help many people who don't live her see what has gone.... it helps us remember, which still hurts.

As I post this, we had a nice, noisy aftershock... there have been 3 today. Lost count of how many now. They say over 11,000. I am just glad I haven't felt all of them!

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

1.51pm on 22 2 11 - Magnitude 6.1

Two years today. A date still firmly in our minds. A time today when none of us wanted to be where we were on that day; heading outside at work to stand in respectful silence for one minute to reflect together on those that were lost.

Two years...feels like yesterday and at the same time, a lifetime in shared grief, tough experiences and ongoing issues for so many.
A moment in time that we relive too often - yesterday's fire alarms and evacuation down the stairs at work triggered anxiety in us all.  Last time we did this.......
The rumble of heavy traffic still makes us pause and wait. Is this it?

Today the city mourns the 185 people who didn't make it through and the many who were so badly injured. The flowers are back in the road cones. A reminder of again as we drive around the city - where roads are covered in the orange sentinels.

My own small contribution from the garden to a cone near work.

On a positive note, the article today on the rescue of Olivia Cruickshank and her daughter from Cashel Mall is worth reading. Survival against the odds; left for dead under a blanket.

and then go back and watch the video on here, (sorry can't embed it for you)  where this picture can be seen briefly, indicating there is a dead body beneath the blanket. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/videos/4689646/Aftermath-of-Christchurch-quake-b-Graphic-content-b

Just one of the many stories, but an indication of the mayhem on the day.

Take care :)

February 20, 2013

A Celebration of Cats


Someone sent me these facts about cats today, so I thought I would share it...just for all you cat lovers everywhere..... with plenty of pictures of our own past and present cats inbetween and some from a friend's kittens that were hand reared.

1. The nose pad of a cat is ridged in a pattern that is unique, just like the fingerprint of a human.

2. A cat's heart beats twice as fast as a human heart at 110 to 140 beats per minute.

3. Cats knead with their paws when they're happy.

4. The domestic cat is the only cat species able to hold its tail vertically while walking. All wild cats hold their tails horizontally or tucked between their legs while walking.

5. During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens (the birds in Gareth's back yard are particularly uncomfortable with that fact!)

6. Cats have 290 bones in their bodies and 517 muscles.

7. There are three body types for a cat - Cobby type is a compact body, deep chest, short legs, broad head and the eyes are large and round; Muscular type is a sturdy body and round, full-cheeked head; Foreign type is a slender body with long legs and tail, wedge-shaped head, tall ears and slanting eyes.

8. Know how old your cat really is? If your cat is 3, they will be 21 in human years, if your cat is 8 then 40 in human years and if your cat is 14 then they will be 70 in human years.

9. The average age for an indoor cat is 15 years while the average age for an outdoor cat is 3 to 5 years.


10. A cat's normal body temperature is 38.6 C.

11. There are two species of wild cats in Africa and Europe that still hunt. These two species both resemble the domestic tabbies.

12. Cats are partially colour blind with the equivalent of human red / green colour blindness.


13. Cats don't see "detail" very well. To them, a person may appear hazy when standing in front of them.

14. Cats only need 16% of the amount of light that humans do to see. Their night vision is amazing!

15. The colour of a kitten's eyes will change as it grows older.

16. At birth, kittens can't see or hear. Cats open their eyes after five to fifteen days, begin to develop their eyesight and hearing at approximately 2 weeks and begin to walk at 20 days.

17. Kittens begin dreaming at just over one week old.


18. A cat's ear pivots 180 degrees. They have 30 muscles in each ear and use twelve or more muscles to control their ear movement.



19. Cats are the sleepiest of all mammals. They spend 16 hours of each day sleeping. With that in mind, a seven year old cat has only been awake for two years of its life!

20. Cats are more active during the evening hours.


21. An adult cat has 32 teeth.


22. Cats spend 30% of their waking hours grooming themselves.


Interesting.... hope you enjoyed that

I will leave it to the kitten to say bye


February 17, 2013

Pet Death, Crystal Balls and Voodoo Dolls

Poppy lost a friend today, Juddy, who is standing on the right in this recent photo.
Sadly, we didn't get there until after he had been buried and, unlike the other dogs in that household, Poppy didn't get to say goodbye.  Watching the other dogs later, all sitting where his body had lain when they brought Juddy home from the clinic, made us think about how dogs see death and what they must think.  Tonight, one of the people I follow who lives high in The Rockies wondered the same thing... so I thought I would send people over there to ponder the question and maybe comment here or there, or both. I know that our other dog Jessie was bewildered and lost for a while after we put Saffy down and I am sure others feel their other pets have "mourned".
Juddy's friends said goodbye.... lying beside him, licking his nose.....

R.I.P. Jud-jud.

Crystal Balls are something we often wish for but is ignorance, particularly of things we cannot prevent, better? I reread an old blog post recently that I wrote two years ago:- http://fourpawsandwhiskers.blogspot.co.nz/2011/02/fresh-layout-new-beginning.html, written after the few turbulent months that covered Arch's death, Jaz's tumour and later surgery, the September 2010 earthquake, Saffy's death and just before the inquest.  I wondered what else could go wrong. WIthin 10 days the city was turned upside down by the February earthquake. If anyone had a crystal ball, I dont suppose they would have believed it if they had foreseen the damage, deaths, red zones, upheaval and stress it has caused to so many living here.  However, it would have saved many people from death and major injury which probably makes it all worth it. Next week, it is the two year anniversary and as we continue to demolish buildings all over the central city and suburbs, there are at least signs of recovery, rebuilding, and repairs. We are a long way off normal and people are still coping with the continual changes, battles with insurances and personal losses.  This weekend I looked again at the city as I drove my friends round from Sydney. We tend to forget, living here, how much has changed. The new normal seems strange, yes, but of course normal!
Anyway - I was amused that two years since that blog post I felt like I hadn't made much progress.... but of course I have. Just more changes to deal with.  A peek into a crystal ball at Xmas might have shown me how different my life would be within a few short weeks, and certainly ruined what was actually a very happy Xmas!  The New Year walk out was a painful turn of events, with no warning, but I can recommend that discovering the extent of the lying and cheating certainly helps your recovery.  You think you know someone, but really people are like diamonds and you only know the faces they choose to turn towards you, while the flawed centre remains hidden, further obscured by the illusion you have in your mind.
In the absence of crystal balls, and because Karma is so slow, one of my friends at work said she had seen some wonderful string voodoo dolls at Riccarton Mall and couldn't decide which one she should get me. I happened to be over there today having a wonderful brunch at Drexels with my Sydney based friends and I saw the dolls there.  They were funny... but I didn't buy one as i don't think carrying something like a Satan doll around will be good for anyone! I do love some of the other String Dolls on this website....  http://www.mystringdolls.com/page_stringdollstory.html. Some are very appropriate....

Meanwhile I had a great week, a lovely Valentines day dinner, a great barbecue last night, and after my brunch today, a family get together in Hagley Park. All good stuff.

February 10, 2013

Golden Summer Days

Making the most of these lovely days that have restarted after a spell of much needed rain for the farms and gardens.  It will probably be one of those summers that gets into the record books for so many long, hot days and we have done our best to make as many memories as we can.  

Still lots to do round the house - particularly clearing out the garage, but the heat in the afternoons has defeated us, so might be a job for Easter at this rate.  The rest of the work is painting as the garden is nearly done...  great job by Alex :)

Alex at Work
Clearing the back fence

Here are a few pictures from our activities over the past fortnight...

A hot, fun afternoon in the waves at Waikuku Beach...

 Jaz and Mark's dog Rosie with Poppy in the river

 One way to cool off after the beach- wash Dad's car.
 Home grown carrots for dinner....
 Dinner in the sun last week... Mark made butter chicken with onion bhajees and roti - nice one!

Alex and I went over again last night for dinner too... but I didn't take any pictures.  It was so hot we stayed inside with the air-con going but we went to the supermarket for some extra food, and later, finished up with Rhubarb and Apple Crumble, all picked from the garden, and raspberry with white chocolate Kapiti icecream - delicious - thanks Jaz :) Great combination.

I will take pictures of the fish tank next time - it looks stunning and there are now baby guppies to watch.

As we seem to live outdoors so much, I took this picture after lunch at our place last week...  A "three umbrella day". It has been so good to have the shade on these really hot days.

Poppy - on guard in the sun, in her bed at work, at rest in her swing bed, and hiding under my skirt....
What a life...

After looking at these two pictures that Alex took, I have clipped her face.... shaved the beard off more so no more crusty ends..

Was lovely to have a short week and a day off on Wednesday for Waitangi Day.  We got to Sparks in the Park a day later than advertised, after it was postponed by the mid week rain - and the fireworks and the orchestra were great, as usual. Learned from out mistakes last year and parked near to the road so escaped really quickly from the crowds.  Last time it took the entire first CD of Phantom of the Opera just to reach the road...

Met most of my new class on Thursday, the rest will be in tomorrow. Looking forward to a great year.... seems to be a lot of travelling coming up too - Auckland, Wellington, Kaikoura. Will be great :)

February 3, 2013

Christchurch Soaks Up Sunniest January On Record | Stuff.co.nz

So it is official - a long hot January of high 20's, low 30's weather. It has been filled with long evenings outside, in the courtyard, at the beach, with barbecues and a chance to hang out with friends under the full moon on perfect Canterbury nights. A summer to remember and treasure indeed.
Yesterday I went to the last night of "Grease" at The Court Theatre - I have loved the show since I got to be in the chorus of it in Whangarei many, many years ago. Impressed with the staging, the subtle reworking of the songs and their order, and the energy of the cast. Just brilliant. It was filled with surprises too.
It has been a peaceful and gradual return to work, writing and printing and thinking, Such a quiet place in the holidays, Easier to park, walk and get lunch... but would be dull without our reason for working there at all. I have four classes of students starting this week - so the buzz and life will return once more.
Liam arrived home at 4 a.m. Saturday morning for a few days break from Aviation School in Motueka. He says he is now flying the helicopter solo round the airfield; no further until he learns to navigate. Makes a great chance for a few family get-togethers so Jaz and Mark are bringing the girls over for lunch today and my parents are coming for the afternoon. James and Jess are away ( I hear trout fishing in Reefton) but will join us for lunch on Waitangi day this Wednesday as it is a public holiday in New Zealand ). Yay - another short week
The Sparks in the Park Concert with the Orchestra and the fireworks are on Tuesday night too so lots to look forward to.


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