March 31, 2013


After all the painting effort on Friday, I finished the second coat and then spent most of Saturday tidying the garage. It was a really hot day and after some hours of smelly trips to the dump, I was grateful to water blast the house front and get wet through.   Knackered but pleased to have finally mustered the strength to do it.

Today, I painted the porch front and swept and cleared most of the garage. Finally looking good again and hopefully, can shift some stuff into there when we have to move out of the house for the EQC repairs.

It was strange sorting through the rubbish and deciding what to keep, what to throw. It's not like it was always rubbish... it is seeped in memories.  Saddle and horse gear from our lives in the last house in Yaldhurst and the horse Sam who died five years ago..... The children's school work, some of my old books collected over the years, garden tools and so many things and tools from Arch, brought home when we cleared his house after his death in 2010.  I got to know it well as I rummaged through it all trying to see what stuff I had left in the garage that was usable for house repairs....

And of course, some of the stuff was Scott's - apparently treasured for the past few years, but discarded when he left. This part was easy to toss.

But some of this stuff was from Jaz's Mum, Anne. Her papers, music, school plans.  I know it is stuff no one else wants any more. I know it has all been checked and looked at and finally abandoned. It still said a lot of the person and the life she led. I found it very hard to tip it away.

What went to the dump were just the offcasts and old possessions of three people - who are now all gone. Just stuff left to tell their tale.
So many memories and lost dreams.

What will you leave behind when someone else has to clear out your treasures and papers? What memories will it tell those who take it to the dump?

March 30, 2013

Strange Facts ABout Cats

A student put this on facebook and I went to look at the original at Pet Central.  Thought it was interesting, so sharing it for all the cat lovers ... and for the others who don't know what they are missing.

March 29, 2013

Many hands make light work.....

Thank you so much to Jaz and Mark for their help today. Finally some progress on the paintwork and the windows... you really appreciate the simple things in life sometimes - and I am grateful everyday for the fact that after Mark got me some spare parts, my taps now all work and I can turn them off easily :)

It was hot work.. apparently Christchurch had the hottest temperature in New Zealand today. Luckily,  the part we were working on stayed in the shade and the umbrellas kept the drinks cool on the table.

12.00pm Hard at work after coffee and hot cross buns starter
Putty and scrapers...
Entertaining the girls with movies
Late lunch in the shade for the troops :)
Sanded and ready to paint
Picasso at work on the trims nearby
Finally getting the front window done properly... dances little jig of happiness

Jaz was thrilled to be able to do this - Take a picture she says - this is not something she thought she would get do again two years ago!!
Yum......took Phoebe a while to bring herself to eat such a gorgeous rabbit..
Nearly done
Last part - first coat
5 pm. All done for the day - second coat tomorrow :)

So we had a fun day with plenty of laughs and it has saved Alex and I a huge amount of of time. Tomorrow Liam and I can do the second coat, and I will try and water blast the front part and shift a few spider webs, go to Bunnings for more stuff and crack on while this summer feeling weather lasts.  The joy of holidays :) At least I dont have to worry about the bare wood as autumn continues. 

The chocolate certainly helped us all recover :)

Graduation 2013

Working in education certainly adds plenty of variety to the year as we move through the seasons.  March is our usual time for the graduation of the classes we offered last year, so for a short time, we leave our current students and catch up with the news and stories of "where they are now".  Facebook has made this less of a surprise, but seeing them in person is unbeatable. Being there to watch them graduate in front of their families and friends is always special.

Since the earthquake, the ceremony has moved from the Town Hall to the CBS Arena which is sad as we miss our procession through town, along the river through Victoria Park, lone bagpipe leading the way, police stopping traffic, crowds taking pictures..... but the celebration is still there.  Like many things in this city, it is just different.

So congratulations to the veterinary nursing classes of 2012.

Easter holidays at last - enjoying a quiet day with Liam home from Motueka. We have plans for some house maintenance and family catch ups this weekend - Mark is going to bring his sanding tools over for some work on the house exterior - try to stop the rot of long neglect before another winter.  I have chocolate ready for the girls....

We have been contacted to say that Fletchers want to start the house repairs as part of the Earthquake Commission so our fate and the search for somewhere to live over the process will soon be revealed. Will be strange living in limbo - but after the past few months, change is something normal and I am getting used to it.

I think I have found my birth father.... hard to believe how much I have learned in the last three months. I am enjoying the journey of discovery of my roots, while still surrounded by the family I already know and love.  Been a nice positive note this year!

Happy Easter everyone

March 17, 2013

March Travels

Not sure how I managed to make March such a busy month, but travelling has been the main focus for the last three weekends.  After my trip to Wellington on the 1st,  I was lucky to get to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress in Auckland the following weekend - this was originally booked to be held in Christchurch, but instead was squeezed into the Sky City Convention Centre after the earthquakes destroyed those plans.  It was a huge and fascinating conference - it didn't rain once, which is amazing for Auckland. We have certainly had a summer to remember, but the country is paying dearly for it. New Zealand has officially declared drought conditions in the North Island, although the South Island is no better off.

After living in Auckland and further north for many years, it is always good to visit again. As usual I took the chance to check out the Sky Tower....

View from my room

View at night

View from the top

After a busy week back at work, it was time for the Kaikoura Trip... everything was going well, until the night before we were due to leave. Poppy became very ill.  She was quiet at work but came to the usual meetings and choir but by evening she was subdued, reluctant to move and a pathetic sight... Off to the After Hours Clinic for X rays and pain relief.

No idea what she ate, but she paid for it with gastro enteritis and it was a long night. I took her out every two hours ... at one point even feeling for a heart beat because she was so still.  By Friday morning, although better in many ways, she was too ill to leave at home with everyone at work,  so I managed to get Alex to take her over to the lovely staff at The Vet Centre in Straven Rd where she was beautifully cared for while I had to go away.  Thank you everyone :) I am pleased to say she is now home, and nearly recovered. Quieter but eating again! (on strictly controlled prescription food).

Meanwhile, 42 of us had an amazing trip to Kaikoura. The brown grass and empty rivers as we travelled north were a stark reminder of the drought.

Drought was officially declared over the North Island last week. The Grey and Buller districts are also on drought watch.
This is the worst drought in New Zealand in 70 years due to its severity and regional spread, Salinger said. Previously the highest record rainfall needed was in the summer of 1945-46, when the soil moisture deficit was 361mm.
It's been a summer of troubling milestones with a total North Island fire ban and outdoor water ban in Wellington after authorities announced last week there were just 20 days of supply left.
Dramatic satellite images of the country taken a year apart highlight the North Island's desperate need for rain as the drought continues. 
Images taken over recent weeks show how the country has become increasingly brown as drought conditions have spread.
The image taken on Tuesday shows a swathe of dry land from the tip of Northland to Lake Taupo, and the lower west and lower east coast of the North Island.
The top of the South Island is also tinder dry.
Even as I write this post - it has started to rain her ein Christchurch !!!! Fingers crossed we get enough of it steadily for a while.

In the afternoon , some of the students went to Fyffe Adventure Park for some trekking - the rest explored the beach or shopped.
Pony Trekking

Later we gather for some predinner games...

Pre dinner

Self decorated glasses

Love the Kaikoura coffees... staying with the seafood theme....
The student were a pleasure to be with and the weather was perfect. No wind, long calm evening, no hail or rain, and the seas were calm. 
Vet Nursing - Classes of 2013
The crew estimated about 600 dolphins were around them so they had a long swim without having to follow the pod. I am still working on photos from this years boat trip, but a friend, Alan, recently did Dolphin Encounter too, and he put up some pictures from his trip on Facebook. I am stealing three of them.... and I will acknowledge Alan's incredible photography skills and send you to one of his art pages. in return.

No dolphins there, but it explains how he took these great pictures.

Enjoy the beautiful Dusky Dolphins :)

March 7, 2013

Too Far From Home: Sharon Monaghan: Kindle Store

A really good read about the Christchurch quakes, as seen by someone from Scotland, with family here, who visited twice over the past two years. Ideal to help people living overseas gain some understanding of our journey here, and a good read even as a local!

March 6, 2013

Horseshoe Lake

This lovely shot across Horseshoe Lake, Christchurch, was taken this week by Becker Fraser Photography and many of the empty sections are now visible. We live in the bottom left triangle.

To compare, there is an older picture at

There are still a few remaining residents in the centre of the Horseshoe area and they recently held their own special contest to compete with the Ellerslie International Flower show that starts here in Hagley Park tomorrow. A great community despite the inevitable loss of their homes. You can find the pictures in full at CHCH EQ on Facebook.

They were also taking photos recently where I often drive home, along the River Avon at the top of the first picture - Some of the houses facing onto the river there are long abandoned.

But the view along the river on the other side is always wonderful and worth dodging all the road cones for to see.

March 2, 2013

Catch up Saturday

Catching up after a day in Wellington and enjoying the colour in the garden.

If I stop, Poppy curls up on my feet....

Before I flew up yesterday, I had recently seen the new Bear Grylls safety video for Air New Zealand... and sure enough they played it yesterday.

When I first watched it, I did laugh when they showed him stowing the remote on the Airbus.  Figured it would be a long time before I got to see one, so I was pretty pleased to find I was flying up on one - remote and all!   Little things!

Sadly, it is only a really short flight and the nice man sitting next to me wanted to talk so I didn't get to play with it at all and of course, didn't get it for the flight home.  On the plus side, the man was here for the Christchurch Rebuild and talking about renewable energy sources for the city. He was able to show me how much energy his own solar roof was generating in real time on his iPhone ( before take-off luckily) !   Great idea... and they have the contract for the new subdivision north of us.  This is their website.  Would love one of these.

SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team) is busy rebuilding the horizontal infrastructure of the city after the earthquake damaged so much of the roads and everything underneath them. Although pleased, as we need these things for continuing fresh water supply and removal of sewage and other important stuff like that,  the journey round the detours and closed roads and dug up tarmac is very tiring.  I expect it will go on for some years so we have to get used to it and allow plenty of time added on to travelling.  The world seems to be a sea of high vis jackets and orange road cones for the foreseeable future.

Today I read my copy of Deb Donnell's book - Responders.  She and Pete Seagar from Tauranga have written it to show what the people who came to help after the earthquakes experienced.  See the view behind the scenes of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management registered volunteer teams deployment.

You can order a copy here -
and it is also available in many bookshops now.
Great job Deb and Pete.

While we still have plenty of destruction happening, there is also a lot of positive rebuilding, assisted by thousands of people flooding in from many countries. Some of the buildings leave a lot to be desired,  but so did the ones they are replacing!

This block of shops in Cranford St is new....   I took one picture by night yesterday, and got the other from

Clean and modern - not bad.

This is what it looked like previously, post earthquake, but you get the idea. - taken from a blog I follow -

and from the other side....

I know which I would rather shop in.. although I miss the Thai place!

March 1, 2013

The Scale of the Universe 2

You need a more recent version of Adobe Flash Player.

I really like this site. Just zoom in and out to see the relative scales of objects.

Had a great day working in a sunny, still, peaceful Wellington. Always good to get back safely with no earthquake up there....although the three of us attending from Christchurch still find ourselves looking up at the rows of glass skyscrapers and working out a good spot to head for.

and the Crusaders play their first game tonight of the Super 15.
Have a great weekend everyone

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