December 16, 2014

Thank you Christchurch

SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team) is rebuilding the city's earthquake damaged roads, fresh water, wastewater and storm water networks.

Some of the workers celebrated the halfway point of Christchurch's horizontal infrastructure rebuild with a song and dance...
This is great news - and when you watch it, think about the background to the scenes as they are a great indication of the reality of life in Christchurch - rubble, concrete, demolition and rebuild all happening.  Once the underground work is finished, the top level work can be done!

For more information on the process you can visit

November 27, 2014

The Last Goodbye - Memory Lane for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

For those of us who love the movies..

As we wait for the final movie of The Hobbit Trilogy to be released, the end credit music has been released. Sung by Billy Boyd, aka Peregrine Took....

A wonderful trip down memory lane.
And a tribute to Peter Jackson and his team.

It is incredible how many years New Zealand has been involved in the making of these movies - and how many people here have been involved in their creation. Not to mention the numbers of people who visit here to see the places it was filmed....

Made me quite tearful....

November 15, 2014

Birthday Mindfulness

I have had a fabulous birthday.
In fact it has been a really great week.
There have been so many wonderful moments with students and other friends and being surrounded by family tonight was a final highlight.
Thank you to all of you who wrote on facebook, sent me flowers, gave me presents and joined me celebrating.  It was all very much appreciated.
There is something special about finding contentment and feeling peaceful.
I guess you can only really begin to understand it when you have had something to compare it to.

This week I explored our Tuatara friends at Peacock Springs with the vet nursing students.

I hope you can see more pictures from many years of visits at this link....

It truly is a magical and beautiful place. 

We had two award ceremonies for our classes of students that are finishing. The second one was at Alva Rados Mexican Cantina.... 

and they gave us lovely things ( the bottle Sam Neill's Two Paddocks Pinot Noir was pretty awesome to get too ) 

Flowers from the night class on Monday night

and the vet nurses gave Poppy a brand new bed for use at she doesn't have to lie on a scrappy blanket in class time. She loved it.... but I think she thought it might really be for the cats!  

I admired the mural visible from outside Venuti's Italian restaurant in Colombo St.

We shared lovely things at work on my birthday - thx Jules for the chocolate truffle cake and Tina for the lovely mud cake. :)

Today I walked the dogs along the lake and enjoyed the sunshine before heading over to celebrate for the evening. It was warm and sunny - bliss.

The family gathered  at my parent's house tonight with lovely presents and champagne. It was truly a privilege to have them all there.  I am never sure each year if all four will make it, between their travels and other commitments, so I savoured the pleasure of it. I am sure there are photos of the night, but I don't have them yet....but I did get one of the beautiful cake that Alex secretly made yesterday and surrounded with sweet peas from our garden....  delicious :)

Tonight my mother rang from England and we had a lovely chat. It's our second birthday together since I found her...

GB, who has been a great support to us over the years through Jaz's surgery and recovery, plus all the other not so pleasant events since,  has to stay in the UK for the whole Scottish winter this year, rather than his usual summer migration to New Zealand, so we were chatting on facebook. He asked me this week how I was.  I was able to honestly say I was happy and contented.
A year older.. much wiser and much happier.
Living for the moment.
And loving it.

November 1, 2014

Botanic Gardens

It's the first day of November and a beautiful, hot, sunny day here in Christchurch.  We celebrated with a trip to the new visitors centre at the Botanic Gardens. 
That's Phoebe and Jaz waving off the bridge where we arranged to meet, but I didn't realise until after I took the photo...

First stop coffee or beer at the new building. Amazing place and lovely to sit out under the umbrellas. 

An original transport box that brought plants on the ships to New Zealand. 

Molly using the magnifying screen.

My favourite rose.."Peace".

It's a warm evening still so enjoying a fish and chip dinner with the girls.

Our wisteria is finally flowering over the sleep out. 
Cygnets on the river by the house..

Peaceful times. 
Rupert sunbathing....

Had a lovely windy week in Wellington and a wonderful night at the Empire Show. Really worth a look. 

Amazing balancing act.

Lots of visitors... Love having them 

Happy November.  Lots of birthdays happening this month and end of year dinners for our classes. I even got new Xmas lights yesterday so holidays are not far away :)

October 26, 2014

Is this Christchurch? | Human Travelling

I haven't written much about post earthquake Christchurch for a while. Today I found this article and wanted to share it because it captures the atmosphere here so well. What better way to "see" the city than through the eyes of visitors that have visited before, pre earthquakes.


October 23, 2014

"The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made"

Go and see this great safety clip at the link above -
As the next Hobbit movie is out soon - the new safety video for Air New Zealand will be used ahead of the movie's release. They have called it "The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made"

I'm heading up to Wellington next week myself so looking forward to seeing Gollum in the airport again. I hope they use it on the plane :)

As The Hobbit trilogy kicked off with An Unexpected Journey, the franchise partnered with Air New Zealand for a safety video in 2012. The airline then debuted a Smaug airplane last year for The Desolation of Smaug. As the trilogy comes to a close this year with The Battle of The Five Armies, director Peter Jackson and star Elijah Wood have teamed up for "The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made".
Clocking in at just over four and a half minutes, this safety video also features cameos from Dean O'Gorman (Fili), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast the Brown) and Weta Workshop co-founder Sir Richard Taylor.

October 11, 2014

Happy Birthday Phoebe

A beautiful day with lovely people celebrating Phoebe's sixth birthday.... which just feels unbelievable as she really can't be six already!

Getting ready....


Cupcake decorating....
Special hugs with Mum

Nom nom nom
Love you Phoebe xx
 Just a perfect day :)

October 10, 2014

Relaxation and Restoration, Nelson Style

Its been a brilliant two weeks off...  badly needed and greatly appreciated.

I stocked up the boys...

and headed off to see Libby and Davy in Nelson.

It was the first trip since Rowie left them.... so Ollie did a great job of filling some of the spot.

We filled the days with food, shopping and a lot of fun.

Kaiteriteri Beach

Giant Lamingtons from Motueka Bakery..... 
Between the shopping, we went up to the Motueka Sunday Market and the lamingtons from the bakery, on to Kaiteriteri Beach, and then home via Mapua where we lunched at the Jester House Cafe - a well deserved winner of the NZ Cafe of the year.  As it says on their website
Perfect on a winter's day with steaming a hot bowl of Tasman Bay seafood chowder enjoyed by the blazing open fire to warm you through.
and that is exactly what we did as there was a cool wind despite the sunny clear day.

Lovely old house at Jester House cafe

Feeding the eels at Jester House Cafe - with the help of the resident cat
The Aporo stream is the natural habitat of the New Zealand long finned eel (tuna). The tame eels come every day from September until May to be hand feed.  

We visited Royce Mcglashen Pottery  and had tea at the beautiful and historic Melrose House...

and did i mention the shopping? Luckily the extra 10 kg of weight was easily covered by the large suitcase I took, and the new silver, hard shell, multi wheeled cabin bag, affectionately known as "The Puppy" as it follows you everywhere.

Thinking of puppies, we went to the World of Wearable Arts gallery showing the 2013 entries - some amazing stuff.
I loved the costume made with masses of Qwerty Keys - and it had a little dog to match...

The other costumes were also amazing - 

Photos cant do them justice....

Home to a lovely sunny week and many birthdays to celebrate.  Phoebe is six tomorrow!!!  Party party party.... then family get together for James' birthday on Sunday. Poppy recently turned four too....

Loving the garden springing into life... the blossom is so thick in the driveway and the white wisteria is budding over the sleep out....

Taking time to savour the break and appreciate the good times - an essential part of the self care process. We all need to do it - the last two weeks have been a time of great sadness and loss for the veterinary world as another wonderful vet is taken by depression and suicide.  Dr Sophia Yin's death is a tragedy and a huge loss to the profession - her work on low stress handling has been a breath of fresh air across the world.
Her legacy will continue from her website

Tributes have poured in ....
Dr. Yin's passing has been a cataclysmic event in the animal-training and veterinary community and is sparking some important conversations about the prevalence of depression among those who care for animals (Jessica Dolce wrote a great post on "compassion fatigue"), and specifically among vets. Veterinarians are believed to be four times more likely to commit suicide than people in other professions. One recent study found that two thirds of vets surveyed had suffered from clinical depression; of that group, only a third had sought professional help. 
Some good advice for vets

You deserve the same level of compassionate care that you give your clients. You do not need to be perfect or give until you are empty in order to earn your self-care. Give to yourself with as much enthusiasm and skill as you give to others.
You can do that by getting help. If you are suffering from compassion fatigue symptoms or you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or anything else: seek professional help. The cruel twist of depression is that its very nature makes reaching out for help difficult. So get help early.

I don’t know what was happening in Dr. Yin’s life, but I am so sorry that she was struggling and felt such despair. She meant so much, to so many. She was making a real difference in the world and she will be missed. My heart goes out to her friends and family. I hope they take some comfort in knowing that Dr. Yin was deeply respected, loved, and treasured by people and their pets around the world.
You made a difference Dr. Yin. Thank you.


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