January 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Dad and the end of the holidays

This week Alex and I went over the Port Hills with my parents for lunch at She Universe Chocolat Cafe in Governor's Bay to celebrate Dad's Birthday....  it was a gorgeous day and we sat out on the deck to enjoy the view.

The food was beautiful.

Meringue, berry coulis and cream with a hot chocolate. Heaven.....

We went home via Lyttleton, then over to Sumner and finished with some shopping at The Tannery.   Thanks for a really lovely day and glad you had such a good birthday  :)

Last week we visited the The Tea House in Lincoln.  High Tea and fine china....  worth a vist :)

It has been a good week - technically the last week of my holidays although I did do a lot of work from home...

Spent a lovely day with The Girls  -

Pyjamas and swapped Ipads....
 and Mark cooked us dinner. Caitlin helped too...

Rhubarb and Apricot Crumble in progress....

Rosie let Poppy eat with her.... even gave her the extra large bowl!

The Annual World Buskers Festival is here in town.  Alex took Nick and Sylvia and got pulled up on stage, and then on Sunday we went to see The Boy with Tape on his Face. 

Sam is immensely talented and it was hilarious.  He is very successful now overseas and it was a pleasure to see him back here.  He is after all a CPIT graduate  :)

Sam Wills began his performing career in Timaru at the age of thirteen while he trained as an apprentice clown. He has since mastered a diverse range of performance styles and skills. He holds a diploma in New Circus from Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology's Circus School where he has taught juggling there for two years. His interest in the phenomenon of traditional circus freak shows and influences such as the Jim Rose Circus and the Tokyo Shock Boys led to experiments with shock comedy, earning him his first Pulp Comedy appearance, the Best New Face award for the 2001 season, and the title ‘Prince of Cringe’ from Truth and TV Extra magazine.

Recently Liam took his cousin Blair up for a helicopter ride...

Nick and Sylvia have returned to Paris, but Blair is exploring the North Island now.

Alex and I are trying to keep ahead of the garden growth. The sunflowers he planted have just come out - love the splash of colour.

James has been fishing again ...

Kirsty continues with Chemistry experiments ...  this weekend it has been lemon batteries, silver cleaning and copper plating nails. Brings it all back for me too. Poppy was hoping the lemons were edible...

The weather may not have been brilliant at times, but it has been a great summer holiday. Was good to catch up with my workmates again this week and soon, there will be new students arriving....

Our lovely new animal room tutor at work, Rebecca, is from Yorkshire. She and her partner Tom have chosen to come and live here in Christchurch.  Despite the earthquakes, and unlike most of the new people here, they are both in jobs that are not associated with the rebuild.
Rebecca has a blog - Re:Becca.  It has been interesting to read about their experiences and new lives together here in Christchurch.  It is always refreshing to see the place you live in through new eyes.
Click here for her latest post - but worth reading back through the previous posts  -  she has some great photos too.


January 20, 2014

Fallen Eagle... Wellington earthquake.

The huge eagle with Gandalf aboard that hovers above the people in Wellington Airport was shaken loose by the earthquake up there this afternoon...
It is advertising the latest Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug.
Certainly desolated now...


A "severe'' magnitude 6.3 quake has damaged homes and closed roads in the lower North Island, toppling walls and chimneys and sending rockfalls across roads.

The quake struck 10km north of Castlepoint in Wairarapa, at a depth of 50km, at 3.52pm, GeoNet said.

Sara Page, GeoNet public information specialist at GNS Science, said GeoNet had received more than 6000 "felt" reports from the public by 4.30pm, with some reporting damage.

"As expected after a quake of this size, there have been multiple aftershocks, and these will continue for some time as the region settles," she said.

There are more photos on that link too...

I am pleased to say I didn't feel this one personally- but I do feel for the people up there. We know all too well the fear it creates.

January 17, 2014

Thankful Thursday

My nephew Nick and Sylvie arrived back today and we collected them in the full heat of the afternoon sizzle from New Regent St.  We were early so we walked round to the Pyne Gould site and thought about the earthquake and the people who died on that site.

The Crown has bought the Christchurch property where the Pyne Gould Corporation building stood until it collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake.
The purchase has been made to incorporate the property at 233 Cambridge Terrace into the new North Frame as part of the post-disaster Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.

Then we wandered down New Regent St - good to see it back in partial action at least. The tram even went down :)

After dinner later I managed to get copies of the pictures we took last week before they set off to do the North Island trip.  The five boy cousins n the back row, Kirsty in front of me.. and Nick's partner Sylvie front left with Jess.  
Three generations together from Canada,  France and NZ

So tonight I am grateful for family, and the chance to spend time with them. 

The boys visited Canterbury Museum and took a photo of the knife sharpener their great great grandfather George Kent invented in England

Last night I learned that my birth great grandfather founded a Nursery that still exists after three generations as a garden centre in England... looking forward to getting some pictures of them soon :)

I helped my friend clean her house yesterday before their move to Nelson.  Will miss you heaps Libby. I am grateful for good friends like you and that facebook and skype will keep us in touch....

I am thankful that Beatrice is still alive. She is enjoying the rugs I leave down for her.

Jessie cant make up her mind where to sleep....

Poppy waiting for the postman.

I saw this today.  It was posted on a forum for those recovering from life with pathological liars and toxic people. I am grateful to the people who help this way while we blunder blindly in the dark making sense of it all. Finding two realities of the same person is hard to get your head around.  Of course eventually you realise only one is the reality.... the other was only ever an act.
You know someone finally by seeing what they hide.

Learning to trust again will be a slow process but meanwhile I am counting my blessings and working on all the others.

January 13, 2014

Children and pets make a home

Chemistry 101 has made the days interesting.... when Kirsty is not burning mothballs and salt, or dissolving things into water, she is covering other chemical reactions...
Did you know red cabbage water was a pH indicator? Here it is being tested against a range of household chemicals....  and yes she did clean up and I got to cook the rest of the cabbage for dinner....

Some of the other chemical experiments we have going on involve more appetising ingredients...
Hand rolled icing, chocolate truffle, and chocolate drizzled strawberries.  I hear it tasted very good! I did get to clean the bowl.
and yes he cleaned up too....

Thanks to Alex's green fingers we have a great vege patch and an amazing array of cottage garden wildflowers in bloom around the garden.  You have seen pictures of the  sweet peas already,  but I'm a bit worried the two of them will combine their skills and realise we have the makings of an opium farm! Love the reds....

Poppy and Jess enjoyed a walk on the beach on Saturday.  An overcast but warm day - as you can see it was hard to move amongst the crowds there. I collected fresh sea water for the chemistry 101 student... and of course shells. Sigh....


Yesterday the Nor'wester got up. We decided to walk on the roads as trees were bending so hard. Sure enough, as we walked the dogs back along the river we could hear sharp cracks regularly, and then see branches falling. One narrowly missed a car and was followed by this larger branch tumbling from the top... luckily it got stuck in the tree.

Horseshoe Lake

It's a gorgeous morning and my workmate is coming for lunch.  I think she even means to do some work! Must go and combine a few chemicals for her. I think anything containing finely balanced grapes and alcohol will be a good place to begin.... take her mind off work and back on holidays.

January 10, 2014

Waipara Wineries

Went with my parents for a trip out to Amberley and Waipara and enjoyed seeing a few of the wineries out there.
My favourite has to be Pegasus Bay.

You can explore the gardens too.

Tried to get a panorama...

Their first "selfie"

We both like blue?
It was a lovely day :)

Poppy has been exploring a few gardens of her own....

while Jess has a new favourite spot. I'm impressed she can still jump up there- she is 15 sometime this month...

Jaz and Mark and the girls are back from camping in Naseby - lovely to see them.  They had a great time - Jaz took this picture.

In between I have caught up with lot of friends - thanks for the truly scrumptious dinner Jo and Nick :) for the great shopping Jeni and Kirsten - love the Ali Baba basket and the jewellery (wearing some of it in the photo above). Also for the fun WareWhare trawling this week Libby- gonna miss it when you leave shortly!  And to all the others who have done book club and movie nights too - loved Philomena and August:Osage County and Captain Phillips. Next week Book Thief.

Running out of days to fit a few things in but if you are looking for something to do when here in Christchurch, Ruth has some good ideas for a tour of the still standing and the new. I might try and do some of this in stages!

At least it is warm here. Have been watching the freezing weather in America and the widespread floods in the UK and been thankful not to be there - but worried about those who are. Good to see they are ok on facebook at least.

January 5, 2014

Living in the Now

I read this by Saz today and it made me smile.
The future is brighter, actually NO!! the NOW is brighter..I want to be present in the now, 'cos it's taken me a long time to realise, I mean really realise, that is all we have.The past is gone, over, just a memory somewhere inside...but being present and tangibly making myself FEEL everything, every word, thought, feeling, touch...is all there is, and all there ever will be...no more what if's, no more well this might or might not happen...It is Now writing this post, that matters and is the only real thing, this moment...
and so here is 2014, unfolding...live each moment... now that IS exciting!
I have followed her blog for many years - through her marriage, separation, the death of her lovely mother and fellow blogger, Moannie,  house moves, her new business, many losses, recent successes, and quiet periods of reflection.

Change requires us to reflect on what is important to us.
Perhaps it takes dark times to make us really appreciate living.

2013 was filled with many troubles, frustrations and frankly, revulsion at the situation that unfolded.  I have seen sadistic and evil acts, that I can never unsee, inflicted on strangers, and had to deal with the emotional trauma that has been inflicted on people I love and care about. I must live with that.  There are other victims still working through it too.

It was also filled with love and support and appreciation of many incredibly wonderful friends and my families - my lovely Mum and Dad and children, my mother in the UK who contacts me regularly, and of course Jaz and Mark and the girls. A huge thank you to you all from the bottom of my heart. I love you all.

This year will just be.  I know there will always be changes to deal with or battles to fight ahead of me.  I refuse to worry about them because they are not here and now....  they will get the attention they need as they happen.  New friends, new ventures also lie ahead.

But I'm just enjoying the now.

January 2, 2014

Family travels

We have had a wonderful Xmas season with family visiting - even if the weather hasn't been as perfect as it could be.  My brother has returned to Vancouver, but both of his sons have arrived here - Blair from Vancouver and Nick from where he lives in Paris, with his lovely girlfriend Sylvia, who lives in Paris but is from Madrid.  Luckily, although Spanish is her native tongue, she speaks fluent French so Nick does a great job of translating for us us all when we get too fast and noisy for her to follow.

There are some photos of us all together for a couple of nights floating around - I just haven't got copies yet, but the cousins are all enjoying catching up with each other and their grandparents are loving having them all here at the same time - first time for 14 years.  Just sad my brother missed it by days!

Liam and Alex took them off to Governors Bay this week - and stopped at She Chocolat to admire the view over a hot chocolate on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Yesterday they took off for a South Island tour - Lake Hawea, Milford, sea kayaking, Queenstown this week.  Then the visiting trio fly up north and work their way south again, getting back here later in the month.  Blair is looking for engineering work so plans to stay on this side of the world for a while.

Ready to leave - Alex with Nick and Blair and the rental car

Geraldine picnic

More sun will make it all better for them - but the views are always spectacular...
Lake Pukaki

Meanwhile - Jessie watches out the window. You can just see Motley prowling in the garden.

and Beatrice curls up in Alex's washing...

Safe trip and have fun :)


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