December 24, 2015

Three years on and Merry Xmas :)

Xmas Lights at Shands Rd...

Three year ago I put this post on facebook...

I have had the privilege of three women being "mothers" to me in my lifetime. Yesterday I celebrated the birthday here at home of the one I have grown up with and think of as my mother. And even as we celebrated, the phone rang, and I finally spoke to my birth mother for the first time ever. Then last night, the one who I have often referred to in the past as "my other mother", who offered wise advice during some rebellious teenage years, passed away. All a bit surreal.... but makes me appreciate the importance of family and friends, Wishing you all a happy Xmas xx

Facebook brought it back as a memory today... interesting to read it again and think how things have changed in the last three years ...

Yesterday we celebrated my lovely mother's birthday again which is always a special day in the lead up to Xmas.  We thought of Elizabeth...

Yes, I talk to my first mother in England regularly which is lovely. I know so much more about where I come from now and have many photos of my ancestors! Plus I know I have sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews!  And no, I haven't met any of them. Life is complicated and things aren't always straightforward.  But its ok..... and although I cant post any pictures of them publicly, I can see them and I am glad I searched and filled the hole in my past.

Meanwhile my brother Alistair has been over from Vancouver  for a holiday and we have been able to catch up... distance makes it hard but we do our best! We celebrated Dad's birthday while he was here... he will be 90 next month so had to make the most of us all being here together.

Today I am looking forward to a lovely long Xmas weekend filled with family and friends here in Christchurch and thinking of everyone overseas that I can't be with.

Wishing you all a Merry Xmas xx

Here are a few pics from our recent ( early)  birthday celebrations for Dad. We will do it all again in January!
The bearded bloke is my nephew Blair and his lovely girlfriend Katie also joined us...

November 28, 2015

Farewells and Celebrations

What a perfect month it has been.  I love living by the river and enjoying the birds... there are babies everywhere. 

The white wisteria is out and the garden is filled with colour...

Its been a month for Birthdays...

I got to spend mine enjoying a long weekend and a Friday off work celebrating with the family. 

and then my friends took me out for a fabulous dinner. Westerley and Susan on the left, Beth with me. It was so good we went back again last week....

and last weekend, Jaz returned from a drink out with Mark on Saturday to find the girls had decorated the house and there were flowers, presents and friends waiting.  There is no way Jaz was turning 40 without some sort of celebration! The girls and Mark did a wonderful job and she was dumbstruck... 

 And as it is also their 15th wedding anniversary this week, Mark arranged for an eternity ring ... it's beautiful.

and many thanks to Graham for sending these wonderful flowers. He has been a great friend and supporter for the last few years to both Jaz and I.  

GB writes a number of blogs - and although he is not able to return to NZ at the moment, we still enjoy his posts from Scotland. Thankful Thursdays particularly! 

It was a perfect, fun, sunny evening...  xxxx

There were some farewells in some of the celebrations.  We had award dinners and a lunch for the last three classes with us this term.  So proud of what they have achieved but polytech seems very empty with them gone. My full time class - a lovely bunch :)  Im happy some are returning next year to do their diploma.

and they gave us beautiful flowers.. which I am still enjoying every day!

The part time class did dinner at Lone Star... my first visit since it reopened after the quakes.   Looking forward to them returning for year 2 next year....

and our Animal Management class opted for a picnic lunch at The Groynes, with all our dogs. It was a hot sunny day and we were glad of some shade and access to the river.   

Note the Rainbow Tail! 
Poppy was in heaven....

Its Xmas in the Park tonight - so  we are off to battle the crowds.

Tomorrow my brother is arriving from Vancouver, so its going to be a very hectic fortnight but it will be great to see him.


November 8, 2015

November already!

Shocked how fast this year has gone... but it has been such a busy few months I guess it is not surprising. Work hard, play hard philosophy keeps me on the go, but balancing it with quiet times has made all the difference to adding contentment.

Lunch with friends - at a gorgeous house overlooking the estuary...

and been watching a little rugby lately... the 4 am semi final game was a killer. Cooked breakfast and front row seats at the big screen at the casino helped, although the tension was almost more than we could bear.  We went back there for the 5 am final game and it was pure pleasure... we cracked the bubbles after a fantastic breakfast - and then went home to catch up on some sleep.
There were 10 players from our local Crusaders team in the All Black squad - so we are a very happy region.. and of course  Dan Carter got the World Rugby Player of the Year award and Richie McCaw collected the award for World Rugby Team of the Year on behalf of the All Blacks.

We will miss these two very much. Dan is off to France and Richie will possibly retire... he hasn't decided. 

I didn't get to the parade - but congratulations to them all.

Last week we had the annual student trip to Peacock Springs
Just search my blog for pervious posts on our trips - always a lovely day. I loved the beautiful female NZ gecko from Northland.
You can read more at this link and see better pictures- including her red tongue that I couldn't capture...

The view down the lake - there are swans nesting next to it. So peaceful...

Went to the fireworks at the pier for Guy Fawkes.. we wined and dined at the restaurant Salt on the Pier and watched the fireworks from there.. a decadent and fun evening, and warm and cosy, sheltered from the cold wind... I took this picture as we waited for the show to start - set to the music of Back to the Future.

Kirsty watched them from up on the hills.. lovely view of the city by night. 

and yes - I would like the sale of fireworks to the public banned - we can plan for one night of preparing the animals, shutting up stock, but it is annoying that the damage and fires and fears have to go on for so many weeks.

On Friday I met Jaz and Mark at the food trucks -we tried the spring potatoes. Loved them...

The girls checked out the furniture...

Went to a lovely welcome to summer barbecue last night after a hot sunny day, and wound up the evening at a 21st - congratulations Nicole, it has been a pleasure to watch you grow up xxxx

and now its the countdown to my birthday - at least I will get the day off as it is Show Day here. And yes, its another Friday the 13th birthday...

October 18, 2015

Liberation of Spring

Spring is my favourite season... and I have taken time to appreciate it everywhere I have gone this month.
Home is full of little things to appreciate... daffodils, hyacinths, rhododendrons, sweet peas popping up everywhere and the white wisteria in bud.

But the thing that has amused me the most is the view from my bedroom window.
It is full of the most spectacular pink blossom... the best year ever.

For many years the blossom was almost smothered by the white climbing rose growing beneath it. The rose grew up into the branches and dominated the tree...
The resident man of the house would not let the rose be trimmed - so it continued to overtake the pink blossoms.
It wasn't all bad - the white rose was pretty ... but I worried about the tree dying beneath it, and the mass of the rose swamped the driveway...

So when the man left three years ago and his vile nature was exposed, we threw off the rules we had lived by and rescued the tree, The white rose was cut back and the tree was spindly and sparse.....

But we have all grown and recovered. This year the pink blossom has finally been truly spectacular - and the roses peek out along the driveway fence where they belong.
I look out of the window and my heart sings.  
Liberation for us all.

October 9, 2015

Every practice needs great vet nurses.... so today we celebrate their role.
It has been a pleasure to work with them for 35 years - in practice for 17 years, and teaching them for the last 18 years... many of my friends are vet nurses.
Have a great day all of you ....

September 30, 2015

THE LAST VISIBLE DOG: Beautiful New Zealand.

THE LAST VISIBLE DOG: Beautiful New Zealand.: I belong to a facebook group whose members daily post images of New Zealand. Most members are not professional photographers, and the images...

As if I need any more reasons to love this country, seeing these beautiful pictures reminds me of how fabulous it is.... Treat yourselves to visiting Katherine's post ...

September 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Poppy

Five years 40 minutes ...
and she's still crazy after all these years.
Much loved.
Happy Birthday Poppy - promise we will celebrate by going to the beach today.

So many memories :) Just a small slideshow of some of them...

August 29, 2015

Five year quake anniversary and a "Construction Boom" for Christchurch

Five years next week.
Sept 4th 2010.

This time five years ago we were blissfully unaware of the changes that would be inflicted on us so suddenly.  You all know about the demolition and upheaval and changes that have become the new normal here.

Let me quote from Deb at "Works in Progress" - she writes so brilliantly on subjects that I can't begin to put on paper... but she captured the feeling of the rebuild perfectly to me... do go and read her essays that she is writing on sociology for her degree!

Here's what a guy called Thomas Gieryn wrote about buildings...
"Buildings stabilise social life. They give structure to social institutions, durability to social networks, persistence to behaviour patterns. What we build solidifies society against time and its incessant forces for change."
There is a song on the radio at the moment which has a line that says, "you don't know you are up till you are down and you don't know what you've lost till it's gone". Here is Christchurch we are definitely living the truth of that. As time goes on it feels like the city gets less familiar and more alien as time goes on rather than the other way around. I would have thought with the buildings starting to go up, we would feel like we are getting some kind of form to the city again.
But we have no connection to the buildings at all and so seeing them just reinforces that you are in a strange place rather than the feeling of being home that the city previously gave us.
This is what Walter Benjamin writes about, when he talks about the relationship between the space and the memories that we have of the space. By taking away the buildings, this synergy is taken away also, leaving us feeling adrift in the space.
We are finding out the hard way that there is no magic recipe for creating a city. A city that can be experienced grows over time; when people design and build, alter and adapt their environment and actually live in the city. Living means leaving traces and it is these traces of living that make a city experience more authentic.

So here we are surrounded by construction on a massive scale... there are huge steel frames at every corner you drive through in the town centre.  Last night I went through the central city at night and I was reminded of a recent trip I made from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour by ferry at night. We bobbed around on our tiny boat under the massive container ships that rose high above the water; imposing, brightly lit, steaming and mysterious.  Driving through the city I felt the same ... steel girders and cranes and spotlights soaring above. No they are not high rise - probably only 4-5 stories high, but they were there and imposing and new and unknown....

Theres a good article here from the papers this week...

How many times have you visited the centre of Christchurch and had a really good look around? A few times, sometimes, maybe not for a long time? You can live easily in Christchurch and not journey to the city centre at all.
But it's worth it. Why? Because it will give you a sense of progress since the devastating 2010-11 earthquakes. Plus a sense of how much more is still to accomplish.
Each time I have had a good look around, the city has felt quite different.

and I agree with this...
Large billboards depict what most of the completed buildings will look like, although admittedly it is hard to visualise the way the whole city will look. It is constantly evolving.My admiration goes to those rebuilding the city; their determination and positive energy deserve recognition.
There are still big issues to grapple with, like parking. An inner city shuttle bus would make sense. More people will want to live in the city, and once residential projects go ahead they will change the atmosphere once again.
The new Christchurch is unfolding before our eyes. Make sure you do not miss this historic opportunity.

I am lucky I see the city as I travel to work, on different routes weekly to avoid roadworks so I get to watch the areas change, trying to accept that I don't often know where I am, or where to find things, or what was there, or what is being built there now. Totally disorientating. But, I eat out with friends a couple of times a week in the new exciting places appearing - we are constantly exploring and watching for places and ideas. Gradually making new favourite places.. returning for second/third meals to the ones we love.  So, if "Living means leaving traces and it is these traces of living that make a city experience more authentic." then we are doing our bit to keep Christchurch as home and learn to love it all over again.

Chris Lynch from Newstalk ZB recently posted this video to facebook:

or if you don't have facebook, watch it here and see the new buildings ... it is worth it :)
About 20 seconds in is the building that felt like a container ship....

July 21, 2015

New Zealand will not need antibiotics for the maintenance of animal health and wellness...

 Exciting plans from the New Zealand Veterinary world

“By 2030 New Zealand Inc will not need antibiotics for the maintenance of animal health and wellness,” New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) President Dr. Steve Merchant said today.

Around 70 percent of human infectious diseases, including meningitis, anthrax and salmonellosis (food poisoning) have come from animals.

 “With sharply increasing levels of resistance to antibiotics worldwide, we want animals and, by extension, humans to enter the ‘post-antibiotic’ era as safely as possible.”

Dr Merchant said this is a significant undertaking, requiring considerable teamwork and commitment from the veterinary profession, working with the medical, scientific, government and relevant primary industry sectors.
He described the prize as “enormous” for New Zealand Inc and the world.
“Given the wide acceptance that the future for antibiotics is limited, and the close links between animals, humans and the environment we share, achieving this goal is essential,” Dr Merchant said.

“New Zealand is well suited to this challenge; given our size, proximity of the various specialities and relevant industry sectors, and already low use of antibiotics.”

Examples include:
  • Zero use of antibiotics in aquaculture
  • New Zealand is the world’s third lowest user of antibiotics on animals
  • Increasing focus on animal ‘wellness’
  • New Zealand’s grass-based farm management systems.

“These represent a sound platform, and veterinarians’ role at the intersection of animal life, human life and the environment makes ours a logical profession to be taking a lead,” Dr Merchant said.
“Achieving this goal will require a concerted international collaborative effort involving attitudinal and behavioural change across government, research, human health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, and a range of associated industries – as well as the public.”
“Veterinarians will use and advocate for careful antibacterial management and monitoring based on responsible use of existing antibiotics, as we work with our industry partners to jointly test and develop the necessary alternatives." 

July 15, 2015

Home sweet home

Yes I am home - and to a lovely surprise. The family had a working bee while I was away and got a truck in to cart away the extra soil and box in the front garden so that we can fully landscape the driveway.  Having some happy time on Pinterest checking out ideas for plants and arrangements.  Haven't taken pics yet.... later!

While still in Nelson we went up the Maitai River and explored this swimming hole.  Such a gorgeous, peaceful spot..

 We were joined by a couple with their three dogs. Well, actually, although from a distance this looked vaguely like a Brittany Spaniel, we finally recognised from the unusual body language that it was in fact a pet goat. They brought it in the car to play with their dogs,

After a productive morning in Nelson we stopped for coffee and a peaceful spell in the sun at the Crusty Crab on the Monaco Peninsula... yum.

And had a look at the glassworks in the attached gallery.

On my last day we went to see the latest World of Wearable Arts exhibition - the 2014 garments.  Some stunning work...loved the detialing.

Sulphur Crested Frockatoo

and we popped into Eyebright for a final jewellery haul, and alpaca wool to make a felted hat that should look something like this one! Yeah right - but I am going to give it a go :)


On the Appleby Highway we stopped to take pics of the ruined house that is soon to be this picture is for you Meike. I was inspired by your recent post!

An article about it was in the Nelson Mail
So a great week. Dinner at Three Rooms Restaurant, coffee at the Grape Escape, catch ups with friends at their home aka Cafe Angelus, and lots of good memories. And of course, five days of sun. A total blessing in mid winter.
Thanks Libby and Davy

It was a great flight home. Nose pressed to the window!

Poppy very happy to see me :)

My cousin Alison from the UK arrives for a visit here on Friday... she's a little busy at the moment paragliding with her sons in Queenstown but will be great to see her again after um um twenty years? Next month her brother Andrew is also due - it never rains but it pours! They were both born in New Zealand but grew up in the UK - and I was the other way round. We intersected for a few years in the middle of the moves.


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