Monday, July 31, 2006

Can hardly believe its a winters day

More beach stones

For the last day in July we've been delivered up a perfect day - pity its a work day. When I went out for an appointment at 10am I didn't even take my jersey because its so warm and sunny. Hard to believe that August is generally the best skiing. The skifields are taking a bit of a hammering over the last few days with nor'west winds but I'm sure a southerly will come through to top them up before too long.

We had quite a productive weekend. With all the fine weather I was easily able to get all the washing done (it looms large on my horizon in winter weekends) and I. got more done on the front verandah. I even helped with the sanding down of some of the verandah posts!! Also did a token amount of gardening as well - its vital to fill the wheelie rubbish bin as otherwise you feel as though you're wasting an opportunity. The neighbours came back yesterday so it was our last chance to use their bin as well so more of the macrocarpa hedge was pruned. Its looking reasonably tame for the first time in ages.

Yesterday was fine but cold and wasn't really conducive to working outside. As I hate housework, we decided to go to the Little River Cafe for lunch. Before going I made the neighbours a welcome home lemon tea cake, which was a bit rushed and a little light on the lemon as I only had 1.5 lemons, instead of the required 2. We also lit their log fire as we thought they might be feeling the cold having been in Europe for a month with all the hot weather (we were right!).

Little River was full of cyclists as the Little River Rail Trail opened in the last couple of months so there were lots of people wandering around in their little dinky shorts and flash jackets (very cold wind). The cafe was doing a roaring trade so already Little River is reaping the benefit. Eventually the Rail Trail will go all the way from Hornby (Christchurch) via Lincoln and on out to Little River. When we were driving back to Chch all the cafes on the way had cars with cycles on racks at them.

What surprised us was how many people were walking the Trail. It goes around the edge of Lake Ellesmere and Lake Forsythe and I guess there are lots of photo opportunities but its a long way on foot!

One of the best things about the Little River Cafe is that there's an art gallery attached so not only do you get to eat great food, you get to have an art fix as well. They have a lot of local (Banks Peninsula and Christchurch) artists, which is great. I always come away wishing I could actually afford to buy art! But I also feel a bit more inspired to give my own art a go.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Canterbury winter

I'm enjoying our winter weather at the moment. We're in a settled period of clear, frosty nights and beautiful sunny days. I was out on the deck upstairs with Barney at morning tea and even though I could see my breath, it was fabulously sunny. The mountains looked absolutely amazing as we drove in to work this morning and its noticeable that the sun is hitting them earlier in the mornings as the days get longer. These are all positive things.

Its now a bit later in the day and it has clouded over. My fingers are frozen (again) even though its apparently 20 degrees in here and I've had to turn the heater on. I think the problem is that I've been doing a bit of surfing instead of working which although fun, is not conducive to getting the blood circulating. I'm not about to leap to my feet and start doing star jumps but I think if I started running around doing actual work it might help.

In order to procrastinate a little bit longer, I'll now go and get the mail!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Iceplant showing winter colourings, Kaitoreti Spit

I have discovered something! If I read other peoples' blogs before trying to write something in my own, I tend to put off writing anything. Which is completely ridiculous as this is a space for me. If other people want to read it, well and good but its actually just for me. OK, maybe its for my family as well, particularly those that are overseas so they don't forget who I am.

The new moral for this blog/me: don't read other peoples' work before trying to write my own.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Wonderful weekend

Although this looks as though we're looking across the sea, we're just looking across Lake Ellesmere from Fisherman's Point to Mt Herbert (in the middle with all the snow).

The weather this weekend was so settled and beautiful (no wind - hooray) that we achieved
lots around home and decided to go down to the sea by Lake Ellesmere to see the supposed 5m swell. Banks Peninsula looked fantastic with snow on all the high points and the lake was incredibly full and blue. Often its a bit murky as its a very shallow lake. I don't think the ocean swell was 5m because that's huge but it was breaking over the shingle bank and into the lake which was impressive.

It was lovely being out and about because so often I feel as though all we do in a weekend is household duties: washing, housework, house maintenance, car maintenance, gardening etc. Some of those things, gardening for example, I do enjoy but at this time of the year there's such limited time to get everything done before its dark or too cold that one starts to feel as though all one does is slave in the weekend.

Part of my problem is that I. always works really hard in the weekend, particularly on the cars, that if I'm relaxing having a quiet read, I feel quite guilty about not doing more. Not that I. suggests I should do more, its a self-imposed guilt which is one of the most guilty guilts you can get because you can't really have a rational discussion about it with yourself!

Don't get me wrong, I did take Sunday morning off to do a little (successful) shoe shopping and then have coffee with a friend so it certainly wasn't slaving away all weekend but I would have to say that sometimes home ownership is not all its cracked up to be. Part of the problem is, of course, that we bought a run down house and then didn't do any maintenance for a number of years and are now paying the price of trying to fit all those years of work into one year.

We did repair the barge board over the laundry to stop the starlings getting in and nesting this year and it looks great. Last year the starlings started nesting so early that they managed to raise two broods, virtually without a break so we never had a nest free opportunity to block the area off and I'm way too soft hearted to kill baby birds. Somebody suggested we could have pushed the cat into the gap but a. eeewwww and b. cats don't eat starlings anyway!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Out to dinner

I just read a post on another blog (maliavale) that said to just write and not worry about what people think. That the writing is the important thing. It also said amongst other things, to write about your own city. So I will.

Last night I went out to dinner at Little Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant on Colombo St. Its amazing how often we end up there, partly because there's always room, partly because they're very good about children, partly because the food is plentiful and cheap, but mostly because of the deep fried banana and icecream dessert! I'd never had this particular delicacy before being taken there a couple of years ago and now I ALWAYS make sure I have room for it, even though its full of everything I shouldn't be having.

Our friend K was up from Dunedin and had to head home today so we went to celebrate her getting her cast off her arm. Its been a real marathon for her and she doesn't have a lot of strength or mobility in her wrist yet. Thank goodness for ACC but she's desperate to get back to a full wage - she said she's going backwards at the moment. K, L and their daughter G were there, as was J. I. had decided to bail as he's spending today and the weekend doing some renovations with his brother on his mother's town house.

As usual, we had a great time. We always order Christmas Squid (its actually Crispy but our first experience of it was just prior to Christmas so yanno) but for the rest of the dishes we choose numbers at random, check what they are and go with it. I chose 22 first but when we discovered it was shark fin & mushroom soup, it got abandoned. Partly because I don't like mushrooms but mostly because we don't believe in the principle of shark fin soup. We always end up in a huge mess having eaten too much but its great. You can't pretend that its high-end cuisine but its always great and always open.

G turns 5 in a couple of months and is very artistic. Unfortunately she had a really bad cold and coughed an awful lot but was very good about it all. She's very artistic so her mother had bought along paper and pens. At one stage she asked me how to spell my name and then wrote it out so neatly under a drawing she'd done for me. I was able to find in my random diary a drawing she'd done one other time we'd been at the same restaurant when she was only 2. She said that she could remember that day because it was my birthday. Remarkable child!

Leaving the restaurant was freezing cold. It had been very cold and wet during the day but the skies had cleared so we could see stars which meant that it was going to freeze. Made for a lovely drive home though. But when I woke up this morning it wasn't frozen but is was seriously cold. A southerly had come through in the night with a howling wind.

We've had rain/hail/snow at work almost all day so far today, mostly of the horizontal variety. All the heaters are going full blast and even then they can barely keep up. You know what its like when you're sitting working at a computer - you hardly move and all your extremities start to freeze up and you can barely move your fingers. I've got the fan heater blowing under my desk and got icy fingers. I just can't picture 40 degrees on the London underground that the little blister was in yesterday right at the moment!

Friday, July 14, 2006

1st birthday party

Meet my oldest and youngest nephews. They were examining the birthday boy's toy train set which was a huge hit. L. (on the left) is almost five and was just sitting with F. (the birthday boy) and letting him do his own thing. I just missed the shot where L. had his arm around F.

I suspect that this will make the little blister homesick! Sorry E.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I burnt a book!

I did, I really did. After reading it, I ripped it into four sections and threw it into the log fire because it was so hideously bad. I cannot believe that it was published, let alone that they have published a sequel. There was no connection to the characters - I didn't care whether they lived or died - they were just boring. I'm not even going to say the name of the book because then someone might be tempted to go and buy it and its not worth it. It was absolute rubbish. I've never done this to a book before. Normally if I don't enjoy them I just file them on a bookshelf I don't look at all that often but this book didn't deserve any shelf space. Pah!

I feel much better for venting my spleen, as they say.

Friday, July 07, 2006

I feel . . .

naked I tell you. I'm not in reality but I left my mobile on the charger at home and I feel completely lost. Something vital is missing. Pathetic. I need to get a life!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Nothing much happening

I can't believe its been over a week since I posted. I think the problem is that I've been really stretched/stressed at work so by the time I get home, I've lost all enthusiasm to do anything. I had been casually sketching most nights as I lazed around - applying the theory that the more you practice, the better & more enthusiastic you get - but lately its all gone by the wayside.

I. and I did go along to the Ellesmere Photography Club for the first time on Monday night. I was quite excited about it because I have been enjoying taking photographs lately. I feel a lot less precious about them and will just have a go anyway. Often they don't work but digital has certainly eased the concern about cost and I like the instant feedback aspect.

Anyway, we walked over to the Masonic Lodge where the meeting was and much to our surprise, not only had they started on time but there was someone there we knew. Everyone was really friendly and I learnt a lot. We're going to join the club because its only $15 for a year and I'm going to try to be brave and put in a photo or two for assessment next month. Scary/exciting!

The weather this week has been very cold. There was snow on the hill above the gondola when we arrived at work yesterday and it snowed during the morning but the rain washed it away. Today I'm huddled in front of the heater trying to get my frozen fingers to work properly. At least the days are getting longer now!