Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Just a quick note to say that the swallows are back but there's two pairs building nests in the same area this year. We're wondering if its one of the babies from last year back being a grownup. I thought I'd try to take some photos of the construction so I'll try that tomorrow morning if its sunny as they really are hidden away. But its very cool.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Some times I just hate computers! @#%!*&!! I've spent the morning working on an image and what I see on screen is NOT what I'm getting printing out. Unbeeeeliieeeevable! Its probably something really simple that I've just forgotten about but its driving me dotty. I can feel my jaw clenching even as I type this.

Deep, calming breaths.

Nope, that didn't work. I sympathise completely with people that hurl their computers out the window. OK, back into the fray having vented my spleen - it did help!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Weekend report

We had a great weekend, both weather-wise and getting stuff done-wise! On Friday night we went to help friends set up a stand at the classic car show at Pioneer Stadium. Its always reasonably awkward doing a stand there as its a wooden floor and is used for sport so everyone has to be super careful not to damage it.

We were doing a Peking to Paris 100th anniversary display which generated a lot of interest. G. had a map of the route that he put up and people from the other stands were coming over and shaking their heads when they saw it. Most people thought we were mad. The good thing about doing the stand this year is that G. works for a show (musical) company and we were able to use some props e.g. a camel, in our camping in the desert with our cars scene. It was all G.'s idea and we used upside down carpet to represent the sand. It was all quite effective.

I'd decided that I needed to come to work on Saturday because I hadn't got enough done during the week. I find that if I'm planning to come back to work, its best to do it on Sat because then its not hanging over me the whole weekend. I must admit that as I drove in on Sat in the warm and sunny day, I couldn't believe I was wasting a fabulous day at work but that's the way it goes sometimes.

I got heaps done, which was excellent. And afterwards I went over to J's place for coffee and a chat which is always fun. I borrowed the original 'Sabrina' DVD from her and watched it on Sat night. Obviously I enjoy the later one more (Harrison Ford, need I say more) but did enjoy it. Audrey Hepburn is gorgeous but the movie is so dated now - it was produced in 1954.

Yesterday was another great day so we got heaps done at home. I. has almost completely finished the front verandah - just a final top coat to go on all the paintwork and put up the last of the guttering and then its done. It looks good too. I gardened and am a bit stiff today but I'm sure its good for me. Managed to fill the wheelie bin with rubbish which is always the challenge of the weekend - it seems like such a waste of opportunity when it goes out half full.

Last night was just pottering around, doing dishes etc but I did manage to do some repairs to clothing - sewing on missing buttons. Seems like such a waste of time but its great to get some clothes back.

So, not the most exciting of weekends but we achieved a lot.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A social couple of days

I've just come back to work after having lunch out for the second day in a row. This is very unusual for me but its been great fun. Today was lunch with a friend who has just had 10 days in Fiji and I know I shouldn't be envious, but when she was talking about how fabulous it was, I definitely felt the green-eyed monster stirring. Tropical island holidays always sound fantastic and I've never had one, which is ridiculous when you think how close to all these amazing islands we are.

Yesterday was lunch with my younger brother (hi D!). I hardly ever get to see just him now days and wanted to make the effort. Years ago, when I worked in St Albans, we'd sometimes get together for lunch in Merivale but it must be at least 10 years since then. Went to the Vic which was great but when I got back to the car I thought I had a ticket. All the parking in the area is only 60 minutes & I was well past that. It turned out that someone had gone down the street putting flyers on all the windscreens but they looked like a ticket from a distance.

While having a cup of coffee just now, we watched a paraponter take off from the hill above us, glide overhead and land in the park below. Very cool. They're appealing to try but I don't think I'm brave enough. As my other brother says, its bad enough controlling a sailing boat and that's only 2 dimensions. Stuff in the sky adds a whole other dimension. Plus, it could involve pain if it all goes wrong. Mostly with sailing its just very wet when it goes wrong.

The photo is in honour of the fact that (on the fine days) its starting to feel very spring like. Plums have started flowering, there are lambs every where and we're almost able to drive to and from work without using the lights. Very exciting. The pink camellia is one of two by my front door and they flower prolifically. This photo was taken last year in September but I noticed last weekend that they were both starting to flower. In another week or so they'll be smothered.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wet, wild & windy

I know I comment a lot on the weather here, I think partly because I grew up on a farm where the weather is so integral to your life and survival. Anyhoo, the weather the last couple of days has been pretty unbelievable. All the 3 w's mentioned above.

I'd been feeling confident about the lack of leaks in my office as I hadn't (note the past tense) had any for a couple of months but today I have 13 various types of containers scattered around the floor behind me catching leaks! I'd take a photo but it would be far too depressing. I'm beginning to believe that its the wind pushing the water somewhere so that it ends up in my office.

I'm putting off walking out to the mailbox to clear the mail because of the weather but I used that excuse yesterday as well and at some point one just has to grit one's teeth and brave the elements. If the postie can, then so can I.

Strange to think that my folks are still in the air on their way to the UK to see the little blister having left town last night. At this stage they'll be over the States somewhere. 24 hours in an aluminium can! Stranger to think that I'll be doing it in 8 weeks!! As my youngest brother says - you pay a fortune to sit in an aluminium can for 24 hours while people run around outside and change the scenery. Mind you, one of the scenery changes could well involve Paris and that is always a good option.

My diary has just popped up with the daily alarm that says "Focus". Its a very timely reminder and I'll do just that. Until next time, keep warm and stay dry.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Living on the Canterbury Plains

Southern Alps taken from moving car

I read a post from KnittingIris the other day about driving through the plains in America and it got me thinking about living on the Canterbury Plains. I have lived in Canterbury all my life - growing up on a mixed cropping farm in Mid-Canterbury, education followed by work in Christchurch and now I live in a small village outside the city but work in the city.

The great thing about Canterbury is that you can see for miles. There's often strong winds which clear the air so you can see the Southern Alps to the west and a huge shingle coastline to the east interrupted by Banks Peninsula. No matter where you are you can always orient yourself by the mountains or Port Hills (Banks Peninsula) so its hard to get lost. From my office which is on the slopes of the Port Hills, I can look out now towards the north and can see over the estuary to the plains, sea and mountains. How lucky am I?

You're a maximum of 1.5 hours away from the mountains or the sea, no matter where you live. I grew up going skiing in the winter and sailing in the summer. Looking back it was a great childhood but I have always known that.

Today I was just rung up by a friend who said that she has some work to do in the foothills of the Alps so why don't I join her & we'll do afternoon tea afterwards at Terrace Downs (I've mentioned this place before - its a favourite). Superb. This is why I love living here - its so easy to get away. You can decide that you want to go and stand on a mountain and an hour later you're doing it, breathing in all that fresh air and appreciating life.

I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say. I think its along the lines of so many people think the plains are boring and they are when you're driving in a car on the main road from point A to point B, but there's so much more to them. The patchwork pattern of all the paddocks - you really know you're home when you fly over the Southern Alps and see the plains spread out. The joy of standing in a grass paddock in the summer and hearing a skylark singing its heart out but not being able to see it (this is making me feel very nostalgic). Pukekos running around in the wetlands. The ease of biking every where. Big sky and the feeling of being able to breathe. Huge open space and being able to see the horizon. It always gives me a sense of freedom.