Wednesday, January 31, 2007


  • Yesterday - the peacock that I've spotted before, just wandering down the road in a very relaxed fashion.
  • This morning - a sheep, looking fairly alarmed, heading towards the Lyttelton tunnel. The tunnel guys managed to detour it off the road and up the side out of the way. When I left they were trying to decided how to catch it!


Monday, January 29, 2007

Creative Challenge #3

Penelope Illustration has set a creativity challenge, of which taking a photographic record of your day is the third. I initially set out to take photos every 1/2 hour and I started out well. But then I forgot and there would have been endless photos of a computer and keyboard and I would have been feeling even more robotic than I did (middle photo, 2nd to bottom line - it was how I was feeling at the time). So its more the edited highlights of my day!

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Changeable weather

I know I talk about the weather a lot (maybe it comes from having grown up on a farm where the weather is SO important in every day life) but these photos are an excellent example of the type of weather we've been having lately. They were all taken from my office window over the space of a couple of hours.

top photo: 9amish - lovely sunny day
middle photo: 10ish - sou'west cloud starting to appear over top but we still have hope that a nor'west might appear out of nowhere and blow the cloud out to see
bottom photo: 10.30ish - all hope of a nor'west has gone, the day has gone to the dogs

I didn't take any more photos after that because really, how exciting are photos of drizzle and general yuck? They pretty much sum up what our summer has been like.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Comet spotting

After forgetting to go out and look at McNaught's comet on the only clear night this week (Monday night), we've been staying up a bit later to see if the cloud will clear enough to see it. Finally, last night we had some limited success. There was low cloud which was diffuse enough higher up to see the moon so we decided to just drive out into the country away from the lights and take pot luck and we were lucky.

We parked on the side of the road, turned off all the lights and stepped out into the pitch black and could see a pale vertical streak in the sky. Eventually the clouds parted long enough for us to see the head of the comet as well. Its HUGE! I was a bit concerned that we wouldn't be able to find it but there was no problem.

I'm not sure if it was because I need new glasses or if there was a bit of cloud over it but it wasn't particularly clear. Maybe if we'd stayed out there longer the sky would have darkened more so it would show up more clearly, but there was a huge bank of clouds approaching that were completely covering the sky so we didn't feel like it.

So, limited success but well worth trying to see on another night.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Escaping the Office

I took this snapshot as I travelled up the gondola on Friday and roasted in the heat that was the little glass cubicle. As long as we were moving it wasn't too bad but when we stopped, well, heat city. It wasn't even particularly sunny either, just nice and warm for a change.

This is to prove to my little blister that yes, I did take a break and escape the office BUT it wasn't totally unprovoked - a friend rang and said she was going up to do some work so I met her up there. Doesn't fit the criteria we set up does it E?


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Summer fruit

I have just gone and bought a box of Sundrop apricots from a grower in Horotane Valley and they are FANTASTIC. I think apricots are my favourite fruit, although a fresh, ripe nectarine would run a close second.

Horotane Valley has always been the traditional place to buy apricots and it was absolutely beautiful round there today. Even though its a beautiful day there's a sneaky easterly blowing at work but round in the valley there was no wind, it was quiet and all very lush and green looking. All the properties have apricot trees growing everywhere and the orange fruit really glows in the sun.

I bought this box lot from a lovely old man near the top of the valley. You can also pick your own fruit but I really can't justify the time off work to do so. Its a lot of fun buying from the grower. When I said that I was wanting to eat them he swapped some fruit from other boxes over so that there was a lot of good eating fruit (as opposed to jam or bottling). Unfortunately, by the end of this week the fruit will be pretty much over for the season but then the apricots from down south will start coming in which helps to extend the season. But in the meantime we all stuffed ourselves with fruit at lunchtime.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007


This year I've decided to keep a list of books that I read, just out of interest. I don't normally do any New Year's resolutions as I'm aware that I will probably not keep them but a list of what I read is quite different. Its not a resolution, its just a record.

Interestingly its already made a difference to the way I'm reading which I'm finding quite strange. I tend to read and reread books, mostly because I read incredibly quickly and if I didn't reread books, I would have to borrow a huge quantity from the library and friends and my arms would lengthen with the weight of books I'd be carrying around. So I've already come to my first quandary in my list: when I reread a book, do I list it again or do I pretend that I've only read it the once. At this stage I'm leaning towards the listing again option.

We're up to January 16th and already I've read ten (10) books! BUT because of the list I'm trying to space out my reading - what's with that? It should just be a genuine list, a record, of what passes in front of my eyes.

Out of interest here they are:
Mister Pip Lloyd Jones
Scaredy Cat Mark Billingham
Sea Glass Anita Shreve
Between a Rock and a Hard Place Aron Ralston
My Own Words Judy Bailey
Pride & Prejudice Jane Austen (again)
The Creative License Danny Gregory
Under the Duvet Marian Keyes
Miss Garnet's Angel Sally Vickers
• an as yet unpublished novel by a friend (which was excellent)

Quite an eclectic collection - ranging from murder mysteries to biographies. I'd have to say that it wasn't a good idea to read Judy Bailey's book straight after Aron Ralston's harrowing tale (he's the guy that cut his arm off to save his life). Both were biographies and at any other time I would have enjoyed Judy Bailey's book much more but after Aron's - well, what can I say? I didn't read anything for a couple of days after that one.

So, that's the list so far. I can't see that I'll be adding to it soon as I'm currently without any new books to read. Have to do some rummaging at friends' places. I may do the occasional review as well if I feel like it.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Mini expedition for sea run trout

Salmon fishermen at the Rakaia River mouth (south bank)

Had a great little expedition down to the Rakaia River mouth last week. Its not far as the crow flies but we have to drive up to the Rakaia bridge and then all the way down the other side to get to the best fishing place so it takes at least 3/4 hour. On the plus side, it means when you come back you drive past the icecream shop!

I. is not a salmon fisherman but likes to try to get sea run trout. They have the same pinkish colour flesh that the salmon have, but not as strong, and they taste much better than river trout which are often muddy. He didn't have any luck this time but I was fascinated by all the activity down there.

We saw: one man catch a salmon, which got everyone else very excited and a lot more people started to fish; small terns (fairy terns maybe?) gorging on little silvery fish about the size of your smallest finger that were swimming in from the sea right on the edge of the waves; a cormorant going after the same fish further up the river and he wasn't even having to swim under water; a man driving a large & heavy 4W drive truck almost getting stuck but managing to get out of the soft sand by slamming the vehicle into reverse straight away; 2 guys further up the river that stood in the same spot the whole time we were there, casting and reeling in but catching absolutely nothing - I would find that dispiriting.

So all in all there was a lot of activity and I wasn't bored at all. But the best bit was trying out the new cafe at Rakaia on the way back (too cold for icecreams even though its summer) and having a fabulous date scone. Yum.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

A domestic goddess I'm not!

Even though I make no claims on the domestic goddess front, its a great feeling when you produce homemade jam! This was a brew of black currant & rhubarb jam - the black currants came from our neighbour's garden and the rhubarb from mine & the neighbour's & a friend's garden. I got 12 pots of jam (some of them are quite small) and it was very satisfying. I think I prefer this jam to straight black currant as its not quite as strong. It goes extremely well on scones with whipped cream as well.