Thursday, March 29, 2007

Autumn is checking in

I was just reading a post about spring breezes and spring cleaning (Wish Jar - obviously a northern hemisphere blog) and I realised that I am actually looking forward to autumn. I went shopping for veges the other day and only now do I realise that I bought some of my most favourite winter veges, potatoes and pumpkin, for roasting.

Today is the second day of misty, damp weather that's not particularly cold and the forecast is for it to stay the same until Monday next week. I had been feeling a bit glum about it all as we've had some truly fabulous weather lately (foggy mornings opening up into clear, sunny and hot days) but where the nights are cool enough to sleep well under your duvet. But back to my point about the overcast weather - I enjoy living in a climate where we have defined seasons and where I want to eat winter type food. Casseroles, roasts, oven cooked vegetable dishes, sticky puddings (not too many of those though). To be fair, I've never lived somewhere that's always warm but the benefit of here is that the ski fields are close in the winter and the sea is even closer in the summer.

Autumn is always a beautiful time of the year. The pin oaks are starting to turn burnt orange and deep red, the poplars are gold and the swallows are starting to form groups and think about flying away. Earlier this week there was a ceremony to farewell the godwits. I didn't go to it but I like the idea of change and shifting. It allows time for new celebrations and enjoyments like hot chocolate drinks (see yesterday's post!) and roast meals with friends. Warm fires and thick, fluffy jerseys. Seeing snow on the mountains as we drive to work. Clear starry nights as we drive home - sometimes we're lucky enough to see shooting stars.

Sure, it means the start of colder weather, lots of rain, unexpected snowfalls, colds, 'flu and other negatives but when I think of autumn I don't think of all these things. I mostly think about the beauty of nature and look forward to all the colours it puts on. Which reminds me, I must drive past the university as they have some fabulous trees on Creyke Road which should be looking amazing soon.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I have just had the most fantastic chocolate drink! Well, it wasn't really a drink — rather it was liquid chocolate in a cup that you ate with a spoon. The only redeeming feature of the whole decadent exercise was that I'd ordered the smallest size. So the moral of the story is, if you want a truly chocolaty experience, go to Metro by the Sea in Ferrymead.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Its a wrap

L to R: sound operator, actor's arm, director, camera operator, stills photographer

Its in the can! We finished shooting at 2.20am Saturday night with about 74 minutes of film. Very long day but a lot of fun. We didn't start filming until about 2pm as there was a lot of work converting D's house into a film set first. I hadn't realised how much waiting around one does on a film set. I've worked backstage on musicals (at university) and once they start, they stop for nothing whereas in a film there's lots of stopping and reassessing.

I worked as props, set dresser, continuity girl and recorder all wrapped up into one. As continuity girl/set dresser I refilled a bottle of wine a huge number of times. It felt like hundreds but I'm sure it wasn't.

Working on this short film has changed my attitude towards actors (and actresses). I've always thought that they were arrogant and difficult to work with but I discovered over the course of the day that professionals are just that. Professional. Easy to work with and they can turn their characters on and off pretty much on demand. So I've learnt another big lesson - professionals are always professional and are worth it.

The director (brother D.) had put a huge amount of preparation into it. He knew what he wanted and was able to express it clearly to the rest of us. We were all amateurs at film making so shot setups were slow to start with but as the day wore on, we definitely got slicker. There was only one time constraint. We HAD to do the outside shots between 6-7pm so that no matter what else happened, we had to stop what we were shooting at 5.30pm and get ready for the outside work.

Completely exhausted by the time I got home of course. We'd all spent most of the day on our feet and its very tiring. I didn't achieve much yesterday and because I was over tired, I didn't get to bed in good time and feel shattered today as well. Off to a meeting tonight as well but it won't be a long one, particularly as I've organised it!

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Lovely lunch

Clouds reflected in the calm waters of Lake Rotoiti, 3 March 2007

I met up with a friend for lunch today at East Coast Cafe down by the Estuary and had a truly lovely time. We sat outside (in the shade of a sun umbrella in deference to my easily burnt skin and general overall whiteness), gazed at the briny blue and chatted about this and that. There was quite a strong easterly wind which meant that we didn't get too hot and it was GREAT. I came back to work feeling quite refreshed.

It reminded me how much I love the water. Growing up we could hear the sea in storms and could see it (if we stood on the dining room table). We sailed as children and have had lots of adventures and misadventures, though fortunately nothing too major. One of my grandmothers lived in Lyttelton and had the best picture window looking out over the port. Even now I love trips on ferries, preferably of the small ferry kind (I find the inter-islander stuffy).

It does one good to go down to the sea and smell the fresh ozone.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

My brother's dream

My brother (D.) has always had an interest in films and film making. This weekend, Saturday in fact, he's shooting a short film as part of a course he's doing and I'm so excited. He's called for helpers so of course I'm in.

Years ago we did musicals together at university which was a lot of fun (and where he met his wife!). I'm really looking forward to working with him again.

I know that he's feeling the pressure of being the director & scriptwriter & casting agent etc but I'm just looking forward to being part of his vision. I have no idea what I'll end up doing on Saturday but I'm prepared to do just about anything except, maybe, get in front of the camera. I much more of a behind the scenes type of girl.

He's got very limited time available for all the post production work as he has a young family and can't commit days and weeks to this project so its going to be a short, short film. Up to two minutes. But I'm sure that because he is keeping short, it will be punchy and focused.

I'm very excited! Can you tell?

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Friday, March 16, 2007

My brain is full

I don't know what I've done but my brain is full and is in danger of seizing up completely. Could be the late night on Wednesday - we didn't get home until midnight which is way past my bedtime on a school night. Could be because I just haven't been going to bed in good time so even before the late night I was tired. Last night I was tucked up in bed by 9.30 and my brain just would not shut down. It buzzed around in ever decreasing circles making whimpering noises whilst everyone else in the house snoozed away. Nights can be incredibly long in those situations. Plus, today is seeming to be quite long because I have a nagging something (not quite a headache, just a ... thing) in my forehead. Squinty eyes in the bright sunlight as well. Waaaay too tired for coherence or paragraphs it seems!


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Growing up

iGirl in action
I read something the other day about children growing up and its reminded me of something my niece, the iGirl, used to do. Before I went overseas in October last year, she wasn't saying the letter 's' at the beginning of words. When my mother asked her what she did in the garden, the answer was "niff and mell". But by the time we got to Christmas, she'd passed through this cute stage and was "sniffing and smelling" all over the place. But as a result of passing through this stage, I lost the cute nickname as she tried to say my name. Very sad.

I have another iGirl story: I called in one morning to pick up her father (my brother) to take him to work. The iGirl was all very matter of fact about me being there and once I'd turned up, had factored me into her day. When I announced that I was going off to work she was very worried: "Who is going to look after me?" was said in a tone of alarm even though her mother was in the next room.

I wanted to include these two little stories here because I've discovered that I've already forgotten so much of what my nephews used to do and if I make a note of the stories here, then I can reference them later.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Weekend adventures at the Classic Boat Show

Early(ish) morning at the head of Lake Rotoiti, South Island

This amazing contraption is powered by spoons! Mind you, he only entered the water when there was no-one else around.

The drive/motor/row/sail (there was no wind so they just drifted) past.
Note two of the eight steam boats!