Friday, October 31, 2014

Danseys Pass

It's been a very trying few months culminating in our discovery that most of what the builder has done is illegal or wrong or both. And he has run through pretty much all our money too so there is a mountain to climb to get this place liveable again. I might add that the builder in question is registered and came with references from previous jobs that we spoke to personally.  So much for that!!!! So I have no kitchen (what there is resides in the back hall and the laundry provides water) and no bathroom.

Fortunately the toilet and handbasin work and my brother lives next door so we have the use of his shower.  Only one room is finished and that is our bedroom.  Matt is working his way through the other bedrooms but what we will do about the missing cladding on the back wall I don't know.  We have insulated and put on the building wrap so it isn't as frigid as it was in the main house but the laundry and what there is of the bathroom are right out there with no door, windows or walls where the cladding was removed for the new concrete pad.

We will be able to finish the bathroom but the kitchen is doomed.

Anyhow the teens spent a week with Grandma in Arrowtown as usual so we decided to spend a couple of days on the road to bring them back - sort of a mini break.  We went slow and stopped quite a bit both coming and going and might have bought the odd ice cream or so :)

On the way back, we stopped at St Bathans for lunch and then decided to get back via Danseys Pass which is a challenging road that hasn't much changed since horse and cart days (well it has but not so you'd notice).  It was spectacular, stormy and we collected the odd rock or so for the garden. I'm going to add a photo or so but there is also a video from the car camera which I will link to later.

We had a good time doing that :)

viv
the bridge at Ophir
 The view from Grandma's
 Our yearly photo op (Have one here every time we pass from when James was just a baby) I think I shrunk in the wash :)
 St Bathans cliff with a weird thing that looks alien but is probably wind eroded rabbit holes

 A farm mail box which is also a children's bus shelter on the back road to Danseys Pass
 The road going up

 Looking down the other side to the sea waaay in the distance

 Like I thought - took us ages to actually get there.


Halloween


William went out to a party :) His Aunt said she was pleased I had boys who wouldn't raid her magnificent shoe collection.........wrong!!!

However he is still growing (just) so there is hope yet :)

And yes, he walks fine on those platforms!

viv

Monday, July 14, 2014

Renovations continued

 The mattress was in the living room while we did our bedroom

The living room then had to hold the stuff from the kitchen and laundry including the linen.



The bedroom had the base and that was all.  It is now painted and carpeted and stacked with stuff from other parts of the house.

The kitchen was intact at this point although half the bedroom ended up in there along with all the laundry.

The overflow from the storage shelves in the laundry ended up in William's present room.

The hall got a fair amount of stuff too.  Some of this will go in the new living room.

James had all the spare bedding in his room.  Then all of this had to go elsewhere as his room is next on the list.

Windows for installation packed on the front veranda.

The side wall where all the foundations had to be replaced as it was starting to look rather more like a banana than a wall. Can you tell we don't have a garage!
Renovations are going on apace - I now have no kitchen and the bathroom is rather limited as it needs its floor polished yet (had to wait for the concrete to cure). I was intending to do the cooking in the toast oven for the meantime but the thermostat seems to have gone cuckoo.  So now the idea is to get the suspended bed in as fast as possible so that William can move in and we can set up the kitchen in what was his bedroom and is going to be the living room.  At least that means I can cook properly again. It's a bit like a bad camping holiday round here :)

 Matt is replacing the bathroom window at this very moment with the double glazed one that should be good for mid winter heating problems.  There are two more windows to go - one over the bathroom sink and one for the laundry.  Both are double glazed but one has broken glass because the gale force wind from last week broke it loose and it fell on a tree stump.

James is living in the caravan I borrowed from my sister - it is a tiny retro one called Henrietta.  Hopefully his sleep out will arrive in the next week or so.

And that's progress for this week!

viv

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The whistlers


This is the small band my son William and two of his friends started at school.  They have now won their first competition - The Robbie Rocks Dunedin junior section.  They had to arrange and sing their choice of three Robbie Burns poems.  Not bad for 15 year olds.

William is the singer and whistler, Oscar on keyboard and Alex on guitar.
This performance is the one they did for the fancy dinner with the Mayor etc as winners.

viv

Monday, May 26, 2014

Renovations

This is just to say I am still alive here but we are in the middle of some major renovations and it is now snowing/hailing/raining and very cold.

The side foundations were rotted out and the poor old house was starting to develop a lean so we have had to remove some outer cladding and rotten floor boards in order to dig out new footings.  The concrete was due on Friday but the concrete truck driver got cold feet and cancelled (it is Baldwin Street I suppose - world's steepest and all that).  So now it is supposed to happen tomorrow with wheelbarrows and a few good men:)  Then we can at last strip off all the old weatherboard and insulate, wrap and reclad the whole thing. A warm bedroom will be wonderful - I might even lose an eiderdown or two.

Have you ever tried to get half your house contents to fit in the other half?  (we don't have a handy garage here) Including the linen and all the tools and the kitchen?  It's amazing what you can get under a table too and then, of course, you can't find anything useful ever again!

At least it isn't permanent and the far end should be wonderful!!!!

viv
The pic is one of James' early efforts in life drawing - art school next year I think!

viv

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Christmas and beyond

 William went on holiday to the Kapiti coast and got this really good pic.
 I finally finished making this rug out of all the interesting squares I made some time back.  One ufo out of the way :)
 Matt harvested his garlic - impressive!!!
 Sprocket got a new and much bigger basket (supposed to be dog sized!) I hope he has stopped growing now as he is already rather large.
And another view of my rug with the hexagon quilt I did last year showing at the top.

This year I hope to clear a few ufos and start a big project too.  That is still in the design stage because Dear Jane, which is nearly finished, has to come first or I'll never finish it.  So much for New Year's resolutions.

Hope the weather is good for you - its raining again here.....sigh

viv

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Free Angel Pattern

This is the pattern I made for christmas some years back.  It is not commercial so some of the stitching is averaged out.

You will need-
Two colours of yarn (dress and arms)
A pair of appropriate sized needles for your yarn.
A foot of fancy thread for hanging and a small bell or bead.
A small wooden bead (preferably not varnished) for the head
Fluff for hair (I use unspun washed wool)

Dress

Cast on 4 stitches
Row 1- k1,yarn over, k2 tog, yarn over, k1
Row 2-knit
Row 3- sl1, k1, yarn over, k2 tog, k1
Row 4-knit
Row 5- sl1, k2, yarn over, k2 tog, k1
Row 6-knit







Row 7- sl1, k3, yarn over, k2 tog, k1
Row 8- cast off 4 st, k to end.

Repeat pattern 3 or 5 times (for a frillier look)

On last pattern row cast off all but one stitch, turn work sideways and cast on along the top edge for top of skirt. There will probably be random left over stitches at the end of these next rows - don't worry just knit and purl them :)

Row 1- (k3, k2 tog) till end
Row 2- purl
Row 3- (k2, k2 tog) to end
Row 4- purl
Row 5- (k1, k2 tog) to end

From here decrease every row by k2 tog until casting off the last stitch.

Sew up back seam.

Arms.

Cast on 16 stitches in the other colour and cast off again leaving a longish end.
Join arms together using the long thread and threading the bell or bead in the middle.  Take the long thread through the arm to the halfway point and sew on the top of the skirt.  Finish off ends.

Head.
Attach the head by threading the needle with the fancy thread and then go down through the head, through the top of the arms and skirt and then back up through the head.  Equalize the two ends and lay the hair across between them before tying the thread (so the hair acts to hold the head in place.). I always finish by drawing a very simple face with a fine nib pen.

Hope you like this and I'm not even going to attempt to move the photos to anywhere appropriate - they are in order :)

viv

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

awards

Thanks for your comments on the last post.  Christmas will be very different this year indeed.

However, to get back to life etc. I have to report that youngest son Will has won several awards this year including a distinction for his all round work, a special award in stage craft and the junior Shakespeare award along with his group.  They did an awesome job of their piece and totally deserved it.  Will took top actor and the girl playing opposite him got second top as well.  I'll be interested to find out what they do next year as first year seniors. Grandma did know about the acting but not about the rest.  I think that is what is hardest - not being able to run next door and tell her stuff

I'm still trying to get things back to normal but just can't seem to concentrate at all on the quilt.  Might have to keep making socks for a bit.. Useful at least.

viv

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mum

18 May 1933 - 27 November 2013 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Falls Dam

James is doing his creative writing around one of my previous very funny but real events and that reminded me of the time we visited this nice little dam.

It was around 1975 when Dad decided to sell his first boat as it was a bit big for the dams and lakes in our area and was also a bit hard to handle for just one person and us elder kids were on the brink of going off to boarding school etc.

In place of this boat he decided to build a Sunburst dingy but in the meantime he acquired a kitset Optimist which he put together over the winter. He never put seats in or anything fancy but it was a nice (if tiny) one child boat into which some adults could squeeze themselves. It sailed like a landlubbers dream.

We had a lot of fun with this boat with some notable adventures but the best was the day he decided that we would go for a picnic with the boat club members to the Falls dam.  This was an irrigation dam built by the gold miners originally and used all summer by local farmers so it payed to get in early before the water level dropped too much.

We were up bright and early on the day and my brother (about 13 at the time) went off first with another member and a sunburst to get in an early sail before lunch.  We packed the car with picnic stuff and headed out to hopefully arrive for morning tea.

It was getting warm by the time we reached the turnoff and the dust was bad on the way in but there was a pleasantly overcast sky that kept the heat down and it never looked like rain.

The edge of the dam was stony so those going for a swim wore gymshoes into the water and some never took them off.  There was a place for the boats to launch and soon there were four small boats sailing about.

One of the first was the optimist because it was easy to handle and Dad took off in that for a quick sail before lunch.  It only took about 20 minutes to get from one end to the other so he did a couple of laps in a nice warm breeze and then headed back to the shore.  And looked at the rocks....

After sailing up and down a couple of times, he decided that the best way in without damaging his new paintwork was to throw his bow line to us on the bank.  That was all very well but the rope was a bit short, his throwing skills were being interfered with by the sail and mast and stays etc  and he was having difficulty keeping the boat in one place.  The next happening was very fast!  He stood up sideways in the boat and, whilst holding on to the mast, threw the rope again, lost his balance and went over backwards, boat and all.

He came up spluttering, managed to catch the boat before it sailed off without him and dragged it to the bank.  Problem solved!

Having shed his wet clothes and been revived by a hot cup of tea, he was reduced to spending the rest of the day in his bathing suit while Mum made a sort of clothes line out of a spare rope to dry things off.

It was just after this that my brother came in with the friend and his boat needing a little attention from the medicine chest and the washing line.

They had been practising gibes down the far end of the dam and had got a little too enthusiastic.  (For those who don't sail - a gibe is where the sail and boom are forced suddenly to the other side by turning the rudder hard over.  You have to be quick in smaller boats to avoid capsizing.)  The gibe had been initiated and it was my brother's job to leap across the boat, avoid the boom en route, and then grab the rope holding the front sail and lean out as far as possible using said rope to stop falling out.

This time he missed!  And flew right out of the boat which promptly performed a sort of violent curved dance and was just saved from capsize by the friend letting go the sheet (the line that you hold the sail and boom with).  This dumped all the wind out of the sail but he neglected to duck fast enough and was caught by the boom as it came back across. It left a massive bruise on his face and a long scratch.

We patched them up and fed them lunch and more hot tea.

Lunchtime came for all and the various boats were moored for an hour.  

After lunch Dad went out in the optimist again and, still wary of those rocks, he got my brother to push him off and away.  What we didn't know was that about three yards off the bank there was an underwater cliff, so he took three big steps in just over ankle deep water and then disappeared.  He had already been reduced to a bathing suit so no damage was done but it certainly made for heaps of laughter.

After this, the rest of the afternoon went smoothly until it was my turn in the boat.  By this time, being in the boat meant sitting in about 6 inches of warm water because the wind had come up a little and wavelets were splashing water in and there was no seat (Dad did rectify this at home later and gave us a seat at least).  I had a good time trying out this and that but had great difficulty getting back to the bank. (I was a very new sailor at this time) Every time I turned to go in, the front of the boat tried to play submarine and another foot of water would come in for me to bale out.  I thought I might have to land on the far side at one point and then walk the boat home. 

I did finally figure it out and, somewhat gratefully made my way back to the landing place.  The bank inhabitants said I looked really funny going up and down because all they could see was the sail and my head, the rest being lost in the waves.


It was getting late by now and the chill was coming in so we packed up the boat, the bank inhabitants and the sailors (now dressed in slightly damp clothes) and headed home.  All in all, a very good day.




My dad circa 1975
Dad, cousin Andrew and brother Phil after an accident at Macandrew Bay in the new Sunburst




The boat club at the West Eweburn

The three photos don't directly link to the story but they do show some of us as we were at the time. The photo of the three drowned rats doesn't do justice to the amount of wet and mud they collected. Dad should have known better - my brother never could steer properly! The main difference between the Falls dam and this one is the trees.  There are none at the Falls so we mostly went here instead. The yacht with the cabin was our original boat built by Dad and a friend in an old shop.  The other two are Sunbursts, the one in front being the one from the Falls story.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Horse Trough








A local group of us might have added something this winter to a local landmark - we thought it looked a little cold :)

Unfortunately someone pinched this about three days later.  Shame after all that hard work.

viv

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Taiaroa Head

 This was a trip we did down to the albatross colony.  A friend runs a tourist boat and took us for a run round the rocks. He was able to get very close in because the water goes straight down here.  It was a bit unnerving to be within a few feet of the rocks but we got good views as a result despite the fog.
 This was heading out to the rocks.
 This is part of the shag colony.  There were also spoonbills and seals. one of which had fun porpoising on our bow for a bit but there isn't a good enough photo of that.
 Cliffs with birds.
More cliffs with bull kelp

 Lots of bull kelp!
 Weird rock forms (basalt mostly) worn by the sea.
 This is the upper part of their driveway - 4 wheel drive only and this is the good bit!  You can see Wellers Rock down below (and our car - safer to walk!) The jetty is just out of view.
This is the beginning of the driveway and yes, it really is that steep and you could lose a child in some of those potholes.

We had a wonderful time :)

viv