Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm baaaaack:)

The holiday was great if a trifle hot! We walked by the river, went up the gondola, swam in the lake and caught up with the odd relative or so and generally had a good time.

Poppy, my mil's dog, will miss William who walked her at least twice a day. I suppose we ought to consider a dog but it is really too small round here and I don't think the finances will stretch to it anyhow.

The boys swam in the river and in Lake Hayes but it was very cold so they didn't stay in long and took ages to actually take the plunge and go in. They also swam in the indoor (heated!) pool for an entire afternoon and successfully turned themselves into prunes :)

I did lots of drawing because it really is a spectacular place. The new pencil is really nice and gives a softer effect than the old one although it isn't as delicate.

The bus trip was long but bearable and we did walk quite a lot when we were there although the car got used too mostly because everything is so far from everything else. Lots of photos to follow along with a few here from the day we went up the gondola.

viv in nz

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We are off on holiday for a week starting this Friday. I have a friend to look after our place so my triffid of a tomato will be ok along with Skilly and the hens.

We will be spending Christmas at home though so that should be good too.

I spent most of today working at the kindy which was fun. I only do the odd relief stint there and hadn't had anything for several months so it was nice to catch up with the children who have grown out of all recognition since my last work. It was fun and we all made Christmas bells along with the other stuff. I am getting a handle on what these age groups are capable of and hope to have a little input too so that when they get to my senior classes, they will have the skills I am presently having to teach, already in place. Which, in turn, means that we can really tackle some great projects without worrying about who can or can't use scissors properly. (There seem to be more left handers than normal in my upper group and they really need different scissors to get good results.) Correct use of tools should start very young as it is annoying to learn when older and far more difficult to master.

The top photo is my baby cherry blossom tree doing its thing beautifully and the other is the side pocket of my strawberry tower which I colonised with these tiny pink things which had been living in a broken pot for some years.

viv in nz

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holidays and garden bits

The boys only have a few days of school left now and we have already planned a holiday at Grandmas new house in Arrowtown. This will be the longest time we've been away for over three years and I am hunting round for someone to water the triffid (tomato) inside and feed the animals etc. I am hoping a friends daughter will live in for the week.

Matt has dug the garden free of gravel (it was supposed to be part of a driveway but proved a bit steep for general use.) and planted two rows of potatoes. It is a bit late for general planting but we will try a few things as you never know. James, at 14 is into computer games etc but has also claimed a plot to plant things in and has done a really good job of laying it out, weeding and planting. He has yams and sweet corn in his plot and they are all sprouting merrily. William has merely shoved a couple of extra strawberry plants in his plot so far.

The lettuces are still producing madly - poor James! He really doesn't like lettuce much! There are also peas and garlic although not in large amounts yet, along with a large contingent of parsley plants from the ones that went to seed last year. We all like parsley chopped through our mashed potato so no doubt it will run out as usual :)

We are down another elderly hen so there are only three left now. I think its time we sourced some more but not until we get back. Skilly has decided that the big chest in the front hall is a good spot to view everyone so I gave her an old rug to keep her off the rather elaborate carving and she now thinks it just purrrrrfect :)

The photos are one of the more interesting cars to go up the street and almost the last photo of Chainsaw with Skilly lying in front of him.

viv in nz

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baldwin Street

We do live on the steepest street in the world so things can get interesting at times. There are a number of photos of crashed cars as well as a plethora of weird and wonderful happenings, some of which predate us and some of which I have witnessed over the seven years we have lived here and the 30 odd years I have spent in the Valley.

There is the Jaffa race of course. That is a yearly event in July and coincides with the chocolate festival. There were two races this year - one with the normal orange jaffas and one with lilac ones to celebrate the 10th year of the race. We scored some chocolate to compensate for the inconvenience of having our street access blocked for half a day. I'm not sure on the numbers but it was standing room only - estimated at about 8 thousand.

In the last year there have been two car incidents. Neither were serious fortunately. The first was tourists who lost it further up and took out a large chunk of railing, garden and left a big hole in the neighbour's hedge. The second was some nitwit trying to do a u-turn after light rain on the very steepest bit. He wrote his car off on a lamp post (which was undamaged and so was he).

There was the idiot sliding down the street in a recycle bin (not a wheelie bin) which broke. I reported that one as it wasn't their bin and they cost to replace. And finally there was the stupid teen who was riding down on his bike without using his hands - he ended up under a parked car with some fairly nasty injuries but fortunately not fatal or permanent damage. Just broken bones and gravel rash.

On a happier note there was a segway -I think there's a video on u tube - an electric wheelchair, a pair of stilts, a pogo stick and various skateboards, bikes, unicycles and a pair of training ski (he was no fool and decided not to go from the top).

There was also a world record attempt to ride a motorbike down on one wheel. He then rode back up still on wheel just for the fun of it. He was a proper stunt rider though and got a fairly massive audience as it was reported in the local paper.

Then there are the 40,000 odd tourists....

This street is interesting to live on!

Our house is on the wiki page but the photo needs an upgrade. We have been doing it up slowly and the roof has been renewed although the colour is still white with lacework. It was built in 1912 so I think we will need to give it a birthday party for being 100 fairly soon :)


Thursday, November 18, 2010


I haven't been doing very much recently so I thought I'd share an old story of a family trip to the Falls Dam when I was still a teen.

The dam itself is a fair way off the beaten track but it is quite attractive in a barren kind of way with a group of fishing huts as the only hint of civilization. This construction was made for mining and then used for agriculture. It is only a very small lake by most standards and takes about 30 mins by sailing boat (slow sort) to get from one end to the other.

It was a warm day but heavily overcast which is unusual in central. The water was mostly pretty shallow so it was also warmish which made the idea of sailing on it pretty good. My brother was crewing for a sunburst dinghy belonging to a friend and we had the optimist because Dad hadn't finished building his sunburst yet. We also had a picnic lunch and the whole family and various other people too so it was a real outing for the Maniototo Yacht club.

Things got off to a good start and the boats were launched for a short sail before lunch. Dad took the first go as it was his boat and Phil went out with his friend. The rest of us set up the picnic and decided that the rocky shore was not a good place to swim - too many weeds and heaps of jagged rocks. We then sat down to wait for the sailors to return.

Dad was first back and he called for some help so that he wouldn't bash his newly painted dinghy on the rocks. We went down to help and he decided, whilst sailing up and down along the shore, that he would throw us the painter (rope) so that we could guide him in. ( I might add that we were fairly new to sailing at this point and about as far from expert as is possible without actually tipping the boat every time we got in it.)

He aimed carefully at the shore and made what he considered a good throw. It fell way short so he gathered it up and by slowing down the boat to almost a stall, he managed to stand in the centre, hanging on to the mast with one hand to help his balance. Then he threw the rope....

The precariously balanced boat (for those who don't know what an optimist is - its about the size of a one man rowing boat) promptly turned turtle, captain and all, backwards. There was a loud splosh and the rope reached the shore.

We pulled the bedraggled captain out of the lake along with his boat and gave him a towel. Fortunately he had left all his valuables in the car because he didn't want them getting wet!

At this point the other boat hove into view carrying two more casualties. Their mishap was out of view from where we were but must have looked hilarious to the wildlife. Phil had been manning the jib amidships whilst his friend operated the tiller. They had rocketed down the lake in fine style with a few jibes which required split second timing. The idea was that the main sail was allowed to fly across to the other tack while Phil had the job of releasing the jib sheet and flying across the boat width changing ropes as he went and then leaning out as far as possible using the rope as support.

This was fine and allowed for much speed but on this one occasion, Phil missed the rope in passing at a million miles an hour and went completely over the side.......loud splash!

To keep the boat upright, his friend had a firm grip on the main sail but with the disappearance of his counterweight, the boom slammed back across and gave him a nasty blow on the head. He was lucky not to be knocked out. He regained control of things and picked up Phil and in a sadder but wiser way, they returned for first aid and dry clothes and lunch.

After lunch, Dad decided to go out again and do a spin round the lake before giving me a go so, still in his somewhat soggy clothes, he hopped in and, mindful of the rocks, asked Phil to push him out a little before getting under way.

You have to remember that this is an artificial lake so when Phil went to push him out, he got three steps into the water and then promptly disappeared. Apparently there was a small, invisible cliff just off the shoreline. So Phil got another impromptu bath!

Things settled down a bit after that until it was my turn. This was the first time I had sailed a boat on my own and I was a little nervous. Not for my safety, we all had life jackets and we all were very good swimmers, but for my pride!

I got a good start and sailed round the lake doing quite well I thought. Then I had to come in but every time I turned in, the following wind pushed my bows under the water and the boat started to act more like a diving submarine. I yelled for instructions eventually as I was by now sitting waist deep in water (there wasn't a seat at this time). Dad had to run up and down the shoreline yelling instructions at me and try to boost my confidence until I got the nerve to do what he was saying. I got very wet but I did make it back to land under my own steam. Needless to say, I never forgot that set of instructions!

By this time everyone was either wet or damaged so we set to packing everything up. We left just as the foreboding clouds decided to rain heavily but it was accounted one of our most successful picnic days despite the various accidents along the way.

Unfortunately I have no photos available of the yachts so the photo here is on our street and just shows the end of our veranda.

viv in nz

Saturday, November 13, 2010

garden bits with felt

I did a few more small landscapes in felt inbetween filling a little of the skip - Matt did most of it. I think this felt thing has rather become a fixture especially as I have no sewing machine at present - it broke a couple of weeks back and I haven't heard about it since (and am not enquiring too soon because there is no money to pay for it anyhow).

I have to say I like the small wet felt pieces which I can compose at about the size of the average postcard with lots of detail. I'm still perfecting things so there is the odd mess where something has gone a bit weird. I can embellish them too if I think they need it.

Apart from that - I've been getting into some christmassy things for the children to compose during the last few weeks of school. They will make a nice change from the grandma's garden quilt which we finally finished about a week back. Its off being quilted now. I'll post a photo when it is finished.

So far I have got them making little christmas trees in fabric (polar fleece at present as it doesn't need backing and these are my 8 year olds) and the 11 - 12 year olds are knitting a small angel although I am considering letting two of them (the worst knitters) make trees too. Its all good fun and will give them one or two nice things to use as christmas presents.

The two photos at the top are from a rather nasty forest fire over the back of the city. No housing was involved but we were drowned in smoke for several days. This was last summer and I forgot I had these photos - they look pretty spectacular but the smell was much worse!

viv in nz

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Dunedin Botanical Gardens

A friend and I went to the gardens as we do most years in the Spring and wandered round looking at the flowers - mostly azelias and rhododendrons this time as we were too late for the cherry blossoms. I took a few nice photos so here are a few to brighten up the day.

Since then we have spent most of our time filling a skip with rubbish from the back yard - mostly old hedge and stuff from the house renovations. Way too much for composting unfortunately so this time its off to the landfill.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


We have been harvesting rhubarb for about a week now and our small patch is starting to run down so not much more to come for a while. I think there may be a case for a few more plants as we all like it :)

Matt has started to clear the bottom of what was to be the driveway but which ended up too soft even with a ton (literally) of gravel on top. He is going to convert most of it into veg garden by creating a raised bed on it and building a small brick wall (recycled chimney) on the boundary with a gravel path. Should work ok and gets plenty of sun too.

We got four bales of straw and placed them along the edge of the cleared bank to make a raised edge for the other garden. This should last until we can afford to put in a proper edge and will then be converted to mulch (if it hasn't already).

We also planted a quince tree but will need to wait several years for that to be of any account fruit wise. We hope to add a greengage and a green apple of some sort along the same bank where the old hedge was. A row of fruit trees is a lot more useful than an old hedge!

My inside tomato is already two thirds up the window and starting to set fruit. I had to use some digit control on a bunch of aphids so it must be that season again!

Two of the four old potatoes I planted have reached the surface at the front gate (they went there because it happened to be clear of weeds for a change). I also planted the remains of an old packet of seed, (peas and beans) and some of those look to have sprouted too despite the expiry date on the packet being about two years back. There was an old garlic that had sprouted too so I broke that up and planted it amongst the dahlias and it seems to be doing well too despite being the wrong time to plant it.

Spring has sprung. I even filled the wheelbarrow like I said I would, with lettuces and pansies. They will be big enough to harvest the odd leaf by next week from the looks of it.

So there you have it. For once we should have some of our own produce to eat :) Even the odd hen is laying the odd egg!

The photos are of our old rhododendron tree (about the same age as the house we think - 1912) and an iris that lives under the pink thing in front of the rhododendron.

viv in nz

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Felt photos

I finally got some photos of a few of the felt items I have been working on. Some are posted on the other site as well (Artfibredunedin.blogspot) but I thought it would be good to have them on here too.

The larger items I did before the extended playtime event and with the Steiner ladies. The smaller items are from the playtime and the book I have done since. The beaded and free motion quilted piece was the last one I did before my sewing machine died. I am still without it because money is tight round here and 26 cents doesn't fix a machine. Maybe next week will be better!

Anyway, enjoy the view.

viv in nz

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The rooster

Over at Frugal Kiwi I got reminded about one of the stories that go with our hens.

This was some time back when we were living out on the Otago Peninsular in a very small 1871 cottage in poor repair. It was an idyllic spot with a stream full of crabs and whitebait and the odd eel. We even spotted an octopus or so and various fish. There were canoes we could launch off the front lawn when the tide was in half way and paddle down under the road bridge and into the bay. (Any higher and the boat wouldn't fit under and lower meant you ran aground ).

However, to get back to the main story, we had gained a few chickens from a friend. There were two hens and a rooster all half-bred bantam crosses. The ladies were very prolific and managed to raise 18 chicks in one nest and 12 in the other. Overpopulation ruled!

Fortunately most of these offspring turned out to be hens but as we were severely short of space, we gave one hen and her 12 chicks away and kept the other hen. The extra roosters would be for the pot. Once the hens were grown, we made our choices and gave the rest away along with a couple of the roosters. That left us with five hens and three roosters.

We let the two young roosters free range permanently and caged the hens and the senior rooster each night. This worked well for about a year and then things changed - for the worse. The large white rooster started acting up and beating up the senior rooster. That couldn't continue so we decided he just had to go.

The deed had to be done after dark as he was impossible to catch until he'd roosted for the night so we kept an eye on him until he settled and then planned the assault with the neighbours in tow as backstop and because they owned a large machete to do the chop and for moral support (we had only done this once before).

Tim, the neighbour, was a tall thin person looking rather like he should be in a monastery of the more laid back sort, so he got the job of trying to get the bird first. It was a bit out of reach however and departed rapidly for the hills followed by various bits of profanity.

Tim extracted himself from the tree along with Matt, who had been acting as backstop in the other side of the tree, and we all set out in search of the missing rooster. Tim still had the machete in his hand as we all wandered round the local houses looking for that rooster.

I often wonder what the people in the b&b next door thought when Tim wandered up to their door, in the middle of the night, complete with machete, and asked if they had seen a white rooster go past :) Must have made their stay 'interesting'!!

We did find the rooster a few minutes later in somebodies back yard and dragged it back to face execution. That went without a hitch and the result was a pot of chicken soup. Most useful thing that rooster ever achieved.

viv in nz

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I learned how to make felt last week. It is something I have wanted to know about for some time but have not had the opportunity to try. I created two pieces on my first effort, one of which is rather nice although it is by no means finished yet. Then, over the long weekend workshop, one of our members taught us how to do the really fine felt and I created an orange piece that I hope to turn into an iris and a couple of leaves to o with it.

After that I got sort of keen (understatement) and have spent the last day or so composing a book made from felt with a selection of my samples as content. I mostly used brown wool for the pages but I did the cover in a reddish pattern with flame coloured pieces. The book turned out rather soft and tactile but has stiffened up a little since I added the samples.

I will photo the whole thing when I get the chance as well as getting the Trotters Gorge photos on here. In the meantime I have hunted out a view of the Quarry Gardens. These are a major part of my view from my living room window and are nice to walk through too.

viv in nz

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

time flies

Time just flies when you are having fun. I just spent four days at a sort of camp for arty fibre types. There are now lots of half finished projects waiting to be done and a few that got finished. It was great to spend all that time just doing stuff and hanging out with others and their stuff. Lots of cross fertilization going on idea wise as well as lots of how to for stuff not yet attempted.

I hope to get up some photos soon but need to finish a few things yet :)

viv in nz

Monday, October 4, 2010

Season open

Well that was a great first day - not! Two mini angels and a scarf for a grand total of $16.

Its been no better since :(

As a consolation, here are a few good photos of this and that. The top one is the front veranda with my wheelbarrow full of petunias. This year I hope to fill it with various lettuces and maybe a few violas.

The bottom photo is taken out at Aramoana which is a stunning place although also notorious for a mass murder some years back - theres a rather good movie of it now.

We mostly go here for picnics as it is only about 20 minutes from home.

The rest of the week just has to get somewhat better!!! I'll write about the other nasties later.

viv in nz

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

shop content

I thought I might put up a few photos of the shop. These are not very recent but the stock doesn't change all that much. Most of these were taken by the kids just because they could :)

Actually, when I look at this, the stock has changed but is exactly the same if you know what I mean. And we are open again for Christmas although not all the time - just when I'm around to man it. Any locals wanting to find me in - just send an email first so I will be there :) Or a comment as I do check them.

viv in nz

Friday, September 24, 2010

kiwi feet

Two photos of my knitted kiwi which I sell in my shop for $6.50. Which is why I don't use anything too expensive :) Looks a bit rude...

viv in nz

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The long drop affair

I was reading a post on another blog today and it reminded me of a certain emergency that happened during our honeymoon camping trip.

At the time of this event, we had been traveling for several days in our old car with a tent in the boot and an assortment of old camping gear mostly from the dim dark age of the fifties. There was a set of old tin plates and mugs, a thermette made by my grandfather, a pup tent from a really cheap box store along with a home made fly constructed out of a cheap tarpaulin and two broom handles and an inflatable bed which had a slow leak.

On our first night we had found a wonderful (free) camping spot with the usual fixtures - a tap on a stand, a long drop dunny (toilet) and a few concrete block barbecues. It was also raining rather hard and had been doing so all day so there was an inch or so of water in the bottom of the barbies and no dry fuel. My husband attempted to light some of this wood with some dryish twigs to no avail but did manage to heat up the thermette with twigs so we dined on cold spagetti and warmish cocoa. The fly turned out to be very useful as it was substantially larger than the tent and gave us a short veranda so not too much mud came inside. Having nothing better to do and not much light we simply went to bed.

The second night went much better as we had collected some dry wood at one of our scenic stops and we were able to have a proper fire. This was good as although the rain has mostly stopped, it was now extremely cold. It was here that the superiority of the long drop had to be overcome. It was a nice concrete block building with a handbasin and a working tap. The toilet was the usual hole with a seat but was enclosed in a concrete surround and was several feet deep.

It was whilst using this amenity, in the middle of the night, that disaster struck and the wallet fell out of my husbands pocket and down this inaccessible hole. We looked at the hole for a while as we could see the wallet at the bottom in the torchlight. It had fallen to the side of the main pile of excrement but was out of reach. I was a woman on a mission at this point as all our necessary stuff was in this wallet so I hatched a plan of rescue.

We first hunted through the woodpile for the longest branch possible that was rigid enough to not bend under pressure and to one end attached a pair of pliers. These happened to be very stiff so they stayed open unless pulled. To the unattached handle I tied a long piece of string and then took a loop around a handy twiglet. We lowered the entire thing down the hole and got the jaws around the edge of the wallet and carefully pulled the string to close the pliers. Once closed they were probably stiff enough to stay shut but I tied the string anyhow just in case. The wallet remained with the pliers and we regained our bits. I might add that juggling a torch, a piece of string and a branch in a toilet with your husband in the middle of the night is something that is hard to forget!

I washed the whole thing in hot water and antiseptic but it really hadn't suffered much. And that is why I will always put a ball of string in any emergency kit I make up.

The trip was wonderful too but I will always remember it for the time we lost the wallet down the long drop :)

viv in nz

The photo is one taken from the top of Mt Cargill last year.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Any old thing

Mother is a bit better. At least she can hold a sort of conversation now and she can stand with help and a big list to starboard :) She has lost so much control that knitting, which she is so fond of, is no longer an option. That is a major downer. I hope she will be able to get home again but have to face the fact that she may not be able to cope without special care.

Life goes on but does become somewhat restricted by age.

I am going to post a few pretty pics just to cheer things up :) These are all taken from our house during what I call sunset season. Around the end of autumn and ditto spring.

viv in nz

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bike in pond

I thought I might have already told this tale but it seems not so here it is.

The whole thing came about some years ago when I was still doing some astronomy with my brother and the local group. Although we were amateurs, we did do some fairly important stuff for professional groups from time to time. Mostly routine stuff that didn't need high powered equipment but just time and inclination and a modicum of equipment. The event involved this time was a reasonably rare occultation and we were sent out to a distant and isolated area to time said event. As a convenience I offered my brother a lift so he came out to my place on his motorbike which at the time was a substantial 1000 model and rather heavy. Due to the soft ground he decided to park the monster on the edging of my small fishpond which was all rock.

We then ate dinner and set off in my car, collecting another bod en route along with a telescope and box of bits. The weather did not look wonderful so we had rather a low expectation of any return but thought there was just a chance of a gap in the cloud. So there was - about 5 minutes after the event! Murphy's law strikes again with that well known line - The thickness of the cloud cover is in inverse proportion to the importance of the event!

We hung around for a bit looking at stars in a sort of desultory fashion as the moon was far too bright for anything really good and then packed up and headed for home. Slowly and in a very conservative manner as petrol was running a bit low (forgot to check) and there wasn't an open garage for eons. We finally made it into town and to the only 24 hour garage, then trekked down home again (I was living about 15 minutes out on the wrong side of town for this trip).

It was now just past one in the morning so I made us a cup of cocoa and offered the use of the spare bed for the night but my brother figured it would only take a short time to get home at that time of night so he geared up and went out to the bike. I didn't actually see the next bit but apparently he flipped up the stand and put his foot on the same rock it had been sitting on all evening. Said rock promptly left for the inner reaches of the pond taking his foot with it...... and the base of the pond was very slippery!

He was lucky in two respects. One - the pond was only about 8 inches deep and two - he had his helmet on which saved his head from damage on the rocks at the far side of the pond. (It really was an insignificant sort of pond - more like a muddy puddle and I filled it in eventually.)

Next thing I knew there was a beeping of the horn and I went out to see the bike plus rider in the pond with the upper side leg waving round in mid-air. I had to get into the pond myself to heave the thing off him and then it took both of us to get it out.

We reparked the bike very carefully and went inside. He was wet from top to toe so I handed him a bath towel and sent him off to the shower whilst I went hunting for some clothes that might possibly fit and a dry set of socks and slippers for myself.

He ended up in a very short t shirt, a pair of old pyjama pants in a fetching paisley pattern complete with paint splatters as I'd been using them as overalls over my normal clothes (I believe they originally came from my grandfather!) and a sloppy type of jersey complete with clowns :) I should explain that I am under 5 foot tall and he is nearer 6 feet and what you might call of generous proportions.

He stayed the night!

Most of his gear was dry enough to wear by the next morning - we had cleaned off the mud etc and hung it to dry- so he was able to make it back in time for work. The bike was unharmed but he decided to dispose of it anyhow as it really was a dog to handle on our sort of roads and replaced it with a rather nice 350cc. I think the fishpond finished off his love affair with large bikes for good!

viv in nz

The photo is Skilly (short for skillsaw) our younger cat. She is now 14 but this photo is a couple of years old - not that she has changed much! I chose this because she was found in a rubbish tin by my brother when she was only a few weeks old and he donated her to our house. I later got him back by donating our then elderly and cranky old cat back to him as she wasn't getting on well with our young cats and toddlers :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Mum is still struggling to be understood but is clearly there and understanding us. She should make a good recovery hopefully.

On the better news front I have now got an amplifier to replace the old one that was one large hummmmmmmmmmm. I have two channels again as well so I can listen to Pink Floyd again :) Along with the rest of my collection of classical etc. It is still an elderly machine about 17 years old but as my cd player is more like 30 years old and so are my speakers - it is still a baby.

It is Williams ballet exam tomorrow - grade 4 and I hope he remembers the theory this time - last year he froze solid even though he knew everything backwards. I think the examiner was a bit of a dragon :) The photo is from 2 years ago. (Note the forgotten feet!) I must not have one from last year. He looks much more dance like this year at 12. He even remembers he has feet mostly now. Sometimes he remembers he has hands too :)

viv in nz

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Just a short post to say that my mother was taken to hospital this morning with a stroke. It has affected her speech but it is too early to say what will eventuate out of this.


Monday, September 6, 2010


I have heard from the closest cousins in Christchurch via my mum and my Aunt and they are all fine. Their beautiful old villa has moved on its foundations but still seems intact so that is all good news. One of my sisters friends has lost a house and she hadn't heard from others yet. Most seem alright but probably lacking in crockery I'm thinking.

Its a good thing the building codes are so strong round here. They may be a nuisance but they do work even in so called safer places like Christchurch (ha!) That is necessary in a place like this where earthquakes are a regular occurrence. We have always had earthquakes so don't find them frightening round here but, of course, ours are mostly of very little account.

There is a minor fault system which cuts across the seaward end of the city and topples the odd chimney now and then and a deep trench off shore. The volcanic stuff is Miocene I think and all very extinct at present. There is a thought that if the big fault along the coast should change direction and reactivate, that would reactivate The volcanism but I suspect its not something we have to worry about at present.

The kitchen is still awaiting the removal of a door and the addition of a semi outside extension of the main hallway so the floor is still a big mess and so are the two old windows which don't function at all. The door to come out is the one main entry to the kitchen at present and leads right through a bedroom which is annoying to say the least! (It is supposed to be a dining room but we needed the bedroom much more.) The final plan is to have a big conservatory attached to the front of the kitchen but that requires finance that we don't have.

I was pleased to get the laundry out of the kitchen but have to say I think its even worse in the bathroom at present. There is exactly enough floor space in there for the bathmat and nothing else - about a meter squared on a good day! Its a good thing we don't run to large people :)

A new shower is the hoped for next improvement - can hardly wait even if it does mean I have to tile it myself.

The photo is our house before we put a new roof on it and removed the last chimney.

viv in nz

Saturday, September 4, 2010


An interesting night. We were woken up at about half past four in the morning by a loudish noise and lots of shaking and rattling. This was followed by a brief period of swaying like we were on a ship. After a moment it dawned - oh yes - an earthquake. It wasn't very bad here but I think Christchurch would have got a pretty good shake up - thats where the earthquake was centered as I discovered when I went on line.

These are quite common around here but are normally just mild to the point of almost undetectable. This was quite a good one :)

I've always found these things to be interesting rather than scary although I have to say I've never been in a really big one - that would be scary!

Wow!!! I just saw the coverage of poor old Christchurch. Its a bit of a mess. Hope the relatives aren't too damaged. Seems like nobody has died at least.

The photos are a sort of before and n0w on my kitchen. Not finished yet but at least it works better now and I don't have to use the laundry tub as a kitchen sink :)

viv in nz

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Madness quilt

I have been working too hard today for much but I did find this pic of a quilt I made by hand a couple of years back - that is I finished it a couple of years back. I think I'd been at it on and off for about 8 years before that!

I was a bit deranged when I designed it I think!

Of course I just had to get the obligatory ladder into the one shot that looks ok :)


Thursday, August 26, 2010


The hen run is still rather emptier than it was with both the old rooster and hen (over 10 years old) dying followed rather surprisingly by the young rooster. That was unexpected so now we have to consider what to have next. I still like the idea of fresh eggs every day even although I can't eat them (allergic). The boys still devour what the elderly girls provide so the need is still there.

I think I'd still prefer bantams just because they are less destructive in the garden when let out and I'm hoping that perhaps one of the old girls (yougest is 6, older three are 8), might oblige by being broody with a new batch of chicks.

The senior hen (named Houdini because of her escape antics when younger), has started to crow. It looks a bit odd but I think she feels that as the dominant hen she should stand in for the deceased males. She sounds quite realistic but quite a lot quieter than the real thing.

The photos were mostly taken by the boys a couple of years back.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Pumpkin soup the easy way

Todays photos are Karitane beach north of Dunedin

Take a pumpkin of any size, shape or type and chop, peel and core it. Small pieces for fast cook or big pieces for slow cook. Add one or two carrots, sliced and one or two onions, sliced. Cover with beef stock and cook on stove top until tender. Blend and serve with salt and pepper to taste and a swirl of sour cream if you happen to have some or some grated cheese if you can be bothered :)

I have been known to add a little fish sauce for extra bite or a splash of worcester sauce. I have also been known to add a leek or two and a clove of garlic if I felt like it.

A large pumpkin might go towards two pots of soup or some roasties. Apart from getting the #$%^%$ skin off the pumpkin, the whole thing can be done in about 30 minutes flat from go to serve. Which is great if you have unexpected guests (I fed 8 peeps with one pot the other day)

Hint - If you are doing the fast method it might pay to fry up the onion and garlic in a little oil first. It cooks down better that way. Or you can just add the onions/garlic to the stock when you prepare that! (if its home made that is).

viv in nz