Friday, 27 February 2009

Off to The Nationals

Six of us from the Croquet Club are setting sail for Wanganui today to play in The Golf Croquet Nationals. As usual when we go on the rampage, er, for a croquet trip away, Collen and I will be travelling in Jayne's Lucy. Jayne's sister will who returns to England in a few days, will be with us too. I can feel a fun week coming on.

One of the advantages of having mobile broadband is that I can blog wherever I can get a signal and as we are staying with a friend where I have stayed before I know that I can get a signal. So time and tiredness permitting the blog will continue if slightly abated.

Croquet is for Genteel Ladies

It seems to be a view that croquet is for genteel old ladies and people in Alice in Wonderland. Nothing could actually be further from the reality. However instead of being on the lawns preparing for The Nationals which start in Wanganui on Saturday and in which I am playing, I was helping to build a soil store today. "Just helping to put in a few posts" was what was mentioned. Yeah right. Six solid hours (excluding coffee stops) of hard manual labour later I had to leave for "granddad duties". In that six hours we had bored post holes, put in and backfilled the posts and dug a trench. Genteel is not an adjective I would have used to describe the perspiring bodies that completed that task. But boy did I feel good after that physical labour. I'm almost sad to be missing the rest of the work to finish the store.

The bare site marked out and ready to start

Boring the holes was nowhere near as easy as it looks as two of us battle with the borer

Resting on laurels (or spades)

As far as we got before I left (the trench on the right is mine, all mine!!)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Its Different This Morning

The orchard outside my Cottage is nearing harvest

When I stuck my nose out of the doors this morning and slid them open to let in the world, I was conscious that things were not as they had been for a while. I just couldn't put my finger on why. The sun was shining again after a night of very heavy rain which started late afternoon. I was thinking that the farmers varied in their views on rain at this time of year. The orchardists don't want it because it reduces the sweetness of the apples and, I think, it's the same for the vignerons. The sheep and dairy farmers will be giving thanks.

However, I digress. Things seemed different. The temperature rose to 24 when it suddenly occured to me that it felt slightly chilly for 24 degrees. And then I realised. Hawkes Bay is not usually humid. But for the last few weeks we have been having unusually high humidity for the area. Today the humidity hsa gone and the air has its usual crisp warmth again. Wonderful.

REO Wolverine

Not particularly outstanding from the front

But a very significant rear

And a wooden steering wheel

New Zealand Tax stickers are very informative

I could post many many photos of vintage cars. There is a huge number in New Zealand. There is a significant Vintage Car Club in Hawkes Bay. The Art Deco Weekend is a major event in the calender for vintage car owners: we even get cars coming over from the USA. For me it is one of the highlights of the weekend. Unfortunately with several hundred cars here each year inevitably quite a high percentage are repeat appearances.

However this Reo Wolverine was one that I didn't recall seeing before. In fact the name REO as a car company meant nothing to me. So, of course, I consulted Wikipedia and, lo and behold, discovered that it was a name that my US readers would know instantly. The REO Motor Car Company was a Lansing, Michigan-based company that produced automobiles and trucks from 1905 to 1975. At one point the company also manufactured buses on its truck platforms. So now I know.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Art Deco Weekend: "Soapboxes"

Every year there is a soapbox derby when Napiers Best race each other for the title of fastest soapbox. I didn't see the Derby this year but I did manage photos of some of the entries.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Art Dec Weekend: Barber Shop Girls

I have to say that I was very much taken with this girl barber shop type ensemble.

Art Deco Weekend: Sunday Picnics

An integral part fo the celebrations of Art Deco Weekend are the picnics. On Sunday lunchtime hundreds of picnics take place on Marine Parade. Some are just imprompty but some are lavish themed affairs.

This is the fountain I posted photographs of a short while ago.

Art Deco Weekend: A Few Sunday Pics

Guarding the Veronica Bell (Fraser on right)

Guarding the Veronica Bell (David on right, Catriona looking on)

The Soundshell with assembled mukltitudes

The Sea Scouts (awaiting the gun salute)

The Royal New Zealand Naval Band

Sunday, 22 February 2009

A Life of Riley

I couldn't resist posting this first even before I've sorted out the rest of the photos of the Art Deco experience. A little lightheartedness to start.

A Book Fair

Books are expensive in New Zealand. Because we are so far from any markets even internet buying can be quite expensive. Second-hand books is quite big business. Every year in Napier there are several book fairs where many thousands of second-hand books are for sale at an average of $1 or $2 depending on condition. Today's Fair was in the hall of Napier Boys High School where Jamie is a weekly boarder. I managed to pick up about 8 books for $10. A reasonable haul but nothing exciting.

Billy Connolly Live in Napier

On Friday evening we went to see Billy Connolly. The audience of about 1500 (perhaps more) in the sell-out concert laughed without a break for two hours. Of course we'd heard some of it before ('though very little it has to be said) but I wondered how anyone can perform like that and hold an audience completely spellbound for that long. Amazing.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Art Deco Weekend

This is Art Deco Weekend. Established in 1989 by the Art Deco Trust the weekend has developed into a huge event for Napier. The most important aspect so far as many people are concerned is the Veronica Bell Parade when the bell of HMS Veronica is brought before the people of Napier and rung as a remineder of the Earthquake of 1931 (the biggest disater to hit New Zealand since it has been inhabited by man) and the role played in the aftermath by H M S Veronica.

I posted blogs on the Earthquake and the role of HMS Veronica last year and so I shall not repeat them this year but I shall, weather and everything else permitting, write about the parade after it has taken place tomorrow.

The Crystal Serenity Enters Port at Napier

It was a dark, wet and windy day over most of New Zealand today and Napier did not pull off its usual trick and miss the bad weather. The cruies liner Crystal Serenity came into Port bearing Kate, Pat and Dave's daughter, The above is the sequence I shot from the top of Bluff Hill overlooking the Port and the following is the sequence from the webcam on the bridge of the ship looking forward.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Kate at The Cottage

A friend from Lewis has an afternoon free whilst the Crystal Serenity spends 6 hours in port at Napier. So what does one do? What sights does one see? Well, actually, Kate has been here before and stayed with me for a few days during her gap year tour of Australia and New Zealand. Kate's Mum and Dad are dear friends who live on the Isle of Lewis and look after everything there for me whilst I am on this side of the world. There is so much to see especially as this is Art Deco Week. However today it poured with rain. So we came home to The Cottage and spent the afternoon chatting and drinking coffee. I sure know how to show a young lady the sights of the city. Well, perhaps another time.

There you are, Mum, just so that you can see that she's fine and well.

Raffles With Kate

One of my favourite cafés in Napier is Raffles Street Café. Apart from well-presented, tasty, good value food and coffee just to my taste, the ambience is friendly and relaxing and the welcome by the owner is second to none.

Unfortunately today the weather was not what one would desire when a friend was coming to visit from the Crystal Serenity, one of the most prestigous cruise liners afloat. So the pictures above are ones that I took some while ago on a sunny day.

So we escaped from the rain which has enveloped the entire Country today and had lunch at Raffles.