Sunday, 28 February 2010

News Update

The best news is that CJ/Scriptor is doing better and was well enough to send his love a while ago.

At the Golf Croquet Nationals Zoe and I missed being second in our group by 1 hoop but ened up in the top four and are playing in the semi finals today.  Whatever it will be an interesting day.  I am so proud of Zoe.  She was an 11 at the Nationals last year and now she is a 5.

Friday, 26 February 2010

I'm off to The Nationals

I shall be flying South to Christchurch in the morning to play in the New Zealand Golf Croquet Nationals.  I did well last year.  I think this year is likely to be a more sobering experience.  We'll have to see.  I shall be taking Samantha, of course, so hopefully I'll still have broadband and will continue blogging.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Morning Coffee With Catriona

Wendy, Catriona and I had morning coffee on Emerson Street.  Catriona had a 'fluffy'

Art Deco Weekend, Napier

Art Deco Weekend  in Napier takes place each February.  It has developed into a huge series of events over a period of a week culminating in the Art Deco Weekend.  I spent from 11am until about 4pm wandering, chatting to people I know, photographing and generally soaking up the atmosphere. There will be a few postings to go with those from the last few years and I shall start with a few random photos.

Some of the several hundred old cars parked along the Marine Parade agaist the background of Cape Kidnappers across the Bay

The Royal New Zealand Nave Band playing in The Soundshell

Just a small selection of the hundreds of picnics taking place

The Band again

The Veronica Bell speeches

The Hawkes Bay catamaran sails along the Bay shoreline

A few of the crowds


Just chatting

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Austin A40 Countryman

I was driving in the centre of Whangarei when an Austin A40 Countryman drew up beside me.   Dad had one of these and the design was, in my view, superb. Apart from the aesthetics of the clean lines designed by Pininfarina the car was very much more practical than anything of it's size in that ear that I can think of.  Mind you I doubt that any of the A40s of that era (The A40 Mk1 and 2 were produced between 1958 and 1968) were originally produced in yellow!

It's not going down hill it's just that I was holding my camera at the traffic lights and got it wrong.  The slope was too great to correct with Picassa!


My favourite yoghurt is prune and crisp apple.  That's what I'm having for breakfast today.  I originally thought of letting the world have this important piece of information a week or so ago when the weather was pretty indifferent.  It occurred to me this morning that I'd better re-take the photo.  After all the first photo (taken this morning) makes it look much more appealing (and would sell the product far more successfully) than the one below taken when the sun was a distant memory after a miserable 10 days when the washing mounted up and the rain fell.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Quick Draw McGraw

I like to carry my camera with me all the time and I know I'm not alone.  Although Wendy said a few days ago that she'd seen something she'd wanted to photograph but for several weeks had forgotten to take her camera with her to photograph it.  But then I had years of indoctrination by my Dad and years of carrying a camera out of choice and practice.  Now, of course even if I don't have my camera in my hand my phone's camera is good enough for many emergencies.  

The Monarch butterfly is exceptionally hard to photograph because it is rarely still unless it is on a swan plant and even then I've not had much success.  However as I was walking through the centre of Napier to the Library the other day a Monarch landed on a plant a few feet from me.  I had my camera in my hand and set before a horse could have swished its tail twice.  I was pleased with the result:


And for those who remember, Quick Draw McGraw

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Journey Home - Pauline's to The Cottage

It's history now but one the journey home I did take some photos and I thought I'd share a few with you. 

I stopped in Taupo which was bustling.  All the water activities were taking place.


 Mt Ruapehu - a live volcano - in the Tongariro National Park South of Lake Taupo


 The Ernest Kemp on which the family sailed round Lake Taupo in January 2008 (and upon which I naturally posted).

Friends Café - where we always stop for coffee or lunch.  It is an excellent meeting place on the lake front and I've never yet not managed to park nearby.  If I'm meeting someone in Taupo this is where we meet.  The coffee and food are excellent.

The Fast Ferry

When we went from Paihia to Russell we went on the 'ordinary' passenger ferry  (the white one).  Returning we used the fast ferry (the red one) .  And boy was it fast. 

Back At Pauline's

Having arrived back at Pauline's in the hire car I still had a few days before Dora would be ready and I could  go back to Kerikeri and collect her and then return to Napier. During those days

 The little Toyota hire car plodded away faithfully if with some difficulty on the long runs - or perhaps it was just me.  Dora has V6 3 litres of grunt, this had 1.4 litres of  squeak.

 The Paradise Shelducks continued to graze

 The Twins continued to visit with the Revhead at the controls.

 Pauline continued to go to work

 The girls continue their schooling

 And until I enlarged this photo I did not realise that I was being waved goodbye - the bus was actually quite a distance away.  I was really touched.  Silly, perhaps, but there it is, I was.

 I went and played croquet (now there's a surprise)

 and the starlings continued to gather every evening

Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Great Adventure: Day Four: Russell -The Last Bit

This is the last of the postings of The Great Adventure.  I enjoyed the trip immensely.  The sights were exceptional and with Pauline as a guide it could not have been better.  It was just a shame about the weather for some of the time.  But, hey, I shall be back and I shall take all those photos that I was thwarted from taking.  So today's photos are some more of Russell formerly known as Kororareka,  and the first permanent European settlement and sea port in New Zealand.

 A demonstration for the tourists from the three cruise boats in the bay
 Seafront buildings
The Police Station
 Now you know!
 We decided to shelter from the rain and have a coffee (and, of course, some home made cake)
 I couldn't resist including this photo because of the shop sign

However I thought this the better photo to convey the dismal quality of the day

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Great Adventure: Day Four: Russell - Christ Church - Part Two

Yesterday I posted some photos of Christ Church and today I shall finish that by posting about a few of the graves.  But before that I shall answer a question by Rae and Pauline arising from yesterday's post.  It related to the tapestry cushions.   In 1990 a project to fit the pews with tapestry-covered cushions was established.  These cushions last until the next century.  Local artists and others have designed the cushions so that the historic scenes of Russell, local Maori history, local activities, ships of missionaries and explorers, native birds and flowers, old houses, whales and dolphins are depicted.  Sixty three embroiderers have made the cushions.  Most are from the Russell area but others are from all over New Zealand and overseas - some with former ties to Russell such as relatives of the builder, carpenter and catechist, some with holiday homes in the area, some who lived in Russell for a time and sailors who just called in on their passages.  The project was completed in 1992 when cushions for the chairs in the church were started.

Like all old churches the grave yard was educational.  


This is the first undressed gravestone I can recall


Hannah King Letheridge (now known to be the second European girl to be born in NZ),


The interest in this lies partly in its size and partly in its juxtaposition to the previous grave 


 The two graves side by side


On 11 March 1845, during the Battle of Kororareka between British forces and Maori dissatisfied with British rule, the church was hit by stray musket and cannon balls, evidence of which is still visible today but, as Pauline pointed out, we failed to photograph it.  Duh!  This is the grave of the men from HMS Hazard who fell in the battle,



The grave of Tamati Waka Nene, the Ngapuhi chief largely responsible for the Maori’s acceptance of the Treaty of Waitangi and who fought for the settlers against Hone Heke.

Is It New Zealand Telecom?

Hi Folks.  I'm posting this just in case the Broadband link fails again.  I managed one or two comments this morning before the connection failed.  I did manage to download some blogs and read them but wasn't able to comment.  Hopefully I'll have time and the Broadband to enable me to achieve that aim this evening. (even though it's now 2300 hrs so I might fall asleep at the keyboard!  I've been out most of the day and then this evening after getting in late and having dinner and a long phone chat Wendy called to say they were going into the spa so I went up to The House and had a session in the spar with the odd glass of bubbly.    Would you believe that I didn't have my camera?  I had the opportunity for the perfect picture of Wendy with her head silhouetted by candles - and I missed it.  Quel dommage.

N Z Telecom have been having a bad time.  They put in a new N Z wide advanced XT mobile network.  So far there have been many outages and they have been getting a bad press (and Vodafone have been getting their customers).  In fact N Z Telecom are having a Very Bad Time at the moment.  Having moved their call centre to Manila in the Philippines there has been a spate of incidents with employees there sending abusive text messages to customers.

But I don't really care about all their woes.  I just want my (very expensive) mobile broadband to work!

Right.  With chocolate in my left hand and a mug of hot cocoa in the other I shall venture forth.....

Friday, 19 February 2010

Dinner For 'The Family'

I do enjoy having The Family for dinner.  Bearing in mind there are seven of us, making one dish that everyone will eat and enjoy (rather than just eat) can sometimes be a bit challenging.  When I say that I love cooking I always make the point that I have only come to cooking later in life and never had to produce meals every day to feed a family.  Not that I wouldn't have helped but my wife decreed early on in our marriage (probably before the ink was wet on the certificate) that my role in our marriage did not include cooking.  As Carol was a wonderful cook and hostess and really enjoyed it, it was, perhaps, no bad thing that I didn't cook and I just got on with the other tasks allotted to me.

The time of arrival of The Family for dinner can also vary a little (well a helluva lot actually but who cares)  so I tend to have some standard dishes which can be prepared and either heated or cooked when everyone is eating the nibbles and catching up on the day's happenings.  They include pasta with prawns and cream, pasta with my own tomato and herb and vegetable sauce and sausage pieces and, of course, various pizzas and so on.  Today I decided I would make a lasagne.  To me spaghetti bolognese and lasagne are the very essence of comfort food and, if I do say so myself, I make a rather mean lasagne with accompaniments. Today I made two significantly sized lasagnes so that I would have some to put in portions in the freezer.  I am a silly Bill.  However even little Catriona had a huge second helping.  One person had three helpings (it's ok Martin I won't tell anyone) and I had two - which is why I still feel full and it's almost midnight. So that'd be a vote of approvel then I assume!

The Great Adventure: Day Four: Russell - Christ Church

One of the most fascinating churches I have encountered - and there are many in New Zealand - is Christ Church in Russell.  The church is the oldest church still used as such in NZ today, and possibly the oldest building still used for its original purpose.  Its history is fascinating.




Another example of a tiny place 'donating' its souls to the defence of a far away land - although there could, of cours, have been repercussions for New Zealand, particularly in the Second World War from Japan

The whole church has individually worked seat cushions.  Interestingly when I regularly worshipped in churches in communion with the Church of England or the Roman Catholic church members of the congregation sat on hard pews and kneeled for prayer and these would have been kneelers.