Sunday, 25 January 2015

January activities


kittens, hanging by the coffee stop in Cheviot, 

just another shot of the Kaikoura coastline


Burns Night celebrations in our house

Tam’Shanters and Cranachan

...and friends, and brunches and work and exploring the countryside just over the hills...

Thursday, 1 January 2015

A time for reflection and planning

Remember when I was in Cardiff and I had an interview "try-out" to become a volunteer for the Rugby World Cup 2015 ? 

Well it is nearly time to learn whether I've made it to the next level. 10,000 people from 20 different countries have been interviewed and are all waiting, just like me to see what happens next. The successful 6,000 applicants will find out between January and March 2015. Exciting !

I wonder what adventures 2015 will bring. Will Christchurch really be my new permanent home ? Should I buy an investment property ? And if I do, where ? 

I so want to return to the UK and give it another shot. Will it be this year for the World Cup or just because, or will it take longer to get everything sorted again ? We've been looking at cruises with the idea of travelling through the States and Canada enroute. Sounds like a more relaxing way to do it, but more time consuming.  Would I go nuts stuck on a ship for that long, compared to being squeezed on a plane for 36 hours ?

Winning Lotto would solve all these dilemmas. Wouldn't it be great to have the freedom to be able to make decisions without risking our old age security ? I knew I should have gone back to the shops and bought a ticket today. How can I win if I don't participate ?

We're both still a bit grumpy because we are here and not there; because it is hot and not cold; because we didn't take the opportunities when we almost had things in our grasp; because we spent too much time in the UK and none in Europe; because we took too long to decide where we wanted to be and frittered away money.

But, there hasn't been much snow where we wanted to live, it's just been cold so maybe this wasn't the winter we were meant to be there after all.

In the meantime, I'm plotting and planning. Trying to find potential income earners that could help boost the coffers and researching how to set up a hobby business which could come into it's own on the other side of the world. 

I've just been and stood out on the front steps and watched the firework display in the centre of the city, ushering the old year out and the new one in. A year filled with promise and undiscovered potential.

Hope you all have a great year to come.

Saturday, 27 December 2014


The lead up to Christmas was met with a bit of apathy and remorse. To be honest as much as it is my favourite time of year normally, this year just did not seem right. 

We wanted a white Christmas, on the other side of the world. Not another warm one down under. But we made ourselves get jolly and celebrate anyway. I got a new job so my disorganisation just got even worse with limited time but, baking did happen and presents were got. 

Mother Nature came to the party too, and we had a couple of interesting shakes on Christmas Eve, to remind us where we are living.

Presentation is key for me...and it seems to be rubbing off on the next generation too.
Cinnamon apple fritters with maple syrup for brekky
Awesome pressies made with love; vanilla chai candles and rose sugar body scrub !!
Just a bit spoilt.

Nut roast and veges for lunch - cooler here than some places, so it was nice to enjoy a hot meal. No wine though as nurses don't get Christmas off, but look what I found in our local supermarket !!

A little bit of our English summer - come to Aotearoa. Love Belvoir !! We have a cupboard full now too.
Then pavlova roll (filled with white chocolate, cream and berries). YUM !!! Thank goodness we could take all the leftovers to Blenheim for a Boxing Day Christmas, or else we would have been eating it all for a month !!

Hope you all had a great celebration with friends and family too.

Garden Produce

Remember those ripening blackcurrants ?

Well now there are thousands of them ! The first picking weighed in at 500g

and made this much jam !

the next picking on Christmas Day closer to 1 kilo
has been used in baking, desserts, packed in punnets and taken to Blenheim or frozen. If it doesn't rain tomorrow I might need to pick the rest before the birds catch on.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Starting to get a bit like Christmas

Well it's been a while since I found time to get to this again. Things didn't work out work-wise so I can't even use that as an excuse. 

The training phase went well, but then once everything was set to "go live" there actually didn't seem to be much work at all. After 2 1/2 days of pretty much twiddling my thumbs and trying to organise my desk and look busy I decided enough was enough. Since then I've been looking for something new. Sometimes I think I should have stayed, got paid for being bored out of my mind and just kept looking for a new opportunity. Oh well. I've been getting interviews, phone ones and in person so fingers crossed things will fall into place soon.

It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here. We both LOVE this time of year normally, this time we've had a bit of trouble getting in the spirit. But we found the box with a tree in it, and I found some of others marked Christmas. We're keeping it simple.

There has been a bit of baking going on - not me though - I just want to make gingerbread....and I have no idea where my cookie cutters are, and it has taken me many trips to many different stores to be able to find some replacements. Seems everyone else is making gingerbread too ! At least I don't need cookie cutters to make white Christmas which is also on my list of things to do.

We've been for a couple of night time drives all over the city, getting totally lost at times as it is difficult to read maps and directions in the dark. Nevertheless, we have found some great Christmas light displays. This has been one of our regular Christmas traditions and it has been great to be able to do it here as well.

It has been very un-summery weather - winter clothes are getting well aired after having been packed away since June. I'm almost expecting snow on the actual day. There have been plenty of late snowfalls with the recent frequent cold snaps, so who knows.

Meanwhile things in the garden are trying their best to get on with what they should be doing this season. Currants are turning red, strawberries are growing in abundance, raspberries and grapes are beginning to appear, lettuce is growing, apples are swelling, feijoas are flowering....

and some things have just gotten away on me...

maybe I should put some pretty lights on it.

Friday, 14 November 2014

A Chance to Go on a Roadie !!

Well, week one at work seems to have gone okay. Hopefully I will remember all I have learnt in training and be able to contribute to my new team when I start for real on Monday.

It was a short week because of a public holiday on Friday for Show Day. It has been a busy sporting week in Christchurch with the NZ Trotting Cup on Tuesday, the A&P show and cricket and more racing to come on Saturday. The weather has been a bit odd for this time of year, cold wind and hail - even snow on the alps. In November.

So, we planned to go for a drive since we both had the day off as part of our weekend. People thought I was mad when I said at work we might go to Greymouth and back. Pfft, they don't know how far we drove when we were on the other side of the world !

I haven't been to the West Coast since we were about this big...

...and Lauren had had one fleeting visit to go to a funeral which doesn't really count. 

The drive there was more interesting than what we found once there. But we will probably go back with some better plans sometime in the future. Great scenery, and some really cheeky wildlife. 

Where to next ?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The long weekend is almost over

Well, it seems it is time for me to return to the workforce. My chopped up finger is almost recovered and looking fine too. 

I took advantage of the rainy day last week and contacted agencies and made an appointment with one to go in and register. Next morning I got a call to go along to an interview...and I start Monday. It is a temp role - technical admin - part of the rebuild and sounds interesting. The pay isn't as great as I would generally want, but it all helps. Plus it will be something slightly different to add on to my CV for the next role. This week is training, and it is a short week too with Canterbury Anniversary Day/Cup Day on Friday. Perfect to help ease back into the routine.

We've been discovering all sorts in our garden, peonies, strawberries, currants, rhubarb, silverbeet, apples, feijoas, potatoes, raspberries, lily of the valley, alstromeria - love it !!

Mum and Dad came for a visit at the end of last week and bought the things we hadn't been able to fit in the car when we left Blenheim. Now we have to decide where we are going to put it all here. While they were here we went out for lunch in Prebbleton - Thyme Cafe, go there if you are down this way.

After they set off home, we went for a drive to Akaroa, New Zealand's own little piece of France. It is a nice drive, and filled in the afternoon nicely. The pain au chocolat helped too.

So, now it is the night before I have to get up early and wear clothes that have been hiding in drawers, the bottom of my suitcase or storage for the last wee while and make a contribution to society and the tax man. Kind of mixed feelings about that, especially since the winning Lotto ticket was sold at our supermarket, and we didn't even buy one ! Missed opportunity.