Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bah ...... Bah

When my parents asked me what I would like for my birthday I replied by saying, "I would like a flock of sheep please.". Above is our latest addition to our small holding - 5 Romney and Corriedale cross ewes. The black face amoung them is Rambo. Rambo is a Suffolk ram whose services have been kindly lent to us by some friends who live just up the road.

When he first arrived, Rambo had a bit of an attitude problem; he was tapping the bottom of the trailer with his front hoof to express his disgust at being moved. However, after being introduced to his new lady friends he seems to have put that all behind him. He is so comfortable here, I think I am going to have to build a holding area to stand any chance of getting him back in the trailer to get him home again!

I have never played midwife before ........... but I have watched James Herriot on the telly. How difficult can it be? I'll probably be in Perth anyway!

I am already looking forward to the spring.

The Wood Shed

After spending too many cold Sunday afternoons chopping wood last year we decided to get our winter fuel in early and fill up our wood store during the summer. The tunnel shed holds something like 8 cubic metres and it looks like we have already used something approaching 4 cubic metres. Will we have enough to see us through until the spring?

It's Cold Outside

Will somebody put another log on the fire?


It's Snowing Again .....

A cold southerly is working its way up New Zealand with snow down to sea level ...

One to Avoid ......

I had a book a room at short notice for my visit to Perth. I looked on the internet and I found a hotel which was described as a three star. Alarm bells started ringing when I checked in and they gave me the tv remote control.

My worst fears where confirmed when I entered my room. The room was small, it had no desk, the paintwork was generally grubby, the bed spread had a cigarette burn, the only ironing board was on the 4th floor - it was grim!

The fan in above the bathroom sink had not been cleaned for months.

The bathroom door was also coming apart.

I have to go back again to Perth this week and needless to say, I will not be booking in to Aaron's Hotel!

Nobody is Flying .... ... oink, oink

Last Monday I was sat at my desk in Christchurch looking forward to a quiet week in the office. Cutting a long story very short on Tuesday I was on my way to Perth to help our partner finalise their project plan.

The international departure lounge at Christchurch airport was deserted as I boarded DJ73 for Sydney to make my Perth connection.

When the aircraft arrived at Sydney we were asked to remain seated. Two Australia quarantine officers boarded the aircraft. They went to the back of the aircraft to see a young man. They put a face mask on him and escorted him off the plane before the rest of the passengers were allowed to leave.

The travel industry now not only has to face the economic slowdown but it also has swine flu to add to its current list of woes!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beware ... Slumps Ahead!

This road sign on the road between Reefton and Westport provided advance warning of the current economic conditions.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Papabear 'washing' his Dishes in Reefton

It is almost the Queen's birthday weekend so it is off to the West Coast with a party load of scouts. Myself, Roger and Reinhold (aka Papabear - pictured above) paid a reconnaissance visit to Reefton ( which is to be the destination for this years camp.

Reefton was the first town in the southern hemisphere to enjoy the delights of electricity (scouts take note!) and was one of the major centres of the gold rush in New Zealand.

We have a range of activities planned for the long weekend which include a treasure hunt, a trip around a working gold mine, some tramping and not forgetting Jorja's cooked breakfast with bacon, sausage, egg, baked beans, fried bread and black pudding!

As to to my favourate pie ... well that has to be the one with wild bore from the bakery across the road from the Three Miners! Again scouts take note!

Hopefully Papabear will remember to pack a dish cloth, some washing-up liquid and a tea towel although I feel absolutely sure he will manage without!


It is that time of year again! Snow fell last week on the Torlesse range (and for that matter over large parts of the south and north islands). Mt Hutt one of the ski resorts about 40km from where we live has already opened for business two weeks ahead of schedule with a snow base of 1.2 metres. More snow is forecast too! I can't wait!

In the above photo you can see the snow on the mountains at the bottom of our road.

Weekend in Dunedin

We recently took advantage of a weekend in Dunedin courtesy of Air New Zealand. We have never been to Dunedin before so it was a chance to spend a bit of quality time and explore.

Myself and my wife secured return flights from Christchurch to Dunedin and enjoyed a night in a rather nice hotel for an all inclusive price of NZ$300 (approximate £120) - that price is together and not each!

As soon as we got off the plane we picked up our hire car and drove towards the city. Our first port of call was Lanarch Castle and Gardens.

The castle was built by William James Mudie Larnach in the 1880's. Cutting a long story very short, the house lay in ruins until the 1967 when the house was discovered by Margaret & Barry Barker who have restored the house and gardens over the intervening years.

Our next port of call were the botanical gardens close to the centre of the town.

Then we went to the railway station - what a building that is!

We were very tempted to go on the Taieri Gorge Railway but we decided to go to the beach instead.

On the beach at Sandfly Bay we came across some sea lions who were having a bit of a frollick.

So back into town we went and we paid a visit to Baldwin Street which is the steepest street in the world with a gradient of 1 in 2.86.

It was a lovely weekend - Dunedin comes highly recommended!