Sunday, September 5, 2010

Shaken but not Stirred

Early Saturday morning we were woken at 04:36am by a high speed train that was rumbling past our bed room window. Given we don't have train line anywhere near it woke both me and Yvonne up. The bedroom started to move from side to side. Jake and Kirsty came through to our bedroom as the shaking continued. We heard breaking glass. The shaking continued. We all assumed ...... its an earthquake .... and the shaking continued for a minute or more.

We turned on the tv and .... nothing Dorkland was still asleep. I started a thread on and we learnt the quake was 7.4 on the reichter scale. There was nothing on the tv until 07:30AM.

We suffered damage. Two wine bottles fell from a shelf in the garage. Thank-fully they were both empty!

Bob Parker, the mayor of Christchurch, was on the telly at 0730am. I had been with Bob on Wednesday at our scout group where he had been talking to our scouts about leadership. Well, he has certainly earned his keep this weekend! I asked him a question on Wednesday, what one thing he had done that had made a difference. He said at the time that the merger of Banks Peninsula with Christchurch City council was his biggest achievement. I suspect that representing Christchurch over the last couple of days will now surpass this achievement!

We drove into Rangiora today and the place has been untouched. However, drive another 10 km down the road to Kiapoi and you will see a different picture. The town has been totally decimated. The town is built upon silt and sand. The effect of the earthquake has caused whole buildings to sink. The town centre is awash with sewage. One of my colleagues lives in the town. I understand his house will need to be demolished and totally re-built.

Yvonne had a call from one of her teacher colleagues who lives in Christchurch. He was telling her that his house has moved into next door. The whole house, foundations and everything has moved sideways by 8 foot!

At Jake and Kirsty's school in Christchurch they have just had an astro turf pitch installed. The pitch is now on two levels .... it has a 50cm shear drop in the middle! The main building has also suffered damage and the school is closed until al least Wednesday.

We hear the city is a real mess. I will no doubt find out tomorrow how bad things are when I try to get into work.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Girlie Weekend Away to Hanmer Springs

When the girls said they wanted a weekend away to Hanmer you have to arrange suitable transport.

A surprise helicopter was laid on to whisk them away.

They flew up the coast to Kaikoura.

Stopped off at the heliport to ask, 'Which way for the whales?'.

Only two whales were in the bay so they had to make do with a pod of dolphins. Times are hard!

Afterwards, they flew over Hanmer to spend some un-winding time in the hot thermal water.

Throw in a chalet with duck pond views .. and you have a perfect weekend and 4 very happy and content girls.

I got to spend the weekend looking after my dad, the kids and I had the cleaning to do ... poor me!

Mum and Yvonne had a total blast! My sincere thanks go to the people who made this happen.


I nearly forgot the ducks. We acquired a flock of ducks too.

Grandad bought them a paddling pool that they use for recreational and procreational purposes alike - they are not fussy either way!

A Summer of Acquisitions

We diversified this year and made a few acquisitions. '42' is a 6 month old kune kune boar (he thinks he is a dog!) .

Mrs Weasley (left) is a 8 month old sow and Amber is a 10 month old sow.

'42' and Mrs Weasley will become our breeding stock and Amber ... well, she's going for sausages in a few weeks time!

Vegetable Garden

We have spent a lot of time this year with the veggie garden and it has paid dividends.

We havent had to buy any veg for quite a few quite a few weeks. We have enjoyed potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, beans, peas, onions, courgettes, pumpkins, beans, leeks, sweet corn, beet root, lettuce, egg plants, cabbage, cauliflower, raddish and a few others that I cannot remember.

The deep freeze is stuffed full of vegetables that will keep us going well into winter.

TSS Earnslaw

Launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw is the largest and grandest vessel ever to ply Lake Wakatipu. Today, the TSS Earnslaw is believed to be the only coal-fired passenger-carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere.

She is a stunning vessel and enjoyed by the many thousands of tourists that come to Queenstown.

Lupin Fields, Open Plains and the Homer Tunnel

Driving between Te Anau and Milford |Sound there are some lovely lupin fields.

And some lovely open plains.

Some spectacular waterfalls.

And lets not forget the Homer tunnel leading down to Milford Sound.

Beaver Liquor

I just had to stop the truck and take a photo! Spotted in Queenstown.

Welcome to 'Shield' Country

Over New Year I took my parents for a road trip down to Fiordland. Just through Queenstown we saw this sign, ' Welcome to Shield country'.

Needless to say, we felt very much at home!

And very tasty it was too!

Christmas dinner was great!