Thursday, July 31, 2008

Let it rain, Let it rain, Let it rain

We have had a bit of rain in the last 24 hours. The River Eyre 'runs' about 400 metres from where we live. However the river is a dry river bed and seldom has any water in it.

However, judging by the water in my wheel barrow (System International Unit of Rain Fall - or at least it should be!) we must have had 15 cm of rain overnight!

Anyway, the Eyre is ... er, flowing like a river again.

I was talking to a chap who was also taking photos and he said that in the 8 years he had lived here, he had only seen water in the river twice.

I bet he drinks Carling Black Label!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fishing at Kekerengu

Over the weekend we stayed in a lovely batch on the north east coast of the south island between Blenheim and Kaikoura. Jake (my son) and I spent all day Sunday fishing on Kekerengu beach. It was a lovely winter's day and we literally had the whole beach to ourselves.

We usually have a small bet with each other when we go fishing - a dollar for the first, biggest and the most fish. I can blame my brother Andrew for starting this family tradition! We were fishing with two 8 foot rods and using oily fish as bait.

Jake caught the first fish - a small but very respectable red cod. 1:0 to Jake.
After being 'down' for most of the morning I pulled back by catching a couple of medium size dog fish making it 2:1 to me. Jake then struck into a good sized dog fish - it was now evens at 2:2!

I pulled back by catching another good dog fish making it 3:2 to me before it was time to call it a day.

Jake won $2 for catching the first and the biggest fish although he had to give me a dollar back for catching the most fish. Jake was more than happy - he was a dollar up aferall!

You can eat dog fish but I couldn't be bothered to skin them so we threw them back. The red cod had no such escape ....... I am pleased to report it lived upto expectations and was very tasty!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Best NZ Rump Steak

When we lived in the UK rump steak was always a bit of a treat because it was so expensive - you could pay upwards of £3.99 per lb.
I was in Pak 'n' Save Northlands yesterday evening and they had a special on their rump steak at NZ$8.95 per kilo. With the exchange rate of $2.60 to £1 that makes it £1.56 per lb!
We enjoyed some porterhouse steak last week but it was a little more expensive at NZ$9.95 per kilo or £1.74 per lb.
Where is the bar-b-que? Yum!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Enjoy a Diet Cat Break

Meet Mango who is one of our two resident mousers. She is into just about everything!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Death in the Cook Islands

Death in the Cook Islands is regarded very differently than by the western world. Loved ones who have passed away are kept close to home and are literally buried in the back garden.

The memorials also provide a cool place to sleep in the heat of Summer.

Welcome to the Rarotonga departure lounge ...

An outside departure lounge at Rarotonga airport - absolutely fantastic!

To Aitutaki and back

One of the perks of working for a travel agent is you get to go and see some interesting places. Last Christmas, my team won a team trip to any destination on the Air New Zealand network. After much debate, we decided to go to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

We flew out to Rarotongo and stayed at the Edge Water resort. However, we had a surprise excursion to Aitutaki.

We flew with Air Ratotonga leaving Rarotonga at 0800 on a small Saab turbo prop.
After flying for 40 minutes we started our decent into Aitutaki. We flew over the lagoon and approached the island from the north, landing on an air strip built by the Americans in 1942 during World War 2.
The airport at Aitutaki is a little bit basic (an under statement!) but the welcome was very warm.
A man playing in his ucayali welcomed our arrival to the island - Pacific Islanders know how to make people feel very welcome!

Our tour host for the day was a man called Phil who was originally from the island and was a mind of information - he seemed to know most of the island inhabitants.

1900 people live on the island. Power is provided between 0600 and 2359 by two diesel generators. The container ship comes once a month, but if it is too rough it doesn't stop and steams onto Auckland.

The bus took us to the main town and we had chance to walk around.

After a short time we joined our boat and cruised around the lagoon for the rest of the day.

The TV series Shipwreaked and Survivor is filmed in Aitutiki and we payed a visit to 'Sharky Island'. We went snorkling and enjoyed a tuna lunch. After which we sailed to One Foot island.

One island has no inhabitants but it has a post office (UK eat your heart out!) so it was a great opportunity to sit under a palm tree and write my post cards while drinking a cool beer.

Alas, it was time to go home so we went back on the boat, steamed back to Aitutiki and caught the flight back to Rarotonga.

I'll be going again ...... but next time I will take my wife, Yvonne!

How I miss Holme-on-Spalding Moor!

How much for a trailer load of firewood?

It is winter here in New Zealand. During the evening the temperature can drop and you need to keep warm. There is nothing better than snuggling down in front of a roaring log burner.

So how much is firewood? Well, the trailer below which is 4 foot 6 inches by 7 foot cost cost a whole NZ$10 to be filled up with firewood. That is just under £4 for a whole months worth of heat. What a bargain!