Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in New Zealand

Pohutakawa flowers, our New Zealand Christmas tree is the Pohutakawa around this time it bursts out into a bright red display of cheery blooms.

Christmas in New Zealand is celebrated with blues skies and warm sunny days, a time for families to gather to exchange gifts and good wishes, to attend a Church service for many, to celebrate Christ, the reason for the season,then to over indulge in great feasts of food. For many generations Christmas dinner was an exact copy of English dinners with roast turkey or chicken with all the trimmings, plus a ham, followed by hot heavy Christmas puddings and Christmas cake, but now days many head to the beach for a barbecue or picnic, a much more relaxed meal, but, I shall be taking my old Mother along with us to Springlands Tavern to a Christmas Dinner buffet, as we have for the last 10 years. so we shall be having a big feast of the old style Christmas dinner. This way I don't have to prepare all that food and nor do I have to clear up afterwards, instead we can just rest up and 'enjoy' the feel of an over full tummy, and remember Christmas's gone by.

Christmas lilies; a sure sign that it is Christmas, although many people suffer from allergies still lots of us Kiwis have a big bunch of these beautiful lilies in-doors, bringing a fragrance that is rather over powering but very Christmasy to us.

This is My World at Christmas time.

A warm Merry Christmas to you all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cruise Ship in Picton Harbour

This is the ninth posting for the My World meme . It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar,Sandy, Wren, Louise and fishing guy. Last week there were 101 people showing their worlds to us. Here is part of 'My World'.
Many cruise ships call into Picton on their cruises around New Zealand, because of the natural beauty of the Marlborough Sounds, of this small town and the fact that there is plenty to see and do within walking distance and the great weather, makes Picton a very popular visiting place. The Voltarne is about the largest ship that can actually dock beside the wharf, though some larger ships anchor out in the channel and land the people on shore with long boats, when beside the wharf they can easily stroll into the town and along the foreshore.

The Cruise Ship Voltarne at the Picton wharf, it is framed by the Coat Hanger Bridge a local feature, the gracefully curved bridge gives walking access to Shelly Beach and the Marina, because big yachts sail through this stretch of water it has to be rather high to allow the tall masts to get through.

.">The Foreshorehad many small stalls selling high quality hand craft goods to the tourists, there was wonderful turned woodwork, paintings, quilting, many types of jewelery, hand blown glass goods and lots of other interesting items all being kept very busy with sales.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hanmer Springs

This is the ninth posting for the My World meme . It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar,Sandy, Wren, Louise and fishing guy. Last week there were 101 people showing their worlds to us. Here is part of 'My World'.
These are just a tiny piece of the shopping centre at hanmer Springs, there are lots of cafes with outside seating with shady trees, a pretty small town.

We had three days in Hanmer staying at The Pines Motor Camp which is quite close to the township where the Thermal Springs pools are so it was very handy to go for lovely long soaks in the many pools. There is also Sauna's and a Spa with massages available too as well as a small cafe with meals to enjoy around the pools.

The reason Hanmer Springs even exsists is the wonderful Hot thermal mineral Springs that bubble up rather smelly but very benificial waters that most people enjoy soaking in. The Thermal pools have been operating for 125 years in one form or another. There are many different size and shape pools of many different temperatures, the hottest being 42 degrees, and man alive is it hot, you can't stay in for very long or you end up partly cooked! Everyone sits in total silence soaking up the warmth, til I get into a pool! Then I imediately ask everyone where they are from, what Country only to find every pool I was in was full of 6 - 8 differnt Nationalities really multi-cultural, soon everyone is talking and laughing and having fun while they soak! So much better I think.
When you get out you feel so relaxed you just want to go to sleep, very good for you.

There are some great forest and woodland walks in the hills around the town that are very popular, we enjoyed a pleasant walk, and watched the ducks being fed at the Hanmer Pools.

Young tourists enjoy riding these quad bicycles all around the township of Hanmer, with four fit pedalers they go really fast too. That yellow one actually passed our car!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Waiau Bridge, Bungy Jumping Capital of the world.

The Bungy Jumping bridge and the wide river valley beyond.

The Waiau River Bridge, South Canterbury NZ, is where the man L.J.Hackett runs his world famous Bungy Jumping, the young trill seeking tourists throw themselves of this high bridge tied only by their ankles to an elastic cable so they just dip their heads into the river way below. Not my thing at all, I wouldn't consider bungy jumping for an instant. no one was jumping while we were there.
http://www.newzealandnz.co.nz/bungy-jump-sites/thrillseekers-canyon.html For more information go to this site.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Overnighting at Kekerengu.

Kekerengu Beach is quite an isolated area of the East coast of the South Island, right off the main highway, we often stop overnight here when journeying further a feild. It is 'freedom camping' there is no charge to stay there, but also there is no facilities at all, no water, no toilets; nothing, but we can easily cope with this as we have a gas cooker in our caravan and also we have solar lighting, so we can camp in comfort pretty well.
There is lots of birds on the beach like the Oyster catchers and Black Back gulls, but also the more elusive Black fronted Dotterels and other types of Dotterel too, most of them are very tame seeing there is not a lot of people round most of the time. The only thing of note at Kererengu is 'The Store,' a wonderful Cafe built to take in the best veiw of the coast and the rocks, selling the very best of muffins, quiche and other goodies. One of the first things we always do is walk up to The Store to buy a Muffin for afternoon tea and some kind of wonderfully fattening goodie for our dessert, this time it was Irish Whisky Cake, a sensational taste treat that we enjoyed very much.
We enjoyed strolling along the beach and among the pine trees, where I collected a big bag of pine cones for my Mother who still has an open fire, sadly we don't any more, in this new house it is all aircon heated and cooled.
After we had cooked our meal and eaten the Irish whisky cake we were surprised to find a number of people arriving and setting up small tents under the trees along the beach, we asked some what they were all doing in such a place. They told us it was the Great Moa Hunt Bike and Running races tomorrow and that many more people would be coming along by morning. We were not kept awake with noise from the athletes, it was early to bed for them in readiness for the big events the next morning. But we were awakened early by the great throng of excited folk that arrived early in the morning, literally thousands of cars and people suddenly descended on this small beach in the middle of nowhere! So many that we had real difficulty in driving out with our caravan, dodging walkers and bikers and running people all warming up for their big moment. But we didn't stay to watch the races, most of it was up into the hills and along the cliffs.
very sad side note here is to tell you that one of these top athletes biked over the side of a cliff and fell to his death during the big race, fortunately we were miles away by then and knew nothing about it til the newspaper report the following day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Garden is growing.

Slowly my garden is growing and becoming more colourful and interesting. before we left our old home Erle built me a plantstand, with a heavy solid concrete base that holds 5 big baskets of flowers. He also hand carved a fancy finian type bawble for the top, its looking great. There are quite strong winds here now and again, one of the joys of living close to the sea, but this stand will not be blown over, its heavy!
The other garden is growing in an old mussel float thats been cut in half, its mainly filled with lettuce greens for quick easy picking, right outside the back door, plus another full of gladioli wich should be beautiful for Christmas, and 2 brocolli plants that will take over once the glads are finished! There are still masses of plants growing in small pots too, this will have to continue for a while til I decide where to put them. In the meantime they provide me with some colourful blooms.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A lucky break.

How lucky is this!
A big Blue Cod.
A huge crayfish
or lobster.

This afternoon my Husband Erle, went for a walk down the wharf to watch the fishing boats come in, just for a nice afternoon stroll by the sea.

A man called out to him, 'would you like some fish, mate. we have caught plenty' Erle was over joyed to say yes he would love some, any would be lovely. The fisherman generously handed him a very large Blue Cod and a nice size Crayfish! Carrying them home was a bit difficult as he had no bag to put them in, but he managed to carry them ok. I was so pleased to see him come home with some fish, I quickly cooked the crayfish for our dinner, and set about filleting the large blue Cod, took me a while cause the fishermen had gutted the fish, that makes it much harder to fillet, but it was surely worth it! We shall have two meals from the fish.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Otters at Nelson Zoo.

Because we don't have Otters in the wild in New Zealand, we are quite fascinated by them and their antics. The seagull was living dangerously, the Otter soon charged at it and scared it away from the fishy dinner.

The Otters enclosure at dinner time for Otters.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Great Grand Daughter's 1st Birthday

Two otters entertained us, while we partied with Katie-May.

Katie-May's first birthday party was held at the Zoo in Nelson, beside the otters enclosure. (Otters are the favourite animal of everyone in our family, strange I know, but they are so cute.)
A Picnic party.

Erle and I drove over from our new home in Picton, it took nearly 2 hours to get there, its the first time we have driven over from Picton. Pretty drive around the Queen Charlotte Sounds drive, but very windy and narrow.
Little Katie- May arrived in her pushchair with her Daddy Josh, looking so cute and happy to see everyone gathered to meet her.

All the family from both sides were there to join in the celebration.
Teagan, her Mummy was busy laying out all the food and goodies for littlies, like homemade stars baked on sticks and iced with pebble lollies and hundreds and thousands, and tiny baby muffins.

There was heaps of food for adults too and we all made a big hole in them, we descended on the food like a flock of locusts as it was all so fresh and lovely.

Katie-May liked all her presents and spent a long time making as much noise with them as she could, while doting Grand parents looked on.

After we had all eaten and had a walk around the otters enclosure and talked to the monkeys, it was time to cut the pretty birthday cake, and it was so nice, fattning ofcause but who cares when its a birthday party!
Katie_May was such a good wee girl, not a single cry all day long, a perfect Great-Grand-Daughter!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Wedding grotto

The hundred steps up the hill on the way to Monkey Bay.

This is the grotto in Monkey Bay, where Kirstie and Wayne were married, looking down from the top of the hill-walkway.
Bride and Groom are having photos taken against the stormy sea behind them.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The day after the Wedding

Sitting on the deck in the sun Kirstie is in the far left photo.

Rarangi Beach a natural garden made from windblown seeds in the sand.

The After match function!

On Sunday morning we woke in our caravan to a beautiful Rarangi day, perfect in every way, sun shining brightly, all the pretty flowers on the beach glowing jewel colours in the sun. We walked down to the sea, breathed in the fresh salty air, kicked a few stones, talked to a dog being walked along then went back up to my brother Bob and Jans house to have breakfast on the deck with the family rather than alone in the caravan.

After that fun time we headed off, to try and find that lost camera and to assist with the clearing up at the club rooms where the dance was held.

My camera was as pleased as I was to be reunited. Then it was on to Rowena's house for 'Elevensie' a Rarangi tradition after most big celebrations, its nice to spread them over two days.

Quite a lot of the family joined us in trying to drink up all the left overs and nibble our way through all the excess delicious food, most of us sat on the deck and the board walk around the deck in the sunshine, and got sun burnt, but it was lovely. Some of the young ones had a good game of cricket going and others hit a ball over a volley ball net now and again, Erle and I walked around Rowenas huge one acre garden, everything was looking immaculate not a blade of grass out of place, a new stone wall had been built with a seat overlooking the stone garden (a special feature of her garden,) it was very nice and very beachy, the trees are all growing well even though the conditions are not favourable to growing at all, as strong salt laden winds sweep over the land often during the winter storms, and summer conditions are very hot and dry. The gardens are a real credit to Rowena, a hard working lady.

Everyone enjoyed relaxing peacifully in the sunshine, with family and freinds and Kirstie and Wayne too, their honeymoon starts from tomorrow.

Kirstie's Wedding

Erle and I all dressed at the cave at Monkey Bay.

Bride and groom with the proud Mother.

Nyle and Shane, Nyle was the only one with a stylish hat.

The senior ladies of the family, Rowena, mother of the bride, Mother the Matriarch of the family, Nyle, my daughter and me. Only one missing is Jan my sister-in-law.

The groom waits with the chief bridesmaid Poppy

The bride walked down the steep path looking beautiful.

Kirstie and Kiera step down the beach aisle to the altar.
The Newly weds now greet their guest and start their lives together.
Kirstie and Wayne's Wedding.

My youngest niece Kirstie got married on Saturday to Wayne at Rarangi Beach where they both live. Kirstie has lived all her life by the sea and Wayne who was brought up in Nelson is also a man of the sea, so where else would they chose to be married, but on the beach at Rarangi. The ceremony was held at Monkey Bay, a tiny little cove at the end of Rarangi Beach, accessed by climbing up a hundred steps then walking over the hill and down into the small hidden beach with several big caves that have been gouged out of the rocks by pounding seas over the years. It was just inside the largest cave that the family set up an altar of totem poles with paua shells and ribbons, greenery and flowers, all very natural. The guests all stood around in the shelter of the rocks while the rough sea pounded into the shore, as we awaited the arrival of the bride.
While waiting I took a photo of the groom and the marriage celebrant and photographer and what I thought was a big stuffed toy. This turned out to be Kirstie’s dog, Poppy who was one of the bridesmaids!
The other bridesmaid Keira, Kirstie’s tiny 2 year old daughter appeared at the top of the cliff in her lovely white gown, and was led down the steep path by her Aunty Rochelle, then the bride made her appearance a vision of white as she carefully stepped down the track to her beach wedding with her gown wafting in the wind. She looked radiant, together Mother and Daughter walked up to the altar, the other bridesmaid Poppy who was dressed in Purple and white, had to be restrained from leaping up in welcome!
It was quite hard to hear the vows spoken because of the roar of the sea but we all heard enough to know they are now married, the ring bearers carried the gold rings each on a piece of driftwood, decorated with pretty white agates (a semi precious gem that can be found on the beach, if you search real hard) and small shells. Guest had all been given small bottles in the shape of a wedding cake which we thought was a popper that would spray confetti over the couple, but it turned out to be a bubble mixture, everyone blew millions of pretty gleaming opalesant bubbles towards the bride and groom and they quickly drifted skywards til the air was filled with the bubbles, it made a wonderland! Truly it was a special occasion, very beachy, just as she wished it to be, even if the weather did not co-operate as much as it could. The wind was gale force strong and freezing and the sea was rough sending spray into the air, rather mystical.
I had a pretty outfit that was light and filmy so I looked in our caravan, in which we will be sleeping tonight, for a jacket to wear for warmth as I walked over the hill, the only suitable thing was Erle’s new Dressing gown made of warm, soft silky black material. So, much to everyone’s amusement, I went to my nieces wedding wearing Erle’s black dressing gown! I took it off for the actual ceremony and the photos. That will be a first and last, but at least I was cosy warm.
Many photographs were taken in Monkey bay while all us guests left for the Community Centre at Rarangi for the Wedding Breakfast, though firstly we all had a great time with lots of nibbles and dips with grapes and mussels as we sampled the Marlborough Wine and the spirits that Kirstie makes. She is very good at brewing homemade spirits, rum, bourbon, vodka, whisky, black Sambuka and my downfall, Malibu a delicious coconut flavoured liquor. There was also a very nice punch. I decided to have a small amount of the nice punch topped up with lots of Malibu, emmm it tasted so good! So I had another. Later when I thanked Kirstie for making the Malibu, she told me it was 40 percent proof and the punch had masses of alcohol too so I was drinking almost pure alcohol, me who hardly drinks at all, who would have believed it, this drink was tasty and I started having fun fun fun. It was so nice to spend some time with my daughter and her husband and all the nieces and nephews and cousins, while sipping my Malibu, I was a happy girl by the time the main food came out, I didn’t really want a lot to eat, but I did enjoy the spit roasted wild pork, it was very tender. I socialize around rather noisily, taking lots of photos of the family looking so well dressed, for a while before Erle thought he should take me back to the caravan! I arrived with a lovely roast pork sandwich clutched in my hand, but no camera, I managed to forget that completely! (Fortunately, it was found the next day, safe on a high shelf, I obviously, wasn’t too stupid.)
We both collapsed fully clothed on the caravan beds, and slept for several hours. I awoke feeling good again but Erle did didn’t feel well at all, so got into bed for the night, but I brushed my hair, freshened my perfume and headed off to the wedding dance in the Rarangi Golf Clubrooms!
Everyone was surprised but pleased to see me, I quickly was up dancing and having fun, and unfortunately I decided I should have another glass of punch with lots of Malibu in it. Feeling the lack of my camera, I picked up disposable cameras from several tables and went around the room like a professional photographer swooping in on total strangers and friends and family alike taking what will almost certainly, be great photos, I can hardly wait to see the results of this, no one much had taken any pics on these disposables left for guests to take candid snaps so I had plenty of them to play with!
I managed to stay dancing wildly, for about 3 hours before I felt the need to depart for the caravan; don’t tell anybody, but I drove my car the 500 yards along the road, it’s a wonder I could even see the road!
Its been a great wedding.