Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas in the deep south

Here we are recovering from Christmas with several firsts. We had our first experience of midnight mass and our first lying on the sand sleeping on Christmas day. Our first musical quartet with Sax, Flute, Clarinet and Chanter! Also we had most excellent stuffing for the turkey with Cranberries - seriously yummy.

We opened our presents to find amongst other thing a Glory Year edition of the Oor Wullie & The Broons and a Maori cookery book.

I am currently cooking my way through it but having to hunt for
karakawa, herpito and turnip tops today was a challenge.

End product was delicious. January is coming and the diet is scheduled for the three weeks before we go to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Four Nations

********************************A trip of at least 4 Nations - looked like Norway, Switzerland, Spain & New Zealand - was a great 3 days as Dougie & Marianne arranged everything to take us up to Milford Sound Fiords then Queenstown before taking us back to Dunedin through Central Otago. Lots of "WOW!" moments.
We took a boat trip out to the sea from deep in the fiord but thankfully turned back before the swell got to us. We went up Ben Lomand on the gondola and took luges back down.Next we swam and the boys staged a university boat race, thankfully Edinburgh beat Glasgow so honour was mantained. We had a most excellent villa for $50 a head with more home comforts than home so all was good, and we saw the sun go down through a haze of Spanish bubbly. Nice.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Heading Sooth...

We are heading Sooth and it feels like driving North as it gets cooler and more like the A9 the further we go. First stop was Anne & David at Wellington where we had two nights and several hours of yarning time. Then next day we crossed the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands. Four hours of great scenery and good food on a flat calm sea. We drove down the coast and enjoyed the sites of fat sea lions and fur seals basking on the beach. We texted Alison on the way down for information and visited the other sister from Cott in Papay George & Wilma who were two weeks into a new house.

The scenery in the South is totally different and the roads are in better shape so the driving is so easy it gets boring. We made it to Kaiapoi where the Burgons lived for 6 months - they are not forgotten and we had some nice visits to the Church and the house that James built. We stayed on a very posh pig farm and got great bacon for breakfast.

We had fun with the boulders at the beach at near to Moeraki and although we got slightly damp it was worth it. Twenty minutes later we arrived at Dunedin - tell you more soon as...

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Christmas trees and all that Jazz

Today Fiona had to meet her Maori ladies' project team to decorate a Christmas Tree at the Meteor Centre - fund raising for Christian conservation charity 'A Roche' in Portugal using recycled trash. Our tree used a rainbow theme with milk bottle tops although the angel did smell a bit funny as we didn't wash them all. Then we had to (very sadly) decline spare tickets to see the Proclaimers in Auckland as Les was playing his sax in the Hamilton Jazz Club and we were taking our Columbian friends along - the food was great however and the dancing was far better than than at the Proclaimers gig so we had a great night. In the morning we set off to visit Anne & David in Wellington, Paul & Lesley near Christchurch and finally Douglas & Marian in Dunedin, by which time it will be Christmas Day and we will discover if our tree won the $1000 prize. What a daft upside down world we live in - mince pies in Summer - Christmas on the beach Santa Hats on stage and our tree being sold on 'Trade Me' the NZ ebay! What fun.

Friday, 11 December 2009

What a GREAT Barrier Island

Just to keep you up to date we returned last night from spending a week on Great Barrier Island staying in a friend's "Bach" or to us luxury beach front haven! We saw a dog passing most days but that was about it. Hot sunny weather and cloudless skies - so unlike Hamilton. We sat in the hot springs, swam in the sea and slept. We even had time to get caught up on some class reading which we had to finish. We played scrabble and didn't fight (Not sure about the word 'clipe' mind you!) The cool thing is that they have no mains electricity so you pretty much have to go to bed when it gets dark. They also have very few tarmacadam roads so we were really grateful to have the 4 wheel drive to reach the various beauty spots, including a visit to a couple who live on the very top of the hill. We met them at Church and she was of an original settling family from the 1800s and he was a Mouat fae Shetland so we had a great visit there. We left just in time as they are having a Bike Ride today so the ferry was mobbed last night and it really reminded us of the fever pitch on Westray the night before the regatta. We were highly entertained by the local birds and their raucous calls although not so entertained by the local variant of oyster catcher which is worse than a picky terno at dobbing you on the heid - they are vicious and unkind to rainbow hats. Th seagulls were friendly and the stingrays too frendly. We saw whales on the way there and dolphins on the way back and when you swam in the sea fishes of some variety came all round your legs, hence the stingrays maybe but there were none of them on our own beach thankfully.