Sunday, 15 January 2017

A flying visit

At the beginning of the week we decided it was time to have a break away for a couple of days so we set off later in the week and headed south. Back to Southland where we lived when we were first married. This is where two of our babies were born and life was happy and uncomplicated. Life is still happy but a bit more complicated but I guess that happens with age and families. We booked accommodation in Invercargill, very comfortable serviced apartments just out of the CBD - everything within walking distance, shops, theatres, cafes etc.


We took a drive down to Bluff, which was where we had actually lived. Bluff is the port that services Invercargill and Southland. It is summer but it was a cold, blustery, squally day. The photo above is me standing at the signpost at Stirling Point between squalls. Hundreds of people head here to get their photo's taken under the signpost, we took some for an Indian family and there were Chinese tourists there as well. 


My GKB taking photos of the lighthouse across the harbour mouth.


This is the lighthouse on Dog Island, one of the tallest in the country and it guards the entrance to Bluff harbour.


Both of us had only ever been up to the top of Bluff Hill once and that was many moons ago, so we decided it was time for another look. On one side you could see the road back to Invercargill with a small wind farm in the centre left of the picture. I was quite amazed as I didn't realise what a narrow isthmus connected Bluff to the rest of the South Island. That is the harbour on the right and Foveaux Strait on the left. The wind farm is above Foveaux Strait. The small cluster of buildings in the centre is the abattoir or meat works, or 'the works' as they are known in New Zealand.


Turning to the left you look out over Foveaux Strait and on a good day you can just make out Stewart Island/Rakiura.  This was not a good day and that is not Stewart Island/Rakiura in the mist and cloud.


I decided to walk up to the top of the lookout and left my GKB behind. Boy it was breezy. I was almost blown over at the top and had a hard time keeping my balance, hence one very bad picture of Bluff taken in a great hurry. My hands were white by the time I got back down to the car, the wind comes straight up from the antarctic with only Stewart Island in between. Slightly cold and gloves in the car :) Time for us to head back down the hill and find somewhere for a hot drink.

I hope you've enjoyed my little nostalgic trip back into my past and weren't too bored. I must say we enjoyed it :)

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Cruise ships in port

It was a cool day, we have had next to no summer weather this year and to be honest it is just a tad depressing. So on a whim we decided to drive down to Port Chalmers and visit my GKB's sister and family. We didn't warn them, we decided the drive would be good regardless. We knew there were a couple of cruise ships in so we detoured to have a look at them on the way.


Overlooking part of the Port from up on a hill.


The MS Maasdam on the left registered in Amsterdam.
She takes 1258 passengers and 580 crew.


The Dawn Princess on the right.
She is slightly bigger and is registered in Bermuda.
She takes on board 1950 passengers and has a crew of 900.

Just the day before the Ovation of the Sea was in port and she would have dwarfed both these ships. She had a crew of 1300 and takes 4180 passengers and I believe she is the 4th largest cruise ship in the world and the largest one operating in the southern hemisphere at the moment. Now that would have been a sight to see.
It is cruise ship season and so over the next few months we will have a variety of ships coming into port and hopefully the passengers will enjoy what our city has to offer even if the weather doesn't cooperate.

I've never been cruising and would love to enjoy the experience once in my life, I think it would be an amazing.
How about you?

Diana

Friday, 6 January 2017

Simplify...and remember to water it

Well 2017 is here. Do you make New Years resolutions? I don't any more as I'm not very good at keeping them. One thing I have decided though is to go back to the gym for a few months as I have put on quite a bit of weight and can't seem to move it. Christmas fare hasn't helped either. The trouble is when I went down to rejoin they were closed, come back in half an hour. I haven't got back yet. 

I also have a word for 2017. I know quite a few people have a different word for each year but this is the first time I have had one. And only because it chose me, I didn't choose it. It kept popping into my head after I had been feeling overwhelmed by the things that had been happening in my life. What is the word? 
SIMPLIFY
Isn't it a good one? It suits where I'm at perfectly. 
Now to put it into practice :)

One of the gifts I was given for Christmas was this hanging basket. It doesn't look too bad in the photo but I'm sorry to say it has had a bit of a battering. When my daughter gave it to me she said, 'perhaps you shouldn't hang it Mum, if it's on the step you might remember to water it'. She knows me well. So I left it on the step, remembering to water it as it has been very windy and everything is drying out. 


Well, one night the wind really came up strong and when I went out in the morning the basket was gone. Oh dear. It had blown off the step and was lying on it's side on the grass. It wasn't too bad, a couple of the flowers had broken off but it was mostly intact. That night gale force winds were forecast so we moved it into the porch where we thought it would be well sheltered. Next morning we found it had been blown over again and was looking a little the worse for wear. I put it all back together but we decided the best place for it might be on a hook, somewhere I couldn't miss it and so it is hanging just outside the front door. Now all I have to do is  remember to water it!

Diana


Saturday, 31 December 2016

Done and dusted

No not 2016, although that is certainly done and dusted.
And not Christmas either, although that is well and truly done
 and dusted too.
My reading challenge - done and dusted, thank goodness.



Would I do another one? I don't think so. Having a deadline to finish a book took the joy out of reading, for me anyway, so what's the point? But it meant I got some books out of the way that have been lying around for years in some cases. I will probably do the winter reading challenge at the local library though, it encourages you to look at different genre's, has a bit more focus than just getting through books you haven't got round to reading yet.



Some of the books I enjoyed, some I struggled with and one I didn't finish. A mixed bag. Most of them have now gone to a book sale for  someone else to enjoy.

*************
And as it well into New Year's Eve here,
all that remains is for me to wish everyone a 

Happy and Prosperous New Year

Diana


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A busy week

When I was a child growing up summer began in August and lasted until March. We ran around in shorts and sun frocks and by Christmas when our southern cousins arrived for a holiday we had lovely suntans. They didn't. Now I live down south near those
 same cousins and summer is much later arriving :( 
Sometimes by Christmas, like this one, we are still wondering whether summer will arrive at all and whether we will get a suntan.
But family time is still as good as it ever was and that is what really counts.
************
So what has my family been up to this week? 

rain beginning at grandson Jack's assembly
First of all Jack had his final assembly for his primary school and parents, grandparents and all the pupils gathered at the appointed hour. Rain had been threatening but we were all ever hopeful the assembly would be over before the rain arrived as it was being held outside. We decided to put our rug and cushions under a tree and took our umbrellas with us, just in case. Well you guessed it, just as proceedings were about to begin the heavens opened and the rain bucketed down. The upshot was that the kids were all herded inside, those who could fit went in with them (small hall) , and people like me went home. So I missed Jack's final assembly.

Caitlin (grand daughter)  and her proud Mum
The next night both my GKB and I had Christmas breakups to go to for different organisations. So we went our separate ways and met up at home again later in the evening.
 I didn't miss the next important event on the calendar though, this was Caitlin's graduation from her Tourism and Travel course, the end of two years hard work. My GKB and I both went and we are so proud of her as she was also nominated for the Integrity and Development Award. It was an interesting graduation with a couple of items from the cultural group - the Pacific Island community lent a lot of colour with several of them graduating as well. We thoroughly enjoyed it all.


Sunday brought a special seasonal church service, Lessons and Carols. Once more we sang several carols we had sung the week before at the Carols in the Park and we listened again to the Christmas story unfolding. A bonus was that people from the congregation who had not been able to attend the park were able to join in the songs with us.


Yesterday my little mother had her 87th birthday. Tonight her youngest grandson is taking her out for a meal, she has been resting all afternoon so she is able to stay out for a while this evening. She is much better than she was but still awaiting a date for her heart op. All of her overseas Christmas and birthday parcels arrived at my place so I took them around yesterday (two boxes full) and she enjoyed opening them and putting her Christmas ones on her decorated hearth to wait for Christmas Day.

And that has brought us up to today. I've taken my little Mother shopping and in the afternoon my GKB and I went and, hopefully, finished our own Christmas shopping. Phew, if I haven't done it now it probably won't happen :)

************
And so to end I would like to share a couple of photos of some of the fun things around the neighbourhood. 





Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas,
filled with, fun, laughter and love.
Diana

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Merry Christmas


On a cold, blustery summer Sunday we went to the Botanical Gardens in Dunedin for a community sing-a-long. 
Although it was cold there was quite a good turnout to sing some old Christmas favourites and learn a new one or two. 


The Taieri Gospel Band led the singing 
and there were one or two guests between brackets.


We ended with Feliz Navidad and as my GKB recorded it on his camera I thought I would share it with you. So without further ado, from my city to yours 
Merry Christmas
Meri Kirihimete
Feliz Navidad

video

sung by The Taieri Gospel Band

And yes, thats me about 1.30 minutes into it.
Diana

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Christmas in the summertime

I love looking at posts showing Christmas in the northern hemisphere but for me Christmas happens in the summer. So I thought I would show you some pictures from a summer 
Christmas Day past.

One year we kitten sat for our daughter, summer is kitten time, and she ended up decorating our tree. She loved the fact that we had put  a tree in the lounge for her and covered it with all sorts of shiny toys. She gave us a lot of laughs as she climbed from bottom to top and back again.


Of course there is always heaps of food and even with summer salads and cold meats it is easy to over eat if you're not careful.


And if you manage to behave with the salads 
maybe you won't be so good with the summer desserts.
Naturally there are delicious sweet and savoury nibbles 
scattered around in strategic places as well.


Afterwards there's always time to sit around out of the sun 
and just relax and socialise, have a long cool drink or two
 and wash all that party food down.


Or join the kids for a game of backyard cricket and maybe lose some of those calories you just piled on over lunch. Or what's more likely, lose the ball, probably on a neighbours roof :)


But before any of this happens there is the opportunity to attend a Christmas church service and celebrate the birth of Jesus, who is after all, the reason for the season.



Just a little glimpse of a 
summertime Christmas, 
I hope you enjoyed it.

joining Amy and friends for:

Diana