Tuesday, 31 January 2017

'Oops' and 'Oh dear'

I was up the street today and I saw this sight and  didn't think it looked right but because I was running just a bit late for a meeting I kept driving past. On the way home I had to stop anyway so took some photos. Can you see what is wrong?

It doesn't look too bad from this angle but you might 
notice the trailer tires have been let down to the rims.

Someone had parked on the side of the street and managed 
to get the shed on the trailer jammed under the verandah!

What a way to start your week :(

Friday, 27 January 2017

Southland leftovers

While we were up on Bluff Hill a few weeks a few weeks ago I came across this old piece of broken down machinery. Apparently it is what is left of the radar that was used during WWII to keep watch on the South Coast for invaders. There is an information board about it but the photo I took isn't very good, and I can't read it :( 

It will soon be well overgrown I think as I had to clamber through undergrowth and climb on broken concrete to take these photos. 
A shame really. I hate seeing historic pieces disappear.

You may remember me saying how cold and windy it was on top of the hill and we decided to go and have a hot drink somewhere. We ended up back in the city and although it was still a bit blustery it wasn't quite as cold. We found a nice little coffee bar in a mall and had our lunch. We sat at a window table and the sun beamed in and warmed us up to the extent that we were soon taking layers off and sitting in our shirt sleeves.

I like this snap of my GKB as he didn't know I'd taken it
 and is quite relaxed and natural, checking out the sports pages.

I like looking at the architecture of bygone times and this building just down from our hotel caught my eye. I really like the detail on the outside of the building, so unusual to my eye. I would have liked to take more pics but was standing in the middle of a traffic island when I looked up and took this so thought perhaps I'd better move.

Wishing you all a happy week,

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A family gathering

We had a family gathering today down at Port Chalmers. A couple of birthdays were being celebrated but mainly it was to welcome our nephew and his family home. He has been living and working in China for 20 years. He met his wife there and has a lovely little family. They have been home on holiday  several times but this time is for good. 
In April our son will also arrive home for good with his wife. He has been living and working in Japan for 9 years and met his wife while there as well. They have also been home a couple of times on holiday. We're all looking forward to their arrival.

The gathering was held in an old building, now part of a cafe/restaurant but at the back of the property. The front shop was originally a fishmongers but my GKB couldn't quite recall what this building was. Anyway the owner has stripped it back to the original brick and beams (it looks like some of the beams have been replaced though) and it has a lot of character, a great place for a small get together like ours.

On our way home we thought we would take a quick detour and have a look at the first home we had together after we married.
It's looking quite a lot more run down, sadly, but it is over 40 years since we lived there and I am always surprised that it is still standing. It was the first house ever built in the area so is probably well over 150 years old. I used to love sitting on the front  verandah with my morning tea, I could see over to the harbour and it was so calm and peaceful with the bush behind. Lots of birdsong :)

As you can see, we are still having a wet, grey, dreary summer :) and have gale force winds forecast for tonight. So we'll be battening down the hatches before we retire for the night.

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?


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? 
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!