Monday, August 31, 2009

Visiting Kakanui

We went south for the weekend, family visiting. Kakanui is a small place on the east coast of the South Island of our country. My parents moved there and my dad died there - it's a lovely spot they have near the beach. Anyway, we took our daughters round to see the trapdoor spiders that live in a bank. This bank is quite close to the road and is also on a curved raise in the road, rather tricky viewing for the arachnophobes as to leap backwards (as one does when a spider jumps out at you) is risky business if there are cars about! The Scowly Teen dragged a small bit of grass over the trap and got the fright of her life when the spider leapt out and grabbed at it.

If you (hehe) 'embiggen' the photo you will see the wee half-cricle which is the trap.
And then, the spider pops out....

I'm trying to upload a video of this event, you can hear my stepfather (who has just turned 84 - he's a lot older than my mum I hasten to add) getting quite excited to see this, he had never been able to get the spiders to come out. The locals tell you to 'bark' at the spiders to make them pop out - we refer to them as Barking Spiders 9which also means "fart" in our house) that's my husband you can hear barking (not farting)...let's see will blogger let me upload the video...YES...but you will find it at the end of the post and it won't shift so read on and beware of the lurking spider!

We also took the kids to the beach, it's a must do. You will see how stony the beach is so it's not really a buckets and spades kind of place, with loads of wood being washed up we sometimes make a bonfire and cook sausages and stuff in the evenings if the wind isn't too biting. I love it there, the roar of the sea at night is fantastically lulling.
The old Opera House has had a spruce up and they light it with different colour lights, last time we were there it was lit up all pinky/purple but we took a vote and decided we liked the red best!
And now...the spipder awaits you....if you dare!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Confusing rules!

A few weeks ago a friend and I toddled out for a girl's night out. We went to a great wee pub and sat by the fire, red wine and laughter to boot! On our way to the taxi rank we stumbled across these signs. The sign above on the footpath (or pavement for my 'merican friends) in the way that store owners have - you know, you trip over them if you're not careful. Suffice to say, we were careful!

And then directly opposite, see the way the arrows are pointing? Yes? Good, well on the door was THIS sign:-
I'm wondering what could possibly constitue a reasonable standard of dress in this place!
Now you probably thinking "Why does that girl even have her camera with her on a night out? What kind of pervert is she?" Well, I always have my camera. I do live in fear of leaving it somewhere or having to thump someone over the head with my hand bag and breaking the camera in the process, but so far so good!
So while you're getting over your confusion, here's one of my all time favourites, guaranteed to get people singing along everytime (well, at our house anyway).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Tipple

Now I don't think this is me, there are only 2 empty bottles so it can't be Decollete either!

However, today we're having this...........

French 75

15ml gin
15ml fresh lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup (I always have this ready in the fridge, it's easy to make and lasts for yonks if you don't use it!)
chilled champagne

Pour the gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and ice into a shaker. Shake shake shake then strain the liquid into a serving glass (one of those tall elegant champagne glasses) and top with chilled champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist and a red cherry.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hows this for a Central Business District?

Just round the corner from my office, is the Avon River. isn't it lovely! Tree lined and relatively clear, this river meanders through our city....
past the office buildings, round another conrer to this restaurant (which used to be a band rotunda), office workers can sit on the benches and relax.....

or take a punt along the river (if you squint you can see them, otherwise click to embiggen - sorry but that word makes me laugh like a school girl).....

and have your ice cream on a bench near Queen Victoria....

or over by one of the fountains. All this is within 5 minutes of my office, I am truly blessed don't you think. Come and lunch with me whenever you feel like it as there are plenty of cafes and lunch bars along the way and we can kick back and relax. Oh and if you would prefer a liquid lunch, we can accomodate that too!
If you look at the photo just above of the fountain, you will see that the seagulls also enjoy a park visit. We're not too far from the sea here and seagulls are everywhere, just like sparrows and starlings and over-zealous parking wardens.
Have a wonderful sunny day wherever you are, or feel free to share mine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

After the rain and the power cut

Sometimes you just HAVE to have your fish and chips by candle-light. They taste much better, don't you think?
And, after the rain and general dullness that can be winter days - we will get this! The wonderful cheery Kowhai blooms. I know I'm posting this photo (from our own garden) early but on the way home from work last night I swear I saw some pink blossoms on a few trees and that means spring is coming! Oh yeah, I love spring. Actually, I enjoy having four seasons, even tho' I have whinged about the cold before now, I do love having the chance to sweat, shiver, and all the bits inbetween.
What's it like at your house now, is it summer or winter? Which do you prefer?
At this time of year it's easy to run on empty, the promise of spring almost at the door keeps me going!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Tipple

Hey Matty, this one is for you! The rest of you will have to be creative and mix in the plonk of your choice to jazz it up a bit.


1 banana (curved or straight, it's all the same to me)
60ml pineapple juice
60ml orange and mango juice
3 teaspoons passionfruit pulp

Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth then pour into a serving glass, garnished with pineapple and banana pieces. I'd use one of those footed tall glasses that you can steal from nightclubs if you're quick!

And just for fun, lets skip down memory lane to this....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Fotos

I took the above photo round the back of a small lake on the way home from the West Coast the other week. Yes, have played with it to be in black and white but it was raining very hard, bucketing down (as only it can on the 'coast) and the result has been a moody, sulky tree scene! I love it, what do you think? If I can find the original photo I will post that so you can decide for your very grwon-up-selves which one you like best.
Further back along the road, and before the heavens opned up, we were passing by an old petrol station, these vehicles look like they may have given up all hope of having their tanks filled. I resisted the urge to black n white them, the rustic (see what I did there? LOL) colouring somehow adds to their abject misery methinks! About 10 feet on the other side of these cars is another long line of elderly gentlemen vehciles, all lined up with nowhere to go, which I'll post next if you're all good kids and play nicely.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday Tipple

I'm in a champagne mood today - just for something different! Usually it's a champagne mood with a beer budget, however I'm going to splash out today to honour you all (and to save your livers I will drink it for you too).

Ritz Fizz

dash amaretto
dash strained fresh lemon juice
dash blue curacao
chilled champagne (is there any other kind??)

Pour the amaretto, juice and blue curacao into serving glass and top with chilled champers. You can float a rose petal on the surface as decoration if you want - do not confuse rose petal with bicycle pedal.

Monday, August 10, 2009

More from the Coast

Above, another grave at Stillwater. I admit to tinkering with it to be in black and white.....

This is rather a cheeky KEA. They eat anything, usually they go for the bits of rubber seal on your car! This one was content to have his photo taken in exchange for some Kiwi fruit.
This is the site of the Brunner mine disaster where the locals have created a memorial of information and education.

This is my 250th post! Let's have a drink....

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The wild West Coast

Well, as you may have guessed I have been away travelling for work. It's a bummer but someone has to do it! Actually, being out and about is one of the great bits of my job and I get to see our wonderful country and meet the people who live here so really I'm not complaining. This time I was back to the West Coast of the South Island (you can see how imaginative we are with our place names already!)

On the way there I had to stop and take this photo, I got even closer to the Southern Alps but it was warmer to take this photo here. Isn't it breathtaking! Click on it to make it bigger, and no those sheep aren't the only ones we have. We have loads of them.

I also took the occasion to call into a wee cemetary that for years I have only ever driven past. The Stillwater cemetary is one of the resting places for 65 miners killed in the Brunnerton mining disaster of 1896.

The photos below show (hopefully) the memorial grave where 33 miners are buried, many others are buried in family plots at the cemetary. I was really taken with the grave featuring red roses, it was rather a grey day by the time we got there and that splash of colour was striking. Considering the grave was over one hundred years old, it made me wonder who had placed the flowers there. I guess that those dead miners have family still in that part of the Coast. The graves were really in bad states of repair, and many were unmarked other than by rocks outlining them. Sad to see.

It was a stark reminder of how much our history and indeed our working history has been shaped by the blood, sweat and tears of those who went before.

Tuesday Tipple

Well, it's actually Wednesday here but I have been working away from home so today is my first chance to regale your livers with naughty stuff!

I thought I would go for something easy...and yummy of course.


45ml of vodka (feel free to test the vodka to make sure it hasn't gone off in the bottle!)
120ml fresh grapefruit juice

Rub the rim of the glass with lemon slice and then dip into salt to coat (margarita-style). Pour all ingredients one after the other into the salted glass filled with ice.

Park yourself somewhere nice and cosy and sip away....