Friday, January 29, 2010

I recommend you read these...

Quirky and fabulous, I love 'homegrown' literature. One of my dear friends died recently, she was a fantastic author and inspired me very much.
RIP Mrs D!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tipple late again

A friend called round and brought us this to try. I mhave to say it was FAB!!! If you see it anywhere, you simply must grab it and scurry home with it. Have it with a nice sexy steak, and don't forget to read the back of the label....

Then, follow it up with a port. Another friend brought us this one to try.....

and it was!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Of pinics and things

 We went in search of sunshine. To find it we ventured over to Akaroa, one of the oldest settlements in Canterbury. Settled by the French, it has retained it's 'Frenchness'. The above is the view from the Hill Top looking over to the township. If you 'embiggen' the photos you should see things better. It takes about an hour and a half to get there from Christchurch, unless you have kids in the car with you who don't travel too well. A windy and steep road means frequent stops to ensure the back of your neck remains vomit free.

However, I did find this wee gem in the middle of almost nowhere. We stopped at Barry's Bay and bought some of their divine cheese (no Brie), and went to the waters edge for a picnic. Just by the turn off for French Farm, and excellent winery, we found a huge weeping willow tree complete with picnic table in it's shadey arms. Across the road is this place which I am sure Owen or Louciao can arm-wrestle for...

Meanwhile, in Akaroa harbour, these geese were out for a paddle.

Akaroa is a popular place for day trips as well as long term visitors, these girls were on a hen's weekend and decided to be a bit French!

This rather gorgeous old-style youth hostel is in need of some repairs - any volunteers?

And now, for those Kiwi's in far off lands who may or maynot be reading this, here are some photos to make you homesick. Typical summer in NZ is epitomised by the blooming Pohutukawa tree (also known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree) and standing hardy against the blue sky on this day...

Plus, the good old Mr Whippy ice-cream truck (another stalwart of Kiwi society)!

On the way out of town I stopped to take this photo of the local Police Station, Akaroa has retained it's French street names as well.

And at Little River, on the way home, I found this other prime piece of real estate which you can draw straws for.

It was fantastic to have some sunshine, today it is The Studs birthday and it's raining AGAIN and we have the fire burning. Go figure that for a Canterbury summer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Tipple

Owing to the fact that its meant to be summer, the following drink is simply what the doctor ordered! (If you're in Christchurch you will have to imagine the sun shining down benevolently....)

Batida del sol

1and 3/4 ounces of pineapple juice
1 counce of cachaca
3/4 ounce cocnut-flavoured liqueur
2 tsp dark rum
2 tsp cream of coconut
Garnish - 1/2 slice of pineapple and 1 marachino cherry

Shake all ingredients together firmly with ice in the shaker and strain into a highball glass. Top up with crushed ice, perch the pineapple slice on the rim of the glass and fasten the cherry onto it with a toothpick. Be careful not to get the pick up your nose.

Stretch out in the hammock and count your blessings...

Monday, January 18, 2010

'allo 'allo

So, it's like I am on holiday the weather has pooed itself bigtime. We've been getting rain and cold winds. That is why we found ourselves on a chilly Saturday morning at the French Farmers Market in a popular bar lane, and why you won't see many sky pix!

See, now we go right.......

down the alley way, there are a few bars in this area and at weekends they have this market there. These two bags of lettuce were waiting at the door of the Bismark (the photo is named "Lettuce In")....

here we found some stalls with loads of French goodies (and some yuckies too...I am not a Brie fan no matter how you wrap the stuff), the lavendar was heavenly scented but probably from a lavender farm near here...

I bought a pot of this mustard, the one with the basil in it.

Didn't try the nuts or the bike....but when I got home....

I roasted these with butter and dollops of the Basil Mustard. Divine! All washed down with a nice vin de rouge.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Me and Cliff

Yep, you heard the man - I'm going on holiday. I am officially off work as at 4.30pm today and not back at the coal face until 1 February. Can't wait. That happy laughter and popping of corks will be me, in the garden, languishing in the hammock....

I will however be close to our new and improved PC (sprogs willing) and will be able to keep up with what everyone is doing and perhaps bore you all with bits of what I'm doing! It won't be all champagne and skittles tho' rest assured, we're painting the Scowly Teen's bedroom and clearing clutter. There will be tears before bedtime while we try and locate stuff that possibly wasn't junk. I don' t know why I wait until holiday time to do this sort of activity but I do.

Meanwhile, and by way of a discussion point, we've been having bother with the neighbours dogs. One of them is a nasty looking Argentinian Fighting Dog, the other some kind of serious-jowled staffy...they have appeared uninvited in our yard a few times and have shown more than a neighbourly interest in the wabbits. The council have been fabulous, and one of their dog control guys phoned me today just to check on how things were with these mutts. I had to report that we had not seen them since Christmas Eve and that in my view the guy deserved a payrise! He was very thankful for that I think but no doubt depressed that I am in no position to do anything about it. I mean, I am a rate payer but I think that money goes into the public trough for the free-for-all that passes for allocation of funds.

Isn't it great when a humble public servant does such a great job, enthusiastically too. Is there a "Appreciate your council staff member " day? If not, there should be!! My children and rabbits are currently safe from the marauders.

Mute Monday aka Spot the Cat

Owing to general slackness on my part (and a complete inability to shift the sprogs from their new PC games) Silent Sunday was missed. I have temporarily done this for today (and I know, I know...I'm yabbering and therefore not mute...)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Come visit Kakanui

Roll up, roll up...get aboard the 'Forget yer vasectomy tour' of Kakanui! The wee town is an odd collection of eclectic properties, with equally eclectic owners. There are retirees, artists, parents, students, and odd balls. Your usual population demographic I guess of down town anywhere. Here we have a wee house/cottage with rather a grand entrance way....

This place is just up the road from my mother's house, I think most of the cottages started life as a holiday bach (or 'crib' as they call them down south)

Some of them have different paint on each wall, others have the "left-behind for winter" look.

Old garage doors look as if they have not been opened for some time, and indeed behind at least one garage door is an old  Bullet nose Studebakker in almost usable condition!

This guy was out collecting shellfish at low tide. The place kind of reminds me of the setting for Steinbeck's Cannery Row.

These curious cows are neighbour's of my mother's. They like to follow you up and down the fence line, much to the amusement of my daughters'!

This chap was just sitting there, possibly in camoflage, either waiting for unsuspecting prey or a photographer....

While this tourist peddled his way across the bridge with ease and a carefree air!

Later, on the way back to Christchurch, we stopped at a small place called Winchester. This township is where my father was born, but NOT IN THIS HOUSE. This house is clearly one for Owen to consider.

OK, now then after all that travel I don't know about youo, but I'm thirsty!

How about a Happy World?
15ml Cognac
30ml Cointreau
30ml orange juice
15ml Banana liqueur

Pour all ingredients into a shaker, shake then strain into serving glass (I'd use a champagne saucer cos it looks nice and poncey!!).

And then kick back and groove to this old chestnut from the 80s...

Sunday, January 03, 2010


This years jokes were similar to the previous years 'crackers'...I have to confess to liking Steve's comment in the previous post below when it comes to cracker jokes.

We went to my mother's for the big day, and had a lovely time. I took a few photos to show you around Kakanui! But haven't 'assembled the post' properly just yet. You will have to be kept in suspenders (as my old Nana used to say).

So, did I make any New Year resolutions? No. Experience over the years has taught me this is a useless exercise for me. If I write them down I forget where I put the list. If I don't write them down, I forget them anyway. I think this year I will just settle for trying to be a better person and to learn something new as often as possible.

What about you, any resolutions?