Thursday, December 06, 2012

Christmas Songs

No, no - don't run away screaming...this isn't the typical make-your-ears-bleed song!

So - what song lights up your Christmas stockings?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thirsty Thursday

OK, so we're back to this are we? Yes, having a tipple this late in the week - but I assure you I have earned it. Things have been a bit - shall we say stressed? - down here in recent times, but enough about that. Let's see what is on the drinks trolly today shall we?

Lava Lamps
 Vodka jelly shots in champagne.

Serves: 4  (or 1 greedy guts)

1 packet of jelly crystals
1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
1 cup (250 ml) vodka
1 bottle (750 ml) champagne, chilled

 Preparation method

Mix the jelly crystals with the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Let cool a little then stir in the vodka. Pour the liquid into 4 small paper cups or other small containers. Chill until set, at least 2 hours.

Pour champagne into glasses. Break up the jelly with a fork, and pour into each glass of champagne. A little stir gives it some 'lava' action. Oh come on, it's not that gross!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Song

Check out this young lady - only 11 years old.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bottle of wine, Fruit of the Vine...

At our recent Labour Weekend, we headed off to Blenheim to visit family and friends...and of course the fabulous vineyards on offer up that way. You would go a long way to beat a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc!

We started off at hte local Farmers Market...a heady mix of local cheese, fruits, pickles...and this rather unusual treat??

The it was off to the vineyards. I liked these two - first off Wither Hills. Very pretty setting and I am told the wines were great. Yep - how unfair but I drew the straw for sober driver, someone e;ses's turn to be the Duty Drunk then!!

You could climb 3 flights of stairs and get wonderful views from the top of that wooden building you can see - all in the time it took my passengers to try the Pinot Noir! 

About 10 minutes down the road, Villa Maria Wines. Now I have tried their offerings before and have never been disappointed. Again, pretty setting

and under the picnic table out front a couple of ducks had settled down for a sleep in the shade!

After spedning quite some time chatting to the Australian working the counter, the sample of the day was declared to be this one...

and we headed off to Picton to have lunch with family.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sundays Song

Because today is today...I guess history has taught us we have learned bugger all from history!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Sundays Song

A bit of Kiwiana from ages ago...

Saturday, November 03, 2012

What ever happened to Saturday night?

It seems light years ago that Saturday night was THE NIGHT. You know, we'd get all gussied up and head off into 'town' and giggle at boys and then progressed to being with the boys...eventually settling into some kind of pattern with that.
When I was younger we lived in a small town, not much to do any day of the week really let alone Saturday. The local movie theatre was pretty much where I headed to at weekends. I recall one night coming out to find my car had been 'egged' - all over the windscreen was yellow goo (I'm not yolking!) and as it was winter and an icy night it was damn near impossible to clean off until I got home. At least someone had found something different to do!

We also used to go to the local takeaway shop (or burger bar if you want to call it that) - I found that my order took as long to arrive as it did to hear this song - to this day, whenever I hear it I think of the Saturday night pineapple burger with extra pickles!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Update of drama

I don't know how we did it, but the Scowly Teen has confessed to liking The Strokes. I told her they were an old band and she nodded earnestly and said she knew that, but all the really good bands ARE old. Some are even dead. Who knew!!

So - we are in the process of taking our insurance company to court in an endeavour to get our policy entitlements. I can't say I am happy about it but I would be even less happy getting a good stiffing in this manner (ok, get the school boy giggles over with....)

In the interim, to take my mind of it all presumably, my moggie boy Ernie is apparently a diabetic cat.  He has been responding quite well so far to treatment and I am ever hopeful he will continue and go on to become one of those 'self healed' mogs. Initially I thought the vet had stumbled upon a surefire retirement plan, but - what can you do? I will give Ernie a go tho' and see how he gets on, to be honest I feel our family has lost enough lately and can't bear the thought of having to put him down.

On a brighter note, I have discovered a nice sparkling wine from the Lindauer brand - Sparkling Pinot Gris. So hold out your buckets chps and chappettes while I pour you some frivolity! Yes sorry still have to use buckets as we have still been shaking down here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday Tipple

Frankly I am not sure there is anything strong enough to tippple. Seems we have hit a brick wall with our rebuild, extremely unhelpful insurance company, vindictive insurance rep and a nasty project manager do not a happy home make!!

However, on we go with the kind of determination that has seen us thusfar. I am getting tired of being stoic but thats the best I can do these days.
I had some 'me' time in Wellington recently with my good buddy, Pixie (who is fab but a lazier blogger than me so I won't link you! :-) and I will bore you with that when I have sorted some photos. IN the mean time, let's pull up a chair and get the glasses out (the clean ones at the back of the cupboard if you don't mind, cheers) and this is what we will have - something I haven't had in years A REDHEAD IN BED. Luckily for you I am far too mature to make sleazy jokes about this but I am sure I can rely on the usual suspects to make them for me!!
We are going to need VODKA, and a martini glass (or three);
- 2 parts citrus vodka (use an egg cup if you haven't got a real measuring glass, or if you're really in dire straights just use a wine glass)
- splash of lemon juice
- muddled strawberries (did I mention this is an expensive drink for those of us in the Southern Hemishpere at this time of year? The buggers are about $7.00 in our local supermarket so if you're stretched just used canned ones)
- simple syrup.
Pour the ingredients one at a time into martini glass, garnish with a strawberry (or not, for those truly economically-minded drinkers just wave a picture of a strawberry at the glass)
There, isn't this just great just the wee group of us swigging on the porch....sing along with me now,

Friday, August 10, 2012

Frivolous Friday

Ultra-Dry Friday Night Martini Cocktail Ingredients


  • 1. Put some Jazz on the stereo. LOUD.
  • 2. Dump ice into stainless steel shaker.
  • 3. Add Gin and shake.
  • 4. Have your Main Squeeze rinse the olives in cold water while you keep shaking.
  • 5. Phone someone who has vermouth and have them hold the bottle to the phone while you hold your phone to the glasses, keep shaking.
  • 6. Put 3 olives each onto two stainless steel picks, place into glasses.
  • 7. When your hand is so cold you can't stand it anymore, strain contents into glasses.
    This will make two Friday Night Martinis, you wouldn't want to drink alone, and you need someone to rinse the olives while you shake. Make two rounds and then switch to Rolling Stones music and a nice bottle of bubbly.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Horsing About

I have been down south for work - been quite nice to sleep in a real bed instead of an airbed on the floor! Motels have a lot going for them some days...and it was a treat to slouch in bed watching TV at the end of the day (which was actually rather late since my work took me to a day and a night shift!)

So, anyway this trip I got as far as Timaru. It takes about 2 hours to get there usually, this time it took me an extra half hour owing to the road works going on in and around our city.

Timaru is a port town, and it has some lovely old buildings and houses - all of which made me a bit sad for what Christchurch has lost but also happy to be able to see this architecture such a short drive away from home!

Timaru is also the birthplace of Phar Lap, a great old race horse who met an mystery end (well, more of a mystery than ending up at the pet food factory anyway).

The town has created a rather spectacular sculpture of the horse, up close it is really impressive and I had such a fine sunny day for loitering with intent to take a photo or two!

I saw some other creatures of the equine kind on my way home....this one in the paddock next to the sculpture, looking rather disinterested I felt!

And then further on down the road, a paddock with this fellow in it, he kept coming up to the fence and I am sure he was of the "Look at me" ilk....if he could have shouted I am sure he would have been a little 'hoarse'...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

We're ok

I took this photo last year but I have to say it is just as valid now as it was then albeit for different reasons!

We are currently in the early stages at last of rebuilding our buggered home, in fact today I have been looking through paint charts and daring to consider what will go where (thanks to Lady M I seem to have the energy for this now)

We have chosen the new kitchen sink and have been researching gas water heating options. Sometimes it seems too hard but last night I had dinner with one woman, and was at a party with another - both of these fabulously brave people have terminal cancer. At only 38 "J" will leave behind a lovely 9 year old daughter. At age 56 "S" will leave her husband and 2 children (19 and 21).....

In comparison, we're more than ok.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On the move

Well, guess what! (Actually, don't bother I'll just tell you....)

This week we received draft plans for the rebuild...very exciting! We have a few changes that need to be made but it is a start in the right direction. We are holding fast to our rights not to have the place demolished until we have a rebuild start date...that way we can retain our existing use rights for 12 months until the house is rebuilt. It is quite weird to have a bit of progress after about a year of diddling about!!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Bad jokes

This is Kitty - Pixie's cat.

He is a great mouser....ok, ok, way of apology here is a great wee band from Lyttelton, Christchurch. This band did some fantastic 'sheering up the locals' work in the quake aftermath, they would play for free in your back yard if you wanted them too. Fantastic live at our local pub. This clip is from their Ozzie tour....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Progress of sorts

Yo! Sorry for being absent - did you miss me? Did you notice? Am I upside down?

Anyway, you will be thrilled to know that wasn't abducted by a gin-soaked alien or (sadly) even a millionaire playboy with poor eyesight and a bad cough! No, I have been hard up against the coal face working and trying to make sense of my wee corner of the world.

So - we have new offices and we're happy as a sand boy (feel free to tell me what that actually means!) and I guess the best news is that we have been 'awarded' the architect and builders of our choice (albeit after 2 months of hassling and cajoling) and we are now on the path to rebuilding our home. Yes, you heard it here first!! I confess however that we haven't popped the champagne just yet, still a few wee hurdles to get over - such as what our insurance policy REALLY means when it states replacement is 'like for like' - you would be surprised to know it often does not have the plain english meaning and commonsense seems to have eff all to do with it too. But I digress....

As you will recall, if you have been paying attention...we had some snow a few weeks back...round by the high school my Scowly Teen and Young Whovian attend I was greeted by this fabulous sight, the red leaves really stood out defiantly against the landsacpe and BEGGED to be captured forever, n'est pas? (Thats for you Owen and Louciao my cybersiblings...I know you're still there!)

And then the sun came out and the city opned it's fractured arms to us all this building, it seems to be in a death dance of some kind!

And then, the clock tower which has stood through out this earth shattering, teeth clenching business has been dissected and now resmbles a type of Darlek!

This house has not been so lucky, looking rather un-loved as it waits for whatever is going to happen next. I am sure that my cyber siblings would have a use for it, we could have a family fixer-upper in the outter Antipodes - what do you say?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Deja Vu

I have just one question - if you have been forced to work from home because of lack of safe offices, does a snow day still happen???

Just had a fab weekend, my dearest friend PIxie came down and made a dress for my Scowly Teen and was due to leave today. Pixie and I sloped off to the airport only to turn round and come home again - that Pixie no fly today!

I love the snow!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Crazy times

It's been a funny few weeks. More shakes, mostly mid 4s lately but even a big one of 5.2 on Friday afternoon just to remind us who is in charge! It was even more scary because we were in our old brick work building at the time and our work building has had an engineering report and it is not good.

The building has been classed as a serious earthquake risk and we have to 'vacate urgently' - so! Back to working from home while we try and find sufficient office space, safe office space, affordable office space!

To be honest, you can get a bit sick of cleaning stuff up....moral of this story I think is that you should secure your CDs especially if you have just spent some weeks putting them back into alphabetical order!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Protest Day

You know, Europe is not the only place which seems to be having it's fair share of protests. Our city's elected are also getting it in their collective necks for taking so long to rebuild peoples homes. It's pretty much all "Central Business District" that appears to have the priority. I accept that there is a balance to be had but at this time the 'balance' is only in the favour of the companies, the insurances and the fat cats.

I am all for shops and offices - but not at the expense of people who are living in garages, 'couch surfing' or sleeping in their cars at night! Like many, many others in the city we are still having to pay full rates for houses we cannot live in and some people cannot even access their homes. I applaud the actions of those who highlight the plight of our citizens who are in dire straits. The elderly, some as old as 80, are being told to get a mortgage to finance a move if they can't afford it. This is utterly outrageous. The council and CERA must re-home these people as a priority.

So, as the city plants the seed of protest for social improvements (and what place in the world has never done that eh?) I also managed to plant some of these in pots as I'm not convinced that I will be in a new home by Christmas or spring time!! I might take bets on what comes up first, my bulbs or my house!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Whistle Wetting Wednesday

Our nights are getting colder, to match our soggy mornings. These days I need something to warm the cockles of my heart (yes, I do have one) would be even better if I had a nice warm fireplace to nestle beside but (thanks Mother Nature) I don't. So, the heat pump and I have a date tonight, and I'll be drinking this....

Autumn Slumber Toddy

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz creme de cassis
  • dash of simple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • hot water


  1. In an Irish coffee glass pour the liquors, syrup and lemon.
  2. Top with hot water.
  3. Stir.
Now then, once you've got your glass and you're in your onesie pj's, how about some music to slurp to?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Upon Reflection

The view from a restaurant window, in Wellington recently.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"You smell nice"

"Thats probably becuase teenagers like the smell of a wallet opening.."

"No, you a Mum"

"You what?"

"And I love you and I'm going to hug you right here in this shop!"

Maybe, just maybe, after 17 years I am finally getting good at this mothering thing...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Whistle Wetting Wednesday

It's ANZAC Day here, let's just settle for a beer!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Looking backwards and forwards at the same time

Do you play the piano? Here is just one of the ideas springing up around our city in the form of 'gap fillers' projects. This piano actually does work, if you don't mind it being off key in some parts - which if you sing like me then you won't mind at all! Some empty sections which once housed buildings or shops or houses have activities such as Petanque, or an old fridge converted into a library and then one's like this with a piano! Great idea don't you think? 

Here is Mother Mary reflecting over what is left of her Basillica....

And here is another exhibit, 185 chairs - marking the number of deaths in the February 2011 earthquake, there are even some baby seats and high chairs..very sobering. What impresses me the most is that there does not appear to be even a shred of graffiti on any of these things! We still have our soul.

On the home front, we finally received a payment from EQC for the damage done to our home in the 7.1 shake in Sept 2010 (the evil beasty that started this chain of events) - progress methnks. Plus they have decided (well, this week anyway) that our home IS 'buggered' afterall and we will now go back to being on track for a demolition and rebuild! Talk about two steps forward and five steps back...however am cautiously optimistic that all the past month of meetings and firm dicsussions have paid off this time!

Sunday, April 01, 2012


This is a photo of a set of windows in the downstairs part of our munted house. This was taken in early December 2011. It has gotten worse, as you would expect with the amount of shaking that has gone on.

We were all set for a rebuild - our insurance company had been very helpful but had gone as far as they could without the Earth Quake Commission signing us off their books and making the over-cap payment they owe for their share of the damage. You can imagine our horror when, just this week mind you, we discovered that the REAL reason EQC haven't paid out yet is because someone has decided that the house can be repaired. Yeah. A 2 story house on at least an 8 degree lean, on land that requires new foundation standards (our original foundations were put down in 1923) - REPAIRED? What a load of bollocks. Suffice to say we're not happy and not convinced that anyone at EQC knows what they are doing. For months now they have fobbed us off with a different excuse each time about the non-payment. Perhaps they don't have the money? Its clear they don't have the brains. Why go and review a house 6 months after they had made the decision to hand it over for rebuild.

We know we are not the only ones in this situation - which actually makes it worse, doesn't it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Whistle Wetting Wednesday

Tonight let's get cosy on the couch, chuck a log on the fire and have a, you can choose the music and I'll get the drinks.

Here, have a Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc, I insist! I know it's not quite The Thing for this time of year but yesterday was so warm and sunny and I didn't get to frink it so let's all cink our glasses to new Hump Day drinkies. See y'all here on Wednesdays folks cos...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Three hours south of here...

Three hours south of here is Oamaru. Well, three hours if you go without stopping for ice creams, 'comfy stops', or to threaten to put the kids out to make them walk to Gran's!
When you get there it is worth heading for the old quarter of the town, the SteamPunk HQ.

If you are truly lucky the sun will be shining and in the right place to enable a photograph or two.

If you want, you can stop opff up the road for a 'proper' Olde English Afternoon Tea in the building, not the Church. If you are from Christchurch then you will get nostalgic for the old buildings and, if pressed, will wipe away a tear or two.....

Before again heading south out of Oamaru. If you vere off to the left down any number of raods that seem to lead to Kakanui at the right time of year and in the right rotation of fields, this awaits....

This lone sunflower bucked the trend of it's counterparts to stare right at us!

It was a treat to behold, all of this. But I warn you, I'm baaack!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day trip

Shirley and Margaret set off that day
For a picnic or shopping or just 'away'
The day it was sunny and it was bright
Full of promise and black wasn't white....
Who knew what was going to unfold?

Shirley and Margaret away they went
Everything in its place, nothing bent
The day it was just starting anew
All in its place, nothing askew....
Who knew what was about to unfold?

Shirley and Margaret I wish I knew
Just what it was that happened to you.....
We pass by your crosses and I often sigh
So many people on our roads still die

Going about their business, living their lives
until they take that one fatal drive.....

Sunday, March 04, 2012

All Aboard for Wellington!

In late January we took ourselves off to visit Wellington (and stayed with my dear ol' school mate, Pixie). What a refreshing 3 days it was. We got off the plane and went straight to visit the Weta Cave - home of Peter Jackson special effects etc. I have to confess to being probably the only person in New Zealand who has not ever seen a Lord of the Rings anything! Guilty as charged, spank me!! I can't even explain why - other than I am pretty lazy about movies and prefer books. I have read the books - does that excuse me a little bit?

The next day was full on WELLINGTON! We started off with the main purpose of our visit - a trip to Te Papa so the girls could view the Wedding Dress ehibition - 200 years of Wedding Dresses, which included the gorgeous gown worn by Dita Von Teese. This old building is on the waterfront near the Museum, it is used as a drama theatre. I have to say that it was a bittersweet site for these quake-ravaged Christchurch eyes, such a lovely old building and still intact. I hope that those who can are taking care of this building for the 'what if..." events.

After a morning spent wandering through the museum - which included us going into their earthquake simulator room (it made us laugh, the shaking wasn't quite what we are used to! Are we crazy do you think?) - we ventured further into the wondeful atmosphere that is Cuba Mall. This old bucket water fountain thing has been there forever, it appears to have been painted!
Then we went out for dinner to a Turkish restaurant which treated us and our freinds as if we were long lost family - divine, and the red wine and conversation flowed until it was time to head home....these two looked pretty fancy for that part of town after dark...
while we pondered what hair do we could possibly wake up with or wear for the next day.....

And to finish it off, here's a treat some one the bands I used to go and see when I lived in Welly....