Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Is that a light at the end of the tunnel or a train?

So - we were meant to have had a date in Court yesterday, to see if the Judge of the special earthquakes claims court can budge our insurance company.

For a few weeks now 100s of grumpy claimants such as ourselves have been camping outside their offices and generally making loud protesting noises in the general direction of Southern (lack of) Response.  We don't know if it was the Court action or the protesting or a happy combination of them both BUT we had talks with SR on Monday and so far they appear to have decided that they will honour the agreement we had with them 2 YEARS AGO after all. I shouldn't be so cynical because I am far too young for that, however I will wait for the court memo before I start to believe we might get our house rebuilt next year!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


This lovely sunflower was 'snapped' by me earlier this year on a visit to my Mum in Kakanui.

Mum was also a florist and was often called upon to throw a bunch together for some reason or other. I was an endless source of despair and hilarity to her for my efforts of 'throwing a bunch together' was literally just that!

This wee fella is made by Mum (Beth) - she made the felt and spun the wool and then put him together. She has also left a legacy of patchwork blankets, all different colours and stitches to envelop and comfort her grandchildren.

Such a dear wee girl, and already a gardener! Miss you, Mum.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A massive curve ball

My absences from here have been growing longer. I have noticed that even if no-one else has!

The house situation is far from resolved and the lawyers are now slugging things out, things will eventually be done and we will (one day) be home again.

A recent event has completely knocked me sideways, head over heels, winded me beyond belief.

My precious adored Mum passed away suddenly following complications from a relatively straightforward surgery on her knee. Mum, as it turned out, had a dicky ticker. No-one knew, she never complained of any of the usual symptoms. The specialists at Dunedin Intensive Care Unit were brilliant but in the end (even after an 8 hour operation which saw her receive 5 by passes, plus another surgery to remove a blood clot from behind her heart) it was all too much for her.

She was the eldest of 2 children. Her father was a plumber and her mother worked as a printers assistant. Mum had a way with people which made everyone immediately at ease with her, she spun wool and dyed it and turned it into all kinds of magic; she made felt and did beaded jewellery. She could turn her hand to anything, and her garden is a delight. The sparrows, starlings and wee wax-eyes will do it hard without her there to feed them (to distract them from her vege plot she said). She delighted in the simple ordinary things in life which she somehow managed to make seem exciting and interesting. She had a naïve sense of humour which meant sometimes you had to spell the jokes out for her, which somehow made them even funnier. She was a familiar sight round the wee village she lived in, slowly getting about with her walking stick and a smile.

She was such a source of knowledge and joy to us all. We will miss her so much.

At her funeral I read The DashRest in peace Mum, thanks for everything. We love and miss you more than you will ever know.
And remember "give us a call when you get there so we know you got home safely".

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Whistle Wetting Wednesday

Given our atrocious weather, I think we should have something warming for our cockles!

Mulled Wine should do the trick quite nicely (it usually does!!)

Combine the orange, sugar, water and spices in a large stainless steel or enamelled pot.
Slowly bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the wine and slowly reheat but do not let it boil.
Serve in warm mugs (or use those nice 70s pottery goblets that have been in the back of your cupboard since...well, the 70s!)
There ya go, snuggle up and we will have you feeling ducky in no time! Cin cin.




    Tuesday, October 08, 2013

    I believe I have the answer to this....



    Thursday, September 12, 2013

    Thirsty Thursday

    It has been a while since we all sat on the deck and had a quiet drink together, so pull up a chair and make sure your hair is tied back.....


    Flaming Giraffe


    ½ Shot Kahlua
    ¼ Shot butterscotch schnapps
    ¼ Shot Over proof rum

    Pour kahlua first your shot glass, add the butterscotch schnapps with the over proof rum on top before lighting it up.


    Ok, ready? Here's another wee song to sing while we relax and catch up with what's been happening (or not) in the world!

    Friday, September 06, 2013


    This sums up what's not been happening....

    Monday, August 05, 2013

    Thats the way we roll

    Still no progress on the house - the lawyers are slugging it out. 

    It's enough to drive ya to the house we have been renting in the interim (we call it 'interim' but it's been almost 2 years) is now going to be put on the market so we have to pack up and move. Hope the weather plays ball this weekend cos it won't be much fun shifting in the rain or snow!

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    Come on down y'all!

    Took this while travelling down south for work recently - I love this country, plenty of room for everyone. And look - there is accommodation on offer as well (this one is rather shall we say 'organic')

    Ah, while you think about it how about having a drink and relaxing while you consider the endless possibilities!

    A Night At Naughty Nikki's recipe

    1 oz vodka
    2 oz soda or 7 Up lemonade
    Place the skittles, or other fruity chewy candy in the bottom of a shot glass then pour in the soda or 7-up and vodka.


    Wednesday, July 03, 2013

    Great time of year for taking photos

    We are clearly into our wintery months, having already had one snowfall. The mornings are getting very cold and the days tend to stay that way (altho' the past 2 days have been spring-like!). The good thing for me is the opportunity to capture things like this on my way to work in the city...

    and because I do travel for work around the country, I get to see trees like this, on the West Coast of the South Island of NZ - they are covered in lichen, and even tho' it was raining I have obviously exaggerated that effect....

    So, yes winter is coming (thanks GOT for that quote), even though our house is not....and the house we have been renting may be put up for sale, so more unsettling to come. You do get to wonder how much more of this we have to take, but for now...

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    Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    Bah Humbug

    Still no progress on our house. It all looked pretty good a few months ago, the Insurance company finally agreed that we were entitled to have our house reinstated 'like for like' and then at the last minute decided they could repair it possibly. As it turned out, that was just another shining example of the delaying tactics so many of us in Christchurch are witness to. So - back to the Courts and let the Judge decide.
     Meanwhile, we still have to pay rates for a house we cannot live in, and paying to power bills as well because we need t keep the alarm on at the house owing to the rotters who have been torching abandoned houses and it's another winter in a badly insulated rental property with only a heat pump for warmth - gotta keep those power companies propped up too y'know.
    What, me angry?? Whatever gave you that idea.....hiss.
    and now I can't get this photo to sit the right way. But it is rather pretty isn't it, early morning sun makes it look like it is a warm day!

    I'm going down the garden to eat worms (as the kids saying goes)

    Sunday, May 19, 2013

    Like sands through the hour glass....

    I took this photo at the beach near my Mum's house, I find the beach, the sea, perhaps water in general quite relaxing. This beach is pretty stony usually so to find the sand on display was a real thrill!

    I gotta get out more! (Oh, and if anyone can give me some pointers on why YouTube won't put the clips up like they used to show on this blog - leave me a detailed, idiot-proof message on how to fix it!)

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    Monday, May 13, 2013

    Monday Moaning

    No progress on the house yet. Don't hold your breath, folks.

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    Tuesday, May 07, 2013

    Just one of those days....again

    Honestly, dealing with the Insurance company is doing our heads in. At least we take some comfort from the fact that we know they have picked on the wrong people to diddle about.

    5 weeks ago we had a phone call from one of the 'pod leaders' (yes, pods are now the 'in thing' for this crap) advising she would set up an urgent meeting to clarify some minor outstanding issues - and then went to ground. Our calls to her to follow up on this have gone unanswered....with a bit of luck she will have been chewed up and spat out by the next pod.

    In the neatime, we amuse ourselves by putting a blackboard on our poor ol' fence and make our comments known to all and sundry. And do you know - we have never been tagged with grafitti!! I assume most people feel this way.

    And, because it is May that means it is New Zealand music will delight you with some local morsels of talent! Firstly, an ol' favourite of mine from quite a few years ago Greg Johnson....this guy gets better every year. Hope you enjoy it!

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    Saturday, April 13, 2013

    That's a wrap!

    I have no idea why this tree has been wrapped in orange...but have to admit the effect is rather striking!


    Monday, April 01, 2013

    Of chocolate and eggs and other things Eastery....

    The one annoying thing about Easter (for me, anyway) is the general lack of decent (hell, I'd settle for even indecent) stuff on TV for those of us usually- too- busy- to-watch-it anyway to watch!

    So, with that in mind I set about trying to think of the best Easter movies to watch....narrowed it down to my top 5.

    5. Easter Parade - why oh why do I still quite like musical/dancing movies from Yester Year?? Must be something in the water...I actually quite enjoy Singing in the Rain too but more on that some other time...

    4. The Last Temptation of Christ - a far cry from the musical but am usually 'tempted' to watch this at some point during the years since it was first released!

    3. Hop - I can hear you grinding your teeth and shouting NO! I rest my case therefore on the fact that there is a rabbit in this movie....and the kids will at least sit still long enough for you track down your own secret chocolate stash to nibble without having to share!

    2. Charlie and Chocolate Factory - I prefer the original here - it's about chocolate and how circumstances can bring about certain behaviours...very Eastery!

    and so here we are at my all time favourite Easter movie...drum roll please...

    1. The Life of Brian - yes, I hear you say it "Will probably get in trouble for this". Can't help it...this is my favourite Easter treat! I will probably rot in the usual place for that. See ya there and you can tell me what movie makes your chcoclate taste sweeter at Easter!

    Friday, March 22, 2013

    Forlorn Friday

    Lancaster Park is looking rather forlorn and forgotten these days. It has been some years now since we have been able to watch our rugby team, The Crusaders, play here.

    I enjoy a good game, and it seems to me that even tho' the atmosphere in the local pub watching a game might be pretty good - you just can't beat the real thing! And even tho' this song is SOOOO last year, I will share it with nonetheless.

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Tuesday Tipple

    Gah, the weather has turned crappy...not that we are not thrilled for the rain, it's just the accompanying cold that I object to! Mind you, I have the strength of a wilted lettuce when it comes to the cold...
    Let's have one of these then and we'll say no more about it!
    Hot Peppermint Patty

    2/3 Shot of peppermint schnapps

    1/3 Shot of oz dark crème de cacao

    1 tsp crème de menthe

    Hot chocolate

    Whipped cream

    Shaved chocolate or chocolate sprinkles for garnish (or for plain ol' scoffing while no-one is looking)

    Pour the liqueurs into an Irish coffee glass, fill with hot chocolate and top with whipped cream before garnish with shaved chocolate or chocolate sprinkles.

    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    On reflection...

    A recent trip to Wellington was a great excuse to dust off the samera and see what I could see...and from my room on the 4th floor of the hotel, I saw the other side of the harbour refelcted in the windows of the building over the road!

    As for our own house - well, we have 'struck back' with the reminder that we signed an agreemnet many months ago for a REBUILD. And that, my fairminded friends, is what we are expecting - especially now that the issues which were holding up our rebuild have been resolved.

    And in the imterim, Scowly Teen has started at Teachers College and had a birthday....

    Friday, March 08, 2013

    Summer's last Hurrah

    We have had some DIVINE weather over the past few weeks - sorry to those of you 'up North" currently freezing - but we have. We have been able to stroll to the park and listen to free music concerts, dine outdoors and swat lazily at bugs...

    Progress on the house - well, you might say progress. There has been a flurry of activity since we sent a legalistic worded letter to the CEO of the insurance company. Yes, suddenly they want to meet with us again. Yay. So we have the meeting and then they want another one. All during this time our 'story' has remained unchanged - we know what we are entitled to. Interestingly enough the Company is the one whose story keeps changing. Until this week. Suddenly they agree with the matters we have been arguing about - you would think that means the rebuilding of our home can start properly wouldn't you? Guess again.

    NOW - yes, approximately 21 months after our home was rendered unihabitable - they want to reassess it and see if it can be repaired instead! I kid you not.....

    Yes - I quite agree! So, three steps forward, five steps back - the poitician shuffle is coming to a street near you!

    Anyway - we will wait the two required weeks while they navel gaze and waste taxpayer money....whatelse can we do??

    So, make mine a triple this week would you?

    Ruby Rum Sunrise

    2 oz rum

    1/2 oz sour mix

    1 1/2 oz ruby red grapefruit juice

    1/2 oz grenadine

    Pour the rum, grapefruit juice and sour mix into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Pour grenadine into the center on top.

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

    This time 2 years ago....

    This time 2 years ago, we were having to use a bucket under some discretely placed tarpaulin to do our business, had to haul water from a well and dine by candlelight on rapidly defrosting food in whatever order it was thawing out fastest!

    Today, the sun is out and we had a few shakes over night - but to be honest I think it's time I straightened and flew right! The caterpillars are back in the yard we can't live in (all power to them, they won't let a poxy insurance company dictate where and when they will do their thing) and they look pretty good, don't you think?

    We have seen dwindling numbers of Monarch Butterflies over the years so we are hoping our lot will at least brighten someone's day when the finally emerge resplendant!

    We still are no closer to having our own home rebuilt but the Insurance company at least have decided they would like to attempt discussion - so! Lawyers back on their leashes and we will see if common sense will prevail.

    I had three weeks off work over January and I think I am finally ready to face the world again. Hopefully your livers will be up to my return to the blogosphere. Cheers! Make mine a double.

    Sunday, February 03, 2013

    Summertime and the living is easy....

    Another great sunny day here and we are going to a free concert in the park, taking a picnic and going to chill out before I head back to work tomorrow. Yup - have had the past 3 weeks off and have loved every nano second of it. I switched off the cellphone and tossed it into a drawer, it isn't being liberated until 8am Monday 4 February. So there.

    While I have been away from work, I have embarked on a family project. You ,know the sort - loads of photos and a heap of 'where the hell do I start"?  This one is of my mum and myself - I'm the short one.

    This project is pretty cool, having unusual family surnames has made it a bit easier to trace back the generations - to the Scots on Dad's side to the English on mum's. So - will be interesting to see what else I can dig up. Mum has a 'significant' birthday this month and we are all gathering (not like vultures0 for a celebration in her wee town of Kaknui. The locals won't know what's hit them!

    So, while I am down here sunning myself and trying to ignore that yucky feeling of 'work tomorrow' - since you can't join me for the picnic you can atleast enjoy the artist we are hearing for free this arvo. Enjoy! And spot ya round the watercooler...

    Friday, February 01, 2013

    Meanwhile back in the park...

    Free concert in the park on Sunday's - it's been great, especially with the weather being so fabulous. This photo shows the dash on my car yesterday recording the outside temperature on the left...

    Yep, suffice to say we have been having it pretty hot!

    Anyway, back to the park. This mother duck was parading her young about the place and they stopped off for a swim (as ducks are wont to do) and seemed oblivious to the statue behind them. I thought it was rather cute. And then I went home and had a cold Feijoa Cider to quench my thirst!

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Whistle Wetting Wednesday

    Hi ho, a New Year it is then! So be it. I have no quarrel with Father Time nor his four-seasoned sisters.

    Today we will keep it simple and straightforward.

    VODKA and PEPPERMINT (I know, almost sounds like a mouthwash doesn't it?)
    3/4 ounce vodka
    3/4 ounce peppermint cordial
    Tonic water for topping up and a peel of lemon for garnish.

    Shake the Vodka and cordial together with ice and strain into a glass (a highball will do nicely thank you...just up behind those champers glasses...there's a love, get one for yourself while you're there - mind the dust....), top up with tonic water and stir briefly; hang the lemon peel spiral over the rim of the glass and you're done.

    Come on, sit here next to me and have a look at this...