Let me begin with a Bah! Humbug!
Spent a week in Opononi. I haven't been to the Hokianga Harbour in living memory. It's gorgeous. Really interesting, historical corner of Northland, with stunning natural scenery to boot. All topped off with some awesome fun sliding down sand dunes into very refreshing water.
Tane Mahuta is just around the corner. The old chap is looking very stately, but the die-off disease is quite apparent. We went on a 30 minute walk to see the second largest kauri (short and rotund compared to Tane Mahuta, but amazing in its own way), and at every turn you could see one or two kauri with no leaves or bark, dead as a ship mast. Scary. At the start and end of the walk you're required to scrub your shoes and spray them with some fungicide.
Back garden - it's hot. And in our new location we have the best soil ever so my hopes for (newly planted) lettuce, potatoes and carrots are high. A little light rain would be good. Just a sprinkling over a reasonable period of time.
But the clear weather does make the Kaimais look fantastically gorgeous.
We're holidaying at home, because our newly-extended house is wonderful, and because making it that way has used up all our money.
I've been taking advantage of Auckland's relative emptiness to ride some different routes in the mornings: from the Chev to New North Road, Symonds Street, K Road, Ponsonby, Jervois, West End and back to the Chev has been brilliant with not-so-much traffic.
New Year's Eve was suitably bacchanalian, and I went for a trundle around the neighbourhood on the bike the next day. The reserves were full of family groups picnicking -- the large majority of them brown-skinned. White folks all away at the bach, presumably.
The youngest member of the family finds leaving the house for a trip traumatic -- it's more the leaving than the trip, and it's stressful all round -- but we got away to Hunua Falls one afternoon. I've never been there before, and we all enjoyed swimming in the pool beneath the falls. But man, I can see how there are drownings there.
And yesterday (after some more leaving trauma) I took the boys boogie-boarding at Muriwai, which was brilliant. Tomorrow evening, we're dining with friends and on Saturday I'm going to see Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet show. Soon, some old friends will be converging for the Big Day Out, where I have managed to buy East Lounge tickets. I'm re-reading the Maggie and Hopey stories from Love & Rockets. Today's ride beckons. Thinking: Westhaven, waterfront, up to Parnell past the rose gardens and down through the Domain. Things could be a lot worse than this.
Just as a query how many people do go away at this time?
I know that is the line pushed by the media ( as an excuse for crappy tv and brain dead news) but as someone who has till now always worked at this time just question that has always set me thinking
I feel it is a time when people has plenty of time to read and view and are definitly short changed
Hot sun, our raspberry plants had gone well mad so we had breakfasts and deserts sorted for about 6 weeks. Did a bit of kayaking on the edge of the Abel Tasman, and a quick beer tour around some of the craft breweries we have nearby. Not bad all in all.
Now, more importantly, we have 10 days coming up in Auckland and the Far North before we head to the Big Day Out. We are Auckland n0obs so any hints or tips for nice things to do there from the PAS faithful would be much appreciated. One member of the whanau is looking for anything of a scifi, anime, manga or geek/tech stylee. Another is more into your mid century modern, scando design type hit. Me, I'll just be happy with a decent boozer or two :)
Intermittent sun in Dunedin courtesy of La Nina means we've had intermittent outside play with our two boys. Elder boy is on the 'puter' with Pajama Sam while the two year old is playing with soap suds and plastic containers at the bathroom sink. Their sister is the luckiest tween alive as she's with extended family heading for the Bay of Islands.
Both little boys have sleeps during the day so we parents take the time to catch up on the rest of the thinking-television world with season one of The Wire. Late bloomers I know but so far it's been worth the wait. Television in the middle of the summer holiday sounds a bit sad, but I shall persuade myself it's decadent.
Dunedin can be at its best on a hot summer day when the bulk of its population heads elsewhere, but I'm at grimacing point today knowing that the two year old needs and deserves a run outside to burn off the energy. Concrete grey and gusty winds does not a pleasant day make.
Bah humbug indeed
Well over the New Year we put in new garden, moving 2 metres of garden mix from the front to the rear of the house by hand - the joys of old houses and no vehicle access to the rear!
So that meant a desire to stay in town while getting the garden established.
Now to get on the bike for a ride - need to explore Auckland more as Russell does!
One member of the whanau is looking for anything of a scifi, anime, manga or geek/tech stylee. Another is more into your mid century modern, scando design type hit. Me, I'll just be happy with a decent boozer or two :)
Oh, you know I think our families will have much to offer each other ;-)
Part of the break has been spent buying, downloading and reading ebooks. With a Kobo and a Kindle there is plenty of choice in reading matter, and it's easy to take a good selection of books wherever you go.
One interesting and informative read was "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming" by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.
Apart from that, climbing Mount Otanewainuku was suitable exercise on New Year's Day. Last year on New Year's Day it was Mt Te Aroha, which is much more challenging.
We've had a pleasant time over the past few days, basically tidying up the garden, which had been thoroughly neglected due to work (my sister's) and inability (mine). However, today we must remove a whole freezer's worth of rotted food and put it out for the collection tomorrow. Heaven knows when the freezer gave up the ghost. It lives in the garage and was working before Christmas. Anyone else had the horror of that stench?
Spent the last two weeks in Nelson at the parents-in-laws, where the weather has been fantastic. It's foodie-central here, so we've spent a fair amount of time creating some delicious meals.
Some of my whanau came down for Xmas this time, which was fun. We all went to the Abel Tasman (which, as ever, was breathtaking) and lunched at Awaroa Lodge. It's under new management, and the food isn't as good as it used to be.
Xmas day was a large affair, with 29 in total. The santa-sack present-swapping game took ages to resolve, but it was a heap of fun with so many playing.
Nelson is very pretty, and I've spent a fair amount of time contemplating the view over Guppy Park and port. Finally made it to the WOW museum. Very wow.
We're heading back to Auckland tommorrow, but not before we put on a final act of foodieness. As has been somewhat of a tradition for the last few years, we're doing a spit-roast mutton (it seems you just can't get hoggets or two-tooths these days). This time we're doing a turkish rub for the beast, and because I can be bloody-minded about theses things, I'm cooking the mutton over charcoal.
Aye! Last summer we went away for a month. Being a careful citizen the hubster went around turning all the plugs off at the wall forgetting that the plug for the washing machine also had the standing freezer attached.
Bye bye scallops and a tasty trout we'd been given from earlier in the summer!
The stench remained for some time. Disinfectant, hosing, more disinfectant, more hosing, then outside in the sun for a couple of weeks. Then when we brought it inside, we disinfected it again.
It took some time!
Sounds good. If you need someone to gush over the finished nice new house bits I have just the person as well!
Long walks in the early morning sunshine along Wellington’s south coast was the way I started many of the days of my holiday. So relaxing and invigorating – with some great photos taken.
The four other holiday themes were:
Spring (summer?) cleaning / reorganisation of my flat – first chance I have to do this since I moved in.
Studying for a project management course I’m doing this month.
Catching up on all the movies / tv shows I had missed over the last year
Catching up on all the books I have brought but not actually got around to reading. Found a new series that I got addicted to.... :)
Thanks goodness my flat has views out over the sea…. makes all the housework and study bearable.
(it seems you just can't get hoggets or two-tooths these days)
This might help
Xmas in Dunedin, 2 days sleeping off the food then we went and spent a few days up at Hawea in the sun
Came back on the 1st and my eldest has moved out (his lease started on the 1st and he couldn't wait), they grow up so fast! He came back the next day for a shower ....
Sadly I work for a US company so work work work
Christmas Day morning with her family, then off to the ’tron late afternoon to mine. Went to Hamilton Zoo on Boxing Day for lunch, a stroll, and a “small primate encounter” which involved feeding various primates including a pair of Siamang gibbons – old (mid-30s) couple from Auckland, complete with dominant female and a brow-beaten male who had to endure a couple of slaps and the ignominy of having a slice of apple pinched from right under his nose. Literally. Then off to make up “enrichment” packages for the spider monkeys, which meant tying up banana, popcorn and raisins in egg cartons and hanging them about the enclosure before said monkeys were let loose to play hunt the food.
The real highlight was hand-feeding a trio of male ruffed lemurs; as they were perched on our shoulders. Very cute, very gentle, very, very fluffy, and ever so demanding. No hands were being moved while they were around, because they knew exactly how to grab your hand just so and haul it closer. A lot of fun was had by the five of us, and I certainly recommend such encounters to anyone who might’ve been considering but wasn’t quite convinced.
All our girls got bigger, geared, bikes this year, so have started taking them on rides around Sandringham, Mt Albert and planning routes through to Western Springs, Pt Chev and maybe Mangere Bridge later when they get more proficient, or I get fitter.
Monday night ventured to Mangawhai Tavern with friends to see Katachfire and Black Seeds. Amazing how huge those beach concerts get.
Back at work today. Seems oddly incongruous.
Re the scabrous freezer. Baking soda is good for soaking up noxious vapours. I don't know why but it worked wonders for when we had a similar freezer issue a few years back
I've been loving cycling the last few days. There's no traffic worthy of the name (I've cycled to uni in morning peak, so I know the difference), and that makes it much easier for car drivers to be considerate.
Of course there are still the wankers, like the guy who told me to perform a carnal act on myself when I shouted "Watch out for cyclists" as he performed a meandering turn across my path into Mobil Otahuhu. But that's been the only negative, and I had fun this morning toddling about taking photos of the work at Papa-two-toes for AKT blog as part of my ride.
hi tried vanilla.
I cruised the Whangaroa Harbour trying to imagine what it must have been like before we traded the trees. I didn't find the gold.
We put on family Christmas party this year, so the 3 days leading up to Christmas were spent hard at work in the garden, which got away on me over the year. Mowing, weeding, transplanting, cloning, mulching, composting, pruning, and some extended savagery with a reciprocating saw. The kids played in the garden, spending a lot of time in paddling pools, but they both took a real interest in what I was doing too, mimicking my actions with all the toy tools. That made what promised to be days of hard labor into a really pleasant time.
After Christmas, we went to my parents' bach on Waiheke, and whiled away the days swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, walking, entertaining, drinking, bodysurfing (after the gale), and celebrating a friend's child's birthday. It might seem like a bummer to have a birthday between Christmas and New Year's, but it did occur to me that you'll always cash in on the fact that a lot more people are on holiday, and in a partying mood.
I bought a boat early in December, but the damn thing is broken and no-one is around to work on it. However, I've got the backup solution organized, a secondary motor I'm picking up this week, so I hope to get out on the water for some fishing - I've been priming Marcus to this task, taking him to the popular spot by Westhaven. I soon discovered that shore fishing was all about having a big rod. Anyone with a really big rod made a real show of the casting, standing in casting pose for up to 30 seconds before unleashing to distances that seemed over 150m. However, a couple of Chinese guys turned up with what appeared to be traditional Chinese fishing equipment, bamboo poles and interesting colorful tracers - they sat right at the water's edge and were instantly successful. So I don't feel the need to indulge in a rod-size competition just yet.
Like Russell, I noticed a demographic gap - the bach owners on Waiheke seemed to be mainly white. I took the family to Pt Erin pool on the weekend, and brown was predominant color, despite being in the heart of pluty white suburbs. Ironically, when I used to go to Pt Erin as a child, it was not so, those suburbs were only just beginning to gentrify, so the experience was a blast from the past, St Mary's Bay as I remember it.
I only got a few days off (also working for North Americans), but these summer evenings are almost like stealing an afternoon pass every day.
I went away, but I'd have liked to have something other than two blokes prattling inanely and playing their cheese collection every afternoon. A lot of people must be doing roadtrips or just driving around and want to listen to the radio, right?
BFM,sunblock and cold beer at days end.
Rinse and repeat.